Thank you, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, and New Hope Revival Church for an unforgettable meeting!
Awards recognize clergywomen who challenge racism and injustice
by Gail Strange | Presbyterian New Service
LOUISVILLE — Nominations are being sought for the 2018 Women of Faith Awards sponsored by Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The 2018 theme is Clergywomen who Challenge Racism and Injustice.
“This year’s award will recognize clergywomen who are ‘woke’ and who challenge systemic racism and oppression,” said the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries. “Many of us are blessed to know clergywomen who have been advocates for racial and intercultural justice, with a respectful awareness and appreciation for each other’s different races, ethnicities, cultures and languages.”
At each General Assembly, three outstanding women are recognized at the Women of Faith breakfast. “We will show gratitude and recognize clergywomen who have made significant contributions and who challenge systemic racism and oppression,” said Hunter. The breakfast will be June 17 at the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in St. Louis.
The Presbyterian Outlook article by Heidi Husted Armstrong:
First Presbyterian Church of Seattle: Then and now
First Presbyterian Church of Seattle was organized in 1869 with seven charter members (one man and six women, including founding pastor George Whitworth’s wife, daughter and daughter-in-law). By 1939, FPCS had 11 assistant pastors, a session of 110 elders and church membership peaked at 8,818 members, the largest in the nation. Though today its geographical footprint is an entire city block of buildings on the eastern edge of downtown Seattle in a neighborhood called First Hill, FPCS’s membership hovers much, much closer to that initial charter membership number than the later pinnacle.
While membership decline was initially attributed to the launching of many branch churches whose members had been retained on the FPCS membership roll, over the decades, like many other downtown churches, the decline was the result of urbanization, with a steady post-World War II exodus to the suburbs. In addition, over the last 60 years, the relentless hemorrhaging of the mainline church over theological disagreements has affected this historically theologically conservative church. The concrete “brutalist” architecture sanctuary erected in 1969 that seats 1,200 hasn’t been used for Sunday worship in well over a decade.
More recently, FPCS experienced a painful church split in late 2015 that was the final blow to the once thriving church. In February of 2016, the Seattle Presbytery’s administrative commission concluded that the session “was unable or unwilling to wisely manage its affairs in accordance with PC(USA) polity, [and] had caused a schism within the congregation,” which resulted in their removal from leadership (although by then the previous co-pastors had resigned their ordinations).
What remains today is a pretty small (though unusually eclectic) group. On any given Sunday, you’re likely to find 20-30 people gathered for worship in the chapel: a handful of long-time members, a new person or two from the neighborhood or another part of the city, homeless and marginalized folks, tourists visiting from afar, a few presbytery supporters and occasional “temporary” folks in town receiving specialized medical treatment on nearby “Pill Hill.”
What also remains is ongoing complex litigation and a property development joint venture option that complicate the fundamental question for the congregation: Do we have a ministry future? Still, with legal and development questions hovering in the background, the gospel imperatives persistently rise to the surface: What does it mean for us to serve God now? How do we live the good news right here? How do we love our neighbors?
Calvary PC went to the Philippines for a mission trip in August 2017. One of the goals was to provide medical assistance to families in areas with a dire need for medical care. Thanks in part to financial support from Seattle Presbytery, Calvary PC and a local church in the Philippines (Bonbon United Church of Christ) were able to extend medical help to more than 600 people. The team was also able to provide long term assistance to those in need.
From Neil R. Quilo, Mission Team Leader:
"Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to represent our church and our denomination and entrusting us with the task of extending Christ's blessings to our brothers and sisters Philippines."
Here we go: The first team to stand for co-moderators of the 2018 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has emerged.
Eliana Maxim, associate executive presbyter of Seattle Presbytery and a vice moderator of the Way Forward Commission, announced on Facebook and Twitter Dec. 3 that she will stand for co-moderator along with Bertram Johnson, who is minister of justice, advocacy and change at Riverside Church in New York.
Both are PC(USA) ministers and people of color. Maxim has served as vice moderator of the PC(USA)’s National Hispanic/Latino Presbyterian Caucus.
Maxim said Seattle Presbytery has endorsed her to stand for co-moderator. She said Johnson is a member of the Presbytery of New York City, which will consider his request for endorsement when it meets in January.
Starting January 1, 2018, employers in Washington will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave.
Initiative 1433, which was approved by Washington voters in fall 2016, contains 4 primary changes to state law:
- Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to most employees beginning January 1, 2018.
- Increases the minimum wage over the next several years.
- Ensuring tips and service charges are given to the appropriate staff and,
- Protects employees from retaliation when exercising their rights under the Minimum Wage Requirements and Labor Standards Act.
Leaders from around the country are coming together to build the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
The organizing focus over the next few months is simple: educating folks about the Campaign to build long-term commitment in building a Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and getting folks signed up to participate in the 40 days of Moral Resistance and civil disobedience during the Spring of 2018. The goal is to get 1000 folks in each of the 25 participating states to pledge their commitment to the campaign.
