The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | October 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"
"   One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." Luke 11:1


I was lucky enough to hear the Rev. Elizabeth Riley , the funny, feisty and smart new rector at Emmanuel, Mercer Island, speak the other night to a group of young adults (see "Versed" below). [Full disclosure: I don't exactly fit the demographic but people were too nice to call me out.]

She was talking about "being in relationship" and she had us think about familiar relationships: those with friends, partners, and family members, as a means for understanding and developing our relationship with God.

This perspective helped a lot. Being in relationship with anyone is going to take time, energy, patience, love and fortitude. You have to be able to share, be vulnerable, and then listen closely to what is being shared in return. We can do all of this with God through prayer and, mercifully, our style of praying can be as unique and customized as we like.

How freeing to know that there is no "right way" to pray, that you can choose the communication style that works best for you and, like a good friend, God simply appreciates that you took the time to reach out.

Need some ideas? The Episcopal Church has provided a broad array of options for understanding and practicing prayer. Sue Tait, our Diocesan Librarian, highlights her favorites in her "Ask A Librarian" column below and we take a lighter look at prayer in contemporary culture immediately below.

Yes, we'll exhaust the topic but maybe you'll come away with some new ideas for further cultivating that most fundamental of relationships.
-- Valerie Reinke
I Say a Little Prayer for You...
Prayer in the Culture

Where would we be without Anne Lamott's sense of humor? Taking ourselves way too seriously, no doubt. This little book is just the thing to demystify prayer; keep us focused on what really matters; and make us laugh as we recognize our own frailties in Anne's tales of uneven faith.

This is an exhaustive online collection of prayers from all "life affirming faiths." Prayers are categorized under: "Adorations," "Celebrations," "Invocations," and "Meditations," which will help you narrow it down a bit, but if you'd rather just leave it to chance, spin the "digital prayer wheel" and see what pops up. Prediction: you will lose precious minutes of your life on this website.

You may already be a fan of those ubiquitous adult coloring books, but Sybil MacBeth has been talking about "Praying in Color" since 2007 when she first combined her doodles with divine purpose. Her latest books give you some options: Pray and Color has coloring pages for "Disgruntled Prayers" as well as "Gratitude or Gruntled Prayers"; she has a version tailored for men (co-authored by husband, Andy), Praying in Black and White ; and even a Spanish-language option, Rezando en Colores . [Her book for children is highlighted below.]
"I try not to finagle God. Some days go better than others, especially during election years. I ask that God's will be done, and I mostly sort of mean it. "

-- Anne Lamott on prayer

Be the Difference. High School students from across the Diocese gathered at St. John, Olympia in September for the Fall High School Retreat, "Be the Difference." They are pictured here with Jim Brumbaugh (back row, second from the left), who visited from the governor’s office where he is a policy advisor focusing on serving vulnerable families
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.

Everything in the program is voluntary; feel free to participate in the things you need. There will be networking, lots of listening, some teaching, a variety of worship styles, leisurely meals and breathing space so you can connect with youth leaders from all over the diocese.

There are so many churches with so much good to offer... Plan to share and help each other in living out a missional youth ministry in our churches and provide input on how the Office of the Bishop can support you. If there is interest and need, we can also offer a Safeguarding training on Friday evening.

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

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. 
Youth As Church Leaders:
Participation at Diocesan Convention
Youth are invited to serve in several roles at this year's Diocesan Convention, October 26-27th, at the DoubleTree-Hilton, SeaTac and coordinated by Denise Brumbaugh :

Regional Youth Rep  - One from each of the 10 regions will be selected. Ideally these are chosen by the region , but, if a name has not been submitted, the Bishop's Office can make recommendations. Youth must be 16-21 years old and in good standing.

Non-voting Youth Presence  - This can be an additional 3 - 6 youth, selected by our office to take part in the convention so they can be seated with their congregation. Youth must be 16-21 years old and in good standing.

Pages -  We use about 8-10 mature, responsible youth in 9th-12th grade to work behind the scenes -- handing out info, collecting ballots, being runners, staffing the youth booth, etc. It's very active and fun way to be involved in the process.

Acolytes -   Ideally, we like to use any youth that are already serving at convention as pages or representatives and are trained as acolytes for the Eucharist at convention. Occasionally, there is the opportunity for local teens to come and acolyte at the service on Saturday.

