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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.


SeaPres Update: From the Anti-Racism Task Force

Seattle Presbytery

From: Haley Ballast, on behalf of the Anti-Racism Task Force

Dear friends,

The Anti-Racism Task Force of the Seattle Presbytery began meeting nearly a year ago, after being established and appointed by the Executive Board. Our charter instructs us to facilitate transformative conversations around issues of race and equity, and to serve as a reflective body within the presbytery to help us identify and address our complicity in systemic racism.

With summer approaching, churches across the country are preparing for Vacation Bible Camps with the children in their communities. One of the new curriculum options on the market, ROAR! by Group Publishing, has been the focus of a great deal of media attention and controversy. This Africa-themed curriculum contains content which instructs children to pretend to be slaves while being insulted and called “lazy” by a leader, names Africa as a country, and mimics a “click language.” As a task force, we have reviewed these materials and find them to be inconsistent with our biblical values, as well as culturally and racially insensitive and harmful.

We understand that some churches within the Seattle Presbytery have already purchased and planned to use this curriculum. We ask that you reflect critically on the materials and prayerfully consider alternatives. Should you decide to move forward with this curriculum, we recommend that you review the changes provided by Group Publishing, and also consider any additional adaptations and edits to the material that may be appropriate for your particular context. If you have questions or need support in this process, please feel free to reach out to the task force.

We believe that this lamentable situation provides an opportunity for critical reflection for all our congregations as we plan to welcome thousands of children through our doors across the presbytery this summer. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people, across race, culture, ethnicity, country of origin, and native language. Let us endeavor to share this good news with our communities, and to do so with integrity, compassion, and love.


Haley Ballast, on behalf of the Anti-Racism Task Force

Task Force Members

Haley Ballast
Nichelle Keatley
Renee Notkin
Pulemau Savusa
Lina Thompson
Staff: Eliana Maxim, Tali Hairston

SeaPres Update: From Tali Hairston

Seattle Presbytery

Recently, a local news outlet prompted a conversation about the death of Seattle. In the docu-news piece it presented an analysis of the social issues of a “struggling” Seattle. While the piece created a whirlwind of conversations about drug abuse, mental health, policing, and other important social policy determinants; the changing geography of housing and gentrifying land seemed the obvious elephant in the room.

Every day the news is more and more difficult to hear on these fronts. Families are negatively impacted by a lack of affordable and accessible housing, not only in Seattle but King County. And while the region may be considered a creative space, solutions to housing instability and affordability seem hard to come by at the social and political levels; which is also seemingly true to some degree in cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C.

Faith communities seem somewhat predisposed to solutions located in the charitable use of their properties. At least at a minimum, congregations continue to seek ways to utilize the church property as a tool to temporarily address housing instability. But what some may find interesting is the extremely high percentage of church buildings that are sold to cover budget shortfalls. In other words, as congregations reach the point of closing the overwhelming majority end up selling for economic reasons, and not charitable ones.

In the last year we have not only learned important statistics like what was previously mentioned, but also we have learned and continue to be mindful of church property development challenges. Here are just a few findings and ways we are continuing to engage the very important issue of church property.

Active Discernment

The challenge and opportunity of urban spaces across our nation is for historic mainline churches to actively engage the discernment of its resources. In particular there is a need to discern the future development of church property with intentionality. Yet we must engage property questions and concerns, challenges, and opportunities with an eye on the future of the Presbyterian mission. We must not forget that we are not called to a building; we are called be a people who use all available resources as tools for ministry. As important as resources are our mission is with, for, and to people. Therefore, it is important we take a holistic view of land and buildings as a means-and not the end. In reading the theological work of our Native community, they remind us of this very fact. We have been informed by a Manifest Destiny in our understanding of land. To lose or own land means something economic and related to power. We must discern using the theological lens of Pentecost. The power we seek is not contained in what we own. 

