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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States


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.




1.  Please accept my gratitude for allowing me to serving as your Stated Clerk.  My philosophy of the position is that the Reformers believed any one person (including the Pope!) is too sinful to make all of the decisions for the church, so they replaced the Bishop with groups of people, where diverse viewpoints, opinions, and spiritualities are valued, and when openly and respectfully shared, can lead to decisions more congruent with the will of Christ.  That means we all have to increase our tolerance for healthy conflict, and it has to be safe for people to express their consciences.  My two favorite citations from our Constitution are F-3.204: “Presbyters are not simply to reflect the will of the people, but rather to seek together to find and represent the will of Christ,” and F-3.0205 “Decisions shall be reached in councils by vote, following opportunity for discussion and discernment, and a majority shall govern.”  When it comes to discerning God’s will, process matters. The Book of Order and Roberts Rules are not rules and regulations that must be obeyed, but are structures to create safety so presbyters can seek and represent the will of Christ.  Besides, good judgement will always outperform a rule.  Please think of this Clerk not as a rulekeeper or “enforcer,” but as a resource that can help elders discern and decide what is best for Our Lord’s Church.

2. The Stated Clerk, with a subcommittee of the Council and COM, has reviewed the governing documents of the presbytery, and has with those groups submitted proposed revisions for a vote at the next stated meeting of the presbytery.  Many of these documents appear to be outdated and/or no longer reflect how Seattle Presbytery operates. The time between meetings is a comment period and your suggestions and comments are valued and welcome; please submit them to  Expect more reviews and suggested revisions in the coming months.  
Click here to view Proposed Governing Documents Revisions
Click here to view Proposed Seattle Presbytery Organization Chart

3.  Rev. Leigh Weber was installed as Pastor at Vashon Presbyterian Church on June 4, 2017 by the following Administrative Commission who is dismissed with thanks:  Teaching Elders Lee Seese, Scott Anderson, Lina Thompson. Ruling Elders:  Pattie Holt, Saint Andrew, Larry Commeree, Vashon, Steven Dent and Colleen Chinen, Steel Lake; Tom Fox, John Knox.  “Honorary Members” (AC members must be members of the presbytery) Revs. David Rohrer and Dennis Hughes (posthumously) of Northwest Coast Presbytery.

4.  Rev. Tyler Kirkpatrick was installed as Associate Pastor of Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church on May 7, 2017, by the following Administrative Commission, who is dismissed with thanks: Teaching Elders John Haberlin, Lee Riley, Ruling Elders Loretta Pain, University, Bethany Nupen, Summit Avenue.

For Consent Agenda:
Minutes of the presbytery meeting dated April 18, 2017.

We conduct almost all of our business by voice or counted (raising hands or standing) vote. Should a commissioner wish to vote by paper ballot, he/she may do the following:
•    prior to the call for the vote, obtain the recognition of the moderator
•    move that the vote on the item under discussion be held by paper ballot
•    if seconded, the moderator will call for the vote – the motion is not debatable and passes with a simple majority

nominating report

July 2017 Nominating Report

seattle first administrative commission report

Worship & Congregational Life:
We continue to gather on Sunday mornings with a small, but faithful gathering of members and visitors.  The congregation joins together to preach in a participatory style of preaching facilitated by Transitional Pastor Heidi Armstrong, and shares a simple meal together after worship. Each Sunday brings a wide variety of persons from all walks of life and from around the world, coming together to worship as one. 
Ministry Redevelopment Plan:
We have identified a two-step process to help us begin to discern our way forward and prayerfully discover what God has in mind for the future ministry of FPCS. As a first step we have identified members of a FPCS Listening Team that will undertake an exegesis of the neighborhood and our urban context.  We appreciate your prayers for this work in the weeks and months ahead.
Compass Shelter at First Presbyterian:  
Compass has begun remodeling the church basement in order to prepare for the 100 bed, 24/7, Enhanced Services Shelter that will open later this summer.  There will be opportunities for your congregation and individuals to serve once the program begins, so stay tuned for more information. 
Legal Update: 
The former co-pastors of FPCS have appealed the dismissal of their severance claim to the Washington Supreme Court. In early June they filed a statement of grounds for direct review, which we answered on June 28. We do not know when the Washington Supreme Court will decide whether to retain the appeal or instead send it to Division I of the Court of Appeals for argument and decision.

Also in June, the former co-pastors paid off FPCS’s 21.46% equity interest in their Mercer Island residence, as they were required to do after ceasing to be employed by FPCS. 

On July 11, we reached an agreement to settle FPCS’s monetary claims against the former session members in return for a cash payment to FPCS. This settlement will avoid the trial that was scheduled to take place in December 2017. It will also permit the defendants to pursue more quickly an appeal of the court’s earlier orders in favor of the Presbytery and FPCS. 

Council REPORT

1.      Bethel Property - Motion to authorize the Coordinating Council on behalf of the presbytery to enter into an agreement with a buyer to purchase the entire Bethel property (church and property) at a fair market rate acceptable to all parties, according to terms agreeable to all parties.

Rationale: The Bethel property is currently leased by the Seattle Area German American school. A purchase option provides for a tenant purchase; SAGA is proposing that a donor buy the property on their behalf. The presbytery has a good working relationship with SAGA is willing to agree to a donor cash purchase and carry a 10 year note. The donor will negotiate a long term lease with SAGA as a condition of the purchase.

2.       Union Charter – The following resolution is recommended to the presbytery by the Coordinating Council,

Resolved, That, the presbytery receive the organizing covenant from those persons wishing to unite with Union Church, a Congregation of of Seattle Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) WA, and declare them an organized congregation of the presbytery,

That, when the Committee on Ministry has approved the pastoral relationships (G-2.0803), the congregation shall proceed, with James B. Notkin as moderator of the congregational meeting, to the election of ruling elders, teaching elders and, if they so decide, deacons” (G-1.0201),

That upon completion of all civil  requirements for organizing a church, the Presbytery Moderator designate an Administrative Commission to “prepare, examine, ordain and install these newly elected persons” (G-1.0201) at a Service of Organization, Ordination and Installation.

3.       The Council recommends to the presbytery the following,

Be It Resolved, That the presbytery authorize the Council to enter into a promissory note and/or loan agreement, secured by a deed of trust, to loan from the presbytery’s Mission Asset Reserve Fund an amount not to exceed Two Million, Two Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars ($2,250,00.00) to Union Church when properly incorporated, at an annual interest rate of 0.0 percent, for a seven (7) year term; $750,000.00 to be dispersed on July 18, 2017 or upon incorporation of Union Church whichever is sooner, and thereafter the amount of $250,000 to be dispersed on July 1st of each subsequent year through 2023; Union Church shall not be required to make any payments to the presbytery until July 1, 2024 at which time the unpaid balance shall be due in full. 

The proposed terms are as follows:

A). The presbytery will disburse the loan annually:

$750,000 on July 18, 2017;
$250,000 on July 1, 2018;
$250,000 on July 1, 2019;
$250,000 on July 1, 2020;
$250,000 on July 1, 2021;
$250,000 on July 1, 2022;
$250,000 on July 1, 2023;

B). The loan will accrue no interest.

C). The entire balance of the loan is due to be paid back to the Mission Asset Reserve Fund on July 1, 2024.

Do We Have the Funds?
Yes. As of July 1, 2017, the Mission Asset Reserve Fund (MARF) has about $1.9M in cash and may have another $1.4M in cash from the Bethel sale by the end of the year. After the initial disbursement of $750,000, the presbytery will have $2.55M remaining to fund the balance of the loan.

How Will We Do This?
After the initial distribution, the presbytery will establish an investment account with New Covenant Trust (Presbyterian Foundation) to fund the remaining $1.5M of the loan. Any gains on these monies will remain with the presbytery for future ministry opportunities.

How Will Union Pay the Loan Back?
Since buying the property in 2014, Union’s plan has always been to sell the property and use the proceeds to buy new space in a redeveloped building (on that same site). To this end Union has developed relationships with the neighbors to the north and south of their property for any potential future partnership in the redevelopment of those sites. It is Union’s plan to redevelop their property by 2024 in order to pay back the loan with the presbytery (with or without those partners).

What if the Redevelopment Doesn’t Happen?
The loan is due to be paid back on July 1, 2024 whether or not Union redevelops its property. The presbytery understands that markets and ministry plans always change; so if redevelopment doesn’t happen in the time frame Union expects, Union will still make provision to repay the loan on July 1, 2024. The presbytery is committed to the long term mission of Union and will respond appropriately if plans change.

Why Are We Giving Union More Money?
The presbytery is not giving any money to Union, it is providing a loan to a newly chartered church so that it can continue its ministry in South Lake Union. Beginning in 2014, the presbytery has invested a total of $370,000 in an equity share of the of the Union property. The current proposal is to loan, not grant or give, $2.25M to Union to ensure their continued mission. By July of 2024, the presbytery will be paid back the $2.25M loan and the investment of $370,000 (with any appreciation of value).

Ok, Then Why Aren’t We Giving Union Money?
Union got started as a new church development as a result of a UPC session retreat in the early 2000s. Since that time, UPC and Union have jointly supported the investment of time, talent, and treasure to plant this new congregation in South Lake Union. UPC cannot continue to support the mortgage on Union’s behalf, so the presbytery’s contribution at this stage is to loan Union the money to pay their mortgage while they make plans to redevelop the property.

Wow, The Timing Seems Really Good.
As a Presbytery, we are well positioned to make more investments like this as God calls us to new ministry opportunities. Union has worked diligently, as a new church, to maintain a healthy and stable financial position and their history points to a vibrant future. We have reviewed their financial practices, health as a congregation, and plans for the future. Financial support is ONE way we encourage their ministry and future and we are thrilled to invest in the ministry of our congregations in a practical way.

What’s Next?
The last three newly charted congregations were all developed by (or alongside) an existing congregation. What if we had three congregations step up and begin praying about starting a new congregation? If God so leads, we believe we are prepared to follow.


1.      The presbytery approves the call of Rev. Colin Robeson as full-time installed Associate Pastor in the position of Pastor for Family Life Ministries at Bellevue Presbyterian Church with the following terms, effective upon congregational approval: Effective Salary $81,360 (HA: $25,000) with full BOP; 4 weeks vacation; 2 weeks study leave; Continuing Ed $800; Professional Expense $500.

[Background: Effective date - September 1, 2017.  Rev. Robeson was serving as a Temporary Associate Pastor at Bellevue Presbyterian Church. This requires a 2/3 vote of presbytery.]


1.      An Annual Consultation and committee Candidacy Exam was conducted with Zac Calvo.  It was voted to continue him under care and to present him to the Presbytery for examination and enrollment as a candidate. The inquirer is to be examined for Christian faith, forms of Christian service, and sense of call.

2.     An Annual Consultation and committee Candidacy Exam was conducted with Haley Ballast.  It was voted to continue her under care and to present her to the Presbytery for examination and enrollment as a candidate. The inquirer is to be examined for Christian faith, forms of Christian service, and sense of call.


Candidacy Examination of Zac Calvo (Candidacy Essay)

Zac Calvo bio: 

Zac Calvo is a Washington native who grew up in the Seattle area, the oldest of four siblings all of whom were homeschooled until college. He grew up leading worship through music from a young age. This led him to pursue his B.A. in music from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. After graduation he worked at University Presbyterian for five years in the worship department.        

Currently he is attending Princeton Theological Seminary and will be entering his third and final year this September. He has been both challenged and encouraged by the opportunity to explore new gifts in this season, and looks forward to what post-graduation life has in store. His hobbies include loving everything Star Wars and trying to find horror movies that actually scare him.

Candidacy Examination of Haley Ballast (Candidacy Essay)

Haley Ballast bio:

Haley grew up in the Seattle area and graduated from Mt. Rainier High School. She attended the University of Southern California, where she competed on the swim team and earned a BA in Psychology and Linguistics, with a minor in Spanish. Haley met her husband, Jon, while at USC and they were married shortly after she graduated in 2002. Haley and Jon have four children between the ages of 4 and 12 years old, one of whom joined their family from Ethiopia through international adoption.

Haley was raised Catholic, but began attending University Presbyterian Church in high school. She attended Bel Air Presbyterian Church during college, and later became a member and served on staff at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach, CA. When Haley moved back to Seattle with her family in 2007 they became part of the congregation at John Knox Presbyterian Church, where Haley is currently under care.

Over the past fifteen years, Haley has served the church in both volunteer and staff capacities in the areas of youth ministry, office administration, and worship and arts ministry. These ministry experiences helped to awaken her call toward seminary and ordination, and Haley enrolled at Seattle University School of Theology & Ministry in 2014 to pursue this calling.

Haley enjoys yoga, reading, hiking, having long late-night conversations with her husband and friends, and spending time at her family beach cabin on Vashon Island.