The 1800’s


  • A group withdrew from the Congregational church to organize a Presbyterian church. They purchased the land on Lot #28 in the Village of Portland from Hervey Bartow.


  • The little white Church in the Valley on Bridge Street was built after 1867 on Lot #28 in the Village of Portland.


  • The Presbyterians returned to the Congregational church. Bartow assumed ownership of the land and building on Lot #28 once again.


  • The United Brethren church gained possession of the little white Church in the Valley on Bridge Street and held meetings there for several years.


The 1920’s


  • The United Brethren church sold the property on Lot #28 to a group of people known as “The Apostolic Holiness Church”. They became involved with the “International Holiness Association” mission.


  • There was no officially organized holiness church in Portland.

  • Miss Hannah Martin had been taught by holiness teachers and desired to have such a church to attend. She made a trip to Lansing and through her efforts, District Superintendent Rev. R.V. Starr came to Portland, gathered a few people together and made plans for a work here.

  • District Superintendent Rev. R.V. Starr appointed Claud Smith, a city mail carrier of Lansing, for the work in Portland, Michigan. In October, Rev. R.V. Starr came to Portland each Sunday and held services in the afternoon.  Sunday School was at 2:00 p.m. and preaching was at 3:00 p.m.


  • Services continued until March, when Lyman Brough from Potterville held evangelistic services for two weeks ending on March 18, 1923. Claud Smith could only attend on Sundays.

  • On March 18, Claud Smith and Michigan District Superintendent R.V. Starr came to Portland and PORTLAND CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE WAS OFFICIALLY ORGANIZED with 14 charter members.

  • Claud Smith was appointed as the first official pastor by District Superintendent Rev. R.V. Starr. There was Sunday School at 10:00 a.m., preaching at 11:00 a.m., and an evening service at 7:30 p.m. Claud Smith served as pastor until September 14, 1924.


  • Rev. Clifford Peabody arrived and pastored the congregation until August 15, 1926.


  • Rev. Edith Mitchell began her work at Portland Nazarene on August 29 and preached her farewell message on August 12, 1928.

  • Dorothy Hayter arrived in Portland in September and organized the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (W.F.M.S).


  • The Bridge Street property on Lot #28 in the Village of Portland was sold to the Church of the Nazarene by the United Brethren church who must have still owned the title.

  • The International Holiness Association mission had a land contract for $800.00. The Church of the Nazarene had a mortgage on the property for $200.00.

  • Many of the people who attended the International Holiness Association mission were the first attendees and charter members of the Portland Church of the Nazarene.


  • Rev. James Estelle pastored Portland Nazarene from August until January 1931 when he resigned to go into evangelistic work.

The 1930’s


  • Rev. Raymond Smith, brother of Claud Smith, came as the first resident pastor in January 1930. His farewell sermon was April 28, 1934. He had several fine times of revival and new families were added to the church.


  • Blanche Neller was living in Portland and did some supply work but preached her first sermon as pastor on May 5 and preached her farewell message May 28, 1944.

The 1940’s


  • Rev. Mark McKee supplied the pulpit for Mrs. Neller from March 7, 1943 until May 16, 1943 while Mrs. Neller was ill. She resumed her responsibilities again on May 23, 1943.

  • During the time Mrs. Neller was pastor, the ceiling at the Church in the Valley on Bridge Street was lowered, the walls were covered with utility board, hardwood floors were laid, new windows installed, and the old wood-burning stove was replaced with a gas stove. New pews were donated by the Nellers; venetian blinds and pulpit chairs were gifts from George and Letty Hudson.


  • Rev. Drell Allen, his wife and two sons, came to Portland Church of the Nazarene on June 4 after graduating from Olivet Nazarene College. Rev. Allen started the building fund.  His parents, from Detroit, donated the communion set and a sign for the front of the church.  He left in June 1945 to attend Nazarene Theological Seminary.  On Easter Sunday, 1945, there were 94 in Sunday School.


  • Rev. J. Walter Burgess followed Rev. Allen as pastor and stayed from August until November.

  • Rev. Claud Studt (retired) who lived in Grand Ledge, assisted with pastoral duties from December 8 until July 9, 1950 when he moved to Grand Rapids. Several families came from the Grand Ledge Church of the Nazarene but later, most returned to Grand Ledge Nazarene. While Rev. Studt was pastoring at Portland Nazarene, their son Robert and family from Detroit, were frequent guests.  Later, Robert Jr. and his family became missionaries to Africa.


  • The service for the 25th ANNIVERSARY was held on March 7. Michigan District Superintendent McGuire brought the message.  At that time there were 130 churches with 9,141 members on the Church of the Nazarene’s Michigan District.

The 1950’s


  • Rev. Glenn Ide moved to Portland with his wife, a son and two daughters to begin his pastorate through 1954.

  • During their stay, the basement of the Church in the Valley on Bridge Street was enlarged for Sunday School rooms, a basement furnace was installed, a hall was added on the front of the church, and the basement stairs were replaced.

  • The parsonage on Pleasant Street was purchased.


  • Rev. Joseph Polmounter moved to Portland along with his wife and son and began his pastorate.

  • The church was painted on the outside and a new roof was installed.

  • The parsonage on Pleasant Street was redecorated.


  • Rev. Edward Stevenson moved to Portland with his wife and two daughters to begin his pastorate. Rev. Stevenson was working on his college degree so returned to Illinois after one year.


  • Rev. and Mrs. Glenn Brooks were pastors from 1956 to 1960.

  • Several changes were made inside the Church in the Valley in downtown Portland. The platform was enlarged and carpeted. Carpet was laid down the center aisle.  Drapes were hung at the back of the church; a new altar railing and new pulpit were installed.  A communion table was built.  An organ and a baby grand piano were purchased.

  • New siding was put on the parsonage on Pleasant Street, the furnace was converted from coal to oil, and the kitchen was remodeled.

The 1960’s


  • Rev. Sheehy moved to Portland with his wife and pastored for two years until 1962. The membership was enlarged by several families.  At one time, several of the Free Methodists worshiped at Portland Nazarene and after their church was built, they went to their new home on South Kent Street.


  • Rev. Glenn Rairigh moved his wife and family to Portland and pastored during 1962.

  • Rev. Carl Noffsinger moved with his wife to begin his pastorate at Portland Church of the Nazarene until 1970. Mrs. Noffsinger was ill and was in and out of the hospital most of the time.

  • Sixteen acres of land were purchased for a new church and parsonage on Cutler Road in Danby Township during Rev. Noffsinger’s pastorate.

  • Four more acres were purchased on the corner of Cutler Road and Charlotte Hwy.  The house on that four acres, which was used as a rental house, had been moved to that location from a farm about 1 1/2 miles south.  The house was built by a pioneer family, the Charles G. Brooks, in about 1836 and was thought to be the oldest house in Danby Township.  The frame had wooden beams put together with wooden pins. The congregation remodeled, redecorated, and put a new roof and new siding on the house.

  • The house and property were sold to John Ferguson. He paid off the land contract on May 1, 1996.  The money was used to finish remodeling the sanctuary, adding a new roof on to the sanctuary, and finish paying off the indebtedness on the new addition.


  • Ground was broken in October by District Superintendent Dr. Fred Hawk for an educational unit on the Cutler Road location.


  • The new building on Cutler Road was ready for Sunday School on Sunday, October 16. The pews, pulpit, and altar railing were moved from the old Church in the Valley to be used in the new church building on Cutler Road. More work had to be done to complete the structure.

The 1970’s


  • Rev. Frank Davison began his pastoral ministry at Portland Church of the Nazarene and served until 1972.


  • The new church on Cutler Road was formally dedicated on April 25 with Rev. Frank Davison as pastor. The morning message was preached by Rev. Carl Noffsinger of Kalamazoo. Rev. Joseph Polmounter of Buchanan preached in the afternoon service. Dr. Fred Hawk, District Superintendent, gave the evening message.

  • After the new church was built on Cutler Road, the old Church in the Valley was used for fellowship meals and other activities including rummage sales.


  • Rev. George Otto moved to Portland with his wife, where he pastored until 1974.


  • The parsonage on Cutler Road was built behind the church.

  • The Ottos moved from the house on Pleasant Street to become the first tenants in the new parsonage on Cutler Road.

  • The old parsonage on Pleasant Street was sold in 1974.

  • The 50th ANNIVERSARY was celebrated during Rev. Otto’s pastorate. Rev. Davison from Lansing preached in the morning service. Dinner followed in the fellowship hall for about 100 people. Rev. Glenn Ide ministered to the congregation in the evening service.  Fern Conkrite read the history of the Church from its humble beginning of 14 members to then a membership of 75.

  • Inventory at the end of 50 years totaled $100,000 which included 20 acres of land, 2 churches, 2 houses, and a new parsonage.

  • Ernest Smith from Lansing, was an assistant pastor for some time. Tommie Thompson was the assistant to the pastor in the early 1970’s.

