The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | April 2019
Faith formation encompasses the ministries and activities offered by the church that help people grow in faith and in their understanding of and love for God.

Field Notes:
Why We Bring Children to Church
By Kelly Moody
Director of Children's & Family Ministries
Saint Mark's Cathedral

A few weeks ago we listened to the parable of the man with two sons. The man’s two sons were very different, but both were motivated to act as they did in response to the same dark question lurking in their hearts: “Does my father really love me?” 
We all ask this question at some point in our lives and act in response to what we believe -- perhaps about our parents, but certainly about God. We wonder, if there is a God at all, does God care about me? Even Jesus, who told us the parable in the first place, cried out to God on the cross, saying “Why have you forsaken me?” 
It is a most human struggle to trust that we are understood, known, and loved by God. That struggle takes a different shape for each of us, but we all wrestle with it. In the midst of this fundamental human struggle stands the Church: the community of people throughout the ages that commits themselves to living in faith that God loves them wholly and unconditionally, and commits to recognizing and sharing that love with everyone else. 
> We do not bring children to church to teach them morals , though that is good and there is morality in Christian tradition and scripture.

> We do not drop them off at Sunday School to be taught by expert Christians with expert teaching methods , because the research tells us that kids form their faith based on the spiritual practices they practice at home with their parents.

> We do what we do each week in worship, Sunday School, and choir because together, we are practicing a life lived in response to God’s love for us and for the world.  We know we can’t do it alone. We read the Bible, reflect on the meaning, and feast on bread and wine together each week because we believe that God meets us there, and that together we are changed by the meeting into people that live like they are truly loved by God.
As we make the turn from Lent into Easter, show your children what it means to live like people who are beloved of God. They are watching you, and learning from you! As Mary Oliver said, “you do not have to be good.”  Just show up, and say yes to being loved by God at home in prayer, at church in worship, and among those with whom you live and work. Your children will see and do the same!

Jesus shows us the way.
We walk with him in the liturgies of Holy Week
so that we might see the light of God’s unconditional love for us more fully
in the wild joy and beauty of Easter morning.

[Originally published in Kelly's e-newsletter to families, "Children at Saint Mark's."]

Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

Question: We have some older children preparing for baptism at Easter. What materials do you have for kids beyond the picture book stage, or materials that parents could read to begin a conversation?

Sue says: What a great question! And how exciting and challenging that you have candidates old enough to ask questions and make some decisions for themselves. Here are some resources that might interest you, and answer some of their questions.

Probably you’ve had a meeting or class to explain the choreography of the event: where people stand, what people say and what questions are asked of the person seeking baptism, and also of the congregation that supports them, what the priest does. A very helpful book in that regard is by Anne E. Kitch, Water of Baptism, Water for Life: An Activity Book (j265.1 Kit).

Noting that, "We live in a world where water is becoming a scarce and compromised resource," Kitch helps the reader to understand that water is essential both for our physical and spiritual lives, and water is the visible sign of the Holy Baptism. Although the activities are useful for younger children, the topics could also be used with older children or adults...
Children's Books Help Unpack the Unthinkable
By Valerie Reinke

The story of Jesus' last days is horrific, no question, but it's a key piece of our Christian story... The depth of the joy we feel on Easter is inextricably tied to the despair we felt on Good Friday. How are we as caring adults to share the details of the story without traumatizing our children?

One approach is to gather some vetted children's books. Look for those that reveal Jesus' story in a kid-appropriate way: without violence or gore; without over-explaining; without a lesson or a moral; but also without foregoing the essence of the tragedy. If the books can do it with a fresh interpretation and gorgeous illustrations, all the better.

My all-time favorite -- a perfect one for Sunday School on Easter Sunday -- is:  The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children by Newbery Medalist, Katherine Paterson.

The storytelling in The Light of the World is just as good as you would expect with the author's pedigree but the illustrations by Francois Roca will knock you out of your chair with their originality and seeming simplicity.

The book opens with the light coming into the world and draws to a close on the same hopeful note: "... after he went away to heaven, they knew his Spirit was always with them. The light had come into the world, and not even the darkness of death could overcome it."
Taiz é for Families: They Said it Couldn't Be Done...
Christian Formation Specialist and author of the essential Episcopal Christian Educator's Handbook , Sharon Ely Pearson, fell in love with the mystical and meditative Taize service, and then asked herself, "What if...?"

"What if we could make Taizé more experiential while retaining its contemplative nature? What if we could introduce Taizé to families with children?..."

Read about her first attempt at an intergenerational Taizé service in her blog, Rows of Sharon .

Sunday School Notes from Ascension, Seattle
When there was a call for help to run the Sunday classrooms at Ascension, in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, LaShon Christen and Laurie Weckel stepped up to help for a year. In that short time, they chose and implemented a new (to them) curriculum and created an ideal destination for Ascension kids. Here are Laurie's comments:

"It’s been a great experience for us at Ascension, and our one year commitment is nearing its conclusion. 

We highly recommend the Feasting on the Word curriculum for those who wish to follow a lectionary based approach. Like all curricula, it has required tweaking, but in general has been an excellent resource for weekly lessons. We are so grateful for the original recommendation that led us to it. 

Here are some photos from a few Sundays ago. As you can see, we have lively discussions and some good fun. We imagined the world as God might want for us - one without war, racism or bullying and one where video games don’t rot our brains and siblings give us candy!  We also “tasted” God’s words of hope as relayed by the prophet Isaiah to the Hebrew people in exile in Babylon." 
Godly Play Training:
Use Promo Code for Registration
Godly Play is best learned from the inside out which is exactly what happens at a GP "Commuter Core" Training. Within a circle facilitated by Godly Play trainers, Cindy Spencer and Andy Rosane, you will experience and learn Godly Play stories, practices, and theology in a collegial, prayerful setting.

Building Holy Rituals & Spaces:
Liturgical Action & Creating Sacred Environments

Saturday, April 27 - Register here

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. When registering, enter the PROMO CODE: olympia for $52 off of each training -- a $156 discount for the trio, courtesy of the Diocese of Olympia. Lunch is included. All workshops held at St. Thomas, Medina.
Safe Church Training

If you are planning to schedule a Safeguarding training at your church, please let us know so we can share the news on our website and in this newsletter. Contact: Tonja Mathews, Resource Associate with details.
Regional Carnival Event
Hosted by St. Matthew, Tacoma
Sunday, April 28, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
St. Matthew's, 6800 East Side Dr. NE, Tacoma

We invite youth in grades 6 to 12 to join us for a fun carnival- themed afternoon!

Youth groups in South King County, Pierce County and beyond are invited to join us for an afternoon of friends, games and carnival- themed snacks. This event is FREE. Bring friends!

E-mail Lorina Goodjoint or call (253) 347-7560
IMPACT - Middle School Overnight Retreat
Saturday - Sunday, May 4 - 5
Diocesan House, Seattle
Grades 6 - 9
Registration Deadline: April 28

This weekend we’ll be looking at the impact of our faith on our lives, the impact of our choices on ourselves and others, and much more. Join us for fun, conversation, and community building in "D-House," the historic Leary mansion! On Sunday, we’ll worship at our cathedral, Saint Marks.
LAUNCH for Graduating Seniors NEW!
Saturday, May 11
St. Thomas, Medina
An all-in-one event filled with workshops, activities and lunch with the Bishop
to help all graduating high school seniors prepare for this major life transition.

Six-Day Summer Camp
July 14 - 20
Camp Huston, Gold Bar
Current grades 9-12
$500 (partial scholarships & early-bird discounts available)
Registration deadline: June 22. Early-bird pricing ends June 1.
Join us as we explore how loving one another is a pathway to peace. We'll look at this from a variety of cultural, historical, and theological perspectives through small group conversations, speaker panels, workshops, and daily worship. There will also be games, a dance, a variety show, and camp activities like crafts and archery. And if you need some time alone to think, there will be plenty of chances to relax, have a swim, or go for an exploratory hike.
Youth Creation Care Pilgrimage
August 4 -10
Follows the Olympic Discovery Trail
Current grades 9 - 12
$600 (partial scholarships available)
Registration deadline: May 15
Let’s take in the beauty of God’s creation on our first-ever youth pilgrimage. Teen pilgrims will start at Saint Mark's Cathedral and then head west, hiking daily in the mornings; enjoying field-trips, boating and other activities in the afternoon; resting at “waystations” (Episcopal churches along the way) each night; and finally reaching the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Throughout we will hear inspirational stories about what teens and adults are doing to stem climate change.

