Good Sam Blog

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers is coming for a short speaking tour in the Diocese of Olympia in May, assisted by Jeremy Tackett. The following events are open to the public, but require advance registration. Register for one or all here.

Becoming the Beloved Community

Tuesday, May 21, at 7 pm (Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, Sammamish)

Stephanie Spellers, the Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and the Care of Creation, is doing a speaking tour of the Diocese of Olympia, beginning here at Good Samaritan. She will be speaking on Becoming Beloved Community—an exploration of the Episcopal Church’s call and commitment to reconciliation across barriers of race, ethnicity, and culture. Don’t miss this rare opportunity! Learn more at

Are We There Yet? Racial Healing and Reconciliation in Our Time

Wednesday, May 22, at 7 pm (St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle)
An interactive reflection on the reality of racism and the hope for justice and healing in our time. Gain courage and renew your commitment to being agents of transformation. Learn more at

Episcopal Evangelism 101

Thursday, May 23, at 7 pm (St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia)
A practical, uniquely Episcopal take on evangelism that’s relational, mutual, and humble and inspiring. Reimagine evangelism and get ready to share and celebrate the love of God in new ways. Learn more at

About Stephanie Spellers

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers serves as the Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation, helping Episcopalians to follow Jesus’ Way of Love and to grow loving, life-giving and liberating relationships with God, each other and the earth. The author of Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation—as well as The Episcopal Way and Companions on the Episcopal Way (with Eric Law)—she has directed mission and evangelism work at General Theological Seminary and as a canon in the Diocese of Long Island; founded The Crossing, a ground-breaking church within St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston; and led numerous church-wide renewal efforts. A native of Frankfort, Kentucky, and a graduate of both Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, she makes her home today in New York’s Harlem neighborhood.

About Jeremy Tackett

Jeremy Tackett has been the Episcopal Church’s Digital Evangelist on the Presiding Bishop’s staff since early 2017, and has recently expanded his portfolio to include management of Creative Services for the Episcopal Church Office of Communication. He builds relationships, creates community, and fosters an aspirational online social presence by managing the church’s digital evangelism ministry.
Twitter + Instagram: @jeremytackett

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Rev. Mercedes Tudy-Hamilton Speaks About God’s Love

Wednesday, March 27, at 7 pm

Get ready for REVIVAL with Rev. Mercedes Tudy-Hamilton, pastor of Primm Tabernacle AME Church. As we learn more about the Way of Love and the practices that center our lives on Jesus Christ, this special event will remind us of God’s unique loving work in the world through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

About Rev. Mercedes Tudy-Hamilton

Reverend Mercedes Tudy-Hamilton, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been serving the members of Primm since August 2011. She accepted God’s call in Christian Ministry in 1997 while living in Los Angeles, CA. Pastor Mercedes was ordained as an itinerant elder in the Southern California Conference in 2004 and earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University in La Mirada, CA. She spent 5 years at a church in Great Falls, Montana, where she completed her Masters in Transformational Leadership from Bethel University before being called to serve as pastor at Primm Tabernable AME Church in Seattle.
Her ministerial foundational scripture is, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come” Luke 4:18–19 (NLT).

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You’re Invited to Go Deeper

by The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey

Are you wondering why we are doing an adult formation series on Baptism? It may seem basic, or maybe you feel that you know everything about it already. But the truth is that there is always something to learn and ways to grow. Baptism gets to the heart of what it is to be a Christian—both the ways in which we encounter God’s grace and what it means to live as a Christian in the world. So whether you were baptized 60 years ago or are thinking about doing it now, diving into its meaning will stretch and deepen your faith as an individual and, just as importantly, the faith we share as a community.

If you missed the first week of “I Will, With God’s Help,” our current formation series on the Baptismal Covenant, you can still join us this Sunday for the remainder of the class. We meet at 9:15 am in the Narthex on Sundays. The youth of Good Samaritan have been exploring “I Will, With God’s Help” since September and we hope you’ll join them in learning about and exploring our faith.

About the Baptismal Covenant

In the Episcopal Church, baptism is when we say “yes” to God’s grace in our lives and to everything being a Christian means. We say “yes” by making the promises contained in our Baptismal Covenant—our job description, of sorts, as Christians as we understand it in the Episcopal Church.

Many of us were baptized as babies. Our parents and sponsors said “yes” for us at that point, promising to guide us in the Christian life according to the Baptismal Covenant, hoping that one day, we might make the promises and follow Christ for ourselves. You may have been confirmed at some point later on in life and have lived the promises as your own. The reality is that we always have room to grow, to be more faithful to our call as Christians, to make these promises again and again because we never live them perfectly. This is the reason why we say the Baptismal Covenant together, as a community, whenever someone is baptized in our church and several other times throughout the year. We need always to be reminded of God’s call and what it is we have promised to do as followers of Jesus.

Along with our formation series to explore the meaning of this in more depth, two opportunities to reaffirm the promises of our Baptismal Covenant are happening in the coming weeks:

  1. This coming Sunday, January 13, is the day we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord, and we will renew the Baptismal Covenant together as we remember Jesus’ own baptism—whose example we follow.
  2. On February 10, Bishop Greg Rickel will be visiting during our regular services, giving the sermon, baptizing and receiving any new members, confirming youth and adults, and praying for those who would like to make a more formal recommitment to their baptismal promises.

I hope you will join your church family and make the commitment to go deeper with us this year as we go on a journey with Jesus. Baptism is the beginning of our Christian life, just as it was the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. After we renew our Baptismal Covenant in the coming weeks, we will continue following Jesus’ journey of love through his life and death in Lent, through his resurrection in Easter, and finally through his charge to the church at Pentecost. Each stage of the journey is important and your presence is what makes us a community as we travel together.

—Fr. Steve+

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The Deacon’s Corner: Star of Wonder

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

Behold, Magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the new born King of the Jews? We saw his star in it’s rising and have come to do him homage.” Matthew 2:1–2

The story of the star and the Magi has fascinated us since childhood. Artists have tried to capture the blazing glory of this manifestation—Emanuel, God with us. We imagine a dark and chilly night. Out on the horizon we can see three shapes silhouetted against the midnight blue velvet night sky. We can hear the muffled plodding of camel feet on the dunes. A bright star gleams like a beacon overhead. Three exotic men loom out of the darkness dressed in rich and heavy robes. They bear gifts as they kneel before the babe and his mother. And like Mary, we ponder all these things in our heart. What star do we follow and where is it taking us? God’s love illumines our path as we journey to God like the Magi. We come to God bearing our precious gifts of hearts transformed by his love and spirits at rest in his peace. But the greatest gift is our journey itself. Our life is a journey home to God. Like the Magi, we are wanderers seeking an encounter with the Divine. The Magi are role models for living life more fully. We notice they were totally focused on God, and they took risks when facing the unknown. And they were discerning, being prayerfully attentive to the voice of God along their journey. Our personal journeys may have detours and questions. It may require sacrifice, patience, and hard work. And it always involves listening; listening to a voice that may call at any time to set out in the darkness, the unknown, guided only by a star of hope. Doubt and fear are always part of our response. Change is difficult; we’re never ready, but the soft inviting whisper will not go away. So the star of wonder shines on in each of our hearts, illuminating and ever guiding us, and the darkness will not overcome it.

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The Way of Love: On the Journey with Jesus

On Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, I described the Christian year as a journey with Jesus—a journey with him through his birth, baptism, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection. I also invited the congregation to a year of intentionally leaning into that annual journey the Church has given us. Now that we’ve journeyed through Advent and celebrated the birth of Christ, our pilgrimage leads us to those places and events in the life of Jesus where God’s love and grace is revealed in particular and powerful ways.

Beginning this Sunday, January 6, and concluding on February 3, we will unpack the baptismal covenant and prepare for Bishop Greg’s visitation on February 10. Using the curriculum “I Will with God’s Help,” we’ll dig deep into each component of the baptismal covenant each Sunday at 9:15am. I encourage every parishioner to consider making a formal renewal of your baptismal vows at the bishop’s visitation. This formation series will prepare you for that. The series also serves as preparation for Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church. I’m also asking new members or those considering membership to attend this class as part of their introduction to the parish. And for those who are just curious and not really sure about making a formal commitment, you are especially welcome! Forms for renewal of baptismal vows, Confirmation, Reception, and new member registration (with an explanation of each) will be available again this Sunday. I’m particularly excited about this series as it will be something we do together to deepen our faith.

After the bishop’s visit and continuing through the season of Lent, we will continue our journey on “The Way of Love.” Inspired by our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael Curry, this Sunday morning series will explore practices that help us on the journey of Love. Bishop Curry writes:

Before they were called “church” or “Christian,” this Jesus Movement was simply called “the way.” Today I believe our vocation is to live as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. But how can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of lives, so that we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world? The deep roots of our Christian tradition may offer just such a path.

Each session will focus on a particular Christian practice, with some time for reflection and practical application. We’re working, too, on activities and events during the week to follow up on what we’ve been learning about and discussing on Sundays, including the possibility of a short retreat at one of the local monasteries.

After Easter, we’ll continue the Journey leading up to Pentecost, which is celebrated on May 31 this year. Pentecost, remember, celebrates not only the coming of the Holy Spirit Jesus promised, but the sending out of the Church into the world to do the work of the Kingdom. During this season, we’ll be very intentional about putting into practice what we’ve learned and discovered throughout Epiphany and Lent about the Way of Love.

As either Fr. Brian or I say every Sunday as we invite you to the Lord’s Table: Let us walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us…”

Fr. Steve+

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The Role and Responsibilities of the Vestry

The vestry is the legal representative of the parish with regard to all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish, but at Good Samaritan the vestry consists of nine persons serving on a rotating basis for three years. In some years, a term vacated by resignation or death is filled, as well. Vestry members are elected at the annual parish meeting. According to the by-laws of our parish, persons are nominated by the Vestry and presented to the congregation at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings, but this also varies from parish to parish. A treasurer and a clerk is elected at the first vestry meeting of the year after the annual meeting. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission and ministries by active involvement, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, to secure and manage the resources and finances needed to further the mission of the congregation, and to choose individuals to fill various positions of leadership and representation, including the nomination of delegates to the diocesan convention, and the selection of others as the diocesan canons may stipulate. The vestry also serves as an advisory council to the rector who by church law is the parish’s chief liturgical and pastoral officer.

All vestry members should strive to the best of their abilities to:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to following the way of Christ as set forth in the Baptismal Covenant;
  • Be active in and knowledgeable about the congregation, its programs and governance;
  • Be fair, interact well with people and strive to earn the respect of the members of the congregation;
  • Purposefully strive to “check one’s ego at the door”;
  • Purposefully strive to be a servant of the people without the need to be the “most important person” in the congregation or the need to be the one with the right answers to everything;
  • Have enthusiasm and vitality for this ministry.

All vestry members should be able to make the following time commitments:

  • Vestry meetings
  • Vestry retreat(s);
  • Weekly worship services (rotating occasionally if more than one);
  • Congregational events: coffee hours, meals, fundraisers, adult education programs, work parties, etc.;
  • Diocesan meetings, as necessary;
  • Annual meeting.

All vestry members are responsible for:

  • Offering talents to support the congregation’s ministry;
  • Praying daily for the rector, leaders and members of the congregation;
  • Pledging financial support early in the stewardship campaign;
  • Being active ministers of the Gospel in daily life and work;
  • Bringing one’s whole self to the table; being present – mind, body, and spirit;
  • Risking openness with one’s ideas, beliefs and desires.
  • Completing Safeguarding God’s People and Safeguarding God’s Children and any other training required by the Canons of the Church.

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The “E” Word

by The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey

It’s time we talked about the “E” Word. No, I don’t mean “e-mail” or “e-commerce.” I’m referring to a word that gives many of us the heebee-geebees (how’s that for a word choice?): Evangelism. In spite of all our fears and the many ways the word is abused, “evangelism” is a good word. Simply put, it means “to share good news.” This Sunday evening we have a wonderful opportunity to do evangelism and do it really well—sharing the good news about God’s love made known to us in the birth of Christ and the unique way our Good Samaritan community lives out our faith.

When I say doing evangelism really well, here’s what I mean: Sunday afternoon at 5 pm, we’re inviting our community to gather in our space to sing carols and songs that are as much a part of our culture as they are the Christian faith itself. Who doesn’t love a fun carol sing-along? Included in our gathering will be—you guessed it—food. Cookies. Dozens of cookies. Christmas cookies! And hot chocolate and cider. St. Nick will appear at some point to give out chocolate, too. Do I have your attention yet???!!!!

I encourage you to be here and bring your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers this Sunday afternoon. Not only will it be a great community building event, but an opportunity to share the unique way we live out the Good News through fellowship, song, and hospitality. Based on the response so far, we’re anticipating quite a few folks from our Preschool and the community at large. Come a little early to grab a cookie or two and something to drink before we begin singing. And if you see someone here you don’t know, introduce yourself to them and let them know that they’re always welcome here at Good Samaritan. Just showing up and giving the gift of hospitality makes you an evangelist. It’s just that simple and easy!


Fr. Steve+

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The Deacon’s Corner: Advent Memories and Longing

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger
Maybe we can never go back in time and recapture the feelings and anticipation of childhood Christmases. Maybe the memories are sufficient to sustain us. But there are moments when the wonder and awe and beauty sweep over us and we again experience the delicious anticipation of a child. We are swept up again with the wonder of cold starry nights, candlelight, and music. Our souls are lifted up, and we experience a spiritually “thin place” where we experience the nearness of the Holy and deep longing. Such was the evening of Lessons and Carols on December 2. Advent is a “now” experience as well as a historical event. Since the coming of Christ goes on forever, there is always an Advent going on. We are the people of Advent. Therefore we can see all the characters of the Advent that was “then” in our Advent which is “now.” Where in our lives is John the Baptist, provoking us to become aware of new things happening in our lives? Where is Zachariah in our lives, not immediately open to what is new? Where is Elizabeth, so ready to appreciate the coming of the Lord? Where is Joseph, so gracious when all was so strange? And Mary, where is she in us, trusting and welcoming the word in her heart? For where we find Mary in ourselves, there we find Christ being born in our souls. All of us are called to incarnate the seed of Christ.

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