Tag Archives: bishop martin wells

Colville churches repent for their sins

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

COLVILLE — On Sunday two Colville congregations came together to profess that they, as part of the common Christian church, have at times been destructive.

“…We confess that we have sinned in communal ways in accepting and perpetuating the prejudices and injustices that persist in our culture and our world,” more than 125 voices together recited at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Two Colville congregations worshiped together on the first Sunday of Lent/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

St. Paul Lutheran and 1st Congregational UCC churches are journeying through Lent together, apologizing for the sins of the Christian church. Rev. Eric Ohrtman, rector of St. Paul, explained that the congregations will repent for how they’ve harmed everyone from the Native Americans hundreds of years ago, to today’s gay and lesbian community, to the times the church has been silent when it should have been a prophetic voice.

Rev. Jim CastroLang, of 1st Congregational, said the confessions are a step toward restoring the church “to its wholeness,” particularly as Christians recognize their iniquities and begin to live more consciously.

Rev. Michael Denton, conference minister for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ and Bishop Martin Wells, of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, helped the congregations begin their journey by delivering a sermon together on Sunday (which was the first Sunday of Lent).

Rev. Mike Denton speaks in Colville/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

“Institutions are one of the ways human beings help organize themselves. As such, they can also be one of the ways we express some of our worst characteristics and behaviors as well as one of the ways we benefit from the harmful acts of others. Institutions can be used as walls and weapons as well as a tool to help rationalize some actions, that when it comes down to it, can only be described as sins,” Denton said. “It takes honest, faithful conversations just like this to change the world.”

Both Wells and Denton urged the congregations to own and confess the sins they may not have been directly involved in — like slavery — noting all Christians are a part of the body of Christ.

Two Colville congregations come together during Lent/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS.com

“I’m anxious for you because I think the work you have in front of you during this Lenten period of confession is difficult.  You are going to be leading the larger church into a territory that we usually avoid,” Wells said. “I’m wonderfully stimulated and grateful to you and I’m eager to know how it goes for you, I’m eager to learn from you and from these good pastors who will lead you.”

St. Paul and 1st Congregational are the only two churches in the area that have teamed up, as separate denominations, to spend Lent together.

Ohrtman explained the congregations will explore a different sin each Sunday during Lent.

View a photo gallery of the communal service here.

What sins do you think the church needs to confess?

VIDEO: Churches called to confess

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com


COLVILLE — On Sunday two churches in Colville came together to discuss corporate confession. Bishop Martin Wells, of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod and the Rev. Michael Denton, conference minister for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ urged parishioners take time this Lenten season to acknowledge ways the church has caused harm.

View photos of the service here.

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Spokane’s Religion News Roundup: Feb. 24

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com 

Rev. Marvin Harada speaks at Buddhist convention/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS

Since you’re a dedicated SpokaneFAVS reader you already know more than 300 Buddhists swarmed to the city last weekend for the 65th annual Northwest Buddhist Convention. But did you know that it was a convention for Shin Buddhists? Do you even know what a Shin Buddhist is? You can find out next week when the Spokane Buddhist Temple’s Introduction to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism class starts.

Last week Washington became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. The story’s a week old, but it’s still a hot topic. Actually, it’s scorching. Bishop James E. Waggoner of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane isn’t shying away from the contentious legislation and said he, “welcome[d] the decision and am grateful that it recognizes the reality of relationships already being lived out faithfully and lovingly. The validation of legal status and related rights, including benefits, is overdue.” You can read about how Waggoner and the state’s other Episcopal bishops getting involved here.

In Catholic news, Bishop Blase Cupich of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane has gotten national attention for his column in America: The National Catholic Weekly. While many bishops are not happy with Obama’s contraception coverage mandate accommodation, Cupich’s been praised for his optimistic outlook and call for civility:

“I believe that an even greater opportunity is before us, namely to have a deeper and on a more prolonged basis a fundamental dialogue about the role of religion in society in general and the nature of religious liberty, especially as it applies to faith-based charitable, health and social service ministries in the United States, in particular. I also believe that the president, relying on his personal experience with church, which he cited once again this week, has not only the potential but also the responsibility to make a significant contribution to this more sustained and expansive discussion.”

Speaking of Catholics, Gonzaga made big news last week when the university announced Archbishop Desmond Tutu (not a Catholic) would be the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony in May. But you better be attached to a graduate if you want to go — space is limited.

Local Lutherans are using this Lenten season as a reminder of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod’s commitment to an Anti-Malaria Campaign. You can read Bishop Martin Wells’ Lenten reflection here.

Finally, a shout-out to the Latter-day Sentinel for highlighting the Coeur d’Alene First Ward for their work in fighting homelessness.

Have something you think should be included in next week’s roundup? Email it to tracy.simmons@religionnews.com