January 2022

O Morning Star! 

I have lived all my life in northern-latitude locations:  Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Idaho, Norway.  Stavanger, Norway is about the same latitude north as Juneau, AK.  I know what happens at the winter solstice.  In my first winter in Norway, there were 30 days of rain in Stavanger.  The 31st day was cloudy.  The cheery white lights in homes and the street decorations were stored away for another year.  Darkness and drear seemed all-encompassing.  Although I do not experience “seasonal affective disorder,” I found myself wondering if I could hold up until February when the longer days would be noticeable.

     One church member surprised me when he said December 21 was a happy day for him.  Say what?  (He was from Texas and now lives in Anchorage, AK.  I trust he’s even happier now!)  Ed simply said it made him happy knowing that the days were getting longer until the “sad day” of June 21st. 

     Christians don’t live by the cycle of nature.  We don’t worship the four seasons.  We worship that “bright morning star,” Jesus Christ our Lord.  As I pushed through the month of January in Norway, I found it helpful to walk, sing and read Scripture.  Every January we sing “the Queen of Chorales” (LBW 76) a few weeks after we sing “the King of Chorales” (LBW 31).  These two hymns by the German pastor-musician, Philipp Nicolai, have received such titles due to their grand musical and textual structures.  “The Queen” (O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright!) has these wondrous words in stanza two.

      “Come heav’nly bridegroom, light divine, And deep within our hearts now shine; There light a flame undying!  In your one body let us be, As living branches of a tree, Your life our lives supplying.  Now, though daily Earth’s deep sadness, May perplex us, And distress us, Yet with heav’nly joy you bless us.”

     I commend both of these hymns to you if you’re wondering how to get through January, or anytime of the year.  Sing along and receive faith’s blessing!

The Reverend Philip Nesvig 


                       PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Janine Douglass


Merry Christmas, Friends of First Lutheran Church,

After the days of fasting during the season of Advent, we now find ourselves in the festival season of Christmas. The period from Christmas Day to the day before Epiphany is a period of daily feasting and celebration as we remember the birth of our Savior.

     Epiphany is the celebration of the magi visiting Jesus and The Baptism of Jesus, seen as the manifestation of Christ as both fully human and fully divine.

     At our December council meeting a presentation was given via Zoom by ELCA Bishop Shelley Bryan Wee and Assistant to the Bishop Pastor Andy Yee. They outlined the process for finding both interim and permanent pastors. The first step of the process is to complete a Ministry Site Profile (MSP) form. The purpose of this form is to describe our church, demographics of our congregation, demographics of the community, and a rating scale of what priorities our church holds as most and least valuable. Completing this form is an essential tool for the ELCA to help match us with a permanent pastor to fit the needs of our congregation.  A Transition Committee will be formed in the coming months to work on completion of the MSP, with the help of the Interim Pastor once he or she is in place.

     After the MSP is completed and submitted, the Transition Committee will disband and a Call Committee will be established. According to our church constitution, the Call Committee will be made up of four congregational members, two council members and the Congregational President. A Special Congregational Meeting will be held to accept nominations for the Call Committee. 

     We are currently exploring leads for the Interim Pastor position, and we are thankful to The Reverend Phil Nesvig, as he continues to support us as Pulpit Supply through the month of January as needed. I ask the congregation to please continue to keep our church in your prayers that our members would continue to work together, united by faith, to make wise decisions that will have a positive impact on our church for many years to come.

     The task of the January council meeting is to finalize the 2022 budget so we can bring it to a vote during the upcoming Annual Meeting, which will be held on Sunday, January 30th. As a reminder, if you have not already submitted your pledge card, please prayerfully consider your pledge amount and return it to the church office as soon as possible. It helps to give an accurate picture for setting the budget for the coming year.

     I hope to see you all at the Annual Meeting on January 30th!



Serving God


Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon,” Mammon being money.  In the consumerism world of today what can a Christian do?  How does this apply to stewardship?  One of the ways it applies to stewardship perhaps is by devaluating money and elevating God.  We must give our tithe to show God that we do not value money more than Him.  The Biblical tithe is 10%.  This is a challenge for any Christian to do. 

     Have you talked to some of your non-Christian friends or co-workers about giving money to charities?  You may be surprised to find that almost all give little or nothing to charity.  They spend it all on themselves.  This is also a big temptation for the Christian.  Consumerism is a way of life in America and the world.  Everyone buys as much and more than they can afford.  Just try to remember items purchased at the beginning of a month, “that you just had to have”, at the end of the month when you make the credit card payment.  We’re all guilty.

     To diminish the importance of money is hard.  To consider someone else’s needs, over our own wants, is hard.  Only with God’s help are we given the strength to tithe.  Let us pray for strength in fulfilling our tithes in 2022. 

                                                                              -Jeff Sagmoen, Church Council





Tilden School was started by Whitney Tjerandsen, who, in 1985 began looking for an appropriate place for her kindergarten aged son to attend school.  She visited over 25 schools and came to the conclusion that the only way to get both the strong academics that she loved, and the kindness she felt was crucial, was to start her own school.  Tilden has been serving students in the area for the last 35 years. 

     In fall of 2021, Tilden School started under new leadership.  Sarah Shearer is the new director and Jennifer (Jen) Trise, the new office administrator.  Whitney is still involved in the life of the school, including the music program.  The school serves about 100 West Seattle kindergarten through 5th grade students with academic and individualized education.

     They have been great tenants in the church Parish House since 2002.


 L I B R A R Y


Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Perhaps making time to read a book-a-week or a book-a-month is on your list. If so, visit our church library to “check out” the many choices! There is a section for everyone: children, youth and adults.

Not quite sure how to find the title, subject or author you have in mind? Have a seat at the library computer. The patron search screen is similar to that of your public library. If you would like a little assistance to get you started, just say the word. After the Sunday 10:30 service, I would be happy to guide you through a quick computer search to find what interests you.

New books are being added to the collection every month. You will find a “New Books” display on the shelf just to the right of the computer.

Come on in and browse. This wonderful and convenient resource is open to you every Sunday!

                                                                      Connie Baker



2021 Saint Nicholas Faire

& Auction Report


Total donation for the

West Seattle Food Bank & Helpline – $9,775

Thanks again to all who worked hard to see this happen this year. 

And a special thank you!

to Scott and Valerie Schorn.



FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggested donation for January is pasta, noodles and sauces, but any non-perishable foods are acceptable.  These much needed donated items of food are delivered weekly to the West Seattle Food Bank.  

ANNUAL REPORT for 2021:  Staff, officer and committee reports are due.  If you have not already sent your report in to the office please do so as soon as possible.  The Annual Meeting is Sunday, January 30th, at 12:15 pm. 

2022 FLOWER CHART is up and available for your sign up, on the board in the Parish House hallway. If you have favorite dates that you like to give Altar Flowers now’s the time to sign up.

OFFERING ENVELOPES for 2022 can be found on the office window counter this year.  Please pick yours up when at church on Sunday mornings.

OUR THANKS for the Christmas donations this year.  We were able to deliver thirty pair of men’s socks, ten $25 gift cards for Target, one $25 gift card for Outback Steak House, one $10 Starbucks card, one new quilt and numerous small toiletries to Compass Housing Alliance. 



The Epiphany

of Our Lord

On Thursday, January 6, 2022

     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 on

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Join us this day for Holy Eucharist at 10:30 pm, and the baptism of Daniel William Liang, son of Steven and Gina Liang. 

     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).



Annual Meeting 2022

The Annual Meeting is planned for meeting in the Parish Hall, as in years past, with some changes due to Covid guidelines. 

·     Meeting start time of 12:15 will allow people time between church and the meeting to grab a bite to eat in their cars or outside.

·     For the meeting, the doors will be open in the Parish Hall for ventilation, so people will need to dress warmly.

·     Fans will be setup.

·     The chairs will be spread out for social distancing.

·     Masks will be required, naturally.

·     Usual setup with long table for executive committee, social distanced, and The Reverend Phil Nesvig, who will open the meeting with prayer.

This will be an opportunity for the congregation to gather together to have fellowship, grieve together and work for the common good of the church during this time of transition.


Janine Douglass, President



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Robert Schorn, Jane Harty and family, Kim Lim, Melanie Johnson, Holly Petersen, Leah and Melissa Baker, Felicia Wells, Marlis Ormiston, Connor Bisticas, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, The Rev. Randy Olson, The Rev. Albin Fogelquist, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Alan Gardner, The Rev. Allen Bidne, Tabitha Anderson, Yuriko Nishimura, Lucy Shearer, Ramona King, Karen Berg, Donna & Grover Mullen and family, Kurt Weigel, Paul Jensen, Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma, Hank Schmitt, Mary Ford, Andrea and Hayden Cantu, Dana Gallaher, Jeanne Pantone, Kevan & Jackie Johnson, Eric Peterson, Gary Grape, Larry & Diane Johnson, the Olegario Family, Nita Goedert, Mariss Ulmanis, Shirley & Glenn Graham, Karen Granger, Mike Nacewicz, Mike Matsunaga, Bill & Margaret Whithumn, the Robert Shull family, Mary Cardona, Angel Lynne, Randy Price, Paul Sponheim, Nick Karlson and Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA).

     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 our country, for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed.

     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, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard, Lou Landino.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelley Bryan Wee, our presiding minister Philip Nesvig, 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.  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 the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress. 

     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


Father of love, hear our prayers.  Help us to know your will and to do it with courage and faith.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


[For All the Saints, III: 250, altered]