For the Neighborhood on Fourth Sundays

For the Neighborhood of Fourth Sundays

“What is your name?” Jesus asked a man living in isolation on the Eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Even before Jesus healed this man from the torment and fragmentation of the demonic voices tearing him a part, he acknowledged his personhood.  Jesus paused and looked at one cast aside by others, and said, “I want to know you. You have a name.”

Fourth Sundays are a beautiful time of acknowledging that every person has a name.  A name that matters. And, even if we do not know that person’s name that we see on the street, God does. And, God loves that person.  Our Fourth Sundays provide a beautiful touchpoint with people in our community.

When we take time to worship in action  we live into the reality that we are connected to one another. Brian Bantum affirms this in his book The Death of Race:

“Christian discipleship is the confession that I am not me without you, and that our community is not whole while some are perpetually diminished. As we see Jesus move through our world, he reveals to us that God’s justice is a touch that transforms, that makes us whole.”  Bantum, Brian. The Death of Race

Thank you for taking time to embody the grace of Jesus in how you spend time worshipping on Fourth Sundays.  Through your generous acts of kindness and care we are able to connect with people in our community who can feel perpetually diminished through gender, racial and socio-economic prejudice.  Following Jesus means bringing the enfleshed WORD of God to the places where people are and tangibly showing them “You matter.  You have worth.”

June Fourth Sunday Highlights:

  • Hymn Sing at Skyline Retirement Home. Since 2006 a small group of folks from Union Church have blessed residents, first at Exeter House and now Skyline, through hymns, smiles, conversations and balloons! Contact Ruth to learn how to join.

  • Brunch at SCCA that brings together residents & caregivers who are living in Seattle for cancer treatment. This has become a vital time of connection and care.

  • Stocking and organization of University Food Bank so they can be ready for Monday opening.

  • Sack lunches, lovingly created for people who visit the ICS Hygiene Center

  •    A scrumptious meal prepared for the Monday night dinner at Street Youth Ministry

  • Healthy snacks and delicious brownies for kids in our neighborhood for the end of  year celebration.

  • Letters written to  Border Angels an all volunteer, non profit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border.

  • Letters of encouragements to Jojo Bayana, who is in the NW Detention Center. Jojo told James B, “He has never felt so loved.”  Thank you for being the body of Christ to Jojo

We Are the Body of Christ in languages spoken in our community

During our preparation for Pentecost, Chris Lim and Natasha Lim taught us the song, “We Are the Body of Christ.”

Here are the lyrics in the languages sung in worship:

ENGLISH

Verse 1:

We come to You laying our sin at Your feet

Begging for mercy and grace

Selfish ambition and vain conceit

Have clouded our eyes from Your ways

Chorus 1:

Let us love just as You have loved us

Let us live as the children of God

Let us worship You with one accord

For we are the body of Christ

Verse 2:

We come to You thankful for what You've done

For giving Your flesh and Your blood

By faith we receive it, You make us one

United in spirit and love

Chorus 1

 Let us love just as You have loved us

Let us live as the children of God

Let us worship You with one accord

For we are the body of Christ

Chorus 2:

We rejoice and we suffer as one

Lives laid down for Your daughters and sons

In the hope of Your kingdom

We are the body of Christ

INDONESIAN

Chorus 1:

Kasihilah seperti Kristus

Hiduplah s'bagai anak Tuhan

Menyembah dengan satu hati

Kamilah Tubuh Kristus

Chorus 2:

Satu dalam senang dan susa

Berkorban untuk anak Tuhan

Datanglah K'rajaanMu

Kamilah Tubuh Kristus

 

SPANISH

Chorus 1:

Debemos(A) amar como El nos amo

Y vivir como hijos de Dios

Alabarlo todos de una voz

Pues somos el Cuerpo de Cristo

Chorus 2:

Unidos en reír y llorar,

Por tus hijos nuestras vidas dedicar,

Con esperanza de tu reino

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo

 

JAPANESE

Chorus 1:

主が愛されたように Shu ga aisareta youni

われらも愛そう Warera mo aisou

ともに主をれいはい Tomoni Shu wo reihai

われらは主のからだ Warera wa shuno karada

Chorus 2:

みくにのきぼうのため Mikuni no kibou no tame

よろこび、かなしみも Yorokobi, kanashimi mo

兄弟姉妹のため Kyoudai shimai no tame

キリストのからだ Kirisuto no karada

 

A Prayer from our 40 Hours of Prayer

Lord, I hear you telling me repeatedly

W H O L E N E S S.

That we are to pray for ALL PEOPLE to know and experience the WHOLENESS

that they are created in and by you.

That we as a church would see wholeness in each other,

in the poor, the oppressed, the children, and the widow.

Your wholeness is beautiful; may we see that and know it in the depths of our being.

A prayer written during 40 Hours of Prayer

Truth & Justice Spring series | Unpack: Advocacy

Truth & Justice Spring series

Unpack: Advocacy

Here, Sayuko Setvik reflects on the March 13, 2019 Unpack where Vazaskia Crockwell spoke on juvenile justice, the impact of racial and ethnic disparities, and the power of legislative advocacy.

The evening started out with CeCe Chan & Luci Roman giving a short presentation on Advocacy in Education Equity. They are high school students at Nathan Hale & Ingraham respectively, and active members of the NAACP Youth Coalition, as well as dedicated teachers in Union’s children’s ministry.

They presented on the Youth Coalition’s demands for changes in schools, including mandating ethnic studies in the curriculum, improving discipline practices, hiring staff reflecting the student body demographics, and training staff on issues of race and equity. For a full list of demands, go here.

