Ethiopian Dinner Fundraising Event for Friendly Water for the World!

Please join your friends and neighbors for an authentic Ethiopian meal prepared by Ethiopia Friendly Water representative Abraham Bezabeh on August 4 at 7PM here in the fellowship hall. Admission is by donation, and all funds raised will benefit the work done by Friendly Water for the World, whose mission is to provide training, technology and financial resources to communities in developing countries that struggle to find clean water to drink. There will be a short program after dinner where you can find out more about the work they do. Pick up a free ticket (so we’ll know how many are coming) at the Grace Station on Sunday morning. (You can donate at the dinner that night to offset food costs.) Or just contact PRLC member Steve Johnson and let him know you’d like to come.

Church Farmshare Is ON!

In recent Sunday bulletins we’ve been gauging interest in beginning a “Church Farmshare” – a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program – with River Run Farm on the Olympic Peninsula. We got a strong response, and we’re going to move ahead.

Starting on August 3, River Run Farm will bring a generous delivery every Thursday afternoon of fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables for pick-up here in our Fellowship Hall. The cost to subscribe is just $265 per person for the season, which runs through October 12.

If you indicated interest on one of the count-me-ins, you’ll be getting a separate email with more details. And if this is the first you’re hearing about it, you can still take part! Contact Parish Communications Manager Christina Bogar to let her know you’re interested.

Ordination Anniversaries on July 30, 2017

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Pastor Al Bruck and the 55th year for Pastor Don Maier.  We will celebrate with these two PRLC members on Sunday, July 30th at both services.  Don is +Bishop Emeritus of our Northwest Washington Synod and former Pastor at PRLC.  Al served as Visitation Pastor during the Interim period.

Since Pastor Maier’s 50th anniversary sort of slipped by without public recognition, we are celebrating both milestones on this Sunday.   The guest preacher will be Pastor Bev Piro, former Associate Pastor at PRLC.   Don and Al played a big role in Bev’s faith life and development.  A reception follows the second service in the narthex.

If you are a member of a PRLC choir or have choral experience, please join the intergenerational choir that will be singing at both services that day. There will be a rehearsal on Wednesday July 26 at 7 pm and another before the July 30 service at 7:50 am. Please contact music director Valerie Shields at or call or text her at 206-715-3033.

Pastor Don Maier

Pastor Al Bruck


We Are Beggars, All of Us

The Pastor’s Page

The Pacific Northwest is often described as the “None Zone” because most persons, when asked to state a religious preference, mark the box that says “none.” In this corner of the world, the church is just one entrée in a vast smorgasbord of religious diversity and pluralism.

I rather enjoy this minority status.  When enjoying a position of dominance in the culture, the church can get too infatuated with itself.  I think this so-called “post-Christian” era is a good time to be church. As our institutional moorings shift or, in some cases erode, we are given opportunity to share the good news in fruitful conversation with the culture even while critiquing it, and lean ever more deeply into God’s Spirit for direction and purpose. It gives us a chance to consider who we truly are.

Here’s an example. One of the more popular mantras in Seattle is the phrase, “I’m spiritual, not religious.” When elected Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth Eaton famously remarked, “I’m religious, not spiritual.” Now, I’m not sure what is meant by either phrase, but being back in the Northwest has given me pause to reflect on these things.  I have wondered what Christians might mean by these terms and have wondered, too, about the unique witness of the Gospel in our time and place.

I’ve come to observe that in our culture “spirituality” often goes hand in hand with individualism.  The spiritual person may be the person who is known by their good deeds or the person with a rich inner life quite apart from the church or commitment to any kind of community.  Spirituality in a culture celebrating the autonomous individual can mean whatever we want it to mean.

Christians understand life in the Spirit quite differently. How is it then that we may speak of the spiritual life?

I deeply resonate with the reflections of Gordon Lathrop in his book, The Pastor: A Spirituality:

I have long found deep comfort in the words that Martin Luther wrote on a note found by his bedside when he himself was found dead in 1546 … “I say we are all beggars; this is true.” Having learned about “growth in grace” when I was a boy, studying my catechism, I often wondered if I was really making any progress. I thought probably not. But Luther helped me to see that growth in grace might really mean growth in need, growth in identification with a needy world and with other needy folk, growth in becoming more and more profoundly a beggar myself, waiting upon God. Spirituality is finally “one beggar telling another beggar where there is bread.”

This is a radical point of departure in a culture that tends to reward achievement or promote self-sufficiency, especially when we speak of our need for God or take to heart Jesus’ wish that we “lose our lives in order that we may find them.”

In a recent Sunday Gospel reading we heard Jesus say, “Come to me, all of you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I believe that a spirituality that rests in Jesus promises freedom. We are free to relinquish control, free to be honest about our real need, free to love others, and free to be radically and fully human.

How does this sort of spirituality describe our parish and our witness in the world? I ask that you pray and ponder the question. Here is one small suggestion: perhaps one week the PRLC sign on Greenwood would read: “We are beggars, all of us. This is true.”

Pastor Hansen


Give Blood!

Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church and Bloodworks Northwest (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center) are having a blood drive here at the church on Sunday, August 13th, and we need your blood! This will be a community event hosted by PRLC, and we will be inviting folks from the surrounding Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods.

Anyone who is in good health, at least 18 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate whole blood every 56 days. Also, 16- or 17-year-olds who weigh at least 114 pounds may donate with a Bloodworks Northwest permission slip signed by a parent or guardian The blood drive will start at 9:30 am, with a lunch break for the medical staff from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, then continue to 3:30 pm. (This means that, if you need your blood to keep you alert for church, you can delay giving blood until after lunch!). We hope to solicit a delicious assortment of homemade cookies from PRLC’s phenomenal bakers to re-energize you afterwards!

BloodWorks Northwest has asked that you register for a time slot ahead of time on line ( or by phone (1-800-398-7888). Look for more information about signing up in the Sunday bulletins and on the PRLC website in the coming weeks.

So, in summary, here’s the scoop:

  • What: A blood drive
  • When: Sunday, August 13th, 9:30 to 11:30 am and 12:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Needed: All blood types
  • Sign up: More info to come, but save the date!
  • Difficulty: Easy-Peasy!
  • What’s in it for me: A sublime sense of generosity in giving of yourself directly to others in need (plus yummy cookies!)

If you have questions or need to hear how relatively painless but tremendously important donating blood is, give Sally Thompson a call at (206) 706-7653, or send her an email at Thanks so much for your attention, consideration and bravery.