The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
   February 17 , 2016 
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 Choir
5:15pm Dinner is served
Chili, Salad and 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 Prayer Service
Childcare is provided from 5-8pm for children up to 5 years of age while parents attend meetings, Bible study, and worship.  

2016 St. Mark's Reads
Join us for the final discussion of Brian McLaren's book,  "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?", Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 pm in the Fireside Room. 

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

Lessons from 20 Years of Dialogue & Peacebuilding Work
Dr. Steinar Bryn will be speaking at PLU this Wednesday, February 17 at 6 PM in the University Center's Scandinavian Cultural Center. Steinar's talk, "Lessons from 20 Years of Dialogue & Peacebuilding Work" will feature not only the lessons, but the examples from his work from Ukraine-Russia, the Balkans, the Caucuses, Israel-Palestine, and more. He has been awarded with substantial funding from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and international organizations. He has been awarded several honors and prizes, including several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. 
Whether working with municipal leaders, diplomats, students or warring parties, he is dynamic and compelling. He spoke to a group in Portland, Oregon, that has a speaker every week. Steinar is the only one who has ever received a standing ovation from that group. His talk is not to be missed. 
To read more about Dr. Bryn's work, philosophy, publications, and honors:
To read more about his connection to PLU and Tacoma:
Doors open at 5:30. Refreshments will be served. 

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: "Fully Funding our Mission in 2016-2017:  Sustaining The Basics"

One way to think about the basic budget of St. Mark's is to imagine a three-piece pie.  The pieces are not all the same size but they are the essential components of our mission.

The basic budget is funded by what we call "regular offerings."  Our contributions make up nearly 100% of the income required to fund this budget.  For 2016-2017, fully funding this mission will require roughly $1 million.  As you discern your Plan for Giving for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, you may want to know something about how important each of these pieces are to the overall St. Mark's "pie." 

The simplest to explain is the piece for mortgage payments.  Several years ago, the Church Council decided to blend mortgage payments into the basic budget for the same reasons that those of us with mortgages on homes must make payments out of our household budgets.  Mortgage payments total nearly $195,000 annually.  Over time we have built up a $64,000 reserve for mortgage payments to smooth out cash flow, but we are obligated to service the mortgage monthly.  If you were at the semi-annual meeting in January, you heard about a plan to reduce the mortgage principle in the Fall.  That is separate from the Plan for Giving and regular offerings.

The "staff & ministries" piece is about $670,000.  This part of the budget pays for salaries, benefits and wages for all employees who help deliver the ministries we have come to know as central to our identity at St. Mark's.  In January, the congregation voted to increase the salaries of two of the three rostered employees who were not yet at the salary guidelines of the Southwestern Synod of the ELCA.  This is the third year of a three-year plan to fund these increases.  All other staff will receive cost-of-living increases by action of the congregation.  The program support for the various ministries is included in this piece and ministry team budgets.

The third piece "operations and outreach" is about $135,000.  It includes the dollars we call "benevolences," that is the dollars we send to the Synod, the ELCA and various other outreach ministries we support.  The actual amount of benevolence is calculated as ten percent of all of our income exclusive of mortgage payments.  In other words, we tithe on all our offerings for God's work beyond our walls.  Operations includes what we pay to heat, light, and cool our building, to water the plants, to service the elevator, and to purchase supplies and office equipment.

Although the budget for 2016-2017 will not be finalized until the semi-annual meeting at the end of May, a $1 million funding goal is very realistic to sustain the basics.  We are one of the largest congregations in the Synod with a diverse array of programs and services.  When all three pieces of our "mission pie" are fully funded, we are able to be the church God is calling us to be.
Watch for your Plan for Giving packets in the mail the first week of March.

St. Valentine's Celebration Thank You
A huge thank-you to all who supported Empowering Life's February 6th St. Valentine's Day fundraiser.  We are grateful for auction donations, desserts, help setting up and cleaning up, attendance and prayers as well as financial support.  This was our most successful fundraiser ever. 

The funds support pastoral care, life coaching, grief support groups, parenting classes, "St. Mark's Lutheran Worship" and a monthly Bible study at the Washington Correction Center for Women in Gig Harbor ("Purdy") as well as several programs at Mission Creek Correction Center in Belfair.   

St. Mark's Preschool
St. Mark's Preschool will be accepting registration packets for the 2016-2017 school year beginning February 15th. 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.

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 21, "Embracing Interfaith Cooperation: Eboo Patel on Coming Together to Change the World". In this engaging 5-session DVD series, people from diverse religious backgrounds join Interfaith Youth Core leader Eboo Patel in exploring both the challenge and the necessity of Interfaith Cooperation.  

Sunday, 11am, Adult Class, Parish Commons Classroom
February 21 "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. 21 Sunday AM classes 9:45
  • 5/6th grade in Teal Room Unit 3 Rewind
  • 7/8th grade in Youth Room with Ingelaurie, The Lord's Prayer
  • 9-12th grade in Fireside Room with Clara
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.
SR ALYVE (9-12th grade) Game Night and Dinner -Friday, Feb. 26th 6-8:30pm Sign up on the Youth Board.
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 . St Mark's still has 7 spaces 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!

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!