Rainier Valley's Kingdom-Focused Collaborators
Inspiration ignites friendship. It’s like pouring gasoline on an already burning fire. Most of us all have an example of one of those friendships that, when inspired, ignites conversations of how to change the world, transform the city and become president of the United States. These kinds of friendships breed transformative ideas, but few of these friendships breed ideas that actually take form, take action, and become reality. However, Pastor Rick Danner and Pastor Harvey Drake are two friends who were inspired and took the action to see transformation come to life in their city.
Rick and Harvey have both been in the Seattle area for nearly 30 years, mostly around the Rainier Valley area. After they both went to school together at Mendenhall in Mississippi, they were inspired to act upon an urban impact idea pioneered by Dr. John Perkins that centered around reconciliation, relocation and redistribution (the 3 R’s) to get people of faith to locate in a community and serve together in ministry.
Since then, Rick and Harvey have both become pastors at their respective churches. Rick pastors at New Light Christian Church, and Harvey pastors at Emerald City Bible Fellowshipafter having launched Urban Impact in 1987. They have collaborated with leaders all over the region with the Collation for Community Development and Renewal (CCDR), which helped to grow and strengthen churches and ministries of all races and places (The CCDR torch was passed to the Beloved Community, which is now merged with Light up the City!) They love their community, and they do much to further it. Rainier Valley is one of the most diverse urban areas in the country with more than 60 languages spoken there making it a difficult area to reach with the Gospel, yet the fruit of their labor there is evident within their ministries. Rick and Harvey see that they are in this ministry together and that through benevolence ministries they can raise special offerings to raise funds for the people they serve for gas, food and utilities.
For these two friends, it’s all about loving their neighbor. As Harvey said, “We’re on an intentional friendship level with everyone inside this geographic level. It’s a lot of work, but we’re building relationships for the Kingdom’s sake out of reconciliation.”
Since they have worked together in the Rainier Valley area, they have seen God do some amazing things around them. There is a thriving fitness center in the unhealthiest area of Washington, an apartment complex available for affordable housing right next door to Emerald City Bible Fellowship, as well as several school partnerships with a Rainier Beach school giving a $130K contract to help with ministry after years of volunteering and prayer.
Harvey and Rick are Kingdom-focused collaborators with the realization that they can get more done together than they ever could apart. Maybe that’s the mindset we should all have. After all, a lack of sufficiency in a community is an act of light on God’s part to show that we need each other- especially in Kingdom work.
Which friends inspire you, and how can you begin to work together to bring transformation to your community?