Peace United Reformed Church, Vancouver, WA held her first worship service last Lord’s Day and 94 people attended. The introduction below is written by the Rev. Chris Coleman, the church-planting pastor. Chris is graduate of Biola University and Westminster Seminary California. He has been a pastor at Christ Reformed Church, Anaheim and has worked in the business world. He and his wife Melissa have three children.
When I tell most people that our family lives in Vancouver, they say something like: “I love British Columbia! It is so beautiful there!” While I would agree, I have to kindly respond that we live in the other Vancouver, in the US state of Washington, or “The ‘Couve” as the locals refer to it. While Vancouver, BC is beautiful, I would argue that Vancouver, USA has just as much God-given beauty (we are only a few hours from Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and the Oregon Coast).
Vancouver, USA is located just north of Portland, Oregon on the Northern Side of the Columbia River in Clark County, WA (named after William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition). Originally inhabited by the Chinook and Klickitat Native America tribes, Europeans arrived on the Northern side of the Columbia River in 1775. The first settlement by Europeans was not until 1824 when Fort Vancouver was established as a fir trading post of the Hudson Bay Company. You can still visit the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Today, Vancouver is the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon with just over 400,000 people living within Clark County. Given its population, it is quite surprising that there is only one NAPARC church in the county. That is, there was only one NAPARC church. That is part of the story of how Peace United Reformed Church got its start.
The story of Peace URC goes back to the planting of another church: Grace United Reformed Church. Grace URC began in 2009 in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Grace Church, from the beginning, had a vision to support missions and that included domestic missions (or church planting). With Grace’s steady growth over the last ten years, the Consistory agreed that it was time to move forward with planting another Reformed church. But where?
Since 2014, Grace Church has had a strong Vancouver contingency that only continued to grow. Beginning in 2018, the Consistory of Grace Church began putting into motion its missionary vision and set its sights on Vancouver. The Consistory of Grace Church proposed this location for several reasons: (1) because of the continued commitment of the Vancouver families to attend a local Bible Study, (2) the distance to attend Sunday morning and evening worship services in Portland, Oregon (a 30-90 minute commute each way and crossing a state boarder) and (3) the lack of Confessionally Reformed churches in Vancouver.
In response to this need and the prayers for a Reformed witness in Vancouver, Grace Church began searching for a Church Planting Minister who could oversee and cast a vision for this work. In May of 2019, Grace Church called me to fulfill this position! I was installed as an Associate Minister of Grace Church on June 16, 2019. My colleague and good friend, Andrew Compton (of Mid-America Reformed Seminary), presided over the service and my entire extended family was in attendance. It was a very special day!
With me in place, as a Church Planting Pastor, Grace Church established a Steering Committee to coordinate the recommended next steps for establishing a Church in Vancouver. The Committee suggested the name “Peace United Reformed Church,” to maintain a close connection to Grace Church (reflecting the blessings of the Apostle Paul: “Grace and Peace…” cf. Rom 1:7, 1 Cor 1:3) and also to celebrate the Gospel-Peace that God gives sinners through the work of Jesus Christ alone (Rom 5:1).
Peace United Reformed Church began meeting again for a weekly Bible Study in September of 2019. During our first study we considered the why and the how of Reformed Worship, following D. G. Hart and John Muether’s book With Reverence and Awe. We are now considering the glory of God’s Kingdom with our guide Dr. S. M. Baugh and his excellent book The Majesty on High.
Since beginning the Bible Study in September, Peace URC has seen a steady flow of visitors. Because of the steady growth and interest through social media, the Consistory of Grace Church decided to move forward with calling evening Catechism services beginning in February, 2020. On February 2, 2020, we held our first worship service with over 90 souls in attendance! A local church graciously allowed us the use of their facility on Sunday evenings. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for the continued growth of Peace URC in Vancouver.
Come See Us
Where We Meet For Worship
We are at 2901 NE 65th Avenue, Vancovuer, WA 98661 (meeting at Living Water Church).
The first thing we ask is that you pray for us. Financial support can be sent to our supporting church Grace United Reformed Church at: 2800 SE Concord Road, Milwaukie, OR 97267-4617 c/o Council.
- Please pray that God would continue to send visitors, Christians and non-Christians, to Peace URC.
- Please pray that God would raise up Elders and Deacons to oversee the ongoing ministry of Peace URC in Vancouver.
- Please pray that God would provide a suitable space for morning and evening worship services.
I’m glad to see more Reformed churches coming to my state!
“Peace” URC? Sounds hippy – or hipster. Heh.
I’ll pray that it would grow and prosper.
May Christ bless your church!