Why Interfaith?

Debbie Carley leads a small group ministry that is learning about other religions.  Recently, she shared with Pastor Kristin why this is important to her.

While Debbie’s children were going through the confirmation classes at Bothell United Methodist Church, she was happy that a part of the curriculum was that they visited other religious services. Later, when she served at the UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake City, she immersed herself in learning about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This inspired her to bring other people together as a small group to learn about other faiths.


The group is interested in understanding how their neighbors view various social issues through the lens of their faith. Debbie knows that everyone has a belief about social issues, and she wanted to understand how religions form these beliefs, and why. What she is learning is that each religion points to an understanding that there is something larger than us, a concern for something greater.

In meeting with people in our community, the group has met with people who have deep faith. They have found people with a real commitment to their religion and to living out their lives according to their beliefs. Debbie has a lot of respect for how each person has been able to express their beliefs and share aspects of their religion that are different or new to the small group. It has been easy to do this with an open and receptive mind because they are simply trying to listen, and to learn. The group was encouraged to attend the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group’s Interfaith Dialogue event, held on March 26, 2019, in order to hear perspectives discussed together.

Pastor Anja from Northlake Lutheran and Imam Abdirahman from the Islamic Center of Bothell at the KBIG Interfaith Dialogue event
Imam Abdirahman and President Ken Williams from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Bothell Stake

Debbie’s experience has shown her how people find comfort and meaning in religion, especially for people who are searching for something or want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. She has also noticed that each religion, including our own, has things that are difficult to believe, but that doesn’t bother her. She said that she doesn’t have to share their beliefs to understand where they are coming from. She hasn’t heard anyone say that they have all the answers, or that their religion is the correct one. If anyone had all the answers, she doubts that we’d keep gathering, and that is an important part of any religion.

All of this can help her look at Christianity, and how she lives out her life as a United Methodist, in considering how other religions emphasize certain aspects, such as family, health and serving others. It has helped her get a broader view of Christianity and of humanity.

Pastor Darren Twa from Life Fellowship and Mary Ellen Togtman-Wood from Bahai’s of Snohomish County

Attending the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group’s Interfaith Dialogue event was enlightening. She was impressed by how the panelists modeled how we can be in discussion with people who are different from ourselves. As free as we are to practice our religion, she is hopeful that all others can be as free to practice theirs. The event showed us how we can be open minded and learn to listen to one another. This is how we build peace in our world.


To learn more about the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group, please like them on Facebook, or check out their website.


Interfaith Praise and Thanks!

Cynthia Dickman, one of the Bothell United Methodist Church Lay Leaders, participated as a musician in the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group “Songs of Thanksgiving Interfaith Service” on Sunday night, November 11, 2018.  Here is what she experienced:

What a delight!  The Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group (KBIG) “Songs of Thanksgiving Interfaith Service” gathered diverse communities of faith in expressions of thanksgiving to God on November 11th.  We heard ensembles, soloists, and diverse instrumentations singing and playing acknowledgement of God’s goodness.



As a participant from the hosting faith group, Bothell United Methodist Church, I enjoyed expressing praise and thanks to God in the company of other groups of faith from our larger neighborhood.  Buildings of various worshiping groups do not speak to our larger faith community expressing thanks to God.  Wow!

The “Remarks” by the groups Christian Family Fellowship, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Baha’is of Snohomish County, Islamic Center of Bothell, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Bothell United Methodist Church provided insight into the origins, history, values, and expressions of thanksgiving of these faith groups.  As one woman stated to me, as she pressed her chest over her heart, the language of music is universal.  Men, women, and youth contributed their gifts of composition, singing, and playing instruments.  Smiles were evident on the faces of those listening and those performing.  The Baha’i youth music ensemble of song, guitar, and ukulele provided additional joy through their humor and expressions of faith.

Thanksgiving Bahai singers

The colorfully dressed ensemble from the Sikh Center of Seattle, located on the Bothell Everett Highway, provided singing and instrumentation typically used in their services. At the close of the service, one of our Bothell United Methodist trio asked about one of their instruments, the harmonium.We discussed their language and origins of their faith in India/Pakistan. I experienced such a loving, welcoming spirit with their group.  What a witness to me of the hunger for acceptance of diversity.  One of their group suggested all groups should use slides with the English words, that KBIG hold interfaith meetings about religious histories, and visits be arranged to other communities of faith.

