230 NE Ninth Street Bend, Oregon 97701  541.382.4401

Making Love Visible

Spacious Christianity is what we believe and creating spaces of grace to cultivate hope, healing and purpose is what we do. Here we share stories and moments from the past year. We ask for your contribution so we can continue to make love visible in Central Oregon and around the world. Give >>

“Miles and I wanted to be a part of a community where anyone could walk through the door and know they were welcomed and loved, with no stipulations. We wanted to invite our gay friends, our agnostic or atheist friends, our friends who have been deeply hurt by the Church, and we wanted them to be loved well. We keep coming back to First Pres (and Tap) because we have full confidence that anyone who comes will feel affirmed and welcomed. We have had a glimpse of the planning that goes into the various types of services and programs at First Pres and we are so moved by how intentional each piece is. We have confidence and deep respect for the pastoral staff—something we haven’t felt in a very long time (if ever).

Our faith continues to open up, to move away from black and white, right and wrong, good and bad . . . We feel that First Pres is a safe place to grow, to ask questions, to have doubts, and to walk with others.

As new parents, we wonder how we will talk about God with our son. We wonder who our son will grow up to be, and how he will be affirmed as good and beloved as he continues to grow. We see deep pain in the world, and we wonder how we will teach him to engage in the hurt, and be a part of the healing. We wonder all of this while we have the support of an amazing community of believers, doubters, thinkers, and prayers surrounding us..and we feel a little more equipped to raise our child in Love.” ~Miles and Bethany Benefield, joined First Pres this past year. They serve on the Tap leadership team and Miles is a deacon.

Miles and Bethany Benefield with their son Crosby.

“May we become people who make eye contact even when it’s awkward, who listen longer than we’re comfortable, who see the dignity and humanity in every person, and who insist on living lives of peace and love in the midst of fear and violence.” ~Morgan Schmidt following the middle school BYC immersion trip to Portland

A Bend Youth Collective middle student participating in the 2016 Portland immersion trip.

“We have been so blessed in so many ways for so long. We have volunteered in many capacities to contribute to society over the years. This opportunity to serve our Syrian family is more than volunteering. Being a wee bit of help to the orphans at the Center gives us joy, and a sense of purpose. We are so proud that First Pres has answered the call.” ~Norma and Bill Wallace, members of First Pres leading an effort to help orphaned Syrian children.

A young girl at the Bayti orphanage.

Linda had not attended church in years, she was struggling with questions and no longer feeling church is relevant to her. She was at her mother’s side at the hospice house as her mother neared her transition from this life to more life. A prayer shawl was delivered and wrapped around her mom’s shoulders. Pastor Jenny and I anointed her mom’s head with oil reminding her she is a beloved child of God. Her mother’s life was celebrated at First Presbyterian with the Deacons hosting a reception.

One Sunday Linda decided to give church another try and the idea of a Spacious Christianity resonated deeply. She found First Presbyterian a place where her questions were welcome and her faith deepened. Her heart awakened as she attended Enneagram classes and a women’s retreat. She volunteered to go with First Presbyterian to Guatemala. Watching a Guatemalan mother proudly clean the top of the smokeless stove Linda had built made God’s love visible for her in a new way.

Love became visible for Linda at a time she needed it the most. Linda has renewed meaning and purpose in her life to make the love of Christ visible to others when they need it the most.

Linda’s story is one of many stories we witness every day at First Presbyterian. We thank you for making love visible. We invite and encourage your generosity. We assure you that your financial investments in the mission of First Presbyterian will make love visible in places where it is needed the most.

So very grateful to serve you and serve with you,
Pastor Steven and Pastor Jenny

“I am proud to be a part of a church who wants to be the hands and feet of Christ and I pray that the decisions made here are just the beginning of deeper action and presence in our world.” ~Pastor Jenny Warner at General Assembly as Moderator of the hosting Presbytery.

Pastor Jenny’s daughter Audra attended General Assembly with her.

“Little did I know going to the so-called confirmation group would impact my life forever. Before confirmation I would go to church and just kinda listen to the sermon but I would never really absorb it.  . . . confirmation has changed me.  I am a more engaged and inquiring member of the church.  I attend the Bend Youth Collective, and I hope to go on the Guatemala trips as soon as my age allows. My confirmation journey has been nothing but good. I have made new friends, solidified beliefs, and more importantly deepened my trust in God.” ~Whitney Walden, 2016 confirmation class


Whitney Walden

“I remember Byron in my 4th grade class. He was a sweet, shy boy who usually came to school in dirty, ill-fitting clothes, seldom had a haircut, obviously seldom bathed or washed his hair. I remember being so sorry for him and judging that no one must love him. That was about 69 years ago. Children are not responsible for their living situation. Kits for Kids is one small attempt to show children like Byron they are loved and people do care.” ~Sandra Croney, volunteer coordinator of First Pres’ Kits for Kids program.


Sandra Croney, volunteer coordinator of First Pres’ Kits for Kids program.

We thank all those who have given us seeds, we are now able to feed three Batwa villages. Thank you very much, our partners. We love you.” ~Evariste Ndikumana, partner to First Pres and advocate for the Batwa in Burundi Africa.


Batwa boy joyfully harvesting beans.

“The care from the Deacons in this church with the memorial service and in this time of loss is like being wrapped in a blanket of grace.” ~member of grieving family

“I am rewarded by that beautiful smile and the knowledge that she just may have a choice in her future and not be trapped as so many are. She will use her gifts.” ~Patty Mueller and her SLT sponsored student Laura Marilena Ajacalon Cuj.


Patty Mueller with Laura Marilenz Ajacalon Cuj

“I don’t think I have participated in a more thoughtful conversation about the significance of forgiveness.” ~Martha Henderson about her Lent journey of forgiveness


Martha Henderson

Spacious Christianity is what we believe and creating spaces of grace to cultivate hope, healing and purpose is what we do. Today we ask for your contribution so we can continue this work. We look forward in the months ahead, sharing how your pledge or donation is making a difference.

Making Love Visible at First Presbyterian Bend

Pray Everyday

Pray that First Presbyterian Bend will continue to share the light of God in this world. Consider how you are called to cultivate spaces of grace through First Presbyterian and in your life.

Attend Worship Or Listen To Online Sermons

On Sunday mornings we gather to worship, share and be challenged to create spaces of grace. On November 13 and 20 we invite you to attend a ‘Making Love Visible’ Ministry Fair following the 10:00am service where you can see and learn about the numerous ways we are creating spaces of grace to make love visible here in Central Oregon and around the world.If you can’t be with us in person, listen to sermons online through our website at bendfp.org/sermon-archive.

Give Generously

Extraordinary generosity equals extraordinary love. Give to First Presbyterian Bend to help make love visible. We ask you to pledge and give your financial support to the work of First Presbyterian Bend bringing hope, healing and purpose to many. Please bring your completed pledge card on Sunday, November 20 or mail it to the church in the enclosed envelope. You can donate online at bendfp.org/give any time.