It is clear that CeCe and Luci have such passion and enthusiasm for this work. We were inspired by how they are finding their voice, making their voice heard, and organizing to get more young voices heard. It was also fun to see them have the chance to encourage & give advice to a couple of high school students from Tacoma who came to our event.

Afterwards, we had the privilege of hearing from Vazaskia Crockwell, Washington State Director of Juvenile Justice, who spoke to us about her life, work, and passion for justice for youth. She has worked at YWCA, the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities, among other places. She explained how each career move was to better serve the needs of people, to advocate for more justice and equity. What most struck me was her comment about our work needing to be aligned with our personal mission. While I completely understand how there can be many situations that prevent us from doing that, I also feel that it is such a gift when we can be involved in serving the needs of communities, helping to further God’s kingdom work of justice and love, and we are rewarded with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. This has also led me to think about what my personal mission is, and what our mission is as Christ’s body. What does it look like to be “truth-consecrated in [our] mission”? (John 17:19)

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is guided by this visionary statement: “We envision a nation where all of our children are healthy, educated and free from violence.  Should they come in contact with the juvenile justice system, we want the experience to be rare, fair and beneficial to them.” She showed us data on how past and current practices disproportionately and increasingly affect people of color at each checkpoint such as at the initial police contact point, arrest, and prosecution.    

Youth of color experience systemic racism, as shown by the example of two of the youth leaders at Green Hill School, a juvenile detention facility in Chehalis, one of the facilities under Vazaskia’s supervision. The two young men committed the same crime but were given very different sentences -- the young person of color received a 21 year sentence, while his white counterpart was given a much shorter sentence.

While these statistics are abhorrent and the stories heartbreaking, the video Vazaskia showed us also spoke of the power of change and hope in a place like Green Hill. These youths have been able to be mentored and become mentors to younger kids, get an education in a supportive environment, and find strength in getting their voice heard in work such as the group advocating for representation and improvement in the juvenile justice system, which assisted in the passage of Senate Bill 6160, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in March, 2018. SB 6160 allows the person sentenced to remain in a youth facility until they’re 25, rather than 21.

Hearing about Vazaskia’s life work, I also felt hopeful that someone like her, a powerful and compassionate role model for these youth, is investing directly into their lives and the juvenile system that have a huge impact on young lives, everyday.

It was a wonderfully inspiring and educational event to kick off our spring series, Unpack: Advocacy. Questions to (continue to) ponder:

1. What is an advocate and why is advocacy important?

2. What are ways that I actively advocate in my community?

3. What skills/tools have I learned or do I need to learn to be a more effective advocate in my community?

A word of encouragement from Vazaskia, from the 2017 “Pursuit for Change” event at Green Hill: “Don’t stop dreaming. When you stop dreaming, you stop living.”

by Sayuko Setvik

Week 6. 40 for the Neighborhood. April 15-20

40 for the Neighborhood             Day     35     April  15

 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.  For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”  Luke 21:1-4

Prayer:  Lord, help us live with the generosity of this woman, believing that all that we have already belongs to you.

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood:   Nollie’s Café (on Harrison Street) that opened a 11 years ago and was known for its scratch-made baked goods, just closed its doors on March 29th.

40 for the Neighborhood             Day     36      April  16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. I John 4:10-12

Spend time giving thanks for God’s love for you. What gets in the way of you trusting God lives in you and loves through you?

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood:  

The If Project, whose office is located in South Lake Union, seeks to provide support and mentorship for women while they are incarcerated and upon re-entry. They will host a Story telling Evening at 415 Westlake on Wednesday, May 29. Please save the date.

 

40 for the Neighborhood             Day     37       April  17

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said,  “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” Luke 21: 5-6

What are temporary structures that we put our faith in? How is God inviting us to invest in what is eternal?

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood:  

In early Seattle history, South Lake Union provided housing for workers and owners of mills on Lake Union. In the 1960’s many houses were demolished for parking lots.  Since 2003, there has been a movement toward housing again – most at market-rate although there have been consistent and vocal advocates for community affordable housing.

 

40 for the Neighborhood             Day      38      April  18

 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end…. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1, 15-17

Thank Jesus for the example he gives us on how to live. What is a specific way Jesus’ is inviting you to serve today?

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood: Many of the children, who live near or in South Lake Union in low-income housing or transitional housing or are homeless in Seattle, attend our neighborhood school Lowell Elementary School.  In August Union will host a summer camp for children who live at Compass House on Dexter.

40 for the Neighborhood             Day      39       April  19

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Lord, thank you for showing us how to love one another even as you gave your life for us on the cross.

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood:  

WestSide Baby is a nonprofit organization that collects new and used items for children and babies and distributes them free of charge to King County families in need. We work with local social service agencies assisting low-income families. Agencies request items from us and deliver them to families who are homeless, living in transitional housing, in need of a little help during a difficult transition. We work every day with the hope that all babies and young children in our community have their physical needs met – diapers, food, clothing, appropriate toys, books, and safety equipment for their care 

The South Lake Union office is located on 8th Ave N and Republic (2 blocks from 415 Westlake).

 

40 for the Neighborhood             Day     40        April 20  

As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:5, 9

Spend time reflecting on what it means to be chosen by God out of love to bring God’s wonderful light into a dark world.

Prayer Reflection:  Lord, who do you want us to be in our neighborhood?

How could this land best be a part of who we are to be in the neighborhood?

Know Your Neighborhood:  

South Lake Union has been designated as one of seven Innovation Districts in the United States by the Brookings Institute because of its emphasis on connectivity, technology and community.

What do you sense is God’s imagination for who we are to be in this space and time? What have you heard over these 40 days? Please take some time write down your thoughts.