Nowadays, many people are not too keen on the idea of going to church. However, that’s not the case of the Clackamas United Church of Christ.
Apart from offering hope and faith in difficult times, this church uses light humor to send important messages. Reverend Adam Ericksen is the brain behind the operation that encourages people to be kind and not radical in their thinking.
The Pastor always thinks of all people regardless of their age, race, sexual orientation, and he sends his love with witty, clever signs.
The church is quite progressive, and others should learn from Reverend Adam Ericksen. His goal is to let everyone know that Jesus loves each and every person, and he does it by putting great, funny, and wholesome signs.
Let’s hear from the Pastor, who is doing a fantastic job by blending modern with traditional and putting smiles on our faces in the process.
Pastor Adam about the pandemic and inclusiveness
The now-famed Pastor shared his thoughts on what these signs mean to him and his church with Bored Panda:
“Sometimes, the messages are about including people of other faiths or no faith. Sometimes it’s about lifting up a justice issue. And sometimes it’s quoting the Bible in a life-affirming way toward immigrants, along with our LGBTQIA and BIPOC siblings. Other times we make political commentary with a Christian twist.”
He is devoted to creating signs that will also help people deal with the pandemic. While he misses human contact, he’s also thankful for online apps:
“The difficulty is that our local community hasn’t seen each other face to face in more than a year. We miss being physically present with each other. Phone calls and Zoom calls are the best we can do, but it isn’t enough. At the same time, our online worship service is growing, allowing us to form a community with folks from Alabama to Toronto to Spain to Australia looking for a progressive Christian congregation.”
Pastor believes that the previous five years “have increased faith for many.” Yet, he thinks it’s more about belonging to the community:
“For example, I find that people of different faiths and even people of no faith are looking for a sense of community. Faith is moving much more towards what I think Jesus had in mind—a trust in something bigger than yourself. Sometimes, we find that trust in the community, realizing that all communities are flawed and make mistakes, but that participating in something bigger than ourselves makes life worth living.”
“I think people are finding that especially in these most difficult times, faith within a community is something we need more than ever.”
The Pastor and the church believe that God loves every person the same:
“We are open and affirming of our LGBTQ siblings and believe God calls us to love all of our neighbors, including those who are black, brown, white, rich, poor, religious, atheist, documented, and undocumented.”
Their Sunday morning worship is now online, but there are workshops and more wisdom on the Facebook page:
“We also have online bible study, prayer group, and anti-racism events throughout the week.”
Reverend Adam believes that all people want something to believe in:
“Amidst the pain of the world and all the hate, people are thirsty for something deeper. The truth of the Gospel is that all people are loved. The sin is when we start treating certain people and groups as if they are not loved. Jesus was most critical of those who used religion as an excuse to marginalize others. We are merely seeking to follow Jesus in the best way we can.”
Being bold in a traditional, archaic environment
Reverent came to this church in 2018, and only 30 people or so were regularly coming to the place of worship. So, he made a choice to be more progressive and bolder, as he explained:
“I decided that we needed to be bold with our message of love and inclusion, especially for those who are marginalized, especially by religion. My goal is to be part of a larger movement that is reframing or redefining Christianity so that it’s based on God’s love for all people, but especially those who are marginalized.”
Now, he believes in his community and in sending the right message the right way:
“There are so many of us who are trying to get this message out, and whether we do it in the name of God or the name of humanity or the name of God and humanity—I say amen, let’s do this.”
Not everyone is accepting of his ways:
“One guy stopped as I was changing the sign and told me I didn’t understand the Bible. But that’s been most of the criticism. Everyone else honks or says ‘great job!’ It’s been very supportive. There is a big movement, not just in my generation but in all generations, of people looking for a more inclusive faith. We find it in Jesus.”
The Reverend is just like you and me
On the church’s website, Reverend Adam said that he loves writing, coaching his son’s soccer and basketball league, chocolate chip cookies, and long walks on the beach.
The Clackamas United Church of Christ makes a difference, and the person responsible is wholesome Reverend, who doesn’t think he’s above us, mere mortals.
These signs prove that his creative ways are the gap between religion and people can be filled. All it takes is a little imagination, effort, and some wit.
More wholesome, admirable signs that will restore your faith in church and humanity