contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States

(206)762-1991

The mission of Seattle Presbytery is to participate, in word and deed, in God’s transforming work through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: †by strengthening the witness and mission of our congregations and members and by building strong partnerships with each other and the larger Christian community.

Events (Archive)

Filtering by Category: Featured

Session Saturday - June 2nd

Seattle Presbytery

"The Future of the PCUSA"

UPDATE - We are full up on lunch reservations, but invite you to bring along a sack lunch and join the conversation. (5/31/12 @ 4pm)


June 2, 9am - Noon, Lunch provided. RSVP requested.
Anticipating the many topics sure to be discussed at the upcoming General Assembly, we'll take a look at the various ideas regarding the future of the denomination including the Fellowship of Presbyterians, NEXT Church and ECO.

Session Saturdays take place at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church.
Although free of charge, we do require RSVP for lunch planning purposes. RSVP to eliana@seattlepresbytery.org

How Can Our Church Do Ministry Overseas?

Seattle Presbytery

Pastor Thinh, Dr. Nguyen, & Pastor Khoa

By Dr. Binh Nguyen / Southeast Asia Ministry Team (SEAM Team)

All churches want to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing the Gospel to all humankind.  Yet, for many churches, doing ministry work overseas can be both very costly and difficult to manage.  However, churches love people, care for people’s spiritual and physical lives, and want to support ministries, especially overseas ministries that can change people’s lives for good.  Opportunities opened in 2000 when the Seattle Presbytery launched its ministry in Vietnam, establishing the United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam (UPCV) -- the first Presbyterian Church in that country.

This month, Pastor Khoa Ho, the Head Pastor of the UPCV will be in Seattle to share with churches in Seattle Presbytery about the last twelve years of ministry and their vision of planting ten new congregations this year in Vietnam.

The ministry of the UPCV is going well, yet in some locations it is still facing hardship.  The church wants to expand its ministry to include more people living in Vietnam into the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, the UPCV has decided to plant more congregations.

As we know, in order to plant a church in a country like Vietnam, leaders need to have wisdom, courage, and a deep love of God and people.  God has already equipped leaders of the UPCV with these qualities.

The UPCV already had ten leaders who have been leading the Bible study groups.  In addition to doing ministry, these leaders need to maintain paying jobs outside the church to provide for their families.  In order to grow these Bible study groups into congregations, these leaders have to dedicate all of their minds, hearts, and time to their ministries, which means they do not have any spare time to do work outside the church.  In order to fulfill their call to full-time ministry, they are seeking financial support for 30 months.  This would allow them to work toward self-sufficiency.  Ideally, the UPCV wants to provide $100 per leader per month.

The Southeast Asia Ministry Team believes that any church can support UPCV’s vision to expand the Kingdom of God in Vietnam. Many churches can afford $100 per month from their missions budgets to support a pastor, while those that can only afford $50 can have their contribution matched by the Seattle Presbytery.  This is a wonderful opportunity for any church, even those who have modest missions budgets, to be involved insignificant overseas ministry and build a strong relationship with a sister church in Asia.

Pastor Khoa Ho is available to meet with interested churches:
             -Tuesday, 3/20: At any time before Seattle Presbytery meeting
             -Wednesday, 3/21: At any time before 6:00PM
             -Tuesday, 3/27: At any time, except from 11:00AM to 2:00PM

If you have any questions or requests or donations related to the UPCV’s vision, please contact the Southeast Asia Ministry Team (SEAM@seattlepresbytery.org).

       - Dr. Binh Nguyen (206-965-0192), Rev. Paul Kim, & Rev. Dale Sewall

 

On Healthy Boundaries

Seattle Presbytery

by Rev. Kevin Nollette, Associate EP

One of my avocations is participation in prison ministry.  At first I resisted the invitation to participate in ministry to the incarcerated; now my life would seem incomplete without the opportunity of sharing the life of faith with incarcerated brothers.  If you are interested in ministry to those who are incarcerated I’d be delighted to connect you with a ministry in your area.
 
Anyway, as a result of my work with those in prison I am required to annually attend training offered by the Department of Corrections.  Last Saturday I spent a large portion of the day reviewing the boundary and misconduct prevention training all volunteers and employees of the Department of Corrections must complete and renew annually.  The Department of Corrections does not care whether we have been to the training 20 times or this is the first time - we all MUST take, and renew the training annually.
 
When I worked as a volunteer firefighter we were required to take similar training.  As far back as the 1970’s when I was working in education and social services we took and annually retook this type of training.
 
The church has actually been behind the curve in this important area of protecting those who are vulnerable in our midst.  The reasons vary: denial, the unseemliness of the issue, the perceptions that we are “nice” people, that we know one another, or that we are like “family.” Sadly, most instances of boundary violations and abuse take place between people who know one another, and especially in close groups and families.
 
The church’s historic complacence has resulted in countless broken lives, hearts and deeply injured souls.  It is especially egregious that the place that should be the center of the good news, a source of healing and restoration should have become for some a place of utter desolation.  So we find ourselves redoubling our efforts in the church to assure that the church will not be the source of any more sorrow and heartache.
 
We require that of our clergy to attend misconduct prevention training at least once every three years.  We require that churches and every entity of the church have misconduct prevention plans and policies.  We offer training opportunities for Ruling Elders, Deacons, and church volunteers in this area. Through our insurance carrier we can assist churches in obtaining background checks of church employees and volunteers.
 
Still, background checks, training, and policies are of no use if they are simply done in a pro-forma way.  We really need to understand that it is the responsibility of all of us to prevent the abuse and exploitation of children and any vulnerable person.  We desperately need to grasp that we are one another’s keeper, watching lest another fall.  Protecting one another with the guard of actually following the training, policies and tools available to us.
 
The Department of Corrections emphasizes that, “If you see it, You own it.”  That is to say we all are responsible, even if we only suspect there is a problem, or only a risk of a problem developing.  That when we see others in vulnerable situations we owe it to them as well as those we serve to speak up and act.
 
Frankly, if secular institutions are so concerned, how can we as the church fail to be still more diligent?
 
In the coming week there is another opportunity to participate in Misconduct Prevention Training.  If you are a pastor who has not been to training within the last three years this is a good opportunity to renew your training.  If you are an Ruling Elder, Deacon, or volunteer in the church here is an opportunity for you too to be trained. Click here for information.
 
