The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
   February 24 , 2016 
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!

5:00pm Little Angels Choir
5:15pm Dinner is served - Tonight: Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Green Salad, Dessert    Suggested Donation $5/per person.
5:30pm Joyful Noise Choir
6:00pm Faith Journey
6:00pm Praise Team Rehearsal
6:00pm Jubilation Choir
6:15pm Holy Moly
6:15pm Midweek Renewal
7:30pm Compline Service
Childcare is provided from 5-8pm for children up to 5 years of age while parents attend meetings, Bible study, and worship.  

Prayer and Potluck in Memory of Michael Trygstad
You are all invited to join us for a Holden Evening Prayer service and potluck in memory of Michael on Sunday, March 6. The prayer service, which was one of Michael's favorites, will start at 5:30pm in the sanctuary. Then, we'll gather at 6:00pm for a potluck in the Parish Commons. During the potluck, we'll enjoy pictures of Michael's life and we'll share stories and memories that are dear to us. We hope you can be with us!

Easter Choir
All are invited to again be part of this year's Easter Choir, which will have it's first rehearsal on this coming Saturday, February 27th, at 10:00am . Regardless of age or experience level with choral singing, everyone is welcome and we would be excited to see you involved. If you have any questions, please email Cooper at . Come be part of the joyous fun!

Monthly Synod Newsletter

Did you know that the SWWA Synod has a monthly newsletter?  You can read it by clicking here.  The Newsletter is entitled Moments for Mission. It's purpose is to s pread the Good News of Jesus Christ by empowering congregations and church leaders to grow in worship, education, outreach, stewardship and other ministries.

New Landscape Service Provider

We are pleased to announce that Go2 Property Services has been hired as St. Mark's new landscaping provider. They are an enterprise of the local Goodwill and 90% of every dollar they make goes directly into the local job placement and job training programs provided by Goodwill. Go2's bid was very competitive and the staff is highly knowledgeable. Expect to see some hard pruning going on to get our church grounds in tip-top shape! We look forward to our new partnership with Go2.

Lenten Devotions Online
If you are looking for an online devotional resource for the season of Lent, please check out the following and subscribe for daily readings: by Luther Seminary, entitled "Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land" published by Rev. Paul Walters (son of Clare and Jan Walters); short daily reflections written by a variety of pastors, including Pastor Shjerven

Food and the Environment
Food Symposium
February 26-29, 2016 at PLU--FREE event
3rd Annual Food Symposium on February 26-29, 2016 focused on the theme of the relationship between food and the environment. The free symposium will feature two keynote speakers, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Valerie Segrest, as well as panel discussions, a screening of the PLU MediaLab documentary on food waste titled "Waste Not," and a Pierce County food tour to visit local innovative production, consumption and waste models hosted by PLU's Center for Community Engagement and Service. Attend whatever parts fit your interests and calendars.
Valerie Segrest, Community Nutritionist & Project Coordinator, specializes in local and traditional foods and hopes to inspire and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a simple, common sense approach to eating.
Event sponsors:  PLU Dept of Philosophy, ELCA World Hunger, Arbaugh Family Endowment, and the Southwestern Washington Synod.  

You Are Invited To Join A Growth Group At St. Mark's In The Lent And Easter Seasons
We are inviting everyone who worships at St. Mark's to enjoy a time of growth and renewal with others in a small group that will meet four times in Lent and four times again in Easter. We are calling these Growth Groups because they will give us a way to grow in faith, grow in friendship, and grow as stewards of all God's gifts. The groups will meet weekly, starting in mid-February, with a two-week break around Holy Week and Easter. Like the Faith Journey groups that many of you remember, Growth Groups will provide a similar opportunity to hear each other's stories, explore questions of faith, build relationships, hear scripture together, and listen for God's call.
To sign up for a Growth Group, please click on this link and choose the day and time that works for you: 

Stewardship 103: "Growing our Mission in 2016-2017:  Caring for Ourselves, Our Neighbors, and Our Facilities"

Last week's installment of Stewardship 103 (click here ) described the case for sustaining the current mission of St. Mark's into the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  This week's describes the case for growing the mission as envisioned in our congregational strategic plan (click here ).   Three specific areas of growth are proposed.

