Hello! Thanks for visiting our website! I am Ken Garrett, pastor of Grace Church, Portland. After 23 years working as a paramedic, much of it in downtown Portland, I completed studies at Western Seminary, and soon after was called to lead our wonderful church. My wife and dearest friend of 35 years, Sharon, and I have been here at Grace since 2003.
I was born and raised in Portland–and I do love this city. To me, this city is a dear community made of people just like me who do their living, working, playing, eating, loving, etc., in the same place as me. What I mean is this: I love the people in it—in whatever shape and circumstances they present themselves.
Though we’re far from perfect at it, Grace Church has become a place where anyone can show up, be welcomed and respected, and hear about a loving, forgiving God in heaven who doesn’t hate them and isn’t waiting for them to get their lives together before He’ll invite them in.
It was the jarring and unexpected, though desperately needed, discovery of the endless, freely granted, unconditional grace of God that changed my life. I trusted in Jesus to love and save me from my sins when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until my late thirties that I began to trust in His grace to carry me through every day as His follower. He saved me, would save me in the future, and (this was the part I’d missed) was saving me every day, every hour. It was grace, and grace alone, and not my continued efforts to act “saved,” or to make myself “grow” by my hard work. This happened when I realized that my religious fervor and hard work had not brought me closer to Jesus, and hadn’t made me any more like Jesus. In fact, these efforts had actually made me a pretty miserable, unhappy, and unloving person. I suspect I was a drag to be around, too. When I reached out for the grace of God, found only in Jesus, I left an old, dusty, confined spiritual world I’d created, and was suddenly, astoundingly, thrust into a new, expanding world of joy, peace, and healing.
And, as if I hadn’t been blessed enough—God saw fit to allow me to serve Him as the pastor of this dear, beloved church—Grace Church! I hope you can visit us sometime soon and that we have a chance to meet face to face. Until then, thanks for the cyber-visit—make yourself at home, see what we’re all about, explore what we believe, etc., and don’t be a stranger!
Yours, by His astounding grace,