Outreach Ministry Report

Neighborhood Events Aplenty

While it’s no secret our church sits amidst an active and vibrant neighborhood, I’m often taken aback at just how much this is true. At a recent networking meeting of local organizations, I heard about these happenings for the month of October alone:

Woodland Park United Methodist Church offers free movies with discussion at 7pm every 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. October’s movies are Requiem for the American Dream (10/13), and Gender Revolution (10/27). Free popcorn!

The Phinney Neighborhood Association hosts a Seattle mayoral candidate forum on Sunday, October 22nd from 4:30-6pm at the Phinney Center (6532 Phinney Ave N). Come and pose questions to our next Mayor!

The Greenwood Library hosts a monthly “Full STEAM Ahead” night offering fun activities using principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. October’s event on Tuesday, 10/24 from 6-7pm is Halloween themed with watercolor spider webs, static electricity ghosts, and building with Candy.

And of course the whole neighborhood is overrun by ghosts and superheroes for the Greenwood Hunger Goblin Trick-or-Treat event on Saturday, 10/28 from 12-3pm. Donations of candy and volunteer greeters are needed at PRLC!

Because of these and so many other activities I am grateful to spend each day knowing and sharing the love of God with this wonderful community.

– Patrick Meagher,

Outreach Minister

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.

Peace,
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.”

Peace,

Pastor Hansen and Pastor Van Kley

Small groups are coming this Fall!

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the ELCA has come up with a campaign tagline: Always being made new. It’s appropriate to use this image of new creation, because this historic event gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which God continues to form and re-form us – both as the Church, and individually as people of God. In this spirit of ongoing reformation, PRLC is offering a short-term opportunity for small groups that each give you a chance to re-form your relationship with God and with this community.

Some will be discussion and reflection groups; some are physically active groups created for fellowship and time with nature; others with be hands-on opportunities to practice justice. A brief description of some of the groups is provided below. Keep an eye out for more information in your bulletins and at the September 10 Ministry Fair. Dates and meeting locations for each group are TBD, but groups will meet mid-September through October. Contact Pastor Van Kley or Scott Shiebler if you have questions.

Re-Forming our Hearts

Troubling the Waters, Take 2: Building on the conversation that’s already begun at PRLC, this group will confront the topics of racism and white privilege.

HeartBook: Don’t have time to meet with a group? Members of this private Facebook group will be guiding through an exploration of new spiritual practices. You’ll try the new disciplines on your own time, and share your experiences online.

Bible Study: This group may explore weekly lectionary texts or dive into some of Luther’s favorite parts of scripture.

Re-Forming our Minds

Table Talk: Sit down with your favorite beverage and participate in an informal, open conversation about our theological questions and musings.

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Book Group: Guided by the book, One Hope: Re-Membering the Body of Christ, we will reflect and discuss day-to-day faith practices and discover the commonality we share with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers.

Re-Forming our Communities

Who is my neighbor?: This group will explore local social justice outreach possibilities, including Aurora Commons. Bring your ideas!

Environmental Stewardship: Be a part of a conversation around care for God’s creation. This group will discuss the urgent need for action in caring for the earth, and will take action to start making a difference.

Park Hoppers: Families with young children will gather at various playgrounds in our area for simple fun and fellowship.

Path Finders: Two separate groups will gather in beautiful places around the city, enjoying the goodness of God through nature and conversation. One group will be for those who want to participate in high-energy activities such as running. A second group will enjoy the slower pace of walks and low-impact hikes.