Consider completing the online Pledge Card (the online Pledge Card).
What are the Spiritual Exercises?
The Spiritual Exercises are an invitation to renew and deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation on Scripture. The Exercises are not intellectual exercises – teaching a set of theological propositions, but rather a series of prayerful meditations on Scripture that help us to clarify and deepen our devotion to Jesus Christ.
What does the commitment look like?
We meet one Saturday a month from January to May. A commitment to a daily time of prayer. You are provided with guided prayer exercises to aide you in your daily times of meditation and prayer.
Location: St Mary on-the-Lake Peace & Spirituality Center, Bellevue
Cost: (includes retreat materials and snacks). Pay in full before January 1 for discounted rate. For payments after January 1, $50 deposit due at time of registration with installments beginning January 27; to be paid in full by May 19. Payment plans & Scholarships available upon request.
Early-Bird (Before January 1) $390
General Registration, $450
Married Couple, $750
Retreat Alumni, $350
Dates of January to May 2018 5-Month Guided Prayer Retreat:
Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 9AM to 3:30PM *lunch provided
Saturday, February 24, 2018 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, March 24, 2018 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, April 21, 2018 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, May 19, 2018 – 9AM to 1PM
Optional Wrap-up Retreat: Saturday, June 9, 2017 – 9AM to 2PM | $55
Registration: Download Registration Form and mail to:
RMNW, PO Box 12243, Mill Creek, WA 98082
Learn more about answering a call to lead and serve as a Navy chaplain.
Navy Chaplain Candidate Program Youtube:
Navy Chaplain Candidate Program Facebook Page:
Lieutenant, US Navy
Navy Recruiting District Seattle
Office Phone: (206) 632-0064
At CongregationU, we want to offer some hope in light of the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that took 26 lives and wounded many more last Sunday.
From now through January 10, 2018, our “Active Shooter Situations in Church Settings” online training course is available FREE to churches and faith-based organizations.
In this course, your clergy, staff, volunteers, and members will learn:
· How active shooter situations differ from other emergency situations
· What to do when faced with an active shooter situation
· How to work with law enforcement during an active shooter situation
· The importance of planning and preparing for emergency situations
· Specific challenges churches present in active shooter situations
Our mission is to educate congregations about relevant, timely topics through e-learning. In the wake of this tragedy, we hope this training course can be a bridge for knowledge and awareness, to help congregations as they seek to protect their facilities and the people within.
In September, nearly 150 people from multiple churches attended the Crossroads Anti-Racism Training offered by Seattle Presbytery. It was a powerful and transformative day of education, reflection, and equipping. For those who attended the training, we are planning to offer a follow-up discussion in early 2018 (more details coming soon). If you were unable to attend the event, look for more opportunities for anti-racism training and education later next year. For more information, please contact Haley Ballast.
Regarding ruling elders: Cultural humility
November 16, 2017 by Presbyterian News Service
(OGA) A well-meaning worshipper says to the visiting Asian American pastor, “Your English is very good!” even though English is the pastor’s first language. It grieves her.
A white pastor fakes a Spanish accent and another colleague laughs—while I stand stunned, and grateful that none of our Hispanic or Latino/a colleagues are present.
I made my own gaffe recently when I assumed that a Korean pastor I met had a green card while serving in this country. Instead, he is an American citizen and has pastored his Presbyterian church here for almost a decade. I apologized as soon as I realized my error, but still ….
As an Asian American who lives and moves in a multiracial, multicultural context, one would think that I would “get” diversity on an enlightened level. But, not really. I struggle, make mistakes, and worry about what I’ve said or done. I’m still learning. We all are.
We used to employ the phrase “cultural competency” to describe the ability to effectively and respectfully interact with people of different cultures and races. But more widespread and helpful now is the phrase “cultural humility.” Rather than assessing a skill, and labeling one competent or not, it describes a stance—a rich and freeing one. It is a stance rooted in the servant-hearted way of Jesus Christ.
Adopting a stance of “cultural humility” with someone of a different race, class, or culture means that I choose to be “other oriented.” I seek to be teachable, because I know that I have something to learn from this person. I acknowledge that there are unjust, systemic power imbalances in this world—and in relationships because of them—and I try to be sensitive to the impact that they can have on any interaction.
A message from Rev. Renee Notkin, Union Church:
Ted Thwing, a ruling elder of University Presbyterian Church and Union Church, recently published a book entitled, "So You Want to Grow Spiritually?"
Ted interviewed 200 people to determine the causes of the spiritual growth they've experienced across various periods of their lives. The interviews provided not only the data for evaluating the importance of factors that contribute to spiritual growth but also a rich tapestry of wisdom and insight about how these causes are woven into the experiences of life.
This book is not written as a report on the project. Rather, it is intended to draw insight from the interviews to provoke thinking and discussion about spiritual growth. You will find it useful in reflecting on your own spiritual growth as well as on the spiritual growth of those who know you and those you lead.
