Church Farmshare Is ON!

In recent Sunday bulletins we’ve been gauging interest in beginning a “Church Farmshare” – a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program – with River Run Farm on the Olympic Peninsula. We got a strong response, and we’re going to move ahead.

Starting on August 3, River Run Farm will bring a generous delivery every Thursday afternoon of fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables for pick-up here in our Fellowship Hall. The cost to subscribe is just $265 per person for the season, which runs through October 12.

If you indicated interest on one of the count-me-ins, you’ll be getting a separate email with more details. And if this is the first you’re hearing about it, you can still take part! Contact Parish Communications Manager Christina Bogar to let her know you’re interested.

Ordination Anniversaries on July 30, 2017

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Pastor Al Bruck and the 55th year for Pastor Don Maier.  We will celebrate with these two PRLC members on Sunday, July 30th at both services.  Don is +Bishop Emeritus of our Northwest Washington Synod and former Pastor at PRLC.  Al served as Visitation Pastor during the Interim period.

Since Pastor Maier’s 50th anniversary sort of slipped by without public recognition, we are celebrating both milestones on this Sunday.   The guest preacher will be Pastor Bev Piro, former Associate Pastor at PRLC.   Don and Al played a big role in Bev’s faith life and development.  A reception follows the second service in the narthex.

If you are a member of a PRLC choir or have choral experience, please join the intergenerational choir that will be singing at both services that day. There will be a rehearsal on Wednesday July 26 at 7 pm and another before the July 30 service at 7:50 am. Please contact music director Valerie Shields at or call or text her at 206-715-3033.

Pastor Don Maier

Pastor Al Bruck


We Are Beggars, All of Us

The Pastor’s Page

The Pacific Northwest is often described as the “None Zone” because most persons, when asked to state a religious preference, mark the box that says “none.” In this corner of the world, the church is just one entrée in a vast smorgasbord of religious diversity and pluralism.

I rather enjoy this minority status.  When enjoying a position of dominance in the culture, the church can get too infatuated with itself.  I think this so-called “post-Christian” era is a good time to be church. As our institutional moorings shift or, in some cases erode, we are given opportunity to share the good news in fruitful conversation with the culture even while critiquing it, and lean ever more deeply into God’s Spirit for direction and purpose. It gives us a chance to consider who we truly are.

Here’s an example. One of the more popular mantras in Seattle is the phrase, “I’m spiritual, not religious.” When elected Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth Eaton famously remarked, “I’m religious, not spiritual.” Now, I’m not sure what is meant by either phrase, but being back in the Northwest has given me pause to reflect on these things.  I have wondered what Christians might mean by these terms and have wondered, too, about the unique witness of the Gospel in our time and place.

I’ve come to observe that in our culture “spirituality” often goes hand in hand with individualism.  The spiritual person may be the person who is known by their good deeds or the person with a rich inner life quite apart from the church or commitment to any kind of community.  Spirituality in a culture celebrating the autonomous individual can mean whatever we want it to mean.

Christians understand life in the Spirit quite differently. How is it then that we may speak of the spiritual life?

I deeply resonate with the reflections of Gordon Lathrop in his book, The Pastor: A Spirituality:

I have long found deep comfort in the words that Martin Luther wrote on a note found by his bedside when he himself was found dead in 1546 … “I say we are all beggars; this is true.” Having learned about “growth in grace” when I was a boy, studying my catechism, I often wondered if I was really making any progress. I thought probably not. But Luther helped me to see that growth in grace might really mean growth in need, growth in identification with a needy world and with other needy folk, growth in becoming more and more profoundly a beggar myself, waiting upon God. Spirituality is finally “one beggar telling another beggar where there is bread.”

This is a radical point of departure in a culture that tends to reward achievement or promote self-sufficiency, especially when we speak of our need for God or take to heart Jesus’ wish that we “lose our lives in order that we may find them.”

In a recent Sunday Gospel reading we heard Jesus say, “Come to me, all of you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I believe that a spirituality that rests in Jesus promises freedom. We are free to relinquish control, free to be honest about our real need, free to love others, and free to be radically and fully human.

How does this sort of spirituality describe our parish and our witness in the world? I ask that you pray and ponder the question. Here is one small suggestion: perhaps one week the PRLC sign on Greenwood would read: “We are beggars, all of us. This is true.”

Pastor Hansen


Give Blood!

Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church and Bloodworks Northwest (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center) are having a blood drive here at the church on Sunday, August 13th, and we need your blood! This will be a community event hosted by PRLC, and we will be inviting folks from the surrounding Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods.

Anyone who is in good health, at least 18 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate whole blood every 56 days. Also, 16- or 17-year-olds who weigh at least 114 pounds may donate with a Bloodworks Northwest permission slip signed by a parent or guardian The blood drive will start at 9:30 am, with a lunch break for the medical staff from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, then continue to 3:30 pm. (This means that, if you need your blood to keep you alert for church, you can delay giving blood until after lunch!). We hope to solicit a delicious assortment of homemade cookies from PRLC’s phenomenal bakers to re-energize you afterwards!

BloodWorks Northwest has asked that you register for a time slot ahead of time on line ( or by phone (1-800-398-7888). Look for more information about signing up in the Sunday bulletins and on the PRLC website in the coming weeks.

So, in summary, here’s the scoop:

  • What: A blood drive
  • When: Sunday, August 13th, 9:30 to 11:30 am and 12:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Needed: All blood types
  • Sign up: More info to come, but save the date!
  • Difficulty: Easy-Peasy!
  • What’s in it for me: A sublime sense of generosity in giving of yourself directly to others in need (plus yummy cookies!)

If you have questions or need to hear how relatively painless but tremendously important donating blood is, give Sally Thompson a call at (206) 706-7653, or send her an email at Thanks so much for your attention, consideration and bravery.


New Congregation Council Installed for 2017-2018

On Sunday, June 25, new and returning church council members were installed at both services. Members serving for the 2017-2018 year (beginning July 1) are:

Officers: Keith Doorenbos, President; Matthew Eng, Vice-President; Alan Pearson, Secretary; John Breen, Treasurer

Continuing as Council Members at Large are Peggy Martin, Andrew Shutes-David and Joan Sorensen Rice, joined by newly elected members Jannah Fitch, Carolyn Hostetler and Russ Simonson.

A special thank you goes to our outgoing council members Barbara Mockett, Corey Golden and Marie Gehman, who last served the congregation in their officer positions as president, vice president and council secretary, respectively. Thank you for faithfully giving of yourselves for the good of the congregation and the larger mission of the church!

The PRLC church council generally meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. During meetings we review the church finances, hear reports from committees and PRLC representatives on the LYONS board, make decisions on recommendations for large building maintenance expenditures, and discuss stewardship and other church business.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns about the church life of PRLC, please feel free to talk with any council member. Throughout the calendar year we will continue to publish short profiles of different council members, so please look for them in this space!


News from LYONS (Lutheran Youth of North Seattle)

Nine LYONS youth, along with Program Assistant Megan Hundley and Director Bryant Williams, attended a May Youth Weekend at Holden Village during Memorial Day Weekend. Fiona Hubbard, a member of Phinney Ridge Lutheran, wrote the following about her experience:

As a first-time Holden visitor I really had no idea what I was getting into. As the old school bus made its way up the switch-backs I marveled at the sea of matchsticks we were passing through. When we finally reached the village, Holden seemed like a diamond in the rough, or a forest that was just beginning to make its comeback.

The forest wasn’t the only participant in this season of comebacks. After years of remediation work, Holden was preparing to open its doors to the public once more. (Yes, this was the first that I had heard of remediation. Once again let me remind you Holden hasn’t been on my radar until now). The work we did over the course of our stay varied from sweeping porches to cleaning the pottery studio. I personally had the privilege of hauling and stacking wood. Coincidentally, almost everyone from LYONS managed to stay together for our volunteer work. Though the work was physically demanding, and it was the warmest weather I had experienced in a long time, everyone cheerfully chatted as we threw wood into the bed of a truck. (We also eventually made make-shift muscle t-shirts out of our Thrivent shirts). The food was wonderful and fresh, and I always kept drifting back to the bread station (Avery has been banned due to setting some toast on fire). The services, particularly evening prayer, and the candle prayers were inviting, moving, and brought a sense of calm to a group of 100+ teenagers without fail. I look forward to spending time up in the mountains as a volunteer.


Outreach Ministry Report

~ Patrick Meagher, Outreach Minister

 God’s Work, Our Hands Throughout the Year

For two years, we have participated in the national ELCA day of service known as “God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday.” This year, we’ll focus on getting plugged into the church community to share in God’s work all year long. The morning of Sunday, September 10th, there will be a Ministry Fair in the Narthex and Fellowship Hall. Plan to attend to learn about the many ways our hands, minds, and resources are at work for the Kingdom of God. If you’re involved in a group at PRLC that could use more participants and would like to have a table at the fair, please let me know!

Direct Help Needed for a Refugee in our Neighborhood

Do you wonder what can be done to combat the hostility toward refugees that pervades our country’s politics these days? Through our friends at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, we’ve learned of a 24-year-old woman from Iraq in need of a place to live in North Seattle. She currently has a temporary living situation in Phinney Ridge, but needs something more permanent as she transitions to a new country and culture. There are two ways we may be able to help. Does anyone have a room in North Seattle available either for rent or donation? Also, I’d like to form a care team to support her as she navigates ESL classes, a job training program, and generally adjusts to life in America. Let me know if you are interested in extending hospitality to one of God’s children in need.

Personal Thanks

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the entire PRLC community for your love and support while I took a few weeks of leave to care for my family during Jena’s treatments. It was not an easy time, but we felt your holistic care for us in many ways. Thanks to all who prayed, sent cards, brought meals, and donated funds to help us with the financial strain. Time and again, we were speechless with your generosity. You loved us well and kept us going. Jena is almost back to full strength, and the prognosis looks good for now. We look forward to normal life again! Thank you.