The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
    November  18 , 2015 
Grace Notes: Close to Home 
This past Friday evening our church building was a busy hive of activity. Preschoolers, family members and congregation members had come together to share a meal, sing songs and play games. Simple Things. Yet, what joy filled the building as these young ones laughed with their teachers and friends, as they fished for little trinkets from the "fishing hole', as they sang songs for their parents and ate their ketchup-laden hot dogs. My heart was full!

And it was broken. It had been only a few hours since I had learned of the terrorist attacks in Paris (I had not yet learned of those in Beirut). What a strange cocktail of feelings I experienced as I watched our children. I am so incredibly thankful for the security and the freedom they have to be children-to lose themselves in the rapture of simple, ordinary things. At the same time, I am so very sad that many of the world's children and other vulnerable ones do not have this same security and freedom. I feel like a child myself, when all I can manage to say in the face of such an event is "It's not fair!".

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 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
5:00pm Little Angels 
5:15pm Dinner is served 
Spaghetti (vegetarian option), Sug. donation $5/person
5:30pm Joyful Noise 
6:00pm Jubilation Choir  
6:00pm Praise Team Rehearsal
6:15pm Holy Moly! 
6:15pm Faith Journey
6:15pm Midweek Renewal
7:30pm Prayer Service

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

Interfaith Thanksgiving Gathering
Join us as we come together in peace and community at Thanksgiving to explore and reflect upon gratitude.

Tuesday, November 24th at 7:00 p.m.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1102 South Pearl St. | Tacoma, WA 98465

For more than a quarter of a century, this annual Thanksgiving gathering has brought together people of many faith traditions.  The service will include 5 choirs and participants from the Bahá'í, Buddhist, Catholic, Center for Spiritual Living, The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter Day Saints, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Protestant, Sufi, and Unitarian Universalist faith traditions.

A reception and fellowship time will follow the service.

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 109 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!
New Communion Bread
Have you noticed a change in our communion bread recently? Unfortunately, our communion bread supplier, Great Harvest Bread Company has recently closed.   For years they have given us a generous contribution with their challah bread.  We are grateful for their years of giving to us and we wish them well in all their new endeavors.  

We are also thankful that several members of the congregation have shown the willingness to bake the bread that we are now serving at communion.  We appreciate your gift!

Annual Children's Christmas Program
St. Mark's Sunday school children are getting ready for their annual Christmas Program to be presented on December 13 .  The K - 4th grade children will be presenting "The Loaned Ranger" at  4:00 pm  on  Sunday, December 13 Preschool ages 3 and 4 will share "Song of the Stars" during  11:00 worship on December 13.
A rehearsal is scheduled for  December 12 at 9:00 for Preschool ages and  9:30 am. for K - 4th grade.  There are many ways to volunteer and help with the programs.  

Please let Char Leone (P3's & 4's)  or Amy Wigstrom (K - 4th) know if you can help with costumes, props and staging, setup, or other planning details.

Holiday Bazaar Thank You
Thanks to all who helped with the Holiday Bazaar!  
Remember: One half of our profits ($11,700!) go "out-of-house" and one half stays "in house" which supports our quilters and our church kitchen projects.  A meeting will be held on Weds. Nov. 18th at 6pm in the church library to distribute the funds.  

Fair Trade Bazaar!
Come to the Fair Trade Bazaar on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 from 8:30-12:00 in the Parish Commons.  By purchasing handcrafted merchandise, you support artisans and farmers around the world.  Receiving a fair wage helps build healthier and more sustainable communities worldwide through independence to provide basic needs such a food, shelter, health and education for children and their families.  Treasures available for purchase at the Fair include hand woven baskets, pottery, jewelry, scarves, ornaments candies and coffees to fill your tree and stockings! For more information about the non-profit organization that we purchase our products from visit  SERRV works with artisans and farmers in 30 countries so we can offer items to you for purchase at the Fair Trade Bazaar!

Our friends from L'Arche will also have items for sale on November 29th. Items include wreaths, crafts and honey! 
Advent Cross-Generational Event
November 29 
All Creation Sings is the theme of the upcoming Advent Event on Sunday, November 29th. NO REGULAR SUNDAY SCHOOL on that Sunday but come and learn and experience the themes of Advent together as a family in the Children's Faith Center starting at 9:45 and continuing during the 11:00 a.m. hour as well.  Assemble an Advent wreath, visit stations where you will create a nativity "creche" to take home, and for very young children there is a special interactive area to share the nativity story hands on.

No regular Sunday School classes for children or youth on November 29th.  All children must be accompanied by an adult. 
Adopt a Family For Christmas
Once again, we are blessed 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. Please prayerfully consider giving two (2) gifts to an individual or making a cash contribution for food.  
  • Sunday November 29, look for the Christmas tree in the Narthex. 
  • Take a paper ornament (includes a #, information on the family member, and their suggested "wish list")
  • Write your name and phone number on the attached blank paper ornament and put it in the manila envelops on the wall.  
  • Purchase and wrap 2 gifts. Be sure to TAPE the person's ornament # onto EACH gift.  
  • Return gifts to the church no later than Sunday, December 20th
Questions? Contact: Judy Droubay 253-759-6720or Mary Jo Holum 253-752-3304. 

Stewardship 102:  Stewardship in the Shadow of the Shema

The Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN publishes a weekly electronic newsletter on stewardship topics.  This week's article by Presbyterian pastor Raymond Bonwell complements our current focus at St. Mark's on thanksgiving and gratitude.  Enjoy excerpts from Bonwell's article below, and if you have not yet submitted your 2016 Plan for Giving, bring it along to worship this Sunday. Thankfully.

"When Jesus is asked to name the greatest commandment (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:37), he responds from a position of abundance and offers two. The first is "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" and the second is "to love your neighbor as yourself." These relationships (vertical with God, horizontal with neighbor) point beyond the merely spiritual to the physical and incarnational. Jesus' answer lies in what I call "the Shadow of the Shema."  When Jesus answers "to love the Lord your God with all your heart...", this is not a new or unfamiliar passage to the Jewish audience. Jesus is drawing from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, what Donald McKim calls "the central theological and liturgical affirmation of Judaism." The name "shema" comes from the Hebrew word that begins this passage- "shema" means "hear." 

...Many people worship in communities of faith where they are not a "founding member." Many people are joining communities of faith that were established before they joined, and will continue after they leave. In other words, we are worshipping those in the Holy City (Revelation 21:2) we did not build, in houses of worship filled with resources we did not provide, where we are able to eat (of the bread) and drink (from the cup) and be satisfied. Let's be both grateful and mindful that we are entrusted to watch over these physical resources to help form the faith. Collectively, we must take care we "do not forget the Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:12). 

...And the Shadow of the Shema reminds us to be stewards of, with, and for our neighbors, too. We are to use our resources (our cities, our homes, our food and drink) to better serve those who we encounter daily. From a consumer mentality, some may see these as "mine"- they are "my possessions." But the Christian response is to realize the gifts, skills and talents that made these acquisitions possible in the first place come from God, and should be used to give God glory.

If the "greatest commandment" is to be summarized as "love God and love neighbor," then we can look at the broader passage cited to "love God" in Deuteronomy. Reading the next three verses remind us that all we have is meant to help us remember the great things the Lord has done for us. And, for that, may we truly be thankful."

Singers of St. Mark's
It is time to launch the St. Mark's Chorale for this year! This is the all-ages, no-experience-needed group that brings together anyone who loves to sing, but cannot always commit to a regular rehearsal schedule. From little children to grandparents, we bring everyone together for this very fun and very welcoming group.
  • Rehearsal: Wednesday, November 18th, 6:00pm (choir room)
  • Singing for worship: Sunday, November 22nd, 11:00 service.
The choir will be preparing an anthem of Thanksgiving, celebrating God's gifts to us, and in recognition of the upcoming holiday week. Please email to let him know if you are able to be there. He looks forward to seeing you, as always!

Holiday Decorating Time
Calling all helpers.  Yes, it is that time of year, we will be decorating our church for Christmas on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 29th.  Lots of hands are needed so please join us from 9am to noon and we'll make our church shine for the Christmas Season.  Have questions: contact Mim Krabler, phone; 253-380-8047.  We hope to see you there.  Merry Christmas!
International/Heritage Night and Potluck Dinner!
Friday, November 20th, 6-8pm at the church. Contact the church office by Thursday, Nov. 19 if you plan to attend (so we know how many tables we need). We will hear from some of the exchange students at St. Mark's this year as well as others in the community. Hosted by Cindy Johnson.
Sing-a-long Messiah

Mark your calendars to participate in a Sing-A-Long of Handel's Messiah presented to the community by Christ Lutheran Church, 8211 112th St SW, Lakewood, WA  98498.   The performance will be held on December 6, 2015  at 2:00 p.m. and will be directed by Dr. Anne Lyman, Director of Choral Activities at Tacoma Community College, Artistic Director of the Seattle Bach Choir, and recently Choral Director at the University of Puget Sound.   Singer and listeners welcome!  For more information contact  or the church at 253-588-0331.

Women's Advent Brunch
December 5, 2015 (9:30-11am). "Ring In the Advent Season" -- featured the Bells of St. Mark's, special devotions, and craft projects.  Stop by the table in the Narthex to purchase tickets ($10 adults; $6 children ages 10 and under; Or purchase a table of 8 for $70)

NEPAL: Friends of the Women's Protection Center-What's New?

Stop by the table in the Narthex on Nov. 22 to learn more about the transforming work at the "Safe House" in Heatuda, Nepal,  that Catarina Terrill visited in 2014. Board members of the Friends of the Women's Protection Center will have slides to show of a visit in May,  information on the Annual Gala on Dec. 12, and brochures on the organization's work of rescuing those from human trafficking. The  Center provides survivor care, rehabilitation and education to its residents and their communities. Scarfs and jewelry, made by women at the Center, will be for sale! Please stop by to see how this organization is helping victims of human trafficking one person at a time. Contact Catherine Terrill, 253-732-3479 with any questions.

Shared Housing Donations Needed
The St. Mark's GSA continues our mission to deliver personal hygiene items for the Housing 4 Success Program in Tacoma. WIth the arrival of cooler weather, note focus items:  hand lotion/cream for sensitive skin, Chapstick, socks . Other needs: bath soap/ shower gel/face wash; toothpaste/brushes; shampoo & conditioner, including ethnic haircare products for African-American hair; deodorant & razors (male and female); nail clippers; files; cotton swabs. Leave in the marked bin near the Church office.  

Shared Housing Services : Housing 4 Success provides transitional housing, case management and training to homeless youth and young adults in Tacoma.

Adult Faith Formation

9:45am, Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
November 22nd, The Adult Forum provides opportunities to reflect on Christian faith in light of current events and the daily decisions we need to make. Topics vary, leadership is shared, and the conversation is lively. Check the weekly Parish Life section of the bulletin, or the electronic Bridge for specific topics
11:00am, Adult Class, Parish Commons Classroom
November 22nd, The Reformation in Germany--Ingelaurie Lisher will share stories from her recent trip to Germany, particularly the places that are gearing up for the 500th anniversary of the posting of Luther's 95 theses (2017). 

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 bring a variety of maturity and experience in our faith journeys to this Bible Study, which enriches us all! If you have 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
Each week we will gather for a contemplative reading  scripture, and to learn about the man or woman whom the Church is commemorating that week. Our time together will naturally flow into the 7:30 contemplative worship service, Prayer Around the Cross. 
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, 

First Friday 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 Café 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

T his week's Spark Notes is Christ the King.
Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to 
supplement Sunday School lessons.

It's that time of year to get your 2016 Entertainment book.  Pick yours up today in the church office for only $25.00. We have 2 left.
Children youth and family Ministry Coming up...

Sunday Mornings 9:45-10:45am-Nov. 22nd
  • 3 years old to 4th grade-Children's Faith Center (lower level by elevator)
  • 5/6th grade-Teal Room(lower youth wing)
  • 7/8th grade-class in Youth Room with Bruce and Carl. Sheep
  • 9-12th grade-in the Fireside Room with Ingelaurie
Youth Group (6-12th grades) meets Nov. 19(1st and 3rd Thurs.) from 5:30-6:30pm for fun and games in the Parish Commons.  Note the grade change. High School youth are welcome to attend.
Youth Choir (6-12th grades) meets each Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm each week in the Narthex with Cooper.   We will not be meeting Nov. 26th (Thanksgiving).
9-12th grade Pie Making Event! Wednesday, November 25th 12-2pm at the church. Bring a 9x9 baking dish and a pie pan with you and $5.00 to help cover supplies. Sign up on the Youth Board by Nov. 22nd if you plan on attending.
Cross-Generational Advent Event! Sunday, Nov. 29th 9:45 and 11am in the Children's Faith Center. No regular Sunday school class that morning. See table in Narthex for more information.
Elementary Sunday School Christmas Program- December 13 -- 
St. Mark's Sunday School children are getting ready for their annual Christmas Program.The K-4th Graders will be presenting "The Loaned Ranger" at 4:00pm and the Preschool children, ages 3 and 4 will share "Song of the Stars" during the 11:00am worship. There are many ways to volunteer and help with the program. Please let Char Leone or Amy Wigstrom know if you can help with costumes, props, staging, setup or other way.

Rehearsals have begun:
  • Sundays during the 9:45am hour for all grades.
  • Dec 6th 1pm for K-5th grade Leads
  • Dec. 12th 9am Preschool rehearsal; 9:30 elementary age rehearsal
  • Dec. 13th Program Date! Preschool children will share the gospel message with the congregation during the 11am worship service; Elementary age program at 4pm. Cookie Reception to follow.
Interfaith Bible Study

You're invited to join an Interfaith Bible Study with members of Temple Beth El, Bethany Presbyterian Church, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and our own St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows. The topic of our study this Fall is: "Finding God in the Other."  We'll explore Bible stories that teach us to see God in those who are different from us. From Hagar the Egyptian slave to Cyrus the Persian conquerer, we'll explore how God works in and through those whom God chooses, whether we like it or not.
Dec. 3, 7:00pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, led by Pastor Jan Ruud

To receive the Bible readings and discussion questions ahead of time, add your name to the sign-up sheet in the narthex or contact Pastor Ruud at:

Member Notes and News

Baptized at the 9:45 am service Sunday, November 15 were: Cole Arthur Williams and Beckett Keith Williams, sons of Meredith and Scott Williams.  Cole was born May 2, 2011 and his baptismal sponsor is Margaret Spence.  Beckett was born September 10, 2013 and his baptismal sponsor is Michele Pedee.  Welcome Cole and Beckett!

Benevolence Thank You, PLTS

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your generous gift of $90.  Dr. Madeline Forell Marshall was with us for Founder's Day on September 23rd, as the guest speaker.  She is a scholar of literature, hymnody and culture.  Her presentation was provocative, bright and pointed. 

Dr. Marshall's main thesis was that traditional means of expression in the Lutheran church- through preaching, dogmatic instruction, liturgy and common terminology - is often incomprehensible to the general public of the West, in particular.  She counsels paying special attention to the words we use, especially in the churchly and theological lingo.  She suggests that the gospel can be proclaimed in a variety of ways, and that the more clear those ways, the better.

She was also concerned of the immigrant character of the West, and the face that much of that immigration is due to trauma and suffering experienced in other places.  Thus, it might be important to fund public and ritual expressions of sorrow and healing of memories. Whereas many in American Western culture look down on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, these might be the very places and times we can allow the broken parts of our spirits to show. 

At Founders Day, we also celebrated three alums for their distinguished ministry.  They were the Rev. Kelly Denton-Borhaug, the Rev. Terry Moe and the Rev. Dr. Walter Stuhr.  Their citations can be found in the next issues of Above the Fog.  The publication comes electronically, and if you aren't getting it, want to, let us know your email address.

Blessings of the early fall, Rev. Brian Stein-Webber
Interim Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Seminary Relations

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!