Ushers Needed!

We are looking for a few more people to serve our church as ushers during the 10:30 AM service on a rotating basis. Rotating ushers serve one Sunday per month and on a fill-in basis. If interested, please talk with Gordon Gump: 206-784-1991.

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Youth Rummage Sale


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Mosquitos, Earthquakes, Supreme Court and Baltimore!


Sometimes recently I think I spend half my waking hours trying to keep up with the news, national and world events, and the mission of the Church. And I wonder how all the recent tragic, compelling and deeply disturbing events connect with each other, and with us.

Last Sunday you welcomed and heard from Julia Frisbie, the Greater Northwest Area’s Director of Outreach for Imagine No Malaria. Julia was an outstanding spokesperson for the United Methodist INM project to provide mission aid and mosquito nets to malarial areas of the world, especially equatorial Africa. You contributed generously, both at the worship services in the Church and at Camp Indianola closing worship, and a total of the offering will be available soon. On the national level, it was also the week that a check for over $9.6 million was given to Congress by the UMC for Global Health work in Africa!

No sooner had we reached out to this important mission of the UMC, than we received news of the earthquakes in Nepal–two major ones and dozens of sizable aftershocks. We received news over the next few days of the status of our United Methodist Missionaries in that area and finally learned that they were all fine, though challenged by their work in the earthquake-effected areas. Katherine Parker, our UM Missionary to Nepal from the Western Jurisdiction sent word immediately that she is fine, but the people are in tremendous need for all kinds of material and medical help. She also related that we can help provide financial assistance through United Mission to Nepal. It’s my understanding that anything given directly to UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) will be directed to the area through UMN, as well.

More locally, the U.S. Supreme Court heard testimony on Tuesday in the case of Marriage Equality. The United Methodist presence on the steps of the Supreme Count was stunning. Prayer, song, words of reflection, encouragement, and hope were shared by United Methodists and by other religious organizations, and Communion was offered to the gathered crowd. And now we wait for the announcement of their decision. Tuesday’s demonstration at the Supreme Court is another occasion for gratitude that the Women’s Division of the UMC, in its great wisdom and foresight, purchased land and built the United Methodist Building just a building away from the U.S. Supreme Court and across the street from the Capitol building, at the turn of last century. For over 100 years the United Methodists have been a visible, vocal and advocating presence for justice, peace, and compassion at that important location in our nation’s capitol.

And finally, the demonstrations in Baltimore in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who died in police custody, after having been arrested for some reason we aren’t clear about yet. Nor are we clear about the reason for his death (though his spinal injury sustained in custody is the cause of death, it seems). The extreme police and national guard response to the demonstrations in Baltimore is as much cause for concern as the demonstrations themselves, in my opinion. This isn’t the first time in our history that demonstrations over racial and economic inequalities have happened in some of our major cities. But until we are able to adequately address the various legal, racial and economic injustices in our country, they will continue to be the only way the people have available to try to effect change.

The Church is one entity that has the credibility and the voice/ability to speak to the needed changes. And the Words we have to speak are Justice, Equality, Non-violence, reduction in militarization of our police forces, Compassion, and Love. And one way to read or hear these words is through the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society website, and the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries website and the United Methodist Committee on Relief website. As a Church we are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ that exists in many ways–including being advocates on behalf of the last, the least, the lost, the marginalized, the poor, the sick, the homeless, victims of disasters, wars, the prisoners, and the dispirited. Jesus said to his disciples, “The poor you will always have with you.” That doesn’t mean we should ignore them, or any of the others who suffer, but rather that it is a challenge we must address unendingly, as long as “ever we can.” (John Wesley)

The Spring days are here and my prayer for all of you is delight in the weather and a heart for the suffering of our world.



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Things That Matter Forum-May 17

Things That Matter Adult Forum with Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda: Sunday, May 17

Join us on Sunday, May 17 after the 10:30 service in the Fellowship Hall for a discussion with Cynthia Moe-Lobeda on her new book, Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation. Please bring a light refreshment to share!

About the book: “The increasingly pressing situation of Planet Earth poses urgent ethical questions. The earth crisis cannot be understood apart from the larger human crisis—economic equity, racial justice, social values, and human purpose are bound up with the planet’s survival.”

About our speaker: Dr. Moe-Lobeda has lectured or consulted in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and many parts of North America in theology and matters of climate justice, economic justice, environmental racism, economic globalization, moral agency, public church, and eco-feminist theology. Dr. Moe-Lobeda teaches Christian ethics in Seattle University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Environmental Studies Program, and graduate School of Theology and Ministry. She holds a doctoral degree in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, affiliated with Columbia University.

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First Sunday Lunch – May 3

Join us on Sunday, May 3 for a First Sunday Lunch after the 10:30 service in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring $5 to help cover the cost of the meal.

We will welcome Lisa Gustaveson, Program Manager, Faith & Family Homelessness Project at the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University to discuss the Role of the ‘Housing First’ Paradigm in Ending Homelessness in King County.

Funded by a multi-year commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Faith & Family Homelessness project at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry inspires advocacy, education and care around the issue of homelessness in the greater Puget Sound faith community. The program guides caring congregations towards the most effective role in ending homelessness for their community within the local systems, creating unique opportunities for dialogue, understanding and action involving policy makers and service delivery agencies.

Over her almost 20 year career, Lisa Gustaveson has held leadership and consulting positions with nonprofit agencies and state, county, and city governments. Prior to joining the project, Lisa was Director of Communications for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, the largest private social service agency in the state. Previously, as project manager for the Committee to End Homelessness in King County, she successfully managed the development of a regional strategy to end homelessness. Lisa has a Masters of Not-for-Profit Leadership from Seattle University.

As a passionate advocate for children and vulnerable men and women, Lisa prays for the day when “camping” means pitching a tent in the forest – not a survival mechanism for people experiencing homelessness. She fights for policies and practices that give all people access to safe housing, healthy food and medical care. She resides in Seattle with her husband Bill, daughter Darcy, a couple of adorable kittens and a little dog named Cooper.

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Good Friday Service

Good Friday Service – April 3, 7 pm, Sanctuary

Join us Friday evening for a performance of Cantata 159 by J. S. Bach with our Sanctuary Choir and chamber orchestra, conducted by Dr. Glenn Gregg. The service will include reading of the Passion of Jesus, reflection, and prayer.

You are invited take a few moments before the Good Friday service to reflect on the events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ by visiting the Stations of the Cross in the Fellowship Hall.

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Scripture Reader Training

Sunday, March 29, there will be a training session for lay worship leaders and readers with Pastor Sharon, Dana Birkby and Ron Barnum. If you are involved with one of these worship roles, or think you might like to be, please come! We’ll meet at 12:00 in the sanctuary for a few words of encouragement and live-microphone practice. Please let the church office know if you plan to attend: 206-622-7278;

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All-Church Retreat Registration

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Easter Celebration

Easter Celebration of Word & Table – April 5, 10:30 am, Sanctuary

Join us as we celebrate the power of love and resurrection. In Christ we find the hope of transformation, the peace that follows justice, the joy of community, and the love that encompasses us in all our diversity, empowering us to make our own unique contribution to this world. Music by our Handbell Choir, First Inspirations Children’s Choir, and Sanctuary Choir with band and worship dancers.

Please note we will not have a 9 am service on Easter Sunday, but we will have a Sunrise Service at 6:40 am.

Children 12 and under are invited to join in the fun of our annual Easter Egg Hunt after the worship service.

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Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service – April 5, 6:40 am – Myrtle Edwards Park

Meet at the Olympic Sculpture Park fountain at Broad & Western. A no-host breakfast to follow at CJ’s Eatery on the corner of 1st & Cedar. (Bring cash.)

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Holy Week at First Church

Palm Sunday – March 29, 9 & 10:30 am, Sanctuary

10:30 am service – Sanctuary Choir, with guest cellist Meg Brennand (from the Onyx Trio), will present the hauntingly beautiful anthem O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.

Maundy Thursday Service – April 2, 7 pm, Fellowship Hall

Our Sanctuary Choir, with soloist Janet Crawley, will provide a beautiful setting of Keep Me Near the Cross, by Robert Sterling.

Good Friday Service – April 3, 7 pm, Sanctuary

Cantata 159 by J. S. Bach. This is an ongoing tradition at First Church, now in its 4th year. The music of Bach seems particularly fitting to this sacred day of the church year. Soloists, chamber orchestra, and our Sanctuary Choir perform; Music Director, Glenn Gregg, conducts.

Easter Sunrise Service – April 5, 6:40 am

Meet at the Olympic Sculpture Park fountain at Broad & Western. A no-host breakfast to follow at CJ’s Eatery on the corner of 1st & Cedar. (Bring cash.)

Easter Celebration of Word & Table – April 5, 10:30 am, Sanctuary

The Sanctuary Choir and Band, with soloist Ron Barnum, will provide the powerful anthem, In Christ Alone, by the contemporary Irish songwriter and composer, Keith Getty. In addition, the First Inspirations Children’s Choir will sing a lovely arrangement of the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Easter Egg Hunt – April 5, 12 pm
3rd Floor Education Classrooms

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Parking Garage

From the First Church Trustees…

It’s time to update our church parking garage decals. If you currently have a yellow parking decal on your car, it will expire on April 1, 2015.

Remember, parking for worship and church business is always free. If you are a leader or volunteer in need of parking for a church ministry that meets at a time other than Sunday morning, ask for a new parking decal at your next church meeting, or contact the office. No decals are needed for Sunday worship.

If you’d like to use the church parking garage to enjoy the many benefits of the Belltown/Uptown neighborhood, we’ve now set up a discount code for the pay stations in the church garage that will give First Church members 50% off on parking. (Contact the church office for more information.) Please take advantage of using the garage and the discount code when you can — it’s a great way to support the ministries of First Church!

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Easter Flower Delivery

Volunteers are needed to deliver Easter Flowers to homebound members of our congregation. They can be delivered on Easter Sunday or in the few days after Easter.

Please sign up on a Sunday Communication Card or contact the church office (206-622-7278; if you’d like to help.

Our homebound members are always delighted with a visit and the flowers.

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Compassionate Visitation Workshop

Have you ever wondered what to say to someone facing health challenges? Are you uncomfortable visiting someone in the hospital or at a convalescent facility? Do you let these unsettled feelings keep you from visiting someone confined to bed or facing the uncertainty of health challenges? Well, you are probably not alone. But should we allow these feelings of uncertainly to keep us from lifting someone’s spirits? Imagine the power of your presence. Your visit may help ease that person’s feelings of being alone, feeling forgotten and/or facing an uncertain future.

The Congregational Care Committee invites church members to attend a special workshop on Compassionate Visitation, Sunday, March 15th from 11:45 am-1 pm in Room 301. The purpose of this workshop is to equip and empower church members to become more comfortable visiting persons facing health challenges, hospitalization, and/or uncertain futures. Please plan to attend and learn how we all can better share the “gifts of our caring presence” with others. We can do this, First Church!

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Lunch with Jackie Putt Celin

On March 1, 2015 at noon in the Fellowship Hall, Jackie Putt will give a presentation of her mission work that she completed as an Individual Volunteer to Haiti from May 2013 to June 2014.

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti.  Over 350,000 people perished and many homes, churches, schools, and other important buildings were damaged and destroyed.  The devastation was widespread and caused concern in the hearts of people worldwide.  Due to the very generous response of volunteers through the United Methodist church, a special 3+ year program was developed, called the Haiti Response Plan, to provide help to those affected by this earthquake.  This program was a joint effort between United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  It was the first joint program of its’ kind.

United Methodist volunteer teams have been volunteering in Haiti for decades. So it was no surprise that they would have such a strong response after the 2010 earthquake, and that this strong presence would continue for years after the earthquake response program came to completion. Jackie’s main task was to transition the existing U.S. led program to one that was owned and operated by the Eglise Méthodiste d’Haiti (The Methodist Church of Haiti) when the existing program came to completion on October 31, 2013.

The Haiti Response Plan hosted 463 volunteer teams, representing almost 4,000 volunteers, and worked on over 40 projects over the past 3 ½ years.

Please join Jackie as she talks about the work of transitioning the program, work with the mission teams, and experience of the people, history, and culture of Haiti.

A $5 suggested donation to cover the cost of the meal is welcome, if you are able.

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Lenten Reflections

Dear Friends,

Next Wednesday we in the Christian Church observe Ash Wednesday, the first step toward Easter, down the path of Lent. The Ash Wednesday Service of the Imposition of Ashes may sound a bit glorified, but it is the time when we begin our intentional discipline toward honest introspection, confession, repentance, and transformation. We “die” on Ash Wednesday and we are “reborn” on Easter Sunday.

Lent is the season in our Christian calendar when we examine our real motives and behaviors and focus on realigning them with God’s love, peace and justice. The traditional disciplines of Lent include fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Fifth century church father, Peter Chrysologus, brought them together in a comprehensive process: “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. If we have not all three together, we have nothing.” If you have ever entered into the discipline of Lent–fasting, praying, almsgiving–you may have experienced how it sharpens your senses, and helps you focus on the what and why of your life–spiritually and missionally. Some folks may “take things on” for Lent, and others “give things up” for Lent. Whether your Lenten disciplines involve more prayer or less food or more missional giving to people in need, you will be focusing and ordering your lives for the sake of life.

I welcome the rhythms of church seasons, and especially of Lent. Beginning with Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, we kind of “shake off the chaos,” those distractions, or destructive behaviors, or frenetic schedules, or over-indulgence that we need to rid ourselves of in order to find focus, centering, and deepened peace, thus to have more time and space for God, Christ, and others. We use up all the fats in our kitchens and enter a fat-free 6 weeks, a symbol of giving up self-indulgence. We dance and wear masks and purge ourselves of all the worldly things that prevent us from oneness with God and Creation. First Church is invited to join Peace Church for the Carnival on Sunday afternoon, the 15th, at 2:00 pm. In worship and in the party to follow we will shake out the kinks of our past year and laugh enough to keep us going through Lent.

Then, the next day is Ash Wednesday, and we acknowledge our brokenness and the ways we have “missed the mark.”  And we pray for forgiveness and to be turned around to  a new path that will bring us closer to God. And following Ash Wednesday we begin the six-week journey to new life!

Poet and wise man, Dag Hammarskjold, writes of the Lenten journey:

I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of expectation.

Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clear pure note
In the silence.

It’s not just the Lenten disciplines. It’s the journey to a new reality, a new person, made over in God, and beloved.


Sharon Moe

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Stewardship Campaign Report

We have good news to report on behalf of the stewardship team.

With your pledge support, we had a very successful stewardship campaign this year.

Pledges totaled more than $400,000. That’s up 9 percent from 2014.

This result will allow us to continue all of our ministries for 2015.

This is a victory for everyone here. It would take too long to name everyone who made this possible, including church members who shared stewardship moments with the congregation, who appeared in videos, made pledges, and otherwise helped.

But we’d like to especially recognize the members of the  Stewardship team:  Jim McClaine, Gary Parker, Judy Waring, David Ham, Jackie Putt. Staff members Rev Moe, Elizabeth Blanton, and Eric Liljegren also were particularly helpful.

Let’s all be happy about what we’ve been able to do here! It’s a cause for rejoicing! Because we as a church pulled together to make this happen. Be proud of yourselves!


Sally Deneen and Robert McClure
Co-chairs, Stewardship Team

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Souper Bowl Food Drive Challenge

The United Methodist churches of New England and United Methodist churches of Seattle/greater Washington engaged in a friendly Souper Bowl Food Drive competition–and Seattle is the winner! United in Blue reports, “Thank you to everyone who participated in this food drive challenge, where truly everyone wins! With final numbers still coming in from the Northwest & New England, we have declared initial victory! We might not have won the game, but we made a difference in our local communities as 12s, United in Blue!” Over 38,000 items were collected for Seattle food banks, and First Church raised $675 for Shared Breakfast!

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Vintage Adults Outing

Vintage Adults will go to the Taproot Theater, “The Explorer’s Club,” on Wednesday February 25 matinee, 2 PM. Tickets $20.00. Make reservations and pay in advance by February 15th. We will gather at a restaurant near by at 11:30 for lunch. Sign up on the visitor’s report and/ or contact Gwynne Dodge.

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Seattle Pride Parade Plans

Raw_cookie_dough_in_cookie_clumpsSeattle Pride is June 28th this year and preparations are already underway at First Church! Last year was the first time that our church teamed with other Reconciling Methodist congregations for Pride. This year we plan on doing the same, and we need your help to make it an excellent celebration once again! The simplest way to help out is to start bringing in cookie dough NOW!!! Last year we handed out 4,000 cookies!!! Amazing!!!! To meet the demands of the number of people we see, ideally we would like to have 10,000 cookies ready to hand out. So again, start bringing cookie dough now to the church office so that we can meet our goal! The next RMN Seattle planning meeting is on February 25th at 6pm in room 301. Please join us! If you have any questions, please contact

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