Volume 5, Issue 3

Notes From the Moderator

Can you feel the excitement? Doesn't if seem like there's a lot more energy abuzz at church these days? I find myself thinking again about the possibilities of a vibrant future for our church. It's great to have Pastor Tom on board.

I had so much fun at the Spring Sale and even better, a significant amount of money was raised. Just hanging around the kitchen serving up spuds and salad to the steady stream of friendly folks at the counter was a blast! It was also so nice to just chat with all the church folk and get caught up on everyone's lives. I'm so glad to have been part of that.

While I was helping in the church kitchen that day, I kept asking myself: How can we get more folks into our church? Then I thought about Rosella Roff, who once again coordinated the Preschool dinner. I'm sure you remember what an energizing event that was last year! Rosella just sort of launched the process all by herself and got everyone enthused about getting it done. It makes me wonder about other events that we might plan to draw the community into our church....

Anyway, here's a few half-baked ideas I have been mulling over for a while: How about coordinating with the WSU Cooperative Extension Office to hold a "Canning Class" in our kitchen sometime over the summer? We could charge a nominal fee (or donation, or free) and invite the public in. We have that great big kitchen as a resource! Or how about some kind of Fall event? I keep thinking about having a crafty kind of Saturday: maybe have some folks come in to set up spinning wheels to show yarn making; folks to demonstrate basic quilting, maybe someone to teach how to make soap (that kitchen again!), or? How about a basic sewing/knitting/crocheting or (?) class to take place over a couple of weeks/weekends next fall? How about getting a Master Gardener out to talk about plants, or? What about a veterinarian to talk about basic animal health? And could we offer childcare while adults are in class? It would be nice if we could get guest speakers or presenters so that we could use our talents as facilitators (since it takes so many hands to make it happen).

Anyway, maybe I'm just dreaming (or maybe I'm just making extra work!), but I think we could play around with some options. Let me know what you think (be nice!), or what ideas you might have! Maybe we can make something happen. Getting folks in the door could be a first step in getting our church to grow.

This month my hat's off to Jeanne Simon, who sure has a lot of talent and energy! She did a great job organizing the Spring Sale. Thanks to Russ Browne who coordinated the publicity. He did a great job: tons of folks came to the event! Thanks also to Davi Martin, for planning and purchasing all the good food. And a special thanks to Fred Rosenzweig, without whom the Plant Sale would be less than the special community event that it is! We love you, man!

May God continue to bless us all,

From the Pastor

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find an announcement of my ordination service on June 9 at University Congregational UCC in Seattle. I want to tell you a little bit about our denomination's understanding of ordination and to explain why my ordination is happening at my old home church rather than at my new church home with you.

The first and most important thing to understand about ordained ministry is that it is only one kind of ministry. Ministry is the call of all of the people of the church. The Constitution of the UCC makes this very clear. It says: "The United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls the whole church and every member to participate in and extend the ministry of Jesus Christ...." We are all ministers of the Gospel of our Lord.

Ordained ministry is a particular type of ministry practiced, as the UCC Constitution puts it, by "one of [the church's] members who has been called by God and ordained to preach and teach the gospel, to administer the sacraments and rites of the Church, and to exercise pastoral care and leadership." An ordained minister, then, is just one of the people of the church to whom has been delegated certain functions within the life of the church. The ordination itself is "the rite whereby the United Church of Christ through [a Conference], in cooperation with the person and a local church of the United Church of Christ, recognizes and authorizes that member whom God has called to ordained ministry, and sets that person apart by prayer and the laying on of hands." We need to understand the phrase "sets that person apart" as meaning only that the church recognizes the person's call to perform the particular functions of ordained ministry. That is the rite that will be done for me on June 9. So why at University Congregational and not here? University Congregational UCC was my home church all the time I was in seminary. The people of that church, many of whom became my friends, supported me throughout my journey toward ordained ministry. They sponsored me for "in care" status, the status of a seminarian preparing for ordained ministry. They asked the Conference to approve me for ordination pending call. They helped me discern my call to ordained ministry, and they were the community in which that call was first confirmed and affirmed. It is appropriate, and also traditional, for the ordination to be done at the church that played those roles in a person's preparation for ordained ministry.II hope that as many of you as possible will join me for this celebration in Seattle on June 9. Car pools would be a great idea. Later, we will have a chance to celebrate here in Monroe as well. There is a second step. It is traditional when a local church calls a new pastor for representatives of the Conference to participate with the people of the local church in an installation service, formally recognizing the covenant between the called pastor, the local church, and the UCC. My installation service at our church is not yet scheduled. We will probably do it next fall. Just as I look forward to my ordination with great joy, I look forward to our installation service as a joyous celebration of our ministry together.


