October 2022

As I See It

What is the easiest task in the church (or in society)?  Think about it.  The answer “as I see it” will follow.  This month I want to focus on the task of an interim pastor “as I see it”.  The first task should be obvious, but must be stated clearly.  The primary task of every pastor, interim or otherwise, is to proclaim God’s word of judgment on sinners, and God’s word of forgiveness to sinners.  Secondly, to administer the sacraments.  Thirdly, to visit the sick (or those unable to come to corporate worship with the congregation of Believers) and to provide them with God’s Word, and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

     Beyond the above, “as I see it” the task of an interim pastor is to bring new eyes into a congregation and attempt to make a diagnosis of the health of the body of Believers.  The spiritual health of a congregation (the corporate body) is quite different from the spiritual health of each member within the congregation,.  The task is similar to that of a physician who meets a new patient.  There is first a visual observation of the patient, with an accompanying examination.  That will be followed by lab tests and, perhaps, x-rays.  With that information the physician makes a diagnosis.  Sometimes the diagnosis is not accurate, but not always.  So also with an interim pastor, but without the objective results of lab and x-rays.  Consequently, with only an external examination the examination takes much longer, and may be less accurate.

     I have had great cooperation with almost all members of FLCWS when asked to visit with me privately.  (At this writing there are only four individuals or couples with whom I have not yet had the privilege of visiting.  I do have a scheduled visit or the assurance that we will meet sometime within the next few weeks).  100% cooperation!  What a great single image of FLCWS.  Those visits have been crucial for me in getting a picture of the congregation as it exists moving into AD 2023.  Listening at church council and executive council meetings has also provided additional insights.  Meeting with staff over five months has added information to get a fuller picture.

     You might ask, “What is the purpose of a diagnosis without a plan for healing if ill-health is found?”  That is a valid question.  The diagnostician frequently does not provide an avenue for a cure.  The patient may be referred to a surgeon, cardiologist, urologist, radiologist or any of a variety of other “ologists” for treatment.

     The diagnosis of an interim pastor may be useful information to a new pastor who may be called to serve FLCWS.  I will share the diagnosis “as I see it” with your new pastor in the hope that it may be of assistance to him/her.

     Thanks to all at FLCWS for your cooperation in assisting me with the diagnosis.

Your servant in a common Lord,

Pastor Snider

P.S. The easiest task in a church (or in society) is to see other people’s sin, and failure to see one’s own sin.



PRESIDENT'S REPORT....by Janine Douglass


Statement of Mission First Lutheran Church of West Seattle

“Above all, our mission or purpose for existence is to worship, confess, witness to, and serve the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, proclaimed in Holy Scripture, according to the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1580)”


Our full Statement of Mission can be found inside our Annual Meeting programs and includes our statement of how we approach our worship life, our congregational life, how we serve our community and a conclusion statement.  The document was first drafted in 1989 and has undergone a few revisions over the years.  It is, in a sense, our church “identity”.

     Our Mission Statement becomes particularly important as we look to call our permanent pastor.  We hope that a clear sense of who we are will reflect both the qualities we desire in a pastor as well as what we have to offer to the pastor.  The Ministry Site Profile (MSP) was activated in mid-September, allowing ELCA rostered pastors around the country to view our profile.  The call committee is preparing to start reading candidate profiles in the near future.

     Along with the third quarter giving statements that will be mailed out in early October, you will find your pledge card.  Please prayerfully consider your tithe to the church for the 2023 budget year.  Pledging your tithe allows the council to plan the budget for the upcoming year.  On behalf of the council, I urge you to continue to meet your pledge for the current year and, if you have fallen behind, to make every attempt to catch up.  It is essential during the transition between permanent pastors to fully fund the budget that will ultimately allow us to seek the best qualified candidates.

     While we enjoyed one of the driest summers on record here in the Pacific Northwest, the Facilities Committee took the opportunity to hire contractors to complete much needed building upgrades to the exterior of the church building, including roof repairs, masonry repairs and application of epoxy to protect areas with high weather exposure.  This was made possible by the Major Maintenance line item in our budget.  We have assembled a Parsonage Committee to develop a list of priorities to address the need for repairs and upgrades, now that the parsonage is vacant.

Please pray for our Pastor in his duties, and for discernment within our council and committees as we navigate the call process.




A Church in Need


Giving to the church is as important now as ever.  With the unexpected loss of beloved Pastor Ron, the church is undergoing a challenging transition.  As with many churches that undergo this transition, giving tends to go down during the search for a new pastor.  More specifically, First Lutheran Church has experienced a decline in income over the past few months.   However, the church needs remain vast and as important as ever.  Giving to the church not only “pays the bills” but it allows the church to keep up an aging building, have the assets to compensate a new pastor, and continue donations to neighborhood charities in need.  Remember, by giving to the church, we are not just helping our beautiful church thrive, but we are also helping our community thrive.  Please seek guidance from God to ensure that your pledges are met and exceeded during these trying times.

Tim Allen, Church Council




PLEDGE CARDS If you are behind on your pledge for 2022, please make every effort to get caught up.  This summer’s giving is behind budget.  Thank you!

     You will receive your pledge card for 2023 enclosed with your third quarter statement.  In November, the Finance Committee will begin planning First Lutheran’s 2023 budget.  The Financial Secretary provides the council with data from the pledge drive, which helps them with their task.  Please return your completed pledge card by putting it in one of your giving envelopes and placing it in the offering plate on Sunday.  If you would prefer, you can email your pledge information to the Financial Secretary at pledge.flcws@gmail.com. Thank you for your continued support of First Lutheran Church of West Seattle.



Call Committee


Almighty God, giver of all things: Look on your Church with grace and guide the minds of those who shall choose a pastor for our congregation, that we may receive a faithful servant who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Call Committee has been meeting more regularly now that the leaves have started to turn.  We agreed this summer that it was prudent to wait until September to submit the MSP (Ministry Site Profile) and to digest the most pressing issue, whether we have the resources or the daily duties for a full-time pastor. After months of deliberation, we the Call Committee feel, at this time, hiring a part time pastor is our best course forward. 

     We submitted the MSP to the synod, and they accepted. Our job posting will now be able to be viewed by those who are seeking a call. The synod is hoping to get us a crop of candidates to interview by the end of October.

     In the meantime, the congregation has nominated a candidate. We have been in contact with the prospect to discuss our current situation and will offer an interview if they are interested.

     The main focus of our now almost weekly meetings is to draft a common slate of interview questions for the candidates to maintain consistency during the interview process. 

     The good news is, we are moving forward with the process, and we look forward to the exciting weeks and months to come.

Matthew Kahn, Call Committee Chair


The Altar Guild

“Worship is our adoring response to the eternal God; it is the central and unique act of the church.  Without it, there would be no church.  Worship is what identifies the church as the church.  Because the Altar represents God’s presence in the church, we are to speak and act reverently.”

‒Words from our Altar Guild handbook.


The Altar Guild is responsible for the care and general maintenance of the chancel and altar area, the chapel, the columbarium, the baptistry, and the sacristy.

     The Altar Guild is given the privilege of preparing the Altar for our Sunday services.  We have seven dedicated guild members.  We come in on Fridays to prepare for our Sunday service and are available for other functions –memorial services, funeral services and weddings, as needed.  On Fridays, we have two people prepare for Sunday.  On Sundays, we have one person set up for our 10:30 am service and two members clear after the service.  We do this with the attitude that it is a privilege to care for the sacramental furnishings which symbolize God’s presence.

     Our September Messenger included several ways to volunteer and use your talents.  The Altar Guild is another way to serve in gratitude for the many blessings of First Lutheran Church.  We are available anytime for a conversation and questions regarding becoming an Altar Guild member.  We welcome you to participate in our preparation to provide the setting to receive our Lord through his holy word and the sacraments.

Maxine Foss, Director

Dean Hard, Sacristan





Verger Class, reach out to Dean


Service Team, reach out to Sonja


Gardening Help, reach out to Larraine


We appreciate your support of our church!






Mariann Petersen, Janice Lundbeck, Robert Schorn, Kim Lim, Melanie Johnson, Holly Petersen, Leah and Melissa Baker, Felicia Wells, Eileen & Dave Nestoss, Kyra Stromberg, Peter Morrison, The Rev. Douglas & Paula Lindsay, The Rev. Howard Fosser, The Rev. Kari Reiten, Yuriko Nishimura, Karen Granger, Angel Lynne, Nick Karlson, Paul Sponheim, the Ceaicovschi Family in Moldova, Richard Patishnock, David Ruberg, Judy Berkenpas, Nicole Coile, Phyllis Drakulich, Nancy Lawson.

     Pray for our professional health care providers:  Gina Allen, Janine Douglass, David Juhl, Dana Kahn, Dean Riskedahl and all those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Joan Olson, Bob & Mona Ayer, Gregg & Jeannine Lingle, Robert Schorn, Nora Vanhala, Martin Nygaard, Lou Landino.

     Pray for our bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Shelley Bryan Wee, our interim pastor the Reverend Neal Snider, 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 October.  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 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


God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

                                                     [For All the Saints IV: 394 altered]