At first blush, one might think that Christ the King in Stayton, Oregon has little going for it. Some of our peculiarities are that we lack a building, do not seek formal pledges, our entire congregation can be counted on two hands, and we are too small to even be like other “small” churches. But we are blessed to believe (or foolish enough to believe) that we can still make a difference, in our community, the world, and to each other – no matter how small we are.
Our confidence stems from the varied and diverse leadership in our communion. We have a priest who does the traditional ABC’s (absolution, blessing, and consecration), a lay administrator, and half of our community is licensed in some aspect of lay ministry. Our service is designed to allow for participation by all, and our “BAC” meetings include the entire group. Our desire is to be a supportive environment for all those called to new ministries both within and without the church.
Christ the King is unique in that we hold our church services in a Roman Catholic chapel, coincidentally named Christ the King, on the grounds of Regis High School in Stayton. The school has accommodated us for the last 37 years and we are grateful to them. But just because we don’t have a building of our own doesn’t mean we don’t have a presence in the community.
Throughout our history, Christ the King has emphasized ministry of the all baptized. For us, “church” is not a noun, but a verb. According to Congregation Administrator Jocelyn Wagner, “Our worship together provides weekly spiritual refreshment, by which, we are strengthened to go out to our church beyond the doors. Each member of our congregation actively participates in the needs of our local community.”
For many years Christ the King was a unique example in the region of a “bridge ministry” for community members experiencing temporary crisis. Together, we could offer a focused support to “bridge” them over the difficulties. Today we are connected to the Santiam Service Integration Team where we join the local hospital, schools, city, county and state governments, businesses, non-profits and volunteers to provide coordinated resources, services and information for families and individuals. The result is a much wider outlet for our outreach resources. Members continue to knit and crochet for the homeless, neo-natals and individuals in need. Christ the King volunteers collect, donate and transport clothing, supplies and emergency items to the Canyon Crisis Center in Mill City. Master Recycler Judy Skinner supervises recycling efforts for various local businesses and organizations. Her expertise, instruction, and leadership by example, continues to increase the number of newly certified Master Recyclers in our area.
We are so grateful to be able to gather together at the beginning of each week, in shared values and with grace, knowing we must be “Christ to those Christ sends us”, and from there go forth, moving lightly with the spirit, to do church outside our walls.