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Vol. 67, No. 12
C Bellingham First Christian Church
An Open and Affirming Congregation December 2017

We Wish You a Merry
Christmas and a Blessed New
Year, Too!
Our staff wishes each
one of you and your
loved ones the very
best during this holy
With love,
Pastor Gary Amelia

Pastor Tam Katie
Remember Our Angel Tree
When you are
struggling to rebuild
your life, holiday
gifts seem like a
distant memory.
Families from our
family housing
Preparing the Way program and the
Saturday, December 2, 2017 Opportunity Council
10a Hanging of the Greens — Third Sunday of Advent - Joy share wish lists that we provide to
Come for the fun of congregations, businesses and other
Sunday, December 17
decorating the sanctuary community sponsors. Homeless families
11a Worship, featuring the
and the narthex. receive gifts from a caring community.
Chancel Choir Christmas
12p Chili Lunch Cantata“The Winter Rose” Watch for the Angel Tree in our
1p Cookie Exchange — fellowship hall, featuring gift requests
Bring three dozen of your Winter Solstice from local families. Instructions will be
favorite cookies to share as Wednesday, December 21 given on how to honor their requests.
we join together in a time 6:30p Longest Night Worship: A
of fun, fellowship, cookies, service of solace for those
and a bit of holiday cheer. A Message from Our
who grieve during the
holidays Moderator
First Sunday of Advent - Hope It has been our tradition at FCC to
Sunday, December 3, 2017 Christmas Eve & remember our staff during the holidays.
If you would like to donate toward this
Second Sunday of Advent - Peace Fourth Sunday of Advent - Love
cause, please give your contribution to
Sunday, December 10, 2017 Sunday, December 24 Renee Hoemann or place your donation
11a Worship, featuring the 2017 6:30p Candlelight Worship in the Offering tray marked "Staff Gifts".
Children’s Christmas Pageant Service
2p Someone Cares! Community Thank you!
Meal and Joseph’s Closet Renee Hoemann
Shoe’s News

First Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ)
Shoe’s News
“Busy Sunday!”
495 East Bakerview Road
Bellingham, WA 98226 Sunday, November 12, will probably go down in church lore
360.734.6820 as the busiest Sunday of the busiest weekend. On Saturday we had our all church bazaar. This year, the bazaar included
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter an Alternative Holiday Market in the Prayer Room and the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
adjacent Sunday School room. Folks had the opportunity to
A movement for wholeness in a fragmented support local and international non-profits who are working to
world. As part of the one body of Christ, we better the world. On Sunday we had some very special music
welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God from the Bell Choir (Thanksgiving tunes) and the Choir (Celia
welcomed us.
played her cello to accompany a beautiful arrangement of
All of Us “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”  Then we hosted our street sisters
and brothers for our Community Meal. At one point, I
Rev. Gary Shoemaker
suggested we all just bring our sleeping bags and spend the night that Saturday.
Rev. Tamalyn Kralman It’s good to be busy. Especially for the right reasons. We’re
Director of Education & Community Outreach
Courier Editor raising money to support local and beyond ministries. We’re celebrating faith through wonderful music and we’re hosting
Amelia Nye folks to a nice sit down meal who experience food insecurity
Accompanist on a daily basis. Bravo! First Christian Church! We’re doing
Katie Ramstead the work of Jesus in this place!
Childcare Provider
And there’s more: six of us from the church went down to
Rev. Sandy Messick
Regional Minister Seattle on Monday night, November 6, to participate in a
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens Mass Meeting of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign - A National
General Minister and President Call for Moral Revival. It was an amazing event. This is a
Sunday Schedule (begins 9/10/17) revival of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign started by Rev. Dr.
10:50 a.m. Gathering Time Martin Luther King, Jr. It is being led this time by a Disciples
9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School of Christ pastor, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II of North
11 a.m. Worship
Fellowship Time
Carolina. Dr. Barber and his co-chair led the meeting which
12:15 p.m.
1 p.m. Out-to-Lunch Bunch (4th Sunday) included wonderful music, prayer, testimonies of folks who
2 p.m. Someone Cares! Community Meal are facing issues of poverty, racial injustice, gun violence and
(2nd Sunday) ecological disaster, and inspiring speeches.
Office Hours
Tuesday - Friday We each pledged to support the Campaign in a variety of
9 a.m. - noon ways including participating in non-violent civil disobedience.
Our staff are in and out of the office throughout the
week. Please feel free to stop by during their office
That would probably include protests at the state capital next
hours or make an appointment that fits your schedule. year.
Officers I will no doubt have more to say about this in the future, but in
Renee Hoemann, Moderator
the meantime we need to realize that our country is ignoring
Don Hoffman, Vice Moderator
Cheryl Perry, Treasurer some of the big issues surrounding poverty, racism, gun
Melissa Henderson, Secretary violence, and the environment. It’s time to participate in some
Important Links: Kindom of God activities to correct the collective immoral
Regional Website (including monthly decisions that are impacting peoples’ lives.
General Church Website: Pastor Gary

