Sonrise Church

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Sonrise Church
Sonrise Church sign - Hillsboro, Oregon.JPG
Main entrance
45°32′00″N 122°54′39″W / 45.5334°N 122.9107°W / 45.5334; -122.9107Coordinates: 45°32′00″N 122°54′39″W / 45.5334°N 122.9107°W / 45.5334; -122.9107
Location Hillsboro, Oregon
Country United States
Denomination Conservative Baptist
Former name(s) Sonrise Baptist Church
Founded 1980
Functional status Active
Architectural type Industrial
Floor area 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2)
Pastor(s) James Gleason
Sonrise Church logo.png

Sonrise Church is a non-denominational Christian church in Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1980 as Sonrise Baptist Church, the church is located in the Orenco neighborhood and has about 1,200 worshipers at its main campus, a former industrial building. The main church grounds also house a winter homeless shelter and a community garden.


Sonrise Baptist Church was started in 1980 in Hillsboro, Oregon, by families including G. Robert and Loretta Schwarz, with Larry E. Allen as pastor.[1] [2] In October 1981, it received approval from the city to build a 10,600-square-foot (980 m2) structure at the then location near Jackson School and Northeast Ninth Avenue.[3] The new building was to be used as the church’s sanctuary.[3] Sonrise Baptist built a new building at the original church location on NE Rogahn Street in 2000.[4] In 1998, Americans United for Separation of Church and State alleged that Sonrise was one of nine churches in the country that violated federal tax law by distributing voter guides seen as pro-Republican.[5]

In 2006, Sonrise started Washington County Project Homeless Connect, a one-day, annual event that provides a variety of services to the homeless, including pet care, medical care, counseling, and legal services.[6][7] Other partners in the program as of 2012 included Pacific University, Vision Action Network, and Hands On Greater Portland, among others.[6] The 2009 event had visits by about 500 homeless people served by approximately 450 volunteers.[8]

The church offered to buy about 9.7 acres (3.9 ha) that included a 54,000-square-foot (5,000 m2) industrial building owned by Toshiba Ceramics America for $4.5 million in October 2006.[4][9] Sonrise’s offer was for only half of the site, which had been the proposed location for a hospital by Providence Health System in 2003.[4] At the time of the purchase, Sonrise had grown to 700 in its congregation.[4] Toshiba Ceramics had opened its factory on the site in 1989[10] and closed it in April 2002.[11]

Sonrise moved into the former Toshiba facility near Cornell Road and Northwest 231st Avenue in 2007.[12] The nearly 10-acre (4.0 ha) campus in the Orenco neighborhood is next to Quatama Elementary School.[12] The church added a community garden in 2009 in partnership with the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department,[12] with a second phases with more plots added the following year. [13] Later in 2009, Heritage Christian School closed, and Carden Cascade Academy moved into the classroom space at the church in September.[14]

Sonrise opened a homeless shelter at the church in December 2008 that opened during cold weather.[15] The next year it opened in December for a 90-day run, staffed by volunteers from nine area churches,[15][16] calling it the Shelter at Orenco Station.[17] The church also serves as a cooling center during extreme heat in the summer.[18]

Sonrise opened a second church in April 2012 in Forest Grove.[19] At the time, Sonrise had grown to about 1,500 people.[19] The new location opened in a 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) former retail space belonging to Tupper’s Home Furnishings, and was to be led by Rudy Tinoco.[19] The church faced controversy in November 2012 when parents in the area brought their complaints to local media about meetings held at the church for convicted felons.[20][21] Participants at the meetings included registered sex offenders, and parents raised the concern that Quatama Elementary was adjacent to the church.[20] The church said it would consider moving the meetings if a suitable location could be found.[21]


The church has three locations on the Westside of the Portland metropolitan area: the main campus in Hillsboro, one in Forest Grove, and one in Cornelius.[22] The main campus in Hillsboro is near the Orenco Station light rail stop along Cornell Road. The building is 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2) in size and sits on 9.77 acres (3.95 ha).[4][23] In addition to the sanctuary, the grounds house classrooms, a seasonal 45-bed homeless shelter,[15] and a community garden operated through the city’s parks department.[24][25]


  1. ^ Bodine, Harry (May 29, 1984). "County picks Wonder Woman nominee". The Oregonian. p. MetroWest 5. 
  2. ^ "Vision, Mission, & Beliefs". Sonrise Church. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Churches receive planners' backing". The Oregonian. November 10, 1981. p. MetroWest 2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Jones, Melissa L. (October 31, 2006). "Sonrise Church seeks part of Toshiba site". The Oregonian. p. B3. 
  5. ^ "Religion Briefs". The Associated Press News Service. December 17, 1998. 
  6. ^ a b "One-day, full-service event for homeless on tap Jan. 27". The Hillsboro Argus. January 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Washington County Project Homeless Connect events rev up". Beaverton Valley Times. January 24, 2012. 
  8. ^ Gregory, Roger (January 26, 2010). "Assistance for homeless and leaders' briefing set for Wednesday". The Oregonian. 
  9. ^ Armer, Christine (October 26, 2006). "Neighborhood Roundup: Sonrise Baptist buys 231st/Cornell property". The Oregonian. p. Metro West Neighbors 12. 
  10. ^ Colby, Richard (September 17, 1989). "Japanese-owned tech firms continue to expand, build". The Oregonian. p. C1. 
  11. ^ Anderson, David R. (November 21, 2002). "Industrial sites seek rezoning". The Oregonian. West Metro section, p. MW1. 
  12. ^ a b c Boatwright, JoAnn (May 29, 2009). "Sonrise shines with new community garden ministry". The Hillsboro Argus. 
  13. ^ Boatwright, JoAnn (July 2, 2012). "Hillsboro community gardens expand to three locations, offering 169 plots for planting". The Hillsboro Argus. 
  14. ^ "Old school gets new digs". The Hillsboro Argus. August 7, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b c Parker, Andy (December 13, 2009). "Serving the least, the last and the lost". The Oregonian. 
  16. ^ Rehkopf Smith, Jill (December 2, 2009). "Homeless shelter opens in Hillsboro". The Oregonian. 
  17. ^ Parker, Andy (December 11, 2009). "A miracle out on 131st street". The Oregonian. 
  18. ^ Christensen, Nick (July 31, 2009). "Very Frying Days 3 days of 100 degree-plus temperatures leave Hillsboro sizzling". The Hillsboro Argus. 
  19. ^ a b c Townsley, Nancy (April 4, 2012). "A new Sonrise in town". The Forest Grove News-Times. 
  20. ^ a b Jensen, Thom (November 15, 2012). "Parents battle church over sex offender meetings near school". KATU. 
  21. ^ a b Jensen, Thom (November 20, 2012). "Pastor says he'll consider moving sex offender service away from school". KATU. 
  22. ^ "Cornelius campus". Locations. Sonrise Church. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Assessment & Taxation Report". Geographic Information Systems. Washington County, Oregon. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Community Gardens". Parks & Recreation. City of Hillsboro. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Armer, Christine (December 12, 2007). "Sonrise Church moves to Campus Way venue". The Oregonian. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 

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