Good Sam Blog

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.

Read more

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+

Read more

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)”

Read more

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.


Read more

Report on the 2019 Diocesan Convention

109th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia

Lynnwood Convention Center, November 8 & 9, 2019

 

Over 400 clergy and lay delegates attended the convention, representing over 90 congregations in our Diocese. Good Samaritan was represented by Fr. Steve, Rev. Chris, Sally Farrell, Merri Alexander, and Rick Tidball.
 

The meeting began with a series of breakout sessions that included a report on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a report on a task force studying the issue of homelessness, the state of the Palestinian crisis, and many more. The homelessness task force is asking parishes to see if they have underutilized space that might be converted to temporary housing, or explore the possibility of using church parking lots to house car/RV camping during the week. In the afternoon, a series of reports were presented, including a Standing Committee report from Fr. Steve. Rev. Chris gave a Board of Directors report that stated the Diocese was divesting itself from fossil fuel stocks, and reinvesting those funds in clean and renewable energy. Rev. Chris also talked about climate change and the Diocese’s commitment to reducing our overall carbon footprint. Additionally, our Diocese has signed a covenant with the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines to purchase carbon offsets by planting trees.

Several resolutions were voted on, including cost of living adjustments for clergy and our commitment to affordable housing. The delegates elected four clergy and four lay delegates to attend the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, in July 2021.

The Good Samaritan welcome video was shown to the entire convention in the afternoon session as an example of how the Diocese can help churches with marketing and raising awareness. Bishop Rickel gave a talk about his recent Walkabout and his discernment to determine if he will continue as our Bishop after serving for the previous 12 years. He expects to make an announcement by the end of the year. Bishop Rickel also discussed how funds from parish assessment fees are used. Good Sam’s current assessment rate is 14.5%. While some of the funds are used to operate the Diocese, much of the funding is used for wonderful outreach programs. You can access information on the Diocese website.

The convention concluded with a Holy Eucharist and a lovely Deacon ordination. All in all, it was a privilege to sit with members and clergy of other local parishes to share information and worship together.


Read more

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+


Read more

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

Read more

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+


Read more