Ministry Focus

Hospitality at Phinney

~ Christina Sunstone

Phinney Ridge Lutheran is known for its beautiful and spirit-filled worship. But this church is also known for hosting lovely and memorable social events: parties, receptions, and meetings. With our large fellowship hall, commercial-grade kitchen, disabled access, and off-street parking, it’s not surprising that hospitality is one of our most depended-upon ministries, both in our congregation and in the wider community.

Volunteer hospitality teams make this ministry possible. PRLC members Jo-Ann Cress and Dianne Carlson lead two of these teams. I spoke with each of them recently to learn more.

How did you get started in Phinney’s hospitality ministry?

In Jo-Ann’s case, it was because she was asked. Phinney’s former pastor Paul Hoffman invited her to take part in a hospitality event back in 2005, and she’s been active in hospitality (and more than a few other things!) ever since.

For Dianne, it was seeing an announcement in a Sunday bulletin. One of the church’s existing hospitality teams was seeking additional volunteers, and Dianne thought it sounded like a fun way to serve, one that played to her own interests and strengths. Dianne laughs that “That was back when you didn’t ask what flavor of punch to make – you asked what color!” Eventually Marilee Pearson – the team leader at that time – returned to full-time work and stepped down from hospitality team leadership, and Dianne took the reins.

What kind of work is involved in hospitality?

Serving on a hospitality team offers a lot of fun possibilities. The event could be a post-memorial reception, a congregational meeting, a special celebration – almost anything except a wedding (for which we have a different hospitality system in place).  Dianne’s favorite aspect of hospitality is the creativity – she loves to make things look nice. (She says that at least a few of her decorative inspirations start with the need to cover up a stain.) Hospitality team members might be invited to bring in flowers from their yards, or cookies they’ve baked at home, or contribute in any other way that makes them happy.

On the day of the event, the team gets to work putting cloths on the tables, setting up the coffee/tea/punch offerings, and making it all look nice. (Both Dianne and Jo-Ann stress that you should never be afraid to open up a cupboard and see what’s inside – it’s your church, after all, and you’ll be surprised at all the useful, pretty stuff you find.) Once the event is over, the team clears the tables, washes and puts away the dishes, and leaves the kitchen tidy.

It’s hard to say how frequently a team will be asked to serve, as most events can’t be predicted too far in advance. But hospitality is a job that welcomes as much or as little as you can offer – maybe you can help out this time, but not the next. All contributions are helpful and appreciated.

What are the rewards of hospitality?

For Dianne, providing hospitality is a way of honoring people, and she has fun working with and serving the people involved. She says she hopes that when she dies, a hospitality team will feel inspired to put out the silver tea service – or do any special thing – as she does now to honor others.

And for Jo-Ann, hospitality feels like a calling. It’s a ministry both to families who are grieving and to individuals who are celebrating, and she knows that the people she serves are grateful for the loving service.

We are currently seeking to build our hospitality ministry. Watch your Sunday bulletins and fill out your count-me-in if this is something you feel called to help with!


Important News About LYONS

After months of prayer, conversation, and faithful discernment, the church council voted on April 2 to end our partnership with Lutheran Youth of North Seattle (LYONS). Our covenant will end after all currently scheduled summer events have concluded. Similar decisions are in process within our three partner churches. To some of you, this will come as a shock; for all of us, there is grief with this decision. LYONS has faithfully served families in this congregation and around our region for more than 20 years. Its mission to strengthen faith and relationships has been fulfilled in thousands of ways, in hundreds of lives.

And yet, as people of the resurrection, we trust that death always brings new life. We have known for some time that the Spirit was stirring up something new here at PRLC with our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. Ever since the resignation of our previous half-time staff person, our staff, church council, and families have been in conversation about this. It’s clear that caring for our youngest disciples is a top priority for PRLC. As it turned out, while we were discerning how we could better reach and serve our congregation’s children and youth, other LYONS congregations were in the midst of similar discussions. With dwindling participation in programs and events, it was clear that now is the time to make a major transition.

We are so excited to add a fulltime staff person who will be an integral part of our ministry team. This position will allow us to continue the vibrant ministry to teens that LYONS has provided, and also provide continuity in faith formation for younger children through Sunday school, Bread for the Journey, confirmation ministries, and our worship life together. As your pastors, we are confident that this is the right direction, and we are excited to begin a search process for this staff person. We hope to have someone in place by mid-summer, so that they can begin strongly with the new program year this fall.

We now have two tasks before us: first, we need to celebrate the gift of LYONS, and bring it to a dignified close, working closely with the LYONS board and partner congregations. Second, we need to finalize the position description and begin the search process. Your input is welcome, and your prayers are requested.

With gratitude and hope,

Pastor Van Kley & Pastor Hansen

Synod Assembly and Bishop Election News

Our congregation is part of the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA, which will gather for its Synod Assembly May 17-19. In addition to the usual business, fellowship, and worship that these assemblies entail, this year we will be electing a new synod bishop. Please keep all of the delegates and nominees in your prayers as we discern this call together. You can read more about the bishop election and learn about the nominees at In addition, there will be a bishop forum on Saturday, May 4 from 10 to noon at First Lutheran Church in Bothell. If you’re interested in carpooling to that event, please contact Pastor Van Kley.

If you have feedback that you want our congregation’s delegates to bring to the assembly, you may share that with them. Our delegates are: Don Boelter, Jenn Boelter, Jannah Ferguson, Colin Ferguson, and Trygg Magelssen (youth delegate). Pastors are also voting members of the assembly. Registration for non-voting observers who wish to attend the assembly is open until April 15.

The nominees for bishop are:

Shelley Bryan Wee
Mark Griffith
Julie Josund
Terry Kyllo
Norma Malfatti
James McEachran
Chris Ode
David Parks
Deanna Wildermuth


Confession and Forgiveness

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them

~ 2 Corinthians:5

This year we will have a service of confession and forgiveness on Wednesday of Holy Week. Following the pattern of the mid-week Lenten services, we will meet at 11:15 a.m. and then break bread together over soup at noon. This liturgy serves as a kind of conclusion to our Lenten journey and a prelude to Maundy Thursday and the celebration of Easter.

Another good discipline in these days before Easter is Individual Confession and Forgiveness. Should you desire individual confession and forgiveness, please contact Pastor Hansen and Pastor Van Kley.  Either pastor is ready to pray with you in this way at any time throughout the year.  Be it a communal or individual, the accent in this practice is on the declaration of forgiveness. This absolution is a declaration of good news spoken personally. New life is a consequence of being forgiven, not a precondition.  Confessing our sin is a response to God, centered in gratitude to God.


Bethany Circle in April

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

~ Luke 23:46


As we prepare for Passion/Palm Sunday, Pastor Hansen will lead the study covering the Passion story according to Luke’s Gospel.  (Luke 22:14-23:56).

Bethany Circle will meet on Monday, April  8 at 9:30 am in the home of Judy Smith. Salem Circle will not meet this month.


Spring Meeting and Potluck

Sunday May 5, 2019 at 12:30

Mark your calendars for the election meeting on Sunday, May 5 following the second service.  This is a potluck meal, so please bring a favorite dish to share.   At this congregational meeting we elect members to the parish council, various committees, and delegates to our synod assembly.  We will also hear an update on the proposed changes to the PRLC Constitution.


In the Family

Faithful Departed

Marian Klingensmith; died March 21, 2019


Holy Week and Easter at Phinney

Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection are at the very heart of the Christian year; especially the Three Days that constitute one worship service spanning Thursday through Sunday.  These are our most sacred days.

Passion/Palm Sunday, April 14

Holy Communion at 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Procession with Palms, the Passion story from the Gospel of Luke

Monday & Tuesday in Holy Week, April 15 and 16

Scripture readings and prayer resources will be provided at the Grace Station for your use during these days following Passion Sunday.

Wednesday of Holy Week, April 17

Service of Confession and Forgiveness at 11:15 am followed by soup and bread

This service marks the end of our Lenten journey and serves as a preparation for the Three Days that include prayers of confession, the declaration of forgiveness, scripture reading and reflection.


The Great Three Days

Maundy Thursday, April 18

Holy Communion at 11:15 am and 7 pm

The Three Days of Easter begin to unfold on this day in which Christ commands us to love.  Feet are washed, communion is shared, and the worship space is stripped.  We leave in silence.  There is no final blessing as the liturgy continues Friday …

Good Friday, April 19

Stations of the Cross at noon

Adoration of the Cross at 7 pm

We pray the stations of the Cross at Noon.   The evening liturgy includes the Passion story from John, intercessions, and the prayer around the Cross.  There is no final blessing as the liturgy continues the next day …

 The Great Vigil of Easter

April 20
Service of Light, Word, Water, and Meal at 6:30 pm

The pinnacle of the Three Days.  There is no other night like this one.  Light, story, baptism, renewal of baptismal promises, holy meal.  As you prepare for the Easter Vigil, you are invited to bring a special vessel so that you may join in the procession of pouring water into the place of baptism.

Easter Sunday, April 21

Festival Holy Communion at 8:30 am and 11 am

Please bring a bell to ring at the singing of the “Alleluias”. Easter breakfast served between services.