Beyond training, let us act so that all will find the church to be a refuge and place of peace.

New Growth in Seattle Presbytery

Seattle Presbytery

As I prepare for a Council meeting this Saturday, I've been reflecting on the state of our presbytery and the good place we're in right now to move forward on a number of fronts. Over time, we've been open to the new opportunities God has given this presbytery to grow and we're responding. One example comes to mind regarding "new church development."

In 2008, the Black Diamond Presbyterian Church was closed and its building was left in a state of abandonment. There was no plan to redevelop the property, let alone start a new church, but a local pastor approached me and asked if he could renovate the building and eventually re-open it to the public. We talked it over at Council and eventually approved a very favorable deal for this new pastor to go to town renovating the building and inviting the community to join him. 

Three years later that pastor, Tom Stark, has about 70 people worshipping with him in a beautifully-renovated building, and on top of that he's catalyzed the community toward serving a Wednesday nite banquet to over 200 people who need a solid meal and some Christian care. Is he Presbyterian? No. Is he a member of our presbytery? No. Is there a need for what he's doing and are we 100% behind it? YES. Is the Gospel being proclaimed in word and deed? YES. Did God surprise us with a new way of viewing our role as a presbytery? Undoubtedly. 

Since that time we've formed a group, Catalyzing Missional Communities, to respond to new winds of the Spirit blowing in and through us and God seems to be bringing more people with similar passions. Interestingly this group is now in discernment with Tom Stark of High Road Church, about becoming a fellowship in this presbytery. 

Please join me in praying for Tom and good ministry that High Road Community Church is doing in Black Diamond, and pray for our presbytery as we seek God's leading in new and faithful ways (even if those ways aren't always the way we've done it in the past!). 

Blessed Ash Wednesday, 
Scott Lumsden

Confessions of a Denominational Fanboy

Seattle Presbytery

Indie Musician Sufjan Stevens: Denominational Fanboy? (Hint: not really.)

By Aaron Willett, SeaPres Communications Coordinator

Last Monday in my Presbyterian Polity Class, at Seattle Pacific Seminary, a classmate reminded (we might even say chided) me that I am a denominational fanboy. She got me thinking… Are we perfect? Nowhere close. Do I think we have a corner on the market for Scriptural truth? Of course not. What I do know is that Jesus assures us, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them” (Matt. 18:20, CEB). I read Jesus’ promise and I know it in my head, but when we gather as a presbytery, I know it in my heart. We experience this too in our local congregations, all over the region.

I know I’m not making a terribly sophisticated argument here, but I’m encouraged because together we constitute the Body of Christ. My own gifts and quirks contribute to that body just as do yours. In the good times our ministry together is amplified because of the body, and the hard times we find comfort and solace there too. I’m even encouraged by the knowledge that when things go sideways in ministry, there are resources provided by our presbytery and boundaries laid out in our constitution.

As an inquirer who feels called to ministry within the PCUSA, I am encouraged by the recent shift in denominational posture. Reading our recently adopted Book of Order (formerly the “nFOG”), I see a recognition that missional vision comes from local churches, not governing bodies. Our newfound constitutional freedom has many faces, but most encouraging for me are the three new Temporary Associate Teaching Elders (aka ministers) called within our presbytery last month. Positions like these would not have been possible under the old constitution. We also see this new enabling denominational posture in the push to create 1,001 new worshipping communities over the next ten years. Roger Dermody, GAMC Deputy Executive Director for Mission, has said, “I believe that our work has got to be focused primarily on creating the conditions that will allow our existing worshipping communities to flourish, and engages them in giving birth to over 1000 new communities of faith within the next ten years.”  

We are witnessing a rearrangement of our denominational priorities that will highlight the work and growth of local churches, while building up and enabling new communities, and bearing witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through many voices, new and old.

So, am I a denominational fanboy? Yes, indeed, through and through—soli Deo gloria.

Movements

Seattle Presbytery

by Rev Eliana Maxim, Associate EP

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43:19
 
I’m driving across the bridge and am blinded by a vaguely familiar resplendent orb in the sky. How can this be? It’s the middle of winter-the dreaded February Funk - and I’m wearing short sleeves, sandals and rummaging for sunglasses.
Once again, God has thrown a curveball.
 
Or perhaps, as our recent Presbyfest Keynote speaker, Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, emphasized in a sermon, “God is birthing something new.” After it’s all said and done, we can’t help many times thinking that… well… it’s done. But it’s not. God continues to move and act in remarkable and surprising ways.
 
From my seat at the presbytery office I can see the movements. We have a new ministry team forming to discern how to serve immigrants being held at detention centers, another seeking ways to minister to new refugees. Several of our established churches are beginning discernment processes on new church mission initiatives. One of our long-time immigrant fellowships has made the decision to become a New Church Development in the PCUSA. Indeed, God is birthing all sorts of new and exciting things among us!
 
Take a look around your church. Where do you see God breathing new life? Where do you see the stirrings of a new mission? Where is God calling you to bear witness to the Gospel? And how can the presbytery support you in this endeavor?
 
Share your good news with us. And watch closely how God continues the wonder of creation among us.

Presbyfest Wrap Up

Seattle Presbytery

The Presbyfest gathering of 250 folks from Seattle Presbytery last Saturday represented more than just a fun, enriching, and enjoyable event (yes, I just used those words to describe a presbytery gathering!); it marked a change of focus, a step in a new direction for Seattle Presbytery. 

For many years, we've been wanting to move away from the old, bureaucratic mode of presbytery, to an engaged, responsive, relevant, and communal way of serving the gospel together. If I could be so bold, PresbyFest 2012 was an important turning point in that new direction. Three years of small steps in toward a more purpose-filled presbytery became an impressively large stride when we come together in common mission like we did on Saturday. 
 
Many kudos go out to those who helped to put everything together: Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, keynote speaker Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, the many presenters who shared their gifts and experiences, the kitchen crew at MIPC, and the presbytery staff - especially Rev. Eliana Maxim, Christa Peck, and Aaron Willet who together, organized the entire event. 
 
