What is the Presbyterian Community of Practice?

A one year opportunity for young adults to live in intentional Christian community while putting faith into action.

Six commitments of this community:

  • Regular Spiritual Practices
  • Experience in Communal Living
  • Participation in a Worshiping Community
  • Discernment/Reflection
  • Communal Work Experience/Opportunities
  • Accountable Skill Building

Participants in this community will live at Menucha and will design and serve ministries in both rural and urban settings. Ministry opportunities are designed by participants in consultation with staff of Menucha and First Presbyterian Church. Specific ministries and work will depend upon the gifts, skills and interests of participants.

Each participant receives room & board at Menucha, and a monthly stipend. No fundraising is required. While being Presbyterian is not required to secure a spot in our community of practice, Presbyterian participants will qualify for student loan repayment options through the PC(USA).

We are seeking interested individuals between the ages of 21 and 30, for September 2019-August 2020.

Our Purpose

The community’s purpose is the spiritual development of young adults in a world where they hunger for authentic ways to live their faith.  Our hope is that this experience will help them develop a deep and mature Christian faith. We also hope that, down the road, it will equip them to provide leadership and engage in ministry in whatever context they find themselves.

Our Inspiration

We are inspired by the community in Taize, France, a Christian pilgrimage destination for over 100,000 young adults each year.  As at Taize, participants in this community will live together, study the Bible together, eat simple communal meals, and worship regularly together. Through their work projects, our community members will develop marketable skills and resume-building experiences.  Their year also will include opportunities for discernment regarding where God is calling them next.

  • Regular Spiritual Practices

Regularly engaging in spiritual practices, preferably on a daily basis. Examples of practices include but are not limited to: Bible studies, various forms of worship, book studies, scripture reading, and prayer practices.

  • Experience in Communal Living

Participants will experience aspects of living simply in a community of faith. This translates into community-made and shared meals, rotation of household chores, and limited community resources. Participants will engage in regular community meetings to remain both supportive and accountable to themselves and the larger community.

  • Participation in a Worshiping Community

Understanding the value of a connection to a broader Christian community, exploration of faith through various modes of worship is encouraged. In addition to participation in a worshiping community of a Christian tradition, this may also include visiting and observing other faith traditions and/or participating in different non-traditional ministries of local churches.

  • Discernment/Reflection

Solo and group discernment/reflective practices are necessary to allow participants to explore the questions of who am I, who is God calling me to be, how do I fit in community, and how can I continue to build community after this experience. Opportunities for practice of these discerned call are also necessary and may include service to the community through unique gifts, connection between participants and outside entities specializing in expressed interests, and the enabling of  autonomous choices.

  • Communal work Experience/Opportunities

Communal work is twofold in nature. Participants take part in the internal communal work to benefit their intentional community. It is done not out of a sense of obligation but rather increase understanding that each participant is an essential part of the whole body of Christ. Participants also take part in external communal work as a community to benefit others. External communal work emphasizes that the community exists to be active in the world; God calls us to a Holy task, therefore work is an act of faith.

  • Accountable Skill Building (professional/life/personal)

Understanding that the Christian life is a journey and not a destination, our communities celebrate successes and affirm that failures are learning opportunities. Participants take part in professional, personal, and life skill building experiences. These experiences should be diverse and robust, depending in their nature on the ministry site. Examples of some skills can include cooking for groups, carpentry, group facilitation, public speaking, time management, grant writing, and many more.


Menucha’s mission is enriching lives through hospitality, education, reflection, and renewal. The biggest part of our work is providing meals, housing, meeting space, and one-of-a-kind outdoor space solely for nonprofit groups, education groups, arts organizations, and a wide variety of faith-based groups.  These guests come for the important work of planning, training, community-building, board meetings, spiritual enrichment, recovery, etc. They depart renewed, reinvigorated, and ready to do even more of the good work they do in the world. (As the airlines say, “Secure your own mask before assisting others.”)

Over the past five years, we have hosted some of Portland’s most active nonprofits, including these: Basic Rights Oregon, Central City Concern, Friends of the Children, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Habitat for Humanity, Impact NW, Planned Parenthood, YouthBuild, and Urban League of Portland.

