The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | September 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.

From Big Splash to Ripple Effect:
Autumn Can Be a Time to Highlight Summer Events
In spite of all the effort that goes into summer events, come September I am always tempted to move onto the next thing without looking back. Who has time to pause and reflect while ramping up for a new faith formation year?

But after the Diocesan youth pilgrimage this summer one of our planning team members asked:

"How might we think about extending this as a 'give back' to our faith community?"

How to "give back" then?... Here are some ideas that came to light as we debriefed; maybe they'll also help you think about ways to extend that summer goodness into fall:

  • Share highlights with your congregation -- In the weekly bulletin, during Sunday announcements, in newsletters. And forward your most compelling and in-focus pictures to the person who does your church communications for use in digital & print publications.

  • Ask a participant to share about their summer experience at a Sunday service -- What moved them? How were they transformed? This might be particularly effective and welcome during your stewardship campaign...

  • Ask children/youth/families for feedback or ask parents to capture that feedback and have them share it with you via e-mail; get permission to use those "testimonies" in next year's publicity.

  • Share back with your colleagues throughout the Diocese. Did you try something new and out of the ordinary? We would love to feature the details in this newsletter.

  • Is your event something that could be duplicated elsewhere? Attend Diocesan gatherings for Children & Families and Youth ministries to share highlights and pass the torch.

  • Host a reunion! Bring together your participants, their family members, and anyone else who would like to learn more, for a potluck and slide show or video presentation. Include a fun group activity reminiscent of the event.

  • Invite your teen participants to "show and tell" in your Sunday morning classrooms or at youth group meetings.
-- Valerie Reinke
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

QUESTION: I heard Stephanie Spellers from the Presiding Bishop’s staff speak, and she mentioned a new curriculum for adults called “Sacred Ground.” What is that and how do I find out more about it?

SUE SAYS: “Sacred Ground” is a ten part curriculum, available for free to all Episcopal churches. It's a film-based dialogue series on race and reconciliation that considers “family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story.” The guiding star, according to the website, is “the vision of the beloved community – where all people are honored and protected and nurtured as beloved children of God, where we weep at one another’s pain and seek one another’s flourishing.” READ MORE


QUESTION: Do you have any resources for me regarding an “all ages” worship service? I would like to see some changes at our church and I’m curious about how other churches have incorporated children into the pews.

SUE SAYS: First, be sure to attend the upcoming Children & Families Ministry meeting (details below). A few churches in the Diocese have created children's worship areas or "praygrounds" inside their sanctuaries to support families and they can share with you about how they created the space and how it is working.

The books I found in the Diocesan collection assume that children are already in the pews, and suggest ways to keep them engaged there. Here are a few you might want to look at:

  • Church for all Ages: Generations Worshiping Together, edited by Howard Vanderwell, 2008.
  • Including Children in Worship: A Planning Guide for Congregations, by Elizabeth J Sandell, 1991.
  • Children at Worship: Congregations in Bloom, by Caroline S. Fairless 2000.
  • Perhaps the most useful I found is The Rite Place: Kids Do Church! Adults Do, Too! by Shawn Schreiner and Dennis Northway. 2014. They are speaking of a family inclusive service at their Episcopal Church in Oak Park, IL.  
  • Interesting but not specifically directive is Susan K. Bock’s Liturgy for the Whole Church: Multigenerational Resources for Worship, 2008.
< CHILDREN'S WORSHIP AREA. Hassocks, a plush rug, and low shelving make for an enticing new space for children near the altar at St. James, Kent. The area was created by the Rev. Joyce Parry-Moore with Maggie Yowell Wilson, Director of Faith Formation for Children and Families.

Says Joyce, "This is where the kids are participating in worship – listening, watching, and, yes, playing! From the altar, I often hear some young voices enthusiastically shouting “AMEN!” during the Eucharistic Prayer; and sometimes they are enacting the Eucharist on their Godly Play set while I am presiding. One new family that came and immediately took their two year old girl there, received communion from me at the little table. So so beautiful."

Click here for more ideas and pictures of "praygrounds" from around the country.

