Yes, we will have outdoor worship again this summer! Come join us at 10 AM for worship under the trees or by the cross (depending on the heat of the day.) Worship will be followed by a potluck picnic. (note the change of date. This will happen on August 27th!)
Last week I had the opportunity to be trained as a leader for presenting the material from the book, “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. It was a blessing to be immersed in the material from the research John Gottman has done on happily married couples in his “love lab” at the University of Washington. In his lab, Gottman observed couples spend a normal day together. Each couple brought their usual weekend activities and reading with them, and cooked dinner together in the lab apartment. Gottman and his researchers observed them from 9 AM to 9 PM. Through these observations and physiological data (heart rate, stress hormone levels, etc.) collected at that time, they learned what differentiates the “masters” from the “disasters.” He was then able to predict with over 90% accuracy the couples who would divorce within three years. I attended the workshop to reconnect with the material and to consider how best to support the relationships of the couples in our congregation, whether they are contemplating marriage, newly married, entering a new phase of marriage (e.g. new parents, empty nesters, newly retired) or have been married many years. Gottman’s work has also recently been applied to singles—so there’s something in this for each one of us.
One of the lessons Gottman learned (and there are many) is that friendship is one of the keys to a long lasting marriage, to be a “master” instead of a “disaster.” Each of us probably remembers the early days of a friendship and the questions we asked each other. It was important at that stage to learn everything we could about the other person – his likes and dislikes, where she was from, his favorite food, her favorite place to vacation. Early in a relationship friendship-building comes easily. But the “masters” continue to update these mental love-maps of their spouse with new information. They continue to ask questions, and to listen without distractions to their loved-one’s answers.
Over the summer, I’d encourage you to spend time with those you love and with whom you want to deepen a friendship. Ask good questions. Check to see – do you know who their best friend is? Who is their favorite relative? Which restaurant do they like the best? Is there a big project looming at work? What is the biggest joy in their life? What is the biggest source of stress? What is one hope they have for the coming year? Ask a question, listen carefully to the answer. Then have your friend ask you a different question.
You may have noticed that the congregation is doing something similar as we survey our neighborhood and the leaders of our community. We are learning as a congregation what has changed since we first fell in love with this area of Edmonds. We are re-building our understanding of what it means to be a good neighbor, and what our neighborhood would most appreciate from us in the future. If you have not done so, please complete the online survey about our neighborhood. The next survey will be directed towards those who are experts about Edmonds and the Westgate neighborhood. Do you know an expert? We’d love for you to take them out to coffee and ask them a few questions from our next survey. This summer, join me in strengthening friendships!
On Saturday, August 12th we will have another parking lot sale this summer! What a great excuse to clean out the garage… As we did last year, we will reserve you a parking lot stall when you donate $25 per reserved stall toward our local mission causes. Ministries that will benefit from the sale this year include: The Edmonds & Mountlake Terrace Food banks, Vision House (Shoreline), and the Puget Sound Christian Clinic’s dental clinic in Lynnwood. All the funds you raise from selling your yard sale goods are yours to do with as you wish. Last year we made over $200 for missions. Register online here: https://tinyurl.com/EPCyardsale
You won’t want to miss our outdoor worship this year! This has become a summer tradition as we praise God together in the beauty of God’s creation. There will be a picnic potluck that day also. This is a great time to invite your friends, family, and neighbors to join us for worship. We will also post flyers about the service at our parking lot sale on August 12th.
What will it look like to Praise God together in 2025?
The session is continuing to survey the congregation and our neighbors. In this second survey we are asking, “What are the needs of our neighborhood and larger community? How has it changed? How do you imagine it will change in the future?” You may complete the survey online or in paper form. We look forward to your answers as we prayerfully consider the future of this congregation. The survey can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/EPCneighbor
This summer we are using Illustrated Children’s Ministry’s materials, An Illustrated Compassion, to guide our worship. Each Sunday there will be coloring pages and crayons on the back table for you to take and color. You may color during the service, or take the pages home to color and pray with as you meditate on the theme for the week. We began Sunday, June 25th with the theme of Courage. Future themes include Hospitality, Kindness and Peace. The children will be studying the same theme in the childcare and classroom. Compassion is an interesting word. It comes from the root words that combine to mean “suffer with.” Miriam Webster defined compassion as a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” It is different from empathy, which focuses solely on the awareness of another’s suffering. Compassion includes a desire to do something with that feeling. This summer we will consider what to do with the empathy we feel, how to be truly compassionate toward others.
Thank-you to all who donate to our Deacons fund. The Deacons fund is available to help the church community and our neighbors in Edmonds with one-time emergent needs. We have paid for a night in a hotel, an electric bill, a bus ticket, food, gas, diapers, a car bill, and so much more. Thank you for helping make this ministry possible. It is good to know that if someone calls the church looking for assistance, we may be able to help them.
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