Faith Formation Speakers Series

All individuals are proactively engaged in a lifelong process
of learning and growing as followers of Christ….
We are a vibrant learning community.
  –-From the FCC Puyallup Ministry Plan

FCC’s Faith Formation Speakers Series is open to the community and all are welcome.  Topics are selected with the hope of appealing to a wide range of interests, inviting speakers who will inspire, teach, or spark us to action.  Through the stories and experiences of others, and by sharing our own, we hope to expand our ways of interacting with the world.

Upcoming Speakers:

April 18, 2018 – 6:30 pm  Natural Yard Care and Backyard Stewardship, Mike Halliday, Pierce County Public Information Specialist
Our yards are our outdoor homes:  fun, beautiful, great spaces for relaxing. But in taking care of them, we often use water inefficiently, produce a lot of yard waste, and overuse chemicals that are bad for the health of our families and the environment. The good news is, by making some simple changes in how we care for our yards we can: Save money on water, waste disposal, and chemicals, save time as working with nature is easier in the long run, protect our families’ health by reducing contact with chemicals, and protect and respect the environment.  Come and learn how you can be a part of natural yard care in Pierce County.

May 23, 2018 – 6:30 pm Basic Estate Planning, Kevin M. Boyle & Roxane L. Neslund, Attorneys at Law
This presentation will discuss the basics of estate planning. We will address both the control and management of estates during life, at the end of life, and after death. The various types of estate planning documents will be discussed. The purpose and language of these documents, both necessary and elective, will be reviewed.

Roxane L. Neslund has been practicing law for more than 25 years as a sole practitioner. Kevin M. Boyle has practiced law for more than 37 years, also as a sole practitioner. Roxane and Kevin have office-shared for many years and are co-counsel in a number of cases in both offices. Both Kevin and Roxane have a broad range of trial experience in almost all types of matters; although they both now focus on domestic matters and simple estate planning. For more information about both attorneys, visit Kevin’s website at


Past Speakers:

March 2018
The Art of Zentangle:  Mark Making as Meditation
, Laurie Rudel, Pastor and Certified Zentangle Instructor
Zentangle is an easy to learn art form.  Through the Zentangle Method of drawing, you can relax, focus, expand your imagination, trust your creativity, increase your awareness, respond confidently to the unexpected, discover the fun and healing in creative expression, enter a vibrant and supportive world-wide community, feel gratitude and appreciation for this beautiful world and all that you can do, and perhaps most importantly . . . have fun! The Zentangle Method offers all this and so much more.  In our time together we explored the process of using lines and shapes as an entry point for meditation.

February 2018
Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Roxanne Castleman, Pierce County Emergency Management
Preparedness is the foundation for building resilient communities. While Pierce County Emergency Management focuses on preparing our whole community for disasters, we also have a role to play in emergency preparedness. By planning ahead, we can increase our ability to survive and thrive in the face of disaster, everything from an earthquake to a major winter storm.  We learned a lot of tips to make sure we are prepared and ready.

January 2018
Don’t Come My Owie – A Parent’s Journey with God’s Perfect Little Boy, Tom Steinbeck, Parent and Retired Director of Special Education
Parenting a special needs child brings unique challenges and joys.  We learned how these special children bring light into families, and how we as a congregation and community can offer our understanding and support.

December 2017
Finding Grace in the Midst of Anxiety, Luke Sumner, Pastor, Our Common Table Church

Mental illness is a phrase that seems to be getting a lot of airtime lately. Yet many of us struggle to understand all that falls under this broad and often unhelpful term.  If we in the church want to better engage our world today, it is vital that we not only understand the mental illnesses that push people to the margins on our streets, but also the quieter forms of mental illness that people from our pews to our workplaces struggle with daily.

November 2017
Poetry Writing Workshop, Tod Marshall, Washington State Poet Laureate
The Poet Laureate serves to build awareness and appreciation of poetry — including Washington’s legacy of poetry — through public readings, workshops, and presentations in communities throughout the state.  The evening was spent learning, hearing, writing, and exploring poetry in new ways.

October 2017
Road Scholars:  A University of the World, Ambassadors Chuck and Susan Routh
Road Scholar, formerly called Elderhostel, inspires adults to learn, discover and travel. Their learning adventures open minds to new ideas and deepen understanding of oneself and of the world’s peoples, places, cultures, history and environments. A true university of the world, not-for-profit Road Scholar’s meaningful – often transformational – educational adventures engage people for whom learning is the journey of a lifetime.

September 2017
Alzheimer’s:  Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters, Christine Louie,
Alzheimer’s Association of WA
Participants learned about signs of Alzheimer’s, why early detection is important, and how Alzheimer’s is diagnosed were all discussed.  For more information about Alzheimer’s or services, visit the Alzheimer’s Association of WA.

August 2017 
Star Search Stargazing Event, Ken Slavens, Tacoma Astronomical Society
Even in the midst of clouds we learned about the night sky through hands on activities and experiments.  Sitting under the stars, participants got to peek through a microscope, learned about our solar system, and created our own comet.

July 2017
Food Waste Recycling and Composting, Kari Ann Elling, Pierce County Public Works
Participants learned how to reduce the waste they send to the landfill by recycling kitchen scraps at home.  Composting food scraps in a worm bin is a great way to keep them out of the landfill.  The nutrient-rich worm castings make excellent fertilizer for your plants.

June 2017
Buddhist Meditation, Gen Kelsang Wangpo, Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center
Buddhism is one of the five major religions of the world and has been practiced for over 2600 years, but since Buddhist culture is predominantly found throughout Asia, many of us don’t have a clear understanding of what Buddha Shakyamuni taught all those millennia ago. Gen Kelsang Wangpo, an American Buddhist monk and the Resident Teacher of a local Buddhist Center, Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center, shared some insights into Buddhism and the Buddhist way of life. One of the most significant parts of the Buddhist way of life is meditation. Gen Wangpo explained the value of meditation not just with respect to Buddhism, but with respect to all people, religious and non-religious. There was a chance to participate in a guided meditation to get a taste of the meditative experience.

May 2017
Puyallup Historical Fish Hatchery, Patty Carter and Richard Johnson
Patty Carter, Founding Director and Richard Johnson, Vice President and Director, shared the inspiring story of the Puyallup Fish Hatchery which opened in 1949.  It was originally built to raise and supply trout to area lakes.  In 2012 a local group of citizens formed the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation.  With donations and volunteers the foundation created and opened an Educational Center on site and began giving tours.  They also worked to place the hatchery on both the State and National Historic Registries so that it will always belong to our states citizens.  What followed shortly thereafter was great interest from members of our legislature who then budgeted state dollars for upgrades. Planned renovations are now in the works.

April 2017
Why ‘Green’ is the way to Clean, Kari Ann Elling, Pierce County Public Works
In this hands-on, interactive workshop we learned about common household products, identifying what makes them hazardous, and how to avoid them by making our own.  We learned how “Do It Yourself” (DIY) cleaning products are better for your health, your wallet, and the environment; then we rolled up our sleeves and made non-toxic all-purpose cleaners and soft scrub.  Provided through Pierce County’s Environmental Education program.

March 2017
Life is Fragile, Handle with Food, Sherry Fry, Common Sense Nutritional Therapy
Sherry Fry of Common Sense Nutritional Therapy will shared what real food is!  Learn how to sustain optimal health by conquering the “grocery jungle” and identifying those edible impostors.  Recover from the unsuspected effects of today’s modern diet!  The ever-changing landscape of food in America has been a moving target, but there are traditional food choices that still stand tall. Come taste, see, and learn how to incorporate them into your life. Deliciously healthy samples provided.

February 2017
Meditation and Mindfulness, Anne Arston, Yoga Soleil

Anne Arntson of Yoga Soleil Puyallup led a 1.5 hour class to introduce the basics of Meditation & Mindfulness.  Students learned what Mindfulness is, how Mindfulness can contribute to a greater sense of well-being, happiness and joy, and discovered how meditation can help develop Mindfulness.

January 2017
Life is a Precious Gift, Puyallup Author Lon Cole
To survive a major illness, accident, violent criminal act, or any other dramatic event, is a true gift.  Learning to celebrate and live life to the fullest allows that gift to become most precious.  Lon has leaned heavily on his unwavering faith in God and his resolve to serve God by helping lift the burdens of others.  In recent years Lon was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and has found that this challenge in his life has motivated his pen, and the poetry has flowed freely and often, as he puts his feelings and efforts to lift others into his poems.

November 2016
Doctrine of DiscoveryRev. David Bell, Yakama Christian Mission
Rev. David Bell of the Yakama Christian Mission shared the history and importance of the Doctrine of Discovery.  In 2013, a resolution was adopted by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) agreeing to spend time in reflection and research of the Doctrine of Discovery.  The evening gave participants the opportunity to learn how the Doctrine of Discovery has led to racist policies and theology in the Church and how it has and is effecting our communities today.
Update:  In January, consensus was unanimously made by the FCC Puyallup Council to co-sign the resolution going to the General Assembly in July 2017 and confidently add our voices.  We joined 13 other congregations and one regional area in condemning and renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery, and encourage others to do the same.
Update:  At the July 2017 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the resolution was passed.

October 2016
Sumi Painting Class, Bill Havens, Nora, & Charlie, Puget Sound Sumi Artists
Bill Havens, Nora, and Charlie from Puget Sound Sumi Artists taught a class on Sumi painting.  Sumi-e is the Japanese word for ink painting.  In this interactive class, participants had the opportunity to learn about and try the art form, using ink and rice paper to paint bamboo, mountains and pumpkins.  Fun and informative for all participants.

September 2016
Civil Discourse in Political Times, Regional Minister Rev. Sandy Messick, NW Regional Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Sandy Messick, Regional Minister of the Northwest Regional Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), used activities, story telling and discussion to help us explore the question, “As we embrace the diversity of our congregations and communities, how can we have difficult and thoughtful conversations about important issues in healthy and helpful ways?”

May 2016
Housing Affordability & Homelessness in Our Community, Kent McLaren
Kent McLaren, lead architect and project manager for a wide range of affordable and special needs housing, and community recreation projects, discussed the connection between homelessness and the supply of affordable housing.  We took a look at initiatives and the local groups in our own community working to alleviate homelessness and advocate for affordable housing.

April 2016
A Welcoming Place for All Children, Dr. Tim Yeomans, Supt. Puyallup Public Schools
Dr. Tim Yeomans, Superintendent of Puyallup Public Schools, will speak on the role of the school district and community in caring for all children in the public school system.  He will share the district’s vision to be a welcoming place; working toward meaningful postsecondary opportunities for each child.  He will also describe the district’s focus on its commitment to meet the ever-diversifying needs of the community, the district’s role in the community, and the partnerships it holds within that community.

March 2016
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  An Interfaith DialogJoachim Pestinger
Joachim Pestinger will lead a dialog on the commonalities between LDS and Protestant churches, and share basics of the Mormon Faith.

February 2016
The Theology of AgricultureDerek Farmer, Seattle Tilth
Derek Farmer, of Seattle Tilth’s Food and Faith Initiative, looked at the role of agriculture in the Jewish and Christian tradition from Eden to Gethsemane.  Along the way Derek discussed the agricultural roots of Jewish and Christian holidays and rituals and the use of agricultural metaphor in the parables of Jesus.  Together we discovered a spirituality of local, sustainable eating that feeds the soul as well as the body.  For information about Seattle Tilth, visit their website at  Hear the audio of Derek’s fascinating presentation here.

November 2015  
Islam and the Muslim Faith: An Interfaith Dialog, Ziad Abusamha, Islamic Center of Tacoma
Ziad Abusamha of the Islamic Center of Tacoma introduced us to basics of Islam and the Muslim faith.  In our increasingly multicultural and diverse society, interfaith dialogue is important to foster understanding and respect among people of all faiths and backgrounds.

October 2015
Remembering Camp Harmony: Puyallup Assembly Center, Elsie Taniguchi and Cho Shimizu, Camp Harmony Committee
Elsie Taniguchi and Cho Shimizu shared memories and family stories of being detainees at the Puyallup Fairgrounds during WWII – a wartime experience just minutes from FCC’s front door.  Moderated by Eileen Lamphere, and hosted in conjunction with Whitney Memorial United Methodist Church, Puyallup United Methodist Church, and the Camp Harmony Committee.  Artist Chris Demarest, currently the Artist in Residence at the Puyallup Public Library, also displayed some of his pieces representing this period in history.  A free will offering was collected to help support the coming events commemorating Camp Harmony’s 75th year.

September 2015
The Church in Pioneer Puyallup: A Historical Look at Religion in Puyallup, Andy Anderson, Puyallup Historical Society

Andy Anderson from the Puyallup Historical Society shared some of Puyallup’s history looking at the outward organizations and church buildings.  A free will offering was collected to support the Society’s goal to paint the Meeker Mansion.  To help support the Historical Society’s work, visit the Meeker Mansion website.

August 2015
Different Paths, Danita Ross and Val Karjala
Danita Ross and Val Karjala shared their story of faith as a same sex couple in the Christian church; their stories of becoming who they are, the response of the church, and what they “have experienced throughout our 25 years together…the joy from those who have understood and have been supportive, and agonizing pain over those who have rejected us or shunned us, or have not wanted to deal with the truth as to who we really are.”  Hear the audio of their presentation here.

July 2015
The Oracle, Artist Marilyn Valentine

Artist Marilyn Valentine (aka Robin’s mom!) shared her recently finished work of 37 years, The Oracle, twelve poems on eight cubes which are completely interchangeable; words may be read across and around each cube and onto any other.  Attendees engaged interactively with poetry in three dimensions.  With 48 facets, the number of potential poetic connections in the Oracle is over 110 billion!  Learn more about Marilyn at her website or her Facebook page.  A free will offering was collected to help support the Kickstarter Campaign to make replications of The Oracle available for purchase.

May 2015
I was an Accomplice to my Brother’s Suicide, Erin Schwantner

Erin Schwantner, survivor of suicide loss and public relations professional, featured on for Mental Health Month 2014, shared her story and educated us on myths and facts about suicide.  Hear her lifesaving and informative talk here or visit her blog, 4 the Love of Evan.  A free will offering was collected to benefit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.