Mary’s Place Volunteer Training

Early May brings back our friends from Mary’s Place and offers you a chance to be involved in direct shelter for homeless women and children.  We provide a hot meal, safe accommodations, and extra help to watch the kids.  It takes many faithful volunteers to do these things, as well as stay overnight at the church.  It’s not a scary as it sounds!  If you’d like to help, sign up for one of these training times:


Sunday 4/24:
Boundary Training*: 9:45a-10:15a
Mary’s Place Training: 10:15a-11:15a

Wednesday 4/27:
Boundary Training*: 6:00p-6:30p
Mary’s Place Training: 6:30p-7:30p

* Note: The boundary training is necessary for any PRLC volunteer working with vulnerable populations, and will cover service in the food bank, nursery, Sunday school and elsewhere.


Outreach News

~ Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher

Easter Breakfast Thank You!

It’s an annual joy to express the gratitude I feel following the Easter Breakfast.  Once again this year, we raised close to $3000 for the Outreach Fund.  Every dollar will go directly toward an immediate need in our community.  Thank you all for the donations, and a special thanks to the tireless work of our breakfast crew led by the Roscoe and Hendrix families.

Art Walk Approaches

Mark your calendars for May 13 and 14 and plan to attend the Phinney-Wood ArtWalk at PRLC and around the neighborhood.  This large event offers great art viewing, as well as a chance to be engaged in our community.  We will need volunteers to help with hospitality and to provide cookies.  If you can help from 6-9pm Friday, or 12-5pm Saturday, please let me know or mark an upcoming Count Me In Form on Sunday.


The Call Toward Relationship

by Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher

On Maundy Thursday, we dedicated a full day of Holy Week to Jesus’ command to follow his example and wash one another’s feet. If you’re like me, one of the hardest times to accept this mandate is at the freeway off-ramp where a broken face holding a scrawled sign awaits. HOMELESS VET / WILLING TO WORK. SINGLE MOM / ANYTHING HELPS. Or sometimes simply GOD BLESS.

I’m often asked how to handle these situations. We all know the dangers of over-indulgence, and yet to do nothing gnaws at our sense of decency, not to mention our call to be servants. Unfortunately, my response doesn’t usually satisfy. I honestly don’t know what should be done. The problem with telling you what to do is that I’m not there to listen to what God may be stirring in your heart. It’s only natural in our culture of efficiency that we would want a formula or a “best practice” to apply to these situations, but God offers us a relationship instead.

Being aware of our motivation for helping someone affords a greater possibility of living out God’s call. Do we want to provide help so the person will go away, or to alleviate our guilt (like an ibuprofen pill will alleviate a headache)? These all-too-common motivations are understandable, but lead us away from relationship, and outside of God’s call to love our neighbors. Instead of looking for a best practice, I encourage you to become attuned to God’s prompting in your soul. You have unique gifts, resources, and ways of loving people that I don’t have. God wants to use those to spread the Kingdom of Heaven.

In light of my unhelpful advice to wait on God’s inspiration, there are some guidelines I think we can keep in mind. I do not advocate giving money away for all the reasons we already know about. One idea is to keep $10 Subway gift cards, or small packs of non-perishable food in your car to hand out. If you like, you can print out this link on our website listing free hot meals in northwest Seattle, and offer it. At least one free meal is available every day of the week in this part of Seattle.

If you choose this route, I encourage you to remember the call toward relationship. Even if you have nothing material to give, you can learn someone’s name. Perhaps ask them where they’re from, or where they are going. Tell them you’ll be thinking about them. You might see them again, and a relationship can grow from your kindness.

Easter is a season to consider how to live in light of the resurrection. For the disciples, the presence of a resurrected Christ often created more questions and ambivalence than before, yet stirred their hearts toward a deeper commitment to follow Jesus. God is waiting to guide us through this season and through our efforts to live out the Maundy Thursday call to service. May we listen and follow this call.





Shoreline Schools Host Event Welcoming LGBTQ Families

Members of the PRLC DiversiTeam warmly invite you to participate in a local community event supporting our LGBTQ congregation members and neighbors.  (People who regard themselves to be LGBTQ typically include individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or the more general term for sexual minorities, Queer.) On April 7th at 5:30 pm the Shoreline School District will host the first all-embracing welcome event of its kind at the Shoreline Center (NE 185th  St & 1st Ave NE). A potluck dinner will take place with activities and entertainment for all ages.  This event is not restricted to just Shoreline residents to ensure this will be a truly inclusive, festive community experience.  Contact DiversiTeam member Erica Shutes-David at or 206-852-3941 with questions.

Mary’s Place Coming in Early May

We will welcome back our friends from Mary’s Place May 3-10.  Every three months we host a group of 14 homeless women and children for overnight shelter.  We provide a hot meal, safe accommodations, and extra help to watch the kids.  We rely on a hearty group of volunteers to make this happen.  If you’d like to be involved, watch for upcoming training opportunities in April, and contact Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher for more info.


Outreach Report

Our Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher has been on sabbatical leave for the last two months. In his absence, Lisa Etter Carlson — co-founder of one of our partner ministries, the Aurora Commons—has been stewarding the Outreach Fund, coming in to the PRLC office two days a week to meet and talk with outreach clients and offer assistance when it is needed. As Patrick returns from his sabbatical this week, Lisa offers this report on her two months with Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.


Lisa Etter Carlson, co-founder and director of Aurora Commons

Lisa Etter Carlson, co-founder and director of Aurora Commons

I’m not used to walking into church buildings, let alone having an office in one. You see, I typically spend my days at The Aurora Commons, a bustling drop-in center where my office is crammed in to a utility closet jammed up against a water heater. So when I walked into Patrick’s big, bright and beautiful office I was not quite sure how the next two months were going to go. What I did know was that I would be very comfortable in his chair and very grateful to have an office manager like Christina at my disposal. What I did not know was that I would soon encounter the exquisite generosity of the Church Body that is Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.

At a time when homelessness has been declared an emergency in our city, many precious people are in need of compassionate help and care. As I stewarded PRLC’S outreach fund these past two months I was very aware of the sacred intersection of neighbor loving neighbor. Your love of neighbor was tangible and felt: PRLC was able to pay rent for four families who faced evictions. That is four families who would have otherwise become homeless. Your community was able to offer 15 nights of safety and comfort in motels for folks who were fleeing violence, were sick, or just plain cold and tired. Your generous support paid for medication for a woman who could have been hospitalized or died without it. Your community kept 5 households heated during these cold months and electricity on in 3 homes.

Do you all know how stunning this is?! It is STUNNING. In a society where people (especially un-housed and low income) are often isolated, alone and stigmatized — people know they can call PRLC to help them when they are most vulnerable. And when they call, they know they will be met without judgement. They know they will be greeted with hospitality, kindness and compassion.

Keep loving your neighbors absurdly PRLC! You are a beautiful community. Thank you for allowing me to work alongside you the past 8 weeks.

Lisa Etter Carlson
Co-Founder, Director of Women’s and Health Initiatives
Aurora Commons


Mary’s Place Here February 2-9, 2016

PRLC will once again welcome the families of Mary’s Place, who will be staying here the week of February 2-9, 2016. Mary’s Place is a shelter for homeless women and families. It does not have its own facilities; instead these families spend one week at a time in various area churches until their search for permanent housing is successful.

The ministry of Mary’s Place changes lives, and it would not be possible to host them here without the dozens of volunteers who give so generously of their time and energy. All volunteers must undergo both the boundary training required of all church volunteers and special training focused on Mary’s Place in particular. If you’d like to take part in this ministry but have not yet undergone training you have two opportunities this month:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Boundary Training 6:00-6:30 pm
Mary’s Place Training 6:30-7:30 pm

Sunday, January 24, 2016
Boundary Training 9:45AM to 10:15AM
Mary’s Place Training 10:15AM to 11:15AM

Contact members Ardis Pilz or Steve Johnson with questions.


Outreach Update

from Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher

Sabbatical Plans

For this month’s outreach update, I want to share about my own upcoming exciting opportunity. Since before the pastoral transition, I’ve been working on plans for a sabbatical. With our pastors in place, these plans become a reality in early 2016. Starting December 24th, I’ll be away from PRLC for 10 weeks returning on March 1st.

My plans for this time include a focus on the candidacy process for becoming a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. A Diaconal Minister is a rostered position performing the ministry of Word and Service. This role wonderfully suits both the work of a Minister of Outreach and my own personal gifts and calling. I will attend a week long formation event at Gettysburg Seminary, and spend time in renewal and refreshment for the work ahead.

My return date of March 1st marks my 10-year anniversary of coming to PRLC. I could not be more excited about the next chapter of my time with you, and look forward to continuing our mutual work of bringing God’s love to those who need it most.

Trick-or-Treat Gratitude

A sincere and abundant thank you to all the servants who helped make our participation in the Greenwood Trick-or-Treat event a huge success. It seems every year more little vampires and Harry Potters stalk the streets of Greenwood, and it says a lot to the community that we participate. Our candy donations lasted the whole event, and many friendly volunteers dedicated time to extend a warm welcome to our visitors. Thank you!


Food Bank’s 2015 Thanksgiving Distribution

The Phinney Ridge Food Bank is preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas distribution activities, when it will serve nearly 200 needy families at each event. Here’s the schedule for November:

October 25 to November 22:       
Holiday shopping lists can be found here and in the Sunday morning bulletins. Please purchase the items on the list and bring them in by Sunday Nov. 22. Consider donating a large turkey! 20+ pound birds are in great demand, and we’ll gladly make room in the freezer for them.

November 2-22:  
Bake cookies and bring them to the church kitchen. (Cookies and coffee will be served to the clients who are waiting for their boxes on the day of the distribution.)

Monday, November 23:
Prepare the Fellowship Hall for distribution. There will be lots of projects that families can do together.

Tuesday, November 24:
9-11 am    Pack boxes for distribution to needy families
11am-12pm    Lunch
12-3 pm    Distribution
3-4 pm    Clean up


Food Bank Holiday Shopping List

As a continuing ministry to our neighbors, the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Food Bank will distribute Thanksgiving meal boxes on November 24, 2015 to approximately 200 families. Each box contains the ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner. Below is a list of items that will be included in each box. (A link to a pdf of the same list is also found below.) If you can help us fill those boxes, please bring your food contribution to PRLC as soon as possible, but no later than November 22, 2015. 

_____    Cranberry sauce

_____    Canned evaporated milk

_____    Stuffing mix

_____    Canned pumpkin

_____    Canned corn

_____    Canned green beans

_____    Boxed dry pie crust mix (non-refrigerated)

_____    Jell-O

_____    Canned mandarin oranges

_____    Apple juice

_____    Granulated sugar

Thanksgiving Distribution Shopping List [pdf]

Thank you for making this a memorable holiday for those in need.