December 22, 2011

A New Church Begins

After weeks of praying and planning our vestry and bishop on Tuesday night founded GEORGE: The “Church in the Round” Community Center. With a unanimous vote a new model for ministry was born. Here is a brief description of what has come into being.

GEORGE: The “Church in the Round” Community Center re-opens the recently closed St. George’s Episcopal Church in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. Under the stewardship of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, five new ministries will be created: a Coffee House, a Young Adult Worshipping Community, Pro-use Produce (a dried fruit nutrition project), an after-school computer lab, and a street outreach ministry to people who are homeless called Episcopal Street Walkers. These five ministries will be housed at the new community center along with 11 other partner organizations who will sustain the center’s life by fulfilling their own missions and ministries. These include:

  • The Monday Night AA meeting – This meeting has been housed at St. George’s since the doors were opened in 1959.
  • The Tuesday Night AA meeting – This meeting focuses on the young adult community.
  • The Community of the Paraclete - The Community of the Paraclete is an apostolic community offering an authentic Religious life of prayer and service. It was recognized by the Episcopal Church in 1992. The Paracletians are self-supporting women and men, lay and ordained, who have committed themselves to live under the Paracletian Rule and constitution.
  • The Little Nest Preschool – Little Nest is a not-for-profit Montessori preschool presently serving 25 families.
  • The Sunday Evening Interfaith Meal Program – This ministry involves six different congregations who provide a hot meal every Sunday evening.
  • The Third Sunday Meal Program – This ministry continues a feeding program started by the former St. George’s Church.
  • Greater Seattle Cares – This 501(c) 3 organization was created to offer material support to Tent City 3. Anne Novak, deacon at St. Andrew’s, is on the board.
  • Brigid's Circle – This ministry is a congregation of people from the Catholic tradition exploring Celtic Spirituality and the role of women in ordained ministry. They will offer “Moment with the Mystery” on the last Saturday of each month as a time of music, readings, reflection, and communion.
  • The Fiji Alliance Church – This small ethnic congregation will use the sanctuary on Sunday morning for their worship.
  • Rite of Passage Journeys - This 501(c) 3 organization has a 30-year history of providing wilderness experiences for youth and young adults and is looking to expand their programming for adults. St. Andrew’s parishioner Randy Morris is their board president.
  • The Diocese of Olympia – The diocese owns the building and is the guarantor of a safe roof over our heads and basic services for the building. Through our bishop, Greg Rickel, the diocese will also help recruit participants for the five new ministries.

So there it is. Beginning Jan. 1 a self-sustaining, vibrant, and dynamic new nexus of Episcopal mission will manifest in a neighborhood where St. George’s witnessed faithfully for 55 years. That church may be gone, but mission will go on.