Recent Posts

  • Maundy Thursday Worshipful Experience

    Maundy Thursday is the night we remember the meal Jesus shared with his disciples for the forgiveness of sin and his commandment to love one another. Please join us!  You will find the link to our Maundy Thursday “worshipful experience” below. As you worship with us, we invite you to participate in the sacrament of …Read More

  • Palm Sunday Worshipful Experience

    Dear friends! Here is our Worshipful Experience for Palm Sunday!  We hope it lifts your spirits and nurtures your soul. Feel free to cut a green branch or pick a flower to wave as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Watch to the very end for a St. Mark Palm Sunday Parade of saints!  …Read More

  • Virtual Visit from Loretta

    We had a virtual visit from Loretta this week. Loretta, true to her unique self, delivers a poignant message about social distancing and living as children of God.  She speaks the truth with clarity and humor. If you don’t know who Loretta is, you will after this brief 8 minute video!  Thank you, Loretta! To …Read More

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 – A Worshipful Experience

    Dear friends, Here is the link to our worshipful experience for Sunday, March 29, 2020.  It is approximately 21 minutes long. The Scripture lessons for this week are from Psalm 130, Ezekiel 37:1-14, and John 11:1-45.  I encourage you to read them, light a candle, and join us for worship as we breathe deep the …Read More

  • Sunday, March 22, 2020 – A Worshipful Experience

    Dear Friends, Please use the link below to enjoy a “worshipful experience” created for you by Pastor Beth.  It is about 12 minutes long.  You can read the Gospel Lesson before viewing:  John 9:1-41.  Many thanks to John Martin, Terry Shaw, and Isaiah Utto-Galarneau for their musical offerings.  This is a way for us to …Read More

  • The Labyrinth is Open

    On these gloriously sunny days, if you want to practice spiritual nurture (and promise to practice social distancing as well), the St. Mark labyrinth is open for prayerful meditation. The labyrinth is located between the sanctuary and the educational wing with an entrance from the side parking lot. (The church building unfortunately is closed due …Read More

  • The Living Water Flows

    In Sunday’s Gospel (John 4) Jesus meets an unnamed woman from Samaria who came to draw water from the well. Parched, he asks her to give him a drink. When she questions him, Jesus speaks to her of the Living Water. “Anyone who drinks from this water will be thirsty again; those who drink from …Read More

  • St. Patrick’s Day Prayer

    Dear friends, On St. Patrick’s Day, I encourage you to go outside and take a walk this afternoon or evening. Use this prayer attributed to St. Patrick as your guide.  Breathe deep as you step into the next moment and pray: Christ with me Christ before me Christ behind me Christ in me Christ beneath …Read More

  • A Prayer for the Close of the Day

      Please offer this prayer as often as needed to center you in God’s grace. Lord it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been …Read More

  • Sunday afternoon thoughts from Pastor Beth….

    Dear friends, I missed worshiping together today.  Eric and I hold you in our thoughts and prayers. We are working on ways to stay connected with you.  We will be in touch in the next several days about those sorts of things. So, now, I am just going to say it.  This is weird.  This …Read More

  • March 14, 2020 Dear friends at St. Mark, After much thought, prayer, and conversation the Church Council has decided to suspend worship services and close the building at St. Mark through the end of March. This is not a decision we have come to lightly.  Our hearts are heavy. Worship is central to who we …Read More

  • Readings & Gospel for 3-15-2020 – 3rd Sunday in Lent

    First Reading Exodus 17:1-7 1From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel …Read More

  • Good News in a Bad News World

    Sometimes there seems to be a bad news cloud hovering over the world. We have bad news in our own lives. And sometimes we are the bad news. We contribute to the bad news by the things we say and do, things we don’t say and don’t do. We confess in church each week that …Read More

  • More Resources for Corona Virus (COVID-19) Information

    Both of the below websites update their information on a daily basis. For the latest local Information see the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus For the latest national information see the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Facts from the World Health Organization

    The following are links which present facts and resources from the World Health Organization. Everyone should also keep track of national, state, and other local resources. These links are updated daily with the latest information. WHO: COVID-19 Updates WHO: Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19) WHO: Travel Advice  

  • First Sunday in Lent

    God loves you. Remember that every time you see your reflection in a mirror. This Sunday’s bulletin cover shows a reflective black and white picture of mountains and a lake. A mirror image. Just like the image we see when we look into a mirror.  What do we see? The mirror shows the desires of …Read More

  • Transfiguration of the Lord

    On this Transfiguration Sunday, Pastor Beth explored with us what the transfiguration of the Lord meant then, and what it means for us now. God spoke to Peter, James and John from a cloud, as Jesus was enveloped in a brilliant light. “This is my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Listen …Read More

