REFLECTIONS ON THE JOURNEY...
Sandy Messick, Regional Minister
Last Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, was Peace Sunday. It is the Sunday when many of our churches light the Candle of Peace in their Advent wreath. If you follow the lectionary, as many of our preachers do, the gospel reading for the second Sunday is always about John the Baptist out in the wilderness. It often seems jarring to see him there in our beautiful churches hung with the greens, as we are lighting candles, and singing Advent or Christmas carols, and putting out the nativity scene. John the Baptist according to scripture, was a bit of a wild man, clothed in camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey. Even more, he comes not with a “Fear not” as the angels did, or a “Peace be with you,” as Jesus did, but with a call for repentance and a challenge to the powers that be. He doesn’t seem to belong in our reverent churches on the Sunday we celebrate peace. And yet, every year, he shows up, without fail.
Truth is, we need John the Baptist to be with us on our Peace Sundays. We need the reminder that repentance goes along with peace. Often we think of peace as the absence of conflict, a crystal smooth lake, or the Mary and Child on our Christmas Card. In scripture though, peace is more. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom which we often translate wholeness, completeness, or reconciliation. The Arabic word, saleem, carries the same meaning. Both call us to a fuller understanding of what it takes to make peace. It’s not just smoothing the water, but owning the ways that we have contributed to the conflict. It’s acknowledging, and yes, repenting, of the ways we have stood in the way of peace. This includes our individual actions against our neighbor, as well as our corporate actions as a church, society, nation, or world community. John the Baptist reminds us that if we truly seek the peace Christ offers, we must acknowledge how we have hindered peace, seek forgiveness, and work for reconciliation and wholeness.
As we move towards Christmas and a manger in Bethlehem where the Prince of Peace awaits, we cannot ignore the many ways our lives and world are in need of peace. May God’s spirit of Shalom enfold us, encourage us, challenge us, and lead us through the wilderness of John the Baptist’s repentance to the wholeness of God’s Love.
May God’s Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy encircle you and inspire you, those you love, and all whom God loves this Season and into the New Year.
YOLANDA ROSEBY - COORDINATOR OF NEW CHURCH STARTS
The Rev. Yolanda Roseby began her service as the next Coordinator of New Church Starts for the NWRCC on December 1. She brings a wealth of experience both as a new church planter and serving on regional staff. She was the lead pastor and church planter for Power Shift Worship Center Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Raytown, MO from 2011-2017. She also served with the Greater Kansas City Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as Regional Minister of Congregations in Transition in 2016-17. In that role she worked with congregations seeking pastors and in transformation. Her gifts and skills include digital communication, congregational assessment, project management and she is a certified life coach. She came with excellent references including her former regional minister.
Rev. Roseby lives in Portland, OR, close to family, and will be serving our region from there traveling around the region as needed. In Portland she is just across the river from us, within driving distance of our new congregations and has easy access to direct flights to many parts of the region.
Yolanda will be taking the next month to meet our new church pastors and new church team. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please offer your prayers and congratulations to Rev. Roseby as she begins her ministry with us.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM YOUR REGIONAL STAFF
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! What a blessing it is to serve on your behalf and alongside as we offer ministry around the Northwest Region and to our congregations. We are grateful to be in ministry with you.
Sandy Messick, Amber Saladino, Chris Walters, and Yolanda Roseby
STAFF VACATIONS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Please be aware that Sandy and Amber are taking vacation time during the Christmas Season.
- · Sandy will be out of the office Dec. 22-Jan 1 and will not be checking email. If you have an immediate need, please text or call her: 206-817-7163.
- · Amber will be out of the office Dec. 25-28 and Jan. 1.
CHRISTMAS OFFERING BENEFITING THE NORTHWEST REGIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Miracles happen in regional ministry! Regional Ministry knits the church together by equipping leaders, encouraging congregations, and building relationships.
Miracles happen every day in all our regions as we:
- · Assist congregations and leaders in claiming their unique mission and ministry, and provide resources and support.
- · Call, commission and ordain new pastors, and support and equip all pastors for their ministries.
- · Revitalize existing congregations and plan for new congregations.
- · Connect Regional Disciples to give witness to ministries of justice, hope, and compassion.
