20th Anniversary Photos-Early Years

Introduction to the all the photos. These photos were picked by me, Pastor Jami Fecher from among the photos we had on hand. We do not have photos from all 20 years. Most of the photos we have were taken when Kari Reiten was acting as parish administrator. She was careful to document our main events. The descriptions of the photos are told from the faulty memory of Pastor Fecher.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Ministry Together

Dear Friends in Christ,
April marked 20 years since I came as pastor to Gift of Grace, as part of the NW Washington Synod’s Fresh Start Program. We will be celebrating the exciting past 20 years of ministry together at our regular Sunday morning worship on June 12. Pastor Ryan Marsh will be preaching. (He’s being ordained the week before!)
The focus of this celebration is on the work God has done among us in these past 20 years, placing us in intense situations in which we needed to trust Christ, and them proving to us repeatedly to be our trustworthy, loving, steadfast, surprising God. This building was dedicated June 1, 1953, but the first congregational constitution was signed January 7, 1884! Praise to God and thanks, for the community that paved the way for us to be able to participate in this ministry the past 20 years.
Because many of us will be unable to be physically present for this celebration (we are spread out across this country and even Canada) we will be also celebrating interactively via the internet. I’ll send more information about you can participate in a few days. For now, I want you begin rejoicing and to anticipate more rejoicing as we lift up our time together.
Peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Jami Fecher

Pentecost

Jesus threw his followers into a crisis 40 days after he raised from the dead by ascending to the Father’s Right Hand. The disciples were left behind. Jesus knew their experience of him as absent would be difficult for them, so he comforted them at length, promising that he would send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Advocate, who would teach them everything and remind them of all Jesus had taught (John 14: 16 & 26).  He said it was even better for them to have the Advocate than to have Jesus, himself, physically present (John 16:7).
Luke tells us (Acts 2) that 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost (a first-fruits, thanksgiving feast), the Holy Spirit was poured out like fire on the disciples, and the Church was born. Here’s the before and after of it: Before the Holy Spirit was poured out the disciples had done nothing public. According to John they were in hiding. Then the Holy Spirit was poured out on them like fire and they began preaching in the street in such a way that people could understand.
As soon as the Church went public, (which was immediately) public opinion was mixed. Some heard God’s good news and rejoiced. Others sneered and said the preachers were drunk.  Peter gave the proper interpretation of the events; God had poured out the Holy Spirit as promised – promised not only by Jesus, but before him, by the prophet, Joel. And the Spirit was poured out like fire for one reason; so that people could call on the Lord and be saved.
So, that is what the church was born to do: lift up Christ so the world can come to salvation through him. Let this fire burn in us and just watch what happens. It should be good!

SHARE

This is a letter I sent to several officials regarding SHARE:
Dear

I am writing to encourage you help SHARE continue to do their mission of keeping homeless people together, sheltered and safe. It is well known they provide the largest number of beds for the lowest cost in King County. Although they certainly provide social services SHARE is not a social service agency, but a self-help group of homeless and formerly homeless persons dedicated to supporting persons experiencing homelessness.

Our congregation has benefitted greatly from SHARE in the ten years we have hosted an indoor shelter at our church. Although SHARE has an entirely different mission from ours they have helped us steward the resource of our property so that we can more fully do the ministry that is our main mission. SHARE makes it possible for us and many other host churches to participate in aiding persons we otherwise would not have the means to aid. In addition, the persons of SHARE have taught our congregation how to be more respectful to those whose life situation is radically different from ours. The lesson was not pleasant for us to learn, but SHARE taught us by remaining true to their own values and priorities while encouraging us to clarify and remain true to ours. They did it with a humble, patient, tenacity which we sometimes mistook for obstinance, not realizing the obstacles with which they were already coping.

From my viewpoint the social good SHARE provides King County far outweighs whatever criticisms might be rightly made of SHARE (since none of us are above criticism or beyond improvement). SHARE is transparent in its goals and remains steadfast to them. In light of the crisis of the sheer numbers of our people in King County experiencing homeless right now, today, I encourage you to use your influence to immediately clear the way for SHARE to get the relatively small funding it needs to do the job to which it is dedicated, to which it has remained faithful for more than 20 years and which has proved already to be a profound success.

Pastor Jami Fecher
Gift of Grace Lutheran Church
2102 N 40th street
Seattle, WA 98103

Holy Week Schedule

MAUNDY THURSDAY 7 PM

Our celebration calls to mind Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. We will move through the main parts of that “night in which He was betrayed,” including; Holy Communion, foot washing and the stripping of the altar, which leads us into the austerity of Good Friday.

Lamb of God
Behold the Lamb by Jonathan Mayer

GOOD FRIDAY 7 PM

A sparse and somber worship, including the reading of the Passion of Jesus, the great Bidding Prayer of the Church and the Adoration of the Cross.

