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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
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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: 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

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

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Colombia Delegation

Seattle Presbytery

By Ben McConaughy, Ruling Elder/Mercer Island Presbyterian Church

The 60-year civil war in Colombia resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, 85,000 disappearances, many hundreds of thousands of wounded, rapes, threats, intimidations, land thefts, and the displacement from their homes of nearly 8 million men, women and children. The Presbyterian church has a 150-year history in Colombia, and the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC) has been one of the principal religious advocates for peace, including for the peace accords signed in 2016 by the government and the primary rebel group (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC). Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia as part of a delegation sponsored by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of the status of the implementation of the peace accords, to listen, to learn, and to come home to advocate on behalf of the Colombian people. The delegation included the Stated Clerk of the PCUSA, J. Herbert Nelson, the Director of PPF, and pastors and lay leaders from across the country. We met with victims of violence and displacement, rebel groups who have laid down their arms, representatives of the Colombia “Truth Commission,” the UN Mission that is overseeing the implementation of the agreement, the FARC representatives of the joint body that is overseeing the implementation of the group, NGO’s involved in advocating for peace, and a forum of 75 Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and political and social leaders.

While there is universal desire for peace in Colombia, our trip revealed significant challenges in implementing the accords. The political party currently in power -- which was elected after the signing of the accords – had actually opposed their approval. It has been slow in implementing the agreements. Paramilitary groups have seized control of significant parts of the country previously controlled by FARC and are stifling political and social change in those areas. The process of reintegrating FARC into civil society has slowed dramatically. The trauma experienced by the victims of war remains unhealed. Assassinations (and threats of assassinations) of civil and religious leaders stifle social change. A rebel group which was not party to the accords recently bombed a police academy in Bogotá, which has heightened tensions and distrust.  

Yet we saw that the will for peace remains strong. Our brothers and sisters in the IPC labor tirelessly to bring healing to the victims of war and to former combatants who have renounced violence. We met with and encountered numerous advocates and agencies working to hold the tenuous peace. The PPF has a robust “accompaniment program” of volunteers who walk alongside Colombians, and throughout our trip we were told our presence was a tremendous source of encouragement to the Colombian people. (For those interested in serving as accompaniers, the next training in serving is in Montreat, NC from October 11-14. Email for more information.)

As a result of our trip, our understanding of the competing narratives and tensions was enhanced, and we intend to advocate within the United States and at the United Nations on behalf of the causes of peace, justice and reconciliation in Colombia. We offered resources to facilitate the work of the Truth Commission as it gathers information within the United States from victims and perpetrators of violence who have fled Colombia to live here. We took hope from the resilience of all parties concerned, and we were inspired to stand together with our sisters and brothers in that war-weary nation.

Many groups, a shared dream

Seattle Presbytery

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

This post was written by Bennet McConaughy from Seattle, WA, a delegate on the PPF Delegation to Colombia.

One of the disciplines of traveling as a group in a foreign country is to “count heads” before leaving any place. We want to make sure that our group stays together, and that no one is left behind in an unknown setting.

On this trip, we first visited with a community of people displaced from their shared land by paramilitaries. After a brief period of refuge in a shelter, they were provided with a mountaintop parcel that they have worked hard to till and develop. The group of 20 families totals about 140 people, and their parcel is around 250 acres – not enough to sustain them long term or permit the coming generations to continue living side-by-side with their parents.


A nativity story

Seattle Presbytery

From Lois Parkinson (former member of Kent First Presbyterian Church):

Seattle Presbytery donated a Nativity from Kent First Presbyterian Church to the United Methodist Church in Kent. The Nativity was dedicated by Pastor Jim Head-Corliss on December 9th and the James Family from former KFPC gave the history of the Nativity:

Through a series of awesome and improbable events, Kent United Methodist Church recently received the Nativity used at the Kent First Presbyterian Church. Seattle Presbytery gifted the Nativity to our Church in early November.  They have asked that when it is used this Advent Season, that pictures be taken and sent to Presbytery so they can share the “new life” of this Nativity with their Presbyterian Congregations.

Many former members of Kent First Presbyterian Church are members or attend church regularly so it especially joyful that this rich tradition can be passed on and be enjoyed by this congregation.

Josephine Hayes, sister of Pat James, a long-time member of the former Kent First Presbyterian Church, crafted the Nativity between 1995-1997 and donated it to the Kent First Presbyterian Church.  Josephine poured the molds and then hand painted several Nativity Sets for her family and for the Kent First Presbyterian Church. Dan James crafted the Manger that accompanies it. The Nativity was an integral part of Worship throughout the Advent Season for more than twenty years. During the Advent Season, various pieces were added each Sunday culminating with the addition of Baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Service.  

Today, Josephine is 100 years old and lives in Oregon.  Pat James and her son, Dan and daughter-in-law, Rhonda regularly attends Kent United Methodist Church.