It is a Community Issue also

We are learning that congregations normally consider church property as simply a church conversation and church decision. This is to be expected as the church members seek to discern how to address property issues. What we are learning is how much this is also a community issue that impacts the future presence of the presbytery in many communities. Church property issues not only are of great concerns to the congregation but often community stakeholders are asking questions the congregation may not be asking. Therefore, it is important for there to be a thoughtful discernment process that includes community.

Inviting this type of dialogue with the community can be overwhelming and inconvenient. But in our early conversations with local communities over the last year, what is clear is each community has its own story and churches sit within those stories. Also, a one-size fits all approach to church property will not work given the story each church sits within. We are reminded in Acts 17 how Paul the Apostle entered the cities of Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Each had their own story and each presented different approaches.

Discernment With

This may go without saying for some but after Lina Thompson’s homily and presentation at our April 30th presbytery meeting, we must name this. Our discernment process must always lend itself to being WITH and not simply FOR or TO the community. This requires time and patience in our discernment process. There are no quick and easy answers and simple solutions.  

Finally, this is why the presbytery is beginning to take the long view in regards to these challenges. Ten years ago, the presbytery was struggling to right its books so it could support its churches. Today however, we are looking to right our approach in order to advance our collective mission with our communities. It's time for a different approach when it comes to the challenges we are facing in our presbytery and in our community. Can we leverage our properties to support a renewed mission to engage our communities? Yes! Can we also build congregations on or around these properties at the same time? If we listen to and discern with communities and congregations, it is possible.   

Grace and peace,

Tali Hairston
Director of Community Engagement & Reconciliation

PDA response to flooding and tornadoes

Seattle Presbytery

Record breaking flooding and tornadoes have devastated lives and communities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi. Your hearts, like ours, have been broken as the fatalities increase. Levee breaches are causing flooding in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana and Arkansas, which will further the destruction in residential areas and agricultural land, and result in greater loss of life.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is strongly engaged in responding to flooding and tornadoes in twenty presbyteries and six synods. Because of your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, PDA has been able to respond immediately, offering initial grants and National Response Team members to assist with assessments, and will be able to respond throughout the long term recovery. Church damage grants have been disbursed to support affected churches’ continuing ministries, such as food pantries and emergency shelters, to be able to assist their communities in this time of great need.


Your gifts to OG100000 will ensure PDA has adequate resources to support the immediate and long term recovery. Gift of the Heart kits are a hands-on way to help others. You can also share this bulletin insert in church on Sunday. To be notified of volunteer opportunities as they become available, email to be placed on the interest list.

SeaPres Update: From the Presbytery Moderator

Seattle Presbytery

Dear Presbytery colleagues:

About a year ago I jumped into a certificate program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  I know, I know – I need another certificate like a need a hole in the head – but even as I edge toward retirement age I just couldn’t shake this one off: The Church Planting and Revitalization Initiative.  As the Transitional Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Seattle (and a pastor in a denomination that has lost 3 million members in my lifetime - down from 4.3 to 1.3 million today) I knew something hasn’t been working.   But I didn’t have any tricks up my sleeve besides doing the same old things, and just trying harder.

I’d be lying to you if I told you a little part of me wasn’t hoping to discover some silver bullet, some secret sauce that would magically heal all our ecclesiological ills and set us on the path to growth (=numbers!). What I have gotten is some great professors, some great books to read, meaningful discussions, spiritual renewal, insight, nudges, and a few crazy ideas.  And some courage.     

Maybe you’re like me: I realize that much of the time my driving question in the church has been something along the lines of (a somewhat panicky): “Holy cow, the church is struggling, or dying - what are we going to do? How are we going to get more members?” Lately however, I’ve been learning to ask a better question, like:   “What is God up to? Where is the Holy Spirit at work, right here in the neighborhood? How can we participate in the mission of God?”

Big generalization: many congregations tend to value leadership that doesn’t really rock the boat, but rather preserves congregational identity, keeping things the same, only bigger. Maybe.

But the way forward into a new (that would be God’s) future requires leaders who can be more risk-taking, willing to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit (yep, this is spiritual work), and and guiding the congregation to a place it did not intend to go!

