Weekly Newsletter | September 14, 2021
Worship and Devotions
Sunday Morning Worship
We will continue to 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. 
Evening Prayer Resumes This Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Commons
We are very happy to resume this weekly in-person evening service which includes contemplative music and readings along with candlelight prayer around the cross. We will wear masks and observe the same COVID safety guidelines that we use on Sunday morning. We hope you can join us!
August 2021 – General Ministry Fund Financial Update
Offerings for August were $18,237 above budget ($91,870 versus budgeted offerings of $73,633). We are now $9,384 above budgeted offerings on a fiscal year-to-date (FYTD) basis ($152,822 versus budgeted offerings of $143,438). This puts us 4.1% above last year’s actual offerings over the same time period. 

Expenses for August were $3,109 below budget (spending $76,037 versus budgeted expenses of $79,146). As we ease our way back into full reopening, we continue to be modestly below budgeted expenses in areas such as hospitality supplies and certain part-time staffing (e.g., custodial assistant, nursery). Benevolences were above budget because our offerings were more than projected.  FYTD, we are now $6,164 below budgeted expenses ($155,222 versus budgeted expenses of $161,386).

The bottom line for August is that we brought in $16,291 more than we spent versus our projection to spend $5,313 more than we brought in. This put us $21,604 above budget for the month. On a FYTD basis, we are $16,067 ahead of budget, spending $1,481 more than we brought in versus a projection to spend $17,548 more than we brought in at this point in the fiscal year.
 
Full year-end financials for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 will be available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay or Mike McKeller in the Church office with any questions. Thank you.
Altar Guild
Altar Guild is looking for members to be part of this very important ministry and there are ways you can help!
  • Set up & Clean up on Sunday mornings.  The Altar Guild is the group that sets out the linens, wine and bread for each service. 
  • Wash and iron the linens. We could use a few people who would be willing to take care of the Altar linens each week. Simply take them home after services, wash them, iron them and return them to the church.  
If you are interested in helping with any of these services please get in touch with Linda Wimberley at 253-988-6882 or ljwimb@aol.com
Produce Palooza
Produce Palooza ran for eight Sundays and is now over for this year.  We were always “sold out”.  
A heartfelt thanks to all of you who brought extra fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to St. Mark’s each Sunday to share with others.  You are much appreciated. Frequently people would return to the Produce Palooza table to tell me how much they had enjoyed what they had taken the previous week. 
See you next year.
Fall Music Ministries for Adults and Youth
Music ministries for all ages will resume in September. Below are the start times for each:

Adult groups:
· Sept 9 (Thurs) - Celebration Ensemble, 7:30-9 p.m. (8:30 choir)
· Sept 14 (Thurs) - St. Mark's Ringers, 6:00 p.m. (bell choir)
· Oct 3 (Sun) - Canticle Choir, 10:00am (11:00 choir)
Children and Youth:
· Sept 15 (Wed) - Kid's Choir, 5:30-6:15 p.m. (K-5th grade)
· Sept 19 (Sun) - Zoom Kid's Choir, 5 p.m. (K-5th grade)
· Sept 23 (Thurs) - Youth Choir, 6:30 p.m. (6-12th grade)
· Sept 23 (Thurs) - Youth Marimbas, 7:30 p.m. (6-12th grade)

All are welcome! Contact Cooper Sherry for more information, or to let him know you are interested, at cooper.sherry@smlutheran.org. For the bell choir, please contact Karen Moats at kmoats@harbornet.com.
Children, Youth, and Family Faith Formation
Children and Youth Faith Formation: Sunday Mornings at 9:45a.m. begin this week, September 19.
  • Preschool-4th grade Sunday Morning Faith Formation begins Sunday, September 19, at 9:45 a.m. in the Lower CFC/Preschool Wing. An email will go out to all registered students this week with more details on how Sundays at St. Mark's for children will work. 
  • 5/6th grade: See email from Ingelaurie for exact locations and details. 
  • Confirmation: 7/8th grade (1st and 2nd year students)--7th grade Rite of Welcome and 8th Grade Rite of Renewal--BOTH THIS Sunday, September 19, beginning of the 9:45 a.m. service; please meet in the Sanctuary. *Parents please pick up bibles on your way in.Then you will head to the youth courtyard for an outdoor class.

9th grade (3rd year Confirmation) students you begin next week, Sunday, September 26, at 9:45 a.m. in the Fireside Room: Sept. 26, Oct. 3(worship with families), Oct. 10, 17 & 24. Oct. 31 Reformation Sunday with Affirmation of Baptism at 11:00 a.m. in person. 

