The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
   May 17 , 2017 
Sunday Worship      
To hear podcast recordings of our Sunday Sermons
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St. Mark's Staff
Phil Rue, Visitation
Ingelaurie Lisher, Youth and Family
Music Ministry
Contemporary Music Ministry
Manager of Finance and Operations
Office Coordinator
Just Shopping

Just Shopping is an Internet Fundraising Program at St. Mark's. It's part of a three-tiered plan to eliminate our building debt by 2023. On-line purchase made through our website with affiliate companies helps pay off our building loan. Thank you for your support and please share this internet shopping opportunity with your family and friends! For more information, click here to visit our website. 


       Contact Us  
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows

6730 N. 17th St.
Tacoma, WA 98406

Office: 253-752-4966
Preschool: 253-752-4929
Join our mailing list.
Wednesday Night Church Night 
5:00pm Little Angels Choir (CR)
5:15pm Dinner:
Baked Potato Bar, Suggested Donation: $5
5:30pm Joyful Noise Choir (CR)
6:00pm Praise Team Rehearsal (S)
6:00pm Jubilation Choir, grades 3-5 (CR)
6:15pm Holy Moly (YR)
6:15pm Midweek Renewal (PCC)
7:30pm Evensong (PC)

Childcare is provided from 5-8pm for children up to 5 years of age while parents attend meetings, Bible Study and worship.  

Save These Dates in June!

Sunday, June 4 at 12:15pm:  ALL CONGREGATION MEETING
At this semi-annual meeting of our congregation, we will adopt a mission focused budget for the coming year, elect lay leaders to key positions, celebrate the success of our capital appeal, hear about Pastor Ruud's upcoming sabbatical, get updates on important ministries, and reflect on our theme of "One Great Song". Lunch will be served, starting at noon and childcare will be provided.

Come help us celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Pastor Shjerven's ordination! There will be a program in the sanctuary, followed by a reception in the Parish Commons. We hope you can join us!

Hunger Walk, May 20

Pierce County Hunger Walk  will be on Saturday, May 20th , 9:00 a.m. at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. Due to the change in date, St. Marks will not be forming a team this year. To register as an individual, go to the
Marimba Camp

Marimba Registration is open for adults and youth!
  • Adult Marimba Workshop: Saturday, June 3rd - morning or afternoon sessions.
  • Summer Youth Marimba Camp: Mon-Fri, August 21-25 (grades 2-12)
Cost: $50 per person

Forms are available on a table outside the church office, and can be turned in to Linda or Nicole in the office. Space is limited, so get your registration in soon!

Questions? Send to:

2017 Small Grants Awards

The Endowment Committee is pleased to announce that the St. Mark's Endowment Fund was large enough this year to support three small grants totaling $2,400. Our congregational ministry continues to be blessed by the $40,000 gift given from the Russ and Ann Hillman estate in 2013 and the $10,000 memorial gift given in honor of David Ostrander in 2016. The Fund continues to grow each year through faithful, ongoing gifts by current members of St. Mark's. This year's grants include:
  • Support for Luther 500 Festival trips led in 2017 by Ingelaurie Lisher so St. Mark's members can experience the life and ministry of Martin Luther and learn more about how the Reformation shaped and changed not only the church, but the broader world;
  • Support for the St. Mark's Food Backpack Program at DeLong Elementary that provides between 55 and 65 bags of food each weekend to homeless and needy children in our community that would otherwise go hungry;
  • Support to purchase and install a new, safer play structure for St. Mark's Preschool and Sunday School so our children can continue to develop social and physical skills and delight in the play of youth!
If you would like more information about how your planned giving to the Endowment Fund can help create a future legacy of generosity at St. Mark's, please contact any continuing member of the Endowment Committee: Jennifer Droubay, Jeff Ganung, or Deborah Herforth.

