The Church Council of Greater Seattle convenes and catalyzes communities and people of faith to bring our spiritual commitments of love and reconciliation, peace and justice into the public square. We aspire together to weave a world of justice through right and equitable relationships with one another. Our hope is to more fully live into the Beloved Community, as promoted by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As people of faith, we uphold the values of mutual interdependence and accompaniment. These are rooted in our belief in the dignity of every human being as a child of God, the communion that we share through our unity with one another, and the solidarity that breaks down barriers that label some as “Other.” We are convinced, instead, that there is a “We” within which we are all called to participate.
We outline our specific areas of commitment below, and provide further background concerning the Christian imperatives that call us to this work. This work can take many different forms – education, advocacy, conferences, prayer services and facilitated dialogues, to name just a few. All are invited – as individuals and as congregations – to participate. Our Resources Section provides many practical ideas for taking action.
Housing & Homelessness
Access to affordable housing is key to an individual’s or family’s ability to survive and thrive in our society. We know that the prevalence of homelessness in King and South Snohomish Counties is due to a variety of issues. It is certainly exacerbated, however, by the dire shortage of low-income housing units available for the people who need them.
From a faith perspective, homelessness is a scandal that cries out for a humane, compassionate remedy. People experiencing homelessness must all be treated with dignity and respect.
Faith communities have a rich history of providing the whole continuum of care for people experiencing homelessness. The Church Council works in solidarity with them to create opportunities, resources and political will to address and end homelessness, to preserve and fund the development of low-income units and to ensure that every woman, man and child has a place to call home.
Please explore Resources to find ways that you can make a difference in solving the crisis of homelessness.
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24)
The Church Council’s living wage efforts are rooted in the dignity of the human person and the dignity of work. The measure of a just economy is what the economy does for people, what it does to people, and how those who are impacted take part in the decisions that affect them.
We seek an economy where all thrive, where the Lutheran concept of a “sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all” is realized. In the face of growing economic inequality, we are called both to serve people in need, and to challenge and change the conditions that perpetuate poverty. Specifically, we work to strengthen the social safety net, promote the opportunity for upward mobility for all, and protect the right to organize. We believe these are basic principles for vibrant, human communities.
Please explore Resources to find ways to make a difference for economic justice.
Racism & Prejudice
The persistence of systemic racism in the United States violates God’s dream for human community. The Church Council seeks to address racism by engaging faith communities who share the intention to make racial justice a way of life. We aspire to bring a critical race lens to our work. We act for racial justice as a spiritual imperative, in alliance with and as communities of color.
Please explore Resources to learn about ways to become involved in racial justice.
Immigrant & Refugee Accompaniment
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)
Immigrants and refugees, many of whom have risked their lives in order to support their families, have contributed enormously to the building up of our nation’s economy, as well as strengthening the fabric of our communities.
The Church Council upholds and affirms the rights and dignity of all immigrants as children of God. The scriptures of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and Matthew 25:31-46 strengthen our resolve to alleviate suffering and remove fear, as part of a “faith that does justice.”
We decry the tearing apart of families due to unjust detention and deportation policies and practices. We seek to practice an accompaniment of immigrant households that fosters safety, stability, unity within our diversity, and economic security. We encourage our faith communities to be places of refuge and hope for all.
Please explore Resources to learn more about Immigration and Refugee issues and learn how you can make a difference.
Ecumenism & Interfaith
Christian communities of faith, diverse in expression, together form the one Body of Christ. We are charged to live into our God-given unity in fellowship, outreach, engaged spirituality, and service fueled by hope, compassion and justice-seeking. As a communion of communities, we participate together in “acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). Such a shared commitment underscores that we belong to one another, indeed, we need each other in order to more fully accomplish Christ’s mission of liberation and transformation in all its dimensions.
As a Christian organization, the Church Council readily embraces our brothers and sisters from all religious traditions in prayer opportunities, dialogue, study and action. We engage in opportunities to share our stories together, for mutual understanding and to stand together for human dignity, wisdom, compassion and justice. We believe that in going to the depths of our own faith we find our common ground with the other great traditions. We offer our public witness in support of the integrity of religious expression in a spirit of deep listening, learning and enrichment.
