The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | November 2018
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.

The Next Step on "The Way of Love"
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. – Luke 24:30-31

Did you catch that interview with Elaine Pagels, eminent religious scholar, on NPR's Fresh Air last week? She's got a new book out titled Why Religion?: A Personal Story .

Interviewer Terri Gross asked her about what she believes. But Pagels brushed off the question saying -- in so many words -- that it was too narrow and confining; the real question, she countered, should be: "What is your practice?"

And that's what this pillar in the Way of Love suggests to me: not the fixed nature of beliefs but the fluidity of a practice .
The Episcopal faith has been described as a big tent. Because of this inclusive approach, beliefs can diverge -- greatly. The common ground of our faith is more readily found in our weekly worship which literally and figuratively brings us together; communion being the ultimate unifying gesture.

As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says in his introduction to "Worship": As we break bread, our eyes are opened to the presence of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are made one body, the body of Christ sent forth to live the Way of Love. "

-- Valerie Reinke
The Bishop's Bookshelf
By Bishop Greg Rickel

The book I'm recommending this month is The Book of Sam: Putting Together a Spiritual Life Without a Lot of Belief by the Rev. Peter D. Snow. 

Peter is a member of our diocese and I actually read the manuscript as he was putting this book together. It is a discussion, based on an actual one he had with his nephew, who is in his early 20's. The discussion is about the nature of God, and how one can believe in this day and time. It also addresses some of the anxiety that religion can add to our already complicated lives.

This book is interesting enough to me that I will be buying one for each of the young adults who participates in our "Versed" speaker series. At a later date I would like us all to review this book together. 
"Better Together"
Faith Formation Leadership Gathering
When: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Where: St. Margaret, Bellevue

What: "Better Together" is a gathering of church educators, staff, clergy and v olunteers, from across the Diocese of Olympia.

The purpose of the one-day conference is to highlight innovative and exciting ways to connect people with their faith. We will offer key-note speakers that inspire; workshop tracks on faith formation for children & families, youth, and adults; as well as an interdisciplinary track dedicated to music & the arts.

Interested in presenting a workshop? Do you have ideas for making Better Together better than ever? Connect with
Youth & Friends at Convention, Lending a Hand. Denise Brumbaugh, Youth Ministry Program Coordinator, is surrounded by her team of youth, young adults and supporting adults at Diocesan Convention last month. Youth were involved in all aspects of the proceedings, serving as pages, acolytes and even as delegates. Photo by Jan Akin.
Join Us This Weekend!

Middle-schoolers (grades 6 - 9) are invited to the fall retreat: "Where's My Faith?," November 16-18, at St. Paul, Bellingham.

This will be a weekend of exploring what you may or may not believe. It'll be a safe place for asking questions about religion, spirituality, reason and science and how to find your own faith and then own that faith around others. We'll learn about scripture, tradition, and reason and what a 3 legged stool has to do with the Episcopal faith! 

Join us for fun, conversation, and community building! Cost $35 , scholarships available. 
Our Gift to You:
All-Expense Paid Youth Ministry Leadership Retreat Weekend
Are you a youth leader, youth group volunteer or a priest that carries leadership responsibility in youth ministry?... Then this weekend is for you!

We want to invite you to a retreat where you will be ministered to, equipped for the ministry you provide, and connected to others who do this good work. This retreat is a gift to you for all you do on behalf of our youth.

Both of our venues offer great opportunities to be in a gorgeous natural setting and spend time with God. To maximize your ability to attend there is no cost, but space is limited. We are offering the same retreat at 2 different times and at 2 different locations to make it easier for you to participate. Saturday has the bulk of the content so if you can only come for the day, that's the day.

Register by November 20 through the links below:

Weekend One: 11/30-12/1 at Camp Huston in Gold Bar (7 PM Friday arrival, 8 AM start Saturday, Sunday departure 11 AM)
Weekend Two: 12/28-12/30 at St. Andrew's House on the Hood Canal (7 PM Friday arrival, 8 AM start Saturday, Sunday departure 1 PM) 
Questions? E-mail Denise Brumbaugh or go to

South End Regional
Youth Christmas Party!
On Sunday, December 16th, St. Columba, Kent will host a Regional Youth Advent Party from 1- 4:00 p.m., geared for youth in grades 6-12. We'll have holiday cookies, Christmas ornament making, and some wacky holiday games. All teens are welcome! E-mail Denise Brumbaugh for more info.
Exploring Advent Using
Social Media with Teens
Here are 2 options for teens to use their phones to facilitate faith development and live into Advent each day. You can even set up your youth group's own hashtag so you can see each other's photos. (Follow @ecwwyouth on Instagram to find out what ours will be!)

