December 2015


Saint John the Baptist in Advent


Martin Luther called Saint John the Baptist that “fiery angel” of the Lord, because of his fierce instance on repenting thoroughly rather than half-heartedly, with only a lick and a promise (The Book of Concord, ed. T. Tappert, p. 308). During Advent, then, we are asked to put aside the glorious angel Gabriel, with his good news to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26–28), and take up instead this fiery angel John.


     Saint John is very hard on us. He thunders down through the centuries: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance” (Luke 3:7–8).


     Advent, and most of December, is therefore not a time to party and be happy with ourselves. No, it doesn’t matter if all your friends are whooping-it-up around you. You instead must dwell on repenting and doing appropriate deeds. That will include being ashamed of the dishonor we have inflicted on God and his name, while also making sacrifices so we can help our less fortunate neighbors get along. May you then have a Blessed Advent this year – as you struggle with God’s help to do both of these.

 Pastor Marshall




Sunday, December 6th from 4pm to 7pm


In a less than a week we will be gathering in the “transformed” Parish Hall to celebrate St. Nicholas Day by hosting an event to commemorate the generous spirit of St. Nicholas.  His many acts of charity are legendary.  All proceeds from this Faire will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.

Here’s a sampling of the gift baskets that will be available to bid on…….


Art supplies                  Children’s Books              Mariner’s Gear 

Beer & Wine                          Gardening                            Pasta & BBQ

Seahawks gear                        Olive Oil                        Popcorn Poppers

Games                                    Puzzles                           Salad Spinner

Pasta              Outdoor Accessories            Blender

Kitchen Gadgets                       Tools                                    “Frozen”

Holiday Items                 Champagne Flutes               Baking Items


Plus gift certificates to many local restaurants and businesses like JAKS, Elliott Bay Pub & Brewery, Caffe Ladro, Husky Deli, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, West Seattle Nursery, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Target, Bartell’s, Great Harvest Bakery, NW Art & Frame,  Staples, Pagliacci Pizza, Spiros, Amazon, ETC!!!  

But in order for it to be a success, we need every member to participate and commit to helping in some manner.  The sign-up sheets were in the hall between classrooms C & D during the month of November.  If you missed them and still are able to help in some way, please contact me (Larraine 206-937-6740).  We have tried to make contributing approachable and within reach. There are still a few ways each of us can help- make  money donations (make checks payable to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, and note it is to be given to the St. Nicholas Faire),  and help during the Faire.  But the most important way to support this event is to come and bring your family, friends and neighbors, and do your Christmas shopping. 

The St. Nicholas Faire has a dual purpose – it benefits two very deserving extended ministries, and it allows us to have a “party” together with family and friends – while supporting our neighbors in need from our community.  Now that’s a WIN! WIN!

So please plan to come and join in the celebration.




                                                                                               Larraine King


Join us for Advent

& Christmas ̶


Sundays:    8:00 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel

 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave*

  8:00 pm Compline, in the chapel

*Liturgy & Holy Eucharist with Choir 10:30 am



Celebrate with us the great Christmas feast of our Lord's Nativity. 

May these days fill your prayers with thanksgiving and blessing. 


Thursday, December 24, 2015:

Christmas Eve

Liturgy of Lessons, Carols, & Holy Eucharist

11:00 pm Holy Eucharist, in the nave

Friday, December 25, 2015:

Christmas Day

Festival Liturgy & Holy Eucharist

10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave

Saturday, December 26, 2015:

St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

11:45 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel

Sunday, December 27, 2015:

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

8:00 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel

10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave *

8:00 pm Compline

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

11:45 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel


To end the 12 days of Christmas be sure to join us on –

Wednesday, January 6, 2015

The Day of Epiphany

9:30 am Matins, in the chapel

11:45 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel

7:00 pm Vespers & Reserve Sacrament, in the chapel


4105 California Avenue SW    Seattle, WA  98116



 PRESIDENT'S Earl Nelson


As we approach the end of the fiscal year, the Church Council looks with anticipation, as it does every year, to the month of December, historically our largest giving month.  While the Council has to budget for expenses that are steady throughout the year, our giving historically goes up and down.  If we maintain historic giving levels in December, our annual budget should come out about right.  We thank all of you for your faithfulness this year.