Please explore Resources to learn how to be a part of ecumenical and Interfaith activities.
Working Groups & Task Forces
Our work is extended even farther through our Working Groups and Task Forces. Working Groups are formed by the Church Council to carry out the core of our work and are staffed by Church Council staff. Task Forces are self-organized, ecumenical or interfaith groups which convene around a specific issue and who are affiliated with the Church Council.
Living Wage Working Group
The Living Wage Working Group brings people of faith together to actively work on a variety of living wage issues and initiatives in our region. They established Living Wage Principles, created the “God and Money” curriculum, participated in many actions in support of workers and livable wages, and launched the “Living Wage for All” Banner Campaign, for which 14 congregations lifted banners on their houses of worship. For more information, contact Michael at 206-525-1213, ext. 102 or Email Michael.
Homelessness Working Group
The Homelessness Working Group brings together a working group of networks addressing homelessness to share information, strategies, successes, and “wonderings,” and to advise our work as the Church Council on homelessness. For more information, contact Michael at 206-525-1213, ext. 102 or Email Michael.
Youth Chaplaincy Coalition
The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition is a group of like-minded individuals and churches that seek to provide services, in a faith-based context, to Youth Detention Centers. They provide quality, innovative, comprehensive services for the whole person, to youth and families affected by the justice system within a quality volunteer and work environment staffed by knowledgeable, ecumenical, and caring faith-based volunteers. Services offered include the following:
- Spiritual support to youth in the King County Youth Detention Center, Echo Glen Children’s Home, and Woodinville Community Facility
- My Action Plan (MAP), a re-entry planning program that emphasizes autonomy, empowerment, goal setting, and safety planning through a consistent one-on-one mentorship relationship
- Neighborhood Youth Mission Team, focused on creating mission for youth and for the community
- Mentors in Mission, a program to reach youth prior to incarceration, specifically working with youth of incarcerated parents
St. Petersburg – Seattle Sister Churches
The St. Petersburg – Seattle Sister Churches Task Force fosters and celebrates the spiritual bond and special friendship between Christians of St. Petersburg (Russia) and the Greater Seattle area; provides mutual support through prayer and other assistance that promotes the reign of God; and engenders greater knowledge and appreciation for the religious traditions and activities of each other’s Christian communities. In 2015, they celebrated their 25th anniversary with the publication of a commemorative book.
Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of the Middle East (INOC)
INOC provides educational programming and monthly meeting discussion on issues of concern throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria. For more information, email John Reinke.
Asia Pacific Task Force
The Asia Pacific Task Force provides an instrument through which God’s gift of peace, hope, and justice may be more fully established in the world with particular focus in the Pacific Rim (Asian) civilization.
Part of Jubilee USA, the Jubilee Northwest Coalition works toward the cancellation of all external debts considered illegitimate by Jubilee Global South. They call for the elimination of structural adjustment, the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and any other debt restructuring or lending that seeks to impose policy conditions that are inconsistent with the interests of citizens of the indebted country.
Washington New Sanctuary Movement (WANSM)
Formed in 2007 as part of a national movement reminiscent of the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980’s, WANSM works to publicly protect the rights of all immigrants, especially those at risk of deportation and whose families face unjust separation. They are a sponsor of the annual Mother’s Day Vigil at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. They invite congregations to participate through education, advocacy, and material support.
Palestinian Concerns Task Force
With roots going back to the early 1980’s, the Palestinian Concerns Task Force works in collaboration with networks in Puget Sound, including eight different faith groups. Their goal is reconciliation, which involves education. For more information, phone John Berg at (425) 218-3682 or email John Berg.
Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee
The Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee has been working with the national organization Pastors For Peace for more than 25 years in building Friendshipments of material aid and people to people interactions with Cubans in an effort to promote normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba. For more information, email John Waller.