This year May 29th is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord. On
this day we will hear again the words from Luther’s 1534 sermon
on Christ’s miraculous ascension into heaven, forty days after
his resurrection from the dead:
“David preaches beautifully and wonderfully about the
power and fruit of Christ’s ascension. Do you want to
know, he asks, why Christ ascended? I shall tell you. He
ascended on high in order to lead captivity captive
[Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8]. The words are concise. But
in these few words he comprehends heaven and earth and
that is in them…. But what sort of captivity… is
this? Indeed not like the captivity…. of the hangman….
[for] Christ has nothing to do with that…. His concern
is with everlasting captivity before God…. Sin that is
unfettered is aggressive and free-roving; it becomes my
master and takes me captive, not only terrifying and
depressing me, but also driving me from one act of
idolatry to the next…. [But] Christ’s power and might
over sin are now given to those who believe in him [to
help] them resist sin…. That means, you will still be
anguished by sin and evil lust, but no longer will they
be able to control you” (Luther’s
2:118, 119, 120, 121).
Hold on to that promise, for in it is power from on high
to help you fight depression down here on earth.
What a Relief to Read Luther
Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s
By Pastor Marshall
As we noted last month,
Kierkegaard loved Luther’s long 1522 sermon on Matthew 2:1-12
about the magi adoring the Christ child (Luther’s
Works 76:71-180). He believed it was “worth reading again
and again, especially the first part” (Kierkegaard’s
Toward the middle of that first part of the sermon, we read:
“[Let] natural philosophy go. If you do not know what power the
stars, stones, wood, animals, or any creatures possess – which
knowledge natural philosophy contemplates when it is doing its
best contemplation – then be satisfied with what your experience
and common sense teach you. It does not matter whether you know
all this or not. It is enough for you to know that fire is hot
and water cold and wet; that in summer different work must be
done than during winter; how to attend to your fields, animals,
home, and children. That is enough natural philosophy for you.
Then think about how you can learn Christ alone, who will show
you yourself, who you are, and what your ability is. In this way
you will know God and yourself, which no natural philosophy ever
learned, as Saint Paul teaches [in 1 Corinthians 2:8]” (LW
doubt, took these word to heart, since he later argued that
“it is an imperfection in earthly life that basically a
person cannot entirely, cannot thoroughly make himself
understandable to others; [but] on closer inspection one
will surely be convinced that it is a perfection, since it
suggests that every individual is religiously structured and
is to strive to understand himself in confidentiality with
May we learn from
Luther, as Kierkegaard did, that the only way to come to terms
with ourselves in any meaningful way, is through Christianity.
by Larraine King
Anthems glorious, hymns victorious, raise we to our paschal
King. Bonds are
broken, heaven’s open; sing, o ransomed mortals sing!
Christ is risen from death’s prison, healing in his wings
This is the third verse of hymn # 155, the last Easter hymn in
LBW. They start at
number 128 and make a wonderful Easter daily devotion.
There is something very unique about the marriage of text
and tune that inspires prayer and praise.
The first quarter giving pledge report shows that of the 45
members who pledged their giving for 2014, 19 members have
exceeded their pledge by $12,141; 17 have met their pledge; 9
members gave $2,070 short of their pledge; and 14 members, who
did not pledge, gave $4,885.
Statistically that is a net increase of $7,875 over
giving during the first quarter of 2013.
I am always a little reticent to celebrate, but these are
Thank you to everyone who so faithfully supports the work of the
church. That is
probably the best first quarter we have ever had.
That being said, while we have started strong, we must
keep at it if we are to finish strong.
So please remember to fulfill your pledged giving in the
months to come.
The treasurer’s report for the first quarter also shows
Our year to date incoming funds are $63,311 against a budget
projection of $61,626; total expenses of $61,064 against a
budget projection of $63,225.
The total yield on the endowment fund ($160,124 as of March 31,
2014) for the first quarter of 2014 is 2.06% or $3,237.
Some investments yielded between 3.6% and 9.5%, while
others were lower.
Differing economic conditions mean that the performance of the
investments will fluctuate.
Currently we have 63.1% invested in stock funds, 28.9%
invested in bond funds, and 6.5% in real estate funds with the
remaining 1.5% held in the cash fund.
While we like to encourage the membership to remember
First Lutheran in their estate planning, donations can be made
to the endowment fund at any time.
We regularly use part of the income from the fund for the
general operating budget of the church, which is the reason we
established the endowment fund in the first place.
New vinyl thermal double pane windows have been installed in the
parsonage thanks to the expertise of Alex Ceaicovschi.
He was able to get the windows for a great price!
He also had the help of Cristian Clemente, Andy Nelson,
and Ken Hovde, who gave their time and labor to complete this
project. These new
windows should make a real difference to the fuel efficiency of
the parsonage. The
other building project of note is the complete repainting of the
parish hall, courtesy of Tilden School.
The entire ceiling, beams, pillars, and walls have been
repainted, really sprucing up the room.
Stay tuned for other coming improvements.
A couple of events to consider supporting – the annual West
Seattle Food Bank auction, “Instruments of Change,” will be held
at the Hall at Fauntleroy on Friday May 2, 2014; and the “Taste
of West Seattle” will also be held at the Hall at Fauntleroy on
Thursday, May 15, 2014.
Both are great events and worthy of our support.
Even if you cannot attend, consider making a special
donation to help with the work they do in the community.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our food drive
for the Food Bank during the months of March and April.
Looks like we have come very close to meeting our goal of
800 items donated.
That is super. In
addition to the usual non-perishable items they also need baby
food, formula, diapers, pet food, and books for adults and
At this Easter season, let us remember how blessed we are that
our Savior loved us so much that he gave his life and redeemed
us from sin, death, and the devil.
Earth rejoices; all its
voices glory to the Father sing!
Praise the Savior, laud him ever, Son of God, our Lord
and King! Praise
the Spirit, through Christ’s merit life eternal see him bring!
Year to date (Jan-March)
I washed my
hands today. You probably did too. We all do it, repeatedly,
even in our homes, with a sink and running water, both hot and
cold water. That puts us in the very top percentages of wealthy
people in the world. I am reminded of how wealthy I am every
time I turn on a faucet─ any one of the many faucets in our
how many millions of people have to walk over 30 minutes to get
to a water source, wait in line, get their water and then bodily
lug it back to their dwelling. Often the source is miles away
from where they live. And even then it may not be healthy water.
So, turn on the water faucet and be reminded how wealthy you
17:7-10 reminds us that our obedience to God is dutifully to
love him and serve our neighbor, especially those in need. Here,
Jesus reminds us that, “[W]hen we have done all that is
commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done
what was our duty.’” Or as Alvin Reuter memorably put it,
“Lovers never ask, ‘What is the least I can do?’” May our
stewardship show what wealthy lovers we are!
Bob Baker, Church Council
Stressing Noah’s Drunkenness:
The New Aronofsky Movie
By Pastor Marshall
I agree with Richard Roeper that
this new movie on Noah, starring Russell Crowe, may well be one
of the most dazzling and unforgettable Biblical epics “ever put
on film.” And I also agree with Daren Ruecker, that next to the
recent Coen brothers film, “A Serious Man” (2009) on the Book of
Job, this Noah movie
is one of the best Biblical films ever. And so I highly
recommend it. (I was there on opening night at the Southcenter
Mall to see it.)
Filling in the Gaps.
At the center of this spectacular cinematic retelling of the
catastrophic flood in Genesis 6-9, are the stunning elaborations
of Genesis 9:21 and Genesis 6:4. Both of these verses are
underdeveloped in the Bible. The first has to do with Noah
falling down drunk and naked. The other has to do with the
Nephilim. By going
after these two verses, Aronofsky reveals his principle of
Biblical interpretation: Don’t change what’s on the pages of the
Bible, simply add to what’s missing from them. Aronofsky follows
this principle fairly well except in three cases.
First in Genesis 7:13-16, he
changes the text to allow only one daughter-in-law on to the ark
as well as an arch-evil stowaway, Tubal-cain (Genesis 4:22).
Secondly he excises Genesis 8:20 on the post-flood animal burnt
offerings – which would have linked Noah to his forefather Abel
and his animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:4). And third, he changes
the reason for the rainbow in Genesis 9:15 from God promising
never again to destroy the world by the waters of a flood, to
his affirming of Noah’s love for humanity and the renewed
propagation of the species (Genesis 9:7).
Noah’s Drunkenness & Uncertainty.
Aronofsky elaborates Genesis 9:21 on Noah’s drunkenness to
explain why it happened. He links it to a huge confrontation on
the ark between Noah and his family over whether or not God
wants humanity to have a second chance after the flood to live
better lives. After some time of uncertainty, Noah decides that
God doesn’t want people to have a second go at it. Everyone else
in his family disagrees with him.
This ambiguity or uncertainty
that Noah confronts is not in the Genesis account. But it is
found elsewhere in the Bible. Remember how confused little
Samuel was when God was talking to him (1 Samuel 3:1-10)?
Remember how mixed-up Jeremiah was over what God meant by
promising to protect him from his enemies (Jeremiah 1:18,
20:7-8). And remember Saint Paul’s words about seeing everything
only dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12)?
Once Noah is set clearly against
his family (Matthew 10:36), a life and death struggle ensues in
the ark over this disagreement – and Noah loses. As a result he
is alienated from his family which depresses him, and he also
figures that he had disobeyed God which throws him further into
despair. So he gets drunk the first chance he has – he who at
the beginning of the story was nothing but righteous (Genesis
6:8; Luther’s Works
2:54). This is the main plot of the movie. And in it the themes
of human wickedness and divine wrath and mercy are explored –
ideas which are well worth our attention. Luther also knew of
some such contest:
[The disobedient] charged Noah
with blasphemy and lies. “Stating that God is about to destroy
the whole world by the Flood,” they maintained, “is the same as
saying that God is not compassionate and not a father, but a
cruel tyrant. Noah, you are preaching the wrath of God! Has not
God promised deliverance from sin and death through the Seed of
the woman [Genesis 1:26]? God’s wrath will not swallow up the
entire earth. We are God’s people, and we have outstanding gifts
of God. God would never have granted us these gifts if He had
decided to proceed against us in such a hostile manner.” In this
manner the ungodly are wont to apply the promises to themselves,
and because of their reliance on them they disregard and laugh
at all threats (LW
This is what the fierce Tubal-cain
character does in this movie. But for Christians these themes
are not resolved until Christ dies for us (Romans 5:8-9) – but
for Aronofsky, as a lapsed Jew (Paul Brandeis Raushenbush,
“Noah: A Midrash by Darren Aronofsky,” and Christopher Orr,
“God’s Will vs. Man’s Will in Darren Aronofsky’s
The Atlantic, March
2014), he limits himself to what the Jewish tradition has to
Giants. In Aronofsky’s hands, the
Nephilim of Genesis
6:4 serve two purposes. First these otherworldly giants build
the huge ark – which in the Bible is left unexplained (Genesis
6:14, 22). And secondly they fight off the evil masses from
forcing their way on to the ark when the floods come – something
which the Bible doesn’t report on (Genesis 7:21-23). One of the
most grizzly scenes in the movie is of people fighting to make
it to the last mountain top as the waters of the flood
relentlessly and ferociously rise faster and faster. (The only
other place I’ve ever seen this depiction is in my family’s 1880
Noah is part of the dwindling good clan, descended from Seth
(Genesis 4:25-26, 5:3, 29) – who were vegetarians. For not until
after the flood did God allow his people to eat animals (Genesis
9:3). But those evil clans descended from Cain (Genesis 4:11,
15) were meat-eaters, in defiance of God’s law (Genesis 1:30),
according to Aronofsky. And so, again according to Aronofsky,
the reason the animals were preserved on the ark was because
they, unlike people, still acted righteously, as they did in the
Garden of Eden. Why God wants to save the animals (Genesis 6:19,
7:3) isn’t explained in the Bible. Aronofsky also has Noah
sedate the animals into hibernation so they don’t kill each
other on the trip in the ark. And Luther would seem to agree at
least in part: “[These] wild animals [all enter] the ark
miraculously [having] had a premonition of the wrath of God and
of the awful catastrophe that was about to take place” (LW
Geysers & Cloud Bursts.
When the flood waters break loose in the movie, water not only
pours down from the skies, but geysers shoot up from the ground,
left and right. Water is gushing forth from everywhere. I
thought this was made-up by Aronofsky until I reread in Genesis
7:11 and 8:2 about the “fountains of the great deep bursting
forth.” So I’m indebted to Aronofsky for pointing out what I had
missed over and over again after many readings of Genesis over
the last fifty some years!
While conservatives will complain about the divergences from the
Biblical account in this movie, liberals will not take kindly to
all of the realism and literalism in it: Noah is a real
historical person and not some fictional character. The ark is a
real boat in this movie. All the animals fit in the ark. And the
flood covers the entire world – and we get to see of picture of
it from outer space! I agree with Luther on this that the
Biblical account isn’t mythical or metaphorical but realistic
and literal. I also agree with him that from a strictly
rationalistic perspective, the entire story of Noah and the
flood seems “exceedingly stupid” (LW
2:71)! But from a faith perspective, that, of course, is not the
Monthly Home Bible Study, May
2014, Number 255
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).
Read Romans 5.12 noting
the correlation between the two words
sin. What does sin
have to do with death? On this read Romans 6.23 noting the word
wages. How is it that
we are paid with death for the sins we commit? On this read
Genesis 2.17 noting the words
die. Why is death the
punishment for sin? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.26 noting the
category last enemy.
What makes death our enemy and therefore a fitting punishment?
On this read John 11.35-36 noting the words
loved. How does love
bring about weeping? On this read Romans 13:10 noting the line
love does no wrong to the
neighbor. What does this imply? Well, when harm comes upon
those we love, we are upset – and death is the worst harm that
can come. So death is a robber that distresses those who lose
loved ones. So saying that death was our punishment when we
sinned was to dissuade us from sinning. Read also Hebrews 9.27
noting the correlation between death and
judgment. That also
makes death scary – for who wants a strict, permanent
punishment? We would like to put that off as long as possible.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Read again Romans 5.12
noting this time the word
spread. What causes sin to spread throughout the world? On
this read Ephesians 2.3 noting the phrase
by nature. How would
this spread sin around everywhere? On this read Jeremiah 13.23
noting the words change
and accustomed. So is
it impossible then for us to act contrary to our natures? What
then? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the line
I can will what is right
but I cannot do it. What does this mean? On this read John
8.34 noting the words
slave and sin. So
if we’re enslaved to sin by nature, is that what spreads it all
over? On this read Psalm 51.5 noting the words
sin. This means sin
is passed on genetically – it’s in our DNA. Was it always like
this? On this read Genesis 1.26 noting the line
in our image. How was
this godly nature destroyed by a simple act of disobedience?
Doesn’t nature trump action? On this read 1 Corinthians 5.6-8
noting the words little,
whole. So the
counter-intuitive can happen: a single misdeed can change us for
the worst and permanently.
Reread Romans 5.12 noting
again the same word
spread. Following up on last week, could a single good deed
then reverse our natures back to their original godly states? Or
are we stuck? On this read Romans 7.24 noting the words
me. This means that a
change is possible, but it isn’t something that
we can bring about.
On this read Colossians 1.13 noting the words
can’t we do this for ourselves? On this read Romans 5.9 noting
the words saved and
wrath. But still,
shouldn’t we be able to do this? On this read 1 Peter 1.18-19
noting the line without
blemish or spot. So because we are not pure, our actions
cannot reverse our nature, in the way that Christ’s actions can.
How does his purity managed this reversal? On this read 2
Corinthians 8.9 noting the interplay between
poor – that when the
rich becomes poor, it enriches its own newly acquired poverty,
so that it then can alter the un-enriched poor, that is, sinners
enslaved to sin. Do you buy into this? If so, why?
Read Romans 5.12 one last
time noting the two words
one man. Who is this man? On this read Romans 5.14 noting
the line the
transgression of Adam. Why did Adam’s sin affect us all? On
this reread this same verse noting the words
type. What made Adam
of this unusual type? On this read Genesis 2.17 noting the word
die, and 3.5 noting
the word knowing, and
3.7 noting the word naked.
How do these three words distinguish Adam as a different type of
person? First note that he was immortal, second that he was
obedient rather than being obsessed about knowledge, and third
that he was without any shame regarding his human nature. But
all of that is lost when he disobeys, is cursed, and expelled
from Paradise. Then death settles in, knowledge becomes an
obsession, and we suffer from shame over who we are. What does
this mean? On this read Ephesians 2.3 noting the line
children of wrath.
Read as well 2 Peter 2.14 noting the line
accursed children. On
how to become children of
God again, read John 1.12 and 3.5.
GOSPEL FOR ASIA 2013
A Year of Growth and Blessing
“Another year has reminded us once again of the Lord’s
faithfulness to His people.”
This is the theme of a brief address given by K.P.
Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia.
