Discovering and Practicing Spirit-inspired, Christ-centered, God-honoring worship

This journey is something our whole church will be taking together, with integration of the pathways in our Sunday and weekly worship, along with invitations to opportunities to dig deeper.

1. Start your journey by answering a couple questions, accessed by clicking the “Pathway Resources” banner below.

Discover which pathway(s) resonate with you! (If you’ve already taken the quiz, just click the link anyway so you can register to be in touch with the journey we are taking, and get your free book!)


Click the tinyurl link below to take the self-assessment, then share your information with us, and get on the email list for updates, as well as to receive your copy of Spiritual Pathways by Gary Thomas (it’s on us!):

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Parents: Explore which of the nine pathways resonate with your child through the book Sacred Pathways for Kids. Email Kerrie at for your free e-book copy.

Everyone: Watch this video to learn about accessing the self-paced course materials:

2. Then, explore the nine pathways of worship that draw our attention to God, one per month:

Each month this year we will focus on a different pathway – click each month’s banner below as we progress through the year to view details.

3.  Join us in a free online course to explore more about the Sacred Pathways at your own pace.

Email Nicki to get the link for this free online course made up of people in our FPC community. You can join at any time, and do as much of it as you desire. If you want, you can interact with other participants, ask questions, and share resources. Every month or so, join an optional Zoom conversation space to process together what we’re learning about our worship.


September 2020: Naturalist

We invite you to share photos or videos of your response to September’s invitation to wonder about God in nature – a picture of what you wonder at in nature, a video where you like to walk, a video/photo of yourself in nature, etc. Please email them (or a link to download) to 

In order for us to use them in a September service, we ask that you submit your image/video by September 23rd. By uploading/sending your images, you are giving us permission to use them in a service, and we may use the final opening worship piece on social media at a different time in the week.



An Acme Farms + Kitchen Meal Kit! 
These kits are locally sourced and a way to experience taste in a new way. Whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or burn everything you bake, these come with the ingredients and instructions to help you feel confident in your cooking (and are delicious!). To get yours, sign up at the following link by October 13th (boxes will be delivered October 20th):
(to learn more about Acme you can visit them here)
Save the date for a Zoom!
We’ll have a Zoom time to discuss what we are finding and learning on the pathways on Sunday October 25th at 11am (like a good ol’ Café Pres! Just BYOC…could be a virtual wine tasting if you BYOC… hey, Jesus knew how to make good wine). Link for Zoom is on the FPC Calendar.



Join our FPC Facebook group – continuing to strive for racial equity and justice in Whatcom county:
Take a virtual tour of Whatcom County’s history regarding racial injustice – know your history so we can make a better future!
Join us on Zoom Friday November 20th from 7-8pm (link found on our calendar)





Advent offers us many opportunities to explore traditions – our church will be offering daily reflections and art to help facilitate our preparation for Christmas, but we’d love to know what traditions are meaningful to you! The variations of what we hold dear often come from what has been familiar to us in our past. May this season of wonder also be an exploration into the traditions that each of us hold dear. 
And join us on Christmas Eve! Our traditional service will be as traditionally untraditional – over Zoom, but with many familiar pieces including candlelight and carols. Link in our calendar and in Doug’s Weekly Words.
Access materials for traditions like Jesse Tree ornaments, daily readings of traditional Christmas stories on our new podcast, and more, here on our Advent Page.






Well this is a bit embarrassing. Ironic, isn’t it, that we left out content for the month themed “Ascetic” based on giving things up and simplicity as a worship style? Caught this oversight in February. Apologies…





This month we celebrate and dive into the Caregiver Pathway on our journey together. Here are some invitations for you (at the very least please read “Nominate a Caregiver” below!)!

Nominate a Caregiver:

We have funds to offer gift cards to celebrate the caregivers around us (it’s exhausting!). Do you know someone who has been doing a lot of caring for someone/others/you, and deserves a little recognition/support? We can’t offer babysitting or meals together, but we can offer meal gift-cards for people you nominate! Email Nicki with subject line “Caregiver Nomination” with the following information by February 24th:

  • Name of recipient (the caregiver you’re nominating)
  • Caregiving they have been committed to – whether by choice or rising to the responsibility
  • Their favorite local restaurant/establishment
  • Address for recipient

This can be anonymous unless you don’t want it to be! We can then send the card directly, or give it to the nominator to deliver.

