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.


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All presentations have a free-will offering for a nonprofit or agency of the speaker’s choice.  Give online after each event at (choose Speakers Series).

Upcoming Speakers:  

November 19, 2020 – 6:30 pm    Arts Downtown Puyallup: Art in our Backyard, Becky Condra, President, Arts Downtown Puyallup
Becky Condra, president and volunteer organizer for Arts Downtown Puyallup, will join us to share about an amazing and free Art Gallery right in our own backyard. Arts Downtown, began in 1995 with a dream to build a collection of quality public art in Puyallup, a collection that today features more than 50 artworks in our outdoor gallery. An all-volunteer, non-profit organization Arts Downtown works with support from the City of Puyallup, local businesses and private citizens to provide for works in Puyallup’s outdoor gallery. They also provide educational programs and tours for the public. Their goal is to enhance visual literacy and appreciation for the arts, and to encourage cultural tourism, contributing to both the economy and quality of life within our community.  Free will offering to benefit Arts Downtown Puyallup

January 21, 2021 – 6:30 pm   Open & Affirming Churches?!? What’s all the fuss?, Robin Knauerhase, AllianceQ
Many Christian churches are “out and proud” of their welcome to queer people, flying rainbow flags and marching in pride parades. Others are more subtle, but still willing to perform marriages equally and supporting of queer people in lay leadership. Some don’t see why sex or identity should even come up in church, while some others use terms like “abomination” and would favor excommunicating a member who “came out” as LGBTQ.
In this workshop, we’ll briefly discuss how to view queer issues through a lens of contemporary theology. We’ll talk about what it means to be an “Open and Affirming Ministry” along with the reasons why public welcome is important not just for queer people in your community, but for existing members and ministries of your church. We’ll conclude with Q&A and a list of resources to help navigate the journey toward full and enthusiastic proclamation that in Christ, “All means ALL!”
Robin Knauerhase serves as Moderator of the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance and is a member of the First Christian Church of Portland.
The Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance (“AllianceQ” for short) is a national network of individuals and congregations/ministries working to create a more just and inclusive Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and to foster equality and inclusion of queer people ecumenically and in broader society. For more information, or to help support their work, please visit

February 25, 2021 – 6:30 pm  Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Pierce County, Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO, United Way of Pierce County
Most of us have heard of and even donated to United Way, but do we really understand the depth of their work, their mission and values?  United Way of Pierce County has served our community since 1921.  Their mission is to work from the heart to unite caring people to tackle our community’s toughest challenges.  By addressing the interconnected issues affecting children and families in our community, they are ensuring that families are stronger, individuals gain stability and kids are more successful.  Moving the needle on challenging, complex issues like poverty requires individual and cross-sector collaboration that are focused on results.  United Way can and does facilitate that work — they are tackling poverty, one family at a time.  Our community and our society are best when we extend a hand of compassion.  United Way knows that by bringing diverse individuals and viewpoints together, we can collectively and more effectively create opportunities for a better life for all.

April 15, 2021 – 6:30 pm  I Don’t Know How to Act My Age, Dori Gillam, Speaker, Writer, Storyteller
Join us for a lighter look at aging! According to therapists, medical professionals, and scholars, folks who live longest follow some of the same emotional practices. Dori Gillam will be our facilitator as we have fun learning the steps for aging well that everyone can adopt.  Her folks seemed to know these and both lived to be 95!
Dori is a speaker and writer, inspiring older adults to age creatively.  She writes for 3rd Act Magazine, is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for Humanities Washington, Board Chair for the NW Center for Creative Aging, Charter Member of the Age Friendly Seattle Coalition, and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity building houses around the world.

More speakers are pending, so check back often!  To receive email notifications about our speakers, subscribe at



To be rescheduled due to COVID-19:

August  2021  Steve’s Local History: JBLM’s founding, impact and lore, Steve Dunkelberger, author, journalist, and educator
This special edition of our Faith Formation Speakers Series moves to Charlie’s Restaurant so we can learn about the history of our great city without sitting through a boring lecture. Steve presents local history while everyone gets to drink and have fun. It’s part social, part performance, part educational, but all fun.
This episode of Steve’s Local History will have author, journalist and educator Steve Dunkelberger chatting about the history and lore of that big military installation just west of Puyallup.  As always, the event is free and open to the public.  Steve’s choice for a free-will offering is Historic Tacoma.  (Cash or check made out to FCC Puyallup.)

Look for information soon:  Immigration Enforcement and Policies, Melissa Campos-Castaneda, Avelar Immigration Law, PLLC 
Is everyone really welcome?  Removal defense involves representing and advocating for immigrants facing deportation from the United States. For many immigrants facing removal from the United States, the process involves appearing before an immigration judge in immigration court. Most immigrants cannot afford to have an attorney represent them in court. Sadly, legal representation is the single most important factor in determining whether someone will win or lose their case.  Melissa Campos-Castaneda is an immigration attorney practicing removal defense in the Seattle and Tacoma immigration courts, is married to a gifted artist, and has a four-year old son, Noah. She has an office in Federal Way, WA and has been practicing for 12 years.



Past Speakers:

October 15, 2020 From Flowers to Futures: The Step By Step Story, Kristin Linden, Founder and Executive Director of Step By Step
Step By Step’s founder, Krista Linden, had a dream and a desire to come alongside vulnerable families and offer friendship, support, resources, education, and connections that would promote a better life for their children. In 1997, her dream became a reality and the non-profit organization, Step By Step, was born. Today, Step-by-Step has not only helped thousands of families, but is the heart of the Germaine Korum Center, repurposed from the former site of the Van Lierop farm. Now this beloved piece of land is home to a family counseling and educational center, job training and workforce preparation facility, a culinary training program, and Farm 12, a farm to table restaurant. The farm has been transformed into a renewed place with purpose, one that will offer a unique and beautiful space to enrich lives and holistically strengthen families in our community – for generations to come.  We learned how dream is changing the world.

September 10, 2020  Enough is Enough: The Two Way Racial Healing Project, Davida Sharpe-Haygood, M.Ed.
This conversation with Puyallup’s Davida Sharpe-Haygood posed several questions around breaking up the unhealthy and abusive relationship between white and black America: What does it mean to be anti-black? What role does the church play in the complacency and encouraging racism? How do we heal as a community? Davida guided us in looking at the steps that need to be taken in the process of healing from this abusive and deeply oppressive relationship between White America and Black America, thus healing our society.
Davida has been active in Puyallup for several years, recently co-leading a peaceful protest march, and helping to create the Facebook group Puyallup United Against Fear, and recently given leadership of Puyallup for Black Lives Matter.

August 13, 2020  Be the Bridge: Racial Brokenness and Systemic Injustice with Elizabeth Behrens, BTB 101 Educator & Online Community Manager, Be the Bridge
Be the Bridge works to move people and organizations toward racial justice and reconciliation. Together we explored ways to become more aware of and respond to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. Be the Bridge encourages Christians to move toward relationship and gain a deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture. May it be the first step in a journey of discovery and learning for all of us.

July 30, 2020  Food Insecurity: It’s Not What You Think, Sue Potter, Chief Executive Officer, Nourish Pierce County
No one should go hungry. That’s why Nourish Pierce County exists. Over 100,000 people in Pierce County are food insecure. We heard about the role of food banks before, during and after COVID-19.  In Pierce County, 12% of households live in poverty and another 24% are above the poverty line, have a job, but still do not make enough to afford basic necessities such as housing, childcare, and food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. You can’t identify food insecure people by how they dress, where they live, or even the jobs they have. In fact, you’ve probably interacted with people recently who are currently struggling to afford food for themselves and their families. And it’s not that they’re not trying — food insecurity can simply become the unfortunate reality when something more crucial, like medical care, needs to be paid for. Food is often the first thing on the chopping block.  Food insecurity, it’s probably not what you think it is.