#adventword - This is an Anglican crowd-sourced global Advent calendar. Receive the word for the day, pray over it and respond with an image.

#pictureAdvent - Join fellow Christians around the world as we all celebrate the days of Advent and prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus! Each day of Advent use the daily theme to inspire a daily photo. Post each day with the theme and #pictureAdvent and share to your social media platform of choice. You can also sign up to receive a daily Advent devotional at .

-- Denise Brumbaugh
Youth Pilgrimage Draws
Former Presiding Bishop
Katharine Jefferts Schori to the PNW
The Diocese of Olympia is excited to add another opportunity to its summer line-up for teens. Our first Youth Creation Care Pilgrimage will take place August 4 - 10, 2019.

The pilgrimage will focus on environmental and social justice as we follow the Olympic Discovery Trail west to the Pacific Ocean in search of orca, salmon and the rebirth of the Elwha River. Best of all, former presiding bishop and marine biologist, Katharine Jefferts Schori , will be joining us as a mentor and guide.

Intrigued? Join the Pilgrimage planning team. Our next meeting is Tuesday, December 4, 10:00 a.m. at Diocesan House . Contact for more info.

Prepare Ye the Way...
Labyrinths in Advent
With Advent right around the corner, now is a great time to quiet your heart and mind in the midst of all the busyness and commercialism of the season. We are excited to offer you the use of a canvas labyrinth (pictured) if you are able to pick it up and return it to the Diocesan house. It is about 22' square. Use it as a basis for a youth Advent activity or with any other group in your parish. E-mail Denise Brumbaugh to request it. 
Here are some links that might be helpful:

There are many other resources out there and if it isn't feasible to use this one, check out the many labyrinths that are around the Diocese of Olympia with this wonderful Labyrinth Locator.

You can also create your own inside, using evergreen swags, string lights, garland, or even tape or rope. There are instructions and designs available online as well. 

-- Denise Brumbaugh

Prince of Peace, prepare my heart for your coming. Help me to be open to your presence as I walk through Advent. Open my eyes and ears and heart that I may see you all around me. Amen.
The Lighter Side of Death. On Halloween-Eve young adults gathered to talk about "Befriending Death" with Greg Malone, MDiv and Manager of Palliative Care with Swedish Medical Group. Greg's advice for befriending the big sleep: acknowledge and come to terms with all of the "little deaths" in your life -- disappointments, small losses, transitions, illnesses, separations...
Last Chance for "Versed" in 2018
Join other young adults in their 20's and 30's and Episcopal priests from around the diocese in a series of conversations...

TONIGHT - Tuesday, November 13:
The Rev. Meghan Mullarkey

> Spiritual and Religious
How often have you heard someone say, "I'm spiritual but not religious..." What exactly do they mean? Has the culture set up a false dichotomy where you have to be one or the other? Jump in with Meghan for an animated discussion about claiming and defining your own path of faith.

Bishop Rickel will be joining us and will bring a copy of The Book of Sam , written by the Diocese of Olympia's own Rev. Peter Snow, for each person in attendance.

Pizza & salads by Pagliacci.

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Diocesan House
1551 10th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Bishop's Young Adult Advisory Group
Interested in a stronger young adult presence in the Episcopal Church? Bishop Greg Rickel would like to hear from you.

Adults in their 20's - 30's are invited for light dinner, conversation and strategic planning on Thursday, January 3 , from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Diocesan House, 1551 10th Avenue E, Seattle.

Contact for more information or to be added to our YA mailing list.
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 .
Notes from the Chalkboard at Iona:
A Theology of Happiness & More
Wondering what we do at Iona School each month? This new section of the Faith Formation E-News will give you a tidbit of what our candidates to the deaconate and some candidates to the priesthood are studying. Who knows? A book we are using or discussion question might enhance faith formation at your own congregation.
Our year-three students are reading Happiness and the Christian Moral Life by Paul J. Wadell — this book has been a springboard for many interesting theological questions: 

  • What is happiness? 
  • Is our definition of happiness different if you are a person of faith? A Christian?
  • What is joy? 
  • What is contentment? 
  • Are humans made for happiness? (Hint: Augustine and Aquinas would say yes)
  • How does one achieve happiness? (Hint: by loving and serving others)
  • What is morality?
  • What are ethics? Christian ethics?

NEW RESOURCES: A Study of the Book of John

I also wanted to provide you with information about what is available from the Seminary of the Southwest (SSW) Discipleship Formation Curricula Collection (for dioceses like ours who use the SSW Iona curriculum).

The Iona Center at SSW will be offering a set of resources, both video-based and written, for general Christian formation, church leadership development, and clergy continuing education. They are in the pilot project phase with a study of John. It’s available at the link below and they ask that any congregation or individual using it provide feedback about the experience of using the materials. I encourage you to check it out—please let me know what you think of it: 

-- Maureen Crawford
Adult Crafter:
Celebrating Advent in a Jar
Looking to engage the adults in your congregation with something crafty but meaningful for Advent? Check out Christine Sine's blog, Godspace. She says:

"Last week at our community meeting we made Advent jars, and filled them with ideas for things to do in preparation for the season."

Iconic Christmas
Shout out to the amazing Hester Mallonee ,
icon artist whose work was on abundant display at Convention. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or the most exquisite Christmas cards, you can connect with her here .

And, for you creative types, Hester is offering an icon-making weekend at St. Columba, Kent, December 7 - 9. You will walk away with your own finished icon. Get more info. here:

The Gratitude Practice:
Thanksgiving & the Church
Looking to highlight the beauty of giving thanks? Look no further than the website Picture Book Theology where curator Hanna Schock offers eleven (count them!) selections to choose from, including Thank You, God , (pictured, right). Watch the minute-long book trailer just below to get a feel for this lovely offering.

"Be reminded that gratitude is a spiritual practice that truly blesses us."

- Hanna Schock, Picture Book Theology

This Sunday Send Children Home With a Thanksgiving Prayer

The Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 18) send children home from church ready to roll with blessings for Thanksgiving dinner. Even the youngest among us can offer up a prayer:

For the littles:

Thank you God for food so good,
and help us do the things we should.
Help us with our work and play,
and everything we do and say.


For the middles:

We give You thanks for food and drink
and all that You provide:
Flowers, mountains, stars above,
family by our side.
Grant that we might hear Your voice
and always be our Guide;
From now until the end of time
may we, in You, abide.


For the olders:
Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(From  Blessings and Prayers through the Year , Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Liturgy Training Publications, 2004)
Paper Advent!
Take-Home Projects for Families
By Elaine Ogden
Children, Youth, and Family Minster, St. Columba, Kent
Diocese Children's Commission Member
Alright friends, here is what I've found for "Paper Advent" this year! I will be putting the parts of these projects into envelopes to send home with my families throughout Advent. Check it out!...

Children's Commission
At Your Service
Thanks to these lovely people for lending their time and talents to the Diocese Children's Commission:

  • Jan Akin, St. John, Olympia & St. Benedict, Lacey
  • Lindsay Knight, St. Paul, Bellingham
  • Sonja Lindberg, St. Margaret, Bellevue
  • Elaine Ogden, St. Columba, Kent
  • Angela Reynolds, St. Andrew, Port Angeles

If you have a question or concern about ANYTHING related to serving children and families at your church, please send an e-mail to:

and the whole group, with support from Valerie & Sue on the Diocesan Faith Formation team, will go to work on your behalf. No question too small or large!
Many thanks to Commission member Jan Akin , pictured here at Convention in the exhibit hall, for her amazing sign collages made with pictures taken from across the diocese. Among many other things, Jan serves as the official Convention photographer.

Join us at our next

Children & Families Ministry
Leadership Meeting

Wednesday, December 5
11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Diocesan House
1551 10th Avenue E., Seattle
Lunch provided

Bring a favorite Advent or Christmas
to share!

The Way of Love for Children: Worship
Last month Jenn De Shaw, Director of Children's Ministries at St. John, Kirkland , asked, "Has anyone created anything for children based on the Way of Love materials?..." We weren't aware of anything so it seemed like an invitation to start!

Here are some suggestions for this month's plank in the Way of Love: Worship...

> Picture Book Theology says:

"This author-illustrator duo (Karma Wilson and Amy June Bates) offers three delightful picture books grounded in the Psalms for teaching children aspects of worship in a way that is relevant and enjoyable.

These books detail 3 important aspects of worship, not just formal sanctuary worship but also authentic, momentary worship that a child might engage in anytime of the day or night. In each of these books you’ll find young children experiencing faithful joy in daily living.

They are wonderful role models for children and adults in your community who might need a little reminder of how worship is supposed to feel."

** Next month we'll focus on "Bless" in the Faith Formation E-Newsletter... What children's materials and resources do you recommend? Please share by writing to:
Safe Church Training
Upcoming Trainings:

This training is of general interest to all, but is required of anyone who works with children and youth in the church, whether as teachers, helpers or nursery - all staff, clergy & vestry/bishop's committees as well. Five year certification on completion of each class.

