January 2014


Merry Christmas


Dwelling Properly on the Incipient Joy in Luke 2:10


Merry Christmas one and all! At the heart of Christmas is the message of the angels: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy…” For so many of us, however, this joy has been commandeered by the counterfeit pleasures of family life, financial prosperity and good health. But is this the message of the angels?

    For Christians, life is always tempered by the Biblical antitheses stated in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 – especially the one about joining sorrow with joy. Therefore, along with the joy of Christ’s birth comes no room in the inn, no regal greeting, and murderous threats. These counterbalances keep us from making a shipwreck of our faith (1 Timothy 1:20).

    Let us then hold fast to Martin Luther’s sage words regarding Christian joy:

[Our] joy cannot be full until we see Christ’s name hallowed perfectly, all false doctrine and sects abolished, all tyrants and persecutors of Christ’s kingdom subdued; not until we see the will and designs of all godless people and the devil checked and God’s will alone prevailing; not until the cares of the belly or hunger and thirst no longer assail us, sin no longer oppresses us, temptation no longer weakens the heart, and death no longer holds us captive. But this will not take place until the life to come…. In this life… we have only a droplet of this joy…. Progress is slow and cannot be perfect either in faith or in life. Again and again we fall into the mire and are weighed down with sadness and a heavy conscience, which prevent our joy from being perfect or make it so slight that we can hardly feel the incipient joy (Luther’s Works 24:399-401).

Pastor Marshall







What a Relief to Read Luther


Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s Sermons


By Pastor Marshall


Kierkegaard loved Luther’s sermons on Luke 18:9-14 – the parable about the two men praying in the temple, the one humble the other not.

     Kierkegaard notes that Luther says “God desires nothing but the offering of praise, as Psalm 50:23 says…. In this way the [humble] publican also proceeds, gives God the offering of thanksgiving and… puts himself to shame and exalts the truth above himself” (Sermons of Martin Luther, 4:339-40). From this Kierkegaard deduces that thanksgiving isn’t easy but arduous – being “essentially the God-pleasing sacrifice” (JP 3:2497).

     Kierkegaard also praises Luther for being “very illuminating concerning sin,” in his sermons on Luke 18, in that “first of all evil entices, as if it were nothing, and then, when one has let himself be enticed, it terrifies. This is why… the second repentance is the true repentance” (JP 3:3032). So Luther writes that “when [Christians] begin to repent and would gladly become different people, [the devil] excites, hinders and controls them so… they make no progress, but remain in their old state…. [He] makes sin [seem] so very small [that they] do not desire grace [and] put off repentance. [But then], on the contrary, he makes sin really too great, as he can blow a fire from a spark greater than heaven and earth, so that it will again be difficult to lay hold of forgiveness…. Thus indeed it is and will continue to be a great art [to repent]” (SML 4:368-69).

     And finally, Kierkegaard praises Luther for noting that “one is not to ascribe sins falsely to himself but simply avoid confusing the merely human criterion with God’s criterion” (JP 3:3063). On this Luther writes that “the public gross sins that break out are insignificant; but unbelief which is in the heart and we cannot see, this is the real sin in which monks and priests strut forth; these lost and corrupt ones are sunk head and ears in this sin, and pretend to be entirely free from it” (SML 4:345).

     May we learn as much as Kierkegaard did from Luther’s words on Luke 18.


PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Larraine King


The only Son from heaven, foretold by ancient seers,  

By God the Father given, in human form appears….

So begins Hymn #86.  Epiphany, the manifestation of God, is a season of light, seeing evidence of the Lord’s work in our darkened world.  And we have just finished the Christmas season with many indications of Christ’s light shining in our neighborhood. 

We have been able to consistently meet our expenses each month, plus donate close to 2.5% of our annual budget to our designated extended ministries.  Considering that we only budget about $1200 to extended ministries, it is a major accomplishment to donate almost $10,000.  We have stepped up to the plate multiple times this past year and given extra for our neighbors in need.  Well done!

We are glad to welcome 6 new members into our congregation; Albert McNeil, Sarah Carlone, and their daughter, Zooey; Philip and Natalie Nesvig; and David Juhl.  We are delighted you have chosen First Lutheran Church of West Seattle as your church home.  May you be blessed by joining with us in our work as Christ’s body here on earth.

The church council has just completed the budget process for the 2014 proposed budget which will be presented at the annual meeting on January 26, 2014. There are very few changes for this next year.  The council tries very hard to plan a budget that realistically reflects the actual pledges and giving to the church.  Sometimes difficult, but always better than pulling a total budget figure out of the sky and hoping that we will have enough money to fund it.  Thank you to everyone who completed and returned a pledge card for 2014.  It is an effective tool in crafting the next year’s budget.  One area of the budget that we have been unable to address in recent years, because of economic downturns, etc. is staff salaries.  The council has not felt that a salary increase could be supported in the budget since 2004 when a 1.5% increase was included.  There was a motion from the floor, at the 2009 annual meeting, to grant a 3% increase for staff salaries, which was approved by the members present.  I only bring this to your attention so that you are aware of how devoted and selfless our current staff is.  They are all underpaid by all professional guidelines and they labor tirelessly for our congregation.  

Finally, I am happy to report that the recent St. Nicholas Faire held December 8, 2013 was a grand success.  Almost $6000 was raised to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  That is such a wonderful outpouring from our members and their friends and families, plus the many members of the community that attended the event.  But remember, even though this event was successful, hunger and financial needs of members of our community don’t stop.  What we have donated helps immensely, but hunger and homelessness are still part of our community.  In 2014 make a commitment to buy some item to donate to the Food Bank every time you go shopping.  It doesn’t have to be large, or expensive, just practical, from a can of food to a tube of toothpaste – everyday items that we take for granted.  Sharing our wealth with others is more effective when we practice buying  an item for others when we shop for ourselves.  If we can afford a latte, then we can afford $.75 for a can of tomatoes.  We just have to remember to do it.  It’s one way we love our neighbor as ourselves.

“Awaken, Lord, our spirit to know and love your more,

                            In faith to stand unshaken, in spirit to adore,

                               That we, through this world moving,

                                   Each glimpse of heaven proving, may reap its fullness there.” 



Stewardship 2013


                                                Month (November)     Year to date (Jan-November)

Budget                            $18,871                          $218,255

Received                         $19,477                          $226,019


    Pledge Cards for 2014


The Council would like to thank each of you who returned your pledge card and making a commitment to the work of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  For the 2014 year, 47 pledge cards were returned so far and 44 pledges have been made.  The Total annual pledge for 2014 is $156,160.  The Budget Committee came up with a figure of $253,201 to work with for 2014.  If you haven’t turned your pledge card in, it isn’t too late, there are a couple more weeks before the January Church Council meeting.  Put it in next Sunday’s offering plate so that your pledge will be a part of our budget making process.

   Since 1993, over 20 years now, we have been very successful with our annual pledge card drive.  This process enables our Budget Committee to work out a realistic budget for the coming year.  And for our members it is a conscious commitment of our financial resources to the church.

   Thanks again, and keep the pledge cards coming.

                                                                                                                                                       ─Church Council


January Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, January 25th.


The book for January is Christian Ethics (2011), by Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), the founder of modern, liberal Protestant theology. This book is a new translation from the German by James H. Brandt. In this book Scleiermacher pursues a position between rationalism and orthodoxy – eschewing both ethical behavior based on individual reasoning as well as on obedience to divine commands. He instead hopes to broaden Christian ethics into the pleasure of continuing the ways that Christ himself lived (pp. 99, 5). Even if you disagree with Schleiermacher, his well thought out position is worth wrestling with.

     A copy of this book 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 this difficult matter of living a life that is “worthy” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:27).


OFFERING ENVELOPES for 2014 are now available on the office window counter. 

2014 FLOWER CHART is available for sign up.  Sign up early for the best selection!

SCRAPPERS will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, January 22nd & 23rd this month. 

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

PASTOR MARSHALL’s next Koran Class starts on Thursday, January 9th.  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 2013:  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 2014 Annual Meeting is planned for Sunday, January 26th.  Following the liturgy on that day, voter’s 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. 

SUNDAY ADULT EDUCATION:  Luther’s Creed – His 1528 Statement of His Basic Beliefs. In this short, four week class, we will study Luther’s creed, appended to the end of his “Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper,” Luther’s Works 37:360-372. Class begins January 5th.


OUR THANKS to Larraine King and family for all the work they did to organize and put on the St. Nicholas Faire.  Once again it was an impressive event bringing in over six thousand dollars for the West Seattle Food Bank and Helpline.



Acts 11.26

Monthly Home Bible Study, January 2014, Number 251

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).


Week I. Read Acts 11.26 noting the word Christians. What were they called before? On this read Acts 9.2 noting the line belonging to the Way. What way is this? On this read Acts 16.17 noting the line the way of salvation. And by whom does this salvation come? On this read Acts 4.10-12 noting the words Jesus, no, other and name. Why is this? On this read 1 Peter 1.18-19 noting the line ransomed from [your] futile ways. What made the previous way of Judaism futile? On this read Hebrews 9.23-26 noting the words necessary, heavenly, better and repeatedly. How is the sacrifice of Jesus better? On this read again 1 Peter 1.18-19 noting the line without blemish or spot. What makes him so pure? On this read Colossians 2.9 noting the words fullness, deity and dwells. How does the death of Jesus save us? On this read Ephesians 2.8-10 noting the words grace, faith, works and walk. And what does it save us from? On this read Romans 5.9 and John 3.36 noting in both the word wrath. Is that salvation worth having? Why? See Luke 16:23, 28.


Week II. Read again Acts 11.26 noting the same word Christians. Why is it misleading if we don’t call believers and followers of Jesus Christians? On this read 1 Corinthians 1.11-16 noting the names Paul, Apollos, Cephas and Christ. How does this confusion come about? On this read again 1 Corinthians 1.13 noting this time the word baptized. Why would you think that Christianity was about whoever baptized you? On this read Romans 6.3 noting the link between baptism and Christ. How could this be missed? On this read Titus 3.3-7 noting the word washing. If that washing were to be stressed in isolation from the rest of the reading, then the emphasis could easily fall on the person doing the actual washing – Paul, Apollos, Cephas or Jesus. But that would be a clear distortion. How then does it take root? On this read Galatians 1.6 noting the words quickly and deserting. On this rootless faith, see Matthew 13.21. Read also Romans 5.3-5 on how to make faith more substantial.


Week III. Reread Acts 11.26 noting again the word Christians. Why should we use this name for ourselves? On this read Colossians 1.18 noting the words head and pre-eminent. How can Jesus be the head of the church if we make up its membership? On this read Hebrews 12.2 noting the words pioneer and perfecter. What is it that Jesus can do for the church that we can’t muster on our own? On this read Philippians 3.12-15 noting the play on words between the two phrases my own and his won. We cannot make Christ our Savior if he had not first made us his children for salvation. Because his act must go before any of ours, he has to be the leader of the church – even if we don’t see him sitting in on our many meetings and putting offerings in the plate on Sunday morning. On this pre-eminence, read Matthew 16.15-18 noting the words rock, build and church. In what way is Jesus the rock? On this read Psalm 62.2, Isaiah 26.4 and 1 Corinthians 10.4, noting the same word rock in all three verses. So who is Jesus?


Week IV. Read Acts 11.26 one last time noting again the same word Christians. Why is Christ linked to the head of the church? On this read Galatians 5.16-17 noting the words Spirit and flesh. Why is there this opposition between these two? On this read Matthew 26.41 noting the words flesh and weak. Therefore Christ stands against the waywardness of the flesh in the church as the Spirit of the church or its leader and head. How does the church go wayward? On this read Ephesians 4.11-16 noting the words building, equip, mature, measure, tossed, doctrine, deceitful, head and knit. What we need from Christ, then, is help to stop us from changing the doctrine or true teachings of the church. Why would any of us want to do such a thing? On the read John 3.19 noting the words loved, darkness, deeds and evil. How does Christ, as head of the church, help us through this mess? On this read Ephesians 5.1-11 noting how all these words drive toward the word expose at the end. For help with this difficult work of exposing the darkness, read Matthew 11.28-30. Does that help?





Stamp out hunger! 

Donate regularly to the West Seattle Food Bank.  Hunger doesn’t take a vacation or go on holiday, or even celebrate the holidays.  Remember those among us who depend on the West Seattle Food Bank and buy a non-perishable item every time you go shopping.  Make it a habit; practice it; be consistent about regularly purchasing canned food, toiletries, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, crackers, rice, beans, paper products, baby food and diapers, etc.  There are many items that would be helpful to those in need. Consult the list posted on the Extended Ministries bulletin board outside classrooms C & D.   Give often and give regularly.  Your sharing of your wealth will bless you too!

Extended Ministries Committee




West Seattle Food Bank Food Drive Wish List


Always Needed                                                     Kid Friendly Items


Protein                                                                    Boxed Juice

Canned Meats                                                        Snack Foods

Canned Vegetables                                                Peanut Butter

Canned Fruit                                                          Jam and Jelly

Tuna                                                                        Meal in a Can

Beans (Canned & Dry)                                           Dried Fruit Snacks

Rice                                                                        Soup, Stew, Chili

Pasta                                                                       Cereal

Ensure                                                                     Macaroni & Cheese

Baby Food & Formula                                           Oatmeal

Toiletries (Toothpaste, Soap, Deodorant,               Books

     Shampoo/Conditioner)                                      Pet Food

                                                                       Diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, 6)




What a wonderful time was had by everyone who attended and pitched in and helped make this event such a big success!  We raised very close to $6,000 for the Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline, and collected over 195 pounds of food, filling up a heaping shopping cart.  Way to go!  Plus we had a fabulous time in the process. We think that over 120 people attended, many of whom were not part of First Lutheran Church. 

The event would not have been a success without the many helpers and contributors.  Thanks to the decorating expertise of Liz Olsen and Larraine King with their helpers, Justin and Andy, the parish hall was transformed into a sparkling fairyland of lights.  It was a sight to behold.  The kitchen and clean up  helpers worked overtime from 1pm to 10pm.  They were indispensable.  Thank you to Jane Harty, Bridget Sagmoen, Lynn Hopson, Teri Korsmo, Valerie Schorn, Gina Allen, Matthew and Ali Richardson, and especially to Dana and Matthew Kahn, for donating, preparing, and serving such a sumptuous feast!  You were all great!

Those of us who were fortunate enough to purchase some of the baked goods know just what a talented group of bakers we have in our congregation.  Thanks to Sonja Clemente, Maxine Foss, Teri Korsmo, Kathrine Young, Connie Baker, Ali Richardson, Kari Ceaicovschi, Valerie Schorn, Wendy Eaton, and Gina Allen.

Thank you to David King and Justin Olsen for managing the “Wine Toss” game.  A special thank you to Richard Marshall and Maryhill Winery for providing five wines to taste.  We raised about $500 from these two venues.  Plus we made $365 in wine sales at the event.  Thanks to Pastor Marshall for adding commentary for the Silent Auction and helping with the wine orders and signage.  Jane Harty put together the information for the Silent Auction forms.  Thank you for taking on that job.  Teri Korsmo and Janice Lundbeck served as cashiers; not an easy job, so we are extremely appreciative of your hard work that goes on until all the dollars have been collected.  

Finally, thank you to Lynn Hopson and Kari Ceaicovschi for donating wine and cider.  Thanks to  Matthew and Dana Kahn, Liz Olsen, Larraine King,  Matthew and Ali Richardson, Phil and Natalie Nesvig, and Fred Slimp for donating wine for the “Wine Toss” prizes. And to Bridget Sagmoen for donating sparkling cider for the “under 21” toss game prizes.  The apple cider for the spiced cider beverage was given by Kathrine Young, Gina Allen, Larraine King, and Carol Nelson. Plus a huge “THANK YOU”  to everyone who participated in the “Christmas in July and August” ornament donations for the gift baskets.  Without your contributions we would have very little to sell!

As is evident by the length of this list, a lot of people helped and donated time, talents, and treasures that helped make this event a huge success.  It takes many people contributing in their own unique way to accomplish what we do at the St. Nicholas Faire.  Thank you all for your generosity and commitment to our church and our extended ministries.  It could not have been done without you.


Thank You!


Many thanks to those who brought in much needed items for Compass Housing Alliance.  This year Pastor Marshall was able to take downtown to the Compass Center: one sweat jacket and pant set size XXL, one sweat jacket and pant set size XL, two sweatshirts size XL, four bath towels, two pair of men’s gloves, ten pair of women’s gloves, two men’s briefs, one knitted scarf, nine pair of men’s socks, 17 pair of women’s socks, three winter hats, ten $5 McDonalds gift cards, one $10 gift card to Chili’s Grill, one box gourmet lollypops from See’s Candies and 53 personal, travel size, toiletries. 



Christmas Help



Three West Seattle families received Christmas gifts for themselves and their children, and food for a holiday meal in December that would not have had these blessings for their families otherwise. 
Because we had the funds in our Agape Fund we were able to help in this way.  Thank you to those who donate regularly to this fund so that when the need is there we are able to help.
We also thank those who put together Christmas gift bags to cheer the elderly in nursing homes who are not able to make it to church. 



The Epiphany of Our Lord

On Monday, January 6, 2014

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

The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord will be celebrated

Sunday, January 12, 2014.

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).





Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Cynthia Natiello, Gerry Moulton, Leah Baker, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, Gloria Belarde, The Jones Family, Ginny Mitchell, The Khamiss Family, Kirsten Christensen, Kyle Bogie, Anna & John Bertelsen, Kurt & Jenny Alfano, Robin Kaufman, Eva Marshall, Rosita & Jim Moe, Dean Herrick, Jillian Wasielewski, Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Asha Sagmoen, Margaret Kirmmse, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, The McGinnis Family, Tony Fearito, Dave & Sheri Wheeler, Sandy & Ron Weiss, Jess Rondeau & Paul Prososki, Mark Sponheim, Michael Nestoss, Bell Schwenk. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, Donna Apman, Pat Hansen, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Olive Morrison, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy Wright.

     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 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 God, you have commanded me to love you with all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Draw me to you, for in you alone is there happiness. May your love for me fill my heart and be the motive for all that I do. Let your love, O Lord, rule my heart without there being a rival there. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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