October 2012

Reformation as Renewal


Trading Self-Reliance for Trust in Christ


October 28th is Reformation Sunday – the day when we thank God for Martin Luther’s reforming work in the church in Germany, almost 500 years ago now.


    For us this means that we reform the church from within – by renewing our trust in God. The temptation is always to trust in ourselves rather than in God (Luke 18:9). That’s because it’s too difficult to believe that we can do nothing without Christ (John 15:5).

    But  what is it that Christ provides for us that we can’t do without? It is the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life (John 20:23, 14:19). Without that double gift, despair would engulf us and dangerously enfeeble us. Guilt and fear would  weigh down on us heavily. Unaddressed, they would keep us from taking advantage of our days and distort the way we look at everything. Deep, abiding joy – such as the world cannot give – would be gone. Power to endure traumas and make the best of every situation would be missing. And we would end up squandering both time and eternity.


    So honor the Reformation by praying for the renewal of your faith and that of everyone in the church throughout the world (Luke 11:13). Pray that we may all move ever closer to trusting fully in Christ and further and further away from trusting in ourselves.


                                                                      Pastor Marshall




PRESIDENT'S REPORT.... by Matthew Kahn

With the coming of the brisk autumn air and the changing of the October leaves, we will gather to celebrate the glorious Reformation. We will rejoice in the beginning of our part of Christianity because on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his, “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”.  We are truly blessed by God to have Martin Luther.  Yet he wasn’t the only one who was, as it might have seemed at the time, to be tilting at windmills.  There were other people who previously tried to reform the church. People like John Wycliffe or the Czech, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake a century before Luther’s reformation. 

    What made Luther’s ecclesiastical challenge different were the leaders outside the clergy that were called to serve the cause.  People like John the Steadfast, John Fredrick I of Saxony, Philip I Landgrave of Hesse, all noble protectors of Luther. There was Christoph von Scheurl who did the printing and distribution of the “95 Theses” in the German language to better spread the ideas. Finally, Fredrick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, who not only founded the  University Wittenberg but also used his influence to make sure Luther did not end up like Jan Hus.  This Reformation anniversary we must remember to thank God for their contributions! 

    The preface to the Book of Concord is signed by dozens of Dukes, Mayors, Barons, and whole city councils; all lay persons devoted to the Reformation.  Since the beginning it has been critical that parishioners step forward to help lead our great Church. It was important in the 1500s and it is the same today.  Before we know it we will be selecting new church council members, a new president and officers.  In the coming months I pray that everyone listens to the Spirit’s promptings to serve His Church in some capacity so that we may continue to spread His Word.

    First Lutheran Church of West Seattle is on a better financial footing than it was 12 months ago. There were times last year where we were concerned about being $10,000 short of giving. This year, while still short of our financial goals, the total underage is more a manageable $4,600. The Total General Budget Income was $154,011 as compared to a budget of $158,641 for the year.  Most of this year’s shortfall was from the month of August, in which we generally see a decline of giving. Total General Budget Income for August was $15,100.64 as compared to $18,413, or a shortfall of $3,300 from budget projections.  An important number is the cash on hand at the end of the month. In July it was $5,264 but in August is dwindled down to $388.28. It was a good thing we had a small cushion in July to cover our bills. The overall message is: while we are in a better financial position now than we were 12 months ago we cannot afford falling any more behind this autumn. 

    Finally, even with all my ramblings about lay leadership and congregational finances we must always remember to look to what Martin Luther wrote in the 95 Theses, number sixty-two, “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.”

    Have a blessed October.


Stewardship                                             Budget                         Received

            Month (August)                            $18,413                       $15,145

            Year to date (Jan-Aug)                 $158, 641                    $156,074


Giving With a Grateful Heart

In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Able for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions.  And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. 

 -Genesis 4:3-5


Giving is a matter of the heart. How a gift is given is more important than the gift itself. Luther reminds us that, "Abel's offering (Genesis 4:4) was pleasing to God and acceptable because he offered it in the fear of God and in faith and because he strove to show his grateful heart by his gift." We need to strive to show our thankfulness to God for His greatest gift to us, Jesus Christ. We do this rightly by giving our time and money cheerfully. Pray that God will give us that grateful heart and as Luther continues, "For when the heart is offered, this is a gift that is very gratifying indeed to God."

