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 Freedom of Generosity

Reflection by John Helmiere

Political voices teach us that we worked hard for what we have and others are trying to get it from us.  Social voices tell us that we only measure up when we are better/ have more/ control more than others.  Institutional voices teach us that we can never be secure. Economic voices teach us that freedom comes through a bottomless surplus.  “Hold On Tight” is the message we hear constantly in society.  Meanwhile the Gospel voices teach us the opposite– that everything we have is a gift, that we are measured by how we love not what we have, that security is found in trust, and that freedom is experienced in generosity.  This is one of the most counter-cultural messages imaginable.    This Sunday, as we continue in this Stewardship season, we will wrestle with these competing claims on our lives, our time, our talents, and our wallets.

Join us this Sunday, October 26th at Celebration from 4:00-5:30pm at the Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave. S.  Bring a friend– All are welcome!


A New Children’s Minister!

We are delighted to announce that a new children’s minister is joining the team at Valley & Mountain!  Rev. Emily Tanis-Likkel is a dance teacher, storyteller, and collaboration-minded entrepreneur, with a good deal of experience in children’s ministry and community building.  Emily and her partner, Brett, have lived in the Puget Sound area for almost 20 years and have two children (Day, 7 and Eva, 12).   She has a passion for creating inclusive intergenerational spiritual experiences and is an ordained minister in the UCC (a progressive denomination with a long history of pioneering inclusivity and stands for social justice).  Please offer her a warm welcome and assure her that she has not made a terrible mistake.

Fall Stewardship Drive Update

Our annual community pledge drive has begun and will continue during the month of October.  To all who consider themselves members, co-creators, or pilgrims journeying with the V&M community, you are invited to make a commitment about what your financial, social, and spiritual investment can be for next year.   We currently have 17 pledges for $34,000 committed in 2015!  So far, half are new pledgers and half are veteran pledgers, most of whom are deepening their commitment.  You can make your pledge online here. Just write “2015 pledge” in the text box next to your pledge.

If you made a pledge last year and plan to continue it in 2015, please let us know by sending an email to the Finance Team at info@valleyandmountain.org or by filling out a pledge card.

The Financial Sustainability Team has been sharing information on our income and expenses at Celebrations but if you have missed services or have any questions, we welcome them (ask a FST member or email us atinfo@valleyandmountain.org)  Transparency and integrity are top values for us at V&M.

Outreach Team Meeting:
Collab Thanksgiving Feast

Last week several V&M’ers gathered to kick off a new “Outreach Team,” tasked with building bridges between V&M and non-profits/individuals in our area.  The team aims to build collaborative relationships with allied organizations, come alongside and serve individuals with basic needs, and create a welcoming culture at V&M.  The first concrete task the team has chosen is to partner with the Seattle Catholic Worker (who operates the drop-in center for the homeless at the Collab) to facilitate a free, inclusive Thanksgiving Community Feast at the Collaboratory.  The team’s next meeting is Monday at 6:30pm at the Collab.  Contact Annette (netj.jcs@gmail.com) or Jaime (jairodr@yahoo.com) for more info or to get involved.

We Got a Kitchen Grant!

*photo caption: “not for much longer”
The company Waste Management held a competition for their pickup areas to reduce trash over a period of months.  The Rainier Valley area reduced our trash the most so the company offered 5 grants for $5,000 each that 501c3 organizations (aka non-profits) based in this area could apply for.  We applied along with 20 other non-profits.  The leaders of each non-profit applicant then pitched our ideas to each other and actually voted ourselves on who should get the 5 grants.  The Collaboratory was one of the chosen winners! We will use the money in large part to help upgrade the kitchen so that events like the Community Cookouts we sponsor, the BackStreet Bazaar, and other great food-based events can happen here!  It feels great to have the support of our fellow non-profits here.  This is a testament to the work of you all at V&M and the tremendous willingness to experiment and take risks for the common good with our wonderful partner organizations.

Join the Monthly Collab Newsletter List
We are starting a monthly e-newsletter for the Collaboratory.  It will include featured upcoming events at the Collab, brief blurbs about what has been going on, a monthly profile of someone involved in the collaborative work, and a list of needs. Alicia de los Reyes has taken lead on generating this newsletter.  Click here if you want to sign up to receive the letter.  And email alicia.delosreyes@gmail.com if you have anything you want included in the newsletter that the broad Collab community may be interested in (clothing swaps, service projects, creative liberation actions, etc).

Women’s Group

Next Wednesday, Oct 29th, the high-commitment women’s group will meet.  They are reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s, Learning to Walk in the Dark. Email Amanda Potter at potter.amanda@gmail.com to join this group.

Noe: gender-based groups at V&M are always trans*-inclusive and welcoming spaces.

Collab Anniversary Party Report

Earlier this month we celebrated the First Anniversary of the Hillman City Collaboratory (even though it was actually a 16 month-iversary, shhh).  It was an enormously inspiring gathering, with a huge and diverse turnout, meaningful open mic time, a shared vision for the future, a celebration of how far we’ve come since getting the keys to this formerly vacant space last year, jazzy tunes, a hot fire with smores, new connections being formed, and as of the latest count, about $10,000 being raised to help finish the kitchen and keep the lights on!  The Collab is a joint project and the work of many hands, but it’s important for you all to know that it would absolutely not exist without V&M’s core investments of energy, gifts, labor, finances, and love.  When you walk in those doors, know that you are a co-creator of this place!

Next Book Group Meeting

The next meeting for the time, money, and faith reading group is on Thursday, Oct 39th at 6:30pm.  We are reading “Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.” Contact ryanjscott213@gmail.com for info.

V&M Men’s Group
Next Mens Group:
Monday, October 27th, 7:00-9:00pm at Bryan’s house.
Contact bryan_lindwall@yahoo.comCool Stuff @ the Collab

  • SAFE Weekly Organizing Meeting, Tues, Oct 28th, 6:30-8:00pm. Meal served 6:00-6:30pm.
  • Seattle Peace Movement, Wed, Oct 29th, 7:00pm.
  • Hollow Earth Radio Retreat, Sat, Oct 25th, 12-7pm.
  • Radical Mycology, Mon, Oct 27th, 6-9pm.
  • Check out other events on the collab website:www.hillmancitycollaboratory.org

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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