Yikes! How do we really get at this stuff? How do we stop dragging our feet? How do we develop an imagination for what we do not even know, and have not yet experienced?!  Where do we start?

Seattle Presbytery received a grant from the Presbyterian Foundation to grapple with these questions, and on behalf of First Pres. Seattle, I’ll be helping with the research in the coming months – which will benefit all of SeaPres.

In addition, I mentioned I’ve had a lot of great professors, and have been reading a lot of great books – and if there’s one book in particular that I could pass along that has helped me grasp some of the big ideas of church planting and revitalization, it’s The Agile Church: Spirit-Led Innovation in an Uncertain Age, by Dwight Zscheile. The book has some great background and theory but also some very practical stuff in it, and it’s not too thick (only 158 pages).

Seattle Presbytery will be sending some copies of the book to all our churches in the coming weeks.  Think of it as a SeaPres Summer Read.  We encourage pastors and leaders to read it, and join us at the July 16 Presbytery meeting on Vashon for deeper conversation together.  Also, if you find it fruitful or generative, you might consider buying copies for your Session to inspire their imagination for being church in the 21st century.

Looking forward to sharing with you in July!

Grace and peace,

Rev. Dr. Heidi Husted Armstrong
Seattle Presbytery Moderator
Transitional Pastor, Seattle First PC

Venezuelan refugees’ plight tugs at the heart of mission co-worker in Colombia

Seattle Presbytery

César Carhuachin puts into practice the principles he teaches future Colombian ministers

by Pat Cole | Presbyterian News Service

Mission Co-Worker César Carhuachin, second from left, visits with some of his Venezuelan friends. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Just steps away from the Reformed University campus where he teaches, Presbyterian mission co-worker César Carhuachincomes face to face with some of Colombia’s most marginalized people.

He encounters Venezuelan refugees who seek to survive by selling candy on the streets. Earlier this year, the United Nations estimated that 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled their homeland, where political repression has created severe economic hardship and pervasive shortages of food and medicine.

Read more.

SeaPres Update: May 17, 2019

Seattle Presbytery

April 30, 2019 Seattle Presbytery Meeting draft minutes available online.

From April 30, 2019 Presbytery meeting: The Stated Clerk proposed a standing rule for approving minutes since the two decision making bodies of the presbytery meet quarterly and their minutes are required to execute approved actions. Waiting until until the minutes are approved at the next meeting creates an inconvenience.

The presbytery APPROVED the following resolution, “Resolved, That the following standing rule be adopted regarding the minutes of the Executive Board and the presbytery: The Stated Clerk will draft the minutes and distribute them, in the case of the presbytery, to the continuing members and the churches, in the case of the Executive Board, its members, for review and suggested additions, corrections or deletions. Ten days after the distribution and after reviewing any suggestions, the moderator, vice moderator and immediate past moderator may approve the minutes.”

Contact Stated Clerk Dean Strong with suggested corrections.

Seattle Presbytery Boundary Training

Boundary training is required for all minister members of Seattle Presbytery. If unable to attend a presbytery sponsored training, ministers must submit a copy of his/her boundary training completion certificate every three years to the stated clerk.

The following online training option will fulfill the training requirement in 2019 (through December 31 only):  Email a completion certificate to:

In-person training options will be offered in 2020.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019

Please pray for our Seattle Presbytery Triennium delegation, who will travel to Indiana July 16-20, 2019:

Christine Stratton (Chaperone), Southminster PC
Rev. Ken Onstot (Chaperone), Southminster PC
Jessica Cedergreen, Southminster PC
Emma LaRochelle, Southminster PC
Linda Engen (Chaperone), Overlake Park PC
Erik Engen, Overlake Park PC
Carissa Bartlow, Bethany PC (Inland NW Presbytery)

Mt. Baker Park PC helps Rainier Valley Food Bank through "Operation Sandwich"

Seattle Presbytery

What would you do for lunch if you had no permanent home and a full-time job?

