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3 min read

Church Partnership: Sun City Church

“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:4-5

Sun City Church opened its doors only three years ago, in January 2015. Actually, it would be more accurate to say the church didn’t even have its own doors to open until last year. But even as the new congregation met in an event center and then at a local high school, the church had already planted its flag as an “outward-focused” church.

“Our heart has always been to have a church that keeps its eyes out on the city that it’s called to serve and love and reach,” says Pastor Danny Schulz.

Sun City Church Pastor Danny Schulz and Phil Altmeyer

That’s why as they planned to launch the church, he met with Dave Wall to learn more about partnering with UGM in ministry.

“From day one, we were looking to reach out and find some partners and some organizations that we could work alongside and support and try to bring wind in the sails, knowing that we’re all on the same team.”

We couldn’t have found better words to describe what church partners mean to UGM, or a better example of practicing what they preach than Sun City.

Service

The name Sun City Church reflects its commitment to serve the community: Spokane means “children of the sun” in the indigenous language, so the church name is a reminder that God placed them here to serve their neighbors in His name.

As the young church found, UGM is a great place for congregations to serve others together.

Sun City Church members did service at several UGM locations on Serve Day 2017.Every summer, Sun City holds an all-church day of service in the community, aptly called Serve Day. The last two summers, Sun City families have served together in work projects at UGM. They worked in the warehouse, at UGM Motors and at the shelters.

Sun City Church volunteers laid a beautiful table for the September 2017 phase completion ceremony at Anna Ogden Hall.

Sun City members also volunteer as small groups and individuals. One group puts on beautiful dinners at Anna Ogden Hall Women’s Recovery for the residents’ phase completion celebrations every four months. Church members prepare food, decorate and provide child care for a special event to celebrate the progress residents are making in their recovery.

 

Giving

Sun City’s annual Legacy Offering is intended to be a step of faith to make a difference for years to come. “Together, once a year, we will bring a special offering – one that requires sacrifice and one that builds a legacy for future generations. This offering will enable us to take a giant leap forward in fulfilling the big opportunities God has placed before us.”

The church’s Legacy Offering for 2016 went toward sponsoring a room at the UGM Crisis Shelter for Women and Children. Their sacrificial gift provided a refuge for vulnerable women and children for years to come, and it includes ongoing prayers for each person who stays there.

Sun City Church leaders cut the ribbon on a Crisis Shelter room the church sponsored through its Legacy Offering.

 

Relationship

Churches also provide for needs at a deeper level than serving food, funding shelter or helping with cleaning and landscaping. Sun City Church has warmly welcomed the people we serve, particularly residents of Anna Ogden Hall, into their church family.

Jolene Amann, who is finishing Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, started coming to Sun City as soon as she entered the program. She had never attended church before, and she feared she might be judged for her past or for living at a shelter. But she wasn’t.

“I really enjoyed it, because they were so welcoming,” she says. The people she met took an interest in what she was doing without condescension or judgment.

And even though she had to take three different buses to get there, Jolene didn’t want to miss a week. It was worth it to her to use her very small cash income for bus fare. Now, she serves as a greeter at the church to extend the welcome she received to others.

Jolene (right) is a greeter at Sun City Church.

Anna Ogden Hall alumna Debra Mika loves being part of Sun City Church.Debra Mika, another Anna Ogden Hall resident, had been pushing everyone else away for decades before she came into recovery at UGM. When she stepped out – with great trepidation – to connect with other believers outside UGM, the folks at Sun City proved to her that she belongs in a loving community, especially in small groups.

“Someone wants to be around me,” Debra says with amazement in her voice. “I mean, that’s like, ‘WOW.’ ”

Debra and Jolene have also reached out to church friends to be their mentors, key people to support them in a healthy transition out of Anna Ogden Hall and into “real” life. As individuals and as a congregation, Sun City Church will be crucial to their continued success outside UGM.

 

Encouragement in ministry

Pastor Danny spoke to the UGM staff for our Christmas celebration, and his words reminded us that we have some wonderfully faithful church partners to share the joys and the hardships of this ministry.

“We love our partnership with UGM. You guys are the real deal. Thank you so much; thank you for loving people who are so in need of love, thank you for believing in people and believing that people can change, thank you for pressing on when you don't feel like it.”

Everyone on staff could sincerely and truthfully echo those words back to Danny and the Sun City congregation. We’re so thankful they’re the “real deal”!

 A welcoming church family. Spiritual encouragement. Friendship. These are things local churches can provide – in fact, we rely on them to do that – for people who desperately need to see God’s love for them in a tangible way. Click here for more information about how your church congregation or small group can partner with UGM to help the homeless.

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