October 2021


Reforming the Church

Martin Luther believed that when he was involved in reforming the church (making it better) it was actually God who was doing it while he drank beer in the taverns and preached the Word of God in the churches (Luther’s Works 51:77). Most Lutherans, however, think Luther did it by himself, but he obviously thought differently. Others today are wanting to reform the church to make it more secular (Don Cupitt, Reforming Christianity, 2001, p. 129). They think they can do this with their friends. Their efforts, however, are doomed to fail because, according to Luther, only God can restore the church, and making it more secular isn’t what he wants (Matthew 16:18, 22:34–40). Thanks be to God! So remember this on Reformation Sunday this year – October 31st.

Pastor Marshall 



This novel imagines Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) traveling to the USA in 1966 to discuss his books with his admirers. Here is an excerpt:


“Søren, your attack against Christian priests seems to be extreme and unfair. You call them criminals, liars, swindlers, counterfeiters, soul sellers, perjurers, dishonest, cannibals, and money seekers. Anyone who has known a priest or minister finds such derogatory terms offensive because they are not true. You, being a sincere, honest, and intelligent man must also know that is the case. How do you justify such claims?

            “Benjamin, as you should know from having read most of my books that the style is part of the message. I have been intentionally confrontational; my point was to be shocking, provocative, and challenging in order to wake people up, especially those claiming to be Christians, from the complacency of accepting beliefs and actions which are far removed from the Christianity of the New Testament.

            “While I understand what you are saying about your style, it still seems inappropriate to use that kind of name calling such as this if one’s objective is for the purpose of advocating Christianity.

            “Benjamin, as I understand the nature of Christianity, it originally was not intended for the purpose of creating an industry of career seekers…. In the process of doing this the original, primitive, message of Christianity [was] compromised and, in most cases, lost…. [Therefore] contemporary Christianity is a softened form of Christianity in which its defining and essential components have been stripped away and smothered in sentimentality…. I have often said one single honest Christian is worth more than a thousand fake Christians….

            “But Søren, don’t you need trained people… to spread the word of God?” “Benjamin, that is a good question. My answer is that I do not think [that’s] necessary especially if [it] steers one away from the essence of the Christianity of the New Testament. Did Jesus hire a faculty of disciples?.... Going back to part of your original question, yes there are certain things which may be required to educate an individual about Christianity; however, it should not be a paid profession…. For Christ,…. the Gospel is preached for the poor and by the poor. Today, the Gospel is preached to the rich and powerful and they use their fortune and success as a confirmation of their piety….

            “[Later Søren’s friends made arrangements for him to hear Martin Luther King preach in San Francisco.] During the next forty-five minutes [they] heard one of the greatest orators in history deliver a sermon full of history,… testimonies to the importance of nonviolent resistance, and advocacy for us to let love motivate us rather than hate but never succumb to apathy and fear. It included stories about moments when he was afraid for his own life and that of his family which were the most telling testimony to his commitment and courage. In the most simple and succinct terms, he said he was willing to die for what he believed in and would never let himself hate his opponents. He, like Søren, took Jesus’ commandment of love for one’s neighbor as the most serious ad central belief to living a committed Christian life.”


(Richard Whetstone, Kierkegaard Comes

to America, 2011, pp. 114–18, 151.)


PRESIDENT'S REPORT.... by Cary Natiello



Something I doubt anyone wants to talk about (let alone think about), is what will we do when Pastor Marshall retires?  The Executive Committee has begun discussing this challenging topic.  Luckily, Pastor Marshall has no immediate plans to retire.  He said he still very much enjoys and feels Called to do the work, and feels healthy enough to continue doing the work.  At the same time he supports beginning discussions now to be proactive and plan for his eventual retirement.  Understanding that First Lutheran Church of West Seattle is rather unique in our worship service, traditions, scriptural teachings, and our beliefs, the anticipated challenge to find a qualified successor to Pastor Marshall can’t be overstated.

