April 21, 2018

If you’ve ever turned on the news, read the paper, or have a twitter account, you know that we are experiencing an incredibly polarized cultural moment. We live in a country that is often quick to speak and slow to listen, as is the habit of the human heart. This past year has provided a lens into our habits as a nation, and how they can make or break the change that we so often long for in America.

Here, in the Pacific North West, we tend to face a more nuanced brand of conflict. It shows up in our lack of conversations around issues that affect every corner of our culture, and in our subtle striving to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

Our social circles stay comfortable, while the world around us changes and becomes more and more unfamiliar each day. The compassion, potency and ingenuity that we are so well known for is often folded back into our own individual cultures, leaving little or no room for opposing perspective.

How can we break the cycle? What are some things we can do to learn, listen, grow and live along side the opposing view, whatever it may be? This workshop seeks to answer those questions through an exploration of Christian hospitality.

One meal, one conversation at a time, one story shared in one home can change everything.

‘Growing Home’ is a two-part workshop that encourages and educates communities in Seattle to actively engage in building a stronger culture of hospitality in the North West. Hosted in part with Make America Dinner Again (MADA).


Gary Darakjian was born and raised in Fresno, California. His educational pursuits took him first to Los Angeles, and then to Seattle. In the midst of his academic career, Gary discovered a passion for theology and hospitality. He has explored this idea in various professional fields, including healthcare, food retail, restaurants, and the non-profit sector. He recently returned to his hometown with his wife, Allyson, to raise a family, pursue a teaching career, and plant as many fruit trees as his yard can hold.

Jordan has been building and designing his entire life. With an inquisitive mind and love for storytelling; wood working and furniture design has become his medium of choice. His formal education in is Theology and the Arts from The Seattle School where he has honed an interest in asking meaningful questions that in turn influence the design and craft of ThisIsUrbanMade products.

Emily Nelson is the director of the Growing Home movement, and is currently serving as Fuller Institute’s Hospitality Director. She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University, and also serves as the Worship Coordinator at A Seattle Church in Denny Park. Emily is involved in teaching, encouraging and equipping the Seattle community towards hospitable living habits that create space for all.

Alison Soike was born and raised in Eastern Washington.  She came to Seattle and got a degree in Sociology from Seattle Pacific University.  After working for the Boys & Girls Club, she took her passion for community and family and translated that into the business world.  Opening her own cafe/bakery in Ballard in 2014, where she employs teens and young adults who are seeking job skills and mentorship.

special thanks to our sponsors