Thanksgiving Sikh close up singers

Now when I pass the Bothell branch of the Sikh Center of Seattle, I will remember the warm, smiling faces of the small group who invited us to their meetings.  As one of the faces of a Christian and a member of Bothell United Methodist Church, I can see a greater trust growing in our communities, when we reach out in humility and thankfulness.  Thanks be to God!

Here are some more photos of the event:

You can find Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group on Facebook or their website.

Community Engagement

Where are we engaged in the community? A note from Rev. Kristin Joyner, Director of Community Engagement at Bothell United Methodist Church.

Community Engagement is one way we live out our faith, a way that we can say to the world that we are disciples of Jesus. This is because community is where people are, and it is in the people that we find our connections to one another and to the whole kin-dom of God. Staying within our home and church usually means that we are around people who look and think like we do. As United Methodists we humbly acknowledge that we don’t know the extent of God’s work in the world, outside the church. It is in our communities where we can experience God at work and participate in the Missio Dei.

In the past year, I have worked in various areas outside my local church and in the local community to find areas for community engagement. This work is a lot of listening, prayer, research, sleuthing, networking, and a lot of meetings. This work, however, is the discovery of ways and places that invite us towards action.

In monthly meetings with other faith communities in Bothell and Kenmore, the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group discusses the various opportunities for shared resources, ministries and projects. This is also a resource for interfaith dialogue, an important component to building peace and understanding in a diverse world.

Inter faith Group meeting at Sikh Center of Seattle

It is with this group that we were able to work with the Cities of Bothell and Kenmore for approval and funding to open the Winter Shelter for the first time ever in this part of the county. This shelter was hosted at a local church for the month of October and moves to a new indoor location each month. This shelter uses volunteers for meals, companionship, and even professional services such as nursing and legal help. Send a note to lakecitypartners@gmail.com to volunteer.

It is also with the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group that we have discovered a common concern for housing in our area and have co-sponsored public forums on housing issues and the cities’ housing strategies. We are beginning a workgroup on Housing issues in order to study and advocate for affordable housing in Bothell and Kenmore. This work currently involves attending the City’s planning commission meetings about mobile home parks to hear from the property owners and home owners, and to encourage the City to use their power to increase the availability of housing for the people who work in this area. Message the KBIG Facebook page if you are interested in participating.

Screenshot (6).png

Mary’s Place Northshore opened in Kenmore within the past year. They came here because of the recognition that there were no other services for families experiencing homelessness in our school district. It is a wonderful location that can house up to 80 people.

They are professionally staffed but love individual volunteers for companionship, childcare, or hobby or crafts experiences, or musical lessons. Their volunteer training is structured and can be accessed online. Similar opportunities to engage with previously homeless women are available at New Ground Bothell, down the hill from our church. We welcome them with generous donations of material goods for their move-in needs, and also are hosting a monthly cooking class for the moms. I know they would love more involvement with transportation and mentoring.

Monthly meetings with the Northshore School District Human Services Consortium is how I learn about the needs that arise for students and the solutions that exist in King and Snohomish Counties. Supporting the students in our area is a way to build strong foundations and networks that assure student success. This is why we worked with other faith communities for Community Serve Day this past summer and will do that again in 2018.


Supporting the Northshore Foundation’s  MILK program in May, feeding hungry high school kids and weekend backpacks for the elementary families is one way we are engaged, as well as hosting youth enrichment programs in our building!


Threads & Treads is the only free clothing resource for families in this area and is supported by many of our volunteers in the sorting room. Because of volunteers, the store is open on Wednesdays from 3-6pm. If there were more volunteers, they would be able to open more often. A Saturday crew would be a big help to families who work during the week. To volunteer, email jowelleileen@gmail.com.

The City of Bothell holds public meetings in addition to the City Council meetings. These are called “Community Conversations.” Attending, and engaging in these meetings and discussions allows me to hear the broader concerns of the community. It was through these conversations that a group formed in order to hold a community-wide forum on the Opiod Crisis so the public could get their questions answered and become educated on how they can participate in solutions. Cities send out newsletters, you can subscribe on their websites to stay informed.

Hearing about the increasing needs in our communities and the apparent lack of accessible information and resources, I was able to partner with the City of Bothell, Cascadia College, Social Grounds and Lakeside-Milam to hold 4 public Community Resource Days. Volunteers from our church helped to staff those.


