Our Focus on a Food Pantry
At the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry, after 40 days of fasting in the wilderness and wrangling with the devil, Jesus made the powerful announcement: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
At PVC, we look to Jesus as our example, model for life and spiritual guide. His life was focused on helping and serving others, particularly those in need. Consequently, we see caring for those less fortunate than ourselves as central to our mission. We want to not only preach the good news, but also be the good news to people in our community. As an agency of Oregon Food Bank, Portland Vineyard currently distributes food boxes to many low-income families. Ministry to the poor isn’t just a program, but an integral part of church-life that everyone is encouraged to participate in. We distribute food Thursdays from 12:00-3:00.
In an early draft of the vision for the Vineyard movement our founder, John Wimber, wrote this: Healing, wholeness, intimacy, worship and salvation are all a part of our experience. As we get healthy as a body, it becomes of major importance that we reach out to the oppressed poor. We must not miss our commission to minister to them. It is an expression of our health, and understanding of what God has done for us.
Who are the poor and what must we do? They are victims of racial prejudice, they are working class men and women, young marrieds, housewives, singles, teens, children, and the elderly. They can appear on the surface to be normal. They can live in the cities, suburbs and the country. However, they live close to the edge, or in some cases, the precipice of ruin. Drugs, booze, pills, pot, affairs, mental illness, and broken marriages have ruined their lives. Troubled and desperate, sometimes they are addicts, alcoholics, runaways, dropouts and gang members. They may also be homosexuals, cons and criminals, street people and others who are coming to be known as the “fourth world”. Maybe they are just broke, but they all need help. We are God’s extended hands. We must, with vision and leading, learn to minister directly, sometimes with our money, sometimes with our lives, to these people. We must be compelled to operate in love, to clean up a yard for an invalid widow, fix a water main, paint a kitchen. We must be compelled to teach the unemployable to work. Ours must be a fellowship with a wide-open front door. We pray and hope that one day, as we grow and learn and practice that we will be a positive benefit in all neighborhoods. It is our investment philosophy.