June 2019

       1 Timothy 6:12 

“There is no real joy in this world except that which the Word brings when it is believed.”

[Luther’s Works 4:4]  

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) highlights this verse when he says that the Christian must “fight for himself with himself within himself” (Kierkegaard’s Writings 5:143). This is the good fight of faith in 1 Timothy 6:12. My ministry has been about bolstering or equipping Christians by way of it (Ephesians 4:12). This fight is the clash between the holy God and abject sinners. And the Christian should not “in his struggling struggle himself out of the relation to God,” Kierkegaard warns, “but [should struggle] his way closer to God” (KW 5:392). That’s what makes this fight good. Because we resist God, his Word

 must force its way in – as Luther notes (Luther’s Works 3:348, 17:336) – and so the word must be nimble and dogged. Therefore it’s “concerned, ardent, burning, inflamed, everywhere and always stirred by the forces of the new life, calling, shouting, beckoning, explosive in its outbursts, brief, disjointed, harrowing,… everywhere witnessing to the powerful unrest of the spirit and the profound impatience of the heart” (KW 5:69)! These are great words – and to the point regarding the good fight of faith—and among my favorites.

         1 Timothy 6:12 clearly testifies to this warfare (1 Timothy 1:18). So Christianity isn’t about peace and quiet (Luke 12:51, LW 23:291). This fight makes our other name “Crosstians” (LW 5:274). For Christianity is difficult (Matthew 7:14). It brings fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). It’s more like a boxing match than a backyard lounge chair (1 Corinthians 9:26). We must stay alert (Mark 13:37; 1 Corinthians 10:12, LW 3:158, 12:217, 30:71). Our race is lifelong (2 Timothy 4:7, LW 35:378). So no wonder we need Christ’s help if we are to prevail in this war (John 15:5, Romans 7:23; LW 37:101).

  Pastor Marshall



President’s Report… by Cary Natiello


The church council is currently reviewing our Mission Statement, which states, in part, that we, “…enter into discussions over the great societal issues of our day without avoiding controversy…”  I thought to myself, when was the last time I had a discussion at church about a societal issue that is considered controversial?  I realized that, as a rule, I take every precaution to avoid controversial discussions most anytime, and at church is no exception.  So, in keeping with our Mission Statement, I decided to step out on a limb and go for it! 

     Maybe you have noticed that our church prayers periodically include special litanies for catastrophic horrific events, e.g., floods, hurricanes, mass shooting, etc.  Since December 2012, eighteen of these litanies have been on MASS SHOOTINGS that have occurred in our United States of America.  Below is a list of the cities, number killed and injured, and the dates of the shootings for which we had a specific litany: 

1.      Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, 28 killed – 2 injured – 12/15/12.

2.      Santa Barbara, California, 11 killed and 13 injured – 5/25/14.

3.      Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, 1 killed and 1 injured  – 6/5/14.

4.      Marysville High School, Washington, 4 killed and 1 injured – 10/24/14.

5.      Charleston, South Carolina, 9 killed – 6/17/15.

6.      San Bernardino California, 14 dead and 22 injured – 12/2/15.

7.      Orlando Florida, 49 killed and 53 injured – 6/12/16.

8.      Burlington, Washington, 5 killed – 9/23/16.

9.      Las Vegas, Nevada, 58 killed and 422+ injured – 10/1/17.

10.   Sutherland Springs, Texas, 27 killed and 20 injured – 11/5/17.

11.   Benton, Kentucky, 2 killed and 18 injured – 1/23/18.

12.   Parkland, Florida, 17 killed and 17 injured – 2/14/18.

13.   Santa Fe, Texas, 10 killed and 13 injured – 5/18/18.

14.   Annapolis, Maryland, 5 killed and 2 injured – 6/28/18.

15.   Jacksonville, Florida, 2 killed and 10 injured – 8/26/18.

16.   Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 11 killed and 6 injured – 10/27/18.

17.   Thousand Oaks, California, 13 killed and 10 injured – 11/7/18.

18.   Aurora, Illinois, 5 killed and 7 injured -2/15/19.

Note: the number of dead and injured listed above do not include the gunman if also killed or injured.

     I know that not all of these violent mass shootings are comparable.  I think it is clear that the shooter in each case had varying motivations.  I understand that stricter gun control laws may not have prevented all of these shootings.  But doing nothing should not be an option.  You might recall the mosque mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, that occurred on March 15, 2019 – 51 killed and dozens injured.  As reported by Reuters, on April 10, 2019, less than 1 month after the shooting attack, New Zealand's parliament voted 119 - 1 to ban almost all types of semiautomatic guns.  Sadly, the 28 year old Christchurch “white supremacy” shooter bought his gun legally.  That is why New Zealand took the added step of actually banning semi-automatic guns for all.

     I encourage you to go to this link that lists 16 countries and read what it takes to buy a gun in those countries: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/02/world/international-gun-laws.html

     Of the 16 countries reported on, the United States compares only with the country of YEMEN in lax gun control laws.

     As a Christian I cannot accept the NRA’s position that nothing should change.  Nor can I support President Trump’s position to arm everyone, including our teachers.  Instead as Christians I feel we must encourage and support stricter gun control laws.  Exactly what gun control laws should be enacted can be debated, but something must be done to begin to curtail this increasingly common expression of anger and hate and stop these senseless killings.

    I leave you with one additional thought. The Constitution of the United States was drafted in 1787 and in operation since 1789.  In 1791, common guns included muskets and flintlock pistols. According to the Washington Post, a "Typical Revolutionary-era musket" had a one-

round magazine capacity, and it could fire around three effective rounds per minute – in the hands of the most skilled wielder.  I believe that if our founding fathers were here to see how we have interpreted, amended and applied the second amendment of the US Constitution today, they would put us all in jail, have a good laugh, then begin to sob uncontrollably.  Shame on us!  Shame on us all for letting it get to this point.  Hopefully, we can stand together as Christians in support of stricter gun control laws.




Remember Deuteronomy 8:17


Christians are expected to go to church (Hebrews 10:25) and support it with their time, talents and money. 

     Without doing that no church could stay open.  So why is it like pulling teeth to get people to volunteer and give?

     Deuteronomy 8:17 says, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.”  There’s our answer.  Now we know why giving is so tough on us.  It’s because we’ve forgotten that our wealth isn’t ours but God’s because he’s the one who makes it possible for us to earn it in the first place.  So next time you feel stingy when it comes to donating to the church, remember that Bible verse. 

     Special thanks to Dean Hard for being my right hand man in my new position on Church Council. 

