West Seattle, Washington
The photo is from the Rev. Sarah Casey, pastor at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor), who wants you to know that despite a move in the parent denomination to discriminate against LGBTQIA people, the West Seattle church is and will remain “a place where ALL people have the opportunity to grow spiritually in Christian community.” Here’s the email she sent to the congregation earlier this week:
It is with deep sadness that I share with you that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church has voted to adopt the Traditional Plan. This means that there is no way forward for the UMC that affirms the call to discipleship and sacred worth of LGBTQ+ persons.
I struggle to find the words to express the outrage, disappointment, and grief I am feeling. I know I am not alone in this.
I do not know what will happen in the months ahead. I do not know how our denomination will move forward, if there will be a schism, or how this tragedy will continue to unfold.
This is what I do know: I know that for 110 years Tibbetts UMC has baptized babies that have bloomed into straight and LGBTQ+ disciples. I know that there is no legislation or ruling that can override or take away our baptismal covenant: that we are loved by God. I know that we have and will continue to encourage and celebrate our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ. Their stories are part and parcel to the identity of our faith community. Without them, there is no us.
The mission of Tibbetts is “To seek to be an all-inclusive congregation that provides dynamic ministries for all ages. We are committed to discipleship through outreach, community service, and spiritual growth.”
Our mission has not changed.
The church is not God. The Book of Discipline is not Jesus. Our love for one another is bigger than the Traditional Plan, bigger than the institutional church, bigger than hate.
I hope you will make it a point to be present in worship on Sunday as we weep and mourn what has happened, and as we celebrate and affirm that God is still God, we are still Tibbetts, and we will continue to proclaim the inclusive Gospel of Christ that loves and accepts ALL people.
We will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, and there will be a seat for each and every one of us at God’s table.
The pastor tells WSB, “Our Tibbetts leadership team met Thursday evening and we are in full agreement that our congregation will continue to be open and affirming of LGBTQ+ persons as we believe it is a faithful reflection of the Gospel.” She adds, “Our Bishop in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, Elaine Stanovsky, is committed to full inclusion. What that looks like in the coming months and years is yet to be seen. Our Bishop has indicated that we are not going anywhere, implying progressive/affirming churches are not going to exit the denomination.” But what would happen if the denomination leadership decided to enforce the new policy “remains unclear.” She added in our followup exchange:
My personal hope is that progressive Methodists will see this as an opportunity for rebirth, to create a new expression of Methodism that is inclusive and affirming of all people, while remaining grounded in Wesleyan theology and practice. The two are not mutually exclusive, and the reality is that our Wesleyan (Methodist) tradition actually does lend itself to full inclusion! Our practices are rooted in the baptismal covenant, that each and every person is loved and valued by God. How can we claim all people are made in the image of God and then tell people they cannot be who God created them to be? We do not get to decide how divine presence manifests itself in our world!
She is not alone in her sentiment, according to reports like this one from the New York Times.
A local family exiting homelessness into permanent housing is doing it with help from Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor). This afternoon, church volunteers moved a house full of donated furnishings to that family’s new home.
The program is a partnership with Mary’s Place, which helps homeless families. Tibbetts has helped homeless people in other ways over the years, and this is the first time they’ve collected donations to furnish a family’s new home.
When the call went out for donations, in fact, so many came in that after today, they expected to have a start on furnishings for the next family they’ll help.
When we stopped by, the volunteers were awaiting a rental truck they planned to load up with the furnishings for a special delivery to the family’s new home in Burien. One extra-special donation … a handmade sign reading WELCOME HOME:
Another West Seattle church has new leadership. This announcement is from West Side Presbyterian Church:
West Side Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce the arrival of their new Senior Pastor, Laurie Brenner, MDiv, Ph.D.
Rev. Dr. Brenner will begin her pastoral leadership with an installation service Monday, January 7 at 7 pm. The public is welcome.
West Side Presbyterian, an intergenerational congregation where families grow together in faith, has been active in the community of West Seattle and passionate about spreading the love of Jesus Christ for more than 100 years. West Side is proud to serve their growing community in many ways throughout the year. Regular outreach programs include: Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), free community lunches and West Side Wednesdays (an after-school program for elementary students).
Laurie Brenner will make a welcome addition to the staff as she leads us in a new era of ministry. She is a gifted leader and teacher who has a deep love of Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit has been evident in her life over her twenty years of ministry. Prior to joining West Side, Laurie was an Associate Pastor at the American Church in Paris and University Presbyterian Church, Seattle. For the last several years, she has also been an adjunct Professor at Seattle Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary.
Laurie was born in Woodinville but served overseas in ministry for eight years, splitting her time between Scotland and France. Five years ago, she married her husband, David, and became a stepmom to two grown children. Her formal education includes University of Washington (BA), Durham University, Durham England (PhD) and Fuller University (MDiv).
When asked why she feels called to West Side Presbyterian, she says that “in addition to the match up of gifts and mutual dedication to mission… I’m curious what can happen when the good news of Jesus is both announced and embodied through a family of believers who are embedded in the community. By God’s grace, I expect that curiosity to turn to wonder…”
There will be an installation service for Rev. Dr. Brenner at West Side Presbyterian Church (3601 California Ave SW) on Monday, January 7 at 7 pm. The public is welcome to attend. For more information: www.wspc.org or contact the church office, 206-935-4477.
WSPC’s previous senior pastor, Dr. Paul R. Smith, retired in 2016 after leading the church for 35 years.
One day after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, West Seattle synagogue Kol HaNeshamah plans a vigil tonight, and welcomes everyone who wants to be there. Rabbi Zari Weiss announced it in a message to her congregation:
… At times like these, we need one another – among other things, for solace and comfort. Tomorrow (Sunday, October 28th) evening at 6:00 p.m. at Kol HaNeshamah, we will come together as a community for a prayer vigil. We will pray for the healing of those who have been wounded, as well as those who have lost loved ones, and we will recite the Mourner’s Kaddish for those who have been killed.
Everyone is welcome, Kol HaNeshamah tells us, regardless of your faith status. KHN is co-housed with Alki UCC at 6115 SW Hinds.
Blessing events for pets and their people are traditional this time of year, around the feast day for St. Francis of Assisi, and we have received announcements for two in West Seattle in the days ahead:
THURSDAY: This one is new – Resting Waters (9205 35th SW) invites you to a “blessing of the pets” event tomorrow night, 6:30 pm, including in memory of those you’ve lost. Calendar listing with details is here.
SUNDAY: The traditional “blessing of the animals” presented by St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, in the parking lot next door at West Seattle High School (3000 California SW), 1 pm. Calendar listing with details is here.
A procession from the original site of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle around the corner to its current site, with bagpiper Tyrone Heade, preceded this morning’s service marking the church’s 100th anniversary.
The church moved to its current building, around the corner from its original 1918 site, in 1950. A display inside honors its history, including its past leaders, starting with founding pastor Rev. Erick Slettedahl:
The celebration continued tonight with a special dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor).
Speakers for the dinner include Seattle Times Now and The columnist, historian Paul Dorpat, below center with (left) local journalist/historian Clay Eals – who edited Dorpat’s forthcoming book “Seattle Now and Then: The Historic Hundred” – and Then and Now collaborator, photographer Jean Sherrard:
Also speaking, Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller, below with FLCWS pastor Rev. Ron Marshall:
You can read about the church’s history here, including the note that its current building was designed by Rolland Denny Lamping, a great-grandchild of Arthur A. Denny.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Friday and Saturday, Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) hosts a regional event that’s billed as a “revival.”
Not the old-school fire-and-brimstone preaching-style revival.
The “ordinary revival” Love Thy Neighbor is more about reinvention – and it’s right in line with what Tibbetts’s new pastor, Rev. Sarah Casey, believes.
Rev. Casey is certainly one of West Seattle’s youngest pastors, at 30. But this isn’t necessarily a generational thing. As the daughter of a pastor, she grew up steeped in tradition.
Oh, before we get too far down the road – we should mention she skates with Rat City Roller Derby.
That group-photo gathering followed this morning’s service commemorating the 100th anniversary of Hope Lutheran Church in The Junction. From the bulletin for the “festival service”:
In the beginning … A small group of West Seattle residents who worshipped across the water at Trinity Lutheran Church decided to build their own house of worship. A charter group of nine men and four women organized Hope Lutheran Church in 1918. A new church was dedicated to the glory of God in 1919 at the present site of Southwest Oregon and 42nd Avenue Southwest.
You can read more about Hope’s history here. Below, five spiritual leaders who participated in today’s service:
They are guest preacher Rev. Dr. Dean Nadasdy, former Hope pastors Rev. Keith Eilers (pastor 2001-2011) and Rev. Clemens Pera (pastor 1963-1996), current Hope Pastor Peter Mueller (since 2011) and Deacon Daniel Jackson. After today’s service (and photos!), the celebration moved to nearby Seattle Lutheran High School for a festive lunch.
A partnership between a West Seattle synagogue and church will continue. Kol HaNeshamah has signed a new lease to continue being co-housed with Alki UCC at 6115 SW Hinds. In our photo above, from left, are Alki UCC board chair Rod Peeler, KHN’s president Jake Fawcett and executive director Sheila Abrahams, and Alki UCC business manager Kristin Michael. Their announcement:
Principals of Kol HaNeshamah and Alki UCC signed another lease agreement on August 29, 2018 for Kol HaNeshamah to rent space in the Alki UCC premises at 6115 SW Hinds St. These two organizations, a Congregational United Church of Christ and a Reform Synagogue Community, have been happily co-existing for 15 years. The core beliefs of these organizations are comparable while their missions and religious identities are different. This friendship and co-habitation have resulted in many joint events such as barbecues, luncheons, education, life-cycle celebrations, and meetings.
Said Rod Peeler, Chair of the Alki Board of Directors, after the lease signing: “We are proud of our 15-year relationship with Kol HaNeshamah synagogue. As we are in a transitional phase with our pastor’s retirement, this is a time for discernment of our place and purpose in the Alki community. We believe that providing a house of worship for both our Christian and Jewish communities supports our service to God’s will and we are grateful for our shared relationship and common bond.”
And Jake Fawcett, President of Kol HaNeshamah, commented: “Our relationship with Alki UCC goes far beyond sharing building space. Our shared values brought us together from the very beginning, when Kol HaNeshamah was founded in 2003. Both our congregations care deeply about standing up for justice and serving people in our communities who are most vulnerable. Alki UCC walks that talk. We’re looking back now at 15 years of friendship, and still going strong.”
Kol HaNeshamah holds Shabbat services twice a month and celebrates the Jewish holidays throughout the year. Education classes for students (Hebrew and Religious education) are held regularly September through June; and Adult education is offered throughout the year. KHN welcomes guests to its High Holy Services or at any other time.
Information about KHN can be found at www.khnseattle.org or by calling 206-935-1590. For information about Alki UCC, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-935-2661.
Thanks to Judy Pickens for sending the photos and sharing the report:
Today the second annual Worship Without Walls at Fauntleroy Church drew 120 adults and children to a morning of service, volunteering an estimated 200 hours to Food Lifeline, Friends of Lincoln Park, West Seattle Elementary, Project Linus, and refugee support through the International Rescue Committee.
The first-ever WWW last year saw volunteers involved with four projects that day.
(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 email@example.com – 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org – 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.