Northwest Passage May 2017

Northwest Passage


Sandy Messick, Regional Minister

I’m back! After eight weeks recovery from surgery I am back at work with almost no limitations. I will be easing back into the travel schedule and am grateful for your prayers and your patience and the many who stepped in to offer support and care to pastors and congregations in my absence.

My medical leave partly coincided with the Lenten journey as we moved from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and on to our Easter Celebrations. My Lenten practice this year was to combine my daily devotional and prayer time with a daily practice of meditation upon a word of gratitude or intention and the art of Zentangle. I am grateful to retired pastor, Laurie Rudel, for teaching me about Zentangle and this meditative practice of focused doodling. (Learn more at

Each day, I read my daily devotional, in prayer asked God for a word for the day, and then on a blank calendar, wrote the word and surrounded it with the zentangles. Looking back, I am able to see God’s hand in each day, both the days that were hope-filled and the ones that were weary from pain or fatigue or recovery. The words ranged from “thanks” to “family” to “stronger” to “time” to “hope.” One day reads simply “rest” (3 days after surgery.) Another says “relief” and another “momentum” as the healing continued. One of the last ones, on Maundy Thursday, says “Remember.”

Though I’m not doing the doodling anymore as regularly, I’m still trying to incorporate a word or phrase for the day into my morning devotions with the hope it will carry me through the day and give me focus and grounding. This morning, the word that came is “grace.” May I recognize it. May I offer it to others.

Grateful to be (back) on this journey with you,


The Regional Board met Saturday, May 6 at Memorial Christian Church in Ephrata.  At the request of the Montana region, we approved beginning discussions with the Montana region about a possible partnership or merger. A small exploration team is being formed. We also found out that the National Benevolent Association did not choose Spokane for an XPLOR house for 2017-18.  (XPLOR houses are places where a small group of young people live in community and work for local social service agencies and local churches, while discerning God’s call for their lives.)  We’ve been asked to reapply for 2018-19.  We rejoiced with Bill (Search Committee) and Debbie (General Board delegate) on the naming of the nominee for our new General Minister and President, Terri Hord Owens.  Her nomination will be voted on at the General Assembly in Indianapolis in July, 2017. And we talked about the 2018 Regional Assembly, to be held at Kent First Christian Church, tentatively scheduled for May 18-20, 2018.  The complete proceedings of the board meeting can be found at


Please double check that you have these camp dates on your calendar– we’ve had some revisions and corrections this spring!  For price, registration deadlines (including Early Bird discounts!) and forms check out or contact your church office!

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 24-27 (2nd and 3rd Grade)
   Junior Camp, July 24-29 (4th– 6th Grade)


During the recent medical leave of our Regional Minister and President, Sandy Messick, arrangements were made for three clergy persons to cover various parts of Sandy’s daily work.  The Rev. Kara Markell, Rev. Adam Harmon, and Rev. Nancy Gowler were important resources for all of us this spring, serving as Acting Regional Ministers, and it is with thanks that  we had their service.  Here are a few words of reflection from Revs. Markell and Harmon as Sandy returns to full time work:

From Rev. Kara Markell: Our time as Acting Regional Ministers has come to an end and we are delighted that Sandy's recovery is going so well and that she is ready to return to work.  I want to say that our work over the past two months has been enriching for all of us.  I have met people from around the region and beyond - all of whom are engaged in ministry and mission in their own context.  Each interaction has been an opportunity to grow, share gifts, and support one another in the work of the church.. I'm glad to be with you all on the journey and hopeful about the future of our region!

From Rev. Adam Harmon: It is so easy to do ministry in your setting and to think that all places are like the community where you are. The people you minister to know you and you know them. You know the traffic patterns and the political issues in the city that people are concerned about. While working with Rev. Kara and Rev. Nancy during Rev. Sandy’s medical leave I have been in touch with a lot of people in our Region. People who reside in different locations, have different dreams, political views and concerns for their communities. When we look beyond those things that might differ between us we find caring people who love the Disciples of Christ, who live out their calling in Jesus Christ and who seek to create community where they live. The Diversity of our Region has its challenges, but it also is life giving and makes us who we are as a people of faith. Rev. Sandy Messick ministers to the diversity of our Region on a daily basis, and with much grace. Thank you for your service Sandy!


