The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
    November  11 , 2015 
Grace Notes: Gracias  
For many of us who built homes in Nicaragua last week with Habitat for Humanity, there were limits to what we could say in Spanish. We admired the ability of our leaders and a few other members of our St. Mark's team who could speak the language very well, but we had to rely on smiles, hand gestures, and very simple words and phrases that we had learned earlier in life. For all of us, though, there was one word which communicated the most important message of all: "Gracias!" We said it, over and over again, to all the amazing people who welcomed us, cared for us, taught us, worked beside us, housed us, fed us, transported us, inspired us, and blessed us in more ways than we could ever recount.

Looking back, if we had to choose only one word to use each day, it would have been that simple, elegant one which is related to the words "grace" and "gratitude" in our own language. It reminds me of the wisdom shared by Meister Eckhart in the 13 th century, who wrote: "If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you', that would suffice."

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 
Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, broccoli,  & coleslaw.,
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.

For What do You Give Thanks?
This coming Sunday, November 15 , we are inviting all of you to tell us why you are thankful. We will have a special place set aside during coffee hour where you stop by for a few moments and share your testimony. It will be recorded on video and then woven together with the testimony of others to create an Offering of Thanksgiving  that we will share during worship on  November 22 . People of all ages  are encouraged to participate! 

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.

Season of Advent Cross-Generational Event- All Creation Sings
Sunday, November 29th at 9:45 and 11:00

Children, Youth and Adults Together in Children's Faith Center Rooms.

Activities Include
  •  Assemble an Advent Wreath (We'll have supplies: Blue candles, candle holders, foam, and evergreens)($10 donation will help cover expenses), or bring from previous year's use, especially candle holders.)
  •  Make an Advent Prayer Chain and receive Advent Devotional ideas and activities to use during the season
  •  Visit stations where you will build up a nativity scene and make connections to God's creative activity through the gift of His Son.
  •  Special Preschool area with age appropriate interactive activities with very small children
Stay for Noon Meal in Parish Commons, Bring a dessert/cookies to share. 

No regular Sunday School classes for children or youth on November 29th.  All children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Stewardship 102: Thanks for Giving and Thanksgiving

  The Stewardship ministry at St. Mark's has three goals in the month of November.  First, to celebrate GRATITUDE.  November 15 and 22 will focus on the meaning of gratitude for our personal lives and our lives in faith community.  Leading into Thanksgiving and Advent, a focus on gratitude is both relevant and important. 

Second, to collect Plans for Giving for the first six months of 2016.  As of Monday, November 10, ninety (90) Plans for Giving have been submitted.  THANK YOU to all who have responded.  In 2015, we received 213 Plans for Giving.  If you have not yet discerned your gift to St. Mark's, please review the mailing and submit your response card in November (beginning this Sunday!).  You will find additional cards at the Welcome Center.  As of next Monday, a link to the response card will be available on the Stewardship page of the St. Mark's web site.  Thanks for giving.

Which leads to our third goal: to launch expanded options for online giving.  Effective Monday, November 16, you will be able to make a financial gift to St. Mark's through direct access to your bank account, debit or credit cards by creating a secure profile on the site hosted by Vanco, our software partner.  Simply click on the "Make a Gift" button on the St. Mark's home page and follow the instructions.  Several St. Mark's members have piloted the site and report that it's working well.  You can set up one-time or recurring gifts on this site.  Records of your gifts go electronically to the church for posting to your contribution statement.  If you do choose to make use of this way to give, please also complete a Plan for Giving.  That way your contribution statement will show your actual giving in comparison to your plans.  Many thanks to Jennifer Droubay and Pat Buck in the office for their support in going live.

"..give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."-1 Thessalonians 5:18

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 Mimi 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.  Bring a potluck item to share, and come hear some stories form local exchange students including those participating in St. Mark's this year. Hosted by Cindy Johnson. RSVP in the Welcome Center. 

