The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
    October  7 , 2015 
Grace Notes: 
What is Lutheran?
For the past two years, I've organized my work around these four emphases: we are church, we are Lutheran, we are church together and we are church for the sake of the world.

I want to spend a little time thinking with you about what is means to be Lutheran in the 21st century. What do we mean when we say we are Lutheran? The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is fast upon us, and this month, as in every October, we will observe Reformation Sunday. Maybe a good place to start is to ask why it's important and helpful to have a Lutheran identity. Some would say that denominations and denominational loyalty are things of the past. There is some truth to this, especially if our denomination is defined by ethnicity and culture and our loyalty is primarily to the denomination and not to our Lord. There was a campaign during the 1980's church growth movement to get rid of any denominational markers whatsoever. The stolid St. Paul Lutheran Church on the corner was supposed to be renamed something like "The Church at Pheasant Run." How evocative! How cool! How vaguely woodsy! A simple name change would accomplish two things at once: stop scaring the denominationally averse away and attract tons of people. It didn't. In an attempt to become more attractive we became generic. Having a clear sense of who we are and what we believe isn't a detriment but an asset. If we are well-defined and well-differentiated, we are more able to engage in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and can be a clear voice in the public square.
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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 Tonight
5:00pm Little Angels 
5:15pm Dinner is served 
Turkey Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables 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.

Your Creator Loves You

Last Sunday, over twenty dogs, one cat, and a chicken heard those words of blessing at our annual Blessing of the Animals. Over fifty church members and friends joined them to celebrate the love of God and the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi. We also heard St. Francis' well-known "Sermon to the Birds", where he tells them:   God clothes you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loves you much, seeing that He has given you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God." May it be so for all of us creatures who are loved and cherished by our Creator.

Hunger Walk

Last Sunday, over 38 people participated in the annual Associated Ministries' Pierce County Hunger Walk, in memory of   Pastor John Reitan's.  St Mark's has participated in fundraising and walking for many  y ears, led by the energy and inspiration of John Reitan.

Adult Faith Formation

9:45am, Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
October 11th,  Patrick O'Neil, Professor of Politics and Government at UPS (and St. Mark's member), will lead us in thinking about the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.  
11:00am, Adult Class, Parish Commons Classroom
October 11th, The Letters to the  Hebrews
will be the epistle text in worship throughout the Fall. Join Pastor Shjerven and Mary Jo Larsen for a 6-week exploration of this New Testament book. 

Preschool Parent Bible Study, Wednesdays, 9:15am,  October 7th-November 11th, Parish Commons
Parents of young ones come together for a six week study of Jesus' parables (your child does not have to attend St. Mark's Preschool for you to attend--all are welcome!) Childcare is provided in the nursery.  

Fully Alive Bible Study,  Tuesdays, 5:15pm,  Fireside Room.
This fall we will be 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.

Ladies' Bible Study, Wednesdays, 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! Join us as we finish our study of Spiritual Fruits and then begin a new one yet to be chose. 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.   

Midweek Renewal, Wednesday, 6:15pm, Fireside Room
Each week we will gather for a contemplative reading of 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. 

Café Group
A new women's group is being formed especially for younger women.  The group will meet in the Fireside Room from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 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.  Please join us  November 6 .You can check out the magazine at .  For further information, contact Celesta Smith at  or Diana Busch at .      
Stewardship 102: Coming this Fall

Stewardship Ministry at St. Mark's is devoted to encouraging our faithful, conscientious, and grateful response to all the gifts that God gives us in life.  In support of this effort, the Stewardship Ministry Team invites your participation in three major efforts in October and November.

First, you will receive your third quarter giving statements next week.  Included with the statements will be a letter with an update on our giving and spending through the end of September.  In addition, you will read about our approach to stewardship for the first six months of 2016.  You may recall that our fiscal year is moving to a July 1 start, so Plans for Giving for the 2016-2017 fiscal year will be invited during Lent of 2016.  Please read these materials and your statement carefully.  If you have questions, you can contact the church office or Jim Pence of the Stewardship Team ( or 253-219-3795).

Second, beginning in early November, St. Mark's will introduce an electronic option for making regular offerings. Contributions can be made automatically from your checking or savings account or processed using your debit or credit card. Our new electronic giving program offers convenience for you and valuable giving consistency from our congregation. If you are currently giving on a weekly basis, for example, you will no longer need to write out 52 checks a year or prepare 52 envelopes. And, when travel, illness or other circumstances prevent you from attending services,this program will allow your weekly offerings to continue on an uninterrupted basis.  Watch The Bridge and the Sunday bulletin for more details.  The Church Council has endorsed the expansion of online giving as another means to support faithful and conscientious giving.

Third, the month of November will focus on being grateful for the many gifts and blessings God has given to our people and our congregation.  Pastors Shjerven and Rudd will be preaching on gratitude on November 15 and 22, the two Sundays prior to Thanksgiving.  In addition, St. Mark's members will reflect gratitude for God's gifts and God's grace in their lives.  On November 15 and 22, the two Sundays before Thanksgiving, our worship service will reflect the theme of "gratitude" as we give thanks for God's gifts and God's grace in our lives.  Stay tuned!

Faithful, conscientious and grateful---these are the hallmarks of stewardship at St. Mark's this Fall. 

News from our Southwestern Washington Synod

As a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), St. Mark's is linked with over ten thousand congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and ninety congregations right here in our Southwestern Washington Synod. You can learn about the activities of sister congregations in Washington and read a message from the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA by clicking on this link to the SWWA Synod's online newsletter:
St. Mark's Preschool to visit TLRC

St. Mark's Preschool students will be visiting Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community on Thursday and Friday at 10:00 a.m. for story time. Please contact Vicky Crawford at TLRC (253) 752-7112 with questions.

Reformation Hymnfest

"Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Tacoma, will host and celebrate its 25th  Silver Anniversary Reformation Sunday Hymn Festival on Sunday, October 25, 2015, beginning at 3:00 p.m.  Once again the program will feature congregational singing, and a variety of musical performances by guest choirs and musicians.

Hymn commentaries and congregational singing of favorite Reformation and other well-known Christian hymns will provide much opportunity for mass participation and praise.  The congregation invites all Tacoma area Christians to join us as we remember and celebrate the Protestant Reformation through both traditional and contemporary Christian music.

A reception with refreshments will follow the program in the church's Goldenman Social Hall.

We hope many will join us as we celebrate the Protestant Reformation and 25 consecutive years of ecumenical gathering to sing and enjoy the music of the Christian Church past and present.  The church is located at 3315 S 19th St., Tacoma, WA 98405, across from the Allenmore Medical Center.

For more information, directions, or questions, please contact the church office at (253) 383-5515, or e-mail us at:  Thank you for your gracious help in publicizing our upcoming Reformation Hymn Festival!"

Sunday Mornings, Where do youth go?

Sunday Mornings-where do I go from 9:45-10:45am each week?
3 years old to 4th grade- Children's Faith Center (lower level by elevator)
5/6th grade- Teal Room (Youth Wing lower level east side of building)
7/8th grade- Youth Room (Youth Wing lower level east side of building)
9-12th grade- Fireside Room (Upper level east side of building)

LWR School Kits Building 

The JR ALYVE group will be building 100 School Kits for LWR on Thursday, October 15 at 5:30p.m. at St. Mark's ! If you would like to help prepare materials and pack, please join us at  5:00 p.m.   We are excited to have the Youth participate in this project that supports the theme  God's Work, Our Hands.  We will pack as many kits as we have supplies for, greatest need is for  sharpeners, blue/black ink pens and spiral bound notebooks . Please drop off supplies in the box in the Narthex through  October 13 . Thank you for your generosity to give a child the chance to learn and the chance to reach their full potential!   Urgent Needs to pack 100 kits include; spiral bound notebooks (93), sharpeners (4), blue/black ink pens (46).  Please contact Catherine Terrill with any questions at  253-732-3479 .

The St. Mark's Quilters are busy at work again creating warm gifts of love to be sent around the world and locally to people in need of comfort. During the month of October we will be celebrating the many hands that have worked hard over the years in this ministry.

We continue to meet  Monday mornings from  9:00 - 12:00 with coffee time at 10:30. Please feel free to join us or stop by for coffee and fellowship. We would love help with the following tasks: cutting and tearing fabric for quilt tops, sewing quilt tops at home or seeing tops when we meet, and most importantly someone to do some ironing.

Join us in celebrating the hours of work at home by Paul Baughman. He completed his 1,000th quilt top in September. His dedication and beautiful work is a blessing to many. Thank you, Paul!

Lutheran World Relief quilts and kits will be shipped later this month. Please consider donating to cover the cost of shipping. $5 will cover the cost to shipping either 2 quilts or 1-1/2 school, baby or personal care kits.

