Mary’s Place Returns in May

During the week of May 13- 20 we welcome back our beloved guests of the Mary’s Place Shelter.  These 14 women and children are waiting for permanent housing to come through, and they find shelter, food, and love inside our doors.

If you would like to help out and are not in our database of volunteers yet, please contact Patrick Meagher  or Steve Johnson.  We will hold volunteer training sessions toward the end of April.


What Does the Minister of Outreach Do?


Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher

Like many of our visitors, Renee came to the church office in crisis.  After months of searching, she had finally found a job that would pay her bills and feed her family.  The problem?  She had no gas in her car, and began work the next day. If she couldn’t make the long commute tomorrow she would lose her job before it started.

I invited her to sit, rest, and tell me her story in full. After verifying this new job opportunity, I arranged to meet Renee at the local 7-11 to pay for a tank of gas, covered by the Outreach Fund.

The time and attention it took to listen, assess, verify, and execute this kind of direct assistance in a loving but wise manner forms the heart of my work as Minister of Outreach.  In a unique way, I operate as a social worker deeply connected to the life of the parish.

While about half of my time is dedicated to outreach clients like Renee, reaching outward for the church takes other forms as well.  I regularly represent PRLC at various neighborhood meetings and groups.  The Greenwood Brown Bag Group is one such network I helped form with other social service minded churches, organizations, and businesses in our area.  We meet monthly over our brown bag lunches and share what’s going on at our various locations.  Numerous opportunities to partner and share resources with other organizations have sprouted from these lunches, helping to enlarge the scope of our outreach ministry.

I’m regularly called on to offer pastoral care and organizational assistance inside the congregation as well.  This can take many forms, but on Sundays it includes praying for and anointing those seeking healing; shepherding the acolytes; and otherwise helping morning services occur.  Other days of the week you might find me leading a bible study for the monthly circle groups, visiting with our homebound loved ones, or having coffee with a grieving church member.  I’m also a co-conspirator with our Children and Family Minister Nancy Monelli in the planning and execution of our summer Vacation Bible School.  I find the supportive anchor of parish life to be the firm foundation from which I operate in the less predictable sphere of the outreach world.  Through this sacred connection to the PRLC community, you help form my faith and sustain my energy in vital ways.

In addition to activity that looks strictly outward or inward, much of what I do falls into a third category that’s a combination of the two.  I especially enjoy this third category of work: planning our participation in a neighborhood event. Coordinating food bank volunteers. Curating the adult forum line-up. Nurturing our brave involvement in the Mary’s Place shelter program. I also serve as the staff representative on the Food Bank and Phinney Houses mission teams.  A big part of what I do for PRLC is to invite both the outside world in, and those inside the church to engage in the world outside of our walls.

As Renee began pumping her paid-for gas, she extended a hand of thanks to me. We shook, and I noticed tears welling up in her eyes.  She was embarrassed, but assured me these were happy tears. She had climbed almost all the way back on her feet, and our gift just might be enough to end this difficult season. Quite regularly, I encounter this brand of raw and beautiful gratitude in people we help.  It reveals a heart pierced with the love of Christ, and leaves me equally grateful to serve as your Minister of Outreach.

Join Us Here for Easter Breakfast!

Phinney has a lot of sacred traditions during Holy Week and Easter. But after the exhilaration of Easter Vigil, on the morning of the empty tomb, we also have an earthly one: we gather to nourish our bodies along with our souls, meeting in Fellowship Hall for a communal Easter Breakfast.

Served from 8:30-11:00 Easter morning, this breakfast includes scrambled eggs, sliced ham, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee or tea to help you get your Easter Sunday started. Donations collected at the breakfast will go to cover expenses and to support the Parish Outreach Fund. This breakfast is the single-largest fundraiser of the year for the Outreach Fund, and the money raised there will allow us to help struggling members of the community throughout the year.

Organizers Jeff Hendrix and Ken Roscoe need volunteers to help. Contact them directly, or fill out a Sunday morning Count-Me-In to let them know how you can contribute.

