Weekly Newsletter | May 17, 2022
Worship at St. Mark's
Sunday Morning Worship
We gather in person each Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 a.m. in our sanctuary. 

Also, please remember that we will continue to offer an online worship service every Sunday at 10 a.m. As in the past, this will be a livestreamed on our Facebook page and also available on our St. Mark's website. 

Share prayer requests with us by sending them to prayers@smlutheran.org. If you would like us to include them in the Prayers of the Church during Sunday worship, please make note of that.

For recordings of the Bible study, sermons, matins, and more, please check out our podcasts on Podbean. You’ll be able to connect with Apple Music, Spotify, and more on the podbean website.
Blessing and Farewell for Pastoral Intern Emillie Binja
The congregation is invited to join us on Sunday, May 22, at 3:00 p.m. for a Blessing and Farewell for Emillie Binja that will include a program in our sanctuary and a reception in the Parish Commons. This will be Emillie’s last Sunday with us, and she will be preaching at all three of our morning worship services.
Membership Directories
Membership directories have been updated and are available in the church office. You are welcome to stop by and pick up a copy any weekday morning from 8:30-12:30. Thanks to everyone who remembers to update their contact information and keeps us current. -Linda
Sabbatical Songbook Launch!
On Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m. at St. Mark's, you are invited to come celebrate the publication and launch of "Songs of Hope in the Wilderness" - a new collection of fifteen original songs of faith written by Cooper and Sarah Sherry. Come to hear Sarah, Cooper, and friends sing these songs and talk about their creation. Copies will be available for purchase for you or the hymn-lovers in your life!
Pastor Ruud’s Video of Walking the John Muir Way in Scotland
This Spring, Pastor Ruud walked the John Muir Way in Scotland with family members Kirsti Ruud, Alex Day, Sonja Ruud, and Christian Steinbach. The John Muir Way honors the legacy of one of the world’s most influential advocates for the preservation of wild places. It connects Muir's hometown of Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland with the town of Helensburgh on the western seaboard. Click here to watch his 22-minute video of the trip. 
Gift from the Islamic Center of Tacoma
Last week, St. Mark’s received a lovely gift basket from the people of the Islamic Center of Tacoma, It included a card with this message: "At the end of this very special month of Ramadan, we take a moment to show gratitude for our blessings, and to celebrate with our loved ones over the Eid holiday. Thank you for opening your doors to us at a time of need. We would like to express, in full, our gratitude towards you all for the kindness and warm welcome that we received.
A widespread tradition of Eid Al-Fitr is the exchanging of gifts, known as Eidi or Eidiya. The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) encouraged this practice saying: 'Give Gifts to one another, you will love each other.’ (Hadith, Al Mufrad)"
Thank You to Jennifer Droubay for Seven Years of Outstanding Service as our Director of Finance and Operations
Next week, Jennifer will begin a new full-time job as a manager with DaVita Kidney Care. We are filled with gratitude for her leadership and service at St. Mark’s, and we wish her well in this new endeavor. We will have the opportunity to express our gratitude to Jennifer at the Semi-Annual Meeting of our congregation on June 12. 
Podcast of Willie Stewart’s Presentation on Community History
On May 9, 2022, the St. Mark’s Anti-Racism Alliance invited Willie Stewart of Tacoma to talk with us about our community history. A longtime public school educator, Mr. Stewart became the first black school principal in Tacoma history when he took on the role at Lincoln High School in 1970. Over the years, he has continued to be a leader and practitioner of racial reconciliation in our city. He was awarded the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize in 2019. Click here to listen to our podcast of Willie Stewart’s presentation. 
April 2022 – General Ministry Fund Financial Update
Please see below the financial results for April. We beat bottom line budget by ~$1,800 for the month, and are now more than $37K ahead of budget for the current fiscal year.
 
Offerings for April were pretty much “flat” relative to budget ($237 below budget; $90,466 versus budgeted offerings of $90,703). We are $11,299 above budgeted offerings on a fiscal year-to-date (FYTD) basis ($863,005 versus budgeted offerings of $851,706). This puts us 3.7% above last year’s actual offerings over the same time period. 
 