We are delighted that the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who also has a Ph.D in Oceanography, will be joining us throughout.
Connect: Retreat for Adults in Youth Leadership
June 14-16
St. Andrew's House, Hood Canal
No cost but space is limited.
Register by June 1
Are you a youth leader, youth group volunteer or a priest that carries leadership responsibility in youth ministry? You're invited to a retreat where you will be ministered to, equipped for your ministry, and connected to others who do this work. Everything is voluntary— participate in the things you need. This retreat is our gift to you for all you do on behalf of youth!
Youth, Youth Leaders, Volunteers & Parents
Follow Diocesan Youth on Social Media
Stay current on upcoming events and youth related news!

Be sure to "Like" Episcopal Youth of Western Washington, our all-new FB page...

...Also Follow us on Instagram @ecwwyouth
Greater Seattle-area churches , please promote these opportunities for adults in their 20's-30's in your Sunday bulletins. Need specific formatting? Let us know at
Young Adult Happenings
In the Greater Seattle Area
  • Questioning Together - First Mondays of the month, year-round – A supportive group that discusses questions of faith and meaning over dinner. Saint Mark's Cathedral, Capitol Hill - 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Evening Episcopalians – Sunday evenings, once-a-month -- Curious about the traditions, histories and flavors of other churches in our diocese? Let’s check out the evening services at different parishes in the Seattle area, and maybe go for dinner/drinks afterward. Get on the meet-up e-mail list:

  • Nacho Theology - Fourth Thursdays of the month, T.S. McHugh's Pub, Lower Queen Anne, 7:15 p.m. hosted by St. Paul's, 
Film Night at Leary Mansion: Wrestling with God
Join other young adults for a film series that creatively explores the ways that religion and society intersect for better or worse, curated by Josh Hornbeck, the Diocese's resident film buff.

This month: "Disobedience"

Two orthodox Jewish women who have fallen in love with one another must face expulsion from their faith community. Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman.
Friday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Diocesan House, 1551 10th Avenue E. Seattle
Light refreshments. Conversation to follow.
Follow the Diocese Young Adult Facebook Page
Be sure to "Like" and encourage the Young Adults in your congregation to "Like" Episcopal Young Adults of Western Washington . Diocese-wide events and activities specifically tailored to bring young adults together as a faith community are listed here.
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral presents a training:
Active Assailant & Violence on
Faith-Based Properties
Proactive and Reactive Readiness

May 25, 2019, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Bloedel Hall, Saint Mark's Cathedral
$15, includes lunch

TOPICS COVERED: ◆ Emergency Preparedness and Response: Medical Emergencies, Active Violence Situations, & De-escalation ◆ Attacks on Churches: A Brief History & Analysis ◆ Safety & Protection Protocols for Children’s Ministry Areas ◆ Behavioral & Psychological Indicators & Responses Before, During and After a Violent Event ◆ Developing a Trained Group of “Sheepdogs” to a Ministry of Vigilance ◆ Safety Grants & Survey Assistance from the Department of Homeland Security ◆ Addressing your questions & concerns

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Clergy, Staff, Vestry, Ushers, Front Line Volunteers Choir, Children & Youth Ministries Leadership and anyone interested in emergency planning and preparedness.
Free Downloadable Curriculum Tackles Big Questions
Transforming Questions  is an adult formation course designed to help both new Christians and longtime churchgoers move into deeper life in Christ. Over the course of ten sessions, participants engage the basic questions of the Christian faith like: Who is Jesus? Does God answer prayer? Why do bad things happen?

The development of  Transforming Questions  was funded by a grant from The Episcopal Church's Constable Fund. With this financial support, they are able to offer the curriculum free of charge as a download to any Episcopal church. In addition, Forward Movement is joining with The Constable Fund to offer ten free copies of the printed Participant's Guide to Episcopal congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 50 or less.
By Mary Oliver
The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

From  Thirst , 2006.
Lower Res
Sarah Blanco
Faith Formation Team Member
Seattle Service Corps
Valerie Reinke
Canon for Faith Formation:
35 and Under
Denise Brumbaugh
Youth Ministry
Program Coordinator
Sue Tait
Director, Resource Center
Maureen Crawford
Director for Adult Faith Formation
Dean, Iona School

Faith Formation | The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | 206.325.4200 |