FPC News and Announcements

FPC Kids Communion Class

Is your child curious about Communion? On Sunday, April 17th, kids 8 and older are invited to come learn about Communion with Pastor Becci! She will help students understand why we celebrate communion and the symbolism of all the elements. A pizza lunch will be served before the class begins. We do ask that one parent attend, and because space is limited, please RSVP to Julie Brownlee.

Summary of Town Meeting on Camp McCullough

Dear Congregation,


Last Sunday, our church family celebrated together with an all-church potluck followed by a Town Meeting to hear about the work being done at Camp McCullough and update everyone on what is happening with Camp.


The meeting was led by Pastor Eric and none other than our own Daniel Heath, supported by members of the Camp task force. Pastor Eric introduced Daniel as a member of the “Heath Dynasty,” a humorous reference to the many years the Heath family has served the church, both as part of the church leadership and through its tireless work for and at Camp. Also present in the audience were the Hayden and the Miller families, both long-standing supporters who have worked tirelessly for Camp. In fact, Pastor Eric mentioned that the Haydens had given 38 years to the ministry of Camp! And Pastor Martin Ives made some humorous observations that inspired a string of fun remembrances from the congregation!


Daniel began with a presentation prepared by the team working on a new vision for Camp. The presentation was titled: Towards a new Strength of Vision: the Unique and Compelling Ministry of Camp McCullough. He reviewed some Camp history, reminding everyone that Camp was purchased in 1945 because of a growing feeling among the various ministries of the church that the church needed its own conference grounds. He also reminded everyone that at the time of purchase, the Church had more than 2000 members!


After reviewing some of the history, Daniel gave the microphone to Pastor Eric, who described a discernment retreat he led with the Session (our governing body) a little shy of two years ago. One of the outcomes of this discernment was that the Session believed there were three options concerning the future of the Camp. These were:

  • Sell the Camp
  • Do only Camp; let go of other ministries currently supported and resourced by FPC
  • Invite more like-minded churches to share the ministry and management of the Camp

The Session also moved to:

  • Underscore its historic intent to make the Camp self-funding


Session decided it did not wish to sell the Camp as it is a treasure that could not be regained in the region. Session also decided not to do only Camp. Session then decided to establish a Task Force to develop a path forward for the Camp given the discernment principles and to invite carefully selected like-minded Churches to partner with us in governing and supporting Camp’s vision and ministry.


Daniel went on to explain that over the past few years, several churches have expressed an interest in developing a stronger partnership with Camp. Initial contacts have been made to these churches and some have expressed interest in partnering with us. This has coincided with a view by FPC Elders that our Church, much smaller than it was at the time of purchase 70 years ago, is no longer of a size that it can fully tap and resource Camp’s potential. The operation of Camp has taken an unacceptable toll on a few loyal families who have made a sacrificial commitment to it; Camp has been funded by contributions from FPC, but this resource, both financial and human is not available the levels needed to sustain it; and that the mission of Camp may be best leveraged with a broader group of participating churches. In addition, many of the more recent initiatives at Camp, such as reaching urban and less advantaged kids with mission camps; hosting pastor and ECO Presbytery retreats; offering Spiritual Formation retreats; etc., suggest a broader participation from other churches sharing our faith and essential theology would bring strength. After much prayer and discernment, FPC Elders (our governing body) decided to speak with the Congregation to determine whether a new structure and model for Camp will strengthen its and our collective regional ministry.


New Camp Board:

Finally, Daniel explained that the Session has established a new Camp Task Force, which will oversee this transition and work to assure that the new structure supports the mission of the Camp to reach people for Christ and deepen the faith of those who attend; protects the resources of our church and allows for the flourishing of the Camp. The Camp Director will report to the new Camp Task Force and eventually the configured Board. The Task Force has also recommended the creation of a new Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) who would, governed by the eventual Board, have authority for the new Camp operations. The LLC would shield FPC from potential liability, and FPC would lease the Camp land and buildings to this newly formed LLC. Our church would lease the underlying land to the new LLC, and retain ownership of the land. A set of bylaws, approved by the FPC Session will govern the creation of the new Camp Board, and the Board will also put in place a policy governance structure that will determine how the Board operates and how the Camp will operate. Our church will structure a lease agreement with the new LLC to protect all the parties’ interests.


In summary, this new vision for Camp:

  • Allows for greater strength through shared ministry resources and support with like-minded partners for greater regional impact for Christ.
  • Continues to offer youth summer camps and retreats as before
  • Frees the newly configured Camp Board to explore other revenue options to enable camp to be self-funding.


After the presentation, the new Camp Task Force answered audience questions. These included questions about how the churches would be selected (we will initially focus on those with a similar essential theology and ECO membership); questions about how to protect FPC from unintended liability (through the structure of the LLC and its lease agreement and bylaws approved by the FPC Session and the governance model which will be established); whether our youth would have the same opportunities for discipleship and internship as Camp Staff (yes); and whether the selection of the new partner churches would assure a similar moral and theological framework for Camp (yes).


The meeting concluded on an upbeat note, and many of the over 100 members of the congregation in attendance expressed support for the next phase of this plan. Pastor Eric thanked everyone for coming, and said that a more formal Congregational Meeting would take place when more details are known.


In Christ,


Bill Kellis, on behalf of the Camp Task Force

An Allergy-Friendly Easter Service in 2016—Invite Your Friends!

Easter lilies are beautiful, but a growing number of people are allergic to their fragrance and pollen, making it hard for them to attend Easter worship—and making it difficult for us to distribute the lilies to shut-ins since many nursing homes will no longer accept them. As part of our Inside/Out focus on removing obstacles for people coming to church, this Easter we will be using a mix of live tulips supplemented with some artificial Easter lilies.

So if you know of any people who haven’t been able to attend church on Easter because of Easter lilies, please invite them to our service! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them with elder John West, chair of the Worship Committee, jwest@fpctacoma.org.

Slides from Weeks 1 and 2 of The New Normal Class

For those who wanted the slides from Pastor Eric’s presentations during the first two weeks of The New Normal class, here they are as downloadable pdf documents! The class continues on Sunday @ 9:15 am in South Chapel.

Second Wednesday Potluck TONIGHT (March 9)

Join us TONIGHT Wednesday, March 9 from 6:00-7:00 pm for our monthly Wednesday night potluck. Spend an evening sharing stories and fellowship with others in our church. Please bring either soup, salad, entree or dessert to share as well as beverages for your own family. We will supply tables, plates, and cutlery. Because of allergies within our church, please don’t bring anything with nuts and label anything that contains gluten. For more information, contact Richard Shepard.


Reminder—Second Wednesday Potluck on Wednesday, March 9

Join us on Wednesday, March 9 from 6:00-7:00 pm for our monthly Wednesday night potluck. Spend an evening sharing stories and fellowship with others in our church. Please bring either soup, salad, entree or dessert to share as well as beverages for your own family. We will supply tables, plates, and cutlery. Because of allergies within our church, please don’t bring anything with nuts and label anything that contains gluten. For more information, contact Richard Shepard.


Watch FPC’s Lindsey Bell Choir Perform “Mighty to Save”

In case you missed the Lindsey Bell Choir perform “Mighty to Save” this past Sunday, you can now watch (and listen) to the performance on YouTube. Enjoy! Thanks to Chip VanGilder for putting up the video, and thanks to Patrice Barnett (organ), Jim Brownlee (guitar), and Scott Juergens (drums) for playing along with the bells. The Lindsey Bell Choir is made up of high school students in our church, and it is directed by Daniel Heath. If you like what you hear, be sure to come on Easter Sunday for more music from the Lindsey Bells along with our Chancel Choir, Praise Band, and a 19-piece orchestra.

Lindsey Bell Choir THIS Sunday, March 6

Our wonderful youth bell choir directed by Daniel Heath will be helping us to celebrate worship this Sunday, March 6 at 10:30 am. You won’t want to miss it!

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