November 2013


Kierkegaard the Lutheran


Celebrating the Real Church


Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) learned from Martin Luther (1483-1546) to beware of the fatal vice of popularity (Luther’s Works 27:99) and to struggle against it (Kierkegaard’s Journals 4:4379). The best way for that to happen in the church is to keep it small and despised (LW 2:37; 4:6, 237; 12:255; 18:101; 21:212, 263). But that doesn’t mean being rude or crude. It means instead protecting and promoting what the Lutheran Confessions call the repulsive [abhorreat] message of Christianity (The Book of Concord, ed. Tappert, p. 139).


    Kierkegaard therefore writes that “the true Church [is] a despised little flock [and] always… marked by suffering” and persecution (JP 4:4379). And he spent his life writing about this for the educated and prosperous – whom the Lord warned were hard nuts to crack (Luke 18:25; Matthew 11:25). Since all of us are more or less in that boat, may we learn to cherish Kierkegaard’s writings so we will rejoice all the more in the real church on his bicentennial – at our celebration of it on November 17. Be sure to bring your family and friends.
                                               Pastor Marshall



What a Relief to Read Luther


Kierkegaard’s Love for Luther’s Sermons


By Pastor Marshall


Kierkegaard was Luther’s best student – reading his sermons diligently. “[What] a relief [it is] to read Luther,” he says (JP 3:2464). That’s a large part of why Kierkegaard is dear to me – and why all Lutherans everywhere should also care about him.

     Kierkegaard loved Luther’s sermon on the royal wedding in Matthew 22:1-14. In it Luther says that the Gospel is like “a truly joyous wedding celebration where Christ is the bridegroom and the Christian church, the bride…. Beautifully, magnificently the Lord portrays… the gospel, as a wedding, in order winsomely to urge and coax us to come to him in his kingdom, to accept his gospel,…. [as] the choicest of treasures and the greatest joy on earth” (Luther’s House Postils, 3:107).

     But does that work? Well no, for “original sin has so blinded us,… that we would rather listen to the preaching of lies than to the preaching of Christ,” Luther says. We are “barely willing to… tolerate the gospel” – and when it comes to having it written “in our hearts,…. that’s the last thing of all which the world is willing to do” (Luther’s House Postils, 3:111, 95).

     On this Kierkegaard exclaims: “To my great joy I read in Luther [that when it comes to] everyone for himself [believing] that he… belongs to Christ,… then everything comes to a halt. Praise God for Luther! He is always a good help against the almost insanely inflated dogmatic and objective conceitedness which, by going further, abolishes Christianity” (Kierkegaard’s Journals 4:4549). And that happens when we suppose that believing in Christ is enough, and that changing our lives by following him is of no use. May we with Kierkegaard also find relief in Luther’s words.


MOST OF WHAT IS WRITTEN ON KIERKEGAARD TODAY is for the college classroom and academic conferences. The guiding question of this book is that if Kierkegaard’s words about Christianity are true, how do they change the way we learn and practice the Christian faith today? This book is an answer to that question. It does not enter into an extended critical discussion over the truth of Kierkegaard’s ideas. Instead it just believes what Kierkegaard said and runs with it. It does that by showing how his ideas change our understanding of Christian identity, suffering and illness, worship and preaching, the Bible, baptism, prayer, marriage and divorce, and the Christian minister. Interspersed are many quotations from Martin Luther, whose thought significantly shaped Kierkegaard’s. At the end of the book is a collection of sermons to show how all of this can be preached in the church.

     What Kierkegaard for the Church adds to our understanding of Kierkegaard is the place of the church in his thought. Because of his criticisms of the Danish state church and his stress on the need for the single individual to appropriate Christian teachings, it could be imagined that he rejected the church. But that would be to throw the baby out with the bath. The fact is that Kierkegaard remained a loyal son of the church even while he attacked it. And he did this only so he could strengthen what he loved.

     This remarkable treasure of essays and sermons, written by Pastor Marshall, is available in the lounge for a $25 donation to First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  Buy one at the Kierkegaard Bicentennial Celebration on Sunday, November 17th and then have it signed by Pastor Marshall.  Or if you are ahead of the game and already bought yours like so many have – don’t forget to bring it that day to be signed. 


