The Weekly Courier

November 16, 2023

"We seek to connect people to God, each other, and the wider community and to welcome and affirm all people"

Sunday at First Olympia

*A Public Notice: If your First Olympia yard sign (the "When god is love, everyone belongs" sign) has been defaced, please contact Pastor Heather as soon as possible.

Worship on Sunday, November 19, will be in-person at 10am, as well as live-streamed at this YouTube link.

This week we will continue our Stewardship worship series "Walking in Faith" based on the M.I.L.E. challenge from our Bishop Rev Cedrick Bridgeforth. This week, Pastor Heather will preach on Jeremiah 29 & Ephesians 2:10, Mark will lead our music, and our Jeffords Memorial Bell Choir will bless us with an offering.

Due to some recently reported COVID-19 cases in our congregation, First Olympia is currently in a "YELLOW" COVID protocol for our mask policy. This means that we strongly suggest masking, but will still respect everyone's individual choice.


Be sure to complete a digital Connect Card each Sunday you attend online worship. You may also give online, using our online giving platform.

Prepare Your Heart...

Before you hear Mark lead our Song team in singing, "I Walk By Faith" by Chris Falson, check out this wonderfully goofy performance from Kidz Echoing Praise. Click on the picture --> 

This Week's Calls to Action!

  • Attend the UWIF Holiday Bazaar this Saturday, 11/18
  • Check out the community events at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and Olympia Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, 11/19
  • Consider volunteering with Olympia Mutual Aid Partners

For more information about all of these events and opportunities, read on below...

Our Stewardship MILE - Inhabit Our Community

This week our theme is Inhabiting Our Community which is the I in the Bishop’s MILE acronym. I have an honest confession to make though. The I in the MILE from our Bishop is not Inhabiting Our Community. It is actually Itineration and Location

Let me explain. Our Bishop has articulated the focus for all churches in The Greater Northwest Episcopal Area as the MILE.

M -Ministry that Matters with a particular focus on health and housing.

I - Itineration and Location

L - Lay Ministry Enhancement

E - ELiminating Racism

All of those categories of ministry make sense and offer us an exciting opportunity to unite with other United Methodist Churches to make a tangible difference in our communities. Except I. Itineration and Location? What does that even mean? And what does it have to do with ministry in the local church? 

It actually has everything to do with ministry in the local church but we might need to look below the surface to understand how. Itineration and Location is how our new Bishop is looking at deploying pastoral leaders across the region and how pastoral compensation can be re-examined with both pastors and local congregations in mind. Our Bishop will also encourage churches to seek collaboration with other churches, which is something we already do as a part of the South Sound United Methodist Cooperative.

Itineration and Location is really about discerning how a pastoral is called into a community of faith and the community at large. This call is not limited to clergy. All people of faith are called to a faith community and to the larger neighborhood that faith community inhabits. That is why as we learn more about the I in the Bishop’s MILE we are going to talk about walking in faith in our neighborhood by Inhabiting our Community!

What does it mean to inhabit our neighborhood and community as a faithful presence? To love the people around us just as they are while inviting them to an experience of wholeness and full-life? What does it mean to notice where God is already at work in our community and join in that work? Who are the community organizations, perhaps not even faith-based, who are doing God’s work in our community that we can come alongside? 

These are the kinds of questions that can propel us out of our building and into our neighborhood to walk in faith with God, and with the people of our community. When our eyes are open and our feet are moving we begin to notice the presence of God already moving and hear the call for us to be a part of that redemptive work. 

This week, as a special guest in worship, we will have Domenico Spatola-Knoll, principal of Madison Elementary to help us get to know our neighbors a little better. He will share about the great things happening at Madison, how this church makes a difference in the lives of the students already, and how we can continue to be good neighbors to Madison. 

I am thrilled the Bishop is challenging us to love the location we are in and to walk in faith through the streets of our own neighborhood. 

Happenings At & Around First Olympia

UWIF Holiday Bazaar

It's time for the annual FUMCO United Women in Faith's Holiday Bazaar. Join us in the Great Hall on Saturday, November 18 from 9am - 3pm to shop for crafts, supplies, homemade baked goods, and so much more!

You can also pick up your Christmas wreath and UWIF nuts (if you haven't already claimed your nut order). St. Andrews will be joining us with their delicious frozen chicken pot pies and fresh popped popcorn.

If you'd like to volunteer to help make this event happen, we'll be hosting work parties on Friday and Saturday (11/16 & 11/17) to get everything set up for the bazaar. There will be a soup lunch provided both days for workers. And we'll be accepting donations dropped off at the church between 9am on Friday and 8:30am on Saturday.

And if you can't come volunteer in person, we're especially looking for pie bakers to donate a delicious creation to the bazaar. Due to Health Department regulations, we ask that your pies contain no egg or cream ingredients, fruit preferred. All help is welcome!

Resetting Our Scared Table

Join Interfaith Works for Resetting Our Sacred Table – An Annual, Autumnal Celebration of Community, Culture, and Music wherein we will welcome and celebrate the Nisqually Indian tribe as central contributors.

Sunday, November 19, 2:00-3:30 pm at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1515 Harrison Ave NW. Free to the public, family-friendly event.

Trans Day of Remembrance

Olympia Unitarian Universalist Church has partnered with Oly Trans Family to offer a service for Trans Day of Remembrance next Sunday, 11/19 at 6:30 pm. 

All are welcome. 2315 Division St NW, Olympia.

Nov-Dec Upper Rooms

November-December issues of the Upper Room are ready for pick-up for $1.00!

You may get yours on a Sunday morning, before or after worship. Or swing by the church Monday-Thursday, 10am-2pm.

Come Join a Choir

Our Common Ground Choir meets on Thursdays @6:45pm in the Gathering Place.

The Jeffords Memorial Handbell Choir meets on Wednesdays @5:15 in the Choir Room. Please come join us!

Advent Book Study

This Advent, we will read 'Light from Afar,' a daily Advent devotional that illuminates the season through the unforgettable stories and reflections of four writers from around the world: Ukraine, Philippines, Brazil, and South Africa. The authors share cultural and religious traditions of the Advent season in their daily reflections.

Each day's meditation includes a scripture reading, a prayer, an opportunity for reflection, and a link to a song from the author's home country. In cooperation with Tumwater UMC, we are offering both a daytime and evening option to reflect on these readings in community. Learn more, and sign up here: 

Olympia Mutual Aid Partners

Carol and I have been partners with Olymap in support of un-sheltered citizens for a number of years. Mutual aid Mondays offers food, clothing, blanket, hygiene supplies, TP and fellowship on Mondays @4:30pm, in the THC Olympia parking lot Martin way.

Approximately 40 people are served. The items are to go in take out boxes. We have lost a long term supply of hot main dish and vegetables. Food has been provided to serve in aluminum pans at serving temperature by 4:30.

If you feel called to serve our neighbors, please contact the office (, church staff or me, Mark J Johnson (

Peace be with you, 

Mark Johnson

Pick Up Your UWIF Nuts

If you ordered nuts from the UWIF, your order has arrived! Stop by Room 221 after church on Sunday or contact Carol Gruen (

If you still want nuts but haven't placed an order yet, we still have a few extras. Please fill out this UWIF online order form: or pick up a paper form in the church office. Our non-preordered supplies are limited.

Our Welcoming Statement

First United Methodist Church of Olympia welcomes people of all ages, all abilities,

all sexual orientations and gender identities, all nationalities and ethnicities,

the poor and the rich, single people and the many forms of family.

See our Church Calendar.

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Contact us ...

by phone: 360-943-2661 by email:

OFFICE HOURS: Sunday 9am-noon | Monday-Thursday 10am-2pm

The Weekly Courier editor: Lauren Fontanilla