Retired pastor Ron Davis, who now serves as a chaplain for the Sammamish Sheriff’s department, recalled a beautiful story of the church’s long history of working together toward a shared witness of the gospel in Renton. He said it began in the early 80’s when visiting evangelist Juan Carlos Ortiz called pastors in Renton to repentance over a lack of unity within the Body of Christ. This led to the formation of REMA (Renton Evangelical Ministerial Association) and peaked in participation of 30 participating congregations in the mid-80’s. There was an annual Easter sunrise service at south Lake Washington’s Gene Coulon Beach, deep fellowship among pastors and prayer.
The group faded in the mid 90’s and experienced a renewal in 2002 with leadership from pastor Jim Amandus from Highlands Community Church and John Camerer from Vision House. This reconstruction used the structure of LOVE INC. to set up a phone line that would take calls from the community and share those needs with a core of 10-15 congregations. These same congregations pooled resources to cover a part-time employee for LOVE INC. Renton, and many in the community were served.
In 2005, Pastor Amandus handed over leadership of the group to Dan Gannon (Pastor at Renton Bible Church) after the peak of the LOVE INC. effort. Pastor Gannon is a gifted facilitator and refocused the group on prayer, fellowship, trust building and unity among pastors in Renton. Dan had a history of launching pastor fellowships, one in Minnesota and a second in Tualatin, OR. A gifted, kingdom oriented, pastor, Dan now hosts a monthly gathering that includes a new cadre of dedicated young pastors and church planters who gather alongside seasoned leadership in the city. In an effort to develop one another, a subset of the group selects a monthly book to read and discuss at Vince’s Coffee Shop in the Renton Highlands.
Dan articulated the motivation for seeing this group flourish, “I’m not a part of a large congregation, or a denomination… I need you guys!”
Zack Dunckley, pastor at Mission Church, has stepped forward to serve this Renton group as a liaison to the Light up the City network. Zack has a heart to engage foster and orphan ministry and shares a vision with the other pastors of wanting to see God’s Kingdom come here in the city of Renton!!
The Renton network meets monthly, on the third Wednesday of each month, hosted by different ministries at locations around the city. Those interested in joining this network can contact:
Dan Gannon – firstname.lastname@example.org (Pastor Gathering)
Zack Dunckley – email@example.com (LUTC Renton)