‒Rollie Storbakken, Church Council




Esther 4.16

Monthly Home Bible Study, June 2019, Number 316

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 Esther 4.16 noting the line if I perish, I perish. Why did Esther think her life was in jeopardy? On this read Esther 2.7 noting that Esther was a Jew (Esther 2.5) – her Jewish name being Hadassah. Then read Esther 3.6 noting that Haman wanted to destroy all the Jews. Note also Esther 4.11 about anyone being put to death if they were to enter the king’s room without being called. So Esther risks her life to go to the king, being against the law (Esther 4.16). Why does she insist on doing this? On this read Esther 4.8 noting the supplication that Esther is asked to make on behalf of the Jews before the king. And what ignited all of the hostility against the Jews in the first place? On this read Esther 3.2–5 noting the words bow and fury. What came of his anger? On this read Esther 5.14 noting the words gallows and hanged. Did this come to pass? On this read Esther 7.6 noting the line this wicked Haman, and also Esther 7.10 noting the line they hanged Haman on the gallows. Read as well Esther 9.14 noting the line the ten sons of Haman were hanged.

Week II. Read again Esther 4.16 noting the same line if I perish, I perish. What made Esther so confident that she had a good chance to prevail? On this read Esther 2.21–23 noting the words knowledge, hanged and recorded. How did this book of records help Esther? On this read Esther 6.1–4 noting the words chronicles, found and honor. Did anything else help Esther prevail? On this read Esther 2.15–17 noting the words favor, all, king, loved, queen and banquet. Is this only about superficial beauty? On this read Esther 10.3 noting the words welfare and peace – supposing they apply equally well to Esther. Where do these traits come from? On this read Esther 3.8 noting the line their laws are different from those of every other people. Is this what caused the fear of the Jews in Esther 8.17? Does the avenging in Esther 8.13 have anything to do with this newly found fear?

Week III. Reread Esther 4.16 noting this time the word fast. How does that help? On this read Esther 7.4 noting the line if we had been sold merely as slaves. This statement shows that such mighty restraint can come from fasting. It also leads to the abated anger of the king in Esther 7.10. Why is self-control so important? On this read Esther 9.22 noting the linkage between feasting and helping the poor. How can these two opposing impulses coincide in the one and same person? On this read Esther 1.12 noting the words Vashti, refused and enraged. Here is a case where they don’t abide together. Note also the king’s search for a harem of beautiful virgins to replace Vashti in Esther 2.2–4. How restrained is this? Read also about Mordecai’s adoption of Esther (Hadassah) in Esther 2.7. Is fasting and restraint also a part of these adoption negotiations? Esther doesn’t contest it anywhere. Does that show self-control in the adoption process? And do the commands ordered by Esther to Mordecai show self-restraint in Esther 4.17?  What does all of this say about the value of fasting?

Week IV. Read Esther 4.16 one last time noting the phrase against the law. Why rebel? What’s so urgent? On this read Esther 3.6 noting the words destroy, whole and kingdom. Does that threat make slavery look not so bad in Esther 7.4? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.17 noting the line an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Read also Romans 8.18 noting the line the sufferings… are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Is this contrast evident in Esther 3.8 where Jewish law is described as being different from those of every other people – perhaps because of the One they believe in? On that read Exodus 34.14 noting that One’s name as being Jealous. Does that character trait enhance the contrast between the temporal and mundane  and the Jealous One? How large should it be? On this read Isaiah 55.9 noting the phrase higher than the heavens. Does that settle it – or is it still unclear how vast the difference is? Does Hosea 11.9 show how the greater the difference, the more compassion there is for sinners? Explain.



ç PASTOR MARSHALL at West Seattle Recycling on West Marginal Way – with three garbage bags of crushed aluminum cans (52 lbs.).  Thanks to Ting Ting Chang for collecting them!

ALTAR FLOWERS could use a few more sign ups through the end of the year.

MID-YEAR CONGREGATIONAL MEETING has been set for Sunday, July 21st, immediately following the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the parish hall.  Mark your calendars!  Beverages will be provided.  Voter registration will be on the tables at the back of the hall.

Compass Housing Alliance is in need of new or lightly used bath towels.  Every year they go through hundreds of towels, especially at the Pioneer Square Hygiene Center where 150 people get a free shower daily.  If you were thinking of helping in this way you’re not too late, donations can be left at the office throughout the summer.   

READING THE KORAN with Pastor Marshall.  These two hour classes are on Thursdays June 27th – July 25th (except July 4), 7–9:00 pm.  Call the office to register. 

FOOD BANK COLLECTION suggestion for summer is lunch and snack foods for children who are home from school: “peanut butter, jam, crackers, energy bars, seed & nut packs, macaroni & cheese.  Any non-perishable foods are fine.  So, when you are at the grocery store, pick up a few extra items when you see those good sale prices.  And, bring in fresh produce as well!  If you have a garden or know someone who does, as they ripen throughout the summer bring them in and leave them on the office window counter.  They will be taken to the Food Bank that day!

SUMMER SCHEDULE starts with Memorial Day weekend. Also Pastor Marshall’s Summer Bible Study will start at 9 am on Sunday, June 9th, in rm. D. 

WEB PAGE ADDRESS:  www.flcws.org  Log on through the summer to see what’s new.

HELP NEEDED LIST:  Please consider the following jobs need regular or at least yearly attention:  Pressure washing the outside walkways and steps, Memorial courtyard clean up and weeding, south courtyard clean up and weeding, cleaning out of the four window wells, cleaning of the outside stairwells, washing and sanitizing of the nursery and church kitchens.

HUMMING BIRD NEST è                discovered by Tilden School in the Vine Maple tree in the inner courtyard. 



Blessed Esther: Summer 2019 Bible Study

with Pastor Marshall


Sundays, 9–10 am, Room D


This summer we will take 12 weeks to study the book of Esther. Each week we will concentrate on a few verses, aiming to find help for our growth in faith and love. Each week we will have a handout with questions to guide our discussion. Martin Luther believed that when Esther kissed the scepter in Esther 5:2 – she was prophetically blessing the “most holy Gospel of Christ” (without ever mentioning it explicitly), and so he called her “blessed Esther” (Luther’s Works 14:336). That will be the goal of this study – to see the blessing of Christ in Esther.


The class schedule will be the following:


June 9      Est 1:1-22          June 30    Est 3:1-15          August 4      Est 8:1-16

June 16    Est 2:1-11          July 7       Est 4:1-17          August 11    Est 9:1-15

June 23    Est 2:12-23        July 14     Est 5:1-14          August 18    Est 9:16-32

                                           July 21     Est 6:1-14          August 25    Est 10:1-3



Pastor Marshall’s

40th Anniversary

Luncheon Reception


August 25, 2019

Noon, in the Parish Hall



Please plan to join us for this Summer Lunch Reception for Pastor Marshall. 

There will be savory and sweet treats freshly made by members of the congregation.

A sign up sheet will be posted in the classroom hallway.  Please sign up early. 

If you are planning to attend but are not able to sign up, a call to the office would be appreciated ― 206-935-6530.


