By JOHN FORTMEYER
SHERWOOD — Cozily tucked up among a peaceful expanse of trees near the border between Washington and Yamhill counties, a two-story, 44-year-old house has been a place of refuge and love for hundreds since 1976.
Not coincidentally, that’s the year that O. Virginia Phillips, an educator and newcomer from California. bought the place and made it home for her and her large family.
But “family” has always had an even broader meaning for Phillips, who — along with her late husband Joshua — became known over the years for welcoming and giving love to hundreds of all ages who needed it in large doses — offered in Jesus’ name.
Phillips went on in 1993 to found the ministry Women of Purpose Inter-national (womenofpurpose.com). Located at 26429 S.W. Markhaven, Sherwood, the 3,250-square-foot dwelling on an acre of property — described by Phillips as a “House of Reconciliation and Restoration” — has served as a prayer and ministry center as well as offices.
Women of Purpose has since moved its headquarters to Portland, and Phillips, who remains energetic at age 76, has a new vision for her home that she is ready to implement immediately. Under the Women of Purpose banner, she plans to devote the three bedrooms in the lower floor to women 50 years of age or older who are basically independent and don’t have major physical limitations, but who need a renewed spiritual and emotional vision for their senior years.
“We are going to speak life into them,” explained Phillips. “What we are doing is reviving those things in them that they might have lost as they were getting older.”
Surveying the scenery behind the house from its large outdoor deck, Phillips noted that the area surrounding the residence lends itself to restoration of the soul.
“We want it to be a place where ladies can have freedom, where it will be peaceful, and out of traffic,” she said. “The surroundings here are lovely.”
Phillips said applications are now being taken for the first three occupants of the new program, which she hopes to launch in September.
Each applicant’s emotional, spiritual and other needs will be reviewed. “We’ll match their needs with what we have,” she said.
Those eventually selected will be charged negotiated fees, based on their income levels.
There will be no set time limit to their stay, Phillips said. The only goal will be giving them the time in the house to allow proper restoration to take place.
“They will be here as long as they need,” she said.
For more information, contact Phillips at 503-537-2070.