From Disciples Mission Fund- Planting a church can make a huge and lasting impression in the community it serves,” says Terrell L. McTyer, minister of New Church Strategies and church planter. “By empowering the oppressed, praying for the disenfranchised, caring for the poor and promoting hope in a fragmented world, the church can literally help change the world,” he adds.

Churches Change the World… Start More! is the theme for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 2017 Pentecost Offering, which will be celebrated Sundays, June 4 and June 11.  To date, the Christian Church has started 980 new churches in the United States and Canada, sharing the gospel with more than 61,500 individuals since initiating the 2020 Vision in 2000. According to McTyer our original goal was to start 1,000 new congregations by 2020, but we can’t stop there. “We must continue our journey by setting our heights higher, planting even more churches and equipping more courageous leaders,” he says.

Each year, half of the Pentecost Offering is designated to the local Christian Disciples Region/Area in an effort to start and sustain new churches. The other half is used by Hope Partnership to support the recruitment, assessment, training and coaching of new church leaders at events like Leadership Academy."

Check out for video resources, graphics, and worship materials to share with your community and encourage conversation about stewardship for this piece of our Disciple mission.  Visit too!


Our Regional Office Manager, Amber Saladino, announced this past winter that she and her husband Jeremy Saladino are expecting their first child this summer.  An official due date is August 9, but we all know these matters are a best guess!  Many plans are in motion to see that Maternity Leave coverage, expected to be ten weeks, will be ready well in advance of baby’s arrival.  Please watch for announcements that share who will be providing administrative support, how ongoing duties will be divided, and potential short-term changes to daily schedules like office phone hours.


Opportunity CC, Spokane – Has called Rev. Dr. John Loucks, retired pastor and member of Country Homes CC, to be their interim pastor. He will help encourage them as they discern their vision and next steps in a search for a settled pastor.

Queen Anne CC, Seattle – Has called Rev. Neil Allen as their interim minister. Rev. Allen hails from the Portland area but is no stranger to the Northwest Region. Previously he has served interims in Port Angeles and Richland.

Origin Church, Spokane –  ORIGIN Church [5115 South Freya Street, Spokane, WA 99223] is collaborating with River Ridge Art Association of Spokane to host an event known as ART AT ORIGIN, on Saturday, May 20th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.  The art fair will include: artists exhibiting and/or selling original artwork; artists demonstrating their art process; hands-on art activities to take home; a “plein aire” art activity.

Among our Clergy

Rev. Doug Dornhecker, after careful discernment, conversation, and a period of study, will be ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church on Saturday, June 10th at 10:30am at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia, WA. Though this means he will be relinquishing his standing with the Disciples, we offer him as a gifted presence to the wider church and give thanks for his ministry among us.

Congratulations are in order for our Region’s own Rev. Tom Yates of Vancouver, WA.  “It is with excitement and anticipation that The Rev. Ronald J. Degges, President, Disciples Home Missions, happily announces the appointment of Rev. Thomas Yates as the Disciples Chaplains Association Endorsing Officer.”  Rev. Yates will work directly with the many Endorsed Chaplains of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to grant, verify, and renew chaplain’s statuses for the many kinds of work they do– in schools, healthcare settings, and our military installations.  Rev. Yates adds, “I am humbled and honored to take on this role for care and support to our chaplains.”

It has been with every good wish for his future that we said goodbye to Rev. Paulo Lealaitafea this past April.  During Pastor Paulo’s recent sabbatical time where he and his family spent significant time in their native American Samoa, a call was heard for Paulo and family to make the return permanent.  “I felt strongly that God is calling myself and my family to return to Samoa. There is a great need that I saw in my village and my home church …”  The Samoan Congregational Christian Church will work with Sandy and their NAPAD connections to discern next steps for pastoral leadership.

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!


From Kate Ayers, Executive Director, Gwinwood Christian Conference Grounds

Our beloved camp Gwinwood was hit very hard by recent storms and sustained a bit of damage. We are having a work day on May 20th, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. to help with clean up (a registration form for the workday is available here) .

If you are able to attend, we need chainsaws (24” or longer) to help clear fallen trees. We also need wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and pitch forks. A chipper will be available on May 20th and 21st to spread chipped wood onto paths.

Help is welcome before May 20th. Please contact Kate Ayers to make arrangements. Lunch will be served on May 20th will a free will offering being taken to cover the expense.

Thanks in advance for your help and we look forward to seeing you on May 20th.