Protocols for Outdoor Worship

Key Highlights

If you read nothing else, read this:
  • You are invited to join us for in-person outdoor worship in the parking lot on August 2 at 10:30 am.
  • Strict social distancing rules will be in effect, including masks, (see below), but if you are in the high-risk category, please stay home.
  • Registration is required to attend.
  • A checklist for attendees is at the bottom of this email.
 

Your Questions Answered

Here are some things you should know about the service.
 
Is it safe to gather, even outdoors?
For the August 2 worship service, and for all future in-person worship, we will follow the guidelines and directives of our health officials and the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. Every precaution will be taken to ensure the health and safety of those who attend. Persons who are in a high-risk group, have fever, or any other symptoms related to COVID-19, should not attend. All attendees are asked to maintain social distancing (at least six feet) and a mask must be worn at all times. For those who do not come, we will livestream the service on Facebook as usual.
 
How will we gather?
We will gather in the parking lot and on the lawn directly in front of the main entrance to the church. Ushers will greet each car in the drive to give directions and instructions. We are committed to doing this as safely as possible. If you are planning to come, please share in the work of preparation by taking time to read through the following details:
  • We need everyone who plans to attend to register in advance online. This will help us know how many people to expect and how to set up the space where you or your family will be sitting.
  • As you drive onto the church property, an usher will greet you while you remain in your car, give you instructions about parking, and record your attendance. We are required to keep a list of all who attend the service in case there is a need for contact tracing.
  • Approximately 10 parking spaces will be available for individuals/families to park in and remain in their cars during the service. These spaces will be first come, first served based on the online registration process. We are offering this option especially for those who want to attend but may need an extra layer of social distancing.
  • The circle, lawn, and parking lot space near the main entrance will be cordoned off. Chalk circles marked for social distancing will indicate where you can sit. Circles will be marked for individuals, couples, and families. The church will NOT provide seating, so bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. Ushers or greeters will direct you to a spot when you arrive.
  • All worshipers must wear a face mask during the service, except children under age 10.

 

What about sanitation and restrooms?
  • The restrooms will be open for emergency situations. Before the service begins, the protocol will be described and an usher will be on hand to direct you. Only one person will be allowed in each restroom at a time (children may be accompanied by a parent). Instructions for safe practices will be posted in the restrooms.
  • Hand sanitation stations will be set up. You’re encouraged to bring hand sanitizer with you, if possible.
  • Remember to wash your hands regularly, especially if you’ve come into contact with surfaces not under your control.

 

What will the service be like?
  • The liturgy will be Holy Eucharist, Rite II and communion will be served to the congregation.
  • The service bulletin will be sent out a few days in advance, so we encourage everyone to download the bulletin on an electronic device or print a copy at home and bring it with you. We will have a limited number of bulletins at the service for visitors or those who forget, but in order to be as safe as possible, it’s best if you bring your own.
  • We will have a sermon and music. Offering stations will be provided, and you’ll receive instructions on how to leave an offering before the service begins.
  • The Peace will be offered during the service. Please don’t touch anyone outside your household! Waves or bows are appropriate.
  • Instructions for receiving Holy Communion (wafer only) will be given at the Offertory.  
  • The service will be informal, so feel free to bring coffee and/or snacks. All we ask is that you be respectful with your refreshments during the service and clean up your space when you depart.
  • We ask that you limit any socialization with others after the service. We will be dismissing people in small groups so that social distancing can be maintained. The playground will remain closed for health reasons.

 

What if it’s raining?
If the weather is not suitable for outdoor worship, notification will be sent out by 8:00 am via email that the 10:30 am outdoor service has been cancelled. Regardless of whether the outdoor service is cancelled, the service will be offered on Facebook Live at 10:30 am as usual.
 
Does this mean we are beginning in-person services again?
Yes, our plans are to begin in-person services soon. Because of state and diocesan restrictions, the number of participants is limited to 40 persons. Pre-registration is required. More information to come this Sunday and next week.
 