The rest of our guests come for programs we host here in music, art, and faith. A small number come for personal retreats, to think, pray, walk, heal, grieve, write, or just be.

Last year Menucha welcomed 8,287 guests and served 44,421 homemade meals. We nurtured 275 nonprofit organizations which, in turn, improved Portlanders’ quality of life by addressing poverty, the environment, healthcare, recovery, and more. We helped 967 artists and musicians do the work that feeds their souls.



FPC is a Christ-centered community, serving the spiritual needs of an intergenerational congregation. Through worship, education, fellowship, and outreach, we actively grow as disciples of Christ and become better neighbors to those both near and far.

Seated in the heart of downtown Portland, FPC is active in serving the community through its English Language Program, Friendly House Neighborhood Center, and Menucha Retreat & Conference Center, as well as other organizations within which members share their time and gifts.

From First Presbyterian’s 2015 Vision Statement:

What do we mean by “mission?”

Mission addresses the needs of our neighbors near and far, whom we are called to serve, especially
the vulnerable and disadvantaged. We serve these neighbors as individuals, as a congregation,
and in cooperation with others.

Why is mission important to us?

Mission is the natural consequence of worship. Worshipping God is our reason for being the
church. A worshipping church is a servant church, being the good neighbor as Jesus taught.
Mission is important because of the compassion it embodies, because of the services it provides,
and because of what it teaches us about our faith. Mission involves linking hearts and hands,
living out what we believe and striving for God’s kingdom of love, justice, and peace.

Strategic Goals for Mission
1. Encourage Session to adopt guiding principles by which the church engages in mission
resulting in a clearer focus. Such guidelines would include local, national, and international
2. The Mission Committee will implement the Session guidelines for selecting church-sponsored
mission activities.
3. We commit to expanding the number of those in our congregation involved in these missions
and the proportion of the budget that goes to mission activities.
4. We will develop a more accessible organization of our mission activities that better
communicates the opportunities for service available to a broader range of our congregation.


Community of Practice participants will receive room and board, plus a $500 monthly stipend. There is no fundraising required. We are seeking interested individuals between the ages of 21 and 30, for September 2019-August 2020.

Are you ready to apply?

Apply online or download the application fill it in and send it via mail or email.

Questions? Call Spencer or Lori at Menucha (503) 695-2243.

Online Application Downloadable Application

Here’s how participants describe the experience:

  • Last year before I applied, I was not in the best of places.  I was looking for more purpose in life and work.  Spending a year in the Community of Practice has changed everything for me in the best way.
  • I’m glad I’m spending a year in the Community of Practice because it has given me time to slow down and figure out how and where God wants to use me.
  • Moving to the Pacific Northwest has been awesome because you can hike almost any day! The view of the gorge can’t be beat.
  • One thing in particular that I’ve enjoyed this year is that the community is more than the people you are living with.  Menucha and First Pres are full of so many wonderful people that feel like family.

(More quotes from participants below these photos)

  • Career-wise, this has been good because I have been able to make connections with people in all walks of ministry and non-profit work.
  • My faith journey has been changed in that I connect with God in some way or another every day. My advice for people who are considering this is to take the risk and come out here.  Every week brings a new adventure, each one more exciting than the last.
  • Deciding to join the Presbyterian Community of Practice at Menucha was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made…I came in thinking I knew what I was going to do. Then I struggled and questioned and made it out the other side knowing much more about myself and what I want my life to be. I also know that I can make changes, move away, and work on creating a life all my own without expecting it to go well or breaking down when it doesn’t. Things change. Plans change. The things I hear God telling me change. The important thing is to listen and respond even when what you’re hearing is difficult.
  • I’m from Illinois. Moving to the Pacific Northwest has been awesome because I’ve gotten to go to new places and I never get tired of the view of the mountains and the gorge!
  • What I’ve particularly enjoyed: Going on the mission trip to Uganda with a small group from First Pres. Also having family/ friends visit Portland and getting to show them around/ meet my community here.