Tom Sorenson's Ordination

You're invited!

Please mark Sunday afternoon, June 9, 3:00 on your calendars! That's the day Pastor Tom will be ordained. The special ordination service will be at University Congregational Church in Seattle, which is just north of the University of Washington. Since it's a Sunday, free parking should be available at the University Parking area close by. We will definitely arrange carpooling (and details will be available a little later in May). I am going to represent Monroe Congregational Church, UCC, in a small but significant way, so I'd also love to have as many folks as possible join me in supporting Tom!IWe will also be planning a special Installation Service at Monroe Congregational Church, probably this fall. But in the meantime, be sure to mark June 9 at 3:00 on your calendars NOW. Hope to see you there!



The Sky Valley Food Bank needs your help. Bring canned and packaged foods to church and place in the big basket in the entry.

If you know of any of our members or friends who are in need of a sympathy or get well card, please notify Rosella Roff at 360-794-7669.

In order to "unclutter" the worship service, people with announcements are asked to get them to Betty Stewart by Tuesday for inclusion in the bulletin. If you miss that deadline, please write out your announcement and give it to Pastor Tom.

Appropriate books are being solicited for our church library. Bring them to the Fellowship hour and leave them in the "living room."

Don't forget to bring your Campbell's soup labels! Put them in the Fellowship Hall or give them to Laurie Ide.

Pastor-Parish Committee

April 9 inaugurated the first Pastor-Parish meeting with Tom Sorenson, Kayleen Bryson, Davi Martin, Rosella Roff and Laurie Ide. This was mostly a get acquainted meeting with a lot of ideas and observations swapped.

One subject discussed concerned the committee itself. How many of the members really know what the Pastor-Parish committee is? What are our responsibilities, what do we do? My assignment was to define our duties. This is becoming a more difficult task than I had anticipated but I will give it a try. This list includes but is not limited to the following:

We are here to help prevent misunderstandings and to promote good will. Our hope is that we won't be needed and that no one will feel uncomfortable in talking to any of the folks who are presently in a leadership position.

Laurie Ide


May 5 - Cinco de Mayo
6 - Preschool Potluck
May 12 - Mother's Day
May 17 - Syttende Mai (Norwegian Independence Day)
May 19 - Pentecost
May 27 - Memorial Day
June 9 - Ordination of Tom Sorenson
June 14 - Flag Day
June 16 - Father's Day

Music Notes

After the hustle and bustle of Eastertime, it seems the Music Dept. goes back to a "dull-roar". My first year with the church has now come and gone. I been reflecting on what I believe has been successful year for us. Since we now have our choir practices on Wednesday nights, I think it will help us grow. Can't you visualize a "Full Choir Loft"?

As Spring is here, we soon approach Mother's Day, Memorial Weekend and Father's Day. I always remember my Mother's favorite hymn: "How Great Thou Art". During my last visit with her in a convalescent home, back in Nebraska, she asked me to sing it with her. It was just the two of us in the room. I returned home and she died a week later, April 27, 1990. I'll never forget that day.

I also remember my Grandmother (Mom's Mom), especially when I was beginning college. She was a devoted Christian woman and loved old hymns. The only profanity out of her mouth was "shoot". She called me a little "Scamp" sometimes when I would make a joke or tease. During many of our family Sunday dinners and reunions, someone would get Grandma & Grandpa from the nursing home. She would lie down and listen to us in the piano room. At one point she had lost her eyesight and as soon as I would enter the room and identify myself, she would order me to the piano to play and sing for her. She hummed along to every tune, even though she couldn't remember all the words. Her voice soared like an Angel. Even at 86 she could out sing many a soprano.

For me, this time of year is for reflection and for some great memories. If you have favorite Mother's Day hymns, let us know and we will do them.

Your Music Director,
Keith Ruby

Welcoming Committee

We have several irons in the fire. By the time you read this, a good time will have been had by all at the Cooperative Preschool Potluck. We surely thank all of you who added so much to that evening of fellowship.

A bookmark, another reminder of our presence in the community, is in the final stage of development, thanks to the leg work of Ron Park.

We keep asking ourselves, "How can we invite new residents of our community to our church?"

First we need to know where they are. Each of you could make it a priority to take down the address of a home you notice that is newly occupied. Perhaps we can do something with it. We'll see.

We welcome input from any of you as to how we can be of help and what our function should be in filling our pews with everyone who wishes to hear "the good news."

The Welcoming Committee, Rosella Roff, Chair


On April 7th we had our first Diaconate meeting of the new year. Present were Betty Hodo, Ron Parks, Naomi Sandbakk, Jeanne Simon and Sue Strub. Jeanne Simon was named as chair.

Discussion included Passing the Peace and other items about Sunday worship. Pastor Tom was consulted and talked about improving the bulletin and the order of service. Work will continue on these matters.

The Diaconate will now meet the first Sunday of each month after coffee hour. Betty Hodo and Sue Strub will do the communion on May 4.

Jeanne Simon


Many people put in many hours of work to make the bazaar a huge success. Among those who worked are Betty Hodo, Naomi Sandbakk, Joann Meeds, Barbara and Jeanne Simon, Fred Rosenzweig, Ken Setzer, Mervin Boyes, Warren Simon, Donna, Milly G. and Bev, Carolyn Boyes, Rosella Roff, Virginia Fyke, Davi Martin, Laurie Ide, Kayleen Bryson, Karen Rich, Teresa and Carolyn Burns, Joyce Smith, Lois Reuss, Dorothy Taylor, Manny Odom, and Russ Browne.

The total for the bazaar was $2,301.50, much better than last year.

Starting on Wednesday, April 17 with setting up and getting organized, clothes, crafts, knick-knacks began coming in in the afternoon, after which we began pricing.

On Thursday the men began bringing in plants, while the women were baking, fixing bouquets, ironing aprons, purchasing groceries, etc.

Ads were placed in the Monroe Monitor, the Everett Herald, the new "Valley Observer." Sign boards were put in people's yards, and fliers were put out around town. Advertising was much better this year.

Thanks to all for making it a success!

Jeanne Simon

New Hispanic Church in Monroe

Iglesia Santa Fe means Church of the Holy Faith. Iglesia Santa Fe is a new Latino church in Monroe. Iglesia Santa Fe began operation last June, after about a year of planning. I understand that they have about 20 active members, with attendance at Sunday worship numbering around 100.

Pastor Rick Ortiz calls his congregation the poorest of the poor. His church offers a number of services to his congregation and to the larger Latino population. These include drug and alcohol counseling, assistance with taxes and utilities, legal and benevolent assistance. There are two adult soccer teams, and an impressive soccer clinic for grade schoolers. There is also a "Homework Club" offering tutoring to grade school students. The Northwest Dental Team provides a bimonthly dental clinic through their church.

In addition to offering a wealth of opportunities for service, Iglesia Santa Fe has two programs of interest to Anglos. There is a Spanish class for English speakers that meets Tuesday nights. The class is oriented somewhat towards Anglos who aspire to minister to the Hispanic community. And there is a monthly "Breaking of the Bread", an opportunity for Latinos and Anglos to share in a common meal.