July 2016

Northwest Passage


Sandy Messick, Regional Minister

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)

The headline in USA Today read: “Pokemon Go is exactly the distraction America needs right now.” If you don’t know what Pokemon Go is, then you should Google it. Chances are you have seen someone wandering around with their phone held out in front, stopping at random moments. It’s a thing.

The article pointed to how this game is bringing America together at a time when we are overwhelmed by the bad stuff happening all around. I am hesitant to name the violence that has happened in recent days if for no other reason than by the time this edition of the Northwest Passage is shared with you, there would likely be other tragedies to report. Every morning for what seems like forever I have awoken to news notifications on my phone and they are almost always news of my global brothers and sisters dying somewhere in the world, most often at the hands of another brother or sister. I heard that President Obama has once again ordered our nation’s flags to be lowered to half-staff, for the 67th time during his presidency, more than any other president. He must be very tired of that. I’m very tired of it, and I suspect you are too. I’ve heard it called “compassion fatigue.” We are overwhelmed with the bad news. We are overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy to combat the root causes of the bad news. We are overwhelmed with the arguing and debating and lack of progress in making things better. It would be easier to just go catch Pokemon. (My husband once said that he can tell when I’m overstressed because I start spending more time playing mindless games on my iPad. Hmmm.) Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not against catching a Pokemon or two here or there, though I’ve not downloaded that particular app. But at the same time, we can’t give up on trying to make the bad stuff better. 

As the writer of Galatians wrote, “Let us not grow weary in doing what is right….whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all.” Or as another great theologian wrote, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” (Dr. Seuss)

So let us take a deep breath, and say a deep prayer, and continue asking the questions: “How can I be part of the solution?” “How can I help make a difference?” Maybe it’s listening to those who are most affected by the violence around us and learning from them. Maybe it’s standing alongside or stepping out ahead. Maybe it’s diving in deep to policies that need to be changed, or offering a cup of cold water to the stranger in need or being a witness for God’s love and grace. I don’t know what all the answers might be, or where your particular gifts are leading you, but I know that God is inviting (dare I say, demanding?) that we participate in the healing that needs to happen and the Good News that needs to be shared. We can’t give up. We just can’t, because God doesn’t, and Christ didn’t, and we are Christ’s Body in the world. May God grant us wisdom and courage for the living of these days.

Blessed to be sharing this journey with you,



The Northwest Region and Our Common Table are co-hosting a Slow Church workshop. As the world around us often seems bigger, faster, shinier and churches can feel hard pressed to follow suit, Slow Church offers the invitation to slow down, grow deep roots, and orient our churches toward living creatively and transformatively in our neighborhoods. Slow Church is a book - and a movement - to root ourselves "in the pace and place of our neighborhoods." And to "spur our imaginations with a rich vision of the holistic, interconnected, and abundant life together to which God has called us."

Author John Pattison and his wife Kate Stokes Pattison, who are living Slow Church with a small congregation in Silverton, OR, will join us to spark our imaginations on how our churches and our tradition can impact and be impacted by our neighborhoods. John will facilitate conversation around "Slow Church," and as we dream about what our specific congregations can do in our own contexts, Kate will equip us with a powerful tool: asset mapping.

As things slow down over the summer and we prepare for fall, this workshop can help us dream together about how our movement for wholeness in a fragmented world can take shape in each of our specific contexts and how we can support one another in that work.

August 6th 10am-4pm at First Presbyterian Church in Everett (2936 Rockefeller Ave, Everett, WA 98201) Lunch will be included. $10/person or $25/congregation sending three or more people as a group. Childcare available upon request.

For information, flyers and to start your online registration, visit www.disciplesnw.org/slowchurch



Engaging the Issues with Transforming Relationships

SAVE THE DATE- Three congregations, University Christian Church, Lake City Christian Church & All Pilgrims Christian Church, with significant help from the Northwest Regional Christian Church staff and a grant from the NWRCC, are sponsoring a workshop on “Mental Illness, Homelessness, and Suicide: Engaging the Issues with Transforming Relationships.”  The workshop, on September 10, will have two speakers who will address issues of mental illness and suicide, and how these health factors are key components of the homelessness crisis that is enveloping Seattle, and our whole country, more and more.  The objectives of the workshop are that attendees would be able to move from transactional exchange (such as a meal) to a relational engagement with houseless persons, and to act in the moment to intervene and provide assistance to persons contemplating suicide.

The single-day workshop, on Sept. 10 from 10 AM to 3 PM, will be at University Christian Church in Seattle.   The workshop will include a catered lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, and handouts for attendees.  Details on registration to be shared soon.



The Regional Youth Commission are still taking applications for our 2016-2017 season! The Regional Youth Commission (RYC) provides a wonderful opportunity for 10th-12th grade youth affiliated with Christian Churches in the Pacific Northwest Region like you to deepen their faith by serving in a variety of ministerial roles at regional youth and other denominational events.

If you are a youth going into 10th-12th grade, interested in the Regional Youth Commission, and have felt God's calling to minister to others, please submit an application. Applications are available on the regional website at: http://www.disciplesnw.org/ministry/regional-youth-commission.

The deadline to apply is August 15th, 2016. Promptness in submitting your application is very important. Late applications will not be accepted. It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that all parts of the application have been received by the Regional Office. We prayerfully look forward to you applying for this ministry.


“...that they may be ONE”

General Assembly promotional Sundays set for July 31 and Oct. 30, Jan. 29 and April 30

Find all you need to prepare for ONE, the 2017 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly, at http://ga.disciples.org/promotion/