2 December 2017
A Message from the Vision Task Force

Bellingham First Christian Church, 2022
What will Bellingham First Christian Church be like five years from now? How
will we be the same? How will we be different?
Our crystal ball is broken, so we don’t have an exact answer for that, yet.
What we do have is a Vision Task Force, trying to ask the right questions and
nudge the congregation in the right ways, so five years from now the church
will look and behave the way we all wished back in 2017.
The Task Force consists of Don Hoffman, Steve Hutchens, Linda Medaris,
Megan Shoemaker, and Kathy Wheeler. Right now we are asking people two
1) What is it about Bellingham First Christian Church that we want to hold on
to, because if we lost it we would cease being who we are? What is it that
makes us a unique congregation, a quality we don’t dare lose?
2) How is our church going to need to be different five years from now?
What do we need to change in the future in order to maintain that unique
Please be thinking about these two questions.
In addition to one-on-one conversations, the Task Force is planning to Mount
an insurrection // Hijack // Occupy // Prayerfully, with Gary's permission, take
over the sermon time on January 7, to lead a full discussion about our
congregation’s vision for our future. We encourage you to be there.
In the meantime, please seek out one of the Task Force members, and tell us
your views, your hopes and dreams for this church.
Kathy Wheeler, (360) 201-9982,
Megan Shoemaker, (360) 941-2688,
Linda Medaris, (360) 603-0040,
Steve Hutchens, (360) 483-6873,
Don Hoffman, (360) 318-8429,

