Pam Gompf standig in front of a wall of white flowers and smiling into the camera.

By the grace of God, +Bishop Kirby Unti will ordain Pamela Gompf into the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Friday, July 12 at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. The service begins at 6:00 pm and is followed by a dinner reception in the fellowship hall.  All are welcome!  Pam served as Phinney’s vicar in 2017-2018.  She has been called to Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church in Mukilteo.


Evelyn Hartwell has been a wonderful teacher and mentor to her music students and the children’s choirs of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church — now she and her husband are getting ready to welcome a new baby of their own! Let’s celebrate at a casual, child-friendly baby shower at West Woodland Park on Sunday, August 4 at 12pm, right by the playground. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch — we’ll have cold drinks and treats. Please bring a box of diapers, any size, and get a raffle ticket! They are also registered on Amazon.

Please RSVP to Amy Radil at Hope to see you there!

Phinney House Conversations

One of the Phinney Houses from the sidewalk at sunset.

You’re invited to participate in discerning the next steps for the soon-to-be vacant Phinney houses.  Join us on Sunday, July 14th at 11:30am-1pm (lunch provided) and/or on Wednesday, July 31st from 7-8:30pm.   

A team of people have recently toured the houses to collect information about remodeling costs and potential market value.  Thanks to your input, and a lot of prayer and discussion, the council is now prepared to share several options as a way to collect more specific feedback from the congregation.  We’ll want to hear your thoughts about how best to follow Christ and serve others through the Phinney Houses while also considering the financial and other logistical implications.  Please join us to learn more and give input on the various options.  Please check the box on the “count me in” form to let us know you are coming.  If you’re unable to make these times, please let us know if you’d like a call from a pastor or council member to discuss.

Saying Goodbye Isn’t Easy


Bishop Kirby Unti smiling into the camera.

As a little boy, I learned that saying goodbye is not easy. We had visited cousins in Michigan for the first time. It was an exciting week meeting new family members and playing with our cousin. When it was time to go we packed everything into our 1960 Oldsmobile and then stood outside to say our goodbyes. I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that came over me. I discovered what it meant to become “choked up” and I was fighting back the tears. What was this all about?

What I didn’t know then, but I have discovered in life’s journey, is leaving is a constant pattern. It begins with labor and leaving our mother’s womb as we enter the world with that first borning cry. Crying crafted for the purpose of breathing in our first breaths of our new world. For the fortunate, we settle into the comfort of our parent’s loving arms where we are feed, nurtured and strengthened for what will lie ahead. It will not be the last time we are birthed.

There would be a smattering of miniature leavings – like mom going to the grocery store without me or being left in the care of a babysitter. I don’t doubt these leavings came with labor for mom and tears for me.

The big leaving would happen when it came time to head off for kindergarten. I went to Mr. & Mrs. Black’s Kindergarten in Jamestown, North Dakota.It was hosted in their home and we each had our little rug for nap time. The coolest part is we were picked up by Mr. Black in his big station wagon that had a favored seat all the way in the back. While my memories are fond, I am told I did not go easily. Remember leaving involves labor and tears and I was leaving as a five year-old into an unknown world.
Leaving is always preparation for the next time of leaving and there would be many all filled with anticipation, anxiety and joy. One of the hardest was heading off to Kenmore Junior High School. I had been warned by my older brother’s friends of all the horrors that awaited me. The most joy-filled leaving was when I drove away at sixteen for the first time, sporting my own driver’s license.

The constant of leaving would include heading off to college, seminary, single to married, parenthood, and the cycle starts over again accompanying our children through their leavings. Then there is death. My most powerful leaving experience. A sacred time of labor and crying. A sacred time of grief and joy.

In death, I discovered that a person’s life becomes magnified. All that they stood for and shared is now seen and heard more clearly.

Jesus, put it this way, “I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

How often I have learned this lesson – that Spirit comes in the experience of leaving. I will miss you and I will miss my monthly Spirit article which has given me a chance to share with you how I see God at work in our world.

Come, Holy Spirit!!!

June Financials- General Fund for June 2019

  June 2019 Year-to-date
Tithes & other income $84,605 $435,400
Expenses $77,217 $467,175
Church net Income $7,389 ($31,775)

June was a good month for us financially, and both our income and expenses are at about 50% of our budget projections for the year—exactly right for the 6-month mark! And although our year-to-date expenses do still exceed our income, this is typical at the end of the second quarter and not a cause for alarm. Thank you for your continued support of our mission. If you have any questions about the church’s finances, please feel free to contact me.

