The Pastor’s Page

O Blessed Spring

I recently read a little book called Light Boxes, a fantastical story about a small town experiencing a perpetual February. Tired of the winter that never ends, the townspeople conspire against February. A group known as the “Solution” tries all kinds of remedies to push back winter and all its devastating effects on the community and its way of life.

It occurred to me that the winter ethos is such that it often feels as though it will never end. Massive snowing occurred this February, and that’s something of an anomaly for Seattle. Winter always comes to an end, but we certainly may feel it is perpetual. I wonder if the little book I read was trying to say that in spite of all our resistance to winter, it’s beyond our control. The best thing to do is let it run its course.

I enjoy winter, but at some point I find myself longing for spring. Hints of springtime pop up this time of the year, when the days begin to lengthen and the flower bulbs begin to bud. Winter yields to spring and the promise that new life will emerge from death.

It is no mistake that the Christian year corresponds to the cycles, seasons and rhythms of the natural world. In the darkest part of winter, we light Advent candles and plead for the light of Christ to come. At Christmas and Epiphany, we say the darkness will not dispel the light, and now we look forward to Lent. The word for Lent comes from “the lengthening of days.” Lent is springtime.

The great thing about springtime is seeing new life burst out from all corners of creation. And it happens, too, in the Christian community. Lent is a time to experience and witness new birth and new growth. Adults and children find themselves preparing for Baptism at Easter. Many others are preparing to affirm their baptism, and all of us are called to return to the bath of baptism and the great promise that the God who provides perpetual welcome is also at work changing our lives. The way of life begun at the bath continues a lifelong pattern of dying and rising again.

Springtime carries such great promise. You can be assured of my prayers for you this Lent. May Christ shower us again with light and life.

Pastor Hansen


Children and Family Ministries

The Monelli Memo

Footprints in the snow: this was one of my favorite sights on Seattle’s snow day this year. I couldn’t help but to step inside the prints I saw to see if I could fill (or overfill) them. It was also fun to try and guess what kind of critters had left their marks as well. This reminded me that we as Christians have very big footprints to fill if we want to follow Jesus. Fortunately, Jesus leaves plenty of “wiggle room” within his prints to let us find our own way of following him. At this year’s Lent Event, and throughout the Lenten season, we will be talking a lot about following Jesus. How will you and your family join in this endeavor? Jesus walked the way of love and peace. How will you take steps in that direction and lead your children to do the same? Jesus prayed. How can your family develop or strengthen your prayer lives? Jesus walked up to those who were in need of healing or acceptance. What activities can you lead your family in that will take you down that same path? There are so many ways that each of us can follow Jesus in all that we say and do. And if we remember that we are leaving our own footsteps for our children to follow, perhaps we will be a little more intentional in the steps we take.

For His Sake,

The Lent Event

Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 10am
In His Steps: Following Jesus Through Lent
You are invited to follow Jesus on a journey through the church building to learn more about how Jesus taught, prayed, healed, cared for those in need, spent time in community, and sacrificed himself for us. At each stop on your way you will also be receiving or making something to help you continue this journey with your family all though the season of Lent. All adults, and children accompanied by their parents, are invited to gather in Fellowship Hall at 10am to prepared for this short pilgrimage.

Ash Wednesday is March 1

There will be a special service for families with children at 6:30 pm in the Tree of Life Room. All Bread for the Journey programming that happens before dinner (Youth, Cherub, and Chorister Choirs) will meet before dinner, which will be served at the usual time of 6pm. Because of this family service and the 7:30pm service, no other regular programming will take place after dinner.

Mentor Sunday is March 12

All Confirmation students and their mentors will take part in A Walk to the Cross. This experiential program will help all involved to grow in their understanding of the overwhelming love of God in Christ while offering their own struggles and burdens to their loving Lord.

The Phinney Phlames

(the youth group for 4th and 5th graders)
Sunday, March 12, 12:15-1:30pm in Room 301-302
This month the Phlames will be working on their special service project: recording books for young children at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Lunch and fun is also on the agenda.

Elementary School Retreat at Camp Lutherwood

The Elementary School Retreat at Camp Lutherwood is Friday evening, March 17 – Saturday March 18. Cost is $57 for campers and $40 for chaperones (Scholarships are available). Nancy will be attending with any girls who want to attend. If you are a man who would like to serve as a chaperone so that boys can take part in this event, please contact Nancy as soon as possible. For more information about the camp and scholarships, please contact Nancy Monelli at

Vacation Bible School News

VBS 2017 will meet this year on Tuesday, June 26th – Saturday, July 1st. More information will be coming your way soon.

The Caregiver Circle

The Caregiver Circle meets on SUNDAY, March 19 in Pastor Hansen’s office. If you care for an elderly parent, a loved one with a chronic condition, or a distant relative with continuing needs, you are welcome and encouraged to take part in this support group. This is an opportunity to meet with others experiencing similar life challenges, to learn coping skills, discover local resources, and pray with and for one another.

