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Ravenna United Methodist Church
Seattle, Washington, USA
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“Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
     in all the ways you can,
 in all the places you can,
   at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
  as long as ever you can.”
                                —John Wesley

Knocking on the
Doors of Justice!

We Keep On Knocking!
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A member of the
(Seattle) North End
Interfaith Community:

Assumption Catholic Church,
Children's Hospital, Pastoral
and Spiritual Care
Congregation Beth Shalom,
Faith Lutheran Church, 
Idriss Mosque,
Lake City Christian Church,
Maple Leaf Lutheran Church,
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church,

St. Bridget Catholic Church,
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 
Sand Point Community UMC,
Temple Beth Am,
Ravenna United Methodist Church,
University Congregational Church,
Wedgwood Community Church,
Wedgwood Presbyterian Church.

Ravenna United Methodist Church 
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Ravenna United Methodist Church
5751 33rd Ave. NE,
Seattle, WA 98105-2320

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Why come?

Getting to know our new pastor, Pastor Hal Perry 

Pastor Hal Perry
Our new pastor, as of July 1, 2011

(article coming soon)

and Pastor John Cahall's shared role at Ravenna UMC. 

Pastor John CahallAlong with Fr. Philip Knowles of the St. Ignatius Catholic Community and our new pastor (former pastor of Capitol Hill UMC) Hal Perry, Pastor John has provided leadership for the life of our church since 2009. John and Hal are working on an innovative plan to continue shared pastoral responsibilities during the 2011 – 2012 Conference year.

Please join us in the Parlor for coffee and refreshments after our service.

(a more detailed, updated article coming soon)

John Cahall has been in ministry at Ravenna UMC since January of 2009. He now serves the congregations of both Crown Hill UMC in Ballard and Highland Park UMC in West Seattle.

A short biography follows (plus some added input)...

John is a gay man who lived in a committed relationship for many years until 1995. He is single and has no children. The influences that have shaped him include: his father's very positive influence, his Christian childhood, the sacred scriptures of India, and his studies at a progressive Christian seminary. At a point in his life of both struggle and awakening, he found Wallingford UMC in Seattle, a Christian faith community that was very supportive in his personal and spiritual journey. His experience as one of 29 United Methodists arrested on the podium in Cleveland protesting the 2000 General Conference's continuation of discriminatory policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, and the profound effect it had on him, led to his feeling the call, a few months later, to enter the seminary.

He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, in May 2004, transferring there after spending a year at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry. Prior to entering seminary, his career was in the field of human services, having spent approximately 17 years in programs serving the elderly and disabled, including seven years overseeing King County's Medicaid home care agencies. In 2004-05, he served as the Interim Pastor of Willapa UMC in Raymond, south of Aberdeen, before returning to working for the City of Seattle Human Services Department as a case manager. During 2008, he was in volunteer ministry at First UMC of Tacoma.

In January 2009, new District Superintendent Pat Simpson announced his assignment to Ravenna United Methodist Church. He was ordained Deacon in 2009 and Elder in 2011.

John says that he experiences Ravenna UMC as a special congregation and expresses his gratitude for the faith and commitment of the Ravenna Church Community that “led me to fall in love with them when I was appointed to this charge."

In June, 2010, retired pastor Hal Perry and his son Mike Perry came to join us and help with our efforts at a new church start at RUMC. Pastor John believes "they are a gift from God." "It makes such a difference to have their presence, help, creativity, confidence, and enthusiasm! And all this along with the increased participation from the Theodora House, has led to such an increase in energy and hope!"

Today, Pastor John continues his ministry with Ravenna UMC and Highland Park UMC in West Seattle. He has also assumed responsibility for Crown Hill United Methodist Church in Ballard. He and Hal are working on a plan for shared ministry at Ravenna and Highland Park.

We want to thank him for helping us to see who we are as a church. We appreciate his emphasis on the importance and relevance of biblical content to church worship and how it applies in addressing issues that affect us in our daily lives. His sermons reach within our hearts, calling us to compassion.

Board of Trustees/SPRC Chair, Greg L. Wheeler, comments, "The Discernment processes that we have been asked to implement, since [his] arrival, have helped us to really think about where we see ourselves in the next 1-3, 5 or 10 years. We have had to rethink church in the process.

We, at RUMC, are grateful to have Pastor John as one of our pastors and are encouraged by his genuine enthusiasm, easy temperament and deep spirituality. We feel that he continually fits the type of leadership we need, in helping us move forward and grow, both spiritually and in numbers. He brings energy, passion, and compassion to the pulpit and to our community.

