I’d like to tell you all about a couple of ministries that I’m involved in outside of St. Dunstan’s. As postulants, those of us in formation to be deacons learn (if we haven’t already!) that the ministry of a deacon is primarily outside of the congregation. In the words of the ordination liturgy, deacons are to “interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world,” and that requires being out in the world learning what those needs, concerns, and hopes are!
For the last few years I’ve been volunteering with Operation Nightwatch doing street ministry. Operation Nightwatch has ministered to the poor and homeless in Seattle for over 50 years, providing food, shelter, and spiritual care to those on the streets. I’m one of a team of lay and ordained volunteers who go out on Thursday nights to various places in the downtown area where people are camped out. The locations vary depending on sweeps, construction and other events. We bring bags full of water, socks, food and other necessities, offering these as well as a listening ear if people want to talk and someone to pray with if they desire. This is a very rewarding ministry for not only the folks we reach out to, but for me and the other volunteers. If any of you would like to know more about volunteering with Nightwatch, I’d love to talk with you.
In April I joined the board of directors of Camp United We Stand, the tent community in North Seattle/Shoreline. St. Dunstan’s has hosted the camp in the past, and the feeding ministry brings them dinner every Tuesday. Besides attending monthly board meetings, I’m also spending time with the campers at their weekly meetings to get to know the members and be present for them. I’m especially looking for ways to foster more community between the camp and St. Dunstan’s. Stay tuned for that! You can always drop by the camp and bring donations or just say “Hi”—they’re currently at Shoreline Free Methodist Church at NE 175th and 5th NE.— Alan Christensen