The Messenger: July

Letter from the Editor

I love breakfast food. As a child, whenever my mom couldn’t get home in time to fix dinner, my dad would make us pancakes, or french toast, or waffles. I always looked forward to these evenings because they were so rare and a special treat.

This love for breakfast food has carried over into my adult life and when Jake and I planned our honeymoon to Norway, I was thrilled to learn that every hotel served afternoon waffles! Even better, they were free! It was absolutely normal there, but to me it was something incredible: an opportunity to indulge in something I love.


Fourth of July

On Independence Day, we are reminded of all those who have sacrificed for our freedom, following the example of Jesus Christ. Please take a few moments for silence and appreciation this Fourth of July for all we have in our lives. May God’s blessings ever ring out over our land. In the words of Katharine Lee Bates:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

2015 Confirmation

“God is the God of the ridiculous.”

Upon first sight, this statement might make you cringe a bit. Maybe it conflicts with your own personal view of God and His character. Maybe it simply sounds funny as you let the words roll across your tongue. Read it again.

“God is the God of the ridiculous.”

God Himself is not ridiculous; rather, He uses the mundane, the miraculous, and yes, even the ridiculous in order to reveal Himself to His people.

This idea arose during Confirmation at BelPres this year. During one of the sessions, 18 Middle School students found themselves discussing the story of the fall of Jericho, wondering why God asked the Israelites to march around its walls seven times in order to bring them down and deliver the city into their hands. After a moment of pondering over the story, one student commented that God’s instructions seemed a bit ridiculous. At this open and honest remark, Reverend Rich Leatherberry replied, “Well the thing we have to remember is that God is, in fact, the God of the ridiculous.”


Broken Cisterns

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

My life is an endless sea of tasks, a machine churning out productive successions of non-stop accomplishments and failures. Even in sleep the rush of the world does not rest. I am a father of three, a husband, a full time employee, and a volunteer. In all this I find joy in serving, in completing tasks, making projects succeed, and watching my children grow. But in the midst of the freight train of my life, I get lonely, tired, and sometimes find myself hollow and broken. It is at these points that I have no one to turn to, because everyone is looking to me for what to do next. It is then I realize I have not taken the time to dwell with God.


Seven Ways to Renew Your Faith in Fitness

In our busy lives, it is hard to determine our priorities when we have so many obligations pulling us in every direction. Just like faith, it is easy for our fitness to be the thing that gets pushed aside.  As the owner of Shine Fitness, and having worked in the fitness industry for the past nine years, I have had the opportunity to sit down with many individuals and talk about their fitness goals.  A common theme I hear is, “I don’t have five hours a week to exercise.”

I am here today to let you in on a little secret…you don’t need to have five hours a week to see a significant difference in your body and your health. I can honestly tell you that the people who are most successful at working out consistently, work out three days a week. Many of those people didn’t start with three days a week, but worked their way up to it.  This can be similar to our faith.  It would be great if we could all do a Bible Study every week and start every day with our half hour of morning prayers, but for most of us, myself included, we are lucky to get breakfast and five minutes to read a daily devotional before heading out the door for a busy day.


A Refiner’s Fire

From the time I was five or six, I was involved in church, singing in cherub choirs to adult choirs and quartets and even a solo or two. When I arrived in Washington, to help my son through the agony of the early death of his wife, I saw an article about a performance at the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue. I decided to attend. I was hooked.

I showed up again the following Sunday, and the minister remembered my name despite having only met me once. Within a week I auditioned and joined the choir. I sang with this large and wonderfully supported group for nearly four years. And they supported me, singing for my wedding at BelPres in 1998. I stayed with it for a while after moving to Whidbey Island, commuting twice a week. For perhaps a year, I sang with Whidbey Presbyterian in Oak Harbor, and even had one or two solos.


Spiritual practice

Like many children, I was enamored with loud machines and vehicles that seemed capable of feats beyond my understanding. My own two-year-old daughter, Anna Glory, runs to the window every Monday morning yelling, “Gawbage twuck!! Hi Gawbage twuck!”

For me, it was the lawn mower. What was this machine that chewed up and ate our grass—a machine that only my father seemed capable of operating safely? Starting around age seven, I begged my dad to let me mow the lawn. “Nope, you’re too young, it’s not safe.” Finally, when I was ten, he relented. I was ecstatic—certain I was about to experience something on par with being a fighter pilot or underwater welder.


Call for Articles

We recognize that BelPres is full of many inspiring stories that detail God’s work and presence throughout the congregation. While we sometimes hear of these stories, most of the time they go unrecognized. We would like to extend an invitation to submit articles (400-800 words) to The Messenger.

Guidelines for Articles:

The Messenger is a publication provided by Bellevue Presbyterian Church. Full of inspiring true to life stories of people’s walk with Christ, their struggles and triumphs, in order to help lift one another up in Christ.

To submit your piece for consideration, please email Katie McRoberts at

Rebuilding Eden

We live in the Evergreen state. Chances are, if you look out the window, you will see trees all around. In general, people in the Pacific Northwest love to get outside and spend time in nature.

Can you imagine looking out that same window in 30 years and seeing desert where those trees used to be? That is what is happening in much of the world. In the last 60 years over half the world’s forest have been cleared.

Roger Hoesterey, a 20+ year BelPres attendee, thinks about this issue daily as the CEO of Eden Reforestation Projects, an international non-profit organization that works to combat deforestation in third world countries by hiring locals to plant trees. (more…)

Revive in God’s Waterfall

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  John 4:10, 13-14 (more…)

Transformed by Stretch

Senior Stretch began last autumn to help prevent falls through strengthening muscles and bones, as one out of three over age 65 falls in a given year. The class has turned out to be so much more—incorporating social, intellectual, spiritual, as well as physical aspects of our lives. We’ve all made new friends and two attendees reconnected after 45 years. 

We’ve shared new experiences, such as eating Jack Fruit for the first time, as well as sharing health related information. One participant had attended Sunday services only and is now participating in other church activities and will soon join the church. Another has found gardening easier after our stretches. One came with a “frozen” shoulder, but can now get her arms over her head. C.K. found the exercises helped prepare her for total knee replacement and influenced the healing and strengthening afterward, amazing her doctors at how well she did. C.F. says she feels better when she leaves than before the class. One with neuropathy finds the class helps with balance and awareness of her surroundings. J.F. comes to stretch even after her physical therapy session. We all stand taller and walk straighter than when we began in the fall.  (more…)

Jubilee Joy

As we approach the eleventh year of Jubilee Service Day, I was curious to see how ten years of service had blessed those volunteers whom God nudged and responded to serve. The joy of participating in something bigger than us, and that makes a significant impact within our community, is a calling of both the heart and hands. This participation in what God is doing is an expression of gratitude, as believers, to the grace God freely gives us.

I have been a logistics coordinator at Spiritridge Elementary School for the past few years. What a blessing it is to pray in each classroom with the teacher and volunteers before they begin the many tasks it takes to set up a classroom for a new school year. It is great to watch parents and their children working side by side to set up a classroom in a school they are not even attending. God has been present in those precious four hours as “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). What a blessing to watch when “two or more are gathered together” around a table making light work out of the many projects that are needed to be done. After our four hours of service we look around and smile because we know that the teachers and children that will occupy the halls and classrooms are prayed for and the rooms are prepared.

-Diane Grayson    (more…)

Behind the scenes with annie roth

Ahhh, the Middle.

That creamy center of the Oreo; the halfway mark of a good book; the celebrated spot of negotiation—it’s where you find the good stuff.

And this is where our story begins, at The Middle with Annie Roth. A gal who’s loaded with the good stuff! She’s a devoted volunteer to kids at BelPres in grades 6-8 who attend The Middle, a Sunday and weekday program designed to help guide their spiritual growth. This program encompasses Bible study, fun activities, and small groups. (more…)

Birth Announcements July 2015

Ashley Kaitlyn Ingraham
Born on 4-11-15 to
Mary and Joel Ingraham

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 Di Alexander,, so we may include them in this ministry.