January 2012

Saying Amen Twice at Christmas


The Two Sides of Our Faith

Merry Christmas, one and all! But what is it about Christmas that makes us merry? On this question, Martin Luther (1483-1546) says this in his 1530 Christmas sermon:

Both sides of this faith [are] first that Christ is a man, but also the Savior and Lord or King. This needs to be revealed from heaven. One who really has the first faith also has the other…. Beyond the first faith there must be the second faith, that Christ is not only the virgin’s Son, but also the Lord of angels and the savior of men…. [So] we do not believe that the virgin mother bore a son and that he is the Lord and Savior unless, added to this, I believe the second thing, namely that he is my Savior and Lord (Luther’s Works 51:212-213, 216).
So keep two matters in mind at Christmas. The first double matter is that the Word truly became flesh (John 1:14) – since Jesus isn’t a phony person but an actual one, otherwise he couldn’t bear our sins (Romans 8:3). But also that he is fully divine (Colossians 2:9) – and not just some famous person who couldn’t rid us of our sins (1 Peter 1:19). And the second double matter is that Jesus is the Savior – apart from anything we say about him (1 Timothy 2:5). But he’s also my Savior when I believe in him – which is required if we are to be saved (John 3:16). So let our amens be double at Christmas! –  Amen & Amen!
                                                                                                                                           Pastor Marshall


PRESIDENT'S REPORT.... by Matthew Kahn

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you enjoyed the celebrations of Christ’s birth and the turn of the New Year.  As we embrace the lengthening days and the New Year I wanted to urge everyone to attend the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 29, 2012 following the 10:30 service.  This is everyone’s opportunity to help guide our valued parish.  This year we will be conducting second votes on two constitutional amendments. Both of these deal with the church council, and both received affirmative votes at the mid-year meeting. These second votes will need super majorities to pass and thus be ratified and added to the church’s constitution. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

November was the best month we have had financially since this summer. We actually received more money that we budgeted; however we are still well below our yearly financial goals. We received $19,116.66 in Total Budget Receipts as opposed to a budget of $18,869. Year to date we have brought in $208,506.61 as opposed to a budget of $218,233. We are $10,000 short of where we should be.  Let us pray that we are able to catch up as much as we can before December 31, and then have a better year in the New Year.

This past December Ballard Iron Works installed new hand railings on the Chancel steps and outside on the north entrance sidewalk. This much needed work was all lovingly donated by the estate of Alida Rottman (1922-2011). On behalf of the congregation I wish to thank the Rottman family for their generous gift. 

One of the largest events that we hold at the church is the St. Nicholas Faire. Through this event we have been able to raise thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food to aid the West Seattle Food Bank and the Helpline.  This year’s gala was the largest one yet! I wanted to thank everyone who donated items and their time to this worthwhile project. Especially I wanted to thank Larraine King and Elizabeth Olsen who spearheaded the event again. This event could not have happened without their dedication and leadership.  We look forward to surpassing this year’s totals next Advent!


Have a great and blessed New Year!


Stewardship                           Budget                Received

Month (November)               $18,869                $19,162

Year to date (Jan-Nov)         $218,233              $210, 617





    Glorifying God in Our Serving


The basic etymology of the word oikonomos meaning "steward," comes from two root words oikos (house) and nomos (law).  As if to say that the steward is one who is the "law over the house," and all that is associated with the house.  He is given authority over the household but does not own the household.  So the steward cares for what is on loan.

     An early and basic definition of Christian stewardship I ran across is: "Christian stewardship is a way of life in which we regard ourselves and all that we have as a trust from God to be used in his service for what he has done for us in Jesus Christ."  I would say that Christian stewardship is, therefore, the Gospel in action and a good steward is one who responds to the good news and tries to share it.  Stewardship is closely connected with the preaching of the Gospel and the response to it.  Christian Stewardship is not only good management of the earth, the right use of resources, and conservation of energy.  There are many non-believers doing an excellent job at this.  The Christian response comes from God and attempts not just to make the world look nice, but to glorify God in all our serving.

                                                                                                                        - Church Council






The lights are still aglow, and the garland is still framing the windows and doors of the parish hall, but the joy and buoyant spirit that filled the room on Sunday, December 4th, that truly made the St. Nicholas Faire magical, are a distant but vivid memory.  And because of everyone who came and participated by helping, enjoying themselves, and buying selected items, the third St. Nicholas Faire was a smashing success!!!  We have netted almost $5,500 to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  WOW.  That is the best yet!  Plus we collected over 200 pounds of food to donate to the food bank. 

     We sure have some great bakers in our midst, as those of you who purchased baked goods know!  Thank you to Maxine Foss, Kathrine Young, Ieva Young, Teri Korsmo, Valerie Schorn, Holly Petersen, Sonja Clemente, Bridget Sagmoen, Louis Petersen, Gina Allen, Mona Ayer, and Liz Olsen.  And what a varied array of goodies you provided.

     Then there were the simply scrumptious appetizers that Matthew and Dana Kahn prepared and served.  What a sumptuous feast!  Add to that, the spiced cider and mulled wine, and everyone was definitely in party mode.  An extra special thank you is given to everyone who helped in the kitchen and at the event, and at the close to put the room back in order – Barbara Schorn, Lynn Hopson, Teri Korsmo, Kathrine Young, Jane Harty, Liz Olsen, Rollie Storbakken, Bridget Sagmoen, Sonja Clemente, Matthew Kahn, Dana Kahn, Gina Allen, David Juhl, Peter Douglass, Taylor Smith, Dale Korsmo, Ron Marshall, Janice Lundbeck, Andrew King, Steven Liang, and David King.  You all were amazing and extremely efficient.  Thank you also to everyone who donated items for the baskets, wine for the wine toss, and cider and wine for the beverages.  And a special thanks to Rich Marshall and Maryhill Winery for their most generous donations of the wine tasting and wine. 

     Lastly, and most importantly, THANK YOU to everyone who came, invited friends and relatives, and purchased items.  You each helped make the event a success and aided in easing the plight of members of our community who are in need of food and shelter.  Raising money for the Food Bank and Helpline is the reason for the event.  But isn’t it super that we can have such a grand time doing something so wonderful to help others???

                                                                                                                                              ̶  Larraine King


January Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, January 28th.


The book for January is Jesus Land: A Memoir (2005) by Julia Scheeres, a journalist who writes for The New York Times and other prominent publications. This is a book about growing up in an abusive, strict Christian home. It covers racism and seclusion as well. The first half of the book is about growing up in a biracial family in Indiana. Then, after getting in trouble with the law, Julia and her black adopted brother, David, end up in a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic – where the teachers believed in beating the devil out of naughty kids.

    Throughout the misery of it all, Julia struggles with her faith – wondering why God hasn’t intervene to protect and guard her and her friends at this correctional institution (pp. 274, 281). At the end of the book, when she is free to leave the reformatory and live on her own, she reports that she no longer is a Christian and that one of the key things she learned from being abused was “not to turn the other cheek, but to master and subvert the rules of the game” (p. 354).

    A copy of this important critique of Christian abuse is in the church library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss how Christianity can go awry – and then how to turn it upright again.




GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP luncheon in January is planned for Tuesday, January 24th.  Sign up on the sheet that is posted in the lounge.

SCRAPPERS will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, January 25th & 26th this month. 

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for January is pasta, noodles and sauces.

PASTOR MARSHALL’s next Koran Class starts on Thursday, January 5th.  Call the office if you plan to attend.  He has been teaching this 4 week class 4 times a year since 2003.

ANNUAL REPORT for 2011:  Staff, officer and committee reports are now due.  If you have not already submitted your report please get it in to the office as soon as possible.  If you need inspiration, dust off your report from last year, or pick up a copy from the office.

ANNUAL MEETING:  The 2012 Annual Meeting is planned for Sunday, January 29th.  Following the liturgy on that day, voters registration will be set up at the back of the parish

hall.  Please bring your favorite dish, salad or dessert to share.  Beverages will be provided. 

OFFERING ENVELOPES for 2012 are now available on the office window counter. 

2012 FLOWER CHART is available for sign up.  Sign up early for the best selection!

SUNDAY ADULT EDUCATION:  Going for the Jugular: Luther on Genesis 22In this four week class we study excerpts from Luther’s 100 page commentary on Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22.  This class is the fourth in our series on studies in the Reformation leading up to its 500th anniversary in 2017.

PASTOR MARSHALL's sermon, "Welcome St. Stephen at Christmas," preached last year on December 26, has been published online in Logia (Blogia) -- posted December 20, 2011. This is Pastor Marshall's seventh published sermon.


1 Timothy 6.18

Monthly Home Bible Study, January 2012, Number 227

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).

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).

Week I. Read 1 Timothy 6.18 noting the line they are to do good. Why are we especially to urge the rich to do good deeds? On this read 1 Timothy 6.9 noting the words fall, temptation, snare, senseless, hurtful, plunge, ruin and destruction. Read also James 5.3 noting the words rusted, against, eat and fire, and Luke 18.24 noting the words hard, enter and kingdom. Why are the rich so vulnerable to these corruptions? On this read Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words beware, my and wealth. Is it that wealth makes us feel independent and self-sufficient? If so, what’s wrong with thinking that way? On this read Hosea 13.4-6 noting the words Egypt, wilderness, drought, fed and forgot, and John 15.5 noting the words apart, me and nothing. Is it, then, that wealth falsely covers up our inherent, deep dependence? On this read Isaiah 30.10 noting the word illusions. So then is it illusory of us to imagine that we’re independent when we really aren’t? Is that then what it’s like to sit in darkness, as Luke 1.79 says?

