PRLC Men’s Retreat 2018

October 19, 2018      6pm-10pm
October 20, 2018      9am-4:30pm

Make plans to join us for a fun time of connection exploring the life of the Apostle Peter. On the evening of October 19th and all day on the 20th, we’ll gather at PRLC to connect with the story of Peter, with God, and with each other. Don’t miss breakout workshops, worship, delicious lunch at Gorgeous George, a trivia challenge, and many more creative ways to be together. This event is great for all identifying men college age and up. Can you bring a friend or two? Registration fee is $55 (scholarships available), and includes t-shirt, notebook, and Saturday lunch. Please see the retreat brochure below for more details. Registrations due by October 3rd to secure a t-shirt size!

Men’s Retreat 2018 brochure [pdf]

Welcome to Our New Staff Members!

Elizabeth Peter


Vicar Elizabeth Peter is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a B.A in Telecommunications from Penn State University. She worked as a Production Assistant/News Director at CBS 21 News before answering her call to pursue an M.Div from the United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg. Elizabeth is a Fund for Leader Scholar; she spoke at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering; and is a member of her Alumni Gospel Choir from PSU. Elizabeth is in her third year at ULS and is passionate about preaching, studying the psalms, and being with people. She enjoys cycling, cooking, watching Netflix, singing and sailing.

Elizabeth is excited to immerse herself with the people of Phinney to teach, preach and learn about God together.


Craig Hopper

Gospel Choir Director

Craig Hopper was born in Seattle, Washington and studied at Seattle Central Community College, where he completed coursework studies in music theory, music composition, piano, and choral training. He has an extensive background in vocal direction and as a church musician.

Craig knew at an early age that music ministry was his calling. While in high school, he served as a volunteer instrumentalist for the Inspirational Chorus and Chapel Choir at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. There, he developed his skills as a gospel singer and drummer. He would also work as the Assistant Director of the Brotherhood Chorus, and Director of The Hopper Family Singers; a family music ministry whose repertoire included beautiful a cappella African-American Spirituals. The group performed throughout the greater Seattle area from 1977 until 1990.

In 2001, Craig was called as the Director of the St. Matthew Lutheran Church Adult Choir in Edmonds, and in 2004 Craig became Choir Director and Music Coordinator for the newly formed Edmonds Lutheran Church (ELC). At ELC he developed the music program, consisting of an adult choir, a vocal ensemble, a string ensemble, a chime choir and a praise chorus.

After an extended sabbatical, Craig is excited to return to music ministry. He is looking forward to serving the people of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. He believes that through the ministry of music people can experience God’s power and grace.

Craig is married and has a son. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, exercising, Major League Baseball, and is a history buff.


Paul Georgeson

Youth Choir Director

Paul Georgeson is a lifelong member of Phinney Ridge Lutheran, baptized here in 1992! He is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College, having earned a Master of Music in Sacred Music there, and is the current Assistant Artistic Director for reSound, a small choir exploring the ways choral music can be used to articulate a message of social justice and inclusion for all.

Paul is a board member of the Institute for Social Change through the Arts, an organization focusing on the power artistic expression has to impact social change.  He’s recently been published in a collaborative work, The Complete Choral Warm-Up Sequences, led by Dr. James Jordan.


Jeffrey Cooper


Jeffrey Cooper began his career in Northern California with undergraduate studies in organ at Chico State, studying with David Rothe while playing the organ for numerous local churches. Since then, he has obtained a master’s degree in sacred music from the University of Notre Dame and a doctoral degree from the University of Houston, studying with Craig Cramer, Robert Bates, and Matthew Dirst. His doctoral research involved Buxtehude’s lost suites on the seven planets and their influence on Bach’s early works. During his time in Texas, he has been organist and director of music at St. Christopher Episcopal Church in League City, as well as organ scholar at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in uptown Houston. His wife, Anna, is another musical Californian with a background in fiddle and voice. Together they keep a joyful household (to say the least) with two daughters: Elizabeth, age 3, and Ingrid, age 1. Jeffrey will begin his work at PRLC the first of December.




Join Us for a Special Sunday Stroll this Week

Every Sunday evening this summer, a group of 10-15 Phinney members and friends has gathered for friendly conversation while taking walks around different neighborhoods, starting and ending in different parks featured in Linnea Westerlind’s Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide. Over 25 people of all ages have participated (along with five different dogs!).

All are welcome to join us for one or both of our final two walks of this series. This Sunday, August 19, we will be gathering at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st St) courtyard (in the middle of the building-walk straight through from the parking lot) at a special start time of 6:30pm. Larry Howard, husband of Pastor Nancy Winder, will be leading us on a tour of the Lake Union Natural Area in the Laurelhurst neighborhood (near University Village). Nancy and Larry have graciously invited us for dessert after the guided walk at their home a few blocks away.

Children are welcome, and please feel free to invite your non-Phinney family and friends. Please leave your dog home for this walk, as we want to be gentle with the natural area we’ll be walking through (as well as the Winder/Howard home!).

Our final walk of this series will bring us back to the site of our first walk—Sunset Hill Park in Ballard—7:00pm on August 26.
Please RSVP or send questions to Don Boelter (, 206-276-4687)

PRLC Annual Congregational Meeting on January 28, 2018

The congregation’s Annual Meeting will take place between services on January 28, 2018.  This is the occasion, every winter, when we review the previous year and celebrate ministry highlights.  In addition, we approve a budget for 2018.  At both services, we will give gratitude for the ministries of PRLC and pray for God’s lead in the future.  The annual meeting takes place in the sanctuary and it begins between services, at 10:00 a.m.

In the Family

Cheri Rinn; died January 9, 2018

Recently Born
Carson Michael Kruse, born January 2, 2018 to parents Shawn and Nichole Kruse


Stewardship Update

I am pleased to report on a very encouraging fall stewardship campaign. Over the course of several weeks in October, you heard testimonies from fellow members, read reflections on generosity and on the spiritual discipline of giving. You were encouraged to look at God’s blessings in your life, and to consider prayerfully your commitment in support of PRLC’s mission and ministry in 2018.

The congregation’s great response and willingness to consider stepping up their giving will be so helpful to the council for planning the 2018 operating budget! (We have returned to a January-December pledge cycle, concurrent with our budget year.) Thank you to all who returned their General Fund Commitment cards. More forms are still available at Grace Station, or from the office.

We have received 115 cards back as of this writing, for a combined total commitment of $463,130 annually. That means an average of $4,027 per household. I was curious and compared to the last pledge drive (which culminated with New Consecration Sunday in May 2016). The average annual commitment then was $3,876. Thank you for your generosity!

Other encouraging numbers:

  • With the 8 households newly signed up for Simply Giving, our automatic giving program, we have now at least 101 giving units participating. These consistent electronic contributions make for predictable church income and reduce the impact of low attendance during vacation times.
  • Of those who submitted response cards, 25 indicated they want to increase their Simply Giving contributions in 2018, while only two will decrease their giving. We understand of course that circumstances can change; feel free to contact me any time if you need to modify your pledge.

Thank you for both your support of the PRLC operating fund, and many worthwhile ministries such as Outreach, Food Bank, Mary’s Place, Global Missions and local programs.


Kirsten Olshausen
Parish Administrator


On Generosity

Friends in Christ,

There is a legend about the ancient Gauls.  Though conquered by the Roman Empire, these  warriors resisted with every ounce of their being and staged several uprisings. Over time, many Gauls were converted to Christianity. According to the legend, when a warrior was converted and then baptized in a stream or river, he would hold one arm high in the air as he was dunked under the water. Why would they do such a thing? To justify their warrior behavior. At the next battle the Gaul could, in good conscience, grab a sword or club and raise it high saying, “This arm is not baptized!”

In a wonderful book called Giving to God, Mark Allan Powell mentions this urban legend and wonders what the image might look like today – keeping one part of your body dry and free from the influence of baptism. He pictures a modern person perhaps going under water with one arm outstretched clinging to a wallet. I’m reminded of Luther’s comment that sometimes the pocket book is the last thing to be converted.

Like every aspect of our faith journey – prayer, participating in worship, acts of mercy and more – giving generously is a necessary spiritual discipline. Like all disciplines, giving is a practice that nurtures our relationship with God and walking in a baptismal way of life. A discipline around faithful giving prevents us from loving money too much and helps us use money in ways that honor God and promote the values of Jesus.

Generosity Sunday is October 22, celebrated at both services. You will be given opportunity to ponder generosity and discern your commitment to the ministry of PRLC for 2018. As you think and pray, please consider tithing or working toward a tithe in your commitments for next year. Below, you will find a useful chart that outlines percentage giving.

I have found tithing – giving 10% of one’s income – to be a life-giving spiritual practice. Tithing has its roots in the practice of our Hebrew ancestors and has continued to be a faith practice among Christians. I am buoyed by the fact that PRLC tithes to our Synod. I have also been inspired by many a tither whose practices of generosity impart God’s love in powerful ways.

Tithing, or increasing our giving with the goal of working toward a tithe, is a practice I commend. It’s the kind of thing we do as those called to “walk wet.”

Pastor Hansen

Give Generously

Giving as an Act of Worship

At the end of parish announcements each Sunday, you’ll usually hear me or Pastor Hansen say something like, “Now let us offer, with joy and thanksgiving, what God has first given us.” What does that mean, anyway? Well, for starters, it’s counter-cultural, isn’t it? I confess that when I pay my bills, I don’t always do it with joy. We wince at the thought of our medical expenses; we cringe when the grocery tab exceeds our budget; and I haven’t heard of anyone being thankful about the rising cost of car tabs!

When we put our offering in the plate on Sundays (or see it come out of our accounts via the automatic Simply Giving program), we’re not paying a bill. Instead, think of your giving as an act of worship.

A key tenet of our faith is the incarnation – the embodying of God in the person of Jesus Christ. We have a God who loves us so much that God didn’t remain distant, but came in flesh and bone to be with us in all things. And so, much of what we do in worship symbolizes this tangible relationship with have with God through Christ. We make the sign of the cross on our bodies. We splash in water. We taste bread and wine. We share the peace with hugs and handshakes. And we give our actual money. We give it because we believe in the work of mission in this place, sure. But we also give it as a physical reminder that our whole lives belong to God.

We make an offering with joy and thanksgiving not because we are “paying for a service,” but as an act of worship. An act that physically reminds us to turn away from our self-focused desires and anxieties, and toward our generous and loving God.

God bless you,
Pastor Van Kley

Make an Offering

Proportional Giving Guide: Monthly Giving as Percentage of Income

Income 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10%
20,000 16.67 33.33 50.00 66.67 83.33 100.00 116.67 133.33 150.00 166.67
30,000 25.00 50.00 75.00 100.00 125.00 150.00 175.00 200.00 225.00 250.00
40,000 33.33 66.67 100.00 133.33 166.67 200.00 233.33 266.67 300.00 333.33
50,000 41.67 83.33 125.00 166.67 208.33 250.00 291.67 333.33 375.00 416.67
60,000 50.00 100.00 150.00 200.00 250.00 300.00 350.00 400.00 450.00 500.00
70,000 58.33 116.67 175.00 233.33 291.67 350.00 408.33 466.67 525.00 583.33
80,000 66.67 133.33 200.00 266.67 333.33 400.00 466.67 533.33 600.00 666.67
90,000 75.00 150.00 225.00 300.00 375.00 450.00 525.00 600.00 675.00 750.00
100,000 83.33 166.67 250.00 333.33 416.67 500.00 583.33 666.67 750.00 833.33

Why Simply Giving

Simply Giving is a “first fruits” method of giving. Many of us are using electronic fund transfers (EFTs) to pay bills each month. Move your church giving to be the first thing to pay each month.

Accurate records are maintained indefinitely.  An electronic contribution is safer than writing a check, and it can’t be lost, stolen or destroyed in the mail.

Flexibility.  Withdrawals can be made weekly, monthly, or twice a month.  You can give to the general fund and various ministries of the church, and a simple phone call or e-mail to the church office can stop your giving or adjust the amount, should the need arise.

Simplicity and peace of mind. When travel or obligations keep you from regular worship, there’s no need to mail a check or dash to church with your offering envelope. EFTs give you peace of mind that your stewardship commitment is taken care of and that PRLC receives predictable revenues. No “summer slump” for the church, no “playing catch-up” for you.

Most importantly, our ministries are strengthened.  Consistent giving allows PRLC to effectively fulfill our mission and vision in our church, in our community and around the world.

So for these reasons and more, I say thanks to the over 90 households currently contributing to PRLC this way. If you are interested in trying Simply Giving, please contact me at, pick up a flyer from Grace Station, or sign up at Simply Giving.

Kirsten Olshausen

Simply Giving

Pastor’s Page: In Giving, We Receive

Last Sunday, we sang the Prayer of St. Francis at one service and prayed along with the Chancel Choir’s beautiful rendition at the next service.  Just then it occurred to me that this much-cherished prayer is a kind of stewardship prayer.

As far as Francis of Assisi is concerned, the stewardship of creation is already a given.  Francis regarded the sun as our brother, the moon as our sister and the earth as our mother.  What I heard this time in the prayer attributed to Francis was a call to be stewards of the Gospel:

 Make us instruments of your peace. 

Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Stewards are caretakers of what belongs to someone else.  Our high baptismal calling is to care for God’s creation and to steward the mysteries of Christ through forgiveness, generosity, compassion, and consolation.  God, through Christ, is the author of self-giving love.  It is our duty and delight to share these gifts with our neighbors.

Generosity Sunday is October 22nd.   Giving thanks to God for all of God’s good gifts and the work of the Spirit in and through PRLC, we consider our financial pledges for 2018.  As we pray about our gifts for upcoming year, it behooves us to remember that Christians are called to use money in the same way we steward all of God’s good gifts.

As we consider pledges and tithes for next year, think about the ways in which you and the PRLC community to which you belong may use money further the sacred work of love.  Most of all, how might we increasingly make our regular offerings a spiritual practice where the practice of giving is in itself a blessing to behold?

For it is in “Giving that we receive …”


Pastor Hansen


Ernst Schwidder’s Liturgical Art

Some of the liturgical artwork of Ernst Schwidder is now at the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University.  The altar and processional cross that graced Phinney’s worship space for many years are among Schwidder’s pieces at the museum and will be on special exhibit in April and May of 2017.  You can learn more about the Ernst Schwidder project at and the museum at