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MILTON-FREEWATER — The interim pastor at a Milton-Freewater church has a weighty assignment; not to grow it, but to help it fade away.

Rev. Brian Heron is working sort of a death with dignity model at Grace Presbyterian Church on Main Street in the former Milton part of town, almost across the street from the city hall.

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Grace Lee family

Deborah and John Lee pose with their grandson Kipton Lee, 9, next to the Last Supper rug Dec. 17, 2023, at Grace Presbyterian Church in Milton-Freewater. The rug, as well as etched glass windows in the front of the church, were labors of love provided by members of the congregation through the years. Kipton is a student at Ferndale Elementary School in the same community.

Grace clothing bank

Grace Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Heron poses Dec. 17, 2023, in one of the upstairs clothing bank rooms the church operates with Wesley United Methodist Church as a community service. The church once used the rooms for The rooms Sunday school.

Brian Heron in stole

Rev. Brian Heron’s tenure at Grace Presbyterian Church has been less than two months. He is a denomination specialist helping fading churches find their own conclusions for aging and dwindling membership. He presented the Christmas Advent sermon Dec. 17, 2023, at the church, in Milton-Freewater.

Grace Westerbeck Benton

Husband and wife musicians Cynthia Westerbeck, left, and Roy Benton perform Dec. 17, 2023, at Grace Presbyterian Church in Milton-Freewater as part of a Christmas Advent service.

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