Marilyn Gifford, Terwilliger Plaza Presentation

Now for the 2019 Spirit of Giving Award.

The Spirit of Giving Award honors a donor who has made consistent cash or in-kind donations over time. For this year’s winner I would add “consistent, devoted amounts of time.”

This year the word “spirit” is this key to the award. Our 2019 recipient has contributed significantly to the Foundation over the years and actually received Donor of the Year award in 2003. He is truly one of the Foundation’s most loyal donors and also one of the most inspirational givers of time and talent to the Plaza community.

His music fills the promenade several times a week, softly surrounding those enjoying lunch in the Duniway Restaurant, greeting members, guests and staff through the lobby and promenade, lifting everyone’s spirits and brightening our days. He can also be found spreading the joy of his inspiring music in the Heights Café.

He has been a part of the Plaza community since 1997. That was the first time I met him, accompanying Alice Sedgwick on her piano (which she donated to the Plaza.) Alice was a dear friend with a sweet voice. He is a strong, humble supporter of causes throughout the Portland community to help addicts become and stay sober, in cooperation with Lines for Life, Oregon Partnership, YMCA, Union Gospel Mission, other organizations and churches. The list of the causes and services he has championed is too long to list today. Let me end with a quote by our winner from 2017.

“As a former Foundation Board member, president and currently a piano volunteer, I remain grateful for the privilege of participating in the musical dance which inherently defines abundant life at Terwilliger Plaza.”

It is an honor to name our Spirit of Giving award winner, someone who walks through life surrounded by the spirits of passed loved ones and always looks positively to each day with a happy, light heart, I give you our 2019 Spirit of Giving, Brad Mersereau.

Central City Concern We Are Family Event
May 5, 2015

Brad Mersereau playing piano at the Multnomah Athletic Club for the 2015 Central City Concern We Are Family Laura’s Place Fundraiser

Central City Concern Laura’s Place Fundraiser

An Evening of Music and Magic, April 21, 2011
Fundraiser for Letty Owings Center Laura’s Place

Brad delivered remarks and played piano to honor Laura’s memory at the Central City Concern Laura’s Place fundraiser.

Brad’s Remarks:

I am Brad Mersereau, and I am a grateful brother. Laura struggled for a quarter-century with her addiction to alcohol and died 4 months and 6 days after her 46th birthday, on June 13, 1999. I am proud that she attended AA meetings in her final six months and acknowledged her disease. Sadly her health complications could not be reversed.

Since her death, my macro-mission has been to make Laura’s memory matter. To quote Ashley Judd, I am inexorably an advocate when I allow my empathy to be engaged. I am grateful for alliances with the Oregon Partnership, Union Gospel Mission, YWCA, Southeast Uplift, Portland Rescue Mission, William Temple House and Central City Concern. Laura’s Place is a dream come true. I am supremely thankful that women and their children have the opportunity to transition with transparency, and live the professionally guided one-day-at-a time life that offers promise and infinite possibility.

Congruent with mission, our website affirms addiction recovery and prevention. We offer an anonymous Sobriety Anniversary page on which over 350 participants collectively celebrate 4985 sober years. 117 youngsters have offered to honor their minds, bodies, and spirits without drugs or alcohol on our Sobriety Pledge page. Joseph A. Califano Jr., through his Columbia University CASA research, documents that children who don’t drink or drug before 21 have little probability for future addiction. I believe that a diversified proactive approach is the best way to honor my little sister, and I thank all Laura’s Place family graduates, residents, and staff for embracing serenity through sobriety and effective teamwork. What better way to make Laura’s memory matter!

A Forever “Friend of Terwilliger Plaza.”
An Interview with Brad Mersereau
By Robert Grimsley, The Terwilliger Times, March 2012

What does one have to do to become “a friend of Terwilliger Plaza?”

Brad Mersereau is always introduced here as such but still remains somewhat a mystery. Nevertheless, he has given generously of his time, talent, and resources.

He became aware of the Plaza when Alice Sedgwick, a beloved Council Crest neighbor, moved here in 1997. Brad had grown up taking lessons from Portland piano teacher Sylvia Killman and playing games with Alice’s son. When Brad’s parents died in the early 90’s he began playing duets with Alice. She was a charismatic woman who loved music, singing, and acting. When she moved to the Plaza, they continued their tradition of duets.

Brad has given very generously both personally and practically to Terwilliger Plaza. The elaborate electronic keyboard in the auditorium and the upright piano in the Terrace are gifts from Brad. You can hear him playing either instrument from time to time. He also plays Alice’s grand piano which now sits in the niche just outside our Dining Room, as well as Jeanne Pendergrass’s grand piano in the Plaza Café. He is the guy with the mustache.

But in the Alice-Brad tradition, nearly every Wednesday around noon he and Plaza resident Jerry Lindgren play in the auditorium for their own amusement and learning. Brad always finds playing with someone a learning experience. The two men welcome visitors who haven’t come to talk.

Earlier Wednesday morning one is apt to find Brad shooting pool with Jean Cory, Beth Reid, and Becky Short.

Brad recently completed a six-year stint on the Foundation board, during which time he served two years as vice-president and one year as president.

As though he didn’t have enough on his plate, he is now executive-secretary of the William Temple House Board of Directors. He proudly states that 87.5 cents of every dollar taken in is spent on the organization’s mission of helping the needy.

Since his sister Laura died of complications from alcoholism, he has dedicated his major efforts towards stopping others, especially women, from falling into the same trap. Brad works closely with the YWCA, Union Gospel Mission and Central City Concern on abstinence programs aimed at separating addicts from liquor, drugs, and nicotine.

He co-founded a safe house called Laura’s Place in cooperation with Central City Concern. Under the plan, addicted women, many of whom have committed crimes and lost their children, and who are in the early stages of recovery, are chosen as residents. Their children are restored to them and all are placed in the safe house at an undisclosed location where abusive spouses and former lovers cannot find them.

Brad believes that boys and girls who stay clear of injurious substances until they are 21 are less likely to become addicts. To this end he has established an anonymous registry on his web page where young people may vow never to partake until they are of age. So far 175 have done so.

Ironically, Brad played piano in cocktail lounges for many years. While he himself chose not to imbibe, he was not militant about other adults meeting after work, say, for a cocktail. However, he did not create the “jolly piano bar” where lonely drinkers rely on the pianist for their social life. He was strictly background and not a “friend.”

He composes and writes the lyrics for much of the popular-style music he performs. Brad has produced several CDs, most recently a CD single “Christmas Carol” performed by several of Portland’s best-known musicians. And as usual with Brad, any profit goes to charity.

Another of his compositions, “Green Rain,” was heard in January on the soundtrack of Fox TV’s “The Finders.” Written in 1994, the lyrics to “Green Rain” were a three-person effort by Alice Sedgwick, Brad, and Brad’s wife Janet.

Brad is married to the former Janet Hughes. She volunteers in the children’s department of the Main Library downtown. Janet is a welcoming presence there and delights in directing the children’s research for school work.

Whenever we feel as though there is no hope for this world, we can be grateful that the Mersereaus are out there providing role models.

Ascension Episcopal Parish William Temple House Sunday Remarks
February 13, 2012

“Love is helping someone through their battles.” I wanted to offer an image which would capture your attention and believe this graphic from Charles Schultz does the trick. It illustrates last week’s sermon about service and today’s gospel reading from St. Mark about healing. This is the central mission of William Temple House: to restore hope and renew strength in individuals and families in a welcoming and respectful atmosphere.

Established in 1965 by Rev. Canon Clarence T. Abbott, William Temple House continues to offer a unique opportunity for Christian service in the Portland-Metro region. It is named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who served the poor from 1942-1944. If you have not visited recently, I encourage families, groups, and individuals to schedule a tour with our Executive Director, Allen Hunt. Observing initial client intake procedures in the lobby is heartwarming. Dignity is key. Social Services and Counseling Staff Directors and volunteers approach each new client with the Martin Buber I / Thou approach. In other words: “Your appointment with God is with the next person you meet. There holiness waits.” We serve the working poor with short term individualized plans of action, and client’s lives are transformed. Counselors, volunteers, and clients are invested in the process. Specific information about our services and volunteer opportunities are in today’s bulletin inserts. I will have additional handouts in the narthex (also known as the back of the church) after our service. Please check out the William Temple House website for further details. We also have a powerful 3½ minute video featuring Fr. Steve Norcross, Director of Pastoral Services, posted on our Facebook group webpage. Those who serve and those who are served benefit immeasurably at William Temple House. It is a sacred force for good.

We minister to the mind, body, and spirit of each client. During 2011 William Temple House fed more than 3,500 families through our food pantry. We are grateful for an alliance with the Oregon Food Bank. We also clothed more than 130 schoolchildren through our Children’s Clothing Closet. Each child received 5 new complete head-to-toe sets of clothes. For some, this was a first experience in receiving new clothes. With the expert leadership of our Clinical Director of Counseling, Dr. Susan Bettis, William Temple House counseled over 750 individuals and families. We also served over 60,000 customers at the William Temple House Thrift Store.

We are affiliated with Episcopal Diocese of Oregon and receive no government funding. Over 85 cents of every dollar is spent directly on client services. The prayer of St. Teresa of Avila expresses our proactive implementation of Father Abbott’s initial sacramental service vision: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good … and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”
Thank you.

Brad Mersereau
Board of Directors Secretary


Ascension Episcopal Parish – William Temple House Sunday Remarks
February 17, 2013

Good morning. I want you to close your eyes (I’m watching) and picture a safe inclusive spot in Portland, Oregon that offers, regardless of cost, 30 Monday through Friday daily counseling sessions 52 weeks each and every year for families and individuals in need. Isn’t that a remarkable blessing? You may open your eyes. You have just pictured in your mind’s eye a glimpse of the wonder that is William Temple House!

I believe that through the gift of grace and with a focus on service, we receive abundantly whatever we give. I further believe that we are sacramental agents of God who are meant to share the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The greater Portland community is blessed to have such a mission-minded action-centered expression of this philosophy in William Temple House. Founded in 1965 by Rev. Canon Clarence T. Abbott, we restore hope and renew strength in individuals and families in a welcoming and respectful atmosphere. That is our mission. I recommend that you consider scheduling a tour with our Executive Director, Allen Hunt, to discover the magic at 2023 NW Hoyt Street which is evident with clients and staff alike.

We minister to the mind, body, and spirit of our clients with counseling, food, clothing, and pastoral care. We assist folks who want to help themselves with employment, and basic Maslow needs issues. After initial assessment, every client has an individualized short-term action plan. During fiscal year 2012, we fed 3760 families and clothed 168 children. From October 2011 through June 2012, 603 families or individuals received an average of 9 counseling sessions. In that same period the William Temple House Thrift Shop provided low cost clothing and/or household items to 61,147 people. We also offered information and referral services to 9,102 individuals during our previous fiscal year. Counseling staff members seek first to understand and then be understood as they co-create doable implementation plans with their clients. I am proud to serve as the Secretary of a Board which embraces this St. Francis approach to service.

Brad Mersereau


Ascension Episcopal Parish Stewardship Remarks
November 10, 2013

Good morning … So that we can center I invite you to try a few yoga-like breaths. Let’s begin by inhaling through our noses 3 beats and exhaling 6 – again … Thanks.

I am grateful for my faith and for the opportunity to practice it on Sundays at Ascension. I believe that my time here is enhanced by noticing my breath and all that is holy in this place. It is a blessing to worship consistently together and focus on our sacramental calling to be outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.

In an early sermon, our dynamic and enthusiastic Rector, Father Phillip, described a question he posed to his OES middle-school students involving 86,400 hypothetical dollars given to them daily. How would they be spent … for what and for whom? He then suggested that we all receive this daily gift from God 86,400 times, and they are called seconds. As Stewards do we spend them wisely? Do we advance His Kingdom with our choices? Phillip’s questions captured my attention as I scrambled to stay focused on his profound inquiries. I believe that the members of a healthy church like ours with a thriving Sunday School and beaming parents are open to a daily relationship with our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, in waking and sleep for all 86,400 of those seconds. Jesus always nurtures our relationship with him even if we don’t reciprocate in real-time. All that we are and do emanates from the maturing growth of that primary relationship. We have daily opportunities to experience and share an abundance of the Fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, kindness, long-suffering, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

About 6 months ago, Father Phillip introduced a 6-word description technique which intrigued me. I have been using it to summarize his Sunday Sermons in Twitter-like precis form ever since. Today I offer five 6-word descriptors for Ascension:

Grateful, Proactive, Replenishing, Spirit-Infused Community.
Worship Concludes, Service Continues Through Ascension.
We Act And Are Renewed Faithfully.
Love This Place And Its People.
Welcoming Members Sharing Our Faith Abundantly.

Thank you.

Brad Mersereau


Ascension Episcopal Parish Sunday School Artistic Lesson Plan
May 3, 2015

Tell me and I forget
Teach me and I may remember
Involve me and I learn. — Benjamin Franklin

Breathe …
Silently Listen and Pray,
Discern, Create

Teaching and learning
Always the art
Never a finish
Never a start

It breathes
It pulses
It flows from the heart

Teaching and learning
Always the art — Brad Mersereau

Dear God, Thank you for this centering opportunity in one minute of silence
to experience the wonders of your creation. May we more fully feel your presence as we notice and identify 5 sounds right here and right now so that we can get out of the way and let your Holy Spirit flow. Thank you for running the show!

Describe and demonstrate composition process for latest tune dedicated
to my father, William B. Mersereau Sr., entitled Beyond the Stars.

Heard two bells which chimed a Perfect 5th
Added another Perfect 5th
Spied a Time Magazine Cover which read
“Beyond the Stars” at my wife’s chiropractor’s office
4. Sang 8 note melody with first 2 intervals to office manager
5. Completed composition with chart and demo for Producer

Q & A with emphasis on the beauty of silence in creation which allows for the
Holy Spirit to guide the process.


William Temple House Fork & Vine Remarks
Sentinel Hotel
October 5, 2019

Good Evening, I am Brad Mersereau and have been an energized William Temple House advocate, long range Abbott Society member and fan since my 6 years of opportunity for Board service began in 2008. After witnessing an inspiring occurrence at the front door, I left an enthusiastic phone message with Carrie Hoops a few weeks ago. She and Carrie Kaufman requested that I share it this evening as you strongly consider making your bids to support the Children’s Clothing Closet. I saw a young mother and her 2 daughters departing with heads held high, new clothes, school supplies and exuding a feeling of integrity. Their body language was confident after this incredible experience with their shopping buddy volunteers. I was struck by the dignity of it all. Golden Rule authenticity is alive and well in this program. It reminded me of a favorite saying from one of my wife’s dear friends, one Sister Gertrude O’Sullivan, who told Janet in the early 1970’s, “Your appointment with God is with the next person you meet. There holiness waits.” That’s the William Temple House vibe, folks, so I encourage you to make your bid on this special opportunity near the Silent Auction. Thank you!

Lessons Learned: Creating Significant Transactions Through Community Synergy & Mutual Ownership

Ascension Episcopal Parish
October 1, 2017

  1. Greet & Thank
  2. Solar Eclipse Poem
  3. My 1996 Mission Statement Inspired By Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
  4. St. Theresa’s Prayer
  5. Dear Laura 6-14-99 & 9-19-99
  6. Grief – Donated Laura’s House Proceeds To The YWCA For Drug Alcohol Programs
  7. Circle Of 125 Sober Years Inspired Sobriety Anniversary WebPage
  8. Laura CD – Musical Mutual Ownership Arrival, Sojourn, Vision, Spiritus, & Au Revoir
  9. Margie Boule Oregonian – Shared Secret Story In Service To Potentially Helping Addicts
  10. Autumn Waltz Celebrating Life – Lighthouse, Voyager, Le Petite Enfant, Next Dance
  11. Todd Murphy Portland Tribune – Released More Of Alcohol Secret To Help Others
  12. Discerning Mission To Make Laura’s Memory Matter
  13. Share Story, Create Significant Transactions Through Community & Mutual Ownership
  14. Website: Launch May 1, 2006 May Day = Help Me In French
  15. Web Counter Best Decision Gave Me Ownership Laura’s Mission: 24,700 Views
  16. 9 Videos & 1 Podcast
  17. 100,000 WebPage Views At Least 90 Seconds
  18. 15 Personal References – Offers Accountability & Authority
  19. Measure / Manage Approach Mutual Ownership Documented Through 43 Letters
  20. 1st Maslow Priority Is Addiction Prevention 315 Sobriety Sobriety Pledges
  21. Mutual Ownership Goal Updated Yearly: 25 New Sobriety Pledges Exceeded To Date
  22. 6 Drug Alcohol Refusal Skills Conversion 1 Out Of 50 = 15,750
  23. 2nd Maslow Priority Addiction Recovery
  24. 1079 Sobriety Anniversary Champions Celebrate 18,800 Clean & Sober Years
  25. Mutual Ownership Goal Updated Yearly: 1000 New Sober Years Exceeded To Date
  26. 3rd Maslow Priority Fundraising & Matching For 9 Addiction Prevention & Recovery
  27. We Offer Matches Generally Up Front Through Mutual Ownership Of Mission
  28. Abundance Attracts Abundance When Vision, Mission, and Intention Align
  29. Co Sponsored Lines For Life Laura Essay Contest Re: Drug & Alcohol Refusal-Skills
  30. Aruni / Janet “A Living Miracle”
  31. Laura’s Place Central City Concern Patience – Shared Carole Romm’s Vision – Piano
  32. Creating Order: Daily General Journals, Gratitude Journals, 5 Blessings A Day Journal
  33. Learned: If I Write It I Become It: Expect Nothing, Receive Gracefully, Share More
  34. Website Estate Legacy Goals Will Continue Thanks To Steward-Minded Friends
  35. St Francis Prayer Read Together
  36. Q & A

Hosford Middle School Career Day Presentation
April 26, 2007

Investment 101 Outline

Dow Jones Industrial Average gauges performance of 30 representative widely held public companies.
May 26, 1896   40.94
April 26, 2007 13,000+

Rule of 72’s
Divide 72 by interest rate = # of years to double
Example: $50,000 becomes $100,000 in 9 years with a compound interest rate of 8%
Example: Ages 14-17 4 summer jobs x $2000 = $8000
Stash $8000 in a Roth IRA for 49 years and do not touch principal
Through the power of compound interest the original amount is now over $1,000,000 at age 66 average stock market return about 10% x 7 years = 7 doubles in 49 years!

Successful Investment Strategies

Acquire appreciable assets.
Spend less than you earn. (Current national savings rate is -.7%. In 1960 it was 7.5%)
Keep spending journal to track expenses.
Discuss spending journal with family and friends. (Fine-tune budget and align with goals.)
Invest in yourself through education.
Pay yourself first consistently.

Dream it, Plan it, Write it, Do it!


Janet and I met Magic Johnson March 19, 2007
at the Simon Benson Award Dinner.

At a subsequent event, Magic checks out my Laura CD … a face in the misty light.