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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States

(206)762-1991

The mission of Seattle Presbytery is to participate, in word and deed, in God’s transforming work through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: †by strengthening the witness and mission of our congregations and members and by building strong partnerships with each other and the larger Christian community.

Meeting Updates

November, 2015 Meeting Update

Seattle Presbytery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Executive Presbyter Rev. Scott Lumsden

Email: scott@seattlepresbytery.org

Seattle, Washington (November 19, 2015)     

The Presbytery of Seattle, the area council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), composed of all the teaching elders (ministers) and ruling elder representatives from each congregation within the area, met November 17, 2015 for a special meeting and voted to appoint an administrative commission to investigate allegations of ecclesial disorder within the leadership of First Presbyterian Church of Seattle.

The action passed by a vote of 137 to 8, with three abstentions.

The eight-person commission will investigate the church leadership’s ability and willingness to exercise its authority and manage wisely its affairs. The commission will take appropriate action to remedy any omission, error, or misdeed. Included in the commission’s work may be the potential dismissal of the congregation to another Reformed body under the presbytery’s Communal Discernment and Gracious Dismissal Policy.

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January, 2015 Meeting Summary

Seattle Presbytery

Date: January 20, 2015

Presiding: Rev. Scott Mann, Moderator

Thank You Southminster

Scott Lumsden

 Executive Presbyter
 
206.569.8510
 scott@seapres.org

Our thanks again to Southminster (Rev. Ken Onstot and the whole congregation) for their gracious hospitality, and a shout out to our preacher Rev. Chris Pritchett for setting the tone for our whole gathering. Rev. Scott Mann, our moderator, led us flawlessly, as did Rev. Dean Strong our Stated Clerk, pro tem. 

Grants 

The link to SeaPres Grants includes grants through COM for small funds for leadership and renewal opportunities for churches and pastors (to help with study leave opportunities). We're looking to expand this program in the coming years, so if you have experience in grant programs, please let us know, we'd love your help!

You Are Invited

The nominating committee is looking for people to serve on some of our committees. To recommend yourself or someone else, please get nominee's consent prior to emailing SeaPres Nominating.

Amendments

All of the amendments to the constitution passed, including the Confession of Belhar. The presbytery voted on the marriage amendment (14-F Marriage: On Amending W-4.9000) by ballot: 111 Yes, 93 No, 2 Abstain. 

Next stated meeting: Tuesday, April 21 @ Overlake Presbyterian Church.

November, 2014 EP Report

Seattle Presbytery

Scott Lumsden

 Executive Presbyter
 
206.569.8510
 scott@seapres.org

By Scott Lumsden, SeaPres Executive Presbyter

God’s peace be with you as we gather together for our first meeting of the program year. I pray you enjoyed a full summer and are engaged in meaningful ministry this fall. May Christ who fills us all with his Spirit, fill us even more in our gathering as a presbytery so that we may serve one another and this world with deep faith, renewed hope and the reconciling love of Christ.  

Presbytery Meeting Schedule

First, thank you for giving this year’s presbytery meeting schedule a try -- 4 meetings, two on Tuesday evenings and two on Saturday mornings. Though there were some good reasons to try it, it didn’t work. The meeting schedule that Coordinating Council is proposing this year takes into account some lessons we’ve learned. The most important of those lessons is that we need meetings at predictable intervals to get our regular business done. The gap this summer was too long. The new schedule addresses the gaps by having a presbytery meeting on the third Tuesday once a quarter (January, April, July, October). And with the weather being perfect for a ferry ride, we’d like the July meeting to be somewhere on the Kitsap Peninsula. 

PresbyFest & SeaPres Café

Another change in our meeting schedule is to go back to an annual PresbyFest event -- this time in the spring. These are very well attended events with good resources for church leaders and staff and having this event in the spring will avoid a presbytery schedule crunch in January (its former date). We’re pleased to continue to offer SeaPres Cafés for topical events as needed (usually on Saturday mornings). 

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Per Capita & Budgets

I’m pleased to report that for the seventh year in a row, we’ve kept per capita at $40. We continue to be frugal and smart with our resources so that you can be missional with yours. Our Mission Assets budget (property management, formerly called Church Extension) is projected to add significantly to our resources (for the first time in a long time). Upon the recommendation of the Property & Finance team and the Coordinating Council, these funds will be put to use through a grant fund established for our churches. I’m very excited that these funds will be used to support the needs of our churches both now and in the future. 

Grant Fund

Coordinating Council has made significant progress recently on the establishment of a separate Grant Fund (mentioned above)for the furtherance of our mission as a presbytery. It is anticipated that if the current level of giving continues from our churches to mission, an additional amount from the proceeds of our Mission Assets could create a Grant Fund in excess of $200,000 a year. These funds would provide support for new church development as well as ongoing congregational needs.

Two New Worshipping Communities

Through work of the committee on Catalyzing Missional Communities, we’re delighted to welcome two new worshiping communities into partnership with Seattle Presbytery. Feast Community, led by Mike Yonkers, meets in the Greenwood neighborhood. The International Disciples, led by Polly Yorioka, meet in the University of Washington campus. We’ll be hearing more about their ministries at our meeting and on our website in the days to come.

Blessings of Community

We continue to pray for our partners in other presbyteries as we thank God for the blessings of this presbytery. Sadly we continue to hear of presbyteries and church leaders embroiled in deep challenges regarding their future. That we continue to be named as one of the strong, healthy presbyteries at national gatherings speaks well of the commitment we have to one another in Christ despite the divisiveness of the culture around us. I pray God might use this strength and the ministry that we are doing in our communities to witness to Christ’s reconciling love. 

June, 2014 Meeting Summary

Seattle Presbytery

Date: Saturday, June 7, 2014

Presiding: Rev. Scott Mann, Vice-Moderator

  • Heard about exciting new worshipping communities from Roger Dermody, Presbyterian Mission Agency.
  • Will Mason preached on “God’s Kind of Reconciliation,” and the presbytery prayed for all those attending the 221st General Assembly (2014) in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Kari Olson was moved to candidate status following her examination.  Kari was a TSAD (Theological Student Advisory Delegate) to the 221st General Assembly.  
  • Approved the change to “honorably retired” for Jim Patten (Newport) and Kim Anderson (Lake City).
  • Postponed any action on proposed changes to examination commissions until fall 2014.  A task force will be formed to study the examination process in more depth.
  • The Synod of Alaska Northwest is continuing to disburse funds associated with mission development certificates to the presbyteries, as the certificates mature.  This is part of the move to a reduced function for the synod.
  • Seattle Presbytery’s ordination exam readers are Teaching Elder Colin Robeson (alternate Teaching Elder Jeff Keuss), and Ruling Elder Lolo Levy (alternate Ruling Elder Neil Bolkom)
  • The Coordinating Council reported that it had provided financial support for the visit of Vietnamese pastors for training in Seattle during May 2014, and endorsed the application for Seattle to become a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer site.

Next meeting: Tuesday, November 18 @ Newport PC.

 

March, 2014 EP Report: A Proposal for Examination Commissions

Seattle Presbytery

Overview: What Are We Proposing? 

Scott Lumsden

 Executive Presbyter
 
206.569.8510
 scott@seapres.org

At our upcoming June 7th Stated Meeting, The Presbytery of Seattle, being mindful of unresolved differences and distinctives in the application of standards for ordained service, may establish administrative commissions and/or may commission standing committees, with the power to examine and receive candidates for membership in this presbytery. 

Membership for examination commissions shall come from teaching elders who are affiliated with, and commissioners from congregations whose sessions have through membership or affinity aligned themselves with, PC(USA) organizations whose purpose it is to provide counsel in matters of conscience regarding the application of ordination standards. The Fellowship of Presbyterians and the Covenant Network are two such PC(USA) organizations that Seattle Presbytery recognizes as organizations who provide counsel on matters related to the interpretation of Scripture, and faith and practice within the Reformed tradition, regarding the application of standards for ordination. 

Candidates for membership in Seattle Presbytery shall meet with the Committee on Ministry and be assigned an Examination Commission based on input from the candidate his/herself, the PNC, and/or the Screening Team of COM. (The Screening Team of COM is a subcommittee of COM whose job it is to meet with candidates at the interview stage, before they are called, to advise the COM and the PNC as to fit to the church and presbytery). 

Examinations for membership in Seattle Presbytery shall be conducted in accordance with the Book of Order, in particular sections G-2.0104, G-2.0105 and W-4.4003. An examination for membership in the presbytery is sustained by a majority vote of those present in the examination. A full report of the results of the examination shall be given at the next presbytery meeting. 

Rationale: Why Are We Proposing This? 

The Polity Regarding Presbytery Examinations 

Our polity states that councils of the church “may frame statements of faith, bear testimony against error in doctrine and immorality in life, resolve questions of doctrine and discipline, give counsel in matters of conscience, and decide issues property brought before them under the provisions of this Book of Order.” (G-3.0102) It further states that councils “have the power to establish plans and rules for worship, mission, government, and discipline of the church to do those things necessary to the peace, purity, unity, and progress of the church under the will of Christ. They have responsibility for the leadership, guidance, and government of that portion of the church that is under their jurisdiction.” (G-3.0102) 

The presbytery is a council of the church “responsible for the government of the church throughout its district, and for assisting and supporting the witness of congregations to the sovereign activity of God in the world, so that all congregations become communities of faith, hope, love and witness.” (G-3.0301) Together as the presbytery, teaching elders and ruling elder commissioners elected by the sessions of congregations within its district, has particular responsibility to “coordinate, guide, support, and resource the work of its congregations for the most effective witness to the broader community.” (G-3.0303) 

Among its many responsibilities and powers, the presbytery has the responsibility to ordain and receive teaching elders and to guide the preparation of those preparing to become teaching elders. (G-3.0301) “The presbytery shall examine each teaching elder or candidate who seeks membership in it on his or her Christian faith and views in theology, the Sacraments, and the government of this church.” (G-3.0306) The standards and the means by which the presbytery applies these standards are found in G-2.0104 and G.2.0105. 

The application of these standards has always been exercised with the understanding that the individual being examined is allowed to express their “freedom of conscience with respect to the interpretation of Scripture...within certain bounds.” What is not clear however is what the church does when, in the exercise of our freedom of conscience, a sufficient number of individuals articulate a shared sustained difference in regard to the interpretation of Scripture. 

Yet Scripture itself is clear in its instruction: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Rom 12:18) “Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” (Rom 12:10) “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:2-3) 

By utilizing examination commissions, we are as a presbytery are seeking to honor the relationships that nurture and sustain our fellowship in Christ’s mission. Though we have differences in some areas of our mission, we continue to seek to God’s wisdom together in all things, even in those areas we disagree. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12)  

March, 2014 Meeting Summary

Seattle Presbytery

Location: John Knox Presbyterian Church

Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Presiding: Elder Karen Cunningham, Moderator / Rev. Scott Mann, Vice-Moderator

  • Enjoyed the gracious hospitality of John Knox Presbyterian Church
  • Heard a sermon on the invisible becoming visible (John 3) from Mansour Khajehpour,
  • Examined and commissioned Tara Chase (Bethany) as a commissioned ruling elder.  Tara works for Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship.
  • Commissioned Renee and Justin Sundberg as mission co-workers in Nicaragua at CEPAD (Council of Protestant Churches).  Renee is a teaching elder member of Seattle Presbytery, and has been associate pastor for community life at University PC.
  • Examined Barbara Williams and Daniel Jones and enrolled them as candidates.
  • Ideas Worth Sharing.   NIMBY project at Madrona Grace (housing for the homeless); Who is my Neighbor at Bellevue (immigration issues); Hunger Intervention Program at Lake City; Community dinners at Madrona Grace; Holy Spirit Conference at Foster-Tukwila; Global Leadership Summit at Bellevue.  More information is available at www.seapres.org
  • Cambodia Mission Trip.  The Southeast Asia Ministry Team (SEAM) recently led a trip to Cambodia.  Opportunities are available to support a scholar’s program for HIV orphans. Contact Binh Nguyen for more information.
  • Approved the sale of the New Hope property to Holy Protection of Theotokos Orthodox Church, and authorized the Coordinating Council to finalize the terms of the agreement.
  • Approved the clergy/lay imbalance adjustment for 2014; this action determines the number of ruling elder commissioners each congregation can send to presbytery meetings.
  • Continued discussion of creating ordination commissions based on the theological distinctives of the calling congregation; this likely will be voted on at the June 7 stated meeting of the presbytery.

Next meeting: Saturday, June 7 @ Steel Lake Presbyterian Church.

 

February, 2014 EP Report

Seattle Presbytery

By Executive Presbyter Scott Lumsden

Grace and peace to you all in the name of our Lord. I pray that this new year is filed the hope of Christ in your life and in the ministry we are all called together to do in Christ’s name. May God’s love grow ever more deeply within us so that our communities might see more and more the love that unites and gives purpose to all we do.

 

New Opportunities to Serve

Even before this new year began, I had the pleasure of serving in a way I not envisioned before--as pastor of one of our congregations. In November, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church had need of a “gap” pastor to get them through the holidays until their interim arrived in February. This led to a new partnership between the presbytery and MIPC where I served part-time at MIPC and part-time at the presbytery. The good news is that this experiment was a blessing to all. Thus as we continue to seek new ways to serve the needs of our congregations -- we are pleased to announce that Eliana Maxim will be the interim pastor at Southminster (half-time) beginning mid February (through May) as they finalize their search for a new pastor.

 

New Ideas for our Community

As our committees and council regathered after the Christmas break, attention began to shift to our upcoming General Assembly in Detroit in June. These conversations reminded us again of the blessings we have in the strong relationships in this presbytery and of our need to continue to seek to preserve these relationships as we head into another polity season. I’m sure many good things will come out of our national assembly, but we’re not naive to the fact that we’ll undoubted bump up against the same challenges -- ordination standards and same-sex marriage. Change to either our ordination standards and/or the definition of marriage will renew debate and discussion within our presbytery, but is there anything we can do to prepare for the  challenges these debates may cause going forward?  

Putting aside for the moment previous conversations about empowering our committees with commission powers, we are beginning to talk about another commission idea that addresses this concern about maintaining our relationships. But before that I want to review how we’re framing our problem.

The Presbyterian Church has long recognized that Christians of good conscience may disagree. Our church since its founding has always maintained that in the pursuit of truth, “we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which [people] of good characters and principals may differ…[and it is] the duty of both private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other.” (F-3.0105)

These societies are named later to be the councils of our church (session, presbytery, general assembly) however what seems to be missing (in my opinion) is the mechanism by which members within these councils may exercise mutual forbearance toward one another. And by that, I mean meaningful forbearance in which we honor each other by not allowing a difference on one issue to define the whole relationship. This is where we are at as a church in regards to issues of same-sex marriage and gay ordination.

To state it differently, is there any way members within these sessions, presbyteries and general assemblies can agree to disagree? Since there are clear positions and clearly defined groups who ascribe to these positions, isn’t it incumbent upon us to find ways to actually practice mutual forbearance toward one another? What duty do we have to maintain the freedom of conscience of one another in the midst of disagreement?

Unresolved Tension

Our polity here reveals a rather profound and unresolved tension for when this disagreement happens at a council, the majority rules. However when the disagreement applies to an individual, our polity gives this option: “so far as may be possible without serious departure from these standards, without infringing on the rights and views of others, and without obstructing the constitutional governance of the church, freedom of conscience with respect to the interpretation of Scripture is to be maintained.” (G-2.0105) Historically, this process is called, “declaring a scruple.”

Yet what if we created a way for congregations within our presbytery to identify their distinctives? Or, what if we officially recognized a session’s membership within organizations that have defined theological distinctives for them (Covenant Network, Fellowship of Presbyterians, etc)? And what if we created a process that honored those distinctives in the application of the standards within our presbytery? Would this not be a way to exercise mutual forbearance toward one another? What if there was way we agreed together about how we would exercise “freedom of conscience within certain bounds”? (G-2.0105)

Examination Commissions

There is growing consensus among the leadership of our presbytery (specifically from Coordinating Council and Committee on Ministry) that it is time to talk about a way to honor the consciences of our churches on the issues that divide us so as to preserve the relationships that enrich us and our common ministry. One possible way we could do this is to create an additional option during the examination process.  

Currently an individual seeking membership in the presbytery is examined by the presbytery during a presbytery meeting or by the Committee on Ministry. However since many sessions have already declared distinctives in regard to their application of the standards of the church by their membership in certain groups (G-2.0104b), individuals seeking membership to serve those churches would be examined by a commission composed of members of and pastors serving those churches.

Practically speaking, it might look like this: A pastor is elected to serve at Bellevue Presbyterian,  whose session is a member of the Fellowship of Presbyterians. The presbytery, having already named a Fellowship of Presbyterians Examination Commission from the membership of churches and pastors who are members of that organization, informs the presbytery’s Fellowship of Presbyterians Examination Commission of the need for this pastor’s examination. The examination is performed and the results of that examination are then reported to the presbytery at its next meeting. This same process would be followed for the session’s of Covenant Network churches, or if the session of a church has no affiliations in regard to ordinations standards, then the pastor is examined by the Committee on Ministry.

There is no formal proposal being discussed at the moment, only ideas. It is up to this presbytery, our leadership, and our committees, to formulate and shape any process we might employ going forward. It may not look like the one I just described. My intent in here is only to raise my voice in honor and appreciation of the good ministry and healthy relationships we are blessed with in this presbytery as I continue to remind us of the necessity to keep wrestling with the challenges that we face in the coming year.

February, 2014 Meeting Summary

Seattle Presbytery

Location: Mercer Island Presbyterian Church

Date: Saturday, February 8, 2014

Presiding: Elder Karen Cunningham, Moderator / Rev. Scott Mann, Vice-Moderator

  • Heard about the challenge to us found in Acts 1, from keynote speaker Rich Stearns (President of World Vision), and also from Becki Barrett, preacher of the day.  Since they had not communicated,  this is evidence of God at work and God’s message to the presbytery!
  • Had a conversation around rethinking ordination commissions, with the possibility of having ordination commissions based on theological and polity distinctives as an option for congregations and candidates.  More work to be done on this in the coming months by the Coordinating Council and Committee on Ministry.
  • Elected the following individuals as commissioners to the 221st (2014) General Assembly in Detroit:  Rev. Adrienne Schlosser-Hall, Rev. Mark Zimmerly, Rev. Karen Breckenridge, Shelley Dahl, Steve Heino, Steve Henry, Anna Bintinger, and Kari Olson.
  • Approved two overtures on coal  exports  to Asia:  an overture to the 221st General Assembly about coal exports to Asia, and an overture for use by Seattle Presbytery congregations to express their concern about coal exports to local and regional officials.
  • By two-thirds vote,  approved the conversion Susie Beil’s  temporary supply position at Summit Avenue Presbyterian Church to an installed position.
  • Approved the interim ministry positions for Nancy Martin Vincent (Mercer Island), Tyler Easley (Northminster), and Livingstone Chen (First Taiwanese).
  • Welcome Jan Dittmar, who transferred her membership from Grace Presbytery.
  • Elected the following corporate officers:  Karen Cunningham, president;  Scott Anderson, vice president; Scott Mann, secretary.
  • Announced that Scott Anderson is moderator of the Presbytery Coordinating Council for 2014.

Next Stated Meeting: Tuesday, March 18 @ John Knox PC

November, 2013 Meeting Summary

Seattle Presbytery

By Kathy Lueckert, Stated Clerk

  • Enjoyed worship led by Rev. Jeff Lincicome, Kay Browleit  and their team, as well as the gracious hospitality of the good folk of Sammamish Presbyterian.
  • Learned from a sermon preached by EP Scott Lumsden about the new things that God is doing in Seattle Presbytery, and how our presbytery demonstrates health and hope to the rest of the denomination.
  • Engaged in conversations about mission in our congregations.
  • Examined Linda Ferguson and approved her ordination to validated ministry as a chaplain at the Veteran’s Administration.
  • Examined Bertram Johnson and approved his ordination as temporary associate pastor at Madrona Grace.
  • Elected Karen Cunningham as Moderator for 2014, and Rev. Scott Mann as vice-moderator, as well as filling other vacancies on presbytery standing committees.
  • Concurred with Inglewood Presbyterian’s sale of surplus property.
  • Authorized the Coordinating Council to complete the sale of the property of the former Living Faith (Renton First) Presbyterian to a non-profit entity.
  • Approved a 2014 per capita rate of $40, the same rate as 2013 and 2012 and approved the budget for 2014.
  • Selected (by drawing lots) the following teaching elder commissioners to the 221st (2014) General Assembly in Detroit, Michigan:  Rev. Adrienne Schlosser-Hall  (Rev. Dan Houston, alternate), Rev. Mark Zimmerly (Rev. J.P. Kang, alternate), and Rev. Karen Breckenridge  (Rev. Eliana Maxim, alternate).
  • Approved presbytery meeting dates for 2014:  February 8 (Saturday), March  18 (Tuesday), June 7 (Saturday), and November 18 (Tuesday).

Other presbytery actions can be found on the Meetings page of the website.

2012 Necrology Report

Seattle Presbytery

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...” Hebrews 12:1-2a

Together, we give thanks for the ministry and fellowship of the church's faithful servants who were reunited with their Creator this past year: 