- · Provide camps, conferences, and retreats where children and youth find hope and Christ’s love and a community of faith that embraces “everyone.”
- · Make visible the care for all of God’s family through ministries of reconciliation and anti-racism.
- · Call and equip passionate leaders for today’s church.
- · Provide pastoral care for clergy and congregations.
Received in most congregations on December 10 and 17, 100% of the Christmas offering given by Northwest congregations in December returns to support the ministries of the Northwest Regional Christian Church. Thank you for your generous gifts.
Find bulletin inserts and other resource links at https://www.disciplesnw.org/article/special-offering-information
SAVE THE DATE! Regional Assembly is Coming May 18-20, 2018
Join us at First Christian Church, Sumner, WA next May for our bi-annual Regional Assembly. “Courageous Engagement: Hearing Each Other’s Stories” will be our theme. Come for a time of listening, sharing, and learning. Our keynote speaker will be Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Plans for interactive workshops and opportunities to tell our stories are being developed. The team is deep into lodging option arrangements and logistics as well. Keep watching for details to be settled and shared in the weeks ahead!
MONTANA CONVERSATIONS MONTHLY UPDATE
As we began reporting in September, conversations have begun with the Montana Region about a possible merging of our ministries. This proposal comes with a lot of questions around practical considerations like logistics, staffing, finances and timing, and theological questions, “Where might God be calling us in this conversation? How can we do together what we cannot do apart?” – The questions themselves raise new questions to ponder and explore together. Join with your wider Regional Family at an Area Gathering to gather information, hear the details, and listen to one another in this next step in the conversation.
- Saturday, January 20, 11-1:30 – First Christian Church, Kent. Lunch provided
- Saturday, February 10, 11-1:30 – Englewood Christian, Yakima. Lunch provided.
Visit https://www.disciplesnw.org/2018areagatherings to RSVP online or to download a flyer.
The Proposal for Consideration and Frequently Asked Questions will be made available right after the New Year for your information and consideration ahead of these gatherings.
2018 YOUTH MISSION TRIP
Hey, NWRCC we are going to Alaska!
The Northwest Regional Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) invites youth and their sponsors to participate in a mission trip to Anchorage, AK from Saturday, June 23, 2018-Saturday, June 30 , 2018. Work days will be Monday-Thursday and Friday will be a day of play.
First Christian Church, Anchorage, will be hosting our group and coordinating work with Alaska Child and Family.
AK Child & Family brings hope to troubled young lives through a broad range of mental health services. Their residential psychiatric treatment, community based programs and treatment foster homes offer the structure, care and expertise to help young people facing significant challenges build strong, positive, healthy lives and the organization is a historic mission partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
This adventure will be a meaningful work trip during which, our prayer is, a closer bond is formed between the participants and with God.
This trip is a major undertaking of time and financial resources for all those planning to attend so we ask that all participants review the financial commitment/timeline, and then complete, sign and return the contract and permission forms that can be downloaded at https://www.disciplesnw.org/event/2018-youth-mission-trip.
Please don’t delay reviewing this information, the first deadline is January 1, 2018!
2018 YOUTH WINTER RETREAT - “GOD HELP ME!”
Please mark your calendars and share with the youth in your life that the next annual Youth Winter Retreat is set for February 23-25 at Camp Koinonia inn Cle Elum! Through the theme “God Help Me,” participants will be exploring and allowing God to help us see, move, go or stay, and help to do whatever God asks of us. Through this, we will learn and grow into better versions of ourselves among and alongside our family and friends.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” , Psalm 46:1
The Regional Youth Commission is hard at work developing this weekend of community and reflection. Plan now to join them. Registration forms have been mailed out to recent campers and the church offices. You may also find downloadable forms at https://www.disciplesnw.org/event/2018-youth-winter-retreat
With great generosity the Zephyr Heritage Fund Board shares they have again committed the Heritage Fund to provide 1/2 scholarships for ALL youth attending the 2018 Youth Winter Retreat and all Adult Sponsors who attend will receive a 100% scholarship. You read that right! Fees for youth to attend the weekend event will be $55 with the scholarship, and adult sponsors will not need to make any payment toward attending.
