Churches plan alternative events on Sunday

Watching Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson talk about his Christian faith, raising money to alleviate hunger, seeing the game on a sanctuary’s big screen, and skipping services are some ways area churches will celebrate Super Bowl Sunday.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to pray for the Seahawks to win, but I do think God made us to enjoy life,” said Pastor Barry Crane, leader of North Sound Church in Edmonds. “We’re people who are followers of Christ, but also just folks who live in the Seattle area and are fans. Why not have a party?”

North Sound Church will host two Super Sunday Tailgate Celebration services, at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., at the Edmonds Conference Center, the first followed by a breakfast and the second by a hot-dog lunch. The church, started a decade ago in the old First Baptist Church of Edmonds, also held a Seahawks celebration service in January 2013 during the playoffs.

Crane said Sunday’s events will include the showing of “The Making of a Champion,” a short film that includes Wilson and Seahawks players Chris Maragos, Russell Okung and Clint Gresham talking about the role faith plays in their lives.

At Mars Hill Church in Everett, Sunday morning services will be held as usual. In the afternoon, starting at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the big Mars Hill sanctuary in the former Everett Armory will be open for family-friendly Super Bowl viewing.

“We want to use our equipment — big screen and great sound system — to service the community. This is a way we can do that,” said Ryan Williams, Mars Hill Everett’s lead pastor.

New Life Church, another large congregation in Everett, has canceled its Sunday evening service. “We decided not to do our 6 p.m. service. It’s such an exciting Sunday, we would like the church staff and members to enjoy the Super Bowl with friends and family,” said Jim Romack, New Life’s lead pastor. “Go Hawks!” says the cancellation notice on the church’s website.

Everett’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church still plans to hold its 5 p.m. Mass on Sunday, but a high school youth group that meets following that service is canceled. And a Lunar New Year celebration planned by the Vietnamese community of Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishes in Everett is postponed until next weekend, according to Charlotte McCoy, a parish receptionist.

Some Lutherans are using the Seahawks-Broncos match-up as a platform to raise money to fight world hunger.

Jan Nesse is a retired Lutheran minister who lives in Everett. She said that Bishop Kirby Unti, who leads the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is in the midst of a challenge with Bishop Jim Gonia of the church’s Rocky Mountain Synod, based in Denver. As of 8:30 a.m. Friday, Seahawks donors were trailing Broncos fans — $9,313 to $9,940.

Money donated online, at www.lutheransnw.org, will benefit the ELCA World Hunger appeal. The challenge will last until Sunday’s game ends, said Nesse, who was Bishop Unti’s assistant until she retired last fall. “No matter who wins this challenge, those who are hungry will be the real winners,” she said.

Pastor Chuck Hickman heads Port Gardner Community Church, which meets at Everett’s Sequoia High School. At the 10 a.m. service Sunday, Hickman said he expects “everybody to wear Seahawks gear for fun.” The congregation is small enough that Hickman has invited everyone to his house for an all-church party during the game.

Hickman said the Hawks’ journey to the Super Bowl has been a unifying force. “This transcends so many boundaries in our community,” he said.

At North Sound Church, Crane agrees. “Isn’t it cool? We live in an environment where our politicians are pretty polarized. But all of us are putting on the same shirt,” he said.

“And I suspect God enjoys a good football game,” Crane added.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Football and faith

North Sound Church will host two Super Sunday Tailgate Celebration services, at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, at the Edmonds Conference Center, 201 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. After services, a breakfast and lunch will be served. Services will include the showing of “The Making of a Champion,” a short film that shows several Seahawks players talking about their Christian faith. See it online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC1iD8yzndM

Mars Hill Church in Everett, 2730 Oakes Ave., will be open at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to show the Super Bowl on its big screen.

To donate to a Lutheran effort to help fight world hunger in the name of the Seahawks: www.lutheransnw.org

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