CityServe West Seattle Part 2

This past Saturday morning, volunteers from eight West Seattle area congregations gathered at the Southwest Athletic Center for donuts and coffee, job assignments and a time to pray for the day of service they were about to participate in around their neighborhood. This day of service had been dreamed and prayed over for the past six months and coordinators Luke Crook, Buzz Huget, Elissa Sommer, Shonnie Scott, Jerry Buell, Eddie Koh and David Bruner watched as over 200 congregants gathered in unity under Jesus Christ to bless their neighborhood in four locations: Sanislo Elementary, Roxhill Elementary, the Duwamish Trail and White Center Food Bank.

To kick off the day, Luke Crook of West Side Presbyterian, gave a stirring rally cry from the back of pickup truck, “This is the beginning of something- where as Christians we want to provide meaningful, united and sustainable acts of love and service to our community. We want to build relationships that are great for today, but even better for tomorrow and for coming weeks and months and years. So that there’s a sense that the churches in this community are here for them, we are part of them and we want to add blessing to them. We want to see God’s Kingdom come to West Seattle in increasingly great and glorious ways. We serve and love because we have been loved first."

After the rally, volunteers set off to their assigned location for four hours of service. At Roxhill Elementary volunteers from Grace Church, Bethany West Seattle, West Side Presbyterian and All Souls worked side by side to move supplies from classrooms, sweep, weed, and build new planter boxes in the “community garden." They also painted new hopscotch and foursquare play areas and sealed jagged cracks on the blacktop. Sahnica Washington, principal of Roxhill, commented how much she appreciated the help saying that the play area is part of a Playworks program, which prevents bullying through structured play activities. She appreciated the willingness of CityServe to help out Roxhill in whatever way would benefit the school most.

Sanislo Elementary had the largest volunteer base and the most expansive work projects.

Seattle and New City Church did major landscaping cleanup in the entryway and painted hallways, kindergarten rooms and the entire gymnasium. Pointing to the playground, which is in need of further cleanup and beautification, site coordinator, Buzz Huget, commented how he would love to have volunteers help during the recess times to watch over the kids, “I think there’s a lot of folks that would say, I could give one day a week to come and watch the kids, because it’s a great area, but [the children] need to be corralled a bit.”

Eddie Koh, pastor of New City Church, summed up the day at Sanislo, “This is a great opportunity for us to apply what we know to be true, [and] actually doing it together with other churches.”

There were enough volunteers to create two other projects, including a local food bank and a public trail. On the Duwamish Trail, churches partnered with Seattle Parks Department to haul a considerable amount of gravel to extend the trail. Their sweat stained shirts and hats were testament to the physical labor they endured. The project lead who works for the City of Seattle and attends Grace Church, Jacobo Jimenez, said, “These guys killed it. The kids were great too- they stepped up and took ownership as part of the team.” The team moved gravel 500 feet to extend the trail for hikers, walkers, and neighbors to enjoy. Volunteers also were on site at the White Center Food Bank to help stock food and supplies.

It was inspiring to see congregations united and working together in the spirit of John 17 to bless the West Seattle area. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for CityServe in the future.

-Nathan Ryan

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