Waymarkers is offering more local retreats to the Pacific Northwest and a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland in 2018. These offerings, which are rooted in Celtic Christianity and wisdom traditions, invite the participant into a recovered sense of the sacramentality of the natural world, and to practice prayers and postures that create a sense of interrelatedness and divine communion through the wild edges of our lives.
Posted on October 3, 2017 by Linda Enkema
That’s the kind of dramatic headline that gets our attention these days, although we might ask, “What kind of a person has a name like Presbytery?”
The headline is correct, though, except the Presbytery mentioned was drowning in red ink, not water and is not a person but a group of Seattle-area Presbyterian churches, including BelPres. The member churches meet on a regular basis, worship together, enjoy community, encourage outreach and mission, and come alongside one another in various ways.
How did our Presbytery survive red ink?
I’d like to tell you a true story of the behind-the-scenes service of long time BelPres member Bob Wallace.
Back to our Presbytery. Nine years ago, there were a number of local Presbyterian churches (about five) that had closed over the years due to low attendance. The Seattle Presbytery, which owned the properties, was managing them and was losing about $100,000 each year in doing so. At that time, Scott Lumsden, the new Presbytery Executive (“CEO” of our presbytery), and Bob Wallace became acquainted. They realized together that Bob could be of great assistance because of his extensive commercial real estate experience in his business.
Bob became Co-Moderator of the Presbytery’s Property and Finance Committee and also coached Scott Lumsden in both property management and finance. Scott recalls many sessions with Bob about whether to sell or lease a property, and Scott learned how to manage these properties effectively. Bob always insisted that they have a plan for the funds that would come. According to Scott, Bob would “hold our feet to the fire” concerning good planning, patiently teaching along the way. Scott added “the other members of Property and Finance Committee also did a lot of work. However, Bob is one of the main reasons why Seattle Presbytery has turned the corner financially.”
From Rev. Kelly Wadsworth, Seattle Presbytery:
From October 1-31, 2017, I am spearheading an important project for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in our Greater Seattle congregations.
“Profound Change after War” is a way for service members to reflect on their own spiritual encounter and transformation from their own perspective.
Participation involves a 40-60 minute in-person interview describing “an experience when you recognized that you had been profoundly changed by war.” In honor of our veterans, each participant will receive a $75 Amazon gift certificate.
Visit www.profoundchangeafterwar.com for more information. The attached flyer provides additional details and is available in hard copy as well.
As a Teaching Elder in the Seattle Presbytery and as an Army Chaplain who served with the 1-161 INF BN in Balad, Iraq (‘07-‘08), I am the lead on this project. I am happy to speak further with congregations about why profound encounters are a critical piece of our national conversations.
Nigeria has more polio than anywhere in the world. Tens of thousands of children and adults spend their lives crawling on the ground. Tragically, no one is doing anything in a significant way about it. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been given by the Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and others for polio eradication, which is absolutely wonderful. But very little is being done for the victims.
Dr. Ron Rice, a retired Presbyterian pastor, and his Nigerian partner Ayuba Gufwan, who walks on his hands from polio, have built and donated over 13,500 wheelchairs to Nigeria's polio survivors. They have their own shop in Jos, Nigeria, with 49 employees, where they build these 3-wheeled, self-pedaled "tricycles" out of bicycle parts for $150. Five of the employees are handicapped themselves. This is by far the largest wheelchair ministry in all of Nigeria, a country that is half the population of the U.S.
Compass at First Presbyterian is a partnership between Compass Housing Alliance and Seattle First Presbyterian Church with funds provided by a grant from the City of Seattle.
The program serves our community by:
- Providing 100 new shelter beds for individuals age 18 and older
- Offering daytime and evening access to support services
- Serving men and women; pets are welcome
- Ensuring smooth and safe operations through an on-site manager
Our enhanced shelter model removes several barriers for people transitioning off the street by partnering overnight shelter with 24/7 on-site support services and intensive case management. In addition to services, we serve both male and female identifying people, offer room for storage of possessions, and welcome pets. This combination of shelter and services enables us to meet people where they are and build a supportive community to help people currently living in tents or encampments to move toward stability.
LOUISVILLE – Hurricane Harvey may have been downgraded, but the torrential rains are still pounding parts of Texas. Historic flooding has forced rivers and streams from their banks, submerged homes, churches, businesses and roads, stranding thousands of people.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is maintaining constant contact with Mission Presbytery and the Presbytery of the New Covenant.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency response and refugee program of the denomination, committed to the long-term journey of recovery of communities adversely affected by a crisis or catastrophic event. It is funded by One Great Hour of Sharing and raises designated funds for responding to specific disasters.
To support recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, click here. You’ll be taken to the PC(USA) website to donate securely and quickly.
If you prefer to mail a check (please designate Disaster Relief – U.S. Hurricane Response, DR000169), send it to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
You may also call 800-872-3283 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT), to donate by phone.
Visit the PDA website for continuing updates.