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The Corner of faith and service


Local Community of Faith Church opens new midweek ministry

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Pastor Dave Sorensen moved to West Linn to fulfill a long-held dream of opening a new church. When Dave Sorensen first saw the vacated building on the corner of 12th Street and Willamette Falls Drive, he knew it was perfect.

The windows were wide and looked directly out at one of West Linn’s busiest corners. Inside, it was spacious and welcoming, with a front entrance area that could have been the skeleton of a coffee shop.

And that was exactly what Sorensen needed. For two years, the pastor at Community of Faith Church had been operating from The Neighborhood Church off Interstate 205, waiting to find a permanent home for a church that was established in January 2010 as a mission-oriented congregation affiliated with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

He wanted a place at the center of the community, where people would come in and out as they pleased and Sorensen could in turn get to know other business owners and residents.

“It was truly at the intersection of business and commerce and life,” Sorensen said. “With a park down below and a school — it really felt like the perfect place for us to start a ministry.”

The church began leasing the property in October and wasted no time starting the renovation process. Officially named “The Corner,” the building is nearing completion and the church recently began hosting ministries and organizing volunteer teams.

Sorensen refers to The Corner as a “midweek ministry,” used as an office space for the church as well as a home base for youth gatherings, Bible study and other activities. Weekly Sunday services will continue to be held at Trillium Creek Primary School, located at 1025 SW Rosemont Road in West Linn, where they have been since September.

The most promising area of the new building is what Sorensen calls the “great room,” a church-like space that will be outfitted with video screens and used for everything from worship activities to breakfast gatherings, youth group meetings and choir practice.

“It will be used for all kinds of things,” Sorensen said. “It’s really a multipurpose space.”

But while The Corner boasts a number of enticing amenities, Sorensen hopes to spend the majority of his time out in the community, rather than behind closed doors.

“Oftentimes churches insulate themselves in the church building — they build a really nice church and welcome people to come in,” Sorensen said. “Our church has a vision to be something different, so it wouldn’t be insulated in a building — we would be out with people.”

Sorensen has spent 20 years chasing that vision, starting as an associate pastor in Huntington Beach, Calif., before spending 10 years in Seattle and six in his wife’s hometown of Fargo, N.D. Then, two years ago, a promising opportunity in Oregon came about.

“It’s always been a dream of my wife and I to do a ‘mission start,’ and to start from scratch,” Sorensen said. “So this position opened up here in Portland and we accepted the call.”

The Sorensens and their six children searched for homes in Lake Oswego and Wilsonville before settling in West Linn. At times, soon after moving, Dave Sorensen thought, “Why are we here?”

It didn’t take long for opportunities to arise, however, and when The Corner opened its doors, Sorensen realized that everything had fallen together perfectly.

“Given where our kids are now, the timing is perfect,” Sorensen said. “Because we already have an investment in the community.”

Now, the church is looking for ways to honor that investment. Many service projects and activities will be conducted through the “Impact 25:40” ministry, which was developed last year. The “25:40” stands for a Bible verse in which Jesus said, “As you do to the least of these, you do it to me.”

“People in our church will go out and meet other people’s needs and bless people,” Sorensen said. “And it can be a variety of things — helping out the homeless, raking leaves — it’s a variety of different things.”

It goes back to the idea of pushing out beyond church doors.

“Pastor Dave has a favorite saying, and it’s kind of the motto for the church, that we’re a ‘sending congregation,’” church secretary Laura Heidgerken said. “Whether we’re sending someone locally on an impact mission or we’re going to Haiti or Russia or Hungary — we’ve done missions in all of those places in our short time and we’re looking for more opportunities both globally and locally.”

Now that The Corner building is established, Sorensen is looking for residents to share ideas for new service projects.

“I’m looking for people to come on in,” Sorensen said. “Because that’s going to help us shape our vision of how to meet the needs of this community, if we get input from people in community.”

Weekly 10 a.m. Sunday services are held at Trillium Creek Primary School. On weekdays, The Corner will have varying hours until it is fully staffed.

To learn more, visit cofaith.net.

Patrick Malee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 106. Follow him on Twitter, @pmalee_wl