If you've been wanting to make beautiful music and are looking for a group of folks who will treat you like family... join the choir!
Weekly choir practice takes place on Thursday nights at 7:00 pm.
Emmaus House is holistic mission House-Church that meets every Saturday at 6pm.
For more info, visit the Emmaus House page.
American Baptist Women's Ministries (ABWM) meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from Sept through June.
For more info, visit the ABWM page.
Each year 4 major Mission Outreach offerings are taken:
Retired Ministers and Missionaries • One Great Hour of Sharing
America for Christ • The World Fellowship Offering
Mylinda Baits is a community trainer, pastoral artist, activist and Christ-follower. She currently travels throughout the globe with International Ministries ABC-USA as a Global Consultant for Training using the Restorative Arts.
Mylinda is passionate about capacity building and training through arts-based experiential education for the healing and wholeness of trauma survivors; the creative transformation of conflict and the resilient witness of the people of God.
She uses her gifts of hospitality and pastoral care to create sustainable and safe spaces where servant leaders and those who do the hard work of rescue, relief and restoration can be nurtured and renewed. As sinner and saint, she sees beauty in broken places, wonder in wounded people, and life in loving God and others.
For the last 25 years, we have hosted an annual holiday open house. It has become a part of our yearly routine, a way to gather friends, to celebrate traditions, to create connections among folks wherever we found ourselves local. Starting in Port Angeles when our kids were little, we’d invite the folks from our church and neighborhood to pop by for a visit, enjoy hot apple cider and sample cookies made from my Nana’s favorite recipes. The Open House became “la Casa Abierta” in Costa Rica. Over the next 12 years we added tamales and salty snacks to the menu and carol singing and soccer games to the order of the day. The open house became a full house that overflowed with food, laughter, story and song. Now the church in Santo Tomas carries on the tradition in their own way, more like a posada (a traditional progressive journey from house to house in the neighborhood to share snacks and songs) with familia Baits-inspired sweet treats, but still a way to gather friends, celebrate traditions and create connections.
For the last seven years, we’ve hosted it from our little place near Squaxin Island, on unceded Coast Salish territory now known as Olympia, WA. Today would have been the day of the year when we’d be cleaning, rearranging furniture, heating apple cider and putting out the trays of cookies, a crock pot full of Mexican tamales, (an accessible adaptation for here) and vegetarian options (a lifestyle adaptation we’ve embraced) to prepare for the 30+ folks from our Emmaus House community to gather. This year, things are different. Because of Covid 19 contagion, the act of NOT GATHERING is the best way to care for others. I’m writing to you instead. I’m writing to re-connect and to remember what matters most. This year love looks different. Not bad, just different.
Psychologists Rebecca Schrag Hershberger and Yael Schonbrun of the Greater Good Science Center,` offer tips for coping with the loss of holiday traditions.
As the reindeer Sven in the Disney’s movie “Frozen” once noted, “You feel how you feel, and your feelings are real.” Though we can’t change the reality of this pandemic or the general social turmoil all around us, we can make changes in how we frame stories about what is happening, as well as the day-to-day choices we make.
In the case of families who cannot be together, this may take the form of accepting the sadness of a holiday apart from loved ones. Offer yourself kindness and remember that you are in good company in your grief. From there, you can strive to savor small and unanticipated gifts and appreciate the blessing to have friends, a family and traditions to miss, even as you make space for sadness.
I received a text from my friend Jodi that said they would be having tamales, eating Christmas cookies and watching Christmas movies and thinking of us tonight. It’s a Baits holiday “closed house” at their house (not as fun, and missing us, but wanted to honor the tradition somehow). They will donate gloves and toothpaste to the homeless ministry in our honor as well, since we usually collect those. In response, I mentioned that I was busying myself with other tasks to cope with this Covid disappointment. She offered the following encouragement, “Sometimes doing something completely new and not thinking about what you’re missing can be a good strategy, too. We thought we would honor parts of the tradition and then add a COVID twist to it;). Pivot and adapt. That’s our strategy lately.” I imagine this like a dance move. I have been leaning into this wisdom as well. I see how over the years, even when we could be together at our Open House/Casa Abierta, we pivoted and adapted to our new realities. We learned what worked, let go of what didn’t and held onto what matters most. We’re figuring out new and creative ways to gather friends, celebrate traditions and create connections virtually and physically distanced, because caring for the health and safety of the community is what matters most to us.
