Embracing a Greater Future for ECF

Dear ECF Family,

I trust you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!  I know Paula, Elizabeth, and myself have enjoyed the season and we are excited as we enter this fresh and bright new year.  We can truly celebrate what a beautiful year we have had.  Our ECF family continues to bring so much joy, and we are so honored and privileged to be part of your journey.  As we approach the New Year together I want to share with you what has been on my heart, as God is moving on our behalf bringing about the possibility of healthy change.

As most of you are aware we have been on a long journey together to find the right person to fulfill the role of Lead Pastor.  If I could I would gladly continue to pastor and lead such a beautiful group of people, but as you are aware, my health has presented some difficult challenges that have prevented me from continuing in my current position.  Over the past few years, we have invested a great amount of time and effort to find the right replacement but have been unsuccessful to this point.   But we have continued to press on and seek the Lord for His perfect plan and purpose for our future as a church family.

As we have been on this journey together, I have been personally compelled to reconnect with my church family roots.  Since the age of 15 I have been deeply impacted by my church family in the Portland area.  My journey brought me to Portland Bible College, which led to my participation on the Eugene church plant team that was sent out from my church family in 1981, and eventually lead to the honor and privilege of being Lead Pastor for ECF since 1992.  Throughout this journey there have been some challenges, much like any family would experience, but through it all I have found a very healthy and healing connection with my family roots in Portland. It is clear the Holy Spirit has had His hand on this relationship even before some of the pieces came together.

Eighteen months ago I reached out to Pastor Marc Estes, the Lead Pastor of Mannahouse (formerly City Bible Church), to begin an important conversation about ECF and its future.  I was reaching out for guidance and support to help ECF into a brighter future.  My relationship with Pastor Marc has been one of the most encouraging and joy-filled parts of my journey, as he has helped to create a safe, healthy, and  authentic environment for a solid reconnection to our spiritual family in Portland.

Last March I engaged our Eldership in the conversation to prayerfully consider what the future might look like regarding the relationship between ECF and Mannahouse.  Pastor Marc and his Executive Team, along with our Eldership, have had long dialogues and personal time to pray and assess all possible options to determine what the best course, and God-choice, would be for the health and future of ECF.

In September our Eldership unanimously agreed the Lord was providing an answer.  We believe the best, and healthiest, step moving forward would be to officially become part of the Mannahouse family.  The Eldership of Mannahouse unanimously agreed to accept our invitation and to discuss further what it might look like to become a Mannahouse campus in the Eugene area.  Over the past 8 weeks many of us have had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the leadership from Mannahouse.  They have poured out love, care, and concern for us, and have a heart to see us thrive in the days to come.  As I sit at this beautiful juncture it is clear our church family will continue to move forward with health and growth.

Marc and some of his team have met with our staff, Elders, and our core leaders to work through most of the questions and concerns about ECF becoming a Mannahouse campus.  As we have continued on this careful journey together, we all feel the decision has only been further confirmed through prayer, the Holy Spirit, and confirmation from various leaders. We all feel that this is the direction God would have us take.

On January 6th, Pastor Marc and his wife Susan, will be with us for our weekend service.  This will be a special family time to hear from Pastor Marc and myself about our journey and the amazing opportunity in front of us.  I believe this historic service will bring clarity and faith, and will inspire you to see that our best days are in front of us.  I am asking, as your Pastor, to make every effort to be part of service that weekend. Our hearts’ desire is that we will all “Embrace a Greater Future” together!

If you find yourself with questions, a great place to start is our FAQ that answers many of the questions people may have.  Also, be sure to check our sermons page to watch videos of our services as we discuss the future with Pastor Marc.

Both Paula and myself are so grateful for the relationship we have with our church family in Portland and here in Eugene.  I am confident that our love and care for each other will build a great launching pad to a bright and exciting future.  I am looking forward to what beautiful days are ahead for this family and I am fully expecting God to do great things with us in the coming days. Please know that our desire is to continue to be a part of the bright future. We are excited about the days ahead!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us – Eph. 3:20


Expecting Great Things,


Pastor Gary Clark