Benevolences supported by Grace and Mercy
Lutheran Church


Mission Statement

The Arc Umatilla County advocates for the rights and full participation of all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Together with our network of members, we improve systems of supports and services; connect families; inspire communities and influence public policy.

Vision Statement

The Arc Umatilla County envisions a world in which all persons have the support and opportunities they need for personal development and independence, interdependence with family and friends, and inclusion in the community.


  • Since 1967, The Arc Umatilla County has made life better for individuals & families!
  • 1967 – Subsidized the instructor’s salary for the first class for “trainable mentally retarded children,” launching the integration of special-needs children into Umatilla County public schools
  • 1973 – Purchased the first two residential group homes in Umatilla County for adults with developmental disabilities
  • 1983 – Sponsored the first Infant Stimulation Courses through the ESD
  • 2002 – 2007 Assumed the responsibilities of the Umatilla – Morrow County Lifespan Respite Network
  • 2003 – Present Started the first Summer Recreation and Inclusion Program for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Umatilla County
  • For over 40 years, The Arc has assisted in education, vocational training, health care and recreation for thousands of Umatilla County individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Grace and Mercy Lutheran Church has helped the Umatilla County ARC through:
  • Financial donations
  • Assistance at Special Olympic Events
  • Landscaping at The ARC facility

The Agape House

Mission Statement

The Agape House is a Christian mission whose purpose is to feed, clothe and shelter those in need and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in words and actions. It is both an evangical and service outreach ence public policy.

Vision Statement

Agape House’s vision is to serve the less fortunate of our area by
providing material needs for today and building skills for a better


  • Our service area is Western Umatilla County and Morrow County with the exception of food boxes. Food boxes are available for residents of Hermiston and Umatilla since other areas are covered by Oregon Food Bank supported food banks.
  • The Agape House opened August 5, 1986 thru the efforts of Kathleen Knudson, a woman who had a vision for serving the less fortunate, working poor and the homeless transients. Beginning in a small house, Agape House grew rapidly over the next few years, becoming a small food bank and clothing dispensary for those in need. This original small house, served Agape House for several years, until the need for spaced pushed it into its current facilities.
  • In 1986, Agape House served an average of 100 families per month. Today the caseload is more than 750 families a month. With changes in the service area for over the last two decades, the organization added an 8′ x 45′ freezer unit,two walk-in 8′ by 20′ coolers, created more storage for the needed food products, and partnered with Blue Mountain Community College to operate a thrift store. After 8 years of dreaming, 3 years of planning, and fund raising and 4 months of construction, Agape House moved to a larger facility in December of 2005. Agape House continues to serve an ever-increasing caseload through the efforts of concerned individuals, church groups, and volunteers. Agape House has four trucks, a van and two trailers used to transport donated food and other items.

Grace and Mercy Lutheran Church has helped the Agape House through:

  • Financial donations
  • Food Donations
  • Weekly "Backpack program where packs of food are sent home with school aged youth to provide food through the weekend when they are not able to get food through the school lunch program

Prison Ministry

Two Rivers Correctional Institution’s groundbreaking occurred on April 5, 1997. The institution was substantially complete on March 10, 2000. Operation of the housing units was phased in between December 1999 and September 2001, when the last housing unit was occupied, for a total inmate capacity of 1,632. 

To lower costs and minimize inmate movements within the prison, it was designed to provide as many services as possible in the housing units. For instance, food trays are delivered to the housing units in heated carts. Outdoor activity yards are attached to each housing unit. Many programs are delivered on the housing units. 

TRCI is designated as an education/work facility for long-term inmates. The focus of its programs is Adult Basic Education and GEDs. Cognitive programs that teach and encourage self change are also available. Inside work activities include institution maintenance and a commercial laundry. 

The prison provides minimum-custody inmate work crews for community service projects. It also sends crews out daily for other work projects, under contract primarily to government agencies. Inmate crews also work on landscaping projects on prison property. 

Grace and Mercy Lutheran Church has supports the residents of Two Rivers Correctional Institution through:

  • Donation of materials for the inmate knitting and crochetting programs
  • Regular evening Vespers Services with the residents
  • Piano and keyboard instructions
  • "Octoberfest" meal with the residents