10-12th grade youth: stay tuned for when you begin on Sunday AMs. 
Please register here for Sunday AM Faith Formation classes 3 years old to 12th grades.

ALL children and youth 3 years old-12th grade: 1st Sunday Family Worship: Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 5. Holiday Weekend: Nov. 28. Click here for more information and details. 

Sunday Morning Faith Formation Volunteer Training: Wednesday, September 15, 7 p.m. via Zoom. Hollye will send all confirmed volunteers the link. 

Evening Youth Activities: 
6-8th grade Youth Group on Thursday nights-- 1st & 3rd Thursdays of the month 5:30-6:30 p.m. in person—outside as much as possible: October 7 & 21; November 4 & 18; December 2 & 16. Hearty snacks/appetizers provided.  
Youth Choir/Marimbas (6-12th grades): Thursdays beginning September 23. Choir: 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Marimbas: 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Parish Commons. 

The Well—youth group for high school (9-12th gr) students: 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month 6:30-7:30 p.m. OUTSIDE at Ingelaurie and Bruce’s home. We begin September 19; October 3 & 17; November 7 & 21; December 5. Appetizers and Dessert provided—please dress for the weather (we have a covered patio and fire pit/heater). Check email for address. 
Adult Faith Formation 

Wednesday Noon Bible study: Join us for Bible study with the pastor! On Wednesday at noon on September 22, we will begin our weekly bible study gathering again. This fall, we will offer a hybrid Bible study. With Covid safety in mind, we invite you to wear a mask and to eat before Bible study (no food will be served). You are invited to join in person in the Parish classroom, or join remotely via this zoom link. For questions, please email Pastor Hallie. 

Season of Creation: Sunday Forums
Join us this fall for a series of care of creation forums, featuring guest speakers and St. Mark's members. Forums will begin at 10 a.m. in the Parish classroom on the following Sunday mornings: 

September 19 "Earth Sunday" with Maddie Smith 
Join Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light for a workshop to learn more about putting your faith into action right here in Tacoma for climate and environmental justice. Together we'll talk about how people of faith can advocate for strong protections from fossil fuel expansion and be in solidarity with the Puyallup Tribe.
Upcoming forums:
September 26: "Air Sunday" speaker TBA 
October 3: "Water Sunday" with Rochelle Gandour-Rood 

Finally, mark your calendars for a zoom-hybrid forum with Celtic author John Phillip Newell on Sunday, October 17, at 4 p.m. More details to follow soon.

Diverse Stories in Film. Have you ever watched a film that challenged or changed your perspective on life? And then wanted to talk about it with friends? For the past few years, we have gathered together to watch and discuss Hollywood films that center on diverse perspectives or deepen our understanding of our world. For 2021-2022, we will center Asian American voices and storytelling. We will begin via Zoom, Fridays, 6-7:30 p.m., and hope that we will be back in person at some point this year. We ask you to view the films in advance of our Friday meetups so we can just talk about the film. Find film and Zoom information by accessing our google drive or by emailing Pastor Hallie.
September 24, 6-9 p.m.: Afghan Film Shorts + Restrepo. In light of St. Mark's sponsoring and assisting Afghan refugees, we begin our film series with stories from Afghanistan. Our discussions will focus less on Afghan or American politics and more on the human stories of those involved-Afghans living their lives and US soldiers participating in America’s longest war. Restrepo is a 2010 award-winning documentary in which American journalist Sebastien Junger was embedded in a US Army platoon in the Karangal Valley. Please note: Restrepo is rated R for wartime violence, and veterans in particular should be mindful of viewing. The film also contains many swear words. One place to view Restrepo is here.  

We will also view 10 film shorts produced by Afghan film students in a project called “The Fruits of Our Labor-Afghan Perspectives in Film.” Within the past few weeks, names have been removed for the safety of the participants. It’s important to listen to these creative and resilient stories while we still have access to them. They may be found here. The stories range from 10-15 minutes, and depict the resiliency of daily lives of Afghans. Please note: the film shorts capture different snapshots of daily life in Afghanistan, parental supervision recommended.

The rest of our film line up for the year:
October 22: The Big Sick
November 19: To Be Takei
January 14: The Farewell
February 11: Always Be My Maybe
March 11: Moana
April 22: Minari 

PLU events:
On October 5, the Lutheran Studies Conference at PLU will host Dr. Deanna Thompson for an interactive online conference entitled, "Living with Mortality: Illness, Trauma, Joy, and Hope." This conference will address our communal and individual vocations in a time of brokenness, grief, and trauma. For the schedule of events and more information about how to register, click here. 

