Hello Church!

I’m writing to you from the northern part of the Olympic National Park, where I’ve been retreating for the past few days. I arrived on Tuesday with a literal box of books I intended to read - or at least pick through. I hoped to foster some sort of creative time - part sermon writing, part church planning, part listening to my creative impulses. 

I am always struck by how challenging it can be to leave the hustle of daily life and enter into places of lessened noise, demands, and chaos. Perhaps we like to think that “rest” or “renewal” are like a switch we can turn on and off when needed. We know this isn’t true (if only it were so!) and yet it still doesn’t change the way we often behave. We arrive at our retreat time, our vacation, our day off, and say, like we’re speaking to a genie or a muse, “It’s time to rest!” 

And then we toss and turn. 

We remember to-do lists that have been left undone. 

We think of all the places we could (or should) be.

And before too long, our time of rest/creativity/renewal is over, and we show little signs of being better off than when we began. 

This is all to say, 

sometimes good rest takes work. 

We must say "no" to certain events in our schedule, we clear the way, we make room. That is - we take action in order to have a better experience. 

This same dynamic is true of the Sabbath. 

Religion speaks of Sabbath as a time of reorienting with God, humanity, creation, and even ourselves (the parts we bury deep inside, the ideas we don’t speak, the feelings we hide from).

And yet, like any retreat, any vacation, any break from your daily routine, a “good” Sabbath requires work. This is one of the reasons why as a Church, we’ve set aside 5th Sundays to try and practice Sabbath WELL. Any one of us can choose to take time-off, but Sabbath is about taking time-on! A funny phrase, I know - but it works. When we Sabbath well, we are taking on the responsibility to use time well. To become more present, more connected, more rested even, with the limited time we have. By setting aside time during every 5th Sunday, we are inviting you to use this given moment in time, a Sunday morning, to take-on some time for reconnecting. 

We will always do our best to provide some options for how you might to this (look below for two great opportunities this month), but we also recognize that some of the best Sabbath practices will need to be created BY YOU. 

As we enter into this Sabbath weekend, is there an idea, practice, or feeling that you need to take-on in order to better connect with God, the world, and yourself?

I pray that you will be able to find such practice this weekend, and I would love to hear about your Sabbath experience. Did you read a poem that spoke to you? Did you spend time talking with a loved one? Did you pray? I’d love to receive an email from you sharing about your Sabbath experience. 

As my own short Sabbath time comes to an end, I am looking forward to entering back into our community’s church rhythm. Until we are all together again, 

May Grace and Peace, and good Sabbath, be with you all. 

- Rev. Phil Antilla


Take time to celebrate the goodness of life by enjoying one of these two communal practices, or practice Sabbath in your own creative way! For more information or to registeclick here.

Poetry Read: A Sense of Calling
Practice delight with us through the written word as we find stillness together and listen to poetry read aloud. In the Ordinary Season following Epiphany, we contemplate Christ's early ministry and his calling of the disciples; this is a chance to share a poem that has called to you or that expresses your own sense of calling. You are not obligated to read but are welcome to join us for the joy of listening together.

Bird Watching
Practice Sabbath by reconnecting with nature and the world you live within. Expect to see Bald Eagles up the Skagit River; snow geese on the Skagit flats, as well as countless other migrating birds in the area. Truly a day of wonder and surprise. Birdwatching information, maps, and links will be provided ahead of time to anyone who registers. We will not be organizing meetups for lunch or back around the campfire due to Covid concerns, but we will have an active text group throughout the day to share sightings!
Many have been adversely affected by the global pandemic.  How have those in the performing arts adapted to changing times?  How are attitudes toward the LGBTQ community changing?  This two-part PopUP is a good way to start discovering answers to these questions!

The Laramie Project 
Available:  Friday, February 5th - Sunday, February 7th
Tickets available here

The Laramie Project, presented by Kirkland's Studio East, is the gripping true story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student killed in 1998. Presented as a radio drama, this production features 16 teen actors with original music and sound design. The radio play will be
available to stream from Friday, February 5th through Sunday, February 7th. Tickets are $20. Your purchase is good for one view of the production. Once you click the start watching link you will have 4 hours to complete the radio play before the link expires, allowing you to pause for intermission and breaks as needed.

A Post-Production Discussion with the Cast
Sunday, February 7th, 1- 2:30 pm
Register here for the discussion 

Our discussion will focus on making art during a pandemic, the youth experience of this production, and greater LGBTQIA+ issues. 

Sponsored by the Social Action Ministry Team of Bellevue First United Methodist Church


Our webpage has an updated list of Buy Black resources, as well as a form you can fill out to update the list with resources you discover. Submitting the form updates the list immediately, making it easier for others to support recommended resources, too!

Stay up to date with social justice topics by
subscribing to our new monthly social justice email, ACTIVATE, which is full of practical, actionable steps you can take, resources for more learning, and information about upcoming programs.


Financial Summary for 2020
We were able to accomplish great things in 2020 despite the pandemic. We’ve been nimble and found innovative ways to adapt and transform our connection to the community. Rather than trying to “wait out” the pandemic, we’ve moved forward with new ways to meet our vision. Thanks to your generous giving and help from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program along with prior year’s operating surplus, we were able to finish 2020 without using reserves. Many of you also supported our mission with gifts to Youth lunches, Crossroads feeding, Jubilee reach meals and the Neighbors fund.

To continue our good works and advance the mission of the church, we need everyone’s financial support. 2021 is uncertain and will present difficult funding challenges. While we do have reserves, your giving will make a strong future possible. Your faithful stewardship is the means to fulfill our mission and vision well into the future. Thank you and keep up your faithful support of the church!

If you have questions about 2020 financial information, please contact Wayne Bruning, 425-883-6843 or

Updated Care Circle Lists
If you would like an updated PDF of your Care Circle, email the office.

STAFF:  We're here for you!
  • To sign up for a time to meet with Pastor Phil, click here. 
  • To sign up for a visit with Laurie, click here
  • To leave a message for any of us, call the church office! We check messages remotely.
  • For other needs email Aya in our office: Changes in your contact information, emergency contact information (if you would like to provide that), opting out to receive reminder texts on Sundays, a paper copy of the directory, etc. 
For Your Prayers
Consider spending some time this week in a moment of quiet reflection or prayer.
Consider praying for the following:
  • Please pray for our new president and vice president, for their efforts at bridge building, and for our country.
  • Please pray for the families and friends of Marlene Stevens and Bill Eberhart.
  • Please pray for the members of the Duwamish Tribe, as well as all those whose ancestors lived on these lands from time immemorial.
  • Please pray for all of our LGBTQ neighbors.
  • Please pray for the protestors.
  • Please pray for our country to be less divided
  • Please pray for the health of our community and those affected by COVID-19.
  • Please pray for Pastor Joe and his LGBTQ+ friendly medical clinic and church in Kenya
  • Please pray for Pastor Phil for wisdom, strength, and vision
  • The mission and vision of our Church 
  • Our church family and friends
  • The local community and our neighbors 
  • The United Methodist Church
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