Welcome to YOUR Portland Neighborhood Community

I'm about to use a word that strikes most people with either fear or elation, or at least a sudden urge to leave the room. Even elated persons might find their momentary joy deflate into dread, because this word, though ubiquitous in its usage, is a powerful one, and often hearing it out of another's mouth may cause some awful wrothful (say it three times fast!) consternation when it's not uttered just so, even when those hearing it use the word quite frequently.

Here it is: Church.

Oh come back here. I'm not about to proselytize, I have no agenda that requires conversion, no funny hats or robes, no burning candles or crosses or books. I'm only going to write about churches in the strictly physical brick-and-mortar sense. I like churches. Actually, I love them, inside and out. I'm in love with the aesthetic, with the instant hush they command, with the aroma of worn pages in the hymnals and the sense of reverence they evoke. I'm not religious in the traditional sense of the word; my mother briefly sent my brother and me to Sunday school while my sister attended services at a Baptist church in Roswell, New Mexico, but I suspect it was in hopes someone else would would have to clean up after me while she caught a nap. Or maybe she felt we needed divine intervention (I know my sister thought so). Anyway, it was there that I came to love the echo-y sound of the upright piano and the smell of the fat colored chalk the youth director used to limn the joys and sorrows on the blackboard, and later where I found serenity in the sanctuary that, to me, felt wholly removed from any saintly figure and seemed to have a presence of its own.

First Unitarian Church

On the outside, I prefer the gothic structures of large stone churches. Those edifices loom larger than life to me, and are as inspiring as their interiors. These structures, more than any other, say without words that something important, even monumental, is happening within the walls, bigger than you, bigger than me, at least as large as Creation Itself. No other human-crafted structure speaks this way. Even when the messages they convey conflict with my own, they are powerful and undeniable. To stand in the shadow of a church is to understand that my opinion may be taken under advisement but with no promises.

First Presbyterian Church

Inside, serenity. Rustle of clothes on the seats of the pews, whispers, quiet smiles and greetings. Notice how in our modern world conversation anywhere else is of the raucous variety, voices raised so they can be heard above others nearby, some of whom are chattering on their phones to people not even in the same state, or even continent? Even in my neighborhood library people have taken to speaking loudly as if on the street outside. Everyone does this anymore, contending with the charp-charp-charp of being in the presence of fellow humans. In a church, it goes away. Everyone knows: Be quiet! You're in church!

Views: 182


You need to be a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com to add comments!

Join PortlandNeighborhood.com

Comment by Rob Creighton Garrison on March 18, 2012 at 4:44pm

I love First Unitarian.  I haven't been in quite some time but I want to start attending again.  Thanks, Lorri.  :o)

Comment by Lorri E. on March 16, 2012 at 7:46pm

I have always loved churches for the same reason - they are beautiful and peaceful.  I have fond memories of my Grandma taking me to church each Sunday as a child.

Latest Activity

Lea McWhorter posted an event

Artistic Portland Offers Harvest Treats at First Thursday Gallery Art Walk on November 3rd 4-6pm at Artistic Portland Co-Op

November 3, 2016 from 4pm to 6pm
Artistic Portland will be featuring treats of pumpkin, apple and gingerbread at their First Thursday Art Walk on November 3, 2016 between 4-6 pm. The Co-op is gearing up for the holidays so in addition to the 50+ members’ artistic creations new member/artist John Gilmore will play the adopted rescued Piano.Push.Play called Mitsuko to create the mood. The public is welcome to chat with the artists in attendance about their art and process. Portland’s award-winning House Spirits Distillery will…See More
KATIE RAMIREZ posted an event

America's Largest Antique & Collectible Show & The Portland Vintage & Custom Knife Show at Portland Expo Center

October 29, 2016 at 9am to October 30, 2016 at 5pm
The Fall version of the largest vintage show in the area is coming up on October 29 & 30 at the Portland Expo Center. There will be hundreds of outstanding antique collectors and dealers with more than 900 booths available to view - this is the big one – don’t miss it!  If you are a treasure hunter, decorator, collector or just like to find pieces from your past, the Fall Expo Antique & Collectible Show is for you.  Visit…See More
Oct 16
Imago Theatre posted an event


December 9, 2016 at 7pm to January 8, 2017 at 3pm
A giant art work of a play with 100 moving parts that will engage you like no other show… Animated effects every 30 seconds... Steampunk finesse… Whimsical, dramatic and heartfelt… This is the new Imago and they are at their best!A grimy engine room of a steamship becomes an enchanted theatrical playground whereBeauty and the Beast comes to life with puppetry, shadow theatre, a multitude of effects, song, drama and comedy. Imago’s long-awaited spectacle will dazzle your eyes, enchant your heart…See More
Oct 13
GuignolFest posted events
Oct 12
Ashley Rust posted an event

The Matchbreaker at Living Room Theaters

November 16, 2016 from 7pm to 8:30pm
Tickets can only be purchased online here: https://www.tugg.com/events/the-matchbreaker-b2gePlot: When an idealistic romantic gets fired from his day job, he is offered a "one-time gig" to break up a girl's relationship for her disapproving parents. This "one-time" gig spreads through word-of-mouth and he ends up becoming a professional match-breaker. However, he begins to fall for one of his clients and must figure out how to…See More
Oct 10
Profile IconAshley Rust and GuignolFest joined PortlandNeighborhood.com
Oct 10
Ann Singer posted an event

Trust No One: spooky stories by at-risk teens at Sellwood Playhouse

October 31, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Rogue Pack creates a site-specific theatre piece at the Haunted Sellwood Playhouse! Receive a tour of Rogue Pack's new home and find out about its mysterious history AND support at- risk young girls. Featuring girls 10-17 in the foster care system from Boys & Girls Aid.Rogue Pack's new home, the Sellwood Playhouse was built in 1913 making it one of Sellwood's historic sites. Before it was a theatre, it had been a church since 1975. What was it before that? Find out at Rogue Pack's first…See More
Oct 7
Profile IconSarah Cassavant, Mona Boyd, Alex Matthew and 7 more joined PortlandNeighborhood.com
Oct 6



Powell's Books Picks

© 2016   Created by Lorri E..   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service