Who has God called us to serve through the ministry of First Image?
It’s hard to overstate how important this question is. It shapes how we do our work, and it’s a question that has consistently been in the forefront of our minds- especially over the last year. Recently, we have felt the need to reaffirm our mission as we look to the future. The last year has provided fruitful times of prayer, reflection, and clarity as to why we’re here doing this work in greater Portland.
We believe God has called us to serve women who are actively considering abortion. We know there are things we can do intentionally to reach more of those women, with care when they need it most.
As Oregon becomes a key abortion destination in the post-Dobbs world, and as the abortion pill is more accessible than ever, we know it’s critical that there are life-affirming alternatives for pregnancy and women’s health services.
Our conviction that every person conceived is created in the Image of God has always been the driving force behind this work. We believe children in the womb are people deserving of life simply because they exist.
Like you, we want to see lives spared from the devastating effects of abortion. We believe a key way to accomplish this mission is for followers of Jesus to be a source of life-affirming, medically professional pregnancy and women’s health services that provide women the information and care they need to make a decision about their pregnancy.
At the heart of that work is the compassionate and Jesus-centered way that care is offered, with concern for the whole person. We open the door to offer support in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realities of our patients. We want them to carry their children confidently, and we also want them to thrive and experience a full and abundant life.
Our desire to serve more women considering abortion has led us to evaluate our current communication with potential patients. That includes the name “Pregnancy Resource Center.” For a person who isn’t sure they want to be pregnant, the word, “pregnancy,” and the concept of a resource center doesn’t speak to where they are at. We want to make sure that even those who don’t want to be pregnant feel they can find the care they need at one of our centers.
It’s also important that we are clear about who we are. As I’ve said elsewhere, we are a real medical clinic (see the article here), and we want our potential patients to know that.
In light of all this, the name of Pregnancy Resource Centers is changing.
The pregnancy centers of First Image will now be known as Ava Health!
Ava is a word that means life, or to live. We want the people we serve to experience life-affirming care. As a common name, it also has a softer and more personal feel. Importantly, it is also a name that is easily pronounced in multiple languages.
Health is a word with a medical emphasis but can also go beyond that. It sets us clearly apart as a medical clinic, but does not detract from the whole-person nature of the care we provide.
First Image will continue to be the umbrella under which our 3 area clinics operate, along with Kindred Network, but the centers themselves – currently called Pregnancy Resource Centers – will now be known as Ava Health. First Image will remain the name of the organization as a whole.
This new name doesn’t represent an entirely new direction. It is a distinct step in the same direction we feel God has been leading us since the beginning. The staff and board of First Image have been prayerful and slow in making this change. We are excited for what comes next, especially for the people God has called us to serve in greater Portland!
If you have questions, there is additional information on our website, first-image.org. We have included a shareable link to this announcement, a video explaining the change, Frequently Asked Questions, and the new Ava Health website. Feel free to contact me personally too; I’m always happy to talk.
It takes a committed group of givers, volunteers and advocates to make this life-affirming work a reality in greater Portland. The ministry of First Image is an extension of the passion and partnership of people like you. I would ask that you join us in expanding access to this critical life-affirming care in greater Portland by giving a gift.
I am honestly so excited about how, together, we will be able to better serve those God has called us to love.