• What: A Midsummer’s Ice Cream
  • Where: Trinity Lutheran College, 2802 Wetmore Ave, Everett
  • When: Sunday, August 4th, 2013 6pm-7:30pm
  • Who: All are invited
  • Why: Cuz everybody loves ice cream



About a year ago, a small group of people in Everett decided that they needed something to bring the neighborhood together, something we could invite everyone to. Not a church service or a concert, a sports event or a political rally. No, we needed something a little more universal. Something everyone could enjoy. And of course, in the middle of summer, who doesn’t love ice cream?

And so, Trinity Lutheran College volunteered the space, and dozens of volunteers from all over the city stepped forward to pull together the first “Midsummer’s Ice Cream: An Ice Cream Social for the Whole Neighborhood” in July of 2012. It was definitely a wonderful event, with plenty of smiles and scoops of cool, ice-creamy goodness on that Sunday evening in the heart of Everett. Over 100 people from all over showed up to be a part of the festivities.

This year there are hopes for many more friendly faces. Ice cream has already been donated, and the space has been reserved. Musicians are signing up to entertain and ice cream scoopers are volunteering by the dozens. A special invitation is going out to the under-resourced and isolated in the community. A mobile shower facility will also be on-site for any who would like to use it.

This will be a time to make new friends, bring along your old friends, build community and have fun. No sermons will be preached, just plenty of ice cream, music and smiles. If you’re not sure if you’re invited… you are!

See ya then!




12749_10100555062726641_1182542291_n.jpgIn a historic move, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has elected its first-ever openly gay bishop. The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin has been elected to a six-year term to the Southwest California Synod, which encompasses the greater Los Angeles area. GLAAD is working with Dr. Erwin and LGBT advocacy organizations within the Lutheran Church to bring media attention to this historic election for the denomination.

This is a significant step for the ELCA, who, until 2009, had banned clergy in same-gender relationships. Prior to 2009, hundreds of gay and lesbian clergy were forced out of congregations or served under secrecy. Hundreds of seminary students were not granted ordination, simply for being gay. Many left the denomination to more welcoming denominations or to join a roster of Lutheran pastors who refused to comply with the policy.

Dr. Erwin is a native of Oklahoma and an active member of the Osage Tribe of Indians. Dr. Erwin also sits on the board of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, which expands ministry opportunities for publicly-identified LGBTQ people called to leadership in the Lutheran church as ordained pastors and rostered lay leaders.

“I know that many will see my election as a significant milestone for both LGBT people and Native Americans, and I pray that I can be a positive representation for both communities,” said Erwin about his election. “There was a time when I believed that I would not be able to serve as a pastor in the ELCA. Our church has now recognized the God-given gifts and abilities that LGBT people can bring to the denomination.”

ELCA-logo.jpgBecause he is openly gay and partnered, Dr. Erwin did not seek ordination in the ELCA when he was completing seminary. Instead, he completed a PhD in Lutheran history and spent most of his career as a teacher of Lutheran history. He met his partner Rob Flynn while he was studying for this PhD at Yale University. He and Rob are members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, CA.

He is currently Professor of Religion and History, holder of the Gerhard & Olga J. Belgum Chair in Lutheran Confessional Theology at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California, a seat he has held since 2000. Following the policy change allowing clergy in same-gender relationships, Dr. Erwin was ordained on May 11, 2011.

“All kinds of diverse leaders are called to positions in the church – and the Lutheran church is blessed with many committed LGBTQ pastors, whose callings can now be fully recognized,” said Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. “This church has come a long way in 4 years. More and more people are realizing all the time that LGBTQ people have important ministry gifts, including the gifts to lead the church as a bishop. We are thrilled to see such a wonderful leader from the LGBTQ community called to the position of bishop at this time in history.”

“Pastor Erwin is an eminent scholar and church leader. He is a teacher at heart and was an excellent pastor long before he was ordained in 2011. In many ways his election is simply the logical and appropriate next step for our denomination following the 2009 elimination of policies precluding pastors in committed same-gender relationships,” said Emily Eastwood, executive director of ReconcilingWorks. “In other ways, Pastor Erwin’s election marks a new and brighter day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Lutherans as one of our own has been chosen not in spite of being gay, but because he is truly gifted and skilled for the office.”

“This is such an important step for both LGBT people of faith and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Dr. Erwin’s fellow Lutherans recognize that LGBT people have the gifts for ministry and trust him to be a leader within the church,” said Ross Murray, director of news and faith initiatives at GLAAD. “His election demonstrates the rising tide of Christians who accept, love, and embrace LGBT people in our communities.”

Found this on textweek.com. Some smart words about waiting.     +S

Pregnant Waiting: Reflections on Advent

The church year begins with a pregnant woman. Christian traditions have called her theotokos. Bearer of God. Mother of God.

Most images of the theotokos show Mary in red or blue cloth, halo-ed and cradling a baby Jesus. But that’s not Advent. Advent is not about Mary the mother; it’s about Mary, the pregnant woman. Advent is about the journey to the birth of Jesus.

Advent is about pregnancy, and pregnancy is about waiting.

Pregnant women wait.

Some women wait for the first three months to pass before they tell anyone they are pregnant. Waiting to get past the time when miscarriage is more likely. Waiting to share the good news. Waiting to feel like the baby is safe. Waiting to exhale.

Pregnant women wait for morning sickness to end.

Pregnant women wait to feel the first kick.

Pregnant women wait for the baby to be born.

Waiting nine months—actually nine and a half months for a full term of thirty-eight weeks.

I spent most of this last calendar year as a pregnant woman, so I spent most of this year waiting. There are no halos. It’s not that glamorous.

Pregnant waiting is worrisome and frustrating. I first waited to be sure I stayed pregnant. I prayed not to see the blood that indicates possible miscarriage. I waited for the test results that would tell me the odds of genetic diseases, and whether or not I needed even more tests. I waited weeks for the nausea to end. Then I waited for a time when I would not feel so tired. I waited for the first kicks, only to discover that my kicky baby would have me waiting for sleep. The last hot summer weeks of my pregnancy, I waited eagerly and uncomfortably for the baby to be born.

I’m probably more than twice the age that Mary was when she was pregnant with Jesus. A pregnant teen has more to think about than I did. Today, a pregnant teen might worry about school, health insurance, money, and childcare. Or, like Mary probably did, she might worry about telling the father and what people would say.

Maybe Mary got advice telling her to wait it out. That these things blow over in time. That her story will soon be old news in the rumor mill. That the vomiting will end in the second trimester. Maybe someone told Mary that waiting on God would renew her strength and cause her to mount up on wings as eagles. Like the scripture says.

I hope Mary kept it real and told those non-pregnant advice-givers that waiting sucks. I hope she told them that she was too heavy to fly like an eagle. I hope she told them that growing a person and supportive eco-system inside one’s body does not renew strength. It saps energy.

In both pregnancy and the spiritual life, waiting can be tiring, frustrating, and worrisome. When all eyes are on the proverbial prize, the journey becomes no more than a tedious means to the glorified, halo-ed, baby-cradling end.

We can be the same ways in our spiritual lives. We want deliverance from our challenges, without the road to get there. We want spiritual maturity without the prayers and discipline required each day. We focus on getting to heaven more than living on earth. We focus on Jesus, not Mary. The baby, not the pregnancy.

Advent encourages us to look for the lessons of pregnancy. Here’s one: Although waiting is difficult, rushing to the end can actually diminish the quality of life. We need each day between conception and birth to grow. We need to learn to live with discomfort and the unknown. Not because it makes us stronger. But because it makes us human.



Just released today: A Christmas benefit album I engineered and played on.

With the help of Trinity Lutheran College’s Tucker FitzGerald, Aneemarie Russell, Erik Samuelson and a whole bunch of students, I made a Christmas EP. Recorded in about 7 hours on November 16th, a little rough-around-the-edges but full of Holiday Joy.

All proceeds go to the Interfaith Family Shelter in Everett, WA. 



Merry Christmas, friends.