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

March and April Circles

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures …
~ Luke 24:45

In March only Bethany Circle will meet, at Signe Lyshol’s home on March 9. Mary/Martha and Salem Circles will replace their monthly meetings with Wednesday Mid-day Lenten worship.

In April, Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher will join the women’s Bible study circles in the season of Easter to consider Luke 24:36-48. Jesus is alive and the disciples are excited but a little confused. Sound familiar? We’ll discuss what can we learn from the disciples’ experience with a resurrected Jesus.

Circles will meet as follows:
Mary/Martha:    Wednesday, April 8 at 1:00 pm in the Wartburg Room
Bethany:    Monday, April 13 at 9:30 am
Salem:         Wednesday, April 15, at 10:00 am at Mabel Rockness’ home

Caregiver Circle

The Caregiver Circle returns on January 18th. We will meet in the Wartburg room at 10 am. The theme this month is “finding the joy during difficult times.”

December Circles

Prepare the Way of the Lord!
~ Mark 1:3

“Prepare the Way of the Lord!” This is the call from the John the Baptist in the early days of Advent. What does it look like for us to prepare for the way of Jesus’ coming? We will explore this question with Pastor Hansen focusing on the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday in Advent, Mark 1:1-8.

Circles will meet as follows:

Mary/Martha:  Wednesday, December 10 at 1:00 pm in the Wartburg Room

Bethany: Monday, December 8 at 9:30 am at Judy Smith’s home

Salem: Wednesday, December 17, at 10:00 am at Ilse Bolliger’s home (to be followed by restaurant lunch)


Sample the Feast: A Women’s Retreat

Sample the Feast logoWe crave different foods at different times. During our retreat we’ll sample different types of prayer from the feast of ways God makes God’s self known to us. Come, be fed through prayer, reflection, fellowship and fun in a beautiful setting!

Location: Peace and Spirituality Center at St. Mary-on-the-Lake in Bellevue, 1663 Killarney Way, Bellevue, WA 98009
Cost: $40 (includes lunch and dinner)
Led by Pastors Karen Hanson and Debbie Boyce
Co-sponsored by Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Issaquah, and Phinney Ridge Lutheran, Seattle
Registration deadline: December 15 … click on the link below to print out a form
Questions: PRLC/ Signe Roscoe;   SHLC/

Pastor Karen Hanson is a Spiritual director and Intentional Interim Pastor. She has also journeyed with others as a hospice chaplain and parish pastor. Pastor Hanson delights in seeing the sacred in the ordinary. She and her husband, Terry appreciate the sacred space they discover camping and being outdoors. Pastor Debbie Boyce completed her vicar internship at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church and is the Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Issaquah.


Sample the Feast Retreat registration