July 17, 2020

The Spirit stitches a quilt

A quilt is the stitching of many seemingly unrelated pieces of fabric to create one, beautiful, coherent piece of art and function.  At Chapel by the Sea, the Spirit has been busy stitching together many things.

The first piece was a renewed connection between CBTS choir member, Carla Francis and her childhood friend, Hermon Shorty.  He is now the Director of the Office of Environmental Health at the Navajo Nation.  He shared of the devastating impact of COVID-10 on the people living on the reservation.

It didn’t take but a minute for the Spirit to pin Carla’s heart to the need of her friend.  On that first call, she offered to make masks for the people of the Navajo Nation. 

Carla didn’t know what the end result would be, but she began by gathering the tools and supplies she would need.  That’s when she contacted me and wondered if CBTS folks might feel the same urge to create a covering of protection for unknown friends hundreds of miles away; friends that had been forgotten or unseen by most of the country.

The Spirit pulled people out of their own isolation and bound them in a common design.   Some sent in money. Many dropped off bags of fabric (some of which had been waiting in the back a closet for just such a time as this).  Several stepped up to cutting and sewing tasks.

Then there was the expansion, as Estle Harlan offered the assistance of the Lincoln City Rotary to extend the gift to our nearer neighbors at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.

Soon there was swarm of sewists (the term serious sewers prefer) and helpers producing masks at a steady pace to meet the ridiculous goal of 1000 masks; 500 each to the Navajo Nation and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.

The first conversation with Hermon was in late April.  By early June 1000 masks had been made.  Carla estimates it took about 15 minutes to cut and assemble each mask, which works out to 250 hours (not including the prep, clean up, delivery…).  In terms of a 40-hour week that would be 6.25 week for one person.  Because of the Spirit’s leading, a team of saints were able to create this beautiful gift of love and protection in a month.

With all the masks made and mailed and received it was finished.  Except it wasn’t.  There was still more to be stitched into this beautiful story.  As CBTS folks met on ZOOM coffee hour one Sunday after worship, Carla showed us what she had started to make with the scraps she had left over from the mask making.  There were a few long, colorful strips ready to be made into a full quilt.  We all ogled over how beautiful it looked.  Pat Dunne commented that the strips looked a bit like a stole and “suggested” Carla make a stole for Mark and me.  As is her way, Carla jumped on it.

This past Sunday, after worship, Carla came to the church after worship to present to Mark and me the TWO stoles she made for us.

First there was the measuring, then the cutting, the sewing, the packaging, the mailing.  People going back and forth, in and out to collect and deliver fabric, sew masks, run to the post office.  And all the while there was the praying; praying over each mask, that the recipient could breathe deeply and safely, protected and protecting their neighbors; that the whole community would be protected in body and soul, by the mask, by the gift and by the Holy Giver.  Stitch by stitch, they came together, the masks and the Body of Christ.

STILL not finished…At the beginning of the lockdown, when every Presbyterian Church around the state closed their buildings, the Cascades Presbytery (our regional association) sent each church a check for $1000.  The idea was for us to be free to dream new dreams, find new ways to be the church while we were outside our buildings.  Another patch the Spirit stitched through this mask project was a renewed awareness of our sisters and brothers of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.  The Session voted to use our stimulus check to reach out to these neighbors we barely know and grow a deeper bond with them.  We don’t know where it will go or what it will end up looking like, but I have it from a very good Source, that it will be beautiful.  With sew much love,  Pastor Wendy Olson

There are many people who added their piece to this mask project.  I cannot remember nor even know of everyone.  I do wish to acknowledge the sewist at the center of the work:

Carla Francis (member of the American Sewing Guild, Daughter of the American Revolution and Rotary Club of Lincoln City and budding Presbyterian, who began attending CBTS mere months before the lockdown but has faithfully been living out her baptismal vows in this new situation).

Kathleen Poole (friend of Carla’s for many years and member of the American Sewing Guild)

Nancy Seyfert (member of CBTS and sewer, though meetings and long into the night)

Jill Mader (friend of CHTS and sewer who took to her sewing machine the day after returning form lockdown in Hawaii)

Kristen Lowe-Bartel (friend of Carla’s and member of the Daughters of the American Sewing Guild.  She sewed and mailed masks).

To the many who donated fabric, thank you.  To those who donated money, thank you.  To those who delivered the masks, thank you.  To those who prayed (and continue to pray) thank you.

Home fellowship soup with friends Singing
Scenic ocean sunset in Lincoln City
Text Box: Left – Carla Francis presents stoles to Mark & Wendy
Below – Estle Harlan delivers masks to Gloria Ingle, Chair of the Siletz Tribe Arts & Heritage Society.


Janelle Winn – July 2                           Jennifer Hamilton – July 18

Carol Lind – July 2                               David Rasler – July 21

Terry Johnson – July 8                        Lavon Lawyer – July 22

Roberta Porter – July 8                       Rachel Gillmann – July 25

Linda Kreutzer – July 14                      Nancy Neese – July 31

Don Gillmann – July 15

An image posted by the author. GETTING TO KNOW YOU

About Richard B. Gartrell the author

Born a year to the date before the Pearl Harbor attack and the beginning of WWII, I grew up in Oakland, California and graduated from Oakland Technical High School (along with other famous alumni: Clint Eastwood (actor), Ricky Henderson (baseball), Ted Lange (Love Boat), Jack Soo (Barney Miller) and Marshawn Lynch (football/Seahawks). Onto college (graduated) and then into the U.S. Navy as a Naval Engineering Officer. Vietnam Veteran. Doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska, then a career as chief executives of tourism marketing organizations. In 2005, I retired from South Seattle College as Executive Dean for Continuing Education. My wife and I then began serving as state and national campground part hosts and lighthouse interpretive guides in over 19 venues. Retired again in 2014, moved to the Oregon Coast and began to write.

Writing is not something new for me, having authored a tourism marketing textbook “Destination Marketing for Convention and Visitor Bureaus” and many professional journal articles. But writing fiction was something new and exciting. Six years later, the first of three detective murder mysteries, UNDER THEIR NOSE.

I’m retired and wanted writing to be fun. The most unlikely adventure has been these past few years writing the Homicide Detective John Francis Kelly Series. It has been occupying, challenging, pleasurable, and fun.

Under Their Nose is a fresh detective procedural murder mystery, comprising the first of a three-book mystery series, titled the “Homicide Detective John Francis Kelly Series.” Each book is self-contained, but readers of the full series will be rewarded with foreshadowing and references to activities from previous books.

Homicide Detective John Francis Kelly, and his younger partner Homicide Detective Bob Conway, with the Seattle Police Department’s Violet Crime Division, are the protagonists. Both police veterans, they’re called to solve the brutal murder of a family of four, including two teens, who were residents in an expensive area overlooking Puget Sound. The house has been trashed, expensive paintings slashed, furniture destroyed, and all electronic equipment removed. The only clues being the missing electronics and a vague mark on the foreheads of the adult victims.
What appears to be a simple home invasion and murder, with the help of their department computer guru, they’re soon led to money-laundering, drug-smuggling, and a startling discovery “under their nose.” The reader is drawn in, becoming involved in the case as a silent third partner, through the first-person narrative of the lead detective, Kelly. Intertwined with sections of Kelly’s description of the procedural aspects of unraveling the case, flashbacks to the unidentified antagonist’s history adds a depth of understanding of the murderer not afforded to the detectives.

In the middle of warrants, arrests, murder charges, bail hearings, attempted kidnappings, an obnoxious attorney, and an agitated Court Judge, romance emerges between Kelly and his former high school sweetheart, now a Special FBI Agent, and ignites what they lost many years earlier; the drug cartel’s convoluted web of deceit is unraveled along with the surprise arrest of its two leaders. The case is solved, or so it’s thought.

There are, at present, two other books in the series. There’s foreshadowing in book I regarding book II. Book III, well, I’ll have to leave that one for you to read to under its foreshadowing. But they just seemed to easily stem as extensions of what Kelly and Conway were doing as homicide detectives. – Rich Gartrell


July’s meeting of the book club will take place on July 8 at 1:00 at CBTS. The book for July is The Pilots Wife by Anita Shreve presented by Carol Lind

As a pilot’s wife, Kathryn has learned to expect both intense exhilaration and long periods alone, but nothing has prepared her for a late-night knock that lets her know her husband has died in a crash.
Until now, Kathryn Lyons’s life has been peaceful if unextraordinary: a satisfying job teaching high school in the New England mill town of her childhood; a picture-perfect home by the ocean; a precocious, independent-minded fifteen-year-old daughter; and a happy marriage whose occasional dull passages she attributes to the unavoidable deadening of time.
As Kathryn struggles with her grief, she descends into a maelstrom of publicity stirred up by the modern hunger for the details of tragedy. Even before the plane is located in waters off the Irish coast, the relentless scrutiny of her husband’s life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret life?

(Amazon Review)


March 8th was the last time we gathered in the sanctuary for worship.

How long until we do that again?   Good question.

The Session is taking a cautious approach.  Lincoln County must move to phase 2 before it will be considered.  With the outbreak in Newport, it is likely to be a few weeks before that happens and well into July, or even August, before we again worship in the building together.

We share the deep desire to be together again and we carry the burden to guard each other’s health and safety. The Session and staff remain in prayer, study and conversation about how to move forward.  Thank you for your patience and prayer, as we seek God’s leading.

The year 2020 has been far from perfect vision, more hindsight.  Chapel By-The-Sea Session began the year with a book, The Agile Church, then rapidly changed to a faith of relationships as the book characterizes Christianity.  When “Shelter at Home” became a “thing,” Session formed our Rapid Response Team (RRT) with representation of Session, Deacons, Congregation, Administration, and Clergy.  We began to create a church of different relationships that you now see in place.  We worship, study, conduct meetings and have coffee together via electronic means and maintain contact with email, snail mail, telephone calls, small group meetings and drive-by visits maintaining at least six feet physical separation while reinforcing our Christian relationship.

The RRT began researching available, relevant documentation, following State directives to recommend that Session cancel in-person worship which, as you recall, meant having no Easter Sunday at the Church.  The RRT divided World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, Oregon Health Authority, Lincoln County Health, Presbytery and other churches published documents among our group and Session members.  Resulting recommendations were approved by Session and put into place emphasizing a congregation of relationships.  Clergy, Session, Deacons, and others reinforced relationships by periodic social distance contact with each of you members and friends of Chapel By-The-Sea.

Of late, those of you viewing worship on video have no doubt noticed physical changes at our church designed to improve our relationships.  The Sanctuary is reconfigured to allow physical separation with central viewing of speakers, soloists, musicians, and eventually choir when safe to include singing at in-person services.  We will have a video screen to project words and music to avoid handling and difficult sanitizing of hymnals and bulletins.  Otis and Jim have worked tirelessly to clean the building in and out.  The RRT work has resulted in Session approval of a Reopening Plan that is ready to go to further improve relationships as State reopening phases are allowed in our region.

By Looking back at our immediate surroundings and those of distant government boundaries, we have learned much of what to do and what not to do.  In public, we should wear face coverings, maintain physical separation of at least six feet, and wash our hands frequently.  Those at greater risk should quarantine.  While we are separate, we maintain our relationships with the work of our people to discern the best course for an agile church.

Pat Dunne (Funpa)


Our long serving and faithful Elder, Phil Van Bruggen, has submitted his resignation as Session Elder, so he can focus more fully on health concerns.  As both a Session and a Congregation, we are filled with gratefulness for his significant leadership roles.  Besides serving on Session, those avenues of service included giving meaningful ministry in the pulpit during our two periods of transition and beyond, providing wisdom and guidance while in our pastoral searches, and enriching our knowledge of scripture through his gift of teaching.  We rejoice that he plans to continue in his teaching role, and we count on his wise counsel and ministry.

Phil has stated that Psalms 116 is his guidepost and the prayer of his heart.  Small wonder, then, that his life exemplifies the faithful service described in that Psalm (The Living Bible):

  • I love the Lord because he heard my prayers and answers them.  Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I live! (TLB v.1,2)
  • O Lord, you have freed me from my bonds and I will serve you forever. (TLB v. 16)
  • I will worship you and offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving. (TLB v. 17)
  • Praise the Lord. (TLB v. 19b)

Our heartfelt thank you, Phil,

Estle Harlan, Clerk of Session, for Chapel by the Sea Session – past and present

Chapel by the Sea

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Joyfully alive in Jesus Christ! We are grateful to be a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination with its focus on inclusion, spirituality, mission, education and justice work.
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