Recent Posts

  • 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

  • Come, Follow Me

    Today was the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel of Luke, 9:51-62, reminds us– Jesus is unwavering in his commitment to his mission in Jerusalem.  He calls his disciples to a similar single-mindedness. Today at St Mark, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our community garden during Children’s Time and after worship at a special …Read More

  • Be A Living Thank You

    Pastor Beth began today’s sermon by asking the question, What is it that keeps you from living life fully, knowing you are a loved and forgiven child of God?  Is it self-doubt? Something you’ve done…or didn’t do? Is it health issues? Addictions? Stress of relationships, work or finances? Maybe you have questions about God, religion, …Read More

  • Trinity Sunday

    In the Gospel (John 16:12-15), Jesus says, “When the spirit comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” He explained to his disciples that God’s Son had entered the world to reside in one body. He was leaving earth …Read More

  • Day of Pentecost

    Pentecost is a day of promises fulfilled. The promised Spirit of God is poured out. Pastor Beth painted, while Pastor Eric preached. Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved. The gentle, breezy, gusty Spirit of God will descend on us. There are three things that the Spirit reminds us: 1. Who we are. …Read More

  • Community Garden 10th Anniversary Celebration

    The congregation is invited to a 10th Anniversary celebration, luncheon, and garden blessing for the St. Mark Community Garden June 30th immediately following the 10am Worship service.  A delicious lunch prepared by the Community Garden volunteers will be served during a brief program outlining the garden’s history and evolution into one of the largest fresh …Read More

  • Northwest Christian HS Garden Service Day

    Twenty hard-working High School students and two teachers  from the Northwest Christian High School spent 120 hours of service in the St. Mark Community Garden on Wednesday April 24th.   Great thanks to Michaela Winkley from the Thurston County Food Bank for directing this group to our garden. There is always a tremendous amount of …Read More

  • One in Christ

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Betty Rendón Madrid, a pastor at an Evangelical Lutheran church in southern Wisconsin, along with her husband, Carlos Giraldo. The family fled Colombia in 2004 after Betty received threats from guerrilla fighters while principal at a school. The family, in 2006, filed an application for asylum, citing those …Read More

  • Confirmation Sunday

    On Sunday, May 26th, we celebrated the Affirmation of Faith and Rite of Confirmation for our students Lizzie, Evan and Laney.  These students participated in Confirmation classes with Pastor Beth and Dan B., met with their Confirmation Mentors, were presented by their families, and affirmed their faith as loved and forgiven children of God.  Joined …Read More

  • Leaving a Legacy

    “When you are gone, what do you want your children and loved ones to know?” This question, posed by Pastor Beth on the 5th Sunday of Easter, reflects our Gospel reading for the day (John 13:31-35).  Knowing his death was near, Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another as he had loved them. His …Read More

  • Good Shepherd Sunday

    Bobby McFerrin dedicated singing the 23rd Psalm to his mom. The first time Pastor Beth heard it sung, it moved her to tears because there is something profoundly beautiful in the feminine image of God. We need to open our hearts to experience the fullness of what God is. God is more than any human …Read More

  • 3rd Sunday of Easter

    Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. ‘You’ve heard the gospel story today, John 21:1-25, and I want to share my reflection on it’, said Pastor Eric. He read his poem on what he saw in today’s reading on the theme of ‘Follow me’ and then a poem, ‘Speech to the Young’, by Gwendolyn …Read More

  • 2nd Sunday of Easter

    Today is the ‘Doubting Thomas’ gospel, John 20:19-31, in which Jesus asks Thomas, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe’. Pastor Beth was the motivational speaker at a recent Altrusa students’ scholarship awards ceremony and she said hearing the students’ stories …Read More

  • Prayer Shawl Ministry

    This morning (April 28, 2019), you will notice on the back of the pews some shawls and lap blankets we have knitted or crocheted recently. After they are finished, a label is attached. They are then put in a bag with a card. As each one is knitted or crocheted, a prayer is said. As …Read More

  • He is Risen Easter Day

    “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Alleluia! Luke 24:1-12 tells of the women going to Jesus’s tomb with embalming spices only to find that the tomb was empty because He had Risen! Pastor Eric, for the first time, read his sermon to us.  It …Read More

  • Lay Stoles – New Worship Tradition

    A new worship tradition began at St. Mark on Palm Sunday. At our worship services, those serving communion will now wear a lay stole. The idea came from Pastor Eric. He enlisted two talented members, Jerry C and Dorothy R, to design and sew the stoles. He then asked Gary D, member and resident wood …Read More

  • Good Friday – April 19, 2019

    On this day we take time to hear the Passion of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of John.   As we hear the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, candles are extinguished as the sanctuary becomes increasingly dark. So then, why do we call it “Good” Friday?  When Jesus proclaims, “It is finished!”, we …Read More

  • Maundy Thursday, April 18

    April 18th was Maundy Thursday.  This night receives its name from Jesus’ mandate, or command, that we love one another.  On this day, we gather to remember the final night Jesus shared with his disciples.  Together, they broke bread. While they were eating, Jesus washed his disciples feet as a gesture of deep love and …Read More

  • God’s Extravagant Love

    Today’s Gospel Reading from John 12 tells of Mary’s gift of comfort to Jesus. As she anointed Jesus’ feet with fragrant and costly oil, Judas exclaimed his objection to this wasteful, extravagant act. Jesus, however, recognized that Mary’s gift was an expression of her love for him, and in anticipation of his burial. Pastor Beth …Read More

  • Prodigal = Extravagant

    The Gospel for today, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, is from Luke 15, which contains the parable of the “prodigal son”, who’s father’s extravagantly welcomed him home after he extravagantly squandered his share of his father’s property. When the older son saw the extravagant celebration for his errant brother, he became angry and questioned his …Read More

  • A God of Second Chances

    The Gospel for the day, Luke 13:1-9, holds the parable of the fig tree saved one more year by the gardener. After bearing no fruit for three years, the landowner was ready to “Cut it down!” But the patient gardener urged the landowner to wait another year, and see what his care and attention may …Read More

  • Second Sunday in Lent

    At this time in Luke’s gospel, the theme is determination.  Today is Luke 13:31-35. Jesus is speaking truth at this time. Jesus is continually speaking scriptures at this time. People come into our life at the right time with a gift of wisdom. Pastor Eric gave us examples of how he has received gifts of …Read More

  • First Sunday in Lent

    Today’s gospel reading is Luke 4:1-13 in which we hear of how the devil tempts Jesus after Jesus returns from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness. Pastor Beth asked us ‘Aren’t we all traveling through this wilderness?’ and what does the word wilderness mean.  Some answers given …Read More