Adult Forums in December

Sunday Mornings at 10:00 in the Tree of Life Room

December 6, 2015
Lutheran Youth of North Seattle (LYONS)
You are invited to come for a presentation and discussion with Jon Ross, the director of our cooperative youth ministry, Lutheran Youth of North Seattle (LYONS). Feel free to bring questions about how our youth program works at Phinney Ridge, how it fits into our community here, and where LYONS is headed in the coming years.

December 13, 2015
Opening the Christmas Gift
Join Pastor Hansen in an exploration of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany as they are celebrated in the life of the church and how the richness of these traditions may be extended to the home.

December 20, 2015
Voter Education: Initiative 735
I-735 is a proposed Washington state ballot initiative that aims to reverse the 2010 Citizens United ruling. This has allowed corporations to have the same constitutional free speech rights as individuals. One result has been that corporations have been able to spend millions of dollars on elections and have the same Constitutional freedoms as individual citizens. Sixteen states have already passed resolutions like I-735. With the help of faith communities like ours, Washington can become the 17th. The campaign has collected over 220,000 petition signatures so far, and need at least another 80,000 by the end of December to qualify for the ballot in 2016. More details about I-735 can be found at

~ No forums on December 27 and January 3 ~


Evening “Spirited Women” Group Forming

The first evening meeting of Spirited Women will take place on Thursday November 19th from 7:00-8:30pm at PRLC in the Tree of Life Room. Our intern Kate Niklasson will lead us in an opening devotional, and then we will be engaging in some faith sharing, snack eating, and brainstorming about what we want our group to look like in the future! If you have not yet had an opportunity to get on the contact list for this new group and you would like to be included, please get in touch with Intern Kate by email at or by phone at (206) 601-5283.

Adult Forum Offerings in November

November 1, 2015
All Saints Day
Join in our intergenerational event to explore All Saints: engage with the lives, faith, and vocations of the historical saints and the saints of Phinney Ridge Lutheran! Look soon for opportunities to share about PRLC saints from your life, and for young people to interview some Phinney saints who may or may not be able to join us in worship regularly.

November 8, 2015
PRLC’s Endowment: Giving Through the Ages
We invite you to come and hear about the good ministry that your Phinney Ridge Lutheran Endowment Fund supports. Learn how you can give to the Endowment Fund now or as part of your estate planning, and learn how to apply for an Endowment Fund grant that will expand PRLC’s ministry in the church, community and world.

November 15, 2015
Diversity and the Church
Come hear from the members of Phinney’s newest ministry, the Diversity Team. This team seeks to consider how our love for Jesus and other people might propel us and our fellow members of PRLC toward necessary change. We want to encourage discussion among the people of PRLC about how we as a community of faith might make changes and choices for the equality of all.

November 22, 2015
How Much Is Enough?
Join us to explore the consumer economy, “affluenza”, and what Jesus calls us to do in these times of economic inequality and climate change. “As sages have said, contentment lies not in obtaining things you want, but in giving thanks for what you have.” ~Arthur Simon

November 29, 2015
Advent Intergenerational Event
All members of the church family are invited to gather to prepare for this celebration of the incarnation of our Lord. The words Prepare, Proclaim, and Share form the basis for this event that includes making an Advent Wreath (all supplies provided) and other activities for families with children to help them learn more about this special time and prepare their hearts, minds, and homes for the coming of Christ. Special devotional activities for adults will be provided and take-home materials for members of all ages will be provided. And there will even be a visit from St. Nicholas!


Circles for November

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching…

~ Hebrews 10:24-25


Join Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher to discuss The Letter to the Hebrews, and specifically the passage from 10:11-25.

Mary/Martha: Wednesday November 11 at 1:00 in the Library

Salem: Wednesday November 18 at 10:00 at the home of Judy Lee (Norse Home)

Bethany: Monday, November 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the PRLC Library

Circles for October

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.
~ from Psalm 23

During October the circle meetings led by Pastor Hansen will focus on passages of healing in honor of the Festival of St. Luke celebrated on Sunday, October 18. In preparation please read Isaiah 53:3-5, Psalm 23, and Luke 4:14-21.

Mary/Martha: Wednesday October 14 at 1:00 in the Library
Salem: Wednesday October 21 at 10:00 at the home of Lois Huseby
Bethany: Monday, October 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the home of Signe Lyshol.


Cata – What? The WAY at PRLC

~ Bryon Hansen

Baptism at PRLC involves full immersion

Baptism at PRLC involves full immersion

Each month in the Tower Echoes we highlight a particular ministry of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. This month we focus on the WAY, formally known as the Catechumenate. Not an everyday word to be sure, the catechumenate is the name of the process in the ancient church for welcoming people to Baptism and life in Christ.

This ancient process has been revived in the modern church. Ever since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s, when the Roman Catholic Church recovered this ancient process in its Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the catechumenal process has flourished. Soon after Vatican II the process began to be practiced among Lutherans, Episcopalians, United Methodists, Presbyterians, the Reformed church and many others practicing some manifestation of a contemporary version of the Catechumenate.

Chief among the pioneers of recovering the Catechumenate for Lutherans was Pastor Don Maier, who introduced the WAY while pastoring Phinney in 1993. When he served as Bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod he continued to tirelessly promote the process and was instrumental in introducing Welcome to Christ, the catechumenate emphasis within the entire ELCA.

The word Catechumenate comes from a root word meaning a “sounding in the ear.” Listening permeates the process. We are invited to listen prayerfully to the Scriptures (especially the Gospel) and to one another’s stories. We are invited to listen and pay attention to the movements of the liturgy and the movements of baptismal living in everyday life. The promise of such listening is a deeper connection to the Christian community and a deeper investment in following Jesus.

Worship. Scripture. Prayer. Ministry in daily life. These are the essential ingredients of the WAY – a way that is as contemporary as it is ancient to welcome the newcomer and deepen the life, faith and mission of the whole church.

Two great sessions were held in late September for folks interested in the WAY. This cycle begins October 4 at 5PM with dinner. These first weeks are known as the “front porch” where questions are honored and stories are shared. Those wanting to extend their journey beyond the front porch are invited to continue in January and through Easter to Pentecost.


Fall 2015 Adult Formation

Easter Vigil

Spiritual development is a life-long process! Adult Formation at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church provides opportunities to explore the Bible, pray, and study, and so be formed in the way of Jesus. It also provides opportunities to learn about and discuss a variety of contemporary issues facing Christians today. Please join us as we learn and grow together.

Click on the link below to read about Adult Formation opportunities at Phinney this fall:

Adult Forum Catalog Fall 2015 [pdf]

The Faith-Health Connection

from the Parish Health and Wellness Ministry

by Marla Lichtsinn, RN, MPA, FCN, Parish Nurse

For several decades, scientists have studied the role of both public and private expression of faith and religious practice on health and longevity, and have documented measurable benefits, even when other social and psychological differences are taken into account.

Throughout recorded history, people have intuitively associated religion with health. From cautions against unhealthy behaviors in ancient texts to the healing miracles of Jesus, the connection has seemed natural and spontaneous. With scientific methods utilized in modern medicine, the connection between faith and health has been scientifically measured and documented. New studies reveal the mechanisms – the “how” – that explain something more than a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, good nutrition, even frequent servings of humor – can offer. The relationship between spirituality and health has emerged as equally or even more important…



Quantitative (measured), systematic studies of religion’s impact on wellbeing date back to the late 1800s, when Francis Galt, a British biostatistician, reported the positive effects of intercessory prayer. Today, we can examine the results of thousands of studies published in reputable medical, psychiatric and religious journals, including a 28-year study of 5000 adults whose experience demonstrated a 36% decreased risk of death during the study period in those subjects who attended weekly religious services. The results were replicated in another study (6 year) of nearly 4000 people. Also, a random survey of more than 20,000 Americans found that whites who regularly attend religious services lived an average of 7 years longer than those who did not; for African-Americans, the correlation was even stronger, adding 14 years to their life span (Hummer et al, 1999).