Caregiving via our app or online:

We made a Community Bulletin Board for our FPC community – if you haven’t already, download our app! (App Store: Find and install “Church Center” app then select “FPC & The Garden”). Select ‘Groups’, go to ‘Community Group’ and click ‘Join’ on the group of your choice.* Then return to the main Group page and find it at the top under ‘My Groups’. Then you can post a message or reply to the messages of others!

You can also access all this online at the link below, but it may be a bit clunkier than the app:

Purpose: A space to offer care or receive care – by way of items, services, encouragements. It is only open to those within our FPC community who are participating in our app (or online version) , and staff will keep an eye on it to make sure it maintains FPC values.
*Also join the group called “Sacred Pathways” so you can stay up to date with events and invitations! Use the message board in that group if you’d like to connect further!

Letter Writing Campaign:

Make February truly a month of sending love! Write at least two letters of encouragement and care to someone you know, OR someone you don’t! We have a list of people in our church who would love a little snail mail if you don’t know who to write. Email to get a few names of new pen pals.


There are still a variety of ways to give care in our community (though writing letters and making phone calls is a like a COVID friendly high-five/hug, so do try that!). Donations to organizations is a form of caregiving, yet many places are also finding ways to take COVID precautions seriously and still use volunteers. Try the Lighthouse Mission as they work to serve our homeless neighbors, our Bellingham Food Bank as they work to feed our community, or with FPC’s nearest neighbors – the YWCA! Click here to see a recent post about the help they need.

Zoom Monthly Check-in: 2/28/21 at 11:00am

Join us as we gather together and discuss the Sacred Pathway of the Caregiver! You don’t have to have participated thoroughly along this journey – it is a discussion and learning experience you can join at any time.
Meeting ID: 880 0898 6882
Passcode: 641790





March 18, 6:30-8:30pm – Celtic Christianity and the Contemplative Tradition 🍀

We are VERY excited to host Pat Loughery, who teaches at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. He is joining us to explore Celtic contemplative practices, and the day after St. Patrick’s day! His doctoral studies introduced him to Celtic and Orthodox spirituality, pilgrimage, and the beauty and variety of the global Christian church. His dissertation dealt with spiritual formation and social media. This event is open beyond the community of FPC – feel free to share the link below to others you think would enjoy the conversation and offerings!

Note, this meeting already happened. Watch the recording below via YouTube, and access the slides by clicking here:

Celtic and Contemplative Presentation Slides (PDF)

*Becuse of this Zoom opportunity as well as Holy Week at the end of the month, we will not have our monthly Sunday pathway check-in.

Bellingham Prayer Labyrinth

Prayer Labyrinths are one contemplative way to use your whole body in prayer. Our Lent kits included a page for prayer one on a page, but we have a public one you can visit in Fairhaven Park:

    Fairhaven park: When you enter, go to the top of the park, and there you will see Whatcom County’s first outdoor, public labyrinth.

Here’s a link to an article on ways to pray in the labyrinth:

Weekly Contemplative Invitations

Links can be found on our Calendar:

Also if you don’t know about it, Pray As You Go is a wonderful website and App that you can use for daily meditation and prayer. 

And as always, continue along with us in our Canvas course:

On Canvas we have an online course letting you explore the Pathways at your own pace. You can join at any time, and do as much of it as you desire. You can interact with other participants, ask questions, and share resources. Join us for extended conversation here:



More information will be added after Holy Week and Easter.

S(p)oiler Alert for Enthusiast Month: 
Rocky Soil Picture Show – April 3, 6:30pm
Join us for an embodied and participatory reading of the Gospel of Mark on Holy Saturday over Zoom – all ages welcome to join in this rowdy reading where we we experience the gospel in a whole new way! You are invited to consider taking on a speaking role from the text, or just showing up with a few props from your own home to assist in our reading together. Keep your eyes peeled for this new take on a Saturday Easter Vigil!

How will this work?

