For many of us the word “church” immediately brings to mind the building. However, there is a song that alludes to a different image
“The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.”
Here at the Portage Presbyterian church, while “church” does indeed describe our beautiful facility, it also means more. “Church” is about people! People who experience the presence of God in their life together. People who are called together for fellowship and worship. People who are sent out into our community and world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to serve one another. People who measure effectiveness not by numbers or dollars, but by the hearts impacted by the love of God working in and through them.
“I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together.”
God has blessed the Portage Presbyterian Church with faithful and visionary people right from the very beginning at Fort Winnebago in 1850. In the year 2016, we celebrate the 166th year of this congregation’s ministry to the Portage community. We are proud of our roots in the Presbyterian Church and in the Portage area. But, we also believe that God is not through with us yet! And so we continue to ask what God would have us do and be as His Church in the year 2016 and beyond.
We are a “church” that continues to live out our faith and God’s vision through a variety of ministries and activities such as the Free Christmas Day Dinner open for anyone in the community, the Confirmation Class’ summer mission work trips, Summer Bible School event in the summer, a revitalized Ministry of Education for all ages, worship services at the Tivoli Extended Care facility, the Women’s Association mission projects, supporting the local food pantry, participation in the “Meals on Wheels” effort, being involved in the River Haven Homeless Shelter, providing a space for people learning to “cook with local foods,” having a “sister church” relationship with the Yakatat Presbyterian Church in Yakatat Alaska, ongoing support for “Hope House,” and the caring ministry of the Deacons for shut-ins and others in need.
We are a “church” that continues to look to God for our inspiration and energy. In order to help people experience the mercy and love of God, we offer a variety of worship services. In addition to our Sunday mornings services, we have an “Informal Style Service” on the 3rd Sunday morning of each month, mid-week Advent and Lenten vesper gatherings, 2 worship opportunities on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday (noon-time and evening), a “New Year’s Eve” worship service, the “Celebration of the Gifts of Music” Sunday, Christmas Eve Candlelight services, a “Blue Christmas” worship service during Advent (for those who have a difficult time during the holidays) and special Sundays to recognize and affirm our graduates and our confirmation young people.
And we are a “church” that welcomes all people to share with us in this journey of life and faith. People who have come into this church community describe PPC as being warm, friendly and unlike most other churches. In fact, we believe that part of our mission as a church is to be a “warm, inviting group of believers who offer times and spaces of sanctuary, compassion and peace” in a world that sometimes can be dangerous, unsettling and overwhelming.
As the words of the song conclude … “Yes, we’re the Church together.”
We would invite you, in the words of the Psalmist, “to come and see what God has done” and “to come, see and be a participant in what God continues to do” in and through the Portage Presbyterian Church.