The Seasons Change...
... And St. Luke's Celebrates the Transition
For St. Luke's, Renton, the changing of seasons is cause for celebration. They observe the solstices and equinoxes (September/December/March/June) with seasonal liturgies that incorporate music and poetry, ritual and movement. In doing so, the church "acknowledges the beauty of the natural world and the interweave of the seasons with our own spiritual lives."

The services are designed to reach beyond their own parishioners. Attendees come from Episcopal, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Reformed backgrounds, as well as a number of visitors who don’t claim any faith as their own.

Join them (tonight!) on Monday, September 23, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. to embrace autumn.
Children & Families Ministry Meeting:
Wednesday, September 25
Children & Families Ministry leaders, both staff and volunteer, are invited to attend this quarterly gathering to exchange ideas, brainstorm for the future, and to encourage one another as we bring God’s word to the church’s youngest members and the people who love them.

At the September meeting we’ll share our summer highlights; look at different models for Sunday programming (one-room school-house? two classrooms? stations? other?); and plan for the visit of Gertrud Mueller Nelson to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle (see details below).

Lunch will be provided and mileage/ferry/tolls will be reimbursed.
All in attendance will receive a copy of Nelson’s "Build Your Own Bethlehem" instant creche.

If you or someone you know would like to be added to the Children & Families Ministry leadership email list, please email .
The awesome folks at the Children & Families Ministry meeting in June.
Join us for a casual, caring, informative, and restorative conversation about the important work we do on behalf of the church's youngest members.
New "Love First" Curriculum Focuses on
Empathy and Service
Love First is a children's ministry model that aims to give children and their families what they need most, and what the church does best: LOVE.

The curriculum focuses on developing empathy in children by loving and serving others, and is built around Christ's teachings to love self, love neighbor and love God. Through biblical and contemporary texts, children explore themes of generosity, gratitude, courage, justice (and, of course, love!), all while doing age appropriate service projects for neighbors in need. 
Author Colette Potts, is the director of children’s ministries at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Falmouth, Massachusetts. A Harvard-educated family therapist and educator, she has worked with children and families in settings ranging from urban public schools to rural homes, within the United States and abroad. Potts is also the mother of three small children.

For information about Love First and for a free sample download, visit
Gertrud Mueller Nelson
"Dances with God" at Saint Mark's
Saint Mark's Wisdom School is delighted to host faith formation guru and beloved author, Gertrud Mueller Nelson, in a series of workshops that are open to all.

Clergy, staff, volunteers and families will benefit from Gertrud's guidance on developing faith at home and her emphasis on the ways that the seasons and cycles of the church year reflect the seasons and cycles of life. Gain insight into her life's work: how collective observances and personal observances are enriched through traditions and rituals.

Join us at Saint Mark's Cathedral for one or both days:

  • Friday, November 1, 6–8 p.m., Bloedel Hall
  • Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m.–2 p.m., Skinner Auditorium

Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Olympia and Saint Mark’s Children & Family Ministries. Program is free with required registration Friday and Saturday. Community dinner at 6 p.m. Friday with free-will offering.

Safe Church Training:
You Can Be the Trainer
Because the protection of children is paramount, the Diocese uses the Safe Church program to give clergy, staff, volunteers and the greater church community the tools to identify and prevent abuse. The Safe Church training is conducted several times per year, free of charge.

We highly recommend you and your volunteers take the training "in community" at one of the many scheduled throughout the Diocese. If the in-person training is not an option, you can take the training on-line. See the links below for more information.

We also invite you to become a Safe Church Trainer , an option for clergy, staff and volunteers who have taken the training and feel comfortable facilitating it. "Mentor Trainers" are available to assist you in this process, contact to get started.
If you are planning to schedule a Safeguarding training at your church, please let us know so we can share the news on the Diocesan website. Contact: Tonja Mathews, Resource Associate with details.
Our Fall High School Youth Retreat is just around the corner!

Encourage the high school youth in your congregation to join us October 11-13 at St. Matthew, Browns Point/Tacoma for a weekend of conversations about the ways we can help transform our world and the people we meet each and every day. Through small group conversations and workshops, worship and large group games, we’ll be exploring our faith in a safe space and continue building the community of youth in the Diocese of Olympia!

$40 registration includes meals and onsite lodging at St. Matthew, Browns Point/Tacoma. 
Forming Christian Leaders...
The Diocesan Youth Council is Recruiting!
Do you know a teen or two who shows good leadership skills and would like to provide input into what type of diocesan youth events we offer and help to plan and lead them? The Diocesan Youth Council is a great opportunity for teens to acquire and demonstrate leadership skills as they build their portfolios.
Youth commit to serving for a one year term (about 3 meetings), must attend church regularly, and need to be in 9 th  -12 th  grade. It’s helpful if they can be there in person for at least one of the meetings and the others they can do remotely via their computer.

We are looking for representation from all the different parts of our diocese and a balance that reflects the diversity of our church.

Please email Denise Brumbaugh with names and contact info. by the end of October so she can follow up with those interested.

Also, if you would be interested in serving as an adult advisor on the council, let Denise know that as well.
What Are You Called to Do?
Youth at the Diocesan Convention
Youth are invited to serve in several roles at this year's Diocesan Convention, Nov 8-9 th  at the Lynnwood Convention Center 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 appoint. 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, helping with the Eucharist offerings, 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 only at the service on Saturday.
All youth are housed together by gender and we pay for their lodging and their meals. 
Summer Flash-Back...
...Catch the highlights in the
Pilgrimage: Teens Trek from Seattle to Forks for Creation Care
The Diocesan Youth Creation Care Pilgrimage brought together 15 exuberant teens, 3 young adult guides, 6 church "waystations," scientists, storytellers, and 1 former Presiding Bishop... Church hosts included: Saint Mark's Cathedral; Grace, Bainbridge Island; St. Paul's, Port Townsend; St. Luke's, Sequim; St. Andrew's, Port Angeles; and St. Swithin's, Forks . We are so grateful for the hospitality!
Six-Day Summer Camp
Our annual Summer Camp at Camp Huston for high school students included all of the classic camp activities like crafts, archery, campfires, swimming, and hiking. In addition, Bishop in Residence, the Rt. Rev. Brian Prior, presided over confirmations and our graduating seniors gave speeches...
Youth Calendar
As you begin planning for this new faith formation year, please consider adding some of these diocesan youth events into your offerings. Talk to Denise Brumbaugh if you'd like to staff a retreat as a small group facilitator, support staff, convener, or musician. New this year: all retreats will have onsite sleeping!
What are the benefits of youth participation in Diocesan events? They experience different leaders, meet new friends, visit other churches in our diocese, and live into a larger Christian community.
  • SEPTEMBER. Teen Mental Health First Aid Training on 9/28 @ D House (A great training for volunteers, leaders, and parents of teens)
  • OCTOBER. Fall High School Retreat 10/11-13, @ St. Matthews, Brown’s Point Tacoma
  • NOVEMBER. Convention 11/8-9 @ Lynnwood Convention Center
  • NOVEMBER. Fall Middle School Retreat 11/23-24 @ Epiphany in Seattle
  • FEBRUARY. Winter HS Retreat 2/28-3/1 @ Black Diamond Camp in Auburn
  • MARCH. Better Together Day of Faith Formation Training 3/7@ St Margaret’s Bellevue
  • MAY. Middle School D House Overnight 5/16-17
  • JUNE. Connect (A retreat for adults involved in youth ministry) 6/12-14 @ St. Andrew’s House
  • JUNE. Launch for Graduating Seniors 6/20 (tentative)
  • JULY. EYE (Episcopal Youth Event) July 6-11 held in partnership with Washington National Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on the campus of Howard University, Washington D.C. An international youth gathering of the larger Episcopal church.
  • JULY. Six-Day, Youth Summer Camp 7/19-25 (tentative dates)
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
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 ~ All Are Welcome
Questioning Together  - Monday, October 7th (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. and follow on Facebook .

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: and follow on Facebook .

Nacho Theology  -  Thursday, September 26th (fourth Thursdays of the month) -- T.S. McHugh's Pub, Lower Queen Anne, 7:15 p.m. St. Paul’s hosts a gathering for young adults or for those who like hanging out with young adults. It is a place for telling stories, eating food, growing in community, and unpacking what it means to be embodied theologians. 

Young Adults Represent
The Diocese of Olympia at
"Evolving Faith" Conference

Episcopal church leaders: Katya Nemec (Emmanuel, Mercer Island); Josh deLacy (St. Luke's, Renton); and, Heather Irwin (Holy Cross Redmond); will soon be on their way to the Evolving Faith Conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference will feature a wide range of speakers including Barbara Brown Taylor and Nadia Bolz-Weber, as well as a pre-conference that will look at navigating healthy change for both staff and congregation. The team is looking forward to coming home to the Diocese of Olympia and sharing their experiences at convention and at future faith formation events.
Edible Hope Creates Community Around Food
By Sarah Blanco

Located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, St. Luke’s Edible Hope Kitchen serves breakfast Monday through Friday to anyone who needs a meal.

The guests at Edible Hope come from many walks of life. Many, but not all, are homeless, and many live on or around the St. Luke’s property. I’ve had some great conversations with people I’ve met about everything from homeless shelters to labor unions to Jesus. Some guests come to church at St. Luke’s on Sunday, and some help out in the kitchen.

Through interning at Edible Hope, I learned a lot about the work that goes into running a feeding program. Using donated food, cooked and served by volunteers, Edible Hope serves around 180 people each day. Because most food is donated, cooking takes creativity. In addition to things like scrambled eggs, potatoes, and, oatmeal, I’ve seen creations like bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed giant meatballs and veal burgers.
The people of Edible Hope - guests, volunteers, and people who have been both – are a community. Through this ministry, St. Luke’s answers Jesus’s call to feed the hungry and welcome the stranger. I’m blessed to have been a part of this community this past year. For information on volunteering or donating to this worthwhile effort go to: Edible Hope .

Sarah, pictured in the foreground, was a 2018-2019 Seattle Service Corps member. She spent her time interning at both the Diocese of Olympia in Faith Formation and at St. Luke’s Edible Hope program. We wish her the best in her new venture: graduate school in Information Sciences at the University of Illinois.
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 .

Summer Camp Resurrecci ó n:
Diocese-Wide Collaboration Grows Again
Nearly 100 children of farmworkers enjoyed full-day Summer Camp this year, complete with field-trips, guest speakers, hot meals, and a wide variety of activities, over the course of two weeks at La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección , a "mission station" housed at St. Paul's, Mt. Vernon .

Clergy and staff, as well as adult and teen volunteers, came from all over the diocese. Participating churches -- including Resurrección and St. Paul's -- were: Grace, Bainbridge ; Holy Cross, Redmond ; St. Clare, Snoqualmie; St. Margaret, Bellevue; and St. Michael's, Issaquah .

Camp Resurrección Coordinator, Baudelina Paz, says she would like to grow the camp again next summer to three weeks and is looking for additional churches to participate. To get more details, e-mail Baudelina and/or .
Incorporating "The Way of Love"
A Fresh Approach to the Ministry Fair...
The Rev. Drew Courtright, of St. Paul's, Concord, NH, used the planks of the Way of Love to organize and display the ministries at their annual ministry fair. To do this, they had large foamboard posters of the Way of Love graphic made—one for each step, with that step highlighted. They hung each poster under a pop-up canopy with the accompanying ministries displayed on tables below. Read more...
Thank You & Farewell to Adult Faith Formation Director and Dean of Iona School,
Maureen McLaughlin-Crawford!
Merry Autumn (excerpt)
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
   In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
   And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
   The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
   Just melts into thanksgiving.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, born in 1872 and the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose, was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.
To read the whole poem, go to
Welcome to Our Newest Faith Formation Team Members:
Grace & Aemelia!
Denise Brumbaugh
Youth Ministry
Program Coordinator
Sue Tait
Director, Resource Center
Grace La Torra
Director for Adult Faith Formation
Dean, Iona School
Aemelia Tripp
Seattle Service Corps
2019 - 2020
Valerie Reinke
Canon for Faith Formation:
35 and Under
Faith Formation | The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | 206.325.4200 |