We hope the dramatically reduced cost to attend will encourage even more youth (6th-12th grades) to attend!
First Christian Church, Bremerton – will host the Kitsap Interfaith Network’s Longest Night Vigil for the Homeless on December 21st, 5:30 pm. “During this busy winter holiday season, we take a few minutes to remember our homeless community members; we will remember the ones who have died this past year with our presence, and remember those still struggling with our gifts.” Call 360-373-2444 for more times and if you’d like to participate!
Do you have some congregational news you’d like to see shared in the Northwest Passage? Don’t hesitate to send us the details so we can highlight it in Community Connections!
NEWS FROM THE WIDER CHURCH
SEARCH FOR MEANING 2018
Save the date! Seattle University’s annual community festival dedicated to topics surrounding the human quest for meaning and the characteristics of an ethical and well-lived life returns Saturday, February 24, 2018.
“Search for Meaning draws more than 50 nationally and internationally acclaimed authors and artists for an interactive, introspective experience. Authors include 22 award winners and two Pulitzer Prize winners. “
For a lineup of authors, festival features, and ticketing information, visit https://www.seattleu.edu/searchformeaning/
REVIVE CONFERENCE, SAN DIEGO
The Revive Conference is a progressive, inclusive, missional church conference dedicated to equipping and empowering pastors, church planters, and lay people alike to join with the Spirit in the renewal of the church. Join our own Missiongathering congregations and leaders as they host this event in San Diego, CA from February 22nd-25th.
“We believe that the local church is called to be a hub of justice, social transformation, and spiritual nourishment, drawing people from diverse sexualities, gender identities, and ethnicities together to follow in the way of Jesus. The Revive Conference brings together leading pastors, activists, and theologians to offer practical direction and encouragement to individuals and communities seeking to lean in to the new thing God is doing both in and through the church.”
Disciples Seminary Foundation is offering Continuing Education Credits for those interested in attending and who could benefit from the offer. NWRCC Clergy are also invited to request Lane-Salmon Fund grants (email@example.com) to help them attend.
Registration can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/revive-conference-2018-tickets-33736413521
WILD WOMEN OF THE WEST– WWOW EVENT
Join your sisters from Arizona, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming and Utah for an historical Inter Regional Gathering of Women -- we are the Wild Women of the West! Two hundred or more are expected to attend this event in at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 6-8, 2018.
A powerful panel of Keynote speakers is lined up: Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson, Daphne Gascot Arias, and Cathy Nicols. Plus a sermon by Rev. Teresa Hord Owens. Additional opportunities include a book discussion with Disciples minister and author Sandhya R. Jha plus Regional Minister Cathy Myers Wirt to discuss Sandhya's new book Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhoods. A mission project providing services to FOUNTAIN OF HOPE, a Christian ministry targeting the zip codes at the center of sex trafficking for Arizona is also set.
Calling all Knitters and Fiber Arts Women!
We are making 2”x3” prayer squares for our WWOW event! (Hint – you can make them even if you can’t attend the event). These squares can be whipped up in less than an hour, and they are a perfect way for knitters and crocheters to finish a skein of yarn. Your craft work IS a prayer. You can read more about the prayer square ministry here in California at http://alamedafirstchristian.org/prayersquares/ Rev. Gwynn Fuqua is heading up this ministry, and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for patterns, details and a mailing address. We are aiming to get a LOT of prayer squares, so break out your needles and hooks!
Registration and travel details can be found at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=jpcf8qcab&oeidk=a07eeeevpoa2f9cc9e8
NATIONAL BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION FUNDS 21 GRANTS TO SUPPORT OLDER ADULTS AND AT-RISK CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN 2018
Through its Mission and Ministry Grants Program, the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is granting a total of $150,250 to 21 Disciples projects and ministries working with older adults and at-risk children and youth. This year’s grantees are located across 12 Disciples regions and 4 areas. Of the 21 selected projects, 14 are focused on at-risk children and youth; 5 are focused on older adults; and 2 are intergenerational, serving both communities. Congratulations to this year's recipients!
To read about the full list of grantees, visit the NBA website: https://www.nbacares.org/stories-and-news/2018-grantees-announced