2013 GNA Annual Letter

2013 Annual Letter

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support of Good News Associates! With you, we have supported, incubated and launched experimental ministries for over 15 years now. This letter reports back to you on what we have accomplished with your faithful support and also invites you to be a part of future Good News for this world.

I recall when Jan Wood invited me to be part of the inaugural Board of Directors for her new non-profit organization, something she was calling “Good News Associate.” And although she tapped me for my experience with traditional non-profits, her model was pretty unique and radical. It reminded me of the way in which Jesus called a group of people from disparate walks of life and ultimately changed the world. The idea seemed a bit risky and a bit crazy — but the best ideas often are.

“I’m about to do something brand new.
It’s bursting out!
Don’t you see it?”

—Isaiah 43:19 (The Message)

Jan told me about the hidden treasure she had discovered in her work as a pastor, counselor and educator: gifted folks who were called to ministry, but could find no institutional niche in which to express their calling. They were artists, musicians, spiritual directors, speakers, poets and those called to intercessory prayer — and they had no place to be.

Good News Associates would give them an institutional framework for support, a platform for fundraising and potential collaboration with other like-minded sojourners. As someone who worked with people of faith in the performing arts, I was captured by the unique vision Jan had to make a home for these homeless ministers and so I joined the Board.

“Finding a ministry home when you don’t fit in the slots the institutional church has created can be a real challenge . . . To have an organization like Good News affirm those creative gifts and not only insist that those are valuable callings but tangibly support release to this ministry is so critical. It opens not only a way forward in the moment, but the dreams of how we might creatively bring forth the kingdom in the most intimate and self-realized ways by embracing precisely who God has created us to be.” —Nate Macy, Good News Associate, 2005-2011

It’s proved to be a fascinating decade and a half. During this time Good News Associates has welcomed in a diverse group of Associates from a variety of spiritual traditions and geographical regions. These lovely people have been visual artists (Melanie Weidner), musicians (Nate Macy), writers (Lon Fendall), chaplains (Susanne Kromberg) and poets (Pat LaViscount). All of this diversity we anticipated.

“I’m ever grateful to Jan and Good News Associates for believing in me and in God’s work through me — at the right time and enough to help me believe in it too. My ministry found its footing with GNA and flourishes yet today, empowered by that essential early advocacy.” —Melanie Weidner, Good News Associate, 1998-2000

Planting Seeds

What we did not know was that some of the Associates would stay with us for a short time (e.g. Noah Baker Merrill) and then be called away and that others would sojourn with us for much longer (e.g. Nancy McCormick). GNA became a bit of an incubator or a testing ground, as our Associates tried out various ministry concepts. Some would find voice and expression for their ministry work outside of Good News Associates and launch into new opportunities. Some would find a “home” with us. And others would decide that the ministry idea they were trying out was not going to fly and they put it to rest. Good News Associates became a place where people could faithfully pursue experimental ministry.

“When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.’”
—John 6:12 (The Message)

Another unique quality of this undertaking is its fiscal design. We structured the organization in such a way that we would never spend more money than we brought in. It was a “loaves and fishes” model, one that assumed God’s abundance, not scarcity. Our Associates are paid out of the contributions and honorariums that their ministries bring in and general expenses are paid out of a portion of all revenues held back for the general fund. The general fund then pays for a portion of the Executive Director’s salary as well as semi-annual Associate gatherings and bigger expenditures such as new computers or printers. This model has allowed us to remain prudent in times where we had plenty and to weather times when we had little.

Cultivating the Future

Good News Associates continues to innovate. We took on a couple of new Associates (Chris Hall and Margaret Fraser) in the past few years. We started several new initiatives such as the Leadership Institute for Group Discernment and The Way of the Spirit. They are successful and growing! And, these changes have depleted our general fund. So as we close out 2013, the cupboard is a bit bare.

Would you consider a one-time gift to
Good News Associates this holiday season?

If you’re reading this, it is likely that your life has been touched by one of the individuals or ministries mentioned above. Perhaps you have been a faithful monthly supporter of one of our Associates. Or perhaps you have been impacted by one of our grant recipients — George Myers Slice of Life CD project or Cathy Barney’s Turtle Box ministry. Whatever your connection to Good News Associates, we greatly appreciate your support.

Not all of you will have the capacity to give at this time. But if you do have some leeway, we ask that you prayerfully consider whether you are being Led to make a donation at this time. A few additional gifts to the general fund this winter, even of modest size, will make a great deal of difference and help us to begin the New Year from a position of greater strength and stability. If you’d like to donate now, follow the PayPal link below to do so on-line. You may also send a check made out to Good News Associates care of the address below. Please indicate that your donation is for the general fund. All donations are tax deductible. And even if you can’t give at this time, we appreciate you undergirding us with prayer and other forms of support.

“I could have planned and led a reconciliation-based pilgrimage to Ireland without Good News Associates. I could have agreed to clerk the New Association of Friends — cheerfully. But what a difference it makes to be part of the prayerful group that is GNA. And what a difference to be held in prayer by a host of those who support GNA’s ministries.” —Margaret Fraser, Good News Associate, 2012-present

We appreciate your investment in Good News Associates. With your partnership, we have been working to plant, incubate and grow experimental ministries for over 15 years now. With your continued prayers and financial support, we plan to do so for a long time to come!


Mark Oppenlander
Board President
Good News Associates

To Make a Gift Online

To Make a Gift by Mail, Send Checks to

Good News Associates
13730 – 15th Ave NE, A302
Seattle, WA 98125

“When I was discouraged and alone with a leading to begin a contemplative retreat and study program, Good News Associates took me in and launched me forth like a rocket ship. Without GNA, Way of the Spirit would simply not have happened. God uses GNA to make amazing things possible.” —Christine Betz Hall, Good News Associate, 2011-present