This year when many of our expectations and traditions will look different, we might feel sad and disappointed, and that’s okay. “You feel how you feel and your feelings are real.” When things don’t go as you had hoped, can you let go, knowing you’re not alone while holding on to what matters most? What is emerging/being born in us when these shifts happen? As a Global Consultant, whose work has been defined mostly by travel, staying put and sheltering in place has been a big shift for me. Instead of boarding airplanes and facilitating restorative expressive arts workshops, I’m developing a new online presence, facilitating trainings via Zoom and doing arts-based research and study on collective healing of cultural trauma.
New questions have been emerging in the meantime while I wait to resume my typical work. What needs to shift and change in me, in us, so all not just some can live well and be free? How can we learn to dance, pivot and adapt in the darkness until the light of the new breaks in? What pivots and adaptations can we practice to live into faith, hope and love these days? I’d love to hear from you. YOU are what matters most to me. No matter where we are, apart or together, love abides. Let’s live like it matters. Living into the questions, will you join me?
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 NRSV
"Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers."
- May Sarton –
Sarah Matos serves through the new extension of House of Hope Bolivia (Fundación Proyecto de Esperanza) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. As an educator and dental assistant, Sarah works with churches to help develop tutoring and discipleship ministries for at-risk girls in Santa Cruz.
Fundación Proyecto de Esperanza of Cochabamba empowers the local churches through health and development ministries focusing on urban ministries to families. House of Hope (FPE) provides mobile medical and dental clinics to at-risk women and children. The hope is to expand these ministries as well to Santa Cruz.
Dear faithful partner in ministry,
¡Feliz Navidad! What a challenging year we are all experiencing! My prayer is that you feel an
immense joy and hope this Advent season from our God as we celebrate the coming of the Holy
One, Immanuel – God with us.
I know that Christmas celebrations will look different in COVID -19 times, but I hope you will be
able to celebrate safely and creatively with your loved ones. Luis and I are looking forward to
celebrating our first Christmas married and having Christmas Zoom parties with our extended
families and friends.
I am deeply grateful for your faithful giving to International Ministries that enables me to
continue my ministry with Fundación Proyecto de Esperanza (House of Hope) in Bolivia. This
year has been unpredictable and challenging, but God is still working in the midst of this crazy
2020. Never did I expect for ministry to turn virtual and for me to be in the States for 7 months.
Some of my highlights of this year are displayed in the pictures above:
I am very thankful for you and all of my partners who pray for me and give sacrificially towards
my ministry. I pray that you have a safe, healthy, and a joy-filled Christmas and new year! We
appreciate your prayers as Luis and I look forward to returning to Bolivia in 2021.
Kyle and Katrina along with their 4 children have been living and serving in SE Asia for International Ministries as Global Servants since 2019. As part of a team of Christ-followers representing 7 countries Kyle and Katrina are creating strategies for peace making that are cutting edge and culturally relevant.
They are using and teaching others to use technology to research, report, and fight against the destructive practices of human trafficking and violence against minority tribal people. They love the work they do and the many amazing people they get to work with as Global Servants with Baptist International Ministries and as part of the larger American Baptist family.
Table Grace, formerly known the Feeding Ministry, meets every Sunday at 4pm. Faith Communities and Local Groups provide a free dinner for the needy in our area.
This is a community enhanced ministry, supported by a wide range of churches, service clubs and individuals. Table Grace has served the "least-of-these" in our community for over 20 years.
If you are interested in helping as a volunteer, please contact Pastor Mark or Freda Spaulding, Table Grace's Volunteer Coordinator.
This knitting group creates caps for premature babies born at Tacoma General Hospital and at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.
Over the last 4 years, they have made 6000 caps for new born babies.
For more information, contact Sarah Waterhouse or Patti Lehman.
First Baptist is one of 10 Faith Communities that take part in this ministry.
Each team visits the jail once a quarter, meeting 4 times within a 2 week period. Meetings include Bible Study, prayer, music, devotions and testimonies.
A volunteer jail chaplain supports the team when they visit. Volunteers receive training and orientation prior to participation.
For more information, contact John Nunneh.