March 2018


Our Ladder Into Heaven

Which day, every year, for every Christian everywhere, is called Good? Is it Good Christmas? Good Thursday? Good Easter? Good Thanksgiving Day? Good Pentecost? Good Transfiguration? Good Martin Luther King Jr. Day? No, it’s Good Friday – the day we remember Jesus being murdered.

     But why is that day so good? Is murder good? Is sadness good? No, but their effects are. And what were they again? God’s wrath is overcome (Romans 5:9). Faith in Christ comes alive (John 12:32). Death is destroyed (Hebrews 2:14). So be sure to come to church on Good Friday, March 30, this year, and give thanks for this goodness.

      Saint Rose of Lima (1586–1617), the extreme recluse, conjoins these effects in her magisterial statement: “Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven” [Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, 1999) §618]. No wonder then that Luther thought that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross “deserves to be praised to the utmost and to have every honor given to it” (Luther’s Works 13:319). See you Good Friday.  

Pastor Marshall



Anna & Charles Anderson


100 Years Ago


Our Parish Centennial


By Pastor Marshall


Our centennial celebration will be on September 23. But well before our church was established in 1918, lay people worked for years to form our congregation.

        The key person in our story is Mrs. Charles A. Anderson – Anna Flatland Anderson, from Denny Park Lutheran Church, downtown Seattle. Even though our church would probably never have been without her help, she never formally joined our church, but remained a member of Denny Park, having her funeral there on August 23, 1960. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Anna lived down by the steel mill. This is where she organized a women’s group to form our congregation. There are minutes from those meetings (in Norwegian). We read from a meeting on July 11, 1912: “Mrs. C. A. Anderson told that this was not a new organization and that she had been a member for 3 or 4 years…. Mrs. Anderson told them that the original books were burned. The ladies got in a fight about what money was left and that it should be used in West Seattle. The group was informed that she had left the money with Pastor Slettedahl [from Denny Park]” (R. F. Marshall, Deo Gloria: A History of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle from 1918 to 1988, 1989, p. xi).

        It apparently takes a feisty group like this to get a church up and running.




President’s Report…by Bob Baker


The Launching of Another Council


       148 and Counting. Since 1979, 148 different members have served on our Congregation Council. Retiring at the Annual Meeting in January were Melanie Johnson, Carol Nelson, and Jeff Sagmoen. We thank them for their considerable service!

         New to the Council is Rollie Storbakken (the 149th member to serve on the Council), while Jim Coile and Valarie Schorn are returning to offer their services again. We look forward to the energy and experience they bring.

         Membership and Activity. The Committee for Parish Ministry is chaired by Bridget Sagmoen, and includes Pastor Marshall and Bob Baker. Activity tends to focus on keeping track of membership and associated concerns.

         The Committee for Extended Ministry is chaired by Valerie Schorn, and includes Jane Harty and Jamey Sagmoen. One focus this year will be the fund raiser as part of our 100th Anniversary celebration. We are wanting to raise $10,000 for various charities that this Committee and the Council have vetted and which we think provide reputable services.

         The Committee for Education is chaired by Peter Douglass, and includes Gina Allen. Attention this year will again be supporting our youngsters in Sunday School, Hymn School, Passion Faire, Advent Faire, and Lutheran World Relief projects.

        The Committee for Facilities is chaired by Rollie Storbakken, and includes Jim Coile and Earl Nelson. This summer we expect to see the broken panes of the east glass wall by the stairwell fully repaired. Also the exterior of the sanctuary building will be sandblasted and resealed. Both are major projects and overdue. We can expect a dozen or two other projects to pop up this year. This committee is very ably supported by the work of Dale Korsmo.


         The Committee for Budget and Finance is chaired by David King, and includes Janice Lundbeck and Carey Natiello. Among other things, this committee prepares and monitors our annual operating budget and the congregation’s support of the same. They also encourage memorial and endowment gifts to the congregation. A sub-committee manages the endowment funds. Another sub-committee is the Audit Committee.

