Refugees: an Epiphany BfJ Book Study

Wednesdays Jan. 10– Feb. 7, 2018

The worst refugee crisis since WWII is upon us: With 34,000 people fleeing their homes a day and a total of 65 million displaced persons in the world, 20 million of which are refugees, there is a major crisis going on awaiting our awakening. Join Vicar Gompf as she leads you through conversation and a reading of “Seeking Refuge” by Stephan Bauman. Vicar Gompf also recommends the book “Refugee” by Alan Gratz for teenagers, and for families with younger children, “My Name Is Not Refugee” by Kate Milner.  Please purchase your adult BFJ book prior to attendance. A few copies are available for sale at Grace Station ($15), and you will also find them in stock across the street at Phinney Books.


Circles in January

This month’s theme: Refugees

What does the Bible say about the treatment of refugees? Who were refugees in the Bible and why? How does our response to refugees help or hinder? Vicar Pam  Gompf will lead the women’s circles in January on a journey of the refugees of the Bible and how biblical response to refugees over the millennia has changed … or not.

Bethany Circle will meet January 8 at 9:30 at the home of JoAnn Thuring.

Salem Circle will meet January 24 at 10:00 at Randi Valdok’s home.


Circles in December

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:13-14)

Both circles will study the Christmas story as it is recorded in Luke, chapter 2.

Bethany Circle will meet Dec. 11, 2017 at 10:30 (note time change) at Judy Smith’s home. Bible study will be followed by a potluck lunch.

Salem Circle will meet Dec. 20, 2017 at 10:00 at Ilse Bolliger’s home for Bible study and singing around the lighted tree. Our annual Christmas lunch will follow at Queen Mary Tea Room, 2912 NE 55th St.


Adult Forums Fall 2017

September 17 and 24 – Christians and the Environment

Why should Christians care about the environment?  Join PRLC member Ryan Ferrer for a two-part interactive exploration of challenges and problems facing God’s creation, with emphasis on climate change from the perspective of a Christian.  Ryan teaches Biology at Seattle Pacific University.  He has researched climate change issues and has a passion for stewardship of the environment.


October 1 and 8 – Christians and Evolution

Why should Christians study evolution?  How does studying evolution help us understand how God creates and how we are part of God’s creation?  Join PRLC member Cara Scheffler for a two-week series to discuss the evolutionary process and evidence for ancient earth, particularly fossil records pertaining specifically to humans, and the evolutionary process.   Cara teaches in the Biology department at Seattle Pacific University.


October 15 – Luther 500 Tour

Several parishioners participated in the “Luther 500” Tour last June in Wittenberg, Germany to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Join them for a discussion of their trip – what they saw, enjoyed, and learned and how the experience enriched their journey of faith.


October 22 – Lutherans and the Ecumenical Movement – 500 Years in the Making

Martin Luther never intended to start a new church.  However, controversy in the church and a deep political divide led to the establishment of several Protestant churches in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Christians from various traditions sometimes stare at each other across a great divide. In this forum, we uncover rich sources within the Lutheran tradition for ecumenical conversations.  Come away with a deeper understanding of the core principles of Lutheran theology, and resources that you can use to live in harmony with other people and traditions.  This discussion will be led by PRLC member Mike Halvorson who teaches history at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.


October 29 – Luther the Spiritual Virtuoso

PRLC member Steve Pfaff defines a spiritual virtuoso as someone who works toward personal holiness with the same perseverance and intensity as a virtuoso striving for excellence in the arts or in athletics. On this Reformation Sunday, join Steve as he discusses Martin Luther as a spiritual virtuoso whose personal quest for God became a movement for social change.  Steve teaches Sociology at the University of Washington and has co-authored a book with Marion Goldman on The Spiritual Virtuoso, set to be released in December.


