Eastside Churches Collaboration

Since Spring 2022, discussions have been taking place with churches in our Cluster to explore ideas on how we might work more collaboratively. The goal is to increase our missional impact and better steward our resources.
The East King County Cluster churches are:
Saint Andrew’s (Bellevue),
Cross of Christ (Bellevue),
Saint Luke’s (Bellevue),
Our Savior (Issaquah),
Mt. Si (North Bend),
Sammamish Hills (Sammamish)

Two coaches from the Northwest Washington Synod working with us: Rev. Jane Prestbye and Rev. Gary Rothenburger.

FAQ Background and Timeline
Go to top

Bellevue Churches Steering Committee

January 2024: As the work of the cluster churches collaboration continues, the three Bellevue churches – Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, and Saint Luke’s – formed a “Bellevue Churches Steering Committee” to explore bold ideas to see where God may be leading us in this effort. The Steering Committee formed subgroups with these areas of focus:
1) Governance
2) Finance and Staffing
3) Missional Outreach

Current Opportunities Resources
Bellevue Churches Steering Committee Members

From Saint Andrew’s: Carolynn Ferris | Pastor Lara | Bill Brueggemann | Tom Getzinger | Jean Wahlstrom

Go to top

Current Opportunities
Ongoing

Contact any member of the Bellevue Churches Steering Committee or the Saint Andrew’s Congregation Council with questions, comments, feedback, and concerns.

Current Work

May 5, 2024: Congregation President Carolynn Ferris and Pastor Lara hosted a Forum to provide an update on the collaboration work, answer questions, and seek input.

Go to top

Resources
May 5 Forum Recording
Go to top


FAQ

Coming soon.

Go to top


Background and Timeline

  • from the VOICE - June 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    Cluster Partnership Statement of Support
    In our May Council meeting, we discussed and approved making a formal statement supporting the work that is being done to explore ways we might be in partnership with other churches in our Cluster.
    This statement reads as follows:

    Lay leaders and Pastors for the Lutheran churches in East King County (Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, St. Luke’s, Our Savior, Mt. Si and Sammamish Hills) have been meeting over the past three years to discuss how we can work more closely together to be more effective witnesses for Christ in East King County, serve our communities more impactfully, and better steward our resources. All churches are experiencing declining attendance and giving, and fewer families are joining our congregations. We have experienced these trends for over two decades, but the pace accelerated during the COVID epidemic. Each church is also facing critical staffing decisions. It is time to find a new path forward rather than simply hoping that things will get better.

    The leadership of the three Bellevue churches (Saint Andrew’s, St. Luke’s, and Cross of Christ) recognize that we have the advantage of being relatively close to one another and that we may be more poised than the remaining churches to take meaningful steps forward in exploring what might be possible in coming together in partnership for mission. Pastors, representatives from Council, and several key stakeholders are meeting regularly to develop more specific plans for how we can collaborate and potentially redefine how we “do church”. Our hope is that we can set the stage for this partnership in the hopes that the other churches within our Cluster will join when and if they are ready.

    We understand that there is a great deal more work and reflection to be done, and there are a host of questions that need to be answered. But the leadership team believes that forming an “enterprise” congregation with multiple sites is an exciting potential solution. Each Bellevue site would continue with their current worship and ministry practices but look for ways to learn from one another and possibly approach various aspects of ministry collectively when appropriate. At the enterprise level, efficiency and cost savings are possible by using common software and by sharing staffing for communications, bookkeeping, and some pastoral tasks.

    We believe that God is leading us to explore new and exciting ways to worship and be in mission with fellow Lutheran churches in our Synod cluster. We are in prayerful discernment as we discuss many ideas for partnership. It will take many months, if not years, to fully explore how this might occur. And along the way, there will be multiple opportunities to take an “off ramp” if the vision becomes impractical or unhelpful.

    The Saint Andrew’s Congregation Council supports this vision of a partnership but also recognizes that there are concerns many members may have. We will continue to communicate what is going on in the monthly VOICE newsletter, in periodic listening post forums and at the congregational meetings of the Congregation. We will actively seek out ideas, concerns, and viewpoints as we explore where God may be leading us.

    We are excited about the possibilities that could be generated by this partnership. We know that working together we can more faithfully steward our abundant resources and have an even greater missional impact. We pray that God will guide us and help us accomplish His will.

    Council plans to set up several “mini forums’ after church to allow people to ask questions and share their ideas and concerns as we work our way through this discernment. In addition, we will include a link on our website where documents, FAQs, and other information can be readily shared and updated as we go along.
    There is much more work to be done to discover opportunities for partnership as well as understand what obstacles may exist. It will likely be at least a year or two before we come to a time for making any final decisions. But along the way, we will see where there are obvious opportunities to implement ideas of shared ministry and administration in the nearer term.
    This is an exciting time. We don’t yet know what God has in mind for us, but we will pray for his guidance and strength of spirit.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - May 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    Another meeting of the Bellevue Church Steering Committee was held on Saturday, April 20. We heard each of the sub-groups report on their progress in their various areas of focus: 1) Governance, 2) Finance and Staffing, 3) Missional Outreach.

    Bill Brueggemann has agreed to take on most of the leadership of the Finance and Staffing work so that Tom Getzinger can pivot to exploring how we can increase our missional impact by collaborating through music. He will be working with the Missional Outreach team led by Jean Wahlstrom.

    Pastor Lara and I will be hosting an after-service Forum in May to provide an update on the collaboration work, answer questions and seek input. The date is May 5. It would be great if you can join us!

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - April 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    As you likely know, for the past year or two we have been exploring ideas on how we might work more collaboratively with the churches in our Cluster. The goal is to increase our missional impact and better steward our resources. (As a reminder, Cluster churches include Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, Saint Luke’s, Our Savior, Sammamish Hills, and Mount Si Lutheran Churches). There has been much progress – joint youth events are taking place regularly, the pastors will soon be sharing pulpit duty within the Cluster, and Vacation Bible School will be run collectively this summer.

    We recognized that there is an opportunity to move things forward even more effectively if the three Bellevue churches were to be more intentional about working together as one. Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ and Saint Luke’s are relatively close to one another, and the clergy and lay leadership are on board to explore bold ideas to see where God may be leading us in this effort. Therefore, we formed a “Bellevue Churches Steering Committee” to discern what a new future might look like.

    We held our first meeting of the Steering Committee on Saturday, March 9. We had representation from each Bellevue church consisting of the pastor, president, and at least two additional lay leaders. In addition, two coaches from the Synod joined us to help guide us in our deliberations and foster healthy dialogue.

    Tom Getzinger and Jean Wahlstrom volunteered to participate on the Steering Committee on behalf of Saint Andrew’s. I am very grateful for their wisdom and commitment to this effort.

    We started our time together in this meeting getting grounded in scripture. Pastor Mark Griffith (Saint Luke’s) shared the story of Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000 followers having nothing more than seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. It was a powerful reminder of how God creates abundance out of very little. We also reflected on a passage in Acts where the apostles gave up their possessions to feed the poor and to support one another in their mission to spread the gospel. We immediately grasped the significance of giving up what we consider belongs to us to create something even more impactful.

    As we shared our dreams and visions for what might be possible, we came to realize that what we wanted was to come together as one body, unified in our faith and commitment to serve our community. There is no intention to merge or close any of the congregations. We want to create something altogether new – an inclusive faith community that shares resources, talents and gifts while recognizing the unique identities and local connections of each parish. In this vision, Pastors would be based in their “home” church but serve the larger faith community as a team. We would work collectively to be more impactful in all areas of our ministry. Each location may be the focal point for their areas of strength but still be a part of a larger faith confederation.

    After much discernment, we developed three primary work streams to move us forward in the coming months:
    Governance: If the idea of creating a new, unified faith community is to happen, we need to construct a model that reflects our vision. We need to develop a governance structure whereby elected lay leaders can provide leadership for the larger faith community while ensuring the needs of the individual parishes are met. We will also need to come up with a new Constitution that will align with the new entity.

    Finances and Staffing: Another group will be looking at what opportunities could be generated if we consider combining our financial and staffing resources. If we pool our funding and staffing talent, we believe we can amplify our missional reach and have an even greater impact in our communities – how better to make visible the love of God.

    Mission Engagement: This effort will be focused on in-reach and outreach. We hope to provide opportunities for members from all of the congregations within the larger faith community to come together in fellowship, worship, and service. And think about what we could accomplish if we worked in unison to support our community partners!

    Due to a few pending decisions that need to be made within the Cluster in the relative near term, we have given ourselves a window of approximately six to eight months to craft a model of what might be created with the three Bellevue churches while setting up the potential to expand within the entire Cluster. At the end of this window of time, we hope to be able to have congregations decide whether it is a “Go or No Go” on moving forward.

    As we pursue this work, we will pull in others who have expertise, passion, and a willingness to dream. If you are interested in learning more about our collaboration efforts or have something you would like to share or contribute, please do reach out to Pastor Lara, myself, Tom Getzinger, or Jean Wahlstrom.

    Please pray for us. Ask God to guide our deliberations and open our eyes to where He is taking us. Ask for inspiration and strength; courage and perseverance; wisdom and steadfast love.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - March 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    On January 27, the clergy and Councils for Saint Andrew’s, Saint Luke’s, and Cross of Christ met to explore how we might grow together in ways to strengthen our missional impact and better steward our resources. There is genuine excitement where this might lead.

    I met with Colin Walker (President, Cross of Christ) and Judy Buckmaster (President, Saint Luke’s) following the January 27 meeting. We agreed that the next step would be to form a Task Force with people from each of the three parishes to help discern and prioritize various workstreams that can help us figure out how to best move forward. Each of the Council Presidents will serve on this Task Force, but we need to identify two additional individuals from each parish to serve with the group. We have scheduled the first meeting of the Task Force for March 9, so we need to finalize our delegates by the end of February. It should be noted that the Task Force will be asked to explore various ways that our congregations can work more closely together, but those recommendations will be brought back to the respective committees, congregations, and Councils for any decision-making. This work must be as inclusive and transparent as possible. If you would be interested in serving on this Task Force, please let me know.

    I expect that we will have most, if not all, of the Cluster pastors participate in this Task Force to learn from them as well as pave future pathways among all of the churches within the Cluster. We will also have two coaches from the Synod work with us. Jane Prestbye and Gary Rothenburger will bring great insight and guidance as we discern our path forward.

    This work will change us as a body of Christ. We hope we can broaden our mission and our impact, thoughtfully steward our many resources, and create new and lasting connections within the community as we do God’s work, but we certainly don’t have all of the answers. This is new to all of us. We would enormously appreciate your thoughts and concerns and prayerful support as we journey down this path together.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - February 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    The pastors and lay leaders of both Cross of Christ and Saint Luke’s have shown an interest in discussing how our three congregations might work more closely together to maximize our collective resources and increase the impact of our ministries within our community. With the closure of Grace and Holy Cross, we are the only remaining ELCA churches within Bellevue and we are each facing challenges. We feel it is time to explore new approaches.

    While there needs to be continued work within the broader Cluster, there is interest in fast-tracking more in-depth conversations among the three Bellevue churches. The proposed next step is to bring together the Councils from Saint Andrew’s, Saint Luke’s, and Cross of Christ to have candid discussions around making some potentially bold choices. We also hope to have representation from the Synod. Saint Andrew’s will be hosting this meeting on the morning of January 27. If you are interested in attending or would like to provide input, please do contact me.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - January 2024

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:ELCA Cluster Collaboration
    On November 18, 2023 the clergy and executive committee members of the ELCA Cluster churches met to discuss what might be possible in working closely with one another. Not everyone could be there, but we had representation from Saint Andrew’s, Saint Luke’s, Cross of Christ, Sammamish Hills, and Mount Si.

