About Us

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.

We are part of the United Church of Christ, an inclusive and diverse community of Christians connected by faith that calls us to build a just world for all. The UCC ministries advocate at a national and global level, but our roots are planted firmly in local churches in communities across the USA. We are a Church of Extravagant Welcome, Seeking a Just and Peaceful World.

Clergy & Staff


The Rev. Coqui Conkey, Interim Pastor


The Rev. Cecil Prescod, Minister of Faith Formation

profile picture of Raymond Elliott

Raymond Elliott, Director of Music Ministry


Brandon Nelson, Accompanist


Shawn Birchfield, Office Administrator


Benjamin Chimuku, Custodian

The Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez

Born and raised in Ohio- mostly Kent, OH.
Obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Kent State University with double major of Special Education- Behavior Disorders/Emotionally Disturbed and Elementary Education, 1976.
Taught special education for five years in Ohio and earned a Master’s of Education in Counseling also at Kent State University, 1980.
Served as an Elementary Teacher Trainer in Western Samoa in the Peace Corps for three years.
Elementary School Counselor in Southern California for two years. Graduate of the School of Theology at Claremont, CA with a Master’s of Divinity, 1989. Served as pastor of Immanuel UCC, a bi-lingual, African-American/ Latinx congregation) in south central Los Angeles for eight years.
Currently serving as the pastor of Ainsworth United Church of Christ, a multiracial, multicultural, open & affirming, just peace, accessible congregation in northeast Portland since 1996. Under her leadership, Ainsworth UCC was given a service award from EMO for welcoming the HIV Day Center to be housed in our building and supporting the ministry with people who are HIV+. Ainsworth UCC also received the first Local Church Justice Award from the UCC national Justice & Witness Ministries in 2001.
During the course of her ministry Pastor Lynne has concentrated in multiracial, multicultural work, urban ministries and ecumenical and interfaith ministries for which she has written articles and has presented various workshops and panels. In Los Angeles, Lynne was involved in gang intervention and prevention work, parenting, community organizing, transitional housing development, and justice advocacy.
In the United Church of Christ, Lynne has served on a variety of boards and committees. Early in her ordained ministry served as President of UCC Council for Hispanic Ministries of the Pacific, 1989-1994, and served on the National Council for Hispanic Ministries. She served on the Board of Directors for the UCC Board for Homeland Ministries, Local Church Ministries Team and Justice & Witness Ministries and served on Finance Committees for each. Lynne also has served on a variety of committees and teams with our local Central Pacific Conference, and served as its Moderator and on the Board of Directors.
Lynne has served on a variety of ecumenical boards and coalitions. She is a past President of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Board of Directors. She is part of the Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA), was the preacher for AMA’s Interfaith Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service and received the AMA’s Bridge Builder Award in 2002. Lynne was a founding member and served as co-chair of the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland. She has served on Jobs With Justice Workers Rights Board, works with Ceasefire Oregon and Lift Every Voice Oregon to end gun violence, and with IMIrJ for immigrant justice. She also has been called upon to speak at peace and justice actions and rallies and lobbying at the State Capitol. Lynne has been involved with Jubilee Oregon, and went with Jubilee USA to the World Social Forum in Kenya and to Zambia.
Lynne is active in advocacy for racial justice, police reform, children, for education and health care. She has also been a spokesperson and advocate for LGBTQ rights, racial justice, workers rights, and peace-making. She was arrested three times for civil disobedience, first in support of workers’ right to organize and then for peace-making action and lastly for immigrant justice.
She is married to the Rev. Héctor E. López; has two children, three grandchildren and one cat.

The Rev. Cecil Prescod, Minister of Faith Formation

The Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a brother in the Order of Corpus Christi, an evangelical catholic religious order. Cecil serves as Minister of Faith Formation at Ainsworth United Church of Christ in Portland, OR.

He holds a B.A in Philosophy from Haverford College (PA), and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.

Cecil has been active in social justice issues since his youth.  Among the organizations that he has worked with are Ministers for Racial Social and Economic Justice (MRSJ) and United Black Christians in the United Church of Christ, BIPOC Faith Leaders and Laity Council for #BlackLives, Mackenzie River Gathering Foundation, the Urban League of Portland, Public Policy Committee of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Portland Jobs with Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Love Makes A Family, Inc, Brother to Brother, the American Friends Service Committee, KBOO Radio, and, and PFLAG-Portland Black Chapter.

In 2002 Cecil received the Russell Peyton Human Rights Award from the Metropolitan Human Rights Center.  In 2012 Cecil was was recognized as one of the Queer Heroes NW by the Q Center and the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN).

Raymond Elliott, Director of Music Ministry

Oregon native, Raymond Elliott goals are to encourage people of all ages to
express themselves through music, develop their skills and self-esteem, and
discover the joy of musical expression.
An active arranger of choral music, Raymond fosters a soulful, rhythmic style that
resonates with singers and audiences alike.
In addition to his work as Director of Music Ministries at Ainsworth, Raymond is
the Artistic Director of Confluence: Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus and a member
of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Board of Directors, the American Choral
Directors Association, the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, and the
Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries.
He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Portland State University and a
Master of Conducting from University of Oregon.