Recent Posts

  • 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

  • Transfiguration of our Lord

    Pastor Eric asked us what did you do today to be a good listener? To listen means attending to something. In today’s gospel, Luke 9:28-43, God speaks directly to Peter, John and James telling them: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” The congregation was asked to look at the alter wall art, …Read More

  • Bold Women’s Day

    Describe a bold woman.  She is self assured, a leader, courageous, goes beyond established standards, daring, shameless and much more. Jesus is calling us to go where none have gone before. We are to love our enemies.  Bless and praise and be generous and forgiving to those that have hurt us.  Be merciful and compassionate …Read More

  • Blessings to you…Woe to you

    On this Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, we are presented with a Gospel full of many “blessings” and “woes” described by Jesus as the nature of discipleship. “Blessed are you who are poor”. In other words, “Welcome to the Kingdom. That is the program I am establishing for you in heaven”. “Woe to you who are rich” but …Read More

  • St Mark Weather Update #2

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.                                                                   …Read More

  • St Mark Weather Update

    Dear people of St. Mark, We hope and pray you are safe and warm during this cold weather and snow.  The forecast shows we will get more snow tomorrow (Monday). The church office will be closed tomorrow (Monday).  (We typically follow the North Thurston Public Schools schedule in terms of closures for inclement weather).  Please …Read More

  • Sunday, February 10, 2019 + Fifth Sunday after Epiphany + St. Mark Snow Day!

    I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart. + Psalm 138:1 Dear friends, We hope you enjoyed a peaceful, warm, snowy morning. We missed worshiping with you today! While the sun was shining, we took a leisurely walk through the glorious winter wonderland. During our walk, we offered prayers of thanks, …Read More


    Due to the amount of snow still on the ground (and on roads), the extremely low temperatures forecast for this evening and tomorrow, and the unsafe conditions of our parking lot, worship services tomorrow are canceled. We and your church council want you to please stay home, keep warm, and be safe. We apologize for …Read More

  • LOVE…The Word of the Day

    Mercy and healing extended to the oppressed and outsiders was never a popular concept in Jesus’ day.  In today’s Gospel (Luke 4:21-30), we see the people of the synagogue becoming so threatened by the  power of Jesus to free, cleanse and heal the outsiders that they were ready to “hurl him off the cliff”. Pastor …Read More

  • Pastor Chris Ode of Living Stones Congregation

    Today, on this Third Sunday after Epiphany, we had the pleasure of meeting Pastor Chris Ode of the Living Stones Prison Congregation from the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. Pastor Chris shared with us the fascinating story of his calling to this ministry just last summer. Pastor Eric and members of our congregation here at St. …Read More

  • Welcome Sheri!

    Sheri was born and raised in Southern California. Since 2011, she has fellowshipped at Living Water, where she and her husband met.  Sheri still attends and participates in serving there occasionally.  Prior to 2011, Sheri attended Gloria Dei. She says she has been blessed to be part of a church family since she was 13 years …Read More

  • We Are the Body of Christ

    In today’s Gospel, a huge problem occurred…the host of a wedding ran out of wine. Pastor Beth described running out of wine as being way beyond embarrassing. It could bring a curse on the wedding couple, or be a sign of the host’s lack of hospitality, resources, and friends. So, as the first of his …Read More

  • Baptism of Our Lord

    Today we started our worship service with being reminded that the baptismal font is central to our lives as God’s people. In the waters of Holy Baptism, we celebrate the gift of God’s Grace and this morning we received the sign of the cross with baptismal water from our pastors. Pastor Eric read Luke 3:15-17,21-22, …Read More

  • Epiphany of Our Lord

    What does Jesus bring to the world? What do we bring to Jesus and the world? Pastor Eric gave us examples of what we can do in 2019 as gifts to Jesus. 1. Pray the Lord’s prayer. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. 3. Don’t be afraid. 4. Forgive. 5. Go make disciples. 6. Feed the hungry, …Read More

  • Lessons and Carols

    At the turn of the year, we meditate on Endings and Beginnings, knowing that all the world’s time begins and ends in God. We watch and keep vigil for the coming of God’s justice. Check out below one of the readings and the Children’s time message for this Sunday.

  • Welcome Jim & Sharon Lochner

    Meet new members Jim and Sharon Lochner. Jim grew up in Sunnyside, Washington. He is employed by Trader Joe’s as a forklift driver in the warehouse, while he continues to apply for work at a state agency. Sharon grew up in Vancouver, Washington. She is retired and has gone back to work at COSTCO as …Read More

  • Christmas Eve Cantata – Choir, Readers, & Instrumentalists

    “COME NOW TO BETHLEHEM – Lessons and Carols for Christmas” Lesson 1 – Luke 2:1, 3-7 Choir – “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Lesson 2 – Luke 2:8-12 Choir – “Good People All, Rejoice!” Lesson 3 – Luke 2:13-14 Choir – “Angels We Have Heard on High” Lesson 4 – Isaiah 9:6-7 Choir – “He …Read More

  • St. Mark Christmas Kids

    On December 23, the 4th Sunday of Advent, our St. Mark Sunday School students led worship by reading scriptures, offering prayers, providing special music and serving communion. To augment the scriptures, the story of the birth of Jesus was portrayed by the students in costume on a big screen slideshow. Pastor Beth created the program …Read More

  • Christmas Schedule 2018

    Sunday, December 23 – Sunday School Christmas Program On this Sunday, our children and youth will lead us in worship at both services (8:30 am and 11:00 am) celebrating “The Advent of Love”. Come hear the Christmas story and sing many of your favorite carols. Monday, December 24 – Christmas Eve 5:00 pm – Family …Read More

  • 3rd Sunday of Advent

    Luke 3:7-18 talks about trees, producing fruit and being worthy of turning and John-the-Baptist who spoke of the One to come.  John taught that preparation for God’s reign is not a matter of identity but of bearing fruits of merciful justice, radical generosity, and vocational integrity. Pastor Eric asked us what kind of tree do …Read More