Music Northwest Presents-


In Celebration of Pastor Marshall’s

40th Anniversary of Ministry at

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle


J.S. Bach:

     Genius of the Keyboard

Music for Harpsichord and Organ






 Andrew King, organ

Jane Harty, harpsichord


Prelude and Fugue in C Major from the Well-Tempered

      Clavier, Book 2

Invention in G Major and Sinfonia in G Minor

Dances from the Partita in B Minor

Two Chorale Preludes from Clavierubung III

Partita on Sei gegruesset, Jesu gutig

Piece d’Orgue

Featuring the French Double harpsichord by Zuckermann,

and the chapel and the gallery tracker-action organs by Noack.


Sunday, June 23, 2019, 3 pm

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle











This older member ran out of the church waving her arms in the air and yelling “Stay away from me! I don’t want to talk to you!”

     Why was she so upset? What I had done was walk right up to her after church to show her my wedding license. And she did not want to see it! Why not? Well, it had to do with my wife, Jane, keeping her name after we married – something we both thought was important to do. This woman thought it was terrible that we had done that. So to attack us for it, she started spreading the rumor that we weren’t really married. We were living in sin – and that our children were bastards. She wouldn’t respond to any of my calls to talk about this with her, so I tried to catch her on that Sunday after church. That’s when she erupted.

 You’re Living in Sin!   

      Shortly after that altercation she gave up on the rumors. I think that was because a number of her friends witnessed what happened and probably asked her why she didn’t confront me to my face when she had the chance. What had become of her righteous indignation which had been fueling her rumor mill?

      From this sad, shameful mistreatment, I learned the truth in Luther’s words that criticisms of pastors are by and large “supercilious” (Luther’s Works 28:84). If they aren’t making up things about your marital status – they’re complaining about your shoes, hair style, or color and make of your car (E.H. Friedman, Generation to Generation, 1985, p. 206). They’re fixated on the trivial (Psalm 119:37, Kierkegaard, KW 19:3). Why don’t they want to talk instead about the vexing issue of predestination (Romans 8:29)? Or how all of God’s Laws remain true (Psalm 119:86)? Or why faith needs works to live (James 2:26)? Or why Jesus wants us to hate ourselves (Luke 14:26, John 12:25)? Or why true worship is marked by reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)? Or why Jesus had to bear our sins in his body on the Cross (1 Peter 2:24)? These are all worthy of our time (Psalm 90:12) – unlike what most would rather throw in the pastor’s face.

      So what’s to learn? Don’t expect good criticisms. Expect slander instead. Don’t take any complaints personally. But seriously think about what is said – trying to figure out how best to disabuse your critics of their banal complaints and help them set their minds on things that are above (Colossians 3:2).

By Pastor Marshall



Pastor Marshall

teaching at First Lutheran Church

of West Seattle, 1989.


feed my sheep


(John 21:17)


The Rev. Ronald F. Marshall’s Fortieth Anniversary

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle


from far and near


June 2019


Saint Augustine, Letter to Darius (AD 429) – “Holy Scriptures have… taught us… not to live right and do right [for the purpose] of being praised by men [Matthew 5:16],… and yet they also have taught us for [our sake] to seek… praise [1 Corinthians 10:33]. For when good men are praised, the praise confers a benefit on those who bestow it [since it is] wholesome for you to admire [the good]…. [But] this benefits not only you, but me too, for if they are lacking in me, it is wholesome for me to be… inflamed with desire to acquire them” (Selected Letters, Harvard, 1953, 1998, pages 453 and 455).


Pastor Marshall’s sermons are so engaging that a typical response is, “He was preaching to me.” While visiting in the Seattle area, not a few people from other parts of the country make a point to visit our church to hear Pastor Marshall preach Christ-centered, Law and Gospel sermons, and to worship where he presides with attention to liturgy that matters. He teaches three to five adult classes weekly throughout the year. His classes on the Bible and on the writings of Luther are more informed, perceptive and relevant than any class I remember having had at Luther Theological Seminary (Saint Paul, Minnesota). His classes also include a wide range of topics from Lincoln, the World Wars, to US Supreme Court rulings. Whatever the topic, theological issues are always front and center and informed by Luther and the Bible. Pastor Marshall is also well known for his service in the local community and beyond. He is instrumental in encouraging, hosting, and challenging gatherings of clergy in West Seattle, as well as the local cluster of ELCA clergy. He is a vital and long serving board member of the West Seattle Food Bank. Roll in with this, the West Seattle Helpline. Then there are the countless ways under the radar that he serves “the least of these” (Matthew 20:40). Pastor Marshall provides what many consider a faithful yet rare Christ centered ministry. Note how many drive a long distance to worship at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle. Thanks be to God!


The Rev. Robert G. Baker

Past President of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle (2017–2019)


Forty years doing anything anymore is quite the accomplishment. And you are the embodiment of what it means to be called and dedicated to the service of God. You are an amazing teacher. You have a gift of bringing complex theological ideas down to our level. That is a talent that few have. You are always prepared and can make a Bible study discussion come alive. You have opened the Scriptures for us. We’re amazed at your stamina – dealing with us stubborn dunderheads that don’t have the good sense that God gave geese – but you still persevere and for forty years at that! You preach the Gospel – and we always fall short – but you don’t quit, which is another amazing gift you have received from God! You have made us better Christians and better people and we thank God for that. When confronted with a quandary, we often ask each other, “What would Ron think of this?” Keep up the good fight of faith. We pray that in ten years we’ll all be celebrating your fiftieth anniversary in the ministry!


Al and Donna Larson, Madison, Wisconsin

Al was President of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle (1995–1997)


Well done, good and faithful servant! We have known each other over many years, and in different ways we have supported each other’s ministry. Last year I reached the sixty-five year mark, and now this year you have reached forty years. My heartfelt salutation and congratulations! When people ask me what to look for in a parish pastor, I think of you and the gifts you have brought into your ministry. I am sorry to say, there are not many others who come to mind. As ministers we have a great story to tell. To tell this story in the right way takes a lot of study and perseverance. You have done that. To impart the whole counsel of God without shaving off the uncomfortable things we think people may not want to hear, you have been consistent in doing that. To speak the truth to power without pulling any punches, you have been willing to take your lumps for having the courage to do so. To be a good steward of the mysteries the Spirit of God has given us to communicate, in the audible words of the sermon and the visible words of the sacraments, week after week, and year after year, that takes physical stamina, lively imagination, prayer and meditation, Biblical exegesis and sermon preparation. You have brought it all to the table of hard work, doing whatever it takes. Neither you nor I could have survived these many years of ministry without the grace of God, liberal amounts of learning, and a steady supply of common sense. And I would add a good dose of humor too!


