Letter from the Editor

When asked, most people I know tell me they observe Lent for two reasons: first, it is socially expected in their circles, and second, it is a chance to give up a bad habit for a maintainable length of time, although if they are anything like me, these habits are almost certainly reintroduced at some point.

The trouble is, God is not only concerned with what we do not do. It is what we do do that also matters. I have not always appreciated this idea, but Ephesians 4:17-32 recently fell into my lap and as I mused on this passage, I came to the realization that giving something up is not why Christians observe Lent. (more…)

Good and Faithful Servant: Thank You Anne Korsmo

If you read The Messenger, Anne Korsmo has touched your life. For years, Anne has been a faithful Communications team member. Month after month and year after year she has combed through articles, calendars, and announcements looking to make sure they make sense, are spelled correctly, and are pleasing to read. Her love for words and reading has blessed these pages and brought us God’s message in correct English and proper grammar. (more…)

41 Days

It took me 41 days, in the spring of 1996. After working 19 years in my home church in Los Angeles, I needed a reboot. I said goodbye to family and friends, loaded two geriatric Labradors into the back of my Volvo station wagon, and hit the road. It was Monday, sunny and warm; the first day of Holy Week.

My three brothers lived in the Pacific Northwest; I’d stay with one of them until I found work. I felt reborn. I put the car in drive, popped in a cassette, and started singing, the dogs howling in harmony as we left the LA basin.

And then it began to rain. (more…)

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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