SeaPres Update: January 24, 2019

Seattle Presbytery

“The gifts he gave were some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ....” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
“Ruling elders, together with ministers of word and sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church….” (Book of Order G-2.0301)
At our recent presbytery meeting, there was concern raised at the lack of ruling elders serving on the Presbytery’s executive board. As the staff person assigned to the nominating committee, I can tell you this is probably the most difficult task before us. And it’s not because there aren’t highly qualified, faithful elders throughout our churches. It all lies in connection and relationship.
Members of the nominating committee reach out to folks they know and have been recommended to contact for serving on Presbytery commissions or committees. And that’s usually ministers nominating each other. But when do ruling elders get recommended?
That’s where the pastor of the local congregation comes in.
Pastors know of folks in their church who have served as elders and would be an asset to the Presbytery. We depend on this connection. 
Here’s a challenge for all you church pastors out there: think of one person you can ask to serve in some capacity of their interest.
Our councils, commissions, boards, and committees reflect the fullness of service and God’s gifts when it has equal representation of ruling and teaching elders (gender and race balance as well). Besides, it’s in our bylaws. :)
If you or someone you know would like to serve the larger church in Presbytery service, please contact Rev. Doug Early or myself. We welcome the introduction!
Also, please take a moment to review the proposed Property Guidelines and provide us with your comments. The executive board is looking forward to finalizing this document and adopting it at the next Presbytery meeting (April 30 at John Knox Presbyterian Church).
In grace and peace,

Rev. Eliana Maxim

Associate Executive Presbyter

Immerse Yourself in Discipleship

Seattle Presbytery

IMMERSE is a seven-day summer intensive for high schoolers like you, hosted on campus at SPU and at our beautiful Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island.

Through a week of living in community, learning, service, and worship, you will be encouraged in your vocation as a servant-leader in Christ’s church and commissioned to serve in your congregation and community back home.

Since 2017, students from Hawai'i, Kansas, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington State have attended SPU IMMERSE. You can be next!

Learn more online.

Colombia Task Force Update

Seattle Presbytery

Colombia Task Force December 2018 Report to Seattle Presbytery Executive Board

The Columbia Task Force will foster and oversee the covenant relationship between the Presbiterio de la Costa and the Seattle Presbytery. This partnership began in 2016.

Focus of the partnership:  Based on John 17:21, that they may all be one, and through the unique missions of our Presbyteries, we covenanted by the guidance of the Spirit to partner with one another in these areas:  

·       Ecclesial engagement through the sharing of liturgy, worship resources, biblical and theological reflections, pulpit exchanges and internships.

·       Educational engagement through partnership with Seattle Pacific University.

·       Diakonia engagement through a mutual vision of accompanying the stranger in our communities and presbyteries as we pursue together the work of advocacy, humanitarian relief, reconciliation and sustainable development.

Task Force members: Doug Early, Staci Imes, Eliana Maxim, Renée Notkin, Mark Zimmerly

2019 Seattle Presbytery Colombia Delegation:   Steph Boyer, Doug Early, Tali Hairston, Nancyrose Houston, Paul Kim, James Kumin, Aleco Maxim, Renée Notkin, Leigh Weber

This year our delegation, representing 7 of our Seattle Presbytery churches, as well as Seattle Pacific University and Soundview Camp, will spend time in Barranquilla and outlying communities during the week of February 4-11.  We will strengthen our relationship with our brothers and sisters of the Presbiterio de la Costa, through immersing ourselves into the community life of 7 churches and accompanying them in their ministry of Diakonia (accompaniment and advocacy work in their neighborhoods). Some of our focus will be with Venezuelan immigrants, displaced campesinos (farmers), and outreach to children and youth. We will divide our time between city and rural neighborhoods. We are especially excited to spend time with the pastors and elders of each community through bible study, conversation and prayer.  During our time, Nancyrose Houston will interview for possible summer staff at Soundview Camp for 2019 and Paul Kim will make preparations for the second year of the partnership between SPU’ s SPRINT program and Corporación Universitaria Reformada (Reformed University) of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia (Presbyterian Church of Colombia) in Barranquilla.  In addition to the 2019 Delegation, Doug Early, Ben McConaughy and Renée Notkin will attend the Colombia Mission Network in Bogota, February 1-3, 2019.

We are grateful for your partnership in prayer as we prepare for our trip, spend time in Colombia in February and pray for the Spirit’s guidance as we grow in faith and love together as God’s people of hope and reconciliation.

With deep gratitude,

Renée Notkin on behalf of the Colombia Task Force

Annual Statistical Report Deadline: February 4, 2019

Seattle Presbytery


Dear Pastors and Clerks of Session,

Links to annual statistical reporting are now "live" online.

The Clerk of Session is responsible for these reports, but if someone else is completing them, please reply and let me know.  If the Clerk does not respond, the Moderator of Session will be responsible.  Other people can help, input data, etc., but the Clerk of Session is responsible to see that it all gets done.  

