The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
    December  16 , 2015 
Grace Notes: What Gives You Hope?
At a gathering of pastors and associates in ministry that took place at St. Mark's this week, our Bishop asked us: "What gives you hope?" The responses from the group were a strong witness to the fact that hope thrives, even in times of fear and uncertainty. Some talked about the hope they experience when they see the faces of people who are filled with God's Spirit. Others talked about the hope that comes from seeing the compassionate response of helpers in times of tragedy or loss. One person talked about the surprise of finding hope in the most difficult year of his life. It came as a gift, he said, from the God who enters our darkness and walks with us into the light.

Sunday Worship      
To hear podcast recordings of our Sunday Sermons
Click Here
St. Mark's Staff
Phil Rue, Visitation
Ingelaurie Lisher, Youth and Family
Music Ministry
Contemporary Music Ministry
Manager of Finance and Operations
Office Manager
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 Church Night Tonight

There will be no regular Wednesday Night Church Dinner, Classes and Choirs. Please join us for Christmas Caroling at 6pm

6pm Christmas Caroling/ Cocoa and Cookies Afterwards
6pm Praise Team Rehearsal
6pm- Faith Journey
7:30pm - Holden Evening Prayer

Regular Wednesday Night activities will resume January 13th.  

Christmas Holiday Services

Thursday, December 24th
4:00pm - Family Christmas Eve Worship
6:00pm, 9:00pm, 11:00pm Christmas Eve Worship (Childcare available at 6pm in the nursery)

Friday, December 25th 
10:00 am Christmas Day Worship

Sunday, December 27th
8:30am, 9:45am, 11:00am Christmas Carol Hymn Sing (no Sunday School or Adult Classes)

Children's Christmas Program Thank You!
Thank you to leaders, teachers, parents, and especially the children for your enthusiasm and hard work in presenting "The Loaned Manger" and "Song of the Stars" last Sunday.  The story of Christ's birth inspired many gifts to unwrap and the result was a blessing to all!

Women's Retreat 2016!
SAVE THE DATE--2016 Women's Retreat,  February 19-20th, Pilgrim Firs Conference Center.  Registration will open in mid-January.

ELCA Presiding Bishop's Open Letter to the American Muslim Community
In a Dec. 11 letter to the American Muslim community, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said:
"Grace and peace to you. I am writing on behalf of many Christians in this country who wish to share a word of solidarity, love and hope with you in these difficult days.

"In this season of Advent, we, your Christian neighbors, are preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who commanded that "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart ... [and] you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:30-31, NRSV).

"In our love for you, our Muslim neighbors, we are distressed by the ways in which you are being forced to bear the fears held by many in our nation. Therefore, we renew our commitment to find even more effective ways to protect and defend you from words and actions that assault your safety and well-being. We believe God calls us to resist what is divisive, discriminatory, xenophobic, racist or violent, and we want you to look to us as allies and friends.

"The global refugee and migrant crisis and the acts of terror committed in this country and around the world are challenges that demand our collective efforts and our common prayers. Therefore, we will seek to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as agents of peace, justice, understanding, welcome and reconciliation for the sake of the world that God so loves.

"In this holy season, when we anticipate the light that the darkness cannot overcome (John 1:5, NRSV), we are reminded of God's gift of life abundant for all. Together with you, we are committed to building a stronger society based on the dignity of each human being, the value of diversity, the holiness of creation and the common good. We pledge our partnership and invite our local communities into continued dialogue and engagement to this end."

A Connect and Care TimeBank Annoucement
December and January are great months to do exchanges! Need help getting up holiday lights? - find a handyman at the TimeBank. Need someone who cooks well to help with party planning? - find someone at the TimeBank.  Want help cleaning up the yard to ready it for Spring? - check the TimeBank.  I'm sure you can think of many more...give it a try!  Pat Witt, Connect and Care TimeBank Coordinator.
Stewardship in Advent
During the season of Advent, the church looks back upon Christ's coming in celebration of the great gift of Grace we have received. At the same time, the church looks forward in anticipation of renewing our commitment to be followers of Jesus in the world, doing God's work with our hands.  Advent also has a looking back and looking forward dimension for congregational stewardship.  Our budget year ends on December 31, so our Finance Committee and Church Council look back to the first eleven months and forward to the final month in this budget year, as well as anticipating income and expenditures for the 2016 budget year, which ends for us on June 30 when our fiscal year moves to a new calendar.  Financially, our first eleven months have gone well, thanks to the generosity of our people and the careful management of our staff and council.  We entered December with slightly more income and slightly lower expenditures that projected.  We are blessed! 
Throughout the year, stewardship education has focused on three messages:  1) gratitude for our past gifts of time, talent and treasure; 2) invitation to be generous in the future; and 3) communication of stewardship facts, details, and stories. In this second week of Advent, the Stewardship Ministry Team wants you to know that our 2015 budget plan anticipates that December will be the largest month of giving, much greater than one-twelfth of our annual income.  For December 2015, the anticipated income is about $115,000, about $22,000 of which was given last week.  We also want you to know that meeting our anticipated giving will send us into the first six months of 2016 with a modest surplus.  That will be helpful since the first half of the year historically runs behind the second half in giving but not in spending.
This past week, 350 letters were sent to those who have submitted 2016 Plans for Giving and those who have not yet responded.  Our aim with this letters is to continue the efforts in stewardship education the three messages and to be bold in the invitation to, yet again, fully fund our mission.  As we await with joy the celebration of Christmas 2015, let's look forward to another year of meaningful worship, faith formation, service and stewardship in this beloved community of St. Mark's.  Thanks be to God.
Plans for Giving
Thank you to everyone who has filled out a plan for giving! We are grateful for your continued support and generosity to our ministry at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. To date, we've received more than 166 plans for giving compared to 213 received in 2015. As a reminder, the church council relies on plans for giving in order to plan and budget accordingly.  If you have not yet done so, please fill out the response card for your intended support for the first six months of 2016 (Click here for a copy of the pledge card). Thank you for giving and helping us plan for the year ahead!
Save the Date
Wednesday, Jan. 6th  5:30pm at St. Mark's, Epiphany Event and youth fundraiser.  Fun for the whole family.
Sunday School Collection for "God's Global Barnyard"
St. Mark's  Sunday School children are collecting monies during the Advent and Christmas seasons to help "God's Global Barnyard," a program of providing animals to families around the world to fight hunger and poverty.  Offering banks are available downstairs in the Children's Faith Center if you would like to join in this outreach.  

"God's Global Barnyard" is part of the ELCA Good Gifts program.  Give an alternative gift this Christmas through the Good Gifts Program by going to  Note cards to communicate to a special someone that you have given a gift in their name are available downstairs in CFC as well.  Thank you for remembering our Global neighbors in need!

Adult Faith Formation Resources for Advent

Daily Devotionals-"Creator of the Stars of Night" is the Advent Devotional published by Luther Seminary.  
You are welcome to pick up a copy at the Adult Faith Formation table in the narthex on Sunday, or you can subscribe to an email version at

Luther 500 Festival 2017
Info and registration forms are available on the Youth board (towards the Fireside Room). I've got 8 spots open, more might become available if needed. A commitment/deposit to reserve your spot is due  Jan. 15. Info. meeting Jan. 10th 12noon in the Fireside Room.  Tour dates:  June 19-25, 2017  you pick one you want to attend and book your own airfare. The group will meet up in Wittenberg Germany.  This trip is geared for adults 21 and older or children/youth accompanied by parent/s. For more information and detail, speak with Ingelaurie Lisher. Cost: approximately $1,500 (not including airfare).  

Tai Chi Classes

There will be no Tai Chi classes in December. We will resume  January 9  (at  9:30am ) with "Tai Chi for Arthritis". Questions? Call Earl Steen  (253-756-8925 ).
Adopt a Family For Christmas
Thank you to all the members who graciously offered to sponsor 32 families in our midst and in our community who are in need of food for Christmas dinner and gifts for family members.  All the tags have been spoken for. Please remember to return gifts to the church no later than Sunday, December 20th. Be sure to TAPE the person's ornament # onto EACH of the two  gift.
Questions? Contact: Judy Droubay 253-759-6720 or Mary Jo Holum 253-752-3304. 
Adult Faith Formation

Sunday, 9:45am, Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
Celebrating The Magnificat: Mary, God, and Poetry will be the topic at the Adult Forum at 9:45 on December 20. The class will focus on three facets of Mary's song as it is recorded in the Gospel of Luke. First, images of Mary in art history will precede stories of mothers and the transformational relationships they inspire in our lives. Second, a focus on the God of the Magnificat will be a means to introduce stories of justice and mercy in our lives and the transformational ministries they inspire. Third, a choral reading of the canticle as a poem will serve to engage us in conversations about the transformational power of poetry to transform our hearts. Dr. James Pence created this class on The Magnificat for a pastors' retreat in Arizona last December. Advent 2015 presents an opportunity to offer it at St. Mark's. Classes will begin promptly at 9:45 and last one full hour.

Sunday, 11am, Adult Class, Parish Commons Classroom
The Adult Class in on break for Christmas,  classes will resume January 10th. 

Fully Alive Bible Study,  Tuesdays, 5:15pm,  Fireside Room.
This fall we are discussing the book of Esther. All are welcome! Questions? Contact Sherry Maiura (253) 549-4222.

Wednesday Women's Bible Study, 9:30am, Parish Commons Classroom. 
We are taking a break over the holidays and will begin a new study, January 6 on the Book of Acts. Questions? please contact Linda Durant at (253) 363-8202 or

Text Study Luncheon, Wednesdays, Noon, Parish Commons
Gather for lunch and for  conversation and study around the text that will be heard in worship the following Sunday. Conversation will be guided by the pastor who will be preaching, and by the insights and questions of the group.   

First Tuesday Women's Bible Study/Circle, Noon, Parish Commons Classroom 
A new women's Bible Study/Circle has been organized. Bring your lunch to the Parish Commons Classroom. All are welcome!  Contact: Louise Lindeman,
Midweek Renewal, Wednesday, 6:15pm, Fireside Room
No Midweek Renewal, it will resume January 13th. 
Third Thursday" Theology on Tap"-
for young adults meets at Wingman Brewery at 7:30pm on the third Thursday of each month. Contact Pastor Jan Ruud, 

Cafe Circle, Fireside Room, 10-11:15am
A new women's group has been formed especially for younger women. The group will meet the first Friday of each month for coffee, pastry and conversation around issues in our lives, looking at how faith might affects those issues. The online magazine CafĂ© will be used as our initial resource. You can check out the magazine at . For further information, contact Celesta Smith at  or Diana Busch at
Children and Youth Faith Formation

The Spark Notes for this week is Mary Visits Elizabeth & Jesus is Born 
Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to 
supplement Sunday School lessons.

Children's Sunday school as usual this coming Sunday, December 20th  when the lessons will be Mary Visits Elizabeth and Jesus is Born, along with Christmas activities in classrooms.   All class groups 4's thru 4th grade will participate in Communion portion of Worship.  

NO  SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES  on  December 27  and  January 3 .

Want to know what's happening this summer for youth grades 6-12th?  Check out the summer programming brochure located on the youth board.  
Youth Choir is done for the year! See you Jan. 14th. 
Wednesday, Dec. 16 Christmas Caroling-Children and youth grab your parent/grandparent and join in on the fun. We leave St. Mark's at  6pm (sharp) to walk to the Tacoma Lutheran Home and will return around  7:15pm for cookies and hot chocolate in the Narthex. Dinner will NOT be served.
Thursday, Dec. 17--Youth Group Christmas Party (grades 6-12)  5:30-6:30pm dinner will be provided. Bring a pair of fun holiday socks-with goodies inside (not over $10.00) for our stocking exchange. You don't need to be a regular youth group attendee to join in on the fun!
Sunday, Dec. 20
  • No High School (9-12) Sunday School-all other grades meet at regular time. 
  • College age brunch in Fireside Room 9:45am
  • Movie Marathon 2:30-9pm in PC for youth grades 6-12th-if you signed up to attend, see you there.  
Tuesday, Dec. 22 SR ALYVE (9-12) Cookie baking  10am-1pm, lunch included. Cost: $5.00 per person. Sign up by Dec. 20thif you plan on attending. 
Post Confirmation Retreat-Jan. 17-18th (for all 9th graders and their faith companions). Reserve your spot by Dec. 20th. Cost: $15.00 per person. 

Member Notes and News

We welcomed the following new members through Affirmation of Baptism Sunday at the 8:30am service: Clara Eickhoff; Einar and Karin Gustafson; Kathleen and Scott Reader and son, Wyatt. Thomas Irwin is also affirming his baptism today, 
St. Mark's member, Matt Shimkus is performing in THIS CHRISTMAS, a new work by a local playwright at Taproot Theatre in Seattle. "Leah plans the perfect Christmas, but her husband (Matt) is preoccupied, an inept waitress could spoil everything, and Christmas Eve rapidly spins out of control as uninvited guests show up. Will this be the worst Christmas ever, or will Leah open her heart to new ways of celebrating the moments that make life beautiful?"  The show runs through Dec 26. Tickets:  or call 206.781.9707 

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!