Weekly Newsletter | September 22, 2020
Worship and Devotions
Join Us Online for Worship Every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
We are happy to have people from all over the world worshipping with us online through the livestream on our Facebook page. If you miss any of our services, you can find them on our website and Facebook page. 

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. 
Blessing of the Animals
On Sunday, October 4, we invite you to celebrate all creatures, great and small! We will have two opportunities for the blessing of the animals: 

  • Join us in our "Barking Lot" for a Drive Thru Blessing of the Animals from 12:30-1:00 p.m. All animals welcome but don't forget some will do better in a crate/carrier and please wear a mask when opening your window for the blessing. 
  • If it is easier for your pet you can join us at 9:00 a.m. that morning for a Zoom young and young at heart liturgy and blessing--stuffed animals and all creatures great and small welcome. Click here to join.
Children, Youth, and Family Faith Formation
Music for children begins Wednesday, September 23, (preschool-5th grade) so that siblings can all join together from 5:30-6 p.m. via Zoom with Elizabeth Hirschl. Please email her at elizabethhirschl@gmail.com for the link or more information. 

Sunday, September 27: Welcome Video from Char and Ingelaurie for children 3 years old to 4th grade. 5-12th grade classes begin on Zoom, see email for more information. 
Adult Faith Formation

Bible Study: Join Pastor Hallie for a Bible study this Wednesday at noon. We will dig into Genesis 2:4-24 and prepare for our upcoming "Earth" Sunday. Click here to join on Zoom. 

Next Sunday, September 27, at 7 p.m., St. Mark's will host Jeff Antonelis-Lapp in an image-rich webinar. Tahoma's Biggest Stories will take us on a virtual tour to four archaeological sites that Native Americans have frequented for over 9,000 years. For more information about Jeff Antonelis-Lapp and his work, please explore his website, found here. Please click here to join us for Zoom. 

Young adults: mark your calendars for an evening with Dr. Sam Torvend on October 6 at 7:30 p.m.! Dr. Torvend will lead us in a discussion on the role of political leaders, religious leaders, and Christians during a pandemic using Luther's writings. Homework will be assigned! Click here to join.

PLU's 2020 Lutheran Studies Conference: Are you looking for more ways to engage Dear Church? Do you want to hear Lenny Duncan speak first hand? Save the Date for PLU's 2020 Lutheran Studies Conference with Pastor Lenny Duncan! Click here to register. On September 20 and 27 at 9 a.m., Dr. Marit Trelstad will lead congregations in two virtual forum discussions on Dear Church (specifically focusing on chapters 1, 9, and 10). You are invited to join PLU for Chapel on September 30 at 10:30 a.m. Pastor Lenny Duncan will preach. Finally, PLU will offer a Zoom webinar on October 1 at 7 p.m. Email Pastor Hallie for more information or to locate a copy of the book. 
Film Fridays at St. Mark’s
Good films, like good books, draw us into stories. 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 two years, we have gathered together to watch and discuss Hollywood films that provide different perspectives or deepen our understanding of our world. In this unprecedented year of global pandemic and heightened awareness of racial violence, more than ever, we need to be together and listen to stories. 

After prayer and reflection, we have decided to center stories about being black in America, told by American black writers, directors, actresses and actors. We also decided to extend our film series throughout the year, anticipating a prolonged period of social distancing. This film series will allow us to be together in thoughtful conversation as we work to be a part of the healing of race relations in our nation and world. Films are available through Amazon, itunes, youtube, google play.

Our COVID approach to this series: 
  • Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • Two weeks prior to Zoom session, a Film Viewing Guide with Questions for Reflection will be emailed to participants.
  • Watch the film in advance of Zoom discussion.  
  • We will use the Film Viewing Guide as a basis for Zoom conversation.
  • Pour yourself a glass, fix some snacks, cuddle up, tune in to Zoom, and hang out with St. Mark’s friends on a Friday night!

Friday, September 25, 6-7:30 p.m. Selma. John Lewis has been called “the soul of America.” Representative Lewis passed away July 17, 2020. We will see him in his early days in this brave film documenting the 1965 voting rights march. Directed by Ava Duvernay, this suspenseful film will haunt you, even if you think you know this history well. Click here to access the viewing guide.

Films for our Covid Social Distance Social Time:
Friday, September 25: 6-7:30 p.m. Selma
Friday, October 9: 6-7:30 p.m. Malcolm X
Friday, October 30, 6-7:30 p.m. Do the Right Thing
Friday, December 4, 6-7:30 p.m. Moonlight
Friday, January 15, 6-7:30 p.m. Daughters of the Dust 
Friday, February 12, 6-7:30 p.m. A Time for Burning
Friday, March 12, 6-7:30 p.m. Love and Basketball
Friday, April 9th, 6-7:30 p.m. Just Mercy
August 2020 – General Ministry Fund Financial Update
In August, General Ministry Fund offerings were above budget, while expenses were less than planned, leading us to positive financial results both in real terms and budget relative.