Investigators have determined by measuring interleukin-6 (“IL-6”), a marker of immune system function, that connection to religious practices and faith-based communities (churches, synagogues, mosques) reduces the stress response of the immune system, and fostering a healthy immune system results in improved overall health. In some areas of the US, Dr. Harold Koenig, a renowned researcher/author in the field of faith/health connection, found 90% of the population stated that they depend on their faith to help them cope with illness or injury. While many aspects of religious experience may be seen to lower people’s stress levels (e.g., both music and socialization have known health benefits) the emphasis on behaviors reflecting love and forgiveness play a positive role in wellbeing. Spirituality empowers people to alter their life perspectives, supporting the feeling that life has meaning and purpose, and enabling them to deal with negative circumstances more easily, giving hope and a sense of control that non-religious people lack.



A most surprising aspect of health/spirituality research is the strength of the correlation: the measured effect on the health outcomes is about the same as the effect of quitting smoking in terms of years added to one’s life. Documented benefits include the following:

  • lower levels of stress
  • better coping skills
  • better mental health
  • greater social support
  • less substance abuse
  • healthier behavior choices (e.g., healthier diet, higher  incidence of seatbelt use, better sleep, engaging in more physical activity; however, religious people seem to have – or are more willing to acknowledge – problems in managing their weight!)
  • increased disease screening and preventive care
  • better compliance with recommended treatments



Your faith isn’t only good for your spirit! A close relationship with your Creator may afford you such benefits as…

  • lower mortality (death rates) from cancer, heart disease or strokes
  • slower progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementias
  • fewer surgical complications, quicker recovery and fewer readmissions
  • higher immune system function (i.e., higher CD4 counts and lower viral load measurements) and lower disease progression rates among HIV-infected persons


Still don’t believe it? …. Read it for yourself!


O’Connor PJ, Pronk NP, Tan A et al (2005) Characteristics of adults who use prayer as an alternative therapy. AmerJHealthPromot. 19: 369-375.

Ironson et al (2006) An increase in religiousness/spirituality in people with HIV. JGenInternMed 21: S62-S68.

Palmer RF, Katerndahl D, Morgan-Kidd J. (2004) A randomized trial of the effects of remote intercessory prayer: interactions with personal beliefs on problems-specific outcomes and functional status. JAltComplMed 10: 438-448.

Krause N (2006) Church-based social support and mortality. JGerontBioSciMedSci, 61: S140-S146.




Tower Room Study

Join the young adults and others if you are interested in discussing Sabbath. Using the book Sabbath as Resistance by Walter Brueggemann, we are discussing keeping Sabbath as a faith practice that resists the ways of kingdoms and powers other than the Kingdom of God. A lively discussion is guaranteed! We meet at 10:00 a.m. between services on Sunday … our Sabbath day!


As Holy Week Begins

You are invited to use these prayers and scripture readings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week

Monday, March 30, 2015
Monday in Holy Week

Prayer of the Day

O God, your Son chose the path that led to pain before joy
and to the cross before glory.
Plant his cross in our hearts,
so that in its power and love we may come at last to joy and glory,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Isaiah 42:1–9
Psalm 36:5–11
Hebrews 9:11–15
John 12:1–11


Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Tuesday in Holy Week

Prayer of the Day

Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you.
Grant that our love may not grow cold in your service,
and that we may not fail or deny you in the time of trial,
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Isaiah 49:1–7
Psalm 71:1–14
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
John 12:20–36


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Wednesday in Holy Week

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, your Son our Savior suffered at human hands
and endured the shame of the cross.
Grant that we may walk in the way of his cross
and find it the way of life and peace,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Isaiah 50:4–9a
Psalm 70
Hebrews 12:1–3
John 13:21–32