4/26/11

INHABIT CONFERENCE INHABITING BELLTOWN

Emmaus Road, hundreds of inhabiters will be inhabiting our neighborhood this weekend. Pastor Likkel and Elders Anema and Munson will be joining them, to learn how Emmaus Road is, or can be, connected to a growing movement among the greater church in North America. This conference - INHABIT - conveniently happening in Belltown down the hill at Mars Hill Graduate School (at least that's what it HAS been called... ), aims to bring leaders together who sense God is building a greater bond of love and service between congregations and people of a certain place. Several of our sister CRC congregations from the Seattle Cluster will be there with us.
This is related to how we speak of Emmaus Road as having a "neighborhood of gathering", and why we see ourselves as part of Belltown. We invest time and energy locally through New Horizons, partnering with Imagine Northwest, sponsoring an Americorps volunteer, convening the Belltown Covenant (e.g. belltownvolunteers.org), and Groundworks Sundays. We are not alone; countless congregations, old and new, are hearing "love thy neighbor" in fresh, dynamic ways. Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, a few of us from Emmaus Road will be able hearing and sharing stories.

4/12/11

BELLTOWNVOLUNTEERS.ORG

BELLTOWNVOLUNTEERS.ORG, brought to you by the Belltown Covenant. What is it? An online resource to help Belltown residents connect with their neighbors by volunteering in their neighborhood. With the help of a Mars Hill Graduate student, and members of the Belltown Covenant, the project has finally moved from the development to the launch phase. Our Community Development volunteer, David Anema, is currently gathering data and "populating" the site with specific opportunities. Viewed through our own theological lense, this is more than a community development tool: it is a way to empower people to live out one of our core ministry values, to "love thy neighbor." We acknowledge the challenge people have in getting to know their neighbors, let alone love and serve them; belltownvolunteers.org is one small effort at removing barriers and opening a doors to healthy relationships and life.

The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.