     This year the Church Council has been considering how best to maintain our extraordinary church buildings.  Along the way this year, we have been the recipients of several very important gifts.  Two of these came to us from the Tilden School: the new floor in the Fellowship Hall, and the improvements to the parking lot.  The Tilden School itself does make much use of the parking lot, but we are the primary users and beneficiaries of the new floor and we do also benefit from the new parking lot.   Our relationship with the Tilden School is a great blessing to us.

    Another gift that we need to recognize and lift up is Dale Korsmo’s invaluable contributions to the Nave and Chapel Re-lamp Project, overseen by Dean Hard.  The Church Council recently received a report from Dale summarizing the improvements.  While the lighting in the Parish House and Parish Hall had already been converted to fluorescent lamps, early this year the Lounge and Hallways were converted to LED.  It was much more difficult to convert the Nave and Chapel later this year entirely to LED lamps, and it required some creative problem solving.   One result is a significant reduction of our electrical power usage.  The Nave and Chapel when fully lighted now draw less than one fifth of the previous wattage.  LED lamps provide other benefits, not the least of which is that they don’t need to be replaced regularly high up in the Nave.  The new lamps should last 20 years.

     We are extraordinarily fortunate on the one hand that Dale is able to do this kind of work according to code, and even more so that he did it at no cost to the Church for his time and skill.  Let us think of this when we pray (under these new lights) the words,

We offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us—our selves, our time and our possessions, signs of your gracious love.  Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

     As we look forward to the end of the year, the Church Council is considering what maintenance projects will be needed and how best to approach funding them.  Perhaps others of us will feel called upon to contribute in similar ways in our efforts to maintain and improve our beautiful and worshipful buildings and grounds. 


December Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, December 27th

The book for December is Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different (2012), by William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, a Presbyterian pastor in Florida and grandson of Billy Graham. This is a book about how Christians are to live differently from every one else. But this isn’t as simple as it sounds: “The Christian seeks to change his tires to the glory of God and the non-Christian does not. But that’s a difference that couldn’t be captured in a photograph. When changing tires, a Christian and non-Christian may look very much alike” (p. 87).

A copy of this important book on Christian life is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss how Christ leads us to live differently than the way we naturally would.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Compass Housing Alliance is in need of Christmas gift items for their housing centers for both men and women. Listed here are the items we will be collecting over the next couple of weeks: gift cards in $5 to $25 increments for fast food restaurants, coffee shops, Target and grocery stores; new sweatshirts (L, XL, XXL sizes with the tags on), underwear, flip-flops, hats, scarves and gloves (in dark neutral colors). New toiletries in small sizes are always needed. Please leave your donations at the office. The items collected will be delivered after Sunday, December 14th.

2016 FLOWER CHART:  The new chart will be up toward the end of the month.  Sign up early for the best choice of dates.  Also, we still need a couple more people to sign up for Christmas flowers.

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for December is holiday foods.  And, don’t forget to bring a can of food to the St. Nicholas Faire!

PASTOR MARSHALL’s next weekly Koran Class starts on Thursday, January 7th.  Call the office if you plan to attend.  There will also be a one day class on the Koran on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Issaquah, 9 am to 4 pm. 

SACRAMENT OF PENANCE:  Sat., December 19th, 3-5 pm.

CHRISTMAS CAROLING PARTY:  Saturday, December 26th, meet at Christo’s on Alki at 5:00 pm for a no host meal.  Then go caroling, to shut-ins in the congregation.  Everyone is welcome to come along.  Please sign up on the list that is posted in the lounge.

MANY THANKS to the November Service Team for organizing the luncheon for our All Saints’ Luncheon.  It was a great success.



  Remember Your Creator


It is always hard to remember that health and wealth are gifts from God. Sometimes when we are sick, the pain of the sickness causes us to remember that health is not in our hands; it is a gift from God. What we take for granted most of the time suddenly appears as it really is — a blessing freely given or withheld by our Creator.

