1 Great Hour of Sharing: A Lenten Practice, An Invitation

“Three million refugees is not just another statistic. It is a searing indictment of our collective failure to end the war in Syria.”

In August 2014, the actress Angelina Jolie made this statement about the crisis in Syria in her role as UNHCR Special Envoy (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). On February 4, 2015, Amnesty International published statistics showing the refugee population to be nearly four million people, with half the refugees being children. The statement made by Jolie found its way into the consciousness of the American public and is now finding its way to us at BelPres. (more…)

Devotion

Inspired by Luke 18:13.

Read Luke 18:9-14

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” Luke 18:13

O Lord, Jesus with us, who did for our sake fast forty days and forty nights, we seek a closer walk with You. (more…)

Reflecting on VBA

It was a typical Friday afternoon drive down I-405. We had just left the final day of Vacation Bible Adventure (VBA) and were slogging our way down the freeway, trying to get my 13-year-old son, Oliver, to his soccer tournament in Renton. Enya was blasting on the CD player to soothe three-month old Seth, screaming in his car seat. In the very back were nine-year-old Rosalind and seven-year-old Rhett. I was thinking about a million different things: wondering how I was going to get kids to a swim meet and soccer game the next day with my husband out of town, whether there was a Dairy Queen close to the soccer field for pre-game treats, if I had time to stop at Starbucks to get me through the next 3 hours, when out of the blue a voice spoke up from the back seat, “I think I’ve changed.”  I turned down the stereo, irritated that our Enya-Zen was being interrupted. “What did you say?” I yelled to the back.  Rhett looked up and met my eyes in the rearview mirror. “I think I’ve changed, Mom,” he said again.  “I love Jesus more than I used to.” (more…)

40 Days of Impatience

40 days has quite the significance in accounts throughout scripture: from 40 days of rain during the flood (Genesis 7:12), the 40 days given to Nineveh to repent (Jonah 3:4), all the way up to when Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness as told in Matthew 4. But there is one particular 40-day period that strikes a chord with me: the 40 days Moses spent on Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments and the impatience of the Israelites awaiting his return (Exodus 19-32). (more…)

“Ask Scott”

It was just another Sunday morning as students began to gather in the UC-303 lobby at BelPres, chat with friends, or find a seat in the café to play Bananagrams as they eagerly awaited the hour that lay ahead. On this particular Sunday, the program was going to look a little different for the Middle and High School students.

Rather than listening to a talk by one of our fearless Family Life Ministry leaders and breaking into small groups, the students had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with Dr. Scott Dudley during which he answered both faith-based and personal questions that they had written the week before. (more…)

Answering the Call: Saying Goodbye to Frank Burgess

The following is an excerpt from the FPCB History Committee*

Our organizing pastor, Frank Burgess, knows the experience of entering a new “land of promise” at God’s call. He and his wife, Helen, came to share Jesus Christ with their new neighbors and community in 1955. Imagine the joy the neighbors felt when Frank knocked on their doors inviting them to worship with the “first” Presbyterian Church on the Eastside. Bellevue residents like Freeman and Beth Fike were among the many residents longing for a Presbyterian Church in Bellevue and they became two of the first members. Between 1952 and 1955, there were obstacles, challenges and setbacks but finally in 1955, the Council of Churches and the Seattle Presbytery agreed the time had come for a Presbyterian church in Bellevue. (more…)

The Secret Service of Jane Fox

The role of an usher is often simply defined as someone who escorts people to their seats, but for those who serve as ushers at BelPres, it is often so much more. For over 20 years, Jane Fox has been ensuring that each and every person who walks in the Sanctuary of BelPres on Sundays not only has a seat and a bulletin, but also truly feels welcome in God’s house.

“I look at it as: we are the first people that many people meet when they come in the church. Many times, we are the only people they interact with, and our smile, helping them find a seat, helping them find where things are – doing all that, with the grace of God in our hearts – can make a big difference to a person,” says Jane. (more…)

Birth Announcements Mar 2015

Anna Grace Woody
born 8/5/14
to Aimee and Tony Woody

Jonathan Reece Bishop
Born 1/20/15 to
Emilie and Mike Bishop

The New Baby ministry seeks to greet new babies in our church community with the love of Christ. If you know of a family who is due to have a baby or adopt a baby in the coming months please contact Jenelle Mullet at jmullet@belpres.org or in the church Office, 425-454-3082, so we may include them in this ministry.

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Birth Announcements Jan 2015

Violet Lynne Starr
Born 5-23-14 to
Phyllis and Stephen Star
(Adult sister Laura Caroline Gingrich)

Johanna Joyce de Vries
Born 10-17-14 to
Laura and Peter de Vries

Annabella Joy Parkins
Born 10-08-14 to
Stephanie and Andrew Parkins

The New Baby ministry seeks to greet new babies in our church community with the love of Christ. If you know of a family who is due to have a baby or adopt a baby in the coming months please contact Jenelle Mullet at jmullet@belpres.org or in the church office, 425-454-3082, so we may include them in this ministry.

The Secret Service of Lois Cook

I’m staring at my new doll. What shall I name her?  I didn’t pick her up at Toys R Us or Target. Oh no, she’s from a special doll boutique just blocks from the mall. She’s made from men’s dress socks, black yarn and pieces of colorful fabric. Her eyes are wide and dark with a checkmark nose and red-lipped smile. She’s squishy soft with long pigtails, ribbons and open arms: an artist’s masterpiece! I like her and so do children in 10 countries across the globe, all thanks to Dolls with a Mission.

I’d like to introduce you to one of its members, Lois Cook.  (more…)

A Story of Financial Redemption

What would it be like to have Financial Peace?

Did you know that 70% of American households are living paycheck to paycheck(1), stressing over too much debt, and chronically worried that they are just one bad break away from a financial crisis? 88% of church-goers classify themselves as broke(2) and wondering if the American dream is slipping from their grasp. Many of these people have lost all hope that they will ever regain control, and financial problems are now the leading cause of divorce in our country. (more…)

Restoration

Every November, our BelPres High School youth group goes to the Mt. Baker Chalet for our annual Fall Retreat. It’s a weekend filled with late nights, endless hot chocolate, talking about Jesus, hiking, small groups, long conversations by the fireplace, and an occasional snowball or two—all with a stunning view of Mt. Shuksan right outside our door. It has to be one the most beautiful retreat locations around as the fall colors fade into the distance with the early season snow. (more…)

I AM: The First, The Last And The Living One

Excerpts from Dr. Leon’s last sermon preached at BelPres.

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest.

14 The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. (more…)

A Preacher’s Words for a Broken Hearted Woman

The last time I heard Dr. Leon preach was 12 days after my firstborn son died.

Our precious baby, Noah Hudson Butler, was born a healthy 7 pounds, 5 ounces on June 5th, 2013. The first 24 hours with him were another dimension of bliss. Our dreams had come true – we were parents. And we were the happiest we’ve ever been.

Then the nightmare began. He started having trouble breathing and things went from bad to worse. Twelve days later he was diagnosed with an extremely rare, and fatal, condition called Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD). There was nothing else the doctors could do. We said goodbye to our beloved boy that night and were thrown into a whirlwind of despair and fear that seemed, at times, too much to bear. (more…)