Attendance Checklist

  • Register online for the service.
  • Print a copy of the bulletin at home and bring it with you, or download it on a device.
  • Check your temperature, if possible, before coming to church. If you’re not feeling well, stay home.
  • Bring your mask, an umbrella (for shade), lawn chairs or blankets, a jacket, and hand sanitizer.
  • Bring your offering (unless you contribute online).
  • Bring coffee, water, or snacks, if you’d like.

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Introducing Charissa Bradstreet

Dear sisters and brothers,
 
You may recall that after Fr. Brian’s curacy at Good Samaritan ended in August 2019, I began the search for a person to give leadership to our formation ministries for children and youth, as well as assist me in the pastoral and worship leadership of the parish. As the search continued and I engaged in many conversations with parishioners and did some additional research and discernment, it became clear to me that the position’s scope of work needed to be expanded to reflect a more wholistic and comprehensive approach to Christian formation in our parish. So, the position of Pastoral Associate for Formation was created.
 
In November of 2019, I met a lively, smart young lady at the Commission on Ministry’s discernment retreat. I began talking with Charissa Bradstreet about her gifts and vocational calling and how that might intersect with the leadership our parish needed now in the area of formation. After many conversations, an interview with our vestry’s youth and families work group, and the blessing of Bishop Rickel, I have extended a call to her. Charissa will join our staff on June 1, which was the projected date for the funding of a new hire in our 2020 ministry budget.
 
Charissa will be half-time through the end of the year. God willing (and the bishop, too!) she will be ordained a transitional deacon with the possibility of becoming our curate in December 2020. Charissa will work to develop the programs and guide the leaders of our children, youth, and families formation ministries. She will also work with me on adult formation programs, confirmation preparation, baptism preparation, and give leadership to the women’s groups that have been formed. We hope to strengthen ministries to parents, as well as every age group of the congregation.
 
I am beyond excited that Charissa is coming to serve at Good Sam. You will love her wit, intellect, and winsome personality. Above all, she loves the Lord and has a deep sense of calling to be a pastor and priest. Please read her introductory letter, and stay tuned for the date and time of a get-to-know you Zoom forum.
 
Faithfully,
Fr. Steve+

More about Charissa

by Charissa Bradstreet
 
Back in January, I had the opportunity to come and worship at Good Samaritan. From the time I walked through the door to the time I left I was stunned by the kindness of the greetings that I received as a visitor. I am filled with excitement as I anticipate becoming a part of the Good Samaritan community, joining you with a focus on supporting formation across all ages and nurturing your spiritual leadership skills as we all live even more deeply into our gifts!
 
This week I was facilitating a conversation with a group at St. Paul’s, where I currently intern, and was floored when one of the participants had a moment of insight. The gospel suddenly came alive for him and he put words to what he was beginning to think might be God’s call and promise to humanity (and to him). What he named struck him as almost too good to be true. At the end of the Zoom call I realized that my face was flushed with joy; I love it when learning ignites excitement about who God is and what God longs for us to see and know for ourselves, and when it motivates subtle but profound adjustments to the way we live together. As a faith community we get to be companions with each other on the journey, and midwives for insights that will be birthed as we tend to each other’s questions and explorations. My sense is that Good Samaritan has a healthy and vibrant foundation for living into big questions and tending to each other’s spiritual needs.
 
Since we can’t meet now in person, I’d love to share some things to help you get to know me. Faith was woven throughout my family’s way of engaging life. We prayed at mealtimes and at bedtime, worshipped at church every Sunday, shared openly about our day and where we saw God, and practiced hospitality by inviting people from church home for lunch. When I was five, I accepted Jesus into my heart (as a good Evangelical child does). My father ensured that my young commitment grew in knowledge, overseeing various forms of Bible study throughout my childhood. Reading books aloud created a love for narrative that now shapes how I read the Bible and preach.
 
In my twenties I joined a Presbyterian church that provided ample opportunities for theological study, often with seminary faculty. I started to see women in leadership – not something I had experienced before. At thirty I went to seminary – and was encouraged to deconstruct some evangelical assumptions and discover new ways of reading the Bible. I found it energizing. My theological and counseling studies provided a more generous understanding of the gospel and the human condition, and I felt a call toward ordained ministry. Although I came very close to completing requirements for ordination with the Presbyterian Church (USA), I eventually found a theological home in the Episcopal Church. I have been a member of Epiphany Parish since 2009, preaching, teaching, and helping lead pilgrimages to the Holy Land. I entered discernment for the priesthood a couple years ago and am concluding an internship at St. Paul’s where I have been facilitating adult formation, including a Sacred Ground discussion group on issues of race and faith.
 
I enjoy traveling, reading, painting icons, cooking, watching BBC mysteries, and writing. In 2015 I went on a group retreat in Northern Ireland to learn about the work of reconciliation in the context of the Troubles. That trip, along with my first Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, has underscored my enduring interest in the redemptive possibility of reconciliation.
I can’t wait to join you in your mission to invite all people into a life-long journey with Christ, forming them to love God and neighbor and engage the world with God’s love and grace. If you like, you are welcome to introduce yourselves by email.

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From the Rector: The Easter Message

Sermon for Easter, April 12, 2020
By The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey
Good Samaritan Episcopal Church
 
John 20:1–18
 
You may or may not remember the television series The New Normal, which aired for one season back in 2012–13. The storyline follows a wealthy Los Angeles gay couple, Bryan and David, who want to have a baby. They meet Goldie Clemmons, a waitress and single mother, who decides to become their surrogate, and she and her 9-year-old daughter move in with Bryan and David, forming a family outside what is considered the “norm.” This show, much like the TV series, Modern Family, satirized and critiqued what our culture considered “normal.”
 
In case you haven’t noticed, in recent days the word “normal” has probably become the most overused word in our national and personal conversations. “When will things get back to normal?” We ask. Or, in light of the pandemic, “What is the new normal?”
 
Mostly, I’ve heard, and I’ve said it and longed for it myself, “When can we just get back to normal?” “When can things get back to the way they were before all of this COVID-19 pandemic?”
 
I wonder, however, if the events through which we are now living and the event we celebrate this day offer us the opportunity to envision something more than getting back to normal, perhaps a new normal that has the potential to make the world a better place—more in tune with God’s dream for the creation. But because of something in our human psyche, the impulse to return and stay with what is familiar, predictable is strong; especially for those of us who are control freaks, which I am not. I’m a “control enthusiast!”
 
In John’s version of the first Easter, Jesus has not been dead for more than a few hours and the disciples are trying to adjust to life without Jesus and gain some sense of control over their own destiny. Mary Magdalene, however, ignores the stay at home order and ventures out to find the tomb empty. She does what any one of us would do, attempts to find an explanation that is reasonable and what anybody with any sense would conclude:
 
“Someone has taken Jesus’ body away. I know it was in there, because I was here on Friday when Joseph and Nicodemus helped us bury the body. I know—the officials who wanted him dead have delivered yet another blow—they’ve stolen his body. What other explanation could there be?”
 
Then Mary tells Peter and presumably John, who race to the tomb to verify what Mary has told them. What happens next is almost comical. John believes—Scripture doesn’t even tell us what he believed, but it couldn’t have been earth shattering, because the final sentence in that part of the story tells as that they went back to their homes. What on earth did they do when they got home? Cook breakfast, surf the internet? I get the sense they were dealing with their grief, fear, and shattered dreams and just wanted to go home and return to some sense of normality, or at least a place where they felt in control.
 
Bless Mary’s heart, she is struggling and troubled because she senses that something is not quite right. While the men skulk back home to check the stock market reports, Mary bravely returns to the tomb. Was the cause of here weeping a mixture of grief over her loss and frustration with a system that would not only kill a good man but desecrate his body.
 
And then it happens. The old normal is shattered, and though there is a sense of continuity with what was before, something happens that changes everything. The gardener says her name. “How did he know my name?,” Mary wonders, and then the old normal is gone forever and the new normal has begun. “It’s the Teacher; it’s Jesus!” She does what any one of us would have done, and, oh, how we long to do it in these days of social distancing. She reaches out to wrap her arms around him.
 
“Don’t hold on to me,” Jesus says, “I’ve got people to see, things to do, and places to be, and so do you!” It’s okay to grieve the loss of what was, Mary, but now it’s time to let go and embrace the new normal—the Resurrection normal.”
 