All reports are done online only through the presbytery

           -Annual Statistical Report
           -Clergy 2019 Terms of Call (To be reported to the Presbytery. Must also be reported to the Board of Pensions. Due to matters of privacy, the Board of Pensions may not just report the information directly to the Presbytery.)
           -2018 Necrology Report (to be reported to the Presbytery)

           We need contact information for: Pastors, Clerks of Session, and Finance.
 Contact EJ Lee with any changes.


Rev. Dean Strong
Stated Clerk

SeaPres Update: Happy New Year

Seattle Presbytery

Our family sat around the table (where you can usually find this clan) on New Year’s Day and talked about aspirations and hopes for 2019. We refrain from using resolutions because they just seem fraught with inevitable disappointment. There was the assortment of the get healthy, read more variety, but one that stood out and was repeated by most was “be more intentional, more present”.

Perhaps it was the loss of a beloved family member and the reality of life’s fragility, or maybe the general sense that the world seems colder and meaner somehow with children separated from their parents, famine decimating an entire generation, rampant acts of blatant racism, senseless gun violence … all this brokenness seems to urge us to a place of being more mindful of not just the world around us, but our own selves in relation to it.

This past year was a difficult one, and though we have barely broken through to the new one, there is already heaviness coming from our nation’s capital and other countries around the world.

And yet…

And yet our hope does not reside in the magic of turning a calendar page. Or the ability to close our eyes and retreat to our safe spaces.

Our hope lies in the One who dared to step into those very same places to love and serve.

Perhaps the gift of intentionality and presence is the opportunity for us to emulate Christ and step into the new year with clear eyes and an open heart, to proclaim that our story is still being written, and that we do this messy thing called life together. With the grace from God, the love of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

This is my hope for us all.

Rev. Eliana Maxim

Associate Executive Presbyter

SeaPres Update: December 13, 2018

Seattle Presbytery

Photo: December 2018 Honorably Retired ministers luncheon

When I was much, much, yes MUCH younger, I would speed read (okay, I admit it, I’d skip over) the better part of Matthew’s first chapter. All those names!  Good grief, I’d think to myself, get to the good part. “…they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.”

As time as passed though, I have come to value the history and remembrance of those who came before, before the good and not so good parts of our personal and collective stories. And for some reason, it is this particular season that lends itself to this practice.

My family insists on sharing hard cider and almond nougat on Christmas Eve because our great-grandmother from Spain always served it. Stories are told about Christmases past of long gone friends and family, their struggles and their triumphs. Our personal story of immigrating to this country is usually retold and inevitably, one of our elders will look at the youngest generation and remark what a long way we have come.

And though we may wax a little too nostalgic sometimes, we are centered by the truth of who we are today, what we are doing, and how God has continued to be faithful throughout the generations.

At different times the church is also called to lift up its own “genealogy of saints”, those on whose shoulders we stand upon today. This recognition can provide us a snapshot of where we have been, the challenges faced, how we navigated them, and how God has remained faithful in each season. I believe it also gives us the blessing to sit up and take notice of who we are today and the journey we have traveled together.

“…they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.”  That has never, nor will ever change. May this Advent season provide you and your congregations with the gift of celebrating all that has been and rejoicing in anticipation of all that is yet to be.

In grace and hope,

Rev. Eliana Maxim
Associate Executive Presbyter

SeaPres Update: Sticky Situations

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 (U.S.A.), 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 (U.S.A.), to the end that such witness strengthens the whole church and gives glory to God.

(Book of Order G-3.0101)

Sticky situations or conflicts in a congregational setting are not unusual. It’s actually part of being community and gathering a diverse group of people. But there are occasions when a challenging situation arises that requires more than a session or pastor can provide.

In recent days several churches experiencing circumstances that benefit from outside guidance and more objective analysis than the congregation’s leadership can provide have contacted our office.

It might be an allegation of inappropriate conduct or significant personnel issues. The important thing to remember is that we are a connectional system and our polity provides for a higher council (such as the presbytery) to work with a lower council (the church’s session) to resolve conflict.

The first step is contacting either one of your execs (Scott Lumsden or myselfor our stated clerk (Dean Strong). Besides providing another pair of eyes and ears to evaluate the situation, should matters need an investigative process or formal review, you will have already laid the groundwork to move forward.

“Looping in the presbytery” isn’t an escalation or making things bigger than they should be; it’s just another way to make sure we’re all on the same page in a situation or serious conflict and stand together as we discern the best way forward.

Our work together is both celebrating the wonderful things God is doing in our congregations and the Christian witness of our churches as well as being present and accountable when challenges arise. In this season of Advent when we anticipate the fullness of God’s incarnation among us, may we remember that we have one another to lean on and lean into.

In grace and hope,

Rev. Eliana Maxim

Associate Executive Presbyter