I’m sure you already know, but Tacoma pride is kind of a big deal.
Four years ago, when I was visiting Tacoma, I spent an afternoon in the city with Tad Monroe, a local pastor. He told me that if I wanted to do ministry in Tacoma, I first needed to fall in love with the “grit and beauty” of this city.
He drove me through the Hilltop, down 6th Ave, into Point Defiance, and downtown before we wound up at the Parkway. I could feel my little 253-heart beginning to beat in my chest, and I remember thinking that anybody who moves to a new area should get a tour from someone who has already fallen deeply in love with that city. That thought spurred the resurrection of a sadly neglected Lighthouse tradition: City Dive, a 30-hour urban plunge with worship, service, art and play.
City Dive 2013
While working with TCM, it seems to be true more often than not, that when we think we have a good plan, God brings community around us to make something better.
Three days before the event, Lance Kagey from Beautiful Angle, (the beloved local letterpress guerilla art duo) agreed to be a part of the event, but we had little clue what to expect. And two days before the event, we received an invite to a live show at Urban Grace. They were hosting Brazilian artists from a group called “Arts and Social Transformation,” a Christian non-profit that works to give training and opportunities to young promising artists from the slums of Brazil.
Having little idea what to expect, we showed up at the concert, and met 10 incredibly talented artists who sang and danced and won over our students’ hearts. Despite the language barrier, Lighthouse hung out, sang, danced, and beat-boxed with them long after the show. The joy and gratefulness of these young artists who have known more than their fair share of poverty was an incredible inspiration and gift.
We spent the rest of the night worshipping at the base of the great cone of the Glass Museum, and helped out at a community garden on the East Side the next morning.
Afterwards we met Lance, who surprised us by inviting us into the Beautiful Angle studio, where he had set up the printing press for us to create our own posters to commemorate our trip. As if that weren’t enough, he took us downtown to the Graffiti Garages afterwards and we stenciled a stampede of horses together. Needless to say, the students were not only a little bit star struck, but beyond grateful for such a unique opportunity.
After dinner that night, we worshipped in the ruins of the old lumber mill on Ruston Way and shared communion. Having moved from the pristine and proud cone of the glass museum to the crumbled remains of dead industry, we sang and prayed and dreamt together of how the Kingdom Christ continues to build in our midst today, ruins and all.
A Special thanks to Lance Kagey, Urban Grace, NLF, and Arts and Social Transformation for making City Dive a success!