I took a half an hour and watched the video message
summarizing their work for 2013.
It was inspiring, frightening, and amazing, and quite an
education about an area of the world that is so in need of the
Gospel message as well as practical help with daily living.
One of the ways that
Gospel for Asia assists citizens of the subcontinent of Asia
is by building clean water wells.
Much disease and misery is normal in their villages
because there is not clean water to drink and no sanitation
also sponsor schools for young girls to teach them how to read
and write. Over 90%
of the women are illiterate.
Because illiteracy is so prevalent, they have 320 film
teams, made up of local resident volunteers who speak over 18
dialects, who go from village to village sharing the Gospel
through movies that they have produced in other areas of the
countries they serve.
There is also a ministry to the “untouchables,” the
lowest class in Indian society, where in the last 3 months of
2013, the local citizens established 9 new churches, averaging
100 members each.
Another part of the outreach of
Gospel for Asia to
the slum dwellers in India is the creation and staffing of
Mission Stations, where over 67,000 children have been enrolled.
There they are fed, clothed, and educated by a staff of
over 4000 local Christians.
They have graduated 2050 from these centers, hundreds of
whom go on to spread the Gospel in their home villages.
Over 9000 women’s fellowship centers have helped educate
more than 1.3 million local women about childcare and family
issues. There is
also practical assistance offered to the more than 46 million
These statistics are staggering.
Just considering the 90% of the women who can’t read or
write is more than overwhelming to me, not to mention all of the
children and marginalized people in their society who live on
the street and have nowhere to call home.
Add to this the threats of death, murder, imprisonment,
danger, and poverty that these pastors and missionary workers
face on a daily basis, and it is almost too much to think about.
But the focus of their work is on the hope of Christ – the only
hope is to know Jesus Christ and why he died for us – that is
what gives meaning to the work that
Gospel for Asia does,
and why they are able to accomplish what they do with joyful and
grateful hearts for all that is contributed to their work.
They especially appreciate the gifts of animals, as that
helps families, and they in turn share extra animals with their
neighbors and friends, who then widen the circle, and share with
their neighbors and friends, in an ever enlarging circle.
The other program that is helpful is the purchasing of
The recipients of these machines are given lessons on garment
construction and learn how to make clothes for themselves, their
families, and their friends.
This then can grow into a small business that helps them
earn money to live.
So keep Gospel for Asia
and the people they serve in your prayers.
Keep donating money to this work.
And when there is another bake sale to raise money to buy
animals for the local people, know that any amount you give
helps save lives and spread the Gospel!
─Larraine King, Extended Ministries
With the Mind:
Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, May 24th
book for May is American
Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile (2009), by Richard John
Neuhaus (1936-2009), former editor of
First Things. This
book is about living out the Christian life in the USA. At the
heart of his proposal is this contrast: “America is our
homeland, and, as the prophet Jeremiah says, in its welfare is
our welfare [29:7]. America is also – and history testifies that
this is too easily forgotten – a foreign country. Like every
political configuration of the earthly city, America, too, is
Babylon. It is, for better and worse, the place of our
pilgrimage through time toward home. Until the human pilgrimage
reaches that destination, which I expect is no time soon, we
cannot help but, through our tears, sing the songs of Zion is a
foreign land” (p. 26).
A copy of this significant book is in the church library. If you
would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor
Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss this
matter of living out our Christian life in less than favorable
as a Lutheran minister on March 21, 2014, the fifth
generation in a row of Hinderlie pastors. He will be
serving at Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Milnor,
North Dakota. Peter's father, John, was Pastor Donald
Hinderlie’s (our 11th pastor, 1959-1973) oldest son.
suggested donation for May is bar soap.
SUMMER HYMN SCHOOL
is scheduled for Wednesday through Friday, June 25th
through the 27th.
Mark your calendars and watch for updates.
needs bath towels.
We are still collecting them this month.
Donations can be left at the office.
WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE’S
“Taste of West Seattle”,
Thursday, May 15th at
the Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave. SW, from
Tickets can be purchased online.
Hearing Martin Luther’s Easter
Sermons. At our
Midweek Eucharist and Vespers on Wednesdays, during the season
of Easter, selections from Luther’s Easter sermons will be
included. In these sermons there is much to enrich our
celebration of Easter, so that the great fifty days of the
season may become a time of faith renewal.
If you are unable to attend on Wednesdays, but would still like
to read over these selections, they are available through the
I think this student paper by one of our members is well worth
your attention. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have.
The West Seattle Helpline:
My Senior Project at
What is poverty, who is responsible for it and how can
individuals help on a local level to get rid of it?
Poverty, by definition, is the opposite of
It is the inability to satisfy one's basic needs because one
lacks income to buy services or from lack of access to services.
Which people are poor? Racial and ethnic minorities, women,
children, and families headed by single women are particularly
vulnerable to poverty and
Also people with disabilities have a tendency to be poor.
According to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, more than 46
million people today in America are living below the poverty
line – far more than the size of our largest state.
Who is responsible for poverty? Basic ethical issues behind this
debate continue unsettled. Is society responsible for the
well-being of the poor? If so, at what cost to the rest of us?
Are the poor to be held in any way responsible for themselves?
How far must poverty go before society is morally bound to act
to help them?
But should the government be responsible for helping poor
As a result of trying to answer these difficult questions, in
addition to ever changing attitudes towards poverty, many
methods have been tried to solve this social crisis. From the
early part of the 16th century to the modern day, poverty laws
passed by Parliament in England changed from a system of
punishment (being sent to the poor house because you’re poor),
to a system of governmental support and protection. Also during
this time economic systems changed from the
style economy to the early days of
capitalism. Throughout this time frame, authorities asked such
questions as, "Who exactly should benefit from laws that are
passed?" and "Who is responsible for the care of people in
And others were asking if the Christian church and other
religious organizations should also be responsible for helping
the poor according to governmental principles. I don’t think so
because our government has no right to dictate how a church
should help people, and in the US we also have laws separating
church from state. The First Amendment to the US Constitution
states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof..." If a church were to support a charitable
organization it should be free to follow its own guidelines laid
out in the Bible:
In the story of Jesus and the rich young man, the young ruler's
wealth makes it hard for him to follow Jesus and attain the
Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus comments on the young man's difficulty:
“How hard it is for the rich to
enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to
enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 19:23-27)
Furthermore, Saint Mary sings that God has “shown the might of
his arm: and has scattered the proud, in the conceit of their
hearts. He has pulled down the mighty from their thrones, and
exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich has sent empty away. (Luke 1:51-53)
So how is poverty approached in the US today? In the book by
Alice O’Conner, Poverty
Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in
Twentieth-Century U. S. History (2002), I learned that
studying social problems will lead to a solution has long been a
belief in America. Nowhere is this clearer than when it comes to
solving the poverty problem.
For well over a century, social scholars have studied poor
people in the hopes of creating a knowledge base for informed
social action. Frustrated by what they call a contradiction of
“poverty amidst plenty,” social scientists often charge that
politics and too much thinking are to blame. Unfortunately all
of this historical
analysis to better understand the political, ideological,
institutional, and cultural reading don’t do a lot to relieve
What it takes is action. Welfare programs available in the
United States include: Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental
Security Income (SSI), Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Head
Start, Work Study, and Medicare.
Social Security is also considered one of the welfare programs
in the U.S. Two programs that I’ve seen work at school are FAFSA
and the Free or Reduced Lunch Program.
In 2009 we saw the largest yearly increase in the US poverty
rate since the US Government began calculating poverty figures
back in 1959 when poverty rate was at 33%! In 2009 they brought
about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Since its
enactment in February of 2009, $778.6 billion has been paid out:
To fight hunger Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women,
Infants, and Children (WIC);
Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to keep people in their homes
or rapidly re-house them;
The Act increases funding for the Community Services Block Grant
by $1 billion;
The Act increases the Weatherization Assistance Program by $5
billion to help low income families save on their energy;
The Act increases job training funds;
The Act provides increased income support for Unemployment
Insurance eligibility, Social Security and Supplemental Security
Income and new resources for the Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) program; and,
The Act provides tax breaks to working families.
So is the state, then, finally the one responsible? Washington
State has a poverty rate that is 2% less than the national
average of 11.5 %. The national average rose from 14.3 percent
in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010.
Department of Social and Health
oversees the social services provided to the citizens of
But what about local neighborhoods and their communities – how
can they help? The West Seattle Helpline started in 1989 with
one man’s vision – Mr. Dick Rhodes (1926-2003). His business of
operating the exquisite Queen Anne Thriftway grocery store,
daily reminded him that people were in need. In 1988 he got
together with a few people in the West Seattle Branch of the
Seattle Public Library, and pledged some money to start the
Since its opening on April 19,1989, the West Seattle Helpline
has been funded by many individuals, businesses, and churches
within West Seattle. They have only one paid employee and are
staffed primarily by a corps of volunteers who care about the
needs of their neighbors. The last five years they have been
helping out over 3,000 clients yearly – when their greatly
expanded clothing bank is taken into account.
Since 1983 the West Seattle Food Bank had been in operation in a
couple of different locations. On May 1, 2007, they started
distributing food from their new offices custom built for their
operations on the corner of 35th and Morgan Street. Shortly
thereafter the Helpline moved their offices into the same
building. The West Seattle Helpline serves the community by
distributing information, money and clothes to those working
families who have fallen behind on their bills.
What about individuals? Well, in my case, for my senior project,
I am studying the West Seattle Helpline. I will meet with my
mentor, Pastor Ron Marshall, the Helpline executive director,
Tara Luckie, and my high school counselor, Jol Raymond. Pastor
Marshall is one of the founders of the Helpline and has been on
its board for over twenty years. He’s also finishing up a book
on the history of the West Seattle Food Bank.
I will also make a poster and write my outline for my report,
and then finish it up in written form. My plan is to put in over
25 hours of volunteer time with the Helpline. I will also be
interviewing people who work in the field. I have been curious
about poverty and this report will help be understand it better.
I also hope my report will increase awareness of the problem of
poverty in our community. I hope that my peers at school who
need assistance will learn about how to get help with paying
their bills and getting clothing from the Helpline.
Poverty Knowledge: Social
Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth Century
(edited by the Rev. Ronald F.
OF OUR LORD
This great feast of the Easter Season, the Ascension of Our
Lord, follows Easter by 40 days.
On Thursday, May
the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:45 am in the chapel.
Study Luke 24:50:
he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he
blessed them. While
he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up
Holy Eucharist will be celebrated on the Feast of the Holy
Visitation, Saturday, May 31st, in the chapel at 11:45 am.
this holy day we give thanks to God for the blessed words
between Saint Mary and Saint Elizabeth.
We also give thanks for the honor paid Saint Mary by the
still unborn Saint John the Baptist, when he moved in the womb
of his mother, Saint Elizabeth.
prepare for this festival, study Luke 1:39-47 and Isaiah 11:1-5.
"Thank you all for
your generous donations at the bake sale on March 30th! You made
it a huge success for the Sunday School students. You gave an
amazing $308 so the students may begin to plan some big animal
purchases to help families and support the missionaries of
Gospel for Asia. We hope you enjoyed the treats! It was great
fun to see such wonderful support.
Gina Allen, Education Chair, Church Council
Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters through baptism.
Mariann Petersen, Nora Vanhala, Natalie Nesvig, Mary Goplerud,
Holly Petersen, Michael Nestoss, Donna Apman, Cynthia Natiello,
Leah Baker, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright &
Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Luke
Bowen, Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, The Jones Family, Kyle
Bogie, Anna & John Bertelsen, Kurt & Jenny Alfano, Robin
Kaufman, Rosita & Jim Moe, Dean Herrick, Asha Sagmoen, Dano,
Karen & W. Erick, The McGinnis Family, Dave & Sheri Wheeler,
Sandy & Ron Weiss, Mark Sponheim, Sandee, Christine & Kristophor
Marshall, Delores Grenier, Isabella Wain, Brian Mangan, Ginny
for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:
Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, Donna Apman, Pat Hansen, C.
J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Louis Koser, Anelma Meeks, Olive
Morrison, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor,
Vivian Wheeler, Peggy Wright.
for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:
Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their
hearts: Pray for CJ
Christian and family on the death of her son, Carey Christian.
A service is planned for Saturday, May 3rd, at 11:00 am,
in the Nave.
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 May.
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:
St. Philip and St. James, Apostles; Monica, mother of Augustine,
387; and John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, 1690.
A Treasury of Prayers
Dear God, I
know you are infinitely holy and overflowing in all perfection;
and so I should love you. I know that in love to me, lost in
sin, you sent your only Son Jesus Christ, to suffer death on the
cross that I might rise in glory. Bless me now, O God, that your
love may be the motive of all that I do. In Jesus’ name I pray.
[For All the Saints (ALPB,
1994-1996) 1:44, altered]