    It was an invigorating discussion. All agreed that the time has come for bold action and prayerful consideration in how we steward our abundant resources. Collectively, we have gifted pastors and lay leadership, strong connections within the community, invaluable property and buildings, passion to help others, and a commitment to our faith. But we are all also facing the reality that if we continue to operate in silos, none of us will survive in the long term.

    We participated in a brainstorming workshop that allowed us to think creatively about the future. Below are some highlights of this session:
    What Issues are we trying to solve for?
    Declining membership and income
    Reduced staffing
    Pastors unable to focus on their ministry because they are buried in administrative functions
    Staying alive and staying relevant
    A sense of doom, recognition that our current trajectories are leading to failure

    If we are willing to be bold and prayerful, what might be possible?
    Excitement and vitality in our mission
    Sharing of resources to be more efficient and effective
    More impact within our community
    Becoming a beacon within the faith community and a model for others

    How can we cultivate collective witness and community impact?
    Identify strengths of each parish and enable those to be more impactful
    Identify the strengths of each pastor and allow them to better utilize their skills and passion throughout the broader community
    Come together to support our community in more meaningful ways
    Become a large, vibrant community engaged collectively in worship, outreach, music, small groups, and more

    How do we effectively engage our congregations?
    Opportunities for joint worship, events, projects, and trips
    Spread the word broadly and often
    Shared pulpits
    Develop a shared vision that is communicated to our congregations in multiple ways
    Move from words to action

    What obstacles will we need to overcome?
    Fear of losing identity and community
    Scarcity mindset
    Not being able to communicate vision effectively
    Perceived distance between congregations (figuratively and literally)
    Different Constitutions and Bylaws

    Some next steps include:

    1. Pastors will form a cohort with the intent to serve the Cluster collectively. They hope to develop a plan to more effectively utilize their individual gifts, preach in all venues, support one another and the congregations in a more flexible and meaningful way, and communicate the vision of how we worship and serve together. They hope to begin this effort after the Christmas holiday.
    2. Carolynn will organize a monthly call with the pastors and executive leadership to keep the momentum going.
    3. Attempt to form several cross-congregation tasks forces to identify opportunities to do such things as:
      1. Staff finance and administration more efficiently and effectively
      2. Manage facility and grounds maintenance collectively
      3. Reinvigorate small group ministry
      4. Serve our community in ways that are highly impactful
      5. Broaden the ways in which we worship and participate in music

    This is an exciting time. All of us in that meeting felt that God is calling us to a new place – together. We will continue to prayerfully consider how we might “Grow together in Christ to love and serve all people” in new ways, while we hold on to the foundations of our faith. I welcome all to share your ideas, concerns and wisdom and we travel this path together.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - December 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    I had the chance to meet with all of the Cluster pastors on November 8 to discuss how we might refresh our efforts around collaboration with one another. The pastors were from Saint Andrew’s, Saint Luke’s, Cross of Christ, Sammamish Hills, Mount Si, and Our Savior Lutheran churches. There is a high level of commitment around pursuing new ideas in how we might “do church” to increase our impact in the community, reenergize our congregations, and prayerfully steward our resources. There is a great deal of support in exploring new and exciting ideas.
    A meeting is scheduled for November 18 with all of the pastoral staff and Executive Committees of the Cluster churches to further discern what our next steps might be.
    More to come!

