Saying Goodbye to the Gregorys

This Sunday, August 4, we will say goodbye to the Gregorys as they leave ministry in our parish to serve the people of Guatemala in Christ’s name. At the 9:30 am service, Fr. Brian will preach and celebrate, and I’ll lead us in a liturgy to acknowledge the end of Fr. Brian’s pastoral relationship with Good Samaritan and to commission the Gregorys to serve as missionaries to Guatemala. You are invited to write a note of encouragement and appreciation and place it in the large basket in the Narthex on Sunday, along with a financial gift or pledge to their mission, if you have not done so already. Notecards and envelopes will be provided just in case you forgot! A BBQ will ensue after the service, and you can go here to RSVP or here to sign up to bring food.
 
It really will be an emotionally mixed day for our parish and for me. Fr. Brian came to us as a freshly ordained Deacon in July 2017, and was placed in our parish as a Curate. (A Curate serves for two years in a parish setting as a priest-in-training, in case you are unfamiliar with the ordination process of the Episcopal Church.) We had the great privilege of hosting his ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests in February 2018. Fr. Brian has given a great deal of attention to our children and youth ministries, played a major role in our identity/vision/mission work, vastly improved our communication and online presence, led the youth mission trip last summer to Mt. Vernon, led us to establish relationships with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección and Primm Tabernacle AME Church, in addition to preaching, celebrating, pastoring, and doing the work of priest. I believe his ministry among us will have a lasting impact on our parish. His family has become dear to us, as well. Kelly initiated and led our women’s ministry, and we have been so blessed to watch Ellsley and Westin grow two years older and be a part of their formative years.
 
I have had the privilege of watching Fr. Brian grow in and embrace his calling to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. He has been a trusted colleague, adviser, and fellow presbyter. His love for our Lord and the Church has been a constant source of encouragement. I am grateful that God brought him to our parish. I am thankful, too, that the work we have done is not ended, but all part of the larger work we all do together for sake of the Kingdom of God. God will take the good work we have done together—Brian’s, yours, and mine—and multiply it in ways that we can never imagine this side of heaven.
 
Some of you have asked for some more specific information about the money we are raising to support the Gregory’s mission to Guatemala. The Gregory’s need $53,000 to pay for their living expenses while in Guatemala. This includes airfare to Guatemala, housing, transportation, food, medical insurance, pension contribution, repatriation, and any other expenses needed to support a family of four for a year. To date, approximately $43,000 has been raised in gifts or pledges, about $13,000 of that amount coming from our parish. Another $10,000 is needed to reach the goal, and I believe that goal will be reached before the Gregory’s leave for Guatemala. Your monetary gifts of support will be housed and administered by Good Samaritan, so whatever you give is tax deductible. You can write a check to Good Samaritan with “Guatemala Fund” in the memo line, or visit the Gregorys’ website to find out how to give online.
 
I ask for your generous support of their mission to Guatemala, and, more importantly, for your prayers as they leave us to serve the Lord in a different place.
 
With gratitude,
Fr. Steve+

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Faith in Action: New Focus Areas of Service

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
About a year ago, Fr. Steve called for the formation of the Faith in Action Commission. Our vestry endorsed this action, and several members of the parish began meeting to read, pray, and discern together how God might be calling us to strengthen and expand our outreach ministries. We discovered in our journey that many in our parish were passionate about the work we were doing, which has consisted of Issaquah Meals and the occasional seasonal project, and many were already involved in ministries not sponsored by our parish. We also came to understand that, as followers of Jesus, our call to serve goes beyond “doing for” to include also “being with.” In other words, the relational aspect of outreach is just as important than the actual action itself, if not more so.
 
In our discernment and planning, we realized very early on that we as a parish cannot do everything. We also came to understand that many in our parish are putting their faith into action everyday by participating in community service organizations, serving on the boards of non-profits, or participating in outreach ministries outside of the parish. Thus after months of discernment and discussion, the Faith in Action Commission has identified four new focus areas of service and outreach.
 