         Please keep the Mission and Ministry of our congregation in your prayers.





Balancing Our Lives



“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) 

Quoting scripture is not my thing, but when I hear an impressive Bible verse, I know it was for me!  This verse from Luke can sum it up for many of us.  I am aware when my family and I volunteer less time, energy, attention, and offerings to church.  I am aware when we over extend ourselves that often it’s our commitment to church that starts to suffer.  We all get over-booked in our other social commitments.  We over-extend our budgets.  We work double time.  We encourage our children and grandchildren in extra-curricular activities to promote a balance in their lives.  Then after all of this, we notice that we haven’t been to church as much. We notice that we haven’t met our pledged offerings, we haven’t been able to help with the events at church as much but yet somehow everything still gets done.  Somehow the lights and heat are on every Sunday.  Somehow meetings and events still happen.

     We know the work of our wonderful church needs to be shared by all. I know I can do more, we can do more.  We can always do more for our church.  More personal events to attend, cash in our pockets, and more possessions will not improve our lives.  We all know this and struggle in our own ways.  The guilt I feel when I let go of the needs of the church is durable.  Truly, offering your time, your talent and keeping up with your tithe is very fulfilling.  You will feel the good in your heart.  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”                                                                                                           

─Bridget Sagmoen, Church Council



Stewardship 2018


                                          Month (January)       Year to date (Jan- )

Budget                                     $27,532                          $27,532

Received                                  $30,267                          $30,267




March Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, March 24th.

The book for March is A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir (2014) by Thomas Oden (1931–2016), long time professor at The Theological School, Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. In this book Oden traces his transformation from a liberal to a conservative Christian. In the process he testifies to the Biblical God who breaks through “our idolatries by the power of his love,” so that we can learn to say with Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” Oden notes that throughout all of his secularized wanderings, “I knew I had met and trusted that One.” He also learned that the Church “had come to understand this Slayer of our idolatrous values as friend” (p. 85).

     A copy of this stirring book is in the library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss how God transforms our lives to conform to his Word.



WEB PAGE ADDRESS:  Log on to see what is new!

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestions for March are canned meats, chilies and stews. 

ALTAR GUILD Meeting: Sunday, March 4th at noon, in the chapel, after church.

2018 FLOWER CHART could use a few more families to sign up for Easter Flowers.  And, if you wanted to sign up for Altar Flowers this year and have not had a chance, this would be a good time to see what dates are left.

SERVICE TEAM lists are available in the lounge.  Next will be the Easter Brunch, with Service Team 1 hosting, on April 1st. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS West Seattle Food Bank Instruments of Change benefit & social hour: live music, guest speaker, dinner, and a dessert auction at their new location of the Seattle Design Center. Saturday, May 12, 2018, 6-9 pm.  Also the West Seattle Helpline 11th Annual Taste of West Seattle on Thursday evening, May 24th.  Tickets can be purchased starting March 1st on the Helpline web page.  Get yours early! 

WEST SEATTLE RECYCLING will buy your recyclables and then send the church a 10% bonus check a couple of times a year. Pastor Marshall is willing to take your donations (newspaper and aluminum cans) if left neatly at the back of the parsonage carport. #6 Styrofoam can also be recycled. Another suggestion is dead batteries.  They are not allowed in the garbage.  Pastor Marshall is willing to properly dispose of them if they are left in marked bags on the office window counter.  Thanks to those who participate in these programs. 




Holy Week and Easter

March 25    Sunday of the Passion

                     8:00 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                     9:00 am     Church School Passion Faire

                    10:30 am     Holy Eucharist – Procession with Palms

                     8:00 pm     Compline

March 26    Monday in Holy Week: Jesus’ Cleansing

                         of the Temple

                    11:45 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                      7:00 pm    Vespers

                                       The Great Litany - Chapel

March 27    Tuesday in Holy Week: Anointing Jesus for Burial

                    11:45 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                      7:00 pm    Vespers

                                        The Great Litany - Chapel

March 28    Wednesday in Holy Week: The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas

                      9:30 am     Matins - Chapel

                    11:45 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                      7:00 pm    Vespers

                                       The Great Litany - Chapel

March 29    Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper

                    11:45 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                      7:00 pm    Solemn Eucharist

                                       Stripping of the Altar

March 30    Good Friday: The Crucifixion of Our Lord

                    11:45 am     Holy Eucharist - Chapel

                                       (Reserved Sacrament)

                      7:00 pm    Office of Tenebrae

                                       A Liturgy of Lessons, Hymns and Prayers

March 31    Holy Saturday: The Burial of Our Lord

                    11:45 am     Liturgy of the Burial - Chapel

                    Easter Vigil

                      7:00 pm    Liturgy of Light, Readings, Baptism

                                       and Holy Eucharist

April 1        The Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter

                      9:00 to 10:00 am Easter Brunch in the parish hall.

                    10:30 am     Festival Eucharist

                      8:00 pm     Compline



Luther on Women

Dying in Childbirth


By Pastor Marshall


In 1522 Luther wrote in The Estate of Marriage that a women dying in childbirth should “depart happily, for [she] will die in a noble deed and in subservience to God…. Hence, we see how weak and sickly barren women are. Those who are fruitful… are healthier, cleanlier, and happier. And even if they bear themselves weary – or ultimately bear themselves out – that does not hurt. Let them bear themselves out. This is the purpose for which they exist. It is better to have a brief life with good health than a long life in ill health” (Luther’s Works 45:40, 46).

      This statement has been taken as evidence for Luther’s disregard for women and even misogyny or hatred of them [Peter Marshall, The Reformation (2009) p. 85]. But when all of his varied and diverse statements about women – which are considerable – are taken into account, it’s clear he was no misogynist [Luther on Women: A Sourcebook, ed. Susan C. Karant-Nunn and Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (2003) p. 13].

      If he were, he wouldn’t have thought women could serve as pastors in emergency situations (LW 41:154). Nor would he have had a wife he praised for her skills in “animal husbandry and agriculture” [Ernst Kroker, The Mother of the Reformation (1906, 2013) p. 108]. And he wouldn’t have “repeatedly attacked those who disdained women as inferior or as necessary evils” [Ian Siggins, Luther and His Mother (1981) p. 73]. For Luther believed it was “godless” to “defile” women’s nature (LW 54:171). Furthermore women are compassionate “to a greater extent than men” are (LW 3:360, 1:202). They are “industrious and energetic” too (LW 15:66, 5:116). Without women, the “home, cities, economic life, and government would virtually disappear” (LW 54:161). “Where would we be without women?” (LW 54:59). Indeed, “Christ, our Savior, did not hold woman in contempt but entered the womb of a woman” (LW 54:223).

      None of this praise, however, overlooks women’s biological difference – that they alone can bear children. “The structure of a woman’s whole body bears this out,” Luther writes. “It has its own organs and members with which to conceive, nourish, and carry the fetus. But few consider this” (LW 5:289). And why is that? Either because they don’t want any limiting uniqueness for women, or because they want to reduce them to objects of sexual pleasure alone. But Luther thought he could keep that equality and uniqueness together in his regard for women – which is what he was trying to do in that controversial statement from his treatise on The Estate of Marriage. I wonder what he would have thought of us now trying to make women inessential for gestation (“Artificial Womb for Preemies?” National Geographic, September 2017, p. 28).

      And Luther was not callous about any of this. He insisted that when a mother dies in childbirth it’s the “saddest sight” (LW 2:311) and causes her husband the “most bitter grief” (LW 6:269). He is “sad from the heart” (LW 4:195) – “mourning pitiably” (LW 8:13). The mother’s death is “assuredly wretched and sad both for her husband and the rest of the household” (LW 6:270). They are not “logs, blocks of wood, or dullards” (LW 4:196). All this is true even if she dies while serving the Lord in childbirth. All of this is true even though a woman has more to do in life than bear children.

      Luther therefore praised the good husband, who conducts himself “in a friendly and gentle manner toward his wife, not only in the bedroom but also in public. He should not be capricious, irascible and surly.” Together with his wife, “they should be ready to forgive each other and to forget offenses, no matter how great they may be” (LW 5:32). In marriage, God “wants amiability and mutual friendliness, embraces, kisses, and fun to spite the devil, who is the author of all dissensions” (LW 5:33). “For there is nothing more excellent and sweeter in this life than mutual concord and goodwill between husband and wife” (LW 6:269). Theirs is to be “a lawful union not only of bodies but also of hearts” (LW 5:32). So childbearing is not all that wives do, according to Luther.

      Even so we should “help women in childbirth with our cries of encouragement” (LW 18:244). In childbirth, “mothers, together with infants, are put in most certain danger” (LW 7:46). Babies at birth, Luther says, can be “torn to pieces and brought out bit by bit” (LW 4:369). Women know this too – “how great a calamity” childbirth is (LW 3:360). Nobody wants mothers and babies to die at birth. Accordingly “young women” are the best to bear children since they are more likely to survive childbirth (LW 4:11) – those women who have not yet reached “their fortieth year” (LW 3:323). Taking this into account is prudent. But if death comes to the mother at childbirth, believers do not despair because for them “death is nothing” (LW 4:191). That’s because we know that a better life awaits those women heroes who die giving birth – “she will rise again in glory” being “happier in infinite ways” in heaven (LW 6:274, 272).

      That’s our faith in the life to come and our love for mothers and children. And that’s what was behind Luther’s controversial statement – not misogyny or some diminished role for women, as some scholars are trying to get us to say.


Ecclesiastes 2.25

Monthly Home Bible Study, March 2018, Number 301

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 Ecclesiastes 2.25 noting the word apart. Why do we need God to eat and find enjoyment? On this read John 15.5 noting the line apart from me you can do nothing. How is this so? On this read Psalm 104.29 noting the line when thou takest away their breath, they die. So is it that we need God to keep us alive so that we can eat and enjoy things? On this read Ezekiel 37.9 noting the line breathe upon these slain that they may live. Why can’t we do this for ourselves? On this read John 5.26 noting the phrase life in himself. Why don’t we have life in ourselves? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.7 noting the category earthen vessels. Why aren’t we more than these cheap, empty vessels needing to be filled up? Why can’t we generate life-giving power from within us? On this read James 4.14 noting the word mist. Why are we so ephemeral, diaphanous and flimsy? On this read Romans 1.25 noting the contrast between creator and creature. If the creator is all-powerful and infinite as Job 40.2 and 1 Kings 8.27 say, where does that leave us by contrast? Limited and weak as in Matthew 26.41?


Week II. Read again Ecclesiastes 2.25 noting this time the word enjoyment. Why is enjoyment important? On this read Jeremiah 31.25 noting that our souls can languish and grow weary. What does that say about us? On this read Ecclesiastes 6.7 noting our inability to be satisfied. Why are we like this? On that read 2 Corinthians 4.18 noting the words seen and transient. So when we dwell on the transient we are unfulfilled. Who does that? On this read Luke 12.19 noting the person with ample goods. What are people like who are unable to do this? On this read Colossians 3.2 noting the line set your minds on the things that are above. Why will only that satisfy us? On this read Ecclesiastes 3.11 noting the line God has put eternity into man’s mind. So as long as we ignore this we will be out of sorts and dissatisfied with our lives. Why is that? On this read Colossians 1.16 noting the line that all things were created… for God. No wonder than that Romans 13.14 tell us not to gratify the desires of the flesh. And why is that again? Apparently because it’s useless. Do you agree? Is that why Luke 18.27 says that it’s impossible for rich people to enter heaven?


