Following is an article written by Nancy Haught of the Oregonian. It was published in the December 1 issue of the paper. Photos are by Randy L. Rasmussen, also of the Oregonian. Roger Button is a 2009 graduate of the George Fox Evangelical Seminary, and member of Sherwood Friends Church.
At the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, chaplain works to put Christian back into the initials
Members, volunteers and staff of the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA drop prayer requests in a wooden box at the reception desk. The YMCA of Columbia-Willamette is reasserting its Christian values and commitment to strong minds, bodies and spirits. The wooden box, not quite big enough to hold a pair of shoes, sits on the reception desk, just inside the Sherwood YMCA. Once a day, Roger Button empties the box, finds a quiet place and prays over the slips of paper he finds inside:
- For someone’s son struggling with drug addiction.
- For a friend who needs a job.
- For more blue, figure-8 rubber bands.
“Sometimes people mistake the prayer box for a suggestion box,” Button shrugs. That doesn’t bother him. Gradually, he’s replanting the Christian values at the heart of the YMCA.
Roger Button, an ordained minister and chaplain at the Sherwood YMCA, says he often walks around the track and prays with members. Button is the first ordained chaplain to serve a single branch of the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette. The regional Y is reminding people who think of it as a good place to work out or find dependable child care that the C in Young Men’s Christian Association still means Christian values inspired by Jesus’ life — but broadly applied across denominational lines.
“My role here is to minister to the staff and members who call the Sherwood YMCA their home,” Button says. “I feel blessed to be able to be here and be a listening ear.” Many of the people he listens to aren’t churchgoers, he says, but again, that doesn’t bother him.
For the rest of this story about Roger, a member at Sherwood Friends Church, read it at the Oregonian