Thursday, December 4, 2014

Add some extra contemplation, worship, or a little book discussion

 nourish your spirit

Advent at Keystone UCC 

Welcome all- come for some sustenance!

Thursdays Dec 4th, 11th, 18th - 10:30 -11:30 am
Book discussion:  All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas
Witty writing from our UCC colleague Rev. Quinn Caldwell to guide us to preserve and revel in time with God and what is meaningful, in a busy season.  The tea is on- drop in for this facilitated time- photocopies available at office or get the book here.  Contact:

Wednesdays Dec 3rd, 10th, 17th- 7 pm
Holden Prayer Services
30 minute candlelit contemplative worship: singing, scriptures, silence.  Join us in the sanctuary.  Elliot Kraber- cantor.  Kate Froese- accompanist.  At Keystone we began offering these services each Advent after two of our year-long volunteers started it, following their time serving at Holden Village in the Cascade mountains, where Marty Haugen wrote this lovely evening vespers service.   contact:

All Sundays in Advent
Worship at 10:30 AM- all welcome!
Advent candles:
Hope- November 30- Rev. Rich Gamble preaching
Peace- December 7- Rev. Steve Bauck preaching
Joy- December 14- Rev. Lauren Cannon preaching
Love- December 21- Rev. Rich Gamble preaching

Dec 24th 7pm Christmas Eve
Service of Lessons and Carols: A wonderful candelight service for family, out of town guests, and friends.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Are you serving those on the front lines? Workshop: Responding Compassionately to Trauma; and self care

Please share this workshop with any in your church you think might find this helpful, especially those engaged in direct service through shelter or meal programs. It is led by Barb Bennett, who was education director at First Place School for many years.  You might also be interested to know that Barb's other claim to fame is that she is the mom of our JLP sojourner, Sam Rennebohm, and married to Craig Rennebohm!
Warmly, Elizabeth, Lauren, Rich

Skills for Social Change: Understanding & Responding Compassionately to Trauma
Develop skills in understanding and responding compassionately to those who are struggling with some of life's most difficult challenges. How do we take care of ourselves and others while on the front lines of direct service and justice advocacy? Led by Barbara Bennett, Ph.D.
Tuesday, December 2, 7:00-8:30 pm. 6:30 optional potluck (free food for interns/service corps), Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Place N. Basement Social Hall
Join our Justice Leadership Program interns and other interested folks for this workshop!  Please RSVP to Elizabeth @

Barbara Bennett is a consultant in private practice and an adjunct faculty member of t3, a national training center affiliated with the Boston-based Center for Social Innovation.  A school psychologist and special educator, Barb worked with Seattle Public Schools from 2007-2013 to provide professional development and coaching for teachers and administrators.  In 1989 she co-founded First Place, a non-profit agency and school for children and families who have experienced homelessness and other family crises.  She worked there for 18 years in several positions including director of education and director of social services.  Barb has been an instructor in psychology with the University Behind Bars at Monroe Correctional Complex and has taught workshops throughout the country on the impact of trauma and creating trauma-informed organizations and services .  She received her M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ordination & Installation of Lauren Cannon: October 26, 5:30 PM: come celebrate & worship!

God is Still Speaking, The United Church of Christ “That They May All Be One”

All are cordially invited to the



Lauren Cannon

to the
Ministry of Word and Sacrament

Keystone United Church of Christ
5019 Keystone Place North
Seattle, WA 98103

as Associate Pastor

Sunday October 26
5:30 PM worship
Refreshments to follow

Clergy are encouraged to wear robes with stoles 
(the liturgical color for ordinations is red.)
Please arrive 30 minutes early for a walk through and photo.

Share our joy & please forward this invitation to church & conference members, friends!  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Articles on Keystone ministries: witness for action on climate change; and equipping young adults for faithful justice lives

Our Green Team built toward our Keystone presence at the People's Climate March.

Our Justice Leadership Program is kicking off a next promising year with our 4 new interns.

Check out the latest edition of the Pacific NW Conference UCC News-  two articles highlight discipleship at Keystone UCC.  It is online at 

This issue "includes stories on camps, justice interns, Western Regional Youth Event, Alison Stendahl, the Spokane Alliance, Keystone members at the People's Climate March and more."

The UCC News encourages us to pass it on to our email lists and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or emailing the pdf file, etc- thanks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Green Team Disrupts Coffee Hour; & Party with new Interns...

On Sunday Sept. 14- at coffee hour- our GREEN TEAM hosted a viewing of clips from film "DISRUPTION"- as we prepared to bring a presence to the Climate March on Sunday Sept. 21.  See the full film at:

And meet at Keystone after church Sunday Sept. 21.  Signs might include:

Climate and Jobs
Two Crises 
One Solution

For Our Kids
Price Carbon
Dont be Fossil Fueled

Every Sunday:
* Professional Nursery Care (0-2 year olds): downstairs with Anita, 10:00am - 12pm.
* PreSchool/Kinder (3-5 year olds):  during sermon time- activities & play with Anita in Pre-School classroom (10:45- 11:15am)

Pick up Children's Activity pages & crayons on the welcome table every week as you come in to worship (based on the scripture.)  There are two types: younger children & older children.

Children with parent/caregiver are always welcome to move between the Sanctuary & Narthex (welcome area) during any part of worship, or to rove to classrooms downstairs / upstairs, or enjoy the playground out back!  


Sun. Sept. 14th THEME was:  Fear Not/Path of Faith
SCRIPTURE was: Exodus 14:5-8

 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed towards the people, and they said, ‘What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?’ So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. 

Upcoming Keystone Events :

Sunday, Sept. 21        – People's Climate March @ Westlake Park, 1pm

Tuesday, Sept. 23      – JLP Kick Off Celebration Supper
                                       @ Keystone, 6:30pm

Wednesday, Sept. 24   – 
White Privilege and Our Call to Action
                                       @ Eastgate Congregational UCC, 6pm

Saturday, Oct. 4         –  Cook/Serve Dinner for Sacred Heart Shelter

Saturday, Oct. 4         – Weaving Our Strengths @ UnivUCC, 8:30am-4pm
Sunday, Oct. 26          –  Ordination & Installation Service for Lauren,
                                        @ Keystone UCC, 5:30pm

** See below for details on these, and other events related to life in our community **


JLP Potluck Supper Celebration

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Please Save The Date!  Join us in welcoming our third year of interns to the Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ!  Come break bread and celebrate our new JLP interns, three host churches, and four partner agencies; along with JLP staff Rev. Rich Gamble, Lauren Cannon, and Elizabeth Dickinson.
ALL ARE WELCOME - bring a friend to help us kick off the 2014-2015 year! 

With dinner there will be a brief program about the Justice Leadership Program, introductions of interns, and much fellowship. 

Date: Tuesday, Sept. 23
Time: 6:30-8pm
Location: Keystone UCC, 5019 Keystone Place North


JOIN US at Coffee Hour after Service on Sunday, Sept. 14, to view some clips from "Disruption” (total time < 10min) and hear about the People's Climate March, happening in Downtown Seattle on Sept. 21.

As always, check out our 
GREENING DOCUMENT on the Keystone website (link in left-hand corner of the home page).

The Greening Document captures the goals laid out by our Green Team.  The team has formed three Work Groups to develop and prioritize plans in these areas:

• Personal Sustainability

• Church Sustainability

* Advocacy

Take a look to see if one of these calls to you to step in - we always welcome more! Then email a member listed below for more information.

Jim Little,
Rich Voget,
Lauren Cannon,

White Privilege and Our Call to Action

A faith perspective

As people of faith, we are called to stand against systems that marginalize individuals and communities. Our scriptures illustrate the way that unjust systems hold captive the oppressed as well as the oppressor; the liberation of all people is connected.
Come explore the ways that white privilege (the unearned advantages and benefits that white people receive) affects our lives. The People’s Institute Northwest will lead this discussion as an important stepping stone in engaging in anti-racist work in King County.

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 24
Time: 6pm
Location: Eastgate Congregational UCC, 15318 SE Newport Way, Bellevue.

Please R.S.V.P to Jenn Hagedorn at 206.265.2834 or

All are welcome to this free event.

In preparation for this event, please read:
• "The Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh
• "Understanding White Privilege" by Francis E. Kendall


Weaving our Strengths

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Come to Weaving Our Strengths, a day-long conference of fellowship, inspiration, and skill-building to strengthen local churches' efforts for the common good. There will be worship, workshops, a resource fair, the Apel Awards, and Connection Café. We would like you to be a part of it!

Date: Saturday, Oct. 4
Time: 8:30am - 4pm
Location: University Congregational UCC Church, 4515 16th Avenue NE

•• We can get a group rate (up to 5 people) and go to various workshops & then compare learnings.  Contact Lauren if interested (



Time to celebrate!  Ordination Service for Lauren Cannon and Installation as our Associate Pastor at Keystone UCC

Sunday, October 265:30pm; reception to follow

It is official- we will now worship both morning AND night for one very special Sunday in our life together!  Friends and family will join us to celebrate Lauren's call to ordained ministry (and position here already almost 2.5 years underway since our calling her to Keystone UCC in April 2012!)

We will worship and holler at 5:30pm, and then we will feast and cheer in the Narthex, spilling up into the Learning Center.  Please bring a dish to help host our reception (or help with set up, clean up, or anything else you would like to offer).

Can you bring an extra toiletry or supply to church this week?

Keystone member Barbara Anderson faithfully volunteers weekly at Mary's Place, helping offer shelter, support and services to women and children in Seattle who are experiencing homelessness.

Mary's Place currently needs the following items:
Shampoo and Conditioner
Snacks like Cup of Noodles (for evenings)
Bar Soap
Underwear, sizes 5 - 9

This is the time of year when the donations are few and far between, so anything you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Place your items in the box under the coat rack in the Narthex (welcoming area) and Barb will get them to Mary's Place.

To learn more about volunteering at Mary's Place, email Barb at:

Thank you!

(89 min, Christopher Monger, 2008)

Friday, September 12; 7:00 to 9:30pm; in Battson Hall (downstairs).

A SENSE OF WONDER is an intimate and poignant portrait of Rachel Carson's life as she emerges as America's most successful advocate for the natural world.
When pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring" in 1962, the backlash from her critics thrust her into the center of a political maelstrom. Despite her private persona, her convictions about the risks posed by chemical pesticides forced her into the role of controversial public figure.
Actress Kaiulani Lee embodies this extraordinary woman in a documentary style film which depicts Carson in the final year of her life. Struggling with cancer, Carson recounts with both humor and anger the attacks by the chemical industry, the government and the press as she focuses her limited energy to get her message to Congress and the American people.
See the Trailer and extras:
Facilitated discussion follows.

FREE and open to the public! ...but Donations are kindly accepted.

Rehearsals start in September

Practicing weekly @ Keystone UCC, in the Learning Center
Ever Thought of Singing Your Politics?
Do you like to sing, build community, and learn about labor and peace struggles?  COME JOIN THE FUN, non-audition chorus of dedicated, community-minded folks — the Seattle Labor Chorus (SLC).  From September to May you can find SLC singing in four-part harmony at political events, at union assemblies, as well as walking and singing on picket lines.  As members strive for a quality sound, SLC attempts to capture the attention and imagination of people who are not already persuaded. We aim to convey a glowing message that social justice is not just about struggle, but also about beauty and culture. 
Rehearsals are 7:15-9:15 on Tuesday nights at Keystone Church (5019 Keystone Pl N). Fall is the best time to join. Come try us out!
Learn more about SLC at, or cntact Janet Stecher at
Pastoral care concerns & reaching our pastors:
Rich and Lauren at the church office:  206-632-6021
(which is also checked remotely, since both serve half- time)
Click here for: Justice Leadership Program- UCC
LIKE Keystone UCC on Facebook
Click here to read our Keystone blog at "Latest News" on our website

To submit content for inclusion, email

Keystone Will Advocate at the Peoples Climate Rally
21 Sept. at 1pm, Westlake Park

We'll leave after church service and catch the #16 bus at 50th and Meridian.  Or we'll carpool over to the 46th Street & Aurora Ave bus stop and catch the Rapid Ride bus.  

We're making signs to carry  Some messages for the signs are:

Climate & Jobs
Two Crises
One Solution

For Our Kids
Price Carbon
Don't Be Fossil Fooled

For Our Kids
More Solar & Wind
Less Coal, Oil & Gas 

Join us if you can.  Bring water bottles and wear appropriate clothing for the weather.  (If you have a Keystone shirt- great- if not- we are in process of making a next order!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sermon Sunday September 14, 2014

Proper 19 Year A
Exodus 14:5-8
Stepping Past the Edge
By Rich Gamble

We’ve been in the story of the Exodus for the past few weeks. We talked about how the Hebrew slaves in Egypt out of the depth of despair cried out to the heavens for relief from their suffering and how a God heard their call. This God was not the God of the empire and all such systems that enslave and oppress, this God was a God who stood with the vulnerable and suffering. Not only this but our faith tradition claims that this God, is the one true God, creator of all things.

In the story God seeks to liberate the slaves of mighty Egypt by sending a tongue-tied sheep wrangler to tell the god-king Pharaoh to let the slaves free. Pharaoh as you might imagine was not excited by the idea of giving away a foundational part of his empire’s wealth and workforce. It took a lot of plagues before Pharaoh got the idea that something had to change.

Moses led the Hebrews east, away from the empire. Unfortunately as the flee Egypt they find themselves moving towards the sea. In the meantime, Pharaoh has changed his mind and gathered together the cream of his army with the latest of military technology (chariots) to crush the dreams of freedom of those slaves who dared to reject his ultimate authority. It doesn’t look good. What will the Hebrew slaves do? The sea is in front of them and the Egyptian army is sweeping down upon them from behind. Where will they go?

Often people read these stories literally and if we do so, then it seems to be a demonstration of God’s ability to dominate the natural world and destroy human enemies. When we read these stories in this way it locks them into the past. But these stories are not relics of the past or illustrations of God’s ability to manipulate and destroy. These are stories that are alive for us today.

I believe that this story is the product of an initiating incident and the creative input of storytellers. And it doesn’t matter to me which is which, separating out the incident from the creative memory of a people is not helpful for me, it is all inspirational. It is only important to read the story and seek the truth within it. This is not just a history of a certain group of people, it is a way of seeing the world in which we live.

When you hear the story you are led to believe that there are three locations: empire, middle ground and sea. Empire we understand, that is the system of dominating authority, where the strong rule and oppress the weak. In one form or another it is what we have known as civilization. It is oppressive for the vulnerable but it provides order. The sea represents chaos, that place where order does not exist. Biblically chaos stands opposed to all order, even righteous order. It is the unknown, uncharted, uninhabitable place. Often in the propaganda of empire, we are told that the only alternative to empire is chaos, and chaos is deadly.

Between chaos and empire we find the middle ground. It is in that place where the Hebrews find themselves, between empire and chaos. The Middle Ground is that place where people have not completely bought into the values of the domination system but are unwilling to enter into chaos.

People sometimes embrace chaos out of hate for the empire. Hate is their guiding light. They do not seek their own security or profit, they seek only to damage the order of empire in any way they can. The violence of the domination system can push people and whole communities into chaos.  That is what is happening in Iraq. Our invasion pushed that nation into chaos. We expected the people there to play by the rules. We had the superior military, we beat their army, they should have allowed us to form a government, and they should have supported that government. Instead they have had civil war and now ISIS.

Those who defend the domination system of empire tell us that chaos is the only alternative to the domination system. Better to have an unjust system than no order at all. And given the story of the Hebrew people, it seems that this logic has been operative from the earliest empires. The Hebrew people flee Egypt. They go to the middle ground between empire and chaos but the middle ground is an illusion because that ground can be taken by empire at any time. The Hebrews who remain on the middle ground are certain to be slaughtered.

Liberals are generally middle ground people. Conservatives generally embrace the logic of empire and domination. Liberals condemn the inequalities abhor the violence, and seek to ameliorate the suffering of the victims. These are all good and noble sentiments. But the ground upon which liberals stand is still land dominated by empire. Liberals do not want chaos. They do not want to give up the goodies of domination. They are still playing by domination’s rules and supporting its order.

The wonderful thing about this story is that we are given to believe that there are only three locales: empire, middle ground and chaos, and actually the middle ground is shown to be an illusion as Pharaoh’s chariots race rapidly across it, and so there are really only two options empire or chaos. But then at the last moment a third way is found. A path is made through chaos to the other side. Empire, chaos and Promised Land is the new dynamic. The Promised Land is not sitting right there on the other side of chaos. To get there you have wonder in the wilderness until you lose all vestiges of empire in your heart and mind. For most of us it is a journey of a lifetime, with the Promised Land a distant but real goal.

The forces of empire cannot conquer the chaos. They get swallowed up, just as our mighty army was swallowed in the chaos of Iraq. The only way through chaos is on the path of faithfulness to the God of love. In the end, our story of faith shows that chaotic violence is not the opposite of orderly dispassionate violence. Chaos is no more desirable than empire. In the end this story speaks of a true alternative to empire, found not in chaos but on the other side of our fears and hates. The Promised Land, the Realm of God are names for the utterly opposite place. A world ruled by love and not by fear.

Our liberal values are indeed a step away from the violence of our political and economic system but this middle ground is illusory, it is still land controlled by the domination system. For the past forty years we’ve seen the ground of liberal gains disappear under the tide of tax breaks for the wealthy and weapons and war. We stand on the shrinking middle ground, trying to have all the comforts of our empire while opposing the practices of that empire. As the middle ground erodes away we are pushed to the edge of a hope that looks like chaos.

This story challenges us to seek a path through our fear of chaos. Our conservative brothers and sisters have turned back towards Egypt, they have forsaken any hope of a system based on love and justice and instead seek one in which the forces of domination can enforce order and their idea of morality. They say that economic system may be unjust but it does provide order and our use of violence to maintain order is the only alternative to chaos.

Liberals on the other hand have tried to set up permanent housing in the middle ground and ask the forces of domination to please not be so violent but also please help us maintain our benefits as members of the empire.

Neither of these options are a faithful solution to poverty, violence, or the destruction of our environment; and we know this deep in our souls. We know that something is lacking, that there has to be a vision bigger than empire or chaos and the middle ground isn’t it.

The Bible in this story and countless others points to this alternative but to get there we have to first turn our backs on empire, on its logic and values. Through this lens we look at the story of Jesus walking on the water of the sea and inviting Peter to do the same as a reenactment of the lesson of the Red Sea crossing. Our own ritual of baptism can be seen in this light: abandoning the worldly systems of domination, passing through the water of chaos and rising to a new reality.  We are called to follow the call of God on the path of the third option. We may not be able to see how a whole world civilization can be built on the power of love but we can see how we can live out this law one step at a time in our own lives.

Each of us at some point in our lives awakens to the realization that we are standing on the edge of the unknown. We are facing the fearful chaos of an uncharted path and yet we can feel deep within us, a call to step out in faith. We are called to give up the measures of success handed to us by the world around us, to give up many of the comforts and distractions that consume us and instead embrace a path of uncharted hope.

As we constructed the Justice Leadership Program we saw several essential elements: working for justice, living in community, living simply, and living in the context of faith. We chose these elements, not as something for naïve young adults to try for a year and then abandon. We chose these because we see these as essential elements for living a life of faithfulness. By making a choice to live this way this year, our interns are not simply young adults needing our support but examples for us all.

Once we forsake personal gain or personal security as primary motivations of our lives we cease to play by the logic of the domination system. Once we forsake violence and hatred we avoid being consumed by chaos. Once we step out into the uncharted path of lives lived centered in the logic of love we discover that our fears of the unknown are unfounded. This middle ground is no place to live, it is time to move on. We are being called to a journey of freedom and hope. It is our path and our promise. It is Good News…