Week III. Reread Ecclesiastes 2.25 noting again that same word enjoyment. How does God aid and abet our enjoyment? On this read Psalm 84.10 noting the thousand times contrast between God and wickedness. Read also Psalm 96.6 noting the word beauty. So worshipping God and serving him satisfies us as nothing else can. On this read Luke 10.42 noting the words one, needful, good and taken away. Note also that nothing is said in Luke 10.40–42 about Martha’s upcoming scrumptious meal. Is that because it is the bread which perishes, according to John 6.27, and so not worth laboring over? On this read Psalm 62.10 – If riches increase, set not your heart on them. How hard is that to do? If you think too hard, remember 1 John 5.3 and its line his commandments are not burdensome.


Week IV. Read Ecclesiastes 2.25 one last time noting again that word enjoyment. Where is true enjoyment found? On this read 2 Corinthians 4.17 noting an eternal weight of glory. On this eternality read Philippians 3.20 noting the line that our commonwealth is in heaven. Why does only the world to come bring us this true joy? On this read Revelation 21.4 noting the absence of tears, pain and death. But how is that possible? On this read Romans 6.9 about dominion, Hebrews 2.14 noting that Jesus destroys death in his crucifixion, and Revelation 5.6 about the heavenly slain Lamb. Together they explain why in Hebrews 9.28 we are to be eagerly waiting for this to happen. Do you agree?




Lutheran Scholar from Yale University


George A. Lindbeck




Fewer and fewer contemporary people are… in particular religious communities. This makes it hard for them to [accept]  objectively and immutably true [religious doctrine]. Perhaps only those among whom [the religious communities] chiefly recruit who combine unusual insecurity with     naiveté can easily manage to do this.”


[George A. Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine:

Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age (1984) p. 21.]




The Annunciation of Our Lord

On Saturday, March 24th, the Feast of the  Annunciation of Our Lord will be celebrated in the chapel at 11:45 am with Holy Eucharist.  At this liturgy we will honor the angel Gabriel's announcement to Saint Mary that she will be the Mother of Our Lord.  Prepare for this feast of the Church with the following prayer: 

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we, who have known the incarnation of your son, Jesus Christ, announced by an angel, may by his cross and Passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection:  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.       Amen.




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.


Matt Anderson, Dean Hard, Sam & Kevin Lawson, Kyra Stromberg, Pete Morrison, Mia Schorn, Aasha Sagmoen, Melanie Johnson, Marlis Ormiston, Eileen Nestoss, Emma Sagmoen, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Celia Balderston, The PLU Lecturers, Tabitha Anderson, Jordan Corbin, The Rev. Paul Smith, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Kevin Forquer, The Rev. David Wold, Ion & Galina Ceaicovschi, Nathan & Les Arkle, Chris & Margeen Boyer, Elizabeth Banek, Jeanne Pantone, Diana Walker, Jack & Sheila Feichtner, Joann Beckman, Bob Coburn, John Quinn, Lawrence Johnson, Deanne Heflin, Diane Hall, Julie & Diane Sauter, Joann & Mary Jane Lakie, Cheryl Atwood, Martin Nygaard, Jay Ford, Judy Earle, Susan Armbrewster.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Bob & Barbara Schorn, Chuck & Doris Prescott, C. J. Christian, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Mildred Nikula, Mary Goplerud.

     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 Lent.  Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.

     Pray for our sister congregation El Camino de Emmaus, in the Skagit Valley, that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints:  Thomas Aquinas, teacher, 1274; Joseph, guardian of our Lord.


A Treasury of Prayers


O Everlasting God, let this mind be in me which was also in Christ Jesus; that as he from his loftiness stooped to the death of the cross, so may I humble myself – believing, obeying, living and dying – that I may glorify you forever. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                    [For All the Saints I:946, altered]