As my knowledge and awareness of local resources has increased, I am able to share that with our staff and volunteers. This makes us more helpful with many of the guests at Bothell Community Kitchen and those who come into our office during the week. We know that increasing the awareness of our local resources with all the public – with you – will create more pathways to the resources for those who need them.


Bothell Community Kitchen is continuing to attract volunteers from our community and the guests come from many adjoining areas. It is one place in our community where I am reminded of the diversity available to us in the kin-dom of God, our Beloved Community. BCK has a Facebook page and sign-ups online for volunteering.

We also engage in the community and connection of the United Methodist Church. Riverton Park UMC is in an area of extremely high numbers of immigrants, refugees and people experiencing homelessness. They have a large property that is being converted to transitional housing opportunities and our work team will go there once a month to help in this effort. Information is posted on the Event page for Bothell UMC.

We continue to engage in the United Methodist Committee on Relief and our 4th team will be headed to Salt Lake City to UMCOR West in September of 2018. Contact Office@bothellumc.org for more information.


A team is also going to Jamaa Letu in the Democratic Republic of Congo the summer of 2018 which I will lead for the people from United Methodist Churches in Rochester and Yakima, Washington. A large part of this work is figuring out ways to raise money for educational scholarships for these kids who are ready for college, but have no parents to pay tuition and no local scholarships.


Coming up – we have plans to hold Sunday afternoon forums on various Social Justice topics. These will be opportunities to learn about times to consider table turning actions. We will hear from the director of Faith Action Network, and are working on other topics such as Earth Ministry, Zero Waste education and more.

Community engagement is responding to needs, becoming educated, working alongside people who are different from us and all of it is about building relationships. When working alongside people isn’t possible, sometimes fundraising is. If there is an issue that is dear to your heart, but the work isn’t something you can do there is still a way to be involved. Perhaps this is writing letters of advocacy or maybe it’s becoming educated on the topic so you can talk to small groups about it, or maybe it’s forming a guild with your friends so that you can raise money using whatever gifts or talents you have for the passion or project that you share.

When your passions meet the needs in our communities, you are using your gifts to bear fruit as a disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. If you are moved to action as a way to live out your faith, please contact me at Kristin@bothellumc.org.




Summer 2017 Invitation for Community Engagement!

Please read below for some continuing and some brand new opportunities for engaging in solutions to the problems in our communities. Construction, feeding, serving, painting, folding, sorting, cooking, driving, traveling are the various skills and interests needed. Grab a friend, sign up and we’ll continue our work to become Christ in the community!

Threads & Treads – Provides clothing to families of Northshore School District. Sorting, hanging, organizing clothing on various dates throughout the summer.


Bothell Community Kitchen (BCK)– Serving food for 50+ people every Sunday night at 5pm. Like to cook, but aren’t sure how to do that for BCK? Contact BCK@Bothellumc.org and someone will talk to you about it! You can also sign up to serve food, clean tables or do prepwork in the kitchen.


New Ground Bothell – Welcoming young moms out of homelessness and into transitional housing. Drivers are needed for grocery store runs.


UMCOR West – United Methodist Committee on Relief – Come with a team of 10 people in October for a week in Salt Lake City preparing disaster relief kits. Let Kristin know your interest by mid-July to start planning!

school pack assembly sam and faye 2015

Community Serve Day – Sunday, August 20th from 9am – 1pm, sign up with your family and friends or the person sitting next to you on Sundays to work in the schools preparing for the new school year!

If you have construction, painting, electrical, drywall, plumbing or any building skills, please contact Kristin to hear about an upcoming opportunity for connectional ministry with a local United Methodist Church! Stay tuned for exciting details!!

Winter Shelter – People who are living outside will have an opportunity to be inside in the Winter Shelter that will be located in Kenmore in October and will move each month to a different congregation in Lake City and Shoreline. This is the Winter Shelter that we will be supporting. Your planning skills are needed now, contact Nancy at nanted@comcast.net! Stay tuned for how you can help this coming Fall and Winter by helping to host and prepare meals for about 30 people. This is in partnership with the Kenmore Bothell Interfaith Group.

