Calvary Baptist Pastor’s Reputation Keeps Him In Demand, On The Road

The Rev. Don Porter loves his newest job as pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church of Toppenish.

But though he’s been there only a year, people keep asking him to leave. At least for a while. Porter, 55, is also a popular traveling speaker; so much so that he has to turn down a lot of invitations to appear at other Baptist churches.

That’s why he’s a little hesitant to call himself an evangelist.

“I’ve pastored churches all my life … my primary responsibility is to my church,” Porter says. Before starting in Toppenish, he was the minister of education at First Southern Baptist Church in Yakima for 15 years.

But he hits the road when he finds the time. Next week, he’ll be at Crossroads Baptist Church, 509 N. Sullivan Road, for five days.

Porter says his message is aimed at two distinct groups - the church regulars and those who show up just to hear a revival message. After a while, he developed a reputation for being able to communicate with those new to Christianity as well as regular churchgoers. The trick, he says, is to not alienate either group.

Sunday’s message will be “How to Forgive” at 10:45 a.m., and “The Characteristics of an Evangelistic Church” at 6 p.m. All weekday messages start at 7 p.m.

On Monday, Porter will speak on “The Grace of Giving.” Tuesday, the message will be “Loving One Another.” The series concludes Wednesday with “All This and Heaven Too!”

When it comes to preaching, Porter says his style is a little fatherly - stern and gentle at the same time.

“The messages are going to be geared the strengthen and renew the people, encourage them,” he says.

“I have a pastor’s heart. I want to be tender with God’s folks, but you have to be a straight shooter with them, too.”

Auction tickets, donations

St. Mary’s Catholic Church is still accepting items to be auctioned off at its annual parish school fund-raiser, happening April 27 at 5 p.m. at the Red Lion Inn.

The deadline is Thursday.

If you’re more inclined to bid than donate, spaces at the “An Evening to Remember” auction need to be reserved by April 11. Tickets are $30. That includes a dinner with salmon or steak and dancing hosted by Barry Watkins of KAQQ radio. Watkins will spin hits of the big-band era until midnight.

There will be about 90 items up for live auction, and more than 500 silent auction items. Kathy Willcox, auction secretary, said they aren’t trying to raise a certain amount, but last year the event raised $60,000.

Tickets should be purchased as soon as possible, Willcox said. “It’s usually very, very close to packed, and room seats close to 500.”

For more information, call 924-4300 and ask for the auction office.

, DataTimes

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