The Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ, 4320 Southwest Hill Street, welcomes the Rev. Dr. Donald Schmidt as its new pastor. Formerly the West Seattle Congregational, the church was founded in 1899 and is among West Seattle’s oldest churches. (Since this article was written, we found that, according to the book "West Side Story" published by the West Seattle Herald, St. John's Episcopal Church is the oldest and had its beginning in West Seattle in 1892.)
And now Donald Schmidt is West Seattle’s newest pastor. While the church’s search committee did an exhaustive searched nationwide, Schmidt was just across Lake Washington, finishing up his two-year interim as pastor at the 500-member Bellevue First Congregational Church, also a United Church of Christ. Admiral Congregational currently has 103 members.
With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.
Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne
A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.
According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.
“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”
Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne
The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.
This letter was sent out to neighbors after a shelter resident at Ballard's Trinity United Methodist Church stabbed another shelter resident.
To our neighbors,
As you know, a major incident happened last night at the shelter between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Two residents of the Vets Hall Shelter broke into a fight, which escalated into a stabbing.
The “victim” was taken to the hospital and will not return as a resident to the shelter.
The man who did the stabbing is known and being sought and will be charged with felony assault.
We’d like to thank the police and fire departments for their prompt and professional excellence in this emergency.
We’d also like to thank watchful neighbors, the shelter itself and our live-in security person, Randy Thompson, for their immediate calling of the police as the incident began to flare.
This is the first incident of violence with a weapon in the 10 years of our active ministry with the homeless.
Although our systems of security responded quickly and effectively, we nevertheless deeply regret the disruption of our neighborhood security.
Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church thanks the many community volunteers and organizations who contributed to our Thanksgiving Day meal for neighbors, including many who are struggling to make ends meet.
We are grateful for the food and expertise provided by the Ballard Food Bank, the incredible support of more than 70 volunteers (from both Our Redeemer’s and the wider community), the impromptu music, and donations from Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ and Greenwood Fred Meyer.
More than 200 people shared the Thanksgiving meal together. New sleeping bags were offered free after the meal.
Remarks heard during the Thanksgiving Day meal include:
“We are really glad you had this meal, there is no way we could have afforded the food. Thank you so much.”
“All my family is far away. It was good to be here for this meal.”
“The small tables, the flowers and the music made the good dinner much better.”
“Thank you for this opportunity to help today. It means so much to me.”
“I am homeless right now, and this sleeping bag will really help me. That’s why I came. Thank you.”
We thank everyone who participated.
Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church,
Boy Scout Troop 100 kicks off its annual Christmas tree sale the weekend after Thanksgiving at St. Alphonsus Church, located on 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 57th Street.
The St. Al's tree sale is a tradition of nearly 60 years in the Ballard community.
Trees of all shapes and varieties are hand-picked by some of the troop's fathers and sons.
The trees are freshly cut and replenished every few days and are guaranteed fresh.
Scouts volunteer their time to work at the tree sale.
The money raised enables the scouts to participate in many activities throughout the year. Some of the proceeds are donated within the community.
The tree lot will be open from Nov. 29 to Dec. 20 or until the trees sell out.
Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church will be closing the SHARE shelter it has been operating in the Calvary Lutheran Church building since last spring.
Jane Klausen, a neighbor and member of the shelter task force, said the announcement was made during the Nov. 5 meeting of Our Redeemer's, SHARE and neighborhood representatives.
She said Our Redeemer's offered SHARE the opportunity to conduct sex offender background checks or move out. The shelter declined to conduct the checks.
"We have requested that SHARE take responsibility for screening for Level III Sex Offender Background checks," Our Redeemer's Council President Janet Woodfield said in a letter to neighbors. "If they refuse, the shelter will close."
On Sept. 12, a sex offender living at the shelter at 7002 23rd Ave. N.W. was removed by SHARE.
Prior to the shelter moving to Ballard June 1, many neighbors had been adamant that SHARE conduct background checks on shelter residents. The organization refused, stating that their interview process was enough.
Since Sept. 12, no new shelter residents have been allowed into the shelter.
Roll over Beethoven. It was "Boo"-thoven at Tibbetts United Methodist Church, 3940 41st Ave. S.W., Sunday, Oct. 25, when 24 kids in costume performed a Halloween Recital.
Their piano instructor, John H. Van Lierop, Jr., Tibbetts organist for nearly 30 years, sported an orange dress shirt with black tie to get into the spooky spirit.
Songs performed included "Little Black Cat," "Creepy Crocodile," and "The Ghost with the Blues."
"I would call this a dork outfit, quite honestly," said Olivia Vasquez, 11, who wore oversized sun glasses and a beanie cap with propellor on top. The Explorer West sixth-grader has studied piano under Lierop for over three years. She is now learning the saxophone.
To reach John H. Van Lierop, Jr., call (206) 937-6982.
It's that time of the year again when pet owners and religion dovetail for the "Blessing of Pets" ceremony at churches worldwide.
At Providence Mount St. Vincent, 4831 35th Ave. S.W., Father Tom Marti and Sister Christine journeyed floor to floor to bless resident fish, birds, and cats. An entourage of dogs with owners in tow followed close behind and even packed their pups in elevators to keep up with Father. The resident fish appeared unphased by the holy water.
"We thank the Lord for today, for St. Francis of Assisi," said Father Marti, who is in residence at St. James Cathedral downtown. "Referring to the pet procession, he said, "They inspire us to be more kind and more gentle in our own lives and with our animals and with all creation."
"Maggie is a three year cancer survivor," said Jeff Leach of West Seattle, describing his 10-year-old golden retriever. "Her right front leg ha