The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | Summer 2020
Faith formation encompasses the ministries and activities offered by the church that help people grow in faith and in their understanding of and love for God.

When the Status Quo is No Longer an Option
Now that we know that complacency is basically the same as complicity, it’s time for the Episcopal Church - local, Diocesan, international -- to commit to the self-scrutiny and deep changes that are the first steps toward racial justice.

For those of us who work in Faith Formation – clergy, staff, volunteers -- we’re going to need to bring the momentum home. A tall order to be sure, but here are three places to start:

~ Education – Demonstrating agility, responsiveness and relevance, several of you have already started discussions around books that help our predominantly white church recognize and identify its privilege. Next might be adjusting programs for children and youth to do the same: How are we as Christians called to create the “beloved community”? What is our collective vision? What steps do we take to make it a reality? 

~ Reparation – This feels monolithic, doesn't it? But I heard the dynamic Reverend Lenny Duncan, author of Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US , speak at a (virtual!) conference last week, and he broke it down. For churches, reparation might mean putting our money and outreach efforts into communities of color. He suggested micro-loans for black business and new homeowners, and reaching out to predominantly black churches and identifying need and potential for collaboration. Reparation means giving a leg up where, historically, discrimination and roadblocks have been in place.

~ Alteration – Take a hard look at what’s in place. What could be shifted? How can we recruit and hire more people of color? What does a Bible study look like through the lens of race? What does pastoral care look like? What about the Prayers of the People? How do you indicate on your website your commitment to racial justice? How do you train your congregation to be welcoming to every. single. person. who steps in the door?

It’s time! Let’s get off the sidelines, pick up a banner, and join the movement!
-- Valerie Reinke
By Bishop Greg Rickel
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo is one of the most important books for white people on the market, and in this time. 

This book challenges and reinforces a belief I have had since I was “converted” to the idea that I am, indeed, a racist. I am in recovery, but I am sick, and Diangelo’s point is that until every white person -- all benefiting from white privilege -- acknowledges and begins to dig into that bias, our racist society will not heal.

It is a book by a white person, for white persons, and that, to me, is exactly where the burden of this moment in our society lies: with white people. We created this problem, and it will be us that will have to solve it. This book is the wake up call to that reality and truth. 

Summer Fun for Teens: 6-Day in a New Way...
6-Day is now a 3-day virtual youth event!

We’ve taken all the best bits from our traditional “6-Day” summer program and condensed them into a new online format. We’ll spend time in workshops, small group breakout discussions, free choice elective activities such as yoga and art, and on individualized challenges “offline.”

Please encourage your youth to register now to receive a program supply box in the mail ahead of time, complete with t-shirts, arts and crafts, a portable worship kit, games, and more.

Different priests from around the Diocese will lead us in worship and discussion, including:
  • The Rev Karen Haig of St Barnabas, Bainbridge Island;
  • The Rev Josh Hosler of Church of the Good Shepherd, Federal Way;
  • The Rev James Thibodeux of St Christopher’s, Olympia;
  • Bishop Brian Prior of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota;
  • And our own Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia joining us for Saturday morning program. 
Click here to register for Lost With A Purpose , July 24 - 26. Registration deadline is July 10, 2020! $30. Scholarships available.
For questions / more information, please contact Alex Flannagan, Youth Ministry Coordinator at 425-577-1217 or .
Youth Hangout on Zoom
Monday & Wednesday Nights
The Diocese of Olympia is currently hosting virtual youth programs every Monday and Wednesday from 7pm-8pm (PST) for youth grades 6-12:

Monday Funday   – engage in games and activities with friends and peers from around the Episcopal Church of Western Washington. Recent weeks featured Kahoot trivia, scavenger hunt, and camp-favorites such as 60 second interviews, two truths and a lie, and other get-to-know-you games. Youth are encouraged to suggest (and lead!) new activities and games.

Worship Wednesday   – wind down with evening prayer (a.k.a. compline). Youth lead the worship service with guidance and support from adult volunteers. There’s opportunity for quiet reflection, prayer requests, and often times live music. This is a great way to gather with intention and find peace before the day is done. Amen!

Both events take place on Zoom, you’ll receive a meeting code after registration. There is no cost for these programs.
Contact Alex with any questions:
R esources to Support the Young Activists in our Midst
Advice on leading change from experienced youth activists and allies. Includes short videos like this one (right) on "Who Inspires You" and short articles like "Seven Historical Examples of Student Activism."
K4P connects youth from across religious and social divides and give them tools to be agents of change. Their goal is to create a global movement of peace leaders and activists who transform divided societies into communities of lasting peace.  
Youth, Youth Leaders, Volunteers & Parents
Follow Diocesan Youth on Social Media
Stay current on upcoming events and youth related news!

For the latest Youth Faith Formation info and events, go to:
And be sure to "Like" Episcopal Youth of Western Washington , our Facebook page...

Watch the Archive:
Godly Play In A New Way
While Sunday School as we once knew it is on hold, Godly Play storytelling can continue thanks to Zoom and a little ingenuity.

The Reverend Kay Flores, St. Timothy, Chehalis, a long-time Godly Play trainer, demonstrates how you can improve your Godly Play outreach with a document camera, a technique which better showcases the sacred stories.

