Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Dec 19
2019

Mercy Update | World Relief Advent Drive

Advent Drive, Mercy Ministries | by Pastor Justin Keogh

World Relief Drive

In Seattle, we have thousands of neighbors who have arrived as refugees, asylees, or immigrants – often fleeing persecution and arriving with only the clothes on their backs. For those who are fortunate enough to be able to navigate the complex immigration system and be resettled in Seattle, they still face an uphill battle to learn to live in a new culture, with a new language, amidst the pain and confusion of trauma they’ve faced.

It is in this space that World Relief Seattle steps in to provide holistic, gospel-motivated, services that range from physical resettlement, language and cultural education, immigration and legal services, economic and employment training, and spiritual empowerment. As a church, we’ve partnered with World Relief Seattle to help serve those vulnerable image-bearers arriving in our city with the love of Christ. We do this because God has loved us in Christ while we were spiritually dead, apart from Him and without hope in the world.

CHRIST: OUR ULTIMATE REFUGE

God calls us to love others because, in Christ, we recognize our own spiritual need and the value of others as His image-bearers. In Deuteronomy 10, we see God connect His character with those who are sojourners. He speaks to ancient Israel, His adopted people who were to bear witness to God’s love, this way:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)

God tells Israel about His great love and awesome glory. But He does more than simply tell them; in His wisdom, God reveals His love for them and His power over all things by weaving into Israel’s story a sojourn in and rescue out of Egypt. Israel’s time in Egypt, and their redemption by God out of Pharoah’s hand, serve as undeniable, historical declarations of God’s power and love for His people. These attributes are rooted in His character, and He weaves them into Israel’s story, and then He calls them to love the sojourners in their midst.

The same is true for us in Christ. Ephesians 2 heralds this good news: God’s love for us and power toward us are just as profound, bringing life to dead sinners, bringing those who were far off into unity with God in Christ. Like Israel, we were sojourners, apart from God. Like Israel, we have been given God’s love and grace in Christ. And like Israel, God calls us to live a life that is transformed by His love, a life that glorifies God in the way we love others.

ADVENT DRIVE

This Advent season, we’re hosting a drive with World Relief to purchase physical goods for our refugee, asylee, and immigrant neighbors resettling in Seattle. In 2019, World Relief Seattle has helped resettle almost 200 families (585 individuals). Our goal for this drive is to provide 20 families (or more!) with all of the physical essentials while they resettle in Seattle. That includes everything from toothbrushes and trash bags to bedding and cookware.

In order to make the greatest impact, we’re going to collect financial donations together as a church and then purchase these items in bulk.

WAYS TO PARTICIPATE

We invite you to prayerfully consider a gift toward serving these new neighbors, as God’s beloved image-bearers. 100% of the gifts collected will go directly to the material needs of the families served by World Relief.

  • A gift of $25 can purchase the cleaning items for a family of 4
  • A gift of $75 can purchase essential kitchenware
  • A gift of $250 can provide linens & bedding
  • A gift of $500 can provide a full package of essentials for a family of 4

You can contribute through a financial donation using the online giving button below, or by marking a monetary donation as “advent drive” and giving on a Sunday through December or by mailing it in.

DONATE
All contributions are tax-deductible, and World Relief will receive 100% of your donation, less any processing fees (if applicable). A gift acknowledgment will be included in your year-end giving statement.

Visit downtowncornerstone.org/relief to learn more.

Pastor Justin

Jan 25
2018

Supporting REST in our City

Advent Drive, City Life, Service | by Micah Rickard

REST: Real Escape from the Sex Trade was founded in 2009 for the purpose of powerfully serving and loving victims of sex trafficking by providing prevention, intervention, and restorative services. The nonprofit has served over 1,580 individuals and assisted over 100 in exiting the sex trade for one year or more.

Still, the statistics are devastating: one study in 2008 showed that on any given night, up to 2,000 individuals are being trafficked in Seattle. The average entry age for sex trafficking victims is 13 years old, and studies estimate that 1 in 3 runaways will be trafficked within 48 hours.