Name - Congregation - Minister/ Elder/Deacon - Date of Death

Robert Akervick - Northminster - Elder and Deacon - April 18, 2012

Gordon Alford - Member of Seattle Presbytery - Minister - February 19, 2012

James Anderson - University - Deacon - January 14, 2012

Margaret Anderson - Bellevue - Deacon - March 17, 2012

Kenneth Barr - Bellevue - Elder and Deacon - September 14, 2012

Neal Barr - Bellevue - Elder and Deacon - August 16, 2012

Bill Bellman - Adventure of Faith - Elder - September 23, 2012

Irma Bendock - University - Deacon - April 14, 2012

Donald Bliss - Summit Avenue - Elder and Deacon - February 10, 2012

Webster Byrd - Rose Hill - Elder - January 16, 2012

Jeannine Carr - Rose Hill - Deacon - July 7, 2012

Virginia Christopherson - Woodland Park - Deacon - August 31. 2012

Burnie Davis - Woodland Park - Elder - December 12, 2012

Yvonne Richert Dines - Redmond - Elder - April 13, 2012

Dorothy Elkington - University - Deacon - January 5, 2012

Robert Fry - Steel Lake - Deacon - June 29, 2012

Lillian Gibbs - Woodland Park - Elder and Deacon - December 21, 2012

Wayne Hammen - Bellevue - Deacon - May 22, 2012

Annette Herr - Woodland Park - Deacon - June 6, 2012

Keith Herzog - Rose Hill - Elder - January 19, 2012

Richard "Rick" Johnson - University - Elder - September 9, 2012

W. Keith Jones - Bellevue - Deacon - September 1, 2012

Shirley Kinsman - Summit Avenue - Deacon - January 20, 2012

Donald Knopf - Redmond - Elder and Deacon - April 1, 2012

Yuriko "Yuri" Kumasaka - Japanese - Deacon - September 14, 2012

Betty Larson - Lake Burien - Deacon - September 9, 2012

Jesse Lockyer - Rose Hill - Elder - February 28, 2012

Mitsuye "Mitsi" Mihara - Japanese - Elder and Deacon - February 24, 2012

Carolyn Montgomery - Bellevue - Deacon - November 19, 2012

Gloria Murphy - Summit Avenue - Elder - November 18, 2012

Alice Nishioka - Japanese - Elder - June 30, 2012

John Herbert Nordlund - Queen Anne - Elder - May 19, 2012

Ruth Ott - University - Deacon - May 30, 2012

Jay Pearson - Bellevue - Elder - April 27, 2012

Wilma Price - Rose Hill - Elder and Deacon - April 4, 2012

William Richardson - Summit Avenue - Elder - December 15, 2012

Lloyd D. Roti - Member of Seattle Presbytery - Minister - October 25, 2012

Roger Scott - Summit Avenue - Elder - October 21, 2012

Donald Smith - Bellevue - Deacon - January 18, 2012

Ruth Roberta Standard - Bellevue - Deacon - September 25, 2012

Stanley Svarc - Bellevue - Deacon - October 22, 1012

Ritchie Tilson - University - Elder - November 29, 2012

Calvin Uomoto - Bethany - Elder - October 26, 2012

Matthew J. VanDeraa - Bellevue - Deacon - January 11, 2012

Frances Vandervort - University - Deacon - August 4, 2012

Carol June Werner - Kent First - Elder and Deacon - August 19, 2012

Pauline Whitman - Northminster - Elder and Deacon - May 27, 2012

David Wilde - Bellevue - Deacon - May 7, 2012

November 2013 Personnel Committee Report

Seattle Presbytery

By Becki Barrett, Personnel Committee Chair

When the latest iOS 7 Apple update showed up on my iPhone, it took me a few days to muster the courage to hit ™install.∫ The risk of a technology breakdown always leaves me feeling I am at risk of losing my brain and the only way out is to redo high school. After a few days, I mustered the courage to install the update and things went splendidly. The sensation of unnecessary fear beckoned me forward to hit ™install∫ on my iPad, as well. Except things the second time around didn't go so well and after two hours of tech support with Jerome at Apple Care, I stared blankly at a restored iPad trying to muster the energy to reprogram, reorganize, and regroup.

As churches, we are vulnerable to similar feelings during seasons of transition, struggle and challenge. In many ways, it is by healthily walking through these seasons that we are transformed as Christians and as leaders. For this reason, our Seattle Presbytery staff is committed to being present and supportive to the needs of our churches ensuring each church receive the resources and encouragement we need to fulfill Christ's mission. 

Over the last several years, the Seattle Presbytery staff has worked hard to ensure they are competently and collaboratively accomplishing their mission to serve God faithfully by serving churches. Much of their work is confidential in nature and rarely seen by the majority of us; however, they are hard at work equipping our committees and churches to fulfill our mission with strength and health. Like much needed Apple 

Care in those moments of panic, they spend their days providing support but with less hold time. Whether we find ourselves in need of an upgrade or in full-blown system failure, our staff is available to provide the support we need.

One new way the staff has been able to serve churches has been to provide part-time, short-term, temporary pastoral support to churches in transition. At Kent First, Eliana used her gifts to preach and lead during their pastor's sabbatical. Overlake Park Presbyterian Church benefited from Kevin's gifts during their six-week transition between pastors. And, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church is being supported through pastoral transition and staff restructure by Eliana last summer and Scott this fall. Whenever possible, our presbytery staff is postured to provide this type of support to any church in need of pastoral support. 

Our hope is that, as members of the Seattle Presbytery, each church feels encouraged and supported. Through turbulent times, transition or challenges, our goal is to be excellent stewards of our resources in order to provide the most effective and helpful support to committees and churches as possible. As a personnel committee, we are grateful for such tremendous staff and we give thanks to God for their faithfulness, gifts in ministry, and hard work. So, when a simple ™install∫ turns into something way different than you expected, know our staff is eager to walk with you through whatever you need as God guides us to reprogram, reorganize or regroup.

November 2013 EP Report

Seattle Presbytery

By Scott Lumsden, Executive Presbyter

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength." Is 40:31

Last month I attended the Fall Polity conference put on by the Office of the General Assembly. This is an annual gathering for presbytery leaders to learn and check in with one another about what's going on across the PCUSA. This year's gathering was led in large part by Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall, Executive Presbyter in North Puget Sound Presbytery, and former staff member of Seattle Presbytery. Corey did an amazing job of lifting up how the Presbyterians here in the Northwest are experimenting with new ways of being the church and how our relationships remain vital and strong in our presbyteries. 

I say this because it is clear to me that what God is building here among us is unique. Unlike other presbyteries, we're neither mired in conflict nor stuck in malaise. Instead, I believe, God is renewing us in astounding ways. 

Perhaps that's why I've been drawn to reading and rereading Isaiah lately. At the moment of Israel's greatest despair, God chose to renew and rebuild rather than abandon. God acted to comfort (40:1), instead of chasten. Yet in order for Israel see God's renewal effort among them, they had to blind themselves to the past (42:8-9). 

We're at a similar point in Seattle Presbytery. God's renewing us and calling us to a hopeful future, but we cannot be bound by the past. That is why we're taking the time at this November meeting to speak with one another about where we see God renewing us, rebuilding us, and how we believe God is calling us to live together into the future God has for us. 

Here's a few of the ways our leadership is seeing God at work: affiliate membership, SeaPres Café resourcing, and refocused stewardship of mission assets.

Last month's polity gathering revealed to me that we are one of the few presbyteries that is not in deep conflict. This is due in large part to the fact that we consider humility, service to one another, and our communion in Christ as foundational principles that guide our common life together as a presbytery, even in the midst of disagreement and departures. Given the stability and trust we continue to engender, it is not surprising to me that there is a healthy interest in Affiliate Membership from other presbyteries across the country. 

SeaPres Cafés are another new thing that God is growing among us. With presbytery business taking less and less time, it is natural that we would seek to use our time for resource sharing and community building. It is our hope that the Presbytery meeting schedule recommendation (2 Tuesday/2 Saturday) will serve as a good first step toward enhanced resourcing of each other for ministry and will build an even stronger foundation for partnership in mission. 

Last, I'm pleased to report that our financial health is strong going into 2014 and beyond. In the next five years, it is the plan that nearly half of the $300,000 in lease proceeds from our Mission Assets will be utilized to benefit Seattle Presbytery Operations and Mission keeping per capita stable ($40 per capita hasn't changed for over five years now) and nearly doubling the funding of mission for the future. 

These are important steps forward that we are excited about as leaders. Please come ready to discuss some things that you are excited about concerning the future of our presbytery and some thoughts that you might have for us to pursue as we seek to follow God's leading together. 

Scott Lumsden

 Executive Presbyter
 
206.569.8510
 scott@seapres.org

September 2013 Meeting Recap

Seattle Presbytery

Presbytery of Seattle

September 17, 2013 Stated Meeting

Summary by Stated Clerk Kathy Lueckert

University Presbyterian hospitality was enjoyed by the presbytery.  Thank you!

Ordination examination for Nate Mochizuki (candidate from Japanese Presbyterian Church).  Nate has been called as pastor of three Presbyterian churches in Southeastern Illinois presbytery:  the Little Egypt parish.  Nate will be ordained on September 22, 2013.

Ordination examination for Ryan White (candidate from Bethany Presbyterian Church).  Ryan will be engaged in a validated ministry as a PC(USA) mission co-worker, partnering with the Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin, Germany.  Ryan will be ordained on September 22, 2013

Examined and commissioned ruling elder Kathy Smith to service at North Point Presbyterian Church.

Welcomed new teaching elder members:  Jera Bloomquist, Luke Crook, Kurt Heineman, Staci Imes, J.J. Kissinger, Tiare Mathison, Erin McArdle, Chris Pritchett, Margaret Redman, Charlie Scoma, Jaci Smith-Patman, Janie Stewart.

Recognized the retirements of teaching elders Tom Masters, Robert Bayley, Roger Nicholson, Dennis Hughes, and Alan Beasley.

Heard a sermon on “Remembering the Future” from Moderator Vonna Thomas.  This was her last presbytery meeting, as she has accepted a position as interim pastor at First Presbyterian, Clarkston, Washington.  God speed, Vonna, and thank you.

Approved affiliate membership category for Presbytery of Seattle.  This change to the standing rules allows congregations who are not PC(USA) members to remain in relationship with Seattle Presbytery.

Approved separation agreements for three congregations.  The presbytery approved the terms of separation for Adventure of Faith and Maple Valley Presbyterian Churches (moving to A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians) and Wabash Presbyterian (moving to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church).  The congregations were dismissed with their property, and will make payments to the presbytery that encompass any delinquent per capita, support for per capita for a set number of years, and an amount for the property that addresses the trust clause in the Book of Order.  For details, see the presbytery papers for the September 2013 meeting.

Triennium Report.  The presbytery heard from representatives from the Seattle Presbytery delegation to this year’s Youth Triennium at Purdue University.  The group thanked the presbytery for their support and it was clear that the event had a significant spiritual impact on all attending.

SeaPres Café.  The Coordinating Council introduced a proposed change in the meetings of presbytery, moving from Tuesdays to Saturdays.  The new format would include workshops and extended time for networking.  Comments on the proposal can be sent to office@seattlepresbytery.org.

Committees to Commissions.  The Coordinating Council proposed changing some of the presbytery’s existing committees to commissions, and empowering the commissions to do more work on behalf of the presbytery.  Also presented was proposed standing rules enabling language for commissions.  Comments on the proposal can be sent to kathy.lueckert@seattlepresbytery.org.

May 2013 Meeting Highlights

Seattle Presbytery

Click for the full gallery.

Click for the full gallery.

At the May meeting the Presbytery:
  • examined and commissioned Margaret Redman as Commissioned Ruling Elder at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church
  • conducted the candidacy exam for Tom Chuang
  • discussed the proposed Affiliate Membership proposal
  • received the 2012 Necrology report, and offered prayers for these saints
  • received a sermon from Mark Zimmerly (watch it here
  • heard a report on the recent Vietnam Mission trip from participant Lauren Houston
  • celebrated the chartering of First Taiwanese Presbyterian Church (listen to Pastor Roger Wu)
  • offered prayer for the participants in the 2013 Triennium
  • heard from Mark Frey, Board of Pensions regional representative, about proposed changes to the benefits plan
  • voted to approve all proposed amendments to the Book of Order, including the Heidelberg Catechism.
  • 21 churches participated in the Session records reading; another opportunity for this will take place at the September 2013 meeting

 

