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A church used by many congregations in Southeast has a communal Thanksgiving Dinner for all of them

DAVID F. ASHTON - Members of the several congregations who meet at the Bethel Assembly of God Church in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood gathered for a truly multicultural Thanksgiving dinner. In the spirit of the first Thanksgiving gathering in North America, in which the indigenous people helped the newcomers prepare a feast, people from many nations gathered at the Bethel Assembly of God in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on the evening of November 25 for a dinner.

The parking lot of the building, on S.E. Duke Street at 72nd Avenue, filled with vehicles – and the church soon smelled of delicious dishes, as those arriving prepared to enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner.

"Bethel was started as a German-speaking church, and was always intended to be a multicultural, multilingual church in the neighborhood," explained Pastor Gary Russell, as the buffet table filled with food.

"Now, we have seven congregations who meet here – representing cultures including African-American, Native American, Filipino, Nigerian, Latino, Romanian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Messianic Jewish – in addition to English-speaking congregations," Russell told THE BEE. "Tonight were celebrating Thanksgiving by sharing a meal together; and we've invited everyone joining us to bring a dish that is indicative of their culture.

"We are not colorblind here; we see everyone's 'colors' and cultures, and we celebrate them; we honor and admire the differences in our nationalities, in our cultures, and in our heritages," Russell said.

"Jesus said 'My house is to be called a house of prayer for all nations; we take this message as a command, literally. We celebrate and welcome those from all of the nations."

To find out more about Bethel Assembly of God, go online – www.portlandbethelchurch.com


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