Northwest Passage March 2017

Northwest Passage


Sandy Messick, Regional Minister

We said it like a litany: “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope….” And then a pause, and then in unison with joy, “And hope does not disappoint us.” (From Romans 5:4-5) This happened a couple of weeks ago as I gathered with my Regional Minister colleagues in Indianapolis. We spent three days together thinking and praying and talking about the problems in our world, and in our regions, and in our congregations, and again and again we returned to the hope that does not disappoint.

This will be my last newsletter article for a couple of months. (Spiritsightings will also be on hiatus) As we’ve mentioned before, I will be having surgery on March 15th and be out recovering for approximately 8 weeks. Rev. Kara Markell, pastor of Lake Washington CC and one of the Acting Regional Ministers, will be providing words to ponder in this space over the next couple of months.

By the time I return, we will have moved through Lent and that time of reflection and repentance. We will have passed by Holy Week with its betrayal and loss. We will have celebrated Easter with the promise of new life and hope that does not disappoint. And, as I look out at my front yard in Spokane here in mid-March at the snow that still is piled up in places, I trust that by the time I return, spring will have sprung, winter will be over, and new life will have burst forth from the ground. That’s hope.

May God’s hope that is grounded in God’s vision of peace, love and justice for the world, sustain you through the present season and into the next.

Grateful to be on this journey with you,


Regional Minister, Sandy Messick, will be having surgery on March 15 and expects to be out for 8-10 weeks in recovery. She will be having reconstructive surgery to complete the healing from her breast cancer and treatment back in 2012. A team of acting Regional Ministers along with volunteer retired pastors will cover her responsibilities.

Kara Markell, (Lake Washington Christian Church), Nancy Gowler (FCC, Puyallup) and Adam Harmon (University Christian, Seattle) will act as a team to cover the major responsibilities of Regional Ministry.

Retired ministers in each area will be on call for pastoral care:

Joan Dennehy: NW Area
Marvin Eckfeldt: SW Area
David Helseth: Central Area
Jim Burford: East Area.

If you have regional minister needs during Sandy’s medical leave, please contact Amber Saladino, Office Manager, and she will direct you to the person who can best assist you.  (


It’s never too soon to mark your calendars for the 2017 youth Summer Camp dates!  Look for registration forms and advertising to begin soon.  PLEASE NOTE - Koinonia Junior Camp dates are REVISED from what was previously shared in February.

Camp Koinonia, Cle Elum, WA

    Junior Camp, June 26- July 1 (4th– 6th Grade)
    Chi Rho and CYF Camp, August 6-12
                                                (7-9th, 10th– Grads)

Camp Gwinwood, Lacey, WA
   Kids Camp, July 23-27 (2nd and 3rd Grade)
   Junior Camp, July 23-29 (4th– 6th Grade)


Queen Anne Christian in Seattle is using the season of Lent to explore the Japanese-American experience during World War II. The questions they will ponder include, “What causes us to label fellow human beings as “other?” and “What national conditions facilitate our fear of “others?” To explore these questions they will be reading the book, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” by Jamie Ford and having conversations. This is a story set in Seattle during the Japanese-Internment time of World War II. They will also visit the Panama Hotel (the setting for the book) for a tour and tea the Bainbridge Island Japanese Memorial and Historical Museum.

If your congregation is exploring themes around  our Regional Focus: Embracing Diversity, please drop us a line to let us know. (


General Minister and President Candidate is selected by the General Board.

Rev. Terri Hord Owens, pastor of First Christian Church in Downers Grove, IL and Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School, has been named as nominee for General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) Her nomination will be voted on at the upcoming General Assembly in Indianapolis in July. To read more information about her and the process for her selection, click here:

General Assembly Early Registration Discount Deadline Nears!

