History of St. Gabriel the Archangel
Episcopal Church, Portland, OR
St. Gabriel’s began as a germ of an idea in the mind of the Rev. Lincoln Eng. In 1972, the Rev. Eng (then rector of St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church, Beaverton) saw the potential for future growth in the then small communities of Bethany and Rock Creek. He foresaw an area that in 20 years would far outstrip the population in Beaverton. The dream waited until 1983 when the Rev. Eng (by then Archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon) was able to not only enlist the support of the members of St. Bartholomew’s but of other Episcopalians new to the area.
In the Fall of 1983, a group began holding Sunday Evening Prayer services at the Somerset Covenant Church at the corner of NW 185th & Rock Creek Blvd. and sharing clergy from St. Bartholomew. This core group grew and within a year was able to meet Sunday mornings at the Lennox School near Cornelius Pass Rd. & West Union Rd. This move allowed the congregation to have its own programs and its own Vicar, the Rev. Craig MacColl.
The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon officially recognized the congregation as a Mission of the Diocese at the Annual Convention in Nov. 1985. The name chosen for the mission was St. Gabriel the Archangel. As the congregation continued to grow, it moved: first to a day care center off Cornell Road and then to St. Vincent’s Health and Lifestyle Center at 185th and Cornell Rd. Each time, more programs and services were added. The Diocese of Oregon bought property at 17435 NW West Union Road to be used as a permanent home for St. Gabriel’s. The first building, consisting of the Sanctuary, office and classrooms, was completed and occupied Easter Sunday 1997.
The Rev. David Brownmiller, served Bishop Robert Ladehoff as the second Vicar from 1999 to 2003. After Fr. Brownmiller’s departure and during the interim search for a new vicar, an innovative “ministry team” headed by Fr. Ken Dorsch from St. Bartholomew’s, led the mission with a team of four priests, two deacons, a deacon in training and a youth minister.
Under Bishop Johncy Itty, the Rev. LouAnn Pickering accepted the call to lead St. Gabriel’s in 2004 as the third Vicar of St. Gabriel’s. For the first two years she shared her time with St. Gabriel’s and Oregon Episcopal School where she served as chaplain, setting up a close connection between St. Gabe’s and OES that benefits both sides as the education of children is such an important part of St. Gabriel’s.As of early 2010 with Mother Lou Ann’s leadership the mission is growing in both programs and people. The church is planning more building space even before the first mortgage is paid off. The church serves the community by donating cash to caregiver agencies, by performing hands-on service projects, and by hosting a community garden on the property