EASTER SUNDAY

Our celebration of Christ’s Resurrection begins with Easter Brunch at 9, provided by Grace Gospel Chapel. Worship is at 10:30. It blends ancient rites of the Church with current cultural expressions of who we are & who we shall be by God’s  grace. Following worship, about 11:40 is GraceFeast Sunday dinner, a continuation of the Easter brunch.

Pulled Pork Picnic hosted by the Power of We

You are invited, this Sunday, March 20th, from 5-7PM to  a ‘Pulled Pork Picnic’ in the Gift of Grace basement, hosted by the ‘Power of We’.  ‘Power of We’ is a youth service group made up of ten local kids ages 12-14 years old who will be helping prepare and serve the meal in conjunction with Matthew, a talented chef that has been cooking outrageously delicious meals in people’s kitchens for special dinner parties and gatherings. There will also be live music performed by some of the kids.  Matthew is part of the Facing Homelessness community (www.facinghomelessness.org).  Please come and enjoy yourself for this FREE community gathering and get a chance to sample Matthew’s chef skills!

Lent begins Wednesday, February 10

Dear Friends in Christ,
Lent begins next Wednesday, February 10, with Ash Wednesday. We will begin our observation of Lent with worship at 7 PM, a traditional service with the imposition of ashes.
We will worship each following Wednesday night at 7 PM. We will mimic Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness and the People of Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness, by praying Holden Evening Prayer service, with prayer around the cross and silent meditation time. The service will last about 45 minutes.

Life in Christ is an adventure that is a lot deeper than fun. Fun is surface. It is pleasurable and more or less predictable, but for that very reason, it is shallow. Lent is the church season that intentionally focuses us on the part of the Christian adventure that is deeper than fun. It is unpredictable, serious, earnest, and often unpleasurable. In Lent we take time to look closely at the need for a Savior: our personal need and the world’s need. The world is a mess and it needs help, so do we.
How in the world do we invite others into this adventure when it has no selling points? When it invites us to look at what we are desperate to deny and it does not promise us any pleasure, only Truth? When it encourages us to face our own limits: limits of compassion and love, limits of willingness, energy, and vision? It’s just not that fun to look at this stuff. But it is real and authentic, just like God’s love in Christ.
The only thing I can see that empowers us to invite others into this adventure is love for them, not our love. God’s. Lent done right will uncover the limits of my love for my neighbor, but it will reveal to me the depth of God’s love and forgiveness for sinners like me; sinners whose love limits are unacceptably low. The promise of Lent is that God will say again to me and the church, “I know this sin of yours. I forgive it and I love you. Go, love with my love not your own limited love. Go invite with my invitation, not with your own ambivalent invitation.” This promise alone gives us the power to invite others into this adventure. The question for each of us is, “How will I obey?”
Pastor Jami Fecher

Hymn Festival at Saint Mark’s Seattle

Beloved Friends,

St Marks invites you to a Hymn Festival at Saint Mark’s on Friday night, February 5, at 7:30. A great Hymn Festival needs lots of enthusiastic singers of all ages and abilities.

Thanks to underwriting by a generous donor, this event will be free.

William Porter will be our guest organist. He improvises music on the organ with astonishing skill and imagination, and his hymn-playing inspires robust singing. Mr Porter’s appearance is part of St Mark’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of their Flentrop pipe organ.

Parking at Saint Mark’s is free!

Epiphany

A blessed Epiphany to you. Here’s a brief Epiphany Bible lesson.

Throughout the Old Testament Israel lived in the hope that despite their oppression, despite having been forcibly removed from their homes and scattered all over the known world, not ONLY would God their Savior gather them back together, but God would SHINE from them like a great light, so that even their oppressors would flock to them to learn the ways of their righteous God who takes the part of the poor and saves the oppressed. This is the Biblical meaning of justice.

Fast forward to the New Testament. The coming of the Magi (the so called three kings) to visit the Baby Jesus stands as the beginning of God’s Light drawing all nations to Israel (I’m certainly not talking about the political nation, Israel, but about the people God created and gathered, who worship and obey God). In Jesus, those who were not Jews, those who were not part of the people who endured centuries of oppression in order to worship and obey their Savior God, in Jesus even the Gentiles are gathered to worship the God of the Bible. This is a major theme of the New Testament, exemplified by Paul’s words:

“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. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. ” (Galatians 3:28)

The God of the Bible who shines forth from Jesus is the foundation of all justice, acceptance, inclusion, and all welcome of the stranger, and the “other”, even to the point of G loving the enemies of God and forgiving sinners their sins. This is the Epiphany in Jesus Christ and the reason we remember the magi coming to worship the baby in the manger.

Peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Jami Fecher