Yet even today, we're planning a follow up to Presbyfest so here's a preview - Session Saturdays or Saturday Sessions (the name still needs some work so feel free to chime in here with your suggestion). It was a common theme at Presbyfest that there just wasn't enough time to get into a topic. Though we'll make some tweaks to the schedule for next year, there is a limit to what we can accomplish in one day. To address that, we're beginning to sketch out a series of Saturdays where we can cover a topic in depth. And yes, these will be recorded too (we recorded our Presbyfest sessions, to be on our website soon!) so if you can't make it, we'll have a way for you to glean some wisdom from a distance. 
 
Thanks again to all who came for some part of Presbyfest and all those who helped make it a success. Hope to see you on a Session Saturday in 2012. 
 
Grace and Peace in Christ, 
Scott

Presbyfest 2012

Seattle Presbytery

presbyfest logo

by Rev. Eliana Maxim, Associate EP

“Christ calls the Church into being, giving it all that is necessary for its mission in the world, for its sanctification, and for its service to God. Christ is present with the Church in both Spirit and Word.” (Book of Order F-1.0202)
 
 Almost 200 folks have pre-registered for Presbyfest (Saturday. Jan. 28 at 9am). I have to believe that they – like me – have heard that God is doing some pretty amazing things in our presbytery. The testimony of Christ’s salvific grace is being proclaimed in all sorts of manners and from every corner of our presbytery. And we shouldn’t be surprised, really. Christ is present with us, in both Spirit and Word. We just need to hear about it from one another and be encouraged!
 
We’re delighted to welcome you all to Presbyfest and hope that you will find encouragement, food for thought, fellowship and manna for your soul. You’ll hear from Bruce Reyes-Chow, former PCUSA moderator as well as from Julia Thorne, PCUSA immigration attorney. Speakers will address topics as varied as healthy church growth initiatives and theology and culture, Bible study and church finance. A wealth of diversity!
 
If you haven’t signed up for the event yet, it’s not too late. Just visit www.seattlepresbytery.org/presbyfest and click on register. We’re excited to welcome you all and together bear witness to the good work and life-giving mission happening in our churches and fellowships!

PresbyFest Approaches

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Scott Lumsden, EP

Greetings in Christ to you in this New Year. There is no greater hope to us than to know that as we begin a new year, the real beginning of all that we are and ever hope to be is found in Jesus Christ, "who is before all things" and in whom, "all things hold together." 

As we gather together for Presbyfest on January 28th, we will not only remind ourselves of this hope in worship, song and fellowship, but we will also learn about the many ways this body of believers we call a presbytery is serving the gospel both here and abroad. I hope you will join us on Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00pm at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Dr. Bin Nguyen will be among the many presenters, sharing about the Southeast Asia Ministry Team. 

By Dr. Binh Nguyen 
    & the Southeast Asia Ministry Team


Did you know that the Seattle Presbytery established the first Vietnamese Presbyterian Fellowship in Washington State? It happened in January 1999 at Brighton Presbyterian Church. This openness led the Seattle Presbytery to meaningful ministry in Vietnam, the country where US combat forces were involved for a decade. Just a few years after the founding of the fellowship, history was made again when, in October 2002, the Seattle Presbytery and the Worldwide Ministries of the PC(USA) recognized the establishment of the first Presbyterian churches in Vietnam.

With the guidance of the Seattle Presbytery, the ministry of Presbyterian churches in Vietnam has blossomed. The Seattle Presbytery has also helped the Presbyterian Church in Vietnam learn how to build healthy relationships with government authorities. The result is that the Vietnam Presbyterian Church has been given a permit to legally hold worship services at many different locations throughout the country. 

The history of Indochina (during French colonization this was the name given to the region encompassing Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) shows that things happening in Vietnam have an effect on Cambodia and Laos as well. Therefore, this international ministry of the Seattle Presbytery has expanded beyond Vietnam to now include Cambodia and Laos. As opportunities arise, it is quite possible this ministry of the Seattle Presbytery could expand into other countries of Southeast Asia.

The Southeast Asia Ministry Team of the Seattle Presbytery invites and urges your congregation and missions committee to pray for these ministries, to give financially, and to consider participating in our upcoming trip to Southeast Asia.

For any questions related to the ministries or the trips, please contact the Southeast Asia Ministry Team of the Seattle Presbytery:

  • Dr. Binh Nguyen at binh@seattlepresbytery.org or 206-965-0192
  • Rev. Paul Kim at paulk@seattlechurch.org
  • Rev. Dale Sewall at dalesewall@gmail.com

 May God bless you and your church abundantly.

Epiphany Gifts

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Eliana Maxim, Associate EP

“When they [wise men from the East] had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they say that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”



Some years ago, I gave up on New Year’s resolutions. I had proven to be an utter failure at accomplishing those lofty goals. Instead, I went back to the story of Epiphany, an important part of the Christmas story that has traditionally played a significant role in my cultural traditions. As children, we waited for the visiting Magi almost with as much anticipation as we waited for Christ’s birth. Their exoticness mirrored our immigrant experience and their gifts, although completely impractical for a baby, were absolutely luxurious.
 
As an adult now, what draws me to these wise ones are four characteristics I believe were worthy of my efforts - not just in the coming year, but also in every year to come.
 
The Magi were observant. Although strangers in a foreign land, they never stopped looking around and being aware of their surroundings. Had they been distracted or more inwardly focused, they might have missed the star in the sky, misunderstood Herod’s intentions and who knows what else. I want to be more aware of the world around me.
 
They were a joyful bunch. Probably tired, homesick and second guessing themselves, nonetheless, they are overwhelmed with joy even before they have a chance to gaze upon the infant Jesus. Oh to be more joyful. Overwhelmingly so.
 
The Wise Ones are thankful. They know they never would have gotten to where they did without God’s help and they know they are in the presence of a kingly presence, and so they give thanks. On their knees. I want to commit to a profound thankfulness that will bring me to my knees.
 
Finally, the Magi are generous. They give from what they have, and they give without conditions or questions. Upon entering the humble home they could have reconsidered their gifts for a king, and left the child and his family something else. Or not their entire treasure chests. But they don’t. They give with abandon in much the same way that they gave thanks and expressed joy.
 
In this season of Epiphany, I wish you the gifts of the Magi. No, not gold, frankincense and myrrh.  But rather gifts of awareness, joy, thankfulness and generosity. I believe these are worthy of our aspirations and certainly ones that as the body of Christ, we can nurture in one another.

Affiliation: A Different Way of Being Together

Seattle Presbytery


By Rev. Scott Lumsden, Executive Presbyter
Affiliation will be one of a number of possibilities for the PC(USA) discussed at Presbyfest. 

When Christians Disagree

It happens from time to time, Christians disagree. Back in the day, Paul, a gifted evangelist and theologian from Antioch, and Barnabas, his friend and fellow pastor, began to plan a return trip to the churches they had helped establish. Yet as they discussed their plan, a disagreement erupted. Paul didn’t trust Mark (Barnabas’ cousin) and refused to allow him to come with them, so they parted ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed east to Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas and journeyed West for Syria. (Acts 15:36-41)

I use this example because it’s becoming increasingly clear to many within the church that there are similar “second leg of the journey” dynamics at work within the PC(USA). We’ve reached a disagreement on how and where to go regarding the next leg of our missionary journey together and it scares us. Though the surface disagreement seems to be about ordination standards, there are other factors that are equally important such as: the changing nature of the church and society; post-denominationalism; decades of mainline decline; and uncertainty about our future. 

There are of course benefits in times of disagreement in that they challenge us to be clear and honest in our communication and help us clarify our positions. Disagreement forces to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions instead of expecting others to think and act on our behalf. Yet to continue in disagreement without recognizing alternative ways of addressing it may have serious ramifications for the mission of the PC(USA). 

Affiliation

There are a number of ideas recently that have been proposed that attempt to deal with these dynamics of disagreement within the PC(USA). Many of these proposals were presented as tiers during the Fellowship of Presbyterians gathering in August. However, leaders (and presbyteries) across a wide theological spectrum of the PC(USA) are increasingly drawn toward some variation of what I will describe below as affiliation. (Sometimes affiliation is likened to orders within the Catholic church.) 

The idea in a nutshell goes something like this. For the purpose of providing greater clarity of mission within the PC(USA), congregations through their councils (sessions) may affiliate with a national body approved by the General Assembly. This would be completely elective on the part of a council, but would be an option for those who sought direction and support from a national group within the PC(USA). In other words, if the Fellowship of Presbyterians declared essential tenets of the Reformed faith and a session felt led to adopt them or make them their own, they could formally affiliate with that national body. In addition, if a congregation felt led to affiliate with the Covenant Network or similar body, its council (session) could formally affiliate with that body. Presbyteries would be encouraged to develop ways to honor these affiliations while also maintaining a missional identity of the whole in all its work.

The thought here is that we’ve reached a place in the church where we need to allow congregations to more clearly define the path they’re following within the PC(USA). Our Book of Order empowers councils to this type of discernment and action in G-3.0102: 

Councils of this church have only ecclesiastical jurisdiction for the purpose of serving Jesus Christ and declaring and obeying his will in relation to truth and service, order and discipline. They may frame statements of faith, bear testimony against error in doctrine and immorality in life, resolve questions of doctrine and discipline, give counsel in matters of conscience, and decide issues properly brought before them under the provisions of this Book of Order. They may authorize the administration of the sacraments in accordance with the Directory for Worship. They have power to establish plans and rules for the worship, mission, government, and discipline of the church and to do those things necessary to the peace, purity, unity, and progress of the church under the will of Christ. They have responsibility for the leadership, guidance, and government of that portion of the church that is under their jurisdiction” (italics mine).

Within such a richly diverse church, what we haven’t yet fully come to terms with is that there can be multiple ways for a council to discern and live out its mission. For a long time in our life together we’ve mostly required the same discernment of mission within our congregations and presbyteries. We’ve done this despite the fact that there are also areas of “sharp disagreement” among us. In practical terms, we admit to and even accept some level of difference within the church, yet at the moment we have no official way to honor this reality.  

To use the example of Paul and Barnabas, one benefit of their decision to part ways was that two missionary journeys began from Antioch that spring rather than one. What if God’s mission in Jesus Christ was furthered and not hindered by more than one missionary journey emerging out of our differences? What if two, three or four major missionary movements arose from within the PC(USA), rather than discord?

Affiliation and Our Future

There is much to be discerned in the months ahead and this is only one idea among many. What is clear is that we are in the throes of yet another reformation of our identity, mission and relationships within the PC(USA). Affiliation addresses the fact that differentiation in some key areas of ministry within the PC(USA) may be a helpful way to maintain unity while allowing for a greater number of missional pathways to emerge within the larger church. The good news in all this for me is that among all these ideas about how to order our lives anew, honoring our relationships as the body of Christ is common to all.

The Unexpected Safety of the Radical Jesus

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, former moderator of the PC(USA) and the founding and former pastor of Mission Bay Church in San Francisco. In January, he will be joining the Seattle Presbytery as the keynote speaker for PresbyFest.

If this is the first time you have ever read my writings, getting you up to speed on my social and theological location might take a little too long. Suffice it to say that I know that my perceptions of what is radical or safe is colored by my experience as, not simply a life-long Presbyterian, but one who deeply embraces the theological and political foundations through which I have been formed.

That said, over the past decade, I have meandered in and out of conversations with and about the postmodern and emergent church, I have helped to found a congregation in hyper-spiritual and anti-religious San Francisco and I have dabbled in the bureaucracy of my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA. So as much as I would like to avoid the notion, when it comes to recent conversations about change that are going on across in the church, I have been around.

One of the things that I have noticed recently in many interactions regarding the nature of the church is an increased reclamation of what it means to be “radical” for Jesus. Liberal or conservative, there seem to be bubbles of “look how radical I am” forming that are dangerously close to becoming mutual admiration societies based on our collective non-conforming “eff you” mentalities. In an honest attempt to fight what the church has been, many seem to have claimed the position of eye-poker, provocateur and/or contrarian. While I generally agree with the positions taken about church, culture and life, I have wondered – and will no doubt get in trouble for verbalizing this – if those who preach a gospel of radicality are preaching the radical life that Jesus is in fact calling us to live. Yes, I do believe that Jesus calls us to speak truth to power, social and political, but sometimes, I wonder if we can embody this role so much that it becomes all of who we are. With good intentions, the overabundance of one tactic and gospel perspective begins to sound as if Jesus only wants radical transformation for the other… and we are the ones to deign how to do that.

I firmly believe that the radical call of Jesus shifts and changes as our life and circumstances change: day to day, year to year and generation to generation. Might the radical calling on our lives be to embody the complexity of divine expression that Christ holds in harmony… to borrow from Calvin: to be pastoral in our care of others, priestly in our connection to God, prophetic in seeking justice, and poetic in our imagination of what could be? When we allow “radical” to be too comfortable or defined by the current political and/or religious polemics of the day, I believe that we contribute to the ongoing division of the world and we fail to model lives of reconciliation between people, graciousness in the face of oppression and genuine love for our enemy.

Again, I am not challenging the meaningful and important issues that so many are fighting for, what I am pushing on is how we engage in these movements in a way that actually makes an impact. Jesus was certainly a radical, but I do not think he was a fanatic, so when we communicate a strict and narrow view of what Jesus wants and how he wants it accomplished, we lose legitimacy, damage relationships and work against the fruition of lasting change. Left or right, we deny the fullness of God’s expression when we hide in the comfort and security of our self-righteousness, and this clustering holds us back from possibly discovering something new in the ways we work for change.

What I am NOT saying is that we should scrap any sense of what it means to be radical and just “play it safe,” avoid risk-taking or justify spiritual apathy, but rather that we should each ask ourselves how “safe” and “risky” postures manifest themselves in each of our lives. Because I simply do not think being radical will be the same for each person, when we do this we can begin to value the breadth of the radical expressions of Jesus the Christ in the world. Every movement needs a variety of personalities and perspectives in order to be effective, but… when we value ourselves and others with narrow visions of what is faithful or Christ-like we present a weak vision of what it means to be the Body of Christ in the world. A stronger vision, and one that I believe will lead to reconciliation across ideological chasms, is one that includes the prophetic word, the pastoral touch, the priestly heart and the poetic mind… one not held above the other, but held in harmony as individuals and communities of faith.

Now that would be radical.

A Christmas Challenge

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Kevin Nollette, Associate EP


The fingers in my left hand are starting to suffer from arthritis. It doesn’t bother me all the time but it is very annoying on a cold morning as I try to wrap my fingers around the steering wheel. On the “richter scale of human suffering” this doesn’t even rise to a .01 but it is an irregular annoyance to me. 
 
What difference does this make you may ask?  Well, it simply adds to my wonder that God would take on our flesh with all of its idiosyncrasies and annoyances bearing all of our grief and sorrows.  Jesus’ birth, which we celebrate at Christmas entails not only the wonder and horror of the cross, but the whole of his life lived in all our human circumstance.  From hunger, exhaustion, weariness, homelessness, loss, and even to the Cross, Jesus the Christ took on human flesh, human life for us.
 
I would gladly give up the minor annoyance of my stiff morning fingers.  I marvel that Jesus took on all of these annoyances and more.  As Philippians  2:1-11 reads;
 
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
 
What a challenge for us as believers.
 
So, one very cold morning this week I found waiting myself at an on ramp.  There standing before me is a man about my age holding a sign.  He sets the sign down to rub his cold, sore, and swollen fingers. I recognize the action, it is my own, and I remember, Jesus the Christ, took on his flesh too.  He bore this stranger’s human infirmities as well as my own.  Jesus took on his human flesh just as he did mine that Christmas so long ago.  If there were ever any doubt about it who my kin are, in the incarnation, Christ made us kin one with another with all humanity.  We may not be kin in faith, but we are kin in the skin and Jesus took on that same skin, human skin.
 
In this wonder there is a challenge, not just in this season when we remember the incarnation but a challenge for every day.  Did we see kin in the eyes of all we met today? Did we see past the outward appearances and see in each one’s eyes the brother or sister of our savior?
 
This time of year fills me with wonder, and challenges me every day of my life.  How do you, how does your church, enter into the wonder and respond to the challenge?

Waiting

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Eliana Maxim, Associate EP

A few years ago, at this same time of the year, I remember sitting at my desk trying to figure out challenging church stuff. No profound theological conundrum, tricky Hebrew or obfuscated polity issue ..... I had to finish casting the church’s Christmas pageant.
 
I had 4 shepherds who preferred to use their staffs as swords and were in deep danger of poking their eyes out or tripping an elderly congregant. Every little girl wanted to be an angel once they got a sight of the glittery winged costume. The inverse was that every boy detested the possibility of having to be an angel. The 3 year old dressed as the Star of Bethlehem wouldn’t keep his costume –or any of his clothing - on and the magi had revolted when they were denied staffs or any other long, pointed sticks. Worse of all, our baby Jesus was yet to be born. The expectant mother was past her due date and frankly, I was getting a little miffed.  
 
As Advent Christians we wait for the promise to be fulfilled; we wait for the true light of the world to return. In the meantime, we have some who flock to the bright shiny distractions, others who seem more intent on battling than heeding their role in the waiting time and still others who insatiably seek out power and authority. And we wait.  For Advent will not be rushed.
 
Advent Christians realize that we live in the now but not yet, and although our hearts achingly long for what will be, how we wait for the long expected Jesus marks our character and call.
 
Some will be denied the glitter because it needs to be shared among all, not just a select group. And some will need to learn to serve before they can be served themselves. And there will be those who will need someone to remind them often to stay focused and keep their clothes on.
 
But we do this because of our firm belief that although we may tell the Nativity story a million times, we hold our breath for Jesus’ return. Even though shepherds may battle it out, angels compete in their dazzle and wise ones get too big for their britches, all discord and confusion melts away when Emanuel is “born” anew. For the good news will not be denied. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!”
 
May this Advent season provide you the space and time to revel in the anticipation of the promise fulfilled. I also invite you to take a moment and register for the upcoming Presbyfest, when we will have the opportunity to come together to learn, worship and celebrate.

Pop Music and Fan Faith

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Jeff Keuss, Professor of Christian Ministry, SPU
An excerpt from Your Neighbor's Hymnal, published by Cascade Books 

Faith is a tricky term to define and even harder to live out. For some, to have faith is to adhere to certain doctrinal affirmations and creeds. For others, faith is essentially wishful thinking akin to hopefulness where one believes that, as Julian of Norwich mused so long ago, “all manner of things shall be well.” Others see faith as living into the seemingly improbable or impossible, or an exercise in supreme trust as one leaps into the unknown with complete abandon. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is credited with having framed the notion of the “leap of faith” whereby faith is not merely just an intellectual ascent, but a visceral all-or-nothing commitment of body, mind and soul. Is faith ultimately what we have in ourselves? In other people? In God?

Listening to pop music is in itself an act of faith akin to Kierkegaard’s notion of the ‘leap of faith’. For some this leap is provoked by a strong push or awakening that something needs to change often in the form of conviction. To be convicted by something as an act of faith, it is to become in some ways to overcome and overwhelmed, thoroughly convinced, to the point that you are standing at a crossroads and what you now know is incontestable and life as you know it changed forever. An example of such a moment would be a near death experience, falling in love, or even hearing Marvin Gaye or Johnny Cash singing for the first time; one may call it a life-defining event. Theologian James Loder sees such moments as acts of faith for both the secular and sacred come together in such life-defining events. It is in that these “experiences we want eventually to understand in Christian terms are precisely those that reopen the question of reality because the subject of the experience has been convicted by a spiritual presence far greater than the subject him or herself.”1 While Christians may take faith to mean a particular line to a deeper understanding and relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ, faith can start in many places outside the church, including a seemingly simple pop song that stirs within us something greater than ourselves.

As privatized and individualistic as some people deride pop music as being, it is a medium that continues to encourage people to have life-convicting moments that will move them to play and eventually live out the music for all to hear, joining strangers together through the song and to thereby takes the story public in ways that the closed off life of many church goers often does not on a day-to-day basis. My friend Rev. Beth Maynard, an Episcopal priest, faculty member at Gordon Conwell Seminary and author of Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog recently spoke at a conference on the music of U2 I was attending on the role that listening to music together in a live show can play in forging a sense of meaning not only for the musician but for the audience members.2 Drawing from the Christian tradition of worship, Maynard sees modern music fans and concert goers enacting a practice deep in the liturgical tradition known as leitourgia.

Leitourgia as Fan Faith

As noted by Maynard, the word leitourgia is a Greek term used in the early Christian communities to mean a public act that expresses the mission of a people, something done in the open and not behind closed doors. Maynard cites David Fagerberg’s study Theologia Prima in looking at how the term grew in usage in the early Christian communities and notes that the term becomes more and more associated with “actions expressing [a] city’s relations to the world of divine powers on which it acknowledged itself to be dependent.”3 In the early centuries of Christianity, leitourgia was a term to denote public rather than private gatherings whose focus and intent was essentially to bring light into darkness and challenge the prevailing social and spiritual assumptions of the time. By public it meant that everyone is invited to participate and find their voice in this reality. As Fagerberg goes on to say, “the early Christians chose the term leitourgia for what they were doing [because] it signaled that they did not think themselves to be doing [a service closed off in meaning from the rest of the world], but they were doing the eschatological work of making Christ’s kingdom present… [embodying] the presence in this world of the Kingdom to come.”4 Faith in this way is that which is so real, so pervasive that it has to be made public and shared, drawing others into the song and challenging the heartbreak and nihilism of an age and offers an alternative reality for all to see and hear.

In many ways this ancient notion of leitourgia is the faith of the pop music fan as well. This desire to take something so core to who we are and continue to seek expression regardless of what others may think of us is seen the moment someone becomes so taken with a song and an artist that they play it on repeat for days on end, wear the concert T-Shirt, follow the bands Twitter feed and Facebook updates, and have to tell people about this song and artist as a way of keeping the world on alert. This is when people forgo the norms set by the culture around them, throw care to the wind, and run fully into expressing something bigger than themselves.  A classic example of this is seen in the movement from day-to-day life and then attending a rock concert. I recently attended a U2 show with a number of academics (imagine that crowd for a second!). Many of these people were accomplished professors who had written in areas of literary theory, economics, history, sociology and theology. However, once we stepped into the arena for the rock show and the boys from Dublin took the stage, what had been reserved and mediated discourse became a full-bodied fanfest—PhDs jumping up and down, pumping their fists in the air, dancing in the aisles and singing along with the thousands of fans gathered under the full harvest moon of November. Amidst the music and flashing stadium lights, people forgot themselves in all the right ways and joined together in chorus after chorus after chorus. Basically, people found faith in something other than themselves and gave themselves over to it even if it was only for a moment. Alexander Schmemann, writing from the Russian Orthodox tradition states that for the early Christian community leitourgia was a public expression that was the end “of the ‘sacred’ religious act isolated from and opposed to the ‘profane’ life of the community.”5 No longer do we keep we are passionate about separated from how we organize and live out our lives in the public sphere. To have fan faith in the spirit of leitourgia is to ‘out’ yourself as a fan and by doing so is to have that shape how and why you live in the world. Your priorities change, the people you gather with and for change and this is not kept locked up but expressed through one’s life for the entire world to see. As Schmemann makes clear in reference to the very public expressions of faith in the public sphere for the early Christians, “the pseudo-Christian opposition of the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘material,’ the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane,’ the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular,” is denounced, abolished, and revealed as a monstrous lie about God and man and the world.”6 It doesn’t take a rock show to see this full-bodied faith take hold with a pop song. Just look at the car next to you at the stop light when you hear the thumping of the subwoofer pounding your windows—heads bobbing to the beat like a scene from Wayne’s World, lip-syncing along to the song and belting it out with all the passion of an American Idol finalist. Watch the commuters on the bus with their white iPod earbuds. Their eyes are closed, but they’re fully alive in ways they won’t be during their workday. True, there is pop music fandom that draws people into the trivial and mundane just as there are some Christian worship services that celebrate the consumer culture more than critique it or provide an alternative. But the drive to find something larger than ourselves and make it public is a starting point – even a shallow faith is better than no faith at all. And in this we are to celebrate rather than to too quickly denounce the fan faith that permeates the culture around us. As I mention in my book, rather than work so hard to convert people to Christian subculture, perhaps we should spend some time in “our neighbor’s hymnal” – the music that means so much to them already – as see if perhaps our hymnals need to be put side by side rather than replacing what God is doing already. I believe the church will find that “our neighbor’s hymnal” is filled with songs that are sowing the seeds of faith and pushing for a form of life that is larger than the mundane and points to a transcendence worth paying attention to. People continue to come to pop music as a demonstration of faith in something more than what we often see and do in the so-called real world. Perhaps we as the church would do well to journey into such a faith for a season and see what God has for us there.

