Good Sam Blog

Staff and Children’s Ministry Update

In our Baptismal Covenant, parents and godparents of children being baptized make solemn promises to raise the child in the Christian faith. The Celebrant then addresses the congregation, asking if they will do all in their power to support the child’s life in Christ (BCP 303). Over the past few years, I believe we as a congregation have taken the necessary steps to ensure that we are fulfilling the promise we make to children and their parents at Baptism. As you know, when Fr. Brian’s curacy was coming to an end, we began the process of evaluating our staffing needs for children and youth. The result of that process is that the Vestry and I have come to some conclusions, which we are now ready to share with the congregation. I am pleased to announce that the Vestry has created a new staff position: Director of Children’s Ministries. I have asked Lisa Treadway to serve in that position, and she has accepted and will begin her new role on November 1.

So, what does that mean, you may be asking? In addition to serving as the Director of Good Samaritan School, Lisa will serve as the minister to children (age birth through 5th grade) and families for the parish. She will give oversight to the children’s formation programs, as well as working with the clergy to plan and implement ministries that support the faith formation of our families with children. We are in the process of working with Lisa to provide additional administrative support for the School, and she will step away from other leadership roles in the parish, including coffee hour. You’ll be hearing more from the parish leadership in the coming days about how you can support our ministry to families and coffee hour, so stay tuned!

As your Rector and Head of the Good Samaritan School, I cannot be more pleased with this decision and Lisa’s willingness to serve in this new position. She has led our School to become one of the most sought after preschools in our area. The school is flourishing in every way, and as I write this note to you, the enrollment is near capacity. Lisa understands her role in the School to be more than a Director, but as a minister, as well. Every weekday, I watch her serve the students, parents, and the staff in a manner that represents and reflects the Christian faith and Christ’s Way of Love. She is a blessing to the School, and now brings her expertise and passion for serving children to our parish. Thanks be to God!

I know that you’ll join me in giving your support to Lisa and the team who so faithfully serve our children Sunday after Sunday. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the Vestry.

Gratefully,
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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From the Rector: The Open Door

If you’ve been in a vestry meeting with me over the past four years, you’ll quickly learn that my “go to” resource for leadership and mission is Peter Steinke. In his book, A Door Set Open, he writes:

Mission is the expression of the church’s deep, abiding beliefs. Mission provides the major standard against which all activities, services, and decisions are evaluated…. It is about God’s love for the world, not about what I like or don’t like about my church. A major function of the congregation’s stewards is to be the creators and guardians of the mission…. They keep the mission alive (p. 78).

I remember sitting in a vestry retreat with Peter years ago in Dallas, Texas, hearing these words and how they washed over our vestry and me. The mission of the local church is rooted in nothing more or less than God’s love for the world. It still blows me away and, to this day, helps keep my work as a priest and pastor focused and grounded.

In September we began a three-month re-visit of our parish’s statement of mission, starting with reflection upon the question of “why?” Why do we exist as a parish? Simply put, and I hope this has been clear, we are here to invite each other and our neighbors to walk in Jesus’ Way of Love. Now we turn to reflect on the “how.” How do we as a parish and individuals go about walking the Way? What does it look like and feel like?

Weirdly enough, we begin our conversation around that question with the celebration of one of the church’s most loved and popular saints: St. Francis of Assisi. And, lest we forget, his spiritual companion and friend, St. Clare, played a very important role in his life, ministry, and legacy. I hope you can join us on Sunday as we reflect on what St. Francis and St. Clare can teach us about how to more faithfully live into our mission and walk Jesus’ Way of Love.

Arrf, arrf. (Translation: Our dog Abi sends her greetings and wants treats and to lick your hand and face and get treats on Sunday!)

—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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From the Rector: Invest Now!

Looking to make a wise investment with a fabulous return? For only a few hours of your time and energy over the next few months, you can invest in the spiritual life of our children and youth. We offer several ways to invest, ranging from leading children’s activities to chaperoning our youth at off-campus events.
 

Invest in Our Children

Sign up for a volunteer role with Children’s Sunday Formation! There are enough roles for any preference of preparation time and time commitment. If enough people sign up, you may only have to volunteer twice between now and the end of December. Here are the roles of leadership–they do not all happen in the same week.
 
  • STORYTELLERS prepare and lead the telling of a Bible story or an element of the Episcopal tradition using a Godly Play story. Training is provided.
  • FAITH IN ACTION LEADERS prepare and lead a simple service project designed to address a need in our congregation or in the community. Projects could include learning about Guatemala and writing notes to the Gregorys or learning about our sister congregation in Mt. Vernon (Resurrección).
  • FAITH ACTIVITY LEADERS prepare and lead games and activities related to the Lectionary Readings for Sundays. Activities come from Constant Source, and training is provided.
  • FAITH IN COMMUNITY LEADERS prepare an activity for the children’s corner on Sundays when the children are in worship and have a children’s sermon. Along with a helper, leaders sit with the children and supervise their activity during the service.
  • HELPERS are needed every Sunday to assist the leader and be another adult presence in the room.
 

Invest in Our Youth

Volunteering with youth is much more about building relationships and being a positive adult presence in the room and in their lives. There are weekly roles and monthly roles to fit any time schedule.
 
  • FORMATION STUDENT MENTORS assist the leader on Sunday mornings at 9:15 am by being another adult presence in the room. Male mentors are especially needed this year.
  • EVENT CHAPERONES will assist the leaders at the mid-month youth fellowship events (usually beginning around 5 pm), and provide transportation to events away from the church.
  • MID-MONTH DINNER HOSTS provide a light meal for the mid-month youth fellowship events on September 15, October 13, and November 10.
 

Requirements

Please note that anyone working with children and youth in the Episcopal Church must have a current certification of completing the Safeguarding God’s Children training. You will also have to pass a background check.
 
We have two Safeguarding God’s Children trainings scheduled this fall:
  • Saturday, September 28, at 9 am–12 pm
  • Saturday, October 5, at 9 am–12 pm
Please choose the date that matches your schedule and contact Lisa Treadway to register. If you can’t make either date, another time can be arranged.

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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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Saying Goodbye to the Gregorys

This Sunday, August 4, we will say goodbye to the Gregorys as they leave ministry in our parish to serve the people of Guatemala in Christ’s name. At the 9:30 am service, Fr. Brian will preach and celebrate, and I’ll lead us in a liturgy to acknowledge the end of Fr. Brian’s pastoral relationship with Good Samaritan and to commission the Gregorys to serve as missionaries to Guatemala. You are invited to write a note of encouragement and appreciation and place it in the large basket in the Narthex on Sunday, along with a financial gift or pledge to their mission, if you have not done so already. Notecards and envelopes will be provided just in case you forgot! A BBQ will ensue after the service, and you can go here to RSVP or here to sign up to bring food.
 
It really will be an emotionally mixed day for our parish and for me. Fr. Brian came to us as a freshly ordained Deacon in July 2017, and was placed in our parish as a Curate. (A Curate serves for two years in a parish setting as a priest-in-training, in case you are unfamiliar with the ordination process of the Episcopal Church.) We had the great privilege of hosting his ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests in February 2018. Fr. Brian has given a great deal of attention to our children and youth ministries, played a major role in our identity/vision/mission work, vastly improved our communication and online presence, led the youth mission trip last summer to Mt. Vernon, led us to establish relationships with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección and Primm Tabernacle AME Church, in addition to preaching, celebrating, pastoring, and doing the work of priest. I believe his ministry among us will have a lasting impact on our parish. His family has become dear to us, as well. Kelly initiated and led our women’s ministry, and we have been so blessed to watch Ellsley and Westin grow two years older and be a part of their formative years.
 
I have had the privilege of watching Fr. Brian grow in and embrace his calling to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. He has been a trusted colleague, adviser, and fellow presbyter. His love for our Lord and the Church has been a constant source of encouragement. I am grateful that God brought him to our parish. I am thankful, too, that the work we have done is not ended, but all part of the larger work we all do together for sake of the Kingdom of God. God will take the good work we have done together—Brian’s, yours, and mine—and multiply it in ways that we can never imagine this side of heaven.
 
Some of you have asked for some more specific information about the money we are raising to support the Gregory’s mission to Guatemala. The Gregory’s need $53,000 to pay for their living expenses while in Guatemala. This includes airfare to Guatemala, housing, transportation, food, medical insurance, pension contribution, repatriation, and any other expenses needed to support a family of four for a year. To date, approximately $43,000 has been raised in gifts or pledges, about $13,000 of that amount coming from our parish. Another $10,000 is needed to reach the goal, and I believe that goal will be reached before the Gregory’s leave for Guatemala. Your monetary gifts of support will be housed and administered by Good Samaritan, so whatever you give is tax deductible. You can write a check to Good Samaritan with “Guatemala Fund” in the memo line, or visit the Gregorys’ website to find out how to give online.
 
I ask for your generous support of their mission to Guatemala, and, more importantly, for your prayers as they leave us to serve the Lord in a different place.
 
With gratitude,
Fr. Steve+

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