In recent years, Birchwood has supported the work of Amy’s Place, a drop-in center for homeless young people under the age of 24, that served free, home-cooked meals on Friday and Saturday nights along with providing a host of other services. The organization ceased operations in 2017.
Birchwood Men’s Ministry:
Birchwood men are invited to attend breakfasts twice monthly at 8 am. The one-hour session includes a breakfast created by some of BPC’s outstanding chefs, excellent devotions, occasional guest speakers, and stimulating discussions. In recent years, Birchwood men have sponsored an annual, two-day, spring retreat and a special workshop onsite at BPC. They also have offered camp scholarships for young people without the means to cover costs themselves and assistance in a variety of service projects.
Cordata Neighborhood Association:
The Neighborhood Association holds it monthly meeting in the Chapel at Birchwood. Additionally, BPC member, Jim Zander, has served as its president. In the past, the BPC pastor has spoken to the Association’s monthly meeting, neighborhood leaders participated with the church in a Night Out Against Crime program, and information about Birchwood and its activities appear regularly in the Cordata Neighborhood newsletter.
Engedi Refugee Ministries:
Engedi means an oasis, sanctuary, safe haven, or refuge and is a ministry to help save and rehabilitate those who have been victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. In addition to a donation, the BPC Missions/ Outreach Committee has also sponsored a “Fill the Shopping Bag” promotion to obtain food and other supplies for the organization’s half-way house and learning center in Lynden.
50/50 Coats for Kids:
In the fall of 2015, Birchwood sponsored a Fall Fifty Challenge. The church received 60 coats, 21 fleece jackets and hoodies, 11 sleeping bags, 14 backpacks, 1 tent, 20 blankets, 10 towel sets, 15 sheet sets, many pairs of new socks, gloves, scarves and hats. All were delivered to three non-profit organizations: Amy’s Place, Interfaith Coalition, and Love, INC where they were distributed to needy individuals and families.
Good News Club (Child Evangelism Fellowship):
Good News Club is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, or apartment complexes with their parents’ permission. Each week the teachers present a Bible lesson with colorful materials, songs, scripture memorization, a missions story, games, and snacks. Birchwood’s Good News Club is sponsored at The Meadows (formerly Larkin Place) in the complex’s community room. As many as 25 young people have participated in the one-hour program on Wednesday evenings, with many Birchwood members serving as teachers and/or facilitators.
Over nearly four decades, First Presbyterian Church in Bellingham has offered a ministry for students at Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and all those of college age. A great place to ask questions, investigate spirituality, connect with other young people, and have fun along the way, The INN is not only a mission of First Presbyterian but also an Associated Students Club at WWU. It meets as a large group on Tuesday nights for music, spiritual thought, and socialization and also sponsors small group Bible studies, mission trips, and community service projects.
The Interfaith Coalition is a community of many faiths working together to eliminate homelessness and poverty in Whatcom County. Member congregations collaborate to fill gaps in human services to meet housing and other needs. There are numerous volunteer opportunities for groups or individuals. Website: www.interfaith-coalition.org
Light of the World Prayer Center:
The Center was established in 2009 and is located at 714 East Sunset in Bellingham. It is supported by nearly 60 churches throughout Whatcom County and offers day-and-night prayer led by regular people in these churches –those who hold regular jobs, young and old. The Center serves the community through love-motivated prayer for every local church and ministry with emphasis on the unreached, salvation for the lost. Prayer is Bible-based, God-centered, Spirit-led, and gospel-driven.
Executive Director: Jason Hubbard
The Mission stands today at the corner of West Holly and F Streets and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Men and women in need can get meals, shelter, limited medical care, mental health counseling, work and housing referral, laundry service, lockers and storage space, WTA bus passes, a daily chapel service, prayer, and pastoral counseling. It also sponsors the Agape House which offers a safe and confidential shelter for women and mothers with children, one-on-one case management, life skills classes, staff availability 24/7, emotional, social and spiritual support and encouragement, substance abuse accountability, and referral to other community agencies. Here guests can find a place to escape the victimization, hopelessness and/or the addiction that led them to the Mission. Birchwood members annually help serve dinner on Christmas Day to Lighthouse guests.
Executive Director: Hans Erchinger-Davis
Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC)
Love INC is a network of local churches and individuals working together with the community to identify, assess, and provide for the needs of families and individuals and direct them to those who can provide the help they need. There are currently 36 partner churches, but Love INC works with many more as well as with more than 65 community organizations. It has two, part-time staff members, but is largely driven by more than 55 volunteers. Services provided through Love INC include:
* The Clearinghouse — a help center where Love, INC staff and volunteers answer calls from those in need and offer resource referrals, kind support, and prayer.
* One-on-One financial counseling — a 12-week, financial and budget coaching course complete with encouraging support. * Furnished with Love — quality used furniture given to those in need.
* Blanket of Blessing — Love INC accepts donations of new and “gently used” bedding to distribute to people who receive beds through Furnished with Love.
Executive Director: Shannon Williamson
The Meadows Neighborhood (Larkin Place):
The church has long tried to establish an ongoing relationship with all its neighbors. Most recently, it has enjoyed a new relationship with Larkin Place, now called The Meadows. A neighborhood resident, Deb McGovern, now sits on the Missions/Outreach Committee and serves as a liaison between BPC and neighborhood residents. She helped organize a Halloween Party for children in the fall of 2015 and 2016 and has worked to boost both the Good News Club and After School Adventure for neighborhood young people.
North American Indigenous Ministries (NAIM):
Tom and June Cox work with NAIM on the Lummi Reservation. They have served for many years along side Lummi native Americans praying and teaching God’s word. Their ministry receives some support through the BPC missions budget and through help with service projects.
Northwest Coast Presbytery:
Many regional missions are supported through BPC contributions to the Northwest Coast Presbytery. These Community Blessing Grants for NWC Presbytery and beyond include:
* Counseling Center of North Puget Sound
* Eagle Wings Disability Ministries
* Renewal Ministries Northwest
* Tall Timber Ranch Camping Ministry
* Village Congregations for churches in villages of less than 1000 people
University Christian Ministries:
University Christian Ministries pastors Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF) clubs at Whatcom, Western, and Skagit Valley colleges. Their goal is to reach students for Jesus, disciple them into leaders, and send them out into the world as missionaries wherever they go. They do this by building on-campus communities committed to worship, prayer, discipleship, sharing life, and being on mission together.
Campus Pastors: Geoff Mumley, Jonathan Lytle, and Joey Kelly.
Whatcom County Pregnancy Clinic:
The Clinic provides education and support to women with unplanned pregnancies, encouraging them to choose life. They offer information on options, listen to concerns, and help women find hope for a positive future. They also give free and confidential pregnancy tests and ultrasound screening and offer a “Relate” program to educate and encourage teens to choose a healthier lifestyle.