Three Cheers for Silverton!

Yesterday I returned yet again to lovely small town Silverton, Oregon. Years ago we interviewed John and Kate Pattison their for their faithful and imaginative commitment to their rural context. Little did we know the great interweaving of community stories that would be revealed from our ongoing friendship and collaboration together. The stories are too many to tell…

This couple does not give up! They have been demonstrating that another way is possible for many years now. And the fruit of faithful presence is beginning to multiply – both in their town and across North America.

And then there’s their influence on Parish Collective. Kate has had a tremendous impact with the Inhabit Conference, as a trainer for PC Learning Communities, and is growing force of stability and growth as the board chair for Parish Collective. And the learning and inspiration that has come out of John’s involvement with Leadership in the New Parish, co-authoring Slow Church and with Chris Smith, and now through his dedicated work with the amazing Strong Towns has been expansive and collaborative. Their friendship has meant the world to so many people connected to Parish Collective including me … again their are too many stories to tell.

In Silverton it has been all about the incredible people and places they have championed and connected us to, and the way they have helped us learn the potential that resides in the rural context. Here is the briefest snapshot of a few of the many places I visited yesterday. Everywhere I went the overlapping connections were happening.

I began my visit at the building of Oak Street Church with Artist and Pastor John Friedrick (can’t wait for you to hear more about the art intersection with John and Sunia Gibbs at Inhabit). The story and presence of this church is one we point to all the time. I was able to connect with old friends Pastor’s Breck and Kathy Wilson. Kathy was preparing the community meal and gave me a loaf of bread from Silver Falls Bread Co (Friedrick designed the logo). I said hello to Emily Neves who was working with Sheltering Silverton (Hilary Dumitrescu you all are doing such important work – thank you!). I would have dinner later with Emily and Elijah Neves along with their intentional community.

If you visit Silverton, go to the newly reopened Gear-Up – this is the living room of the town, and one of the best third places you can visit. Friedrick took me there, and we ran into several friends including Samuel Heinzman the owner of the new Majestic Rose Records House Concerts and Recording Studio located in the old theater across the street from the church.

Then we walked up the secret staircase to Saint Edwards Episcopal Church. Friedrick explained to me about the patient work Rev Shana McCauley and the team have done to create the lovely set of tiny houses (photo) adjacent to the building for people needing shelter (quite a process).

Finally, I absolutely have to share with you about John and Kate’s longtime friends Mike and Lisa Leslie and the Evan’s Oaks Cottage Community that is developing adjacent to the Neve’s and Pattison’s place. This long time co-housing dream is coming to pass with 11 houses including a common house and recreational areas. This whole group – John and Kate, Mike and Lisa, and Elijah and Emily have been experimenting with profound forms of communal life for many years and this next iteration is epic! 

Check out the website:

All of these experiments are being done with the dream of God’s shalom at the heart of it… What is coming together is a beautiful thing!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Parish Stories

Related Articles