Words from the Acting Regional Minister and New Church Coordinator
I have been on the job as Acting Regional Minister for only two weeks now but I’ve already learned two very important things. First, I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn about this job! And second, I’ve learned (or actually had reinforced) that we have a wonderfully capable and dedicated Regional Minister in Sandy Messick. So while Sandy is away on her well-deserved sabbatical leave, I will do my best to fill in. Though I may not have all of the answers, I do have a list of very capable Regional folks (headed by Amber Saladino) who have the experience and knowledge to respond to any situation that may arise. So don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any help from your Regional church.
There are three part-time Regional staff persons who have been and will continue to be hard at work in Sandy’s absence. All three of these positions are being funded by gifts from Bellevue Christian Church. In this edition of the Northwest Passage each will give you a brief update on what’s been happening in their respective ministry areas.
With my Regional New Church Coordinator hat on, here’s what happening: Open Gathering, the new church start in Bellevue being funded by a gift from Bellevue Christian Church and under the talented leadership of Rev. J.C. Mitchell, is making good progress as it enters its third year. This is Open Gathering’s mission statement: “We gather and welcome different children and adults, making a difference in our neighborhood. Scarred by the world, we together, with God, encourage a loving and inclusive culture through service, creativity, art, and humor.”
I am happy to report that we have called Luke and Rebecca Sumner, a gifted and dynamic young clergy couple, to plant a new Disciples of Christ congregation in Snohomish County. Luke and Rebecca will begin their ministry on January 1, 2015. Their vision is “to plant and pastor an open and affirming Disciples of Christ church in Everett, Washington, that unites people in the love of God across socioeconomic status, political leanings, sexual identity, age and whatever other artificial barriers impede the welcome of God’s commonwealth of love and justice.” This new church start is being funded by a legacy gift from Edmonds Christian Church.
Central Christian Church in Walla Walla is providing a gift to start a new Disciples of Christ congregation in the greater Walla Walla area. The Walla Walla Empowerment Team is interviewing candidates with the hope of calling a new church planter during the first quarter of 2015.
The Regional New Church Team, under the superb leadership of Karen Nye from Olympia First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is currently evaluating one additional new church proposal, developing policies to guide Regional new church activities, and seeking even more opportunities to plant new Disciples congregations in the Region.