Awake Christian Reformed Church meets in the back room of a bawdy café on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue motel strip, where sex shops and homelessness abound. The church is part of the Seattle Cluster (see “Taking Church to the People of Seattle”).
Awake’s pastor, Rev. Benjamin Katt, and his wife, Cherie, felt called “to spend time in places where ‘church people’ are never found.”
Recently, the Sea to Sea 2008 Bike Tour gave Awake a grant of $7,500 to help fight poverty. The grant will help carefully chosen residents of local motels work toward independence by providing training in budgeting, banking, and job skills, Katt said.
Karen Cirulli, an Americorps volunteer working with Awake, said that motel-dwellers are a neglected slice of society. While they can afford weekly rent, they can’t pay the first and last month’s rent plus deposit required to secure an apartment.
Awake also regularly welcomes 40 to 60 homeless people to neighborhood barbecues. “It has to be through relationships,” Katt said. “We need to be authentic.”