What does this current crisis and Easter Day 2020 say to us who are grieving the loss of what was normal and wondering what the new normal might be? What about the old normal should we let go? What are the possibilities for transformation wrapped in the caccoon of our current crisis that will enable us, if we are open to them, to live more fully into God’s intention for the human race and all of creation?
 
The book of Acts, which we’ll hear in church for the next few weeks, sets forth distinction between a world that wants to back to normal, back to a world without Jesus, and this growing group of Jesus-followers who have tasted the new normal of Resurrection life and refuse to go back to the way things were before.
 
The political and religious powers of the day did everything in their power to go back to the old normal, which at its heart was the attempt to maintain their control of the economy, politics, and religion. The followers of Jesus, however, energized by the Spirit of the Risen Jesus, choose to live in the new normal—the Easter normal. They make bold decisions to be inclusive; they sacrifice their reputation and their very lives; they give generously so that everyone in the community shares in the abundance of God.
 
Sisters and brothers, there are things about life the way it was before this crisis that are worth grieving over. I grieve with high school and college seniors who won’t be able to finish out their senior year. I weep with families who cannot hold the hands of their dying loved ones. I mourn that we could not celebrate Holy Week and Easter gathered in one place as a community of faith.
 
But there are some things about the old normal over which I will not grieve if we choose to let them go.
 
I will not grieve if we choose to put in the past the growing disparity between the rich and the poor that has become the norm for this nation. I will not grieve if we choose to let go of a broken healthcare system, where people cannot get quick treatment and die because they do not have health insurance. I will not grieve if Christians in our nation choose to let go of our obsession with political power, prosperity and celebrity so that we cannot do what Jesus told us to do: love God wholeheartedly and love our neighbors as ourselves.
 
I do not want to go back to the old normal of politics as usual, the disparaging of people and minorities in the public forum, and the disregard for truth and justice that has become all too common. Please, let us not go back to the old normal of over-scheduling ourselves and our children to the point that we can barely find time to breathe. Let us not go back to the old normal of taking our relationships, our vocations, and our faith for granted. Let us grieve over some things that we have lost during this time in history, but let us, for God’s sake and our own, choose to let go of things we know are dividing us, degrading our humanity, killing us and reeking havoc on God’s creation.
 
Thanks be to God, there are signs all around us that cracks are appearing the edifice of the old normal.
 
Did you read the news reports that folks living in northern India can see the Himalayas again because of the drop in emissions? Wildlife is returning the the canals of Venice. We are learning the names of next door neighbors. I see the Easter normal at work right here in our own faith community—people checking on one another, offering help, giving generously, worshiping faithfully.
 
Families have the time to work on puzzles and play board games. We have time to read novels, and take long walks, and check to see if the widow up the street needs Kleenex or toilet paper. Folks are returning to faith, or at least open to deepening their spiritual life, and realizing that their relationship to God is actually an essential part of their well-being.
 
Alan Lightman, a physicist who teaches at MIT, wrote in The Atlantic last week:
 
…there is something more to be regained [in this crisis], something more subtle, more delicate, almost impossible even to name. That is the restoration of our inner selves. By inner self, I mean that part of me that imagines, that dreams, that explores, that is constantly questioning who I am and what is important to me. My inner self is my true freedom. My inner self roots me to me, and to the ground beneath me. …perhaps the slower lifestyle in these months can help put the pieces [of our broken selves] back together. And perhaps a more contemplative, deliberate way of living can become permanent.
(“The Virus Is A Reminder of Something We Lost Long Ago,” The Atlantic, April 1, 2020)
 
The late poet John O’Donohue writes:
 
“You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.”
(Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted’ from To Bless The Space Between Us)
 
That Easter falls right smack dab in the middle of this pandemic is worth pondering. If God can bring new life and new creation out of the death, disappointment, and disaster of the Passion Week of Jesus, what might happen if we choose to live in the new normal that is possible on the other side or our own Passion experience? What new thing might God be up to? What new and wonderful things could be birthed in our own lives, our families, our church, our nation?
 
I love how the Easter story ends. Mary runs back to where the disciples are hunkered down in their old normal. The text tells us she announces, she declares “I have seen the Lord!” She is the first apostle of the new normal—Easter, Resurrection normal.
 