November 5 – Surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses 

Since the first century, Christians have kept a calendar to honor the faith and life of persons who have exemplified what it means to be “salt of the earth” and “light for the world.”  Why do we single out certain women and men among the vast communion of saints into which we are all baptized?  How did this calendar come into being and why keep it still?  How might remembering and honoring people like Julian of Norwich, Francis and Clare of Assisi, St. Luke, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Theresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King and a host of other Christian witnesses edify our lives of faith?  Join Pastor Hansen on this All Saints Sunday for a spirited conversation.


November 12 – Muslims and Christians Together

Neighbors in Faith, a ministry supported by both the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, fosters mutual relationships with Muslims and other faith communities with the goal of promoting a more peaceful world.  Pastor Terry Kyllo, director of this ministry, will discuss this interfaith work.  He believes that interfaith dialogue is essential in learning to live with each other and our cultural differences.  For more information see


November  19 and 26 – That They Be One

Jesus prayed that his followers be one just as he and the Father are one.  How are Christians doing at being in communion with one another?  With whom is the ELCA in a full communion relationship and what does it mean for us to be in these relationships?  What exactly is the “Declaration on the Way” with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers?  Join Pastor Hansen for a lively discussion on the ecumenical movement, especially the relationship between Lutherans and other Christians.


December 3 – Advent Event for everyone  (All Ages)


Small groups are coming this Fall!

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the ELCA has come up with a campaign tagline: Always being made new. It’s appropriate to use this image of new creation, because this historic event gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which God continues to form and re-form us – both as the Church, and individually as people of God. In this spirit of ongoing reformation, PRLC is offering a short-term opportunity for small groups that each give you a chance to re-form your relationship with God and with this community.

Some will be discussion and reflection groups; some are physically active groups created for fellowship and time with nature; others with be hands-on opportunities to practice justice. A brief description of some of the groups is provided below. Keep an eye out for more information in your bulletins and at the September 10 Ministry Fair. Dates and meeting locations for each group are TBD, but groups will meet mid-September through October. Contact Pastor Van Kley or Scott Shiebler if you have questions.

Re-Forming our Hearts

Troubling the Waters, Take 2: Building on the conversation that’s already begun at PRLC, this group will confront the topics of racism and white privilege.

HeartBook: Don’t have time to meet with a group? Members of this private Facebook group will be guiding through an exploration of new spiritual practices. You’ll try the new disciplines on your own time, and share your experiences online.

Bible Study: This group may explore weekly lectionary texts or dive into some of Luther’s favorite parts of scripture.

Re-Forming our Minds

Table Talk: Sit down with your favorite beverage and participate in an informal, open conversation about our theological questions and musings.

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Book Group: Guided by the book, One Hope: Re-Membering the Body of Christ, we will reflect and discuss day-to-day faith practices and discover the commonality we share with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers.

Re-Forming our Communities

Who is my neighbor?: This group will explore local social justice outreach possibilities, including Aurora Commons. Bring your ideas!

Environmental Stewardship: Be a part of a conversation around care for God’s creation. This group will discuss the urgent need for action in caring for the earth, and will take action to start making a difference.

Park Hoppers: Families with young children will gather at various playgrounds in our area for simple fun and fellowship.

Path Finders: Two separate groups will gather in beautiful places around the city, enjoying the goodness of God through nature and conversation. One group will be for those who want to participate in high-energy activities such as running. A second group will enjoy the slower pace of walks and low-impact hikes.



Women, please mark your calendars for a one-day retreat on April 29,2017 at St. Mary-on-the-Lake Peace and Spirituality Center in Bellevue. This annual retreat will again be led by Pastor Van Kley and three other pastors from area churches (including former PRLC vicar, Rev. Debbie Boyce). Our theme is “The Word Made Flesh,” and we will explore it through several hands-on activities. Along with worship and presentations from the pastors, you’ll also have options to bake bread, practice yoga, study Scripture, walk the labyrinth, and much, much more! The retreat will be from 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the cost is $40. Watch your bulletin for registration details in coming weeks, and contact Pastor Van Kley with questions.

Registration deadline is April 20. Printable registration form below.