  • Missionaries William and Bessie Esselstyn moved to Portland in the 1970’s and attended Portland Nazarene, soon after their return from their missionary service in Africa for some 40 years. As their health began to fail in later years, they moved to Illinois in 1987 or 1988.  They have both gone to their heavenly home.


  • Rev. Thomas Voyles moved with his wife to Portland and began his pastorate in July. The Voyles were the second family to live in the new parsonage on Cutler Road. They left Portland in August 1978.


  • Rev. Dwight Meade moved to Portland with his wife and son in October where he pastored Portland Nazarene until 1980.

The 1980’s


  • George and Bea Hesley came to Portland Nazarene in 1980. They had previously attended the Free Methodist Church in Portland. Bea helped with the choir and played the organ. George filled the pulpit when needed.  They were an inspiration to all.

  • Rev. William Tibbetts arrived with his wife in December and pastored at Portland Nazarene until May 1986.

  • The fellowship hall, once located in the old little white Church in the Valley on Bridge Street, was sold.

  • Soon after the sale, the bell was taken down from the belfry and was moved to the new church on Cutler Road.


  • The parsonage basement on Cutler Road was named “Esselstyn Hall” to honor Missionaries William and Bessie Esselstyn. This room was used for fellowship dinners, banquets and wedding receptions.


  • During the summer, a belfry was built, the bell installed, and it was dedicated in October. A new platform was built to lift the organ, piano, pulpit and choir chairs about 8 inches higher.  New carpet covered the platform, church floor, stairs and foyer.  The walls were painted.  A new drapery was hung over the door in back of the pulpit.


  • Portland Church of the Nazarene celebrated its 60th ANNIVERSARY on Sunday, August 28. Rev. Polmounter of Jackson First Church of the Nazarene gave a wonderful message that morning.  The benediction was given by Rev. Ernest Smith of Lansing.  About 100 people enjoyed dinner together.  Guests attended from Evart, Indian Lake, Kalamazoo, Grand Ledge, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Nashville and Lansing.  Visiting preachers were:  Rev. & Mrs. Thomas Voyles from Nashville; Rev. & Mrs. Ernest Smith from Lansing; Rev. and Mrs. Joe Polmounter from Jackson; Rev. and Mrs. Dickinson from Indian Lake.  At 3:00 pm, another service was held.  Rev. Voyles prayed, Dr. C. Neil Strait, Michigan District Superintendent, gave the message.  The evening service was a sing-a-long.


  • The GLOBAL CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE celebrated its 75th ANNIVERSARY. Portland Church of the Nazarene joined in that celebration with a heritage emphasis through the month of April in Sunday School, remembering church history, enjoying 1920’s music, special messages, and missions.

  • On Mother’s Day, May 13, 1984, Rev. Noffsinger, Rev. Tibbetts, Rev. Esselstyn, Andy Parker, and Rodger Moore, burned the mortgage on all of the church’s property.


  • Rev. Jim Thompson moved to Portland with his wife and began his pastorate in July.  A daughter was born to the Thompsons on December 14, 1992.  Rev. Thompson’s ministry concluded in September of 1994 to pastor Holt Church of the Nazarene.

The 1990’s


  • An outside entrance was constructed for fire safety to the parsonage basement and continued being used for a fellowship hall.

  • On April 21, 1991, ground was broken for a new 48 x 54 Fellowship Hall addition to be added to the east side of the church at a cost of $72,225. Michigan District Superintendent Dr. C. Neil Strait officiated that day.  The church had $40,000 on hand and borrowed approximately $32,000.  The new addition contained a new fellowship area moved from the parsonage basement, kitchen, restrooms, Pastor’s study and church secretary’s office.

  • The new addition was dedicated on October 20, 1991. Michigan District Superintendent Dr. C. Neil Strait preached the morning sermon.  After the message, the new fellowship area was dedicated as “Esselstyn Center” and used for a carry-in dinner.


  • The next project was remodeling the Cutler Road lobby entrance for the installation of a chair lift so it would be easier for everyone to get into the sanctuary. Stairs were built, carpet was laid, new wall board was installed and painted. The chair-lift was installed March 18 and inspected, March 22.

  • Portland Nazarene held its 70th ANNIVERSARY celebration starting on Saturday, September 11, 1993 with a baking contest, hog roast, carry-in supper and Christian concert. On Sunday morning, September 12, 1993, Rev. William Tibbetts, former pastor from 1980-1986, serving in South Bend, Indiana, brought the morning message.  The service was followed by a carry-in dinner.  Another service was held at 2:30 pm.  Rev. Thomas Voyles, former pastor from 1974-1978, serving in Hastings, brought the message and closed the meeting with a healing service.


  • Rev. Todd Lafond moved to Portland with his wife and two children from Illinois and began his pastorate on December 11. Another daughter was born to the Lafonds on August 24, 1996.  Rev. Lafond concluded his pastorate in December of 2002.


  • The church board made the decision to remodel the sanctuary in August, install new windows, wallboard and paint. New windows were purchased for the basement.  White siding was installed on the church to match the new addition.  A new roof was added to the sanctuary.  The projects were completed in 1996.


  • A new bell tower and church sign were built. The “talent fund” founded in 1966 by Leta Parker who hosted numerous rummage sales with the help of many, paid for the construction, along with countless other projects throughout Portland Nazarene’s history.


A New Century


  • A ground breaking was held on November 19 for a new sanctuary north of the fellowship hall. The next spring and summer, the sanctuary was started and enclosed, but not finished.


  • Rev. Daniel Stemen was called as pastor on January 12 after a unanimous congregational vote. Rev. Stemen moved to Portland in February with his wife and son.

  • The Stemens furnished a new kitchen stove, microwave, dishwasher, and ceiling fixtures for the parsonage. The original kitchen cabinetry was refurbished and cabinet doors replaced by Nick Rowe.  A new kitchen counter top was installed.  Many volunteers painted, cleaned and prepared the parsonage for the Stemens.

  • Pastor Dan was a licensed building contractor and had worked in construction—remodeling or adding square footage to every church he had previously pastored. He immediately led the congregation through the completion of the unfinished sanctuary on Cutler Road.  Friends of the Stemens came to work on the electrical, heating, air conditioning and sound system.  Nick Rowe built a sound booth, a podium in the shape of a cross, communion table and altar rails for the completed sanctuary, as well as a friendship desk and missions desk for the foyer.  A new keyboard, drum set and other music ministry materials were purchased.  The sanctuary and foyers and offices were painted.  New carpet was laid in the sanctuary, lobbies and offices. The old sanctuary furniture was removed so the former sanctuary space, now called Esselstyn Center, could be used for a fellowship hall, special occasions, classroom and children’s church space.

  • $30,000 was borrowed to complete the construction.

  • The first service in the new sanctuary was held on August 24. Rev. Stemen prayed for the congregation before leaving the old sanctuary, assembling in the new  lobby where George Hudson, age 96, cut a yellow ribbon to the newly completed sanctuary entrance.  Pastor Dan prayed before everyone entered the new worship space and celebrated a wonderful hour of thanks together.

  • The congregation prepared for the new Sanctuary Dedication and the church’s  80th ANNIVERSARY scheduled for September 21, 2003. Newly elected Michigan District Superintendent Drs. John and Linda Seaman, former missionaries to Africa, were invited as special guests for the occasion as Portland Church of the Nazarene celebrated by looking back…looking ahead & embracing the next eighty years.  The occasion was marked with joy, yet sadness.

  • Beloved District Superintendent, Dr. C. Neil Strait, passed away on September 15, 2003.

  • During the morning Service of Celebration, the new sanctuary was named “Founders’ Hall.” The church bell tolled 80 times. The memorial roll was read.  Rev. William Tibbetts, former pastor, prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.  A power point presentation showcased the past 80 years.  Pastor Dan Stemen honored the senior saints 80 years of age and older.  Former pastors were honored.  Contractors who provided labor and materials were recognized.  Letters of greeting were read.  Distinguished service awards were given.  Rev. Stemen presented the message.  A dedicatory prayer was read by the congregation.  Pastor Dan gave the prayer of dedication.  George Hudson gave the benediction.

  • At 1:00 pm, the congregation enjoyed an old fashioned Sunday dinner in the previously vacated upper sanctuary. Many people left for Indian Lake Nazarene Camp to attend Dr. C. Neil Strait’s memorial service.

  • At 2:00 pm, a service was held to walk down memory lane. Vintage car rides were offered from Cutler Road to the old Church in the Valley on Bridge Street.


  • The church was blessed with funds from a generous member’s estate. $10,000 was applied toward the sanctuary loan and $2,000 was used for new landscaping around the church.

  • The parsonage family donated new trees for the parsonage lawn, a new deck along the back of the parsonage, and a parsonage playground unit.

  • Central air was installed in the church kitchen, offices and sanctuary lobby in August 2004. In October 2004, a new furnace was installed in the parsonage.  Builders Lumber installed seamless gutters and downspouts on the side of the sanctuary, lobby, and offices.   A video projector was donated for Founders Hall.

  • Esselstyn Center (the original sanctuary) was refurbished to include a galley kitchen complete with upper and lower cabinetry, double sink, stove, refrigerator and needed electrical outlets. It continued to be used for classroom space, special occasions, and the children’s chapel.

  • Because, the congregation was growing and original Sunday School classroom space was overflowing with new attendees, a long range planning committee was launched in 2004.

  • Part-time staff included Abe Sines as lay youth ministries director, and Eileen Buffa as lay children’s ministries director.


  • At the beginning of 2005, the Ledy Design Group was contracted to draw up long-range plans to accommodate future growth. Preliminary cost estimates for the Phase I building project were completed in December of 2005.

  • Pastor Dan took a team of men to San Diego, California Southeast Church of the Nazarene from January 14-22 to assist with remodeling and construction of an Inner City Ministry home led by Rev. Steve Rodeheaver, Pastor Dan and Dawn’s brother-in-law.

  • In the spring, the Michigan District’s Indian Lake Nazarene Camp donated 900 sheets of drywall to Portland Nazarene. Church men traveled to Vicksburg, Michigan to pick up the drywall and stored it in Bob Atherton’s barn.  This was the beginning of a brand new thing God was getting ready to do at Portland Church of the Nazarene.  The pastor and congregation couldn’t have dreamed what was about to happen next.

  • Portland Federal Credit Union approached Pastor Dan to inquire about purchasing five (5) acres of property from the church. They wanted to build their new headquarters facility outside the city limits. After researching the fair market value, the church board settled on a going rate and the Credit Union agreed to pay $90,000 per acre totaling a final sale of $450,000.  The pastor and board felt this was a gift from God.

  • In September, PFCU gave us a “Buy & Sell agreement” and earnest money of $2,500.


  • A congregational meeting was held on January 8 during the Sunday School hour. A vote was taken on January 15 with agreement to build.  On January 19, the voting results were given to the Church of the Nazarene’s Michigan District Advisory Board.  They agreed to allow Portland Nazarene to build Phase I of The Ledy Group’s long range expansion concept which was to be called the new “Family Life Center”.  Blueprints were to be purchased as soon as there was a closing on the land with Portland Federal Credit Union.  The closing took place in February of 2006.

  • In the spring, a pole barn was constructed east of the parsonage to house building equipment and supplies for the construction project and for long term storage. The gift of drywall by Indian Lake Nazarene Camp was moved from the Atherton barn and kept in the new storage facility.

  • The church board voted to expand parking capacity. A long-standing pine tree was removed to make way for a newly graded north facing parking lot in front of the original sanctuary facing Cutler Road.

  • God decided to reveal His plan once again. The City of Portland had previously scheduled to repave Charlotte Highway at the west end of Cutler Road just a few hundred yards from where the church is located.  It was no accident their project coincided exactly with the beginning of the church’s Phase I construction plan.  They asked Pastor Dan if he would like thousands of yards of free dirt and the asphalt shavings so they wouldn’t have to haul them so far.  Of course he said, “Yes!”

  • What once was a deep hill behind the church leased by farmers to harvest corn was soon filled with the first gift of free dirt which ended up covering 7 feet of existing foundation. Those donated asphalt shavings became the sub-surface for the new south Family Life Center parking lot.

  • On April 23, the church board launched a financial giving campaign entitled “Building Our Future Today”. The campaign was held through June 4th.   The church board set a goal to raise $161,659.  The congregation pledged $160,299 to be paid over a three-year period.  Pledges received between April 23, 2006 and September 28, 2008 totaled $125,038.  Monies given above and beyond pledges totaled $11,095.

  • Groundbreaking for the new 16,500 sq. ft. Family Life Center was held on Sunday, April 30, 2006, A swing set, sand box, sidewalk, shrubs and large tree were removed to make way for what God had in mind.  The building plans contained a 40 x 60 indoor playground, full-sized gymnasium, a children’s chapel, a 20 x 40 teen center, numerous classrooms surrounding the gymnasium, a spacious kitchen with two pantries, new restrooms, spacious lobby, a coat room and storage areas.

  • Soil testing was done in April for the building project.

  • God was always one step ahead and blessed Portland Nazarene once again—this time with more tons of free dirt donated from the Credit Union’s construction project, again so they wouldn’t have to haul it further. That second gift of dirt extended the ground surface west of the new Family Life Center to eventually house an enclosed outdoor playground.

