Volume 4, Issue 2

A Message from the Pastor

The earthquake is over but internally some shaking continues. We are not the same as we were a couple of weeks ago. The earth beneath our feet shook in a way that shocked, scared, amazed and terrified us. That experience, if we pay attention, is revelatory.

How did we first react to the shaking? What cover and protection did we seek? To what and whom did our thoughts first turn?

A friend of mine told me her mother fell to her knees, asked for forgiveness and said, "I'm ready Jesus -- take me." An elderly couple, who has spent much time debating whether to sell their house and downsize, experienced a new decisiveness after the earthquake. A man who had been wrestling with a change in jobs suddenly felt a new clarity.

Such a shaking uncovers and reveals some of things that were previously hidden.

Lent is a time to access the courage to allow us to be shaken up, mixed up, and transformed. We strive to be vulnerable enough to stand in shaky places where we can do some soul-searching and question how we live our lives. There is an opportunity to enter into a radical commitment to rethink who we are and what we know.

It's a time author Wendy Wright calls chaotic and creative. "We enter into the rhythm of disequilibrium -- indeed, of dying -- essential to the formation of new life."

This is the challenge to all of us, as individuals and as this church: to acknowledge there is a rhythm, even in our uncertainty, that will guide us to new places of fuller life; to willingly go into a state of imbalance that will eventually create more integrity about who we are as expressions of God.

It's a journey in which we are not alone. We have the Spirit with us. We have each other. Let us go forth. Blessings,

Pastor Diane

P.S. Thanks to your steady support and pledges, the Board of Trustees has approved the funds for me to work an additional 6 hours a week. Beginning April 1, I will be adding 2 hours a week at home covering phone calls, e-mail, computer work and other church business follow-up. I will be at the church on Thursday mornings from 8:30am-12:30pm.

Moderator's Notes - March 2001

Dear friends,

Wow, may I say it again? Our church is filled with a new spirit of energy and enthusiasm. Visitors both old and new can sense it, and have commented on it. In February, we had one of the most lively Annual meetings I can remember. At that time we agreed on the official name of our dear church, we are the Monroe Congregational Church, UCC. Now to get all the signs and letterheads and various documents to agree! We also tentatively approved a new mission statement, with a slight tweaking of the proposed one submitted by the cabinet. I am very pleased that I will be continuing as Moderator, with Kayleen Bryson in the wings as Moderator elect. We have filled all the spots in our list of officers and committees, and I'm looking forward to a year of exciting times, growth and realization of our potential in many areas.

In February we began Lent, the traditional season of penitence, but one which can be tempered with the sure realization of the basic meaning of Easter, the glory and the eternal assurance of the resurrection. Pastor Diane has some surprises in store for Lent, and we will be blessed with her insightful and uplifting sermons. Our traditional Easter services will again be held, along with the wonderful breakfast the Men's Group hosts. Be sure to invite friends to share these times with us, everyone is invited to the breakfast! What fun it would be to have a big crowd, and lots of newcomers.

April brings not only Easter, but the Conference annual event, Renewal 2001, which will be held in Wenatchee April 27 to 29. It is the year of the Inspirational and Educational Event, so will be full of new ideas and, surprise, inspiration! It would be great to have a big group from our church attending. Diane and I are planning on going, so see one of us if you would like to come along. We have received registration packets, and the early registration is due by April 1. It is a wonderful opportunity to mix with and learn from other church folks, as well as to get to know each other better outside of church.

Peace and joy


Music Director

I have been asked to tell you a little about myself.

Originally from Nebraska, I attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney State Teachers College from 1972-1973, where I was a music major, quit school, came to Seattle, got married in 1973 and divorced in 1978 (that's another story). Over the years, I have been in the corporate world in many fields. In the mid to late 1980s I was a partner in a music business, (retail and teaching). In January, 2001 I started the process of going back to school, seeking my music degree at the ripe age of 48.

