PENDLETON - Gary Rambaran is the new minister at the Church of Christ.
He is most recently from Modesto, Calif., where he was involved in evangelical work and supported his family with an independent counseling and consulting business. His wife, Meena, and children, 13-year-old daughter Nikita and 12-year-old son Adrian, still reside there. They plan to join him in Pendleton as soon as school is out for the summer.
He has been in evangelical work, he said, on the Asian sub-continent and in South Africa where he was educated for ministry and mission work.
He said he is happy to be in Pendleton and very impressed with the community of down-to-earth, hard-working people and with the quality of life in Eastern Oregon.
The Church of Christ has been without a minister for some time, Rambaran said. He described himself as a minister of the word of God as recorded in the Bible, not a pastor or a reverend. The Church of Christ is not a denomination, he added, but a universal church open to everyone.
"We are very strictly Bible-believing," he said. "I pray to God to use me, not to preach a sermon, but to be a sermon. Let me reflect the beauty of Jesus."
Coming to worship services is good, he said, but it doesn't end there. He supports mission efforts, he said, but "mission work begins at home. We need people to go out and share the word with the community."
He invited the Pendleton Chief of Police to meet his 40-member congregation and share ideas with them about community policing.
"We, the church, must be actively and wholeheartedly serving as well as our city officials," he said.
The church plans to have appreciation dinners for the emergency services and community service professions to show their support, he said. "We propose ... working with the city fathers to ... provide much needed love and affection to ... victims of abuse. We will work with law enforcement ... to caution against drugs/alcohol, etc."
His values, he said, are conservative and very patriotic.
"I am definitely red, white and blue," he said. "I hope for the opportunity to go into Afghanistan and Iraq and pray with those who risk their lives there."