Our History

. . . That they may all be one (John 17:20).
That was the vision that evolved and led to the dedication of Ainsworth United Church of Christ (AUCC) in 1985. The history of our church building goes back to 1936 when it was dedicated as the Second Reformed Church, who had its roots in NE Portland back to the 1890’s with primarily members from Swiss backgrounds and followers of the Reformed Church. In the 1950’s, the Evangelical and Reformed and the Congregational Christian denominations merged to become the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Second Reformed Church became the Second UCC. Nearby, in the 1960’s, a small group of African American people left Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church to form a new church, first meeting in the home of Jewell and Edward Johns before moving to the Norse Lodge on NE 11th and finally relocating to NE 30th. This church started as an independent church called St. Andrews Community Church, led by Rev Courtland Cambric and in 1969 changed their affiliation and became St. Andrews Community UCC.
The bringing together of the Second UCC and St. Andrews UCC was originally a business deal struck to share the building. The Second UCC had a declining population and was seeking to rent some of its unused space, while St. Andrews UCC had grown beyond expectation and needed more space. While some activities were shared (education of children with Vacation Bible Program, social events, etc), on Sunday mornings, the predominantly white congregation of Second UCC and the predominantly Black congregation of St. Andrews UCC worshipped separately. Over time tensions surfaced and the greater vision of what was possible was almost lost.
Through the leadership of Rev Courtland Cambric and Rev Walter McGettigan, the congregation began to wrestle with the question of whether they could become one integrated church. WIth the death of Rev Cambric and the transfer of Rev McGettigan, the intentional work of healing and discernment was then led by Rev Phil Oliver. Congregants were asked to engage in the hard work of letting go of old beliefs, of treasured possessions, of respected leaders, resistance to change and to allow God to move among the people to create a community of love, trust, faith and hope. In 1985, AInsworth United Church of Christ was dedicated under the leadership of Rev. Thomasina Yuille. REv. Yuille guided the congregation as they struggled to learn how to live together in a multiracial congregation. After her tenure and that of Rev. Paul Spurlock and two interim pastors, Rev Jack Takayangi was called to be the interim minister. He brought great experience and wisdom that inspired our leadership to see the journey as one of a diverse people. He led us in sharing of stories about racism and effects on members’ lives while he nurtured our spirit, faith and discipleship. He also nudged us into calling a new pastor and in 1996, Rev Lynne Smouse Lopez became our pastor and continues to lead us.

Ainsworth UCC has continued its journey as God moves among the people to create a beloved community. The call from the UCC General Synod to be a multiracial and multicultural church has been foundational to our identity as a congregation. This initial response has been followed by becoming Open and Affirming to the LGBTQ community, as well as a commitment to Immigrant Justice and Racial Justice that are lived out both within our congregation and how we partner in the community. Please read more about our history (here) or about ways we connect in the congregation or in the community.

Welcome to Ainsworth
United Church of Christ

No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Ainsworth United Church of Christ is a multicultural, multiracial, open and affirming, immigrant justice, and racial justice congregation that welcomes into membership all persons who commit themselves to its faith and mission. We are in covenant with the national United Church of Christ and the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ. All are welcome.
Rooted in God’s love, following Jesus, focused on justice – we are a multiethnic, inclusive faith community.
In carrying out the teachings of Jesus, Ainsworth United Church of Christ directly undertakes justice in the life and work of its Congregation to contribute to social, economic, environmental and political change so that the fullness of life is extended to all persons and creation, as Jesus intended.

Clergy & Staff

1

The Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Pastor

2

The Rev. Cecil Prescod, Minister of Faith Formation

3

Dan Gaynor, Acting Minister of Music/ Accompanist

4

Shawn Birchfield, Office Administrator

5

Benjamin Chimuku, Custodian

John Doe Managing Director
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