A new book by pastors in the most dechurched region of the United States seeks to show the abundance and vitality and the moments of joy that is found in ministry and missions in the Pacific Northwest.
Excerpt: Despair, Decline, Abundance, Resurrection
The Pacific Northwest is the most religiously challenged region in the United States. Yet vibrant ministry is happening, congregations are making a difference, and lives are being transformed.
I am one of thirteen clergy authors in this book, “Filling the Void; Voices From the None Zone.” In it there are stories of hope, testimonies to the fact that God is at work here in the None Zone.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
Here in the Pacific Northwest, and particularly here in the global mission field of Seattle, our context is both one of fear and hope, of scarcity and abundance, of confusion and clarity.
We are the Christ canaries in a deep cultural mine that increasingly is void of the oxygen we need to stay alive. And yet, this same cultural mine, has different forms of life growing within it. The mine has different ways of not merely surviving but thriving and revealing the treasure of a better world that is possible.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the proclamation of the Gospel and the presence of the church is both floundering and flourishing. It is a time of despair and a time of enthusiastic creativity. The church as we have known it appears to be in irreversible decline. And yet, there are testimonies, here and there, now and then, that surprising new life is rising.
This little book will invite you into some of those testimonies, and some of those struggles as a church on the frontlines of resurrection and faithfulness.
Rev. Rich Lang, District Superintendent of the Seattle-Tacoma Missional District of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
Who and Where are new things happening?
I was enthralled reading through the stories of amazing ministries and effective pastors, many stories I never knew despite years of solidarity with my colleagues through the ups and downs of ministry. No matter your location, these stories will inspire and guide you through whatever transitions or difficulties are in your ministry context.
Stories are shared from these Pacific Northwest pastors in Washington state, with their cities and towns bolded as the most important aspect of their writing:
- Introduction by Rev. Rich Lang, former district superintendent of Seattle-Tacoma missional district of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference // Pastor of Lake Washington UMC in Kirkland (as of July 1, 2019)
- Rev. Lara Bolger, pastor of Redmond UMC
- Rev. Kristin Joyner, Deacon at Bothell UMC
- Rev. Dave Wright, Chaplain and Spiritual Life director at University of Puget Sound
- Rev. Heather Sparkman, church planter in Olympia
- Rev. Kelly Dahlman-Oeth, pastor of Ronald UMC in Shoreline, Washington
- Rev. Meredith Dodd, pastor of Bryn Mawr UMC south of Seattle, Washington
- Rev. Bradley Beeman, pastor of Aldersgate UMC in Bellevue, Washington
- Rev. Jan Bolerjack, pastor of Riverton Park UMC in Tukwila, Washington
- Rev. Emma Donohew, pastor living and working in Bellingham, Washington
- Rev. Joseph D. Kim, pastor of Bothell UMC (sermons)
- Rev. Jennifer Kay Smith, pastor of Marysville UMC (blog)
- Rev. Jeremy Smith, pastor of First Church in Downtown Seattle (blog)
- Rev. Karen Yokota Love, former Pastor of Mason UMC in Tacoma // Pastor of Blaine Memorial UMC in South Seattle (as of July 1, 2019)
- Lynne Pearson, Editor, Filling The Void
And an introduction by Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, President, Claremont School of Theology, which is moving up to Salem, Oregon, to be a closer repository and resource for the Pacific Northwest!
Get the Book
Here’s the most important thing to know: Profits from the sale of each book will benefit the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s US Disaster Fund. 100% of these donations go to places of need, not to administrative costs or staff salaries. So by buying the book to help with your ministry, you are helping with the mission to care for others. A win-win!
- Buy the book directly from Market Square Books to ensure the maximum payout goes to UMCOR.
- Buy the book from Amazon (net proceeds will still go to UMCOR) and it benefits our sales ranking.
- For local churches with Cokesbury accounts, here’s the link too.
Thanks for supporting ministry in the Pacific Northwest, which I believe informs and empowers ministry across the United States and many areas across the world. If we can figure out what ministry will look like here, then when sweeping secularism washes across your shores, you will be better prepared than we were. May this book be a helpful offering to you in your context. Blessings!