… through the eyes of member Roger Edmark in Seattle, Washington. We asked Roger about his church. Here’s what he had to share.
Question 1: How did YOU get connected to your congregation?
My Mom, Grace Edmark, grew up Brethren back in Surrey North Dakota. After our family moved out to the Northwest in 1951, my parents had no idea there were Brethren churches out here. Totally by accident one day, they bumped into old friends at Sears that were also from Surrey. They were attending a satellite church of Olympic View in the South end of Seattle where we were living at the time, so we started going there. When we moved to Green Lake in Seattle we started attending Olympic View. I was about 4 years old, so that was about 1955. I have been there ever since.
Question 2: What is one thing that makes your congregation special?
Olympic View was built in the forties after the war as a Church of the Brethren Community church. The Seattle Council of Churches gave us their blessing to move to the Northgate area of Seattle because there were very few Protestant churches near there. They were hoping the people of Olympic View would invite Christians of all faiths to see Olympic View as their community church.
It worked! Sometimes it led to challenges, but it also meant that to be effective we had to focus on the similarities, not the differences. I think that meant that Olympic View became a very loving and caring and outreach-centered church because we all agreed on that, from Jesus’ teachings. I think that was the spirit of Olympic View in the late sixties when, against almost impossible odds, they sponsored Northaven, an independent retirement community, because the widows in the church needed a safe, secure place to live. Being a loving, caring and generous church are still values of Olympic View today.
Question 3: What is one of your favorite memories of your church, or a significant historical moment?
Raising our family at Olympic View meant that many of our activities centered around doing things with other families in the church. Some great friendships came out of those activities both for us and for our children as they grew up in the church. Going to Camp Koinonia, attending social events, attending National Youth Conference, Western Regional Youth Conference, and May Away outings, all fostered those friendships and also were opportunities to grow in faith. For Kathy and I, though some of those people moved away or now attend other churches, there is still a bond of friendship any time we are together, built around the common values shared at Olympic View.