Fleeing the repressive regime of then-Communist Romania, thousands of refugees re-settled in Portland, Oregon, during the late 1970s and 1980s. They lost much in choosing freedom — but not their faith, strong work ethic, and deeply ingrained commitment to family and community.
That wealth of spirit and character proved a strong foundation for southeast Portland’s Philadelphia Romanian Pentecostal Church, launched by pastor Nicky Pop and a small group of immigrant families in 1979. The church, which now has 1,500 adult attendees and over 600 children, is the largest Assemblies of God Romanian church in the U.S.
“Romanians are very strong in preserving their culture, and that first generation is the backbone of our church,” says senior pastor Vasile Cinpean, who succeeded founder Pop in 2011. “We continue to hold a lot to our heritage, but at the same time, we are successful in keeping our young people, the next generation, involved with opportunities for ministry.”