Kay draws from her own experience, and that of other trainers from around the country, in offering tips and making recommendations on how best to lead virtual sessions.
Let's Explore this Together:
Messy Church
In a culture that rewards perfectionism, and tends to sweep messes under the rug, how refreshing is it to proclaim that messiness is standard operating procedure?

At our last Children & Families Ministry Leadership meeting we hosted Crystal Goetz, the regional coordinator of Messy Church in Western Washington. The program's inviting name suggests an inclusive church that welcomes everyone and acknowledges that faith -- like arts and crafts -- can be messy.

This program was started in the Church of England and has been in the U.S. about 2 years. If you had been thinking about a mid-week program or maybe want to update what you're already providing (or were, before quarantine) there's a lot to like here. Messy Church:

  • Is open to the community at large
  • Emphasizes church hospitality - the meal is central to the program
  • Brings together all ages - everyone has a "role"
  • Provides opportunities for sharing about faith and belief
  • Is customizable and adaptable
  • Celebrates creativity
Keep in mind that Messy Church is really post-pandemic programming; the gathering and feeding of people is at the heart of this offering. However, while we're in Phase 2 or 3, we have time to do some training and planning. Crystal recommends a team of five volunteers (minimum) to get the program off the ground. She will be holding a virtual training in late September to go into more depth.

If you want to explore this program further, request the Messy Church book (provide your mailing address) and the Bishop's Office will get that to you and keep you in the loop on future training opportunities.
Safe Church Training
Follow Diocesan Children & Families Ministry on Social Media
Check out our updated page and be sure to "Like" Episcopal Children & Families of Western Washington . Many thanks to Elaine Ogden, Editor, who keeps it current and relevant.

Young Adults Share Their
Stories of Quarantine
During the pandemic, our diocese's young adults are sharing glimpses into their quarantine lives and grappling with questions related to their faith -- all in snappy two-minute videos. Here Katya Nemec discusses "How do I care for the most vulnerable in my congregation?" Katya is the associate for children, youth, and family ministries at Emmanuel Church on Mercer Island.
Josh deLacy and his fiancee Joanna Bayliss tackle bi-coastal wedding planning, making accomodations and adjustments to the original plan, to ensure that their wedding happens on schedule even as they take pandemic precautions. Josh is the Communications Director and Website Developer at St. Luke, Renton. He is also the producer of these beautiful video shorts. (Congratulations Josh & Joanna -- married on 6/20/2020!)
Lutheran pastor and well-known author, Nadia Bolz-Weber, will be one of 20+ speakers at this year's Evolving Faith Conference.

Diocese Underwrites Conference Fees
Evolving Faith (Virtual) Conference for Young Adults
Are there young adults in your congregation -- you or people you know in their 20s and 30s -- who would enjoy a virtual gathering featuring dynamic faith leaders (Barbara Brown Taylor and Nadia Bolz-Weber, for instance), in addition to a lively exploration of faith, social justice and ecumenical community building?

The Bishop's Office will underwrite conference fees for all young adults who would like to attend the Evolving Faith Conference (October 2 & 3), the brainchild of Rachel Held Evans for "wanderers, wonderers and spiritual refugees."

Those who participated last year came back energized and with a new sense of their role in the church. Know a young adult in your congregation who might enjoy this experience? Drop us a line:
Follow the Diocese's Young Adult Facebook Page
Be sure to "Like" and encourage the Young Adults in your congregation to "Like" Episcopal Young Adults of Western Washington .
Just Ask A Librarian...
By Sue Tait

QUESTION: Where do I start to educate myself about racism and what I can do? What might a parish program look like and how do I find one?

SUE SAYS: There is so much information that it is hard to know where to start! I've pulled together several resources here to help you narrow your search:

You can click here for a Racial Equity Reading List that I have put together. It's briefly annotated to make selections easier. I stick to titles we have in the Resource Center that were written in the last ten years. You can find many others by searching the online catalog under search terms “race relations” or just “race.”

Look here at the wider Episcopal church website for a variety of articles, videos, and programs focused on "Responding to Racist Violence." You'll find everything from curriculum to TED talks to documentaries and even music.

Finally, I’m including a booklist from Seattle Public Library they are calling "A Toolkit for Anti-racism Allies."
By Gregory Orr

Let's remake the world with words.
Not frivolously, nor
To hide from what we fear,
But with a purpose.
As  Wordsworth  said, remove
"The dust of custom" so things
Shine again, each object arrayed
In its robe of original light.

And then we'll see the world
As if for the first time.
As once we gazed at the beloved
Who was gazing at us.

(Copper Canyon Press, 2012).

Alex Flannagan
Youth Ministry
Program Coordinator
Sue Tait
Director, Resource Center
Grace La Torra
Director for Adult Faith Formation
Dean, Iona School
Farewell Aemelia!
Thank you for your service, your commitment, your intelligence and good humor. We will miss you! All the best in your future endeavors... You will always have a home in Seattle!

Aemelia Tripp
Seattle Service Corps
Faith Formation & Communications
2019 - 2020
Valerie Reinke
Canon for Faith Formation:
35 and Under
Faith Formation | The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia | 206.325.4200 |