     An idea being discussed by the Executive Committee is to create an opportunity for a qualified ordained minister to participate in our worship services, classes, areas of study, etc., under the leadership of Pastor Marshall.  Something like an “understudy” for lack of a better term.  This would be a paid position and the selection of the candidate would be made following a similar process as a Pastoral Call (although this would not be a formal Call).  The idea would be to orient and train a minister to follow in Pastor Marshall’s footsteps with regard to our congregation’s beliefs and understanding of scripture.  Such a positon would not be a guarantee of successorship, but the hope would be that a minister selected for and agreeing to fill this position would end up being uniquely qualified for a formal Call by First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.  When the time comes, a Congregational Call Committee would be established and our related constitution articles and bylaws would be applied and followed.

     This idea comes with obvious challenges.  First, finding a candidate that would be interested in such an opportunity, although Pastor Marshall indicated that he is aware of possible candidates for our consideration, possibly even from the Puget Sound area.  Second, would a qualified candidate be interested in such an opportunity.  And thirdly, and possibly biggest challenge is paying for the position that, in addition to a salary, should include benefits as well as a housing allowance.

     We will keep you updated on any progress being made on our succession planning for Pastor Marshall.  If you have any thoughts on the subject please feel free to contact me, or any other member of the Executive Committee (David/Larraine King, Janine Douglass or Pastor Marshall).



Hopefully you have received your 2022 pledge card.  Pledge cards should be returned as soon as possible to the financial secretary.

Cards can be:

1)     Returned via our envelope system at Sunday services.

2)     Mailed to the church office.

3)     Email the information to Teri Korsmo at pledge.flcws@gmail.com. Teri is the only one that has access to that Gmail account.  


I am pleased to let you know that the council will do a final review of the Constitution at our October 12th meeting.  Our goal is to bring the revisions to the congregation at our next annual meeting.



While we had a number of qualified glass contractors give us bids and estimates for replacing and/or repairing the windows, the method by which to complete the work was inconsistent.  The council also agreed to accept the proposal from Dimensional Building Consultants to provide a detailed assessment of the condition of the glazing (curtain wall) on the Parish House (Education Building) with the assistance of a separately contracted glass contractor. 


They will be hired to:

1)     Conduct a visual inspection and evaluation of the exterior glazing of the East and South elevations together with the North and West elevations at the courtyard;

2)     Extract a sample (or samples) of the steel curtainwall structure for metal analysis;

3)     Examine the steel framing and glazing attachment systems at three (3) glazed units following their removal to determine the means and methods of installation and proposed remedial action;

4)     Prepare a Glazing Conditions Assessment Report together with a section outlining a means to perform phased execution of a repair plan;

5)     Inclusion of three (3) details illustrating the manner of repair/remediation.


Once we have the assessments and reports from Dimensional Consultants, we will have a clear roadmap to hire the right contractor for the right work to be done.



Just a friendly reminder that there are still many people in our community who continue to struggle to just meet the basics of living.  Some organizations that can really use the help and are part of our extended ministries are:  Foss Home (ELCA), Operation Nightwatch, Mary's Place, and Welcome Table.  If you would like to learn more about any of these organizations, please contact Pastor Marshall.  Thank you to those in our congregation who are able to offer some additional support to local community organizations that are dedicated to helping others on a daily basis.



August, Year-to-Date (YTD), our envelope giving has been about $155,700 (adjusted) compared to a budget of $157,400.  For the same period, YTD expenses were $213,000 against a budget of $180,800, or about $32,000 in higher expenses than budgeted.  The added expense is almost all attributed to the extra giving by the church to our extended ministries.



Shifting Our Thinking


Admittedly, I found that writing this article was difficult to write. I had never been asked to write about stewardship and tithe before. There is a vulnerability to facing up to expectation versus the reality of stewardship and tithing. I consider myself to be a fiscally responsible adult, perhaps overzealous in my personal financial process. It is that process that causes my hesitancies. My own personal tithe falls short of the literal expectation. However, this process of introspection has provided me with an opportunity. How could I shift my thinking to live up to these expectations?