All youth are housed together by gender and their meals are covered. 
Well Versed. Young adults from around the Diocese gather for the first in the "Versed" series. Here the Reverend Elizabeth Riley, Emmanuel, Mercer Island, facilitates a conversation on "Being in Relationship."
Facing Big Decisions?
Join Us for "Versed"
Join other young adults in their 20's and 30's and Episcopal priests and other faith leaders from around the diocese in a series of conversations that explore the big decisions we face as we move through life.

October 16: Aaron Scott, Diocesan Missioner for Anti-Poverty Organizing & the Rev. Shelly Fayette

> Passion vs. Paycheck
You dream of making a positive difference in the world but what are the trade-offs?

October 30: Greg Malone, MA MDiv, Mgr. of Palliative Care, Swedish Medical Group

> Befriending Death
It's the day before Halloween, a holiday that depicts death as something spooky if not terrifying; what if you were able to change that perspective?

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Also save these dates: November 6 & 13 for more provocative discussion.

Diocesan House
1551 10th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Free. Dinner included.
Save the Date:
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 dinner, conversation and strategic planning on Tuesday, November 27 , 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.
Send Your Young Adults to the Diocese YA Facebook Page
Be sure to "Like" and encourage the Young Adults in your congregation to "Like" Episcopal Young Adults of Western Washington . And many thanks to the Rev. Josh Hosler, rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Federal Way , who has lovingly curated this on-line gathering place.
Spread the Word:
Child Care Providers Needed
We are currently recruiting child care providers for Diocesan Convention 10/26 and 10/27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, SEATAC. We are especially seeking people who have experience and are known in a local church setting; have been trained in Safeguarding God’s Children; and have a background check on file at their church.

Compensation will be $20/hour . In addition, mileage to and from the hotel and lunch will be covered.

Child care will be provided during the following times:

Friday, October 26
  • Morning Child-Care: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm (3 hours)
  • Afternoon Child-Care: 12:45 pm – 5:45 pm (5 hours)

Saturday, October 27
  • Morning Child-Care: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm (4.5 hours)
  • Afternoon Child-Care: 12:45 pm – 4:00 pm (3.25 hours)

Please forward this information onto nursery care providers at your church or in the region who might be interested in working. They can select the time-frames that are best for them or choose to provide care at all four sessions.

To sign-up to be a Child Care Provider or to get more information, contact by  Friday, October 19.

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
Children & Families Ministry Leaders Gather
In September both Children & Families Ministry Leaders and Children's Commission members met to exchange ideas and make plans for the future.

Here are some highlights:

  • Children’s Commission members will be at Diocesan Convention's Children & Families table in the exhibit hall to answer questions and offer consultation – please stop by to say hello!

  • It's time to renovate the Children & Families page on the diocese website. Pictures are needed! Send your favorites to

  • Save the Date for “Better Together,” a day-long event for faith formation leaders throughout the Diocese, to be held Saturday, March 2, 2019 at St. Margaret, Bellevue. Hotel accommodations will be available Friday night for those with more than 2 hours’ travel time.

The Way of Love for Children?
Shout out to Jenn De Shaw, Director of Children's Ministries at St. John, Kirkland , who asks, "Has anyone created anything for children based on the Way of Love materials?..."

Not that we're aware of, Jenn, so, until we hear differently, let's crowd source this one!

Here's a start for the "Pray" plank...

> Video & Companion Book: Praying in Color, Kid's Edition. Take a look at this video (top right, 4:12) from "Praying in Color" author Sybil MacBeth. It's a snippet of a workshop she does with children to teach them ways to talk to God. The companion book, Praying in Color: Kid's Edition is also available.

> Picture Book: Beautiful Moon, A Child's Prayer . Here's what the amazing blog, Picture Book Theology , says about this gorgeous book written by Tonya Bolden and illustrated by Eric Valasquez : " One evening in a noisy city, a young boy hurries out of bed because he’s forgotten to say his prayers. As he kneels and prays, he notices a beautiful moon shining in his window..."

"...Others in the city are experiencing the rays of the moon, but they are in distress. Then the author weaves and connects an aspect of the boy’s prayer to each of the other parties. A woman tries to sleep on a park bench; the boy prays for those who are homeless. A businessman reads a news headline about war and is worried about his daughter, a soldier. The boy prays for war to end. Two adults stare at an empty cupboard. The boy prays for people to have food. This continues as the beautiful moon shines on them all."

Next month we'll focus on "Worship" in the Faith Formation E-Newsletter... What children's materials and resources do you recommend? Please share by writing to:
Creation Care:
Encourage Families to Go Explore National Parks!
Check out this program for 4 th  graders and their families to get a free pass for federal parks, lands and waters. Fourth graders were targeted because research shows that kids ages 9-11 are beginning to learn about the world around them, are open to new ideas, and are likely to connect to nature. What better time to get them and their families into God’s creation so they can appreciate it and be interested in protecting it later!

Parents or faith formation leaders can download the passes for their 4 th  graders at
Safe Church Training
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.
Getting Ready...
Choose a Christmas Pageant
Once again, Building Faith , the online ministry of the Virginia Theological Seminary, proves to be an invaluable resource, this time for all things related to Christmas pageants.

Go to: Build Faith - Christmas Pageant Resources for ideas, tips and, yes, scripts -- fully downloadable, free and good to go.

Next month in this newsletter we'll take a closer look at Advent activities including resources for families from Elaine Ogden, Children, Youth, and Family Minister at St. Columba, Kent and Children's Commission member.
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

Question:    I want to pray, but it seems too difficult to set time aside every day. Surely, I’m not alone in this push-pull of desire and resistance. What do you suggest?

Sue Says: Y ou are certainly not alone. The emphasis in the Way of Love seems to be on short prayers and daily meditations that inform our daily situations and concerns. One of my favorite titles from that list has not been published yet, although by the time you get this newsletter it probably will have been received in the Resource Center: Just Begin: A Sourcebook of Spiritual Practices by Dann E. Wigner. Church Publishing, 2018. 

The description on claims that this is “an indispensable reference tool,” introducing readers to “more than 40 different practices from Eastern and Western traditions…. Each chapter forms a short three to five page introduction to a mystical practice…” Resources for further study are also included.

Wigner is an adjunct professor of religious studies, with a doctorate in theology and sociology. According to one review, he offers “a contemporary updating of classic Christian practices that can help Jesus’s followers actually live the life he promised.”

Last fall the Episcopal Networks Collaborative put together a collection of O Antiphons Reflections , for Advent, available for immediate download as a pdf , and which focus on economic justice for: "immigrants, low wage workers, targets of hate crimes and those fighting corporate greed which threatens sacred lands with environmental destruction." You will see many familiar names as contributors. 

I would also recommend Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People by Jenifer C. Gamber and Sharon Ely Pearson. Morehouse Publishing, 2012. (242.83 Gam). This book for individual devotions was written with teenagers in mind but is certainly appropriate for all ages, and a number of them were written for this volume. The authors see prayers as a “response to God”, dividing the book into three sections: common prayer, kinds of prayer, and personal prayer. Each section includes brief instructions. For instance, the authors say, “If you are a little nervous about praying, think of it like talking to a new friend. At first you might not know what to say. As you get to know one another, however, talking just comes naturally. The same is true for God.” (p.27)
Seattle-King County
Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Service
Held at Sammamish Multi-Home Site

The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey , Good Samaritan, Sammamish , addresses the gathering at an Interfaith Service on Sunday at Habitat for Humanity’s ten-home site, also in Sammamish. The Service was the culmination of two weeks of an "Interfaith Build" that brought members of congregations from throughout King County including many from Saint Mark's Cathedral to help with construction.

Interfaith Build events were initiated by Habitat in response to 9/11. Under the banner “Together We Build,” dozens of faith groups come together each year, overcoming the cultural divisions that rise in the wake of violence and hatred.

If You Missed the Bishop's Leadership Conference...
...View Faith Formation Workshop Resources here
A Poem for the Journey: "The Edge of Doubt"
By Albert Huffstickler
There is always
that edge of doubt.
Trust it.
That's where
the new things come from. If
you can't live with it,
get out because,
when it's gone
you're on automatic,
repeating something
you've learned.
Let your prayer be:
save me from that tempting
certainty that
leads me back
from the edge,
that dark edge where
the first light breaks.
Text as published in  Journal for Anthroposophy  (Fall, 1994).
The Faith Formation Team
Denise Brumbaugh
Youth Ministry
Program Coordinator
Maureen Crawford
Director for Adult Faith Formation
Dean, Iona School
Valerie Reinke
Canon for Faith Formation:
35 and Under
Sue Tait
Director, Resource Center
Faith Formation | The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | 206.325.4200 |