PRESIDENT'S Larraine King

Let all things living, a song of thanksgiving to God the creator triumphantly raise, who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, who still guides us on to the end of our days…… Giving thanks is our job.  It is what we are to do every moment of our lives – a tall order!   And it is part of our worship to offer praise and thanksgiving.  Worship is about giving glory to God; a time to remember what our Lord has done for us, not to focus on our individual needs.  Worship is a group activity, and prayers and praise that are offered at our church services are collective experiences.  Their purpose is to bless those in attendance, to heal those in need, to bring peace and solutions to problems that are outside our personal space.  No doubt we will each be blessed, comforted, and inspired as we “worship” with this in mind.   At my high school baccalaureate  many years ago, I still remember the point of the presenter’s message – God first, others second, I’m third.  Love God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.  

     After getting off to a slow start financially in September, we finished the month strong, thanks to you, our faithful and committed members and friends.  Regular generous giving makes all the difference to the fiscal health of the church.  The Exterior Restoration Loan, secured over 8 years ago to cover the cost of repairing the curtain walls of the parish house, will paid off in about 18 months.  That is cause for celebration, since we started with an outstanding balance of $100,000 and as of September 30, 2013 it is down to $23,146.72, and the balance will shrink by over $1,000 a month until it is paid off. 

     The third quarter pledge report showed that 13 members exceeded their pledge by over $6,000; 14 members met their pledge; 14 members are behind their pledged giving by over $5,000; and 19 members/friends who didn’t pledge gave $22,481 so far this year.  The Endowment Fund, with all investments showing gains, stands at a balance of $149,172.90 as of the end of September.  Outstanding! 

     Other Council news – we will be establishing a Verger Guild, to support and augment the Acolyte Guild.  It will be comprised of men and women from the parish who attend a four week class teaching about the history of the Office of Verger, details and skills of the work, and practice of these responsibilities.  Our Deacon, Dean Hard will be providing us with more information. 

     The preparations for the St. Nicholas Faire are on the home

stretch.  The rest and success of the event is now up to you. COME – INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY – DONATE!!!  And remember that all money raised goes directly to the West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline.

      I close with the last verse of Hymn 557,

We too should be voicing, our love and rejoicing; with glad adoration a song let us raise, till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:  “To God in the highest, hosanna and praise!”






Stewardship 2013


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

Budget                            $19,046                          $177,782

Received                         $22,705                          $186,130











Thanksgiving: Changing Our Hearts

Christmas music will not play in my car or my house until after the last piece of Thanksgiving pie is eaten. I will not decorate the house with garland, I will not pull my fake Christmas tree out of the basement, and I will not trade my pumpkin spice drinks for eggnog libations, until the last piece of pie is eaten… (Truthfully, I will never trade pumpkin spice for eggnog, but that is beside the point.) I will, however, start thinking about Christmas shopping. I will think about what to get all of my siblings back in Virginia, and I will bring myself to tears, at least once, trying to figure out what to get Matt for Christmas. When all is said and done, the gifts will likely be forgotten in a matter of weeks and Matt will still love me, even if (when) I left his new wool sweater in the dryer. And for some reason, year after year, I spend time and money in a similar, almost careless fashion hoping to bring just a little bit of joy to the lives of people I hold near and dear to my heart.

It gives me reason to pause and think though, why am I so selfish about my time and money the rest of the year? While rushing around this holiday season, I will endeavor to pause, not only to reflect on all the blessings God continually provides my family and me, but to also ask him to change my heart to want to give more the whole year through. Whatever the talent to be shared or tithe to be gifted, may we take a moment each day to pray that God changes our hearts and provides us the strength to give, even just a little more and always with a loving heart. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!

                                                                                                                                  Ali Richardson, Church Council



Hunger Immortal: The First Thirty Years

of the West Seattle Food Bank, 1983-2013


This is the title of Pastor Marshall’s new book celebrating the first thirty years of the West Seattle Food Bank. And here’s a little test for you regarding his book:

Any idea what’s behind the title?

Or who Mary Alyce Miller is and why she is significant? 

How about who founded the West Seattle Food Bank and why it was established?  

Who sacrificed their lives for the food bank?

Do you know who is responsible for the design of the cover and the layout of the book? 

What does the comedian Robin Williams have to do with our food bank?

And any ideas why we should read this book? 

All these questions are answered in the book.  It reads a bit like an adventure story – lots of human interest, activity, and heartbreak.  But better yet, it is a true story and it took place right here in our neighborhood.  Because of many active volunteers and concerned citizens, we have in our midst an amazing facility and organization.   Buy the book.  Donate $30 to the West Seattle Food Bank.  Be informed about the work they do.  Challenge yourself to volunteer to help in our community.  Give food regularly to the Food Bank.  Donate money year round to help carry out their mission.  You will not be sorry.  In fact, you will be blessed by the experience.

-The Extended Ministries Committee 




Sunday, December 8th, from 4pm to 7pm

On Sunday, December 8, 2013, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle will celebrate St. Nicholas Day by hosting a “Faire” fundraiser to benefit our local West Seattle service organizations, the Food Bank and the Helpline.  Since St. Nicholas was known for his acts of charity, it is fitting that we sponsor this fundraiser on his saint’s day.

We will be serving beverages and goodies, and we will again have a selection of home baked holiday and Scandinavian sweets which you can purchase. For a small donation, we will have a wine toss, where you can win a bottle(s) of wine if your aim is on target, PLUS wine tasting sponsored by Maryhill Winery (and a portion the cost of any bottles of wine you purchase from Maryhill will be also donated to the Helpline and Foodbank).  Pastor Marshall’s brother, Rich Marshall, will again be here representing the winery. There will also be a silent auction where you can bid on and purchase themed baskets that are designed to make great gifts for your friends and family.  Again, all of the proceeds will be given directly to the Food Bank and Helpline.

As we have done in previous years, admission to the St. Nicholas Faire will be $5 per person or $15 per family if you donate a non perishable food item for every member of your party.  If you do not bring a “canned” food donation, it will cost $10 per person or $25 per family.  All monies collected will be donated directly to the Food Bank and Helpline.


For this to be a success we need assistance from all of you by volunteering to help at the Faire, and to bake homemade taste treats to sell at the Faire.  We will also need donations of apple cider, and bottles of wine valued at $10, $20, and above, as prizes for the wine toss.  The sign up sheets are posted on the bulletin board outside The Library.  Call Larraine King (206-937-6740) if you have any questions.

So we hope that you will find a way to help us make the 5th St. Nicholas Faire as successful and as enjoyable as the first four years.  Plan to come and bring family and friends, have a great time, and at the same time you will be supporting our deserving Extended Ministries.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!

For this to be a success we need assistance from all of you by volunteering to help at the Faire, and to bake homemade taste treats to sell at the Faire.  We will also need donations of apple cider, and bottles of wine valued at $10, $20, and above, as prizes for the wine toss.  The sign up sheets are posted on the bulletin board outside The Library.  Call Larraine King (206-937-6740) if you have any questions.

So we hope that you will find a way to help us make the 5th St. Nicholas Faire as successful and as enjoyable as the first four years.  Plan to come and bring family and friends, have a great time, and at the same time you will be supporting our deserving Extended Ministries.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!

                                                            -Larraine King



X    All Saints’ X


Join us this year on All Saints’ Day, Friday, November 1st, for our Columbarium Liturgy.  Plan to attend this solemn occasion at 11:45 am in the chapel. 


On Sunday, November 3rd come celebrate All Saints’ Sunday:

8:00 am Holy Eucharist

10:30 am Festival Eucharist




Kierkegaard Bicentennial


November 17, 2013


9:00 am    Lecture:  Pastor Marshall on

                   Kierkegaard’s Failed Engagement

10:25 am Bach Cantata, “Aria from BWV 183”

                   Ruth Marshall, cello

                   Christopher Freeze, tenor

                   Andrew King, organ

10:30 am Holy Eucharist

                    Carl Schalk Hymn

                    Josh Deutsch Fugue

                        Ruth Marshall, cello

                        Christopher Freeze, tenor

11:45 am Dedication of Kierkegaard Statue

                    Dana Gioia Poem ($25)

12 pm Reception

                    Nordiska Dancers

                    Michael Peich Broadside of Gioia Poem

                    Book Signing:  Pastor Marshall, Kierkegaard for the Church ($25)

                    Lutheran Forum, Kierkegaard Issue

                    Scandinavian Pastries

                    Commemorative Coffee Mugs ($5)

Save this date and make plans to attend – inviting your family and friends!  


The Office of verger:

A New Program


A New Opportunity



We worship in the ancient, historical patterns of Christians that have been handed down through the centuries.  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper at both of our Sunday morning liturgies every week.  This is the way Christ wanted us to remember him on the Lord’s Day.

    Our prayer together is always liturgical, following the historical forms of the church.  We read Holy Scriptures as they are appointed in the Lectionary.  The sermon explains those readings in terms of Law and Gospel.  In this we rely on Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) understanding of Christ’s mission and life. 

    Our hymns reinforce the scriptures read, proclaimed and prayed in our worship.  This supports the solemnity of our praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Vestments and traditional rituals also contribute to the richness of worship.  All our corporate worship is offered within the consecrated walls of our church which is deemed God’s holy and sacred house of prayer.


NEW PROGRAM: The Office of verger

At their October meeting the Church Council established a worship assistants guild to be made up of men and women who would be instructed in how to perform a series of liturgical acts as prescribed by historical protocol and The Manual on the Liturgy – Lutheran Book of Worship, Philip H. Peatteicher and Carlos R. Messerli; Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1979. 

     This group would be known by the historic title of Verger. 


Short History

The office of verger has its roots in the monasteries of Europe during the middle ages, sharing certain similarities with the minor orders of porter and acolyte.  Historically, vergers were responsible for the order and upkeep of the house of worship including the care of the church building, the furnishings and sacred relics, preparations for the liturgies, conduct of the laity and the burial of the dead. 

     Historic records show vergers as early as the 12th century.  This practice eventually spread beyond the walls of the monasteries and into the churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. 

     Today the Office of Verger continues to function throughout Europe and Canada.  In America there are numerous churches and cathedrals that have vergers.  In other denominations the work of the verger has been dispersed among a variety of service groups (i.e.) acolytes, altar guilds, ushers and maintenance staff.


Vergers at First Lutheran Church

A verger’s role will be ceremonial only.  Their function will be to support and augment the acolyte guild whenever needed, particularly at major festivals and other liturgical celebrations when a larger number of assistants are needed.  It is important to state here that it is not our intent to replace the acolytes in their duties, only to augment the acolyte guild whenever needed. 



To be a member of this guild will require a four (4) week period of instruction.  The work of the verger will include:  crucifer, torchbearer, thurifer, bookbearer, lighting candles, assisting with communion distribution, receiving the offering, and ceremonial escort.  These responsibilities DO NOT include that of lector or worship leader, that work will still be assigned to the deacon or subdeacon. The verger, like the acolyte, will serve under the direction of the deacon.



Vergers will be vested in cassock and cotta. 


Why Vergers

Over the years the number of acolytes available to serve has varied greatly.  The current number of acolytes to draw from is small, limiting us as to what we can do for major celebrations when many are needed, for example Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, St. Mary’s and All Saints.  Having a group of men and women able to perform a variety of liturgical acts will enable us to function at full capacity for all occasions.

     First Lutheran Church of West Seattle has a long tradition of worship using the historic liturgical forms of the church.  Establishing the Office of Verger enables us to continue in that

 long tradition of supporting the solemnity of our praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by contributing to the richness of our worship. 



If you are interested and would like to participate in this program please call the church office (935-6530) and sign up.  Instruction will begin as soon as possible.  We would like to use the vergers during the Christmas Season. 

     If you have any questions please call the church office and ask for Dean. 



Hebrews 13.16

Monthly Home Bible Study, November 2013, Number 249

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).


We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12).


Week I. Read Hebrews 13.16 noting the phrase such sacrifices. What are these? On this read the same verse noting the word share. Why is sharing a sacrifice and not something we can do easily? On this read Luke 12.18 noting the word store. Why do we feel that we need to stock-pile goods for ourselves when we already have enough? On this read Exodus 16.19-21 noting the words no, leave, morning, foul and angry. Could it be that we don’t trust that God will provide for us in the days ahead? If so, why do we think that way? On this read Deuteronomy 8.17 noting the words my, power, might, gotten and wealth. Why don’t we readily give the credit to God? On this read Psalm 42.10 noting the question Where is your God? So if God can’t be seen, does that mean he doesn’t exist? Perhaps for unbelief, but not for faith. On this see Hebrews 11.1 noting the line that faith is the conviction of things not seen. Read also 2 Corinthians 4.18 noting again the word unseen. Is the invisibility of God a problem for you? If so, how so?


Week II. Read again Hebrews 13.16 noting the word neglect. Why would a believer be negligent with this sharing? On this read Romans 7.19 noting the words want and do, good and evil. Does that mean we are hopelessly disabled by our sinfulness? On this read 1 John 5.2-5 noting the words obey, keep, burdensome, victory, overcome and faith. And how does faith help us ward off this negligence? On this read John 1.12-13 noting the sequence from belief to being children of God. How does faith bring this about? On this read 2 Corinthians 5.14-17 noting the words control, live, human, creation, old and new. What does this new creation look like? On this read Galatians 2.20 noting the words crucified, no, I and me. What’s the result of this new life? On this read Philippians 4.11-13 noting the words learned, content, do and all. In this new life, how do we assess the good things we are able finally to do? On this read 1 Corinthians 1.30 noting the words God, made, Jesus, our and righteousness. But how can this be if we are the ones actually doing the good deeds? On this read John 15.5 noting the image of the vine and the dependent branches. Are you convinced? Explain.


Week III. Reread Hebrews 13.16 noting this time the phrase pleasing to God. Why is God pleased if we make sacrifices in order to share with others? On this read Matthew 22.36-40 noting the words great, law, love, God, neighbor, all and depends. What does it mean that we are not to be focused on ourselves in this twofold admonition? On this read Luke 9.23 noting the words deny, daily and follow. Why are we factored out like this? On this read John 3.19 noting the words judgment, loved, darkness and evil. How fixed is this judgment against us? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the words nothing, dwells and good. So if it is difficult for us to sacrifice in order to share with others, are we not to worry – since we don’t matter? How does that make you feel? Explain.


Week IV. Read Hebrews 13.16 one last time noting the word share. What are we to share with others? On this read Luke 3.11 noting the words coats and food. What would prevent one from sharing food and clothes? On this read Matthew 6.25 noting the word anxious. What’s the cause of this anxiety? On this read Matthew 6.19 noting the words rust and consume, thieves and steal. How is one to get over this fear? On this read Luke 12.15 noting the words life, consists and possessions. What then does life consist in? On this read Luke 12.21 noting the expression rich toward God. But what is that like? On this read Galatians 5.22-23 noting the fruit of the Spirit. What is this fruit? On this read Matthew 6.20 noting the line treasures in heaven. Why is this fruit so valuable? On the fruit of faithfulness, read Romans 3.25 noting the phrase received by faith. See also Romans 5.1 and the phrase justified by faith. Because such faith in Christ opens up heaven for the believer, it is valuable. All the rest of the fruit of the Spirit reinforces faith and so is valuable for the same reason. Do you agree? Why or why not?




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Vanessa Ormiston, Evelyn Coy, Gerry Moulton, Leah Baker, Florence Jenkins, Jim Coile, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Ion Ceaicovschi, Cameron Lim, Luke Bowen, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, Mary Lou Jensen, Tabitha Anderson, Max Richardson, Gloria Belarde, Dee Grenier, Lou & Lori Landino, Richard Uhler, The Jones Family, Ginny Mitchell, The Khamiss Family, Kirsten Christensen, Kyle Bogie, Anna & John Bertelsen, For the Schools (students & parents, teachers & staff), Kurt & Jenny Alfano, Robin Kaufman, Eva Marshall, Kimberly Lasson-Singh, Kevin Lawson, Tannah Moe, Dean Herrick, Jillian Wasielewski, Gift of Grace Lutheran Church. 

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

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Brian Kirby Unti, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called.

     Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship.  Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances.  Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.

     Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this November.  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:  Saint Andrew, the Apostle.


A Treasury of Prayers


O God, source of life and strength, you have given us all a life of high vocation, and your own breathing in our hearts has inspired us. Let the time past suffice for going my own way, and consecrate me now that I may pursue your will all the remaining days of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                                                                [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., III:1110, altered]