  • As soon as permits were in place, footers were dug and the building was underway. In September of 2006, over 30 men launched the $1.5 million dollar building project of Portland Nazarene’s new Family Life Center.

  • With seating to accommodate 200, Founders Hall was reaching full capacity. The congregation elected to offer two Sunday worship services beginning June 11.  The 8:45 am service provided a traditional worship experience while the 11:00 am service offered contemporary praise.

  • Janice Newman was employed as the church’s part-time lay ministries director and church office administrator.  Lisa Hartwick was brought on staff as part-time children’s Caravan director, and Nicole Quinn was hired as part-time lay youth ministries director.


  • On June 8, a loan of $185,000 was acquired from Union Bank at 6 ¾ % to complete the building project.  Pastor Dan and Nick Rowe served as general contractors and led the building project, working 80-hour weeks at times over the period of two years to complete the new Family Life Center.

  • Parishioners took on overtime to pay their building pledges. Only heaven knows how much in labor costs were donated by the church’s general contractors and the many that labored so endlessly and gave so generously.  Church members and friends donated inordinate amounts of labor and funding to assist with the completion.  One tradesman saved the church $40,000 by installing the sprinkling and alarm system.  Another contributed his trade expertise for electrical wiring.

  • Clark Construction and Builder’s Lumber were among many area businesses who donated a team of sub-contractors to assist with the completion of the project. Mike Ward, neighbor to Portland Church of the Nazarene, voluntarily supported the efforts of Pastor Dan through lending his construction business equipment and assistance with special projects in ways too numerous to mention.

  • Numerous church and community donors contributed funds toward a dream of Pastor Dan’s for an indoor playground which was the option chosen by Abe and Connie Sines to become the the beneficiary for memorials given in their son, Taggart’s, memory. The 40 x 60 space available to the community, was named “Taggart’s Playground”, and designed to replicate the city of Portland with play “shops” named after contributing businesses.  Pastor Dan and Nick Rowe, along with many others, invested countless hours in the playground construction project.  Part-time playground coordinators served to orchestrate fund raisers, find sponsors, furnish the playground with equipment and supplies, establish policy and oversee playground use.  Others have since volunteered to assist while the playground is open to the public.

  • After attending numerous meetings and defending the church’s long term interests in being served by city water and sewer, Danby Township finally agreed to transfer the church property to the City of Portland through a 425 Agreement.

  • City water and sewer were connected in September of 2007.

  • The City of Portland then acquired the 60 acres directly adjacent to the church’s remaining ten acres east of the church’s property line bordering Grand River Avenue and Cutler Road.

  • Holland Church of the Nazarene gave Portland Nazarene a 1986 – 16 passenger Dodge Ram in need of a few repairs.

  • In September 2007, another used 15 passenger van was purchased to replace the 1986 Dodge Ram.

  • A 48-passenger school bus was also acquired which has been filled transporting teens to events.

  • Cheri Wheelock came on board as a part-time lay children’s ministries director until moving out of state. Kim Thorp was hired as part-time lay executive director/office secretary. 


  • Pastor Dan re-wired and installed electrical outlets and recessed lighting, dry walled and painted the north side of the parsonage basement. Labor was donated to install new carpeting to finish the recreation room.

  • The new Family Life Center passed final inspection and on Sunday morning, February 10, it was ready to use. At 10:00 am, Pastor Dan spoke a few words standing at the entrance to the gymnasium.  A ribbon held between two high chairs occupied with children was cut and those in attendance walked into the new addition that God enabled them to build.

  • When completed, the new Family Life Center was constructed for just over $650,000—a savings of nearly $850,000.

  • Through the generous contribution from another member’s estate, the church was able to purchase new tables and chairs needed the Family Life Center banquet requirements and appliances for the new kitchen.

  • A strategic planning committee coordinated the ergonomic design and layout of the new space.  A decorating committee designed the interior and exterior aesthetic motif  including scripture themes mounted in vinyl graphics in each room.

  • Another church member was remembered by her daughter upon her Homegoing and earmarked a $1000 memorial gift to purchase new sanctuary flags which were presented in a patriotic ceremony in memory of Donny Champlin as a tribute to Don who worked many hours on the project.  The gift also provided a second sanctuary video projector, additional lobby furniture and the completion of the new nursery, now remodeled and housed in the old kitchen, and original men’s and ladies restrooms.

