In 2014, when we launched the Light up the City network, we chose to do so through a 40 days of prayer effort. We asked local networks to pray, asking, “What is God’s heart for my city?” After the 40 days, a survey revealed several key points of data. Prayer and Evangelism rose to the top of the list, followed by engaging schools, foster care, homelessness, refugee/immigrant care, sex trafficking and incarceration. As a network, we have tried to focus heavily on these core areas, (in fact our next quarterly meeting will engage refugees and immigrants… join us!) and school engagement has been a heavy push for us.
We have followed the lead of Northshore and Bellevue with their creation of a serve day event, and encourage congregations to partner long term with schools. We can now say, that we are aware of 156 church/school partnerships in the Greater Seattle area, representing about 30% of the existing schools. This is worth celebrating as an answer to prayer and a continued investment by the local church in loving their neighbor.
I quickly gathered a handful of brief updates from some of our Church/School local networks. As you read these efforts, lift them in prayer and if there is an effort in your city we encourage you to consider engaging with your congregation!
We are working with the Highline School district to organize our second Serve Day, August 19 – 20, 2017. Our goal is to use this event to begin or develop church/school partnerships and create awareness for the graduate Highline campaign. - Ralph
Churches in the 522 Network are engaging their congregations to serve at schools this summer through Community Serve Day on August 20th. This year we are asked to add 4 new schools, for 26 overall. It seems daunting but our God is bigger!
Congregations are considering and working towards “adopting” a specific local elementary school and engaging with that school/classroom repeatedly throughout the school year.
Schools really appreciate the loving, generous, agenda-free support from our churches and are asking for more support, more engagement. The pendulum has swung and now the churches are struggling to find ways to say “yes”, to thoughtfully and prayerfully avoid saying “no” to requests from local schools and our two districts. “ - Tim King
“The Church of Tukwila has been supporting our schools through the Tukwila Weekend SnackPack Program which provides weekend food sacks for our homeless students. A number of congregations do monthly food drives as well as volunteer for SnackPack assembly, distribution, warehouse inventory. We also participated in last year's City Serve Day. - Jenny
In Puyallup we are launching our Faith Community and School partnership Initiative. This is a collaboration with; Communities In Schools, John 17 Fellowship, The Korum For Kids Foundation, and The Puyallup School District.The purpose is to foster and develop long-term partnerships between the faith community and schools that will provide significant resources and relationships to help students and staff in Puyallup public schools. Two weeks ago we held an awareness breakfast to kick things off, we had a two principles, counselor, and teacher share some of the needs they have and how members of the faith community can get involved. Leaders from 19 local churches were in attendance looking for more ways to get involved. We are excited to see God will do through this collaboration in the days ahead. – Bill Bowers
Several churches in Renton are serving schools in a variety of ways. Some have longstanding tutoring and after school programs, even offering church building rooms as classrooms while others are offering emergency funds, backpacks, and a serve day in August. Some new church plants are working on additional schools served for serve day. – Sandy Swan
The weekend food packs for hungry kids in Shoreline is supported mostly by local churches. We are presently servicing 309 children; but we need to service about 95 more. This ministry involves 13 churches serving 13 schools. In addition to individual projects between churches and their partner schools, some choose to help with an outdoor cleanup in the spring, much like we did last August. But this is not an event coordinated city wide.– Steve Ulmer
School Partnership Strategy - We are partnering with the Federal Way Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tammy Campbell to create learning environments for children up to age ten. If kids read at reading level by 3rd grade, their chances of graduating are exponentially higher. Dr. Campbell is committed to seeing our young ones in this community "win". Tammy's #2 goal is to provide mentors for "at risk" Jr. high and Sr. high students. As God leads, we will be executing state of the art opportunities for the next generation giving them every opportunity to WIN. – Dan Larson
Preparing for a backpack giveaway in August. -Joe Bowman,
Preparation for City Serve 2017 is going well – we have a total of 24 churches that will be serving 19 schools from all 4 district regions. Some of these are from preexisting partnerships but we also have quite a few new partnerships that we hope will form into a long lasting relationship. We are excited to see the fruit that will come from City Serve and beyond as the Seattle School District sees the Christian Church as an ally and resource. – Desi and Roy