APril May 2022


There are three passion predictions in the Gospel of Luke.  Jesus told his disciples that the “Son of Man” would be betrayed and put to death.  In two of these examples, Jesus included the promise that on the third day the Son of Man will “rise again.”  In two of these predictions, Luke says the disciples “understood nothing” about what Jesus had said. (Lk 9.45; 18.34) Perhaps their lack of comprehension might be blamed on the ambiguity of Jesus referring to the Son of Man instead of directly naming himself. 

     This lack of understanding didn’t get any easier after the resurrection. On Easter the women at the empty tomb were “perplexed” until their memories were jogged by mention of the Son of Man rising on the third day.  On the road to Emmaus, a group of disciples were asked by Jesus himself what they were discussing.  Cleopas began to tell the tragic life story of Jesus who was “handed over to death and crucified.”  Were this not difficult enough to believe, Jesus himself was reported to have been seen alive by the women at the empty tomb.  Now Jesus becomes a teacher.  This is no longer the passion prediction but the passion fulfillment. 

     “‘Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” (Lk 24.26-27) 

     The question of necessity regarding both the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus hangs in the air for us even as it did for the early Christians.  In Luke’s sequel, Peter preaches this at Pentecost:  “This man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed…But God raised him up, having freed him from death.” (Acts 2.23-24)  However perplexing the death and resurrection of Jesus remains for us, keep in your heart that those events were God’s plan, once for all, for the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life for all who believe.  A blessed Holy Week and Eastertide to you!

The Reverend Philip Nesvig  


President’s Report…by Janine Douglass


During the month of April we continue our observation of the season of Lent, culminating in the week of Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday on April 10th and ends with the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection with the Easter Eucharist on April 17th.  Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed.” (NKJV).

     The work of the Council continues to focus on the next steps for First Lutheran Church as we prepare for the Call Process of a new Pastor. We are pleased to announce our Interim Pastor is Pastor Neal Snider, who will lead our worship services beginning Sunday, May 1st. This position is part time/20 hours per week, and is effective until Dec. 31st, 2022. This can be lengthened or shortened as needed with 30 days written notice. Job duties include leading worship services, offering pastoral care, ministering to the congregation during the time of transition and work with the staff on day-to-day issues concerning the church. He comes to us with a significant amount of transition work experience and has an impressive resume. Please see more details to follow in this issue of The Messenger. There is a sermon given by Pastor Snider from 2016 that can be found online: https://vimeo.com/172304135

     We will be holding a congregational Special Meeting on Sunday, April 3rd, in person in the Parish Hall, immediately following the 10:30 Liturgy. The purpose of this meeting is to announce the slate of candidates from the congregation for the four open positions for the Pastoral Call Committee, and to take a vote by ballot. We hope everyone can attend this important event. The two additional members from the council have already been nominated and elected to serve on the Call Committee during the March Council meeting. Kathrine Young and Jeff Sagmoen have accepted these two openings, and we are grateful for their willingness to serve. In keeping with our constitution, the seventh Call Committee position will be filled by myself: the Church Council President.

     The purpose of the seven-member Call Committee is to gather information regarding potential candidates for the role of Permanent Pastor.  The committee will review and make recommendations based on the research and interview process. The ELCA will provide us with names of potential candidates, based on the Ministry Site Profile (MSP) we turn in, which gives them an idea of what our priorities are as a congregation.  Sections I and II of the MSP are nearly complete, thanks to the hard work of Dana Kahn and the whole Council.  Throughout the Call Committee process, care will be taken to both provide candidate information to and seek input from the congregation.  Once the Call Committee finalizes their work, there will be another Special Meeting of the congregation, to hold a vote by ballot for the recommended candidate, resulting in a call for our next Pastor.

     On a final note, our weekly giving for the early part of 2022 is seeing a pattern described as “bumpy”.  Week to week there is a wide variability in giving with a budget deficit of nearly $20,000.  To meet our budgeted projections our giving will need to increase. Please prayerfully consider your tithe to the church during this critical time of transition.

     The Council remains committed to keeping the congregation up to date as new information comes available and we thank you for your continued prayers for our church leadership during this Holy Season.





 Lightening Up Our Load



In reading Leviticus we are reminded of how much God expects us to give in thanksgiving, detailed offerings of time, place, finances, etc.  Consider for instance Leviticus 9:3-4 regarding the differences between sin offerings, burnt offerings and peace offerings.  But thanks be to God that because Jesus suffered and died for our sins and iniquities, he has helped relieve our frustrations of following all these details from Leviticus, and helps us focus on Jesus instead.  And when we focus on Jesus we have a good example to follow in giving of ourselves to better glorify God in our worship and tithe.  So we cannot take it easy.  No, God wants us to care for the poor and neglected.  And, we need to remember them all year.  Bringing in donations year round is just the beginning.  

