The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | September 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"
" Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:29 

Now that school is back in session, it makes sense that our focus turns to learning. Creating opportunities for learning is what those of us in faith formation do. Of course, what is taught -- the content -- will vary based upon the curriculum we choose; the facilitator, speaker or teacher we engage; the nature of the activity; the target audience; and, broadly, the culture of our diverse congregations.

For all our efforts, we can never really know what participants are learning -- the "take-away" is certainly out of our control. But we can ensure that every time we gather in the name of learning we have provided:

  • a loving, welcoming, inclusive atmosphere;
  • opportunities for everyone to contribute and share ideas without fear of being 'wrong'; and,
  • an intentional way to strengthen connections and community -- beyond just gathering in the same spot.

And don't forget about your own learning... Just as you provide for others, you can provide for yourself. That's an important piece of The Way of Love's "Learn" plank. Presiding Bishop Curry says, "By reading and reflecting on Scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus, we draw near to God and God's word dwells in us." Or as a friend puts it, "Fill your cup so you can fill the cups of others."

The Episcopal Church has collected and vetted several resources related to getting closer to scripture and "finding rest for your soul." These would be perfect for a personal daily devotional time (over coffee, a proven learning booster), though they also lend themselves to group study.

Take a look at these resources and also check-out the "Ask A Librarian" column below where Sue Tait, Diocesan Resource Librarian, highlights two of her favorites.

-- Valerie Reinke
Daily Devotional in the Digital Age
> Via E-Mail

Forward Day by Day
You know those diminutive booklets that populate the narthex? This beloved Episcopalian resource for daily prayer, Bible study, and inspiration, is also available to you via e-mail. The meditations are written by a different author each month providing you with the gift of multiple perspectives on the verses at hand. $10/year. Learn More and Subscribe

Unfolding Light
Unfolding Light is "a daily reflection rooted in a contemplative, Creation-centered spirituality, often inspired by my daily walk in the woods," says author and Methodist pastor, Steve Garnaas-Holmes. If you live in your right brain (or at least visit there); if you're a fan of the Oliver/Berry schools of poetry; if you crave a Bible verse a day but need a gentle reflection to go with it; then you will appreciate Unfolding Light in your in-box. Free. Learn More and Subscribe
"Learning is experience. Everything else is just information."

-- Albert Einstein

Illustration from
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
 by Jennifer Berne
Bishop's Bookshelf:
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius & More
By Bishop Greg Rickel

Several weeks ago, in one of our morning prayer services at our diocesan staff meeting, St. Ignatius was the saint of the day. As I have studied spiritualities over the years, especially trying to assess which one I most resonate with, it turns out that Ignatian spirituality is really mine.

The Spiritual Exercises  was, and is, Ignatius’ guide to spiritual directors. It is very mechanical; this is not prose! But for some mysterious reason this particular book has been translated perhaps more than almost any other spiritual guide short of the  The Rule of Benedict, a book I also highly recommend.

Ignatian retreats are multi-day retreats, 8 day, 30 day, etc, whereby you put yourself into the Gospel stories, and meditate on that. Ignatians, also known as Jesuits (think Pope Francis) are an interesting Order. In the Episcopal world we often refer to them as “our people on the inside” as in a theology that is very close to our Anglican one, but in the Roman Catholic Church.

A book that takes all of this, the spiritual exercises, the life of Jesuits, and Ignatian spirituality and puts it together in our time is a book by Fr. James Martin entitled   The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life.  It is an excellent and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it too. You can read more about Father Jim on his blog,  "Ignatian Spirituality." 
Fall Retreat:
High-School Students Can "Be the Difference"
Learn more about the essential elements of Presiding Bishop Curry’s "Way of Love" at the Fall High School Retreat as we look at the intersection of life and faith!

St. John, Olympia
114 20th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Friday, September 28, 7:30 p.m. - Sunday, September 30, 12:45 p.m.
Explore how the practices in The Way of Love equip us to  be the difference  in our world. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll learn how the different practices (turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest) can support and equip you to  be the difference  in your community -- both in your everyday life and in actions that may be counter-cultural, such as advocating for change. You'll connect with other youth from around the diocese as we learn, worship, play together, have fun, and explore our faith.