 –Jeff Sagmoen, Church Council









In last month’s Messenger, we indicated that the West Seattle Helpline was to be the “project” for the Extended Ministries Committee for the month of September.    Because the need is so great to help families in our neighborhood pay for utilities so that they can stay in their homes, we have decided to continue to ask you to help the Helpline. 

    The number of families among us that need extra to pay their utility bills, is unthinkably high.  We probably have little understanding of what some of our neighbors go through each month just to make enough money to pay for heat, electricity, and water.  As I think of these, it would be like anticipating a chronic power and water outage.  What if the stove didn’t work and we couldn’t cook food? Or what if the refrigerator had no power, the food would be spoiled?  With no water, how could you take care of basic sanitation and hygiene?  And as cooler months approach, what if we had no heat because there just wasn’t enough money to pay that bill?  These are the questions that many of our West Seattle residents face monthly.

    Couldn’t we all just give up one latte a week or limit ourselves to just a couple each week and donate that money to support the Helpline?  Or maybe dessert is our favorite indulgence.  Donate money saved from cutting back on those delectable luxuries.  Whatever you feel you can donate, whether it is because you have adjusted your spending or just off the top of your income, you can know that by helping the Helpline, you have done a good work out of the generosity of your heart.  Please pray that you will be able to give a little extra during the month of October to this very deserving extended ministry.

Larraine King for the Extended Ministries Committee



All Saints’

will be commemorated this year Thursday, November 1st, with a Columbarium Liturgy

on All Saints’ Day.  Plan to attend this solemn occasion at 11:45 am in the chapel.


On Sunday, November 4th come celebrate All Saints’ Sunday at:

  8:00 am Holy Eucharist

10:30 am Festival Eucharist

11:45 am Brunch & 20th Anniversary of Dean Hard, as Deacon


Plan to attend the All Saints’ Brunch & the 20th Anniversary celebration of our Deacon, Dean Hard immediately following the 10:30 am Festival Eucharist.  Sign up on the list posted in the lounge. 


The brunch will be prepared by the November Service Team.  If you are not on duty this month but would like to help, contact Matthew Kahn at 253-946-1848.

The Cross in Daily Life

"The need to make expiation or atonement for wrongdoing seems to be one of the most powerful human impulses, operating both on the individual and the collective level. If the problem of guilt and violence and the need to deal with them are not definitive of human culture, then they certainly are of civilization, i.e. the attempt of human beings to live together in settled communities. Part of the power of Christianity as a missionary religion is that its central symbol, the cross, targets both guilt and violence, and offers a remedy to both through the ‘bearing’ of guilt and the refusal to meet violence with counter-violence. That it is a symbol which is central, and not a doctrine or a philosophy, is important, for the cross focuses feelings of guilt, shame and repentance which go far beyond words to the very roots of human culture and the individual psyche. That it squarely faces the universal human problem of guilt and violence is its claim to be redemptive. Satisfaction theory in particular addressed the need for order both in society and in the human soul; it addressed the sense of justice and the need to express moral outrage; it gave voice to the experience that suffering might sometimes be redemptive; above all it was a means of dealing with guilt. All of these things were brought together by the satisfaction theory, adumbrated at each celebration of the Eucharist, painted in representations of the passion, given voice in the hymns of pietism. The power of this combination of factors was enormous.”


[Timothy Gorringe, God’s Just Vengeance: Crime, Violence,

and the Rhetoric of Salvation (Cambridge, 1996) pp. 11-12.]








October Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, October 27th

The book for October is Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (2004) by Jon Krakauer, controversial author and mountaineer. He is famous for his exposés of Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Deceit, 2011) and the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan by friendly-fire (Where Men Win Glory, 2009). Krakauer has also been nominated to receive the Pulitzer Prize. This book, Under the Banner of Heaven, covers the story of a double murder in 1984 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It not only exposes a radical offshoot of this church and the practice of polygamy, but also the inherently violent nature of religious faith. This sharp criticism deserve one’s careful attention. At the end of this book is the official response to Krakauer’s arguments by the LDS church.

     A copy of this important 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 the nature of religious faith as presented by Krakauer.



GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP:  Luncheon on Tuesday, October 23rd.  Be sure to sign up when you see the sheet posted in the lounge. 

SCRAPPER’S will meet on Wednesday the 31st and Thursday the 1st of November.  Join this group for their last meeting in 2012, the next meeting will be in January of 2013.

KORAN CLASS:  A four-week guided reading of the Koran begins October 4th at 7:00 pm.  Interested?  Call 206-935-6530 to register or email deogloria@foxinternet.com.  

FOOD BANK DONATION suggestion for October is tuna and mayonnaise.   

NEW MEMBER CLASSES will be starting on Sunday, October 7th at 11:45 am in rm D.  If you are interested in becoming a member please let Pastor Marshall know.

Thanks to those who donated socks for Nickelsville.  We collected seven pair and they were delivered this summer.  Also thanks for your donations to the school supplies in August.  Twenty large bags were taken to the West Seattle Helpline at the end of summer.  Later we learned that what we donated all went to Lafayette Elementary School on California Avenue! 

LOCAL GROCERY stores are no longer donating 1% of sales to the West Seattle Food Bank through the collection of grocery store receipts.  They are still donating a percentage but in a different manner.  Thanks to those who collected receipts for us but the stores have changed the rules so the receipts are no longer used.

St. Nicholas Faire

Sunday, December 2

4pm to 7pm


Sign-up sheets will be posted this month and preparations are underway.  Be thinking how you would like to help.  There are plenty of opportunities, but the most important action is to  MARK YOUR CALENDAR – INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!!!!!!  It will be a spectacular party with good food and beverages, creative and practical gift baskets you could give as presents, prizes to win at the wine toss game, and wine tasting with Maryhill Winery.  A great way to start off the holiday season supporting our local charities, and having an awesome experience, all at the same time!!!

    We especially need donations of wine priced between $15 and $30, and home baked Christmas cookies and Scandinavian sweets. We had a great response to “Christmas in July and August,” and most of the ornaments were taken from the tree. 

If you haven’t already brought your “ornament” item to the church, I will be giving you a reminder call.  We need all items no later than October 7th.  You can always still donate money that will help cover the cost of completing the themed gift baskets that will be sold and any other expenses that we incur.


    Remember that the money we raise with your help from the St. Nicholas Faire, will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline.  Help us make this event fun, memorable, and successful!

Larraine King

WEST SEATTLE RECYCLING buys your recyclables of aluminum cans and newspapers and sends the church a 10% bonus check a couple of times a year.  Pastor Marshall is willing to take donations if left in his carport.  Also #6 Styrofoam can now be recycled (the kind that snaps when broken [this includes the peanuts]).  Please put cans and Styrofoam donations in bags before leaving at the back of the parsonage carport – newspapers must be tied.








A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:

Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973

By Pastor Marshall


What I want to share with you this month, from Dr. Knutson’s The Shape of the Question: The Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972), has to do with pastors. Regarding them, he writes, that they don’t have to be transformed into modern day organizers, but should instead carry on the tasks assigned of old for them to do from the Holy Scriptures:

In our tradition we have used the functional formula.... The minister is one who performs certain functions, preaches, teaches, counsels, administers the sacrament. He is called by the church, ordained by the laying on of hands, given the authority which belongs to the gospel, and assigned certain administrative responsibilities. He is a priest, a shepherd, preacher, teacher, and hopefully prophet…. I would admit that this approach has a certain depersonalization. The Reformation tradition has been chary to speak of the person of the minister, preferring to think rather of the office of the ministry which the person fills. The
reason for this is that our tradition has  wanted to be careful not to suggest that the grace of God which redeems man is of a hierarchical order with a more powerful grace preserved for the ordained ministry. The minister, too, is a sinner saved by grace. But in actual thought and use, the person of the minister is described in terms of a certain

charisma. The minister must be a person with a living faith, apt to teach and preach, educable in the understanding of the faith, dedicated to his task, the master of certain arts of ministering to people, disciplined in life and called by God, that is, he must be a volunteer with a sense of vocation (p. 107).


Proverbs 27.7

Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2012, Number 236

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 Proverbs 27.7 noting the line he who is sated loathes honey. What is the point of this statement? On this read John 3.19 noting the line men loved darkness rather than light. These two verses mean, then, that we just don’t know what’s good for us – for we end up giving away light and honey, which are both intrinsically good! Why do we do this? On this read Romans 7.19 noting the words do, not and want. This means that we are our own worst enemy – since we defy what we know is good and should do. On this read 2 Timothy 4.4 noting the words turn and wander. How bad is this defiance? On this read Romans 3.11 noting the words no, one, understand and seeks. Why aren’t we better than this? On this read Ephesians 2.3 noting the line we were by nature children of wrath. How could we get off to a worse start than that? On this read Psalm 51.3 noting the line in sin did my mother conceive me. Do these considerations help us understand how we could hate tasty honey, and not love the light? How so, if so?


Week II. Read again Proverbs 27.7 noting this time the word sated. How shall we try to get on the right path, so that we can enjoy the true light and honey? On this read Luke 12.19-21 noting the words ample, ease, fool and required, and Revelation 3.17 noting the line not knowing that you are wretched. What do these two passages tells us about being sated? On this read Hebrews 11.25 noting the words fleeting and pleasures. If they are ephemeral, fleeting, and unsubstantial – why do we dwell on them as if they could bring us abiding fulfillment? On this read Proverbs 20.13 noting the words love, sleep and poverty. Why do the foolish disregard the future? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.32 noting the words drink and die. Does this sinking into the moment refresh us? On this read Luke 10.40 noting the word distracted. Why do we think distraction is so good for us? On this read Isaiah 30.10 noting the words smooth and illusions. What more can we say? If we want to be deluded – our only hope is be born anew as in John 3:5 and 2 Corinthians 5.14-17. Do you agree? If so, why?


Week III. Reread Proverbs 27.7 noting the word hungry. What sort of hunger is this? On this read Psalm 42.1 noting the words longs, soul and God. What makes us want God? On this read Romans 3.11 noting the line no one seeks for God. In what way is this so? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the words nothing, good, me and flesh. So by nature we do not want God – we don’t hunger and thirst after him. Is that then the end of it? On this read Romans 11.24 noting the phrase grafted, contrary to nature. How then do we develop a taste or longing for God contrary to our natures? On this read John 6.68 noting the words you and eternal. What is this eternal life that is so desirable that it gives rise to a longing for God – who alone can deliver it? On this read Revelation 21.2-4 noting the words tear, death and pain. Does that make you hungry? If so, why?


Week IV. Read Proverbs 27.7 one last time noting the line everything bitter is sweet. How can that be? On this read Romans 5.3-5 noting the words rejoice, sufferings, produce, endurance, character and hope. Do these byproducts make the bitterness of suffering sweet? If so, how does that work? On this read Romans 8.18 noting the word comparing, and the same word in 2 Corinthians 4.17, as well as Hebrews 12.2 noting the word despising. Where does this refusal to compare, along with the despising, come from? On this read 2 Corinthians 3.5 noting the line our competence is from God. How does that happen? On this read James 1.17 noting the words above and down. How is this descent activated? On this read Luke 11.13 noting the words give and ask. Are you convinced? If not, read Matthew 17.20 noting the words nothing and impossible. What now? Are you being drawn in? If not, read Philippians 4.13 noting the words can, all, in and him. Does that do it? If so, why?




Its time to complete and turn in your Stewardship Pledge Cards.  The pledge cards help the church council plan for next year.  The pledge card drive makes the whole congregation an active part of the budget making process.  Without your help the church council would not be able to prepare a realistic budget. 


Please return all pledge cards by:

Sunday, October 28th.




Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.


Nora Vanhala, Ed Olson, Janice Lundbeck, Louis Koser, Carmen Malmanger, Jeannine Lingle, Luke Douglass, Connor Bisticas, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Rosita & Jim Moe, Jim Cunningham, Tabitha Anderson, Linda Anderson, Susan Lyon, Lee Neuman, Amy Tabor, Louisa Eden, Annie Crutchfield, Kelsey Ensey, Cameron Lim, Maureen Baris, Bertil Hansson, Connie Pinter, Joyce Baker, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, John Wallace, Pastor Albin Fogelquist, Paul Sampson, Yuriko Nishimura, Pete Williams & Family.

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

     Pray for those who are relocating that God will guide their way and give them safe passage:  Pray for Louis Koser in his move to Minnesota.

     Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, 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 Fall.  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 Emaus 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 Frances of Assisi, renewer of the Church, 1226; Saint Luke, Evangelist; Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles.


A Treasury of Prayers


    O Lord, my God, fountain of all true and holy love, give to me such a love, that whatsoever in your service may happen

    contrary to my flesh and blood, may I not feel it; that humility may be my sanctuary, and your service the joy of my soul,

    and death itself the entrance to eternal life, where I may love with you and all of the saints in heaven forever. In Jesus’

    name I pray. Amen.


[For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 4 vols., II:130, altered]