Snowpocalypse Now!

Forecasters are predicting we could see some serious snow in January. If that happens, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If Seattle Schools close for snow, so does Phinney. The CDC will be closed, and there will be no BfJ.
  • If conditions warrant, we will cancel worship and send out an email to everyone in the church directory as soon as it’s decided.
  • If roads are generally considered safe, we will meet and worship as usual, but may ask for some help with shoveling the walks and driveways. Contact Parish Administrator Christina Sunstone ( if you can help.

Stay safe and stay warm if we get snow, and have fun with it too if you can!

December Financials

Thank you for your faithful pledges of support to our general operating fund in 2020. As of this writing we have 132 pledges coming to a total of $547,880.

Children, Youth and Family

A Note from Nicole

from Nicole Meyer

Happy New Year!  I’ve spent over three months with you now, immersed in learning the rhythms and traditions of Phinney Ridge.  There have been both laughter and tears, but mostly beautiful new friendships.  Thank you to each of you who have connected with me.  To be in relationship with each of you is truly holy.  As I glance at the first page of lovely 2020 calendar gifted to me this Christmas, I see the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke,  “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”  I indeed feel God moving among us now and I am eager to see where the Spirit sends us this year.  I know there is great potential in this place to love God and God’s world together in new, unique, and surprising ways.  If you have an idea or a prayer or a calling for “things that have never been” here at PRLC, I’d love to listen and walk with you in that.  Here’s to those things that have never been! 

A Fa-la-la-la LOT of FUN!

December was full of fun and opportunities to drink hot cocoa for the youth of PRLC, as we “stayed in” hanging out near Nicole’s office each Wednesday before BFJ.  You’ll want to stop by this space again soon to check out the makeover taking place! 

The lock-in was attended by 22 students and although record amounts of rain kept us from the lights at the zoo, gingerbread house building was a blast.  Confirmation students gathered with their mentors for a Christmas Trivia challenge.  Be sure to congratulate our champions Charlie Van Kley and Becky Roby.  Finally, a huge thank you to all our young musicians and choir members who shared their gifts, by caroling at the Norse Home and leading Christmas Eve worship.  Your music really made Christmas merry!

Coffee corner

Youth Coffee Wednesdays will be heading back to Herkimer Coffee for the month of January.  Students in grades 6-12 are invited to gather there on January 8, 15, 22, & 29 from 3:30-5pm.

High School Book Study

Sundays @ 10am

All students in grades 9th-12th are invited to gather in the youth room each Sunday morning. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be reading and discussing the book Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore.  See Nicole for a copy of the book and reading schedule and be part of the wondering about the early years of Jesus’ life.

~ Save the date for Vacation Bible School August 10–14, 9am to noon ~

Special Sunday School

Sunday, January 26 @ 10am

Adults and high school students are invited to attend the Annual Meeting, while students in grades K-8 will gather with Nicole for a special multi-age, large group experience.

Bowl Your Brains Out!

Sunday, January 26 @ 7–9pm
Tis’ bowl season, but instead of watching football, we’ll be bowling with balls and pins at Spin Alley in Shoreline.  Kids, youth, adults…everyone is invited!  The cost is $12 for all you can bowl.

~ Bread for the Journey will NOT meet Wednesday, January 29. ~

May Youth Weekends at Holden Village

High School Youth – Grades 9-12
May 14–17 – Cost: $225

Time to “think spring” because the registration deadline for this epic experience is Wednesday, January 29.  The program includes speakers, music, worship, small group conversations, a day of service and free time activities, which will surround this year’s theme: Transformation. There are many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking. Holden has a recreation center, an ice cream parlor, and plenty of space to sit outside and enjoy the beauty surrounding this extremely remote Cascade Mountain village in north-central Washington.  It will be a tech-free weekend and getting there (by car, boat, and school bus) is an adventure itself!  If you intend to attend, let Nicole know ASAP or watch for the registration link via email.

An Evening with Lutheran Summer Music

Sunday, February 9 – 4:00pm
A freewill offering will be collected in support of Lutheran Summer Music (LSM).

Mark your calendar for an evening of music, worship, and fellowship as Lutheran Summer Music presents: An Evening with LSM at PRLC.  LSM alumni from many different years as well as current students will perform a recital, wherein they will have an opportunity to share about their LSM experience and how it has influenced their lives.  Following the recital, we will worship together with a service of Evening Prayer, led by LSM participants. A light reception and time of fellowship will follow. 

Lutheran Summer Music is thrilled to continue their long and wonderful partnership with Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, and looks forward to several youth from the congregation attending LSM 2020!

Circle Meetings

Bethany Circle will be meeting Monday, January 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the home of JoAnn Thuring. CANCELLED due to snow.

Salem Circle will be meeting Wednesday, January 15 at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Randi Valdok.

Pastor Anne will lead the Circles in a conversation about Epiphany. You may read Matthew 2:1-12 in preparation.

PRLC Reaches “Century Corporation” Status

by Christina Sunstone

If you were here in 2015, you know when Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church began, because that was the year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our founding in 1915. This year, though, we’ve reached another 100-year landmark: the 100th anniversary of our incorporation. Kim Wyman, Washington’s Secretary of State, recently wrote to us saying “… incorporations [in 1920] were either delivered by horseback, steam wheeler or train. Because few owned cars, and the roads outside of Olympia were virtually impassible, incorporating a business was quite an adventure. Of the nearly 3500 incorporations filed in 1920, only 35 exist today and you are part of that small group.”

Happy incorporation anniversary to us – all signs point to another exciting hundred years!

How to talk to kids about Homelessness

by Rebekah Heeg, CDC Curriculum Coordinator

In preparation for the arrival of Tent City 3 in December, this letter was sent to CDC parents.

While questions about poverty, equity, and homelessness are already common for many children, we expect that many of the children we serve at the Phinney Ridge CDC will have extra questions and curiosities while our community hosts Tent City 3.  I’m including links below to some articles about addressing children’s questions respectfully, and working to avoid the creation of bias or prejudice in our answers about topics which we might find difficult or uncomfortable. I will be ordering some children’s books this week to improve our library and provide diverse representations and developmentally appropriate stories about people experiencing homelessness.

I wanted to highlight a couple of important concepts found in the articles below and that we use extensively in our anti-bias practices here at school:

Answering children’s questions

Most of these conversations should be initiated by the child and their interest. If they aren’t asking about something, it’s likely because they don’t feel ready to discuss it yet. Lack of questions isn’t a bad sign; it usually indicates that a child is still making observations and formulating thoughts on their own. They likely don’t feel ready for adult input at this time. A huge challenge in this phase is controlling the impulse to over-explain when questions finally do come. As adults we often over-analyze children’s questions and provide far more information than they were seeking.

Honesty about what we don’t know

While some questions are easy to answer (“What are they doing?” “It looks like they’re sleeping”) other questions may be impossible for us to know the answer to such as, “Why are they sleeping on the sidewalk?”. The truth is that unless we know this person well or ask them personally, we don’t know why. Pat answers to these questions are common: “they don’t have a home”, “they made poor choices”, “they have nowhere else to go” etc. and sometimes feel easiest. The problem with these types of answers

is that they encourage assumptions and biased opinions based on very little information about the person in question. Instead, we work hard to address questions we don’t know the answers to with honesty: “I don’t know why they’re sleeping on the sidewalk”.

Avoiding generalizations and stereotyping

Another common reflex for us as adults is to simplify the world in unrealistic ways when explaining things to children. This can be a result of our own unexamined biases, or of an attempt to answer a question in a simple way without allowing space for the complexity of the world we live in. One of my favorite ways of avoiding this in my own teaching practice is to add the word, “sometimes” when I’m answering children’s questions. “Sometimes people who don’t have homes of their own sleep on the sidewalk”, “some people who don’t have other places to stay can live in Tent City”, “We’re sharing our food today because sometimes other people don’t have enough to eat” etc. These statements are less absolute, open the door for children’s further thoughts, and help build a framework for addressing homelessness and poverty as experiences, rather than the totality of a person’s identity.

Examining our own bias

A final essential part of addressing these topics with children is to make an effort to examine our own biases as well – both in how we answer questions and how we behave during interactions out in the world. Children are keen observers and pick up quickly on our discomfort and feelings towards others. As we move through the world children notice when we make efforts to avoid interacting with others and make connections on why we might have done so.


Please feel free to reach out to CDC staff with your questions and thoughts on these articles, or topics that come up which you are having extra difficulty or particular joy in exploring with your children.

Adult Forums in January

Sundays in tree of Life @ 10:00 am

January 5 + Faithful Advocacy for the Earth

Care for creation, environmental justice, and responsibility to future generations are core faith values that we have opportunity to speak up for in the upcoming legislative session.  Join Jessica Zimmerle from Earth Ministry as she shares information about important environmental bills being considered by the State Legislature.

January 12: A Pre-Annual Meeting

This is an opportunity to consider the topics that will be discussed and voted upon at the PRLC Annual Meeting later in the month, including the 2020 budget, updating the Constitution, and the Phinney Houses.

January 19: Racial Reconciliation

Please join PRLC’s Race and Equity Team on MLK weekend for an update on recent activities, new resources, and initiatives around racial equity in the church and in our community. We continue to pray, risk, and boldly take steps toward a better expression of our baptismal call to die to ourselves so that we may be reborn in Jesus. Please join us in this process.

January 26: Annual Meeting

In lieu of an adult forum today, the annual congregational meeting will take place in the sanctuary beginning at 10:00a.m.

The WAY in January

Are you seeking baptism?

Are you seeking a deeper connection with Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church?

Would you like to deepen your faith journey?

Are you new to this congregation?

If the answer is “yes” to any of one or more of these questions, you are invited to come to the

WAY beginning January 5th (after the second service) at 12:30 p.m. We meet for lunch in the downstairs fellowship hall.

For more information, contact Pastor Hansen at the church office or Lance Georgeson (

New Synod Treasurer

+Bishop Shelly Bryan Wee recently announced that PLRC member Bart Brosten has been named the Treasurer for our Northwest Washington Synod.  Bart serves as a WAY catechist, Eucharistic Minister and Sunday School teacher and brings to the position of Synod Treasurer a wealth of experience and gifts.  May this ministry be blessed!