A Pastoral Word from Barbara upon her Retirement

First a word of gratitude
  •  For lay leadership: We currently have one of the most gifted and faithful boards with which I have ever worked, and I have worked with some very talented leaders.  I hesitate to name names because space precludes me naming them all. But let me name seven key leaders who have worked so hard in the past year.  Tom Moore, our Moderator, has to be one of the most faithful, generous, and hard-working people on God's earth. If we put him on an hourly wage, we could not afford him. I have learned some wonderful things about how to give to community in retirement that I am hoping to put into practice. Alison Unterreiner, Vice Moderator, is one who, I think it is fair to say, prefers to be in the background which deprives most of us from knowing the depth of her wisdom and commitment to community, to justice, and especially to the love and care for some of the most vulnerable in our midst, the physically hurting and the aging. Alison has made me a better pastor. Pat Riley, Treasurer, many know from his time in front at meetings.  To know that side of him is to know he is smart, knows finance and Roberts Rules of Order.  But Pat is also one of the most deeply spiritual Christians I have ever met, deeply insightful and loving, and I am better for having prayed and sung and worshipped with him. Carolyn Bustamante, Board Secretary, is a leader I don't know as well personally.  But she is very smart and so very patient in circumstances where I am not patient, which teaches me to consider patience. The board and the community is very, very lucky to have her!  John Unterreiner, Trustee Chair, is a man of vision.  Without John and Tom, we would not have the Tiny House Village at 6th and Orchard, we would not have the Center for Spirituality and the Arts, and we would not have a hope of expanding those wonderful beginnings into much larger dreams for this intersection at 6th and Orchard. On a personal note, John has been one of those who has been willing to directly come to me, face to face, when he thinks I am wrong, but always privately and lovingly. He is also able to take a situation that looks dark to us and helps us see God's light. These are traits to be treasured.  Dorothy Beeles, Elder Chair, is who I want to be when I grow up into a real elder.  She is unfailingly loving. She unfailingly finds God's goodness in any situation and in people. She looks always, always to what is good for all and not simply to what she prefers. Is it any wonder we all want to be around her? Carla Klink, Deacon Chair, has always been the first to volunteer to pick up someone who needs a ride to church, the first to volunteer to stuff plastic Easter eggs with candy for the egg hunt or be there for the Halloween Bash to hand out candy. She will walk to fight cancer or hunger and do whatever she can to make a difference and has done so while fighting more than a small amount of physical pain and I have been proud to call her a sibling in Christ.
There are so many more that should be named. I hope to personally say, what I cannot convey in writing my appreciation for who you are and how you have blessed my life. I am so very grateful God brought us together in this beloved community.
  • For staff:Over my nearly forty years of ministry, I have been blessed to work with very gifted staff colleagues. I am cognizant that not all pastors are as blessed as I have been, in having the local church colleagues (staff) I have had since the early 1980s. I cannot and will not thank them all here.  Let me thank my current FULL TIME colleagues.  Longest in tenure after me, Cassandra Tripp, Cassie, has a job title that has changed several times and isn't yet quite right.  I hired her because I knew she could help us bring our on-line presence up to speed, to help the office get volunteers on board in order to get more accomplished, but perhaps most importantly to help us embody in our fellowship time (in coffee hour and in opportunities like our Mother's Day Tea, Easter Brunch, Halloween Bash, etc.) the image Jesus uses over and over of God's kingdom as a banquet, a party where all are welcomed, where all feel beloved, where everyone has a chance to be joyous and feel a part of something wholesome and good. Hasn't she done that beautifully?  And not only in those events but also in her interactions with all of us?  And then, when COVID hit and we needed to do everything differently, she became a worship video producer with grace and wit and caring. I am grateful for her.  Ben Smith, Minister of Music and Executive Director of the Center of Spirituality and the Arts, was hired and is much appreciated for his musical knowledge and skill, which are abundant and amazing. But perhaps even more important to our work together as a community of faith is his generosity of spirit and willingness to serve well beyond what his original contract asked of him.  For example, we would not have the gifts of Sam and Plum if Ben had not listened to them at a street concert, struck up a conversation and enlisted them to become a part of our worship.  Additionally, I'd long wanted us to find a way to use our love of music and the arts to reach at-risk children but needed an artist to help make it a reality. Ben took time beyond his original duties to help make it a reality. He also has a pastor's heart for the people with whom he works: the Chancel Choir, the Trio, his staff colleagues, the children he teaches. I am grateful for him.  We also have a gifted group of part time staff. I do not know them as well. They work directly for either Ben or Cassie but I am very grateful for their skill and commitment.  Do show your appreciation for them as people who feel appreciated will work hard.
Clergy Ethics for Retiring Ministers
Clergy ethics are probably among the hardest to explain to those outside the profession. We are all pretty clear about why doctors and lawyers have clear rules.  But the rules for clergy beyond the obvious two -- don't steal from the church and don't take sexual advantage of anyone over whom one has power or influence -- anything beyond those can seem picky and trite.  Clergy ethics for retiring ministers can seem especially picky and trite, until one begins to understand the real reason for them, which is this: essentially, a retiring pastor is to do nothing to get in the way of the new pastor bonding with the congregation.   That sounds simple, doesn't it?  Except, well, it isn't simple, particularly since we are not simply in a professional relationship like you and I have with our doctors or our lawyer.  Yes, I am your pastor. But we're also family. We're friends. We care about each other way beyond what is "professional" and that is exactly why ethical boundaries for clergy who are retiring are so very hard and so hard to explain.  After all, you might really, really like your surgeon, be really grateful for the work she did to save your life, but after her retirement, when you'd been seeing a new surgeon, you would never think to ask your retiring surgeon to come out of retirement and do your next surgery because you were friends. 
I am grateful, therefore, to have had the chance to think clearly about these things with smart colleagues in two different settings -- with Regional Minister Sandy Messick and retiring clergy in the Northern Lights Region last October and then also with United Church of Christ clergy leadership (as I am moving to a place where there are few Disciples but many, many U.C.C. siblings).  Here is some of what I learned that I need you to know.
All ordained ministers must be responsible in establishing and maintaining healthy and appropriate boundaries in their ministries. Those professionally "retired" have particular responsibilities in their congregation of membership. Their role, responsibilities, and accountability may not be immediately clear to others, or even to themselves. Therefore, "retired" ministers must exercise particular vigilance in establishing, maintaining, and communicating healthy boundaries in all cases.
Ministers retiring from a congregation must pay particular and careful attention to establishing appropriate and clear boundaries with their congregation and parishioners in order to facilitate the church's ability to build a positive relationship with the minister's successor and to continue to be faithful to the church's mission. Establishing such boundaries will also serve the retiring minister by providing a sense of release and clarity regarding the new status. 
The following healthy boundary practices for ministers in retirement are strongly suggested:
  1. The minister, upon departing from the last ministry setting, will leave with grace, expressing gratitude for the time of shared ministry and encouraging the congregation to bond with its next minister.
  2. The retiring minister will state clearly that she is no longer available to the congregation or related persons for any ministerial services, including weddings, baptisms, funerals, church activities, pastoral care. The minister will keep this commitment, even when pressured to disregard it.
  3. The retiring minister will say "goodbye " through an exit interview and through worship - and then practice saying "hello" to the new reality of retirement.
  4. The retiring minister will transfer her local church membership (and ministerial standing, if appropriate) upon her departure from the congregation at the point of retirement to a congregation near her new home.  This will facilitate both the retired minister and the congregation in building vital new relationships.
  5. SOCIAL MEDIA BOUNDARIES (developed in recent years as we've discovered just how important Facebook and other social media platforms can be)
    • "Unfriending"/unfollowing parishioners and others with whom they've had a pastoral relationship is the strongly preferred practice. Ministers must prioritize the needs of the congregation and incoming ministerial leadership over their own desires to maintain relationships (or the desires of parishioners to stay in contact). Ministers must be consistent. Ministers will communicate this policy to their congregation as part of their departure plan so that there is no confusion.
    • Ministers will completely refrain from providing pastoral care through digital communication after the end date of their contract/call/covenant with their former congregation. Continuing to provide pastoral care through social media (Facebook), e-mail or snail mail interferes with the ministry of one's successor and is a violation of the Minister's Code of Ethics.
    • Following a period of 1-3 years, ministers may discern whether they will begin to accept friend requests of former parishioners and/or change their privacy settings. Ministers will not initiate friend/ follow requests with former parishioners and will continue to refrain from providing pastoral care to former parishioners through digital communication, including on an "informal" basis.
Having quoted the above, let me be clear about my ethical obligations to you because I love you and don't want to harm you in any way:
  • Beginning April 29, my professional email barbara@fcctacoma.org will cease to function.
  • If you have/discover my personal email and send something to me, I will answer with a copy to your new pastor so that he knows what is going on with you.  (I hope you will refrain from doing this as it will make it even harder for me to let go of the pastoral role.)
  • I will unfollow on Facebook anyone I have met through FCC of Tacoma and anyone for whom I've provided pastoral care until such time as you've bonded with Rev. Doug (exact timing to be determined by myself, Rev. Doug, and his PRC) but likely at least a year.
  • I will not take phone calls from you, again, until such time as you've bonded with your new pastor.
  • Any communication with me will be done through Rev. Doug.  He will know how to reach me. 
Perhaps, some of you, like me are already thinking, "this doesn't apply to me because"  
  • I knew her before.
  • I knew her better.
  • We were more than pastor/parishioner. We were friends.
  • One couple said to me last week, "But we'll not be a part of the worshiping congregation so we can stay in touch."
Please know that I have found myself making all these arguments in my mind and with God because I want to stay connected with you.  You might recognize these arguments as the stage of grief known as bargaining.  Let me reiterate, I don't want to leave you. I'd rather stay in touch.  But I love this place too much to get in the way of this next step in the journey God has planned for you, a step in which it is vital to bond with your new pastor and you cannot do that if your old pastor keeps hanging around, showing up on Facebook, taking your phone calls, etc.  Please know this will not be easy for me but I am committed to doing so because I love you and because it is what is best for this community that we all love.

Detail of King David from the Tree of Jesse lancet stained glass window west facade,  Chartres Cathedral. 1150-70

Third Sunday After Easter
 April 25, 2021

I Kings 2:1-4 &
I Chronicles 22:5-16

"Blessing the Future: 2"

This Sunday in Worship:
Greetings everyone. I've been counting down my last worship services with you as your pastor, not because they are a burden, not at all. Indeed, crafting worship alongside the gifted colleagues (Ben and Cassie and Sam and Plum) with whom I am so privileged to serve are some of the favorite hours of my week. I've been counting these hours down the way one does with anything of great value, pearls of great price, slipping through my fingers, treasured coins, too soon lost. And as treasures, I have looked to beloved scriptures, treasured not only by me but by Jesus the tradition of his heritage, as well as our own.
Last Sunday we looked at the aging and "retirement" of the great biblical figure of Joseph, Jacob's son, not because I pretend to have had a life's work as great as his but because I think I have much to learn from him...and because I thought perhaps you might too, even if you are young, even if you are just beginning your life's work. 
This Sunday, I want us to look at the aging and retirement of David, the creator of beautiful music; David, the great builder of a safe homeland for his people.  In looking at how he ended his service to God and his people, I hope you and I can learn, particularly in this place, what God might be telling us about God's best dreams for the intersection at 6th and Orchard.  I hope you will join me in thinking well about how to bless this beautiful place into the future.
To view meditation video click here.

May you be blessed. ~ Ben (on behalf of the Music Ministry Team at FCC Tacoma). Here's a link to our YouTube Channel.  If you like this please remember to subscribe and like the videos as you watch them.

Splinters from the Board 
 (meeting April 18, 2021, via Facemask to Facemask and Zoom)

  • The Board of Directors met with a quorum and reviewed the minutes of the March 2021 Called Congregational Meeting and accepted them with thanks to Secretary Carolyn Bustamante.
  • Pat Riley, Treasurer, led the board in a review of the first quarter 2021 financials.
  • The Executive Committee brought an important proposal for board consideration, committing us "to be an Open and Affirming, anti-racist, pro-reconciling congregation, professing that all people are God's children and deserve full inclusion in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, and blessings of participation in our congregation."  The proposal was passed unanimously.  To see the full statement, click here.  
  • Tom Moore and Barbara Blaisdell brought reports from the Village at 6th and Orchard (the tiny house village).  Barbara reminded us that the purpose of the village is to get vulnerable people (couples, single women, families with children) out of dangerous encampments or living in their cars or other unsafe places and to provide the support to get them into permanent housing.  To that end, the Village has served 82 people in the last four months and moved 40 of those into permanent housing. Think of that-40 people, children and families moved from living on the streets to living in permanent housing due to the ministry of the Village at 6th and Orchard!  The Village currently houses 63 people, including 18 children.  One mother was recently reunited with her children because she is now able to keep them safe in the village.  Disciple Terrace Executive Director, Teresa Mathies, who serves on the Community Advisory Committee for the Village donated the plants for the shared spring common garden.  Thank you all for your help in making this effort possible.
  • Tom Moore reported on the Task Force for Reconvening worship, reporting that in the month of May, guest preachers will provide video worship from remote locations. The Task Force will meet in early May with our new pastor, Rev. Doug Collins to review what phase Pierce County is in and whether the congregation can safely meet on campus, Facemask to Facemask in addition to providing some form of on-line worship for those who cannot come or do not feel safe on campus.
  • Barbara Blaisdell then brought her final Senior Pastor's Report, sharing, at the Executive Committee's request, the achievements she believes the congregation has made over the past nine years, the things she hopes we will continue to keep as priorities and then shared the ethics of retiring clergy that she intends to follow in order to bless the future of this congregation in its ministry partnership with Rev. Doug Collins.  That full report can be read here.  
  • The board's final agenda item was to share their appreciation with Pastor Barbara.  

FCC Tacoma's First Digital Album

If you missed the wonderful announcement about music in honor of Pastor Barbara's retirement and as a fundraiser for the Center for Spirituality and the Arts click here to read the post and enjoy our first digital album.
Upcoming Worship Planning

Sermon Title
April 25
" Blessing the Future 2"
I Kings 2:1-4; 
I Chronicles 22:5-16
May 2
Rev. Barbara's Last Day 
at the pulpit
"Message from God: I am about to do a whole new thing!"
Isaiah 43:18-19; 20b-21
Luke 5:1-11  

May 9 
Mother's Day &
 Easter 5
Rev. Sandy Messick,
 Regional Minister of Northern Lights Region

May 16
 Easter 6
Rev. Kate Ayers,
 Director of Gwinwood Christian Camp & Conference Center in Lacy

May 23
Rev. Katherine Blaisdell,
CEO of Divine Communications

May 30
First Sunday after Pentecost
Hymn Sing with Chancel Choir and Trio
June 6Rev. Doug's
First Sunday


In order to help us love each other better even as we must be isolated during this pandemic, we are asking permission to publish mailing addresses of the people on this list and encourage all who are able to send a note to people on the list (even people you may not know) letting them know you are praying for them. This means we will remove people from the list after a month so that we can make room for more names and addresses. Feel free to contact Barbara or Cassie to add (or re-add) someone to the list (and if it is a friend) ask if we can add their address so that they can receive cards.
  • For our African American brothers and sisters and all of us as we abhor yet more unnecessary and unwarranted police shootings of  unarmed black persons.
  • For the victims and families of recent mass shootings and for our country that it might find the courage and wisdom to confront this public health crisis with responsible gun safety laws.
  • Prayers for the over one half million dead from Covid-19 and their families.
  • Prayers for all those returning to work amidst the public who have not yet been vaccinated.
  • Asian American and Pacific Islanders in fear of hate crimes.
  • For the unanimous call of a new Senior Pastor, beginning June 1-the Rev. Doug Collins.
  • The Reese Family has reached Stillwater, OK safely and are settling in. Their new address is: 717 Pecan Hill St. Stillwater, OK 74074.
  • Terry LeRud started her first day at her new school in Long Beach.  Her new address is: 1505 196th St.  Long Beach, WA 98631.
  • Joe & Marylu Mills deeply appreciate all the cards and other greetings they have received from their church family. They are both on the mend.  
  • Marge Moore, sister of Tom Moore, suspected cancer has tested benign. 
  • Nathan, grandson of Phyllis Jacobson, is doing well and just celebrated 100 days of sobriety but asks for continued prayer. Cards of encouragement can be sent to him at his grandmother's home at 1307 Buena Vista Avenue, Fircrest, WA 98466.

  • Chris Beeles Miller, recovering at home after a bad fall. Well wishes can be sent to her home at 1502 S Mildred St  Apt 5, Tacoma, WA 98465.
  • Mike Murraycousin of Terry LeRud, recovering from heart surgery. 
  • Steve Johnson, recovering at home with the help of his beloved Margaret after being hit by a car. Doctors discovered fracture in knee which will be a slow recovery. Well wishes can be sent to his home at 4220 80th Ave. Tacoma, WA  98466.
  • Lilia Alvarado, mother of Gerardo and mother-in-law of Betty Alvarado, in the hospital with a serious case of Covid-19.  Please send cards with your prayers to Gerardo and Betty at 1220 E. 60th Street, Tacoma, WA. 98404.
  • Kathy Call, struggling to recover from eye surgery.  Get well cards can be sent to 114 E 37th St. Tacoma, WA 98404.
  • Lisa Rollins, daughter of Arnie and Mary Rollins, diagnosed with kidney cancer. Get well cards can be sent to her at 2510 W Bijou St., Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904.
  • September Peterson, 15 year-old participant diagnosed with stage 3 cancerous tumor, just entering another round of chemo and transfusions. Get well cards can be sent to her at 1002 N J St. Apt. 6, Tacoma, WA 98403.
  • Eastside Christian Church, as they discern their future ministry under Christ.
  • Marc Masters, friend of Martha Redford, suffering from severe arthritis in feet. Cards can be sent to his home at 2109 139th St E. Box 119, Tacoma, WA 98445.
Please remember our shut-ins
  • Helen Bosley mailing address: 2205 Crystal Springs Rd, University Place, WA 98466.
  • Elaine Jonson University Place Care Center, 5520 Bridgeport Way W, University Place, WA 98467.
  • Harry and Margaret Lobberegt 6959 Wagner Way NW Unit A, Gig Harbor, WA 98335.
  • Mereidene Moore, (mother of Charlene Housman who used to attend FCC Tacoma with her husband in former years) 3708 East 57th Ave., Spokane, WA 99223.
  • Jane Nelson 802 N. Laurel Lane Apt#125, Tacoma, WA 98403.
  • Jim and Kay Thompson(serious heart issues for Jim, keeping them both isolated at home) 8714 164th St E., Puyallup, WA  98375. 
  • Verena Reese Heartwood Extended Care Center, 1649 72nd St E, Tacoma, WA 98404.


Sunday Zoom Video/Audio Conference Call  
(Virtual Prayer Time with Pastor Barbara: bring your concerns to the community)
Every Sunday at 10 a.m.

Don't forget the Sunday Zoom Video/Audio Conference Call With Pastor Barbara e very Sunday at 10am.  If you've not received instructions on how to join the call please email  cassie@fcctacoma.org.  We'd love to see lots of folks online and offer our visual and verbal support to one another!" 

Children.   The working poor.  Seniors.

34% of Nourish clients are children 18 years of age and younger.  1 in 4 kids in Washington lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table.  The working poor are experiencing reduced employment issues and the rising cost of goods.  People over 55 are the fastest growing group among Nourish clients.  They are often dealing with a lack of transportation and health issues.  Help feed your neighbors in need, the children, the working poor and seniors by donating to Nourish.

For every dollar you donate, Nourish is able to distribute $7 worth of food. Your donation will be matched by our church budget, doubling the amount of your gift.  To give online click here.


Dear Gwinwood Church Owners,

Greetings from Gwinwood. We hope that you  are all well and managing the daily changes. Gwinwood is still facing hard challenges but there is hope and light on the horizon.

The Chalet is almost completed with the target date of May 1. The main house has been completely renovated (it was gutted in 2017) with kitchen, living room, full bath, 2 bedrooms, and an open loft. We will begin adding 2 small bedrooms, laundry and half bath after the first of May. The plan is to use this space for personal retreats and a staging area for the challenge course. Pictures will be forthcoming once completed.


Please reach out to the office for any of the following needs:

  • We continue to offer help for emergencies, including those who cannot get out and need supplies (groceries, household items, prescriptions) and have volunteers who are willing to help. Please let us know what you need by calling the church office at 253-752-7734. 
  • If you just need to talk, please also call.
  • If you know of others in need, please call or email or text.
And thank you for your support as we reach out to provide groceries to those who are hungry, medication for those who cannot get out, and modest help for the unemployed who need to keep utilities and other services going. Please consider a gift, if you have disposable income, to our "Households in Need" fund. 

~With Gratitude, Pastor Barbara

Click Here to Donate
Did  you know you can donate your regular
giving or special offerings online? Click on the button to the left to head to our donation page or use the QR code to the right to donate through Venmo.  Should you have questions please email us at info@fcctacoma.org



 Phone:  (253) 752-7734 | Email: info@fcctacoma.org | Website: www.fcctacoma.org