Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I am writing to you as your neighbor to remind you about the follow up meeting concerning the future of St. David of Wales Episcopal Church located at 2800 SE Harrison Street in our neighborhood. The Follow up is Sunday evening, November 9th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. RSVP (232-8461).
If you were not able to be present at the last meeting, the format was set up to gather ideas from neighbors sitting down and talking together about the importance of our neighborhood and what sort of things we might wish to see in the neighborhood including what sort of community activities we might be interested in seeing happen at St. Davidâ€™s. People were also asked what sort of religious services, if any, they might be interested in were those to be held at St. Davidâ€™s.
The meeting tomorrow will include music, a light supper and sharing the distillation of what was heard at the first meeting. See Attached flyer.
In order to build a future direction for the use of St. Davidâ€™s the discussion needs to be broad and inclusive. In asking about personâ€™s preference for religious services and discussing that topic, there was no intent to mislead anyone. Some people expressed concern about the fact that religion was discussed at all (even generally) in the context of attempting to determine a future course for St. Davidâ€™s.
Hopefully we all can and should understand that St. Davidâ€™s exists in a neighborhood zoned as residential because it has a conditional use permit. That conditional use and continued future use of the building must be consistent with its purpose which includes holding religious services. Without the cornerstone of the Episcopal Church to support St. Davidâ€™s and without a viable religious presence that serves the Episcopal Churchâ€™s Mission , the future of St. Davidâ€™s could not be maintained. If it could not be maintained we should all recognize the alternatives easily viewed at either the corner of 26th and Division or 20th and Hawthorne .
The meeting on October 22nd was not meant to provide answers. The meeting was meant to begin a dialogue. Folks were put to work, so to speak, to start talking to each other about their commonality and their differences and to start thinking about this place in the center of Colonial Heights . If the neighborhood is to have a meaningful role in the future of what happens at St. Davidâ€™s that conversation must occur before the road leads to more narrow choices. The Episcopal Church wants to save the building and make it viable and a meaningful part of the neighborhood and the community. However, they realize as does the congregation at St. Davidâ€™s that they cannot make anything happen without the neighborhood and community becoming involved. The invitation was meant to start that process.
Discussion of what religious services one might hope to have available in the neighborhood does not mean that people need to â€œgo to church,â€ but it does mean that we all need to appreciate the fact that religious services are the cornerstone of why the place (with only 12 or 13 present for Anglican Services on a good Sunday) continues to exist and why it has not been handed over to a developer.
Even if you had mixed feelings about the meeting and even if you are not too thrilled about hearing prayers sung in the Anglican tradition as a part of the gathering, I hope that you would still come to the follow up meeting for Sunday, November 9. Our conversation has just begun. Remember, St. Davidâ€™s has been and continues to be open to your thoughts. This is our opportunity to shape a piece of the future of our own neighborhood and make us a stronger, more vibrant community as a result. Can we be a community and a neighborhood despite our differences? I say â€œyes we can!â€ We have more in common than you might think, but nothing good happens without effort. And this is the time to put effort into our neighborhoodâ€™s future.
The flyer is attached and the number to RSVP for the follow up meeting is (503) 232-8461.
Thomas E. Price
2805 SE Harrison St
Portland, OR 97214