10/17 Update from Matt McCoy

Have you ever been on a long hike that involves a lot of elevation gain? The kind of hike where you get to a ridge, and you know you have a long way yet to go, but you want to stop and grab a drink of water and take stock of where you’ve been before setting onward? I love those moments of stopping, looking around, absorbing the beauty of where I am and who I’m with and marveling at how far we’ve come. This feels like one of those moments to me.

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We’ve had a big year, and we’ve got another big year ahead of us. But before this next transition point comes and goes, I wanted to pause and take stock of where we’ve been. Like a long hike, we’re standing at a ridge, and I want to gather everyone together and capture this moment. If this were an actual ridge, I’d be pulling my camera out of a sweat and rain soaked ziplock bag and taking a picture of everyone. Today I’ll just tell the story.

In October of 2017, Denise and I felt like we were ready as a family to lean into the desire we’d been feeling to connect our love of the church with our love of the people in our lives. In order to help us with that, we put together a discernment team of 12 people. And in order to paint with some fun colors, and hear from voices different than our own, of those 12 there were three who were experiencing homelessness, two who are teenagers, and one who is not connected to a faith community. So very cool.

This discernment team met for the first time in February, and the commitment was to meet once a month for a year. I wanted us to be in physical spaces that felt more natural and comfortable to the people in our lives, so we met in a school, in a homeless shelter, in a hospital.

In June I wanted us to feel both inside a church and yet feel like an outsider, so we met in a church that nobody except me had been inside before: Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church (thanks Father Michael!). I asked the question, “Who will be the guides that will show us what the Kingdom of God is like?” The discernment team responded by asking me who I was already connecting with, and start there. That gave us the clarity to start with the Youth, the Poor and the Disabled. I observed that our method of discernment, which is the centuries old Ignatian style “conversation and contemplation” is fantastic but is also alienating to the youth, my friends at the Lighthouse, and the disabled people I knew. We need to embody what we want to discern, so we decided to put together three discernment worship services.

In August we met at our house, and had a service that was lead by the youth.

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In September the service had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the flu bug hitting the Lighthouse Mission pretty hard, so once everyone got to feeling better we had a game night instead.

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Coming up the last weekend of October we’ve got our third discernment worship service, and I’m over-the-moon excited about it. We’ll be exploring forgiveness, and reading the story of the reckless, runaway son (you might know it as the prodigal son, but most people don’t know what a prodigal is). It’s a little different, reading this story alongside people who have actually run away and lost everything, and then praying about forgiveness.

Then in the first week of November we’ll have our last discernment team meeting as a gathering of 12. We’ll get together to pray, to reflect, to eat and laugh and bring this spectacular season to a transition. I am so very grateful for the time, energy, attention and are that this discernment team has shown me this year.

And then what?

Then it’ll be time for this transition to the next season of this New Worshipping Community, which is why I wanted to pause today to take stock of where we’ve been.

Once we’ve had a chance to integrate the wisdom we’ll glean from the last discernment worship service and the last discernment team meeting, we’ll let you know what comes next. At this point I’m thinking it will likely look like a once-a-month Sunday night worship service with a focus that sounds something similar to this:

Cultivating a New Worshipping Community whose Mission is discerned and guided by the Youth, the Poor and the Disabled.

You see, we still don’t know what the Mission of this New Worshipping Community is, and we probably won’t know for awhile. The rate of coherence for this community is going to be incredibly slow. And besides, these three groups of people aren’t the Mission themselves. Rather, the Mission will be discerned as we worship Jesus together, as we grow in friendship together, and we discover how we might join the Holy Spirit in what’s already happening around us.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us, wherever you are, and in whatever capacity you’ve been a part. Soon we’ll be putting the cameras back in the sweat and rain soaked ziplock bags, as it were, and moving onward. But just as we all huddle together to take a picture before that transition happens, I wanted to capture this moment on email together with you, and say thank you.