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - November 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    There has been renewed energy in our efforts to connect more meaningfully with congregations in our Cluster. A few updates:

    1. The Synod is very interested in supporting our work within the Cluster. They have agreed to partially fund one or two project coordinators / coaches to help move us forward. We will be working to develop a scope of work for these individuals and outline potential next steps.
    2. Pastor Mark Griffith has returned to Saint Luke’s in north Bellevue. He is very energized about our efforts and will become very engaged with the collaboration efforts.
    3. We are planning a joint meeting with the Executive Committees from Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, and Saint Luke’s. We hope to have bold discussions about how we might “do church” differently in the future.
    4. We still hope to have a refresh of our cluster workshop that took place in April 2023. This likely won’t happen until after the first of the year given the holiday schedule.
  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - October 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    I had the chance to meet with Dianne Johnson, Deacon with the Northwest Washington Synod. I shared with her the work we have been doing within our Cluster to explore ways we can increase our collaboration. She is very supportive of our efforts. She believes we should broaden our efforts to include Faith Lutheran in Redmond and Holy Trinity on Mercer Island and potentially others if they are willing and able. Dianne has committed to submit a request for funding from the Synod to hire two coordinators to help continue the work. It will likely take most all of September to work through this process.

    Once the consultants are on board, I suggested that we start with a “refresh” of the meeting we held on April 29 when representatives from each of our participating congregations brainstormed opportunities to collaborate. We would then ask the coordinators to shepherd any action items coming out of that second brainstorming session.

    I believe this Cluster “Refresh” meeting will likely take place in November. Once we establish the date, we will try to get the word out as we would love to have as many people there as possible to generate ideas and suggestions.

    Dianne and I both share the same sense of urgency around this work. We need to get the momentum started once again!

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - September 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    You may recall from comments in the Semi-Annual meeting that Pastor Herb Shao of the Synod had agreed to submit a proposal to the Synod to fund a consultant to help spearhead efforts around our collaboration efforts with the churches in our cluster. I recently learned that Pastor Shao has gone on medical leave and did not submit any proposal. I currently have a meeting scheduled for August 24 to meet with Dianne Johnson of the Synod. She has agreed to help us put together the request to Synod.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - July/August 2023

    Semi-Annual Meeting Highlights:
    Cluster Collaboration
    : Congregation Council President Carolynn Ferris provided an update on collaboration occurring within our cluster (our cluster includes ELCA congregations in our area, and Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, St. Luke’s, Holy Cross, Mt. Si, and Sammamish Hills have been active in these conversations.)
    Conversations have recognized challenges, but focused on abundance. We have many assets. What can we do with them? On April 29, there was a cluster collaboration brainstorming session that identified Pastoral duties, Worship/Music, Buildings/Property, Youth/Family ministries, Outreach, and Small Groups as potential areas for collaboration. Many ideas were shared and conversations will continue.
    Pastor Herb Shao from the synod has requested funding for a consultant to help this effort.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - June 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    On Saturday morning, April 29, representatives from Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ, Sammamish Hills, Mount Si, and Saint Luke’s Lutheran churches met to brainstorm possible ways that we could collaborate to increase the effectiveness of our ministries. There were six areas of focus:

    1. Pastoral Duties
    2. Administration, Finance, and Property
    3. Outreach
    4. Youth and Family Ministry
    5. Music and Worship
    6. Small Group Ministry

    Multiple ideas were generated in all of these areas – it is clear that there is a tremendous opportunity to share resources and talent in very positive ways.

    We also talked about the possibility of becoming “one body with multiple arms”. If we could gather all of the represented churches into one larger organization, it might open up a host of new possibilities in how we worship, steward our buildings and property, engage and support our community, and generate a momentum of energy and excitement.

    We recognize that this effort will take much more time and energy to sort through what might work and what isn’t feasible. All agree that we need to take incremental steps rather than one giant leap. We will start by focusing on ways we can collaborate with one or more other churches where it makes sense.

    The Synod is strongly in favor of this work. Pastor Herb Shao of the Synod was able to attend a bit of our meeting on April 29. He has promised to put together a request for funding to hire a part-time consultant to help us continue the exploration of this collaboration work. The Synod Council does not meet until the end of June, so it will be several weeks before we know whether this funding might be available, but Pastor Shao thinks there will be strong support for this.

    It should be noted that Cross of Christ is particularly interested in connecting with Saint Andrew’s as we are only about three miles apart and a greater level of synergy makes a good deal of sense here. We will be scheduling a time for the respective Executive Committees and full Councils to meet to develop relationships and better understand one another’s ministry and hopes for the future.

    There is much more to come, but it is exciting to think about what God may have in store for us!

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - May 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    We have scheduled a brainstorming meeting with the leadership of the churches within our Cluster on the morning of Saturday, April 29. These churches include Saint Andrew’s, Saint Luke’s, Sammamish Hills, Cross of Christ, Holy Cross, and Mount Si. We have invited the Pastors, Council Presidents, and the Executive Committees for each church to participate in some “what if” conversations around greater collaboration and sharing of resources. Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church has volunteered to host the event which will run from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. All are welcome to participate to share ideas and perspectives.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - April 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    On February 21, I hosted a call with the Council presidents from Cross of Christ, Saint Luke’s, Sammamish Hills and Mount Si Lutheran Churches. We held a robust discussion about how we might carry forth the idea of greater collaboration between our churches. We talked about the possibility of sharing and/or leveraging resources of staff, property, programs, and pastoral care. We decided that the best next step would be to set up a meeting with church leaders (Presidents and Executive Committees) and pastors and possibly a representative from the Synod to brainstorm ideas and develop an action plan if there was a consensus to continue this work. We all felt very excited about the possibilities before us.

    On March 7, we had another Cluster leadership call, but Anh Le from Holy Cross was the only one who called in. Their church in Factoria has entered into an agreement with Habitat for Humanity to redevelop their property. Once the project is completed, there will be a community space that could be used as a worship center if needed. It is likely that Holy Cross will have to vacate their premises early in January 2024 to accommodate the construction. Anh and I talked extensively about how he might manage this time of great change. I extended an invitation to have their congregants visit Saint Andrew’s in the coming months to see if their members could feel comfortable worshiping in our space.

    Grace and peace to you all.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - January 2023

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    I have set up monthly calls with the Council leadership of Cross of Christ, Holy Cross, Mount Si, Saint Luke’s, and Sammamish Hills. It is our hope that we can share ideas and explore how we might collaborate more fully to accomplish our respective missions.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - December 2022

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    The East King County ELCA Cluster met at Saint Andrews on Saturday, November 5. There was representation from Saint Andrew’s, Cross of Christ (Bellevue), Holy Cross (Factoria), Saint Luke’s (Bellevue), Sammamish Hills, and Mount Si. The focus was on how we might re-think “how we do church” given the trends we are all seeing in our membership, attendance, and financial support. There were lively discussions on what we might do collectively in our music, outreach, and education programs as well as worship. We also brought up the notion of two or more churches merging to create a stronger, more robust congregation with the possible outcome of utilizing under-utilized buildings and property for community good.

    Much more discussion, discernment, and prayer will be necessary to flesh out these initial ideas. I volunteered to coordinate some of these efforts to make sure things continue to move forward as well as communicate progress to all those interested.

    This is a very exciting time. We eagerly seek input, ideas, concerns, and personal involvement in this possible refreshment of our life together in Christ. How would you like to see us “Grow In Faith Together”?

    Grace and peace to you all.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - November 2022

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    The Cluster meeting has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 5. It will be held at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Representatives of clergy, Council leadership, Treasurers, Music Directors, Youth and Family Directors, Outreach Ministry, and Office Administrators are invited, but others may attend if interested in participating.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - October 2022

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    The Cluster meeting originally scheduled for September 17 has been postponed allowing more people to attend. A date has not yet been selected but will likely be in early November. Representatives of clergy, Council leadership, Treasurers, Music Directors, Youth and Family Directors, Outreach Ministry, and Office Administrators will be invited. The idea is for each of those cohorts to come together to talk about how we might collaborate more effectively to achieve our missions. The churches participating include:
    Saint Andrews Lutheran Church
    Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church
    Cross of Christ Lutheran Church
    Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church
    Holy Cross Lutheran Church
    Mount Si Lutheran Church
    If you are interested in participating or have an idea to share, please do let me know.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - September 2022

