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.

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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.