-Matt McCoy

Recovery Efforts - Presbiterio de San Juan

Everett First PC wanted to give a small amount toward the huge recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.  Shirley Morrow at Everett First connected with Michelle Muniz who is helping to guid recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.  Here is a very helpful report about the recovery with ways you can help!   And if you want to connect directly with Michelle you can reach her at disastercoord.psj@gmail.com 

Michelle Muñiz, disastercoord.psj@gmail.com Disaster Recovery Coordinator / Coordinadora de Recuperación de DesastresPresbiterio de San Juan

Read more.

Collide: Back with BIG News!

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From writing our next Bible study to improving the resources we create for you, to planning our fall event, it’s been a busy summer at the Collide office! We are welcoming fall with open arms. With crisp autumn air and a rainbow of falling leaves, we’re ushering in a season steeped in grace, hope, and renewed excitement for the work God is doing through this ministry.

The question we’ve been continuing to ask ourselves amongst preparing for another Collide year is “What would it look like to operate in relationship from a place of honest love and affection, rather than the oh-so-common place of bitterness and fear?” So that’s exactly what we’ll dive into at the Collide on November 2nd titled “Always” at Cornwall Church. We’ll be taking a look at the way Jesus does relationship and being encouraged as we discover what it means to always love, even when it’s not always easy. What we’ve been finding in the scriptures is that Jesus gives us a way to do that, even when it’s difficult. We are called to love others, because God first loved us.

As we’ve been praying and dreaming about our fall, we’ve been considering speakers who truly embody what it means to love people with the joy, fervor, and unconditionality of Jesus. We are extremely thrilled to announce that our new friend Bob Goff will be joining us for this very special Collide on November 2nd! Bob is a New York Times bestselling author and encourager to millions, and we can’t wait to welcome him to a night for women at Cornwall Church to share a message of radical love. Mark your calendars and snag your tickets HERE - this is one you’re not going to want to miss! We've got lots going on around here so check us out!

Read more.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: Hurricane Florence

God is our refuge and strength

Therefore, we will not fear … though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble. —Psalm 46

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) urges your support for those affected by Hurricane Florence. PDA is delivering immediate aid to those impacted by the storm on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Initial assessment suggests catastrophic destruction, but the full scope of the damage will not be known for many months. 

The storm’s path is cutting across areas still recovering from Hurricane Matthew (2016). While these winds and waters have meant loss and destruction, the work of PDA might become, as the psalmist says, “a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”

PDA is deploying teams to affected presbyteries to meet with Presbyterian and community leadership to assist in coordinating relief efforts and mucking out homes and churches. After initial needs are addressed, PDA will remain — providing spiritual and emotional care and long-term recovery to address the unmet needs of those impacted. Through your prayerful gifts, we draw hope out of the chaos.

The needs for the response are great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the "GAP"— Give. Act. Pray.

Give: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000169, which supports the church’s response to hurricanes impacting the U.S. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

Act:

  • Download and use the bulletin insert.

  • Learn how you and your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

Pray: Pray for those who suffered loss of home or for those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.

8/26 Update from Matt McCoy

8/26/18 Update from Matt McCoy:

The youth, the poor, and the disabled are the guides for us as we seek to cultivate new worshipping communities here in Bellingham.  We had a worship service at our house on Thursday, 23 August, from 6pm-8pm, and there was so much about it that I loved.  

I love how it was put together by about ten students.  They wanted tables outside, set around the altar, where we could all worship together.  While we were worried that all the smoke from the recent wildfires in B.C. might force us inside, the wind shifted and we were able to set up just as they requested.  

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I also went to the Lighthouse Mission and picked up five friends of mine who are Guests there, and they joined us for the service.  We had the tables all set up ahead of time, but do you know what we forgot to put on the tables?  We remembered the colors and paper for the kids, and we had water, and we had flowers, but we still forgot:  Ash trays!  Many of the Guests at the Mission still smoke, and we want them to feel at peace, so we improvised.  Denise has the idea of going to a pottery place and making something nice for this before next month. 

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The scripture we were focusing on was John 10:27-30.  

John 10:27 My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.  28 I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand.  29 The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him.  30 I and the Father are one heart and mind.” 

We had our Call to Worship, then we read the scripture, and then we prepared for Communion.  Naturally, with a youth led service, the first thing they wanted to do was eat.  And we talked about how the first Communion was an actual meal, so we ate a meal together.  

