Christmas at Swindells 2018

Helen Swindells Apartments was the first location of our Hotel Ministry outreach back in 2003. Each year, for the past 16 years, we have had fabulous Christmas parties there with wonderful dinners, gift bags full of good things, and music, always provided by Portland professionals and church worship teams. 

This year, however, marked a first – as the residents themselves put together the music, musicians and had our opening prayer. One of our long-time residents, Jackie, also sings in the Maybelle Center choir (formerly the MacDonald Center).  She recruited her friends from the building, Deb and past resident, Diane, along with Jackie’s daughter, Sonorrah to fill our night with beautiful song, praise, laughter, dancing and joy!  She also engaged Rolland, a resident of many musical talents, to play keyboards and various other instruments and then he added two of his trumpeter friends to help out.  Long-time resident, Morris, led us in prayer, and aptly placed our focus on Jesus, and prepared our hearts to receive the blessings that were to come.

It was an incredible night to experience!  Seeing Jesus working through all these people, reaching out and sharing their talents and faith was tremendously moving for all who were there.  Many of these people are brothers and sisters that come to our Bible Studies on Sundays, and are learning to share their faith and talents, and grow!  

This is how faith and growth in the community of Christ should look!  Brothers and sisters reaching out and serving in new ways, ways they have never considered, ways that take courage and a whole lot of prayer!  

We praise God for His work in our midst,  moving our loved ones to service in magnificent ways!

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Helping Hands comes to Beech Street!

Beech Street Apartments in NE Portland presented us with a challenge: they have 32 families with school-aged children, and they needed tutoring and homework help. When this reality was presented to the OAKS women’s group at River West Church, one woman responded in a very spontaneous way!

Marsha Davis had been praying about how the Lord would use her, now that she had retired from her years of teaching Special Needs kids in the public school system. She responded by saying, “This is me! This is what I need to be doing!” And, she didn’t waste any time.

Marsha put together a program she calls “Helping Hands”, and wrangled teaching specialists that she knew, including her husband Kirk. Each week she provides a wonderful dinner for any of the kids, parents and siblings that are hungry, and then forges on with the tutoring. They have math, reading and writing specialists, and have put together games, work sheets and packets to individually challenge and grow their diverse tutoring family, which includes kindergarteners through high school. She made folders for each child so they could bring their homework or reading with them to work on.

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Soon after starting, Marsha was presented with a special request: Could she help one of the mothers who wanted to better understand her kids’ homework? This mom of several kids was hoping to take her GED, and struggled trying to grasp what her kids were studying. Marsha immediately went to work creating packets of work for her, and then each week her team devotes individual time with her as she works through those packets.

This is the heart of Helping Hands; the love of Christ, lived out through the willing hands and abilities of the teachers each week. The kids and parents are responding through their openness and eagerness to learn, and their grateful hearts. Many of the parents are also participating and staying to help their own children during the tutoring time.

We are praising God for His provision in raising up an entire creative team and vibrant program mightily at work in the Beech Street families and community!

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River West & St. Stephens Partner to Serve Beech Street Apartments

beech-street-apartmentsBeech Street Apartments in NE Portland is the latest outreach for Hotel Ministry and River West Church. Beech Street provides housing for graduates of substance abuse programs, and is Home Forward’s first “Dry Housing.”  Thirty two families call Beech Street “home”, where they can be reunited with family members and live in a supportive and “dry” community.

Across from Beech Street is the small congregation of Greater St. Stephen’s Missionary Baptist Church. Long before ground was broken for Beech Street, church members were praying for those that would make it their home.  Last January, Pastor Kimberly Black and Associate Pastor Shirrell prayerfully announced that they would be beginning a Children’s Church program for the children that came across the street to worship. When River West heard about their decision, we contacted them to join forces, and have been working together ever since.

Pastor Black envisions a separate and special place for the children that they can call their own to worship and study in. She would like the church to be a community center that could reach people of all ages by opening up the building to meet an abundance of needs:  tutoring and homework help for the kids, AA meetings, Bible studies, and much more. In the meantime, they will continue  to build on their Sunday outreach and Wednesday night Bible Study and prayer times, which frequently start with all-church potlucks.

River West and St. Stephens are partnering together, bringing teams to help rebuild and better equip their multipurpose building, and to joyfully share Jesus with the entire community!  This is truly the Body of Christ, different communities working together, using the gifts He’s given, lifting each other up, and in doing so, raising the banner of Christ in the community and the world!

