Jim Wallis: September 16, 2017

Author Jim Wallis will hold two events in the Seattle area to discuss issues of faith and race on September 16, 2017.

Jim Wallis – Congregations and Racism
Saturday, September 16, 2pm to 4pm at Trinity, Lynnwood
Author Jim Wallis will be talking with faith leaders in the Greater Seattle area about how to address the issue of racism with their congregations. Jim Wallis will help us explore the crucial role that faith leaders and faith communities can play in the area of racial equity; how we can prepare our own faith communities for such work; and how we can engage others from the heart of our faith traditions without requiring others to share them.  Please join us for this free event, specifically designed for faith leaders. This event is sponsored by The Treacy Levine Center, a 501c organization with a 50 year history of promoting understanding, bridging divides and building relationships amongst people across religious, cultural, ethnic and social lines through educational and experiential activities.

Jim Wallis:  Race, Privilege and the Bridge to a New America
Saturday, September 16, 7pm at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center
The Treacy Levine Center is also sponsoring this evening with Jim Wallis as he explores the topic of his latest book, America’s Original Sin; Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America.  Wallis see it as his faith’s obligation to “support the poor and vulnerable and defend those under attack.” He offers this path forward as a way to change our course.  “tell the truth…love our neighbor…welcome the stranger…expose and oppose racial profiling…defend Muslims…It is time to listen.  Tickets are now on sale at Brown Paper Tickets online at http://bpt.me/3002763 or by phone 1-800-838-3006.

The Pastor’s Page: Place Your Story in God’s Story

September, 2017

Lucas Cranach the Elder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Portrait of Princess Sibylle of Cleve, 1526

Lucas Cranach painted many portraits during the sixteenth century. I didn’t realize how many he painted until we visited Wittenberg last June for the tour celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It seemed like he painted thousands. As court painter for Frederick the Wise, he painted German nobility. Most of his paintings, however, were expression of his Christian faith and commitment.

We were delighted to see many of Cranach’s paintings portraying the biblical story. He also painted Katie and Martin Luther and some of the reformers. Most interesting to me were the paintings that combined the bible stories with the events and people of the Reformation.

Cranach painted himself, Luther, and other contemporaries in a painting of Jesus’ crucifixion. They stand next to John the Baptizer, pointing to the Lamb of God, as they gaze upon Jesus. You’ll also find a portrait of sixteenth century church people kneeling at the Baptism of Jesus. You are apt to find both Melanchthon and Luther among the people seated at the Last Supper or hovering around the empty tomb at Easter. Cranach wasn’t beyond polemic. His portrait of Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard pictures the reformers toiling all day while the papal party showing up to receive the same wages at the end of the day!

I really appreciated how Cranach and other artists placed themselves and the people they knew and the events of their day into the biblical story. Sure, there is a gap between biblical times and contemporary life, but for people of faith the gap is closed. Placing ourselves in the biblical story is one way to access the story of the Bible as our sacred story.

Venturing into God’s large world of revelation through scripture and prayer invites rich use of the imagination. Art is one expression. Imaginative prayer is another. It is one of the hallmarks of the exercises developed by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1521). In the Ignatian method of praying, you use your imagination to picture a story and its characters from one of the Gospels as you read it. Then you place yourself in the very in the scene as a bystander, participant, or perhaps a conversation partner to Jesus or Mary or one of the apostles.

Our common worship on Sunday morning takes it even farther. Building upon the liturgical practice of our Hebrew ancestors, our communal remembrance of the past is a lot more than mere recall. The ancient story becomes present tense. The God who delivered Israel from slavery and raised Jesus from the dead continues God’s saving work in and among and through the community gathered around the font, the word, and the holy supper.

One suggested practice is to give yourself permission to imagine yourself in the story as you hear it proclaimed in the scripture readings, hymns, Eucharistic prayers and more. Place yourself and your faith community in the story along with Sarah, Abraham, Miriam, Moses, Mary, Peter, and Paul. Picture yourselves sojourning with the Israelites in the wilderness, riding the waves with the disciples on the stormy sea, or having breakfast on the beach with Jesus and the apostles after the resurrection.

Recently, when we heard the story of the feeding of the 5,000 with the simple gifts of bread and fish, I imagined all the richly textured and richly colored world fed by God’s hand. I was buoyed by what I perceive to be God’s dream for the world and I was disturbed that so many go hungry and unfed. In placing ourselves and our neighbors in the story, God maybe is pulling us into deeper engagement with God’s mission in the world.

Place yourself in the story. Include your neighbors and loved ones. Use your imagination. The good news is that God first placed us in the story at our baptism – “Did you not know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6) From the moment we emerge from the baptismal waters, we spend our entire lives becoming the story we tell.

Pastor Hansen

Reflections on The WAY

What do you think of when you think of “The Way?”  For me, “The Way” is a wonderful program that I have had the privilege of being a part of, at many levels, for over twenty years.  I have been a candidate, sponsor, and ­– for the last two years — a Catechist. The Way has given me the chance not only to deepen my faith, but to be a part of others deepening theirs. As the catechumenate process starts and works towards Easter Vigil and beyond, it is a wonderful thing to be a part of the community that is formed. Not only to see new members being welcomed, but to watch current members walk along with them and at the end see the powerful growth that has occurred.

For the last two years, I have been part of the team that has gone to the annual catechumenate conference.  This year, the “Journey to Baptismal Living” conference was held in the beautiful Mercy Center in Burlingame, California.  For three days, Lance and Tina Georgeson, Connie Popp and I listened, learned and were able to partake in strengthening our commitment to this process. We listened to keynote speakers talk about the importance of the catechumenate in their own faith practices. We learned how other churches are welcoming their new members in. And we were part of small group discussions sharing our stories.

In the end we left happy to have been there together.  We were thankful to a church that values our going and our bringing back the knowledge we gained. We were appreciative that we have an endowment that allows us to have such experiences. And we all gained new energy and passion to continue this work.  Do you want to walk “The Way” with us?  We would love to have you.

Patty Maier


A Word From Our Pastors

September 2017

One of the promises we pledge to keep in the Baptismal Covenant is this one: “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”

To strive for justice and peace is a big promise and an urgent and timely one. It seems even more so when systems of violence obviously seek to belittle human beings and tear apart the fabric of human community. These reflections are being written just days after the demonstration by white nationalists and the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia. God’s vision of justice and peace has been on our minds and hearts.

You will find in this and every issue of Tower Echoes as well as the PRLC Website the welcoming statement we adopted at the culmination of our process of becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation.  The statement of welcoming all people is rooted in God’s core value of respecting the dignity of every human person.  We also commend to you the social statement on racism adopted by our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  See www.elca.org.

Statements such as these serve may serve as an antidote to the violent rhetoric and behavior of white supremacists and other movements that practice and promote blatant racism, but words alone do not suffice.  How do we seek the things of justice and peace?  In a recent blog entitled “Birthing Justice,” Sarah Brock suggests seeking these things first within ourselves and in community.  She points to Mary’s song (Luke 2) and how Mary begins to trust God’s movement in her and how Mary shares this good news with Elizabeth.

God’s reign of justice is demonstrated for us each week around the bath, the word, and the table.  Look for God’s justice there and share it with your sisters and brothers in Christ and locate where in the world God is calling you and calling us to be agents of God’ reconciling love.

“Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism … to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”  We say “Yes …”  And here is the most important part: “and we ask God to help and guide us.”


Pastor Hansen and Pastor Van Kley

Circles in September

Join Pastor Hansen for a discussion of the “Luther 500” Tour in Wittenberg.  Hear about visits to the various Reformation era sites and how the celebration of the anniversary of the Reformation nurtures and challenges our faith.

In preparation, please read Psalm 46. Circles will meet as follows:

Bethany      Monday, September 11th at 9:30 a.m. at Caroline Brakken’s home.

Salem          Wednesday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. at Lois Huseby’s home.



Report from the PRLC Child Development Center

~ Tim Sullivan, CDC Director

September is a favorite time for the staff at the Child Development Center, as we prepare for our new classrooms, children, and families. We get a chance to look back as a staff at the work we have done together for God’s children during the previous school year and find it to be a time of renewal and excitement as we plan and grow in our profession together as a child care staff.  The last week of August we get together as a whole staff to look at the upcoming year, and train together on best practices for the children entrusted in our care.  On Tuesday September 5, we welcomed 83 children and their families to their new classrooms at our center, and to the Phinney Ridge Lutheran community. The dedicated staff at the Child Development Center is full of anticipation and renewed spirit to share our gifts and work with these families for the 2017 school year.

Please take a look at our website! http://prlcpreschool.com/