     We have the West Seattle Food Bank, the Helpline, Compass Housing Alliance and Mary’s Place right within a 10 mile radius, who are in constant need of food, clothes, housing items, bedding, towels and monetary gifts.  Especially, in these unsure times of pandemic, inclement weather, high prices, strikes, and war.  So continue in your tithing to support our church and help the poor – knowing that faith in Christ – and what he sacrificed for us – will lighten your load (Matthew 11:28-29).

                                                                                               Jeff Sagmoen, Church Council


Personal Biography of the Reverend Neal Snider……. 

The Reverend Snider hails from Pembina, North Dakota.  He graduated with a BA in Philosophy in 1957 from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, continuing his education at Augsburg Theological Seminary, from which he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1960.  He received a Master of Theology degree from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul in 1984.  In December of 1958 he married Judy Fosse in Seattle.  They have three children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. 

     Pastor Snider has a wide range of experience as a parish pastor, interim pastor, military chaplain, plus he has been a board member on a number of Lutheran based organizations – from mission boards, to childcare centers, and World Council of Churches Assembly as an accredited observer.

     His first call was to Westby Lutheran Parish in Westby, Montana in 1960.  In a community of about 300, there were eight Lutheran congregations within a 10 mile radius representing three different Lutheran church bodies.  Pastor Snider was instrumental is reorganizing them into three congregations.  He also served as a US Air Force auxiliary chaplain at Fortuna Air Force Base in North Dakota.  Succeeding calls found him at First Lutheran Church in Port Orchard, WA (1963-1969); US Navy Chaplain (1966-1967); Northlake Lutheran Church, Kenmore, WA (1970-1971); Air Force Chaplain in California and Thailand (1971-1972); St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bellingham, WA (1973-1984); and US Army Reserve Chaplain (1976-1995). He is the only chaplain in the history of the US military to have served all three branches.  From January 1985 through February 1988 he served as an interim pastor for Bethesda Lutheran in Eugene, OR, Christ Lutheran Church in Edmonds, WA, and Prince of Peace Lutheran in Sea-Tac, WA.   Pastor Snider served as Associate in Development for Trinity Lutheran College from 1988-1994; Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Marysville, WA (1994-2002); a brief interim position in Shirmaref, AK; and part time interim positions at Victory Lutheran Church, Mesa, AZ, St. John Lutheran Church in Boerne, TX, and Santa Cruz Lutheran Church, Tucson, AZ, (2018-2022).

     Pastor Snider has also been nominated for Bishop, ran as a candidate for the US Congress, incorporated a business (Career Assessment and Development Ministries) to assist pastors and congregations with personnel matters, and created “Heritage Tours” to assist with missionary travel.  Add to that seven published works with a couple more ready to be submitted for publication, and you have an individual with an amazing variety of experiences and talents.

     We feel very blessed that Pastor Snider will be serving as our Interim Pastor beginning May 1, 2022.

Larraine King, Secretary


With The Mind by Bob Baker


Wild Rapids & Salmon. In 1805, Lewis and Clark canoed down the Snake and Columbia rivers. In those days it was said that the rivers at times were so thick with salmon you could walk across a river on the backs of the salmon. Hearing that the Lewis and Clark expedition was coming down river, Native Americans gathered down river from turbulent rapids so they could salvage supplies because they expected the expedition’s canoes would break apart in the wild rapids. Raw untamed nature.

No Spillage. Today you can float 465 miles from Lewiston, Idaho, to the Pacific Ocean without spilling anything from your cup of coffee or glass of wine. The rivers are now said to be a series of engineered bathtubs, more regulated than your sink’s faucet.

Life & Limb. The rivers themselves are no longer threats to life and limb. However, you might suffer bodily harm if among some people you say the wrong thing about salmon, irrigation, electricity, water rights or the barging of products and produce. People become passionate about these issues, to the point of being volatile and explosive. Risky.

Rival Finalities. In the Preface to A River Lost: The Life and Death of The Columbia (revised edition, 2012), Blaine Harden writes, “a clash of economic interests, biological imperatives, and environmental values has been set in concrete. That clash was the primary focus of A River Lost when I wrote the book in the mid-1990s … [and] it remains the focus of this revised edition” (p. 17) (italics added). Intense.

Listen To People. Travel with Blaine Harden, a native of Moses Lake and now a resident of Seattle, as he floats on a tug boat from Lewiston to near the mouth of the Columbia, and as he drives 2,000 miles up, down and around the Columbia River visiting, interviewing and even living with people on both sides of the issues he encounters. Meet the people, hear about their life experiences and their expectations. Intimate.

