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Seattle First Baptist Church is using grant money not just to feed people in their neighborhood but to also create relationships with them. Church administrator Bob Sittig writes:
"I can probably best describe the neighborhood [around the church] that these programs will serve as fairly 'big city urban,' with our share of homeless and underserved folks. In addition we have a significant population of homeless youth. We are an inner-city church in an inner-city neighborhood and thus we enjoy the diversity that that situation presents.
We were the recipients of a $10,000 grant from the American Baptist Foundation thanks to the efforts of church member Paul Roby who authored the proposal, “Simply Love, Served With Food.” This grant was funded by the Virginia and Gordon Palmer, Jr. Trust and administered by the foundation. The proposal describes the current climate in which the church finds itself called to mission today, with the growing disparities and inequities we see around us. It references the various ways our congregation has worked for social justice over its history, including recent initiatives with our community partners in the Occupy Seattle Movement. It invites us to build on this history and develop expanded and deepened relationships, especially over shared meals, between ourselves and 'groups of marginalized, mainly young, people in and around outgrowths of the Occupy Seattle Movement.'"
Some of the specific ways in which these funds are being or will be used are to:
• Invite local activists, leaders, followers, and friends (especially those who couldn’t otherwise afford the meal) to eat with us at congregational dinners, interfaith meal events, and other food-inclusive gatherings held in the Church.
• Provide food to actions, protests, and similar events in the area that directly involve Church members.
• Provide food to efforts to feed hungry and homeless people in the area, where Church members will have the opportunity to participate in the preparation and/or distribution of the food.
• Make those who benefit from our support aware that the food was given with love from the Church.
|Food for the Fourth of July Mitchell Family Picnic jointly sponsored with SFBC.|
Upon receipt of the grant monies, the Diaconate appointed a committee to administer the proceeds in accordance with the provisions of the grant contract. After several meetings, the group has recommended the following events be funded by the grant proceeds:
Food for the Fourth of July Mitchell Family Picnic jointly sponsored with SFBC.
Ingredients for five months of the ongoing burrito rolling and distribution program, in which our members are working with members of the Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue and our community partner, Free Food for All, to prepare nutritious meals for people around us who live with serious food insecurity.
Meals served for Doughnut Dialogs, which will be gatherings of ”Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets" (PSKS) kids, SFBC members and members of the Seattle Police Department.
The central or core program will be a series of eight invitational dinner discussions, exploring what social justice and activism look like in today’s society. The intent is to open communication and build new relationships between our church community and the young activist community around us. We envision beginning to host these events at the church this fall, probably on Monday evenings. We’ll be extending invitations to around fifty people for each of them, half from our congregation and half composed of community activists and college students.
One thing we are committing to in receiving this grant is documenting and sharing its results and impact on us and our community. How will we, as members of SFBC, be different because we undertook this outreach venture? Will there be noticeable shifts in the perspectives or perceptions of our activist friends, especially those without prior experience of any faith community that saw social justice as central to its mission? We don’t know the answers to these questions, and part of the fun will be in discovering them.
For further information on “Simply Love, Served with Food” contact:
Bob Sittig, Administrator, Seattle First Baptist Church
206 325 6051 or [email protected]