_________

1 Loder, The Convictional Moment, 7.
2 Rev. Beth Maynard, “U2 Live: Where Leitourgia Has No Name” presented at the U2: The Hype and the Feedback conference North Carolina State University, October 4, 2009. My thanks to Rev. Maynard for sharing her insights from her paper with me and providing resources and valuable insights for this notion of leitourgia.
3 Fagerberg, Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology?, 11.
4 Fagerberg, 83.
5 Schmemann, For The Life of the World. 26.
6 Schmemann, 76.

Tumekutana

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Lynell Caudillo, Marcus Whitman Pres.

It was an intriguing invitation. It became a life-changing experience.

The invitation was to participate in Tumekutana 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda. Tumekutana (“we come together” in Kiswahili) is the vision of Caryl Weinberg, a former PC(USA) missionary and current Director of Missions on the staff of First Presbyterian Church in Evanston, Illinois.

Throughout Central Africa, Caryl, a Registered Nurse, served as an AIDS educator starting in the late 1990s. In her work she met women who were leading significant ministries in churches, often under challenging circumstances. It was her dream to bring these women together and introduce them to each other. The first Tumekutana conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007 was such a success, that a planning committee was formed and began immediately to plan a second conference. Rwanda was chosen as the location, and the theme “Women as Agents of Peace, Healing, and Reconciliation” was selected, to take place October 16-20, 2011 in the capital city of Kigali.

I was pleased to accept Caryl’s invitation and began the necessary preparations: immunizations for typhoid, yellow fever, anti-malaria prescriptions, etc. I had already been praying for the conference, having been the US prayer coordinator for the first Tumekutana. However, I was unprepared for the impact this event would have on my life.

The US Team included Caryl, Sonia Bodi and Gwen Ruckers from First Presbyterian Church Evanston, Susan Skoglund , a representative from Presbyterian Women, a pastor from South Carolina, Helen Harrison-Coker, Rev. Debbie Braaksma from Louisville (coordinator of mission in Africa for the PC(USA)), and myself. Once in Kigali, we were joined by Dr. Amy McAuley from Zambia (chair of the Presbyterian Medical Benevolence Fund), Rev. Debbie Blane (from Seattle, currently serving in South Sudan), and Rev. Janet Guyer (serving in South Africa). 

Arriving a few days in advance of the official beginning of the conference, the US team helped prepare registration materials, and shared responsibilities with the Rwandan Host committee. Invitation letters, visas, and travel arrangements were worked on until the last minute as communications and internet access vary greatly from country to country. Fifty-five women from 18 different African countries—professors, pastors, and leaders of Presbyterian and Reformed women—converged on Kigali!

On Sunday October 16th, we were divided into six groups. Each group was hosted by a different congregation in the Kigali area for worship and lunch. I was invited to preach at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Kigali, where there are 3 services, one in English, one in French and one in Kinyarwandan. The two hour (plus!) service was lively, with three different music groups leading the congregation in song and dance. Far from the “frozen chosen,” Rwandan worship is aerobic! I was thankful for the warm hospitality of Rev. Therese Makamakuza who translated my sermon into French, and welcomed me and the other Tumekutana delegates so graciously.

The conference began “officially” Sunday afternoon at the Ikigio Isano Conference Center as the delegates, wearing their brightly colored national dress, lined up to process into the Opening Ceremony which featured introductions of honored dignitaries and guests. Two choirs from local Presbyterian churches provided stirring vocal and dance performances. The opening address by the Rev. Dr. Nyambura Njoroge, broke open the conference theme: Women as Agents of Peace, Healing and Reconciliation from both Old and New Testament perspectives in the African context—a very auspicious beginning.

Through daily worship, plenary sessions, small group discussions, shared meals and personal conversations, the depth of faith and passion for peace that these women possess was clearly revealed. Lasting friendships formed as women studied and prayed together, discovering common cultural issues and discussing strategies for change. Topics addressed included: the education and economic empowerment of women, the impact of political conflict and violence on women, including the role of women in ensuring gender-justice in the church and community, among many others.

No doubt, the most profound experience was the day the group visited the Kigali Memorial Centre, which provides a dignified burial location for over 250,000 remains of those who died in the 1994 Genocide, as well as tasteful exhibits which document and educate about genocidal violence in Rwanda and elsewhere. This was a highly charged emotional afternoon, not only for our Rwandan hosts, but for many of the women who live with the daily reality of civil unrest and the threat of armed conflict in their own countries. That evening we heard from a pastor and a dozen members of his congregation—female survivors and male perpetrators of the Genocide—about the life-changing work of Christ that has brought about healing and true reconciliation among them.

This transformative love of Christ compels the women of Tumekutana to be agents of change in their homes, churches and communities. Here, peacemaking is not just a good idea—it is a personal reality. For these women, a personal relationship with Christ is the locus for all peacemaking efforts. 

There is not time or space to tell the stories of Samuel, a young Ugandan man with whom I shared the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to Kigali, or of Ariet from Ethiopia, Anisi from Rwanda, Milcah from South Sudan, and so many others whose journeys touched me deeply. Because of this experience I have gained a new perspective on my own church and culture, as well as God’s call to be peacemakers in Jesus’ name!

If you would like to hear more, I am available to share in greater detail with your study group, class or congregation. You can contact me at

On Affiliation

Seattle Presbytery

by Rev. Scott Lumsden, Executive Presbyter


We’ve been talking about change for a while. In previous articles I’ve mainly talked about changes within our own presbytery and congregations. Recently however there’s been increasing dialogue about changes within the national church (PCUSA).

One good example happened this summer when the Mid Council Commission of General Assembly voted to recommend that synods be eliminated and replaced with larger regional groupings for judicial purposes only. This change (if acted upon) effectively makes presbyteries the only governing body structure that serves congregations. It’s likely that by 2016 the three-tiered system of governing bodies (General Assembly, synods and presbyteries) will be down to two-teirs (presbyteries and GA). In fact, in our own synod (Alaska-Northwest) there’s a plan being developed to make this our reality by 2013.