My family has a long musical history (from my Mother's side). My sister, brother and I sang as a trio when I was little in a United Methodist Church (we all sang Soprano). We have now gone into our own professions, although I still sing with my sister now and then. I began my Music Ministry during my Senior year in High School, as a soloist organist. I was hired in 1974 as Organist for the Seattle Congregational Church, NACCC (now Shoreline), became the Music Director in the early 1980's. The last 6 years I was the Diaconate Chair. Adding it all up, I served in the church for 26 years and will always remain close friends with them.

Over the years, I have been a member of the Seattle Symphony Chorale, Seattle Choral Company, Seattle Bach Choir, Seattle Mens Chorus, former Director & Accompanist of the Lake Washington Singers (Women's Chorus), and former Director of the Sno-King Chapter of SPEBSQSA (Mens Barbershop Chorus).

On a personal note: I feel God is leading me into some new spiritual and musical career challenges. I believe I have been called" in a new and positive direction; to your church and family". After several conversations with Pastor Diane (and some with my former church pastor), I know this is where God wants me to be, and I look forward to our ministry together.

Yours in Christ,

Keith Ruby

The Choir Loft

Greetings to everyone! As your new Church Music Leader, let me first say how excited I am to be with all of you, and to be a new member of this energetic and enthusiastic 'Family'. I appreciate all the warm welcomes I have received since I arrived. It's also great to work with supportive people who have a vision for the future. My visions are many, and I know it takes time.

I hope to help increase our choir membership, incorporate instrumentalists into our services, and perhaps build a youth choir.

As our Lenten Season begins, we are already rehearsing on appropriate music. We plan on using flute and trumpet for some of our pieces (we have an 'in-house' flautist, but need to find a trumpeter"). I will be closely working with Pastor Diane in the planning of these upcoming events.

We are also participating in the Good Friday Service, for the performance of "The Seven Last Words of Christ" with some of the local churches. More details as they become available.

I am really looking forward to my first Easter season with all of you. It's one of my favorite times of the year!

Your Music Director,

Keith Ruby

Spring and ideas are beginning to blossom

There are some exciting conversations popping up about different things in our church community. We share some of them here to let you know of opportunities where you can offer your talents to make these things happen.

Fellowship Hall Renewal:
We are looking at ways to make our fellowship hall more welcoming. Kris Browne has agreed to provide leadership for ideas of what might be possible and ways we might get donated help to make things happen. Contact her if you are interested.
A Greening Congregation:
Our mission statement reflects our commitment to respect the sacredness of all creation and walk gently upon the earth. If you have interest in joining a conversation about how to make our church more ecologically responsible and how we can educate our members about ecological practices, please contact Pastor Diane.
Klothes Kloset:
We are in the process of reviving our service of providing clothes for women who are reentering or entering the job market and have limited access to professional clothing. This idea can be expanded to offer other services for women in such transitions (advice about interviewing, resumes, etc.) Contact Davi Martin if you would like to help make this important difference in the lives of women who live in our larger community.
Church Brochure:
We are ready to update our church brochure. This will help us get the word out about who we are and what we can offer to people! An important outreach for this church. Contact Pastor Diane if you have ideas and energy to help make this happen.
Christian Education:
The Christian Education Committee is looking at ways to make our Sunday School room welcoming for children and youth. We are also looking at different curriculum ideas and the hiring of teachers in the future. If you'd like to help support us becoming a more welcoming place for families, contact Gayle Parry.

WNIUCC Annual Meeting

"Renewal 2001: Our Hope for Years to Come" is the theme of our conference annual meeting to be held 4/27-29 at the Wenatchee Convention Center. This year's meeting focuses on worship and education and there will be many exciting opportunities for learning through workshops presentations, preaching, singing and story telling. Keynote speaker is Michael Kinnamon, an ecumenical theologian and professor at Eden Seminary, who will speak on the theme of hope. Rev. Yvette Flunder, pastor of San Francisco's City of Refuge Community, a church founded to unite gospel and social ministries, will preach on renewal and transformation. Dayton Edmonds, a Native American of the Caddo nation, Methodist missionary and storyteller will share stories about having strength to move through trials we experience. Registration by April 1 is $35.00; accommodations and meal charges are additional. The Trustees will give a stipend to members attending the conference to help defray costs. For more details, contact Pastor Diane.

Taizè Services

Bill Comfort, former intern at Monroe Congregational Church, has been providing leadership for Taizè services in our church on the first Sunday evening (6:30pm) of every month. We are looking to expand our attendance at this service by letting other churches know of this ecumenical offering we provide. Many people wonder, what is Taizè about? Taizè prayer is a quiet, simple way of prayer open to people of all faith traditions. Services include simple melodies sung repeatedly, meant to become part of our inner core; silence, encouraging us to be open to God's presence; and prayers of praise and intercession. Taizè prayer service emerged from an ecumenical community of monks in Taizè,France. Brother Roger, Taizè's founder, arrived in the village of Taizè in 1940. In the middle of World War II, he dreamed of creating a community where reconciliation was a daily reality. He began by giving shelter to refugees of the war, especially Jews. He recognized that the search for reconciliation was within each individual, as well as within the community. Initially, the Taizè founder lived alone, until brothers from various Protestant and Catholic backgrounds followed. Today, as an ecumenical monastic community, Taizè is a sign of reconciliation. Come try this meditative form of worship and experience its gifts!

One Great Hour of Sharing

This important offering will be taken on Sunday, March 25th. Nine other denominations join UCC in receiving this offering, which supports the mission work of UCC and of our interfaith partner, Church World Service. These monies support people in times of disaster in the U.S. and abroad such as earthquakes, droughts and epidemics. It also provides long-term development assistance and social services to communities of need. Please take this opportunity to give generously in this concrete action to impact the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.

What's in a Name?

At our annual meeting in February we approved our official church name as: Monroe Congregational Church, U.C.C. (Spelled out as United Church of Christ). Over the years we've been known as First Congregational Church of Monroe, Monroe Congregational Church and Monroe Congregational United Church of Christ. These various names have appeared in various places and have led to some confusion with people about whom we are and how to find us (under which name). Therefore, we have claimed the truth of who we are in this way to represent our location in Monroe, our history as a Congregational Church and our covenant with the United Church of Christ. We are in the process of updating the myriad of places our name appears to make them all consistent.

Our Website

We now have not one but three websites!

After deciding at our annual meeting to call ourselves by a consistent name, I created "http://www.monroeucc.org" as our official website with a name closer to our official name, easier to type and to remember than the previous one. The old website will be functioning at least until it starts to cost us money. It will soon begin automatically forwarding visitors to the new site.

If you've been visiting our website frequently, please update your bookmarks (or favorite places) to point to the new location. When the number of visitors to the old site taper off we'll know we can safely pull the plug on it.

The third, and most exciting, website is "http://www.MonroeChurches.org". This will be a shared website posting information of interest to the Monroe community. It will contain basic information on all participating Monroe churches, notices of events such as ecumenical services, musical programs, speakers, and a listing of outreach programs run by the various churches.

Watch for a link to this site from ours as soon at there is anything to show.

Russ Browne

As I See It


This proposal by the new Bush administration has taken something of a back-burner position on the political stove these days. The tax-cut plan is bubbling up in the stockpot instead. But as taxpaying Christians, we should probably stop a minute and consider the implications.

An alert church (mosque, synagogue, etc.) should have a good idea of who needs help in its community, and managing the distribution of aid through it seems sound. Instead of channeling money through broader-serving government agencies, more locally focused communities could potentially benefit.

Noble thoughts. But let's think about this. First, what is a faith-based organization? Is it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist? Or maybe Native-American, Taoist, Sikh, Animist, Wiccan, Bahai, Or Satanic, Atheist, Scientologist , or perhaps some new one? Remember, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" If the U.S. Government can't make the definition, then what rules apply to determine what is a faith-based organization? Who decides?

Remember, too, that these are OUR tax dollars to be distributed. What kind of accountability should the faith-based organization have to taxpayers? How do we know that the money is being used appropriately? (Faithfully?) A government audit process would have to be established. Historically, most churches have not relished the idea of opening their books to federal oversight agencies. In fact, it was an early concept of the Founding Fathers that this should be strictly prohibited. Our country was founded by the ideas of many who fled religious persecution.

What if some churches eventually end up being beholden to the government for funding? How much "influence" should the government have in order for a church to qualify? Should an American flag be present in the sanctuary? Should the church adhere to federal employment laws? What if a program is funded for a while, and then the money is withdrawn? Should the church "adapt" its program to be more politically accommodating in order to keep the mission going?

In my opinion, the government has no business defining or regulating religion, even if we dress it up and call it "faith-based." Neither do I believe that the Feds should be looking over our shoulders in the accounting process. Most importantly, I believe that we should follow what we see God directing us to do with our church and its mission, not a secular agency or its taxpayers. While this initiative gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling for about 30 seconds, the Bush plan for Faith Based Charity is not feasible. Maybe there's something better we can come up with.

Kayleen Bryson

Prayers For:

Fred Rosenzweig as he mourns the loss of his wife Eileen.

Cecilia Davis, as she recovers from surgery for an injury by her horse.

Wagner Elementary School community as they deal with another loss of a faculty person due to tragic circumstances. People in our congregation who are going through transitions due to health issues and job changes.

Thank Yous:

Keith Ruby for providing beautiful music for our worship services

Russ Browne for updating and expanding our website offerings.

Women's' Fellowship for their extraordinary support of our memorial services in February.

Pastoral Care:

As a caring community we want to be aware of the difficulties our members are experiencing whether health related or because of other reasons. Please share information with Pastor Diane as you become learn of such situations. Kris Browne has volunteered to send cards of comfort and concern to people in our congregation who are experiencing difficult times so they may be reminded of our love and care for them.


10:30 a.m. - Morning Worship
First Sunday 6:30 p.m. - Taizè Service (meditation and chant)
12:30 p.m. - Brown Bag Study Group Tuesdays
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Quilters (bring your lunch)
Second Tuesday
1 p.m. - Women's Fellowship
7 p.m. - Men's Group
Sunday April 8
Palm Sunday
Thursday April 12
Maundy Thursday
Friday April 13
Good Friday
Sunday April 15
Monday April 23
Next newsletter deadline
Reserve May 7 at 5:30 p.m. for a potluck with the Monroe Co-op Preschool which meets mornings in our facility. Please mark your calendars now. We need every one!

Holy Week Worship Services

We are once again looking forward to doing some partnership services with our neighboring churches to provide a full experience of worship during the week of Easter. Please join us as we experience together the mystery, anguish and joy ofthe Easter story.
April 8: Palm Sunday.
We will meet at 10am at the Church of Our Saviour Episcopal. With palms, banners, and music we will process on Lewis returning to our church for the worship service.
April 12: Maundy Thursday Service
at 7:30pm at Monroe Congregational Church. Joint service with Monroe United Methodist Church. The service will include communion and optional hand or foot washing.
April 13: Good Friday Service
at 7:30pm at the Monroe United Methodist Church. Participating, in addition to our church and the Methodist church, are Morning Star Lutheran and Church of Our Saviour Episcopal. A joint choir will offer "The Seven Last Words of Christ." A Tenebrae service, with readings and the extinguishing of lights, will be included.
April 14: Vigil
at 7pm at the Church of Our Saviour Episcopal. The service will begin in total darkness. The congregation will hear readings and participate in the lighting of candles and the eucharist.
April 15: Easter
at Monroe Congregational Church, U.C.C. Somewhat after Sunrise Service at the park at 8am.

Followed by Easter Breakfast in the fellowship hall.

Easter Church Service at 10:30am.


March 18, 2001
Isaiah 55:1-9
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9
March 25, 2001
Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
April 1, 2001
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8
April 8, 2001
Luke 19:28-40
Psalm 118:1-2,19-29
April 15, 2001
Acts 10:34-43
Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 118:1-2,14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26