Six pastors to swap churches for a day

MARYSVILLE – Marysville Free Methodist Church is known more for its subdued Sunday services than for welcoming dancers at the front of the sanctuary.

That’s a practice more common at Turning Point Community Church, a congregation that meets a few miles away.

Worshippers at Judah Praise Center in Marysville and FGM Church in Everett all eagerly await words of prophecy from congregants, but at FGM, it’s not unusual for those words to come in Russian.

Allen Creek Community Church was founded a dozen years ago, while New Hope Community Church has only reached its fourth anniversary.

Pastors from those six churches agreed to swap pulpits over the next two Sundays to show their congregations that though there are many buildings, there’s only one church.

“We’re all members of the same family. We have the same father,” said Steve Schertzinger of New Hope Community Church.

The pulpit swap, the first of its kind for the Marysville churches, came about when the pastors met to plan the annual Summer Jubilee, an event that draws thousands of people for a community celebration and a school supply giveaway.

The pastors realized that though they work together once a year, their congregations weren’t as aware as they could be of other local churches, said David Luster of Turning Point Community Church.

Schertzinger will preach at Judah Praise Center, a charismatic church, on June 10.

The congregation at Judah is accustomed to lively worship and impromptu sermons they consider to be prophetic words from God.

That doesn’t bother Schertzinger.

“We work out of the same owner’s manual,” he said, referring to the Bible.

This Sunday, Mike Villamore of Turning Point Community Church and Rick Thiesen of Allen Creek Community Church will swap pulpits.

Next Sunday, while Schertzinger preaches at Judah Praise Center, Sergey Budnik, the Ukrainian pastor of FGM Church in Everett, will preach at New Hope Community Church.

James Berkley of Judah Praise Center will preach at Marysville Free Methodist, and Senior Associate Pastor Greg Kanehen of Marysville Free Methodist will preach at FGM Church.

Kanehen said he anticipates interacting with FGM’s partly Ukrainian congregation.

“Both sets of my grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine, and I traveled to Russia a few years back as part of a leadership endeavor,” he said.

Even after a trip that spanned an ocean, Kanehen said he found Christians who share his beliefs. Yet even within a city, churches can forget that there are other Christians nearby, he said.

“We have differences, but they’re not theological differences,” he said.

While pulpit swaps across the country have featured Islamic imams preaching in Christian churches and rabbis preaching in Unitarian centers, it’s unlikely that will happen in Marysville, Schertzinger said.

“They don’t have to be exactly like me, but there has to be some unity in the basics, being that Jesus is the son of God, and that he is the way to God,” Schertzinger said.

“We can differ on a whole bunch of things, but there is something that’s nonnegotiable, and that’s it.”

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or

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