Woodinville church makes an impact
by Ellen Curtis
A small band of members at Woodinville Community United Methodist Church is heartwarming proof that big numbers and lots of dollars aren't needed to meet a community's needs--but a caring attitude and a commitment of time and effort are.
Four creative programs at the church use as few as six volunteers each and are making a big difference among prisoners at Monroe State Reformatory, the displaced on the streets of Capitol Hill, neighbor-to-neighbor in Bothell, Woodinville, and surrounding communities, and among Chinese immigrant women.
Ten men and women visit inmates regularly at Monroe's special offenders unit, the honor farm, and maximum security to offer encouragement and build friendships. The prison outreach began 16 years ago when Woodinville Methodist learned that there were three or four inmate suicides a year. Members make a special effort during the holidays. Several evenings in December, Santa Claus and his friends come bearing gifts of cookies, candy, and books to share with the inmates. Ron Wayman, former wrestling coach at Bothell High School, heads up the ministry to the prison.
Six church volunteers make up the Fishermen's Club and hit the streets of Capitol Hill each Friday night, pushing a shopping cart loaded with sandwiches and practical gifts stocked by Union Gospel Mission that the homeless can readily use. Walking up and down the streets, volunteers strike up conversations and offer sandwiches to those in need. They ask for any prayer requests and, after returning to the church, pray for the homeless by their first names to protect their anonymity.
Another program designed to meet needs neighbor-to-neighbor is LOVE, I.N.C. (Love In The Name of Christ). Eleven churches work in concert, with the office located at Woodinville Methodist.
The University Presbyterian English School, held at University Presbyterian Church in the University District, reaches out to Chinese immigrant women who want to learn English. Woodinville Methodist volunteer teachers give lessons in English each Friday night, using stories from the Bible as their aids. The Chinese students particularly related to their lessons from the book of Ruth, for like the young widow Ruth and her widowed mother-in-law Naomi, they had suffered many losses and deaths in their country and had been uprooted.