Social Justice Outreach Opportunity

Have you been looking for a way to give back or make a difference? Please consider joining PRLC’s Hammond House Meal Team. This group of about 8-10 folks cooperatively prepares a home cooked meal and side dishes for the 40 women of the Compass Hammond House Women’s Shelter near Pioneer Square. Our evening to provide the meal is the fourth Sunday every other month.  The number of folks on the team ensures that you won’t have to prepare the main dish more than once per year, and a few other months you may provide beverages, a side dish or dessert. We also rotate driving the meal to the shelter and serving, which, along with being the BEST part of this ministry, takes from 5pm-approx 7:15pm. Our next date is Sun April 27.  If you are interested, please email Signe Roscoe at


Easter Breakfast April 20

Even if you’re new to the PRLC community, you would likely guess correctly that Easter Sunday is a big deal around here.  Following the beauty of Saturday evening’s Easter Vigil service, we welcome the glory of the risen Christ and the return of our collective “Alleluia” to the worship service.

You might not have guessed that we also share our biggest communal meal of the year on Easter morning.  Dedicated volunteers create and serve Easter Breakfast to everyone from 9-11am. There is no price tag for breakfast, but a free-will donation is taken to cover expenses and support the Parish Outreach Fund.  This is the Fund’s largest single fundraiser of the year, and your generosity is appreciated.  Thrivent members are especially encouraged to participate, as Thrivent matches their donations. Look for opportunities to volunteer in the Count Me In form as the event draws close.

Report from Mary’s Place: What a Privilege

I’ve asked PRLC member Zach Courter to share about his experience as an overnight host for our recent Mary’s Place Shelter.
~ Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher


~ by Zach Courter

My experience with the ladies and children of Mary’s Place this February was a good one.  I’m always amazed at the resiliency of these women and their families.  For people who are constantly living in crisis—no permanent housing, little to no work, and the necessity of relying on others for food and care of their children—it’s incredible how composed and organized they are.  Kids get up and leave before 5:30am to catch a bus to school in the south end; another guest coordinates a carpool to help another mother arrive at a housing interview; and still another guest does sit-ups after a long day of caring for her kids. I can only imagine how well I would be holding up, if the roles were reversed.

This time around I was blessed to be an overnight host on the last night at Mary’s Place for one of our guests.  She and her son had just been accepted into permanent housing.  This experience rivaled the last time Phinney hosted Mary’s Place, and I was volunteering alongside someone whom I recognized as a guest from a Mary’s Place 6 months previous.

What a privilege to be a part of breaking the cycle of homelessness and abuse. It’s not every day that we get to be where the rubber meets the road of positive change, but Mary’s Place gives us that opportunity. See you in three months.

Food Bank Volunteers Needed

Case of Peas

Every week volunteers at PRLC create and hand out healthy food boxes through our food bank. Would you like to join in this rewarding work?  We would love to have you for a commitment of a couple hours each month.  Minimal training is needed and you can start in March! We’re looking to fill the following shifts:

o    1st Tue of the month, 1-3pm

o    2nd Tues, 1-3pm

o    1st Thur, 1-3pm

Contact Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher if you can help.



Food Bank Christmas Distribution Report

Dear Friends,

Jo-Ann and I have just now calculated the totals of those that made reservations, subtracted the no shows, and added the walk-ups for the Christmas Distribution on December 20.

We served 131 boxes for 547 people: 216 Adults, 230 Children, 79 over 55 years old, and 22 infants under 3 years of age. To those folks we sent out 6,693 pounds of food! Small families (1-2) got boxes averaging 29#; Medium families (3-4) got boxes that averaged 43#; Large families (5-7) got a box that averaged 65#; and extra large families with (8+) got a box that averaged 95#! Gift bags are not included in these weights. Just food.

Many thanks to all who donated food items, and especially the gifts purchased for the children in our Food Bank families. I am sure that some of those children will get only the one gift which we provided them this Christmas.

Many thanks to Boy Scout Troop #100 of Ballard who donated 30 unsold 3-4 foot tall Christmas trees from their tree lot. Of those beautiful little trees, we gave 15 of them to families for their homes too! Two of the very surprised receiving families left with their food, gifts and a tree, in tears of appreciation. They just could not put into words their appreciation and joy. We all should have warm hearts for the great work we have done once again in His name!

Thanks be to God!

David and Jo-Ann Cress, Volunteers


Help Our Christmas Gift Distribution

Christmas Gift WreathThe gift wreath is out, so it’s that time again! Christmas is on a Wednesday this year, so our annual Food Bank Distribution has been bumped back a week earlier. This means we need gift and food donations to be included in Christmas boxes by December 15. The gift wreath is in the narthex; please take a tag (or more!) and place your donations in the box alongside. Thank you for your generosity! Questions: Molly Chrisman.