Week II. Read again 1 Timothy 6.18 noting this same line about the rich doing good. Following up on last week, read John 3.19 noting the line men loved the darkness. If that’s the case, what follows from it? Is all hope for the rich lost? On this read Matthew 6.21 linking your treasure to your heart. What does this mean? On this read 1 Timothy 6.10 about the love of money being the root of all evils. Why do riches take over our hearts like that? On this love of wealth, read Psalm 62.10 noting the words increase and set. Is it possible to countermand this setting of our hearts on wealth? But what is the setting-of-one’s-heart like in the first place? On this read Exodus 32.1-4 noting the words delayed, make, gold, at, calf and brought. Against this, read Colossians 3.1-2 noting the words seek and set. How can one go about switching allegiances like this? On this read Colossians 3.3 noting the words died and hid. Also re-read Colossians 3.1 noting the words if and raised. On these two verses read 2 Corinthians 5.17 noting the phrase new creation. Does that explain how the shift happens? If so, how so?

Week III. Reread 1 Timothy 6.18 noting the word generous. What does it mean for the rich to be generous? On this read Mark 12.41-44 noting the words multitude, money, many, rich, large, poor, penny, more and everything. Does this mean that we are generous only when we are extravagant? On this read Romans 5.6-8 noting the words weak, for, ungodly, hardly, dare and yet. Should we practice this same extra or excess – that we too might be generous like God is? Or would that be unfair to expect of us in general? Should we instead only give what the needy deserve? On this read Ephesians 1.8 noting the word lavished. Doesn’t that mean that we’re only generous when we go beyond what’s reasonable? Read also Luke 10.29-37 noting the words compassion, pouring, whatever and more. If we are to act this same way, would that mean doing more than is fair? The fair amount of help would probably have been only to drop the injured man off at the inn. But if that were the case, why did Jesus tell the young rich man in Matthew 19.21 to give away all that he had to the poor? Would that loss have made him destitute? What about his income producing ability to replenish his wealth in short order? What if Jesus had asked this instead of a wealthy, elderly, retired woman? Would that have been the same? If so, why don’t the Gospels ever record him as having done so?

Week IV. Read 1 Timothy 6.18 one last time noting the same word generous. So what’s so wrong with the rich keeping what they have for themselves? Since they earned it, shouldn’t they be able to spend it on themselves? On this read Luke 12.16-21 noting the words plentifully, store, larger, barns, ample, ease, fool, required, toward and God. Why is God contrasted with us in this parable? Read also in this regard Matthew 6.24 noting the contrast between God and mammon. Are these contrasted for the same reason? If so, what is it? Finally read Luke 12.15 noting the words life, consists and abundance. What does this have to do with John 10.10 and the same word abundance used there?


A Special Thank you to Larraine King and Elizabeth Olsen for all they did to make the St. Nicholas Faire a great success!

Thank you!


Many Thanks

Thank you to those who were able to help with our Compass Center collections.  This past October/November 22 pairs of socks were donated, and in December 14 McDonald’s and 6 Safeway gift cards were given for Christmas.  All of these donations were taken to Compass Housing Alliance in downtown Seattle.


Christmas Presents 2011


Thanks to those who made contributions to the Agape Fund!  We were able to buy Christmas presents for two families (12 people).  These families were assigned to us by the West Seattle Helpline 



Thank You to the Christmas

Decoration Party


Chester Allen, Lily Allen, Sam Allen, Tim Allen, Cristian Clemente, Sonja Clemente, Jane Collins, Kyra D’Michael, Dean Hard, Jane Harty, David Juhl, Andy King, David King, Larraine King, Steven Liang, Gregg Lyon, Pastor Marshall, Stephen McCord, Elizabeth Olsen, Justin Olsen, Marlis Ormiston, Barbara Schorn, Scott Schorn, Valerie Schorn, Taylor Smith, Hali Stromberg, Howard Storhoff, Kathrine Young.



The King James Version of the Bible:

Its 400th Anniversary, 1611-2011

By Pastor Marshall


I am including this postscript to my column from last year on the anniversary of the KJV because of an article that appeared last month in the National Geographic on the KJV. Because it appeared too late to be included in my December 2011 column, I want to comment it on it now. That article begins with the story of a new Mexico cowboy who converts to Christianity by reading the KJV:

“Here is the miracle of the King James Bible in action. Words from a doubly alien culture, not an original text but a translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, made centuries ago and thousands of mile away, arrive in a dusty corner of the New World and sound as they were meant to – majestic but intimate, the voice of the universe somehow heard in the innermost part of the ear.

