The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
        September 16 , 2015 
Grace Notes: Sacred Space
The cafeteria and gymnasium at DeLong Elementary School is sacred space. By that, I mean it is a place where God is present, day in and day out. This holy presence is evident in the nourishment that is provided to hungry children, in the care that is given to them as they play, in the laughter and energy that bounces off the walls, and in the learning and growing that takes place there throughout the school year.

When we gathered there for worship last Sunday, we, too, experienced God in that space created by human hands. Our being there did not make it any more sacred than it already is, but it deepened our awareness of the connection we all have to God and to each other through the relationships that are formed there. In our singing, in our praying, in our hearing of God's Word, and in our welcome of Christ in his holy meal, we joined every other child and adult who has been gathered and nourished in that space.

Sunday Worship Times      
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 Begins Tonight
5:00pm Babies of St Mark's; Little Angels 
5:15pm Dinner is served
Taco Salad with chips and salsa, watermelon, and cake.  
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.

Prayer Around the Cross Resumes Tonight
You are all invited to join us for this weekly worship service which is held in the Parish Commons from 7:30-7:50pm. The service includes time for prayer, meditation, singing, and listening to God. Worshippers of all ages are welcome, and there is a children's table where young ones can draw pictures as they listen to the service. Music will be led by Cooper Sherry and many of the gifted musicians who God has gathered here at St. Mark's. 

God's Work Our Hands, Day of Service
Thank you to everyone who participated in worship, fellowship, and service on Sunday, September 13 under the theme of "God's Work Our Hands". Like many other Lutheran congregations across the United States, we held a worship service out in the community and then used our hands to serve. It was a delight to gather for worship at DeLong Elementary School, where we have formed many relationships with students and staff over the past few years. Mr. Eric Konishi, the new school principal, welcomed us with words of thanks and with an invitation to all of us to stop by the school for a visit. During the school year, St. Mark's members provide more than fifty backpacks filled with food every week for children to take home on Fridays. Some of us also go to the school occasionally to be "lunch buddies" for the children we serve.  Following the worship service on Sunday, we enjoyed a congregational picnic together on the school playground and then divided up into three teams to do service projects in DeLong Park. More than sixty people weeded flowerbeds, trimmed back invasive plants, and picked up litter around the park.  A good time was had by all!!

Metro Parks Thanks You!
A warm and hearty thanks to everyone who participated in the "God's Work, Our Hands" service project at DeLong Park. What a blessing it is to have over 65 parks and green spaces to enjoy in Tacoma! The work of caring for this land cannot be done without people like you and places like St. Mark's. Thank you to Pastor Jan for his vision, and the St. Mark's parks crew for answering the call to join the CHIPIn! (Citizens Helping Improve Parks) program and being stewards of this local park last Sunday. 

With gratitude,
Jennifer Wolbrecht
Metro Parks Tacoma & proud St. Mark's member

Sunday School Begins September 20
Children from age 3 through 4th grade will be gathering in the Children's Faith Center (lower level parking lot) on  September 20th  as we begin a new  Sunday  school year. Please register your child ONLINE before then or complete a hand registration form that will be available that morning.   

Sunday  school starts at  9:45 a.m.  with teachers in the rooms by  9:35  to welcome children as they gather.

Adult Faith Formation resumes this week
For a full look at Fall AFF offerings, please pick up a brochure at the table in the narthex. 

Sunday in the Parish Commons Classroom:
9:45 Forum and 11am Class:
Using our theme banner, Pastor Ruud will preview a new season of opportunities to be "Gathered, Nourished and Sent" through the ministries at St. Mark's.  All are welcome! 

Wednesday Studies:
Noon Bible Study Luncheon resumes in the Parish Commons Classroom
6:15 Midweek Renewal resumes in the Fireside Room

Faith Journey

All those who worship with us as guests are invited to join a FAITH JOURNEY group hosted by Pastor Ruud. Faith Journey is a series of twelve weekly gatherings at St. Mark's that give visitors an opportunity to hear each other's stories, explore questions of faith, build relationships, hear scripture together, and listen for God's call. Those who wish to join our congregation will be welcomed as new members in November, but that is not an expectation for any of the Faith Journey participants. It is an open-ended process that allows each person to follow where the Spirit leads. There is a Faith Journey group that meets on Sundays from  12:15-1:30pm (beginning on September 27) and another one on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:15pm (beginning on September 30 ).  A meal is served at both gatherings. Childcare is always available, and special activities for older children are hosted  on Wednesday  nights. If you are interested, please add your name to the sign-up sheet at the Welcome Center in the Narthex, or contact Pastor Jan Ruud by phone at  253-752-4966  or by email at

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:
October 1, 7:00pm at St. Mark's, led by Rabbi Bruce Kadden
November 5, 7:00pm at Temple Beth El, led by Pastor Sarah Wiles
December 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:

Lift High the Cross

Our new exterior cross was carefully placed on the
north side of the sanctuary last week, and we are ready to dedicate 
it to the glory of God this coming Sunday, September 20. At the end of each worship service, you will be invited to come outside with us and gather near the foot of the cross for a rite of blessing. We are especially tha nkful to Russ and Anne Hillman, whose generous bequest made this possible! May God continue to bless all the gifts they shared during their lives of faithful service!

Lutheran Studies Conference at PLU, Thursday, September 24th

"Tikun Olam: The Legacy and Future of Jewish-Christian Relations"
2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.  Such an anniversary invites conversation around Jewish - Christian relationships. . . our troubled history and the possibility of growing friendship.

