Serve Well Blog

June 2011 Entries


Walking Alongside in Sitka

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

Liz Purdy carves totem in SitkaLiz Purdy’s enthusiastic heart for service has taken the Seattle native to the far corners of the nation. In 2010, she spent five months teaching English to refugees at Jubilee Partners, an intentional Christian service community in Comer, Georgia. Last Fall, she moved from the southeastern United States to the southeast of Alaska to work in the town of Sitka. As a participant in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Liz is a women’s advocate at Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) working alongside survivors of domestic violence. At SAFV, Liz assists with housing applications, connects women with pro-bono legal work and public assistance, prepares protective orders and accompanies women to court if so desired. “We are women willing to help other women navigate an often challenging legal and social service system that is rarely ‘user friendly,’” Liz said. She appreciates the philosophy of SAFV, saying, "We never tell a woman what we think she should do, but we let her know what her options are, offer objective feedback, and inform her as best we can about the tools she has at her disposal.”

This year, Liz has come face to face with the complexity of helping women in a cycle of abuse, and she has learned accompaniment in the process. “It’s hard to have women come in and ask for help, just to go back to dangerous situations or to feed their addictions. They may come back the next day, the next week, or never,” Liz said. This harsh reality reinforced for Liz that not only is she not called to fix anyone’s problems, but also that she couldn’t if she wanted to. Rather, her role is to listen and to support these women who struggle to make sense of their situation and try to move forward. Some days the positive change is hard to see.

At times, Liz misses the more measurable progress of teaching English back at Jubilee, and she often wonders where she'll find herself when her JVC-Northwest term is over. A concept Liz heard from former KF Keynote Father Greg Boyle has particularly resonated with her throughout this time: “We’re not called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful.” Focusing on the present, Liz is better able to walk alongside women struggling with feelings of hopelessness, helping them take the small steps toward healing and hope. 

Be sure to check out Liz's blog at
Special thanks to Annie Mesaros (09') for contributing this piece.


Video: 2011 KF Conference Keynote

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Faith/Theological Exploration, Intercultural Development

"How do we let the city be our classroom, and the world our teacher?" Asked Ron Ruthruff. 

At the Krista Foundation Annual Mentoring Conference, former, current and future service volunteers gathered to discuss the "Beautiful Struggle" of hope, tension and grace that we live out in an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing world. We asked the question: How do we encourage and recognize hope in surprising places, in the gifts and perspectives most different from our own, in companions persevering together to love the world?

By sharing the ways his own transformation through encounters from the streets of Seattle to the slums of Calcutta, Dr. Ron Ruthruff challenges us to listen, unlearn, and be transformed. Part 1 begins with a 90 second introduction by Krista Foundation Executive Director Valerie Norwood. 


Watch Part 2 (Ecumenism and loving the city)
Watch Part 3 (Cities can tell us the best and worst about ourselves)
Watch Part 4. (How do we DO all of this? Listen and (un)learn...)

Ron Ruthruff is the author of The Least of These: Lessons Learned from Kids on the Street. He has worked for 26 years with homeless and street-involved youth and families as Director of Ministry and Program Development for New Horizons Ministries. He and his wife, Linda recently opened a nonprofit Seattle café called Street Bean that provides job training and employment for young adults working to exit street life. Ron has lectured in Kenya, Guatemala, Cambodia and India and speaks across the nation on topics including high-risk youth and early intervention strategies; street culture and sociological aspects of prostitution; adolescent culture, development, and trauma; and urban missiology. Ron serves as adjunct faculty at Bakke Graduate School and guest lectures at a variety of seminaries and colleges.


Meet the 2011 Colleagues!

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Global Citizenship, Preparing To Serve

At the Krista Foundation Annual Conference, 17 new Krista Colleagues were commissioned. They are entering or currently engaged in volunteer or vocational service in urban America, developing nations, or environmental projects. 

Take a minute to let them introduce themselves!

Watch the video:


or CLICK HERE to glance at their web profiles: