The Bridge
The Weekly Newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
 March 21 , 2018 
Sunday Worship      
8:30 a.m. Blended
9:45 a.m. Contemporary
11:00 a.m. Traditional
To hear podcast recordings of our Sunday Sermons
Click Here
St. Mark's Staff
Sigi Helgeson, Visitation
Ingelaurie Lisher, Youth and Family
Music Ministry
Contemporary Music Ministry
Manager of Finance and Operations
Office Coordinator
       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
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Wednesday Church Night Tonight

5:00-6:30 p.m. Dinner: Dijon chicken, rice, salad
   Suggested donation: $5
5:00-5:30 p.m. Little Angels Choir (Preschool-K)
5:30-6:00 p.m. Joyful Noise Choir (Grades 1-2)
6:00-6:45 p.m. Jubilation Choir (Grades 3-5)
6:00 p.m. Praise Team Rehearsal
6:15-7:20 p.m. Mid-week Renewal 
6:15-6:45 p.m. Holy Moly
7:30 p.m. Evensong Lent Compline Service


Thank you to everyone who has returned a Plan for Giving in 2018-2019! So far, we have heard from 87 households and we look forward to hearing from all of you in the days ahead. Once again, we will be gathering Plans for Giving during the offering this coming  Sunday, March 25. If you misplaced yours, or if you are a guest and you would like to join us in this faith practice, there are extra Stewardship packets and pledge forms at the Welcome Center in the Narthex.  If you can't be with us this Sunday, you may also mail your Plan for Giving to us. Our Church Council will begin working on a ministry plan and budget for the next fiscal year at their next meeting in April, and they will pay close attention to these as they envision what we can do together as an active and engaged congregation. 

St. Mark's Scholarship Process for Continuing Students Opens March 22
If you are a member of St. Mark's who is pursuing an undergraduate degree, please consider applying for a St. Mark's Scholarship. The application process for current college students  opens on March 22 and closes on April 22 . Information and application materials may be found on the St. Mark's website ( ). Click on the "Growing in Faith" tab. Questions?  Please contact Pastor Shjerven  at

The application process for current high school seniors will open in late April.

February 2018 - Monthly Financial Update

Thanks to your collective generosity, the first two months of the new calendar year are shaping up to be good ones! We were above budgeted offerings for the second month in a row and expenses continue to come in below budget. February offerings exceeded budget by $8,150. Fiscal year-to-date, this brings us to $43,707 below budgeted offerings and 5.3% below last year actual giving over the same time period. We hope the trend of "catching up" will continue through the last four months of this fiscal year (FY), thereby allowing us to further reduce or even eliminate the shortfall!
Expenses for February were under budget by $7,064, bringing us to $20,314 below budgeted expenses for the FY. Our newly-lowered mortgage payment takes effect in March, which means we will see additional savings relative to budget through FY-end.
Given that income exceeded expectations and expenses were lower than budgeted, we did $15,337 better than anticipated in February. Another way of saying this is that we "only" spent $5,271 more than we brought in for the month versus our projection to spe nd $20,608 more than we brought in. The General Fund balance moved more negative this month because of the net cash out flow from the General Fund, ending with a balance of -$9,060.
Please feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay or Mike McKeller in the Church office (253-752-4966) with any questions. Thank you!

New Pantry Work in Progress!

Some of you may already have noticed some construction activity in the hall between the kitchen and  the nursery. We are so excited to be starting a largely in-house conversion of the older, existing  women's bathroom/laundry space into a more functional multiuse pantry with a walk-in refrigerator. The bathroom that is currently men-only will become a family-friendly bathroom with a changing table. The funds for this project have been saved over a number of years. We are thankful for gifts from the Women of St. Mark's, memorial funds given in honor of Doris Larsen, and Council directed funds from a  recent undesignated bequest. In the meantime, please pardon our dust!

Easter Choir

St. Mark's Friends!
It is that wonderful time of year again where ALL OF YOU are invited to be part of the annual Easter Choir. This is our annual opportunity to come together for great community music and fun to present splendid singing on a large scale for Easter Sunday. 

If you want to be part of the choir, please check this website we've put together with all of the needed information:

If you like, you can shoot me an email to let me know you are coming, or, simply show up! Don't worry if you missed a rehearsal. I'll smile either way and hand you some music. 

Hope to see you soon!

Thrivent Choice Dollars - Don't Let Them Expire!

Are you a member of Thrivent Financial who's eligible to direct Choice Dollars?  Would you like to  designate them for St. Mark's?  If so, simply go to to learn more or call 800-
847-4836 and say "Thrivent Choice" after the prompt. Our church is listed on the Thrivent webpage as " St Marks by the Narrows Lutheran Church." Every dollar directed to St. Mark's will be applied to our
Mortgage Principal Retirement Fund, unless specified otherwise (in which case, please let Pat Buck at know dollar amount and alternate designation). If you have any questions,
please feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay in the church office.  
2017 Choice Dollars expire on March 31, 2018.

