2020 will go down in history as a key inflection point—on par with 1969, 1942, 1919. It was traumatic, volatile, emotionally excruciating, scary, necessary, and invigorating at the same time. Coming out of the post-2020 fugue in recent months, many of us feel a strange mix of exhaustion and gratitude. Exhausted from the effect of a sustained crisis on our collective soul, but also grateful to God for his mercy, fidelity, and kindness: we’re still here, still practicing the way of Jesus, together, in Portland (and over Zoom).
Not gathering in person for over a year, like so many things in 2020, was “unprecedented” for our church. All while living through a generational reckoning over racial injustice, the peak moment of political polarization in our era, and financial disaster for so many.
Would we hold together as a church? Was Jesus really the foundation our house was built on? Would we survive the storm? These are the kinds of questions we were asking as elders last Spring.
Well, here we are. Beat up, bruised, grieving what we’ve lost, but still here. And, in many ways, thriving.
Through all the pain and suffering of last year, here are just a few of the amazing things God did in, among, and through us:
- We finished the remodel on our new building and moved into a beautiful church family home.
- We gave more generously than in any time in our church’s history.
- Beyond giving to Bridgetown itself, thousands of dollars were given to mutual aid, those with jobs caring for those who lost them, grocery bags dropped off on doorsteps, medical bills paid by friends, free rooms given to people who couldn’t pay rent – the stories are countless.
- Lunch drop: over 4,800 lunches were provided for our houseless neighbors.
- Justice: over $250,000 was given to the work of justice in our city and far beyond.
- Hundreds of hours were spent in prayer – online and in person at our new building. More than ever before, this pandemic pushed us to pray.
- Almost a thousand people went through Alpha’s Marriage Course online.
- Hundreds more went through Alpha itself, and many were baptized.
- Our church was able to pivot to Bridgetown Online, and while it’s a concession for a season, not a conviction for our future, still, God used it: thousands more attended our online gatherings than ever visited our church.
- The summer of 2020 pushed us, in really good ways, to finally follow what’s been in our heart for years – to take active steps towards becoming a more multi-ethnic church. We have a long ways to go, but we’re gaining ground with our Racial Justice Committee, Race and Justice events, increasing diversity, justice initiatives in the city, and so much more.
- Hardest of all to quantify, yet arguably the most important: spiritual formation. We grew and matured as a church, and as individuals. When we look back on our life, for many of us, this year will have been the turning point in our formation into Christlike people.
So, exhausted and grateful.
We encourage you to rest this coming summer, to grieve your losses and attend to your wounds; but we also encourage you to celebrate, to practice gratitude, to rejoice, and above all, to honor God for being our good shepherd, and graciously leading us through the valley of the shadow of death.
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow [us] all the days of [our] life and we will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
John Mark Comer
On behalf of the elders and staff of Bridgetown Church
Thanks to your generosity and faithful giving, our budget remained healthy throughout the pandemic, allowing us to be generous with the community at Bridgetown and in Kingdom work locally and around the world.
Figures represent our 2020 fiscal year, Oct 2019 – Sept 2020.
Net General Giving
Ministry Expenses include but are not limited to: Kids, Youth, Young Adults, Men, Women, Bridgetown Classes, Bridgetown Communities, Alpha, Alpha Marriage Course, and our justice initiatives.
Wages & Salaries include but are not limited to: Wages and salaries for all staff and benefits for full-time staff.
Operating Expenses include but are not limited to: Building leases, utilities, office supplies, and insurances.
Facilities Expenses include but are not limited to: Building remodel and upgrades.
Funds designated toward Church Planting & Evangelism directly benefit the work of spreading the gospel of Jesus. In 2020, this fund supported Saints’ Hill Church in Newberg.
Every year, we commit 10% of our budget to justice work locally and globally. Here’s some information about what your giving went toward last year. Please note that these figures represent 10% of all non-Building Campaign funds, as they were separate funds.
- Local: $133,805
- Foster Care: 45%
- Refugee Care: 42%
- Houselessness: 5%
- Sex Trafficking: 5%
- Other (youth, families impacted by incarceration): 3%
- Global: $124,801
- Uganda (Elephante Commons – community development): 56%
- Thailand (Remember Nhu – sex trafficking): 16%
- Iraq (The Refuge Initiative – refugee care): 10%
- Haiti (MamaBaby Haiti – maternal health): 10%
- Nicaragua (The Villa Esperanza – education): 3%
- Other (emergency relief): 5%
2020 specific needs represented above:
- COVID-related relief: $34,000 (embedded in local/global)
- Wildfire-related relief: $5,000 (embedded in local)
By God’s grace and your generosity, we were able to utilize our reserve toward the remodel and opening of the new Bridgetown building, significantly reducing the amount of debt incurred in the process. Thank you!
