The Closing of St. Georges', Seattle and the Dream of a Mission Center
St. George Episcopal Church, located at 2212 NE 125th in Seattle, Washington (Lake City), held a final worship service on May 15, 2011. Over 200 people, present and past members, clergy and friends celebrated the ministry that was St. George's. The leadership of the congregation has been working with the Canon to the Ordinary over the past several months to resolve issues of funding and administration. After a truly valiant effort, it became apparent that the people of St. George could not continue into the future in the same way as they had over the past several years.
St. George and its clergy and people have been a force for good in the Lake City area for many years. It has been important to this community that the needs of the poor, the hungry and the marginalized be recognized and served. For this community such was the ministry to which Christ called them. To quote the Vicar, the Rev. Anna Maria Korathu, "we feed people". They have continually and faithfully done that in many ways. This congregation has repeatedly hosted Tent City, has sponsored meals for any who come, has participated in an ecumenical feeding program, has hosted support groups and has provided space for a preschool. Over the years they have shared space with another local church during that communities remodeling and have been leaders in the ecumenical work of the area.
In the conversations held between the leadership of St. George and the Canon to the Ordinary it was evident that the concern and hope of the people of St. George was that their rich legacy of providing ministry to those around them would continue. To this end I have great hope, and have put several initiatives in motion, to help St. George's become a ministry center for their community. In the short term that would mean that the present ministries to the preschool, the feeding program and the support groups would continue. In the longer term we have dreams and plans of expanding the work of ministry for which St. George is known. What this means, is at this point, all to be developed.
The Rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dr. Peter Strimer, in consultation with the leadership of St. Andrew's has offered to be a part of the planning for the future. I am extremely grateful for their offer. The Rev. Dr. Strimer brings experience in such ministry center work to this effort. At the June 4th meeting the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Olympia will be briefed on the ministry continuing at St. George and the early initial conversations with the Rev. Dr. Strimer. At the June meeting of the Vestry of St. Andrew's a rudimentary plan outlined in a letter from the Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia will be reviewed.
Such closings are always sad events, but they do not in any way diminish the ministry done, or the legacy set in motion by this community of faith. St. George has been an important part of the Diocese of Olympia for many years. The members of the congregation, past and present have done the work that Christ has called them to do. They have done it with faithfulness, with graciousness and with joy. The entire Diocese can join together to say to the people of St. George, "Well done, good and faithful servants." We done indeed.