June 16, 2020  Zero Waste 101: Tackling Myths & Incorporating Sustainability into Daily Life, Krystina Jarvis, owner & founder, A Drop in the Ocean Shop
What exactly does living lightly on our planet look like?  It’s a bunch of small daily actions, and small daily choices.  But over time, those small choices can feel like a rolling snowball, getting bigger and bigger, faster and faster, and more and more difficult to manage.  We learned to beat the burnout in this workshop with Krystina Jarvis, owner and founder of A Drop in the Ocean, Tacoma’s first zero waste shop.  No matter where we were in our sustainability journey, we walk away with practical skills to master our personal journey, avoid overwhelm, and conquer the snowball once and for all.
At our request, Krystina also showed some of her zero waste products.
Krystina’s choice for a free-will offering was the Vermillion Sea Institute
.  We were thrilled to be able to present them with a $145 offering.

February 20, 2020  Living Life on Purpose and Inspiring Others to do the Same, Erin Jones
Erin shared her personal story into faith and into finding her purpose. Erin is a transracial adoptee who was raised in the Netherlands by educators. She returned to the U.S. for college and struggled to find her place and identity across an ocean from family and all she knew.  Erin encouraged us to dream big dreams, invest in becoming our best selves and love others courageously.  Read more about Erin in the Seattle Medium: Erin Jones: My Face And My Hair Doesn’t Represent The Fullness Of My Story

January 16, 2020  DIY Beeswax Wraps, Robin Crabb, Creation Care Advocate, FCC Puyallup Green Team Member
Beeswax wraps are useful for food storage and more, and are one way we can rethink our habitual reach for plastic and model our desire to do better.  Three reusable beeswax wraps in lieu of plastic wrap, foil, or a baggie won’t save the planet, but will result in less single-use plastic in the landfill and ocean, and a fun, easy lesson with others who care.  Organic, sustainable materials were used.

December 5, 2019  Gender 101, Laura Johnson, MA, LMHC, Holding Out Hope Counseling
Through presentation we will came away with a better understanding of gender identity.  We learned vocabulary that will make us a more knowledgeable and welcoming community, and learned about the challenges that the gender-non-conforming community faces on a daily basis.  And finally, we learned a new perspective that will increase our tolerance of differences.

November 7, 2019  Basic Beekeeping and Care, Alisa Shorey, owner, Dolce Bella Bees, Past President of the Pierce County Beekeepers Association
Bees are vital to a healthy environment and healthy economy. They’re also simply beautiful and fascinating little insects. Learn more about the importance of bees, our reliance on these tiny creatures and how they can help us. Bees are also in trouble. There is growing public and political concern at bee decline across the world. This decline is caused by a combination of stresses – from loss of their habitat and food sources to exposure to pesticides and the effects of climate change. More than ever before, we need to recognize the importance of bees to nature and to our lives. Learn more about Alisa in the News Tribune

October 17, 2019 Is Your Life too Plastic? Abbe Gore, Plastics Ain’t Our Bag, So. King Co.
Plastics have become an insidious part of our everyday lives. Contents from plastics end up in our oceans, waterways, and make their way into food chains.  In this important event, we learned about global plastic pollution and some concrete suggestions and actions we can take personally in our own lives to reduce plastic consumption.  Followed by discussion and Q & A.  Follow Plastic Ain’t Our Bag in South King County on Facebook

August 15, 2019  Life Takes Place on Land, Jordan Rash, Senior Conservation Director, Forterra  How we use our land creates our future. Washington’s local land trust for 30 years, Forterra helps communities harness the power of land, completing 400+ land deals covering over 250,000 acres—four times the footprint of Seattle—protecting old growth and mountaintops, saving farms from becoming sub-developments, and securing land in the heart of cities for affordable housing.  From wildlands and working farms and forests, to places in the city for affordable housing, parks and the arts, Forterra works simultaneously across all landscapes because they are interconnected. And ultimately people and lands must all thrive together.  Learn more about Forterra 

July 18, 2019  Hands-On Acrylic Painting Lesson, Angie Capps, Owner, Art Studio 27 
This painting class was for all levels of artistic ability, from the person who thought they couldn’t draw a stick figure to the most experienced artist. We relaxed, painted, and left with our very own masterpiece!  Learn more about Art Studio 27

June 20, 2019  Culture-Changing Creative Housing Solutions and Our Current Housing Crisis, Todd McKellips, Founder of the Washington Tiny House Association 
Todd McKellips, chaplain, social entrepreneur, and founder of the Washington Tiny House Association hosted an honest discussion about homelessness, what affordable housing currently is, what creative concepts are coming, and the need for people of faith to be in the forefront of creating innovative solutions.

