The Bridge

Unusual%20Church.jpg

I was over on N. Mississippi Ave. Sunday on a photo walkabout before my shift at the ORA Yard Sale, and happened across a church, and what looked like some kind of free music show going on inside. I asked a very nice older gentleman dressed in psuedo-Road Warrior standing at the door what was going on and would it be okay to come in and take pictures. He let me come in and told me it was fine to take photos.

It looked like more of a church gathering, with guitars drums, signing, etc. but the people attending weren’t what I would normally see at a function like this. There was a mom with a blue mohawk and tons of tattoos holding her baby and singing, a Betty Page look-alike, neck tattoos and dreads, mixed in with your usuall “normal people” attending Sunday morning church. After hanging out for a while I figured out the petite woman with dreads who looked like she used to model, was the paster. She went through the room greeting people, and helping coordinate what looked like tables of donated foodstuffs, including a huge pile of bananas.

It turns out that this is a church called The Bridge, started by Deborah Loyd, her husband Ken, and their friend Crystal about seven years ago. To call it an “alternative church” would be one way to describe what they do, but it’s almost more of a multi-media happening from the 60’s. The event I happened to stumble into was “Mississippi Shout!”, a celebration of gospel music, sing-along, and story sharing. I’m usually one that would immediately go “eww” and run away, but it was kind of interesting to hang out and see what was going on.

I went to their website to find out more, and not only do they host the neighborhood centered event I went to, but a number of other groups, musical events, artists events, etc. From the pictures in their gallery it looks like the congregation is all over the map as far as age, personal style, and orientation. It looks like it would be a good group to join if you were looking for a sense of community and Burning Man sensibilities mixed in with your religion. The vibe I got from the room was really nice, and you could tell that everyone was very welcoming, and really didn’t care what you looked like or who you were. It was pretty cool.

If you are looking for some sort of spirituality that doesn’t involve the usual church preachiness, or just interested in sharing your music and voice with other people I would give them a try. Their website is http://www.thebridge-pdx.org/about.htm and the location is 833 N. Shaver St. on Shaver and Mississippi. Make sure to check out the photo gallery on their site.

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