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Crossroads and First Baptist Reach Out To Park Tower

First Baptist Church - PortlandOur very creative teams at Crossroads Community Church have joined arms with First Baptist Church in downtown Portland, and are now serving the 162 residents at Park Tower. The Crossroads teams are also serving at the Rose Schnitzer Tower and 1200 Building.

They have created a great prayer card to share with residents at all places when they visit. Joel Goodman and Larry Steckman are leading these teams, as they serve one dinner each month, and one dessert night a month at each location. According to Joel, “There is something about serving meals and sitting down to talk and eat with residents that breaks down walls with people and allows for genuine fellowship. The prayer cards we brought gave folks an opportunity to open up about God, church, prayer requests, etc. In some cases, it was great to simply listen. The prayer cards are really opening some doors, and we are looking forward to continuing to pray with and for our beloved friends in all three buildings that we serve.”

As they are beginning to receive the prayer cards back from the residents, some of their teams had opportunity to pray with some of the Chinese residents, while their Chinese volunteers translated. One resident expressed interest in Jesus and the Bible. One of their Chinese volunteers will be bringing him a Bible and following up with him.

God is growing us in the most beautiful and organic way, as we naturally share our excitement and experiences with our brothers & sisters in Christ, and invite them to join us in His work!

Praise God! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!!

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Good Shepherd Joins Westwind team

The team at the Westwind is growing!  Dean and Shelly Mallon have been joyfully serving with their crew from Mercy Missionaries since July 2011, and now she reports they are multiplying:

“The Mercy Missionaries team at the Westwind Apartments are continually thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Vancouver, WA, who are co-laboring along our side in the good work The Lord is doing in the residents’ lives.  Good Shepherd has stepped into the role of the Dinner Team at the Westwind and have faithfully demonstrated the love of Christ through their generous and willing hearts to bless the residents by faithfully preparing and serving the monthly dinners since February 2014.”

We praise God as he skillfully knits us together; brothers and sisters from all walks of life, from veritable nooks and crannies around the Portland/Vancouver area, to be part of the dispersion of His magnanimous love!

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HOTEL Expands to SW Portland

Sylvia Dilworth is a strong woman of God and a pioneer!  She and her husband, John, have been pastoring together for over 30 years and currently serve as pastors at Multnomah Presbyterian Church in Multnomah Village.  They discovered HOTEL Ministry back in 2011 through the Luis Palau Association’s Season of Service website.

Multnomah wanted to follow the HOTEL Ministry model, but desired to serve closer to their church and community instead of the downtown area. So, they found a low-income apartment building in a southwest Portland residential neighborhood that serves families. After much prayer and work to get the approvals, began their ministry to Slavin Court, where they now serve 24 families, including many Latino and Muslim families.

Another hallmark of Multnomah’s ministry has been their creativity. Our God, as the author of all creativity, has blessed them immensely!

Here are some examples:

  • Costume parties
  • Food boxes for Thanksgiving
  • Christmas stockings
  • BBQs, egg hunts, treasure hunts, waterslides
  • Annual grounds clean-up parties and plantings

Last summer, they held Vacation Bible Study right there at the complex, and this past January, the Multnomah high school youth group and Youth Director began a monthly Bible Club for the kids.

For their annual “Faith in Action Sunday,” a work party spread bark dust, planted flowers and mowed residents lawns and served lunch.  One of the adult Latina residents asked one of their members, “Why are these people here?  Why do they keep coming back and helping us?” Their member answered, “Because of the love of Christ.  We are here to serve Him.”

Sylvia says,

God is already at work at Slavin Court.  We just need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading… and love.

Praise God for these brothers and sisters in Christ, and am so thankful they have joined us, and opened the path into our very neighborhoods!

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Riverwest Highlights Service Opportunities

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(For an introduction to HOTEL Ministry, start here)

On March 2, Riverwest Church will be illuminating some outreach service opportunities focused specifically on the HOTEL Ministry effort.

A largely behind-the-scenes effort, HOTEL is instrumental in bringing Gospel light to residents in many downtown Portland hotels that have been refurbished as low-income apartments. The ministry has many independent, moving parts–offering a myriad of opportunities to serve and be involved.

A sampling of places to serve within the ministry:

Visitation Teams

Options for Visitation

    • Join a team of 2 or 3 for visitations
    • Deliver groceries to the same 14 residents twice a month from Riverwest to downtown
    • Create long-term relationship by visiting with residents when delivering food
    • Be comfortable in sharing the gospel through the love of Christ, directly or indirectly, being willing to pray, encourage with scripture etc…

Back-up teams for deli food

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We are blessed to partner with Elephant’s Deli to deliver their same-day remainders to a couple of our hotel communities. The need is for some back-up support to swing by one of two Elephant’s locations to pick up and deliver sandwiches, salads and other items that  would otherwise go to waste.

  • Lake Oswego location: Every Thursday arrive at 5:00pm sharp, pick up food and deliver straight to Riverwest kitchen for later distribution at the Stewart.
  • Downtown location: 2 Tuesday evenings a month at 7:30pm sharp, pick up food and deliver straight to Alder House.

Meal team (choose one or all):

  • Provide food items
  • Help cook
  • Be part of clean up crew
  • Bring down to residents and serve (once a month max or on Christmas/Easter)

Help at a Bible Study

  • Show up and help serve juice, coffee, donuts
    • Alder House: Every other Friday
    • Swindells: Every other Sunday
    • Stewart: Every Thursday

2014-03-01 10.19.50Donations

  • Donate new or like new casual clothes/shoes (no formal/dressy items needed)
  • Donate new undergarments or socks
  • Non-expired/non-perishable food
  • Any warm coats, blankets, bedding
  • Bath linens

Pantry help: two Tuesdays a month (help at one or both)

  • Load crates for visitation deliveries
  • Unload bins from lobby, sort and put on shelves
  • Unload groceries and organize on shelves
  • Clean pantry & storage rooms


  • 1 hour at Swindell dinner concerts every other month (vocal or instrumental)

Personal creative contributions

Anything you feel you have that could contribute to this ministry. We have volunteers who knit hats, create home-made birthday cards, bake healthy muffins etc. If there is an area of creativity you can offer that we do not have, please feel free to contact us.

You can inquire about any area of interest through the Contact Us form.

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Rose Schnitzer Tower Becomes HOTEL Ministry’s 10th Location

HOTEL Ministry has established its 10th outreach location.

Rose Schnitzer Tower is the site of Crossroads Community Church‘s newest Hotel Ministry. “The Rose” has 235 residents, and about 40% non-English speakers, 90% elderly.

The Rose also has a gourmet, state-of-the-art kitchen facility, which was basically unused until Crossroads came on the scene. When Larry Steckman heard about it, he said, “Hmmmm… I think I have some ideas.” Larry provided the restaurant expertise, and Scott Powell’s family and Joel Goodman headed up the teams then to cook and serve both the 1200 Building and The Rose dinner in December. They also handed out 200 Christmas gift boxes to both hotels, and also to The Home, where they have partnered with Solid Rock to serve.

The Crossroads team employed the help of a group of people called “Flash Love”, many of which are Russian speakers, and from the lower “Stan” regions, and were also able to converse with some folks from Iran and Afghanistan, and a large group of Chinese speakers.

The Crossroads team is truly on-fire for Jesus, and loving each month making deeper connections with their new loved ones!


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Christmas at the Stewart Hotel

Christmas can be a lonely time for some, particularly in Portland’s hotel community. As a result, the Hotel Ministry annually seeks to celebrate the holiday with residents through music, food and gifts generously provided by church members.

An example this year, recounted by the Stewart Hotel team:

stewart-christmasThere was laughter, Christmas songs, and plates with mounds of steamy mashed potatoes and Swedish meatballs. Dave Coultier read Luke 2 that tells of Jesus’ birth as the residents anxiously awaited a hot meal, followed by the wonder of opening their Christmas gift bags. River West donated hundreds of bags to distribute with HOTEL Ministry.

We want to thank you for loving these residents, considering their hearts in this Christmas season, and gifting them with love and laughter!

See more at the River West Mission blog.

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Many Thanks to Elephants Delicatessen

Elephants Delicatessen logo

We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the generous support given to the HOTEL Ministry by Portland’s renowned delicatessen, Elephants Delicatessen.

Each week, Riverwest’s HOTEL volunteers gather Elephants’ day-end sandwiches, salads and other tasty entrees, and bring them to the Alder House, the Swindell, and the Stewart hotels to share with the residents. These visits are greatly anticipated by everyone–if you’ve been to Elephants, you know why.

As a way of supporting Elephants and their generosity, we hope you will visit a local Elephants’ and enjoy their made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Also, remember Elephants for your corporate lunches or catering needs.

For menus and locations, visit


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