December 2017 3
Who’s on First?! Birthdays & Anniversaries God at Work in Us

Sunday, December 3
Elders: Margaret Brown (O), Leslie Pinkston (C)
Lock-Up: Jane Kletka Happy Birthday Joe Plancich 28
In Home Communion: John Riseland Cyndy Koehn 1 Blair Whitney 30
Kelvin Smith Walter Bayless 2
Deacons: Kathy Wheeler, Bentley Becker Alisha Sanchez 7 Happy Anniversary
Reader: Kris Ann Lewis Terry Udo 9 Robert & Kim Naidu 14
Flowers: Poinsettias Devon Martin 12 Gary Shoemaker &
Fellowship Time: TBD Sandy Grant 13 Tamalyn Kralman 27
Betty Erickson 21 Don & Melody Hoffman 30
Sunday, December 10
Elders: Melody Hoffman (O), Kelvin Smith (C)
Deacons: James Becker, Linda Heyne
Reader: Don Hoffman
Be the Hands of God (nurture the world)
Flowers: Poinsettias
Fellowship Time: TBD • Annual Bazaar Promise Day Center
• Alternative Market • Food Bank collections
Sunday, December 17 • Blessing Bags • Joseph’s Closet
Elders: Don Hoffman (O), Margaret Brown (C) • CAST • Hospitals & wells
Deacons: Renee Hoemann, Celia Obrecht • Comfort Quilt Ministry (Africa)
Reader: James Becker • Community Gardens • Jesus Has Left the
Flowers: Poinsettias • Community Meal Building
Fellowship Time: TBD • Disciples House (soon • Family Promise Hosts
to be the Family • Socks on the Street
Sunday, December 24
Elders: Leslie Pinkston (O), Brenda Riseland C) For more info on how to assist in any of these projects,
Deacons: Pat Whitney, Kris Ann Lewis please contact us at
Reader: Betty Schmidling
Flowers & Fellowship Time: Esther Group
Be a Part of A Small Group (nurture your soul)
Sunday, December 31 • Women's Spiritual Growth Groups - Please contact
Elders: Jane Kletka (O), Melody Hoffman C) the church office if you would like to be a part of a group.
Deacons: Pat Whitney, Kris Ann Lewis • Out-to-Lunch Bunch, 12:30 p.m., 4th Sundays - An
Reader: Gregg Heyne informal gathering that visits locally owned restaurants.
Flowers: Poinsettias & Fellowship Time: TBD • Book Group, 7 p.m., 4th Sundays - This group
explores books to expand their minds and hearts.
Sign up in the fellowship hall to help in these • Esther Group, 11:30 a.m., 3rd Mondays - A women's
important ministries: group that meets for lunch in local restaurants. (No host.)
• Bible Study, Noon, Tuesdays - Meeting in the church
• Read scripture during Sunday morning worship
library, this group explores the lectionary scriptures.
• Bring flowers for Sunday worship • Pub Theology, 6:30 p.m., 3rd Thursdays - Beer,
• Provide goodies for fellowship time following conversation, and God! (Or any beverage of your choice.)
Jeckyl & Hyde Deli & Ale House 709 Orchard Pl #1.
Sunday worship
• Checking in Group, 5 p.m., 4th Thursdays -supportive
Please contact the office for more info. group of people who share life's journey together.
• Men's Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Saturdays at Denny's - 

All men are invited to join this weekly breakfast group for
Sign up to bring Christmas poinsettias! fun and fellowship. (No host.)

4 December 2017
Around the Church

Joys and Concerns
Please submit written requests to update list.
by Bekki Weston Medical concerns:
• Joyce, friend of Marian Overcash
Stewardship Here are our current numbers.
• Ellen Fisher, Bob’s sister-in-law
• Helen Blaney
Offerings Expenses Checkbook balance • Kelly Franks
• Marlin Erickson
January $9,958.92 $14,109.81 $24,155.42 • Lois Oswalt
• Marian Crim
February $10,726.99 $14,747.92 $21,104.77 • Daisy Shoemaker, Pastor Gary’s mom
• Sharon Kralman, Tamalyn’s stepmom
March $9,538.25 $16,720.63 $14,226.40 • Chloe Gibson
• Gary Schwebel, Diana Findlay’s son
April $12,899.69 $10,257.04 $17,772.55 • Pat Spiller, Kris Ann’s stepdad-in-law
May $10,208.00 $15,888.20 $12,305.27 Life’s challenges:
• Gunther Charles
June $11,443.80 $12,800.14 $12,831.35 • Katie, Bob Fisher’s daughter
• Matthew, Kris Ann Lewis’s nephew
July $20,381.25 $11,023.68 $24.312.92
Beyond Our Walls:
August $10,164.00 $12,630.55 $22,550.45 • For the healing of our nation
• Refugees worldwide
September $12,739.00 $14,200.05 $22,213.05 • Disciples House Residents, past,
present and future
October $15,861.36 $15,734.42 not available • Iglesia de Dios, as together we share
God’s love
• Raices Culturales/Community to
A Special Thank You to Our Shoppers Community families in their gardening
Thanks to those of you who have linked your Fred Meyer Rewards program in our field
Cards and Amazon accounts to the church, we have reaped more • Kristine Tissinger, missionary partner in
quarterly benefits. $16.66, Amazon Smile & $42.44, Freddie’s. For Ghana
more info, please contact • Rev. Sandy Messick, Regional Minister
and President
• Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General
Our Family Promise Preparations Are Underway Minister and President
Kudos to Celia Obrecht and Megan • Our General Church ministries
Shoemaker, who have graciously • Yakama Christian Mission
agreed to be the Family Promise • Victims of hatred, injustice, violence,
Volunteer Coordinators. Celia and poverty, disease, and disaster worldwide
Megan will be acting as liaisons • All troops involved in world conflict
between the Whatcom County Family • Peacemakers worldwide
Promise co-coordinators and our
congregation. They will also help us
to coordinate our own efforts as we prepare to welcome families into We Have Fleece and Yarn!
our church home. Blues Skies for
Family Promise of Whatcom County will be launching in spring of Children, Lydia Place,
2018, with our congregation serving as one of 13 host congregations and Skookum Kids all
and our own Disciples House serving as the Day Center. need blankets for
children ages
How can you help? Be ready to say, “YES!” Be ready to bring food or newborn to 18-years.
prepare meals, welcome people to our church or help ensure them a Stop by the church to
good night’s sleep by being a constant presence, all through the grab some fleece or
night. yarn, make up some
Whatcom County’s children are homeless and seeking our help. Let’s cuddly blankies, and we’ll deliver them to
welcome them with love and joy! very grateful kids. Thank you!

December 2017 5
Out in the Community

Interfaith Coalition Coat Drive a Warm Success
As the cool weather finds us reaching for a jacket, we’re reminded that some of our neighbors are in
need of this basic item we take for granted. With your generous donations, we provided winter coats
as well as hats and scarves to many of our neighbors. We appreciate the generous donations of winter
wear from members of your congregation. Thank you for bringing some much needed warmth to
others this winter.
It was heartwarming to see parents find warm coats for themselves and their children. Several children beamed as
they showed how nice they looked in their new coats and handknit, colorful hats. Some homeless individuals were able
to find layers of sweaters and coats to help on the coldest nights.
We appreciate your commitment to this program and are humbled to experience the gratitude in words or expressions
of those who benefit from your efforts.
Laura Harker, Executive Director

Thank You! From Interfaith Coalition
At a recent Kids Need Books distribution, a four-year-
old girl sprinted across the room when she spotted
the tables covered with kids’ books, and began
grabbing picture and board books by the handfuls.
Her mother – a single mom – came and apologized.
“I’m sorry if she was a little greedy, but we just got THE
into an apartment after being homeless for months.
We don’t have much, but now we have books.” She went on to Fall Festive Dinner
explain, “Last night I was in our bathroom and noticed that water
and Celebration
was leaking down from the apartment above. I watched the water
Join us on World AIDS Day and enjoy presentations, a souper
drip and began to laugh, thinking, I have a roof over my head. I supper, and surprises!

have running water. My little girl has her own bed. And I
laughed until I was crying.”
Your congregation participation with Interfaith Coalition makes so
much possible! Eleven homes to help families like this one, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
bringing Family Promise to Whatcom County to help even more
families, providing children’s books that mean more than just a Garden Street United
Methodist Church
good story, winter coats, warm hats and scarves, food, and basic 1326 N Garden St,
toiletries for those living on the streets, and the dignity and hope Bellingham WA

that powers all of us through the hard times. Thank you and
blessings to you all.

Still to Come at Faith Lutheran Church
Four Gospels Many
Fri., Dec. 1, 7-9p Donate the Difference in December
Free Lecture Whatcom Peace and Justice Center invites you to “donate
Follow-up Workshop the difference,” rounding up the total on your purchases
Sat., Dec. 2 when you shop at the Community Food Co-op. All proceeds
10a-3p, $35 will be donated to The Whatcom Civil Rights Project.
includes lunch
The WCRP is a volunteer-led call in referral service for legal
help in the case of a civil rights violation. The WCRP then
Leader: Dr. Harry Maier, Professor of New Testament connects people who have experienced a civil-rights based
and Early Christian Studies violation with legal professionals.
For more info and registration: 360.733.3970 or

6 December 2017
Family Page

Advent Devotions for the Household Advent Coloring Page
Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
Supplies: a pair of binoculars
Hold up your binoculars and start using them to
look around your church sanctuary, your house,
or somewhere there are many Christmas
Comment: Oh wow! Look at that – the colors
are new! Oh my, there are new candles and a
wreath and a tree. I heard it is Advent and I’m
supposed to watch for something. Do you know
what I’m watching and waiting for?
[Pause and take responses.] Keep looking
through your binoculars and pondering what Click here for a full size coloring page.
you see. This is a season of wonder!

