It’s time to think Summer Camp!


High School 9-13, Middle School 6-9, Older Grades 3-6, and Younger Grades 1-4

The Pacific NW Methodist Summer camps, including Camp Indianola, are now open for registration.

The Scholarship Committee of our church is offering each of our youth approximately half of the cost of a summer camp session.

Families just need to register each child for a camp session with the PNW Camping Registrar by paying a registration fee of $50/ camper (nonrefundable) to hold a place. If a registration deposit is received before May 1st, there is a $20 reduction in the total cost of the camp.

Next, send in a Campership Form (one per child) to Carina Schubert by June 24th with the camp session for which you are registered. Families pay the remaining half by each camp session’s deadline (minus your registration fee), and the church office will send the scholarship payment directly to the registrar.

Note: The First Church Scholarship Committee is happy to receive donations in ongoing support of these camperships!

Photo from

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All-Church Retreat – April 22-24, 2016

All are invited to spend the weekend with your church family at Camp Indianola on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula! Join this annual gathering where we’ll walk the beach, meet new friends, learn, play and relax. On Sunday morning, we will share in a worship service together.

Our special speaker at the retreat will be Jessie Dye, Program & Outreach Director for Earth Ministry.

If you’d like to attend the retreat, please fill out the registration form below. Partial scholarships are available. If you need a scholarship form please contact the church office. Scholarship forms are due by April 8.

After you have registered, please put your payment in the Sunday offering plate or mail your payment to the church office:

First Church
ATTN: All-Church Retreat
180 Denny Way
Seattle, WA 98109

Make checks payable to FUMC with the memo line: ALL CHURCH RETREAT.

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Upcoming Adult Sunday School Topics

Join our conversation every Sunday morning at 9 AM in Room 301!

Jan 31: How have religious worldviews shaped national identities? Has Jesus impacted American civil religion? Why are Chinese Communists trying to reinvigorate the tradition of Confucius? What impact has Shinto faith had on Japan’s culture? Matthew’s story warns of the danger of Herod’s rule and celebrates the visit of Magi from the East.

Feb 7: Is Jesus “good news” for First Nations people of earth and sea? The Christmas tree and many other Christmas traditions were borrowed from primal peoples whose religious practices connected them with their surrounding natural worlds. Chief Sealth of the Duwamish is often quoted as a caretaker of the earth, but his people have not fared well in the “civilizing” process brought by Methodist and other pioneers of “manifest destiny.” How can the many Wisdom Traditions of the earth’s people connect us to one another and to the earth in a way that honors Jesus, who invited us to “consider the lilies,” and the Christ whose birth was announced as “peace” and “goodwill”?

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Lent at First Church

Dear Friends,

IMG_1942We are quickly approaching the season of Lent. It begins with Ash Wednesday and the service of the Imposition of Ashes on Wednesday, February 10. The following six Sundays we walk our Lenten journey in worship, in study, and in fellowship. At the end of these six weeks, we conclude with Holy Week, which brings us to the tomb and resurrection faith that we jubilantly express on Easter morning. It’s a journey in which we consider our faith and the ways in which it needs to be nurtured. It’s a path meant to help us focus on prayer, worship, almsgiving, fasting and simplicity as ways to deepen and broaden our faith and strengthen our relationship with God and one another. The colors associated with the season of Lent are purple (penitence), gray (grief), black (crucifixion), and red (blood).

The Lenten focus in worship this year will engage us in actions that are rooted in our spiritual traditions and provide meaning for us in the midst of today’s challenges. We’ll begin by “burying the Alleluias.” Alleluia, the exclamation from Hebrew and Greek Scripture, translates “Praise Yahweh.” It is used by the Church as a great expression of joy, thus it is discontinued during the penitential season of Lent. On the last Sunday before Lent we’ll sing songs with Alleluias, and on February 7, Transfiguration Sunday, we will “bury our Alleluias” in a box and cover them with a purple cloth for the Sundays of Lent. On Easter morning the Alleluias will be released and become part of our opening procession.

Lent is a journey of intense self-examination, of sorrow for alienation from God and one’s fellow creatures, and for preparation for restoration. It is a journey that requires facing the Cross, culminating with forgiveness and unconditional love. The Lenten journey intensifies during Holy Week, with the Service of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, and the Good Friday service of scripture and music, followed by an invitation to walk the Stations of the Cross in the Sanctuary.

The Worship Team and staff encourage you to attend our carefully crafted Lenten worship experiences, believing that each of them will nourish your spiritual needs in deeply meaningful ways.



Rev. Sharon Moe

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Shared Breakfast Update

During the last two Sundays, you may have noticed a few changes in how we conduct Shared Breakfast. Due to the increasing need for programs like Shared Breakfast, we’ve seen the average number of guests each week rise by a significant number over the last year-and-a-half, and it’s become clear this requires us to change our approach in a few particulars to keep things running smoothly. What has guided our thinking has been a sincere desire to ensure the safety of all who come together here at First Church—that means the safety of the entire congregation and all First Church’s ministries, the safety of the 300-plus guests who come to Shared Breakfast each week, and the safety of the amazing volunteers who make Shared Breakfast happen.

These changes primarily involve making it clear that Shared Breakfast occurs on the first floor of the Church and only the first floor. As such, we are limiting Shared Breakfast guest access to the stairs and the elevator. It also means Shared Breakfast guests should now only be using the downstairs bathrooms, and while we are still absolutely going to invite our guests to come to the service—as that is an essential part of the Urban Outreach ministry—we are also being clear that there is a gap between when Shared Breakfast ends and when the service begins. There will continue to be some space downstairs for guests to sit, but they are not meant to be in the Narthex until we start to gather for the service.

Urban Outreach would like to thank the congregation for its patience as we continue to learn how best to implement these changes and apologize for any inconvenience caused, particularly on December 6th when we first put this into practice. That Sunday was a bit of a trial run—one in which we learned a good deal, which should help us do a better job in the coming weeks. We want to provide a space of hospitality to all, and we think by having a clear, consistent message that Shared Breakfast occurs in a particular part of this building at particular times, we can do a better job of that while still providing a fantastic hot breakfast to those in need and keeping First Church the open, welcoming place it has always been.

One other change we’d like to announce is that Urban Outreach is working on increasing its outreach not just to those in need but to those who want to help those in need. Through the impressive efforts of Marc Brooks, Elizabeth Blanton, and others we now have an amazing crowdfunding campaign for Shared Breakfast on a website called

Fear not! and please keep reading—we are not about to ask you for money, far from it! First Church is Shared Breakfast’s home, and we already receive so much support, care, and help from the congregation. This campaign is about increasing our fundraising outreach and is designed quite purposefully to raise money for Shared Breakfast from people outside First Church.

So this announcement is not intended to solicit donations from you, but to solicit… your voice. We are asking that if you have any friends, family, colleagues, or others who are considering doing some holiday giving this year or who would be interested in supporting a program like Shared Breakfast, please tell them about this campaign. Thank you all—any help you can provide in spreading the word is most gratefully appreciated!

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Why Should “I” Become a Stephen Minister?

Why Should “I” Become a Stephen Minister?

Join us December 6th and find out why you don’t want to miss this opportunity!

Choose to be a better listener, a more compassionate friend, and to walk alongside someone else who needs you. All of us have special gifts and can add so much to this vital and important ministry. To find out more about Stephen Ministry and the rewards of becoming a Stephen Minister, please plan to attend an informational meeting in room 301, this Sunday, December 6th right after the 10:30 am service. We will discuss our proposed training schedule and answer all of your questions! Please also feel free to contact Ann Scharf (206-624-2694), Joe or Joyce Frost (425-823-5395) by phone or by email at:;; or

Before becoming a care giver and accepting their first care receiver, each Stephen Minister receives 50 hours of carefully crafted training in a rewarding and enjoyable small group experience. Through readings, role-play, and shared interactions, trainees bond as a group, learn to be better listeners, and experience the power of the Stephen Ministry program. But, perhaps the best way to understand the benefits of the program is to hear from members of our Stephen Ministry team, who have been quietly and confidentially caring for care receivers for over three years.

“The Stephen Ministry training changed the way I interact with people on a daily basis. With all the pain and grief we see and experience as humans, it’s now hard for me to not also see the ways in which God loves us so deeply and cares about our personal healing.” –Eron Huenefeld

“Being a Stephen Minister has been personally rewarding. Not only has my interaction with a care receiver been fulfilling, but the training has equipped me to interact better with friends and acquaintances.” –Jim Palmquist

“I have been fortunate to participate in many groups and committees since I joined First Church in 1970 but none has been more meaningful to me personally than being a part of the Stephen Ministry team. The training and the opportunity to be a caregiver have been some of my life’s most profound experiences. The shared training experience made me a part of a very caring and special small group within the church. I feel the training made me a better person. I thank our Stephen leaders and my fellow caring classmates for their continuing care for our congregation. Please consider becoming a Stephen Minister. I am glad I did.” –Dave McNeal

“As you know this is my second experience as a Stephem Minister and I have gone through the training twice. I can honestly say the Stephen Ministry training is the most personally fulfilling training of any kind I have experienced. And it is fun, too! Both times it provided insight into who I am, and who I want to be for my family, friends, and community. I also love the training because the nature of it allows the group to get comfortable with each other rather quickly. Both times, the groups consisted of people very different in temperament, skills, and abilities. But the training builds a sense of cohesion and understanding about why we are all there. There is no question about our mission. A feat not always achievable in group work. Thus, anyone who has a desire to walk beside someone in a time of need but does not feel comfortable or armed for the task will receive that and much more from this experience. I cannot recommend it more highly!” –Stephanie Scott

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12 Days of Christmas Parties Sign-Up Form

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Happy Birthday, First Church!

Did you know? First Church is the oldest church in Seattle.

Sunday, December 6, join us at 10:30 a.m. worship for the 162nd “Birthday of First Church,” a celebration that will include the unveiling of the completed 160 year “History of First United Methodist Church” timeline and “Today at First Church” wall displays.

The creation of the history timeline for this building, our fourth church home, is an opportunity to bring to light the images and ephemera of the archives, and our longstanding presence in Seattle, for the entire congregation to enjoy. In fact, the timeline is a mere sampling of the rich history and stories contained in the First Church archives, a collection that holds historical records of the life and work of the First Church congregation since its founding on December 4, 1853.

A preview of the timeline has been on display on the 40-foot long hallway of the main sanctuary level during November. The final display will be of vinyl, permanently affixed to the wall.

Thanks to the church archives volunteers—Claire Gebben, Mary Helen Krock, Jim Palmquist, Gary Parker, and Charles Wheeler—who’ve met weekly for almost six years now to inventory and preserve the church’s historical records and archives. Thanks also to our Communications Director Elizabeth Blanton, whose graphic design expertise has resulted in such a compelling arrangement of digital images and text, and to John Loacker, who generously produced a working paper version to help with planning and design.

A special fellowship reception after the 10:30 a.m. worship service is being sponsored by two historic fellowship groups, the Merriweds and the Double Ringers, and will also feature poinsettia cupcakes provided by Tom Babington and Jack Mcdonald in honor of their December 5 wedding.

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New Year’s Retreat at Camp Indianola


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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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