May 16, 2019   A Conversation on the Multifaceted Impact of Race and Minority Status on Health and Wellness, Dr. Laura Peñalver-Vargas, PsyD
The number of infants who die before their first birthday is much higher in the U.S. than in other countries.  And for African Americans the rate is nearly twice as high as for white Americans:  even well-educated black women have birth outcomes worse than white women who haven’t finished high school.  Additionally alarming is that, according to the latest CDC data, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health.  Why?

Using this startling statistic about health disparities facing black women as a focal point, join us to discuss the latest research regarding such unequal outcomes and the impact racism, implicit bias, and other forces has on the daily life of individuals of diverse, particularly minority, backgrounds.  Find out steps that we as individuals and collectively as a community can take to address such disparities and promote health and wellness across all members of our community.

March 28, 2019 Food Access Opportunities in Pierce County, Kristin McIvor, Pierce Conservation District 
We learned about the work of Harvest Pierce County, a program of the Pierce Conservation District, to connect people to their food supply, their environment, and their community.  Through community gardening, gleaning or small-scale farming, they are working to build a local food system that all have access to.

April 4, 2019  Essential Oils in Biblical and Modern Times, Cynthia Harp, owner of the Essentials Oil Bar
Essential oils are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. During the reflective season of Lent, we learned about and experienced holy oils as Cynthia Harp shared information about their use in both biblical and modern times, and their common uses both then and now.

February 21, 2019  You Are the Lifeblood: Give Blood. Save Lives, Kara Jovag, Cascade Regional Blood Services Donor Resources Supervisor
Cascade Regional Blood Services is your local blood center providing a constant supply of safe blood to local hospitals, like Good Sam.  Participants learned about the patients they serve and who their donors are.  We heard about who needs blood transfusions, who can (and does) donate, and how one donation can help save the lives of 3 people!  Even if we can’t be a blood donor, we can make a difference.  You Are the Lifeblood!  Together we save lives every single day, right here in Pierce County.

January 17, 2019 –   Rescue, Love, Repeat.  Life at an Animal Rescue, Donna Zierenberg, Sunny Sky’s Animal Rescue and Hospital
This presentation covered the day to day operations at an animal rescue and shelter. How the animals came to them, the work of volunteers, fundraising, events, and their hope for future. They shared their success stories about animals that have came to them in terrible shape, how they were returned to good health and found their forever home. Sunny Sky’s hopes after this time together, you have a better understanding of the challenges and wins that take place at the shelter, their home away from home.  For more information, visit Sunny Sky’s website.

December 6, 2018 –   Ecclesiastical Architecture and the History of our Own Church Architecture, Michael Houser, Washington State’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
We were able to explore the history and development of ecclesiastical architecture across Washington with State Architectural Historian Michael Houser.  This visual tour helped us discover the different types and styles of churches and who designed them.  Houser also shared details about which churches are listed on the National Register and the process for listing, as well as teaching us about our about our own church architect, Durham, Anderson & Freed.  The firm designed over 200 churches across the Pacific Northwest.  Visit to learn more.

November 2018  Zero Waste, Plastics and More, Heather Trim, Executive Director, Zero Waste Washington
Plastics are everywhere and their impacts and management are a growing concern around the Pacific NW and globally.  We participated with Zero Waste Washington in a conversation highlighting current knowledge of plastics, from microplastics in marine waters to plastics recycling challenges.  In 2017 over 300 million tons of new plastic were produced globally, and 1/3 of this was used in plastic packaging, including bags, bottles, containers and wrappers. Even in Washington State where we have strong waste reduction goals, only 15% of plastic waste is recycled. What happens to the rest of it?  In this presentation, you learned about plastic waste and what is being done to reduce plastic pollution in our region.

October 2018 Cavorting in Caves Familiar and Unfamiliar, Georgia S. McDade, Ph. D, Author/Poet/Historian, African American Writers Alliance
Georgia S. McDade, Ph. D., delighted us with her personal stories and poems from her four books of poetry:  Outside the Cave I, II, III, and IV.  Family, friends, foes, nature, relationships, aging, reconciliation, losses, observations, successes, failures, perspectives, race, love, disappointment, beginnings, endings, history, politics, religion—all are among the many subjects she covers and sometimes re-covers.  McDade’s favorite description of her work comes from an excellent student and great friend: “But you’re not just a great teacher of literature—you teach sociology, anthropology, history, economics, political science, psychology, journalism, religion!  And politics:  I never thought of everything being political until I took your class.”

September 2018  Women and Heart Disease -What is the risk? Pam Kozu RN, MN Manager Prevention and Outreach Pulse Heart Institute
Heart disease is a serious problem in the United States. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, with around 610,000 deaths each year. What’s more, every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Some risk factors for heart disease, such as age, gender and family history, are beyond your control. But, fortunately, many risk factors — like diet, smoking and exercise — are things that you can change to reduce your risk and protect your heart. This presentation increased our awareness of the dangers of heart disease specifically in women, showed us how to make healthy lifestyle choices and how to modify risk factors to improve cardiac health.  Learn more by visiting the Pulse Heart Institute.

August 2018 Communities In Schools of Puyallup, Jan Mauk, Executive Director
Communities In Schools of Puyallup is a local nonprofit organization that works directly inside schools, connecting community resources to students and building relationships that empower students to succeed inside and outside the classroom. In this presentation we learned about their unique model of site coordination and how we could become involved in helping to support students in our community.

August 2018
Overcoming Addiction, Heidi Krotzer, E-RYT500, YACEP, Executive Director, Yoga Soleil
Many lives have been affected by the devastation of addiction.  Often, we are lost in a sea of statistics, with the portrayal of addiction looking grim as if reserved for only the poor or unfortunate.  The reality is that it is often much closer to home than we think.  Heidi’s story is proof that there is hope for those affected by this disease; friends and family included.  It is possible to come out on the other side, healthier… happier… and more connected than the addict or their loved ones ever thought possible.  Heidi shared her story of overcoming addiction with the help of yoga and 12 Step fellowships.  We learned how Heidi is able to continue to heal and grow, while giving back to the community and those who need it most.

July 2018
Breast Health 101, Jennifer Witte, ARNP, Carol Milgard Breast Center
We shared conversation regarding the importance of breast health, discussing discussing risk factors, screening guidelines and the importance of early detection.  We also learned about the Carol Milgard Breast Center and the amazing work they’re doing to help our underserved communities.

June 2018
A Conversation on Forgiveness, Dr. Laura Peñalver-Vargas, PsyD
To forgive is deeply rooted in many of the world’s religious teachings, beliefs, and practices.  For many, these provide a roadmap and a resource for forgiveness — a touchstone that helps to deal with what otherwise might be too overwhelming.  But the research in forgiveness also shows us that forgiveness is a teachable process that can rest outside of a specific spiritual practice.  We shared a conversation about forgiveness.  Participants were invited to explore the definition of and conditions for forgiveness, what the latest psychological research tells us about the benefits of forgiveness, and steps to forgiveness or how to forgive.

May 2018
Basic Estate Planning, Kevin M. Boyle & Roxane L. Neslund, Attorneys at Law
This presentation focused on the basics of estate planning.  Control and management of estates during life, at the end of life, and after death were presented. The various types of estate planning documents were also discussed and the purpose and language of these documents, both necessary and elective, were reviewed.  For more information visit

April 2018
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.  We learned how we can be a part of natural yard care in Pierce County.

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.


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