Featured Stories

A collection of stories about the life of FPC ... what's your story?


Our Roosevelt Elementary Partnership

The other day I was meeting with one of our elders and sharing about the different facets of our ministry at and with Roosevelt Elementary school. He exclaimed that he didn’t realize the scope of this ministry. This was a good reminder to continue to tell the story of the kingdom work that the people of FPC are engaged in at our local public elementary school. Please read below about the different ways we have supported the school during the past year and in so doing, demonstrated our commitment to following Christ. The accompanying reflections share how meaningful these ministry opportunities have been for three of our folks. 
—Brian Grow

  • Mentoring 38 mentors and tutors (20 from FPC) meet weekly with students during their 35 minute lunch time, plus another 3 mentors have followed their students as they moved up to Sacajawea Middle School.
  • English Club 20 volunteers serve once or twice a week at the after school program, serving 15 English Language Learners. The goal for next year is to have 30 volunteers so that more of the 60+ ELL students can participate. One particular highlight has been the periodic visits by Mitch Swenson with a prepared craft project – there’s lots of hammering on those days!
  • Summer English Club Last summer we brought the English Club to First Pres with a week of two-hour sessions. 40 volunteers served as many as 48 kids; we hope for at least 50 volunteers this year.
  • Whitworth Swim Days The Whitworth swim team provided two one-hour lessons to children from former refugee families. We packed up a bus with many of our English Club kids for two afternoons of tremendous fun and learning.
  • Bite2Go Thanks to individual contributions, we met our goal of providing funding for 25 weekend nutritious food kits for the most food insecure students at Roosevelt.
  • Annual Work Day About 30 FPC folks spent an afternoon in August helping to prepare the grounds, classrooms and supplies for the coming school year. Our fifth annual work day will occur August 24, 4-7pm.
  • Middle School Survival Guide Ross Carper, our Middle School Director, has led an after school workshop for 6th graders for the past few years. In the workshop they address the concerns and fears these students have as they prepare to transition to middle school and Ross provides information to help them thrive.
  • Resources The FPC Mission Team has provided funds to support student needs (clothing, supplies) and has provided some encouragement “treats” for the Roosevelt staff.

Reflection from English Club
It’s not that reading books and playing games for an hour or two each week will contribute much to international diplomacy or solve the current refugee crisis. And it’s not like I know how to teach a kid to read. If anything, they look at me rather disapprovingly when I need a refresher on the rules for playing Uno. Come to think of it, it may not be entirely clear which of us is there for extra help. I’m new to Spokane as well, having moved here from Los Angeles, which entails a bit less culture shock than moving here from, say, Burundi. I too was wondering if I would like it here and if I would make friends, and, most of all, what new thing God would be doing in my life and in my new community. Fortunately, this beautiful gospel of ours makes it quite clear where to find the Lord’s work and how to be a part of it—among orphans, widows, sojourners, the poor, and outcasts of every stripe. I love that we’re invited into this kingdom of abundant grace. I love that reading a book to a refugee child is truly reading a book to Christ himself (theology extrapolated from Matthew 25:31-46 and Mark 9:36-37). Now, only a few months later, once-shy kids run to greet me, chattering about their day in their new language. After all that they’ve been through, in the midst of continued political turmoil here and abroad, I hope that these kids understand that they are known and loved by us and by a God whose people are marked by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.
—Stacy Tarango

Roosevelt Mentor Reflections
Two of our mentors responded to questions about their mentoring experience. Barb Twedt is in the fourth year of her relationship with her now 6th grader. Dean Largent started mentoring during this school year and is meeting with a 4th grader. Might the Holy Spirit be nudging you to join Barb, Dean, and the many other mentors at Roosevelt?

How does volunteering at Roosevelt fit with your journey of following Christ?
By serving members of our community who are in great need. The young man I meet with once a week has faced so many challenges in his young life. Just getting to school each day can be a formidable task for him. Things I took for granted growing up such as nutritious meals, clean clothes, and a quiet place to do my homework are often not available to my lunch buddy. (Dean)  God has been so faithful to me in all the years of my walk with Him, and His unconditional love for me has gotten me through some very tenuous years. His promise to be with me always and the consistency of that in His Word have enabled me to trust Him to “be there” for me, no matter what. I want to be that for my mentee—someone who is faithful to my commitment, shows unconditional love, and someone she can trust to “show up.” (Barb)

How have you been personally challenged as you have stepped into and continued in your role at Roosevelt?
It is tough to see the great needs of my “lunch buddy” and not be able to do more. I find myself wanting to help with his academics, hygiene, social skills, and self-esteem during the brief 35 minutes we are together each Tuesday. (Dean)  I have needed to fully understand that I can’t change her home life or the things that have happened to her, but I CAN help her to grow and believe that she is a loveable, person of worth and value. There were also challenges in the first year as to when to ask questions and when to listen, and it didn’t take long for me to learn that one of the gifts that I can give to her is to LISTEN. (Barb)

How have you seen God at work in your life and/or the life of your student?
God has always provided for me throughout my life. I’ve never had to wonder where my next meal would come from, how I would get to school or work, where I would be living in a month. I have always felt loved and cared for. By mentoring at Roosevelt, God has afforded me the opportunity to help someone in great need. (Dean)  God has helped me to see and understand how much encouragement, praise, and consistency matter in a person’s life especially when they’re not used to experiencing it at home. My mentee can count on me to give her a lot of encouragement and praise as I choose to be consistent in my time with her. I learned that in giving these to my mentee, I’ve been able to receive them more in my own life. And I believe that that’s the Holy Spirit at work! (Barb)


Pictured above: English Club volunteer with students.  Christian Reed and students at Whitworth Swim Day; Don Huddleston helping a student with one of Mitch Swenson’s craft projects.


Link to the Story


Sister Mary's Children

FPC's newest mission partner (2016)

Put Down Roots - 2015

The 2nd Put Down Roots Spokane Urban Plunge

Building Relationships with our Sister Church in Brazil

A Visit from our Brazilian Sister Church

Remembering Dick Leon

Remembering our friend and pastor, Reverend Dick Leon

Spilling Out Into the Neighborhood

The Roosevelt Elementary Work Day and Lower South Hill Block Party - 2014 editions

The Light in Love

Westport 2013 video - what does happen at Westport?

Easter at the Carlyle

A special Easter service for 2014.

FPC Youth Serving in Our Community

Being the "sent people" of Christ in our own city

Celebrating 25 Years of Jubilee

A look back at the roots of the annual Jubilee International Marketplace

The Untold Stories of Easter Project

A glimpse into some sweet moments of Easter Project 2013

Our 30 Hour Famine Season: A 2013 Recap

SHIFT_jrhi responds to hunger in the world and a story of the people who are served

Thailand Partners

Opening of the new Women's Center and Danielle's teaching experience

Toy Store 2012

Highlights from the second annual Community Toy Store!

2013 Stewardship Video

10 minute video used during 2013 Stewardship meeting


Stories of faithfulness in the stewardship booklet

2013 Stewardship Video - Virginia Harger

Centenarian Virginia shares about her long history at FPC

2013 Stewardship Video - Dawn Sorenson

Dawn shares about connecting to FPC through MOPS

John's Five Year Anniversary

John's highlights, challenges and favorite Spokane eating!

Walk to the Water - 2012

Baptisms ... Latah Creek ... sisters/brothers/fathers/mothers/sinners ...and more

Copyright © 2016 First Presbyterian Church · 318 S Cedar St. Spokane, Washington 99201 · 509.747.1058

Location & Services