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I want to pause here, briefly, and share a story of what happened back in May.  As I was preparing for a communion service in May, I was praying as I put out the elements, and I was reflecting on how frequently the Bible tells stories about eating with people.  Who we eat with, and where our hearts are as we eat with them, reflects so much about what we believe.  And I was convicted that I spend a lot of time with people experiencing homelessness, but I don’t eat with them often.  I could go to the Mission and eat with them, but I was wanting to do much more than that.  This evening was an answer to that prayer.  

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Well, the youth love to have the scriptures made real and tangible (honesty, now, who doesn’t?), and so we had a skit where Jackson represented Jesus, Kevin was a good sport about representing evil, and Honey the goat represented us.  Both Jackson and Kevin called to Honey, and we got to see what happened.  

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One of the many fantastic teenagers with us then preached on the text, 

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And we spent time at our tables talking about “how do we hear God’s voice?” We had colors for people who would rather reflect on this question without using words…

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We concluded with singing,

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And the Youth wanted a gong for ringing in the Call to Worship and the Blessing and Sending.  We didn’t have a gong, but we had a convincing pot lid. 

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These pictures speak beautifully to the joy of worshipping with the youth, the poor and the disabled, and I can’t hardly wait for next month’s service...

Matt McCoy

360-685-3637

Israel/Palestine Educational Events

A special invitation from: 
Charlie Lewis (Co-Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish)
Along with: John Berg (ELCA), Karen Carpenter (ELCA), Rev. Alan Dorway (PCUSA), Rev. Dr. Duncan Ferguson (PCUSA), Ursula Gallagher (PCUSA), Brad and Sandra Gerrish (PCUSA) Rev. Jim and Judy Kutz (PCUSA), Rev. Mary Robinson-Mohr (PCUSA) and Heidi Saikaly (PCUSA), Alan and Dottie Villisvek (PCUSA). (Members of the Israel/Palestine Ecumenical Network of North Puget Sound)  Huda Giddens and Mary Segall (Kairos- Seattle).

We are very pleased to offer at no cost three different educational events in our area this fall to foster a deeper understanding about issues pertaining to the Israel/Palestine conflict.  In late October, we'll be hosting Pilgrims for Peace advocates Mae Cannon, Sami Awad and Jessica Montell. From November 8-13, a group of three graduates and a teacher from the Mar Elias School (founded by Archbishop Elias Chacour) will be speaking as peace ambassadors.  And on November 15-18, writer and activist Alison Weir will be casting light on what we Americans don't know but should know about US/Israeli relationship.  As Christians seek to stand in solidarity with efforts to promote human rights and a just peace in Israel/Palestine, these speakers provide an avenue for opening minds and hearts to the harsh realities on the ground and what we can do in response as followers of Jesus. 

While these events are all free, there will be an offering taken to offset costs and support their educational work.

Download schedule.

Sedro-Woolley City Scene Features Kevin & Danielle Riley

Sedro-Woolley City Scene, August 2018

By Amy Muia, Executive Director New Earth Recovery

Kevin and Danielle Riley know the darkness well.  From their youth they'd been using drugs and alcohol, and then later, on the heels of painful divorces, they met on the Plenty of Fish dating website.  Soon they were using meth together.  Things went downhill fast.  Danielle lost her 10-year job at a local hospital, and they both landed on the street.

Read the complete article.

Summer Bible Camp Mission Group @ Riverside Community Church, Desert Aire/Mattawa

Foster-Tukwila Presbyterian Church sent its Summer Bible Camp Mission Group this year to do outreach with Mattawa and Desert Aire children. They also led worship this Sunday morning.

Presbyterians Gather to Observe End of Era

(Sentinel Photo)

Daily Sitka Sentinel     

Published on Friday, 13 July 2018 23:32

By Sentinel Staff
    Presbyterians and friends held the closing worship service last Sunday in Sitka’s 60-year-old First Presbyterian Church building.
    Calling the service a celebration of the church’s life, about 60 Presbyterians shared stories and viewed photos and other memorabilia at a legacy potluck afterward.

Read more online.

Nettie Covalt begins ministry as SE Alaska Cluster Coordinator

A message from Nettie:

 Nettie Covalt, SE Alaska Cluster Coordinator

Nettie Covalt, SE Alaska Cluster Coordinator

July 3, 2018

Greetings to all my PCUSA brothers and sisters located in beautiful SE Alaska,

This letter is an introduction of the new Southeast Alaska Cluster Coordinator, which is myself! Ta-da!  So…Hi!

For those who don’t know me; I have lived in southeast Alaska for 56 years. Almost all of that time in Wrangell, where I am currently the Commissioned Pastor. For the past 25 plus years I have been active in PCUSA in Southeast. Sharing the feelings, we have had with all of the changes in our churches. Mainly the decline of membership. The split of some of our churches that caused us to be no longer a viable presbytery and all the scary and new and wonderful places that has taken us the last few years.

I am also presently a member of COM (committee on ministry). I will also be representing all of you on that committee beginning this month.

I believe it is very important that we stay a community (cluster) as we are very unique in not only our locations but our ways of life. We need to keep our identity and still be a very viable part of North West Coast Presbytery.

I am retiring the middle of August from 22 years as a daycare provider.  I plan on spending more of my time focusing on the ministry God has called me to.  I believe that this position with the Presbytery is an extension of the call He has for me.

I will always just be a phone call/text message/email/ Facebook Messenger away.  I also will be able to have the joy of visiting you in person throughout the year depending on needs of your church community. If I don’t have the answer, I know who will. I will be your voice on COM and at Presbytery

I am known as Nettie Covalt.  My given name is Marie Jeanette Covalt, so you might also see me referred as that. But as my once young son said to an adult he had just met “her name is Marie Jeanette but all her friends call her Nettie”. So I introduce myself to you as Nettie, hoping this extends some and makes other new friendships.

Phone number: 907-470-0806

Email is: jeanettecovalt@rocketmail.com

There is a SE Alaska Cluster Facebook page that I will soon administrate as another way to keep lines of communication open.

Looking forward to this new journey with you,

In His peace 

Nettie

Holm Family Northwest Visit

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Mission Co-worker Tyler Holm and his family are visiting Washington this summer. 

Update from the Holms:

These are the dates for churches as a family will be visiting in the next month to thank you, our supporters, in person and to celebrate what God is doing here in Malawi in our ministry. We hope to see as many of you as possible:

July 15th: First Presbyterian Church, 715 E Scootney St, Othello, WA

July 23nd: Edmonds Presbyterian Church, 22600 96th Ave. W Edmonds, WA

July 24th: St. James Presbyterian Church, 910 14th Street, Bellingham, WA (lunch)

July 24th: Acme Presbyterian Church, 2054 Valley Highway, Acme, WA (dinner)

July 26th: Port Angeles First Presbyterian Church, 139 W. 8th St., Port Angeles, WA

July 29th: Kennewick First Presbyterian Church, 2001 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA

July 30th to August 3rd: Cashmere Presbyterian Church, 303 Maple St., Cashmere, WA

For those of you in eastern Washington: Escape the summer afternoon heat and stop in and say hi to the three of us during an open house at the home of Jerry and Marian Holm (153 Greenview Drive, Richland, WA) on Sunday July 22nd, between 2:00 and 5:00.  

Grace and Peace,
Tyler, Rochelle and Mphatso Holm
Mzuzu, Malawi
rochelle@rochelleholm.com

Tyler Holm Mission Co-Worker information online

Holm in Africa blog

NWC Presbytery Regional Gatherings

Engage, Equip, and Encourage

Friends in Christ, 

Come together as NWC Presbyterians in various regions for a night of engaging in fellowship, encouraging through ministry stories, and equipping with a short ministry lesson by Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall and sharing resources available from each other and NWC Presbytery for your ministry.

