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Brentwood-Darlington church offers multicultural pre-Thanksgiving dinner

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Healing Hearts & Mending Fences Ministry's Pastor Amy Stoner, Bethel Assembly of God Pastor Gary Russell, Vietnamese Faith Christian Church Pastor Thai Nguyen, Heaven Bound Christian Center Pastor David Webster, and Filipino Community Pastor Eli Dandasan, all gather at the multicultural dinner of thanks. A Thanksgiving Day feast came early – on November 18 – for people of several congregations who all worship at a neighborhood church, when they gathered at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center.

For years, the church at 7220 S.E. Duke Street was known as the Bethel German Assembly Of God.

“Now, we simply call it the ‘Bethel Assembly Of God’ – partly because the building hosts many diverse congregations,” remarked Pastor Gary Russell.

At different times, on any given Sunday, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Micronesian congregations worship, in addition to his own parishioners, Russell said, allowing the church building to serve a combined total of about 300 worshippers

“We’re having a community dinner, gathering all of our international churches,” Russell said, as he brought out another pumpkin pie. “Because our churches share space, and cohabitate together, we find as many occasions as we can for fellowship with one another, to truly ‘blend the body of Christ’ in a very real way.”

Tables laden with traditional American dishes, but also including Southeast Asian cuisine, sagged under the weight of the diverse offerings.

“We’re celebrating Thanksgiving, in the traditional sense of all cultures coming together,” Russell explained.

“We believe that God's house is called the ‘House of Prayer for All Nations’. We appreciate the blending of cultures – and, it sure makes potlucks a whole lot tastier!”

Learn more about the Brentwood-Darlington church online: www.portlandbethelchurch.com