The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | May 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.

How to Be a Radically Welcoming Church
By the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers
Excerpt from Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation

What might change or develop in your community's life if together you opened the door to the dream of God? Here is a summary of the practices others have taken on as they made their way toward radical welcome...

Engage in Formation for Radical Welcome:
  • Focus your preaching and Christian formation programs on the message of embrace, transformation and liberation.
  • Prepare people for the reality of change, day in and day out.
  • Emphasize formation as disciples and apostles; mission and embrace aren't just the clergy's and staff's responsibility.
  • Take advantage of anti-oppression trainings and resources.
  • Tap into your personal and shared experiences of pain and marginalization.
  • Look at your community through the eyes of "The Other:" what is exclusive and what is radically welcoming?

Model New Attitudes:
  • Nurture an identity that can "flex" to include fresh ideas, perspectives, practices, and The Other.
  • Allow yourself and others to try new things, fail and try again.
  • Assume conflict is not the end of a relationship or a program.
  • Cultivate patience and persistence and keep returning to the long view.
  • Be playful and irreverent about yourself, your traditions and new possibilities.

Create and Nurture Supportive Structures:
  • Revamp and/or plant ministries that are collaborative, with room for different groups to share leadership and teach each other.
  • Offer a wide variety of forums and opportunities for truth-telling, storytelling and healing throughout the community.
  • Identify bridge people from the center and the margins who can help to lead change and nurture mutual relationships.

"When it comes to welcoming change and newness, especially new people, cultures and traditions, we all need to work hard to relinquish our privilege as people who are from a particular racial, ethnic, or linguistic group, are heterosexual, middle-aged or have economic means. We may need to let go of the definition of church as the place that feels like home and the people who feel as familiar as family."
The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers serves as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Canon for Evangelism and Reconciliation, "helping Episcopalians to share good news and cross boundaries for the sake of the Jesus Movement."

Stephanie+ will be in the Diocese of Olympia next week!...

Good Samaritan, Sammamish | May 21, 7:00pm
Saint Mark's Cathedral, Seattle | May 22, 7:00pm
St. John Olympia | May 23, 7:00pm
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks
Recommended by Bishop Greg Rickel

I had been hearing a lot about this book from people who were reading it, and decided to do the same. I like David Brooks. You might say he is my favorite conservative. He has a deep morality and some actual reasoning to his beliefs. In this book he uses the metaphor of two mountains, basically that every one who lives climbs the first one, making it through life, growing, hopefully learning. And, then, in most lives, we hit the valley -- loss, grief, hardship, struggle -- and if we get through that we begin to climb the second mountain, usually wiser, tuned into different, deeper things.

He covers a lot of ground in this book, vocation, marriage, love, and while, like many of his books, this one tends to be what I call “connect a quote,” as he relies on lots of research and the work of others, but he weaves it together well, and I am always inspired by what he draws upon. So, I recommend the book. I was very glad I decided to read it, and grateful for those who recommended it. 
See You This Saturday at Cathedral Day!
Here's a detailed list of Cathedral Day activities, courtesy of Virginia Lenker, volunteer organizer. All are welcome!

  • 9:00 - Registration begins
  • 10:00 - Rehearsal for candidates for confirmation, sponsors, clergy - Bloedel Hall
  • 10:30 - Vesting, line up
  • 11:00 - Service begins (quiet activities for children at the back of the cathedral)
  • 12:30 - (approx) Service ends. Complimentary lunch is served - your choice of entrees from three food trucks. Outside activities begin -- games, music and a bounce house!
  • 1:30 - Cathedral Tour
  • 2:00 - Organ Demonstration 
  • 2:30 - Airplane Launch from Choir Loft
  • 2:45 - Diocesan House (historic Leary mansion) tour with Bishop Rickel

Everyone who attends is entitled to a free entree from a food truck. Pre-register below.
The registration table will have plenty of paper vouchers for anyone who forgets to pre-register.
Children & Families Ministry Meeting: June 26
Please save the date for our quarterly Children & Families Ministry meeting: Wednesday, June 26 at noon (lunch included) at the Office of the Bishop.

Guest speakers include:

  • The Rev. Cristi Chapman, Curate for Spiritual Growth & Stewardship at Saint Mark's Cathedral. Cristi is working to bring Christian Formation guru, Gertrud Mueller Nelson, to Seattle in the fall and would like to brainstorm with us about what that might look like.

  • Interior designer Andrea Forbush will bring her decorating ideas for Summer Camp/VBS/VBC. In return, bring your decoration challenges!
Gearing Up & Getting Ready for Your Summer Program
Are you needing a crash course in managing a Vacation Bible School or Summer Camp experience at your church? Don't despair...

  • Try this Webinar (left) from Building Faith: "Planning for VBS." It covers big picture thoughts about goals and objectives of VBS, as well as practical tips for running a successful program. (50 minutes.)
  • From "Episcopal Teacher" a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary, here's an article on Building a Staff for VBS from Lisa Brown, co-host of the Webinar.

Check-Out "Bloom,"
A Home-Grown Curriculum
A new, downloadable curriculum resource is available for Children's Ministry: "Bloom: Nurturing Seeds of Faith. "

Bloom was created by Lutheran pastor, Rachel Simonson, who started writing it while working in children's ministry. It follows the Narrative Lectionary, a four-year cycle of scriptural readings which expand the three-year Revised Common Lectionary to include more Old Testament stories and to reflect the four gospels of the New Testament.

Each lesson provides ideas for large mixed age groups, as well as for small groups including: PreK, K&1, 2&3, and 4-6 grade.

Go to  for a free sample. The curriculum is $75/season, with some extras thrown in (like a soon-to-be-available Christmas Pageant).
Safe Church Trainings

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.
By Denise Brumbaugh

This past Saturday was the inaugural lift-off of our new program for graduating seniors called Launch!

We started with a session on mental health with a licensed counselor on how to have a plan in place before its needed; how to recognize signs of stress; and what can be done to take preventative action. Bishop Greg came and addressed the group during lunch.

In the afternoon several young adults joined us, each from a different phases of life: from just finishing their first year of college, to still being in college, just out of college and out in the workforce. This was a great exchange of questions and responses about living with roommates, wisdom gained, and advice given. We wrapped the day up with an engaging session on finances in terms the youth could relate to. A final discussion covered curating faith on campus and in the community as well as "get real" topics like alcohol and relationships. The day concluded with a closing service reminding us that God is always with us. The participants received a swag bag of helpful personal prayer practice material and connections to campus ministries and Episcopal churches for wherever they were personally going.

We look forward to making Launch an annual event for graduating seniors in the Diocese!

“So we go to school where we’re supposed to learn everything but I had to come here to learn about what I really need to know?!”
-- Launch participant

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)
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 reverse the effects of 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.
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 Facebook page... Also Follow us on Instagram @ecwwyouth
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?... Then 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. Come get new ideas and work on your planning for next year with others. As part of the weekend, Dan Hammer, Program Coordinator for Faith Leader Engagement (pictured, right), from Seattle's Lambert House will talk about a variety of topics related to LGBTQ+ teens that will help you in your ministry.

This retreat is our gift to you for all you do on behalf of youth!
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, 

  • Bishop's Young Adult Advisory Group - Thursday, June 20. Adults in their 20's and 30's are invited to join Bishop Rickel for BBQ and conversation at Diocesan House on Capitol Hill. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. RSVP:
Do you have a favorite hymn the organist never seems to play? Do you have a favorite hymn the organist always plays, but you never get tired of it? Sing along with Seattle Service Corps! On Saturday, May 25th, join talented SSC musicians to sing your favorite hymns and support our ministry! We'll be queuing up tunes in the nave of Saint Mark's Cathedral from 11-12:30. Coffee and treats will be served. Donations will be accepted in support of our ministry. Questions? Write Sarah at
Save the Date:
A Holy Waste of Time Retreat for
Young Adults Scheduled
Join us for the best little no-agenda retreat in all of Western Washington! Friday - Sunday, August 16 - 18, at St. Andrew's House on the Hood Canal.

Registration opens next month.
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 .

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.
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

QUESTION: We plan to confirm some teens and adults at Cathedral Day . We have had some confirmation classes for these people, but now I’m wondering about the whole idea of confirmation and what's required in order to prepare our confirmands. In fact, we got into an argument about it! What is the recommended approach?

SUE SAYS: As you may be aware, there are lots of books, and lots of opinions on confirmation. In the Book of Common Prayer catechism (p.800), confirmation is defined as “the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.” You will of course see that rite at Cathedral Day, as candidates and sponsors and the larger Christian family from all over the diocese gather to make that mature commitment to Christ. Understanding of what it has meant over the years and in various prayer books and denominations, and thinking about what shape confirmation of the future might take is fascinating.

Sharon Ely Pearson, compiler and editor of Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Theologies of Confirmation for the 21st century (264 Pea), has been interested in the history and theology of confirmation since working on her thesis for Virginia Theological Seminary. Here she presents the complicated and sometimes even contradictory ways of understanding it, through a variety of lenses: liturgical and developmental as well as historical. She notes, “The practice of preparation for Confirmation differs widely across the Church within and between dioceses, and the preparation used for leaders …into the history, doctrine, and polity of the Episcopal Church is just as nebulous.” It is not surprising that two Episcopalians could see it differently!
By Rachel Held Evans
1981 - 2019
Jesus didn't talk much about the church, but he talked a lot about the kingdom.

The kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed, he said, that grows into an enormous tree with branches wide and strong enough to make a home for all the birds. It is like a buried treasure, a delicious feast, or a net that catches an abundance of fish. The kingdom is right here, Jesus said. It is present and yet hidden, immanent yet transcendent. The kingdom isn't some far-off place you go where you die; the kingdom is at hand -- among us and beyond us, now and not-yet. It is the wheat growing in the midst of weeds, the yeast working its magic in the dough, the pearl germinating in a sepulchral shell. It can come and go in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus said. So pay attention; don't miss it.

From  Searching for Sunday , 2015. Read Rachel's obituary in the New York Times.
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 |