Every day, going back decades, we have walked with mothers and fathers as they navigate the often overwhelming reality of an unsupported pregnancy. We do it out of a conviction that each one, from conception, is created in God’s image, and that extending the compassion of Jesus Christ engenders rich and transformational hope.
We are constantly encouraged by the partnership of thousands of people like you, who have given sacrificially of their money, time, and prayers on behalf of the over 11,000 women, men and students that we serve through our Pregnancy Centers, Heart, and The Reality Project every year. Because of the generosity of people like you, our giving has remained strong, and even grown in the last few years.
We are also, like many of you, aware of significant shifts in the culture, and have been prayerfully discerning how God is leading us to pro-actively address the trends we see.
I want to share with you 4 steps we’re taking to continue to faithfully fulfill our mission:
1. Awaken more local churches.
Do you remember the first time your passion was awakened toward pre-born children and mothers facing unsupported pregnancy? Many in our local church community have not yet had that experience, and while we have many strong church relationships, we have seen some decline in the engagement of local churches with the mission of First Image. This is in part because of polarization in our culture and resulting ambivalence among many Christians about the pro-life mission.
Maybe you’ve seen it too? As a former pastor, I know that the needs of the community and its members are vast and diverse. I also know that the issues First Image exists to address are central to the needs of our neighbors both outside and inside the church. We want to awaken churches to love those neighbors by equipping our partners and local church leaders to be confident champions of the mission.
2. Increase our digital outreach to clients.
Pregnancy centers across the country, including ours, have experienced declines in overall client numbers. We know that one important way we must address that issue is to invest in making sure that potential parents who need our services can find us.
Over the next year, we are tripling our investment in digital marketing to clients so that the women seeking help and guidance in their pregnancies find us and experience a supportive environment designed to restore their hope.
3. Provide more comprehensive services in line with our mission.
We have launched a pilot for STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) testing and treatment. Many who access our centers, along with the children they may carry, are at risk from STIs. Providing this service both addresses an immediate need and demonstrates our care for the whole person beyond the pregnancy decision.
Additionally, we are adding a position to our staff called a “Navigator”. This role would be similar to a social worker, providing a direct connection between our clients and our key referral agencies. This will both improve the longer term outcomes for our clients and strengthen our relationship with community partners.
4. Consolidate our centers.
We have always regularly evaluated our locations and how we best serve our potential clients. As our Clackamas lease has come up for renewal, we have done a thorough and prayerful assessment of the effectiveness of that location for our next season. We have found that it sees the lowest number of our target clients, while having the highest lease payment of any of our properties.
Because of this and other factors, along with our conviction that we need to increase our services at existing centers and invest heavily in digital outreach, we have decided to close the Clackamas PRC on July 2nd. Resources will be redirected to our other three centers – in Gresham, SE Portland, and Beaverton.
I want to reiterate that this is a strategic, pro-active decision, not a response to financial challenges. We could continue to operate our Clackamas center as we have been, but we believe that this decision represents the best way for us to serve our clients going forward.
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the closing of our Clackamas center.
While changes like this are never easy, or undertaken lightly, we are excited for the future and ask you to join us as we seek the Lord for fresh momentum in the coming season.
- Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more partners to join together in extending our outreach through these initiatives.
- Volunteer to serve as an ambassador for First Image’s mission within your church and community, so that others can learn how to love neighbors impacted by sexual brokenness and abortion.
Thank you for your partnership in this mission. With your help and support, we believe that together we will continue to see God deliver women and men from the tragedy of desperate decisions and connect them to the hope of Jesus.