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Peninsular Thinking

A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
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Local Catholic parish among first in the nation to cut ties with Boy Scouts over its decision to allow gay Scouts

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

KING-5 TV got the story first about Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church ending its sponsorship of a local Boy Scouts of America troop, because of the organization’s change in policy regarding gay Boy Scouts. The BSA’s National Council voted to end the ban on gay scouts a week ago, but did not lift a ban on gay scout leaders.

Father Derek Lappe posted his detailed decision on the church’s website and on its Facebook page.

Much of Lappe’s reasoning comes from research conducted by the Catholic Medical Association in questioning whether homosexuality is something people are born with. From Lappe’s statement:

“Our parish cannot be involved with a group that has decided to ratify or approve the self-identification of a 10-18 year old boy as ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’. To me it is cruel, and abusive and absolutely contrary to the Gospel to in any way confirm a teenager in the confusion of same-sex attraction, which is what the New Boy Scout policy will do.”

The BSA, in its official statement following the National Council’s vote, did not step back from its moral stance on sexuality generally, emphasizing that “any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” What it seemed to be doing, however, was allowing that kids who believe they are gay can still benefit from what scouting teaches. From the official statement:

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting.”

Our Lady Star of the Sea won’t be the last organization to abandon scouting following the ruling. ABC is reporting many organizations are likely to withdraw their sponsorships of the organization in the coming weeks and months.

We will have more on the local story here. There is more going on than just this one church. Kudos to KING for breaking it. We will attempt to add to what KING provided.


Six degrees: Baby’s heart, Obama’s visit

Monday, April 30th, 2012

PORT ORCHARD — Kay Arens is quick to point out that President Barack Obama on his visit to Seattle Feb. 17 knew nothing of the drama that was unfolding at Seattle Children’s Hospital, as baby Kamryn Elizabeth Aubrey of Port Orchard lay waiting for her heart transplant.

Kamryn is now doing quite well, but her medical complications place a financial burden on her parents, Kelli and Mike Aubrey. Arens, a friend of the baby’s family, called to note a fundraiser concert Saturday in Gig Harbor.

Kelli Aubrey is quick to point out that, contrary to some stories going around, the president’s arrival did not delay the surgery. It did add one more layer of anxiety to an already tense situation.

Kamryn was perfectly normal at birth and for her first two weeks of life. Then suddenly she went downhill. Her breathing became labored, and she was lethargic. She didn’t eat or cry normally. On Christmas Eve, her feet started turning blue.

The Aubreys rushed Kamryn to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. The baby’s temperature was 94 degrees. Tests on Christmas Day revealed a heart defect that turned out to be left ventricle noncompaction dilated cardiomyopathy. The condition involves defective development of the heart tissue, resulting in ineffective pumping of blood. The prognosis for patients is poor, and a heart transplant typically is needed.

Kamryn was a “surprise,” the youngest of five in the Aubrey family. Kelli and Mike have been married 23 years. Kamryn was born not long after both, who are social workers, had been laid off from a Gig Harbor foster care agency. Mike has since found work with the state.

The Aubreys leaned heavily on their faith in the weeks after Kamryn was hospitalized. Kelli began a detailed blog, and a local prayer chain grew … and grew. Before long, people in Africa, China, Russia, Scotland and the United States were pulling for Kamryn. Kelli and others cite the hand of the Almighty in the baby’s overcoming long odds no bookie would back.

“This is a child that should not have survived this,” Arens said. “Even people who aren’t religious came forward and are praying for this baby. She surpassed any expectation anybody ever had.”

Miraculously, a compatible heart became available less than two weeks after Kamryn went on the waiting list. It was none too soon, as the baby was failing fast.

“This is difficult to think of someone losing a child to help ours,” Kelli wrote on the blog. “This is what we will do for another family if Kamryn doesn’t make it through all of this. It is hard for me to think about and difficult to write. But God is in control and we are committed to His path.”
On Feb. 17, the day of the surgery, Kelli and Mike walked their 9-week-old daughter down the long corridor to the operating room.

“I kissed her little head and told her to ‘be good.’ Mike kissed her, too. And then we walked back to her empty room and sat down. Although I didn’t like the empty room, I was at peace.”

The Aubreys were notified by phone messages throughout the long surgery of each hurdle cleared, including the announcement that the transplanted heart was beating.

“The piles of wadded tissues and empty Starbucks cups tell only part of the story of the day,” Kelli wrote.

Obama, whose visit included a stop at Boeing’s Everett plant, spent the day talking about economic recovery. The hospital’s transplant coordinator told the Aubreys she had to do “a lot of finagling to get the heart here,” but the surgery wasn’t stalled as a result.

“There’s some misconstrued ideas that the president may have delayed it,” Kelli said. “But I don’t know that he did. I actually don’t think he has that kind of clout.”

Kamryn arrived back home March 28, and she is back to the “sweet” personality her parents knew before she fell ill. She is physically delayed due to weeks of hospitalization but is catching up.

Kamryn continues to require ‘round the clock care, including a complicated regimen of medication. Kelli must stay at home, and the loss of her income, plus some uncovered medical costs and transportation to Children’s, is weighing on the family.

Breath of Aire, a Christian music group, will play a benefit concert for Kamryn at 7 p.m. Saturday at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, 7700 Skansie Ave., Gig Harbor, with donations accepted.

You can also make donations on the blog about Kamryn,
www.prayingforkamryn.blogspot.com. As with all charitable giving, donors should do enough research to satisfy themselves of the legitimacy of the cause.


All welcome to Colby United Methodist’s 125th anniversary Sunday

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Colby United Methodist is one of at least a half dozen Kitsap County Churches that are 100 years or older. A 125th anniversary celebration is planned at the church at 2881 Harvey Street SE, after the 11 a.m. service Sunday. All are welcome, said Pastor Ann Adkinson.

“We are especially looking for people who have attended the Sunday school, worship services or scouting programs in the past. We would love to have you share your time at Colby with the current congregation,” wrote church historian Jeanne Munro.

The congregation, which began with religious services in peoples’ homes and the Colby meeting hall, got its first pastor in 1886. It is the second Kitsap County church to turn 125 this year. First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo marked that milestone earlier this year.

The Kitsap Sun will run a story on Colby United Methodist on Sunday.

Here are Kitsap County’s other centennial churches. Let me know if I’ve left any off the list. Thanks, Chris Henry, reporter, chenry@kitsapsun.com

Elim Lutheran in South Kitsap Celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.

Our Savior’s Lutheran began in 1893 and in 2009 survived having a car crash into the sanctuary.

First Lutheran Church, which began as Fordefjord Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, celebrated its 125th anniversary earlier this year.

Pt. Madison Lutheran Church turned 100 in 2007.

Ebanezer African American Episcopal Church is 99 going on 100.

At Our Lady Star of the Sea mass began in peoples’ homes before the first church was build on the corner of 5th and Washington in 1901; in 1921 a church and school was built at 6th and Veneta.

Port Orchard United Methodist Church was founded in 1988.


Accident Victim’s Grandmother Writes of Grief, Tragedy and Compassionate Neighbors

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Note: The following letter was sent to us late Thursday night by Terri Babcock. I spoke with her shortly before 2 p.m. and the sentiment at the end of the sentence was apparently still true. We will have a story on the main site later today about Enzo Williams and his family.

I am the mother of Kaitlin Williams, the grandmother of Enzo Williams who is fighting for his life at this moment, and apart from a miraculous healing from God, is going to die.

Harsh? Yes it is. Let me tell you what my last 24 hours has been like, and I am the grandmother. I can’t even begin to describe to you the horror and the despair of my daughter and my son in law as they watch helplessly, holding onto dashed hopes, leaning over that little tiny baby’s bed talking to a baby that can no longer hear or see them.

It started at 8 p.m. last night when I received a frantic call from my son in law. All I could hear was “Ma, Zozo, he’s not breathing!” I heard nothing else after finding out where they were. My husband and I barreled down Wheaton Way, flashers on, screaming at people to get out of the way. From McDonalds, it looked ominous, from KMart, it was horendous. The sheriff’s deputy told us to go through the side parking lot of Fred Meyer. I don’t remember much except screaming my daughter’s name, running through the intersection. I vaguely remember hearing people say, “the glass, the glass!” I was caught by one of the uniformed, wonderful men and women who were there who told me in no unfailing terms that I had to be strong. I wanted to see Enzo. I was told I couldn’t. I found the rest of the family in the back of the second ambulence. Safe, crying, but relatively unharmed. A miracle.

It is amazing in times of great stress and horrific happenings, the little tiny acts of kindness remain vivid. A family saw that I had no shoes, and went into Fred Meyer and bought me flipflops. I cannot tell you what that meant. A friend who just happened to be going home from her job at Harrison stopping. My friends showing up, one by one, as word spread. Seeing familiar faces, being able to cry. A friend putting her own shoes on my daughters’ feet. Giving her a fleece vest. Wrapping a scarf around my neck. Kindness and goodness and love in the face of horror.

But that baby, oh Lord, our baby. We drove to Mary Bridge, afraid more than we’d ever been in our lives. I cannot begin to even describe what seeing that little boy who is our ninth grandchild, with tubes and machines and beeping noises did to our hearts. Listening to our little Ulysses, the three year old, describe in exact detail about the big truck that smashed his car.

The doctor of the PICU at Mary Bridge was very straight. It’s bad. It’s more than bad. We heard words like CT scans, and swelling of the brain, and skull fractures, and after a while, you just stop, you can’t take any more. The tears just come and you don’t feel like there could possibly be any left, but there are.

Leaving my youngest daughter and the nightmare we have all been thrust in, driving home at 1 a.m., heavy silence. Putting the middle child to bed, the heavy sleep of a two-year old. Tossing and turning until finally getting up about 7, turning on the news, and seeing the mangled wreck of my daughter’s car in the headlines. Oh Lord.

Then, getting to the hospital. Getting a phone call from family, the forces are mounting. Family and friends coming from New York, Colorado, Idaho, California. 2600 hits on the blog. There is an overwhelming feeling in the background of the ugliness of support, of love, of caring.

Hearing the doctor’s bleak news at noon, witnessing more tests throughout the day. Finally, seeing the sensor that monitor’s our baby’s brain swelling removed, which was like a final verdict.

There is nothing to describe the feeling we had this afternoon, being allowed to hold our baby. Our minds telling us that he can’t hear or see us, but just knowing deep in our souls that somehow, some way, our Enzo knows that we are there, and even though we are facing the very real possibility that he will be taken from us, we are cherishing these moments. Lights and noise and chatter fade away as I hold him, his little body as comfortable to me as it was when I held him last week. It seems like an eternity ago.

At home, tonight, I write this because our family needs our community of Kitsap County to know that we are extremely overwhelmed and grateful to you. Tomorrow, we will make the drive again, and tomorrow is going to be probably the worst day of any of our lives.

I write this also because the next time you overhear someone say “hey babe, I was in a f*^*%ing accident!” you will be as sickened as I was when I read that comment posted by someone who heard this at the scene of the accident. My daughter screaming “my baby, my baby” and perfect strangers helping to save a baby’s life, to comfort the baby’s family, and then, you have that.

I want to express the admiration we have for the wonderful people of our Highway State Patrol, the paramedics and rescue squads that were calm, collected, and helped me to see that I had a responsibility to be the best mom I ever was, despite my broken, terrified heart. The ER staff at Harrison that I heard was beyond the best. And last, but not least, the dedicated professionals at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital who could comfort, instruct and just calm jangled nerves and emotions torn to shreds.

We are proud and honored to live here in Kitsap County, amongst the finest people in the world.

I want to close with something that came to me today in one of the hundreds of emails and facebook posts: “Sometimes He holds us close~lets the wind and waves grow wild. Sometimes He calms the storm…at other times He calms His child.”


SKHS Baccalaureate: Is There a Pastor in the House?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

South Kitsap High School’s baccalaureate service was canceled Monday, essentially for lack of interest.

The baccalaureate, a non-denominational religious service, is at the high school but not hosted by the high school, said Devin Leith, youth pastor of the Family Worship Center in South Kitsap. Leith was in charge of the service this year, but he had a hard time drumming up enthusiasm among community religious leaders and students, who in the past have co-produced the event.

To the best of Leith’s knowledge, the baccalaureate used to be a regular part of graduation rituals; then it kind of just fell off the table. A couple years ago Family Worship Center picked up responsibility for the event, Leith said.

This year, however, “I put up the word and got zero feedback.”

Leith said he’d like to see a number of churches and the students themselves involved in planning for the event. He thinks a little more advance planning might go a long way.

Leith said a Bible Club at the high school that used to be active in planning the baccalaureate is waning or non-existent. If that group were to fire up again, it probably would help generate enthusiasm for the event, he said.

Does the baccalaureate bust indicate a secular wind in South Kitsap? Leith doesn’t think so. There’s plenty of enthusiasm among young people in his congregation and at other churches. “We just need more community involvement,” he said.

So what do you think? Should the South Kitsap community pursue a baccalaureate next year? Check back later today when I’ve been able to get our Web editor to add a place on the new blog for polls.


Super Bowl XLIX

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