By Story and photos by Mikael Krummel

A visitor’s pamphlet for Alluvium speaks to the core identity of the recently established church tucked into an aged Whiteaker-area lot. “Alluvium,” the pamphlet states, “isn’t just the church that you’re in right now. It’s also the set of spiritual beliefs and ideas that brings us together as a community.”

Alluvium stands apart from most conventional churches, in large part because it advances a mission recognizing that traditional religious institutions often isolate themselves. Alluvium’s intent is to “unify scientific ideas, philosophical insights, and artistic expression to create a holistic experience of spiritual nourishment.”

Eli Verádas is the founder and pastor of Alluvium. He labels his leadership role as steward — but he’s clearly a man of many roles: planner, organizer, humanist, webmaster, thinker, caretaker, aesthete, and more. He’s also a radiologist at Eugene’s Vet Center. Verádas founded Alluvium about two years ago, following a deadly serious bout and recovery from leukemia. Alluvium was an answer to a question he had asked himself while deep in the clutches of his illness: “What can I do to leave behind a legacy that is positive, that’s communal, that results in spiritual nourishment, that leaves the world a more beautiful place?”

Have you heard of the Sunday Free Market? It’s the weekly Alluvium event that serves as a major source of charitable donations for church visitors. Roughly 3,000 pounds of food, clothing, and toiletries are dispensed there by community organizations every Sunday, along with live music, tutoring and supervised kid play, haircuts, bike repair, free pizza, grilled foods, beverages, and a sense of festivity.

Alluvium is as much a community center as a church. A spectrum of scheduled events happens weekly. Sunday evenings include spirituality discussion groups followed by open mic sessions featuring music and poetry. Other days, community members gather for activities ranging from AA meetings to movie screenings, dances, meditation sessions, concerts, book chats, songwriting workshops, and arts classes.

“A lot of people walk into this building to get involved and do stuff,” says Verádas. “And a lot of what we do is find places for those people. Our hearts are in the right place. I hope that comes through in what we are trying to do.”