West Seattle, Washington
(Video and photos by Leda Costa for WSB)
Just north of the West Seattle Junction, another celebration this afternoon – this one, at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The movement began in Germany, so today FLCWS hosted German folk dancers from Enzian Schuhplattler, a club founded in 1965 by German and Austrian immigrants in Seattle:
And of course there was beer.
Also today, the church dedicated a plaque in honor of the anniversary:
FLCWS pastor Rev. Ron Marshall (above), designed the plaque, sculpted by Rita Marie Kepner, made from 65 pounds of bronze at the Port Townsend Foundry, and installed by Dale Korsmo. As noted on a banner outside the church, its commemoration of the Reformation’s half-millennium anniversary continues all year.
If you drove/rode/walked along the north stretch of Delridge Way SW earlier this evening, you might have seen Hate-Free Delridge‘s demonstration on the pedestrian overpass. They were there to express support for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program that has postponed deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children. As this federal webpage notes, the program is ending, though members of Congress are working on alternative plans.
16 dogs and their people showed up for this afternoon’s Blessing of the Animals, presented in the West Seattle High School parking lot every fall by neighboring St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. It’s always held on a Sunday near the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, and the faith leaders offering blessings usually include a Brother from the Order of Saint Francis – this year, Br. Paul Dahlke:
Also blessing the animals in attendance, Rev. Kate Wesch, on her first Sunday as St. John’s new Rector:
Her daughter Avery was there too, with Riley, who she’s been dog-sitting:
This was the 10th year for the blessings at St. John’s, dating back to 2008.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
~60 people sang, prayed, and pondered in a candlelight circle tonight outside Fauntleroy Church, during an emotional vigil that went beyond mourning the 59 lives lost in the Las Vegas massacre.
Leading them, above, were West Seattle’s three United Church of Christ pastors, from left, Rev. Diane Darling of Alki UCC, Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski of Fauntleroy UCC, and Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom of Admiral UCC. Their voices rang clear in the night with grief and anger – and even a prayer of confession, that “I confess I believed things would get better on their own, and I confess that I was wrong.”
There were questions – including those raised in Bob Dylan‘s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the first song led by Bronwyn Edwards and Leann Conley-Holcom, with readings between the verses:
As the names of those who died in the massacre were read – “so many lost” – there were a few words about each. Someone celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary. Someone celebrating their 28th birthday. A father there with his four grown children. Off-duty law enforcers. The mother of a 6-week-old baby. A 67-year-old woman. And when Seattle resident Carrie Parsons‘ name was read, Rev. Atkinson Bilinski noted that Ms. Parsons was the “close friend of the granddaughter of a Fauntleroy Church parishioner.”
A chime sounded after each name and description … and the last name read was that of the killer, noting that he left behind his family, as well as a nation “confused and heartbroken.” And it was noted that the massacre took the spotlight from others around the world who are in pain and suffering, from hurricane and earthquake victims to those in our country experiencing racism and other social injustice daily. Gun-violence statistics were read, including the fact that “most gun deaths are suicides.”
Ultimately, however, the vigil’s message was that of hope, with the candles representing “the light of love” – hope that with action, with collaboration, change can be made. In that spirit, the final song was “Somewhere to Begin” by T.R. Ritchie:
As the vigil ended, participants were invited to continue lighting candles and to write notes of appreciation to local first responders.
We are told the notes will be taken to a local fire station on Sunday.
This past Wednesday night, Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) and Holy Rosary churches co-sponsored an evening with meteorologist Jeff Renner, best known for the many years he spent at KING 5 television. The discussion at OLG’s Walmesley Center was centered on Pope Francis‘s 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si,” addressing care for “our common home” – the planet. We recorded it on video, and you can watch it above (Renner takes the microphone at 9:30 into the video, preceded by introductions from emcee Mark Stoelinga, a meteorologist and Holy Rosary parishioner, and a prayer from OLG’s Father Jack Walmesley).
After six years without a permanent rector, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church will have one starting this fall. And she has served this church before, according to the official announcement:
The Vestry of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Parish today announced that the Reverend Kate E. Wesch has been called to serve as Rector of the parish. Rev. Wesch will join St John’s on October 2, 2017 and will deliver her first sermon as Rector on Sunday, October 8, 2017 during services at 8 and 10:15 a.m.
Rev. Wesch is no stranger to St John’s; she was ordained at this parish in 2007 and served as Associate Priest alongside the parish’s former Rector, the Very Rev. Peter DeVeau. Rev. Wesch and her family have called West Seattle home since moving to Washington State in 2006. Most recently, Rev. Wesch has served at Epiphany Episcopal Parish in Madrona in the capacity of Associate Priest.
Of her new parish, Rev. Wesch notes, “According to its history, St. John’s Parish was established ‘for a broad-minded and liberal churchmanship, which should not only develop the spiritual side of life, but also encourage the social welfare in the most thoughtful and progressive minds of this community.’ This parish has done that now for generations in a community that continues to grow and thrive on this peninsula across the bay. The holy ground at the corner of California Avenue and Hanford is a gracious and serene place to gather to praise God, share your lives, do good works, and study the Gospel.”
The community is invited to meet Rev. Wesch at a special welcoming event on Sunday, October 8, 2017 (details will be made available closer to the date). St. John the Baptist is an Episcopal Parish is celebrating its 125th anniversary in West Seattle, and is a member of the Diocese of Olympia of the Episcopal Church.
The previous rector, Rev. DeVeau, left in late 2011 for Kansas City.
In our first year of reporting West Seattle news full time via WSB, we received a calendar announcement from First Lutheran Church of West Seattle Pastor Ron Marshall, about a class he had been teaching for years:
Not a class about the Bible, nor anything related to his denomination. It’s a class about Islam’s holy book, the Quran (or Koran).
As far as Rev. Marshall knows – and, he says, others have researched to verify this – he’s the only Christian minister in the U.S. regularly teaching a course on the Quran.
So we interviewed him about it in 2008, and since then, we’ve included the quarterly announcements in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar. With nine years having passed – and Islam remaining much-discussed – we decided to talk with him again before the next four-session class begins July 6th (one week from next Thursday). First, here’s the entirety of our half-hour interview, recorded on video, unedited:
As Rev. Marshall explains, this is a class he’s taught for 14 years now, in this format – he first took an interest in Islam in the ’80s, but getting people interested in a class didn’t happen until after 9/11, and since 2003, he has taught it quarterly. It’s now a four-Thursday format, usually taught four times a year, 7-9 pm each session, this time starting July 6th, $50 for the course, which includes a book and handouts.
He clarifies that he doesn’t promote the Quran’s message – “I’m a Christian minister” – but neither does he “bash the Quran.” The point of the class is to “compare and contrast between the Bible and the Quran … we’re on a fact-finding mission.” Questions explored include whether one part of the Quran means that it is intended to replace the Bible – scholars disagree, and it leads to “spirited discussions” in his classes, says Rev. Marshall. The class uses one of three authorized English translations of the Quran. The class is not “what (he) thinks about the Quran” – he points to “this is what the best Muslim teachers say the Quran is saying.”
He summarizes, “I want to try to provide a way to appreciatively, kindly, rationally approach a book that you may not like. Is there a way to do that? … I don’t think we have many models for this today.”
MORE INFO … is on his church’s website. He says the class has been taken by people aged 12 to 90+, and the students teach him as well as vice versa. “I have never taught the class without learning something.”
P.S. For groups interested in an abbreviated version, you can contact him about setting up an all-in-one-day course, as long as you have at least 20 people (who will be charged $20 each) – he’s done this all around Puget Sound.
Good morning! Since the day begins with sunrise Easter services, we’re publishing the list early. First, from our Easter & More page:
SUNRISE SERVICE AT FOREST LAWN: 6:30 am at Forest Lawn Cemetery & Funeral Home (WSB sponsor) with the West Seattle Ministerial Association. (6701 30th SW)
OTHER SERVICES, SOME WITH SPECIAL EVENTS: See our Easter & More page, with listings sent by 10 local churches, some with events in addition to the services, such as egg hunts for the kids and breakfast or brunch
EGG HUNT AT WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: The market is open 10 am-2 pm as usual, in the heart of The Junction, with a holiday extra:
Kids, search for Easter Eggs hidden all over the market, tell the manager where you found the eggs for a special farmers market prize!
(California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)
EGG HUNT IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Arbor Heights Community Church is hosting an Easter egg hunt for the community at 11:45 am at ARK Park. (SW 102nd St & 42nd SW)
JAMTIME: Old-time music, live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 1-4 pm. (5612 California SW)
Though we don’t have an open-and-closed list for Easter, here are a few notes we did happen to collect:
WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: It IS running today, its first Sunday of the 7-days-a-week spring/summer schedule.
LOG HOUSE MUSEUM CLOSED: The home of West Seattle’s history won’t be open today.
LIBRARIES OPEN: Seattle Public Library branches will be open today (1-5 pm as usual).
EARLY CLOSING: According to the Trader Joe’s website, it closes early today – 5 pm.
Any other open/closed/different-hours notes for today, please text us (206-293-6302) or comment – thanks!
As we do every year, we’ve continued to update our seasonal-events-and-services West Seattle Easter & More page as info comes in, and the list keeps getting longer as the weekend approaches – egg hunts on both Saturday and Sunday, and religious services all week through Sunday. If you have something coming up tomorrow through Sunday, it’s not too late for us to add it – just e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks! (The page is here as well as linked from our main navigation bar/menu.)
(WSB file photo)
With some spring activities happening this weekend, and Passover and Holy Week just days away, it’s time for our annual one-stop-shop list for egg hunts, services, and more, and it’s up now – see it here. Happy to add whatever your organization/center/church/synagogue/etc. is up to, so please send us the info ASAP and we’ll continue to update – email@example.com – thank you!
Thanks to Judy Pickens for the photo and report:
Some 140 members of Fauntleroy Church, United Church of Christ, left the sanctuary shortly after arriving Sunday morning for the congregation’s first “worship without walls” event.
Adults, children, and youth headed to four service projects: Packaging at Food Lifeline for area food banks, creating art kits for the parent-child home program at Southwest Youth & Family Services, assembling education supplies for distribution by Church World Service to refugee camps [photo], and training for Friend to Friend America’s program linking West Seattle volunteers with lonely elders.
According to education director and event coordinator Karyn Frazier, the morning was “a way to act out our love all at once by engaging in worshipful service in the wider community.”
P.S. In case you’ve been wondering, the church’s next Recycle Roundup is April 23rd – when it’s closer, we’ll publish the list of what will and won’t be accepted.
The Christian observance of Lent began today with Ash Wednesday. That meant special services – and they weren’t all within the walls of churches. This morning, Katy Lloyd photographed Admiral Congregational Church pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom in The Junction this morning, where, she explained, he was offering “ashes to go.” Online research before we published the photo revealed that this is a worldwide movement involving clergy taking the Ash Wednesday tradition to the streets.
Thanks to Brian Callanan for the photos from Our Lady of Guadalupe, which hosted visitors from the nearby High Point mosque for a potluck dinner on Friday night.
That’s Father Jack Walmesley and Imam Osman Yusuf. Hundreds of people came for fellowship.
The church and mosque are just blocks apart.
This was announced long before five people were shot and killed last night in Burlington, just an hour north of here, but it’s suddenly and tragically all the more timely: Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle is participating in tomorrow’s Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Here’s the church’s announcement from early September:
On September 25th there is a nationwide series of live concerts brought together by social media. Please join us at Tibbetts United Methodist Church [3 pm Sunday] as we take part in this important event, and experience the power of music to heal and inspire in the midst of the terrible epidemic of gun violence in our country.
One of the featured musical groups at the concert at Tibbetts will be West Seattle’s own Christy McWilson and the West Seattle 2, along with Seattle Flash Choir, “Lady A,” Pacific Northwest Blues Diva, Tibbetts United Methodist Church Choir.
At the end of the concert, all performers and the audience will join in singing two specially-selected songs together.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 30, 2016
Someone will have a roof over their head soon, thanks to volunteers and donors at Peace Lutheran Church, carrying out an idea from the church’s most recent confirmation class (14- and 15-year-olds). Today is the second of four days that they’re spending building a “tiny house” to be donated to the Low-Income Housing Institute.
One of the youth who came up with the idea, Katharine, told us that $2,200 was raised to buy the materials through a deal LIHI has with Home Depot. Now they have the kit and are assembling it right outside the church in Gatewood, also supported by a $250 grant from Thrivent that funded items like gloves, food for volunteers, and even the T-shirts they’re wearing.
Which of the city-sanctioned camps managed by LIHI will get it, that’s up to LIHI, the Peace Lutheran volunteers say; the nonprofit will pick it up once it’s ready to go sometime Monday.
(Photo courtesy WSCC)
Another local faith community is hosting a celebration of longtime leaders who are about to retire. From West Seattle Christian Church in The Junction:
West Seattle Christian Church invites the community to celebrate Alan and Lois Gardner’s retirement on June 26th in the church’s Activity Center. Since the 1970s they have been a special part of the West Seattle community and the church. Alan served first as Minister of Christian Education and later as Preaching Minister. Lois (aka “Mrs. Gardner”) is beloved by her former preschool and kindergarten students at West Seattle Christian School. They’ve touched so many. Please join in honoring them. The service is at 9:30 am Sunday and there will be a social time after the service.
The church and Activity Center are at 4400 42nd SW.
(Photos courtesy West Side Presbyterian Church)
West Side Presbyterian Church is announcing the retirement of its senior pastor – who will be preaching just a few more Sundays – and inviting the community to a celebration:
June 12th will mark the end of 45 years of service and vocational ministry for Dr. Paul R. Smith of West Seattle. He has been the senior pastor at West Side Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) since 1981, when he moved with his family from Pennsylvania to Seattle.
In the 35 years since arriving in the NW, he has served as the senior pastor of West Side Presbyterian Church. A recent tally showed he had officiated 180 wedding ceremonies, led 256 memorial services, and baptized more than 430 children and adults. He has also been active in renewal ministries with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has served the church both locally and nationally in promoting and equipping churches for evangelism.
Born November 25, 1945, Paul is the son of a banker and one of six children. He grew up in a small ranching town in Western South Dakota near Badlands National Park. He graduated with honors from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, before marrying his wife, Carreen Armerding and earning an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA,
For the first ten years of his ministry, Dr. Smith served as Assistant Pastor and then Senior Pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McKeesport, PA.
He completed his Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School shortly after arriving in Seattle. And in the years since, he’s written four books: Jesus, Meet him again for the First Time; Close Encounters: Knowing the Savior; Enjoying God Forever; God’s Plan for our Good. He has also traveled extensively throughout Israel and Jordan and has co-led a half-dozen tours, in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece.
Paul and his wife, Carreen are the parents of four children: Lucian, Taleigh, Lindsay, and Miriam, and grandparents of seven.
Following retirement, and a long-awaited trip to Africa, the Smiths will return to Seattle, where Paul plans to continue his writing and looks forward to spending more time with his family and grandchildren.
A retirement celebration for Dr. Paul Smith will be held:
June 12, Open House 1:00-4:00
(Special program begins at 2:00)
West Side Presbyterian Church
3601 California Avenue SW
The public is welcome.
More information about the celebration is on the WSPC website.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
So far this election year, you probably haven’t heard much about anything beyond the top of the ticket – where our country will be electing a new president.
But many other key, if not necessarily glamorous, offices will be on the ticket too, and that’s what dominated last night’s endorsement meeting for our area’s largest political group, the 34th District Democrats.
Some of the candidates were there to make their pitches, starting with Lieutenant Governor:
That’s State Sen. Cyrus Habib, who won the 34th Dems’ endorsement on a second ballot, after getting 57 percent on the first ballot, with the rest split between Sen. Karen Fraser and Rep. Jim Moeller. The group’s rules require 60 percent for an endorsement. Sen. Fraser spoke first, describing herself as a “loyal trouper Democrat.” Sen. Habib then spoke, saying he thinks the Lieutenant Governor should be “more than fair and responsible … should be a force for progressive change.” He also said he hopes to be the first Middle Eastern-American anywhere in the country elected to state office. He received 62 percent on the second ballot. Rep. Moeller was not present.
STATE AUDITOR: This race also went to a second ballot.
For the second consecutive evening, a lighting ceremony in The Junction. Tonight, it was in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, as Rabbi Zari Weiss and members from West Seattle synagogue Kol HaNeshamah sang songs and blessings and lit the menorah’s first candle.
Passers-by were invited to join the festivities, with song sheets handed out:
Hanukkah traditions were on display too – the spinning tops called dreidels, and gelt, gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins:
Kol HaNeshamah has even-bigger Hanukkah celebrations coming up at their place of worship, which is co-housed with Alki UCC at 6115 SW Hinds – candlelighting on Tuesday and a party on Saturday (more info on the KHN website), followed by an event you might already have seen in our West Seattle Holiday Guide – a “FRED Talk” at 8 pm with storyteller Merna Hecht.
After the early rush of about 300 people, turkeys and bags of groceries are still available, with no line, outside Eastridge Church as its pre-Thanksgiving giveaway continues at 39th SW & SW Oregon. This year, warm clothing is being offered too:
The church does this every year at both of its campuses (the other one is in Issaquah), 13th year in all. We also found Girl Scout Troop 42553 volunteering:
No proof of need is required at the Eastridge event, which is happening this morning only, while supplies last.
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
Every year, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Admiral invites pets and their people to an open, public “Blessing of the Animals” event, a tradition for many churches in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and today was the day. St. John’s new priest-in-charge Rev. Michael Carroccino and Brother Paul Dahlke from the Order of Saint Francis were in the neighboring West Seattle High School parking lot for all who showed up.
Most of the pets brought for blessings were dogs … but we also spotted Olive the cat:
As explained on the event flyer, “Today we thank God for the gifts of companionship and beauty which animals and pets bring to our lives and homes, and ask God’s blessing on them.”
Blessings are usually offered this time each fall as it coincides with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals:
At least two other West Seattle congregations offered Blessing of the Animals events today; another is still ahead, next Sunday (October 11th) at 10:30 am at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Gatewood (thanks to Sue for the tip).
The first Sunday of October usually brings “Blessing of the Animals” events in honor of St. Francis of Assisi‘s feast day. We’ve received word of two:
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Local Franciscans are usually part of this one:
The church shares the photo and reminder (if you haven’t already seen it in our calendar):
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All are invited to bring your pet or pets for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church’s annual community-wide St. Francis’ Day Blessing of the Animals, this Sunday, October 4, at 1:00 p.m. on the West Seattle High School parking lot.
That’s at 3000 California SW (just north of the church).
PROVIDENCE MOUNT ST. VINCENT: At the same time – 1 pm Sunday – The Mount and its Spiritual Care Department is sponsoring a blessing in honor of St. Francis, at Pigott Chapel, on the building’s third floor. “All pets are welcome. People may bring photos of their pets, too.” The Mount is at 4831 35th SW.
Another West Seattle church has just announced new leadership. Here’s the announcement from Fauntleroy Church:
A quorum of members voted unanimously Sept. 20 to select Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski as senior minister of Fauntleroy Church UCC. The 335-member congregation has been engaged in a nationwide search for new pastoral leadership since Rev. Dr. David Kratz retired in January 2013.
“Rev. Bilinski comes to us with a wealth of experience in preaching, youth programs, service and outreach, pastoral care, and administration,” said Sarah Finney, moderator of the congregation. “We know Leah will be a wonderful addition to our church and to the wider community.”
When asked why she had applied, Rev. Bilinski said she has longed to serve what she found at Fauntleroy Church – “a well-engaged, thoughtful, and very aware congregation.”
An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Bilinski received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology alongside an elementary teaching certificate from Grinnell College in 1999, then a masters of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in 2007. Her experience includes six years as copastor at St. Peter’s UCC in Washington, MO, and four months as acting pastor of Ebenezer “Stone Church” UCC in Gerald, MO. She has also had leadership and administrative roles in UCC youth programs and chaplaincy experience in hospital and elder settings.
She currently lives with her husband and two-year-old daughter in Washington, MO, southwest of St. Louis, and will move to West Seattle to start her new pastorate on Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent.
SIDE NOTE: One of the church’s most popular community events, the twice-yearly Recycle Roundup, is coming up this Sunday (September 27th), 9 am-3 pm, in the lot outside the church at 9140 California SW; our recent preview includes information on what can and can’t be dropped off for recycling, for free.