Expenses for April were $1,810 below budget (spending $86,006 versus budgeted expenses of $87,816). FYTD, we are now $22,030 below budgeted expenses ($836,950 versus budgeted expenses of $858,980). The themes for expenses have remained largely the same each month and on a FYTD basis. Although we spent more than budgeted on hospitality during April – and several other months this year, as attendance continues to increase – we remain below budget in this line item for the fiscal year. Grounds maintenance costs continue to exceed budget each month (and, therefore, are starting to accumulate on a budget-relative basis), given cost increases from our supplier. This has been more than offset by certain other lower-than-budgeted property expenses, including contracted janitorial services, electricity and garbage pickup (which is still at a reduced level since the COVID shutdown started). We continue to be below monthly budgeted expenses in certain part-time staffing (e.g., custodial assistant, nursery). As noted last month, we will accumulate just under $5K of budget-relative savings through the first six months of this calendar year, due to lower-than-anticipated increases in staff benefits costs as of January 1st. 
 
The bottom line for April is that we brought in $4,860 more than we spent versus our projection to bring in $3,087 more than we spent. This put us $1,773 ahead of budget for the month. On a FYTD basis, we are $37,577 ahead of budget, bringing in $32,303 more than we spent versus a projection to spend $5,274 more than we brought in at this point in the fiscal year.
 
Please feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay or Mike McKeller in the church office with any questions. Thank you.
Let Your Light So (Efficiently) Shine!
St. Mark's continues to go green. Our current project in reducing our energy consumption is to replace all lights in the total facility with LED fixtures and bulbs which will reduce our energy consumption by 22KWH per year, a savings of over 20% of our electrical consumption. In order to replace over 200 fluorescent bulbs in one day, we need volunteers to help on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The work involves taking out one part of the current fixtures (the ballast) and rewiring it so the new LED bulbs will work. We will do the needed training and assure all work will be safely done. If you are available, you can sign up in the church office or call John Avery at 253-376-5599 for more information.  
Tiny House Build this Summer – Week of July 25-29
In partnership with Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), St. Mark’s will be building Tiny Houses at St. Mark’s this summer during the last week of July. The team will consist of adults and youth entering high school (9th grade) in the fall or older. There will be work at all skill levels, so you don't have to be an expert to be a part of this. We hope you can join us for a week of fun, fellowship, and truly meaningful work. 
Please fill out the contact information form here if you're interested (and let us know if you're still not sure or definitely joining us). Or if you prefer a Word document you can fill this out and email it to us (melaniesummerour@gmail.com), or print it and bring it to church. We'll provide lots more details in the coming weeks but please ask us about any questions you have.
Thanks! Melanie Summerour, Sarah Moore, Jan Ruud, John Avery
From the St. Mark's Endowment Fund
On behalf of the committee which manages the St. Mark’s Endowment Fund, we are pleased to inform the congregation that an application for $2,508 to further the ministry of the Peace and Justice Committee has been approved. This seed money will be used so that St. Marks’ volunteers can prepare a second meal each month for guests at Nativity House’s four served locations.
 
We are grateful to be servants of such a compassionate, generous and creative congregation where giving is focused beyond ourselves and beyond today.
Children, Youth, and Family Faith Formation
Splash into Summer with us!! VBS 2022 August 1-5 from 9:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Registration is now open for all St. Mark's students (Preschool and Congregation). Registration opens for everyone else June 15 with registration closing July 15 or when we reach capacity. 

VBS is for students ages 4 years old (as of June 1, 2022) to students 5th grade (completed as of July 2022). For more information and to Register go here or check out the table in the Narthex/Foyer. 

VBS Volunteers are needed--students grades 6-12th (completed) and adults of all ages are invited to sign up.  

Nursery Update: We have a potential summer staff person to fill the 18 year and over position in the nursery. But in the meantime we do have middle school and high school youth who have signed up to work during the month of May--thank you for stepping up and filling this need as you are able to do so. 

Upcoming Milestone Events:
  • 3rd grade Bible: Sunday, June 5 Bibles will be presented at the 9:45 a.m. service, with a learning event for parents and students following at 11 a.m. in the Parish Commons classroom. 
  • 5th grade Image of God: Sunday, June 12, 9:45-10:45 a.m. for parents and students lower youth wing. Sign up here.
  • 2022 High School Graduates--The Baccalaureate service is Wednesday, June 8, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. University of Washington Campus Pastor Chelsea Globe will be our preacher for the evening. Sign up here to pick out your quilt.
  • Summer 2022--First Communion Milestone for students 4 years old thru elementary school age--stay tuned for the date and time. 
Sunday Morning Schedule for Children and Youth: 9:45-10:45 a.m. 
  • Classes for students preschool to grade 4 will meet: May 22, 29, June 5 and 12
  • Classes for students grades 5-8th will meet: May 22, June 5, and 12
  • Classes for students grades 9-12 will meet: May 22--then we are done for the school year. 
Thursdays for Youth: 
  • Middle School Youth Group wraps up the year on Thursday --May 19 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Parish Commons. Dinner will be served this evening please note extended end time. 
  • Youth Choir--does not meet this week. Youth Choir students who participate in youth group and youth marimbas are welcome to hangout at St. Mark's with Ingelaurie for the extra 30 min.--Please bring homework to do. 
  • Youth Marimbas--7:30-8:30 p.m. Continues to meet on Thursday nights with Jeff, end date TBD.

Please contact Ingelaurie Lisher(Director of Children, Youth and Family Faith Formation) at ingelaurie@smlutheran.org or Hollye Piercy(Sunday School Coordinator) at hollye.piercy@smlutheran.org with any questions.
Adult Faith Formation  

Forum: In May, we are hosting a “Faith and Public Life” series with local elected officials. While our speakers engage in political vocation, this series is a nonpartisan format to share about their public vocation and personal life of faith. 

May 22: Ryan Mello, Tacoma City Councilmember representing District 4

Midweek renewal: You are invited to join a 5-week Midweek renewal series on Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. in the parish classroom called "Stirred by the Spirit: Conversation around Anti-Racism and White Identity" with seminarian Andrew Larsen. The Spirit stirs the waters and unsettles our souls in pursuit of justice, giving a disruptive and accompanying presence as we tackle the challenges of racism in our country and church. Acknowledging that becoming anti-racist is an imperative spiritual response to this racist culture, this group will make space to critically reflect on white identity, examine the whiteness of our institutions, and engage the process of healing a divided and broken world. 

Wednesday Noon Bible study: in person and on Zoom.
Wednesday Morning Bible Study: The Wednesday 9:30 a.m. Bible study has resumed in the Fireside room with our study of Proverbs-God’s wisdom for applying to our daily experiences and challenges. All are welcome to arrive at 9:15 for coffee and visiting. We encourage sharing insights, questions, and concerns. Join us! For information, contact Linda Durant (253) 363-8202, hotdouug@centurylink.net. Masks will be worn.
Fully Alive Bible Study: Fully Alive Bible Study meets Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. We will meet in the Fireside Room and study: Elohim: God the Creator, Yahweh Yireh: God the Provider, El Roi: The God who sees ME. These are just a few of the names of God. In our English Bible, the Supreme Being is called "God' or "LORD'. However, the original translations in Hebrew and Greek have a rich, full variety of names for God. We learn these names through different Biblical stories, and as we study them, we begin to experience the breadth of God's character. Join us as we explore the characteristics of God. For more information please contact Sherry Maiura 253-303-1681.
Congregational Care
Wellness Wednesday: Join us Wednesdays for "Just Be" beginner Yoga from 5:30- 6:10 in the large Preschool room. 
"Just Be" Beginner Yoga class instructor Brittny Ramirez is a Physical Therapist Assistant/200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. For more information contact sigi.helgeson@smlutheran.org.

Caregiver support group meets Friday, May 20, at 10:30 in the Fireside room.

Click here to learn about LCSNW's Music and Memories class offerings.

For more information about support groups or pastoral care please contact sigi.helgeson@smlutheran.org
Save the date! Women's Hiking and Camping Trip
Women's hike/camp: July 7- at Silver Springs. Hosts/leaders: Tove Trelstad-Larsen and Pastor Sigi Helgeson. More information to come!
St. Mark's Scholarship
High school seniors and parents of high school seniors, please note that the scholarship application for high school seniors is now open. This scholarship is open to all high school seniors pursuing higher education at a four year college, technical college, trade school, or other institution of higher education. Scholarship materials are available on our website. All scholarship materials, including two letters of recommendation, are due May 22 to scholarships@smlutheran.org. Please email Pr. Hallie with any questions.
Care of Creation Outings Spring and Summer 2022
Schedule of Hiking Trips for the Balance of the Summer

The original schedule of hikes for July and August has been modified. The July hike to Pinnacle Saddle, MRNP, will be on July 23 instead of July 22; and the August Hike to Sunrise, MRNP, will be August 20 instead of August 19. Details of the May 23 and 24 field trip to the Elwha River in partnership with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church will be provided in future Bridge Newsletters. 

Elwha River, June 23 and 24
Pinnacle Saddle MRNP, July 23
Sunrise, MRNP, August 20
Peace and Justice
Update on the Food Backpack Program
Thank you to all of you who fill bags on Thursdays, bring food, support financially, and pray for the program! Without you this program would not be the success it is!

We are currently filling 75 food bags for 3 elementary schools in our area. 60 bags for DeLong, 9 for Downing, and 6 Sherman. We also include a food gift cards of $25.00 for each recipient at Christmas, Spring break, and the end of school. We want to Thank the WOMEN OF SAINT MARK'S for their donation of $1,000 from the Bazaar to help with the end of school food gift cards.

If you are a member of Thrivent and have not used your Action Team Grants for this year we would appreciate it if you would consider using it to donate dinner items or other things needed to fill out our inventory for the rest of this school year or to help us get started again in September.

Once again thanks for all your help with this program! If you have questions or comments please contact Jean Steingrebe @ jcsteingrebe@gmail.com.
Ride for Refugees Bike Ride

Click here to learn about LCSNW's Kitsap Ride for Refugees bike ride on August 20.
Hunger Walk Thank You
Thank you, the St. Mark's team raised $1,133 to support the Emergency Food Network 2022 Hunger Walk. It is not too late to donate.
Nativity House Update
Thanks to all who helped with meals in April for Nativity House guests. 
In just a few hours, we prepared and delivered over 640 meals last month 
for the 2nd and 4th Saturdays! Thanks to all who participated and 
supported the effort. For those interested in helping out with Nativity 
House in May, we welcome both new faces and old hands to join the 
effort. Upcoming events include:

* May 28, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: brunch burrito meal preparation (for 4th 
Saturday lunch); location: St. Mark's kitchen
* May 28, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.: sack lunch meal pickup; location: St. Mark's
* flexible times/locations: remote volunteer activities, including 
shopping and sack meal preparation

You can find more information about St. Mark's Nativity House ministry 
website. Or 
reach out to Melanie Summerour (melaniesummerour@gmail.com) or Peter 
Habitat for Humanity

Beyond the Backyard 2022: A Family-Friendly Event
Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the return of its family-friendly fundraising event, Beyond the Backyard, from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. At only $300 for a team of 2-8 participants, your crew will have a blast at this adventure race/scavenger hunt benefitting affordable homeownership. Perfect for a youth group, group of friends, or families!
“Starter Kits” Help Youth-We're Halfway There!
With your donations we will make 5 kits for 16-24 years old kids needing a home and participating in the YHH, Youth Host Home, program.  

Items in high need - new twin sheets, shampoo/conditioner, laundry detergent, hygiene items, etc. Sign up today to buy an item or two for kits, go to this link to sign up. Label your purchases “YHH” with your name and drop them in the YHH bin at church or in the Church office during the week during the month of May. 

We are hoping to assemble these kits at the beginning of June.  Questions? Roz Lueck-Mammen at RozLM28@gmail.com or text (253)312-1147.
Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey
May 20, 6-8 p.m., St. Leo Catholic Church 
710 S 13th St, Tacoma, WA 98405

The faith community has been asked to show up in solidarity with Lummi tribal members, the House of Tears Carvers, intertribal nonprofit Se’Si’Le, and Native communities across the Pacific Northwest to support a Totem Pole Journey uplifting the Indigenous-led movement to honor the spirit of a free-flowing Lower Snake River and restore the health its salmon and the orca that depend on them. Native leaders have requested a robust faith community presence along the Spirit of the Waters Journey and the Tacoma event is the final stop. Earth Ministry/WAIPL is the nonprofit point of contact supporting this gathering at St. Leo’s Parish from 6-8pm on May 20. Learn more and RSVP here
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows