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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From the Rector: On Being Community

By now most of you are aware of the tragic deaths this past weekend of two students at Skyline High School. The deaths were due to accidental drug overdoses of fentanyl, an opioid that has caused thousands of death in our country. It’s almost instinctive to immediately react to such news with disbelief, shock, anger, and deep sadness, and often we look for someone or something to blame. But as the shock wears off and we are able to sift through emotions, it is possible to gain clarity. We have a problem in our community that will only be addressed when we admit there is a problem and come together to address it. To use “churchy” language, it’s confession and repentance. For many of us those two words carry a negative connotation, but the reality is that both are gifts given to us so that we can identify those things holding us back from the fullness of life Jesus promised and begin to make choices that are life-giving. This work, however, cannot be done alone. Do you notice that in our church we begin the confession with “we”: WE confess that WE have sinned. The hard but life-giving work of facing a problem and dealing with it is not done in isolation; we do it together as Beloved Community in a variety of ways.

Over the past few days, I’ve watched our community come together to mourn, pray, and support one another, especially our students. I think we’ve been shaken, too, by these deaths and am hopeful that there is a willingness to look the problem in the eye, name it, and work to address it. Many have asked me “what can I (we) do?” Together, and with God’s help and our commitment to address a very real problem in our community, we can take action that will make a difference. You will be hearing more about how our city leaders, school officials, law enforcement agencies, and faith groups are responding in the coming days. In the meantime, I offer the following of things all of us can do right now:

  • Pray. Pray for our students, parents, teachers, school officials, and community leaders. Pray for the students who have died, for their families and friends, and for those who seek to comfort and support them. Pray for those who struggle with addiction. The Book of Common Prayer offers us this prayer for pray for the victims of addiction:
    “O Blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.”
  • See. Acknowledge and get to know the children and youth in our parish. Let them know that they are visible, that we see them, welcome them, and support them. Just a simple “hello” or “that’s a pretty dress” or “what grade are you in” speaks volumes and will make a difference in the lives of our youth. I daresay most of us who are older can point to moments and persons in our lives who just simply acknowledged us or encouraged us in some way that made a huge impact. Do it this Sunday; let our youth and children know that they are an important part of our community.
  • Get informed. Know what’s going on our community, in our schools. It effects all of us. Did you know that two of our parishioners, Joyce Bottenberg and Tom Ehlers, serve on the City of Sammamish’s Health and Human Services Commission? Talk with them; they have their ears to the ground and can help gain a wider and deeper perspective on the issues.
  • Show up. On Wednesday, October 16, at 7 pm, a community-wide discussion will take place at Skyline High School. All are welcome, and I encourage your attendance. Just showing up makes a statement that we care and want to be a part of the solution.
  • Stay tuned. Our Faith in Action Commission is working with other faith leaders and the Sammamish YMCA to start a mentoring program for youth. Tom Ehlers and I have been part of this initiative. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming months, and if you’d like to be a part of exploratory group, please speak to Tom or me.

Wherever you are or whatever you are doing when you read this, please join me in this prayer:

Gracious God, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in your, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP, p. 829).

Hopefully,

—Fr. Steve+


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Deacon Kathryn’s Retirement

Kathryn Ballinger is retiring as a deacon and will be taking a break from ministry this fall! We are so grateful for her service to this parish and The Episcopal Church, and we will be showing our appreciation at a special reception THIS SUNDAY after the second service. Deacon Kathryn and Philip will return to worship at Good Samaritan as a regular members in December.

Deacon Kathryn’s Ministry

Born and raised in Seattle, Kathryn attended Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane and Gonzaga University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree. After her first husband’s death, she completed a Masters in Counseling from Whitworth University, and was a RN for over 40 years. She is also a trained spiritual director with more than 35 years experience. Dcn. Kathryn was ordained a permanent deacon in 2000 in the Diocese of Spokane, and served in two parishes there before moving with her husband, Philip, to the Seattle area in 2003. She served as deacon at St. Thomas in Medina for 13 years. Kathryn was placed at Good Samaritan by Bishop Rickel in December 2016.


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Staff Transitions

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
As often quoted, “change is the only constant in life.” That is an actual quote from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. That is certainly true in our personal lives, and no less true in the life of a parish. This summer will mark several staff changes, in addition to the end of Fr. Brian’s curacy program and departure for Guatemala.
 
First, our deacon, The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger, has announced her retirement from active ministry effective September 15, 2019. She will become a deacon emeritus (once ordained a deacon, always a deacon!) at that point, take a short leave from the parish, and be back with her husband, Philip, as members of the parish on the First Sunday of Advent. For those of you who are new to the Episcopal Church, active ordained clergy are not members of the local parish as they serve under the direct authority of the Bishop. Both she and I will have more to say to you in the coming days about her retirement and many years of ordained ministry. Please note that we will honor and celebrate her at a special liturgy during the 10:30 am Eucharist on September 15 and, of course, have a party! I know you will join me and the parishes she has served over the years in addition ours, to thank her for her faithful service and bless her diaconal ministry as it takes on a new shape.
 
Second, India Andrews-Shank, our lead child care provider, will be leaving her post this Sunday, August 25. India, who was baptized at Good Sam last year and taught in our preschool, has taken on a full-time job and with her other responsibilities will not be able to continue to serve on Sunday mornings. She, however, will continue to worship and serve here at Good Sam in other ways. Our children and parents love India, and this Sunday we will honor her at the 10:30 am service. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell her!)
 
Joining our childcare staff is Azar Mirhadi, who will serve as the lead. If you haven’t met her, please introduce yourself and welcome her. Note, too, that we are looking for another person to serve on the Sunday morning childcare staff.
 
Finally, I am very pleased to announce that the Rev. Christina Jillard will be joining our staff part-time on September 1 as Priest Associate. Chris, as she prefers to be called, recently retired as Rector of St. Margaret’s, Bellevue. From 2001–2018, she was the Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal in Altoona, Pennsylvania, after graduating from General Theological Seminary in New York City and being ordained a priest in 2001. Chris also serves as a trainer in our diocese’s College of Congregational Development and Chair of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia’s Board of Directors. She and her husband, Rick, have two dogs and live in the Renton Highlands area. They have four children—Bronwen, Kate, Andy and Eric—who are literally scattered from “sea to shining sea!”
 
Chris will join me in preaching, teaching, and celebrating the Sacraments, and assist and lead in other ministries as assigned. Chris is a gifted preacher, a wise leader, and experienced priest. God willing, she will serve as priest-in-charge while I am away on sabbatical next summer. While Chris will not have direct responsibility for providing clergy leadership to our children’s, youth, and family ministries, she will serve with me as a resource and clergy support to our lay leaders in these areas. In the meantime, the search for a youth and family minister or curate will continue with the hope that we will have one or the other in place by next May. I will keep you updated, and if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the vestry.
 
Blessings, Fr. Steve+

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