Wheeler adds, "We have a special “something” going on here and believe that Pastor John has something to do with it. We are excited with his feeling "alive" approach to ministry.”

New Approaches to Learning

Seattle's Most Dangerous Sunday School (SMDSS): Adult Education/Bible Study
Meets every Sunday morning at 8:30 AM in the Parlor.

is an educational activity of Saint Ignatius Catholic Community (ECC)
and Ravenna United Methodist Church. It is a discussion and learning forum
for thinking Christians who wish to explore their faith in an ecumenical context.
You are welcome to join us! We meet every Sunday at 8:30 AM in the Parlor.


Join us for SMDSS--Seattle's Most Dangerous Sunday School. 
Meets every Sunday at 8:30 AM in the Parlor and ends just before Sunday Worship.
Plenty of lively discussion, study, and debate. 
Coffee/tea is available.

The coffee is hot, and so is the conversation.

Our current discussion is focused on spirituality. We might think of spirituality as a way to live in a relationship with God. Regardless of their origins, all Christian spiritualities have that focus: how to be in union with God, to love, to practice charity and to believe in Jesus. There are many different traditions, accenting different methods or features. We will touch on several of these and consider how we practice spirituality as communities and as members within those communities. We haven't yet chosen a topic for our next course of study, but will have something, hopefully, soon, and will inform you when we know more. Fr. Philip Knowles will be facilitating our next discussion.

And, just what have you been missing in prior discussions?
Previous discussions, over the past several weeks, have included some of the following written articles:
Spirituality and Contempory Culture by Marcus Borg;
The Shaking of the Foundations, Chapter 19: You Are Accepted, and
The Eternal Now, Chapter 7: Spiritual Presence by Paul Tillich.
You can access them online here.

Other recent discussions:
Not too many Sundays ago, we viewed some video segments
from CNN's "Heros" broadcast. Some helpful links :

A short while ago, we completed our discussion on the film, A History of God, based on Karen Armstrong's book. This is highly recommended viewing! You can see it here.

And, the featured documentary film described in the text box above is a must-see!

Finding and Offering Help, Support, Prayer and Healing

Sister Francine needs your prayers.

Please keep in your prayers our close friend, Sr Francine Barber of our wonderful neighbors, the Dominican Sisters. An avid walker, a competitive Skippo/Uno card player, and lover of cats, Sister Francine had the misfortune of getting scratched and bitten by one of her precious felines. As a result, the wound became badly infected and, last night (Mon, July 25), she had to stay overnight in Swedish Hospital. Kay Finnell, of our congregation, is planning on picking her up today, so we will let you know her status as soon as we learn more. Get well, Sister.

Update: Sister Francine again stayed overnight in the hospital for more observation and then came home Wednesday. She still had some swelling in her hand, but that didn't prevent her from making her rounds in the neighborhood, even attending Game Night that evening. It was nice to know that she was out of danger and that she still had that go and competitive spirit. Good to see you, sister!!!

Caring and Getting Involved in the Community

Ravenna United Methodist Church is a member of the
The North End Interfaith Community.

The North End Interfaith Community is a community of various congregations within our area, working to promote compassion, love, peace, tolerance, justice and civility among all people; to engage in efforts which increase the awareness of the commonality in, and shared values from, our many faiths with the hope of bringing peoples, religions and cultures into a more peaceful, loving, understanding and tolerant life here on Earth, by among other things, holding  joint worship services, and providing assistance to people who need help. Our primary assistance has been with the Sand Point Community Housing Association. For further information on becoming a membership congregation or having your questions answered, email Sandy Spelman @
In 2009, the North End Interfaith Community hosted a potluck dinner for the residents of the Sand Point Community Housing Association  in the Sand Point Housing Community Room, 6940 62nd Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Participants besides RUMC were Assumption Catholic Church, Sand Point Community UMC, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Congregation Beth Shalom, St. Bridget Catholic Church, Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, Temple Beth Am, Wedgwood Community Church, Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, University Congregational Church, Faith Lutheran Church, and Idriss Mosque. RUMC was asked to bring soft drinks or juice. It was a fine event and show of support. 

Also in 2009, the North End Interfaith Community's 2009 Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service was held at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 4900 NE 50th St., Seattle. The congregations mentioned in the previous paragraph above along with Lake City Christian Church and Children's Hospital, Pastoral and Spiritual Care sponsored this event. Desserts were requested for the reception that followed the formal service. Gifts of blankets or warm gloves were donated to the homeless. Monetary gifts and gifts of non-perishable food went to the University District Food Bank.

In 2010
the service was canceled due to the icy conditions. It will be held again in 2011. For those interested, nonperishable food donations which were part of the Thanksgiving Eve celebration can be given to the University District Food Bank and money donations can still be made to Greater Seattle Care to fulfill the pressing needs of Tent City 3, including tarps, tents, a monthly dental clinic, and internet service for communication and job searches. Contact Pastor Karen Breckenridge of Wedgwood Presbyterian Church at or 206.525.8787 for more information.

Since 2007, Ravenna United Methodist Church has been hosting
the Seattle Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is a candlelight vigil remembering those victims of violence who have died in the past year due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, combined with a service of worship and song

Last year's 2110 event was held:
Saturday, November 20, 7 PM in the Sanctuary.

TDOR candlelights

The Emerald City Club, was the main organizers of last year's event.

Check back here for details for this years event. 

For additional information on Seattle's observance of TDOR: 
TDOR Seattle, P.O. Box 6413, Kent, WA 98064-6413.
Or check out the website:

Admission to the event is free, but donations are appreciated. All proceeds will support next year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance program.

Our Doors are Open to ALL!!!

We, at Ravenna, are proud to be a part of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).

Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the United Methodist Church.

Paragraph 4, ArticleIV of the United Methodist Constitution states:
The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth and that we are in ministry to all.

...and "ALL MEANS ALL!!!"

This year at Annual Conference (in the Pacific Northwest Conference and all the Annual Conferences), there is a constitutional amendment, which was passed by last year's General Conference (558-276), that will be voted on to ensure that our "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" slogan applies to ALL persons who enter our doors of our church.  The constitutional amendment requires a 2/3 vote of the General Conference and a 2/3 vote of ALL members of annual conferences. If passed, it will guarantee the right to membership for all persons and deny discrimination of any kind. No longer will pastors be allowed to determine who can and cannot join as members.

Ravenna UMC
, together with other congregations of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, have declared our support for the Constitutional Amendment to Paragraph Four, Article IV of the United Methodist Constitution that includes all people in the life, leadership and rites of the church. Believing ALL MEANS ALL, our congregation welcomes persons of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, economic conditions, marital status, mental or physical abilities to attend, join, and participate fully in the life of our congregation. Such belief advances our United Methodist mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by applying the three simple rules: Do no harm, Do Good, Stay in love with God.

Ravenna UMC Welcomes You!!!

Why Church?

16 Nov 2009


Many people find church a hard part of their walk with Christ whether because of hurts, time commitments, circumstances or because they sense hypocrisy. Some of us find it hard to relate to Christians who hold different views than us, we wish the music was louder or softer or that the organ would come back in style, and we just can’t seem to agree with our pastor’s view on theology.

So why do so many of us still attend church regularly, and why do we view it as so important? 

First, going to church is an expression of our love for God. When we come together on a Sunday we spend quality time together lifting up God’s name. While we do seek to praise God through our daily devotions or when reading the Bible, a primary purpose for church worship is to take time out of our schedules and spent time meditating on and praising the name of our Lord.

Positive Community

Second, church is a beautiful place for positive community. While we all carry our different baggage with us to church fellowship (see Stephen W. Simpson’s article Why I Went Back to Church: God on the Ground for an interesting take on this), God calls us to come together with other believers regularly. In fact, God states that when we are in a relationship with him, it will follow that we are in fellowship with others (1 John 1:7), and that where two or more believers gather together, there God will be also (Matthew 18:20).

Similar to the issue of community is the idea of accountability. When we engage with other believers we have motivation towards living a right life before God. Meeting with others and talking about our triumphs and our struggles spurs us forward in our personal faith journeys.

Bringing Honour to God

Also, attending church brings honour to God and pleases him. When God met Moses on the mountain and gave him the Ten Commandments, the fourth commandment he gave was: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy’. God cared enough about setting a day aside for his glory that he included this in his law. When we honour his request, we please God.

Christians will never be perfect people, which can make church-going at times unattractive; and there are people or situations that can hurt us and make us feel distant from church, but praise, the community, the accountability and the honour it brings to God overwhelm the problems that we tend to face. Plus, as Stephen W. Simpson says, ‘We can get over ourselves and the little things that divide us, learning to see each other as God does.’

(from War Cry magazine)

Copyright 2009. Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory. All rights reserved.
Reprinted and used with permission

Note: I came across this wonderful article when I was searching for Advent and Christmas images for our website and it touched me. I feel it has such great relevance for our church and perhaps many churches around the world. I want to thank the kind people of the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territories branch of the Salvation Army for allowing me to reprint it. They were friendly and most helpful.  - GLW 12.11.09

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