Northwest Passage August 2017

Northwest Passage

Sandy Messick, Regional Minister

I’m struggling to write this article. My words are inadequate. Like so many, I found myself riveted to the television on Saturday as the violence erupted in Charlottesville, VA. A rally organized by groups founded on the lies and hate of white supremacy, the KKK, and Nazism, resulted in violence and chaos that eventually left three innocent people dead and many others injured. My heart longs to respond, but my words are inadequate. Still, it seems that at least this much is true and must be said:

As faithful Christians, we must loudly and openly declare that racism is a sin that must be confessed and denounced and for which we must seek forgiveness. As faithful Christians, we must declare that those who build movements based on hatred of one group over another, that denies the Good News that God created all people, of all colors, in God’s image are anathema to the love and grace demonstrated and proclaimed in Jesus. As faithful Christians, we must commit, and recommit, to dismantling the systems and laws and assumptions that uphold racism and wound and harm our brothers and sisters of color. As faithful Christians, we must proclaim and live out that violence is not the answer.. As faithful Christians, we must proclaim and live out what we say we believe, that God is Love and that we who love God are called to love each other. As faithful Christians, we must be living examples that love wins out over hate...again and again and again.

John 1:5 proclaims: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

May God’s light shine in the darkness of our world today, and may we be witnesses to that light and love.

Grateful to be sharing this journey with you,

2017 TURNER MEMORIAL LECTURE SERIES: Indian Land, Cosmic Balance, & Individual Salvation 

Chris Snow, Turner Memorial Lectures Committee

This year the Turner Memorial Lectures (TML) is try- ing a different schedule to hopefully engage a more diverse group of attendees as we are hosting a Friday evening through Sunday morning (October 6th-8th) lecture series at Englewood Christian Church, in Yakima, WA. As we continue to recognize the diversity of cultures and traditions that are now located upon the land in which many of our churches are located we acknowledge the need to hear from the Native American tradition as we seek to embrace the diversity within the contexts in which we find ourselves.

Our lecturer for this year will be Dr. Tink Tinker. He is a citizen of the Osage Nation, and is the Clifford Baldrige Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious traditions at Iliff School of Theology, where he has brought an Indian perspective to a predominantly White, Euro-Christian school. 

As we seek to embrace the diversity of God’s creation let us be mindful of the Native American voices that we have not always paid attention to. Let us hear the voices that had been silenced or ignored by our church’s history within the Doctrine of Discovery and an understanding of manifest destiny. As our General Assembly accepted and approved a resolution to repu- diate the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, this is one of many opportunities to educate ourselves and to better understand the diversity of the land in which we find ourselves.

All are invited to join us at Englewood Christian Church on October 6-8th for a series of lectures and a few opportunities for workshops and field trips. To find out more please visit our page on the regional website at .

Peace in Christ,
Rev. Chris


Once again we offer our gratitude and thanks to Bellevue Christian Church. Over the last several months they have been actively working to close their visible ministry and distribute their assets in a series of Legacy Gifts to the ministries that are important to them. The Northwest Region has received several gifts in the form of support for new congregations and funding for part-time staff. Most recently, the Region gratefully received a gift of $90,000 to help fund our ministry through the General Fund for years to come. We are grateful for the partnership offered by this faithful congregation, for their years of ministry they have offered to the Bellevue community and for the Legacy Gifts they have shared throughout the region which will continue their ministry long into the future. 


Blessed with funding from Bellevue Christian Church, the Northwest Region entered into a partnership with Missiongathering to plant a new congregation in Issaquah. Missiongathering, a Disciples of Christ congregation first begun in San Diego, has already launched a second congregation in Charlotte, NC.

Over the last year, Rich McCullen, founding pastor of Missiongathering, has been seeking a Planter/Pastor to begin the congregation in Issaquah. During General Assembly, Rich and Regional Minister, Sandy Messick, along with University Christian Church pastor, Adam Harmon, met with Rev. Brian Carr to get to know Brian and to discern whether he was the one God was calling for this project. The consensus was unanimous. After further conversation and negotiation, agreement was reached on the details and the call was finalized. Brian will be moving to Issaquah in September and then training with Missiongathering in San Diego and Charlotte over the next few months. By early 2018, Brian will be on site full-time meeting people, making connections, and growing the congregation.

Rev. Carr, a Disciples pastor, completed his undergraduate work at Hiram College and M.Div at Methodist Theological School, both in Ohio. He completed New Church Pastor Training with Hope Partnership and served as Outreach Coordinator for a new church plant. More recently, he has been serving in a chaplaincy role. We look forward to welcoming Brian to the Northwest Region and encouraging a new congregation in our midst.


The Northwest Regional Christian Church is now receiving applications for a 30 hour/month part-time ministry position. The New Church Ministry Coordinator will work with the New Church Team to provide support and oversight to our new and emerging congregations in formation. Funding is available through a grant from Bellevue Christian Church. A full job description and requirements can be downloaded at:

Interested applicants should apply by emailing the following to the Regional Minister:      Application deadline is September 15, 2017.

Please provide:
1. Cover letter
2. Resume including names/contact info for 3 references.
3. Statements of Interest that include:
    a) Understanding of this position in light of the vision/mission statement of the NW region ( mission-vision-and-core-values)
    b) In light of the job description, describe particular gifts and skills in relation to the position.
    c) Describe history of involvement working with pastors and volunteers in a church setting, and in particular, working with new congregations or congregations in formation and/or non-English speaking congregations.


First Christian, Kent – Pastor Bob Brooks has announced his resignation and will be moving east to be closer to his first grandchild in early September. Sandy is starting to work with their Search Committee as they move towards calling an Interim Minister to guide them during the transition time.

First Christian, Anchorage – Was recently featured in a news article about the Pre-School that meets in their building. Because of state regulations, the pre-school needed to make some building updates in order to keep running. Though not formally connected with the pre-school, First Christian Church stepped in to help, working to negotiate agreements with the state, taking out a loan to finance the renovations and even offering physical labor and volunteers to get the project going. You can read the complete story here:

Chelan Christian Church - Pastor Myra Torrance has announced her resignation. For health reasons, she has made the decision to move back to the Illinois/Indiana area to be closer to friends and family. Her last Sunday will be in October.

United Christian, Yakima - has been hosting a Farmer's Market in their parking lot this August and engaging the community in bringing together local farmers and neighbors to share in the bountiful harvest.

Do you have some congregational news you’d like to see shared in the Northwest Passage? Don’t hesitate to send us the details so we can highlight it in Community Connections! 



It's a two-hour drive from Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar (Burma) out to Maubin Township. From the town of Maubin it's another hour drive to Inn Ma Su village. You can make that drive in the dry season. During the rainy season between July and September, the roads between Maubin and Inn Ma Su flood, and your only option is a 90-minute boat ride. About 1,400 people live in Inn Ma Su and the nearby villages of Kyone Cha, Ywar Ma and Sint Ku.

The rainy season presents challenges and risks for everyone, including children. During the dry season, it takes the children from Inn Ma Su about 40 minutes each way to walk to and from school. Not only does it take much longer in the rainy season, but it is also dangerous because of muddy paths and both standing and moving water. During the height of the rainy season children can't walk to school at all - they have to be taken by boat. For both the children and their families, this time-consuming solution adds to the danger.

Something needed to change to help students get to school. In early 2017, with support from Week of Compassion, Church World Service began to plan and construct a new, 90-foot concrete bridge so that school children could access the main road more safely and easily. The CWS team in Myanmar worked with village leaders and the community's Water and Sanitation Committee to choose a bridge design - one that included hand rails and a safe surface - and draw up construction plans and a budget. The community committed to share the cost of the bridge by donating labor.

Work on the new bridge began in March. A CWS engineer worked with skilled masons and community volunteers to ensure quality work for safety and sustainability. The bridge was completed in April, in time for a mid-May inauguration and celebration.

While the bridge was designed with students in mind, its benefits are far reaching for the people of Inn Ma Su. Ma Kaythi, a mother of three, told us, "I feel so happy that we have the bridge because I do not worry any more about my kids walking through the creek when they go to and from school. Now, they can go safely within a shorter time. The bridge also encourages women like me to go to the Health Center for medical care and treatment because it is now much less difficult and time-saving."