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    Another Cluster meeting has been scheduled for the morning of Saturday, September 17, at Saint Andrew’s from 9:30 am – 12:00 noon. (This is also the day of the all-church work party; there will lots of activity happening that morning!) We have invited representatives of clergy, Council leadership, Treasurers, Music Directors, Youth and Family Directors, Outreach Ministry, and Office Administrators. The idea is for each of those cohorts to come together to talk about how we might collaborate more effectively to achieve our missions. The churches participating include:
    • Saint Andrews Lutheran Church • Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church • Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church • Holy Cross Lutheran Church • Cross of Christ Lutheran Church
    If you are interested in participating or have an idea to share, by all means let me know.

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - July/August 2022

    President’s Corner article by Carolynn Ferris:
    On Saturday, May 21, 2022, leadership from five Lutheran parishes in our cluster came together to explore how we might work more collaboratively in living out our respective missions. The churches included:
    Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church
    Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church
    Cross of Christ Lutheran Church
    Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church
    Holy Cross Lutheran Church
    There was representation from clergy and lay leadership that participated in the discussions. We all reflected on the answers collected when answering the four questions: What are we good at? What are we not so good at? What are we known for in the community? What are we afraid of?

    We learned that everyone is facing very similar trends in shrinking membership, difficulty attracting and keeping young families and children, and dwindling funding.

    We also learned that there is a real hunger for greater collaboration between our parishes. It is recognized that if we can share resources (ideas, programs, clergy, people, buildings, etc.) that we could have a greater impact on those we serve and our community as a whole.

    Two ideas were suggested as a way to take next steps in our exploration:

    1. Establish “Cohort” groups amongst the parishes to bring together people in similar roles. Examples are Council Executives, Music Directors, Youth Directors, Treasurers, Communications Specialists, etc. The thought would be to share ideas, solutions to common problems, and foster strong connections between the churches in our cluster.
    2. Set up Task Forces populated by interested and knowledgeable people within each church to explore how we might collaborate within our cluster in various areas of our ministry. Examples of areas where these Task Forces might focus include:
      1. Pastoral leadership
      2. Music
      3. Vacation Bible School
      4. Youth Ministry
      5. Young Adult Ministry
      6. Outreach and Community Service
      7. Building and Property Assets
      8. Diversity and Inclusion
      9. Health and Wholeness (including Quilters)

    The acronym “GIFT” (Growing in Faith Together) was tentatively suggested as a label for this effort.

    A steering committee of 3 – 5 people has been proposed to help guide our next steps. I have volunteered to participate on this Steering Committee. I have also volunteered to lead a cohort of Council executives. Bill Brueggemann has also agreed to form a cohort of church treasurers.

    This is an exciting time for us as a congregation and for the community. As we dream about what the future might become, we hope that this can be a time of renewal and growth; both of our broader church family and for our faith. Where is God at work here?

  • Go to top
  • Spring 2022

    Committees and groups discussed and gave input to four questions: 1. What are we good at? 2. What are we not so good at? 3. What are we known for in the community? and 4. What are we afraid of?
    Input from all Saint Andrew’s committees and groups has been consolidated into a single document. This input was shared at the East King County Cluster Gathering on May 21 .

  • Go to top
  • from the VOICE - May 2022

    Pastor Lara Forbes’ Report to the Congregation Council in April 2022:
    East King County Cluster is the group of ELCA congregations in our area. The pastors of these congregations meet regularly and have been discussing collaborative ministry and ways that our congregations might be able to partner together. To help facilitate this conversation, they have organized an in-person gathering for Saturday, May 21, at Cross of Christ in Bellevue for a time of relationship building and visioning. Three to five leaders from each congregation will attend. Saint Andrew’s committees and groups have been asked for input to four questions prior to this gathering: 1. What are we good at? 2. What are we not so good at? 3. What are we known for in the community? and 4. What are we afraid of?

Go to top