June 5, 2020
Dear Lake B Friends and Family,
I continue to give thanks to God for you and for all the ways that together we are learning how to weather all the storminess of our days. Please continue in prayer for wisdom, courage and for our collective faith in God to sustain us while we consider what it means to be Christ followers in the midst of this crucial time in the life of our world, our country, and our community. Amidst a global pandemic AND, a shift in the consciousness of America's view of race relations makes this an interesting time to be sharing life together.
Thanks to our Personnel Team for the work they are doing to care for the staff at Lake B staff during this time. Below is a note from them.
Grace and peace to you all,
Note from Lake B Personnel Team
We want to update you on the work of our staff members so you can encourage them and continue to hold them up in prayer as they support the ministry and mission of Lake B. Any time we shift our work into new contexts, no matter how skillful we are, it demands more of us. In COVID times, our staff has shifted and extended their work, developing new ways of communicating, connecting, leading, worshipping, and ministering. We are so grateful to them for this.
Crystal Hairston continues as our worship leader each Sunday. We all have experienced her pastoral care and leadership not just on Sundays, but in many other ways in our community. Crystal led our transition to online services, having to learn many new technical skills. She leads the worship team in curating content (i.e., prayers, call-to worship, special videos etc.) and she rehearses with the music team, building a library of worship music for Sunday online services. (Shout out to the music team!) Crystal meets weekly with other pastors and worship leaders to learn from what others are doing in this new season of church ministry.
Michael Won continues leading youth ministries by supporting volunteer leaders and connecting directly with our youth through lunches, weekly zoom study halls, important conversations and game nights. Michael has also managed the process of administering the COVID19 fund which includes intake as well as coordinating with families and community partners food pick-up times at Lake B. A good portion of Michael’s time is spent engaging community partners to identify and address areas of need, and he is building important relationships with school district personnel- particularly social workers.
Shearl Cornelius continues her presence in the office and managing facilities. In this season, she is providing administrative leadership with the COVID19 fund helping to automate the manual work that Michael was doing to process requests. She also is supporting the grant writing process to raise resources for the COVID19 fund. In addition, Shearl leads our partnership with World Vision and Highline Public Schools in the Friday food distribution, tracking the numbers of children and families we serve each week.
Benji Demps is continuing his regular work of maintaining our facility and providing leadership in the music ministry both as a musician and as our lead sound tech. He has brought his expertise in production and partnered with Crystal on all technical aspects of our move toward creating our online presence. In addition, Benji has taken on the role of coordinating the operations and logistics of our weekly food distribution program. We are fortunate that Benji brings with him many years of experience in food distribution from his family’s food ministry in White Center.
Margo Fanene and Jesse Leaupepe have adjusted their work significantly twice this year. The first adjustment was adapting when our facility could not receive licensing due to fire codes in September. Instead of running our traditional on-site program, they took their love and care to Seahurst Elementary’s after school program (providing new after school programs 3-days/week) and the Alcove Apartments, (providing tutor and mentoring partnership with New Futures 2 days/week.)
The second adjustment was to stay meaningfully connected to children and families when school buildings closed. They do this through 1-on-1 twice weekly tutoring with 13 children. Margo and Jesse are working now to re-design Lake B’s summer program so that we can offer child-care support to families who need it. They are taking into careful account all social distancing standards required by the state. In addition, Jesse also supports the food distribution program on Fridays.
Anne Tiernan continues to manage all things finance related, including monitoring regular income and expenses. Anne also completed Lake B's application for the Small Business Loan program. While we did not get in on the first round, we were successful in the second round. In addition, Anne also makes any payments for utilities, etc. that have been approved by the COVID19 fund team. As of today, Anne has processed $51,000 in COVID relief funds to our community.
Pastor Lina still nurtures and challenges both our spiritual development and our engagement with the community in an authentic way. In this season, she is learning to teach and preach on Sunday mornings in new ways. She is building and leveraging new partnerships and deepening existing partnerships along the way. A new part of her work is raising grant money to support the emergency response efforts and general ministry operations of Lake B.
We hope you will share in expressing our gratitude to all of our staff members who fulfill whole-heartedly the work they were hired to do AND the work that has arisen in order to continue bringing the gospel fully alive at Lake Burien Church and in the community.