Prayer Chain

We are re-establishing our Prayer Chain at St. Mark's and we welcome your participation.  The mission of the Prayer Chain is to communicate requests for prayers to a network of individuals who are committed to the ministry of prayer for people in need. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, please send us your email and we will add you to the list. 
April Financials Update

Offerings in April were $105,225 or nearly $18,000 ahead of budget for the month. While we are still below budgeted offerings for the year by more than $44,000, this is the "right" direction for the last quarter of our fiscal year! Thank you to each of you for helping move closer to meeting our approved budget for the year. Compared to last year, giving is basically flat (0.8% above) for the same period, with total income of $876,221 and $868,787, respectively.
Expenses in April continued to be well managed, coming in $2,835 below budget. Spending for the fiscal year is now under budget by more than $28,000. Much of that "under-spending" continues to be from staffing reconfigurations. Expenses are 6.2% above last year over the same time period, at $866,905 and $816,526, respectively.
The strong offerings in April brought our fiscal year-to-date "bottom line" (income vs. expense)  back from a negative at the end of March ($8,722) to a positive at the end of April ($9,316). Sincere thanks for your continued generosity and support of our ongoing ministry and mission. As we heard from the Stewardship team during worship recently, we have an opportunity to finish the year strong together!
Please contact Jennifer Droubay or Mike McKeller in the Church office with any questions (253-752-4966) .

Synod Assembly

Are you interested in attending the bi-annual assembly of our Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA (June 16-17) as a voting member?  St. Mark's will send 5 lay people, along with Pr. Ruud. The Synod Assembly will be at PLU this year. Please pick up an interest form at the Welcome Center and return to the Church Office by May 28th .
Funerals of Long Time Members

Doris Larsen, Sunday, May 21 at 3:00 pm
Jeanne Forseth, Friday, June 2 at 2:00 pm
Dennis Hulbert, Sunday, June 4 at 4:00 pm

Living Our Faith: Stewardship Reflections by Birger Nelson

We have just completed a very successful "Blessings in Abundance" campaign for which we can be grateful. 

One of the blessings we have at St. Mark's is an abundance of ministry options for our stewardship of time. 

Five years ago St Mark's received a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to study homelessness in our community.  It was a real eye-opener for me. 

As I drive over the Narrows Bridge to St. Mark's I see nothing but nice homes and well-manicured yards.  But we all learned that our community has many homeless families. 

As a result of this study, our church became part of the Family Housing Network, hosting as many as five families for a week three times a year.  This provides a number of opportunities for service, from meal preparation to overnight hosting. 

We also made a connection with DeLong Elementary School, which has the highest percentage of homeless students (10%) of any school in Tacoma.  St. Mark's supplies backpacks with food for the children to take home on weekends. We also provide "lunch buddies" during recess and lunch one day a week, of which I am one.  Just being there means a lot to these 4th graders.  It's something our "buddies" can count on in their difficult lives.  The commitment of my "time" has become an important part of my week.  

LWR Layettes - Thank You

Thank you to all who donated items to the 83 layettes that went out this past week to LWR.  We continue to put these together only with your help so please continue to bring in bars of soap (best buy is at Costco with a package of 10-12 bars), infant socks (badly needed), bag style or footless sleepers, cotton receiving blankets and diapers (always needed) and of course flannel to be made into blankets or diapers.  You can put your donations in the bins marked LWR near the office door.                                                                 
A special thank you goes out to Jana Skaga and Kim Lowe who have been so helpful to me in "wrapping" the layettes up.
Any questions please call Randi Holland at 253-905-5693

Women of St. Mark's Spring Luncheon

Tickets will go on sale for our Spring Luncheon beginning on Sunday, May 7th after the first service and the beginning of the third service.  Mark your calendars for May 20th,11:00 a.m.,and join us for lunch , special music by Cooper Sherry and Darren Kerbs, a paper craft and lots of conversation.  Tickets are $10 per person. 
Would you like to help with the luncheon?  Sign up sheets will be available.
Questions?  Contact Barbara Meyers at  or 253-370-4251.
One Great Song: The Book of Psalms

As we explore this year's congregational theme, "One Great Song", we turn our attention to Israel's songbook.  The Psalms are a collection of 150 songs and poems that have been sung and recited for more than 3,000 years. They are beloved by both Jews and Christians and have shaped the imagination and strengthened the faith of people.  Together we will drink from this deep well as we spend 5 weeks studying the Book of Psalms.  Note-There will be two opportunities to be part of this study:  Wednesdays at 6:15pm  or Sundays at 11:00am (beginning May 7th).  Questions?  Contact Pastor Shjerven 

St. Mark's Scholarship

St Mark's Scholarship applications for the 2017-18 academic year are available.  If you are an undergraduate student, or enrolled in a degree program at a Community or Technical College, please stop by the counter outside the Church Office to pick up an application and/or ask questions.
L'Arche Summer Interns

L'Arche Tahoma Hope is looking for summer and yearlong assistants to join our community. As an assistant you will  provide direct care support to adults who have intellectual disabilities, foster unity and inclusion at home and in the broader community, and grow personally through relationships of mutual care and support. For more information, please email: or visit our website:

Vacation Bible School 2017

Mark your calendars!  VBS July 31-Aug. 4 Maker Fun Factory!  For children 4 year old (by July 1, 2017)-5th grade (2017-2018 school year). Registration opened April 30. Taking youth and adult volunteers who want to teach or lead. Contact Ingelaurie with questions or for more information.  Click here for the registration form. 

Children and Youth Faith Formation

Holden Village youth-- We leave St. Mark's at 4:15a.m. on Friday, May 19 and return around 10/10:30pm on Sunday, May 21st. Thanks to Steve Wolbrecht for helping lead the group.
High School graduates!  Don't forget to get me your pictures for Graduation Sunday on June 11.
The last day of Sunday school for children 3 years old to 12th grade is Sunday, June 11. Summer Story time will start June 25 during the "Word" portion of worship at 9:45a.m. each week through August 20. For children 5-8 years of age.
Thursday Nights at St. Mark's for youth grades 6-12: May 18 Youth Group 5:30p.m., Youth Choir 6:30p.m.; May 25 Youth Choir 6:30p.m.; June 1 Youth Group 5:30p.m.-last one of the school year, Youth Choir 6:30p.m.
Montana Team Potluck dinner- Everyone from Elementary to Servant Trip to High School Campers and their families.Wednesday June 14 5:30-7:00p.m. Bring a side dish to share, hot dogs, brats and beverages provided.
Faith Formation for children Summer 2017!
Summer story time begins Sunday, June 25 through Sunday, August 27 during the "Word" portion of the service at 9:45a.m. Vacation Bible School-Maker Fun Factory will be held July 31-Aug. 4 9:00a.m.- 12:15p.m. See the table in the Narthex for more information and how you can get involved in this fun faith formation program.
2018 ELCA Youth Gathering!   June 26-July 2, Houston TX. Details are on the youth board. Registration opens September 15. Music on the Lawn Fundraiser will be held August 19th-sign up to help and earn $$ for your trip. 

Adult Faith Formation

Adult Forum-Sundays 9:45am in the Parish Commons Classroom
May 21 -   Coffee and Conversation with your Church Council.  In preparation for the upcoming meeting of the congregation, members of the Church Council will share plans for ministry in the coming year and present a proposed budget to fund ministry plans.  This is a great chance to offer feedback and hear ideas from your elected leaders!    

Adult Class- Sundays 11am in the Parish Commons Classroom
May 21- Coffee and Conversation with your Church Council.  In preparation for the upcoming meeting of the congregation, members of the Church Council will share plans for ministry in the coming year and present a proposed budget to fund ministry plans.  This is a great chance to offer feedback and hear ideas from your elected leaders!  
Wednesday Midweek Renewal; 6:15pm
5/17-One Great Song:  the Book of Psalms;
series concludes with session on Wisdom Psalms

Tuesday "Fully Alive" Bible Study; 5:15pm in the Fireside Room
led by Sherry Maiura. 

Women's Bible Study; 9:30 am in the Parish Commons Classroom
We are exploring God's will for us as stated in the Third Petition of the Lord's Prayer, using Greg Laurie's As It Is in Heaven, a thought-provoking book. We are ladies of varying faith experiences who share insights and questions. Please join us! For more information, contact Linda Durant, 253-363-8202

Noon Wednesday Text Study Luncheon in the Parish Commons Classroom.  
At Bible Study Luncheon men and women read and discuss the scripture texts appointed for the upcoming Sunday. The pastor who will be preaching on the texts guides the conversation.

Member Notes and News

Three of St. Mark's youth will be performing at Orchestral Recital Series.  Elizabeth Busch-Conway will be performing on Tuesday, May 23rd at 7:30pm  at UPS's Schneebeck Concert Hall and Eleanor and Olivia Sherry will perform at First Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 27th at 3pm.   This is a wonderful program where youth get to perform piano works with full orchestra. 

Have an item for the bridge?
Send it to by 8am on Tuesday. All items will be run for 2 weeks prior to the relevant date and will be edited for length. Don't forget to send your member notes and news!