“When you pass someone on the street,” bellowed senior pastor Elbert Mondaine Jr., facing church members at the North Lombard building, “give them a smile. Let them know that Jesus loves them.”

And then they were off, singing and waving and crying out “Amen” as they marched six blocks through sleepy neighborhood streets to their new church. A couple of guys working on cars waved, and a few dogs barked, but otherwise the journey went largely unnoticed.

Did marchers mind? Nah. They just sang louder. And when they reached the church, and the red ribbon was cut and everybody filed inside, a band — yes, a real band with drums and everything — fired up and the singing got even louder.

Bernadette Dorsey, the church welcome committee coordinator, explained everything. Actually, she yelled everything. “Five years ago,” Dorsey said, her voice rising above the concertlike din booming from inside the church santuary, “the pastor who started the church had been ministering in music.”

So music is a big deal at this church, which also is the founding body of the True Believer’s Assembly of Non-Denominational Churches of America. Five to 10 other churches nationwide are affiliated, Dorsey said.

Growth, explained Dorsey, inspired the move: 100 to 150 adults and 75 or so children attend morning and evening services each Sunday — a wee bit too many for the old building.

The new building, though, which formerly served as an antique furniture warehouse, is plenty big enough. Except it’s not quite finished. Church members have worked feverishly since February, laying carpet and installing pews.

“We’re still a couple of months away from finishing,” said Dorsey. “But that’s OK. We’re here, celebrating the Lord.

“In our new home.”

The Oregonian