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About the Portland New Church

Mission

The mission of the Swedenborgian Church of Portland is to sustain a community of individuals on a journey of spiritual growth.

Who We Are
 

We are a small and mighty group of seekers who are supporting one another's spiritual growth and development. Our little church is currently thriving, due to the safe place we provide for many diverse groups to use.
 
The goals of the Swedenborgian Church of Portland, known as the Portland New Church (PNC), are:
 
  ~  to provide a safe place to explore Swedenborgian theology, Christianity, and other spiritual paths;
  ~  to honor the presence of the Divine in the earth and all of creation;
  ~  to honor the good and truth in all people and all beliefs;
  ~  to celebrate the dance of the spirit;
  ~  to learn how to love;
  ~  to serve that love with wisdom;

  ~  to nurture our children;

  ~  to share trust, leadership, and responsibility;

  ~  to sing and worship; 

  ~  and to live into our unique experience of faith within the community at large.

Our pastor, Lorraine Kardash (lovingly nicknamed Reverend Rain) is the heart of the PNC and, as building manager, orchestrates all that the church offers.  Under the auspices of the Swedenborgian Church of North America, the Council of the Portland New Church meets monthly and is responsible for decision making and seeing that the needs of the church are met. 

History

 

The Portland New Church was officially constituted on August 21, 1831, as The Church of The New Jerusalem, by a group who had begun meeting to read and discuss the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg.  Interest in the church grew slowly until 1850 when the Rev. William B. Hayden began a 25-year pastorate.  During that time the church grew to 183 members and a new church was constructed on High Street.  The current building, which houses the present church, was completed in April of 1910, intended as a parish hall. The denomination itself was founded in 18th century England.

Circle of Prayer

For those seeking prayer, feel free to reach out to our 140 plus community of members who offer prayers which are requested by email: circleofprayer33@gmail.com 

Vision

Our vision of a path going forward for the PNC would point to us (all spiritually oriented people) moving into a new time, transforming what would be church (as people tend to think of that) into people experiencing spiritual connection and development each individually, as well as through the church as community, being like “the still point in a turning world” quote by TS Elliot. Helping people find their own individual spirituality while helping others do this in community. Our vision includes all the building users as well. This being all part of the vision to thrive in the realm of each person tuning into that life and spiritual core of creative awareness, wellbeing, truth, love and heart wisdom. Our building users all offer various ways people can connect with their unique spiritual core, expressing, exploring, and growing through this expression and group oriented engagement.

 

The essence of this resonates with an Aquarian age shift.

The PNC's Approach to Swedenborgian Philosophy

On the About Swedenborg page of this site, you'll find information and links to Swedenborg's work and philosophy. His is a fascinating story, and worth a look, even if just a glance. 

Although Swedenborg didn't intend his findings, and very extensive documentation, to spawn a religion in his name, those who resonated with the gift he was offering did come together to form The New Church. Swedenborg was raised a Christian, so his exploration of the spiritual realm is conveyed in Christian terms. However, he himself turned away from what Christianity had become in his day and age, as he was given what seemed to be a more true and wise view of Christ consciousness and spiritual reality. One of the main tenets of Swedenborg's findings underscores how each of us is our own closest and most direct link to God, Enlightenment, or Divine Truth and Wisdom.

 

Four basic truths offered by Swedenborg are:

 ~  The church is within us, not a building or dictates outside of us.

 ~  Divine love and wisdom is the essence of life.

 ~  We are what we love, so we need to examine what we really love, being honest, as whatever that is, is the direction we go in.

 ~  Important to be useful, and every effort is useful.

With that in mind, the spectrum of Swedenborgian churches ranges broadly, just as those of Christian followers. From something similar to conservative Christian leanings, where the accuracy of Swedenborg's writings are followed as closely as someone who adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible (General Church)... to a much more liberal, or personal interpretation, of Swedenborg's perspective (General Convention). This is to say that, the PNC is a very liberal church. We freely embrace Swedenborg's perspective because, in some way, this resonates well with our own sense of Truth and Wisdom. In this congregation, we also explore and debate aspects of Swedenborg's work which may not set well, but are intriguing. And often we make connections between Swedenborg's findings and the Truth and Wisdom we see in other spiritual teachings. 

Building Use

The Sanctuary of the church is available for use by donation. An arrangement can be made with the building manager by emailing: maineportlandnewchurch@gmail.com. Possible availability can be determined by checking on the calendar.

~  Chairs:  About 50 cushioned folding chairs are available 

~  Tables:  There are six long folding tables and 6 folding card tables available, to your far left, behind a curtain.

~  Lights:  there is a switch box to your right as you enter the sanctuary.  There is also a light switch on the stage area, to your right as you face it.

~  The thermostat is in the corner up front to the right of the stage and rear door.  Now that we have a heat pump, we request the temperature be kept at 68 at all times in the winter, and 75 during warm summer months. Pushing the temp up or down while using the sanctuary makes for a very high electric bill. 

~  Outlets:  The kitchen and bathroom have 3-prong outlets, and there is a 3-prong along the wall between the kitchen and the sanctuary.  There are older style 2-prong outlets on the stage.

~  This is an alcohol-free building.

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