Pastor Diana Bottin writes a monthly letter to members and friends of Trinity.  Please read her letters, and feel free to comment.
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FROM THE PASTOR

Why, why why? This is the first question our kids learn to ask, and it seems to be their favorite fro years. Why this, why that, why, wh, why? They ask this question because it is how we as humans grow and mature in our actions and thoughts. When the questin stops being asked, we stop seeing the possibilities because we are unable to see beyond the way we think and do things now.

Over the past several weeks, a number of you have commented on how glad you were that I was back as your interim. My response has shocked many of you. I've asked the old question, WHY?

I don't ask the question for any person gratification or to "puff" myself up, but to get you to think about what it is about my being back you like (or don't like) to help you to begin to articulate what it is that you are looking for in your next pastor.

This question of "why" will be one ask ask often. So yes, I get to act like that w year old - why, why, why. Why do you do what you do? Why is it important to you? All these whys will help once a transition team is appointed and begins working with the congregation in developing the Ministry Site Profile.

Why, why, why?

Your Sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana

June Letter from the Pastor

She’s back!  Yes, I have returned which means Trinity is officially in the interim process.  So what does that mean?
 
First, a number of things have been happening here at Trinity over the past 6 months, to say the least.  The next few months, through summer, will be a time to breathe.  Nothing significant will happen in the way of the interim process.
 
Second, when summer begins to come to a close you will start hearing about the need to form a transition team.  This team will gather a great deal of information from you.  Yes, what you have to say is and will be very important.  This will take some time.  The information it receives from you will help fill out a very large document entitled Trinity’s Ministry Site Profile (MSP).  This document will be a “snap shot” of who Trinity is and where Trinity is going.
 
Third, when the transition team has done its work a call committee will be formed.  The call committee will do some final work on the MSP, ask the congregation for feedback and approval of it, and then send it to the synod office.  Once the synod office has the MSP, Bishop Unti will select Candidates for interviewing.
 
Forth, the interviews.  This phase can take on many directions depending on a number of variables (too many to go into detail at this time).  When a Pastoral Candidate has been selected as potentially Trinity’s new pastor a special congregational meeting will be called.  A call cannot be extended until after this meeting.
 
Wow!  Calling a pastor is a long process, but a good process in which God and the Holy Spirit is invited in and asked to help each step of the way.  It has been proven over and over again that when a congregation “skips” or “rushes” through the work the process takes twice the time, or it turns out not to be a “good fit”.
 
We are on a journey.  Journeys are not meant to be rushed through, but savored.  This is the time to reflect on who you have been, who you are now, and who you want to be.  Those are some deep reflections that can only be expressed by taking time.
 
Your Sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana
 
 

March Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,
 
Do you wish you had …

time to pause
time to rest
time to celebrate                
time to liberate
time to play?

This year during lent,  we will be following a five session course written by Sue
Mayfield and Robert Warren looking at ways of finding a better balance in our lives. In particular we will explore the idea of the Sabbath – Sabbath days, Sabbath moments, Sabbath attitudes – and how they affect our use of time.  

Sue Mayfield, one of the authors, writes….
“ Sabbath is about so much more than having a proper day off… It cuts right to the
heart of my self-perception, my relationship to Creator and Creation, my
understanding of the point and purpose of life, my response to poverty and injustice. Sabbath - in its fullest, most Biblical sense – challenges my workaholism, my need to appear busy in order to feel important, my tendency to define and justify myself in terms of what I’ve done or achieved, my self-sufficiency and control-freakery. Scary stuff!”

What better time than Lent to learn and relearn patterns for healthy, God-focused
living? And what better time to stop and be refreshed?
 
See you Sunday mornings at 10:00.
 
Respite Pastor Diana Bottin
 

Letter from the Bishop

The Way of Kindness
 
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."    John 13:35
 
Growing up I had a real hard time relating to my older brother. He was bright, a good athlete and an extremely high achiever. He also loved to tease his little brother. I was tormented by
him and often felt very angry. In fact on one occasion I threw a barbecue fork at him as he was running out of the house. Fortunately I missed but my intentions were clear, "I wanted to hurt him."
 
I had forgotten the worst of these childhood memories until a few days ago when I was
reflecting upon why is it that I have such a strong opposition to people being mean to one
another? My daughters will tell you how upset I would be with them if I thought they were
being mean. The answer to my question was obvious. It was about the how miserable I felt as
a child.
When I entered into middle school I got into an emotional grudge match with one of my
peers. I found myself employing the very acts of meanness that my brother had used on me.
In fact I invited as many of my friends as possible to join me in piling insults upon my friend.
Later in life she would take her own life. We renewed our friendship in high school but it has always bothered me that I was so mean to her.
 
I honestly believe we could change the world if we were committed to honoring the 8th
Commandment in the way Luther explained it when he said, "We should explain our
neighbor's actions in the kindest way." Kindness is the opposite of meanness. Meanness robs and destroys life. Kindness is filled with grace and can be so life giving.
 
Over the years my brother and I have been able to make amends. We became very close in
caring for our parents when they were dying. I saw in my brother a deep kindness. He was so tender with my mom and dad. He would anoint their bodies with lotion trying to massage
away their pain. He was there to comfort both of them when they took their last breaths.
 
This is my prayer for each of us and for all of our ministry sites. I pray that we would seek to be people who lean in the direction of kindness. I pray that we would be a people who withhold being mean spirited which often expresses itself in being so critical of one another. I pray that we would strive to explain our neighbor's actions in the kindness way.
 
 

January Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Does January seem like such a letdown month to you?  Through the years I have
noticed that we, Christians and non-Christians, seem to “get it” in December for the most part, but can’t seem to “get it” the rest of the year.  What happens to us when we turn the calendar? 
 
In December folks are a little jollier than they are in January, actually from February to November also.  All too often the turning of the calendar seems to turn
personalities.  The first few days may be okay as we go about trying to live up to those resolutions we made.  But give it a week or two, and the realization that more than likely we will not keep those
resolutions, and boom it happens; we are back to the pre-November mentality of day-to-day living as we get back into a much more settled routine.
 
So, here’s a thought.  Instead of making that New Year’s resolution to lose weight, to
go to the gym, to eat healthier, to save some extra money, to quit whatever it is that
has you tied to this world, why don’t we all make the resolution to keep the love and
Joy, experienced in the birth of Christ, throughout this coming year.
 
May the joy of Christmas bless and keep you in all that you do in 2014!
 
Pastor Diana     
 
 

December Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,

 

Ever feel as if you have entered into an episode of Star Trek?  Where God calls, you say yes, and all of a sudden it’s “Beam me up Scotty”.  Then, when you have been beamed into this new journey instantly
Captain Kurt says “Warp speed ahead”.  At first, all you can do is hold on for the ride, and then one day you realize either the world is slowing down or you are catching up. 
 
The world of Trinity Lutheran Everett and I are beginning to come into sync.  So, I want to take this time out to breathe and to let you know who I am, and what a “Respite Pastor” is.
 
My husband, Chris, and I live in Edmonds, and our child consists of one Grey Cockatiel named Precious who happens to be a perpetual toddler and a mama’s boy.  Chris works for Snohomish County and will not be able to worship with us due to his work schedule.  On December 3rd we will begin our 14th year of marriage.  As for me, I was born in Massachusetts and raised in Everett.  I graduated from Mariner High School, received my Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Seattle University and my Master’s Degree from the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University.  I am a trained Interim Pastor, and on my 5th year of ordination. 
 
So, what is a respite Pastor? A Respite Pastor steps into a congregation to assist it with its existing plans for the future, and to help it continue to move forward towards its mission statement while the settled pastor takes time to keep him/herself healthy.  In the next month or two Trinity will continue with all its plans for the Advent & the Christmas season.  We will also be looking ahead and preparing for Lent.  Trinity is not in the interim process, and I will not be functioning as an Interim Pastor. 
 
I am honored and blessed to be able to assist Trinity and Pastor Carson during this time as we await the celebration of the coming of our Lord’s birth, and the return of Pastor Carson. 
 
I have been asked: what do we call you?  I answer to Pastor Diana, Pastor Bottin (Bow Teen),
or Pastor B, whichever is more comfortable for you.  Please feel free to stop in the office to ask questions.  My door is always open. 
 
Your Sister in Christ
Respite Pastor Diana Bottin
 

November Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,

November is the month that we who live in the United States of America take time to give thanks.  For me, the thanks that I give are primarily directed to God, Creator of the universe, who richly blesses me each day.  Of course, I am also thankful for and to the many people in my life who are also blessings to me.  In my “thankful for” I acknowledge that it is God who creates each one of us and creates the opportunities that we have to interact with each other.  God is truly for me the “God of relationships.”

The old hymn, Count Your Blessings, written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. is not one of the many hymns of thanksgiving found in our hymnals. Maybe it should be!  When I actually start listing the many, many people and things for which I give thanks, I am always amazed at God’s gracious care of me.  I know there are days when this song seems just too trite and “clap happy” to be endured, but I learned to sing this song as a nursing home chaplain from people who would seem to have much less to be thankful for than I do.   This song was one of the most requested by the residents and it was sung with gusto and joy!

This day and every day I am thankful for Dave and our children and their spouses and our sweet grand-daughter and my siblings and their families and for the people of Trinity and all who gather here for worship on Sundays.  I am thankful for Gary, Amy, Gina, Christa, Jack and Holly—those with whom I am privileged to work with on behalf of Trinity! I am thankful for Clara, who even in retirement continues to support and bless me.  I am especially thankful for our Church Council members!  My list goes on and on because I am so blessed with friends and neighbors and care providers. 

This day and every day I am thankful for the things of creation that inspire me and comfort me—mountains, rivers, flowers, the rain, the sunshine, good tasting food and food that is good for me.  This list also seems endless because it is.  It is harder for me to give thanks for those things that challenge me—but I know that my growth in faith often happens through those challenging situations.  So even for all those things that makes me grow, I give thanks.

For what are you thankful?  Count your blessings, name them one by one, see what God has done!  (Thank you Mr. Oatman for these words!)

Thankfully yours,
Pastor Jocelyn

 
 

October Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,

I love being Lutheran!   I know that Martin Luther himself did not expect to begin a new church but wanted to reform the existing Church.  He certainly did not want a church named after him.  What he did want was a church that told the story of God’s love for humanity.  Luther lived his early life in fear of God, but spent the last years of his life trusting in God’s mercy and grace.  For me, Lutheran = mercy + grace!

Luther called the church a “priesthood of all believers.”  He wanted every person to know that God heard their prayers and that the Bible was a book for all of us to read in our own language.  Luther was not the only reformer who translated the Bible and argued with the pope—he was following in the footsteps of Jan Hus, a Czech priest and John Wycliffe, an English priest.  There were many reformers who followed him, including those who stayed in the Roman Catholic Church to make many changes within that church.

Sometimes we in the church have heard the word “reform” as an encouragement to separate ourselves from those who do not agree with us.  Sometimes it is hard for us to remember that we are truly “One in Christ.”  It takes patience for us to “make the effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  In Ephesians 4:4-6 we read, “There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

As we celebrate the beginnings of the Lutheran Church on October 27, we also celebrate our sisters and brothers in other faith communities with whom we share One Baptism and the Lord’s Table.  We give thanks for all who work for peace and justice in the world in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  We remember with thanksgiving all who have taught us of God’s abundant love and mercy!

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy catholic church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

One in hope,
Pastor Jocelyn

 
 

September Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,

“Once upon a time . . .” is so often the response to the request of a small child to “tell me a story, please.”   The fairy tales that often follow are rich with images that engage a child’s imagination.  When we relax and listen to a story, or watch a movie we are more receptive to a new idea or a new way of thinking about a problem.  Jesus knew that those who listened to his parables were likely to suspend their judging thoughts at least until the end of the story. 

So Jesus told us stories.  Lots of stories!  Some of them are confusing, such as the one in which the dishonest manager is praised.  Some of them we could understand better if we were living in first century Palestine because that is the cultural setting they reflect.  We learn from the parables of Jesus when we set aside our common understandings of vineyards, slaves, and debt and open our minds to the world in which Jesus taught.  This is not an easy task, but together we will explore a few of the parables of Jesus in September.  I hope the ones we read together inspire you to explore others in Luke’s Gospel.

 

Tell me a story . . . I love the one that begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” for it is the story of us and the God who has never stopped loving us.  One reason we say a creed together as part of worship is because our creeds are the story of our life with God.  For the last year we have been using on occasion A Statement of Faith written by the United Churches of Canada.  It helps us tell the story in simple, 21st century language.  I especially like the line that invites me to say, “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.”  This is truly the fairy tale ending, “. . . and they lived happily ever after.”  Thanks be to God!

In September we celebrate education and those who teach the rest of us!  On September 15th we will bless back packs and those who learn.  We will also bless those who teach or have taught, not just in school settings, but also in Scouting, Campfire, sports teams, and homeless shelters.  Thank you parents, teachers, mentors, guides, leaders, coaches and all who tell stories of life to our young people and to us.

May we never be too old to hear God’s story of love as if it were the first time,

Pastor Jocelyn

 
 

August Letter from the Pastor

Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. . . Have no fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”   Luke 12:22 & 32

Dear Friends,

 In the July Tidings I quoted from the book of Proverbs about the wisdom of the Ant who worked so diligently in preparation for her future.  In these verses from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus promises us that God will take care of us and that we have no reason to worry about all the things that other people seem to be worrying about.  I love that Jesus and the Ant both have wisdom to share with us about our time and our possessions!
 
Jesus invites us to trust God for what we need and inspires us to share what we have with
others.  Jesus is not telling people to stop working, but rather he is suggesting that our
priorities need to be examined with the Kingdom of God coming first.  Then with our priorities in order we can truly “have no fear.”  Verse 34 of this chapter sums it up quite well, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  What do you treasure?  What do you value?  Where is the focus of your life?  For whom do you care?
 
There are so many good things in our lives—our families, our health, our jobs, our hobbies, our friends, our neighbors, our homes, and so much more.  In the Lord’s Prayer many of these gifts come under the heading of “our daily bread” because they are the things we need for our lives.  Jesus says not to worry about food or clothing, but those who do not know where there next meal is coming from do worry.  Our gifts to the Food Bank make a huge difference in their lives.  The Great Trinity Give-Away on August 3rd will make it possible for many to worry less about clothing and household items.  Thank you for sharing! 
 
When we take time to share our blessings our hearts turn outwards towards others.  When we worry and fret, our hearts turn inwards towards ourselves.  Jesus is encouraging us to turn our hearts towards God and our neighbors by reminding us that God’s heart is always turned towards us.  God has great pleasure in giving us what is good.  I imagine God takes great pleasure in our sharing those good things, too! 
 
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
 
Working with you in the Kingdom, resting with you in God’s love,

Pastor Jocelyn

 
 
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