The good news of this particular Easter Day is that even in our grieving and weeping God is with us, not chiding us because of our tears but calling us—each one of us, by name—to see through our tears the vision of a new normal that started 2000 years ago in a garden on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And not just to see it, but to embrace it and let it take root in our hearts so that we, too, like Mary, can shout to the world this day: “I have seen the Lord!”
 
Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

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From the Rector: God’s Love Is Constant

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

This has been a roller-coaster week, hasn’t it? At first, we saw measures and changes to our daily lives introduced on a daily basis. Now it seems that the response and reaction to the spread of COVID-19 occurs almost hourly. While our lives have been disrupted, and many of us feel as though they’ve been turned upside down, there are a number of things that are constant, things to which we can anchor our lives during these unpredictable times.

God’s love for us is constant and never-changing. God’s love for us expressed in Jesus does not fluctuate like the stock markets; it is consistently given to us with no strings attached. Another constant is the relationships we have with our families, friends, neighbors, and, in particular, our parish community. Your response to requests, participation in online services, financial generosity, and offers to help others in need have been remarkable, and they have been a great blessing to me.

Today the bishop directed all parish churches to be closed through Easter Day, April 12. While that announcement distresses me greatly as your priest and pastor, it is necessary in order to slow down the spread of the virus. We will have Sunday services and all Holy Week services and Easter online. I’m going to be working with the clergy, staff, and altar guild about ways you can celebrate these events in your home as you watch online. I will send out a pastoral letter over the weekend outlining how we can stay connected and continue to do the work of this parish over the next few weeks.

Although the building is essentially closed for public gatherings right now, the work of the church continues. The staff is meeting and planning, the office is operating, leaders are meeting, parishioners are reaching out to one another, and the worship life of our community continues. Of course, we’re doing that differently and in new ways, but the work we do in partnership with God here in this place continues. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to work on additional ways to keep us connected and in touch with one another, and will be asking some of you to help with those initiatives. Watch for those, and please do read the communications that come from the parish.

Some have asked how I’m coping with all of this. To be completely honest with you, I’ve had a few sleepless nights lately. However, what has been helpful to me during all of this is really simple.

  • Before—and I emphasize before—reading or watching the news in the morning, I get coffee, find a quiet place, pray or just stare out the window, and usually give attention to Abi, our lab, who just can’t get enough attention. Begin the day with a centering practice of some kind; perhaps morning prayer or contemplative prayer. Read Scripture, especially the Gospels and the Psalms. For those new to the Episcopal Church (and some others who have been around for a while!) this would be a great time to explore the riches of The Book of Common Prayer. Meditate or practice yoga. The possibilities are endless!
  • Make a list, either mentally or on paper, of the things for which you are grateful. Gratitude for what we do have can help us frame and put into perspective what is going on in the world around us.
  • Stay in touch with others. Staying connected with family, friends, neighbors, and your parish community is vital. Use this as an opportunity to get acquainted with neighbors you don’t know or reconnect with friends. You might want to consider joining a group that is meeting online—a community service group, our women’s and men’s groups, youth group, or a special interest group.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather! Take a walk, work in the yard, enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in our part of it. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, take a nap. Our physical well-being has a direct impact on our emotional/spiritual well-being.
  • Find ways to serve others. If you need ideas, reach out to me. Our Faith in Action Commission is meeting next week, and we may have additional ways to serve to share with you next week.
  • If you have time on your hands, learn about or explore something you’ve always wanted to know about but didn’t have the time. Although I’m pretty busy right now, I want to do some more research on greenhouse gardening.
  • Make the worship of God a priority. For Christians, this should go without saying, but one good thing that can come out of this is restoring the corporate worship of God to a central place in our schedules. Worship is not only for our comfort and encouragement, it is one of the ways God’s Spirit works in our lives to transform us.

Know that I am praying for all of you daily, and that our parish leadership stands ready to serve you in any way possible during these times. Since we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day earlier this week, I leave you with this blessing:

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.

May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.

May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.

May Christ shield me today.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen.

