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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From the Vestry: Priorities for 2020

In last week’s E-News, Fr. Steve introduced the following three ministry priorities that the vestry chose for the year: marketing and evangelism, youth and families, and missio (Latin word meaning “to send”). The vestry decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” This week we want to give you a little more information about these three vestry priorities and the team members that are involved.

Marketing and Evangelism

This team will continue to build upon the vital work that was started by last year’s Marketing and Evangelism team. A primary goal of this group is to help grow Good Samaritan’s presence in the greater Sammamish area and invite those called by God to join with us in our lifelong journey with Christ. Good Samaritan is a safe and welcoming place for all people to gather, and as Christians we feel called to do our part in making it easier for Good Samaritan to be found by those seeking community. The team is currently preparing a marketing plan for the year, but a few actions that are expected include increasing the amount of signage and banners around the community, developing and implementing a social media plan, and building work groups to participate in community events. The goal for all activities is to let those seeking God that Good Samaritan is a place that welcomes them. We ask for your prayers and support in transforming Good Samaritan from a hidden gem into a shining beacon on the plateau.

This team includes Rick Tidball (leader), Amy Bowers and Brian Swensen.

Youth and Families

Youth and Families is the fastest and most consistently growing demographic of Good Samaritan’s congregation. There is a gap in how this segment is being served compared to the potential of how it can be served. High functioning families with busy and demanding schedules can find it difficult to carve out time to explore, grow, and renew their faith. The Youth and Families team will be looking for new ways and opportunities for these faith seekers and the congregation to experience a deeper sense of community, connection and belonging. We ask for your prayers and support in shaping Good Samaritan into a third place (outside of work/school and home) where spiritual and communal transformation can take hold.

This team includes Steve Foster (leader), Patrick Duff and Patricia Waltner.

Missio

As Christians, when we make and renew our baptizmal vows it is a call of action and support. To serve, seek and love Christ in each and every human being. Each week we ask God “to send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” Nurturing and supporting one another not only within the walls that we identify as Good Samaritan Episcopal Church but also outside of them, in those spaces where life happens. That, in a nutshell, is what the Missio group has been tasked with undertaking. God is already at work within peoples lives at Good Samaritan. There are many current opportunities to engage outside of church such as; Issaquah Meals, Men’s and Women’s groups, Trunk or Treat, and the activities the Faith in Action (FIA) committee is developing, the list goes on. The need and opportunity to serve our community is greater now than seemingly ever before. The Missio team, along with FIA, will be partnering with other faith communities and organizations to engage out in the community and with the members of the congregation. We ask for your prayers and support as the Missio team continues to explore and discern the best paths forward in ways to participate in God’s grace.

This team includes Jim Martin (leader), Jane Harrell and Carol Stamper.

Please be on the lookout for more information about these three vestry priorities as the year progresses.

Yours in Christ,

Brian Swensen, Junior Warden
Rick Tidball, Senior Warden


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From the Rector: On the Seventh Day, God…

I recently read an article published some years ago in The New York Times by the neurologist Oliver Sacks on the topic of Sabbath. Sacks abandoned his Jewish faith as a teenager, but later in life came to be somewhat of a spiritual seeker. As he moved toward the end of life, his appreciation of the Jewish observance of Sabbath deepened because he saw in it a metaphor for how life is to be lived: “doing good in one’s work and activity and enjoying the peace of the Sabbath.”

Let’s face it. As American Christians we take the “doing good in one’s work and activity” and run with it! We fill our schedules with activities and social events. Busy-ness has almost become a sign of moral uprightness for most of us. Don’t get me wrong. Doing good in one’s work, engaging in activities that keep us healthy and growing, taking on projects that help others—all those things are good, and Scripture is clear that God sees those works as holy. Scripture also tells us that after six days of creative activity, God rested. One of the ten commandments, remember, is to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy (set apart). Jesus observed the Sabbath, too, although he flipped his lid when the religious leaders objected to his healing work on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them that humans were not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for them. In other words, Sabbath is a gift.

As Christians, we don’t observe Sabbath in the ways that Jesus or our Jewish sisters and brothers do. Nevertheless, the principle of Sabbath—a time for rest, worship, and renewal—is a gift from God, and is part of our faith tradition. Keeping Sabbath, after all, made it into God’s top ten things to do or not to do! So, what does Sabbath mean for us and how do we unwrap the gift that it is in our own day? How do we make space in our busy schedules and in our cluttered minds for rest and renewal?

During the season of Lent, we are going to explore what Sabbath means for us today, why it’s essential for living a healthy life, and how we can open our lives to the rest and renewal God desires for us, even in the midst of our busy lives. We’ll address it in sermons, discuss it in adult formation, and explore the role of prayer in Sabbath on three Wednesday nights in March. We’re working to make this teaching as practical and accessible as possible. I hope you’ll commit to engage as much as you can as a part of your Lenten observance.

Faithfully,

Fr. Steve+


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From the Rector: Send Us Out

In the Book of Common Prayer 1979 there are two options for the post-communion prayer. The second option concludes with a petition asking God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” That petition is a reminder that the vast majority of God’s work goes on outside the walls of the church building the other 166 hours a week!
 
On Tuesday afternoon I attended the retirement reception of one of our parishioners, Dr. Philip Ballinger. Philip, husband of our former deacon, Kathryn, is Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Washington and is retiring this month after over 30 years of service in university admissions and enrollment. At the reception, speaker after speaker spoke about Philip’s integrity and collegial spirit. What struck me most was the work he has done to increase fair and equitable access to higher education. During his time at UW, the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body at UW has grown dramatically. In reality, Philip has been doing God’s work—Kingdom work—in his career in higher education. It was evident, too, that the Christ-like way in which he approached his job has made a lasting impact on his colleagues at UW and literally around the world.*
 
Philip, of course, is not the only lay person in our parish doing ministry through their vocations. Week after week I hear stories about how people in our parish are living out their faith and making a difference in the world. Teachers who bring the values of our Baptismal Covenant into the classroom, managers who treat their teams with fairness and respect, parents who seek to instill Christian values in their children, volunteers who work with and lead in community service organizations, parishioners who are kind to their neighbors—this is what it means to be the Church sent out to do the work God has given us to do. Not just on Tuesday at the retirement reception, but almost every Sunday I hear what you are doing to make God’s love known in your everyday life. Your stories and your commitment to follow Christ throughout the week wherever you are inspires me!
 
At our vestry retreat last weekend, your vestry chose three ministry priorities for the year: 1) marketing and evangelism, 2) youth and families, and 3) what I will call, for now, “missio,” the Latin word for “to send.” We decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” The send, or missio, priority arose as we asked ourselves how we were doing as a parish in preparing and inspiring one another to leave our corporate worship experiences to do God’s work in our family life, work life, social and civic life, and, yes, even in our parish life. You’ll be hearing more about these three priority areas of the vestry soon. Suffice it to say here that your vestry, Rector, and the Faith in Action Commission will give even more intentionality to how we can lead, guide, and support one another as we are sent into the world to do the work God has given us to do!
 
Excitedly,
Fr. Steve+
 
*Philip will be our guest speaker at the Seasoned Saints luncheon on March 9, at 12 noon, here at the church.  He’ll share more about his training as a Jesuit priest, his career in higher education, and the new project he’s working on with UW.

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From the Rector: Church Policies for Inclement Weather

Dear all,
 
It snowed on Thursday, January 9, which brings back vivid memories of last year’s Snowmeggedon. In response to that chaos, we formulated an inclement weather policy, and since more inclement weather is expected in the next few days, here just a few reminders:
  1. The church office and the preschool follows the Lake Washington School District closure protocol. If the school district declares schools closed, we are closed. If they are open, we are open. If there’s an early closure, we observe that too.
  2. If inclement weather is expected on a Sunday, I will consult with the wardens as to whether we cancel services. We will usually make the decision by 6 pm on Saturday. At that point I will notify the staff, and we will send a parish-wide email. We will also put a pop-up on our website, and send a text from MyGoodSam to those who have signed up for that service.
  3. If a significant weather event takes place overnight on a Saturday, we’ll make any decision and get information out by 6 am that Sunday.
  4. The staff and the Facilities team will do their best to keep an eye on the driveway, sidewalks, and porch area for snow and get a plow if possible.
As always, weather conditions may be different at the church than where you live. Don’t go out if road conditions in your area are treacherous.
 
Let me know if you have questions or concerns.
 
—Fr. Steve+

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Guatemala Dinner

Friday, February 7, at 6:30 pm

Join the Good Samaritan Guatemalan Mission Team for a Guatemalan-themed dinner and details about the work the team will be doing March 1-8. You’ll learn more about Safe Passage (the organization with whom we’ll be working) and Guatemala, and hear updates about the Gregorys, our missionary family serving in Guatemala City. The dinner and program is the team’s gift to the parish and an invitation to support the trip with your prayers and financial support. Donations received will go to directly support the work of Safe Passage. Reservations are required.
 
CONTACT: Lorene Ehlers
Come join us at this fantastic event!
Can’t go, but want to support the cause?
*Choose the line “Mission Trip (Waterfield Fund)”

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Reverse Advent Calendar

This year we’re introducing a new Advent tradition that is not only fun to do, but teaches little ones and reminds adults about the grace of sharing. Many advent calendars will contain a small gift or candy that is opened or received on each day of Advent, leading up to Christmas Day. The Reverse Advent Calendar focuses attention on sharing with those in need and the joy that comes from giving. You and your family is encouraged to purchase at least one or more of the items in week 1 and 3, bring it to church on the following Sunday for a blessing and distribution. In week 2, you’re encouraged to read and reflect on material about the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and bring an offering on Sunday, December 15, to support their work.

Use the link below to download PDFs of the guide and the calendar, which you can attach to the fridge for easy reference!

Download the complete guide.

Download the calendar only.


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