Please send 2 or more folks from your congregation for this evening.  Here are the times and locations:  

Regions & Dates

·      Eastern Washington:  Monday, July 16th, 6:30-9:00pm at Kennewick First Presbyterian Church

·      Whatcom/Skagit:  Thursday, July 19th, 6:30-9:00pm at Bellingham First Presbyterian Church

·      Snohomish/King:  Monday, August 6th, 6:30-9:00pm at North Creek Presbyterian Church

·      Olympic Peninsula:  Wednesday, August 8th, 6:30-9:00pm at Port Townsend First Presbyterian Church

Dessert and drinks will be provided.  Thank you to our hosts!

Come curious, leave encouraged. 

Please plan to share up to 3 minutes on the current mission of your congregation or ministry. One share session per congregation or ministry.  Hope to see you there!  

Gratefully in Christ,

Corey Schlosser-Hall

Volunteers needed for July 21-29 Gambell Church work team

 

Message from: 

Danna Larson
Gambell New Church Build Mission Team Coordinator
Yukon Presbytery
616 W 10th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501
907
 538-7313

Friends,

We are working hard to get folks from our Presbytery to Gambell this summer so the building can be completed by 2018.   We have an urgent need to find two more men to even out a current team of one man and four women.   The date this team is going to Gambell is July 21-29.   The team leader is Frank Lombardo (United Protestant Church in Palmer).  He went to Gambell last summer and is very committed in helping us finish the building.  

Frank's contact information:  

email:  frankl@mtaonline.net  

cell:  907 982-2834

Please share this information with your congregation and be in prayer with us that we can find an additional two men to  join this team.  Please contact Frank with the information so he can contact the person and work out the details. 

Tall Timber Scholarship drive update

Because of so many of YOU — We did it!!!

Thank you all for supporting the Tall Timber Scholarship drive. We hit the $15,000 mark last week, which is evidence of God’s provision. Tall Timber is sustained by God, through partners like you, who make it possible for so many kids to come come to camp.

God is already at work filling camps to capacity. I talked to Dave last week and learned that three camps are full already!. The staff is excited and ready to share the love of Christ with campers. This is going to be an incredible summer at Tall Timber.

If for some reason you were unable to support the Scholarship drive, or want to give again, there are multiple ways that you can support Tall Timber in the future. Go to talltimber.org/donate, there you will be able to donate to the Scholarship fund or become a “Friend of Tall Timber” by making a monthly financial commitment. Even $10 a month makes a difference! We are grateful to be witnesses to the amazing work God is doing at Tall Timber and trust He will continue to provide through generous partners like you!.

Thank you again for your partnership with God’s work at Tall Timber.

Duard King

Tall Timber Board of Directors President

Collide Bible study available now

NEW! Collide "Yes, You" Bible Study

Most of us desire to do amazing things with our lives, but often doubt that we can. We let our weaknesses boss around our strengths, and our insecurities drown out our giftings. We look at what we have to offer and often believe it isn’t enough. But what if God could use exactly what we’ve got to pull off something big? In this beautifully designed, full color twelve-part Bible study, we will center around the passage in John 6 where Jesus fed five thousand people with one boy’s lunch. As you engage Scripture, read personal stories, and reflect on questions that invite you to new places, you will be challenged, encouraged and inspired!

Order online.

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Thirst for Life music video available

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Living Waters for the World (LWW) invites you to share the Thirst For Life music video with the youth of your churches. 

This song, written to support LWW, and subsequently recorded by YouTube “super group” Cimorelli with an accompanying video showing our work in Cuba, has been something of a sensation, already surpassing 100,000 views.

What is striking are the more than 800 comments on the video, almost all by young people.

With your help and those of your pastors, we have an opportunity to engage our PCUSA youth to share the video, thereby raising awareness of Living Waters for the World and serving as an example of how to be the church in this time and place.  Without question, more clean water will flow as a result and the song will touch many more lives.

Living Waters for the World has been a grass-roots story, having trained church teams from virtually every Presbytery in the denomination, resulting in over 900 water system installations in 25 nations, bringing clean water to hundreds of thousands.  For many in the communities we serve, Presbyterians are considered the “water people”, bringing health, hope and Christ’s love in a tangible way.

Thank you for sharing this letter with your pastors so that this video may be shared with their youth with a call to action to share this beautiful song of Christ’s love of living water for our bodies and our souls.