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Retirement Celebration for Rev. Moe

Please join us on Sunday, June 4 for a retirement celebration for Rev. Sharon Moe.

We will share together in a special worship service at 10:30 a.m. in the First Church Sanctuary, and gather in the Fellowship Hall at 12 p.m. for a luncheon in honor of Rev. Moe.

Rev. Moe is retiring after 31 years of local church ministry. All are welcome to celebrate with us and thank Rev. Moe for her years of service. Prior to coming to First Church, Rev. Moe was the Tacoma District Superintendent for seven years. Sharon has served five other churches in the Pacific Northwest Conference since her graduation from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and ordination in the Pacific Northwest Conference: Orofino and Peck UMC’s in northern Idaho, Centralia First UMC in Centralia, University Temple UMC in Seattle, and Tibbetts UMC in West Seattle.

If you would like to give a gift in appreciation for Rev. Moe, the First Church Committee on Staff-Parish Relations recommends making a donation in her honor to SCM Medical Missions, a Seattle-based non-profit founded by Rita Zawaideh, bringing relief and aid to people affected by conflict and natural disaster within the Middle East and North Africa, or to the bi-annual medical mission trips to Gaza through Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, organized by Gerri Haynes, formerly Chairperson of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Rev. Moe has known Gerri Haynes and traveled with her in the Middle East since 2002. In 2007, toward the end of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Rev. Moe traveled with Gerri to Syria, to assess the Iraqi Refugee situation in Syria. Since 2010 Gerri has been making two trips into Gaza on medical mission projects every year and plans another in September 2017.

Rev. Moe came to know Rita Zawaideh as a result of her relationship with Gerri, and learned of Rita’s brilliant and committed work in Syria, Jordan and Greece. Her projects have grown over the past few years, as she has included work with Syrian refugees in her cultural programs.

Gifts can be made to the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, with the notation “Gaza” on the memo line, and can be mailed to Laura Skelton, Executive Director, 4500 9th Ave NE Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98105 or donate online with “Gaza” in the comment line. Gifts for SCM Medical Missions can be mailed to Rita Zawaideh, 3806 Whitman Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98103 with “Syrian Refugees” in the memo line, or donate online.

Gifts to both projects are tax-deductible and used to provide materials and services needed by the most desperate people in Gaza and Jordan, and now by Syrian refugees who are relocating in Seattle.

Celebration and Gift for Pastor Austin

Sunday, June 11

It is with sadness that we prepare to say goodbye to Pastor Austin next month. We have been blessed to have him in our community here at First Church. He has provided inspiration through his dedication to God, the church, and his work for justice—all of which he has done over the past year out of the goodness of his heart and purely as a volunteer. Pastor Austin has been appointed to Haller Lake United Methodist Church in Seattle starting in July. We look forward to hearing of the great work that he will continue to do.

As a token of our appreciation, the church council is taking up a love offering for Pastor Austin. To make a donation to the love offering, please leave a check or cash envelope in the offering plate in any of the upcoming Sundays with a note in the memo line “Love Offering for Pastor Austin” or send a check to the church office with the same note. Additionally, please join us on Sunday, June 11 for Pastor Austin’s last sermon with us and a special liturgy to send him off to his next appointment.

Thank you Pastor Austin for everything you have done here at First Church!

-Jackie Celin, on behalf of the Church Council

May Lunch and Learn with Emily Wright

My name is Emily Wright. I am a second year law student at Seattle University, and a member of SU’s chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). As part of my work with IRAP, I spent my spring break in Amman, Jordan on a service trip with IRAP’s field office.

For the past two years, I have watched the images of refugees fleeing with a combination of horror and grief. I saw people in the abstract, as part of the statistics but not as individual human beings; in some ways, that was easier for me to handle and wrap my head around.

For the past two years, I have watched the images of refugees fleeing with a combination of horror and grief. I saw people in the abstract, as part of the statistics but not as individual human beings; in some ways, that was easier for me to handle and wrap my head around.

One of my goals for my trip to Jordan in March was clarity. I wanted to see what was happening in host countries like Jordan, to get a sense of what the real-world impact was for the people living there who were waiting for the next steps in the process. By meeting with non-profits, governmental agencies, and other entities, our group began to understand how tenuous the situation truly was for thousands of people. Resources were stretched, processing in the United Nation’s system took months if not years, and many refugees have health needs, a lack of steady income, and other concerns. Read More

Mortgage Reduction Update

First Church Giving Reduces Mortgage Principal by $100,000

Thanks to the generosity of many First Church members and friends who supported the Seeds to Branches campaign, and more recent Mortgage Reduction campaign, the congregation has made an additional principal payment of $100,000 in April 2017 against the mortgage which remains from the construction of the new church building in 2009. Ongoing mortgage payments are made from campaign proceeds, and we hope to have  sufficient funds available to make additional extra principal payments in the future.  If you wish to help First Church pay off our mortgage, please contact Eric in the church office, or talk with Jim Schone or Greg Wallace, our long-serving capital campaign co-chairs.

Rev. Moe’s Response – Judicial Council

Friends,

Analyses, opinions, and conjecture abounded last weekend, when the United Methodist Judicial Council rendered its decision on the questions before them in re: the election, consecration and assignment of Bishop Karen Oliveto by the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC to the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area in July, 2016.  A question of law was filed moments after Bishop Oliveto’s election, and has finally resulted in a hearing before the Judicial Council last week.

“Regardless of the Judicial Council’s determinations and General Church’s decision-making, First Church is committed to loving and just relationships in our congregation and in our community.”

Basically, the decision rendered by the Judicial Council has been summed up by Richard Marsh, the attorney from the Mountain Sky Area who presented the case on behalf of the Western Jurisdiction at the hearing.  As Mr. Marsh understands their decision:  Bishop Oliveto’s election last July was proper under United Methodist Church Law.  She continues as bishop of the Mountain Sky Area. Read More