Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

KMUCC Building October 2019In November 1999, two United Church of Christ churches – one originally housed in a SW Portland college basement and the other with a century-long history in Milwaukie – merged to become the Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ.

Sunday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to noon, the community, friends and families are invited to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of becoming one church. The service and coffee hour will feature reflection, special music, food and – of course – cake.

Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ makes its current home at 4790 SE Logus Road, but the original Milwaukie building was at SE 32nd and Van Water Street. The Milwaukie church’s history reaches back to 1892, when 14 local residents formed the First Congregational Church of Willsburg; this neighborhood later was renamed Ardenwald. One farmer donated his entire crop of strawberries at one of many fundraisers that led to breaking ground on the first church building.

The Southwest Portland part of the church began as SW United Church of Christ in 1984. Members first met in the Lewis & Clark College Chapel basement and moved across the street to the Franciscan Renewal Center in1985, where they met in the gymnasium. In the mid-1990s. the church changed its name to Kairos United Church of Christ and shared space with a Presbyterian church on SW Virginia Street.

The two churches began worshipping together and discussing a merger in 1998. “The merger of our two churches has been a great help to the entire community,” says Gary Salyers, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC member who was instrumental in the merger and chairs the 20th-anniversary celebration. “We have accomplished many missions and helped many people. We also have developed many new and special friendships through the years.”

Rev. Richard Skidmore was the new church’s original pastor. After his retirement, the church elected Rev. Jeanne Randall-Bodman as pastor in 2016. Rev. Randall-Bodman says, “When I was first called to KMUCC, I wondered if the seams of the merger would still be visible. However, through the leadership of Pastor Rick Skidmore and the work and will of all the parishioners, the two precursor congregations are not merely stitched together side by side but woven into one joyful, loving, welcoming community.”

See also the articles Milwaukie UCC Church History and Kairos UCC Church History for more about our beginnings.