Christina Sunstone, Parish Administrator

PRIDE- A March for Love


This year’s Pride Parade celebrated 50 years since the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, ignited by the Stonewall Riots in New York.  Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church joined together with many other churches from across our synod, with 16 PRLC members marching together.The Pride march is our chance to share our affirming message of inclusion and God’s love to the greater Seattle community. By marching we show the community that we are a welcoming congregation. Thank you to everyone who came out to march and watch the parade!

A decorated car at PRIDE with a rainbow flag and a 10 foot rainbow cross.
A group photo of Phinney Ridge Lutheran congregation members at PRIDE.
Lisa Newton wearing a FREE MOM HUGS t shirt. She has her arms wide open for a hug with a Seattle Police officer.
A group photo with Vicar Elizabeth, Pastor Anne Van Kley, Bishop-Elect Shelley Bryan Wee, Pator Gretchen Mertes at PRIDE.

The Vicar’s Voice – A Final Reflection


It well may be

That we will never meet again

In this lifetime

So let me say before we part

So much of me

Is made of what I learned from you

You’ll be with me

Like a handprint on my heart

And now whatever way our stories end

I know you have re-written mine

By being my friend

~“For Good” from the Broadway musical Wicked;

These lyrics from the Broadway musical Wicked say exactly what I want to say about my time here at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church. That it has changed me, and you have left a handprint on my heart that will be with me forever. When I first started here I had no idea that I would fall in love with this congregation, with Washington, and with God in so many different ways.I knew that internship would be foundational in forming my pastoral identity and I’m so blessed to have formed part of that identity with you.

I was welcomed into many homes to learn about who you are, and to hear your stories. I shared food, drinks, tea, and time with so many people. We worshiped together, prayed together, broke bread together; you embraced me with open arms and hearts. Some foundational moments for me were teaching 7th grade confirmation each week with eight wonderful students, who challenged and pushed me to be more creative, to teach in ways they would understand and to keep an ample supply of candy; preaching for such a hungry congregation, who knew how life-giving it would be for me to preach and know people were truly listening; and working on Adult forums and worship planning with the pastoral staff. I learned how to be vulnerable with strangers, and to hold onto the hard stuff deep within this community. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a place so far from home, and even though I was cold most of the time here, I felt so much warmth and love from the people here.

Thank you especially to Pastor Bryon and Pastor Anne for mentoring me and welcoming me into their work and lives. I am extremely grateful for their support and encouragement as I walk through this journey following God’s call.

So go in peace, serve the Lord, and know that even though I am far away, I’m praying for you as we continue to share God’s love in the world.

‘Hello’ from the New Communications and Office Manager


Alyssa O'Connor smiling for the camera. She is wearing her black graduation cap with a white tassel and a silver 2019 charm.

Hello, my name is Alyssa O’Connor and I am so excited to introduce myself as your new Communications and Office Manager! I am a recent graduate from Seattle Pacific University with a major in Communications and a minor in Reconciliation. Please come say hi and lets talk all things social justice!! It is a pleasure and a blessing to be with you and serve the Pinney Ridge Lutheran community.I would love to grab lunch or coffee and get to know you better!

A Note From the Staff


In June we experienced a minor power outage that, much to our surprise, killed our aging church phone network. At this writing we are considering our options for replacing it. One line coming into the church does survive, however, and you can still reach us at our usual number: 206-783-2350. You won’t be able to be transferred to an extension, but you will be able to talk to a human and have them take a message – just like the good old days! Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this situation.

From the Child Development Center


Five children playing on a large, mossy, fallen tree in the forest on a sunny day.

Summer is here and the staff and children couldn’t be happier about it. Summer is a favorite time around here as we spend the last few months with our classes, and eagerly wait and prepare for our children to move up to their new rooms. Among our favorite things about the summer are all the adventures we go on outside of the school.  Field trips are a time for the children to explore their world and be out with nature.  Parents often ask me “Where will you will go when you do field trips?”  My simple answer is wherever your children’s minds lead us. In this place we watch and listen to what our children do, and plan our curriculum and trips around those ideas.  This year our classes have gone hiking on Tiger Mountain, sledding in the mountains, visiting a wallaby farm in Arlington, and berry picking in Snohomish.   All memorable experiences of being out and a part of their amazing world around them.   When I am asked why field trips are important, I am always reminded of a quote by the late Bev Bos “If it hasn’t been in the hand, and the body….it can’t be in the brain.”