Nicaragua Team Returns  Home After Successful Habitat for Humanity Trip
 "What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers, but co-workers.  And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their over abundance.  The Fund for Humanity will meet both of these needs." -Clarence Jordan, founder of Koinala Farm and the concepts behind Habitat for Humanity.

A team of 20 participants, most of whom attend St Mark's, arrived at Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport, Managua, Nicaragua,  on Friday  evening, October 30, 2015, to participate in a one week Habitat for Humanity building project.  Thrivent Financial services provided the funding for the two houses the teams would be working on at two separate construction sites in the Esteli Municipality with the families of Juan Estrada and Eva Jiminez.  Esteli is in the northwestern part of Nicaragua, near the Honduran border.

Gary and Linda Petersen, team leaders, have many years of experience helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity, both in the USA and in several international building sites.  All the participants appreciated Gary and Linda's organization, dedication, encouragement, and detailed information in preparing us for this work experience.

Our work begins!

Our daily routine included breakfast each morning at  6:30 AM , morning devotions at  7:00 AM  (we took turns giving devotions), boarding a bus for the work site at  7:30 AM .  Gary and Linda divided the twenty participants into two teams of ten each to work at two different worksites.  We worked from approximately  7:45 AM  until around  4:30 PM  each day, Monday through  Friday  (November 2 to 6, 2015) with a morning and an afternoon snack break and a one hour lunch break each day.  We then returned to our hotel for showers, dinner, evening devotions and some free time.

Family Housing Network: Needs met, needs continuing.... 
As many of you know, we completed our third year of hosting Family Housing Network (formerly Phoenix Housing Network) a few weeks ago. This time we had one of our larger groups: five families, including six adults and ten children ranging in age from 10 months to 8 years old. They slept in our spaces, shared our meals, took over the nursery and generally made themselves at home at St. Mark's.

Each group which has come to us has been unique, as individuals, as families, and as a families who relate one to the other. At different times the families have participated in our summer Arts Camp, our Mexico Mission dinner, and our Wednesday church night activities. We have been blessed by the diversity and energy which they have brought to our congregational life.

One of the delightful contributions of the most recent group of families was the eagerness of the children to offer prayers before the evening meal. As we gathered in a circle to say grace, the kids vied for a turn to lead us. Their prayers were simple, direct and grateful: Thank you, Jesus, for our families, our friends and this food.

I confess that I was also relieved not to have to lead the prayers myself. I have always had trouble praying aloud in a group, partially because the performance aspect makes it feel dishonest to me. I am always grateful for the eloquent prayers of others. My prayers tend to be internal: God, read my heart. Choosing words makes it too complicated and self-conscious for me. But these children demonstrated to me that praying aloud can be blessedly simple.

As we approach the holidays, I have to remind myself that the needs of these families continue. This Thanksgiving week, the families will not have a church host site, but will instead be staying at the offices of Family Housing Network. Because of this they are in need of overnight hosts for some of the nights:

Saturday, Nov. 21 
Monday, Nov. 23 
Wednesday, Nov. 25

Because they have no church host, they will be responsible for their own meals. I would like to offer them some groceries to help make the holiday a little easier. If you are able to help either with overnight hosting or food donations, please contact me for more information.

Paula Friedmann, St. Mark's FHN host site coordinator,

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)

Boy Scout Thank You
Thanks to all who purchased wreaths, garlands, etc. from the Boy Scouts.   The items will be delivered to the church Sunday, Nov. 25th.  Fell free to contact Jeni Keister with questions: 566-6884. 

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.

Responding to the Tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon
Sometimes when tragedy strikes a community it is difficult to know how to respond in a meaningful manner. Pastor Jane Baker of Faith Lutheran Church in Roseburg, Oregon gives us an opportunity to respond to the shootings that recently took place in their community. She asks for support for Casa de Belen, a shelter for homeless teens which was impacted by the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. The shelter couldn't hold its annual fundraiser, and thus is asking for outside help. This shelter is the kind of service that could help keep the marginalized youth engaged. It's these kids who sometimes prove so disaffected that they end up isolated and attracted to lashing out. Supporting this shelter could be a one-time effort and give tangible support to a traumatized community shattered by horrific gun violence. If you would like to support this shelter, you can respond directly by following the link in her letter or by putting some funds in an offering envelope with the designation: For Casa de Belen in Roseburg. The church will then send the funds received. Thank you from the Peace and Justice Ministry Team. 