Dr. Carl E. Braaten

Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology

Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago


I did not meet Ron until well into his thirty-fifth year of ministry. So I missed his struggles to maintain orthodoxy in the ELCA through the controversial publication of certus sermo. But I’m still fortunate that my introduction to Lutheranism came through him. It started taking his course on the Koran. I showed up at the first class and, mirabile dictum, the minister was prepared, eager, totally informed about the subject, and welcoming to all. This was different. The class was a real eye – and mind – opener. Ron drew upon his knowledge of Jewish and Christian sources – and the incredible bibliography for the class – to make the history and meaning of the Koran come alive. And, as always, Ron was very generous with his time and knowledge. So I sought other offerings at First Lutheran. His Mid-week Bible class – even when there was only one student there – became a constant for me. Sunday morning worship and classes became essential parts of my spiritual life. Where else could you find the beauty of the Western liturgical tradition and solid evangelical Lutheran teaching in Ron’s deep yet lively way? Ron’s ministry was broad, intelligent, and exciting. And I can’t fail to mention Søren Kierkegaard. I had heard of him before, but Ron moved the needle for me on Kierkegaard, as he did much more deeply for his church, and I cherish that introduction. From my present home in Montana, I look with continuing interest – and not a little envy – at the ongoing activities that the people of his church enjoy through his ministry. I give thanks for his life and ministry and wish him many more years of joyful and successful ministry!


Fred Slimp, retired attorney, Missoula, Montana


I would like to join the congregation at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle in wishing you congratulations on achieving the fortieth anniversary of your pastoral career. It is something not many in life are given the opportunity to experience. Well done, Ron!


Wallace R. Otterson, Ron’s godfather, Tucson, Arizona


Ron Marshall is a pillar of the West Seattle community – and that’s not an exaggeration. I have known Ron for thirty years, beginning with the founding of the West Seattle Helpline. His enthusiasm, boundless energy, “persuasiveness” and giant heart, have been pivotal in the growth of that vital organization. Ron has a true gift for bringing people together and fostering love and understanding. I wish him many more years of fruitful ministry.


Gregg Hersholt, Morning Anchor, KOMO News Radio, Seattle

West Seattle Helpline (founding member and former board chair)


For forty years now, Pastor Marshall has been running the gauntlet of faith. When I first arrived at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, I had never heard the Gospel spoken to me from the pulpit – despite having attended other churches. He was the first one that I heard preach God’s wrath and ire – and then the redeeming Gospel. He has done an excellent job in spreading the Gospel despite many attacks and tribulations. I hope that he continues to run the gauntlet for the Lord’s sake – for many years to come!


Evan Ceaicovschi, East Helena, Montana

Ron’s confirmation student (2014–2017).


Pastor Marshall picks up the phone, visits the sick, and opens the door. He is the mediator who spans the chasm which divides. He does this by trusting his people with a full gospel, which amounts to truckloads of what is real. In the practice of his calling, one can witness that he is not interested in colonizing the faith. His deep laughter affirms us in our daily walk, rejecting what is false in our own experience, giving us confidence in our worship.


Jim Bodeen, Poet, Yakima, Washington


A few years after I joined the faculty of Pastor Marshall’s seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he enrolled as a student there. Even then his laughter was recognizable and his fierce intelligence noted by colleagues and other students. In my mind there has never been a more able student in any of the classes I have taught. And I continue to be astonished by the scope and quality of his ministry and his Biblical, theological, and pastoral scholarship. These forty years are a tribute to his faithfulness to Christ’s church.


Dr. Lee E. Snook, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology

Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota


We give thanks to God for you! More than a few bishops have considered you a troublesome genius. Yet you remain what you were ordained to be, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your questions call (harass!) us to faithfulness. Te Deum Laudamus!


The Rev. Franklin Wilson, Retired ELCA Pastor, Madison, Wisconsin


I think I have only met Ron Marshall in the flesh once, and that was many years ago in Seattle. But I have met him many times in print, whether in published writings or in our exchanges of emails, and I think I can sum up my appreciation of Ron in a few words – in fact, in two words: Luther and Kierkegaard. Ron Marshall combines the freshness, vigor, and directness of Luther with the deadly cunning and indirection of Kierkegaard.


Dr. Bruce H. Kirmmse, General Editor, Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks

Copenhagen, Denmark


There is no question that Ron is a passionate and committed spiritual leader in the Church. But he is also a powerful force for good in the larger West Seattle community. All the best on forty years of service.


Phil Talmadge, Talmadge, Fitzpatrick, and Tribe Law Firm

Senator, Washington State Senate, 1979–1995

Justice, Washington State Supreme Court, 1995–2001


I have much admired Ron Marshall’s range of reading and creativity in writing. His theology is replete with Biblical references and his interpretive strategy is anchored in Martin Luther and Søren Kierkegaard. Accordingly, there is a deeply paradoxical flavor to the servings he provides his hearers and readers. His preaching is thoroughly theocentric – indeed, Christocentric – but by sermon’s end the call to faith and obedience sounds clearly. I have been particularly impressed by such pastoral pieces as the “Monthly Home Bible Study” and am grateful for the strong social ministry of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle throughout his four decades of service.


Dr. Paul Sponheim, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology

Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota


I cherish the numerous conversations we’ve had discussing those things that are truly of substance: God, the Bible, family and the meaning of life. You are definitely a beacon of light amidst the general darkness that permeates Seattle. Although you and I have different paths to the Almighty, I’m confident in saying our similarities far outweigh and outshine our differences. Please let me extend heartfelt congratulations to you on forty years of trying, in spite of the many adversarial forces, to make West Seattle into a more appropriate resting place for the Divine Presence. As my people would say, yasher koach! From your biggest Jewish admirer and fan.


Lloyd M. Tucker, DMD, MSD, PS

Renaissance Center for Implants and Periodontics, West Seattle


Heartiest congratulation on reaching forty years in the ministry. You are among a very small circle of pastors whose ministry has been of such a length and significance. While living several thousands of miles away, I feel I have had a small part in your worship life through the several commissions for hymns which you have so graciously extended to me from 2002 to 2018. As you celebrate this milestone, be assured I will be celebrating with you, but at a distance. All the best to you in the years ahead!


Carl Schalk, Distinguished Professor of Church Music Emeritus

Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Illinois


I have had the honor and pleasure of experiencing a rare person who is most compassionate, intelligent, action-oriented, humorous and an accomplished spiritual leader, teacher and writer who has served his church and the West Seattle community for the past forty years. You, Ron Marshall, are truly a blessing and inspiration to us all.


Mariss Ulmanis, West Seattle Food Bank, Board President, 1996–2001


I have known Ron Marshall since the birth of his first child. All my experiences with him have been as a loving father, a devoted husband, and a wonderful individual. I have had the honor of serving as the pediatrician for his marvelous family. I was able to care for his three children in good times and less good times; watching them grow and tending to both their physical and personal needs. Most gratifying for me was my personal involvement with Ron. I truly found myself looking forward to his visits at my office. When he left, I felt uplifted and revitalized. His humor, realism, candor and honesty were more refreshing than any medicine that I could prescribe. Unexpectedly my own son has become a rabbi. I have talked to him about Ron Marshall and have encouraged him to emulate this man as a role model in both his personal conduct and his religious leadership. The Christians don’t deserve someone as good as Ron! He should have been one of us.


