Our name is geographical. We’re centered in the Rainier Valley region of Seattle, with mighty Mount Tahoma (aka Rainier) looming above us. We emphasize our geographical location to remind ourselves that we are responding to the needs of this particular place.
Our name is metaphorical. We have all experienced “mountain top” moments of joy and fulfillment in our lives. Those moments are so much better when we share them with a supportive community that celebrates with us. We have all experienced “valley bottom” moments of grief and strife. Those times are far more bearable when we have a loving community that cares for us through the pain and that helps us to remember that mountain top moments will come again.
Our name is political. There is tremendous inequality of possessions, power, and privilege in our world. Isaiah and John the Baptist used the same imagery to talk about a Divinely inspired society when they said: "Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low." Our name is a reminder that when we find ourselves on the mountain top of accumulation, we are called to get off our pedestal-- to share, to listen, to be humble. And when we find ourselves in the valley of deprivation, we are called to rise up and ascend-- to acquire, to speak out, to have pride.
Our name is spiritual. Seattlites know that there are days when the Mountain stands out bright and shining as the sun. Then, there are long periods when clouds come in and you can hardly believe there's a glorious Mountain nearby. So we need memory, we need community, we need a spirituality that is grateful in the clear days and sturdy on the cloudy ones.
Our name is ecological. Part of the our work at V&M is to celebrate
the interdependent fabric of all the created order through the way we
live. Our name reminds us of the ecological commitments that are part of
this community’s identity.