When would you find time to make a sandwich if you were a single, non-English-speaking mom?

How would you manage your diabetes if you had no income and could not work?

Who would take the time to help you find food if you were struggling with mental illness and addiction?

If you found yourself at the Rainier Valley Food Bank RVFB), you would receive a hearty sandwich, made from quality ingredients, ready for you. Every Sunday after worship, a small team of people from Mount Baker Park Presbyterian Church make 100 sandwiches and deliver them to RVFB, to be distributed on Monday. This is part of an effort to make almost 1000 sandwiches every week for clients of the food bank.

Is this only a bandaid solution? Does it perpetuate the problem? According to staff at RVFB, Peter’s Place Shelter, Union Gospel Mission, and a nearby Nickelsville camp, these sandwiches are a vital piece of a larger puzzle. For some recipients, the sandwiches are their only meal in a day. Shelter workers report that hunger — even missing a meal — exacerbates physical, mental, and emotional issues for many of their clients.

There is plenty of room for additional congregations to join Operation Sandwich by preparing and delivering sandwiches to RVFB. If this sounds like a local mission opportunity for you, please contact Pastor Lee Seese at

Presbyterian Youth Triennium

Seattle Presbytery

Presbyterian Youth Triennium

July 16-20, 2019
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Please pray for our 2019 Seattle Presbytery Triennium delegation:

Christine Stratton (Chaperone), Southminster PC

Rev. Ken Onstot (Chaperone), Southminster PC

Jessica Cedergreen, Southminster PC

Emma LaRochelle, Southminster PC

Linda Engen (Chaperone), Overlake Park PC

Erik Engen, Overlake Park PC

Carissa Bartlow, Bethany PC (Inland NW Presbytery)


Get ready for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium - a gathering held every three years for high school age students in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Youth from churches across the country come together for this life-changing, life-giving, faith-growing gathering! This is a week that feeds young disciples and shapes their leadership gifts. Participants are invited into a deepening life of discipleship and service to the world.

For our Seattle Presbytery Delegation, we invite participants from all Seattle Presbytery Churches and Fellowships. There is no limit on the number of students per church. We are also interested in accommodating an engaged adult advisor from as many churches as possible.

Learn more about Triennium by visiting



Five days of CONVERSATION, RECREATION, LEARNING, WORSHIP AND FUN! Drawing from the rich and diverse theology, history and education of the Presbyterian tradition – the Triennium experience is packed with the information students long to explore!

Digging into faith through a variety of activities and experiences – all focused around the theme “Here’s My Heart” (Recognize the line yet? Hint: It’s a lyric from a classic tune / hymn we sing!) participants at the Triennium will re-enter their lives with a fresh sense of inspiration grounded in the context of personal and communal worship!

Seattle Presbytery will lead a delegation to attend this event. Rev. Scott Anderson (St. Andrew PC) is our 2019 registrar. Contact Seattle Presbytery or go to SeaPres Triennium page.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth (entering 9th grade through graduated 12th grade) from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. All participants must be registered through a local presbytery or church delegation.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium website

Presbyterian Youth Triennium on Facebook

‘Here’s my Heart’ named 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium theme

Rental space available at Magnolia PC

Seattle Presbytery

April 17, 2019

Dear Friends,

We are writing to let you know that Magnolia Presbyterian Church has a refurbished office space available for rent by a non-profit organization. If in the course of your work you learn of an organization looking for office space, we hope you will tell them about us.

The space is about 450 square feet, has natural light (west-facing windows), storage, and has use of a nearby conference room and other shared space. The office could accommodate up to 4 desks. There is an elevator (office is on second floor) and an entry ramp to the building. On-street parking is readily available.

We are offering a 1-year lease, with the opportunity to extend the lease for future years. The monthly rent is $1000, including utilities. The space has new paint and carpet, and is available now.

We appreciate you keeping us in mind, should you hear of an organization looking for this type of space to rent. Please direct any questions to our Board President and Facilities point-person, Cheri Yonich (206)412-1448

Many thanks,

Linda Keylon

Magnolia Presbyterian Church
3051 28th Ave W.
Seattle, WA 98199

Seattle Times features Woodland Park PC exhibit

Seattle Presbytery

Seattle Times article

Subversive saints show up in Phinney Ridge, just in time for Easter

By Nicole Brodeur
Seattle Times columnist

There’s a silent revolution going on at the Woodland Park Presbyterian Church in Phinney Ridge.

It comes in the form of a series of paintings depicting “Subversive Saints,” selected and created by parishioners and hung on the sanctuary walls.

The project makes strange bedfellows of a U.S. Supreme Court justice (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), a labor leader (Dolores Huerta), a children’s television host (Fred Rogers), and a 100-year-old activist from Detroit (Grace Lee Boggs).

Read more online.

SeaPres Update: A Tradition of Change?

Seattle Presbytery

A Tradition of Change?

As Presbyterians, we are part of a Christian tradition that understands the necessity of change. The Latin phrase, ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei (the church reformed, always to be reformed according to the Word of God) is not just about our history; it’s about who we are today as followers of Christ.

Instead of looking only to the past, as Reformed Christians we discern God’s will in the present, and as faithfully as we are able, we seek to align ourselves to where God is leading us in future as well. Thus, every time we gather we open ourselves to God’s Spirit who guides, comforts, confirms, corrects, and even surprises us as we seek God’s will.

When it comes to church life however, we know this better in theory than in practice. In theory, it is easy to affirm that God is present and active in the body of believers, leading and guiding us toward God’s future. In practice though, it is much harder to agree that anything we do actually needs to change, or be reformed; and even if we do actually agree that something needs to change, it’s interesting (but not surprising) to see how quickly God becomes “unchanging” as we take steps to implement that change.

Many of the churches in this presbytery are in some stage on this continuum of change, so I understand why there is some angst. However, we miss what this unsettling situation has to teach us if we think that this is only about the closing of churches (and the presbytery management of property). The struggle here is not about the end of churches, it’s about the struggle of our congregations to live faithfully in the present and to reshape themselves for a sustainable and fruitful future.

Two Action Steps

Seattle Presbytery is taking two steps to respond to this challenge. First, it is opening itself up to learn and be surprised by what God is doing in PCUSA congregations across the country. Enabled by grants from the Presbyterian Foundation and Seattle First, the staff is convening a nationwide conversation with PCUSA congregations who have made meaningful changes from decline toward a more fruitful and sustainable future. We will then use these insights to enhance our current grant program to better support congregational revitalization, redevelopment, and new church development in our own presbytery.

Second, in keeping with this deep look at congregations, we will also evaluate our current presbytery properties with an eye toward the larger missional framework of the church (The Great Ends of the Church, F-1.0304), the missional goals of our congregations, and the needs of the communities in which they are located. The goal of this effort is to better align the  management of our properties with the long term mission of the presbytery.

As always, if you have something to offer that would help us in these efforts, don’t hesitate to share: .

Rev. Scott Lumsden
Co-Executive Presbyter

SeaPres Update: Nominating

Seattle Presbytery

The mutual interconnection of the church through its councils is a sign of the unity of the church. Congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA), while possessing all the gifts necessary to be the church, are nonetheless not sufficient in themselves to be the church. Rather, they are called to share with others both within and beyond the congregation the task of bearing witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the world. This call to bear witness is the work of all believers. The particular responsibility of the councils of the church is to nurture, guide, and govern those who witness as part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), to the end that such witness strengthens the whole church and gives glory to God. 
(Book of Order G-3.01)

The work of the presbytery resides in each of us, and specifically, groups created to carry out these particular functions such as the Commissions on Ministry and Preparation for Ministry, the Executive Board, the Permanent Judicial Commission, and the Nominating Committee. These bodies are made up of teaching and ruling elders, reflecting as much parity is possible as to gender, race, and ethnicity. 

The nominating committee welcomes all candidate submissions; its primary vetting process is to ascertain that the individual is a member of the presbytery in good standing and that their addition to the slate will ensure balance in representation (for example, including names of both ruling and teaching elders in equal numbers). 

The slate is then presented to the presbytery as a whole at the next stated meeting, where the body elects candidates to the openings in the various open slots on commissions and committees.

Ruling and teaching elders who feel called to serve a higher council than the local congregation (such as the presbytery’s executive board or commissions or committees) are individuals who wish to share their gifts for the spiritual discernment, leadership, and government of the presbytery. They come from a variety of backgrounds and church contexts, but together share in the one purpose of serving the whole of the presbytery in unity.

At our upcoming April presbytery meeting, we will be spending time cleaning up some confusion from the last meeting’s election. The nominating committee will be meeting prior to presbytery to finalize the slate with additional input it has received. 
If you would like to either nominate yourself or someone else (confirming that the person does wish to be nominated and is willing to serve if elected), please submit those names to by April 15th. 

Together we bring our gifts and talents to the work of the presbytery. We welcome yours!

In grace and peace,

Rev. Eliana Maxim
Co-Executive Presbyter

SeaPres Update: From Scott Lumsden & Eliana Maxim

Seattle Presbytery

From Scott Lumsden: 

“Things are changing!” We say this a lot in the church and often times what we mean is that things actually have changed, but we haven’t yet taken steps to catch up with those changes. No more in Seattle Presbytery. 

At the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday, the EB unanimously approved that Eliana and I are now co-leaders as Executive Presbyters of Seattle Presbytery. I wholeheartedly welcome this change. One simple reason why is because this is how we’ve been leading for the past three years or more. I am blessed to have a colleague as gifted, insightful, and talented as Eliana, and I could not think of doing this work without the collaborative partnership we’ve developed over the years.

Another important reason we’re doing this is because it better serves the needs of the presbytery, now and into the future. Eliana’s main responsibilities will continue to be congregational and ministry support, and oversight of the presbytery; while mine will be in the areas of mission, vision, and leadership development (while they decrease around day to day management of property and finance). 

So I celebrate the action the EB has taken to recognize the wonderful work Eliana has been doing for many years, and the now official partnership we have in leadership in Seattle Presbytery. 

From Eliana Maxim:

I am appreciative of the Executive Board’s decision to move in this forward-looking decision as we make official some of the changes we’ve undertaken as staff to meet the needs of our presbytery. Though most of you will not detect any changes in how we partner in ministry together, allowing Scott and I to serve as co-leaders will allow me to step into certain areas with more ease and certainly recognition of my role. 

I also believe that Scott and I are able to model strategic leadership as we each lean into our own strengths and gifts, as well as into each other in order to serve the presbytery. We’ll continue to clarify our roles as we move along, and hope that you will feel free to share any questions or thoughts along the way.

I am blessed to be on such an amazing staff, and privileged to serve Seattle Presbytery. 

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Unpacking Colombia

Seattle Presbytery

By Rev. Leigh Weber (Vashon PC), 2019 Colombia delegation member

Unpacking Colombia…

I set out for Colombia early on the morning of February 4th with snow falling in Seattle.  Between the runway needing to be plowed and the plane de-iced, my flight left late enough that I missed my connection to Barranquilla later that evening.  I was already nervous.  Before this trip, the extent of my world traveling was weekends and day trips to British Colombia.  I considered my more daring side to be the part of me that chose the truck crossing entry instead of the Peace Arch.  To say that I had no international travel experience was an understatement. 

My late husband was the traveler.  As a development economist at Seattle University, Chris had traveled extensively through Central and South America and helped to start the Ghana Study Tour program at SU.  I was the parent who stayed back in Seattle, ferrying kids to school and activities. 

