An Experiment!

Keith Tanis-webThe Strategic Board has approved an experiment to move from a Tillicum Center-based to a church-based Presbytery until the end of the year. What this means is that I will work from various churches throughout the Presbytery instead of a single office in the Tillicum Center. Our Stated Clerk/Presbytery Administrator, Kari McFarland, will work from an office at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Tacoma. Presbytery committees and commissions will also meet in various churches instead of the Tillicum Center.

Our mailing address and phone number remain the same for this six month experiment.

This experiment will be evaluated by a Transition Team of OlyPres leaders as it unfolds. We will not make any irrevocable changes during these six months so as not to preclude our returning to the Center in January.

We are in conversation with two groups who have expressed an interest in leasing the Tillicum Center. One group is a church that has been meeting in an area hotel banquet room for several years. The other is a group from the National Guard who are interested in leasing the Tillicum Center for use by their chaplains, counselors and family support groups. Both groups envision an expanding role in helping the immediate Tillicum community.

We believe that this experiment is in keeping with our Presbytery vision, the Mission is the Message, which included the following challenge:

It is the recommendation of the Futures Task Force that over the course of the next two to four years we move towards a minimalist approach and model of staffing with the Olympia Presbytery.

The recent retirement of our Executive Administrator, Susie Zych, brought another incentive to this experiment, since Susie was the primary force in making the Tillicum Center the beautiful, hospitable and functional office and meeting space it has been over the past several years.

We believe that this experiment will embody a reality we are seeking to live into, namely, that Presbytery is not a place but it is a network of relationships among the churches. We believe this experiment will help us nurture and resource these relationships for the good of our common mission!

Send any feedback to me by phone (562-682-1367), email (, or our regular 15508 Portland Ave SE mailing address.

Keith Tanis, Executive Presbyter