The Personnel Team
(from May 31 Sunday Service)
Reflections from Theari Leng
I was invited by Pastor Lina and Tali to share on this Sunday about how I’ve been processing recent acts of violence and murder of Black folks in this nation. Initially, I was taken aback by the ask but remembered that these are two people that I deeply admire and love and they continue to give me space, which I am so grateful for.
I also had to remind myself that I hold the privilege of not having to engage and I was about to lean into that privilege. The way my identity as a Cambodian-American woman interacts with these systems of oppression, specifically systems that uphold anti-Blackness is that it allows me to be silent. It fools me into believing that I have no voice or space in the matters of violence
toward the Black folks. That’s a lie crafted by White Supremacy to create order for the longevity of institutionalized racism.
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd are names that have been repeating in my head lately. Not just hash tags, but people who have had their beautiful lives taken by the privilege, power, and protection that systemic racism and white supremacy armors their killers with. It’s
been overwhelming to read about these different stories, seeing many resources on how to be an anti-racist organizer, and of course shallow arguments that this isn’t about race. It feels as if I can’t really find the space to have my own thoughts or feelings—but I know that it makes me feel physically sick.
What I have found helpful in processing is when I choose to be intentional about reflecting on the justice and radical love that the Gospel teaches us, the Gospel that The Church is called to live out, fully alive—I see that there is no other choice than to continue to feel, to step into the work, and to listen to those hurting the most.
So if you’d bear with me, here are some things I’ve been reflecting on…
First, the constant reposting of images and videos of violence toward African Americans and Black folks on social media—specifically when non-Black folks of color or white folks repost them. I am conflicted by the fact that it is painful to watch and that is what it takes for more people to care and possibly take action of any sort. But also, the constant feeding of violent images and videos that may be triggering and (re)traumatizing for many, especially for Black folks make my chest ache; and even more so, the thought of Black and Brown children seeing these images.
Secondly, I reflect on the anti-Blackness that exists so deeply in the model minority myth and Asian communities. There have been many times I’ve heard Asian folks utter that All Lives Matter or that Asians are oppressed too—some of those times, those folks being my relatives. I know of the oppression and violence my family have faced and face today. But this does not take away from the fact that the dehumanization and criminalization of the Black community is what makes the model minority myth what it is. It makes Asian Americans more tolerable to the White Gaze as the façade of hatred and indifference blinds our communities. I saw a meme that’s been circulating of one of the four officers who killed George Floyd where the caption read, and I quote: “On behalf of the Asian community we do not claim this coward”—end quote. But we have to claim him. We have to claim the woven-in narrative that in order to be acceptable and “succeed” in the hegemonic culture of whiteness we must abandon the humanization, solidarity, and love for our Black siblings. I do not see any way there can be authentic and successful liberation by abandoning Asian American solidarity with Black Lives.
Third, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how the status quo that racism and capitalism lays out will trap you like a fly stepping onto sticky tape. The need to work, pay bills, care for mundane things like credit scores, food security, and keeping the lights on is exhausting. I’ve reflected on how much of the love for radical, transformative justice I’ve let go as I grow into this capitalistic system in order to survive and support my family. I’ve become a consumer of things that take my heart and mind away from what justice work I had aspired to do. But beating myself up about it instead of holding myself accountable will not get me anywhere. I will continue to recommit to disciplining myself to listen more closely to the voices of the hurting, dismantle the anti-Black narratives spewed by my own people, put myself in spaces of discomfort, and also harness the radical ways of community love that is rooted in my ancestry. I will push into the painful spaces to find power. But I will also care for myself in doing so and lean on my Lake B and White Center community to help reorient me and teach me as we continue this work.
And lastly, I want to end my reflection with the reminder that in this nation, it seems that memory is strongly tied to who gets to be humanized by the dominant, white culture. With racism being foundational to the systems we live and operate in, it systemically conditions us to forget that Black Lives Matter unless we are intentional about remembering and putting action toward it so it grows into muscle memory. It conditions us to push aside and forget about the safety, experiences, voices, and pain of our Black siblings. It conditions us to forget the importance of the joy, beauty, resilience, tenderness, and complexities of our Black siblings. Intentional reflection and action is what allows for continued remembrance that Black Lives Matter when challenging these systems that have been trying to convince us otherwise for 500+ years.
Theari, with several others, has provided leadership for the PIVOT Young Adult ministry at Lake B. She is a resident of White Center, community advocate and organizer, and works @ Seattle University as an Academic Advisor.