Church Council of Greater Seattle Programs
We sustain a crossroad for unity and understanding within Christianity and with other faiths. We connect these groups through a web of communications and services including: email newsletters and action alerts, publications and events. The population served represents 170,000 people of all races, incomes, and ages who belong to our member congregations.
We engage, educate, and activate congregations to advocate on behalf of justice for marginalized people. The Church Council stands on a venerable history of leading the way to resolve critical issues. During 2013, we continue to focus on economic justice, discovering how faith communities enter into the issues unearthed by the economic crisis. We will also work with our 40 advocacy partners to address public policies regarding homelessness, gun violence, poverty and living wages, immigrant rights, and a just legal system. 2012’s justice work served 150,000 people.
The Church Council hosts 14 service and ministry programs that served 11,000 people during 2012. Our direct service program are: The Sharehouse (see separate profile) provides free furniture to people transitioning out of homelessness. Sound Youth VISTA (see separate profile) provides capacity-building support to programs serving low income youth. Friend to Friend (see separate profile) brings companionship to elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes and assisted living centers.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Responding to demand from our member churches, during 2012, we created an economic justice curriculum, “God and Money”. This toolkit engages and educates congregations in the systemic problems revealed by the economic crisis. It was well received, with 12 sessions offered in 2012 and many more scheduled for 2013. It has indeed sparked the desire for churches to act together around these issues. We also served as principal partner in the Faith and Family Homelessness Project. We coach 6 congregations to not only offer caring to homeless families but to go a step further, advocating for policies to solve this problem. We’re the King County partner for this program of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry.
In King County, 31% of residents identify as Christian, a significant decrease from the past. There is still an important role for churches, as places of connection, service, and inspiration. But they do not have the membership and resources to operate as they used to. The Church Council must re-tool how we do our work to meet the changing needs of our prime constituency. We are in the process of vetting new strategic priorities. During 2012 we held 19 stakeholder meetings across the region involving 94 people from diverse faith communities to give feedback on these priorities.