In 2020 we were consistently amazed by the faithfulness of God through the generosity of his church. During a global pandemic in which jobs and income were massively affected (with an estimated third of our church having income impacted in some way), giving went up 17% from the previous fiscal year. We thank God for his faithfulness and you for your heart for generosity within the church.
Here are just a few of the things that were made possible by your financial giving.
Bridgetown Church: Rooted in NE Portland
- We finished the remodel and opened the building, only possible with your partnership and the generosity of the Father
- Bridgetown is already being used to serve the community. We are able to provide space for The Family Room, serve as a distribution hub for Mora Mora Farms to distribute produce boxes to refugees through Refugee Care Collective, and in 2020 as an anchor site for Every Child, collecting donations of diapers, wipes, Flash Boxes for foster families, and devices for children participating in distance learning
Benevolence, Mutual Aid, and Serving
Through an open sign up forum, over $3,200 was exchanged between strangers to meet needs like medical bills, car payments, and more. Beyond that, we heard dozens more stories of communities supporting one another through job and income loss.
We were able to increase our benevolence budget to over $25,000, primarily paying rent for individuals who lost jobs during Covid.
Together with our youth, you participated in making thousands of lunches for houseless neighbors, distributed through our partner Because People Matter (approximately 4,840 lunches).
Laptops & Tablets
As school moved to distance learning, you donated nearly 50 laptops and tablets to children and families impacted by foster care, with help from our partner Every Child.
You donated55 Flash Boxes to families engaging in foster care (through Every Child).
Thanks to your continued generosity, we were able to give generously toward local and global efforts to see God’s Kingdom and justice come as it is in heaven.
Lunch Drop & Produce for Refugee Care Collective
Youth students volunteering with Lunch Drop
Sack lunches for our houseless neighbors
Local produce going to refugee families
People Seeking God
Over the course of 2020, you stood with Bridgetown through a variety of pivots; from church at home, to recorded church experiences, to a livestream in September. Your generosity allowed us to produce a livestream that reached not only our church, but thousands of followers of Jesus and people seeking faith from around the world.
It was our joy to produce the Bridgetown Daily for six months during the most intense part of Portland’s stay at home order. It was our honor to provide a centering moment in God’s presence in the midst of so much change and chaos. Throughout the pandemic, we continually heard from listeners across the world and from you that God was meeting you in that space. For that, we are so grateful.
Our Communities remained beautifully resilient and embodied community more than ever before: financially supporting one another, being creative in how they showed up for one another, and being the “church building” when COVID prevented us from meeting together on Sundays. Our Communities showed remarkable resilience and determination.
We had 90 total Bridgetown Communities
250 people were placed in new or existing Communities
Prayer and Alpha Online
For many months, you joined us for small virtual prayer rooms up for 5 times daily. Your faithfulness and camaraderie bolstered us and encouraged one another, as we interceded for the city, the world, and each other.
Alpha and Marriage Course online
Over 800 people attended Alpha’s Marriage Course
150 people attended Alpha over three online sessions
- Many attended Alpha for the first time—individuals who may never have attended if it meant stepping into a church
- As Covid wore on, the gift of being able to host small gatherings and day retreats was a huge blessing to isolated individuals
- People joined Alpha or came to faith after watching Bridgetown Online
- Many completed Alpha online, got baptized, and saw their marriages/relationships change and flourish
We are so grateful for you and look forward to being fully together full time in 2021.
Over the last year, our church has awoken in new ways to the realities of racial injustice in our city and world. We officially formed the Racial Justice Committee, which is predominantly composed of leaders of color at Bridgetown Church. Together our goal is to continue to participate with the Holy Spirit to see Bridgetown grow and flourish into the multicultural church that God has in mind.
As we read in Revelation, the Kingdom of Heaven is made up of people of every tribe, nation, and language. Within the limitations of being in one of the whitest cities in the nation, which we have learned was a part of its original purpose, we believe that there is still so much that we can do: continued education around racial injustice and sin in the past and present, corporate calls to lament systemic oppression and loss of life, and prayer that God’s will would be done in the world around us.
In 2020 we learned from leaders like Mark Strong, Richard Probasco, Bryan Loritts, Michelle Jones, LeRoy Haynes, and others about the realities of our world and the hope of the Kingdom of God. In the coming year, we look forward to learning from others, like Jonathan Tremaine Thomas and Rich Villodas, as well as continuing to expand our Committee and watch as God makes us more into the kind of church he dreams for us to be.
We are so grateful for your financial partnership in 2020. Thanks to you and the faithfulness of God, we saw the church family served both here in Portland and around the world. We are blown away by your generosity, and continue to thank God for you. If you would like to continue financially partnering with Bridgetown Church, you can give online.