In the History Books
A pioneer in his own right, Mondaine has followed the path of the original pioneers from the Mississippi River to the Willamette Valley. From his time in the military, the ministry, the hospitals and the community, Mondaine’s journey has helped carve the way for many milestones that have already been achieved.
Pastor Elbert Mondaine has dedicated his life to restoring the face of the Church as a community resource. Through entrepreneurship, education, arts and community outreach, Mondaine strives to help revive communities from the inside out. Pastor Elbert Mondainé founded Celebration Tabernacle Church in North Portland in 1988. From its inception, Celebration Tabernacle has been a social and spiritual force to be reckoned with in both the Christian and secular societies. It has become a model of church-based community involvement, yet emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurship.
In 1994, when Elbert Mondainé and his small congregation moved their church into an abandoned bar and gambling hall in the run-down Kenton Neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, the outlook seemed grim. The streets were littered with used needles and condoms, bars outnumbered any other entity in the neighborhood; few people felt safe crossing the main street to walk their dog or take their children to the park. Facing the great feat of rehabilitating a neighborhood that the city would rather forget was not Mondaine’s only challenge. He also faced personal struggles of being a young single parent and dealing with various health conditions that affected his heart and his breathing.
Despite his personal challenges, Mondainé was able to draw from his rich collection of past experiences in music, social work and management. These experiences include his time served in the US Armed forces, during which he directed the USAAF (United States Army/Air Force) Gospel Choirs over Europe, as well as his experience as one of the first African American managers for a major subsidy of the Tandy Corp. Additionally, Mondainé was a licensed health care professional working as a medical technician for 4 years before serving as a counselor for Youth Outreach Inc. in Washington and later putting in years directing the Fatherhood Initiative Teen Parent Program for the Albina Ministerial Alliance of Portland where he taught a course on independent living for youth and young adults at Portland Community College. As Mondaine grew up in the Church he served as the Minister of Music at several churches in Missouri and Oregon. Mondainé also gained much knowledge when he was appointed as a member of the executive board for the Billy Graham Crusade to Portland in 1992. With his experience, faith, vision and a dedicated congregation, Mondainé began building an organization (The True Believers Assembly) that brought the church back into being an institution of community support and resource.