At Light Up the City our fiscal year ends on August 31st. So, the fall season is a time to reflect on the past year and dream about the coming year. We thought it would be valuable to share some of the highlights in our LUTC network from this past year and share a little bit about what is in store for the coming year...
This year we made a fundamental shift from launching to developing networks. We added 13 networks for the first time, as official “Light Up the City” networks: Burien, Rainier Valley, Maple Valley, Tukwila, Federal Way, 522 Network (Bothell, Woodinville, Kirkland), North Seattle, West Seattle, Shoreline, Capitol Hill, Puyallup, Enumclaw, and Renton! Each of these networks are now moving toward embodiment of the four values of a healthy city gospel network: Missional Prayer, Making Disciples, Serving the City, and Unity of the Body of Christ. These networks are the primary focus for our team, and the network leaders our primary relational focus. In the coming year we hope to add 4-5 additional networks.
We held three major Light Up the City gatherings throughout the year: a fall focus on homelessness, our Advance Event in January, and a Faith and Work gathering in the spring. These events help build our local networks, and give our network leaders valuable opportunities for their teams. Our Advance Event was held again at First Free Methodist, we had city groups from as far as Spokane and Vancouver, BC in attendance, though our focus was on the networks here in greater Seattle. Ebony Small flew out from NYC to share what God is doing through the city network there, and this launched a conversation about hosting a Movement Day event here in Seattle in the spring of 2020. This event would be a large gathering of the church in Seattle with a celebrative focus around areas God is moving in our city. We have defined these areas as: Church School Partnerships, Foster Care, Homelessness, Faith and Work, Discipleship, and City Prayer. This fall we are pulling together leaders in each of these categories for the purpose of finding ways to coordinate and collaborate toward a Spring 2020 Movement Day Expression.
A few weeks prior to The Advance, as a way to collectively begin 2018 -we spent the first 10 Days of the new year praying together for seven different sectors of our cities. We published 10 devotionals on our blog and YouTube channel to focus our attention on prayers for the church, business, government, schools, families, media & arts, health care. The blog posts alone received almost 3500 views, which is our best engagement on our website.
Our coordination with the Seattle School District (SDS) continues to be a source of great fruitfulness. We have about 60 of the 100 schools in the SDS with a church partner, and though we have a new superintendent, we believe this work will continue to move forward. We are co-hosting a church-school partnership summit in January with Seattle Chinese Alliance and the SDS. The SDS is making a push to get their principals there! Our August City Serve was a great wrap up to the year, and our GIP Intern Gabby Ulrich has done an awesome job stepping in for Desi this summer as she has been out with baby Max!
Efforts in the Highline School district continue to develop, and Serve Seattle graduate Joel French will be joining us September 17th for the year, and will focus on developing church-school partnerships. There are 9 districts where church-school partnership efforts are underway, and we look forward to having Joel on the job!
Foster Support Faith Alliance has continued to connect and engage churches with the foster care system, which is now called Department of Children, Youth and Families, to provide care and support for the staff and for kids coming in through the system. Continued efforts have provided much fruit between the church and government offices. Jason Johnson was a guest speaker again this year at an all day event called the "Orphan Care Seminar" which piggybacks a national event held at Overlake Church in Redmond. Jason was very encouraging and provided real-talk on how to develop a culture of caring amongst the Church in Seattle. FSFA also hosted the second annual Brave Event, which is an all-day event that loves on girls in foster care who are between ages 12-18. The event had 225 volunteers, attendees and was a great way to express to these individuals they are seen and loved.
In 2019 we hope to develop strong rhythms of engagement with existing and new networks so that we see our local churches serve, rescue, and transform those in greatest need through the grace of Jesus!