Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 8th Day Community?

The 8th Day Community is a support ministry for churches and the community as a whole. We offer extensive training in spiritual formation and pastoral care, as well as leadership development and spiritual direction. We are not a church; we are a growing community who follow Jesus and help build people of proven character who become leaders of spiritual depth in their local congregations, places of work and communities.

What is the 8th Day Community's history?

The 8th Day Community began as the Brendan Center and was  founded by J. Michael Matkin. The Brendan Center was  incorporated as a non-profit in 2004 and moved to a location in downtown Bellingham in 2005. The Brendan Center was named after St. Brendan, a Celtic Christian saint of old well-known for his risky adventures of evangelism on the open North Atlantic. The Brendan Center was established to bring training in Church calendar events and the arts as an incarnational presence in the city. In 2007, the Brendan Center started "doing business" as the 8th Day Community, expanding its vision and purpose and incorporating not only an incarnational presence in the city, but also much needed training in spiritual formation, pastoral care and leadership development. 

I like your logo - what does it represent?

Our logo represents the ancient Church's symbol for the resurrection of Christ, the eighth day of creation, the new dawn - the fullness of time. That is what the 8th Day Community represents: a community of resurrection and transformation, all the while being aware of the frailty and brokenness of humankind.

Describe what living compassion in the city means.

The mission phrase has two meanings. The first meaning is that we look at a life of compassion as central to our calling and vocation, so we "live" this out in the present as people of faith with active concern for the poor, the marginalized, and the brokenness of humankind. The second meaning is that "living compassion" means we are part of the grand story of redemption and renewal as Jesus creates a new humanity in us as we incarnate, or flesh-out His love in being "champions" of all people's creative potential. This compassion is a personal journey of faith and self-awareness into God's compassionate heart. At the same time our personal journey becomes a community adventure in giving of ourselves in service and love.

How come all the talk of cities?

We believe that God has a unique calling for 8th Day in the cities of this world. The majority of the world's population will soon be living within the city landscape. Being involved with this vast people movement into the urban world is a big part of 8th Day's calling and passion. We believe by being prayerful and strategic our prophetic voice of love will be heard by many. Jesus is calling us into a life of risk and of adventure in a community that blesses the local church and strives to strengthen the unity of all believers. 

What is it about Celtic Christianity's traditions that are so foundational for the 8th Day Community and spiritual formation?

The 8th Day Community is defined not only by compassion demonstrated within the city, but also by the growing calling to reflect the image of the God (the Imago Dei) in the rich and extraordinary history and traditions of the Church - both ancient and contemporary. We are drawn to Celtic Christianity's ability to "weave" the historical characteristics of the life of a follower of Jesus into a broader perspective bringing a needed reflective life of community and wholeness. In short, allowing people to experience the love of God in the ordinariness of life and not be bound by unnecessary institutional or self-made expectations. This is a core value of the 8th Day Community and how we approach the life of reflective and in-depth discipleship in spiritual formation.

Could you describe your values a bit more?

The 8th Day Community's purpose is to help model genuine encounters with Jesus and one another, receiving the Holy Spirit's empowerment for mission and for wisdom, and embracing the Father's heart of compassion and care for ourselves and our neighbors. We model and "live this compassion" by our eight core values (rules of community living). These "rules or values" guide us in our common life and also help to establish a rhythm of living around the seasons of the year and the Church Calendar.

What is Coracles and how do the monthly reflections work?

The name Coracles is taken from the small boats made of hide and strong branches used by some of the early Celtic Christian saints of old when going on missions of mercy and evangelism. These reflections are, in a sense, small boats which tie our community together in the seasonal rhythms of life and in our individual and collective missions of mercy and evangelism. They are designed to introduce the main themes of the Church calendar over a two-year period, as well as the stories in the Bible that we consider essential to our life as Christians in an ever-changing 21st century world. The seasonal rhythms of the year are connected to us both in the Church calendar and in creation - in the seasons that mark the passages of time throughout the year. These reflections create a framework outlining the larger canvas of a person's and a community's life where the Holy Spirit paints an on-going and unique expression of the Lord's work.

What is spiritual direction?

It is the discovery of the Spirit of God in the life of an individual and in a community; an invitation into God’s love and direction in prayer and spiritual friendships.  The spiritual director's role is as a guide and fellow traveler while the person(s) receiving direction are encouraged in prayer and listening to the Lord and growing in the disciplines of the faith. It is unlike counseling in the clinical sense, though both can be a compliment to one another. Psychologically-based counseling is problem-centered, focused on fixing issues, and concentrates on emotional distress and mental illness. Spiritual direction is primarily a pastoral role concerned with God’s movements of love and grace as an individuals , couples and families grow. For more information on how to recieve spiritual direction contact Dr. Dale Pollard at 360-201-3957.

What are 8th Day Gatherings?