Walking to Jerusalem Update - Week 10

As we leave Athens and visit some of the cities the Apostle Paul wrote letters to, we are constantly reminded that we are not alone in our journey.  This week we remember that Greece is one of the major gateways for refugees from Syria and other war-torn nations, a gateway to what they see as the better life found in western Europe.  We are also reminded of the human tragedy of a small boat with too many people on board and a rescue mission that arrived too late.  Keep all those seeking refuge from terror in your prayers.  We visited a number of the cities where Paul preached, including Corinth, Phillipi, Thesaloniki, and Ephesus.  Notably, we left Europe and entered the continent of Asia at Canakkale, Turkey.  Turkey is a beautiful country and we passed through exotic villages and cities such as Ezine, Ayvalik, and Izmir.  In Izmir we were hosted for strong Turkish coffee and talk by Mhemet and Ipek Gurkanik.  The road ended in Silifke, Turkey.  There we boarded a ferry taking us to Nicosia, Cyprus (another of Paul's stops).  Nicosia is our destination this week.  We are staying at the Hotel Baglio San Pietro (rated at 5 stars for just $54 per night) and enjoy art museums and beautiful old churches on our walking tour.  Some of us enjoyed an aperitif at the 24 pipes fountain in Leonforte and everyone enjoyed kebobs, moussaka, sheftalia, and souvlaki! Thus far we have walked an aggregate 11,936 miles from Tacoma!

Community Group "Third Quarter"

Christian friends in the "third quarter" of life are welcome to join others age 50ish -75ish in supportive community to share hope, laughter, and love through active events.  

Thursday, April 126:00 p.m.  Potluck and Sing-along in the Parish Commons. 
Thursday, May 10,  6:00 p.m.  Potluck and Game Night in the Parish Commons.

Please contact the church office for additional information.

Women of St. Mark's

  Save the date  for our  Spring Tea  to be held on  Saturday, April 21, 2018 at noon .  Bonnie Wascher, Barbara Meyers and Pat Geary are co-chairing this event.  We are in the planning stage right now and will be needing your help to make this event spectacular.  There will be a Fashion Show starring Katie Cootsona's 2017 dresses.  Models are needed in sizes 6 to 14.  Please contact Katie  (206-484-9195 ) if interested. 

We will have a table in the Narthex.  Please stop by. Your help is needed with desserts, setup, and cooking.  Please talk with Bonnie, Barb, or Pat if you would like to help us make this event a special one! 

Children and Youth Faith Formation
Sunday Morning Classes for children and youth March 25 3 year olds to 4th grade will gather with your teachers at 9:45 a.m. for the Palm Processional. 5-8th graders will meet in their regular classrooms.  The High School class will meet in the Purple Room down in the Youth Wing at 9:45 a.m. with Clara.  No class Easter Sunday, April 1.

Bibles  will be presented to the 3rd/4th grade elementary students on Sunday, March 25 at 9:45 a.m. 

Thursday Night Youth Programs (gr. 6-12th) March 22 6:30 p.m. Youth Choir with Cooper. Groups will not meet March 29 (Holy Week) or April 5 (Tacoma Spring Break).

The 2018 Easter Breakfast will take place on Sunday, April 1 from 8-11:30 a.m. Volunteers are needed to make this happen. Please sign up on the Youth board to go to the sign up genius link (see email) to pick a time that works for you.
ELCA Youth Gathering/Houston Mtg. Thursday, March 22 5:15-6:30 p.m. for youth and adult leaders. 

Vacation Bible School will be held August 6-10 for children 4 years old to 5th grade (incoming). Youth and adult volunteers are needed; talk to Celesta Smith if you want to help out. Registration materials will be available later this spring.

Adult Faith Formation

Sunday Forum 9:45 a.m.-We wrap up the series based on Brian McLaren's The Great Spiritual Migration with Session 4 "From Organized Religion to Organizing Religion."   We will meet in the Fireside Room on Sunday, March 25th

Note: There will be no Adult Faith Formation classes on Easter Sunday, April 1.  

March 25 will be the last meeting day for Lenten Book Groups.  Thank you to Ingelaurie Lisher and Ray Shjerven for leading these groups, and to all who participated in the discussions!

Tuesday "Fully Alive" Bible Study; 5:15 p.m.  in the Fireside Room
Question? Contact Sherry Mauira 253-303-1681. 

Adult Class- Sundays 11:00 a.m. in the Parish Commons Classroom
As our  Adult Class, Dr. Traci Drake will offer Year 1 of Crossways, a faith-enriching, life-changing course that serves as your 'road map' for an unforgettable journey through the entire Bible. To order the set of Learner books, please contact the church office. The cost for books each trimester is $20.  Participants are asked to cover whatever part of that cost they are able to pay. 

Women's Bible Study; Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. in the PCC
We are ladies with varying faith and bible experiences, who help each other by sharing our questions and insights.  With our current study, As It Is in Heaven by Greg Laurie, a thought-provoking book, we are studying God's will for us here on earth. For more information, contact Linda Durant, , or 253-363-8202.

Wednesday Noon Text Study Luncheon in the PCC
Gather for lunch, conversation, and study around the texts that will be heard in worship the following Sunday. Conversation will be guided by who will be preaching, and by the insights and questions of the group.

Note: There will be no Wednesday Noon Bible Study or Wednesday Evening Midweek Renewal on March 28 (Holy Week). We will resume classes on April 4. 

Coming up:
Sunday, April 8, 9:45 a.m. Sam Altis, Volunteer Coordinator for Refugee Resettlement, Lutheran Community Services will be with us.  He will introduce the "Circle of Welcome" partnership that surrounds refugee families with care and support.
Wednesday, March 21- Midweek Renewal -The Passion Story according to St. Mark. After we finish the Brian McLaren DVD, we will read through the earliest passion story in the gospels. How does Mark portray the death of Christ? How does this speak to us today?  

Peace and Justice

Mexico 2018 Mission Trip
Planning meetings for the 2018 Mexico Mission trip will be held Sunday, March 25 (11:00 a.m.), Tuesday, April 3 (7:00 p.m.), and Tuesday, April 24 (7:00 p.m.). Group members traveling to Mexico this year should plan to attend these meetings as well as an overnight retreat on  June 1-2. The annual Cinco de Mayo fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 5.

Chase the Chill Kits
Are you looking for something to give to people you meet while driving who look like they might need something to eat or to keep them warm? Pick up a Chase the Chill Kit (provided by the Youth and a grant from Thrivent) and hand them out to those in need. 

LWR SUPPLY DRIVE - "Hope Through a Bar of Soap" Update
Our "Hope Through A Bar of Soap"  for LWR Personal Care Kits continues through March! Most needed supplies for 100 Kits are listed below. Join us on Earth Day, April 22 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. for our Kit build and Potluck! Extend Christ's hands to meet human need and rekindle hope during this season! Thanks to the high school youth group for sorting supplies last Sunday and to those who have donated supplies! Supplies Needed for 100 Kits: (33) Bath Towels, (21) Toothbrushes,(60) Combs, (60) 4oz+ soap bars, (3) Nail Clippers

St. Mark's Preschool Updates

St. Mark's Preschool is accepting registration forms for the 2018-2019 school year! 

Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community Report
Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community exists to provide care in a Christ-centered environment in an atmosphere of respect and dignity for the whole person. (Mission Statement adopted in August 2005)
  •  Did you know 26 St. Mark's members live at Tacoma Lutheran (TLRC)?
  • Did you know six of those folks serve on the Executive Board of the Six-plex Assembly?
  • Did you know Tacoma Lutheran has a Board of Governors, a Board of Directors and a Board of Trustees?
  • Did you know plans are afoot for the construction of an independent-living apartment building, containing up to 80 units?
Greater Tacoma Peace Prize Nomination Period

The Greater Tacoma Peace Prize (GTPP) wants to alert people to our current nomination period, which will end on March 31. Anyone - individual, group, organization - may nominate, but the nominee must have a connection to the greater Tacoma/Pierce County area.  You will find a 2018 Nomination Form on our website:

2017 laureate Pennye Nixon commented on her recent trip to Norway in a note to the GTPP board:  "Being the GTPP Laureate is an honor I will carry with me for a lifetime. I got to participate in the world from an angle I never dreamed of. In a world where peace seems so elusive, it was healing to meet daily with institutions and people who are so focused on understanding and propagating peace in big and small ways...Peace seems elusive, but this experience as the 2017 GTPP laureate gives me hope - that maybe with all those we have met working for peace, including you guys - just maybe someday we might get there."

Invitation to Historic Elbe Lutheran Church Annual Meeting

You are invited to attend the Historic Elbe  Lutheran Church Annual Meeting to be  held on Sunday, April 15, at 1:30 p.m. in  Elbe. The monthly worship service will  be held at 2:30 p.m., followed by a coffee  hour. Please plan to attend!

Church Office Hours

The church office is open  Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m . and  Sunday from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

*The door to the office is locked during preschool hours (8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.); please knock or ring the doorbell and someone will let you in promptly!

Have an item for The Bridge?
Send it to by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. All items will  run for two weeks prior to the relevant date, and will be edited for length. Don't forget to send your member notes and news!