With love for all of you,
Fr. Steve+


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From the Rector: Good Samaritan to Close for Two Weeks

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
Today the bishop directed all parishes in our area to close for services and activities for two weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some things you should know today:
  • On Sundays March 15 and 22, one service at 10:30am will be broadcast on Facebook Live. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the service. There is additional information and a PDF of Sunday’s bulletin linked below.
  • All activities, the Wednesday night Lenten programs, are cancelled through March 28. It is possible that we will offer the Wednesday night sessions on prayer on FaceBook Live. Watch for details.
  • We will be offering Morning Prayer and Compline at various times throughout the next two weeks on Facebook Live. I will publish a schedule over the weekend.
  • Over the next two days you will be receiving a phone call from one of our parish leaders. They’re calling to check in to see how you are doing and share ways we can keep connected during this time. Please don’t hesitate to let them or me know if you are homebound and in need of groceries or supplies.
I know these are difficult and uncertain times for all of us. As Christians, we rest in God’s promise that God is with us, even in the midst of trying times. When you feel alone or discouraged or fearful, I encourage you to offer your feelings and thoughts to God in prayer. Our tradition has a number of wonderful prayers that can help shape your own prayers. We’ll be sharing those with you over the next few days. Because our baptism ties us inextricably together as One Body in Christ, we are a community called and empowered by the Spirit to care for one another and our neighbor. We are all together in this, and I think there is a great deal of comfort in knowing that.
 
If you need help or assistance, or you just want to talk or pray with someone, don’t hesitate to reach out to the clergy or others in our parish. Your leaders have risen to the occasion in a remarkable way, and I want to assure you that our worship and ministry together will continue, although in a different way for a little while. Remember that the church is not the building—we, wherever we are and no matter the circumstances, are the Church. As the great hymn reminds us, the Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, who promised to be with us forever.
 
With love for all of you,
Fr. Steve+

Instructions for Facebook Live

You don’t need to have a Facebook account to view our online services. Simply click here to view the church Facebook page. The service will go live at 10:25 am and play near the top of the page.
 
 

Instructions for Online Giving

Since we won’t be passing the plate in church on Sunday, visit our website for instruction on how to give remotely. Online giving requires you to create a profile in our giving management system. You can also send a check to our secure post offce box.

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Youth Leading Collection for Hygiene Kits

During Lent, the youth are planning to run a multi-week drive for items for “Personal Hygiene Kits/Blessings Kits” to give to the Sammamish Police Department who distribute them to homeless people they encounter. Since we are now cancelling Sunday activities for two weeks, please continue to collect any of the following items and bring them to church when we reopen.
 
Here’s the list of each weekly item:
  • Week 1 (March 1): gloves, adult sizes
  • Week 2 (March 8): soft food, like chewy protein bars, peanut butter packets, or fruit cups
  • Week 3 (March 15): travel-sized hygiene products, especially toothbrush and paste, but also soap, shampoo, and others
  • Week 4 (March 22): $10 Orca bus card or hand-warmers
  • Week 5 (March 29): Wet Wipes (travel packs) and small tissue packs
  • Week 6 (April 5): Socks (white cotton tube socks are best)

The youth will purchase water, garbage bags, and 2-gallon Ziplocs to add to the kits, which they will assemble and then deliver to the Sammamish Police Department.


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Facilities Committee Keeping our Building Clean

Your Facilities Team met Tuesday evening and developed a Coronavirus Action Plan, with the objective of strengthening the cleaning protocol for Good Samaritan. We used guidelines issued by King County Health and the CDC. You’ll notice a few changes when you arrive for worship:

  • greeters will direct you to a hand-sanitizing station
  • ushers will wear gloves to hand out bulletins
  • all hymnals/Bibles/paper items will be removed from the pews
  • the Welcome Desk will be relocated in the Narthex and used for a prayer request area
  • the restroom doors will be propped open to minimize surface contact
  • Coffee hour will include host/server pouring (no self-serve), use of paper cups, individually wrapped snacks and juice boxes for the children.

Behind the scenes, the pews will be cleaned before and after the service and the Prayer Corner will be used exclusively for 8:30 service (meaning no individual prayers during 10:30 service). There will also be more regular cleaning, and the sanctuary will be locked afterwards to minimize any exposure. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Facilities Team.

—Tom Ehlers


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From the Rector: Various Updates

The Guatemala Mission Team arrived at Seatac last evening around 6 pm, all 11 of us safe and in good spirits. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you on March 29 at 9:15 am during the formation hour. We are grateful for your prayers while we were in Guatemala. Keep us in your prayers this week as we re-enter the daily routines of life here and catch up on some sleep!

Updates to COVID-19 Response

I want to give you some updates on our response to the COVID-19 virus. We are receiving daily communications from the King County health officials and will continue to follow their recommendations on gatherings and health practices for both the school and the parish. The Facilities Team will be reviewing our janitorial services to ensure that surfaces in our building are being cleaned in accordance with health official recommendations. The bishop’s office has been sending out regular communications to the clergy with up-to-date information. I’ll continue to follow their recommendations and advice, and I’ll reiterate here the consistent recommendations that are coming from health officials:
  • If you are sick, stay home. If symptoms such as fever, coughing, and headache persist, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If you are in a high risk category, avoid large gatherings. High risk groups include people over 60, those who are immune-compromised, and person with chronic underlying medical conditions.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into the elbow or into a tissue. Throw away the tissue immediately after use and wash hands.
  • Practice social distancing. Keep as much distance between people, ideally maintain a distance of six feet or more.
  • Refrain from hugs and handshakes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often and at least twice per day.
These recommendations mean that for some us attending church services at this time may not be advisable. That’s a personal decision you’ll have to make. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of health officials and directives from the bishop regarding worship services. The school will remain open unless health officials direct us otherwise.

Community Assistance

As people of God, we put our ultimate trust in God and seek to serve others, especially in times like these. If you are home-bound and need food, supplies, or assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I encourage you to reach out to neighbors or acquaintances who may need help at this time, too. While taking precaution to protect our own health, it’s important to remember that our baptismal covenant calls us to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
 
For those of you who were not in worship yesterday, there are links to the bulletin and the sermon recording below. I encourage you to read the lessons, offer the prayers, and listen to the sermon. We’ll include the service bulletin in the E-News this week as well, and I’ll be having conversations with those who are more technically savvy than I about the possibility of live-streaming our 10:30 am service on Sunday.
 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me via email or phone. It’s good to be back home, and I look forward to seeing you face to face soon.

Blessings,
Fr. Steve+


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From the Rector: You’re Invited into Lent

In the Ash Wednesday liturgy of our Church, the Presider says the following: “Therefore, in the name of the Church, I invite you to the observance of a holy Lent.” For many centuries, and still to this day in some parts of the Church, an invitation to Lent was about as exciting as receiving an invitation from the dentist for a root canal! All that talk of fasting, prayer, penitence, discipline, and figuring out what to give up for Lent that won’t be too overbearing or inconvenient. I remember breaking the Ash Wednesday fast at a restaurant near the parish church I served in Chicago after the service. I was talking with a server at a restaurant in Chicago about Lent (I still had remnants of ashes on my forehead, which, on my forehead really stand out!) and he said to me, “Oooh, I grew up in church, and Lent was always absolutely the most horrible time of the year!” Somewhere, somehow, someone missed the point, don’t you think?
 
As the early church grew and developed, the liturgical year came into being as a way of recalling, celebrating, and learning from the life of Christ. In time, the period before Easter was set aside as a time of preparation for the great celebration of the Resurrection. In fact, the word “Lent” comes from a word which means “spring.” Beside our deck there are several dozen blooming crocus plants, announcing to the world that spring is right around the corner. They also announce to me that it’s time to prepare the flower and vegetable beds, plant some seeds in the greenhouse, and start the pruning of the rose bushes. That’s what Lent is really all about—giving attention to the soil of our souls so that God can bring new life, new growth. Therefore, I invite you to prepare for the new thing God wants to do in your life.

Prepare the Soil

We’re offering several ways to prepare the soil of our heart this year:
  • On Sundays, the adult formation offering and the sermons will be geared toward finding ways to be more open to God’s work in our lives.
  • On three Wednesday nights during Lent, March 11, 18 & 25, we’ll explore how prayer is an essential part of our Lenten preparation work, and the different ways in which we can pray.
  • During the week, you can engage in a fun spiritual practice called Lent Madness.
Serving by giving of your time and resources is “heart work,” too.
  • The youth are collecting items for personal hygiene kits,
  • Issaquah Meals will prepare and serve dinner on March 14, and
  • we’ll collect the Good Friday offering that goes to support the social ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Often, it’s helpful during Lent to think about what to subtract so there’s more space to just relax or enjoy time with family, friends, or yourself. I read an article over the weekend on the spiritual discipline of doing nothing. In our culture, doing nothing really is a spiritual discipline.
 
Whatever you decide will be helpful to you during this holy season, I encourage you to be intentional and consistent. After all, Lent is about responding to God’s invitation to the full and joy-filled life Jesus promised us. You’re invited!
 
Hoping you’ll RSVP “yes,”
Fr. Steve+

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Baptismal Font Q&A

The Liturgical Arts Committee is grateful for the generous gifts given towards the new bronze baptismal font. Your deep generosity shows the bountiful abundance of our thriving congregation. Our conversations, several questions have come up which we’d like to address here.

Why do we need a new baptismal font?

Like Episcopal congregations all across our diocese and the country, Good Samaritan has historically placed a high value on liturgical arts. The reredos, stations of the cross, and hand-painted banners were created by members of our congregation. Thousands of hours of time and talent were spent adding these elements to our scared worship space. It follows that we put the same care and value into choosing a new baptismal font for our church.
 
Holy Baptism is the full initiation of a person into the body of Christ. It is an entry point to a new relationship with God, a new role within the community of the church, and participation in the principle act of Christian worship: Holy Eucharist. As people enter the nave, the font is the sacred object that expresses who we are and what we are about: an invitation to experience the abundant living waters of Jesus Christ. The font will say to all who enter our sacred space: We take what we do here seriously, and we are here to serve our community for generations to come. The font draws us toward the altar and the ritual completion of our journey–hands outstretched receiving the body of Christ. The path from the baptismal font to the altar is a symbol of our Christian pilgrimage toward God.
 
It is time to complete our space and path from Baptism to Eucharist. We are almost there.

What goes into creating a new baptismal font?

The committee spent nine months researching and creating a liturgical vision for our worship space which would draw the worshiper’s attention to the two great sacramental acts of the Church: Baptism and Holy Eucharist. Many hours were spent by committee members in conversation and discussion, visiting artists’ studios and looking at metal samples.
 
Upon visiting Classic Foundry, whom we chose to create our baptismal font, we were in awe of the care and reverence that each artist showed in their work. The manager of Classic Foundry, Ion Onutan, visited Good Samaritan, which led him to design this beautiful bronze baptismal font which compliments and strengthens our existing altar and sanctuary. We feel his design encompasses our vision and our needs to permanently and formally complete our sacred sanctuary space.

Why not a prefabricated baptismal font?

The Liturgical Arts Committee, Fr. Steve, and the Vestry chose not to go with a prefabricated baptismal font due to its short-term life. Prefabricated baptismal font materials and design do not match up the high quality of Classic Foundry’s craftsmanship, and the designs out in the marketplace do not match the aesthetics of our nave. The materials and construction are not strong nor do they represent permanence. They may cost less, but the money saved would lead us back to our current font problem of having a temporary fixture that has broken numerous times over the years.
 
A custom designed font meets all of our needs. The strong bronze bowl has a hidden drain for easy cleaning. The hidden retractable wheels in the cherry wood base allow for mobility. The cherry wood matches the wood of all the altar furnishings. The durability of the bronze will allow generation after generation to experience baptisms, and all who enter will be welcomed into our sacred space with the sense of God’s permanence, beauty, and mystery.
 
We have faith that Classic Foundry’s team of highly skilled, experienced sculptors, artists, and engineers will bring our vision to life. Good Samaritans will be invited for a tour of the foundry to experience first-hand the creation process.

Why does the proposed baptismal font cost $20,000?

The cost of the new font includes the design, the casting, the construction of the base, and the installation. Bronze was chosen because it is a natural element and one of the earliest metals known to man. It represents strength, durability, and longevity, just like our congregation.
 
The current font was never meant to be permanent. The new font, made of bronze and wood matching our altar furniture, will serve our community of faith for many years to come.

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