 The 8th Day Community is purposeful in helping bless the Church as a whole and build people of depth and of service. Included in these purposes are what we have named Gatherings, or corporate get-togethers where those involved with the 8th Day Community come and gather in multiple venues and circumstances to eat, learn, serve, and rejoice together. Gatherings then become a place for Eucharist, for thanksgiving and Sabbath - a place and a time to listen to the Holy Spirit in community.

In the words of Henri Nouwen in The Way of the Heart,

Calling people together...means calling them away from the fragmenting and distracting wordiness of the dark world to that silence in which they can discover themselves, each other, and God. Thus organizing can be seen as the creation of a space where communion becomes possible and community can develop.

What is Prodigal Men's Ministries?

Prodigal Men's Ministries is a ministry of spiritual formation for all men, especially those whose lives are burdened with obstacles that stand in the way of their relationship with God, their families and the faith community they are part of. This ministry had been in existence for fifteen years and has been a tool God has used to transform men's lives into a deeper walk with Jesus, more caring family relationships and involvement and leadership in their local congregations.

Do you have any offerings for women and families?

Our Gatherings are meant to include all people and families in a place of celebration and relationship. Coracles is central to this vision as both women, men and children are engaged in a rhythm of life and rule of living. The 8th Day Community also sponsors projects that the entire community is involved with. These are "barn-raising" events that include the whole community. Coracles can also be used for any group gatherings and the hope is Coracles can be content for future women's ministry vision and outreach. We are also in partnership with New Song Women's Ministries, a healing ministry for women in Whatcom County.

What is the 8th Day Institute?

The 8th Day Institute forms learning communities, training people from all walks of life across denominational and organizational spectrums in a concentrated two-year program. In addition, the Eighth Day Institute is committed to spiritual renewal and living out incarnationally God's desire for intimacy, compassion, and justice. We celebrate our encounter with Jesus in all of life, our reception of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and the loving embrace of God the Father. The Institute trains people in examining the "interior life" for service in the "external landscapes" of social justice, care, business and human services. We are intentional in developing and mentoring caring leaders in the local church, community, and global contexts.

What is Lamentation?

Lamentation loss and grief class/group has been involved in helping those with intense losses for over twelve years. This ministry is a uniquely Christian look into the formative depth that grief  and mourning can have in our lives. Based on the prophet Jeremiah's letter of Lamentations, this class introduces the participant to the Biblical record of lament and how hope and joy is born of sorrow and mourning.  Lamentation offers a listening presence to those in anguish and this ministry has proven to be an offering of hope for those in despair.

Could you describe the Plunge?

The Plunge is a unique missions opportunity to learn more of the local city and the helps and challenges of living in an ever-changing urban landscape. This five-day missions experience is great for church youth groups for a summer experience of learning to care for the local context. The Plunge is also offered as part of Trinity Western's Bellingham Campus program and has a one day experience suitable for adults and students.

How do the arts play a role in the 8th Day Community?

The 8th Day Community encourages the intersection of our faith and the arts. With that in mind we have created an online forum for local artists to converse over key issues of artistic life and faith. This forum may develop into a local arts related "in-person" group for dialogue and "brain-storming." Look for seasonal art shows around the Church calendar sponsored by 8th Day and hosted at the 8th Day Building.

What is your vision for partnership with churches and organizations?

The 8th Day Community is actively partnering with churches to help train in spiritual formation, pastoral care and leadership. We also are actively seeking host churches for Prodigal Men's Ministry groups as well as Lamentation group offerings. 8th Day is also seeking and recruiting local businesses to help partner in the vision of renewal and community involvement we are called into. Follow this link to our Affiliates/Partners page for more information.

How are you funded?

We are funded by donations for all of our offerings, individual gifts, gifts-in-kind and the occasional grant that comes in and generous donations from local businesses and patrons. As is true of all non-profits we are actively seeking to expand our donor base while being wise stewards of the resources given us as part of our value of simplicity and generosity.

How can I give?

You may give many ways. If you wish to give financially follow this link to our Donations page of the website. You may give either on-line or by check. The 8th Day Community is a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit corporation - all gifts are tax-deductible.

How can I be of assistance?

You can be of assistance in a myriad of ways. If you wish to become involved please give us a phone call or an email. For more information concerning the 8th Day Community contact Dr. Dale Pollard at, or by cell at 360-201-3957. 

Where do you see the 8th Day Community going?

The 8th Day Community is just beginning to realize God's calling. As a support and training ministry for the community and local congregations, there really is no limit to the helps we can give to local churches and the community in general. We believe the 8th Day Community is called to build people and places of Sabbath and healing, living compassion as a community of hospitality and service engaged in a rhythm and rule of living - immersed in spiritual formation. We are a people of prayer - listening to the God who forms us and nurturing the friendships and missional opportunities that are given us in His guidance and care.

Peace, the 8th Day Community