The deadline for early registration is April 1 for July’s General Assembly. Click here for more information:

Mission First Priority Announced:

After many regional and local Mission Gatherings to name the priorities of our common life as the Christian Church (including one held in the Northwest Region just prior to our 2016 Regional Assembly), the Mission Council of the General Church has announced the Mission First priority. God calls us to work with and for children, youth and young adults so together we may share and receive the good news of Jesus Christ by creating communities of healing, learning, and transformation.” To read more:  How might we live out this priority in our region and congregations?


Care, Inclusion, and Justice for All

The 2017 Easter Special Offering will be taken in most congregations on April 9 and 16.  As you  walk through the Lenten season and prepare for celebration of resurrection, take a little time to consider and share the many ways the many ways your gift to the Easter Special Offering will be utilized far and wide in support of the General Ministries of the church. General Ministries serve across the U.S. and Canada and around the world. General Ministries are partners in ministry serving through far-reaching and unique organizations.

The website of Disciples Mission Fund has prepared a great variety of material designed for individuals and congregations to learn with and use in church and in the community about how their Easter gifts are used: There you will find stories and resources that offering to the Disciples Mission Fund have made possible– a reflection from a student at Texas Theological University; Disciples Volunteering connecting ministry partnerships for disaster recovery; stories and minutes for mission from Global Ministries;  the National Benevolent Association’s Mental Health Affinity Group  stories; and much more.

As was stated in the Disciples News on March 8, “A gift to the Easter Offering goes a long way to bring wholeness in the world. From children in Lesotho to people dealing with mental health issues in the U.S. and Canada;  preserving history to communicating about the Church today, the Easter Offering supports most of the general ministries of the Church. “

Thank you for planning to review and use these important stories and messages as you prepare for Easter this year.


Queen Anne CC, Seattle - Celebrated the retirement of their minister, Laurie Rudel, on Sunday, Feb. 26. Pastor Laurie and wife, Barb, are off to Hawaii for some time of relaxation as they begin this new season. The congregational search committee continues its work to secure an interim pastor.

United Christian, Renton - Celebrated the closing of ministry of Pastor Ken Colman on Sunday, Feb. 19. They also are in the process of seeking interim candidates.

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!

WEBINAR OPPORTUNITIES - March 18 and April 18

The Regional Office shared with the church offices last week about these upcoming opportunities for additional education, open to all.  Consider your call within your congregation and community and see if either topic will fit your mission!

FREE WEBINAR- Your Sanctuary Church, the Legal Implications

The Insurance Board asks:

Do you know the legal implications if your church wants to be a sanctuary church for at-risk immigrants?

Heather Kimmel, General Counsel for the United Church of Christ, addresses the current interest of faith communities in operating as sanctuary churches, the legal risks, and ways churches can minister to undocumented persons.

This information is relevant and timely for all UCC, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), Presbyterian Church(USA) and Alliance of Baptist churches.

Everyone is invited to attend:  Tues. April 18th at 2pm EST.

Start your registration at


Lexington Theological Seminary, Creating Vital Congregations:  ORGANIZING FOR SOCIAL IMPACT WEBINAR

Saturday, March 18: Organizing for Social Impact- Explore some of the historical and modern-day models for building transformative moral movements and how we might re-engage and re-shape them in order to support freedom movements today. In this webinar, Dr. Barber will advocate for the reclamation of deeply-held ethical values and will offer suggestions about reaching a critical mass of people in order to build an effective social movement. Individuals and congregations alike will benefit from the insights shared here.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Fusion movement that gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. Rev. Barber is a highly sought after speaker who has spoken at hundreds of national and state conferences since being elected President of the N.C. Conference of NAACP Branches in 2005. His latest book is The Third Reconstruction (Beacon Press, 2016).

The webinars are offered on-site at the campus (230 Lexington Green Circle, Suite 300) or online, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Eastern time. The cost to register is $10 per log-in, with an unlimited number of participants for those who join online. Register at (scroll down to the date of the webinar you wish to attend) or contact Deena Ainslie at (859) 280-1212 or for more information.  NOTE: Webinar URL will be emailed out the day before the webinar.