Faith Focus Tips from Tam
The gospel of Mark tells us that we are to watch and My goodness! Did you put your
wait. And it’s Advent so we watch and wait for Jesus. Christmas decorations up as soon as
you saw the decorations in the
Do we need binoculars or telescopes or special
stores? Or did you wait awhile?
glasses to watch for God? If we want to see God right
away and isn’t God far away? When did you start buying Christmas
presents? When did you start getting
It seems like in Advent, as we watch for God we also
stressed out?
know that God is near. So maybe we don’t need
binoculars or telescopes or anything else to help us And when did you start helping your
see God. children experience the joy and the
meaning of each holy day and each
What are the ways we know God is around us? How
holy moment?
can we see God working in the acts of love around us
in the world. And while we wait for Christmas, we can It’s hard to help our children
focus on how we see the light of Christ around us experience the sacred when we’re
during this time when it’s dark longer. At this time of missing it ourselves. So, be sure to
year we say Christ is our Light because we think pause and breathe in the holy. Breathe
about God being the one that gives us light and hope. in the peace, the joy, the beauty of this
In our stories of Jesus and in all of Advent we talk season. And rejoice, for unto us a child
about how we are waiting and watching for God’s is born. And unto our children our love
light. We can call those Godsightings – like when we and God’s love is given.
see or hear stories of people helping others or acts of Wishing you peace for your season,
love. God is all around us and working in our world Tamalyn
Where can you watch for God this month? Make a list
Devotions & Faith Focus provided by:
and see how many times you see God in our world!

December 2017 7
December 2017
First Christian Church, Christian Holidays Dec 2017 (Pacific Time)
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
26 27 28 29 30 1 2

Cookie recipes due 6 : 4 5 p m - [Boy Scouts] 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline 5:30pm - Nurture Mtg 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]

1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @ 1 0 a m - Hanging of the
Choir Room Greens
1 1 a m - Worship 1 2 p m - Chili Lunch

1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time 1 p m - Cookie Exchange

1 p m - Out-to-Lunch Bunch

7 p m - Book Group

3 4 5 6 7 8 9
December 2017 calendar

First Sunday of Advent 6 : 4 5 p m - [Boy Scouts] 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline 7pm - [4H] Feast of the Immaculate 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
Conception Denny's
9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]

1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @
Choir Room
1 1 a m - Worship

1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time

10 11 12 13 14 15 16

9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 6 : 3 0 p m - Stewardship Mtg 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline Courier deadline 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 6 : 4 5 p m - [Boy Scouts] 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]

1 1 a m - Worship (Christmas 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @
Pageant) Choir Room
1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time

2 p m - Community Meal

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 1 1 : 3 0 a m - Esther Grp 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline 6 : 3 0 p m - Longest Night 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
Lunch Worship Denny's
1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 6 : 4 5 p m - [Boy Scouts] 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]

1 1 a m - Worship (Cantata) 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 6 : 4 5 p m - [Guide Dogs]

1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @
Choir Room

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Christmas Eve Christmas Day 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]

1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @
Choir Room
1 1 a m - Worship

1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time

6 : 3 0 p m - Candlelight

31 1 2 3 4 5 6

9 : 3 0 a m - Adult Sun. School 6 : 4 5 p m - [Boy Scouts] 1 1 a m - Bible Study Bulletin deadline 7pm - [4H] 6 : 3 0 p m - [Iglesia de Dios] Epiphany

1 0 : 5 0 a m - Gathering Time 5 : 3 0 p m - Spanish Class 6 p m - Bell Choir 7 : 3 0 a m - Men's Brkfst,
1 1 a m - Worship 6 : 3 0 p m - [Toppers] 7 p m - Choir Rehearsal @ 9 a m - [Iglesia de Dios]
Choir Room
1 2 : 1 5 p m - Fellowship time

December 2017