In his pastoral perspective, Ken Kierstead calls us to find our neighborhood. Below we get a look into just a few of the places where we, as a UPC family, are called to share hope in Christ. It is in these places that we live incarnationally as we serve our neighbors both near and far. Below you’ll find a sampling of information about how our church family engages in their neighborhood—from where they live and enter into fellowship, to the hopes we share for our neighborhoods.
The group of people with whom you’re called to share the hope you have in Christ.
Forty-nine people responded to the question “what is one thing you would improve about your neighborhood?” fell into the following categories. Here is a sampling of responses:
“Bury the power lines, I suppose. Maybe eradicate the English Ivy and blackberries on local noxious weeds list.”
“Chop down some of the trees blocking my view!”
“I would begin a neighborhood garden project.”
“Get people away from the TV to interact with the community.”
“Paint the buildings, clean the sidewalks, hang baskets or lights at Christmas, have a block party of University Ave business employees.”
“Get involved in a block party/progressive dinner with neighbors or something to integrate all the different folks/stories.”
“Get together with other Christians on the block to pray for the neighbors.”
“More open discussion among people of diffferent religions, including people of no religious affiliation.”
“An affordable grocery store. (The only close one is Whole Foods, and we can’t afford to buy all of our groceries there.)”
“More jobs for teens and the poor.”
“Less traffic and a 24-hr copy store.”
“Light rail into Seattle.”
“Remove the snobbiness.”
“I like it fine the way it is.”
Small groups: they’re one of the ways we engage in community outside of worship—all around our city, up close and personal in each other’s homes and lives. In 2011 we launched the Love Your Neighborhood (LYN) initiative, in which small groups join together to serve locally.
2010 Lent Small Groups: 337
2011 Lent Small Groups: 339
2012 Lent Small Groups: 366
Groups Participating in LYN 2011: 48
Groups Participating in LYN 2012: 84
Our neighborhood is the geographic area we share as a congregation: the University District and the surrounding urban neighborhoods of Seattle. In this space, we encounter families, students, and the poor.
Welcoming the Strangers in Our Midst
UPC’s Ministry to Internationals provides space for international students to grow in community through English classes, dinners, Bible studies, field trips, and more. The number of internationals attending UW has grown steadily over the past several years:
Embracing College Students
An average of 450 college students attend the Inn each week. Here’s how they engaged beyond Tuesday evening fellowship in 2011–2012:
Loving Our Neighbors
In the U District, we partner with groups that are meeting the tangible needs of the people who live here.