All you need to know about Safeguarding God's Children & People can be found on the Diocese website , including up-to-date information on scheduled trainings including how to register for the on-line training option; how the Diocese can help you with background checks; and guidelines for compliance.

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.
Follow the Diocese Facebook Page
for Children & Families
Be sure to "Like" and follow our brand new page: Episcopal Children & Families of Western Washington . We encourage you to post questions and share your ideas in order to connect and strengthen our diocese-wide community.
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

Question:     On All Saint Sunday we renewed our baptismal vows. I was especially struck by one of the vows and wonder just what it is that I have promised to do, with God’s help. The presider said, “Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers?”

Sue Says: One way to understand that vow is to understand that we will continue in active worship and growth in spiritual maturity, not as an observer but as an active participant. And, not just when we feel like it but as a spiritual discipline to bring us closer to God. The Way of Love gives us some good resources for continuing, especially in the “Worship” track.

Are you familiar with the Daily Office, Morning and Evening prayer? If not, why not explore them? In The Book of Common Prayer you will find “Daily Devotionals for Individuals and Families” (pp 136-140) which follow the basic structures of the Daily Office of the church but are designed for individual rather than corporate use.

Marking the time of day by prayer has been traditional for centuries in both Judaism and Christianity. When we pray in this way, we not only acknowledge that all time is God’s time, but we are stepping into a long prayer tradition. 

You can join this tradition online, and there are several sites available, but probably the one mentioned in the Way of Love bibliography is the most widely used. Go to:  and select Morning or Evening prayer in either English or Spanish

For a more immediate experience, you should know that the Evening Office of Compline is famously sung every Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. at our very own  Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral  in Seattle and simulcast on  Classical 98.1 KING-FM .


To read a short but provocative overview of worship, turn to Volume 8 in the “ Church’s Teachings for a Changing World ” series, Gathered for God (Small 264.03 Lee) by Jeffrey Lee and Dent Davidson. This was highlighted earlier, but I’m so enthusiastic about it that it is worth mentioning again. What are we doing when we gather for worship? When we continue in the prayers as we vowed to do at our baptism and again at our confirmation? This basic introduction to our liturgical life is an excellent way to begin study on the topic and includes questions for deeper reflection and material for further reading. Lee and Davidson invite us to sink deeply into our patterns of worship.


Another thoughtful way to learn more about continuing in the prayers and understanding more of the richness of them can be found in Inwardly Digest: The Prayer Book as Guide to A Spiritual Life , by Derek Olsen (264.03 Ols). Olsen is a layperson, and a scholar. He provides an in-depth look at the Book of Common Prayer and it is particularly helpful in understanding the Daily Offices.

These books and others help us to deepen our knowledge and understanding; they are both educational and inspirational. With understanding we move more fully into appreciation of the framework of the church that is available to help us grow in our baptismal promise: to continue in the prayers; to continue in our shared liturgy where we break bread and break open the Word together; and to continue reading scripture.  Continue .
"Edible Hope" at St. Luke, Seattle
For the past 30 years, the Edible Hope Kitchen at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle has provided a meal to anyone who needs one.

Edible Hope was started by four women in a prayer group at St. Luke’s. One of the founders, Nancy Rogers, still serves in the kitchen once a week. Today, Edible Hope serves breakfast five days a week. Edible Hope is responding to a growing need in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Last month, Edible Hope served an average of 175 meals per day. That’s up from an average of 150 per day in September, and some days they served over 200 people.

Volunteers at Edible Hope come from St. Luke’s, other churches throughout the Diocese, and the wider community. Some are former guests. If you’d like to get involved in supporting this ministry in any way, visit
-- Sarah Blanco
A Poem for the Journey:
"Gardening as a Form of Worship"
By Bruce Taylor
To bring us to our knees.
To bring us back to quiet.
Inclined as we are
to this labor and attention.

Where there’s little
choice but to begin
with the intensive
care of the present.

Grub up the dying,
start with something new.
Deprive the bad
and nurture the good.

Simple stuff it seems
at first, herbs drying,
a red flood ripening
upon a cool and shady sill.

The blue cold’s cluster
in the morning glory vines.
The ardor of the marigold
gone ethereally green.

"Gardening as a Form of Worship" by  Bruce Taylor,  from  The Longest You've Lived Anywhere: Poems New & Selected 2013 (Upriver Press).
The Faith Formation Team
Feature Heading
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 |