Church as Hospital

by Charissa Bradstreet, pastoral associate for formation
 
When I was growing up, one of my pastors used to say, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” He said this in the ’80s, at a time when consumerism was in full glory and our culture celebrated icons who had “made it” who “had it all together” and were seemingly immune from suffering, complications, or want. For this pastor, the church was a contrast society, one in which people were unashamed of their need, their suffering, and their struggles because they had found a God who embraced them as they were, and a place that supported healing and called forth expression of the gifts they had to offer. Gifts born from the knowledge of woundedness, not perfection.
 
I have spent the last year working part-time at Harborview Hospital, a hospital that specializes in trauma. It is not a metaphorical hospital, for in that place I sit at actual hospital beds and at tables in psych wards and talk with people who face amputations, brutal burn recovery, homelessness, a lifelong battle with schizophrenia, or a loved one who has been declared brain dead. I have been engaged in the work of learning how to hold hope in these settings. And most days I do find hope there. I have watched the mentally ill carry out the difficult work of forgiveness and grace—at speeds I rarely see elsewhere. I have seen a paralytic do the difficult work of releasing spiritual platitudes to get more real with God, and then see his legs begin to work again. And some days I sit in a stairwell and cry because of a story I’ve just heard.
 
My experience at Harborview has helped me recognize signs of trauma, and not just the signs of trauma that accompany disease, accidents, and homelessness. Trauma visits pretty much every person on the planet, and comparative affluence can mask the wounds that many of us carry inside. We may say, “Well, I’m hardly a Syrian refugee, or an indigenous child born with fetal alcohol syndrome, so how dare I think of my issues as trauma?” However, trauma is trauma, regardless of who it happens to or any attempt to compare and minimize harm. At least at a hospital no one pretends there isn’t a wound. If the church is a hospital, then it is also a place where we don’t pretend, a place where we actively seek the healing we need. A place where we collectively tend to internal ruptures through encounters with God, and the image of God as expressed in one another. It’s not the place we come back to after we get ourselves all better. It’s the place where we learn what better feels like by placing ourselves in contexts that support the soul’s communion with God. Sometimes it’s through spiritual practices. Sometimes it’s through service. Sometimes it’s through small groups or friendships. Sometimes it’s through respecting what science has taught us about our brains and our bodies and interrupting bad habits.
 
We have just completed the “resilience experiment,” which has been all about playing in that space of spiritual practice, service, connection, and science—of exploring ways in which church is more than something that happens on a Sunday morning. Being church involves making seemingly minor adjustments and discovering what God can do within contexts of exhaustion, despair, and anxiety. Presiding Bishop Curry has spoken of the “two pandemics,” the pandemic of COVID and the pandemic of racism. All of us in this church are feeling the effects of these two pandemics—these two significant traumas—consciously or not. Let us truly be a hospital for the soul. Let us be a place where we do not pretend to be perfect or become isolated, and instead let us reach together toward that which heals. Jesus spoke of a kingdom that we can experience here and now, even in the very midst of suffering. Let us be that kingdom!

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Pastoral Letter

Dear People of God,

As I sat down to write this letter to you, one of the best-known opening lines of a novel came to mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I’m sure you recognize that line from the opening chapter of Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Most of us have not lived through what many are saying about our current circumstances, describing them as the “worst of times.” We are indeed living in unusual and troubling times. On the other hand, in the midst of a pandemic and political unrest, many good things are happening. We see the best of human nature being revealed in many ways—medical personnel, caregivers, teachers, and many others who give sacrificially of themselves and their resources. Many of them are quite literally putting their lives on the line. Others are speaking out against injustice and racism, calling our nation to account for how we treat the vulnerable and marginalized.

Taking a more microcosmic view, since our founding in 1990, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church has never endured an extended period of time when we could not meet in person for worship, formation, meetings, and fellowship. When the bishop ordered the shutdown of all church buildings in mid-March, I put a sign on the door of the building stating, “The building is closed.” The words were chosen intentionally, because we have been operating under the assumption that although the building is closed, the Church is not!

I am writing to give you a brief update on how we have stepped into being The Church since March 15. As a member of the parish, I ask you to set aside a few minutes to read this entire letter and the attachments. It’s an occasion to celebrate and give thanks for God’s work in and through us, and also to prayerfully consider ways you can continue to support and be engaged in the ministry of this parish.

While most of what you read below involves events, activities, and doing the business of the Church, these things are not what have been most significant in our parish life over the past few months. I’ve observed a renewed commitment to communal prayer, a real hunger for Christian fellowship and the Sacraments, and a desire to grow deeper in faith. Folks have reached out to ask how they can serve and assist those in our parish who might need help. Our leaders have approached the challenges caused by the pandemic with energy, creativity, and passion. Conversations in small groups and Bible studies have been rich, with a healthy, life-giving vulnerability.

Jesus told us that he would build his Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Spirit of God has been, and is, at work among us doing just that: building up the Church and bringing about more fully God’s kingdom of love, justice, and peace–not only in us, but in our community. Not even a pandemic can prevail against the in-breaking of God’s kingdom among us.

Since this pandemic began, I have thought often about Winston Churchill’s speeches to the United Kingdom during World War II. At a very dark time during the war, he gave a critical speech in which he urged his fellow citizens to resist despair and stay strong. He ended that speech by saying, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

I do believe that this can be one of our finest hours as the people of God known as Good Samaritan Episcopal Church. God is with us and will give us what we need to do the work he has given us to do, and to be the people he has called us to be.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Steve+

What has been happening in our parish since March 15?

Our last Sunday of in-person worship was March 8, the day the Guatemala Mission Team flew home. Because of the excellent work of the staff and a few lay volunteers, we were able to begin offering online worship the very next Sunday, March 15. We’ve learned a lot since we began, and I think the quality of the online services has improved every Sunday. We are investing in a more professional grade video/audio live-streaming system, which will greatly improve the audio and video online feed. We began offering outdoor in-person worship in July, which has required quite a bit of preparation and administrative detail.

During the week, we began offering Morning Prayer and Compline. To date, we’ve hosted over 200 mid-week services! I am grateful for Joe O’Neil, Carol and Doug Stamper, and Charissa Bradstreet who, along with me, have been leading the services twice a day, five days a week.

Other highlights include:

  • A Regathering Task Force was created to do research and make recommendations on how to offer worship and open the preschool in accordance with government and diocesan guidelines as safely as possible.
  • The Facilities Team has kept the building and grounds maintained, as well as doing research on video equipment, overseeing cleaning in the building, evaluating our HVAC system, and, working with the Regathering Task Force to conduct a deep clean of the building in March.
  • The men’s fellowship breakfast group moved online, as well as the two women’s groups. I began a weekly Bible study on the Gospel of John. Youth continued to meet via Zoom on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.
  • We said goodbye to Rev. Chris and Rick Jillard and welcomed Charissa Bradstreet, our pastoral associate for formation.
  • The Vestry has continued meeting monthly and deeply engaged in the work of the three priorities set forth at their retreat earlier in the year. They have done really good, faithful work over the past few months.
  • The Faith in Action Commission, along with the Vestry work group, has met regularly and is about to make a major announcement about the new education scholarship fund.
  • A team of vestry members and others formed contact groups to keep parishioners updated on parish events and to offer help and support.
  • Financially, pledge giving has been steady and on track. Due to the generosity of our congregation, over $20,000 was given to boost the Rector’s Discretionary fund for COVID-19 relief and we have raised 93% of the $20,000 needed for the creation of the new baptismal font.

What should we expect in the fall?

My initial response is “who knows?” We are literally taking this one week at a time, just like you. With that said, we have done lots of planning for the fall. All of it, of course, is subject to change or modification should circumstances change due to the pandemic.

  • God willing, we will return to a modified form of indoor worship in September. Seating will be limited, but we believe we can do it safely. Our plan for resuming indoor worship meets and exceeds the state’s guidelines and was approved by our diocesan chancellor. The current plan is to offer two worship services on Sunday, both limited to 35 persons at each service. Service times will be 9am and 10:30am. The later service will be offered online, as we have been doing.
  • Beginning September 5, we will begin a new sermon series entitled “Christianity: A Faith of Paradoxes.” In this series, we will explore both the core teachings of the Christian faith and current social issues from our Anglican/Episcopal perspective. In this series we will attempt to address two questions: 1) What differentiates our understanding of the Christian faith from other expressions you’ve observed in our culture? and 2) How can we talk to others about those distinctions in a way that is reasoned and grace-filled? Topics include the Bible, the nature of God, Jesus, sexuality, politics, and racism.
  • Formation for all ages will be offered online until Phase 3. Adult formation will begin on September 13 and will be held after the 10:30am service on Zoom. We will dig deeper into the sermon topic for the day and have plenty of time for questions and discussion. Articles and videos about the topics will be sent out in the Weekly E-News on Thursdays. Children and youth formation will be offered in some creative ways online. Contact Charissa Bradstreet for details (charissa@goodsamepiscopal.org)
  • Consecration of the Baptismal Font and Bishop’s Visitation is set for Saturday, November 7, at 2pm. A preparation class for those desiring confirmation, reception, baptism or renewal of baptismal vows will be offered beginning the last week of September.

What are the challenges we face as a parish?

As we began 2020, all of us were faced with challenges we never expected. That is certainly true for the parish, as well. As I see it, we face three primary challenges as a parish:

  1. The first is engagement: making sure that we’re doing all we can to help all our members stay engaged in the life and ministry of the Church. Many of us have Zoom and Facebook fatigue! Watching services online or attending a Zoom meeting is just not the same as being present physically.
  2. The second is safety: making sure that we are strictly observing all the safety and health guidelines in our preschool, office, and services. This requires a great deal of work on the part of the staff, the facilities team, and the Regathering Task Force. The good news is that we’re doing a great job at this, thanks to the hard work of these groups.
  3. The third challenge is finances. We were fortunate in that we were able to obtain a Payroll Protection Program grant, which helped offset some loss in income. Because the enrollment in our preschool had to be reduced in order to meet state guidelines, and because of the loss of facilities rental income, our 2020 income will be reduced by approximately $35,000-40,000. The finance committee is working hard to deal with this deficit, but we will all need to do our part to make sure the parish is financially healthy this year and next.

How can I support our parish over the next few months?

  • Participate in worship either in person or online. Your presence is an encouragement to others!
  • Invite friends and relatives to watch the services online. We’re going to pull out all the stops to advertise the fall series because we want to get out our message about God’s Way of Love. You can put up a yard sign in your yard advertising the sermon series; those will be available in just a few days.
  • Volunteer to serve the parish in some way. We need more hands and heads engaged than ever before! To start, consider serving as a greeter or usher at outdoor services.
  • Give generously of your financial resources. Keep your pledge up to date, if you pledged. If you didn’t pledge or you are not currently giving, give. Give generously. Start praying about your pledge for 2021.
  • Pray for your parish. Pray for me, your staff, and your lay leaders that would make wise decisions as we navigate these strange times. Pray for and encourage one another.

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Remembering Jane Harrell

Jane Harrell, a member of our parish, passed away last Wednesday, August 5. Jane joined our parish about two years ago and immediately jumped right into parish life! She was a member of the choir, EfM, and was elected to the vestry in January 2020. Recently she became involved in the work of the Faith in Action Commission and was a strong advocate for establishing a scholarship fund to serve local underprivileged young persons seeking to improve their lives through education.
 
Jane was a woman of strong and deep faith. Before coming to us, she was an active member of the Methodist church. As many of you know, it was just a few weeks ago that she was diagnosed with cancer. Because the cancer was in an advanced stage and an aggressive form, we knew that her time here with us would be short. Jane responded to the news with a tremendous measure of grace, courage, and faith. In her final days, she expressed her love for and trust in God, and her love for this parish. She found a home here at Good Samaritan, and many of us had the privilege of knowing her well. She will be missed.
 
Our faith teaches us that at death, life has not ended but changed. Jane is at peace now and with God. She has joined that great cloud of witnesses that the writer of the book Hebrews tells us is cheering us on in our own journey of faith.
 
Jane is survived by a sister, her two children (Miller and Laura) and their spouses, and several grandchildren.
 
We want to make you aware of three ways to celebrate the life our friend:
  1. Attending in-person worship on August 16 (in person or online)
  2. Sharing remembrances and prayers with the parish on MyGoodSam
  3. Giving to Good Sam’s new Educational Scholarship Fund, which Jane helped create.
Read below for the details on all three of these options.

Attend Outdoor Worship on August 16

It was Jane’s desire that in light of the pandemic a burial service not be held but rather prayers be offered for her and her family during a Sunday service of Holy Eucharist. This Sunday, August 16, we will remember and honor Jane at our 10:30 am outdoor service of Holy Eucharist.
 
We will offer the Eucharist in thanksgiving for her life and witness and bless the hats she knitted for distribution this winter at Issaquah Meals. The service will be offered online on our Facebook page, as usual. Registration is required for those choosing to attend the service in person.
 

Share Your Remembrances in MyGoodSam

Since we will not be gathering in person to celebrate and remember Jane, we have set up a group in MyGoodSam so that anyone can share a story or a prayer for Jane with the parish.
 
Click the button below to go directly to the group. You may have to log in to MyGoodSam, but once you do, simply click the button in the top right corner that says “Join the Group.” To post messages, you can click on the MESSAGES tab and then the “New Message” button. Everyone in the group will receive the message.
 

The Good Samaritan Education Scholarship Fund

Several months ago, the Good Samaritan Faith-in-Action Committee set out to identify how we might help address inequities in our community, many of which are particularly acute in this time of unsettled and changing social dynamics. Our focus was sharpened by the events surrounding the death of George Floyd and the renewed national conversation about racism and, in particular, its economic injustice component. We found ourselves increasingly drawn to creating opportunities to positively impact the lives of youth who are struggling to better themselves with limited available resources.
 
Working with Friends of Youth and The Lake Washington Institute of Technology, we are in the process of establishing a scholarship focused on disadvantaged youth of color who are ready to take a step toward advancing their learning and furthering vocational skills.
 
Jane Harrell, who spent a lifetime contributing to the betterment of those less fortunate in her community, was a member of the vestry work group focusing on mission and was instrumental in helping us understand the need among disadvantaged youth of color, and how even a small contribution can profoundly change lives. It is in this spirit that we have created the Good Samaritan Church Faith-in-Action Education Scholarship Fund, with our 2020–2021 grant in memory of our friend, Jane Harrell.
 
Jane and her family have requested that those wishing to honor Jane’s memory contribute to this scholarship fund. Contributions can be made by
  • sending checks to Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, with “Harrell” or “scholarship fund” in the memo line
  • giving online, using the button below. Choose the “Education Scholarship Fund” on the giving page.
For more information, contact Fr. Steve or any member of the Faith in Action Commission.
 

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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: 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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A Note from Your Wardens

by Lorene Ehlers and Rick Tidball
 
We are thrilled to announce that Good Samaritan Episcopal Church and Father Steve received a Lilly Endowment Grant to support Father Steve’s sabbatical in 2020 and support Good Samaritan during his time away.
 
When Father Steve joined us in 2015, his contract included a three-month sabbatical after five years of service, which is a typical benefit offered to experienced clergy in the Episcopal Church. Earlier this year, Father Steve communicated to the Vestry his desire to take a sabbatical in June of 2020. He also communicated his intention to apply for a National Clergy Renewal Grant funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Lilly Grants are very competitive and require a lengthy and detailed application process.
 
Father Steve worked with your wardens and other church leaders to prepare a $37,000 proposal to cover his travel expenses along with costs incurred by Good Samaritan during his leave. Late this summer, we were notified that Good Samaritan’s application was selected for one of 150 grants awarded across the entire United States.
 
Clergy are awarded Lilly Grants to use time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering clergy a carefully considered respite that includes travel, study, rest, prayer, immersive arts, and cultural experiences.
 
As he wrote in his Grant application, Father Steve’s sabbatical time will consist of three components: 1) experiencing pilgrimage to Christian holy sites; 2) reflection, study, and writing on the role of pilgrimage in Christian formation from an Anglican perspective; and, 3) time for personal rest and renewal.
 
Father Steve will start his sabbatical in June, and begin by traveling to Chartres, France. There he will walk the labrynth at Chartes Cathedral. He will then travel to St. Jean Pied de Port to begin a 35-day walk on the French Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. After completing his 500-mile walk, he will join David for two weeks where they will explore the Algarve region of Portugal and southern Spain. In late July, Father Steve will return to Santiago de Compostela to serve as the priest-in-charge at the Anglican Chaplaincy where he will greet pilgrims, serve as a host at the Ecumenical Center, and lead Sunday and Wednesday worship services. He will return to the United States in mid-August and spend the remaining weeks exploring the San Juan Islands with his son and David. Father Steve will return to Good Samaritan in September 2020.
 
We are very proud of Father Steve for receiving this award and excited for him and his upcoming sabbatical. We are also grateful for his care in preparing us to experience our own journey during his absence.
 
Congratulations, Father Steve!
 
Lorene Ehlers and Rick Tidball

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