Tuesday, November 2, at 7 p.m., PLU will host an evening with James Martin-Schramm on his lecture, "Bonhoeffer, the Church, and the Climate Question." For more information, click here.
St. Mark's Camping Trip
Many thanks for those of you who joined us on the St. Mark's camping trip and guided hike with Jeff Antonelis-Lapp! We look forward to more hikes and outdoor educational events in the future.
Congregational Care
For those who have lost a loved one or have experienced a significant loss we are offering a 5 week class on grief: “Journey through Grief and Loss” starting on Tuesday September 14, at 5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. And these following Tuesdays- September 2,  October 5, 12, and 19. The class will be offered at the church “in person” and may be offered via Zoom to those who would prefer that option.
   
For more information about the class and to register contact Pastor Sigi.

Caregiver support meets Friday, September 17, at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.
If you are caring for a loved one and would like to join this support group please contact Pastor Sigi for the Zoom link. 
Peace and Justice
Moral Voices, Moral Choices
Afghan Refugees - A Report on the Response from St. Mark's
Since the collapse of the established government of Afghanistan about three weeks ago, the people of St. Mark's have responded generously to the need to assist Afghan refugees who will be coming to the United States. We've responded with donations of time, furniture, money and moral support. After some effort, I have been in contact with a couple of the staff members of LCSNW, Lutheran Community Services NW. They said they have been overwhelmed with thousands of emails and phone calls from people willing to help. The good news is that so many people of God are willing to contribute and help. The challenge is that they can't get back to everyone. They don't have any new families at the moment, but they do anticipate new ones coming in soon. As is normal in a crisis, events do not occur in a planned fashion. We don't know when people will come, but we are preparing to receive them. Over 40 members of the St. Mark's community and members of the Temple Beth El in Tacoma have stepped forward as willing contributors to the effort. We are forming teams and beginning to get organized so that when we get the word, we'll be ready to act. If you are interested in joining the team, please send John Avery an email at johnavery@gmail.com

In a fortunate alignment of ministries, we had a shipping container placed on our property in July to hold materials for the tiny house project. On the day it was to be picked up, we decided instead to keep it to store furnishings and other materials in anticipation of receiving a refugee family. Now, thanks to the coordination of Paula Friedman, that 40' container is being filled with the furniture and other items the family will need. Please see Paula's message about what needs remain in this edition of the Bridge. 

Additionally, a few generous monetary donations have come in. These will replenish the fund that was established through the de Rek bequest. These were funds received a couple of years ago after a member of our congregation who had been an immigrant herself passed away. Part of her bequest was to fund the work of the church in supporting immigrants. We will use some of those funds to rejoin the Circle of Welcome operated by LIRS, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, to pay for housing and other expenses of a family. We are hoping to add to those funds so this work and the money that supports it continues to grow. Any contributions you can make would be very welcome and put to good use at the present time and in equipping us to respond on an ongoing basis. Please contact one of our pastors if you are interested in making a monetary contribution. 

Finally, LCSNW is looking for people who can host a family in their home for a short, but undetermined time. This usually happens when a family arrives before an apartment is ready. If you are interested in doing this, please let me know and I'll help you get in contact and work to answer questions.
 
Thank you for your support. We are busy getting ready and will respond accordingly and joyfully when a family arrives. 
UPDATE on Refugee Needs
THANK YOU to all the generous donors who have contributed furniture and household items so far. We are well on our way to furnishing an apartment for a refugee family we hope to meet in the near future. We still need a few specific items: bedroom chests of drawers in good condition, and bedroom-sized table or floor lamps. We will need new bedding but don’t yet know the number and size of the beds. If you are interested in providing bedding please contact me and I will give you a call when the needs are known.

We still need strong individuals who can help move furniture into storage and from storage to the apartment when the time comes. Trucks are welcome!
Contact: Paula Friedmann; (253) 222-4019; pfzebra@me.com
Fully Alive Bible Study
Fully Alive Bible Study will begin NEXT week on 9/21/2021 at 5:15 p.m. Please note the change in starting date. Thank you! 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.
Worship Volunteers Needed
Would you like to volunteer to be a part of worship services as a greeter, usher, lector, or communion assistant? We need you and would love to include you in this important ministry. Call the office at 253-752-4966, email linda.mckeller@smlutheran.org, or drop by the office any morning from 8:30-12:30 to sign up to be involved in the worship service of your choice. Thanks!
Altar Flowers
Would you like to donate flowers for the altar in honor or memory of a person, event, or special occasion? You can sign up on the flower chart calendar on the board outside the office door. Questions? 253-752-4966. Thank you!
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows