“Congregational Connections” is a quarterly e-publication by the Church Council of Greater Seattle, offered to all congregations in the King County and south Snohomish County areas as a means of sharing stories, information, and solidarity in this blessed work we are all doing together. Thank you for being here with us. 


Update: Asylum-Seeker Assistance and Sanctuary Work

The Church Council has been working closely with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, AID-NW, the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, and communities of faith all over the region to provide safe passage, hospitality, and humanitarian aid to our beloved neighbors as they are released from immigration detention in SeaTac and Tacoma. We have supported over a dozen asylum-seekers as they journey to be reunited with their children, and we honor the witness of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in their sanctuary hospitality for Jose Robles as he seeks a just remedy from deportation.

One father said, upon his release from detention, that he felt he was on a camino, a long spiritual journey home. He expressed his gratitude for the safe harbor of waystations along that path, like the Church Council, like the guest rooms of community members’ homes, like the smiling face of a trusted ally after so much hardship, like the promise of hope that blooms when compassion is shared between human beings as the larger systems of our country seek to divide and discourage us.

We are grateful for the support of the Church-Council-convened“For Such a Time As This” network, and for all the ways you are supporting immigrant and refugee people in this critical moment. The strength of your love is rending the path of history toward justice. Your faith is unbounded – we are blessed to be walking together on this camino.


Faith Leader Reflection: The Rev. Dr. Linda M. Smith
Reclaiming the Prophetic Call to Witness
Greeting to the Beloved Community

Never before has the Church been so clearly called to reclaim its prophetic vision and witness. This vision of speaking truth to power has never been as paramount for our survival as it is now; our witness of human acts of justice and kindness that attend to unjust sources of human hurt and misery has never been as great as it is now.

The Church as an entity holds a sacred position in this moment. We have both the power and calling to dethrone the evilness that is saturating the minds of the people, and to shatter the deliberate ignorance and misleading of humanity. Every entity has it place in history. The Church as a Prophetic leader is rooted in the testimony of the Hebrew prophets of old and in the words and deeds of the prophet Jesus of Nazareth. It is this entity that challenges the status quo, names evil in the public domain, and offers that a new social order is already in place to bring about the gift of life to all of God’s people.

I am honored and privileged to serve as the Board President of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, alongside the Prophetic Leadership of Executive Director Michael Ramos. The Church Council’s mission has been tested over the past year as it emerged itself into this new thing that God is doing in our midst.

The challenges have been great, yet through the power of the Spirit and the dedication of our leadership, a Greater Church council has risen to the challenge and done some amazing work. All over this region, the Church Council has been living out the Prophetic mandate by its Witness in calling attention to Economic injustices, poverty, healthcare, mass incarceration, affordable housing, environmental protection, war, the immigration system, and other acts of violence.

But we are not finished; there is greater work still to be done. Together, we move forward living out the mandate of Justice, Mercy, and Hope. As we rekindle the prophetic fire of the Church, at the root of all of our work is these questions:

What are the injustices?
What is the right thing to do?

When we respond with these in mind, we stay within the framework of the Prophetic Call of God in the work of the world and cannot get caught in the rhetoric that will take us on a path that is other than Justice making.

We stand at a crossroad. Which path will we take? The intersectionality of our faith calls us to take the path that will lead to justice-making for all of humanity. We need to recover the wider dimensions of the gospel dealing with righteousness and justice. We must remain valiant and watchful as we continue to live out the Witness of the Gospel.  We must continue to rise.

Now is the time to live out the vision and mission of Christ as mandated in (Luke 4) to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free. Let us not grow weary my beloved, there is nothing to fear. God is on our side.


Congregational Spotlight:
Highline UMC on Getting Connected
A story of new life through working together from Pastor Jenny Partch

It is a challenging yet exciting time to be in ministry in Burien. The issues of affordable housing, homelessness, immigration, racism and violence are all hot topics. There are the usual groups who problem solve by pushing out the people experiencing these issues. But the new Ecumenical Leadership Circle in Highline is working for systemic change that reflects the values we hold as Christian faith communities. We are six churches and growing.

My congregation, Highline United Methodist, is small and does not have a lot of resources. We have volunteers who work at the food bank and provide a weekly meal. But our ability to affect change in the root causes of hunger is quite small when we try to do it as a single congregation. Thanks to the work of Joey Ager, we are no longer isolated in this work. We are also becoming known as a church that is active in our community.

With the tools Joey is giving us, we are transforming our normal “networking” activity into deep listening one-on-one conversations drawing out what lies on the hearts of people in our community. We are connecting with parents, students, teachers, city employees and council members, police, non-profit leaders, and more. As we hear their stories and continue to find the common thread that leads back to affordable housing, discrimination, and safety concerns, we are also gathering the knowledge of policy-makers and formulating what policies need to be put in place that reflect our values and make for beloved community.

Blessings for the journey,

Pastor Jenny Partch


Organizer Spotlight: Haley Ballast
Moving forward together in faith, toward justice

Haley recently completed a community organizing internship at the Church Council of Greater Seattle in partnership with her graduate program at Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry.

It has been an immense privilege over the past nine months to walk alongside congregations who are choosing to embrace racial justice as a way of life. One experience in particular stands out to me as I reflect on where I have seen God at work this year. During Lent, the small groups at Wallingford United Methodist Church studied the topic of racism together. As they entered into the Easter season, they knew that God was stirring them to move together, and they asked me to help them discern the next step.

During the course of my conversations with their leaders and members, I was struck by their humility, enthusiasm, and openness. I shared with them some stories and experiences of other churches with whom I had worked, and this sparked lots of great conversation and generated new ideas for their congregation. Today they have mapped out some next steps together, and have embraced this work as the new thing God is doing among them.

I am grateful to be in partnership with communities like Wallingford UMC. They inspire me to keep pressing forward together to receive and act on God’s challenging and beautiful call to dismantle systems of oppression and build the beloved community together.


Opportunities to Engage

September 29, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Weaving Our Strengths – Narratives of Hope

Our annual Weaving Our Strengths conference will take place at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church this year. It is a day-long conference of fellowship, inspiration, and skill-building to strengthen local churches’ efforts for the common good. It’s a great chance to connect across denominations, share best practices, foster spiritually-grounded action, and bring insights and opportunities back to your home congregation.
Ready to register? Please contact Ann at (206) 204-3855.
Sponsorship information
Other questions? Please email us.

TBA Fall 2018 – Church Council of Greater Seattle Accompaniment Volunteer Gathering
REGISTER for the next gathering, tentatively Fall 2018
**Date and location details to come.

While we welcome all with a heart for accompaniment, based on the situations we encounter, we are particularly hoping to connect with folks who are proficient/bilingual in Spanish or another language, and who are connected to a faith community or congregation. A volunteer should have weekday & daytime availability, transportation and be of calm and confident demeanor.

Questions? Please contact Briana.


Faith-Based Justice Work In the News


“Congregational Connections” is a quarterly e-publication by the Church Council of Greater Seattle, offered to all congregations in the King County and south Snohomish County areas as a means of sharing stories, information, and solidarity in this blessed work we are all doing together. Thank you for being here with us. 

 

 

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