For every statistic, there is a story. For every number, a person, made in the image of God, bearing dignity and worth. Each and every story matters. One survivor, Alina, said this about REST “When I called the REST Hotline, my whole life changed. REST has become my family, giving me the support I never had. This place has saved my life, and I didn’t think I could be anything more than a prostitute before I met REST.”

To the glory of God and by his grace, REST has been a transformative tool in the lives of youth and women throughout Seattle. One of the ways that REST serves our community is by providing a Drop-In Center, with workshops, classes, support groups, meals, and peer support. Additionally, REST provides essentials to victims and survivors who often lack clothing, especially for winter months.

Throughout the season of Advent, we partnered with REST to provide them with winter clothing which will go to the women they serve. In total, we collected over 400 items including winter coats, gloves, sweaters, sweatshirts, underwear, socks, beanies, scarves, toiletries, and gift cards. The staff at REST were overjoyed by your generosity!

Paul encouraged the church in Corinth to give generously for the needs of the believers in Jerusalem, writing,

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Cor. 9:11-12).”

I am deeply and richly encouraged and humbled by the donations that we were able to give to REST in support of their ministry, and I hope you are too! God is doing incredible things through REST, and He has given us the wonderful chance to partner with them! If you are interested in learning more about the issue of sex trafficking in Seattle or about REST’s ministry, or want to continue to support REST, I encourage you to visit their website at www.iwantrest.com. Consider volunteering, giving financially, or participating in their upcoming “Raise ‘em for REST Poker Tournament” on March 8.

Thank you to everyone who gave generously and partnered with REST in support and through prayer!

– Micah Rickard 
Deacon of Mercy Ministries

Dec 7
2017

The Power of REST

Advent Drive, City Life, Service | by Pastor Craig Sturm

“I am worth love.” Piper, a resident at the REST House, firmly declared. “[REST] has been a God-send. I feel it’s kept me alive,” she said, explaining the hard work she’s put in on her path to leaving behind commercial sex exploitation, toward sobriety and a different life. Prior to coming to REST, Piper was living out of a motel, using opiates heavily, and prostituting her body along with her sister. When her sister wanted out of prostitution, she connected Piper with an advocate at REST. From there, Piper began to build life-transforming relationships with REST staff members and guests

Her testimony these days?

“I feel so loved by God. I feel loved by the staff. I feel loved by the roommates. I feel loved by my family again. I feel loved by the prayers that are said for me. I know God put my advocate in my life for a reason because I was supposed to meet all these people. I was supposed to be sitting here doing this to get better. I feel loved.”

A JOYFUL PARTNERSHIP

On any given night in Seattle, hundreds of individuals are sold for sex. REST: Real Escape from the Sex Trade was founded in 2009 to build pathways to freedom, safety, and hope for victims of sex trafficking and the sex trade in Seattle and beyond. Downtown Cornerstone is partnering with REST this Advent season to help outfit the REST House. The donated clothing items will help REST welcome women hoping to transition out of the sex trade into a life of freedom and restoration.

Jesus is our ultimate source of rest and invites all who labor and are heavy laden to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). Let us follow His example and give joyfully out of the rest and abundance Christ has given us to tangibly serve these young women this Advent season! Details on how to give are outlined below –

WHO. Young women (18-25 years old) in restorative housing in the REST House.

HOW. Needed items can be purchased from the Amazon Wish List. Similar items may also be purchased individually and donated through donation bins placed in the Commons. In addition to the items listed, gift cards for grocery and clothing stores such as Safeway, Target, and Ross are also needed!

WHERE. Items purchased from the list will be shipped directly to Downtown Cornerstone. If you would like to donate similar items not on the list, please place them in the donation bins in the Commons or give them to your community lead to donate.

WHEN. Through the month of December.

Learn more here.

REST FEATURED ON BBC.com

In a very Seattle way, REST is leveraging chatbox technology to help further their passion to bring freedom, safety, and hope to young women (and men) caught in the sex trade. This feature appeared on BBC.com and highlights how the tool is beginning to impact Seattle, and hopefully other places across the globe!

 

Jan 13
2017

Foster Care Drive Recap: Loving Our City Well

Advent Drive, City Life, Foster Care, Service | by Deacon Jen Keogh

But you, God see the trouble of the afflicted. You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” – Psalm 10:14

God sees our troubles and meets our needs. The Foster Care Drive provided tangible evidence of this simple yet profound truth. With over 375 items donated, including a cornucopia of T-rex hoodies, sparkly shirts, and cozy pjs, God’s love and provision for those in need was majestically on display.

As a potential mother of a foster care child who may one day enter my home, I was reminded that the many donations do not serve abstract children, but actual image-bearers. I praise God for the ways He’s used our church body to support and bless DSHS and the children in foster care!

Here are some of the responses we received from the coordinators we partnered with:

“I would like to thank you for all that you did for children in care, foster families, and social workers in 2016. I am so amazed at all the labor and love you have poured into the community. You have provided hope in the lives of those who may feel there is no hope left.”
– Jessica Hatch, Social and Heath Program Consultant at DSHS: Children’s Administration

“Thank you so much for your FAITHFUL, GENEROUS giving this Christmas season, [and for] your church’s involvement and dedication to these marginalized children and their hard-working foster parents and social workers!”
– Mandy Nell, Foster Care Specialist with Church Engagement at Seattle Union Gospel Mission

Clothing donations were dropped off at King West DSHS office and will be distributed to other DSHS offices in King County including DSHS – Delridge and DSHS – MLK. Adult clothing donations were provided to Parents for Parents, an organization that assists parents whose children have entered the system by providing training and resources. You can see the generosity of our church-wide collection evidenced in photos above (and that was just the second trip!).

GET INVOLVED

If you are interested in learning more about foster and adoptive care in the State of Washington, or want to get involved through donating or volunteering, please feel free to contact me. I love sharing about these wonderful kiddos! Thank you on behalf all of the kids who will sleep, run, and thrive in the clothing you’ve donated.

“He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:18

To God be the glory,

Jen Keogh

You can get connected to Jen to learn more about foster and adoptive care in the State of Washington by emailing info@downtowncornerstone.org.

Nov 22
2016

Give and Serve this Advent Season

Advent Drive, City Life, Event, Foster Care, News | by Pastor Craig Sturm

The season of Advent has historically been intended to cause the hearts of Christians to remember and rejoice in the glory of the truth that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us! We celebrate that He has broken into human history to redeem that which was enslaved; restore that which was broken; to renew that which had been dead! The incarnation of Jesus is the single greatest act of love, grace, and mercy in the history of humanity. It is good news of great joy — for the world, and for us as individuals. As we reflect on God’s abundance to us in Jesus, there are two ways that you can partner with DCC to serve and give this Advent season:

FOSTER CARE CLOTHING DRIVE

FosterCareClothingPromo_620x130_1114_CS_green

On any given day there are 1,200 to 1,500 children in foster care in King County. Whether children are picked up from school or removed directly from home, they often don’t have the chance to bring their clothes with them. Consequently, many children come into foster care without coats or sometimes even socks! It can take weeks for DSHS to get foster children these basic winter essentials. Life in foster care can be extraordinarily challenging and disruptive for kids and teens, both emotionally and developmentally. Having the comfort of warm clothes can go a long way in helping children transition into foster care. Downtown Cornerstone has chosen to partner with DSHS this advent season to provide comfortable clothes for foster children entering state care. The items donated will give DSHS offices a supply of winter items to give out to children as soon as they enter care.

How to Participate:
Starting November 27th, donate clothing for elementary-aged children by dropping clothing in barrels on Sunday or by purchasing items online using the Amazon Wish List.

More Details:
More details, including a list of needed items, can be found at www.downtowncornerstone.org/foster-care-drive

VOLUNTEER WITH THE CARE NET MOBILE UNIT

carenetvolunteer_1116_620x130_cs

After Sanctity of Life Sunday this year, a small group of people within Downtown Cornerstone Church felt convicted and called to respond to the alarming statistics of how abortion affects our city. In response, the group began The LIFE Project, which targeted two connected areas of need: Pregnancy Crisis Support and Adoption/Foster Care. The Pregnancy Crisis Support team partnered with CareNet, the largest pregnancy crisis resource in the Puget Sound, to support their strategy of bringing a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) to Seattle. The Mobile Medical Unit is a bus that will serve women and families where there are currently no life-affirming pregnancy service available. The MMU has the flexibility to park near college campuses, churches, and community centers, reaching women right in their neighborhood for free pregnancy testing, ultrasound appointments, and STI screenings. The statistics for the Mobile Medical Unit are staggering: 4 out of 5 women who board a Mobile Medical Unit choose life for their baby. By God’s grace, working through your passion and generosity, Downtown Cornerstone Church helped support the purchase of the first Mobile Medical Unit for Seattle! The next step in our partnership with CareNet is to serve in ways that directly affect the Medical Mobile Unit.

How to Participate:
There are a number of unique ways that you can serve including: Drivers, Marketing Volunteers, Men to give counsel and support to potential fathers, Medical Volunteers, and Medical Professionals.

More Details:
To learn more about these opportunities, our partnership with Care Net, and to volunteer to serve, visit http://www.downtowncornerstone.org/carenet

If you have any questions on these two efforts, please email info@downtowncornerstone.org. If you’d like to participate with the LIFE Project (Foster Care/Adoption or Pregnancy Support), please email craig@downtowncornerstone.org.

For His glory,
Pastor Craig

Jan 8
2016

REST House Drive Recap

Advent Drive, City Life, Service

REST_Drive_1115_620x130_NRC

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” -Romans 6:22

Hundreds of women are sold for sex in this city every night. In spite of the devastating statistics, we cling tight to the great love and abundance of grace we have from God in Jesus Christ – and we fight back with hope secure in His freedom. This Advent season, we made a huge impact for REST: Real Escape from the Sex Trade by outfitting their REST House, a restorative, short-term housing option for young women transitioning out of the sex trade.

By God’s grace and through the outpouring of your generosity, we were able to equip the House not only with scores of necessary items but also with many comforting treasures that will go a long way in blessing women as they transition to freedom and restoration.

In addition to the significant gift of a much-needed storage shed, we provided the following items that will help provide a safe, welcoming space for these young women to find real and lasting rest:

  • Household items: dining room table, lamps, bedspreads, mousepads, bedsheets, curtains, pillows, office supplies, cleaning supplies
  • Kitchenwares: KitchenAid mixer and attachments, blender, cookbooks, dish towels, oven mitts, serving bowls, kitchen tools, water pitcher, serving platters, aprons, baking tools, paper products
  • Personal Care items: shampoo and conditioner, bathroom caddies, feminine hygiene products, hair dryers, soap, beauty items, books

Melody, the Residential Program Manager who heads the REST House team, passed along her thanks: “The generosity of your church family has overwhelmed me… REST and especially the REST House team are so grateful for your care and generosity.”

Downtown Cornerstone strives to display Christ’s light and life in the avenues and the alleyways of Seattle. By God’s grace, we did so this Advent season by donating generously and joyfully to the REST House Drive!

Get Involved

The Wish List we used throughout the drive will remain active and updated, so you can continue to give. You can also find out more about the work REST does and how to get involved on their website: iwantrest.com.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13

Christ is all,
Jennifer Keogh

Jan 13
2015

Foster Care Drive: Loving the Least of These

Advent Drive, City Life, Foster Care, Service | by Anne Johnson

FosterCareClothingPromo_620x130_1114_CS_green_no-details

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – Jesus (John 14:18)

As foster parents licensed through the state, my husband and I see firsthand what it is like for children to come “into the system.” Our current foster son came to us with nothing but a worn coat and the clothes he was wearing. In the midst of uncertainty in a new and strange place, the gift of comfortable clothes is undeniably reassuring.

Throughout the Foster Care Drive, I watched in grateful amazement as our living room filled with messy piles of socks, bags of sweatshirts, and boxes of sweatpants. I am astonished by God’s grace and provision through the Downtown Cornerstone community. Through the freedom to love as we have been loved, we collected over 780 articles of clothing! You can see the generosity of that collection evidenced below in photos of my car stuffed with your donations.

foster photo

The bottom-right photo above is the play area at the West Seattle Visitation Center where the clothes will be distributed. When children come into care after hours, they are often brought here and given overnight bags with essentials, if any are available. Lisa, the DSHS social worker who runs the visitation center, was incredibly grateful to stock the center with our much-needed supplies.

GET INVOLVED

If you are looking for more ways to help, Lisa shared that a dream of hers is to have a supply of duffel bags. If children are lucky enough to bring their things from home, they usually carry their items around in trash bags. Just as some fresh socks can bring comfort, having a proper bag for your possessions (however few) can bring a sense of worth and value.

The Visitation Center is also in desperate need of a refresh. There is currently a project through Amara, an adoption support agency, to update the Center. For more information, visit Amara’s GoFundMe page.

If you are interested in learning more about foster and adoptive care in the State of Washington, or want to get involved through donating or volunteering, please feel free to contact me. I love sharing about these wonderful kiddos! Thank you on behalf  all of the kids who will sleep, run, and thrive in the clothing you’ve donated.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name…Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity…”
– Psalm 68:4-6

Christ is all,
Anne Johnson

You can get connected to Anne to learn more about foster and adoptive care in the State of Washington by emailing info@downtowncornerstone.org.

Dec 11
2014

Foster Care Clothing Drive

Advent Drive, Foster Care, News, Service | by Pastor David Parker

FosterCareClothingPromo_620x130_1114_CS_green

As we kick off this advent season, we want to demonstrate the love of Christ in action. We are not only here to proclaim the good news of Jesus in our city, but we also want to be good news to our city. In light of that, through the month of December, two things are happening:

COMMUNITY

Our Cornerstone Communities will be looking for ways to love and bless the people and needs that God has placed around them. If you know of a person or family in need, talk to your community lead. [Note: If you are in need of particular help in this season, please let us know by emailing info@downtowncornerstone.org.]

CHURCH

Corporately, we’ve chosen to partner with DSHS this advent season to provide comfortable clothes for foster children entering state care. On any given day there are 1,300 to 1,500 children in foster care in King County. Whether children are picked up from school or removed directly from home, they often don’t have the chance to bring their clothes with them. Consequently, many children come into foster care without coats or sometimes even socks! It can take weeks for DSHS to get foster children these basic winter essentials.

Life in foster care can be extraordinarily challenging and disruptive for kids and teens, both emotionally and developmentally. Having the comfort of warm clothes can go a long way in helping children transition into foster care. The items donated will give DSHS offices a supply of winter items to give out to children as soon as they enter care.

  • Donations: Bring in your donations every Sunday at AMC Theaters, now through the end of December. You can also purchase online and have items shipped directly to DCC.
  • Details: For a full list of details, including clothing items, Amazon shopping list ideas, and more, visit downtowncornerstone.org/foster-care-drive.
  • Flyer: If you would like to place a receptacle in your apartment building or workplace, you can download a promotional flyer HERE. Don’t forget to write your name and phone number on it, so people can follow up with questions!
  • Questions: Email info@downtowncornerstone.org

Whatever you and/or your community ends up doing, get creative, be generous, and ask Jesus to give you a vision for incarnating the love of Christ this season. In Christ we have been given much. By Him and through Him we have much to give.

For the Gospel in this city,
Pastor David