1 Chronicles 29:14

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

Everything that has been given to me was given to me by God. We are allowed to use 90% of it to provide for our needs. Who could argue that isn’t an outstanding gift?

Proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Giving generously will help provide me with peace. God wants us to be generous so that we will be refreshed. Who could argue that feeling refreshed isn’t an outstanding outcome?

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Generosity should be cheerful. The positive vibe of giving from your heart will improve your mood. Who could argue that being cheerful isn’t an outstanding mood enhancement?

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

The final shift in thinking requires faith in Christ Jesus that God will provide for all our needs. Needless to say that this requires us to trust in God. Who could argue that God isn’t an outstanding ally? What do we have to fear?

‒Steven Liang, Church Council


Hebrews 5:9

Monthly Home Bible Study, October 2021, Number 344

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 Hebrews 5.9 noting the line the source of eternal salvation. What makes Jesus that? Note the line offered up loud prayers and supplications in Hebrews 5.7. To whom were these made and why? Read Hebrews 9.14 noting the line through the eternal Spirit… to God. Why did God need this offering? On this read Hebrews 2.14 noting the words destroy, power and death. Why did God have the power of death? Read Romans 6.23 noting the words sin, wages and death. Why did God punish sin with death? On this read 1 Corinthians 15.26 noting the word enemy. How did death become our enemy? On this read Genesis 1.31 noting that human life is called very good. By taking life away, death then becomes our enemy. How does the death of Jesus and his prayers to God restore life? On this read 1 Peter 2.24 noting the line bore our sins in his body. By being punished in this way, the need for death as the punishment for our sins is taken away. By so doing, Jesus becomes the source of our salvation. Do you see any problems with this?


Week II. Read again Hebrews 5.9 noting the same line the source of eternal salvation. Why isn’t Jesus more than the source of our salvation, but salvation itself, so that when he dies for our sins, all sinners are automatically saved? The reason is Hebrews 10.22 about faith – which includes drawing near with a true heart, as well as reaching out for it and striving to get it in Hebrews 4.1 and 11. Why are this truth, drawing, reaching and striving needed for salvation to occur? Hebrews 4.2 says that only faith allows us to enter that rest which salvation brings. So if we don’t believe in Jesus then we cannot benefit from the message of salvation. Faith is how we access the message of salvation – which makes it only the source and not salvation itself. The message of salvation is not enough by itself. Faith must also be applied for there to be salvation. Read also Hebrews 6.12 about inheriting the promises of salvation through faith and patience. Without faith salvation cannot be inherited. Does this explain why we are only saved by grace through faith in Ephesians 2.8?


Week III. Reread Hebrews 5.9 noting this time the word obey. Obedience picks up that same theme of faith (Hebrews 3.18–19, 11.8) which is needed if we are to be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But there’s nothing easy about obeying God. That’s why we have Hebrews 12.2 which says that Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Jesus helps us believe – he helps us hold fast and firm to the end as Hebrews 3.6 and 3.14 require of us. We need this help because Hebrews 3.10 says that we are always going astray in our hearts. What provokes that waywardness? Read Hebrews 3.13 noting being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. How does Jesus help? Read Hebrews 7.25 noting how he always lives to make intercessions for us. Those prayers bring the power of God to our aid. How important is that?


Week IV. Read Hebrews 5.9 one last time noting again the word obey. What else complicates our obeying God and believing in him? On this read Hebrews 11.2 noting that faith lacks visual evidence and availability. What does this say about faith? On this read 1 Corinthians 4.10 noting the word fools. Why is this? Does it look like we’re irresponsible and gullible for believing without visual evidence and availability? If so, why is faith like that? Check out the line behold now is… the day of salvation in 2 Corinthians 6.2. That urgency doesn’t mix well with evidence and availability. It rushes ahead before we have all of our ducks in line. It demands faith before we’re ready. Does it remind you of Saul on the road to Damascus? Note the word suddenly in Acts 9.3. Note also the indirect critique of Paul’s conversion in Acts 26.28 with the phrase in a short time. What do you think of that?


Dear Congregation of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle…

I need to share some important changes coming up for my family.

     On August 11, 2021, movers began packing many of our household goods that we are putting into storage, and then next year will be shipped to Chicago, where my wife Nelly owns a condo.  We also had another moving company come to pack up our other household stuff that we will be sending to Sayulita, Mexico, where we recently purchased a home.  Our plan is to drive to Mexico in mid-November, with Bella, our little dog, and live in Mexico for the winter.  In the spring we will head up to Chicago to live in Nelly’s condo.  We’ll see how we like living in Chicago and if we can tolerate the summers there.  If it ends up Chicago isn’t for us, we may find ourselves somewhere back in the Pacific Northwest, but we really don’t know.

     So why all the change?

     Well, Nelly is Mexican and speaks fluent Spanish so it is really comfortable for us being there and it is a great place to spend winters.  We will also be very close to Nelly’s 92 year old mother whose health is failing, so Nelly will be able to visit her more regularly. 

     Regarding Chicago, Nelly grew up in Chicago, really knows her way around, and owns a large condo downtown.  The couple times we’ve been there together we really enjoyed the city’s vibe.  It’s a very beautiful, active, and clean city, with lots of stuff always going on (much of which is free).  The parks are great, very big, green, and safe.  There are no homeless camps.  We can walk or bike everywhere (it is very flat), or take the L (elevated train), so it is super easy to get around without a car.  The city and restaurants are super dog friendly, and the people seem very friendly too.  We both feel this is a great adventure for us and is a great way to continue to evolve our lives together.

     Our Seattle house went on the market September 9th.  We had multiple offers and we closed on the sale, September 29th.  We are staying at a friend’s house in Normandy Park until we leave for Mexico in November.  

     Sadly, the November council meeting will be my last meeting, as we are leaving for Mexico on November 11th.  Janine, council Vice-President, has graciously accepted the responsibility for running the remaining two meetings (December council and the annual meeting).  I am so thankful that I was able to serve on the church council during this very difficult time.  It has been one of the better uses of my time (as has been volunteering at the West Seattle Helpline).  It has been such an honor serving as president.

     The hardest part is leaving First Lutheran Church of West Seattle where I have been a member since 1987.  In thinking about my life here in Seattle, First Lutheran Church is one of the longest relationships I have ever had in my life.  It is a very unique and special church with a fabulous pastor, and a very devoted congregation.  At least I can visit the website.  I doubt I will find another place of worship that can compare, even in a city as large as Chicago (doesn’t mean I won’t try).  I may start attending a Catholic church in Sayulita.  I pretty much will know what is being said, except for the sermon.  Eventually, I will pick up the Spanish lingo.

     Wish us luck, and please, periodically, keep us in your prayers.

     Blessings and God’s Peace, very sincerely, 

     Cary Natiello 







20 Years Since 911


by Pastor Marshall


What did you make of the 20th Anniversary of the 911 attacks? Since Christians are supposed to be skeptical of everything, including government pronouncements (1 Samuel 8:10–18, Jeremiah 17:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1), what’s your take on the official report on 911 (The 9/11 Commission Report, 2004, 567 pp)? Even Martin Luther believed we should only trust government officials partially – as people “who might fail” us (Luther’s Works 45:123). To help you size it up, I recommend the critical analysis by a former teacher of mine from graduate school, Dr. David Ray Griffin (https://www.audible.com/pd/David-Ray-Griffin-9-11-The-Myth-And-The-Reality-Podcast/B091PZJDJZ). He raises nine issues about the report which draws it into question. A couple of his concerns have to do with why the footage from the surveillance cameras at the Pentagon attack site has never been released; and why the information from the black boxes on the downed planes has never been made public.  


Reformation Sunday


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Online worship  -  www.flcws.org


HOME COMMUNION:  We continue to offer Holy Communion for home use for those who are not able to come to church for the 10:30 am Liturgy.  If you are interested, please call 206-935-6530 or email Pastor Marshall                    deogloria@foxinternet.com.

