The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
   February 3 , 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
Turkey Meatloaf, Potatoes, 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. 
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: 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Feast
Tuesday, February 9th from 5:30-7pm in the Parish Commons (live music from 5:30-6:30pm) Pancakes and much more! Sponsored by the youth.  Youth and parents don't forget to sign up on the youth board with what you can help out with. 

Mexico Mission Trip - 2016
An interest meeting to learn more about St. Mark's 2016 annual mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico will be held Sunday, February 14th  from  12:00 - 1:00pm  (Fireside Rm.).  The trip, which includes building several small homes for families and offering VBS activities for neighborhood children, will take place this year from June 17th  -June 25th  .   Please contact one of the trip co-leaders, Melanie Summerour (  or Sarah Moore (253/752-0554), if you are unable to make this interest meeting but would like to go this year or if you would like to learn more. 
Stewardship 103: "Let All Creation Praise"
Th e liturgical year offers what we might call a sacramental approach to the earth's seasons, approaching the earth's great cycles as holy signs of God's saving action in history, drawing us into worship alongside the whole living earth.  Our hymns and prayers, the way we dress our worship spaces, our patterns for baptizing, our scripture texts and preaching all are carried out in dialog with the earth and its seasons.  
-Ben Stewart, A Watered Garden
At the semi-annual meeting of the congregation on Sunday, January 31, Pastor Rebecca Shjerven introduced the 2016 congregational theme: "Let All Creation Praise!"   She explained that our annual themes help us to highlight certain features of the Story of God in Christ that we tell every year as we live our mission and deliver our ministries.   This year's theme will serve immediately as a framework for the liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter and as a celebration of spring coming soon to the Pacific Northwest.
Lent at St. Mark's is always a ti me of reflecting on the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection.  On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes in the sign of a cross on our foreheads to remind us both of our baptism and of our mortality, as well as the hope made possible by the good news of God in Christ.  In recent years, our Lenten journey has also including an invitation to participate in small group ministries, where we build on our relationships with one another and deepen our understanding of God's presence in our midst. 
We are calling the small group gatherings in Lent 2016 "Growth Groups" and inviting everyone to experience the joys of growing in faith, friendship and as stewards of God's gifts as we walk together on the road to Calvary and to the em pty tomb.  The Lenten worship services, hymns, prayers, and four weeks of small group conversations are focused on spiritual growth and growing, as the buds are growing on the rhododendrons and camellias in our parks and yards.  Let all creation praise! Think and pray for personal and collective growth as people for faith, as friends in Christ, and as stewards of the gifts God has bestowed on us individually and as a congregation.   Participate in Growth Groups! Click on this link and choose a Growth Group that works for you.

When Lent comes to an end, we will have an opportunity to respond to the invitation to grow in our financial stewardship by submitting our 2016-2017 Plans for Giving.  As the season of Easter begins, another four weeks of Growth Groups will help us discern how God is calling us to respond to the invitation to grow in our time and talent stewardship by submitting our 2016-2017 Learn, Serve, Grow Plans.   
Each week during Lent and Easter you can read in The Bridge about the dialog between faith and life, between God's saving action in history and our vocation of growth as the people of God at St. Mark's.  Let All Creation Praise!

Women of St. Mark's Planning Meeting
Please join us for a 2016 Planning Meeting.  We are in need of fresh new ideas and suggestions for the new year.  Our main events are the Spring Luncheon or Tea, the Bazaar in November and the Advent Brunch.  We would love to have your input!  We are meeting Wednesday, February 3, 6:00pm in the Library.  Mark your calendars and join us for dessert and fellowship as we plan our events for the year.  Come one, come all, bring a friend!  See you there! 

Faith Journey 
A New Faith Journey series has begun.

