Church of the Promise is a community of ordinary people, following Jesus together on a mission to love God and love our neighbors.
Our vision is for Portland to be a healing land, a place where:
Following Jesus together means learning to value the things Jesus valued, and taking him seriously enough to put his values into practice. As we studied the words and ways of Jesus, we discerned the following values and named them as guiding principles for our life together.
These values serve as organizing principles for our community. Everything we do and the dreams we dream are connected to one or more of these values.
Welcome to the United Methodist Church of the Promise.
John Wesley and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living—on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis, on what Wesley called "practical divinity" has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today, and is certainly part of the theological DNA for Church of the Promise. We invite you to learn more about our rich theological heritage and discover What We Believe as United Methodist.
A statement of faith for Church of the Promise is summarized in the historic Apostles’ Creed:
We believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic (universal) church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The earliest record of seeds being sown in Portland, that would later grow and become the Church of the Promise, date back to 1956 when Richard and Mary Catherine Sluyter showed up on Baird Street and started a sidewalk Sunday School. With an accordion, a flannel board, and a Bible in hand they told the stories of Jesus to the children on Baird Street. In the fall of that year they rented a shotgun house and started the Sunshine Club. Soon after, the Methodist Church adopted the ministry and named it the Baird Street Mission.
Volunteers from the neighborhood and around the city offered a variety of programs at the Baird Street Mission. One of those faithful volunteers from the neighborhood was a lady named Patsy Newland. From 1960 to 1990 Mrs. Newland provided leadership at the mission and worked along side a number of United Methodist Ministers.
In 1990, a new vision began to emerge, and the mission was eventually renamed The Portland United Methodist Center. A part-time employee was hired and commissioned to begin a faith-based afterschool program for children.
A dream was born in 1990 to build a new facility that would allow the Mission to expand its scope and meet the needs of more children and youth. In 1997, the program moved into a newly constructed multipurpose facility, now known as the Portland Promise Center.
In January 2002, three people began to meet in the Chapel of the Center to read scripture communally and to pray. The agenda of the meeting was to discern if planting a church in Portland was the next right thing to do. This humble prayer meeting evolved into the Portland Promise Community of Faith, a missional community of folks that lived in the neighborhood, worshipped together on Sundays and provided volunteers and leadership for the Portland Promise Center programs.
In 2005 the Portland Promise Center purchased a historic warehouse located at 1800 Portland Avenue with a vision to create a hub for spiritual, economic, and leadership development. In 2012 the Portland Promise Community of Faith, with the support of the Kentucky United Methodist Church Annual Conference, launched a new church called Church of the Promise. The new church renovated a section of the warehouse and took up residence in what is now known as the Promise Building. In 2015 the church established a non-profit organization called Promise Community Development Corporation. The CDC purchased the building and began to dream of ways to address the economic challenges in Portland through social entrepreneurialism.
The dream turned into reality in the fall of 2015 with the opening of the Table Café—a sit-down restaurant that serves locally grown food with amazing taste, at an affordable price, where all can enjoy the flavor of community. The Table operates under a pay-as-you-can model and provides a place where our neighbors can dine with a purpose.
The seasons of planting seeds of God’s love and watering those seeds with faith and hope continue. God will cause the growth, and only time will tell where this great story goes next.
We would love for you and your family to join us and become a part of this amazing story!
Christian Community Development Association
Church of the Promise is a member organization of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), an international network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities wholistically restored. CCDA believes that God wants to restore people, not only to right relationships with God but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities; not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically and socially.
To this end, Church of the Promise and other CCDA practitioners follow Jesus’ example of reconciliation. We go where the brokenness is. We live among the people in dis-enfranchised neighborhoods. We become one with our neighbors until there is no longer an “us” and “them” but only a “we.” And, in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, “we work and pray” side by side with our neighbors “for the well-being of our city [or neighborhood],” trusting that if the entire community does well and prospers, then we too will prosper.
The philosophy of CCDA is based on eight components. Church of the Promise affirms these eight guiding principles and we seek to discover innovative ways to incorporate them into our life and work in the Portland neighborhood.