     Wealth seems an even harder case. Maybe it's because as Americans most of us have been sheltered from poverty. Maybe it's also because our sin blinds us from the facts of the matter. For whatever reasons, it is especially difficult for us to see wealth as it really is — a gift from God. And just like health, money is an essential ingredient of a productive, effective and rewarding life. Without money it would be very hard to help those in need, to commission great works of art, to vacation or even to watch a movie. Without health, life's simple joys — the taste of food, the energy to work and complete projects — would be out of reach. And Christ's church is no different. Christ requires that those of us who have been blessed with money and health (to whatever degree) work and give according to our gifts. A new toilet is not as exciting or illuminating as a great work of art, but it is every bit as necessary. And the lesson it may have for us could be just as illuminating. It is when we are stretched (short on health, short on money) that we are most likely to see things as they really are.

Church Council


 The Season of Electronic Giving

This holiday season, we thank everyone who has supported First Lutheran Church of West Seattle this past year with their time, talent and financial contributions and look forward to support from all of our members in the year ahead. If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings or if you plan to make an additional gift before the end of the year, we encourage you to check out our electronic giving options. As the pace of life speeds up, especially around the holidays, you may find electronic giving a most welcome way to make contributions. Simply Giving (electronic giving) forms are available on the office window counter.



Fasting During Advent


The four weeks right before Christmas are for intensified fasting beyond what we normally do every week of the year.  The Bible teaches fasting and the Lutheran Confessions confirm it.  Lutherans cannot be confessional and at the same time think fasting is for the birds.  Fasting reminds us we are sinners and deserve nothing good.  It helps us repent. 

So how shall we fast during Advent?

Lutheran do not subscribe to a set formula.  We believe we are free to set up our own program of fasting.  Two principles apply, however.  First fasting is about refraining from eating foods we especially enjoy.  Second fasting is not about dieting.  We fast to save money for the poor and reserve extra time for prayer.  We don’t fast to lose weight. 

Here is a program you might adopt or adapt in some way.  If you already have a plan for Advent there is no need to follow this one.  I write this to help you get started if you are stymied.  Remember Sundays are never fast days.  They are little Easters.

On Mondays eliminate all food.  Drink water and juices but no other foods.  If you have health restrictions or are under 18 do something else on this day.

On Tuesdays don’t eat meat, fish or fowl.  Other foods are fine. 

On Wednesdays eliminate all sweets. 

On Thursdays cut the amount you plan to eat in half.  Eat what-ever you want but only half as much as you would normally eat. 

On Fridays eat just one meal.  The rest of the day drink water and juices.

On Saturdays don’t eat any beef, pork or fowl.  All other foods are fine.

On every day but Sundays don’t drink any alcoholic beverages or sodas.  Eliminate all restaurant food and carry-out food as well.  Only eat meals prepared at home. 


Psalm 64.6

Monthly Home Bible Study, December 2015, Number 274

The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall


Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44). (This study uses the RSV translation.)

We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12). And don’t give up, for as Luther said, we “have in Scripture enough to study for all eternity” (LW 75:422)!

Week I. Read Psalm 64.6 noting the words crimes and deep. In what ways are we deeply criminal? On this read Isaiah 53.6 noting the words all and astray. Why do we stray? On this read John 3.19 noting the line men loved darkness. Why wouldn’t we prefer the light? On this read Genesis 3.8 noting the words hid and trees. Why can’t we stand up against God, but instead try to hide from him? On this read Jeremiah 20.7 noting the words deceived and stronger. How accurate is this? On this read 2 Timothy 2.13 noting the words faithless and faithful. Does that put the lie to Jeremiah’s lament? On this read Jeremiah 31.3 noting the words faithfulness and continued. What else is there to our deep criminal corruption? On this read Isaiah 1.6 noting the words foot, head and soundness. So nothing escapes tarnishing? On this read Romans 3.10 noting the line none is righteous, no, not one. How thorough is this? On this read John 8.44 noting the words you, father and devil.

Week II. Read again Psalm 64.6 noting the same words crimes and deep. Why are we this way? On this read Jeremiah 17.9 noting the words heart, desperately, corrupt and understand. Where does such a horrible heart come from that throws everything so off kilter? On this read Psalm 51.5 noting the words sin and conceive. But how is that we are made this way? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.22 noting the line in Adam all die. Read also Romans 6.23 noting that line the wages of sin is death. How did Adam’s sin set the course for everyone else in the world, and for all times to come? On this read Genesis 2.17 noting the play between the two phrases shall not and shall die. Just as inevitable as death now is because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, so is our constitutional corruption part of our new dying nature. Would that our corruption were as obvious as our dying nature! Job knew his death was inevitable (Job 14.12), but didn’t think that made him morally and spiritually impure (Job 6.24). What do you think of that?

Week III. Reread Psalm 64.6 noting the same words crimes and deep. What follows from our deep corruption? On this read Ecclesiastes 9.18 noting the line one sinner destroys much good. What else follows? On this read Hebrews 3.13 noting the words deceitfulness and hardened. Anything else besides destruction and deceit? On this read Romans 14.23 noting the line whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. So unbelief is part of it too. What follows from that? On this read Matthew 27.3-5 noting the words – and the huge gap between them – repented and hanged. So the corruption of unbelief is also fatal. For more on that, read John 3.36 noting the words believes, life and wrath. For more on this wrath, read Luke 16.28 noting the phrase place of torment, and 2 Thessalonians 1.5-10 noting the words judgment, vengeance, eternal, exclusion and believed. On this eternal exclusion read Mark 9.47-48 noting the words hell, worm and fire. So having a deeply corrupted heart is hardly of little consequence. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

Week IV. Read Psalm 64.6 one last time noting the same word crimes and deep. How can we escape all of this misery and corruption? On this read Ezekiel 11.19 noting the words stony and flesh. Why does God have to do this for us? On this read Romans 7.24 noting the word wretched. What does that wretchedness do to us? On this read Romans 7.19 noting the play between the words do and want. What is this about – besides sheer wretchedness? On this read Isaiah 5.20 noting the switching around of the words good and evil. Once this new heart is in place, then what? On this read Colossians 1.13 noting the words delivered and transferred. What do these take? On this read Luke 16.16 noting the word violently. Does that go without saying? On this read Acts 9.3-9 noting the words flashed, fell and nothing. Why does it take such violence to get us going in the right direction? On this read about the defilements within us in Mark 7.18-23. Note also the word slaves in John 8.34. Are those two passages enough to explain why God has to deal with us so roughly in order to save us?



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Peter Douglass, Cristian Clemente, Elmer Wittman, The Lawson Family, Bob Baker, Kyra Stromberg, Michael & Eileen Nestoss, Cynthia Natiello, Leah Baker, Peggy & Bill Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, The PLU Faculty, Ron & Margaret Douglass, Yvonne Rainey, David Dahl, Nathan Arkle, Robert Cromartie, Celia Balderston, Rick Collins, Renann Taylor, Mike Harty, Jack Feichtner, Paul Volkman, Matt Anderson, Shirley Eaton, David Gehring, Angel Lynn, Jeanette Braafladt, Dean Cheney, Stephanie Hoikka, Brayton Decker, Mark Mosley and the great migration from the Near East into Europe. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy & Bill Wright.

     Pray for the newly married that they will fulfill their holy vows and grow in holy love until their life's end:  Pray for Hali Stromberg and Todd Tuomi who were married on November 27th in Homer, Alaska.

     Pray for those mourning over death:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for the family and friends of Pastor DeWayne Bey, on his death.  He was Assistant Pastor here: August 21, 1960 ─February 17, 1964.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon 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.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways. 

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this Advent & Christmas.  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 it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: Saint Thomas, Apostle; Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr; Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist; and The Holy Innocents, Martyrs.

A Treasury of Prayers

 Dear Lord our God, I confess how weak I am in myself, how prone I am to uncharitable judgments of others. Give me the strength of your Spirit and the love of Christ to think and do what is right and true and kind. Guard me from every deed of anger and impatience. May I think pure thoughts, speak gentle words and do helpful and gracious deeds. Deliver me from all unfair judgments, remembering that with what measure I judge I shall be judged. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                        [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., II:823–24, altered]