Join us for Celebration!

All are welcome to our interactive, inclusive services that incorporate the arts, contemplative practices, fellowship, and social justice.  We meet every Sunday at 4:00pm at the Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave S, Seattle WA 98118.

This Sunday at Celebration:
The Galt and Everdeen Syndrome

Reflection by John Helmiere

From Katniss Everdeen (the Hunger Games) to John Galt (Atlas Shrugged) in books, from Superman to Braveheart in movies, from Martin Luther King to Ronald Reagan in politics, we are surrounded by stories of the heroic individual who single-handedly saves the day.  Even if our intentions are to love our neighbor and meet the needs of our broken world– even then the temptation is strong to see ourselves as isolated heroes.  This functional atheism and functional isolationism (in other words, that we are the ONLY sources of help available), can push us to heights of service, but usually ends in a crash and burn scenario.

How can we hold together a life of deep commitment and a sense of our limitations?  This Sunday at Celebration, we will reflection on the power of commitment-in-community.  We will be sharing the practical aspects of how our congregation functions, and how your gifts might fit into that jigsaw puzzle.

Join us this Sunday, September 28th at Celebration from 4:00-5:30pm at the Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave. S.  Everybody is invited!


V&M 4th Anniversary Report

*photo: Cutting Cara’s magnificent cake featuring valleys, mountains, and (for some reason) dinosaurs!*

We had a beautiful time together last Sunday &M’s 4th Anniversary Celebration and Party on Sunday, September 21st at 4pm. Over 60 of us gathered and enjoyed a slideshow of our history, shared stories of ways we had cared for one another in times of need, created community art projects and chowed down on a massive potlatch love feast!
Thanks to everyone who came together to help us look back and look forward.
Help Us Spread the Word–Collab First Anniversary Party and Fundraiser

A little over a year ago, we took a giant leap of faith and leased a big dilapidated building and vacant lot in Hillman City. We poured our resources and hopes into renovating the space and building partnerships, and now the space is known far and wide as the Hillman City Collaboratory.  The Collab is seen as a refuge where everyone is welcome, a relationship hive where new friendships form, a compost bucket where social movements blossom, and of course our congregational headquarters.

On October 3rd, we are having a First Anniversary party and fundraiser for the Collab!  Your regular contributions to V&M already support the Collab, so this event is mainly intended to invite the support of people who are not already invested in V&M.  Help us spread the word to those who may be excited to support this event.  The Collab has broad appeal and offers widespread benefits.  We are inviting the city at large to support this effort and having an Anniversary Party and Fundraiser to look at the past year and invite investment in the future.  You can share the event invitation and details with people you think may be interested through this link.

For those still unsure about the precise relationship is between the Collaboratory and V&M, we want to share this again (it is also on our websites and FAQ sheet at the space).  On a legal, fiscal, and administrative level, the Collaboratory exists under V&M’s umbrella. V&M is the leaseholder for the property and the Collaboratory operates under our non-profit certification and administration.  On a visionary, missional, and practical level, Community Arts Create and numerous other organizations and individuals are core partners in this common enterprise and share in the costs, decision-making, upkeep, and operation of the Collaboratory.

It is a risky and rare thing that we are doing– underwriting a major project like this and sharing (rather than hoarding) the power and influence associated with it.  We do this because it is at the heart of our values. This has helped us practice instead of just preach about The Kingdom of God– the vision of loving and liberated life that Jesus offered as a stark alternative to self-interest-based Kingdom of Caesar.  We also do this because sharing power and owndership has enabled us to collaborate across traditional boundaries of culture, economics, sector, and religious affiliation (or non-affiliation) for the common good of community.  Together we have done much more than we ever could have alone!

Once again, we want to be clear that your tithes and offerings to V&M directly benefit the Collaboratory.  For financial investment, we invite your contributions during the Stewardship Drive.  This event is aimed at inviting the support of folks not directly connected to V&M and we are mainly asking you to help spread the word. Of course you are more than welcome to come and celebrate this exciting milestone for this joint ministry that you have been a part of creating!  Event info is here.
Women’s Groups:
Clothing Swap + Book Group

The Fall equinox bonfire was a meaningful and well attended gathering this past Wednesday.  Next bonfire will be on a Wednesday near the Winter Solstice. All are welcome at these!
This Wednesday, Oct 1, will be the first meeting of the high-commitment group, reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s, Learning to Walk in the Dark. Email Amanda Potter at potter.amanda@gmail.com to join this group.
The clothing swap on the following Wednesday, Oct 8, will be at Julie Dillon’s house: 4512 Cascadia Ave S.

Fall Stewardship Drive
Our annual stewardship pledge drive will start in October, which amazingly enough is not that far off.  To all who consider themselves members, co-creators, or pilgrims journeying with the V&M community, you are invited to begin considering what your financial, social, and spiritual investment can be for next year.

Children’s Ministry Position

This Sunday at Celebration, one candidate for the job, Katherine Spinner, will be leading a children’s time.  Please make an effort to make her feel welcome and take the time to connect with her.

As the school year begins, this is a great time to move ahead with our plans to invest in and grow our capacity to intentionally include children into the life and rhythm of the V&M community. We have budgeted ahead to hire a second person for childcare and to have someone take lead on designing age-appropriate programming for kids 3-11, implementing new safety policies, and recruiting and managing volunteers as the program grows. The job description is listed here: http://valleyandmountain.org/jobs/

Next Book Group Meeting

The next meeting for the time, money, and faith reading group is on Thursday, Oct 2nd at 6:30pm.  We are reading “Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.”

New Major Partner

We have another new major partner at the Collaboratory!  SAFE stands for Standing Against Foreclosures and Evictions, and will be using the coworking space, the Mixing Chamber for their Tuesday night organizing meetings, and joining in the mix of community building and change-making that we helped start and sustain at the Collaboratory.

Their mission statement is: “SAFE is a community organization whose mission is to fight for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by fostering working class power through direct action, coalition building, education, and advocacy. In organizing poor and working class people of diverse cultures and nationalities, we shall encourage individual empowerment and community leadership to generate a movement effecting systemic change and societal transformation.”

Creative Liberation Mobilization Team Meeting
Next Meeting:
Wednesday, Oct 1st, 6:30-8:00pm at John’s house (4610 S. Ferdinand St.).
Contact: uhillard@gmail.com

V&M Men’s Group
Next Mens Group:
Monday, 9/29, 7:00-9:00pm at Tommy’s house.
Contact bryan_lindwall@yahoo.com

Cool Stuff @ the Collab

  • Seattle Catholic Worker Birthday Party and Fundraiser, Sat, Sept 27th, 6:30-10:30pm.  All welcome! contact: petergallagher311@gmail.com
  • SAFE Weekly Organizing MeetingTues, Sept 29th, 6:30-8:30pm
  • The Seattle Peace Movement, Wed, Oct 1st, 7:00-9:00pm. Community meeting to discuss peaceful response to the Iraq/Syria conflict.  Open to all!  contact: Joshua Farris, seattle.organizer@gmail.com
  • Collaboratory First Anniversary Party & FundraiserFri, Oct 3rd, 6:30pm til … Registration: http://www.eventbee.com/v/collaboratory/
  • Cascadia Landscape Edible Plant SaleSat, Oct 4th, 10am-2pm, in the garden.
  • Check out other events on the collab website: www.hillmancitycollaboratory.org


Youth Jail Protest In the News

Last Tuesday, several V&M’ers joined a powerful protest of silence, solidarity, and prayer to protest the building of a $210,000,000 youth jail and advocate for spending this money to invest in the youth rather than imprison them.   We were invited by the youth-of-color-led organization “Youth Undoing Institutional Racism.” It made the news– see this article with a quote from John at the bottom.

New Anchor Partner Joining the Collaboratory!

{photo: a FOCS mothers group outing}

We are delighted to announce that a start-up non-profit called Families of Color Seattle is joining V&M and Community Arts Create as our third “anchor partner!”  Anchor Partners take on a lead role in the development, programming, and financial investment in the Collaboratory.  Their mission is: “Families Of Color Seattle is a local resource that supports new parents to build a loving community of families of color.  We connect new mothers and fathers in meaningful learning spaces for friendship and sharing of resources and experiences for our babies of color and multitude of cultures.”  We look forward to a wonderful partnership and lots of exciting cross-pollination!



Meet Our New New Apprentice Minister, Ryan Scott

Valley & Mountain applied to be a host site for an initiative called “Creating A Culture of Call,” in which we would be matched with a young person (from a pool of applicants) who feels a calling to be an ordained minister.  This was a highly selective process and we are excited to announce that V&M was chosen as a host site and excited to announce that we have been matched with a talented, passionate man named Ryan Scott who will be sharing his gifts with us full-time from mid-September to mid-June!  This initiative was designed and is largely funded by a grant from the PNW Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Here is a brief bio/message from Ryan:

“I am thrilled to be serving as an intern at Valley and Mountain. I am looking forward to the coming nine months with optimism. I come from Springfield/Eugene OR where the Oregon Ducks and the timber industry reign supreme. I have studied history and cultural anthropology at Lane Community College and am looking forward to continuing my education.  In my most previous jobs I was am Academic Support Team Facilitator for Springfield High School and the Youth Director for Trinity United Methodist in Eugene. When I’m not working I enjoy spending time in the outdoors (I’m an Eagle Scout!), reading, and nerding out on anything related to history. I can’t wait to get to know everyone!”

As with our other incoming intern, Sarah Bailey [see her bio further below], when you meet him please give Ryan a warm welcome and assure him that he has not made a terrible mistake!

A Message from our other New Apprentice Minister!

With the announcement of Scott coming on board, Sarah is now the veteran intern.

We have a new intern for the coming academic year (September-May)!  Sarah will be interning for about 10 hours/week and learning some of the ropes at V&M and assisting all of our teams (Celebration, Financial Sustainability, Building, and Creative Liberation Mobilization) by helping to implement their visions. Some of you will have already met Sarah, as she has been participating for a little while now, but to everyone else, here is her introduction.

“Hi, my name is Sarah Bailey and I’m excited to be interning at V & M this coming school year! I moved from Michigan two years ago to begin studying pastoral ministry at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, and it’s time for me to get my head out of the books and my feet on the ground somewhere real.  When I’m not doing schoolwork I frequently find myself wondering and talking about faith and
doubt, theology and justice, good books and random TV shows, and what it is that makes Seattle’s weather different from Michigan’s. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and learning from you as a community and as individuals!”

Please extend a warm welcome to Sarah when you meet her, and assure her that she has not made a terrible mistake.  We are excited to have you with us, Sarah!

Solidarity with Muslim Brothers and Sisters

Link to Seattle P-I article

The imam of a mosque in our area was kicked off a plane for using the bathroom in a “doubtful way” and has asked for faith leaders to support him in asking the airline to investigate the occurrence and other discriminatory reports.  John participated by speaking at a press conference calling for Delta and the federal transportation agency to investigate a growing list of reported complaints (and as-yet-unreported instances) of Muslims being ejected from planes for purely discriminatory reasons.  He called on Christians who claim discrimination when cashiers fail to say “Merry Christmas” to look at this case of religious prejudice and join in solidarity with Muslims who face this kind of treatment on a regular basis.

Collaboratory Drop-in Center Now Open

Starting this week the drop-in center is open from 10am-2pm on Monday through Friday!  Part of the vision for The Hillman City Collaboratory, our creative liberation project, has been to build a drop-in center/neighborhood living room in the front reception area of the space.   The vision for this part of the Collab is a cross between:
(1) A Neighborhood Living Room that provides a games, puzzles, art and space for people in the area where strangers can turn into friends (or at least friendly neighbors), and
(2) A Drop-in Center that offers basic services to low-income folks and a ministry of listening to people who are unseen and overlooked.
But to truly create this would require a bunch of committed volunteers, so it seemed far off until the Seattle Catholic Worker house (an intentional Christian community that serves the poor and resists injustice) showed up to offer their time and commitment to the cause.  Several V&M’ers and Hillman City residents have also offered to help.  We now have a strong core but could certainly use more.  Email scwhouse@gmail.com if you want to help or have questions.

Life Together: Be included in the V&M Directory!

Part of our V&M vision and mission is building a radically hospitable community and sharing life together.  A V&M directory can help foster community organically, beyond scheduled V&M events.  We’ve also included some boxes you can check if you want to volunteer in some capacity. So click here now before you forget!  It takes less than 1 minute.  If you don’t live in Seattle, we still invite you to fill out the contact info on the link.  This will help V&M be in touch from time to time.

Tags: progressive church Seattle, social justice church, spiritual community, ecumenical, radically inclusive, diverse, multi-generational, lgbt-friendly, Hillman City, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, South Seattle, incarnational, missional church, prophetic, mystical, alternative worship, emergent church Seattle, emerging, process theology, liberation theology, integral Christianity, reconciling congregation, UMC, open and affirming, inclusive, open-minded, Collaboratory


5 Responses to home

  1. beacon hillite says:

    I just saw your article in the 12/15/10 issue of the South Seattle Beacon. This was the first I have heard about your fellowship. As a person who has been uninterested in traditional churches for pretty much my whole life, I have to say that I was pretty impressed and even a little excited about what you are doing. Celebrating creativity and working to stop injustice in the world are two of the most divine things that humans can do; I’m pleased to see that you have made this so important to your mission! Keep it up!

  2. Jud Hendrix says:


    You rock! Glad things are going well! I need to come hang you with you!

  3. Shira Nahari says:

    My Dear Brother-in-Peace John,

    I just read your incredible report of how you were beaten and arrested in Seattle recently.
    I intend to share it widely to enroll people in following your advice issued on the heels of this unprovoked abuse:
    · Listen deeply.
    · Get upset.
    · Generate Love.

    Among the recipients of your repoert will be the Mayor of Seattle, Mike McGinn and some City council members.

    You are a sterling template for unconditional Love and I am very sure Jesus would be proud to call you a disciple! You are spreading His message in a very pure form by BEing Peace.

    Blessed be
    in Love and Light,
    Shira Nahari, Everson WA

  4. Polly Burns says:

    I have just read your account of the happenings in Seattle…as I prepare to visit the city. I was there in October when the Occupy protest began and spent time with protesters. I am only there two days this time…I will be holding you in prayer and I will be publicizing your report.
    God bless you and thankyou for your challenge
    Polly in the UK

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