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Questions and Answers About Bloom Church in Portland

Questions and Answers About Bloom Church in Portland
Is Bloom an Oregon Conference-supported Seventh-day Adventist Congregation?

The Bloom church plant began as an Adventist Fellowship in late 2019, with public Sabbath worship services beginning in 2020 as part of the Oregon Conference initiative to plant more new churches across the territory. 

For years, Adventist churches have struggled to effectively reach urban professional young adults and families. Through the Bloom church plant, a group of young adults set out to reach and connect with this population.

Through its history, what kinds of venues has Bloom met in?

As with many church plants, Bloom launched in rented neutral venues. Bloom’s leadership team evaluated many multi-use spaces to rent for public services. This is comparable to our rich Adventist history of public evangelistic series meeting in, neutral spaces like public or private halls, sports arenas, and convention centers. With the urban, secular young-adult demographic in mind (and not simply being another church option for active Adventists), the Bloom leadership team determined that such neutral venues in southeast Portland would be well suited to reaching their target audience for their public services. Throughout the life of the ministry, these have included Portland’s Bossanova Ballroom and the Hallowed Halls.  

Does Bloom hold to and teach the Seventh-day Sabbath?

Yes. Bloom believes, teaches, and keeps the biblical seventh-day Sabbath. As many recent Adventist churches and ministries reaching out to young adults have done, they held their public Sabbath worship services in the evening rather than the morning. They taught and practiced biblical Sabbath-keeping during the sabbath hours with small groups connecting to study, fellowship together, engage in serving their community, and experience God in nature. 

Why does Bloom currently worship on Sunday?  

From the start, church leaders have seen Bloom as an evangelistic process, drawing on generations of experience in witnessing and evangelism to carefully outline Adventist belief and practice in a systematic way that leads people from wherever they are toward a more complete understanding of the gospel and Adventist biblical beliefs.

Bloom’s public worship gatherings have always been understood as one of their primary public outreach activities. As such, with their target audience in mind they came to realize that:  

  1. After a grinding work week, urban unchurched young adults desired a relaxed start to the weekend, making Sabbath morning worship an unappealing first contact with Bloom.
  2. Urban unchurched families with children expressed difficulty attending Sabbath evening services, sharing that children’s bedtime routines drive their schedule.

In April 2023, Bloom leadership communicated to Oregon Conference that they would answer these challenges by establishing a Sunday morning outreach service to connect with more urban families with children, in addition to their Sabbath practices. This was consistent with Ellen White’s counsel: “Whenever it is possible, let religious services be held on Sunday. Make these meetings intensely interesting. Sing genuine revival hymns and speak with power and assurance of the Saviour's love. Speak on temperance and on true religious experience.” (Testimonies for the Church 9:233)

What is the Oregon Conference’s response to Bloom’s Sunday morning worship?

Beginning in April, conference leaders have had consistent, constructive conversations with Bloom leaders, conveying concerns about shifting public worship to Sunday morning. The Bloom leadership team has remained humble and respectful throughout the process.  

While we understand the missional desire of Bloom leaders to reach as many persons as possible for Jesus, Oregon Conference administration values our churches’ experiencing the biblical seventh-day Sabbath together, including times of public worship and fellowship. This has always been a central tenet of the Seventh-day Adventist church. This cannot be compromised or replaced with similar worship on Sundays.  

Recently, it has become even more clear that Bloom’s Sunday services have created significant concern.  While the Oregon Conference continues to support creativity and innovation by churches reaching our unchurched neighbors, the centrality of the Sabbath experience of worship and fellowship cannot be compromised. With this in mind, Oregon Conference president, Dan Linrud, and fellow administration met with Bloom’s leaders to insist that Sunday morning services must conclude by July 30, 2023. This was reported to the Oregon Conference Executive Committee by Linrud in the June 22, 2023 meeting.

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