Speakers Series

Our 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.

“Goal: All individuals are proactively engaged in a lifelong process of learning
and growing… We are a vibrant learning community.”
-from the FCC Puyallup Ministry Plan

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Miss one?  Many presentations are recorded and on the FCC Puyallup YouTube Channel on the Speakers Series playlist

All presentations have a free-will offering for a nonprofit or agency of the speaker’s choice; to date over $4700 has been donated.  Give online after each event at FCCPuyallup.com/donate (choose Speakers Series).

Upcoming Speakers

(currently on Zoom; email webmaster@fccpuyallup.com for the link)
Recordings available on the FCC Puyallup YouTube channel

Thursday, April 7, 6:30 pm Happening Right In Your Backyard!, Kim & Chris Chisholm, Proprietors, Wolf Camp & School of Natural Science
Join us for a real springtime treat with Wolf Camp & School of Natural Science proprietors Kim & Chris Chisholm. This will be more than a talk! Kim & Chris will broadcast a live, interactive tour around their Blue Skye Farm property, situated adjacent to the Meeker Creek restoration site and Clark’s Creek Park. The property is one of Puyallup’s hidden gems, once the historic Dickie Farm until Kim’s grandparents bought the 11-acre property and raised six boys there until selling 10 of the acres to the city as part of a wetlands preservation project.
Kim and Chris have a set of skills unique to our community.  They specialize in wild edible and medicinal plants, wildlife tracking and birding, wilderness survival, animal husbandry and horticulture.  Busy working all summer, they now spend most of the fall and winter doing community service work, and this spring they are launching monthly Accessible Northwest Natural History Hikes in association with Puyallup’s own Matt Budzak (our May speaker!) to highlight accessible trails in the area. Their first hike is set for Earth Day, April 22nd from 6-8 pm in Wildwood Park!
This interactive Zoom talk will fill you with stories and wisdom about our local flora and fauna, while also filling your hearts with encouragement and optimism to know that people like Kim and Chris are living right here in our community, serving the earth as well as lifting people up in pursuit of a healthy, just, and equitable life for everyone. They welcome questions throughout this virtual experience about local natural history and how access to nature is critical for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

Thursday, May 26, 6:30 pm Overcoming Obstacles, Matt Budzak, Speaker & Consultant
Come hear the touching story of Puyallup’s Matt Budzak who survived childhood despite medical challenges, overcoming disappointments, and discrimination in school. Matt has also recovered from alcohol and prescription drug addiction as a young adult, and finally reached an enlightened state of sobriety, sharing inspirational, non-confrontational social media posts and videos every day that address disability education, accessibility advocacy, and issues of the day. To read more about Matt, visit his website at https://mattbudzak.com


More speakers are pending, so check back often!
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See the amazing array of past speakers below.



Past Speakers:

March 10  Puyallup Tribe of Indians Historic Preservation Dept., Charlotte Basch, Historic Education Coordinator
In keeping with First Christian Church of Puyallup’s desire to partner with all neighbors in the community, we engaged in meaningful conversation about local tribal history in Puyallup. Charlotte Basch from the Puyallup Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office shared an overview of the Tribe’s history, culture, and continued existence. In preparation, we were encouraged to visit the Tribe’s website to learn more about their ongoing efforts to uplift tribal history. http://puyallup-tribe.com/ourtribe/

February 10, 2022  EVs are easy to fall in LOVE with, Adam Crawford, Outreach Mgr., Puget Sound Energy
All things electric vehicles! From cost-savings to reducing our carbon footprint, PSE helped us understand the costs and benefits of driving an EV.  There’s a reliable, safe and fun electric car for you!  They:
· are fun to drive.  · require less maintenance and cost less to fuel.  · are no big deal to charge, with a little planning.  · have batteries that are proven and safe.  · are healthier for our planet.

January 27, 2022  Food Brings People Together: Preserving for the Community, Hal Meng, Executive Director, Center for Food Preservation Arts
Food is one of the things we all require: healthy nourishment. CFPA promotes community through the sharing of knowledge and techniques, and the very act of food preservation. The philosophy that we can take control of our own food from “Seed to Shelf to Table” unites CFPA’s strategies and related activities under one umbrella to support the local food system from planting, harvesting, and sharing. We learned some basics of home preserving, and how this little organization uses preserving to benefit others.