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 at Easter time, but that is not an expectation for any of the Faith Journey participants. This 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  12:00-1:30pm  and another one on Wednesdays from  6:00-7:15pm.  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

2016 St. Mark's Reads
This year our congregational/community reading selection is Brian D. McLaren's, "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?-Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (2012, Jericho Press). Discussion groups (for the second half of the book) will be announced soon. Sponsored by the Adult Faith Formation Team. Questions? Contact Mary Jo Larsen (

2015 Annual Report
The Annual Report for 2015 is now  available!  
You can pick one up at the church office, or view a pdf copy on the church website by clicking here.  

St. Mark's Quilters
The St. Mark's Quilters need you!  We have many quilt tops to be sewn together. They can be done at home or you can join us on Monday mornings anytime between 9am and noon, with coffee time at 10:30am.  All are welcome. Questions? Contact Celesta Smith 253-229-7726 or

St. Valentine's Celebration- Empowering Life
Empowering Life: Witnessing to God's Grace by Working with Incarcerated Women and their Families  
Saturday, February 6 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows 
Come join us for favorite tunes sung & played by professional musician Kacey Evans, elegant desserts, a silent auction and an opportunity to learn more about how (beyond backpacks with school supplies and Christmas gifts) we at St. Mark's are helping women incarcerated at the Washington Correction Center for Woman ("Purdy") and at Mission Creek Correction Center... and their families.
We welcome donations of auction items.
For reservations contact Joan Nelson at or 253-208-3307. Or, send your check to Empowering Life, PO Box 1803, Gig Harbor, WA 98335.

Chase the Chill
We are continuing to Chase the Chill all over Tacoma.  We have donated over 200 scarves, hats and gloves to various agencies in town. 
All knitters and crochet-ers are welcome to stop by the office any time during the week or come by the yarn supply corner (look for Jan Pence or Linda McKeller) in the Narthex on Sunday mornings to pick up more yarn or drop off finished scarves and hats. Thank you to all who have donated items!

Women's Retreat 2016 - Let All Creation Praise!
We will gather Friday night and Saturday, February 19 and 20, at Pilgrim Firs Retreat Center in Port Orchard. Cost is $80 (assistance available). For more information and to register, please stop by the Adult Faith Formation table in the Narthex, or email Pastor Shjerven (

Adult Faith Formation

Sunday, 9:45am , Adult Forum, Parish Commons Classroom
February 7, "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 7, "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
A new women's 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 The Transfiguration .  Spark Notes are fun activity sheets printable each week to supplement Sunday School lessons.  
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Feast -Tuesday 9th 5:30-7pm in the Parish Commons (Live Music from 5:30-6:30pm), Pancakes and much more! Sponsored by the youth.
Sunday, Feb. 7th Sunday AM classes at 9:45
  • 5/6th grade in Teal Room with Catherine and Jack
  • 7/8th grade in Youth Room with Carl and Bruce (review of the last 3 lessons).
  • 9-12th grade in Fireside Room with Clara and Zach
    • o   Breakfast Club-pick up your pancakes from the Boy Scouts (donations accepted) and pick a table in the narthex to sit at as a group. You are on your own this month.
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.

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. If you are i nterested 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 --  Information and registration forms are available on the Youth Board (hallway towards Fireside Rm.) We have 5 spots open, more might become available if needed. A commitment / deposit to reserve your spot is due ASAP. Tour Dates: June 19-25, 2017. This trip is geared for adults 21 and older or children / youth accompanied by their families. For more information and detail, speak with Ingelaurie Lisher. Cost: approximately $1,500 (lodging and 2 meals a day on tour). You are responsible for your own air transportation (the group will meet up in Wittenberg, Germany).

Connect and Care TimeBank

The Connect and Care TimeBank Training on February 6th at 10am has been cancelled.  We will be inviting all CCTB members to attend a focus group during that same time to assist with evaluation and next steps.

Please email or call Patty Reinkensmeyer at  or  253.857.7977  for questions and to sign up for the next training session.

Member Notes and News

A memorial service for David Ostrander will be held on Saturday, February 13 at 2pm here at St. Mark's.  David died on Thursday, January 28 at the age of 60.

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!