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Portland Moore Street Builds Corps Through Social Service Commitment

“Great things are happening at Portland Moore Street,” said Lt. Colonel Richard Love, Cascade divisional commander. “You’ll want to hear about it.”

Lieutenants Doug and Colleen Riley, corps officers, are enthusiastic about Moore Street and the interaction between social services and the growth of the corps. The corps has literally doubled in attendance in the past year, including the adults who attend Sunday school.

In an area which is one of the poorest in the city, the gymnasium has for 12 years been a center of social outreach to youth. There is an alternative program for high-school dropouts, meeting twice a week. SAM Basketball League attracts participation by the middle-school group. A field provides space for softball and soccer. Reaching out to other special groups such as women and seniors, aerobics classes go on through much of the day and evening.

At the corps there is now a second service on Saturday evening, and thought is being given to a Sunday night service for youth, in which contemporary music would be integrated with traditional Salvation Army singing and playing. Two worship teams lead the music on Sunday morning. There are “shepherd’s groups” and encouragement cards which the members are encouraged to send each other. People have said they leave feeling “part of a family,” which might account for that swelling enrollment.

The adult choir sings contemporary Christian songs: a changed format, but one with which the people are comfortable. Sometimes the joyous sounds go on for two hours at the Singing Company rehearsal. When performing, the young people wear choir robes and sing the kind of gospel music they have grown up with. A unique new group is the African drum team, which is catching on in popularity.

The Portland Rockies baseball team is a true friend to Portland Moore Street, holding clinics and recently donating $4,600 to the center. The owner of the team helps personally with landscaping and in other ways.

Basketball great A.C. Green has the northern headquarters of his Foundation right there at the Moore Street facility.

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