Offerings for August were $8,545 above budget ($81,021 versus budgeted offerings of $72,476). Fiscal year-to-date (FYTD), we are now $5,364 above budgeted offerings of $141,459, and 6.2% above last year’s actual offerings over the same time period. 
Expenses for August were $2,847 below budget (spending $74,201 versus budgeted expenses of $77,048). Similar to recent months, we continued to have reduced costs in several areas because of the COVID-19 closure (e.g., not spending money on hospitality meals/snacks; not paying for temporarily discontinued janitorial delivery service; lower-than-budgeted utility usage; lower-than-budgeted general office supplies/copy paper). We are also seeing budget-relative savings beginning to accumulate in the “Retiree Support” section of Staff expenses. As of July 10, 2020, Portico (our benefits provider and ministry of the ELCA) declared that the ELCA Benefit Contribution Trust was “adequately funded” and that they would no longer charge for Retiree Support. This will save us nearly $2,700 over the course of this fiscal year. FYTD, we are now $6,135 below budgeted expenses of $155,970 before including the final Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offsets and $30,728 below budgeted expenses including PPP offsets. (In July we spent our final, remaining PPP funds of $24,594 to offset certain staff and other allowable expenses. We now have spent the entire $141,950 and are working with our lender to get the loan converted into a grant.)
The bottom line for August is that we brought in $7,991 more than we spent versus our projection to spend $4,297 more than we brought in. This put us $12,288 ahead of budget for the month. On a FYTD basis, before PPP offsets, we are $12,642 ahead of budget, spending $1,319 more than we brought in versus a projection to spend $13,961 more than we brought in at this point in the fiscal year. Including PPP offsets, we have brought in $23,275 more than we spent, putting us $37,236 ahead of budget.
Please feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay or Mike McKeller in the Church office with any questions. Thank you.
Women's Bazaar
Are you missing social time with crafty colleagues? Here's a chance to make a fun, no-sew project for the bazaar, and socialize (virtually) with others. We'll be putting together the popcorn and candy bar snowmen, with supplies provided (all you need are scissors and your favorite beverage or snack).

When: Saturday, October 3, 9-11 a.m., via Zoom meeting. Supply pick up will be at church on Thursday, October 1, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Friday, October 2, from 3-6 p.m., right outside the main office door. Please RSVP to Julie Milasich at jldennis74@hotmail.com to ensure enough supply kits, and to get the Zoom call details. (If neither of the pick up dates work for you, please contact Julie to make other arrangements.)

If the Zoom meeting time doesn't work for you, but you want to participate, feel free to pick up a supply kit and make on your own. The finished items need to be returned to church by Monday, October 12. Please contact Julie with any questions.

Remember to save the date for the bazaar on Saturday, November 7! The event may need to look different than in years past, as we are committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy; more details to come. If you are making other craft items for the Bazaar, we can start collecting those as well; contact Julie for details or questions.
Congregational Care
Support Groups:
Journeying through Grief and Loss: begins Thursday, October 1, 4:00- 5:30 p.m., (tentative time slot -will adjust time to fit group)
When someone you love dies, you experience grief in a number of ways. Grief is a natural emotion, and it is experienced differently by each person. Depending on your relationship to the person who died, how death came to him or her, whether you were able to say goodbye, your beliefs, your background, and your personality, each of us reacts and processes the grief in a different way. As you walk through your season of grief and loss, you may find yourself feeling a range of emotions including sadness, regret, anger, guilt, relief, and a yearning to see the person again. All of these emotions, which are natural and normal, are given to us by God to help us understand our world. 

As you walk through this season of Grief you are invited to journey with others for a 5-week class. The class will begin Thursday, October 1, meeting virtually on Zoom. Pastor Sigi Helgeson will facilitate this group using materials from the Living Compass Wellness ministry. Once you have signed up for the class you will receive a class schedule and information about how to join the virtual group. If you want to sign up for the free class or have questions please contact pastor Sigi at sigi.helgeson@smlutheran.org

Support groups this week-
Emotional Wellness- meets Tuesday, September 22, 5:30 p.m.
Grief support group- meets Friday, September 25, 10:30 a.m.

For the Zoom link and more information contact Pastor Sigi.
Moral Voices, Moral Choices
The Peace and Justice Committee at St. Mark's invites us all to use our moral voices to advocate for justice and to make moral choices in our personal behavior.

As we breathe fresh air again in the Puget Sound region, let’s take a moment to consider our neighbors around the world who often don’t have fresh air, clean water, and nutritious food. COVID-19 makes it worse. Please read about the World Food Program’s latest hunger report to the United Nations here and take action on world hunger here.
Fair Trade Team: Support Equal Exchange
While our church isn't sharing fair trade coffee through fellowship, Equal Exchange's coffee is still available to you and your family. Any member of the congregation may order wholesale cases of organic and fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, and pantry staples directly from Equal Exchange for home use. The purchase of coffee at Equal Exchange is down by over 38,000 pounds compared to this time last year due to COVID-19. This loss of volume is having a real impact on Equal Exchange and its farmer partners. Small-scale farmers need your help more than ever during the pandemic. To order, call the EE Customer Service team at 774-776-7366 or shop online at: shop.equalexchange.coop Please spread the word; invite your family and neighbors to support fair trade at home during the pandemic or share cases of coffee together!
Habitat for Humanity
Saturday, September 26 – Monday, September 28. Come out and form a St. Mark’s team to participate in “Beyond the Backyard” – an adventure race that is part scavenger hunt and part double-dog-dare! This COVID-safe, family-friendly fundraiser is designed to inject some fun into your quarantine pod while supporting housing justice in our community. Proceeds benefit our local Habitat affiliate’s affordable homeownership and foreclosure prevention programs. For more details, please contact Deborah Herforth, deborahherforth@yahoo.com, 206-372-1433. 
Saturday, September 26. Also on this date, St. Mark’s is forming a team to support the construction of a Habitat house, and you’re invited to help! There are new procedures and restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, but we still are able to help build this year’s Building on Faith house. For more details, please contact Tom Geary, twgeary@aol.com, 253-549-2668
Organizations in the community continue to need masks. Click below to see the list.
Find ways you can connect and serve with community partners during the pandemic.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows