Last Service at Sixth and Burnside

History Book
History Book
History Book

On Friday night, May 23, 1980, a farewell service was held at the Northwest Sixth and Burnside location, commemorating the many blessings God had given to His people there. Visitors came from branch churches to join the Portland congregation one last time in the familiar old building before the property was turned over to the new owners. There were even some present who had worked on the construction of the building fifty-eight years earlier.

Old-time Gospel hymns provided a musical background for the events of the evening. Ruth Ashwell, a woman who had worked for more than thirty years in the headquarters office below the sanctuary, summarized in her testimony the feelings of many, saying, “When we were packing for this move, many memories crowded in—memories of spiritual battles fought and won here.” Other testimonies included that of a man who had been brought to the building many years earlier when he was a seaman. A young woman who was one of the last people saved at the Sixth and Burnside building told how God had drawn her to Himself at that very spot.

The last meeting at the Northwest Sixth and Burnside church was held on May 23, 1980.

In the closing message, Loyce Carver commented that those present had the advantage of having attended services at the building at Sixth and Burnside. “We are an advantaged people—we have heard many sermons which told us that the answer for sin, the key to the door of salvation, was repentance. They made it very clear what repentance means—to turn away from sin, leave it behind, and never touch it again. When we do that, it gives us faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the same power it had in Jesus’ day and the same it had fifty-eight years ago [when the Sixth and Burnside building was dedicated]. . . . We who have passed by this ‘Lighthouse’ have a responsibility before God and before man to live up to what we have heard.”

When the time came to transfer ownership of the building, Bob Green, a church member who had helped with maintenance on the building since he was a teenager, told of handing over the keys to the new owners. “After we sold the building, the new owner wanted his maintenance man to get together with the church’s maintenance man. That was me, so we walked through the building together and I showed him the electrical, the plumbing, and other items regarding the structure. Then he had to hurry off, and he told me, ‘You lock up the building.’ I stood there in the Sixth and Burnside auditorium, and I thought, This is the end of an era. I am the last one to leave. I went down to a chair where the Lord had saved my soul, and knelt down. There, all alone, in the place where the Lord redeemed me and wrote my name in Heaven, I prayed the last prayer prayed at Sixth and Burnside.”