-- Denise Brumbaugh

Register today and get ready to  Be the Difference  in your community.
DEADLINE Sept 23rd 
Youth As Church Leaders: Participation at Diocesan Convention
The youth of the Diocese have a special opportunity to serve in several roles at this year's Diocesan Convention, October 26-27th, near SeaTac. It is not too early to be thinking about and talking to your youth about these leadership opportunities:

Regional Youth Rep  - one from each of the 10 regions. Ideally these are selected by the region, but, if they have not submitted a name by two-weeks in advance of the convention, our office can make recommendations to the Bishop. These reps have seat, voice and vote. This is a great leadership opportunity to sit on the convention floor with people from their church and voice their concerns and opinions about issues and topics of discussion and vote. Youth must be 16-21 years old and in good standing. It's a good idea to let your church's delegates know so they can nominate them at their regional meetings. If they are not selected, then please let Denise Brumbaugh know so they can be considered for non-voting youth presence.

Non-voting Youth Presence  - this can be an additional 3 - 6 youth, selected by our office to take part in the convention being seated with their congregation - but with no vote; they have seat and voice only. Usually these are youth from regions where the region says "we have more than one youth that wants to participate." This enables a few more interested youth to express their opinions and be involved on the floor. 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 as pages or representatives and are trained as acolytes for the Eucharist at convention. Occasionally, there is the opportunity for those local to just come and acolyte at the service on Saturday. If this is of interest, please let Denise know directly. 

All youth are housed together by gender and their meals are covered. 
But Seriously...
Many thanks to our counterparts in New Zealand for this lighthearted take on reaching out to youth that has several suggestions that you can take seriously...

Here's one: #14 - Remove the Barriers... "Churches are alien for an unchurched generation. If you want young people in church it will mean some compromise. This doesn’t necessarily mean loud rock music – but if a young person came in off the street would they know what to do and how to act in your service? Would your congregation know how to act towards them? What can you develop to make it more comfortable?"

A Holy Waste of Time retreat participants gather on the back porch of St. Andrew's House. The Diocese' annual retreat dedicated to R 'n' R was held in August and offered strictly optional activities like kayaking, yoga, ukulele jams, board and card games, hiking, and more, all set against the back-drop of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Ann Strickland, former music and arts director at Grace, Bainbridge, coordinated music and liturgy to reinforce an atmosphere of peace and contemplation.

Facing Big Decisions?
Join Us for "Versed"
Join other young adults in their 20's and 30's and Episcopal priests from around the diocese in a series of conversations that explore the big decisions we face as we move through life.

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
October 9: Rev. Elizabeth Riley

> Being in Relationship
What does it take to go deeper with spouses, partners, friends, and even God?

Also save these dates: October 16, 23, 30 & November 6 & 13 for more provocative discussion.

Diocesan House
1551 10th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Dinner included.
Saint Mark's Hosts Young Adults:
Questioning Together
"Questioning Together," will be held Monday, October 1 , 7:30 P.M., in the Leffler Living Room at Saint Mark's Cathedral .

This group gathering offers a supportive community for those in their 20s and 30s to explore questions of faith and meaning in our time. We will meet on the first Monday of every month.

The topic for October is  Do you call yourself a Christian? What does this label mean to you?   Wherever you are in your faith journey, you are welcome. A light dinner will be served; an RSVP is appreciated but not required. To RSVP or for more information, contact Rachel McNary.
Understanding & Preventing Suicide
Many of us have been through dark times, or watched others suffer. We don't always know how or whether that darkness might lead to suicide.

In times of crisis, what does real help look like? It can feel awkward or scary when we don't know what to do. This training will give practical, simple steps that genuinely help. Facilitated by Renee Cox, this workshop will focus on:

  • warning signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking and actions;
  • suicide prevention;
  • risk groups for suicide and suicidal behaviors; and,
  • intervention:
  • how to talk with the person that you suspect is feeling this way;
  • how to most appropriately respond and intervene;
  • appropriate treatment

Enrichment for
Children & Families
The children of St. Columba, Kent, collaborate to assemble the church year using Godly Play materials. The church is in the process of setting up a second modified Godly Play classroom geared toward children as young as two.
  More Room for Godly Play
By Elaine Ogden, Youth and Family Ministry
St. Columba, Kent

St. Columba’s is doubling its Godly Play Program this year by opening a second classroom specifically geared toward children 2-7 years old. The new classroom is in a converted conference room just off the sanctuary with large glass doors where parents can look back and see their children hard at work. The goal of the new class is to give children an even younger introduction to the wonder of Godly Play, in a classroom equipped specifically for them.

The story materials will be larger so as not to pose a choking hazard, the desert box will be grains of rice, which are larger than sand and not dusty, so young children can help clean up with a simple hand broom and dust pan. The manipulatives are Montessori-style toys that play with size, shape, color, and number including a wooden rainbow and an assortment of blocks. For art materials, instead of overwhelming children with a shelf of art supplies, 2-3 art stations will be set up each Sunday, with rotating craft supplies like chalk, paint, play dough, and drawing. Each station serves a maximum of 2 children, so they’re still given the opportunity to share, take turns, and choose another activity when the one they wanted is already full.

Storytelling for this age group has to change a bit too, classic Godly Play stories will be broken down into 2 to 3 parts, told over consecutive weeks, shortening the story time, so toddlers are more likely to experience success, engaging in the story and staying seated for circle time. As the year goes on, the children will see their classroom materials grow along with them, beginning with a story about the focal shelf and its place as a sacred prayer area in our room. By the end of the year, children will have experienced every story in the room, and will know how to properly use and care for each art material and manipulative.

We can’t wait to see what happens! We’ll keep you updated! 
Godly Play Orientation Offered This Saturday Open to All
Trainer Cindy Spencer will offer a Godly Play refresher course focusing on the roles of the Door Person and Storyteller but will also share pointers on how to meet the needs of a wide variety of children. RSVP below.

Saturday, September 15
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Christ Episcopal Church
University District, Seattle
4548 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105

Thanks to Christ Episcopal & Heidi Hansen, Director of Children and Youth Ministry at Christ Episcopal and St. Stephen's churches, for opening
this training to all.

Join us at our next

Children & Families Ministry
Leadership Meeting

Wednesday, September 26
11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Diocesan House
1551 10th Avenue E., Seattle
Lunch provided

Safe Church Training
Safeguarding God's People

Please register in advance so that enough handouts will be available for everyone. 
The latest dates and contact information for trainings are kept on the  Diocesan website .

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 your training details.
Resource Center
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

Question:  I'm interested in implementing the "Learn" piece of the "Way of Love" but there are so many resources out there it's overwhelming; where do I start?

Sue Says: "Learn," the second practice is particularly pertinent to our call to nurture faith formation in ourselves and others by creating space to hear and ponder the word of God.

One can, of course, learn in a variety of ways, including subconsciously, but the materials recommended by The Episcopal Church call us to an intentional and disciplined practice. What would it be like to incorporate the word of God in our minds and hearts so that we are guided by it as we go about our everyday business? What if each of us developed a spiritual practice of seeking and welcoming learning? Ponder these questions and then you might begin by looking at these titles:

The Reverend Lauren Winner was first a practicing Jew, then a baptized Christian, and is now an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. All those traditions encourage reading the Bible yet, she confesses, the Bible bored her until she began to have a deep curiosity about it, and the love followed. In A Word to Live By she speaks of not only reading but praying the scriptures in a variety of ways.

Another stand-out that I would recommend is written for use by groups. The authors claim that by Dwelling in the Word at the beginning of meetings, especially over time, participants may be more able to “become part of each other’s imaginations.”
The authors propose using Luke 10:1-12 as a way of beginning, “seeing how this living Word, from the God whose children we are, might speak to us that day.”
This is a small book, a "pocket handbook," seemingly with a familiar message, but as the authors say in conclusion: “The results may surprise you. Then again, they may not. But the spirit works by surprise much of the time.”
You're Invited to the Harvest!
Episcopalians Squash Hunger
A bumper crop of nutritious winter squash is ripening in the rich soil of the Snohomish River Valley. We need your help to hand harvest the squash and fill bins in the field. In just three hours, 100 harvesters can fill a Food Lifeline semi with 40,000 pounds of delicious winter squash. That’s 80,000 servings of food! From Food Lifeline the squash goes out to 300 food banks in Western Washington. Open to all ages.

Sunday, September 23:
2:00 p.m. - Harvest
4:30 p.m. - Holy Eucharist in the Fields, Bishop Rickel celebrating
5:30 p.m. - Potluck Picnic -- Sweet Corn, Winter Squash and Pig Roast hosted by Eric Fritch of St. John, Snohomish. Donations welcome. Craft beers by the Episco-Brewers. Bring a side dish, salad, or dessert.

Chinook Farms
10890 Elliott Road
Snohomish, WA 98296
Seattle-King County
Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build Targets
Sammamish Multi-Home Site
Episcopalians! Join your Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, and other mainline denomination friends to be a part of the solution to the housing shortage in King County... Save a day in  October for the 2018 Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build in Sammamish.

No building experience required, on-the-job training will be provided as you assist in the hands-on construction of a 10-home compound. Lunch each day will be provided by faith volunteers and the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in collaboration with Good Samaritan, Sammamish, will be there to help.

Dates for the build project are October 4th, 6th, 10th and 13th and an Interfaith Prayer Service, open to all, is scheduled for Sunday, October 14th at 4:00 p.m.

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.
A Poem for the Journey: "Wherever You May Look"
By Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Wisdom is
so kind and wise
that wherever you may look
you can learn something
about God.

would not
the omnipresent
teach that

As published in Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from East and West
(Penguin Compass, 2002).
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 |