Another big topic of discussion in the PC(USA) recently is affiliation. This is similar to some of the ideas of the Fellowship of Presbyterians with a major difference being that affiliation is about defining mission pathways for congregations within the PC(USA)--not outside it.

The idea goes something like this. For the purpose of providing greater clarity of mission within the PC(USA), congregations through their councils (sessions) may affiliate with a national body approved by General Assembly. In other words, if the Fellowship of Presbyterians declared essential tenets of the Reformed faith and a session felt led to adopt them or make them their own, they could formally affiliate with that national body. In addition, if a congregation felt led to affiliate with the Covenant Network or similar body, its council (session) could formally affiliate with that body. Presbyteries would be encouraged to develop ways to honor those affiliations while also maintaining a missional identity of the whole in all its work.

The thought here is that we’ve reached a place in the church where differentiation in some key areas of ministry within the PC(USA) is a helpful way to maintain unity and mission within the larger church. This works for the current stalemate on human sexuality but also for other areas of mission such as immigrant fellowship. Currently there is little real on the ground, national support for immigrant ministries within the PC(USA). A national body (let’s call this group Presbyterians International) could resource and support immigrant fellowships and presbyteries within the PC(USA) for greater witness and effectiveness.

This is just a short introduction to yet another idea being talked about within the national church. We’re reserving some time at the next presbytery meeting to talk about it so please come with your ideas. Feel free to jump start the conversation by commenting or emailing me: scott@seattlepresbytery.org.

BellPres' The Bible Plain and Simple

Seattle Presbytery

Rev. Tom Brewer, keeping it plain and simple in the web-based media player.

By Rev. Sandy Hackett, Pastor, Lake City Pres.

Anybody else looking for great Adult Ed resources? I found one! There is an online video series called The Bible Plain and Simple that is being produced by the good folks at First Pres. Bellevue. They’ve posted a play list for the first two years of a four year series on their site.

The class is taught live at FPCB on Wednesday nights, and also streams live on the web for people who want to watch from home and not brave the weeknight commute. BellPres then archives those as podcasts for folks who want to watch on their own schedules. New classes go up every week during each teaching quarter.

The first time I’d heard about this great resource was driving home from the Whitworth Institute for Ministry with Scott Mann, FPCB’s pastor for Christian Growth. They are kind of quiet over in Bellevue about the great work they are doing, so I asked if I could tell some more folks about it. 

All of our churches are welcome to participate in this course, drawing on the excellent resources these good teachers have available to them. The video is professionally produced, and a pleasure to watch. The content is substantial, well researched, and engagingly presented. You can play each week’s class on any schedule that works for your congregation. Monthly circles? Weekday Bible studies? Small groups? Sunday School? Even just alerting your folks to the possibility of watching on their own is giving them a great tool for developing biblical literacy.

Thanks, Scott Mann! Always glad to find a new way to encourage my congregation!

Vocation and Spiritual Formation

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Kevin Nollette, Associate EP

I have a friend who retired after more than thirty years as a Pipefitter.  I asked how he came to pipefitting as a vocation and he looked at me puzzled.  He said, “Pipefitting has been the way I have provided for myself and my family so that I’m free to pursue my vocation as a Christian.”  Then he told me of the work and hobbies he does, and has done, in and out of the church to fulfill his calling as a believer.  His vocation, he explained; is to use the gifts, the talents, the resources, and the life God has given him, to respond to Jesus’ call to follow him.
 
We all have a vocation to follow Christ.  We all need to hear God’s calling and know God’s equipping by the Holy Spirit.  We all are called today. How are we hearing?  How are we responding?
 
In my CPM work with those in inquiry and candidacy there are a lot of conversations about vocation, calling and spiritual formation.
 
Working with COM has given me the opportunity to explore those same dynamics with churches, Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders.
 
Outside of work I’m privileged to serve as chaplain to the board of Renewal Ministries Northwest, an organization seeking to equip churches and church leaders to deepen church member’s walk with Christ, and assisting churches in being more faithful.
 
In November these questions of vocation and all these roles in my life intersect with a wonderful (and inexpensive) teaching retreat, right here in Seattle.  The retreat, lead by Dr. Gordon Smith, sponsored by Renewal Ministries Northwest, “Vocation and Spiritual Formation; …Our Unique Place in God’s Renewing Work in the World” will be held, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, 7pm - 9pm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, 9am - 3pm, at First Free Methodist Church, Seattle, WA.

This is the perfect opportunity for any believer discerning their call to ministry.  Since all believers are called to ministry, I believe that includes all of us.  So, if you are examining what God is calling you do to next in ministry, whether that is helping in Christian Education, cooking for a food program, going to seminary, exploring the mission of the church you lead as a Ruling Elder, or looking at a pipefitting apprenticeship program; this is the retreat for you.  Especially if you are considering just what God has for you next, this is a great opportunity for you.
 
Registration is simple - click here!
 
I hope to see you there.
 
Blessings, Kevin

Presbyfest 2012

Seattle Presbytery

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your minds so that you may discern what is the will of God
– what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

You’ve been hearing about it.
You’ve seen the “Save the Date” reminders.
But what is Presbyfest all about?

It’s about Connection. Fellowship. Nurture. Mission. Information. Worship.
It’s about Presbyterians with a passion for ministry and relationships coming together to share and rejoice.

It’s about being the church.

Presbyfest 2012 will take place on Saturday, January 28 from 9am – 4pm  at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church and will feature:
keynote speaker Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, former PCUSA moderator , with workshops led by Julia Thorne (immigration ministries), Rev. Jeff Keuss (theology and culture), Rev. Dean Strong (NFoG Best Practices) and many more.

We’ll talk and listen to one another about discernment and transformation, mission and renewal.

We’ll have discussions on Southeast Asia mission, healthy church growth initiatives, reformed worship and multicultural ministries. Also offered will be Clerk of Session training, annual report assistance, and best finance practices for churches. Throughout the day, a mission fair – highlighting mission partners of many of our churches – will be on display.

At the end of our day together, we will gather to worship and celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

This event depends on your participation for its success. Take time from your busy schedules and spend some time with sisters and brothers in the Seattle Presbytery.  Come. And be the church.


Update: Click here
for updated information and here to register.