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  • Announcement

Welcome to Pastor Jacob and Lily Richards to the White Church on the Hill


Submitted by Ron Nelson, Moderator, First Congregational Church of Portland


The sounds of spring signal new beginnings. We hear the birds chirping, water dripping as the snow melts, and in Portland, the sounds of people walking the River Trails. A sure sign spring is here. Sunday, June 4 was a day of “New Beginnings” for the First Congregational Church of Portland, Michigan. The sounds of new life and new beginnings could be heard throughout the day, as we welcomed our new minister, Jacob Richards, and wife Lily.


This is a new beginning for Pastor Jacob and Lily with this being the first church they have served as a Settled Minister. Jacob has recently graduated from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI with a Master of Divinity. He will be graduating from the Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies at the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Annual Meeting and Conference later this month. The couple moved from Lansing into the parsonage next to the church a few weeks ago. Small-town living is new to the couple, and they are excited to be involved in the community. Pastor Jacob attended his first meeting with the Portland Area Ministerial Association, was involved in the Memorial Day festivities, and learned some of the roads while driving around to the Community Garage Sales in May.


Pastor Jacob delivered his first sermon as a settled minister, aptly titled “New Beginnings”. He started with a Bible lesson from the scripture his college roommate, Zach, read earlier in the service Pastor Jacob encouraged the congregation to open their Bibles to follow along with 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Soon, the sound of pages rustling through the church could be heard. Pastor Jacob spoke about the two Greek words for the word, new, Kainos, and Neos. Kainos means to make new, as in a new beginning. He used the example of restoring an old car and making it look and drive like new. There were many friends and family who came to support Pastor Jacob and Lily, including their one-year-old godson. We enjoyed hearing his little feet as he ran through the fellowship hall. During the service, the sweet sounds of a baby in the pews were heartwarming.


The First Congregational Church of Portland has been meeting since 1843. In those 180 years, it has gone through many seasons of growth and decline. The church has never been silent, there has always been the sound of stirrings within. Just as a seed stores its energy under the ground waiting for the sun and rain to do their work before bursting from the ground, so too is this congregation with its Path Towards Growth focusing on Outreach to the Community through Awareness, Attitude, Engagement, Affirmation, and Relationship. It is our goal to serve the community where we are needed and meet the people where they are, not necessarily where we are.


Welcoming Pastor Jacob Richards to the pulpit is a New Beginning for the members of the White Church on the Hill and the Community of Portland. We would like to “Welcome Home” those we have not seen in a while and those we have not met. We are a small but welcoming congregation with a blended Sunday Service. We invite you to join us Sunday mornings at 10 am at 421 E Bridge St, Portland. The White Church on the Hill.


Courtesy photo.

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