New pastor for SW church on cusp of centennial
For the first time since 1986, there was a new pastor preaching on Christmas morning at Multnomah Presbyterian Church.
Danny Peters is now Pastor Peters at the church on Southwest 45th Avenue, which turns 100 in two years. He replaces John and Sylvia Dilworth, who co-pastored at Multnomah Presbyterian for three decades before retiring in 2016.
The Dilworths are now doing missionary work in Kenya.
Peters, 31, comes to the church nestled deep in the woods across the street from Gabriel Park from upstate New York, where for the last four years he's been an associate pastor in Fairport.
"It was time to step into a new season," he says.
Peters was born and raised in Galt, California, which is halfway between Sacramento and Lodi.
"We were drawn to the West Coast, and when I interviewed at 'Mult Pres' and met with members of the hiring committee, it felt great," he says. He, his wife (a school teacher in Hillsboro) and their 2-year-old son now live in Tigard.
Peters says he's aware of Oregon's reputation as being one of the "most unchurched" states in America. "We talk about that," he said of his fellow pastors. "I don't pretend to be an expert, but we saw the same thing in the Northeast. 'No Religious Affiliation' is the only category that's seeing growth. But we in the church see that as a great opportunity for growth."
Peters says he's excited about his first Christmas as the leader of his pastorate. "The story of the first Christmas is truly the greatest story ever told. To lead our community through that story and tell that story year after year is an amazing task," he says. "These are the busiest weeks of the year, but I love it..
"Christmas is the only time of year when we hit the pause button," he adds. "It's kind of an escape," he adds, "if only for 24 hours."
Multnomah Presbyterian has 170 members. The church was founded in 1920 on the current site of Key Bank at Southwest Troy Street and 35th Avenue. The current location is 7555 S.W. 45th Ave.
Before Christmas, the church will be holding a Christmas Coffee House during the weekend of Dec. 14-16. Learn more at multpreschurch.org.