February just flew by! Maybe even our baby didn't notice the month coming and going and that's why the kiddo is still hanging out inside and waiting to be born! I really thought this newsletter would bring news of the arrival of our little one. But, alas, not yet. We continue to wait.
Which, is not out of season as it is Lent. A season of waiting and contemplation. Wandering, looking for home and not quite finding it yet. This year our community is following along with the theme "Where the Wild One Walks." We've been exploring stories of a Jesus who is wild and wildly good, contemplating our need for this Jesus and what it means for us to enter into the Jesus story, and exploring what confession means for us, for our neighborhood, and for the world.
Over this time, we've been blessed with guest pastors to lead us through lectio divina (or a sacred, slow, way of reading the Scriptures that helps us really enter the stories). We've had some deep times of sharing and seeing things anew and we always ask: Where is the Wild and Wildly good One leading us?
And one of those consistent places the Wild One walks in Everett is Our Common Ground. It has been essential to us from the beginning to be a community of welcome and justice and to listen for where and how Everett needs welcome and justice. Every Monday-Thursday morning, welcome and justice looks like opening the doors of the fellowship hall and sharing coffee and friendship with neighbors living on the margins because of any combination of povery, addiction, or mental (un)health. And Jesus walks wildly in that fellowship hall. Every day has its ups and downs. But we see the Jesus story of welcome and justice continuing to unfold daily as people share stories, enter into sobriety, share how much this forming community means to them, and even talk about faith. Highlights from this month include being asked to accompany a friend from Our Common Ground to his dad's funeral as his guest and being able to help him write a eulogy as he struggled with his dad's death. And then there was the time when I was able to sit down with a man who has been through more than most of us could survive and tell him, as he doubted God's love and welcome: "If anything I know about Jesus is true, Jesus welcomes you. Lovingly. Passionately. With open arms and a seat at the table." Both he and I had tears as we both heard those words. And I felt his response as he spoke it: "I want to believe that."
Either at Our Common Ground or at Our Common Table, this is what we are about. We are about the Jesus who prepares a table with room and welcome for everyone. And we are about wanting to believe that. We are about holding that belief for each other when it seems too far fetched. We are about celebrating that belief. And we are about embodying that belief every week as we all gather around one common table and exclaim together: Everyone is welcome at Jesus table! And this is wild and wildly good news.
Thank you for all the ways you enable us to hold this space of welcome and continue to journey more and more into believing in and acting out this welcome. We hope that you feel this welcome and that, as you are able, you will join us.
Whoever you are, whatever space you find yourself in, you are welcome here.
On that note, there are a number of ways your support can continue to enable us to share and live into this wild welcome:
Here are a few ways that you can partner with this new church-in-formation:
Partnering with Our Common Table:
Again, thank you. Being a fledgling Christian community of welcome and justice is not easy work. And without your partnership, it wouldn't be possible. We are daily grateful for each of you who journeys with us in any way or form.
- Join us! We meet in the evening, so if you have a worshipping community that meets in the morning, you can still join us! As we are starting out, having friends at the table is a huge help. Especially between now and May as Rebecca is on maternity leave! We'd especially love if a church or group or family or a couple of folks wanted to come and provide a vegetarian soup for our potluck. Let us know if that sounds fun to you one week!
- Participate! There are several aspects of our worship that we'd love to spread out from just Rebecca and Luke leading. Would you like to lead some music? Read a poem? Read scripture? Hang out with kiddos if it is helpful to their parents? Set up? Take down? Make food? There is definitely room for all your gifts at the table!
- Invite others! We're excited about the space of welcome and justice we're cultivating. We hope that it is a healing space for neighbors (and even ourselves!) who have experienced some hurt or exclusion in the church. Do you know people in our area looking for a space like this? We would love to connect with them - either at worship or over coffee if they are not ready to step into a space of gathered worship.
- Support us financially. We want to extend welcome well. That means good food and inviting spaces. These things don't come for free. If you would like to contribute, you can click this link to our website to give online. Or reply to this email for other giving options.
Currently, our rent for worship and for Our Common Ground to open the doors daily is $810/month. We'd love to raise that amount in monthly pledges by May. Consider partnering with us toward the physical space we need to extend welcome.
You can pledge online here. Or mail a check with a note regarding your pledge to:
Our Common Table
2110 Grand Ave #1
Everett, WA 98201
- Help out with Our Common Ground. We are slowly building our volunteer base - wanting our volunteers to be a part of the community. Currently, our biggest need is for folks who can hang out from 8-9am (or, ideally 9:30) Mondays through Thursdays. You could come before heading to work and enjoy some free coffee, free wifi, and conversation with neighbors. Click here for more information on volunteering with Our Common Ground. Please let us know if you might be able to help out for a day or a few days.
Rebecca (& Luke) Sumner