Mark Knutson, Pastor Augustana Lutheran Church

  Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson,   will reflect on "Poverty in Portland"  at  the October 5th Interfaith Alliance meeting to be held in Room 23,  at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2710 NE 14th Street, from 12:00 - 2:00 PM.   Rev Knutson came to Augustana  in 1995 in  what he calls a response to "God’s call and the possibility of growing a multicultural congregation that is unafraid to step out in faith on the important issues of our day for the well being of all."  He says that the biggest challenge is "Discerning what the cutting edge issues of justice, peace, diversity, equity, reconciliation and inclusion are going to be and helping to position the church to be ready and relevant to be proactive with others as a voice of conscience and a move in action always ready to step out in  faith to do what is right."

The Augustana website reveals that under Rev Knutson's leadership. "Augustana has grown from 243 members in 1995 to an 800-member congregation that is also home to several non-profits including the Community Alliance of Tenants, Familias en Accion, the Society for Haitian Arts, Culture and Social Support, Irvington Cooperative Preschool, the Well Arts Institute, and the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice.

"Over the past 30 years, Rev.r Knutson has served on many local and national boards and committees, and has keynoted and conducted workshops in a variety of settings. Mark completed in 2015 his term as Chair of the Northwest Health Foundation Board, and is past Chair of the Board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and of Familias en Accion. He is on the Steering Committee for the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform. He was one of three statewide petitioners for the Freedom to Marry Ballot Initiative, and is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow.

"In the January 2012 issue of Portland Monthly magazine, Mark was named one of the 50 Most Influential Portlanders. The issue noted his “vigorous activism” against war and in favor of immigration reform and gay rights. His congregation shares his dedication to these and other social causes that put our Christian faith into action in our world.

"Rev. Knutson was given the Heart of Sanctuary Award by the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice in 2015; named Ecumenist of the Year in 2009 by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; Distinguished Pastor by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley in 2009; the Fortenza Award by Desarrollo Integral de la Familia for service in the Latino community in 2014; the Drum Major for Justice Award in 2015 as a member of the AMA Police Reform Steering Committee; and one of the 50 Most Influential Portlanders by Portland Magazine in 2012. Prior to coming to Augustana he served as the National Director of Youth Ministries in Chicago for the 5.3 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and has a M. Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. He is currently enrolled in the doctor of Ministry Program at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D. C."