The Bridge
The weekly newsletter of St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows                  
   December 14 , 2016 
Sunday Worship      
To hear podcast recordings of our Sunday Sermons
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St. Mark's Staff
Phil Rue, Visitation
Ingelaurie Lisher, Youth and Family
Music Ministry
Contemporary Music Ministry
Manager of Finance and Operations
Office Coordinator
Just Shopping

Just Shopping is an Internet Fundraising Program at St. Mark's. It's part of a three-tiered plan to eliminate our building debt by 2023. On-line purchase made through our website with affiliate companies helps pay off our building loan. Thank you for your support and please share this internet shopping opportunity with your family and friends! For more information, click here to visit our website. 


       Contact Us  
St. Mark's Lutheran Church by The Narrows

6730 N. 17th St.
Tacoma, WA 98406

Office: 253-752-4966
Preschool: 253-752-4929
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All-Congregational Christmas Caroling and Cookie Potluck Tonight!

Wednesday, December 14th

5:45pm Meet at church to walk to Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community
7:00pm Return to church for Cookies and Cocoa
7:30pm Holden Evening Prayer
(no dinner will be served at church on this evening; dinners resume January 18th, 2017)

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Worship Service. 

For some, the darkest season of the year evokes complex feelings...grief, loneliness, longing.  On the longest night of the year we will gather to bring these experiences before God, pray together, and hear words of hope and courage.  Similar to "Prayer  Around  the Cross", will will gather in the Parish Commons, Wednesday, December 21st at 7:30pm.  All Are welcome.  

December Generosity

Historically, our offering income in December represents a significant amount of our total income for the fiscal year, so we build our budget on that recurring practice of giving. As you celebrate God's bounty with gifts to loved ones in the Christmas season, we thank you for the generous support you give to sustain and strengthen the ministry of our beloved congregation!

St. Mark's Reads 2017

This is the 5th year we have read a common book as a church community!  The selection this year is "Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit" by Parker Palmer.  Discussion groups will meet on Sunday mornings (1/15, 1/22, 1/29) OR Wednesday evenings (1/18, 1/25, 2/1).  You may order the book online in either paperback or e-reader version.  If you would like an order placed for you, stop by the Adult Faith Formation table in the narthex on December 4th or 11th.  Cost is $14, paid before book is ordered.  Books will arrive before Christmas and can be picked up in the Church Office.  We hope you will be part of this anniversary year of St. Mark's Reads!

Chase the Chill

This is our second fall/winter of knitting and crocheting scarves and hats to give to those who are living outdoors or in shelters.  We have an abundance of yarn that has been donated to this ministry.  Please stop by our overflowing yarn table in the Narthex to pick out a skein or two to take home, then bring back your finished gifts and we will distribute them.  If you have any questions about his project, please talk to Eleanor Sherry or Linda McKeller.  You will find us at the yarn table! Thanks for helping us keep others warm.  
Advent Devotional from Luther Seminary

Luther Seminary is once again providing a daily advent devotional called "Savior of the Nations, Come".  It is available online at www.luthersem/edu/advent/  Hard copies are also available at the Welcome Center.

Christmas Worship Schedule

Saturday, December 24th
  • 4pm Family-Oriented Service
  • 6pm Traditional Service (childcare provided in the nursery)
  • 9pm Traditional Service
  • 11pm Traditional Service
All Christmas Eve services will be in the Sanctuary and will include Holy Communion and Candle-lighting

Sunday, December 25th
  • 10am Christmas Day worship with Holy Communion
Sunday, January 1st
  • 10am Christmas Season Hymn-Sing with Holy Communion
Please note that there will be 1 worship service on both Christmas and New Year's Day

Thank You For Your Year-End Giving

Just a quick reminder that St. Mark's documents year-end gifts in accordance with IRS regulations. Cash contributions are deductible only in the year in which they are made. This means that any contributions you'd like to deduct for tax purposes in 2016 must be received by the Church office  before the office closes at noon on Friday, December 30th. Per IRS rules, mailed checks will be dated as of the date they were mailed; credit card gifts are deductible in the year in which the charge is made. Gifts of securities are considered delivered upon receipt in St. Marks's account at Charles Schwab (please contact the Church office for account information).
Finally, as you plan your year-end giving... did you know that if you have securities in your portfolio with large capital gains, you may be able to transfer part or all of a position to St. Mark's while paying no taxes on the capital gains and deducting the full, current value of the securities as your charitable gift? This may work well if you have held a security for a long time and have built up significant gains. (Please consult with your personal tax advisor for any specific guidance.)
Feel free to contact Jennifer Droubay or Pat Buck at the Church office  (253-752-4966) if you have any questions.

Flower Chart 2017

The flower chart for 2017 is on the bulletin board outside the office.  You are invited to sign up for a Sunday to place flowers on the altar to celebrate, honor or remember special people and occasions in your life.  You have a choice of providing the flowers yourself or paying $40 for an arrangement to be delivered by Safeway.  Thank you.

Congregational Care

Caregiver Support meeting -There are many of us who, given the circumstances of life, are called to the ministry of caring for a family member or friend.  Caregiving can be deeply meaningful and rewarding.  It can also be overwhelming.  As part of St. Mark's Congregational Care ministry, a new Caregiver Support group will be forming.  Our first meeting will be Friday, December 16th at 10am in the Fireside Room.  Pastor Shjerven and Parish Nurse Patty Reinkensmeyer will host this get together, with the aim of providing connection and support.  If you are providing care for a loved one and would like to be part of this type of group, please join us!  (If this date doesn't work, but you are interested, let Pastor Shjerven know at

Women of St. Mark's

Thank you to all who helped make the Women's Advent Brunch a success!  We raised approximately $350 for LWR Refugee Crisis.  What a wonderful start to the Christmas Season!  Good food, great conversations, devotions, Angel skit and music filled the room.  Thank you to all who joined us for a lovely morning.

Family Housing Network

St Mark's will be hosting families from the Family Housing Network the week of 
December 31 to January 6, 2017 .   Helpers are needed to work various jobs to support the families during their stay.  Please stop by the FHN tables  on Sunday  morning to sign up to help us as we provide meals, housing, and hospitality for these families.    A table for signing up to help will be available on Sundays,  November 13
, 20, and 27.

Make Your Shopping Dollars Go Further

If you shop on Amazon for the holidays, please consider designating St. Mark's (or your other favorite charity) to receive the money Amazon donates from each purchase. Login through and type in "St. Mark's Lutheran by The Narrows" to select our church. When you shop at, you'll find the exact same prices, selection and shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. 

Children and Youth Faith Formation

Thanks to everyone who helped with the Children's Sunday school program last Sunday.

Youth Group (6-12th grades) Christmas Party!  Thursday, December 15th 5:30-7:00p.m. Sock Exchange! Forget Ugly Sweater parties and white elephant gifts this year we will do a Sock Exchange party. Buy a pair of garishly colored/patterned socks and stuff them with an assortment of small treats-try to stay under $10.00 for all. Tie them together with a bow. Dinner will be provided!
Sunday School: No High School (9-12th grade) Sunday School this week-Dec. 18. All other classes 3 years old to 8th grade will meet.

Sunday school will be on break Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
Home for the Holidays!  College age Brunch-Sunday, Dec. 18th 9:45a.m. in the Fireside Room.
SR ALYVE (9-12th grade) to Zoolights!  Monday, December 19th 5:30-8:00p.m.   $10.00 includes your ticket and pizza dinner beforehand. Sign up by Thurs. Dec. 15th if you plan on attending.
Coming up...2017 and beyond!
  • Epiphany Event Fundraiser-Wednesday, Jan. 11th 5:30p.m. at St. Mark's.  Prep work-Jan. 8th 1100a.m.-2:00p.m. Sign up on the Youth Board to help out.
  • 9th grade Post Confirmation Retreat-Sunday, Jan. 15-Monday, Jan. 16 Cost: $20.00 per person. Sign up by Jan. 8th if you are attending.
  • Synod Youth Gathering (grades 7-12)-Feb. 3-5th Cost: $130.00 per person. Sign up with a $60.00 deposit by Jan. 8th if you are attending.  Registration forms on the youth board now.  
  • May Holden Village Youth Weekends are back! For youth grades 9-12th. We are looking at May 19-21 as our 1st choice weekend or May 26-28 2nd choice (Friday super early AM-Sunday late PM). See the Youth Board for more info. 
Epiphany Event 2017! 
Visit the Camels at the table in the Narthex this Sunday.   Sign up for the Epiphany event being held January 11 at St. Mark's.The family fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with chili, hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies and more. We will follow the star with the wise men to find Jesus. You will also have an opportunity to hear about and support our St. Mark's Youth. Some of their events coming up include the National Youth Convention, mission trips to Montana and Bible Camp. Please sign up so we know how much chili to prepare. Questions contact Jean Steingrebe 360-275-8111.

Adult Faith Formation

Adult Forum-Sundays 9:45am in the Parish Commons Classroom
December 18 -Advent and Christmas with the St. John's Bible-Each Sunday in December we will gather to sing hymns and learn about one of the great works of contemporary sacred art-The St. John's Bible.  Neal Sobania will guide us through the history and process of SJB, and will introduce us to the prints that illuminate the Advent and Christmas texts.  

Adult Class- Sundays 11am in the Parish Commons Classroom
December 18 : The Beatitudes-
The Beatitudes -In Advent we begin hearing the story of Jesus again, with Matthew as our primary storyteller throughout the year.  Join guest teacher Scott Shelton as he leads a discussion of Jesus' teaching in the Gospel of Matthew: the Beatitudes.  

Wednesday Midweek Renewal;  6:15pm in the PCC
There will be no Midweek Renewal this week,  please join us for the Cookies and Caroling Event
Tuesday "Fully Alive" Bible Study; 5:15pm in the Fireside Room
led by Sherry Maiura.  Fully Alive will be on break until January 3rd. 

Women's Bible Study; 9:30 am in the Parish Commons Classroom
Is on break until January 4th.  In the new year they will be studying Martin Luther's Small Catechism  For more information contact Ida Hagen, 253-759-0569 (

Noon Wednesday Text Study Luncheon in the Parish Commons Classroom
 Gather for lunch and conversation and study around the texts that will be heard in worship the following Sunday.  Conversation will be guided by the pastor who will be preaching, and by the insights and questions of the group. 
Noon Wednesday Text Study Luncheon in the Parish Commons Classroom

Peace Community Center Job Openings          

We are currently looking to fill two very important positions at the Center.  Below are summaries for both positions and both are posted on our web site at:

Finance & Administration Manager
This position will provide leadership for Peace Community Center's financial and operational functions and implement the infrastructure and systems needed to support our strategic objectives.  Primary responsibilities include finance, HR, IT and facilities.  Position is 32-36 hours/wk @$18-$22/hr. and open until filled.

Program Director: High School, College & Career
This position is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of the Center's Hilltop Scholars high school and post-secondary programs; and will oversee visioning, planning and overall management for both programs.  Primary areas of focus will be academic coaching and tutoring, college & career access and college completion.  Position is full-time @ $55,000-$62,000/yr and open until filled.

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