Sacred Listening  

Sunday, March 26 at noon in the Middle School Room
Using the book Sacred Listening, participants gather for a time together each month to share their experiences with this imaginative form of Bible study based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola as they have been adapted for those of us in Protestant denominations.


Music in March

Mirinesse Women’s Choir in Concert

The singers of Mirinesse Women’s Choir invite you to their upcoming concert “Dancing Rain, Singing Stars” on Friday, March 17, at 7:00 pm here at Phinney.

The 65 glorious voices will perform a joyous Haydn setting of the mass accompanied by strings; songs of rain and stars from around the world; and Rachmaninoff songs for women’s voices with stunning piano accompaniment.

Additional performances (at other venues) March 4, 5, and 18.  Suggested donation $18 For more info or to buy tickets, go to


Northwest Chamber Chorus in Concert

Choirs sing songs of sunrise, moonlight, eternal light, darkness, and rainbows of color. Lighten your load and experience the shimmering music of light. Composers in this program include Frenchman Francis Poulenc, Latvian Eriks Esenvalds, and Americans Eric Whitacre and Philip Glass.

Sunday, March 12, 3PM
Saturday, March 18, 7:30PM


Bach “Suites for Solo Cello” Marathon

The Seattle Violoncello Society announces its annual Bach Suite Marathon to be held Saturday, March 25th at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. We begin at 10 am with Bach’s First Suite for Solo Cello and end around 2:15pm. (There is a short pause around 11:45-12:30 to grab a quick lunch somewhere — or bring your own.)

This concert features 22 of the Northwest’s best cellists playing all 6 suites in tag-team style. It is free and open to the public! Come for all or part of this fun event!



Outreach Ministry News

Bus tickets

This month I wish to highlight a much-used but often overlooked PRLC outreach service. Thanks to a generous city program, we use the Outreach Fund to purchase bus tickets for clients at a 90% reduction of actual value. For a mere quarter, we can help someone attend a vital job interview, medical appointment, or sign up to enter a housing program. We offer two bus tickets a month to individuals who meet the city’s low-income requirements. This popular service occurs in the church office, where front desk volunteers and staff dispense tickets throughout the week.

And the blessing keeps growing! Because we have to track and report the numbers to the city, we know we gave away 1,462 bus rides in 2015. The amount grew to 2,137 last year as word spread and need increased. With an average of 178 a month, and two tickets per person per month, we are reaching an average of 89 individuals every month through our bus ticket program. Thank you for making this happen through your generous support of the Outreach Fund!


PRLC Pilgrims: Moving Forward Together

2017-02-01 Holding Candles (cropped)Many of us wrestle with how to best live as both Christians and citizens while partisan politics divides our country. At PRLC, we take great care in how we approach public advocacy on potentially divisive issues. Some may wish to keep political opinions private, while some may feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak and act publicly. We respect the convictions of every member of our community, even if we disagree.

Recently, a large group of PRLC members participated in the Womxn’s March on Seattle and found tremendous hope in the practice of walking together toward a common goal. Continuing in this vein, a new group is forming: PRLC Pilgrims. As individuals on a long journey, we may tire. As a community on a pilgrimage, we support each other and draw from our strong faith tradition to move forward in the face of oppression. Together, we march toward the light.

Pastor Bryon and I held a special prayer service centered around the Psalms on February 9th. I found it extremely helpful to sit with others and read the words of lament, pain, hope, and rebirth in our sacred texts. Our timely Adult Forum the following Sunday with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services taught us about the current struggle to receive and place refugees in our immediate area. I felt and heard a lot of energy from those who attended to keep in touch with this issue moving forward. If you’d like to stay updated on this and other issues the PRLC Pilgrims will be involved in, please contact me via email (

In the Light of Christ,
Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher


From the Administrator’s Office

We ended the year 2016 on a high note, with offerings and other income coming in close to budgeted amounts. Highlights of 2016 ministries were celebrated at the January Annual Meeting, and can be found in the 2016 Annual Report (copies are available in the Narthex or from the office).

Here is a glimpse of our financial situation as we start into 2017:

2017 Annual Budget (General Operating): $770,000

Offerings received through 1/31/17: $53,660
Other Income through 1/31/17:    $4,473
January Church Expenses:   $71,358

Difference:             – $13,218

Giving continues to be strong in February, with several recent stock gifts received. In addition to supporting the operating expenses of the church with their tithes and offerings, many PRLC members and friends contribute regularly to the Foodbank, Outreach, Building Fund, and other causes near and dear to their hearts. Thank you, as always, for your generous and faithful giving!


Ways to Give

There are many ways you can offer your financial support to PRLC’s ministries. Look for more details on the approaches summarized below in future issues of the Tower Echoes.

In addition to giving by placing your check or cash in the offering plate, you could:

  • Sign up for electronic giving, also known as “Simply Giving” – over 90 PRLC households are currently contributing by having funds transferred from either their bank or credit card account. (Forms are available at the Grace Station or from the office, or you may visit our website and find the link at the bottom of the page.)
  • Donate stock to PRLC – Please contact me to get the specifics
  • Include PRLC in your will, possibly with a gift to the PRLC Endowment Fund
  • Coming soon: Give by text – Please look for more information in next month’s Tower Echoes!

Whatever method you choose, be assured that your contributions are much appreciated. Your support enables PRLC to be the vibrant community of faith that it is, with ministries that feed body and soul and strive to share the Gospel with God’s hungry world.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Phone: 206-783-2350, or email

Kirsten Olshausen


Meet Your Congregation Council

The Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church Congregation Council meets monthly to oversee and govern the life and activities of our church. This month in Tower Echoes we are beginning what we hope will be a series introducing you to individuals currently serving on the council. This month: Council President Barbara Mockett.

MOCKETT-BARBARAHello! My name is Barbara Mockett, and currently I serve as president of our church council. The church council is a body of ten members of the congregation who meet monthly to review church financials, consider how best to use our congregational resources, and how we as a congregation might more fully serve God in this place.

My husband Paul and I have been at PRLC since late 1990 — before our marriage.  Pastor Don Maier married us in August of 1991.  Our three children – Amelia, Mark and Katy – were all baptized and confirmed at PRLC.  This congregation is a strong and precious presence in our lives.

During the day I work in IT at Continental Mills, maker of Krusteaz pancake mix and Ghirardelli brownie mix.  At PRLC I’m active in the Gospel Choir and Handbell Choir, and I’m currently co-leading the Troubling the Waters group with Erica Shutes-David.  I also volunteer with the Food Bank and Mary’s Place.

If you have any questions or concerns for the church council I’m glad to talk with you.  If you’re interested in being a part of the church council, I’ll be more than happy to share your name with the Nominating Committee.


Expansion Planned for the Child Development Center

~ Associate Pastor Anne Van Kley

CDC LogoAt our recent annual meeting, I presented the congregation with a proposed building enhancement project that would positively impact multiple PRLC ministries. Here is a summary of that presentation.

In the fall Tim Sullivan, director of our Child Development Center (CDC) approached the staff to talk about expanding the CDC. Currently the CDC includes five classrooms for children ages one through five. However, many kids age out of our program before they are ready (or old enough) for kindergarten. Each year, the CDC turns down multiple requests for kids to stay in our five-year-old room another year, because we simply don’t have the capacity for that right now.

Tim reported that for several years he’s seen a growing need among the families we serve for a classroom that would serve older five year old children.

Tim brought an initial proposal to the church council in November, asking for permission to pursue this possibility. He asked the council first to decide if this was a worthwhile mission for us to take on, and the consensus was a strong yes. The CDC has always existed to serve the needs of our community, and our desire is to continue that mission.

Tim’s original proposal included five options for use of space in our building. And this is where things got even more exciting.

We realized that talking about an expansion of the CDC provides us with a wonderful opportunity to consider all of our ministries. Many of our spaces have not been updated for many years, and there are several rooms in our building that could be used more efficiently.

So, we next formed an exploratory committee to look closely at our options. This group gained energy as we studied our current space use and tried to re-imagine how we could update our building and benefit multiple ministries at once.

At this point, the committee and church council agree that the best option is to convert our current nursery into a new, permanent CDC classroom.

Obviously that means we need a new nursery, since it is a vital part of our congregation. Considering many options, our team concluded that a wonderful new nursery could be created in what is currently known as the Tower Room (located on the 4th floor near the balcony). The current women’s restroom on that floor will become the new private nursery bathroom; the men’s room will become a unisex bathroom; the Cry Room that’s in the balcony will be updated to match and complement the new nursery; and we will move the archives that are currently stored in the Tower Room to a new and improved location.

As you can see, this whole proposal really creates a “domino effect” that ends up affecting many of our ministries in ways that give us some really exciting opportunities!

Currently the Tower Room is used for many meetings – both for congregational ministries and outside groups. It’s also where we teach confirmation; and frankly, our confirmation classes have outgrown that space. To accommodate all of that, we also are proposing enhancements to both the Fireside Room and the Youth Room, which are downstairs off the Fellowship Hall. These spaces are multi-functional and need to remain multi-functional. Upgrades will include improved, functional archive space; a large meeting table; intentional youth and confirmation space; and added work space for the Food Bank.

I’m sure you’re wondering about finances and next steps. The project is not anticipated to affect our budget because the CDC currently has enough reserved funds to cover the proposed costs. In fact, reinvestment of CDC profits into multiple PRLC ministries is good stewardship of those profits.

Our hope is to have the new classroom available for students this fall. We would work backwards (beginning with downstairs enhancements) so that we are never without a meeting space or nursery during the transition. The next step is to meet with a contractor and designer to begin work on the details of the project. The congregation will have an opportunity to vote on the complete proposal at our congregational meeting in April.

Please know that your questions, feedback, and ideas are always welcome.


In the Family


Jack Ellstrom; died January 27, 2017

Yvonne Røskeland; died February 17, 2017