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History

A Legacy of United People of Faith

The Beginning Years

1883: The Tacoma Ministerial Alliance was formed.

1897: The Tacoma Council of Federated Church Women was formed.

1931: The Tacoma Council of Religious Education was formed.

1936: The Tacoma-Pierce County Council of Churches (TCCC) was formed by a coalition of the Ministerial Alliance, the Federated Church Women and the Tacoma Council of Religious Education. The emphasis of the Council of Churches included bringing evangelists to Tacoma, providing religious education for youth, educating youth regarding temperance and vice, and providing church influence with reference to liquor and vice.

1940s: During WWII the TCCC created a Military Service Center, which was then turned into a youth center after the war.

1950s-1960s: Collaboration between churches for the sake of community continued to evolve during this time including involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

1967: The Ecumenical Urban Ministry of Pierce County was formed. It was founded as an ecumenical instrument of local congregations to provide ministries to community problems. It was to hire the Metropolitan Minister to work with and assist community agencies related in particular with white and black communities, and to be a collective religious voice of the metropolitan area. Also, the Tacoma Urban Coalition Task Force was organized by the Public Attitudes and Communication Task Force, a committee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Council of Churches. It was a Christian action committee concerned with minority affairs and worked for human development.

1969: The Associated Ministries of Tacoma-Pierce County was created out of and with the dissolution of the ecumenical Urban Ministry, The Tacoma-Pierce County Council of Churches, and the Tacoma Urban Coalition Task Force. Its primary purpose was to manifest a oneness in Christ and to cultivate spiritual unity.

The First Decade (1969-1979)

1969: Associated Ministries was incorporated and Bruce Foreman was called to be the founding "Metropolitan Minister". Under the leadership of Rev. Foreman, the agency developed a solid organizational base and broadened its constituency to include over 100 churches.

Programs developed included: Friend to Friend, FISH/Foodbanks, information and referral, the Church Services Agency, the paper buying service, and various events. A.M. was also very active in helping programs to get started. Once established, they were "spun off." Examples are the Tacoma Seamen's Ministry (Tacoma Seamen's Center), the Police Chaplaincy, Ministry with Service People (later Con-neXion), and FISH. During these formative years the agency facilitated a wide variety of other programs and ministries throughout the Tacoma-Pierce County area.

1973: Associated Ministries' first home, located at the Tacoma Community House burned down. AM then moved to offices located at the 6th Ave. Street Baptist Church.

1979: After 10 years of serving as the Executive Director of Associated Ministries, Rev. Bruce Foreman resigned in order to return to pastorate.

The Second Decade (1980-1989)

1980's: During a brief period of time in 1979, Dr. Al Ratcliffe acted as Interim Director. In the late fall of that year a call was extended to the Reverend David T. Alger, a pastor in eastern Iowa. He began his work with A.M. on January 2, 1980. Under the leadership of Reverend Alger, a number of institutional changes took place. An Executive Committee and extremely large board gave way to a General Board of 21 members. The philosophical position of "spinning off" programs was changed so as to encourage programs to remain a part of the agency. The administrative structure of the program was strengthened and the staff significantly expanded.

A significant development in the life of A.M. in the 1980's was the decision to remain a Christian agency. Provision for affiliate membership for other faiths wanting to work with us A. M.. Members of the Jewish, Unitarian Universalists, the Latter Day Saints, and Christian Science communities became non-voting members of the Board of Directors.

1988: AM purchased the Hilltop property off of S. 13th and I St. to become more directly connected to the community.

The Third Decade (1990-1999)

1990's: The 1990s was a time of growth and change for A.M. in which new programs were added and old ones strengthened. In 1990, the Interfaith Task Force helped A. M. expand its involvement with the issues of drugs, gangs and violence. During this decade Associated Ministries took an increasing interest in housing, working closely with the Hilltop Community Consortium and the Hilltop Homeownership Center, now known as the Homeownership Center of Tacoma.

1996: The mission statement was revisited and a statement of commitment was finalized and sent to the membership. These two activities helped to further clarify the identity of A.M. and the commitment that the membership had to ecumenical ministry in Pierce County.

1997: Member congregations were asked to sign onto the Statement of Commitment. A.M. also redesigned and enlarged its emphasis on hunger, both internationally and locally.

1999: We celebrated 30 years as Associated Ministries. It marked the 20th year of service for the current Executive Director, Rev. David T. Alger and the 25th year of service for the Associate Director, Janet E. Leng.

The Fourth Decade (2000-2009)

2000: A new strategic plan focusing on communication and education. Upon the retirement of Associate Director Janet Leng, Maureen Fife was appointed Deputy Director of the agency and Judith Jones assumed the role of Communications and Education Director.  In 2000, Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful’s 2500 volunteers painted 126

2001:This year will always be remembered as the year of 9.11, which we responded to by hosting an interfaith prayer service at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.  During the rest of that year and the next, our relationship with the Muslim community deepened.  We restarted serving military families with the establishment of a new program, Community Connection for Military Families.

2002: Brought involvement with Tacoma Reads and a new relationship with the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. Our response to 9.11 continued with the very successful project “9.11: A Day of Memory, Hope and Action,” organized by the Interfaith Round Table, Pierce County and cities and towns in the county.

2003: The Pierce County Hunger Walk raised over $210,000.  One of the most unique efforts ever by AM, “The Church off Broadway,” moved along significantly with the establishment of a steering committee and the development of a full mission statement.

2004: Was highlighted by the development of Faith Partners against Family Violence and the establishment of an endowment for the South Sound Peace and Justice Center.  It was also the 25th year of Rev. David T. Alger serving as the Executive Director

2005: The agency took responsibility for Open Hearth Ministries and began planning for collaboration with a number of other organizations to sponsor an Interfaith Youth Camp.  It was also the year of Katrina and Rita.  We coordinated “Care Teams” to resettle over 50 families.  We also took over direct responsibility for housing and staffing the Housing and Shelter Services Coordinator.

2006: The beginning of the Pierce County Asset Building Coalition, another collaboration that AM would coordinate.  We lost our Deputy Director Maureen Fife, who became the CEO of our local branch of Habitat for Humanity, and we gained Diane Powers as our new Deputy Director.  Puget Sound Interfaith Youth Camp got off and was a resounding success.  Our work with disaster response continued to evolve.

2007: A year of flooding in Pierce County and across Western Washington.  Rev. David Isom coordinated our response.  We added Washington Interfaith Disaster Recovery to our programs and assumed the lead responsibility for the faith community’s disaster response work statewide.  All of our programs had a successful year.  We expanded our domestic violence program beyond that of providing chaplains for the Family Justice Center to focus on training programs within the historic African American churches in the Puget Sound.  This continued through the first half of 2008.  In the fall of 2008 we began doing domestic violence training throughout the state.  Diane Powers left the agency to join the staff of Human Rights and Human Services with the City of Tacoma in the summer

2008: After retiring from the agency several years ago, Janet Leng returned to the agency to become Publisher of the Channel.

2009:  After serving as the Executive Director for 30 years, Rev. David T. Alger retired. Rev. Chris Morton became the next Executive Director of AM.

Present (2010 & Beyond)

2011:

  • AM adopted a strengths-based approach to its work with clients and established staff cohort groups to create a strong internal strengths-based culture.
  • With funding from Pierce County, we launched Access Point for Housing (AP4H) to provide a centralized intake center for homeless individuals and families and those in imminent risk of becoming homeless.

2013:

  • AM completed a remodel of its building to make a sustainable impact in Pierce County.
  • We began operation of two homes for homeless youth in partnership with the Bethel School District.
  • AM opened a new office in Lakewood in conjunction with starting our foreclosure counseling program.

2014:

  • AM became an Interfaith organization with the vision of being a crossroad for communication and cooperation and engaging communities of faith to address the many needs in Pierce County through advocacy, education and service.

2015:

  • AM hired its fourth Executive Director, Michael Yoder.

2016: AM teams up with Catholic Community Services, Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare, and Comprehensive Life Resources to help combat homelessness in Pierce County.

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