DeLong Weekend Backpacks
Please check the table in the Narthex each week to see how you can help with our DeLong Backpack program. We are trying to fill 60 backpacks each week and can use more donations. Thank you for helping feed those in need.

Women's of St. Mark's Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar Sign-ups beginning Sunday, October 11

Look for our display and sign-up to help and/or donate handmade items,collectables, bakery, and/or used books.  Handmade items:  Price your items if you like.  We have price  tags available at our display table.  Bakery:  All bakery items accepted, cookies, breaks, cakes, pies etc.  Plastic clam shells for bakery available at our display table.  Collectables:  Bring in dishes, figurines, linens, framed art, Christmas decor, a nd antiques of all kinds.  Let us know if you have a price in mind.  Used Books:  All titles, adult and children.  Hardback and paperback.

Sign-up for lefse making.
Wednesday, November 4 - 6PM : preparing the potatoes.
Thursday, November 5 - 9AM: Lefse making, rolling, baking, and packaging. We will be boiling 100 pounds of potatoes and need your help.  There is a need for many hands to cool and package the lefse, so sign-up even though you do not make lefse.  Questions: Carol Paulson (252) 564-6838

Bazaar Set-iup: Friday, November 6 - 9AM
Please have all donations at the Church.  Bakery may come in on Friday
or Saturday AM.  We will be busy setting up displays  Lunch will be served.

Saturday: BAZAAR DAY!
Sign-up to help in the kitchen or Parish Commons.  Bazaar opens
at 9AM.  Plan to come and shop early for the best selection.

Bazaar Cafe:
We begin the day with Swedish pancakes with lingonberries at 9 AM.  Lunch menu includes, yellow pea soup, turkey noodle soup, bratwurst, and homemade pie. (we need homemade pies)  We are adding homemade Swedish meatballs to our menu.  Help in the kitchen or come and enjoy our delicious homemade food.

We will display any remaining items on Sunday morning, November 8. At 12 noon we will need help packing away after another successful Bazaar!

Remember: One half of our profits go out-of-house.
                    In house profits always support our quilters and
                    our Church kitchen.

A meeting will be held two weeks after the Bazaar,  Wednesday, November 18 - 6PM   Church Library,  to distribute funds.

Women of St. Mark's

Craft Night - Friday, October 30 - 6:00 PM

This will be our last craft night for the year.  We will be competing bazaar
projects as well as pricing Bazaar items.  Join us for lively conversation
and light refreshments.

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:
Nov. 5, 7:00pm at Temple Beth El, led by Pastor Sarah Wiles
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:

Tutors Needed

Peace Community Center(Hilltop Scholars) is in need of computer science and calculus tutors. If you are able to help please contact Bruce Sadler at

Children Faith Formation

T his week's Spark Notes is Adam and Eve. 
Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to 
supplement Sunday School lessons. 

Youth Faith Formation
It's that time of year to get your 2016 Entertainment Book. Order yours today through the church office for only $25.00. Books will arrive mid-October.
Coming up...
3rd year Confirmation info: 9th graders will meetThursday Evenings until October 22 from 5:30-6:30pm with Pastors Ruud and Shjerven in the Parish Commons Classroom. Youth Faith Companions will also meet with the group.
Oct 15. - JR ALYVE Youth Group (6-8th grades) and Youth Choir (6-12th grades)- meets again Oct. 15th 5:30-6:30pm in the Youth Wing for an LWR kit building Event. Youth Choir is 6:30-7:30pm in the Narthex with Cooper.  
Nov. 7- 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.
Nov. 15- 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. 1 if you plan on attending.

New Opportunities for the Connect and Care TimeBank

The Connect and Care Timebank is a unique way to share skills and talents with each other.  It also is a way to get to know someone in our congregation in a special way. Here is a story from Sharon Bonea on her recent experience.

"I needed help getting a program to work on my computer.  I looked on Time Bank and sure enough there was a computer expert offering that help.  We set a time to meet  and within an hour, the problem was solved.  The expert was competent and patient with my "Why did you do thats?" and "Wait! Let me write that downs!"   What a great way to get good, reliable help!"

Upcoming Events:
We will be offering a help session and social for CCTB members at 10:00 on Novemb er 7 in th e Upper Fireside Room. Members can come with questions and share experiences.

Our next TRAINING will also be on November 7 at 10:00 in th e Youth Room. Please contact Patty Reinkensmeyer to register.  253-857-7977 .

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!