Citywide Service Projects Dominated this Summer

on Friday, September 30, 2016 Posted in Stories, School Partnership Network

Citywide Service Projects Dominated this Summer

Summer is officially over, but before we move on to a new season, we want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of local churches throughout the metro area to serve our community—especially our local schools over the summer months! This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to the army of volunteers who invested their time and energy in these ongoing partnerships. 

While the definition of a partnership varies greatly, there are indeed 300+ documented ongoing connections between churches and the 417 schools in the metro area. That number continues to grow and change as churches figure out how to best serve. Larger events, like the service projects highlighted in this newsletter, are another example of how the faith community is reaching out to fill needs. These kind of school clean-up events happen in numerous places every August—some completely under the radar, others through District coordination, and others through organized efforts. 

SPN has documented partnerships in almost all of the 29 greater metro area school districts. Some districts have partners for virtually every school (i.e. Evergreen School District in Vancouver has active partnerships now in all but two schools). Some of these partnerships are very active and involve numerous connections each year (i.e. Gateway Church with Shaver Elementary in the Parkrose District). Churches are serving in numerous and creative ways (i.e. Westside Community with Aloha High School). We've held district gatherings with pastors and principals now in 13 of those districts, and smaller meetings in a number of others.  

Definite statistics are almost impossible to determine, but the growing awareness of these opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ has certainly risen significantly over the past few years following the initial "Season of Service" in 2008. The School Partnership Network was launched just 4.5 years ago and has been used to bring awareness of what the Church is doing in this local area to serve their schools. In doing so, it's become a part of the "Portland Story" and been used as an example for other cities around the country. We've communicated with numerous cities, and hosted their representatives here in Portland on a number of occasions. It is definitely a "citywide" movement, taking creative forms in locations all around the area.