Come for the entire day (registration required), or for the 7pm presentation (open).  For more information, go to OR stop by the table in the narthex.  (If you would like to be part of a van pool that goes to PLU for the evening lecture.  SIGN UP IN THE NARTHEX BY SUNDAY)

Youth and Children's Faith Formation
3rd year Confirmation info: 9th graders will meet Thursday Evenings until October 22 from 5:30-6:30pm with Pastors Ruud and Shjerven in the Parish Commons Classroom.
1st and 2nd year Confirmation info: Sunday, Sept. 20th we begin
  • 7th grade Rite of Welcome (beginning of 9:45 service in the Sanctuary), followed by class in the Youth Room.
  • 8th grade Rite of Renewal (beginning of 11am service)
  • Orientationfor parents of 7/8th grade students Sunday, Sept. 20th 9:55am in the Fireside Room.
Want to work/volunteer in the church nursery? Our next Nursery training for youth grades 6-12th is Sunday, Sept. 27th at 11am meet in the Youth Room.
CYFF Ministry Team Meeting -Tuesday, Sept. 22nd 7pm in the Fireside Room
JR ALYVE Youth Group (6-8th grades) and Youth Choir (6-12th grades)- begins October 1st 5:30-6:30pm in the Parish Commons. Youth Choir 6:30-7:30pm in the Narthex. 
2015 Hunger Walk Sunday October 4th (5-12th grade youth are participating in this event this year). Please sign up and pick up information off of the Youth Board by Sunday September 27th. Parents are encouraged to attend with their son/daughter.
Let Justice Roll-a Justice Advocacy and awareness event for High School Youth grades 9-12 Saturday, November 7th.   We will be working with salmon habitat restoration alongside the Tulalip people as one of our creation-care experiences. Trinity Lutheran College in Everett. 7:30am-7pm Cost: $25.00 per person. Sign up by October 18th if you plan on attending. We need 2 parents to attend and help out with this event.

DeLong Mentors Needed
If you have a couple of hours in your week to dedicate to a young person, please consider being part of our DeLong Elementary School partnership!  There are two groups of St. Mark's volunteers who will work with DeLong students once-a-week.  One meets mid-day, and the other meets after school.  Stop by the "DeLong Mentors" table in the narthex for more information, or contact Pastor Shjerven (  Thank you. 

Lutheran Campus Ministry at University of WA
Calling all UW students and those interested in campus ministry: Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Washington wants you!

This fall, over 44,000 students will be roaming the sidewalks and halls of the University of Washington. It's easy to get lost among that many students. We are here to help students discover who they are, to help create community, to wrestle with questions, and to help them ground their lives in faith through worship, service and the sharing of stories. If you, people you know, are heading to UW this fall - or if you are interested in supporting our mission to love the students at UW in God's name -- check us out. Pass it on. We have some awesome stuff going on! We're sharing God's love in this incredible place in many different ways. We would love to have you join us. For more information, visit or email Pastor Elizabeth Rawlings at

Shared Housing Donations Needed
The GSA continues our mission to deliver  personal hygiene items for homeless youth and young adults being served by the Housing 4 Success Program, a collaboration among Shared Housing Services, the REACH Center, Associated Ministries, and Vadis. They provide transitional housing, case management and training to young people. Help us as we provide nail clippers and files, bath soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, hair combs and brushes,  shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, disposable razors, lotion, cream, face wash, q-tips, hair grease, and gel. Donations can be left in the GSA bin near the church office. Thank you

Family Housing Network Oct. 17-23
In a few weeks St. Mark's will host up to 5 homeless families with children who are part of the Family Housing Network. Volunteers are needed to provide groceries, prepared meals, child care, and host our guests in the evening and overnight. We also need helpers to set up bedrooms on  Oct. 17 and take them down on  Oct. 24. If you haven't volunteered for this ministry before, please consider joining us! See the signup table in the narthex.

LWR- Layettes
There is a need for more infant sleepers (without zippers).  If you can donate these, please place in the LWR boxes near the office.  If you wish to help create the Layette Kits, please contact Randi Holland (253-432-6050).

Feeding the Faith
Join us for dinner...Friday, September 25th at 6pm at St. Mark's.  See and learn about how God is using chinaconnect to physically and spiritually feed precious lives in China.  You will have an opportunity to show your support through prayer and giving.  RSVP by Sept. 18 to: Marcia Halstead, or 253.202.4780

Celebrate the Life of Pastor Reitan
Save the date! The St. Mark's Gay-Straight Alliance invites you to join in celebrating the life of Pastor John Reitan, Monday, September 21 at 6 p.m. In the Fireside Room. There will be a pot luck dinner and time to share memories. We want to honor John and Dorothy Reitan for their loving leadership in our congregation and in particular as founding members of the GSA.

2015 Hunger Walk Team
The 2015 Hunger Walk Team will walk in Pastor John Reitan's memory on  Sunday, October 4th.    This is the annual Associated Ministries' Pierce County Hunger Walk.  St Mark's has participated in fundraising and walking for many y ears, led by the energy and inspiration of John Reitan.  Pastor Reitan died on December 26, 2014 and this year, we would like to walk in his memory.   Please consider being part of the Team, either by walking or by making a donation.  Information may be found on cards in the pew rack.  

Seeking TLRC Volunteer Choir Director
Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community, Joyful Voices Chorus is looking for a volunteer Choir Director willing to give 2-3 hours a week for rehearsal and some performances at Christmas time and springtime. JVC is a 15-20 person mixed voices chorus comprised of TLRC Independent, Assisted Living, and Health Center residents. Please contact Serina McWha at 253-284-7540 or email: if you are interested!

Member Notes and News                   

Member Emilie Rommel Shimkus is producing,  Tell Your Children, a short film project, based on her original poetry. She's already been awarded a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission and 4Culture, and partnered with The Northwest Renaissance, a nonprofit poetry organization she is involved with. Please take a minute to check out the campaign page, watch the video, and see all the hard work that has already gone into this project. Click here to see the video. 

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!