After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him.

-Luke 8:1

Commissioning Our Pastor

Pr Bill Heads to Bahrain on January 21st

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Mark 16:15

Last Sunday we commissioned our Pastor as he heads to Bahrain to minister to the troops at one of the military bases in the country.  Please continue to pray for Pr Bill as he spends 10 months away from his family and from us.

On January 13, Pr Bill presented his last sermon from John 17, which contains something like Jesus’ farewell prayer for his flock of disciples. In simple phrases, these are the things Jesus asks his Heavenly Father to do for the flock:

Protect them. Sanctify them. Unify them. 

It’s hard to pray better than Jesus, but these can be the focus of our prayers for Pr Bill during his absence. 

As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you

will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”

2019 Welcomes New Staff

We open our year with several new staff members.  This is a year of transition for East Woods and we know that God has many good things in the future for us.  When you have a moment welcome and congratulate these people who will serve at East Woods in one of the many areas of need.  Thank you!

  • Pr Brian Craker

    Pastor (During Pr Bill's Deployment)

    Rev. Brian Craker (pronounced Crā-kĕr) has been involved in church ministry for over 25 years, including serving in pastoral roles at five Portland area churches. Brian has been working as an Interim Pastor for the Presbytery of the Cascades over the last ten years, finishing his current assignment as Administrative Pastor (Stated Supply) at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, WA.

    Brian was born and raised in California, before moving to Portland in 1996. His love for the Pacific Northwest kept him close by for his seminary work, graduating from George Fox University with his Masters of Divinity, and now studying at GFU again, this time for his Doctorate of Ministry. 

    Brian met his wife Alison at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, and they have been married for 21 years. They have been blessed with two sons, Tyler (10) and Casey (7). Brian’s hobbies and interests include sports, working with the latest technology, travel, DJ’ing parties and weddings with his brother-in-law Chris, and most of all, having fun with his boys.

    Brian’s favorite Biblical passage is Psalm 23. “My life’s journey has not always been an easy one, and I’ve had to suffer through a number of family losses during my life. One of the reasons that my faith in the Lord is so strong is because I have experienced the Lord walking with me through those valleys of the ‘shadow of death.’ I’ve experienced that divine comfort that the Lord provides through the Holy Spirit and through his people of the Church, and my life and my ministry have been so richly blessed...truly ‘my cup runs over.’ It has shaped how I view my life and the ministry God has called me to, as well as my desire to serve as the hands and feet of Christ.”

    For more about Brian, please go to "Meet Pr Brian".

  • Lisa Pickering

    Worship Music Leader

    Lisa began her work as Interim Worship Music Leader in December, 2018. She has been a member of various worship music teams for the past 30 years, including Youth With a Mission in Los Angeles, Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver and East Woods.

    A Vancouver native, she studied Music Education at Warner Pacific College and Vanguard University of Southern California and is a certified Early Childhood Music and Movement Educator. After homeschooling her children, she began teaching piano, flute, voice and Kindermusik at Beacock Music in Vancouver in 2010. She continues to teach private piano, flute and voice lessons from her home studio and holds Musikgarten classes at East Woods.

    She is married to Kirk, who serves as elder for East Woods’ Growth and Integration ministry. Between them they have two sons and two daughters, a wonderful daughter-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. She enjoys playing and listening to music, reading, picnicking, golf, skiing, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Kaylan Lathrop

    Nursery Attendent

    Kaylan Lathrop is a mother of 6, who has cared for children and families through education, avocation and strengthening communities for over 20 years.

    Kaylan shares, “It's a privilege to serve families at East Woods Presbyterian Church via caring for children in our nursery. I have worked as an ECEAP, head start, lead infant and toddler teacher and assistant director over a small private program. I am currently working on my own adventure of opening up a preschool program in my home. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you.”

  • Donna Frasier


    Donna has stepped up to help with the worship team.  Donna will play piano one to two Sundays each month.  We love to have her talent and positive energy at the keyboard while we worship.

New Play Area

Eagle Scout Project for Alex Kennedy

Some dirt is moving from one part of the north yard to another part of the yard.  It seems we have a hole about 20' x 30' right out the left wing of the church.  This is the designated area for our new children's play area.  

Alex Kennedy is creating this area as part of his Boy Scout's Eagle Capstone project. The project will be completed by May, if not earlier.  

We are grateful to Alex and his family and all the others putting in the hours to create a fun and safe place for the children visiting East Woods. 

We'll keep you posted of the progress.

Youth Group Retreat

September 21-23, 2018

Black Diamond Camps in Auburn, WA

Activities at Black Diamond included Zip Line, Archery Tag, Climbing Wall, Swimming and more.

Celebrating 10 Years in Our Building

On January 27, 2008, the East Woods congregation realized the fulfillment of a long-standing dream. We hosted our first worship service in our newly constructed church campus and dedicated it to the glory of God and the blessing of our community. 

On January 7th, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in this building.  We worshipped God together and cut cake to renew our dedication and that of our wonderful campus. The Fellowship Commission hosted the party in our Evergreen Hall following our 10 AM worship service.

Please click on the link to watch Scott, Melanie and Marin Phillips share some memories of this time in the life of the church.  

God's blessings on East Woods Presbyterian Church and its members!

For the One

Sung by Abby Melo

During our service on August 13th, Abby Melo sang this song for Offertory. 

This was to be her last time with us until she came home from college at Christmas. 

This song is written by Jean Johnson and Paul McClure from Bethel Music in Redding, CA.  The words are poignant and Abby sang them beautifully.  

Unfortunately, our service recording was poor.  So, we had her come over to the Bloss house and re-record it.

As many of you know, Abby was suddenly struck with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which her body's immune system attacks her nerves.  She is at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, CA receiving treatments for it.  We hold Abby and her family in prayer during this time and pray for her complete recovery to health.  

In the meantime enjoy this recording of "For the One".




Night Strike  

Loving People Because People Matter

Then thermometer said 104 degrees.  You could feel the humidity rising.  People were tired, hot, and weary.  And yet, Night Strike continued.  And several people from East Woods were there to be a part of it.

Night Strike is a community gathering that mobilizes volunteers/services, meets felt needs, and develops relationships that transform lives. It is a unique opportunity for people to spend time under the Burnside Bridge every Thursday night to love people because people matter. It is an opportunity for members of Portland’s homeless community to hang out, enjoy a hot meal, receive a free haircut or shave, have their feet washed and have their old shoes/clothes/sleeping bags replaced. It is also a chance for you to come down and share in the experience, help serve the needs of the homeless in our community, and more importantly, invest in lives and build relationships with the people you meet.

For several of the East Woods participants this was their first experience.  But each of them said they would return.  We hope you will consider Night Strike, as well.  For more information please click on this link:  NIGHTSTRIKE

East Woods Attendees (pictures below): Ronda and Dale Peterson, Roberta Schlechter, Gwen Wagner, Keith Bloss, Christine Harington, Jeff and Alex Kennedy, Maddie and Everett Kennedy and friend, Mackenzie, Carson Dunn, Chris Lashley,  and Andrew Bither and friend, Danny. 

A Lesson in Humility

Excerpt from the August Newsletter, by Pastor Bill Sperry.

The Believe series and curriculum has been a joyful experiment for me, and I hope it has been meaningful for those of you who’ve participated in Sunday services, Connecting Time discussions, book studies, or youth and children’s ministries.As I prepare my final sermon in the Believe sermon series, focusing on the virtue of humility, I’m planning to share a story of humility that has personally filled my spiritual tank during these past few weeks. It’s a story of a distracted pastor, a lost iPhone, and a humble man named Michael who brought the pastor and the iPhone back together again. 

In July, Ben, Will and I joined the East Woods Youth Group for a bus ride and train ride to the Portland Zoo. It was a great day, right up until the literal last minute, when I accidentally left my iPhone on the #65 C-TRAN bus at the Fisher’s Landing station. Two days later, I was contacted by C-TRAN with the good news that my phone had been turned in to Lost and Found and was ready for pick-up. It was fully charged and in perfect condition. 

Two days after I reclaimed my phone, a small, blue slip of paper fell out of the case. And, on that paper was Michael’s name, phone number, and a short note clarifying that he had found my phone and could be contacted.The short version of the story is that I contacted Michael and, within an hour of the writing of this article, I plan to meet this hard-working African-American man near Parkrose to treat him to lunch and a “thank you” handshake. 

When we connected by phone, he said, “I didn’t write the note with the hope of receiving a reward. This is my reward – the chance to make a connection with another person and know that everything worked out alright.” Wow! Philippians 2:3-4 says this, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Michael has been a great and living example of those words during the past few weeks.

Sharing God's Love

Sunday, July 30th

During the week of July 23rd, Pastor Bill met with Michael in person to shake hands and get to know each other better.  In that meeting, Bill learned that Michael had been on the bus on the day the phone was found because he didn't have a car and was actively saving money to afford one.  Before the two parted company, they shared a prayer asking God to provide the means for Michael to have the right car at the right time to help meet his family's needs.  

On the way home from the meeting, God stirred Bill's heart to help Michael get a car.  So, Bill reached out to Bob Pfeifer, an expert at finding the "right car".  And as a gesture to help Michael realize that God is alive and well and working in his life, Pastor Bill asked Bob if he could find a good car for Michael that matched the amount he had been trying to save and - if possible - could be presented in four day's time.  Bob had the right contacts and, with God's help, worked some miracles.  By Sunday morning, Bob had a "golden chariot" ready to present to this young man and his family.

During the Sunday morning service on July 30, Pastor Bill shared the story as an example of humility, introduced Michael in person to the congregation, and expressed his gratitude for the return of his iPhone.  Then, following the Benediction, as an additional surprise, Bill presented the newly found car to Michael with witness from the congregation.  It was a beautiful moment conveying the humility, gratitude, and love that God teaches us to share with one another.  And what an ending to our 30 week series on "Believe".  It was as if the Holy Spirit brought everything together and said, "This is how it is to think, act, and be like Jesus Christ."

There was barely a dry eye in the entire church.

Enjoy the pictures below.  They tell the story of Michael receiving his car.  They also tell the story of some amazing people letting the Holy Spirit guide their lives.  

A "Thank You" Flag from the Navy

On Sunday, July 2, Chief Michael Carmichael and Pastor Bill folded and presented an American flag, certificate of dedication, and letter of appreciation to the East Woods congregation that has given flight to my chaplaincy with the Navy and Marine Corps.  

The flag was flown with a Harrier squadron based in Bahrain as part of the country's anti-terrorism campaign Operation Inherent Resolve.   The letter of appreciation was written by my chaplain predecessor with the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, Chaplain Gene Monnin, who was mobilized in Bahrain during the past year.  

We appreciate the men and women of our armed services.  We are grateful to share our Pastor with them.