Possibility of Bridges? Join us Sunday, May 1st, at 3:30 as we discuss this book about yesterday and today. How do these issues interface with our Mission Statement which says, in part,

 “In our congregation we: … Honor entering into discussions over the great societal issues of our day without avoiding controversy, so that we may better understand our world and the minds of our membership on these matters”?

Dangerous Book? The Tacoma Public Library’s copy of this book is in a locked room and may only be read while in that room! No check out allowed.

You Are Safe. We have been meeting via Zoom. You may express yourself without risk of bodily harm!



Lifeboat. Imagine you and eight others are in a lifeboat adrift on the cold ocean, short on food, water and hope. Your ship exploded and sank three days ago. There has been no sign of search planes or of any ship. Three long days. No sign of other survivors. Hope dims.

Stranger. Then someone is spotted floating on the waves. He is pulled aboard the lifeboat and heard to whisper, “I am the Lord.”

Questions. Is he who he says he is? How would you know? Where did he come from? What actually caused the ship to explode? Are you survivors already in heaven, or are you in hell? What would you think? What would you say? What would you do?

Book. Consider these questions, and no doubt others, as you read The Stranger in the Lifeboat (2021) by Mitchell David Albom, who also wrote Tuesdays With Morrie. Then join our discussion Sunday, June 12th at 3 pm.



ANNOUNCEMENTS for April & May: 

 SPECIAL MEETING:  There is a Special Congregational Meeting set for April 3rd, following the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist.  Please meet in the Parish Hall.  Masks are optional.  Don’t forget to sign in before finding a seat. 

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK suggested donation for April is formula, baby food and diapers.  May is bar soap, dental care, shampoo and toiletries.  Instruments of Change 2022:  A Hybrid Gala and Auction, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at the Seattle Design Center or Your Own Home!  Whether you choose to attend this event at the beautiful Seattle Design Center or prefer taking part from the comfort of your home, both options will provide a fun and entertaining evening, while supporting the West Seattle Food Bank’s mission.

Church Council:  At the March Church Council meeting it was decided to remove the requirement to wear a mask while at church, in accordance with Gov. Inslee's direction.  If you prefer to wear a mask, please feel free to do so.  The choice is up to you.

AT THE ALTAR:  Desiring to move safely toward our pre-pandemic practices, we will be distributing communion at the altar rail.  There are gold seals on the top of the rail; you may kneel or stand in front of them and the bread and wine will be brought to you as in the past.




Tuesday, May 31st

On this holy day we give thanks to God for the blessed words between St. Mary and St. Elizabeth.  We also give thanks for the honor paid St. Mary by the unborn St. John the Baptist, when he moved in the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth. 

    To prepare for this festival, study Luke 1:39-47 and Isaiah 11:1-5.




Robert Schorn, Jane Harty and family, Kim Lim, Melanie Johnson, Holly Petersen, Leah and Melissa Baker, Felicia Wells, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, The Rev. Alan Gardner, The Rev. Howard Fosser, Yuriko Nishimura, Mary Ford, Andrea and Hayden Cantu, Dana Gallaher, Jeanne Pantone, Kevan & Jackie Johnson, Eric Peterson, Gary Grape, Nita Goedert, Mariss Ulmanis, Shirley & Glenn Graham, Karen Granger, Mike Nacewicz, Mike Matsunaga, Bill & Margaret Whithumn, the Robert Shull family, Mary Cardona, Nick Karlson, Angel Lynne, Randy Price, Paul Sponheim, Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA), the Ceaicovschi Family in Moldova, Richard Patishnock and Yuri Karpyuk.

     Pray for our professional health care providers:  Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, David Juhl, Dana Kahn, Dean Riskedahl, Jane Collins and all those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  C.J. Christian, Joan      Olson, Bob & Mona Ayer, Gregg & Jeannine Lingle, Robert Schorn, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard, Lou Landino.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelley Bryan Wee, our pulpit supply ministers The Reverend Philip Nesvig, The Reverend Douglas Lindsay and The Reverend Horacio Castillo, our interim pastor the Reverend Neal Snider, our choirmaster Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called. 

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances, and pray to strengthen the stewardship of our congregation.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this Easter.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation El Camino de Emmaus, in the Skagit Valley, that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and its ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: Albrecht Dürer, painter, 1528; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, teacher, 1945; Saint Mark, Evangelist.

     Pray for this poor, fallen human race that God would have mercy on us all.

     Pray for our planet, that it and the creatures on it would be saved from destruction.

     Pray for the people in Ukraine and surrounding countries as they struggle with the war with Russia and overflow of refugees because of it. 


A Treasury of Prayers

Lord, during this Lenten season nourish us with your word of life and make us one in love and prayer.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

                                                                 [For All the Saints I:862, altered]