St. Mark's Preschool Fall Performance

St. Mark's Preschool is excited to invite members of the congregation to a Fall Performance and dinner on November 13th from 5:00-7:00. Preschoolers (ages 2-6) will be doing some singing, and chili dinner will be served (along with pumpkin pie!). Suggested donation is $5. Please sign up in the Narthex if you are interested in attending this event.
Adult Faith Formation

9:45am, Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
November 15th, 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
What can our expanding evolving universe teach us about God?  How does our relationship with God and the stories of scripture help us understand our universe?  This DVD series will be the basis for our conversation.  

Fully Alive Bible Study,  Tuesdays, 5:15pm,  Fireside Room.
This fall we are discussing the book of Esther--about how God used her characteristics and traits to secure her peoples' survival. 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. 

First Friday Circle, Fireside Room, 10-11:15am
A new women's group is being 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 Be Ready
Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to 
supplement Sunday School lessons.

Christmas Children's Musical! It is that exciting time of year again when we will begin to gear up for our annual Christmas Children's Musical here at St. Marks. Amy Wigstrom will be our director, and we are so lucky to have her! Please see the attached form, and bring it with you if you on Sunday to give to Amy in Sunday School. Talk to your children about the show, and let them know it is going to be a lot of fun.

International/Heritage Night and Potluck dinner!  All are invited. Friday, November 20th 6-8pm at the church. Bring a potluck item to share (it could be from your heritage, or not) and come and hear some of the stories from local exchange students including those participating at St. Mark's this year. Hosted by Cindy Johnson. Sign up at the Welcome Center.
It's that time of year to get your 2016 Entertainment book.  Pick yours up today in the church office for only $25.00.
Coming up...

JR ALYVE Youth Group (6-8th grades) meets Nov. 19(1st and 3rd Thurs.) from 5:30-6:30pm for fun and games in the Parish Commons. 
Youth Choir (6-12th grades) meets each Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm each week in the Narthex with Cooper.   
Help is needed with the Preschool/congregational dinner on Friday, Nov. 13th from 5-7pm. Please sign up on the Youth Board by Sunday, Nov. 8th or let Ingelaurie know ASAP if you can lend a hand.
Rise Up Together Tour! Featuring Agape and Rachel Kurtz. For 9-12th graders Sunday November 15th 1-7pm at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett. Cost: $10.00 per person (includes concert and dinner on the way home). Sign up by Nov. 5th if you plan on attending.
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.

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. Please mark these dates on your calendar and plan to join us for this engaging series that will be led by the clergy of each congregation:
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:

Benevolence Thank You, Tacoma Community House

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the opportunity to make a measurable difference and investment in the future of our community with your $231 donation received on 10/22/15.

Your generous financial support is affording us the opportunity to serve nearly 3,000 immigrants, refugees and low-income native-born individuals from over eighty different countries of origin.  For many,  the immigrant experience brings challenges beyond learning a new language.  Once arriving to their new community,  they may feel isolated as they navigate life in a new country, often with limited financial resources and institutional support systems.  Access to services in the health and educational systems, jobs, housing, emotional isolation, prejudice and basic cultural difference shape the ability of these newcomers to be successful in their own lives. 

At Tacoma Community House, our hope and plan is to support each of them throughout their journey, along with hundreds of low-income native-born individuals we have the capacity to serve each year.  With so much need,  the demand for our services has never been greater and the prospects for our future, never more promising.  Our vision for the future includes expanding services to lead more people toward successful lives and in more areas of the country.  The investments you are making in Tacoma Community House are, truly, investments in our community.  Thank you, again, for your generous support and commitment. 

Sincerely, Liz Dunbar, Executive Director

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