Seattle's Century-Old Symbol of Serving
Capitol Hill is unique to Seattle. The people, the businesses and the culture are as diverse as you’ll find anywhere, and on certain nights, it becomes hard to tell if it’s Halloween or just another night on Capitol Hill. Folks dress how they want and be who they want to be, regardless of what anyone thinks. Anyone familiar with Seattle recognizes that without a doubt, Capitol Hill has changed over the past few years, as gentrification has taken over its neighborhoods, and new businesses and apartments have moved in; however, despite the craziness and the change, there is one staple that has not changed on Capitol Hill in more than 105 years – the Carmelite Convent. The Carmelite Convent was built in 1908 as a mansion for nuns. It was a symbol of Christ then, and it still stands as a symbol of Christ today, as it now houses Serve Seattle more than a hundred years later.
Like Capitol Hill, Serve Seattle is unique in itself. It is a year-long Urban Missions Institute of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission that exists to serve the people in greatest need of Seattle. It began as simply an idea scribbled on a napkin about connecting young people with a shared hunger for justice and thirst for righteousness. Now in its third year, Serve Seattle is home to 28, 18-25 year-old men and women from all over the country and Canada who live in community together while learning to love intentionally. These urban missionaries traveled hundreds of miles to give up 10
months of their lives to serve those in greatest need throughout Seattle.
The Serve Seattle team members deal in everything from working with prostitutes on Aurora, to writing music with at-risk youth. With usually little to no experience in these social work type settings, Serve Seattle members spend three days a week working for various non-profit organizations throughout the city. Yet, while serving is an integral aspect of ‘Serve’ Seattle, it only makes up part of the time spent in the program; another large portion of time is spent in biblical discipleship. Pastors and social workers who are experts on how to bring the Light of the Gospel to folks in dark places come in from all over the place to teach Serve Seattle team members about what it means to live out a life of service and love – a life that is vital to anyone who wishes to follow Christ wholeheartedly.
Serve Seattle is a special program in a special place. It may only be in its third year, but the presence of Christ on Capitol Hill and in Seattle is eternal. The team members of Serve Seattle are doing what’s been done before them in a building that has seen the love of Jesus spread throughout the city for a century. God has been at work in our neighborhoods long before we lived in them, and He will continue to be at work in them long after we are gone. Let us take heart at this amazing testimony to God’s eternal presence and promise that He was, is and is to come.