FALL Bible Class will be studying Jonah this year on Wednesdays at 7 pm, via ZOOM online. 

tHURSday Evening Bible Class will continue with Proverbs at 7 pm, via ZOOM online.  If you are interested in joining either class email Pastor Marshall at the above mentioned email and he will send you a link. .

KORAN CLASS:  The next class will start Monday, October 4th through    October 25th.  Contact Pastor Marshall if you would like to join this class.  The class will be conducted via Zoom.



“You Ain’t Done Cookin’ Yet!”


By Pastor Marshall


Lucille Hartman Jablinsky (1906–1997) was amazing for all that she suffered in her life. I miss seeing her and visiting with her. She joined our church in 1977 but wasn’t around much because of her multiple back problems. Her many surgeries left her in constant pain. But she never lost her smile and always enjoyed visits at her home. We had many interesting conversations – especially the harrowing stories about her first husband, Frank Lyons. Toward the end, the first thing she would say to me was, “Pastor, I don’t know why I’m still living. I’m so miserable and there is nothing left for me to do.” I would tell her that she could still pray for her family, church and the world. I would also remind her how much her family loved her and that they would miss her if she were gone. But she wasn’t easily consoled.

     We would always sit in the same spot when I visited her at Arden Healthcare Center up on Aurora. An elderly African-American woman would usually sit close by. She would smile and say little beyond hi and bye as I came and went. But one day she blurted out after Lucille said again that she didn’t know why she was still alive – “Honey, it’s ‘cause you ain’t done cookin’ yet!” Lucille looked both shocked and mildly pleased. That surprised me. As you can imagine the moment was unforgettable and we talked about it often. The point made that day was a good one. It reminded me of Job 23:10 – “When the Lord has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” 



The Tuomi Family, Kim Lim, Melanie Johnson, Holly Petersen, The Nancy Lawson Family, Leah and Melissa Baker, Felicia Wells, Marlis Ormiston, Connor Bisticas, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, Tabitha Anderson, The Rev. Randy Olson, The Rev. Albin Fogelquist, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Alan Gardner, The Rev. Allen Bidne, Leslie Hicks, Kari Meier, Yuriko Nishimura, Eric  Baxter, Noel Curtis, Lesa Christiansen, Richard Patishnock, Jeff Hancock, Holly & Terrance Finan,  Ty Wick, Anthony Brisbane, Susan Curry, Robert Shull family, Alan Morgan family, Lucy Shearer, Ramona King, Karen Berg, Donna & Grover Mullen and family, Kurt Weigel, Carol Estes, Paul Jensen, Tak On Wong & Chee Li Ma, Hank Schmitt, Ron Combs, Mary Ford, Andrea and Hayden Cantu, Dana Gallaher, Jeanne Pantone, Kevan & Jackie Johnson, Bjorg Hestivold, Ruben Skumilen, Phil and Trudy Kelly, Eric Peterson, Gary Grape, Larry & Diane Johnson, Wendy & Michael Luttinen, the Olegario Family, Nita Goedert, Mariss Ulmanis, Brett & Cathy Moury, Shirley & Glenn Graham, Karen Granger, Mike Nacewicz, Mike Matsunaga, Bill & Margaret Whithumn, The Robert Shull family, Mary Cardona, and Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Clarkesville, GA).

     Pray for our professional Health Care Providers:  Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, David Juhl, Dana Kahn, Dean Riskedahl, Jane Collins and all those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.

     Pray for our country, for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Also, pray for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Gregg & Jeannine Lingle, Bob & Mona Ayer, Joan Olson, Bob Schorn, C.J. Christian, Crystal Tudor, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelly Bryan Wee, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our choirmaster 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 its 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.

     Pray for this poor, fallen human race that God would have mercy on us all.

     Pray for this planet, our home that it and the creatures on it would be saved from destruction.

A Treasury of Prayers

Heavenly Father, reform my life of faith – helping me search severely into my inmost heart. Invigorate my mind with spiritual delights. Let chasteness drive weakness far away; let truth drive away deception; and let the swellings of pride subside. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

                                                  [For All the Saints IV:125 altered]