  • A gift of a quilt commemorating the church’s 85th anniversary and denomination’s 100th centennial was designed and displayed in the sanctuary lobby, along with gifts of sanctuary banners, a writing desk, bookshelves, floral and decorative accents for both entry ways.

  • The local missions department purchased the Church of the Nazarene’s Centennial lithograph which was framed and on display at the entrance of Founder’s Hall.  An engraved plaque was also given marking the denomination’s 100 years of existence around the world.

  • The parsonage family furnished armed side chairs, tables, lamps  and bench seating for both lobbies.

  • October 4 and 5, the Church of the Nazarene at 9466 Cutler Road celebrated the congregation’s 85th ANNIVERSARY as a partner in serving the families of the Portland community; commemorated the GLOBAL CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE’S 100th CENTENNIAL along with 1.6 million members from 18,000 churches on every continent at that time; and celebrated the Dedication of the Portland Nazarene’s new 16,500 sq. ft. Family Life Center.

  • On Saturday, October 4, a complimentary breakfast for the Portland community was served in the new Family Life Center from 8:00 – 10:00 am in appreciation for their support over the past 85 years. A collection of classic cars was on display with a grand prize for the car voted best in show.  The public was invited to register for door prizes anytime from 8:00 am – 12:00 noon.  The church was open for tours including a Heritage Room located in the original sanctuary showcasing vintage memorabilia dating back to 1923.

  • Also on Saturday, October 4, the Portland community was invited to witness the 10:00 am Ribbon Cutting ceremony marking the Grand Opening of Taggart’s Playground, a 40 x 60 indoor activity and learning center for birth – 5th Grades in memory of 3-year old Taggart Sines. Noted children’s authors and artists, Gary and Jan Bower, gifted one of their original framed oil paintings and presented it for display in memory of Taggart Sines.  Numerous copies of their book, “There’s a Party in Heaven” were donated for distribution.  The playground was open from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.  

  • In addition that day, at 10:30 am, a Ribbon-Cutting ceremony marked the Grand Opening of the Teen Center equipped with numerous game tables, band stage, studio kitchen and bistro tables, sofa seating and big screened TV/media center. The Teen Center for 6th – 12th grades remained open until 12:00 noon with a community-wide variety show from 7:30 pm until midnight, co-hosted by ‘Stylus’, a group of five guest student musicians from Olivet Nazarene University.  Portland area adults were invited to enjoy open court volleyball and basketball from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon in the church’s new full sized gymnasium.

  • On Sunday, October 5, members and friends gathered for a Centennial Worship Celebration from 10:00 – 12:00 noon as they reflected on their global heritage and remembered individuals and a community that had brought them to where they were that day. State Representative Brian Calley was a distinguished guest.  An Old Fashioned Sunday Dinner was served at 12:30 pm with a 1:30 pm concert by ‘Stylus’, from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.  The Nursery, Taggart’s Playground and Teen Center were open from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.

  • Sunday, October 5 ended with a 3:00 pm Dedicatory Ceremony of the Family Life Center with Michigan District Superintendent Dr. John Seaman officiating. A recipe was used to serve “Dirt Cake” at a reception immediately following the ceremony as a tribute to God’s extraordinary gifts of dirt.  The public was invited to join State and local dignitaries including Mayor Jim Barnes to launch the next 85 years as Portland Church of the Nazarene planned to continue to serve its community.

Click on links below

85th Anniversary Nazarene Centennial and Dedication Invitations 2008

85th Anniversary Nazarene Centennial and Dedication Worship Program 2008

2008 Portland Naz FLC Dedication Program


  • The Family Life Center began sharing its facility with the community through private bookings for special occasions including birthday parties, family gatherings, holiday events, state basketball tournaments, local athletic practices, business meetings, blood drives, weight loss programs, and more.

  • Portland Nazarene began hosting and participating in numerous community events such as Thanksgiving services, Portland Area Ministerial Association Festival of Table fund raisers, Community Expos, Christian concerts, holiday parades, fall and summer festivals, Ladies Day at the Spa, Christmas breakfasts, TNT Fireworks sales, and more.  Angel Food ministries was launched and coordinated by Abe and Connie Sines.

  • Elizabeth Jarrell was employed as part-time children’s ministries director until moving out of state.  Vickii Moore was hired as part-time custodian.


  • God’s greatest plan behind His gifts to build the Family Life Center culminated in the launch of a child care ministry as an alternative option for the greater Portland Community.  Pastor Dan’s vision was brought to pass through many strategic conversations, extensive creative planning and the launch of the new Portland Church of the Nazarene Child Development Center for ages Birth through Grade 5.  Under the direction of Lisa Hartwick, brought on staff full-time to direct this new ministry, the doors were open for business on August 1, 2010.