  • Climate Change

    Our Planet is Heating Up Fast – It’s Not Too Late to Change Course Today, the Earth is much hotter than it was just 200 years ago. And sadly, we are seeing extreme impacts of that warming across broad landscapes, affecting wildlife and people around the globe. HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW RISE IN SEA …Read More

  • 6th Sunday After Epiphany

    First be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:21-37 is the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus exhorts his followers to embrace standards of righteousness that exceed legal requirements and traditional expectations.  Much of today’s gospel reading echoes portions of the Ten commandments.  Jesus’ instructions to …Read More

  • Be the Salt and the Light

    Today’s Gospel reading, which includes the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-20), shows Jesus encouraging his followers to be the” salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”.  What does it mean to be the salt of the earth? As salt flavors our food, God flavors us with His grace and forgiveness. And …Read More

  • 4th Sunday after Epiphany

    The Beatitudes.  Living right-side-up in an upside-down world. Pastor Beth asked us, ‘What does it mean to be blessed?’. Also, ‘What is the opposite of being blessed?’. Who are the blessed ones of God and how does it all work with God? Are the Beatitudes things we need to do to be blessed by God.  …Read More

  • 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

    Called to be fishers of people not keepers of the aquarium. Matthew 4:12-23 tells how Jesus begins his public ministry by calling fishers to leave their nets and follow him. ‘What’s the deal with fishing?,’ Pastor Eric asked. You throw out the net and hopefully get good fish. You can catch and release fish. Jesus …Read More

  • Love Requires Sacrifice

    In today’s Gospel (John 1:29-42), upon seeing Jesus, John the Baptist declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus was the Lamb slain as a sacrifice, and in doing so Jesus saved the whole world. Pastor Eric asked if we are the people of the Lamb, then …Read More

  • Baptism of Our Lord

    According to Matthew 3:13-17, before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptized by John the Baptist, touched by the Spirit and identified publicly as God’s child. Pastor Eric brought up three questions from today’s gospel to Vicki L. and was surprised that she had answers to all three. So he asked Vicki if she would …Read More

  • Shine Like A Diamond

    This Sunday, the Epiphany of Our Lord, we celebrated the revelation of Christ to all nations with Lesson and Carols. New angels joined Gabriel on the Art Wall, heralding, “Jesus is here!”. A bright and perfect image of Jesus appeared as well.  Each member of the congregation was shining like a diamond, wearing or carrying …Read More

  • Be the Light

    On this First Sunday of Christmas, our service was filled with Lessons and Carols that told the story of the birth of Christ Jesus through scripture readings and music. We lifted our voices to celebrate the fulfillment of what was spoken through the angel Gabriel, whose image was presented on the altar wall for all …Read More

  • Full Audio of Christmas Eve Service 2019

    For those of you who may have missed our Christmas Eve Services, here is the Audio of the complete service, including all music and all readings. The audio runs through to the final dismissal “Go in peace. Be kind. Share the good news – Christ is born! Thanks be to God!” Be patient as you …Read More

  • Christmas 2019 Children’s Program

    The Children’s Christmas Program was presented during the 4th Sunday of Advent Worship Service. The 22 minute Program was well done and well received by the congregation. Check out the picture above to see the youth and adult helpers presenting their Program. Check out the audio below to hear the entire Program.

  • 4th Sunday of Advent

    This Sunday’s Gospel reading was Matthew 1:18-25 which is the story of Jesus’ birth focusing on the role of Joseph, who adopts the divinely-begotten child into the family of David and obediently gives him the name Jesus, which means “God saves”. Pastor Eric read a story he had written of the birth of his two …Read More

  • John the Baptist’s Wonderings

    In today’s Gospel from Matthew 11, John the Baptist from his prison cell wonders whether Jesus is the one who will bring God’s judgement upon the earth. Jesus told his disciples to let John know that God’s work is already being done through healing and restoration. In fact, “the way is being prepared for you”. …Read More

  • Chrismons

    Today (12/8/2019) marks the unveiling of the new “Chrismon” Christmas Tree ornaments here at St Mark. St Mark has previously been using “Chrismons” which were several decades old, dilapidated, and sorely in need of replacement. “Chrismons” are handmade by St Mark members. Listen to the audios below to find out more about what “Chrismons” are, …Read More

  • Prepare the Way

    Today was a John the Baptist Sunday. At the heart of our Advent preparation stands John the Baptist, who calls us to repent and make a new beginning. Just before Jesus begins his public ministry, John the Baptist appears in the Matthew 3:1-12 Gospel, calling people to mend their ways and speaking of a powerful …Read More

  • Keeper of the Flame

    Our Gospel from the 24th chapter of Matthew tells how the Son of Man will be coming at an unexpected hour.  And so we must wait. On this First Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that waiting is what the season of Advent is all about. Pastor Eric began his reflections by singing a song …Read More

  • True Bread

    In our Gospel reading for the day, John 6:25-35, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life.” Jesus advised they need only to believe in Him to receive that which will sustain them. Bread only quells hunger for a day. But the …Read More

  • Disney Sunday

    23rd Sunday after Pentecost The whole point today, the theme was ‘imagination’. Pastor Eric asked us to imagine, reflect, connect and enjoy today’s service. Being in a sacred space, we just needed to let the songs and scripture readings flow over, in and around us. Enjoy!   Click below for the service recording.

  • 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

    How does our world define people in our world? By age, race, occupation, gender, religion, where you live, income, political affiliation, relationship status and other ways. Today we had a baptism whereby the child became a loved and forgiven, named and claimed child of God. At some point in her life, she will be questioned …Read More

  • Golden

    The Gospel for today is a familiar one…including a golden rule most of us learned as children. When Jesus described to his disciples how we should treat others, he advised, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Pastor Eric reminded us that although the Golden Rule may seem simple to fulfill, …Read More

  • ELCA presiding bishop issues message on racism and white supremacy

    September 13, 2019 “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). “Racism — a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice — is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity” (Freed in Christ: Race, …Read More

  • Quilt Blessing 2019

    For those of you who worshiped with us last Sunday you saw the beautiful quilts done by the women of St Mark’s Quilting Ministry and helped take part in the blessing of the quilts. A total of 85 quilts were created and the majority of those quilts will be shipped to Lutheran Word Relief for …Read More

  • Reformation Sunday

    By the end of the 17th century, many Lutheran churches celebrated a festival commemorating Martin Luther’s posting of the Ninety-five Theses, a summary of abuses in the church of his time.  At the heart of the reform movement was the gospel, the good news that it is by grace through faith that we are justified …Read More

  • Blessing of the Animals 2019 Litany & Pictures

    The Blessing of the Animals service occurred here at St Mark Lutheran Church on Oct 13, 2019. Following is the Litany of Thanksgiving for Animals and Creation recited at that service and some pictures taken at that service. “Gracious and loving God, today we give thanks for the gift of creation and for the beauty …Read More

  • Pray Always

    A man asked God if he could ask a question. Your ways, your timing are not always ours so what is a million years to you? God thought about it and answered, ‘It’s about a second in your time’. What’s a million dollars?  God answered, ‘About a penny’. The man then asked God if he …Read More

  • Turn Back with Thanks

    The Gospel reading for today, Luke 17:11-19, portrays Jesus cleansing ten lepers and only one returning to give thanks. This one, a Samaritan, became a model for what it looks like to praise and worship God. Everyone needs mercy and healing at one time or another. In his sermon, Pastor Eric reminded us that when …Read More

  • Blessing of the Animals 2019 Invitation

    Baa! Moo! Woof! Neigh! Meow! In pet language, that means, “Please bring me to church with you on Sunday, October 13th.” Why? We will celebrate St. Francis with the blessing of all creation and our animals at both services.  Large animals (horses, cows, etc.) will be blessed between services in the church parking lot. Please …Read More

  • The Size of Our Faith

    How does a seed know what it is supposed to do when it is planted? Through God, the seed knows what to do. Regardless of size, the seed will make an impact, because it will grow as God would have it grow. Likewise, God created us as He wanted us, planted us where He wanted …Read More

  • New Members Jan and Jim Bruns

    The Bruns hail from Minnesota; Jan from Minneapolis and Jim from Pipestone. While living in that area, they attended a church in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. After leaving Minnesota, the Bruns spent 33 years in Alaska. They recently moved to Olympia to be closer to their son. Jim retired in 2001 after 35 years …Read More

  • We Are Made Worthy

    Today’s Gospel from Luke 16 is a “heavy text”.  In this parable, Jesus tells of the poor man who is carried up by angels to be with Abraham, contrasted with the rich man who was sent to be tormented in Hades. Abraham responded to the rich man’s pleas for mercy by reminding him he received …Read More

  • Managing God’s Wealth

    It is said, “Apart from the generosity of God, we have nothing. By God’s gracious favor, we have everything we need.” In other words, we are managers of God’s wealth. In today’s Gospel, Luke 16:1-13, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man whose manager “squanders his property”. When the manager is at risk of …Read More

  • 2019 Potato Harvest – St. Mark Community Garden

    The 2019 Potato Harvest in the St. Mark Community Garden was a great success!  Over 2100 pounds of delicious, organic spuds were donated to the Thurston County Food Bank.  Many helpers (the most ever!) made for a very productive morning of harvesting!  Thank you to members of St. Mark and the community for your assistance …Read More

  • Take me home to the place I belong

    Take me home to the place I belong. Pastor Eric said that there are themes in today’s parables. Lost, who is lost? What do sinners mean? Who are the clean ones? In Luke 15:1-10, Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting.  God takes the initiative …Read More

  • Being a Disciple is Challenging

    Taking scriptures literally can sometimes cause us to struggle. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says if we do not hate our brother and sister, we cannot become his disciple. Yet, in 1st John, Jesus calls us to love our brother and sister. Throughout the Bible, there are contradictions. Is it love? Is it hate? Is it …Read More

  • Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…Hebrews 13:2

    How does our world define success?  Money, power, friends, notoriety, possessions. What kind of values do you need to be successful in the world’s eyes?  ‘None’, was one congregants answer to Pastor Beth’s question! What qualities does God value?  Love, compassion, empathy, justice. All these values are sprinkled through today’s scripture lessons. How do we …Read More

  • Sanctuary Denomination

    In its simplest form, becoming a sanctuary denomination means that the ELCA is publicly declaring that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith. In baptism, we are brought into a covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ that commits us to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. Following the example of …Read More

  • Woman Set Free

    In Luke’s Gospel, 13:10-17, Jesus heals a woman on the Sabbath, offering her a new beginning for her life.  When challenged by a narrow reading of the Sabbath command, Jesus responds by expanding ‘Sabbath work’ to include setting people free from bondage. Pastor Eric called this reading a healing story because Jesus was teaching in …Read More

  • The Risk of Faith

    In today’s sermon, Retired Pastor David I. Nelson suggested we ask ourselves questions such as, “What am I most invested in…my own comfort or the Holy Shalom?”, “How would it feel to experience peace that costs me something?”, and “When was the last time I ignored God’s call for compassion for those in need?”  Questions …Read More

  • God’s Promise to the Little Flock

    In today’s Gospel from Luke 12:32-40, Jesus encourages his disciples to not be afraid… “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”. He advises to be ready for action when God’s generosity is received, so that those blessings and treasures can be given to others. In today’s world, there are many …Read More

  • ELCA Churchwide Assembly declares ELCA sanctuary church

    8/7/2019 10:15:00 PM, MILWAUKEE — In a key action this afternoon, the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to approve a memorial that declares the ELCA a sanctuary church. The ELCA is the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body. As a sanctuary church the ELCA is committed to serving and supporting …Read More

  • Welcome Bob and Judie Lee!

    New members, Bob and Judie Lee have recently joined the St. Mark family. Judie grew up in Garrison, North Dakota.  Her family belonged to and were active in the Congregational Church.  After getting married, she joined the Lutheran Church with her husband Bob. Bob grew up in Wahpeton, ND and was active in the Lutheran …Read More

  • Take Care, Be On Guard

    Today’s Gospel is from the twelfth Chapter of Luke. Jesus’s followers as usual asked Him many questions and Jesus answered, as He often did, with some beautiful parables. He said to take care and be on guard against all kinds of greed and then gave examples. Jesus also instructed His followers to not worry about …Read More

  • A Conversation with God

    In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 11:1-13, Jesus not only teaches his disciples to pray, he encourages them to be persistent in their prayer. Jesus promised that if they “ask, it will be given; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened”. Pastor Beth reminded us we can pray to God in …Read More

  • It’s almost here: 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly

    Voting members will convene Aug. 5-10 for the 2019 ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Churchwide Assembly at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. This will be the 15th gathering of the assembly, the primary decision-making body of the ELCA. This year’s theme is “We Are Church,” and voting members will spend the week participating in …Read More

  • Just One Thing

    In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reminds us to be devoted to Him and his word. Pastor Eric’s message concerned the bottom line of Jesus based on God’s math. Gospels are just story math problems. We read Colossians 1:15-28 to learn more of who Jesus is. We dwell in the God math with Jesus. Listen to what …Read More

  • Meet Carol Schneider

    Carol Schneider was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa and has been a life-long Lutheran. She worked as a church building consultant for the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA while in Phoenix. Carol did her internship and a chaplaincy residency while in New York City. Carol retired in August of 2018 from the …Read More

  • Who Is Your Neighbor?

    The well-known parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) touches us and teaches us every time we hear it. After a priest and a Levite each pass by a man laying on the road, beaten and half dead, a Samaritan stopped and showed the man mercy. There are many challenges in this parable. The lawyer challenged …Read More

  • He Writes Your Name in Heaven

    On this 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Eric preached from a rocking chair to illustrate a loving parent, nurturing and fiercely protecting their child. In this same way, from birth we are comforted and protected by God. We are sure of that because He writes our name in heaven. In today’s gospel from Luke 10:1-11, …Read More