Blog Post by Rev. Cedric A. Portis  
Third Presbyterian Church – St. Louis
Member of Presbytery Vision Team

The overall health of a community is found in its schools, hospitals and churches which provide its mental, physical and spiritual care.  One organization that is the connecting tissue between the three is the church.  The church is considered a vital organ that if it is not functioning or absent, the body cannot live abundantly.    With that said it’s important that the church connect by supporting the schools and hospitals by understating the vital role it plays in overall community health.  

This was the mindset Third Presbyterian Church (TPC) had when it relocated to north county. The mindset that TPC understood their role as a vital organ to this new community and begin to function in that capacity. 

This mindset resulted in a partnership with the school districts where resources were provided that included coats, socks, before/after care for schools, preschool and summer camps.  The pastor has even served as the President of the School Board of one of the districts and was president of the School District Foundation of another.   

This way TPC was able to engage the children who would eventually become adults in the community causing them to understand the importance of spiritual health. 

This mindset further resulted in working with the local hospital on change of policies, staff and other programing that would better serve the community.  The pastor also served on a clergy advisory board for the hospital and TPC continues to be instrumental in the hospital growing in its effectiveness.  

When the community sees the role of the church being executed by being that connecting tissue, it wants to be a part of the church and support the church because the community will acknowledge the church as a vital organ of the body.  

This is why a question must be asked to the church struggling with its identity in community; “If we closed today would anyone care?”  This is a very important and sobering question as the church discerns its expected role, present state and hope for the future in community.  

This discernment may mean revisiting the church’s mission statement, having a discernment retreat or it may even mean closing the doors and joining in with another church because the present ministry finds itself unable to serve in that connecting tissue role thus becoming more of a hurt to the body and not a help.  

As ministries move through and beyond the pandemic, the church will be functioning differently but the role of the church for the body remains the same.  With an ever-changing society, it’s vital that the church continue to reevaluate its role and effectiveness in community. The exponential changes this community has gone through over the past two years makes the role of the church much more critical in the overall health of a community, therefore it is vital for the church to function as that connective tissue that heals, strengthens and gives hope for the future. 

Rev. Cedric A. Portis – Pastor
Third Presbyterian Church – St. Louis 




  • Posted September 7, 2022 6:25 am
    Susan Andrews

    The witness and ministry of Third Presbyterian stands out as model and inspiration in this presbytery. And it all begins with the vision of the Pastor. Thank you for your leadership.

  • Posted September 8, 2022 12:18 pm
    Ramona Williams

    Great article Pastor.

  • Posted September 10, 2022 5:08 pm
    Diane McCullough

    Thank you, Rev. Portis, for this reminder – that church is in the community as well as in the church building. Thank you for all you and your congregation at Third do for the community. May we all find ways of working together for the greater good.

Add Your Comment