  • A Ribbon Cutting ceremony was held with representatives from the Portland City Council on August 5, 2010.

  • Luke Nixon, a recent graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, followed Nicole Quinn and was hired as the full-time lay director of youth ministries, moving to Portland with his wife in the summer of 2010 and served until 2012.


  • Pastor Dan, a group of Portland Nazarene adults, and friends took a one week missions trip to build a Teen Center in the village of Noatak, Alaska where Stan and Doris VanAmberg, originally from Michigan, served in local ministry.

  • More community businesses continued to use the Family Life Center by booking exercise classes, driver’s training classes, State of Michigan classes, and more.

  • Beth Dean began serving as part-time lay volunteer staff to direct discipleship ministries.


  • Beacon of Hope ministries, founded and directed by Nazarene Kyle Thompson, a previous parishioner of Pastor Dan’s from Holland, Michigan, launched 28 satellite Christian Counseling offices throughout Michigan including a location at Portland Nazarene. The ministry brought many community people through the church doors being served by a team of State licensed and Masters level trained staff through a unique partnership with Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Beacon of Hope is a recognized Compassionate Ministry Center of the Church of the Nazarene.

  • Bart Simpson followed Luke Nixon as full-time lay youth director in January of 2012 and served until 2014. Lynn Simpson was hired as full-time lay children’s ministries director in January 2012 and conducted chapel for the Child Development Center.


  • The original 12 children enrolled in the Child Development Center soon grew to over 180. The number of faculty and staff employed in the Child Development Center expanded to over twenty full and part time employees.

  • The Lord provided a lead to purchase a $20,000 used indoor McDonald’s Playground unit for only $1,500. The unit took much donated labor by church volunteers to assemble, but when completed, expanded the extensive amenities offered to children in Taggart’s Playground.

  • Portland Nazarene celebrated it’s 90th ANNIVERSARY on November 24 with a special worship service including awards given for distinguished service followed by an all-church dinner.

  • Eric Shephard began his employment as part-time custodian.


  • Victoria Dean, a recent graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, was hired to serve part time as lay youth ministries director until 2015. Theresa Iskra was brought on staff as full-time Finance Administrator for the Child Development Center and to assist with church finance.  Kerron DePriest Trowbridge was hired as part-time Church Office Administrator.

  • In October, the south parking lot, once a shallow field and now filled with free dirt and covered with donated asphalt shavings, was paved, along with the parsonage driveway.


  • God was ready to give Portland Nazarene a third gift of dirt. As a dusty corridor created originally for Portland Nazarene decades ago, Cutler Road was finally paved and lined with curbing and a concrete sidewalk connecting Charlotte Highway to Grand River Avenue in the Spring.

  • The 3-month project continuing 24-hours a day, 7 days a week included tree removal which once obstructed the view of the church from Cutler Road, a new utility box, curbing with paved insets into both north facing church entrances, and once again – tons of free dirt.  The dirt was delivered and leveled to extend and slope the west facing hill providing enough solid surface to one day to become the foundation for a new sanctuary. Landscaping was provided to finish the surface of the newly graded hill and west facing field.

  • A Ribbon Cutting ceremony was held in June to acknowledge officials who had spent years petitioning for the Cutler Road upgrade. Dignitaries included Michigan’s Lt. Governor Brian Calley, City Mayor Jim Barnes, City Manager Tom Demsey, and Rev. Dan Stemen of Portland Church of the Nazarene.

  • Electrical lines supported by telephone poles originally installed in the mid 1900’s were moved underground upon the suggestion and compliments of Tri-County Electric, servicing the church and parsonage.

  • Bethany Broom-Dombrowski was employed as the full-time Director for the church’s Child Development Center to elevate the organizational development and success of this valuable ministry to the Portland community.  Under Bethany’s leadership, Portland Nazarene’s Child Development Center was awarded a 3-star rating by the State of Michigan.


  • Senior Pastor Daniel Stemen Retires after faithfully serving for 14 years at Portland Church of the Nazarene, Pastor Dan retired on September 11th. It was a wonderful celebration of a life dedicated to God.

  • September 18th Pastor Will Baker began his term as the interim Pastor and the search began for a new Senior Pastor.


  • God was ready to give Portland Nazarene a a gift of in a new senior Pastor. Pastor Jimmy Guffey accepted the offer to be the new senior pastor. He began March 26.