January 19, 2022  COVID & Vax Q&A: Let’s get the facts, Dr. Matt Brignall & Rachel Hauser, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
Dr. Matt spoke about Omicron, vaccines updates, new isolation and quarantine guidance, and new therapeutic options — and answered all of our questions!

November 9, 2021  City Adventures, Nancy Glen, author
Author Nancy Glen has written a delightful series of family books that brings cities to life, including Puyallup. The City Adventure books are illustrated with beautiful watercolors by her sister, Julia Glen. Featured on KING5 TV, these sisters not only share the joy and hidden treasures of local cities, they are also honest about the history, knowing that unless we understand our history, we may repeat it.

October 14, 2021 Intrinsically Connected: Stories of a Salish Artist, Peter Boome, Coast Salish Artist
Coast Salish artist Peter Boome is a member of the Upper Skagit tribe of Washington. As an active member of his community, Peter enjoys giving back. He has introduced the work of many artists previously under the radar. He continues to strive toward the expansion of tribal art. Find his art at Araquin Designs and in art galleries around the world.

April 15, 2021  I Don’t Know How to Act My Age, Dori Gillam, Speaker, Writer, Storyteller

We enjoyed 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 was our facilitator as we had fun learning the steps for aging well that everyone can adopt.  Her folks seemed to know these and both lived to be 95!

February 25, 2021 Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Pierce County, Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO, United Way of Pierce County
We learned about United Way’s work, mission, and values; tackling poverty, one family at a time since 1921.  Their mission is to unite people to tackle our community’s toughest challenges, knowing by bringing diverse individuals and viewpoints together, we can collectively and more effectively create opportunities for a better life for all.

January 2021 – Open & Affirming Churches?!? What’s all the fuss?, Robin Knauerhase, the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance (AllianceQ)
We discussed how to view queer issues through a lens of contemporary theology. We talked 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.

November 2020 – Arts Downtown Puyallup: Art in our Backyard, Becky Condra, President, Arts Downtown Puyallup
Becky Condra, president and volunteer organizer for Arts Downtown Puyallup, shared 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. 

October 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 helped thousands of families.

September 2020 – Enough is Enough: The Two Way Racial Healing Project, Davida Sharpe-Haygood, M.Ed.
Puyallup’s Davida Sharpe-Haygood 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.

August 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. We explored ways to become more aware of and respond to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world.

July 2020 – Food Insecurity: It’s Not What You Think, Sue Potter, Chief Executive Officer, Nourish Pierce County
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. Food insecurity, it’s probably not what you think it is.

June 2020 – Zero Waste 101: Tackling Myths & Incorporating Sustainability into Daily Life, Krystina Jarvis, owner & founder, A Drop in the Ocean Shop
Living lightly on our planet is a bunch of small daily actions, and small daily choices.  We came away with practical skills to master our personal journeyand avoid overwhelm.

February 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 encouraged us to dream big dreams, invest in becoming our best selves and love others courageously.

January 2020 – DIY Beeswax Wraps, Robin Crabb, Creation Care Advocate, FCC Puyallup Green Team Member
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 2019 – Gender 101, Laura Johnson, MA, LMHC, Holding Out Hope Counseling
We 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.

November 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. We learned about the importance of bees and how they can help us, and that there is bee decline across the world caused by a combination of loss of their habitat and food sources to exposure to pesticides and the effects of climate change.

October 2019 – Is Your Life too Plastic? Abbe Gore, Plastics Ain’t Our Bag, So. King Co.
We learned about global plastic pollution and some concrete suggestions and actions we can take personally in our own lives to reduce plastic consumption.

August 2019 – Life Takes Place on Land, Jordan Rash, Senior Conservation Director, Forterra
Washington’s local land trust for 30 years, Forterra has completed 400+ land deals covering over 250,000 acres protecting old growth and mountaintops, saving farms from becoming sub-developments, and securing land in the heart of cities for affordable housing.

July 2019 – Hands-On Acrylic Painting Lesson, Angie Capps, Owner, Art Studio 27 
This painting class was for all levels of artistic ability. We relaxed, painted, and left with our very own masterpiece!  Learn more about Art Studio 27

June 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, and innovative solutions.

May 2019 – A Conversation on the Multifaceted Impact of Race and Minority Status on Health and Wellness, Dr. Laura Peñalver-Vargas, PsyDS
Using statistics about health disparities facing black women as a focal point, we discussed the latest research regarding such unequal outcomes and the impact racism, implicit bias, and other forces.

March 2019 – Food Access Opportunities in Pierce County, Kristin McIvor, Pierce Conservation District 
The work of Harvest Pierce County of the Pierce Conservation District connects people to their food supply, their environment, and their community.  Through community gardening, gleaning or small-scale farming, they are building a local food system that all have access to.

April 2019 – Essential Oils in Biblical and Modern Times, Cynthia Harp, owner of the Essentials Oil Bar
We learned about and experienced holy oils as Cynthia Harp shared information about their use in both biblical and modern times.

February 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.

January 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.

December 2018 Ecclesiastical Architecture and the History of our Own Church Architecture, Michael Houser, Washington State’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
We explored the history ecclesiastical architecture across Washington, as well as our own church’s architect, Durham, Anderson & Freed, who designed over 200 churches across the Pacific Northwest.

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.  In this presentation, we 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.

September 2018 – Women and Heart Disease -What is the risk? Pam Kozu RN, MN Manager Prevention and Outreach Pulse Heart Institute
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.

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.

August 2018 – Overcoming Addiction, Heidi Krotzer, E-RYT500, YACEP, Executive Director, Yoga Soleil
Many lives have been affected by the devastation of addiction.  Heidi shared her story of overcoming addiction with the help of yoga and 12 Step fellowships.

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.

June 2018 – A Conversation on Forgiveness, Dr. Laura Peñalver-Vargas, PsyD
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.

April 2018 – Natural Yard Care and Backyard Stewardship, Mike Halliday, Pierce County Public Information Specialist
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
Through the Zentangle Method of drawing, you can relax, focus, expand your imagination, trust your creativity, increase your awareness, respond confidently to the unexpected, and discover fun and healing in creative expression.

February 2018 – Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Roxanne Castleman, Pierce County Emergency Management
Pierce County Emergency Management focuses on preparing our whole community for disasters through emergency preparedness. By planning ahead, we can increase our ability to survive and thrive in the face of disaster.

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 a community can offer understanding and support.

December 2017 – Finding Grace in the Midst of Anxiety, Luke Sumner, Pastor, Our Common Table Church
Mental illness gets a lot of airtime lately, yet many do not understand all that falls under this broad term.  If we in the church want to better engage our world today, it is vital that we understand the mental illnesses that push people to the streets, but also the quieter forms that people 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.

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. A true university of the world, not-for-profit Road Scholar’s meaningful 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.

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.

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 using a worm bin.

June 2017 – Buddhist Meditation, Gen Kelsang Wangpo, Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center
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.

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.

April 2017 – Why ‘Green’ is the way to Clean, Kari Ann Elling, Pierce County Public Works
We learned about common household products, identifying what makes them hazardous, and how to avoid them by making our own.

March 2017 – Life is Fragile, Handle with Food, Sherry Fry, Common Sense Nutritional Therapy
Sherry Fry of Common Sense Nutritional Therapy shared how to sustain optimal health by conquering the “grocery jungle” and identifying those edible impostors.

February 2017 – Meditation and Mindfulness, Anne Arston, Yoga Soleil
Anne Arntson of Yoga Soleil Puyallup introduced the basics of Meditation & Mindfulness.

January 2017 – Life is a Precious Gift, Puyallup Author Lon Cole
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 and how it has led to racist policies and theology in the Church and how it has and is effecting our communities today.
Update:  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.
In January 2017, consensus was reached by the FCC Puyallup Council to co-sign the resolution going to the General Assembly in July 2017, condemning and renouncing the Doctrine, and encourage others to do the same.  At the July 2017 General Assembly, 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.

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 NW Regional Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), helped 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.

April 2016 – A Welcoming Place for All Children, Dr. Tim Yeomans, Supt. Puyallup Public Schools
Dr. Tim Yeomans, Superintendent of Puyallup Public Schools, spoke on the role of the school district and community in caring for all children in the public school system, the district’s commitment to meeting the ever-diversifying needs of the community, its role in the community, and its partnerships.

March 2016 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  An Interfaith DialogJoachim Pestinger
Joachim Pestinger led a dialog on the commonalities between LDS and Protestant churches, and 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 and the agricultural roots of Jewish and Christian holidays and rituals.

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.

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.  Artist Chris Demarest also displayed pieces representing this period in history.

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.

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.

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.

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 CNN.com for Mental Health Month 2014, shared her story and educated us on myths and facts about suicide.


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