the refuge throwing parties. sharing stories. finding hope. practicing the ways of Jesus.

who we are

the refuge is a community of practice, an eclectic group of people dedicated to living out the ways of Jesus as best we can.  we are committed to cultivating hope, beauty, justice, equality, generosity and healing.  
everyone at the refuge has a voice & everyone leads in different ways, but there are a few who keep things moving in a more intentional way:


kathy escobar
mike herzog
karl wheeler

refuge kids & youth:

stacy schaffer

pastoral team:

marrton dormish - community outreach & advocacy
jenny herrick  - visual arts & contemplative ministry
dawn hykan - single moms & healing community
debra meyer - community connections & local partnerships

our story

the refuge started in 2006, born from a dream of an inclusive, creative, safe, healing, practicing faith community where leadership was about serving, not power. we have never wanted people to say that they came to the refuge "for the teaching, worship, or kids program." while we value those things, our sense is those are the main reasons most people go to "church." we have always wanted people to be part of the refuge because they long for real community & connection and a place to wrestle & find hope in the deep issues of faith & life. we have fumbled & bumbled along the way (and probably always will), but we think that's what the faith journey looks like. the one thing we always hope to preserve is being willing to go the places Jesus wants us to go.
prayer walk
god shows up

we believe (so far...)

  • Jesus meant everything He said
  • the Bible
  • the Bible is in places hard to understand and even harder to apply
  • that believing is sometimes difficult
  • the more we learn of and experience God, the more questions we have
  • miracles happen, sometimes quickly, but mostly they are so slow in coming
  • we need each other to know God fully and live the life He dreams for us
  • it is our responsibility to advocate for and tangibly love the poor, marginalized, and oppressed
  • in equality and dignity for all regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status, or a myriad of other things that typically cause us to power up on others
  • we are embarrassed by how the word "Christian" is perceived in the world today and we are sorry for our part in that
  • that mostly people need to be loved, not just told they are
  • church is messy

"if you want to know what a person really believes, watch what they do.." - brennan manning

we believe that if you really want to know what we believe at the refuge you have to hang out with us and watch what we do.


we're not afraid to admit it, we're needy.  we need good friends to love and support us, and we love to partner, share, and support others in their work, too. 

christians for biblical equalitysupporting  gender equality in the church 
the bridgeour sister church in portland 
cans for hope - recycling aluminum cans to raise money for women who are victims of abuse and sex trafficking
don't be stingy  - offering tangible support and advocacy when people are in need
home-pdxour friends who love people who live outside in portland 
hope2others - bringing clean water to the world 
joshua station - our friends who provide transformational housing for families in denver

justice and mercy legal aid clinicproviding legal aid for women who have been abused
lightbridge international  - they support grass-roots orphanages and organizations in asia; we support 5 thai orphans every month
oasis usafighting human trafficking and advocating for the marginalized and oppressed in tangible ways
off the map - trying to make christians better people 
recycle your faith - stirring the pot with provocative videos on life and faith
restoration village building bridges through  music 
sharing their story - telling stories of God at work around the world
torn curtain bringing drama, creativity and beauty to churches and ministries 
transform network a network dedicated to cultivating missional communities
urban skye  - cultivating arts and justice in denver 
voca feminaa creative arts site for women