Our Ministry Statement
Called by God's grace, empowered and unified by the Holy Spirit, Hoodland Lutheran Church is a gifted and diverse family celebrating and proclaiming the Gospel by serving our congregation, community and world.
A History of our Congregation
All stories need a beginning, and this one begins in 1972 when a handful of Lutheran families wanted to establish a Lutheran congregation on the mountain. Pastor D.C. Schroeder from the Missouri Synod office in Portland came up to guide them in becoming a mission church in the community. For the first six months they gathered, in rented space, around the massive stone fireplace to hear speakers, most of whom were from Concordia College.
Relocation became an issue when there were problems heating the building. The new congregation worshiped at the Bowman's Resort for a short time until the overhead sprinklers malfunctioned, and the donated hymnals and Bibles were ruined. And so, in January of 1973, a thirty-two year relationship with St. John's Catholic Church was begun when Hoodland Lutheran Church became the third congregation to worship in that building along with the Catholics and the Episcopalians. For the next three years the congregation grew under the guidance of several interim pastors; John Scheck, Harold Iben, John Fenning and D.C. Schroeder.
Then, in 1977, the congregation had grown large enough to hire a part-time pastor, with Pastor Paul A. Gross accepting the position. A joint Vacation Bible School was held in 1978 with the Mount Hood Bible Church at Camp Arrah Wanna. In 1979, missions outside of the local area became a focus for the congregation, who sponsored a Cambodian refugee family that year. Wally and Kathy McKenzie also answered a call to serve in Madagascar for six to nine months, beginning a relationship that continues this day.
The first Confirmation class was started in 1985. In 1986 a church office was rented above the dental clinic in Welches. The possibility of having our own church was beginning to be discussed. In 1989 Pastor Paul began what was to become a continuing tradition with Hoodland Lutheran's Pastor also serving as the Chaplain for the Hoodland Fire Department.
In 1990 Pastor Paul heard the call to another congregation, and Pastor Heidi Fish came to the mountain. The first Spaghetti Dinner and Craft Sale was held as a fundraiser for the Neighborhood Missions Program, whose charter was later drawn up in 1994. Pastor Heidi left to minister in the Seattle area that year, and in October of 1995 Pastor Berry Scruggs was called to serve this congregation. In 2004, as noted in more detail in the history of the worship center below, Hoodland Lutheran Church moved into a home of it's own, fulfilling a dream that began in a living room in 1972.
In 2012 Pastor Berry left Hoodland Lutheran Church. Pastor Susan Granata was called as our interim until 2014. Pastor Don Voeks was installed in a four-year limited Call in February of 2014 and retired in February of 2018.
With Pastor Don’s retirement, the Hoodland congregation set aside twelve months of prayer, discernment and education. A time of learning to listen and really hear each other as we work toward a realization of God’s message for our future on the mountain. With the return of Pastor Susan Granata, a former interim, in the last part of 2018, as a permanent pulpit supply minister, the congregation enjoys a consistent gospel-based sermon. The congregation also has the opportunity to hear messages from two retired pastors; Rev. Steve Carlson, Rev. Nick Doversberger and Episcopal Deacon Katherine Holland.
The service music is lively and chosen with thought and care so as to be in sync with the message of the day. The worship team works hard to assist the ministers in creating an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and faithfulness.
Today Hoodland continues to support the community through its ministries:
Neighborhood Missions. After 25 years, Neighborhood Missions increased the size of its board to include other community members dedicated to providing for those needing help. Each week Neighborhood Missions distributes donated and purchased supplies of food to those in need. Firewood and other necessities are also distributed on a need’s basis. A free food distribution / grocery is held the last Monday of every month housed at the Hoodland Senior Center.
Children’s Education Ministry provides not only weekly Sunday school, but two other main child-based activities throughout the year.
Vacation Bible Camp (VBC)is a marvelous opportunity for local children to come together to hear and participate in a fully emerged specially themed camp. There is bible learning, songs, skits, outdoor activities, food and culminates with a big Thursday evening program and ice cream party. This camp is a packed house.
Kids Club is a once-a-month Saturday morning program of activities for school age children of the community during the school year. Drop your child at the church and they will spend four hours of play, homework, visiting, art and a whole lot of fun. Check our Facebook page for dates and announcements!
Visitation Ministry allows those unable to journey to church services the opportunity for Communion, companionship, comfort, counseling. Our visitation team is coached in providing a positive experience whether in the hospital, at work, in the home, or nursing care.
Prayer Shawl Ministry is a labor of love.
“Shawls … They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify.”
— Janet Severi Bristow, 1998
2017 marks 19 years for the Prayer Shawl Ministry, which was founded in 1998 by Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo. The two met while attending Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. They joined together with the idea of combining a love of knitting and crochet with the desire to reach out to those in need of comfort as well as joy.
There is a common misconception that prayer shawls are not made for happy and positive events. However, they can be as much a celebration of life as they can of loss. Any instance where the crafter is thinking of someone. In the words of the Prayer Shawl Ministry:
“Shawls can be used for: undergoing medical procedures; as a comfort after a loss or in times of stress; during bereavement; prayer or meditation; commitment or marriage ceremonies; birthing, nursing a baby; bridal shower or wedding gift; leading ritual; first menses or croning rites of passage; during an illness and recovery; ministering to others; graduation, birthday, anniversary, ordination, holiday gifts; or just socializing.”
If you know of someone in need of a prayer shawl contact the church and leave a message at 503-622-3916. Our care team will be in touch.
The following list is several organizations that are given support through the use of Hoodland Lutheran Church: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Quilting, Artist workshops, community meetings.
Beginning July 27, 2019, the American Red Cross will once again be using Hoodland Lutheran Church for blood drives. When the gift of life is needed, we count on you.
This is by no means a complete history, nor does this history have an ending. It speaks only briefly of the heart and soul of its clergy and laity; those servants of Christ whose songs have risen above the trees, whose dedication to education reaches beyond boundaries, whose ventures across borders have enriched us all, whose vision have created bonds of love and touched the needy, whose artwork has given beauty to our senses, whose leadership has kept us steady and on track, and whose testimonies bring us all closer to our Holy Creator. In gratitude for them we all say - Thanks be to God!
A History of our Worship Center
In the 1940’s a small group of faithful believers, led by Pastor Thyra Strand, began a congregation called “The Chapel of the Hills.” As this new church grew and bloomed, they constructed a log church on two acres beside the Mount Hood Highway.
For the better part of three decades they worshipped in that sanctuary, until it burned in a legendary fire in the Hoodland area in 1975. But these were sturdy people of God, and they immediately began plans to rebuild. Their new sanctuary was constructed in the late 1970’s, and an education wing was added during the next decade.
Then, in the mid 1990’s, the Chapel of the Hills congregation merged into The Church on the Mountain fellowship. The house of God that they had worked so hard to rebuild became the site of Youth Group meetings and various other church functions. Over the next few years it gradually fell into a state of disrepair. And by the time negotiations had begun with the Hoodland Lutheran Church for our purchase of this historical and sacred place, the sanctuary and the rest of the building needed a lot of love.
Even before the sale had closed, several dozen volunteers vacuumed, cleaned and dusted like never before to spruce up this special place. Soon after closing, under the direction of Clay Nelson, work began on a new roof and new carpet. The clean smell of fresh paint was everywhere as every wall was spackled and then painted. Light fixtures were repaired and bulbs replaced, and before long our first service here was held in July of 2004.
We sat in pews donated by the Trinity Lutheran Church in Brookings. The pulpit and baptismal font plus all the altar ware came from Advent Lutheran in Troutdale. We gathered and praised God for this gift of a church of our own.
The work continued as the grounds were cleared and firewood donated to local families. The kitchen was replaced from the ground up and new appliances were donated to the church. A beautiful altar was constructed for us by Duane Brown, and Jerry Tholen carved a magnificent Crucifix for the sanctuary. Under the leadership of Clarence Edelman, energy efficient lighting in the sanctuary and windows has been installed. The parking lot has been paved, a new airlock for the front of the church, and much work on the landscaping have been completed.
We are now looking for a location for our Neighborhood Missions food pantry, and are prayerfully considering what to do next, continuing to restore this house of God, and serve Him in our community, church and world.