What we believe
Awakening to the presence of God
Reflecting the image of God
Columbia City Church of Hope is a newly forming community in the Lutheran (ELCA) tradition. We believe that all people are beautiful, lovingly created in the image of God. We reflect the face of God to each other and have the honor of being God's hands and feet in bringing justice and renewal to the world.
God's promises of mercy, love, acceptance, and transformation shape our lives as individuals and as a community. We believe that God is everywhere in this world that God has made--within us, around us, beside us, beyond us.
We are changed by encountering God, and we are challenged to carry on the work for justice and renewal all around us.
Asking good questions
We look to Jesus' life of compassion, healing, and forgiveness to learn what it means that God's love is for all people, and that love sets us free to live life to the fullest. Jesus' practice of challenging hierarchies, breaking taboos, and reaching across social barriers upset the order of his day enough to get him killed — yet the story of his death and resurrection breaks the cycle of retaliatory violence and shows how love can be stronger than death. His death also shows how compassionately God is present, even in suffering, even (and especially) where God seems to be most glaringly absent.
As people of faith, we eagerly study the advances of science to help us understand how the world works, yet we also treasure the mysteries of life that are beyond our understanding. We are more interested in asking good questions that in repeating pat answers. We are always learning, growing, changing, and awakening. Encountering God opens our lives to hope, joy, and freedom.
We are a radically welcoming community where each of us is accepted and embraced as our authentic selves.
God can handle it. We can handle it. We are all works in progress, and we trust God and each other and ourselves enough to say what we really think and be who we really are.
God's love sets us free from doubt, shame, and fear in order to open our lives to greater generosity, courage, and joy.
Faith in Action
We are a publicly engaged church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work. We do God's work in the world, the work of restoring and reconciling communities. We pursue justice and seek peace no matter how long the journey or wide the chasm. Because we are grounded in God's love and forgiveness, we are well equipped to live and serve here and now, in the world, with all its complexities, tensions, and ambiguities.
There is no aspect of life in which God is not active, no place where God is not present. And this is exactly where we are called to participate in God's work, in the thick of life, embracing individuals, families, and communities that are hungry for hope and healing, justice and peace, advocates and partners.
God is working for justice and reconciliation right here in the Rainier Valley today, and we are excited to join that work in many ways. We work toward racial justice by examining our own racial identities, sponsoring workshops on talking with kids about race, and engaging with neighbors in other trainings and conversations about dismantling racism. We celebrate the sacred in nature with hikes, camping trips, and our community garden, and challenge ourselves to live more sustainably. We practice hospitality by opening our space to a rotating family shelter and organizing volunteers to spend time with the families and serve meals. We read books and go to movies together, then meet to discuss how our own lives might better reflect our values. We partner with other local organizations advocating for justice and equal access; we offer space to local artists and consider how the creative spirit reflects the divine; we share meals in our homes and at the church because we know that even the simplest interactions create spaces where we can encounter and be changed by the presence of the sacred.
As a participating congregation of the national Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we are connected to and engaged in the most important social justice issues of our day: corporate social responsibility, racial justice, science and ethics, peacemaking, justice for women, social issues, and community organizing. We advocate for change in public policy based on the experience of Lutheran ministries, programs, and projects around the world and in communities - like ours here in Seattle.
We also work through political channels on behalf of the following values: peacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease. As a part of the ELCA, we achieve things on a scale and scope that we couldn't do otherwise. When we act as a coordinated network of advocates and reach out to officials on relevant, timely issues, we effectively impact public policies.
Our participation in the ELCA connects us to our sisters and brothers around the world through relief and development work. This work is accomplished through a variety of bold, active ministries and initiatives like: The Malaria Campaign, World Hunger Relief, HIV and AIDS Ministry, Disaster Response, Immigration and Refugee Service.
Each effort strives for justice, peace, and change in the world, and draws its strength and effectiveness from working in partnership with others who share a common vision of serving and loving our neighbors and restoring and reconciling communities.