FAITH IN ACTION NEW AREAS OF SERVICE

 
THE GOOD SAMARITAN PRESCHOOL
Team Leader: Steve Foster
Our weekday preschool serves over 70 children and 60+ families. Most of the families served do not attend worship services at Good Samaritan, but we believe there exists a great opportunity to serve and engage with the children and parents of our preschool. Opportunities for engagement with the school include Blessing of the Preschool Staff and Students on September 8, Trunk or Treat in October, Carols and Cookies in December, and help with leading preschool chapel. Other possibilities include a multi-cultural fair, back to school breakfast, and a field day, all sponsored by the parish.
 
MENTAL WELLNESS
Team Leader: Tom Ehlers
The Human Services Commission of the City of Sammamish recently conducted a study in which anxiety and depression have been identified as a major health issues in our community. The FIA Commission wants to offer mental wellness resources and support to our parish and the surrounding community. This group is exploring a partnership with the local YMCA and other faith communities in Sammamish to launch a mentoring program for high school students. We also hope to offer an event series or forums dealing with stress for pre-teens, teens, and parents. The group is also working with our Communications Director to set up a page of resources on our website.
 
BECOMING BELOVED COMMUNITY WITH LA IGLESIA EPISCOPAL DE LA RESURRECCION IN MT. VERNON
Team Leaders: Terry Foster and Julio Richburg; Assistant Leader, Abby Pommer
We believe it is the work of the Church to engage in the work of reconciliation and build bridges between different races and cultures. La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección in Mt. Vernon serves a predominantly Hispanic and migrant worker congregation in the Skagit Valley. By worshiping together, participating in cultural events, and listening to their stories, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of how we can build a sustainable relationship and serve the people of the Skagit Valley together. Opportunities to participate will include a Sunday visit to Resurrección for worship in the fall, participating in their celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe on December 12, and exploring how to support the day camp their parish operates during the summer for the children of migrant workers.
 
MISSION TO GUATEMALA
Team Leader: Terry Foster, assisted by Julio Richburg and Abby Pommer
Every Sunday we affirm that we belong to the Universal Church and the Communion of Saints, which means essentially that we here at Good Samaritan are part of what God is doing all over our world. We believe that global awareness broadens our horizons, opens our minds, and, in this particular case, helps us better understand the conditions and policies that have led so many to flee their countries and seek asylum in the United States. This group is planning a mission trip to Guatemala, possibly in the spring of 2020, to serve with Safe Passage and Fr. Brian in Guatemala City. An informational meeting is being planned for November.
 
These four areas of service were chosen not because there aren’t other equally valuable outreach opportunities, but because of existing relationships that could be strengthened or built upon. These focus areas also allow us the opportunity to best leverage our resources to match needs in our own parish and the community.
 
Please note that our monthly meal program, Issaquah Meals will continue on the second Saturday afternoon of each month. Steve Angelo can be contacted about participation in this ministry. We need additional cooks, food transporters (taking the food from the church to Issaquah Community Center), and food servers. Set up and clean up volunteers are always welcome.
 

STAY TUNED

You’ll be hearing more in the coming days and weeks about these proposed projects and relationships. There will be meetings scheduled for those interested in participating or gathering more information, and opportunities to sign up for projects will begin in August. All of these projects involve action items, but they are centered round the building of relationships with folks outside our parish and between parishioners.
 
Please ask questions and give us your input and feedback. Feel free to contact the team leaders of each of these projects or Fr. Steve. Watch for details about an information and feedback meeting to come soon!
 
Yours in mission and service,
 
The Faith in Action Commission
Megan Anderson, Tom Ehlers, Terry and Steve Foster, Julio Richburg, Abby Pommer, and Fr. Steve

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Gregory Garage Sale

We’re having a garage sale to support the Gregorys in Guatemala!