Womens Retreat 2017 registration form [pdf]

Young Adult Pre-Lenten Retreat Feb 17 & 18

Joy, Mercy, Simplicity

Join Pastors Ivar Hillesland, Britt Olson, and Bryon Hansen for a weekend for an exploration of the “Rule of Taizé .” Held at the Seabeck Conference Center on beautiful Hood Canal, this is a time to “get away” and experience the intentional faith practices of the Taizé community that have been adapted by Christians worldwide. Registration brochures are available at the link below.

Young Adult Retreat Brochure & Registration [pdf]

Financial Peace University

God calls us to steward all that God has given us: our selves, our time, and our possessions.  Without a plan for how to manage God’s money, in God’s way for God’s glory, we are often left wondering where the money went.  Starting on Thursday, January 26th,  PRLC member John Hubbard will be leading a Financial Peace University course focusing on budgeting to eliminate debt, managing and saving wisely, and most importantly prioritizing goals to enable us to live more generously.  Topics covered during the 9-week course include:

  • Saving Money
  • Communicating about Money
  • Cash Flow Planning
  • Dumping Debt
  • Buyer Beware
  • The Role of Insurance
  • Retirement and College Planning
  • Real Estate and Mortgages
  • Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

Class will meet from 6:30-8:30 pm. The class costs $109 per family for the materials.  Free childcare will be available.  If you are interested in joining the class, contact member John Hubbard to sign up.


Children and Family Ministries News

The Monelli Memo

I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true.
Who toiled and fought and lived and died for a Lord they loved and knew….

So begins the joyful children’s hymn that was part of All Saints Day worship throughout my youth. The hymn continues to reference saints who were everything from shepherdesses to queens, and doctors to priests. But the ending of the hymn was always what I liked most:

They lived not only in ages past; there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too.

Who are the saints in your life? Who has inspired you to deeper faith? Whose life has encouraged you to serve or speak up for those in need? All Saints is the perfect time to celebrate all those who have inspired and encouraged you and to introduce them to your children. Did a great uncle introduce you to the joy of a well told Bible story? Did a friend encourage you to service when you were hesitant to take the risk?

Whether the saints in your life can be found in books or your family’s photo album, take some time this month to introduce your children to these special people, to celebrate who they have been (or are) to you through pictures and stories. Then help your children to identify the saints in their lives and to share their stories with you.

For His Sake,


The Advent Event – Making Room for Jesus

Sunday, November 20 – 9:30 am
If you would like to help prepare for or help on the day of this event, please contact Nancy Monelli ( as soon as you can.


Continuing Programs

Bread for the Journey continues to meet each Wednesday evening. Bread for the Journey is a mid-week respite for rejoicing, reflecting, and renewing with the family of faith.

Sunday School classes meet on Sundays from 10-10:50 am each week. During this time of Christian formation there are classes for all children and young people in preschool through high school.

The Phinney Phlames! The Phinney Phlames is the Youth Group for kids in 4th and 5th grade. This month the Phlames will be attending a performance of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on November 6th. Reservations are required so please contact Nancy Monelli right away if you have not already done so.


Programs for Adults

The Caregiver Circle: The Caregiver Circle meets at 10am on the 3rd Sunday of every month. This month we will gather on October 16th in Pastor Hansen’s office. If you care for an elderly parent, a loved one with a chronic condition, or a distant relative with continuing needs, you are welcome and encouraged to take part in this support group. This is an opportunity to meet with others experiencing similar life challenges, to learn coping skills, discover local resources, and pray with and for one another. If you would like more information, please contact Nancy Monelli at

Sacred Listening: Sacred Listening will meet on December 4 at noon in the Middle School Room.

More Bread for the Journey: Pastor Hansen will lead a Young Adult study during “Bread for the Journey” on Wednesday evenings beginning November 16 at 6:30 p.m. We will look at the scripture readings for Advent and consider what it means to prepare for Christ’s coming. Anyone is welcome. (we’re not restricting this to young adults).  Pastor Van Kley continues to lead a lectionary discussion during this time. All adults are welcome to participate in the BFJ closing worship at 7:15.