Community is a word that carries a lot of tradition in the Mennonite Church.
While we hold many of those traditional values in high regard,
we also seek to explore what community means in our urban context.
Vision in Action
The development of Community Ministry at Seattle Mennonite Church is an outgrowth of SMC’s vision for peace and justice as followers of Jesus Christ. SMC understands that a neighborhood’s response to people experiencing the trauma of homelessness, is exactly that, a corporate, collaborative response. To that end SMC seeks to partner with local residents, businesses, and agencies in generating a grassroots, person-centered effort to companion people who are experiencing homelessness.
As Seattle Mennonite sought to be faithful to what God had set before us, we initiated fellowship meals with people experiencing homelessness in the neighborhood. The congregation had been getting to know this group of folks already, as the church was preparing bag lunches for day laborers and offering showers and laundry for those day laborers who had no other place to clean up after a days work. Out of those early days of breaking bread with each other, there came a call for personal storage and transportation support. The response was the initiative Stop, Drop, and Roll (SDR). SDR’s goal was to provide belongings storage and transportation to allow community members access to critically needed services and employment opportunities not available in Lake City. Stop, Drop, and Roll was open on Thursdays in the church foyer. In 2008, we moved Stop, Drop and Roll into a nearby house owned by Seattle Mennonite Church. The community who gathered in that space name it “God’s Li’l Acre.
Our Present & Future
The current location, at 12521 33rd Ave NE, includes daily drop-in hours during which time people can access: laundry facilities, showers and hygiene, community kitchen, internet and phone, resource referral, food closet, nursing care, personal storage, blankets and clothes, and a safe, secure place to just ‘be’. Hours:
- 9am – 4pm – M/W/Th/Fr
- 9am – 12pm – Tuesday
- Women’s Spa Day: 12:30-4pm – Tuesday
Our hope over time is that programming will be added to the core drop-in schedule that will support the rebuilding of relationships of support and trust so needed by people experiencing homelessness. Recovery from the trauma of homelessness is long-term work, and our hope is to be patient, goal-oriented supporters of people in recovery.
- The congregation hired Community Ministers who began their work in 2007. Their role is to offer spiritual care, reaching out and engaging people experiencing homelessness, extending hospitality, and connecting people with resources and referrals as desired. The Community Ministers work with SMC to develop future programs, offer public education, liaison with community partners, and develop the resource base available to the homeless community in Lake City.
- Seattle Mennonite started weekly community meals, which are now coordinated and hosted at Lamb of God Lutheran Church (12509 27th Ave NE) Thanks to the interfaith support of local faith communities, these meals are provided every Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
- SMC facilitates the Lake City Task Force on Homelessness, which gathers each month (2nd Friday 3:30-5:00 p.m.) at the Seattle Mennonite Church to share insights and efforts on ways to address the concerns of homelessness in the Lake City neighborhood. Goals include information sharing, winter shelter coordination, strategizing, visioning, inviting participation, and collaborating.
Volunteering & Support
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- Congregations for the Homeless (Bellevue, WA)
- Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia Housing
- Church Council of Greater Seattle
- Homelessness Resource Center
- American Addiction Centers
Our Community Ministry is grateful to be supported by United Way of King County.