Shop on July 12 & 13, from 8 am–3 pm

As you recently learned, Fr. Brian, Kelly, Ellsley and Westin Gregory have been called to missionary work in Guatemala with the Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala and an organization called Safe Passage, which works in the community around the Guatemala City garbage dump, providing hope, education, and opportunity for children and families living in extreme poverty. Good Samaritan has pledged to financially support the Gregory family during this mission.
 
As part of our support, we are hosting a garage sale in the sanctuary from which ALL proceeds will go directly to the Gregorys.

Get Involved!

There are three ways you can get involved in our Garage Sale: donate items, sign up for a volunteer shift, and come shop!
 
DONATE
Beginning on July 7, we will accept donations of clothing, household items, furniture, art, music, books, and the like for resale. We cannot accept donations before July 7 at noon.
  • Sunday, July 7 from 12–2 pm
  • Monday–Thursday, July 8–11 from 10 am–2 pm
 
Items we will NOT accept
  • Electronics
  • Paint or cleaning supplies
  • TVs
  • Smelly or Broken Items
  • Car seats
 
All items donated to the sale that are not sold, are passed on to other great organizations like the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
 
If you would like to provide ongoing prayer or financial support for the Gregorys in Guatemala, visit gregorysinguate.com for more information.
 
 
VOLUNTEER
During the sale, we have many volunteers who help with all the work of the sale; hauling, setting up, working at the sale, tearing down and packing up the leftovers. It is a great time of fellowship for all who get involved.
  • Sunday, July 7 from 12-2 pm (Set up for the event—heavy lifting required)
  • July 12 & 13 from 7:30 am–4 pm (monitoring sale and accepting money)
  • ***Saturday, July 13 from 3–5 pm (Clean up after the event—heavy lifting required) We especially need Saturday volunteers!
 
MyGoodSam login will be required to sign up.
 
SHOP
Invite your friends and neighbors to check out all the beautiful items to sell!
  • Friday, July 12 from 8 am–4 pm
  • Saturday, July 13 from 8 am–3 pm

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Note from the Rector: Fr. Brian Is Moving On

Since the first of the calendar year so much of what we’ve done in our preaching, formation, planning, and conversation has been centered around the theme Journey with Jesus. Last week, The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers touched on this theme in her talk on “Becoming Beloved Community” and expanded our vocabulary to include thinking about this journey in terms of a labyrinth. A labyrinth, you know, has a beginning point and a destination, but the way is never linear! There are twists and turns, and often the way forward is surprising. As I reflect on my four years (as of June 15) as your Rector, I remember the twists and turns and many surprises we have encountered in our journey together. We have done good work, and I am grateful and hopeful for our future as a parish.

One of the surprises in our journey together occurred two years ago, when Fr. Brian Gregory came to serve as Curate. (For those who don’t know, in our tradition, a Curate serves for two years as a priest-in-training.) Not only did he bring years of expertise in youth ministry, but his beautiful family, as well. Kelly, Ellsley, and Westin have become dear to us all, and made their own mark on the life of this parish. Another surprise was that we had the honor and privilege of hosting his ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests. He has done good ministry here among us over the past two years. He has been a particular blessing to me as a trusted colleague and friend.

Most of you are aware that Fr. Brian and Kelly have been in discernment for quite some time about the possibility of serving the Lord in Guatemala. Last Sunday I announced that Fr. Brian and his family have come to a decision; they will be leaving the States in mid-August to serve at least one year in Guatemala. I will leave it to Fr. Brian and Kelly to give you the details of what they’ll be doing—as a start, you can read Fr. Brian’s letter to the congregation here.

Fr. Brian’s last Sunday with us will be August 4. He will preach and celebrate at both services that day, and the vestry is planning a celebration to express our gratitude. I will lead us in a brief commissioning service that day, and we will send them on their way with our thanks and blessings. Stay tuned for more details. I will also be making an announcement soon about how we can continue to support Fr. Brian in the work to which God is calling him.

In the meantime, the vestry leadership and I will be in prayer and discernment about staff leadership for our children, youth and family ministries. As I stated on Sunday, the vestry and I are fully committed to reaching and serving families with children and youth, which makes up the vast majority of our community demographic. I will keep you updated as we move along in this process.

Please keep Fr. Brian and his family in your prayers as they prepare to move to Guatemala, and for our parish as we continue on our journey to become the Beloved Community that God desires for us!

Blessings, Fr. Steve+


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A Note from the Rector: “Becoming”

On Tuesday evening, Stephanie Spellers reminded us that the first word in “Becoming Beloved Community” is “becoming.” We don’t just arrive at a point where it’s perfect and where we don’t have any more work to do. Becoming a life-giving, liberating, loving community is, as our mission statement puts it, a journey.
 
Last week, most of us who walked the Portugues Cominha arrived back home from a two-week journey from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago de Compestela, Spain. Our journey took us over 140 miles, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that it was an inward journey of the soul as well. As I told the folks in worship last Sunday, what developed in our journey was a sense of real community—we got to know the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially those blisters!), and yet our love and care for one another grew deeper with every mile. It was truly a transformative experience.
 
That is my hope and dream for Good Samaritan: that we would enter more deeply into the journey of Becoming Beloved Community. Not just for ourselves, but for the families who attend our preschool, the people who live down 244th, and, indeed, this parish’s circle of geographical influence. Jesus has given us not only the example of what that looks like, but through the power of the Spirit, the ability to actually pattern our lives and the life of our community after the way of Love. The conversation has begun, and I promise you that it will continue!
 
I invite you to join the conversation we are having about “Beloved Community” at adult formation the next three weeks. This Sunday we’ll do some unpacking of what we heard and discussed on Tuesday evening with Stephanie. If you weren’t able to attend, we’ll bring you up to speed so that you can join the conversation.
 
-Fr. Steve+

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Statement on the Klahanie Graffiti Incident

Last week, several homes in the Klahanie neighborhood of Sammamish were spray-painted with racist graffiti. The police are investigating this incident as a hate crime. As our Baptismal Covenant states, we believe all human beings are formed in the image of God, and as such deserve respect, understanding, and protection from harm. Races, ethnicities, and the wide variety of human experience reflect the very character of God who delights in the richness of diversity. I am grateful that our parish exists in a community of diverse cultures and languages where we can learn from each other and grow in our own understanding of what it means to be part of the world which God created. In the Sammamish City Council’s statement, they observed that at least 27 languages are spoken in our city. Our preschool children reflect the diversity of our community, and it is with joy that every day we see children from all over the world learning and playing together. This, I believe, is God’s dream for the world. In the face of this incident and others throughout our nation in recent days, what can we do? I believe that each one of us, as the Baptized in Christ, not only has a responsibility to resist racism, but to actively engage in the work of justice and peace. There are several ways to do that in our context, and here are a few ideas:

  • Attend one of several peace events being held around our city in the coming days, one of which will be held on April 3 when State Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez comes to Sammamish to speak on racism and inclusion. Details to come soon on this event.
  • Of course, calling out racist statements when you hear them is another way to respond. Sure, it might be uncomfortable, especially if it’s a friend or family member, but as Christians it is the way we are “salt and light” in the world.
  • Reach out to neighbors, acquaintances, folks you meet at the grocery store who are from another country or of a race or religion different from your own. Get to know them; let them know that you are glad they are part of our community.
  • Join the conversation the Faith in Action Commission is having about partnership and ministry with our sisters and brothers at La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurreccion in Mt. Vernon.
  • Join in the conversation on Sundays at 9:15 am as we explore Jesus’ Way of Love and how we more faithfully live into it. Pray. Pray for our country, for our leaders, for our community. Pray for justice and peace. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer aligns us with the will and purposes of God, which is, as St. Paul declares, reconciliation with God and breaking down the barriers that divide us.

These are just a few ways to respond, you’ll think of others, I am sure. Speaking of prayer, this one from the Book of Common Prayer beautifully expresses our hope as Christians”

“O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Hopefully, Fr. Steve+


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