Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Anegada (image #13056811)After 3 months of prayerful thought and discussion the organizational meeting of Southwest United Church was held on October 24,1984. 28 persons transferred their membership from Hillsdale Community Church to our forming church. Rev. Eugene Ross of the Central Pacific Conference, UCC met with us. The group voted to incorporate as Southwest United Church and seek membership in the Central Pacific Conference, UCC. Roberta Martin and Lola Raz were incorporating officers and Marcus Wood provided legal advice.

The opening prayer following our organization was spoken as follows:
“This is an important day for those of us gathered here, Our Father. We feel humble; some of us are full of fear and trembling: there have been many individual prayers lifted up for guidance and understanding. Now we come before You intending to form a congregation dedicated to unbounded spiritual growth, to open worship and Christian fellowship, to the freedom to be unsure about our individual faith and knowledge, yet willing to put ourselves on the growing edge through new exposure and experiences that would help us to better know You, and to try to translate our growing faith into Christian outreach, teaching, and mission which goes beyond us as individuals to care deeply about the oppressed, the less fortunate, the cause of peace (personal, among persons, or among nations), and to implement the gospel through action and deed. We humbly beseech Your guidance, Your patience, Your understanding. We are thrilled at this opportunity to grow. We are aware that it will be a struggle. We accept the responsibility always knowing of your love, forgiveness, and guiding spirit. In Jesus name. Amen”

At our first congregational meeting lead by President Don Robertson on November 4, 1984 the congregation voted an intent to name Rev. Richard Skidmore as our interim and Organizing Pastor effective January 1, 1985 with the understanding that he would be on sabbatical at Harvard Divinity School until May 15, 1985. Rev, Walter McGettigan, retired UCC pastor, was selected as our worship leader until that date.

Our first worship services were held in the small chapel in the basement of Lewis and Clark chapel. We moved shortly to the gymnasium at the Franciscan Renewal Center. Len Stoffer was instrumental in obtaining most of our furnishings and equipment.

At the Fall Conference Assembly of the Central Pacific Conference at Forest Grove October 25 and 26, 1986 our church was publicly welcomed in the membership in the United Church of Christ.

During the ten years we rented space we had a great relationship with the Sisters of St. Francis at the Center. We set up a "sanctuary area" and "classrooms" in the gymnasium. However, when the Archdiocese was considering selling the Center property, we renewed our search for a more stable location. During this period the congregation voted to change its name to Kairos United Church of Christ.

Our next location was at the Trinity Presbyterian Church on SW Virginia Street. Some shared worship, fellowship and Christian education activities occurred during a period of at least a year with St. Mark Presbyterian and Trinity Presbyterian. The final mutual decision was that each congregation would maintain its own individual identify and programs.

Word came that the Milwaukie United Church of Christ was considering a search for a congregation that would share its space with the possibility of a merger. The Kairos Church council decided to explore this possibility. After many meetings and living together for a year, a vote was held October 17, 1999 by both congregations to proceed with the merger. Thus, with prayer and thanksgiving we come to today.

Kairos brought several lasting mission projects. Under the leadership of Mary Anna Stoffer a Walk-A-Thon raised funds for Transition Projects supplying housing for seniors. Mary Anna and Len Stoffer also provide leadership in the support of Human Solutions Christmas Store which supplies clothing and gifts that parents can choose for their children at Christmas. For years Kairos has provided a dinner meal once per month to men at Hoyt Street Shelter. This service continues with the combined efforts of all of us. Working together as a united Church we continue to make a difference by helping others in our ever-expanding community.

Written 1986, updated 2019. Original author Don Robertson.