First Church of the Nazarene in Portsmouth

Randy Rucker



As we get further into our journey we find ourselves scouting out the off-road churches in the county and in town. We are saving a few closer snowy day churches but for the most part, we are reaching out further.

Some say to us we wondered when you would be coming to our church. We leave other places where we believe no one knew who we really were or they hadn’t read of our mission. That though occurs less and less and I often wonder if they will glance in the paper to catch our notes about the visit.

We usually have an opportunity to give a few in the church information encouraging them to visit with a search for Randy Rucker to view photos we usually gather. Our hope is they will share with others to follow along!

That brings me to a point. I don’t really like taking pictures in churches. However, I catch things on the screens and from church bulletins that help me with my work. Also, I want others to take a look at the insides of churches that they may never see.

I have made it a habit to sit through most of each service because I find that in movement and the holding of a church hymnal I might miss even one thing that I would like to include within my story.

On a recent Sunday morning, we traveled to Third and Grant Street in Portsmouth Ohio. It would thrill Beverly and I to know that someone out there might follow our visit here to drop by and participate in a service of this wonderful church.

Of course, that is the concept of our mission to join fellow Scioto County believers in their churches to encourage others to visit these churches for worship! Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this country was built on faith from George Washington to the present day.

This was our visit to the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. They make it easy by calling it a shortened PFNA. We were welcomed warmly prior to and during the service.

We learned that on a recent Wednesday this church had studied Revelation. Ruth Gully played beautifully on the piano throughout the morning and some of the hymn selections of the day included, “At the Cross, Your Love Awakens Me and Oh Great God.” Those are the ones I jotted down anyway.

Sitting close to us, I recall meeting a very nice Peggy Angel who spoke with Beverly and I briefly during the service. Of course, we had the opportunity to meet other wonderful people around us. Once in a while we catch a name we get written down or remember.

The church cornerstone told us this beautiful and somewhat historic building was built in 1937 although the church was organized prior to that in 1921. In it’s past it sponsored other Nazarene churches locally including the Sciotoville Nazarene Church in 1930 and also the Nazarene Church of Rosemount. There a number more Nazarene Churches located in Rarden, Minford and perhaps some I might be missing. I believe we only have one more of these to visit.

Jumping back into a little history of the Nazarene Faith I learned that it was formed internationally in 1908 in Wesleyan Holiness tradition, whatever that means! It now encompasses about two million people in 2600 congregations worldwide.

But here we were today at PFNA. The Pastor is Jason Dickson. He and his wife Janel greeted us at the door prior to the service and made us feel most welcome throughout the morning.

A prior Pastor from a church web site once said “I love this church. The people are awesome and willing to work for God’s Kingdom. I feel blessed for the opportunity to serve with them. God has great things in store for our church.”

On the day of our visit Pastor Jason Dickson discussed the church Fall Carnival looking for their to be great food, games, fun and hopefully large crowds.

He spoke from various parts of the book of Mark pointing out the Messiah was on a mission with his word…works…and miracles. He said he would be speaking around Mark for the next four months and said that the testimony of Jesus can be found in the Gospel of Mark.

Jason also spoke on the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The question might be asked, why did John have to baptize Jesus and he said it was to fulfill all righteousness. It was the beginning of the process of Jesus taking on our sins, through dying and rising again.

Also, he said that Jesus watched Heaven open sending a dove to light upon him. Looking at Matthew 3:16 and there also verses in Mark, Luke and John as to this: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. In Hebrew, Jonah means dove.

Further investigation on my part found that in baptism, a dove symbolism does depict the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove. The dove affirmed Jesus as the Chosen One….and symbolizes peace between God and human beings as well.

The Pastor spoke on many other things and told some wonderful stories. Most importantly Pastor Dickson presented that Jesus was the Lamb of God, sacrificed to clean people of their sins.

If you live close to the First Church of the Nazarene in Portsmouth Ohio, why not drop by and pay them a visit. They will be glad to see you!

As believers, let us share the Good News! Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! Each one…Reach one! See ya in church!


Randy Rucker

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