Gresham United Methodist pastor welcomes worshipers to United Samoan Community Church.

GOOGLE MAPS IMAGE - Gresham United Methodist Church Gresham United Methodist Church is starting a new ministry by welcoming the members of the recently-organized United Samoan Community Church to its building.

"We have families who want to worship God in our own language and culture," said Peter Timoteo, pastor of the new church and a Gresham resident.

Gresham United Methodist Church is celebrating the new ministry at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 4, at the church, 620 N.W. Eighth St. The Samoan community will cook food for a festive reception, and the Samoan choir is scheduled to sing, Timoteo said.

A minister with the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Hawaii for 30 years, Timoteo has held Bible study with other Samoans and was inspired to organize the new church and donate his time to the fledgling congregation.

Timoteo, who's attended Gresham United Methodist for about 10 years, decided the growing Samoan population — those originating from the South Pacific/Polynesian island region — in East Multnomah County should have its own worship service.

"They need a church," he said.

The new congregation will be nondenominational, welcoming any Christians, "Methodists, Pentecostals and any other denominations," Timoteo said.

The common thread for the bilingual services will be Samoan heritage and culture.

The new United Samoan Community Church/LMS Oregon will hold regular services at 1 p.m. on Sundays.

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