Three years ago, when I was first approached about the Colombia Trip it didn’t take me long to say that I didn’t think it was realistic for me to go at that time.  The second year, I said I was too new in my call at Vashon to leave.  And this past year, when I was asked to go, I ended up saying yes before I knew exactly what I was saying.  It didn’t take long for nervousness and fear to bubble up to the surface of my thinking and, honestly, I came close to backing out.  I’m a single parent and not the most adventurous soul.  For many of my colleagues, international travel was not unusual but for me it was a first and I didn’t know what to expect. 

By the time I arrived in Barranquilla a day late, I was greeted by Renee Notkin and one of our Colombian hosts and taken to my hotel room where I couldn’t sleep because I was still trying to take in the fact that I was actually in South America.  I literally gasped on the plane when I first saw the continent and I couldn’t close the curtains in my hotel room because I kept just looking at the lights of Barranquilla.  Early the next day my group headed out to one of the churches where the process of falling in love with Colombia and its people began.  It was a whole new world for me.

For the next few days I was ministered to in word and deed, with smiles and hugs, lots of food and also at the Table.  I was challenged to communicate in a language I did not speak and met with understanding and gentleness.  I made forever friends and not a day has gone by that I don’t find myself lost in unpacking more of what I felt and experienced and how I am forever changed.

When I finally found my way back to Vashon, which was a long process because you were still snowed in and there were more flight delays on my return, I began to realize that I had not only fallen in love with Colombia but because of what Colombia gifted to me I was more deeply in love with Vashon and with my congregation at VPC.  What I saw in that week were human beings who live, love and move as a larger community, a beloved community, and what I cherish about my own congregation is working with people here who love similarly and want to do more.  My congregation eagerly waited for the stories I had to tell and have listened as I have attempted to find the words.  Their support has been invaluable.

I suspect that I will spend a long time unpacking from Colombia and I suspect I will return there.  What I am confident of most of all is that between here and there, between now and the not yet, I am called to use here what I have learned and continue to learn by amazing human beings, thousands of miles away, who allowed me into their community, ministered to my heart and accepted me just as I am…even after they saw me dance. 

I am grateful that I was asked to go, not once but a few times.  Persistence is a good and holy thing.  I am grateful that I both admitted and lived into my anxiety and fear.  Vulnerability is also a good and holy thing.  During this liminal season of Lent, this year, I am unpacking and finding treasures I didn’t even know were there.

There is more to discover, more to articulate, more to remember and more to work with as I do this unpacking.  What you should know is that this trip was not lost on me nor was your support.  Part of my heart is forever left in Colombia and that, too, is a good and holy thing. 

Leigh Weber

Various items available for SeaPres churches & new worshiping communities

Seattle Presbytery

Please contact Seattle Presbytery if your church or new worshiping community needs the following:

  • Cushioned black chairs

  • Cushioned red chairs

  • Other assorted chairs

  • Assorted tables

  • Pianos

  • Blue hymnals

Music library - If your church music library could use a refresh or some filling in, The First Presbyterian Church of Kent left a collection of choral music.  From Bach to Vivaldi, Hayes to Sleeth - there's a wide variety of individual anthems, collections, and oratorios/cantatas. Number of copies varies by selection.  

Churches are responsible for all pick-up (including any associated costs). Items are currently only available to Seattle Presbytery churches and new worshiping communities.  Contact Seattle Presbytery for more details.

Praying for New Zealand

Seattle Presbytery

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Our hearts break for the victims, families and Christchurch, New Zealand community in the aftermath of mass shootings at two mosques, that left 49 worshippers slain and 20 injured. At this tragic time we look to God for comfort and strength — and wisdom in responding to this sickening act of violence. Give us the grace to hear your truth and be healed through your mercy.

Prayer by Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, PC(USA)

Read the full prayer online.

Bellevue Presbyterian Church worship and prayer tonight (March 15 at 7:00pm).

Interfaith Vigil & Anti-Islamophobia Teach-In

Monday, March 18, 7-9pm

Please join us for an interfaith prayer vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosque massacre followed by a teach-in about combating Islamophobia in our communities.


“Connecting Activism and Advocacy to Combating Islamophobia and Hate,” by CAIR-WA Executive Director Masih Fouldai

“The Roots of Islamophobia,” by MAPS-AMEN Executive Director Aneelah Afzali

Other guest speakers include local interfaith leaders and elected officials.


Muslim Association of Puget Sound - MAPS

17550 NE 67th Ct, Redmond, Washington 98052

Learn more online.

Statement of the Church Council of Greater Seattle After Attack at Two Mosques in New Zealand

Read the full statement online.

SeaPres Update: Thank you!

Seattle Presbytery

What happens when over 575 people from across the country (Scotland, Kenya, and Cameroon were represented too!) descend onto a church property whose congregation barely hits two dozen?
Members from throughout Seattle Presbytery formed a volunteer army that helped welcome, guide, feed, and care for attendees at this week’s NEXT Church National Gathering. They came from so many of our churches and represented both the presbytery and the Pacific Northwest with grace and humor. There is no way we could have pulled off this event, at this particular location, without these good saints. A million thank yous fall short. But we are so appreciative for each one of you!

Thank you collage.jpg

If you were unable to attend in person, you can catch video recordings of the keynote speakers, testimony presenters, and worship services here. You can also read coverage from The Presbyterian Outlook here.
Be sure you mark your calendars for the 2020 NEXT Church National Gathering in Cincinnati, Ohio: March 2-4.
Coming up this week in Seattle Presbytery meetings…
-       March 18:       Property & Finance Committee
-       March 19:       Executive Board
In grace and peace,

Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter

Presbyterian Community of Practice

Seattle Presbytery


What is the Presbyterian Community of Practice?

A one year opportunity for young adults to live in intentional Christian community while putting faith into action.

Six commitments of this community:

  • Regular Spiritual Practices

  • Experience in Communal Living

  • Participation in a Worshiping Community

  • Discernment/Reflection

  • Communal Work Experience/Opportunities

  • Accountable Skill Building

Participants in this community will live at Menucha and will design and serve ministries in both rural and urban settings. Ministry opportunities are designed by participants in consultation with staff of Menucha and First Presbyterian Church. Specific ministries and work will depend upon the gifts, skills and interests of participants.

Each participant receives room & board at Menucha, and a monthly stipend. No fundraising is required. While being Presbyterian is not required to secure a spot in our community of practice, Presbyterian participants will qualify for student loan repayment options through the PC(USA).

We are seeking interested individuals between the ages of 21 and 30, for September 2019-August 2020.

Download flyer.

Learn more online.

SeaPres Update: Plate Spinning & NEXT Church National Gathering

Seattle Presbytery

Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning plates.
As a child I was mesmerized by that act on variety shows; the first plate and second would go up on the pole, spinning like mad. It seemed doable. But then the artist (‘cause that has to be an art) would suddenly have a dozen plates spinning, running from one to another when it seemed it might topple over. And just like that, when the time was right, each plate would be removed and a bow waken for a performance well done.

Ministry is an exercise in plate spinning.
There are sermons to prepare. But there is also pastoral care to be given, committee meetings to attend, leadership to develop, books to read, facilities to maintain… the list goes on and on. Back to our plate spinner. Notice she always keeps her eyes on the plates? Never looks up, around or ahead. And I think that’s where we as church leaders are challenged.

We can’t afford not to look up, around or ahead. We need to keep all those plates spinning as well as be in conversation and planning about community engagement, inclusion and equity, as well as the church’s future and sustainability. And more.
At times it feels like a whole heck of a lot. Because it is.

Church, we are blessed that we don’t do this plate spinning alone. We’re connectional and can (and I think should) lean on each other for strength and creativity. We also trust in an omniscient God who sustains and empowers us for the work to which we are called. The very same God who has called us to be church for millennia.

Permit me to invite you to the NEXT Church National Gathering, hosted at Seattle First Presbyterian Church on March 11-13.  NEXT Church Gathering 2019
(Registration closes on March 1)

Come join hundreds of other plate spinners who are seeking ways to be faithful and innovative in the church. I look forward to seeing you there!

Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter