Portland Church Works with Community Towards Environmental Change

As part of Church Earth Care Stories, Reverend Linda Stewart-Kalen, pastor of Colonial Height Presbyterian Church, was interviewed so that her church’s story could be shared. Located in Portland, Oregon, Colonial Heights banded together with their community to tackle a growing problem, water run-off.

We worked with the city to look at a problem in our area and try to fix it. We quickly found that water run-off was a problem, so we set to raising money and making a plan to stop water run-off. We received $5000 from a grant and raised $7000 internally, which was a great place to start our project. We made two rain gardens in our church. These rain gardens are designed to take storm water and use it, diverting it from the storm system. It was a huge success, and we are very happy with the progress we have made so far. Our church is big on environmental stewardship and I feel that this project helped us grow closer as a community.

What I also found helped our process was the fact that we didn’t do it alone. Our church banded together with our community and government, and it made a profound difference. We listened to our communities concerns and worked to see how our church’s values can help put an end to those concerns. We are the second congregation to receive a grant from the Presbyterian Urban Network in Portland, and our seminary intern wrote up the proposal for us. We hope to continue more environmental projects in the future, but this project really created a bond in our church community and our county’s community as well.

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