First , the Church Council is proposing that we place special emphasis in 2016-17 on Congregational Care, especially as it is explained this section of the plan:

We reach out to one another with words and deeds of love.
  • We encourage each person to extend care to those in need, and to receive care during time of need.
  • We nurture a congregational culture of loving care by providing both formal and informal opportunities to connect to each other in times of sorrow and in times of celebration.
  • We commit to being a public presence in our community in order to share the love and justice of God with all people.
The Council's vision for ministry going forward is to meet the need for more pastoral care for our members and for pastoral leadership in the overall ministry area of Congregational Care. In 1988, St. Mark's averaged 150 in worship and the pastoral staff consisted of two full-time pastors and one part-time visitation pastor. In 2016 to date, we are averaging about 400 people in worship, and we have a smaller pastoral staff.  At the present, Pastor Shjerven is at three-quarters time. The plan is to restore her position to full-time. In addition, the Church Council would like to expand our ministry with young adults. We are blessed with a large number of people in their twenties and early thirties at St. Mark's, and we want to build on the good energy that we currently see in the monthly and quarterly gatherings. Programmatically, we want to add money to the budget for this effort.

Second , looking beyond Congregational Care, the Council also envisions an increase in our support to the local Food Bank and to reach out in any way that we can to the refugees who are being settled in our community. This has been our practice in the past, when our congregation supported refugees coming from Southeast Asia and Africa, and we want to be there for the ones who are coming to us now. That is all part of being a "public presence in our community in order to share the love and justice of God with all people."

Thir d, the Council is in consensus that we need to start building up a healthy reserve for "deferred maintenance" of our facilities, which are used heavily by groups every day of the week. In keeping with our commitment to link facilities with ministry when the major expansion occurred in 2008, we have developed a twenty-year plan that identifies what will be needed each year to keep all our facilities in excellent condition.

We estimate that we will need to eventually set aside approximately $50,000 per year for this important work, and we want to get to that goal within the next three years ($17,000 in 2016-2017, $34,000 in 2017-2018, and $50,000 in 2018-2019).  Overall, these increases in support for congregational care, outreach, and upkeep of facilities requires a 5-6% increase in offering income in the next fiscal year, and the Church Council asks  all members of the congregation to take this into consideration when we make our Plans for Giving.

Next week look for information on the Plans for Giving materials.

St. Mark's Preschool
St. Mark's Preschool is accepting registration packets for the 2016-2017 school year. Classes are available for children ages 2.5-6 years old.  To get more information and/or a registration packet, visit the preschool's website, or contact Anne Zimmerman (253) 752-4929 M-F 8:30-2:00.

Help Wanted
Ushers, Communion Assistants, Lectors--for all services!
 Training available.  Call or email the church office if you are interested (253-752-4966 or 

LWR Layette Kits
Lutheran World Relief is looking for both soap and baby socks for their layette kits.  For more information please contact Randi Holland at or by calling (253) 905-5693. 

Chase the Chill
Chase the Chill UPDATE... We have now provided over 250 items to agencies throughout town. Last week, scarves/hats, etc. were delivered to the Beacon Senior Center which houses the new homeless shelter for young adults. The person in charge said, "People are donating items, but you have given us a "Bag of Love."  We have more yarn, so if you are interested, please take some and make something to help keep others warm.

Adult Faith Formation

Sunday, 9:45am , Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
February 28, "Embracing Interfaith Cooperation: Eboo Patel on Coming Together to Change the World". 

Sunday, 11am, Adult Class, Parish Commons Classroom
February 28 "Eclipsing Empire: Paul, Rome and the Kingdom of God".
For 12 weeks we will join new testament scholars John Dominic Crossman and the late Marcus Borg on location in Turkey as they trace the Apostle Paul's footsteps through the Roman Empire.  

Fully Alive Bible Study,  Tuesdays, 5:15pm, 
  Questions? Contact Sherry Maiura (253) 549-4222.

Wednesday Women's Bible Study, 9:30am, Parish Commons Classroom. 
This Winter we will be studying the Book of Acts. Questions? Contact Linda Durant at (253) 363-8202 or

Text Study Luncheon, Wednesdays, Noon, Parish Commons
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.

Lydia Circle (meets the first Tuesday of each month), 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
A Leisurely Look at Luke.   We will spend the Wednesday nights of Epiphany and Lent gathered around the fire, exploring the basic storyline of Luke's gospel and sharing our ideas about how it connects to our world today. No experience with scripture is necessary; all are welcome.
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
This group has been formed especially for younger women. The group meets 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             
This week's Spark Notes is God's Promises to Abraham.  Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to supplement Sunday School lessons.  

3rd Grade Bibles and Milestone Marker & Blessing Event
On Palm  Sunday, March 20 Bibles will be presented during  9:45 a.m. worship to 3rd grade children.  Parents will be involved in the presentation and a milestone event will follow at  11:00 to help children explore their new Bibles. 

