Valley & Mountain as a “Transforming Ministry”
By Pastor Karen Yokota | Photos by Amy Pazan

Karen Yokota recently attended Transforming Ministries II, a three-day intensive study focusing on best practices for ministry. Along with lectures, this gathering included field trips to different locations in the Seattle Area. Yokota along with photographer Amy Pazan visited Valley and Mountain Church in their new location on Rainier Ave.

Valley and Mountain is a developing, growing ministry led by the Rev. John Helmiere. This ministry recently moved into a new church space in Rainier Valley. Helmiere’s mission for Valley and Mountain is to “create a spiritual community church and to build a radically hospitable community, rooted in grace, which practices deep listening and creative liberation.”

They are sharing the space with Community Arts Create, a non-profit that works with the community to create cultural competency through art of all forms. The partners intend to offer a hospitable gathering space for neighborhood meetings and events, fostering a strong and healthy community.

Helmiere’s most challenging effort is to get people to own something – and to stick with it. He is using this as a learning opportunity for developing leadership within the community. During the Transforming Ministries II Conference, the entire Rocky Mountain Cabinet along with Bishop Elaine Stanovsky checked out this site and was elated by Valley & Mountain’s ministry. Each was pleased to see such innovative ideas becoming missions of action. They had never seen a ministry so inspiring and exciting in a while – and were very supportive of this church that they began making donations.

“The community is excited about this new ministry,” says Helmiere. “They are especially excited about the new community garden that we are in the process of starting up. There is a lot of potential for activities to happen here and we can bring the needs to this community.”

Be sure to read the September edition of Channels for a full article on the Transforming Ministries II Conference by Yokota and Pazan, coming soon. Karen Yokota serves as pastor for Milton and Whitney Memorial (Puyallup, Wash.) United Methodist Churches. Amy Pazan is a young adult member of Aldersgate UMC (Bellevue, Wash.)

Valley & Mountain

Valley & Mountain | deep listening. creative liberation. radical hospitality.
For more information on Valley & Mountain, visit their site! Also, contact Valley & Mountain at 206-550-2257 or e-mail at This ministry is located at 5623 Rainier Ave S., Seattle WA 98118

Leave a Reply