Dr. Gary B. Spector, MD, Polyclinic, Seattle


What a blessing to have stood the test of time to be in ministry and service to our Lord Jesus for forty years! I’m so grateful to work with you at our annual high school memorial for those who have died. And I thank God how you have gotten under the burden of celebrating and including every person. I admire you for that since it shows me how deeply you care about people. Blessings from your friend!


Pastor Sharon A. Shaw

Renton Pentecostal Full Gospel Church, Renton, Washington


Ron and I meet in 1967. We both lived at Theta Chi Fraternity on the Washington State University campus in Pullman – along with sixty other guys. At the time, none of us dared to think of the highs and lows of fifty years of friendships. Thanks to Ron we have been able to. He has been organizing Theta Chi bimonthly luncheons for over ten years now. I remember the first lunch we had. I had been out of touch for many years, so our appearances had changed. Some I didn’t recognize – until they laughed. That doesn’t change. We all reconnected when Ron walked in, full white beard with matching black clergy shirt and sat down with us. The looks we got from the other patrons were priceless! We laughed and started up like no time had passed. Congratulations, Ron, on forty years of serving your congregation – and thanks for being a friend for life.


Duncan Sturrock, Port Orchard, Washington


Congratulations on forty years of service to the Lord and the Gospel!! “The pulpit is ever this earth’s foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world…. Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow” (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851, Chapter 8). Thanks be to God for your forty years in the prow! (And, in expectation of the Judgment Day, we are following Luther’s advice, and have, in your name, purchased a tree to be planted in one of our National Forests through the Arbor Day Foundation.) In Christ,


The Rev. Doug & Paula Lindsay, West Seattle


I first met Ron over thirty years ago when he invited my husband and me over for a celebration of the philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1886–1951). My late husband, Robert C. Coburn, was a professor at the University of Washington and a world authority on Wittgenstein’s writings. That afternoon began a friendship between Ron and Bob that included lunches and hours of conversations over all these many years. Last year Ron helped Bob through a terminal illness. He came to our house and supported us at the hospice center. And, with great generosity and skill, he helped guide a lovely memorial service to celebrate his long-term friend. I was also a recipient of his unfailing support, wisdom and friendship while providing the hospice care for Bob at our home. I am so grateful to Ron for his support during that stressful time. Thanks so much – and congratulations on forty years!


Martha Means, Seattle


Pastor Marshall – Biblical scholar, intellectual writer, and historian –is a passionate pastor who is grounded in the Scriptures, a lighthouse unwavering on Biblical truths, one who illuminates Christ with direct messages, firmly rooted and not bending to the blowing winds of our modern times. He is Christ-centered and unapologetically preaches God’s Holy Word. He’s candid yet compassionate regarding the issues and problems facing our world and people today. We are richly blessed to have him at the helm of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle. A joyful fortieth anniversary to you!


Alicia Carnevali, West Seattle


The Church Council of Greater Seattle gives thanks for the Rev. Ronald Marshall’s servant leadership in the wider church. The hand of Christian friendship is always extended when Pastor Marshall is in the room. He connects diverse churches and interfaith communities through his practical steps, strategic scholarship, and personal warmth – always grounded in the foundation of a deep Scriptural faith. As a preacher, teacher, board member, scholar, and friend, you bring the face of Christ into the sanctuary and the public square – connecting and enriching us all.


Beth Amsbary, Philanthropy Manager, The Church Council of Greater Seattle


Even though I’m ninety-two, I still remember Ron in high school. I’m proud of his accomplishments since graduating. I especially like his history of the West Seattle Food Bank – Hunger Immortal (2013) – which I have read and enjoyed! I’m so very glad that he has not forgotten me and comes by to visit me, or call me, when he can. He was so kind to write a brief biography of me for his 50th class reunion which I couldn’t attend. And he also brings me the Holy Eucharist when my own parish is unable to. Congratulations Ron on your forty years of ministry!


Geraldine Martindale

English Teacher, Stadium High School (1962–1989), Tacoma, Washington


In my interactions with you over the last 14 years, I have found you to be scholarly, rational, brilliant, expansive, spiritually passionate and genuine. One of my favorite times was our discussion about Job and Jung’s Answer to Job (1952). Your rich perspective on Job was woven into my teaching, dovetailing beautifully with Jung’s reflections. I also thank you for reading my analytic dissertation in which I associate Tenebrae, the darkness which befell the Jews during the time of Jeremiah, with my father’s death. It has been a vital piece of my own spiritual growth. And your article on your own father as a demitted Christian (The Bride of Christ, Michaelmas 1998) has shown me a side of you where your vulnerability is quite evident and yet your transcendence from his decision shines forth. It is one of my favorite pieces of your writings – personal and also didactic.


Suzan Rood Wilson, LMFT, LMHC

Jungian Psychoanalyst, C. G. Jung Institute of Seattle


I have known Pastor Marshall for twenty years or so. At first I was afraid of him because of his sometimes pugilistic style. Nevertheless, over the years he has come to be, not only a friend, but also a mentor and model. He has influenced my theological thinking in a fundamental way, as much as any of my teachers, including Wolfhart Pannenberg, Carl Braaten and Duane Priebe. His main influence has come from insisting on a devotional reading of the Bible and then doing it himself. He has offered accurate and sharp criticisms of certain slippery ways the Church (and I myself) tend to become phony and unfaithful to Christ. In this way he has simultaneously evangelized for Christ. I give thanks to God for Ron’s ordination and his faithfulness to it. I give thanks to God for First Lutheran Church of West Seattle for supporting and encouraging his ministry these past 40 years. I expect Ron to be your pastor for many years to come, and I know God will keep on blessing you. Peace and power to you from Christ!


Pastor Jami Fecher, Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle


I first met you on my internship at Grace Lutheran Church in Wenatchee, Washington. I have appreciated your dedication, thoughtfulness, and sense of humor. Now I mostly see you when you come to my church bearing gift of books or quilts – both greatly appreciated – and at synod gatherings. I feel that I could call on you at any time to have a theological conversation. I feel a sense of peace knowing that I have a friend and supporter in West Seattle. I also appreciate that you offer your knowledge and creative mind to the larger community through your Qur’an classes and publications. Ministry is challenging – 40 years is a good long time to spend in any one place, and I feel your tenure is a blessing of stability, strong relationships, and dependability. May God continue to bless you with faith and wisdom. May your light shine so that others may witness it and glorify our Father in heaven. May your ministry flourish and your faith deepen!


Pastor Kristy Daniels

Church of Steadfast Love & Compass Housing Alliance, Seattle


Wow! Time does fly by. We’ve been good friends all of those forty years of ups and downs – and we’ve seen how the fierce commitment to your work has never changed. Everyone in your church has been given a special gift from your scholarship, vision and outreach. Congratulations on these many years of unwavering passion and purpose!


Lee & Victoria Thoren, Orting, Washington


Congratulations! I can think of few colleagues who truly embody what it means to be a minister of the Gospel like you do. My ministry and life has been enriched in our conversations and friendship. The Church is more faithful because of your shepherding. Blessings!


Pastor Wes Telyea, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Issaquah, Washington


I thank God for you! “How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14)? “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). Congratulations on forty years of faithfulness to God’s Word and dedication to His people. Love you!


Doreen Phillips, Ron’s sister, Ocean Shores, Washington


Ron Marshall is the very definition of energy, enthusiasm, persistence and passion for many things, especially the community he has served so long. From the West Seattle Helpline to the West Seattle Food Bank, to his own First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, Ron has been the quintessential storyteller, historian and pied piper. He’s the guy with the twinkle and grin whom you love to encounter on a stroll through our peninsula!


Clay and Meg Eals

Historian, Editor, Executive Director, Board Member – all in West Seattle


First Lutheran Church of West Seattle has been blessed to have you as their pastor all these years. And I thank God for you being the best brother I could possibly have had. You have been a wonderful mentor in my faith journey. And you have been there for me during all of the ups and down in my life. You truly are a good and faithful servant. Ron, I raise my glass to you, for being a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, uncle, friend and pastor – but above all, a beloved child of God. May the Cup of Salvation, who is Christ Jesus our Lord, bless you the rest of your days and in your call as Pastor. I love you!


Rich Marshall, Ron’s brother, Goldendale, Washington


Ron and I met at Washington State University when we became fraternity brothers. Ron’s passion for Christ, for life and serving the Lord was always present. And Ron’s intellectual curiosity was also evident and has continued to flourish over the years. Our friendship has also continued. We’ve disagreed, we’ve commiserated, and we’ve celebrated. It is with honor that I extend congratulations to Pastor Ron on this anniversary. Additionally, I congratulate First Lutheran Church of West Seattle for supporting Ron throughout his distinguished ministerial service. Blessings, my friend!


Brian Benzel, Ph.D, Redmond, Washington


I am thankful to God for the faithful preaching and teaching of Pastor Marshall these forty years. I know that to be the case since I was personally guided and encouraged by this servant of the Word in some difficult wandering years of my life. Through his persistent, challenging and loving friendship I was, by God’s grace, privileged to become another bearer of the Word. Heartiest congratulations on this anniversary. Soli Deo Gloria!


The Rev. Peter Gundersen, Retired Lutheran Pastor, Calumet, Michigan


I was lost when I first encountered Pastor Marshall. No, really. It was 11 pm on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t find the church I was looking for, so we went to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle instead. Among other things, I was impressed by the pastor. Over the years I’ve gotten to know him as far more than simply the formal, exacting, stern looking worship leader. And I’m still impressed. Thanks be to God for your years of service, and may he grant you many more!


John Graham

Christ the King Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), Bellevue, Washington


Pastor Marshall has created a space and discipline for beauty, dignity, and reverence in worship that I highly value, which is becoming more and more rare today. On a personal level, I treasure our lively and stimulating conversations. Having first met him in the context of dignified festival worship, I had a hard time imagining him as a caring, pastoral person. But having seen that side of him, I’m glad to know him as a friend. I wish you God’s richest blessings!


Eunice Graham

Christ the King Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), Bellevue, Washington


Who would have known when we were locker partners in the 1960s at Stadium High School that this monumental occasion of serving your congregation and your community would ever arise! You’ve told me in the past that you’re not planning on retiring any time soon. So I’m hoping that you have many more years providing wise counsel to all of us.


Nick Langer, Tacoma, Washington


It isn’t easy finding a Christian teacher who embodies rigorous Orthodoxy along with intellectual freedom and just plain fun. I met Ron though his stimulating class on the Qur’an and enjoyed it so much I imported him over to Vashon to share his class again with my neighbors. It takes a man firmly rooted in Scripture to venture confidently into the world of Islam. I’m glad Ron doesn’t flinch from the sharp and powerful Word of God, piercing soul and spirit, joints and marrow! Preach it brother! Go for another forty!


Will Forrester, Green Man Farm, Vashon Island, Washington


Congratulations, Ron! We’ve enjoyed fifty-five years of friendship since our Stadium High School days. Your sincerity, intellect, humor and down-to-earth goodness are qualities I’ve cherished for all these many years. Best wishes to you, my friend. Here’s to many, many more great years.


Jon Nakagawara, Mill Creek, Washington


I met Ron when we lived together at Theta Chi Fraternity, Washington State University in the 1960s. He was a Philosophy honors student and the depth of his academic pursuits were awe-inspiring. He is the only student I knew who took courses in Greek so that he could read the original Biblical texts. Ron knew then that his life’s work would be in the church. At the fraternity he led informal Bible studies. As a pastor over these many years, I have seen his love for his family and congregation shine forth. I’ve also seen it in his ongoing love for his college brothers – a true reflection of his pastoral work. Ron’s enduring and positive force for us all has been remarkable!


Jeff Norman, Bellevue, Washington


Happy Ruby Anniversary of Ordination, Pastor Marshall! You are the only one of our colleagues still serving the congregation to which you were called and ordained forty years ago. As part of my anniversary gift to you, I shall deliver two traditional hymns for you to teach First Lutheran: “His are the thousand sparkling rills” (Tune, “Saffron Walden”) and “Christ is Risen! Alleluia!” (Tune, “Morgenlied”). These hymns carry the Church’s springtime throughout the year. Godspeed on your beginning a new decade of evangelism!


Pastor Albin Fogelquist, Fircrest, Washington


I’ve known Pastor Marshall for thirty-five years and have grown to love and appreciate him more every year. He never shies away from a controversial topic to discuss at our monthly pastoral meetings. His wonderful sense of humor always makes our times together interesting. Ron is one of the most brilliant pastors I have ever known. He is like a walking theological encyclopedia. But I also believe that he would always be there for me in times of need. He has a fine pastor’s heart and truly cares about Christ and his church. It’s an honor to call Ron Marshall my friend and brother in Christ!


Pastor John O’Neal, Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Washington

Dean, SeaTac Cluster, NWWA Synod ELCA


It is with great joy that I congratulate Pastor Marshall and First Lutheran Church of West Seattle for forty years together in service under the Good Shephard, Jesus Christ. Many pastors don’t serve that long – due to discouragement over the state of the Church and the lack of zeal for the Gospel. But no one could say that of Pastor Marshall – with his constant attention to the glories and difficulties of the Gospel. Never have I heard him resort to clichés or denominational lingo. He instead speaks and acts on the basis of Holy Scriptures and the best teachers, past and present. He is not one of those hired hands of John 10 who flees when the flock of Christ is threatened by wolves in sheep’s clothing. I myself have been recalled many times to my duties, and to my hope, as a Christian and a pastor, by things Pastor Marshall has written. May God strengthen Ron in his calling, and when the time comes, give him rest from his labors.


The Rev. Jonathan L. Jenkins, Klingerstown Lutheran Parish

Klingerstown, Pennsylvania


I’m grateful to God for the forty year ministry of Pastor Marshall. He has been my friend, colleagues and teacher. Many is the time that I have been blessed by his superb intellect, prophetic voice, rapier wit, and kindness. I learned pretty much everything I know about the Koran as a student in his ongoing “Read the Koran in Four Weeks” class. As a faithful minister of the Gospel, Ron has challenged me and encouraged me in my life and pastoral ministry. Whether meeting together over lunch, or attending Seattle Bob Dylan concerts with my son, Anders, and his son, Anders – Ron continues to be a good friend whose company I revel in. Bless you, Pastor Marshall, as you celebrate this milestone of ministry!


The Rev. Larry Thomas, Retired ELCA Pastor, Issaquah, Washington


Heartfelt congratulations on the fortieth anniversary of your ordination! It is clear to me – from our high school days, and up to now – that you are a man of the Gospels, both in word and action. You have impacted the lives of many over these years – including me.


Barbara Guzzo, Seattle


One of the joys in returning home from seminary to the Pacific NW, and taking up my first post at Denny Park Lutheran Church, is being close again to my wonderful friend and colleague, Pastor Marshall. I give thanks to God for Ron’s forty years of obeying the Lord’s command to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47) – through the Law with all of its wrath and judgment in condemning sin, and through the Gospel in full and unconditional strength to forgive sinners. On this occasion I also note all that Ron has done through his scholarship. He has defended the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word without error, upheld the Lutheran Confessions (1580) as faithful interpretations of that Word, made rich use of the historic liturgies of the Church – and, of course, sets himself apart as a published interpreter of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). Best wishes to you, Ron, on your forty years under call to Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit!


The Rev. John W. Hoyum, Denny Park Lutheran Church, Seattle

Ph.D. Student, University of Aberdeen


I have known Ron for fifty years, starting with living in a college fraternity. During that time Ron was known as a good friend and mentor to all the members of the fraternity. He was admired for his ability to remain true to his core beliefs – while trying to fit in with a group of wannabe heathens, who happily, for the most part, failed to fit in! Fifty years later, Ron remains our good friend and mentor. Congratulations on your church anniversary!


Ken Sharp, Tacoma, Washington


I have known Pastor Marshall since the 1980s when he asked me if I would help lead a field trip to Native American sacred sites in West Seattle. We had such fun then, and I had even more fun when he asked me to do it again last August. Although I am not a member of his parish, I have always considered Ron my pastor as well. He is a genuine scholar with several notable published works to his credit, a wonderful conversationalist, down to earth, humble and very funny – which are the qualities of a good friend and, if I may say so, an outstanding pastor. I congratulate him for his dedication, humility and deep spirituality, and his parish for supporting him. God bless Ron, God bless First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, and God bless us all!


David M. Buerge, Everett, Washington

Author of Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name (2017).


We first met in the mid-1970s in the Religion Ph.D. program at Claremont Graduate School. Though with age we are ever nearer to being wizened pastor-theologians, I imagine that Ron still has his leonine mane of beard and penetrating estimations on the religious health of church and world. Always one to think independently, he gave his teachers at Claremont a run for their professional money! Ron brought to graduate school his Lutheran heritage and its commitment to loving God with both mind and heart. His course after Claremont reminds me of Acts 16, where the Spirit instructed Paul in a vision to change his mission from Troas in Turkey, to Philippi in Greece. The Spirit changed Paul’s mind, resulting in the momentous move of Christianity from Asia to Europe! Likewise, when Ron went from Claremont to West Seattle, it resulted in an ongoing forty year mission in the same congregation, which is itself momentously rare! And from here his ministry of mind and heart has also served the church beyond West Seattle. Congratulations Ron – and may this anniversary celebration confirm you and your church in service to the Gospel! Yours in the Company of Christ,


The Rev. Paul J. Seastrand, Ph.D., Retired ELCA Pastor, Billings, Montana


I have deep gratitude for the ministry of Pastor Marshall and a time in my life when he touched me and my family with the grace and mercy of Jesus. Our daughter, Julie, died at the age of twenty-one, on June 27, 1997. I was the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood, Washington. I had not met Ron, but he reached out to me. Moved by the tragic death of our daughter, he wrote me a card on July 22, 1997. I have kept it and know exactly where it is. It is a treasure that I will appreciate all my life. Here is what he wrote – “Dear Mark, Ever since I heard of the death of your daughter, you and your family have been in our prayers. May God give you strength to endure this terrible pain that has come upon your family. In Christ, Ron Marshall.” On the other side of the card, Ron printed out what Martin Luther wrote at the death of his daughter, Magdalene – “I am joyful in the Spirit, but I am sad according to the flesh. The separation troubles me above measure. It is strange to know that she is surely at peace, and that she is well off there, very well off, and yet to grieve so much. I have sent a saint to heaven.” In a time when I was overwhelmed with sorrow, Ron reached out to me. West Seattle and First Lutheran Church have been blessed by the pastoral presence of Pastor Marshall for forty years. What a gift! His kindness also touched me and I will appreciate it all my life.


The Rev. Mark Reitan, Retired ELCA Pastor, Edmonds, Washington


When I think of my friend, Pastor Marshall, two quotations come to mind. The first is from Edgar Guest (1881–1959) in “Sermons We See” –

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.

I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way…

The best of all the preachers are the men who live their creed,

For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

That’s Pastor Marshall – he lives his creed. Based on that, he is one of the best preachers. He has worked in our community to help the poor, hungry and oppressed. In my work with the vulnerable, if I call Ron for help, he always says, “I’ll provide what’s needed.” And in his class on the Qur’an he has befriended our Muslim neighbors – being a shining light in the darkness. The second quotation is based on James 2:26 – “What good is it if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Faith that isn’t accompanied by action is dead.” Thank you Ron for all that you do for others. May God continue to bless your ministry – you who are His faithful, action-filled friend!


Mary Anne deVry, Westside Interfaith Network, West Seattle


As a junior theological student in Fall 1971, there was nothing so fearsome as to fall into the hand of Ron Marshall living across the hallway from me. His hand, of course, was his pensive scrutiny and probing questions. If one was ever sure of his intellectual prowess, command of rhetorical argument, theological argument, or just plain humor repertoire – that person had never shared Gemutlichkeit with Ron. He was the master intellectual and best thinking man in our seminary. And he still is. Mozart, Kierkegaard, John Cobb, Ezra Pound – all were in his grasp. He made us all better students, theologians and pastors. Blessed John Chrysostom once said – “It is a miracle if a pastor be saved” [mirum est si sacerdos salvetur – Minister’s Prayer Book, ed. J. W. Doberstein, 1959, p. 269]. Ron has made that miracle a blessing to others in his faithful preaching, teaching, administrating of the sacraments – and in his constant calling of the Church of Jesus Christ to be anchored in Him. May God grant Pastor Marshall many more years.