Sunday, Feb. 28 Sunday AM classes 9:45
  • 5/6th grade in Teal Room Unit 4 with Mary and Michelle. Topic: David
  • 7/8th grade in Youth Room with Carl and Bruce, beyond the Lord's Prayer.
  • 9-12th grade in Fireside Room with Ingelaurie
It's not too late to sign up for the 6-9th grade Servant trip to Montana July 23-30th. Info materials are on the youth board along with the trip application. Our next meeting is Wed. Feb. 24 6-7:15pm in the Youth Room for youth and adult leaders. Deadline to sign up is Wed. Feb. 24with your $100.00 deposit.
5 more spots open for SR ALYVE (9-12th grade) Game Night and Dinner -Friday, Feb. 26th 6-8:30pm Let Ingelaurie know by Wednesday PM if you are attending.  
VBS Leaders Interest Meeting-Thurs. Feb. 25th 6:00-7:15pm in the Parish Commons Classroom  Interested in helping facilitate VBS this August here is your chance to share you visions and dreams for this program. VBS is scheduled to be held Aug. 1-5th at the church.
Current 4-5th graders interested in camp? Information is available on the Youth Board. Please do your best to register by Mar. 6th to make sure you get into our July 24-29 week.
Luther 500 Tour 2017-June 19-25 . Spaces still available with our group. At the end of February the trip will be opened up outside the congregation. Trip estimate $1500.00 for a week of touring Luther heritage sites, daily worship, museum tickets and tours, 2 meals a day, and hotel lodging. Airfare is on your own-we will meet up as a group in Wittenberg. This is an intergenerational trip-but would be great opportunity for youth and parents take a closer look at history together. Deposit of $110.00 per person, plus $110.00 per room is due to Ingelaurie soon. Details and more information are available on the youth board.
Something for the Whole Family at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp!  Thrivent Memorial Day Family Work Retreat May 27-30, 2016 (dinner, Friday - lunch, Monday) FREE - thanks to Thrivent! Come when you can and stay as long as you can! Sewing, planting, painting, building, cleaning, raking and cooking are just a "few" of the fun work projects we will do! This is a great way to introduce your child to the camp with the fun of worship, campfires and much s'more! Full weekend includes 3 nights of accommodations in camp cabins, 8 meals and 4 snacks! Thank you for registering in advance! Go to Year Round Programs and Events 2016 Brochure to register. FYI...the Tacoma School District doesn't have classes on Friday, May 27. Flathead is a 10 hour drive, with time change, from Tacoma.

Seder Meal and Easter Breakfast sign-up sheets on are on the Youth board-sign up early to get a shift you want and what food you are willing to provide for the breakfast.  

Let's Grow the Connect and Care TimeBank in Service and Love

The CCTB has been underway for nine months!  We recently held a focus group, attended by 10 active members, to evaluate this activity and to provide us with some helpful insights as we move forward. We would like to see the CCTB continue to grow.

Positive Experience: Members reinforced the positive experiences they had with their exchanges. They used words like fun, energizing, interesting to describe their experiences.  All felt that this had been worthwhile in helping to learn something new and to connect with another church member.

More Trainings Needed: One of the recommendations was to schedule more frequent trainings and make them more flexible. We have more regular trainings scheduled for the following dates and time:
  • Thursday, March 3 at 6:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 5 at 10:00 am
  • Wednesday, April 6 at 6:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 am
In addition, if none of these dates will work, interested people can contact Patty Reinkensmeyer ( to discuss an individual training session.

Annual Membership cost will remain at $10.00 per person through the end of May. After May the cost will become $20.00 per member or $35.00 per household.  This is another good reason to become a member soon!

Special Time Fund: We will be making access to the special services through the CCTB easier and faster for those with special care needs such as transportation, shopping, respite care or handy man services.  Those with special care needs will only need to agree to have their contact information and request for assistance posted on the CCTB so that CCTB members can respond.  No membership fee or training would be necessary.

Keeping present CCTB members engaged will be done through more frequent email messages.  Members will be encouraged to check the CCTB website more often to see if their ar3 new offers or r3quests which would interest them.  Also reminders will be sent  to keep their requests and offers up to date.

The TimeBank needs you! Implementing a TimeBank in a congregation has been an interesting and challenging project of the Congregational Care Committee.  We still see it as a valuable, creative way for church members to reach out to one another.  Let's make it grow!

Member Notes and News

Congratulations to Thomas Harris and Caroline Laubach
for being awarded the PLU President's Scholarship.   Nearly 600 qualified applicants applied for these scholarships this year and only 130 were given the award.  The prestigious Scholarship is worth $25,000 per year.  Both students has been invited to interview of the PLU Campus later this February to compete for the Harstad Founder's Scholarship or one of the five full-tuition Regents' Scholarships.  

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!