Eshinee has turned the book of Mark into a script, with a variety of reading parts for those who signed up by March 28 to be a reader. But you don’t have to be a reader to attend and participate! This is meant to be a low-impact and fun activity for people of all ages and (hopefully) attention spans. You can even just show up and watch the fun on Saturday night. We will all be responding to different events and verbal cues in the narrative in funny and specific ways. 

Why this?

We are used to engaging with the Bible in traditional ways and contexts, particularly in the context of corporate worship. We are comfortable with being reverential, serious, and even analytical. But there is a history of engaging with Scripture physically and playfully that isn’t often a part of how we do things today. Within the Jewish tradition, the celebration of Purim involves not only reading the entire book of Esther but reacting to parts of it with noise-makers and foot-stomping. In medieval times, when literacy levels among the general public were still low, bible events were acted out on special religious occasions by priests with elaborate sets and costumes.

The upcoming Mark reading is intended to be a time for us to allow ourselves to respond openly and verbally to the text as it is read. We will hear the voices of the characters in this narrative as actual, distinct voices. And they will not be voices that are unknown to us; they will be our own voices as we place ourselves within the story.

Why now?

In many traditions, the Saturday night between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is observed as time of waiting, often known as the Easter Vigil. It can be a time to reflect on the whole of God’s story. It often involves gathering together in anticipation of the morning to come. In reading through Mark’s account, we are choosing to remember and experience Jesus’ life and death through the single lens of just one of the gospel records. By reading it together, with many voices, we are refracting the light of his vision through our own lenses as we reveal our own understanding of the story through our telling of it.

~ ~ ~

Movement workshop/gathering for Enthusiast Month: 
Sunday May 2nd at 3:00pm on the FPC Lawn
Join us for a distanced gathering as we practice being in our bodies. This is to engage with the Enthusiast pathway from our Sacred Pathways journey. Sarah Lewis, a member of our congregation and dance teacher at Dancing for Joy will lead us in a workshop to help us connect with ourselves and express ourselves through movement. 
Register here:




May 25th, 2021 5:00pm via Zoom
FPC’s Sacred Pathways explores: Jesus In Jewish Context

Amy-Jill Levine is joining us for a conversation around Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, giving shape and understanding to the context and culture in which this story was first received. We will have an exclusive Q&A time to hear from her!

Dr. Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies; Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies; and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Graduate Department of Religion, and Department of Jewish Studies. She has authored many notable books, and our families with young children might recognize the books she co-authored with Sandy Sasso – Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins and 2 Sons, as well as The Marvelous Mustard Seed. Her longer bio is here.

You can find the Zoom link for this event on our FPC Calendar, and you are welcome to share this invitation to the discussion event beyond our FPC family.

We invite you to read the excerpt What the Prodigal Son story doesn’t meanfrom her Short Stories book as fodder for our conversation, found here:

For our FPC family, if you are interested in reading more of her work, we are offering a book paid for by the grant if you make your request by May 23rd. Choose one of two titles, either Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi or Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins and 2 Sons; we will order through Village Books and you will be able to pick up in person. 
Sign up here to receive a book.




Q: What is this “Sacred Pathways” thing all about?

A: We have received a worship grant to use over the next year (2020-2021) to take a closer look at the concept of Sacred Pathways – the concept that each of us is wired to worship in different primary ways. This idea comes from the book by Gary Thomas of the same title, but our overall invitation is to deepen each individual’s Christian journey by exploring these nine different pathways together. We hope that taking this journey will expand our ideas of what worship is, as well as offer perspective and gratitude for the diversity and variation of how people respond to God.

Q: What can I expect on this page?

A: This page serves as a landing zone for resources, invitations and study, and throughout the year we will add content here as we spread invitations and experiment with the opportunities before us. When we applied, we were not in a pandemic and now we are – so bear with us as we try different things and grow this thing as we go!

Q: Where did this grant come from?

A: This grant was made possible by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. “The Vital Worship Grants Program at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is designed to foster, strengthen and sustain well-grounded worship in congregations throughout North America. Two streams of grants are offered–to teacher-scholars and to worshiping communities.”

You can find out more about their program here:
As well, this press release announces the full scope of the grants released this year (2020).