March 2013 Presbytery Highlights

Seattle Presbytery

From Kathy Lueckert, Stated Clerk
  • Chartered a new congregation, First Taiwanese.  Chartering service is April 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church.
  • Authorized the Coordinating Council (through Property and Finance) to negotiate leases for the Bethel property (with Seattle Area German American School) and for the Beacon Hill property (with Torah Day School)
  • Viewed a new video from the Catalyzing Missional Communities Committee
  • Heard from mission co-worker "Rita Johns" about ministries in Central Asia
  • First reading of proposed changes to the presbytery bylaws to permit affiliate membership in the presbytery for congregations separating from the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Heard recommendations from Bills and Overtures regarding proposed Book of Order amendments.  Voting on the amendments will take place at the May 2013 meeting.
  • Authorized the moderator to appoint an administrative commission to negotiate separation agreements with the Wabash, Adventure of Faith, and Maple Valley congregations, as requested by the congregations
  • Authorized the moderator to appoint an administrative commission to close Living Faith Presbyterian Church (formerly Renton First), at the request of the congregation 
  • Installed Rev Dr. Vonna Thomas as moderator of presbytery, Ruling Elder Karen Cunningham as vice moderator, and Ruling Elder Kathy Lueckert as stated clerk.
  • Approved candidates for ordination, Nicole Chilivis and Kurt Heineman.

November Meeting Recap

Seattle Presbytery

It was good to see so many of you at the presbytery meeting last Tuesday and it is encouraging to hear of the good things God is doing in our presbytery--stories of growth, faith and mission were shared throughout our time in meeting and at table. 

A special thank you to Wedgwood Presbyterian for their gracious and accommodating hospitality. (Did you know their basement flooded the day before the meeting? Talk about resourceful and determined!) We truly appreciate the extra effort to host this large body despite challenges along the way. Our deepest appreciation to Rev. Karen Breckenridge, Elder Bruce Manger, and all the saints at Wedgwood who made our night so meaningful. 

We celebrate that both Christy Fisher and Erin McArdel passed their ordination exams. Christy will be serving as a Justice and Outreach Coordinator in a validated ministry with Wesley House at the University of Washington, and Erin has been called to a validated ministry as a hospice Chaplain with Providence Health and Services. Mollie Rieck Mana'o has also been called to serve as a Chaplain with Providence, and she also passed her rescheduled exam which was held at a special meeting. Emily MItchell of Bethany Presbyterian Church was examined and has been enrolled as a candidate. 

The mission discussion focused on presbytery partnerships at Lake Burien PC and Trinity PC, so thank you again to both Rev. Tobin Wilson and Rev. Randy Butler for sharing the new things God is doing in the churches you serve. 

The presbytery took an important step in the Seattle First Redevelopment plan by appointing an Administrative Commission to shape and finalize the redevelopment of the church and property over the next few years. Let us continue to pray for that process. 

The presbytery however did not approve the lease/purchase of the Brighton building by the Torah Day School. Pray for our council, the Vietnamese and our Property and Finance committee as we regroup after a two year process of discernment on that building and the ministry of the Vietnamese church. 

Thanks to the hard work and shepherding of Rev. Vonna Thomas and the Navigations Taskforce, the presbytery did put in place a policy on Gracious Separation. 

Last but not least, a huge presbytery-sized thank you to Rev. Dr. Dennis Hughes for his many years of service as our Stated Clerk. There are few in this presbytery who have given as much to the well being of our presbytery than Dennis, and for all you do and have done--a deep, heartfelt thank you from all your colleagues in the presbytery and in the larger church. You have served with faithfulness and distinction and we are better for it. 

Advent Blessings to you all, 

Rev. Scott Lumsden, 
Executive Presbyter

2013 Per Capita

Seattle Presbytery

Total Per Capita: $40.00

From 2012.11 Meeting Supplemental Materials p. 27

Approved: a Presbytery Per Capita of $29.13 (total per capita $40.00). 
This is a .79 reduction from last year. The Synod per capita has not been finalized, but is likely to be $4.00 and General Assembly is $6.87 for a total of $40.00.

September 2012 Meeting Recap

Seattle Presbytery

Click to view full gallery.

Click to view full gallery.

Please click here to take our post-meeting survey.

A huge thank you to all who participated in our last presbytery meeting, especially to Lake City Presbyterian Church for their wonderful hospitality. It was so encouraging to see the vision that God is shaping among us. In worship, Rev. Kevin Nollette, Associate EP for Congregations, reminded us of God's covenant love to us in spiritual and tangible examples of people living out this love in the world. We also celebrated and committed new candidates, new ministers, and new transitions to God's care. The change of gears to property issues had a missional element as well, as we approved University Presbyterian Church's purchase of the Union campus (for which we are still praying for a favorable result). Lastly, we concurred with the Synod's plan to reduce it's function in light of the changing mission of the larger church. 

Preparations are already being made for our next meeting where we will prayerfully consider together how God might be calling us to Christ's great mission in the world as a presbytery. 

Grace and peace, 

Rev. Scott Lumsden
Executive Presbyter