You don’t have to be a Christian to hear the power of those words – simple in vocabulary, cosmic in scale, stately in their rhythms, deeply emotional in their impact” (p. 43).


Singing the praises of the KJV, the author, Adam Nicholson, also goes on to note what is amiss about this classic:


“But there is a dark side to this Bible’s all-conquering story. Throughout its history it has been used and manipulated, good and bad alike selecting passages for their different ends. Much of its text is about freedom, grace, and redemption, but those parts are matched by an equally fierce insistence on vengeance and control. As the Bible of empire, it was also the Bible of slavery, and as such it continues to occupy an intricately ambivalent place in the post colonial world” (p. 54).


So Nicholson ends by echoing (albeit imperfectly) 1 Corinthians 1:18 and 2 Corinthians 2:16:


“The King James [Bible’s]…. origins were ambivalent – for Puritan and bishop, the great and the needy, for clarity and magnificence, to bring the word of God to the people but also to buttress the powers that be – and that ambivalence is its true legacy” (p. 61).




A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall


Dr. Knutson was the presiding bishop of the ALC from 1971-1973. I continue this winter to select passages from his most famous book, The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972) for our mutual, considered analysis. Here is what he says in part about the church – which was the topic of his doctoral dissertation:

The church is a community, a reality in itself. It is the body of Christ, says St. Paul, it is Christ’s presence in history. Like the Word of God which is the form through which God’s power comes, so the church, the body of Christ, is also a form through which God’s power comes. It is not just a collection of human powers. It is not only a volunteer society as sociologists and perhaps some theologians may want to say. The church is a reality God has created, a reality greater than the collection of the individuals. The church is a reality in
which you believe. I believe in the Holy Christian Church, we confess in the Creed. It is something we can trust because it is something greater than ourselves, something that has enveloped us, grasped us, lifted us up and placed us in a new order of being…. [Even so], in many ways our own church body has been a passive church, lacking in self-confidence, not trusting in God’s power, and not altogether willing to speak out against evil in the public realm. There have been some brilliant moments in the church. When Norway was occupied by Hitler’s Nazis in WWII, the church arose and said clearly to the invading forces: NO. It acted with conviction. It became a power in that place and at that time against evil political forces arrayed against it. Yet at other times the church has not done that. We need to reflect on our task and on the power God gives this church so that we may be prepared for times that call for a clear prophetic witness. We cannot silently watch the genocide of another race. We cannot permit one nation’s power to control the world to such an extent that the majority of the world suffers because of the arrogance or the power of that one nation. And if we are able, then we have the right and the responsibility so to do (pp. 46-47, 50).




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Alan Morrison, Clara Anderson, Pete Morrison, Mary Goplerud, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Craig Purfeerst, Rolf Sponheim, Dorothy Randall-Wood,  Mary Uhler, Robin Lantzy, Mona Elliot, Bob Smith, Jacob & Samuel Strehl, Jennie Jaramillo, Ken Sund, Jeanne Hedington, David & Kay Thoreson, Gail Van Zandt, Cameron Lim, Rosita Moe, Ion Ceaicovschi, Angelina Patrick, Frank Reynolds.

   Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.

   Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for Carmen Malmanger on the death of her daughter in law, Theresa, wife of John Malmanger.

     Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, 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 New Year. 

     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 Peter; Saint Paul; and Martin Luther King, Jr., martyr, 1968.


A Treasury of Prayers


O Lord, I know that you are the end for which I was created, and that I can expect no happiness but in you. I know that you have provided me with all necessary helps for carrying me through this life to eternal glory, and this out of the excess of your pure mercy to me. Let this knowledge, O God, rule my heart without a rival; let it dispose all my thoughts, words, and works. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


                        [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., I:44, altered]


The Epiphany

of Our Lord

On Friday, January 6, 2011

The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord will be celebrated at 11:45 am in the chapel with Holy Eucharist. 

     Only Matthew's Gospel remembers this event.  Celebrate the magi's coming to worship and bring gifts to the Christ child. 


The Baptism

of Our Lord

First Sunday After the Epiphany

In Matthew 3:15 Jesus tells John to baptize him in order "to fulfill all righteousness."  Luther teaches: 

Baptism was instituted by God primarily for Christ's sake and then afterwards also for the sake of all men.  For first he must sanctify baptism through his own body and thereby take away the sin, in order that afterwards those who believe him may have the forgiveness of sins (Luther's Works 51:318).]

Celebrate the magi's coming to worship and bring gifts to the Christ child.