If you would like to lead a ministry or gather more people to talk about how to engage in the community on any particular issue, or if you would like to know more about any of these opportunities to engage in the community, please contact Kristin@BothellUMC.org

  • Submitted by Kristin Joyner


Getting Involved in Ministries

How can you be involved in ministries at Bothell United Methodist Church? Contact any of the following ministries that interest you!

In April :

As a member of the Kenmore\Bothell Interfaith Group, you can participate in events, and educational opportunities that engage in the community with people of other faiths. Find out more on the KBIG Facebook Page.  The Spring Community Park Clean up is Saturday, April 23, 2016 9am – noon for all ages. Details on the Facebook Event page.

Join in the Focus On Homelessness discussions, usually once per month – watch for details in the E-news or Witness. We are working to discern our call towards solutions on this issue. Next Meeting: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 11:45 am in the Lounge.

Giving blood saves lives. Find our schedule and hours on the BUMC FB Events page, and donate when you can! Next blood drive, Monday, April 25, 2016 1pm – 7pm

Care Day is an annual event that allows people to access human services providers in one location, on one day. This year, the date is Friday, June 24, 2016. Sign up to help at http://careday.net/volunteer-care-day/  Language interpreters are much needed, if you are multi-lingual please consider this opportunity.

Ongoing Opportunities:

Threads & Treads has a regular sorting party every Wednesday morning from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and always welcomes new people to help! T&T is a clothing bank for families of the Northshore School District and is located at Canyon Park Jr. High School.Contact Cheryl Dineen @ missions@bothellumc.org

Eastside Baby Corner fills clothing orders for families on the Eastside.Contact Vicki Jacobsen at missions@bothellumc.org

Bothell Community Kitchen needs volunteers for preparing and serving dinner every Sunday night at 5pm. Sign up at http://www.bothellumc.org/index.php/bothell-community-kitchen-info

We are a part of the Northshore Community Schools program which partners the schools with community groups for the success of all NSD students. If you would like to help students as a mentor or at a Junior High after school program, contact Eileen Jowell at ejowell@nsd.org

Join in the Focus On Homelessness discussions, usually once per month – watch for details in the E-news or Witness. We are working to discern our call towards solutions on this issue.

Care Day is an annual event that allows people to access human services providers in one location, on one day. This year, the date is Friday, June 24, 2016. Sign up to help at http://careday.net/volunteer-care-day/  Language interpreters are much needed, if you are multi-lingual please consider this opportunity.

Giving blood saves lives. Find our schedule here: https://www.facebook.com/bothellumc/ on the events page, and donate when you can!

As a member of the Kenmore\Bothell Interfaith Group, you can participate in events, and educational opportunities that engage in the community with people of other faiths. Find out more here. https://www.facebook.com/KenmoreBothellInterfaithGroup/

If you have gifts and passion in a particular area of service, and would like to begin a new ministry, please contact missions@bothellumc.org. New Ministry Consideration forms are located on the Missions bulletin board in the lobby, as well as online here.



Homelessness & Encampments – Kenmore\Bothell Interfaith Group Event

The Kenmore\Bothell Interfaith Group hosted a forum on Tuesday night, November 10th, 2015 at Bothell United Methodist Church. The purpose of the forum was to create awareness and discussion about Homelessness in our area, and become informed about homeless encampments. Over 140 community members from schools, colleges, boards, government and faith communities attended the event, asked questions and networked with meaningful discussion after the program.

12240265_1008897949132300_2286290342152563797_oYou can watch video of the programs on YouTube by clicking on the links below:

Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness: Click here

Rob Beem, North Urban Human Services Alliance: Click here

Panelists graciously answered questions from the audience.  For the video of the panel discussion, click here., the panelists begin at 22:00.

Panel members were: David Baker, City of Kenmore, Mayor; Robert and Ashley Bowen, Residents, Tent City 4, Reverend Mary-Alyce Burleigh, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Kirkland; Gary Hasseler, City of Bothell, Planner; Officer Murray, City of Kirkland Police Officer; Craig Phillips, Risk, Safety and Security Consultant, Chris Yager, Camp Unity Eastside, Board Member

The Kenmore\Bothell Interfaith GroupLife Fellowship, Kenmore ••• First Church of Christ Scientist, Bothell ••• Bothell United Methodist Church ••• First Lutheran Church, Bothell ••• Northlake Lutheran Church, Kenmore ••• Sikh Centre of Seattle, Bothell ••• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – Bothell Stake.


submitted by Kristin Joyner