Bill Roman, LPC – Crucible Life Resources, Toledo, Ohio


After transitioning a career in university teaching to parish ministry, I learned of a course on reading the Qur’an taught by Pastor Marshall. I signed up eagerly – not sure what to expect. The course was incredible – so much so that I don’t ever remember looking at the clock (quite an accomplishment given that each class lasted over three hours)! Ron has a wonderful gift for teaching – he’s engaging and deeply informed with a real knack for narrative. And you know where he stands – but as a matter of academic fairness and intellectual honesty, he includes a wide array of diverse perspectives, including those that directly contradict his own. Ron’s class so impressed me that I invited him to teach it at my congregation. I have since enjoyed my conversations with him tremendously – and am honored to call him my friend. Congratulations, Ron, on your fortieth anniversary!


The Rev. Daniel J. Peterson, Ph.D., Queen Anne Lutheran Church, Seattle


Lutheran Quarterly has appreciated Pastor Marshall’s willingness to review books – particularly books on Kierkegaard. More broadly, I and others have appreciated his thoughtful reflection on the Christian faith and have seen how that informs his work as a pastor. West Seattle has been fortunate to have this Lutheran theologian and pastor, Ron Marshall, in its midst. I pray that God will continue to bless his ministry.


Dr. Mary Jane Haemig, Professor Emerita of Church History

Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Book Review Editor, Lutheran Quarterly


Thank you, Ron, for being an awesome role model and example to me and my family. Your Christian leadership and guidance have always been inspiring to me and I am truly thankful and proud to be your sister. Thanks be to God for your forty years of service. Love always – and God’s blessings!


Denise Alvord, Ron’s sister, Puyallup, Washington


Years ago one of my co-workers, Jason Shallock, died by drowning himself in Puget Sound (Newswatch, The Seattle Times, February 10, 2004). When I heard the news my eyes teared up. We had only worked together for about a year, but he was a great guy to work with. He was thirty-two years old, always in a good mood, healthy, and an energetic worker. I was pretty devastated because of the way he died. There were about three days between his death and the memorial down on Alki Beach. Nobody at work said much during those three days because we were all in shock. I also held on in silence to my grief and confusion. I knew Ron from shopping in the store and that he was a local minister. The night of the memorial, there Ron was (because he also knew Jason and his surviving girlfriend), standing by the beach fire and leading the service. I was so grateful that he was talking about what didn’t make sense to us. What Ron said helped me bring to completion my friend’s life and to honor him. That night I realized how valuable a good pastor can be. I will always be thankful to my friend, Ron, for giving me a hand that night down on the beach.


Randy Peters, Grocery Clerk, PCC Markets, Burien, Washington


I consider it a privilege to join in the celebration of a major milestone in the ministry of my friend, Pastor Marshall. His forty years of ordained ministry at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle is a wonderful achievement –and evidence of God’s blessings upon both the pastor and the congregation!


The Rev. Victor C. Langford, III, Saint Mark Lutheran Church, Seattle


Pastor Marshall is a most quarrelsome man – and that is how he should be for his quarrel is godly. He quarrels with those denying the authority of Sacred Scripture, the singular Lordship of Jesus Christ, the call to discipleship, and those who would deny justice for the poor and oppressed. Vagueness finds no friend here. He is a godly irritant, an ordained, severe and persistent itch (gadfly) to thought, belief and mission. To this day there is no known vaccination against his contagious testimony. For Brother Marshall, the sure word (certus sermo) is the true and right word which will not let him go. What’s noteworthy in this anniversary isn’t longevity of service, but the depth of veracity, integrity, charity, fidelity and tenacity with which every day finds him. For the life of me, I don’t know why Ron is still alive. One would think his take-no-prisoners preaching of the law, and his raise-the-dead preaching of the gospel, would so irritate the devil that a handsome reward would be offered to anyone who would cut out his tongue. Blessedly he fears the wrath of God more than worldly powers and principalities. On second thought I do know why he lives – it is for the lives of you and me. To be hated for the sake of the truth and righteousness is a joy few truly fathom. Ron has been blessed with this joy.


The Rev. Jon Richard Nelson, Retired ELCA Pastor, Deforest, Wisconsin




“My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:2


“I am the vine, you are the branches,… apart from me

you can do nothing.”

John 15:5


“We are not competent of ourselves to claim anything

as coming from us; our competence is from God.”

2 Corinthians 3:5





Pastor Marshall

walking in the snow in West Seattle,

February 9, 2019.


sorrowful, yet always rejoicing


(2 Corinthians 6:10)





Copyright © 2019 Ronald F. Marshall

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle 



    On Sunday, June 9th at the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist, we will celebrate Pentecost.  This day celebrates the "outpouring of the Spirit" and the birth of the Church, according to the chronology and theology of the book of Acts of the Apostles. 


On Sunday, June 16th we will honor the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and we will confess that our God is named Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is Christ's command in Matthew 28:19 when he says to us: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." It is this name that our faith requires us to adore – for God is in this name! 


The Feast of Saint Mary, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, will be celebrated at our Sunday Holy Eucharist on August 18th.  On this day we will thank God for the life and faith of Saint Mary, who has been called the Mother of all believers for she was the first person to believe in the gospel. 

    Lutherans for centuries have honored Our Lady by praying the "Magnificat":

    My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savoir, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts he of their hearts, has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.                  (Luke 1:46-55) 



Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Ted Foss, Sam & Nancy Lawson, Chuck Prescott, Pete Morrison, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Aasha Sagmoen & Ajani Hammond, Connor Sagmoen, Kyra Stromberg, Tabitha Anderson, Diana Walker, The Rev. Paul Smith, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Jeff Larson, Sheila Feichtner, Jim & Hillary Thoren, Antonio Ortez, Rebecca Brown, Randy & Mary Leskovar, Les Arkle, Brian Garcia, Bill Sauter, Cliff Robson, Richard Uhler, Marjorie Lorraine Dike, Yuriko Nishimura, Leslie Hicks, Dan Rottman, Lanny Berg, Nancy Wilson & Rebekah, Mary Anderson, Kate & Mark Frey, Yao Chu Chang, Jeff Carnevali, Barbara Fecht, Patty Gonzolez, Marylou Jensen.  Also, pray for unbelievers, the abused and harassed.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Bob & Mona Ayer, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Joan Olson, Chuck & Doris Prescott, C. J. Christian, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Mary Goplerud, Anelma Meeks, Martin Nygaard, Gregg & Jeannine Lingle.

     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 the family and friends of Matt Anderson. A Memorial Liturgy is planned for Matt on Friday, June 7th, 3 pm, in the nave.

     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 for our synod elections of a new bishop. 

     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, addicted, and homeless this summer.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to 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:  Saint Barnabas; Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles; Saint Mary Magdalene; Saint James the Elder and Saint Bartholomew, Apostles; and St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord.


A Treasury of Prayers


O God, heavenly Father, I cannot live without your blessing. Life is too hard and my duties are too great. I come before you with meekness asking for your help and strength. Give me good cheer. Help me encourage others. May I always be a benediction to all I meet – giving Christ all the glory. In His dear name I pray. Amen.

                                                                 [For All the Saints I: 998, altered]