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Dear Friends of Jesus

Dear friends of Jesus,

    I am sometimes asked why we pray the Lord’s Prayer every time we meet for
worship and meetings.  There are many reasons.  For many of us, this is the first
“grown-up” prayer we learned to pray and it may be the last prayer we remember.  We pray it because it includes all that we need for our lives, spiritually and physically.  We pray it as a community because it begins, “Our Father,” and so it belongs to all of us.

    When I was a nursing home chaplain, I learned that we Christians do not all pray it exactly the same, but that it was similar enough that I could pray it with Catholics and
Presbyterians and Methodists and others.  “We” could pray it because it is the prayer that Jesus taught and so it belongs to us all.  The prayer that Jesus taught is deeply etched into the memories of many and so we pray it because even though we may have forgotten much else in our lives, we remember this prayer.

    Prayer is a gift from God, an invitation to be in conversation with God.  Prayer is both shared and formal and at the same time the most personal thing we do.  Prayer is as simple as every breath we take and yet we often make it more complex than it needs to be.  Jesus taught us to pray using the words we call The Lord’s Prayer, but more importantly Jesus taught us that God listens to our prayers.  A praying conversation with God includes both our requests and taking time to listen for God’s answer back to us.  The answers to our prayers are not always what we ask for, but they are what God knows we need.

    On our faith journey through life we will pray many prayers.  Some will be prayers of thanksgiving, some will prayers of sorrow, and some will be prayers of asking for God’s mercy.  We pray, always trusting in God’s abundant grace and love.  We pray, hoping that our prayers will not only change us but give us the strength to change the world around us.

    Jesus promised that wherever two or three are gathered, he will be with us.  
Whenever or wherever we pray this prayer, by ourselves or with one another, in church, at work or in school, in a hospital room, a nursing home, or our own home, God is present and listening.  Always!

    May you be blessed by your prayers spoken and unspoken,

    Pastor Jocelyn Carson


Breathing and Dreaming and Praying


Breathing and Dreaming and Praying Come Holy Spirit, fill us with the breath of God, inspire us with hope and give us amazing dreams for your people.  Amen.

On Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd the sermon at 8:30 am included two prayers.  These prayers reflect two of the shared dreams and visions that we, the people who gather at Trinity Lutheran Church have for our community of faith.  One prayer was for our ministry with children to be blessed and the other prayer was for greater physical accessibility here at Trinity.  Both of these dreams are about being welcoming people of God.  Both of these dreams will take courage and commitment of our time and financial resources to become reality.

Please join me in praying these two prayers of welcome!  Pray them again and again and feel free to add your own prayers of hope and courage to these prayers.  

Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to this place, to the homes and the schools, to all the places where your young people gather and use us to share your Good News with those who have never heard it before.  Bless their parents and their grandparents and bless us.  Use us to teach children and youth of your unending, compassionate love.  Inspire us and give us hope.  We pray for Amy, Nancy, Jennie, Lee, and Susan and for all who will help with Vacation Bible School this summer. Amen.

God of grace and mercy, you call your people to worship but our steps get in the way of some of those very people who have heard your call.  Give us courage to go forward with this accessibility project in your name.  We give you thanks for all who made it here today to worship, some of who have climbed lots of stairs to be here.  We pray that those who cannot get here will feel your presence in their lives.  Bless us as we take your Holy Word and your presence to them.  Inspire us and give us hope. Amen.

In Jerusalem on the first Pentecost, Peter (Acts 2:17) quoted the prophet Joel and promised that in these last days, God would pour out his Holy Spirit on our sons and daughters and that men and women alike would prophesy. God is still empowering us!  God is still inspiring us!  God is still giving us audacious dreams—with God nothing is impossible!  Are we ready to trust in the promises of God?  Take a deep breath and pray.

Come Holy Spirit and inspire us anew to do God’s will.  Come Holy Spirit and fill us with the power of God from on high.  Amen.

Pastor Jocelyn


God's Good News of Welcome

God’s Good News of Welcome

Here at Trinity we put high value on “welcoming others in the name of Jesus.”  We do this with our “welcome mugs” on Sunday morning and we do it with bags of food from the food bank.  We have welcomed people to the free community breakfasts and have sat and listened to them share their stories and their concerns.  It was good to be with other Trinity people at the Synod Assembly in mid-May and listen to Dr. Amy Oden talk about welcome strategies.  Her book is called: God’s Welcome: Hospitality for a Gospel-Hungry World and she reminded us of God’s command to welcome strangers.

Dr. Oden described Four Marks of Welcome that all of us can use everyday, not just in our time together at Trinity.  The first mark is that of readiness to share life with others—that means being curious about the stranger, taking time to listen to them and being ready to tell our stories to others.  Readiness includes expecting something new and different from each person we meet and rejoicing in those differences.

Risk is the second mark of welcome—those we welcome may disrupt our lives and force us to think of new ways of doing things.  Perhaps they will be noisy when we crave silence or messy when we are tidy.  Risk reminds us that we cannot control every situation and that trust in God is necessary every time we open our lives to what is new.

The third mark of welcome is that of repentance, which means to turn to a new way.  
The strangers we meet invite us to change from our business as usual way of doing things.  The welcoming church is a renewing church, where change is okay.  Repentance always turns us back to God’s grace and love.

Recognition is the fourth mark of welcome.  When we welcome others we see beyond the surface appearances that could separate us from them or cause us to be judgmental.  When we welcome others we see Jesus in them in a deep way.  As we move into a new relationship, we see that God is at work in this place.

God always welcomes us first and our prayer is that we can learn to love and welcome
others the way God loves and welcomes us.  God’s welcome celebrates our differences and invites us to use our particular gifts in God’s kingdom.  God welcomes you everyday and in everyplace you go!  

We are welcomed in order to welcome others! We are blessed in order to bless others!  Thanks be to God!

Pastor Jocelyn Carson


Come Home

Dear friends,

Many of you have asked me about the Catholic Church’s “Come Home” advertisements which were shown frequently on TV and seen in the newspaper during Lent.  Some have asked me why Lutherans do not do a similar campaign.  Here at Trinity Lutheran Church I think we do! 

Our Welcome Statement encourages everyone to come home to this place of grace.  I hope that you feel welcome to participate in any and all Trinity activities and that in your participation you feel personally “welcomed”!  Your friends and family are also welcome here and I encourage you to invite them to come home with you.

When you come home to Trinity, what will you find?  You will be welcomed to a worship service that is filled with praise of God, opportunities for quiet reflection, Biblical preaching that makes a difference for our daily lives, beautiful music by our choir, bell choir and gifted soloists, and the best coffee hour in three counties!  At 8:30 our worship is less formal and at 11:00 it is more traditional, but we sing a wonderful variety of hymns and songs at both. 

Your children and teenagers are welcome to “come home” to a place where they are welcome and appreciated during worship.  During our education time they experience Biblical stories that capture their imaginations and teach lessons for a caring life.  Crafts and music are always part of this warm, friendly atmosphere.

When asked how to describe Trinity, people say things like, “All churches say they are welcoming but this one really is!”  We are a community of faith that takes our faith seriously, but in a relaxed and fun way.  We are thankful for the gifts God has given us and we give to others in many ways.  We try to be faithful followers of Christ who live their faith in their daily lives.  Are we perfect?  No, of course not!  But you are also welcome to “come home” and help us grow into the people God has created us to be. 

If you haven’t been at Trinity for a while and would like to talk with the pastor before you come home, please call me to schedule a time for conversation in my office or at your home.  Please check our website at www.TrinityLutheranEverett.com for more information about activities.

May God bless you as you “come home”!

Pastor Jocelyn


Easter 2010

Dear friends of Jesus,
 We know so little about the women who went to the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth on that first Easter.  We know some of their names, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, but others we know only as, “the other women with them.”  

We know that the women went to the tomb in order to reverently care for the body of their beloved friend.  Their willingness to serve was rewarded by the best news they could ever hope to hear, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen!”

In that split second, their mourning was transformed into joy.  Their sorrow transformed into a desire to tell others this very Good News.  Psalm 30 includes these words that seem a good description of how they must have felt:

 “You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”

For most of us, our mourning does not change quickly into dancing.  For most of us it takes time to heal from grief.  Most people go through stages of grief, which vary according to the situation and the person.  But the joy does not come quickly.  Easter is for many just a glimmer of hope that shines into the darkness of grief with remembered joy. 

At the empty tomb the faithful women needed the angel to remind them that Jesus had said that he would rise on the third day.  Newly hatched chicks, beautiful flowers, and a glorious sunrise all remind us of the resurrection.  Jesus lives!  On Easter we joyfully gather around the Table of the Lord to remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and God’s promise of eternal life.

This Easter morning we gather to celebrate all the ways God gives us hope!  At both 8:30 and 11:00  we worship and sing glad Alleluias!  We gather for breakfast between 7:30 and 10:30.  There will be plenty so invite a neighbor or friend to join you.  At 10:00 the children will meet in the Sunday School room for a fun Easter craft before hunting for Easter Eggs!

May your Easter Celebration be blessed with joy!

Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Our Easter offering this year will be in support the Trinity budget and all of the ministries that happen in this Place of Grace.  Thank you for your generous gifts!

Come and Worship in the Welcoming Arms of God

Dear people of Trinity,

Thank you so much for your attendance at the Forum on worship times.  You were respectful of each other’s feelings and shared a number of good ideas.  I appreciate that you have strong opinions and that you came and voiced your concerns. 

As I listened to your thoughts and feelings, I sensed your strong concern for those who are not here to worship with us.  The empty pews on Sunday morning are a source of pain for many and we feel like visitors will not return if we are too few in number.  Others expressed concern for those who perhaps are not able to attend a later or earlier service.  It was clear that every household is different—some have children who wake up early, some really appreciate a chance to sleep in on Sunday, some have plans for fun or work later in the day, and some find it hard to be here before 11:00. 

We all agree that we want the pews to have people in them.  We all agree that we want a church that is friendly and accommodating to young families.  We all agree that we want to be friendly and accommodating to our older members. We all agree that sharing the message of God’s grace and love is the most important thing we do!  Both the Worship Committee and the Church Council have received your information and will continue to discuss your concerns.  Any new changes to our worship schedule will not take effect until September.  Our summer worship schedule begins on May 30th with one Sunday worship at 10:00 am and Wednesday Bible Study at 6:00 pm followed by Holden Evening Prayer at 7:00 pm.

For now, we continue to worship at 8:30 and 11:00 am, with an Education Hour for all ages at 9:45 am.  Please continue to pray for our community of faith and for all the neighborhoods from which we come.  As we gather here on Sunday morning we pray, not just for ourselves, but on behalf of all the people of God, especially those 73% here in Snohomish County who do not have a faith community.

Lent is a season of preparation and growth.  We find renewal and strength for daily life in our worship times.  We give thanks for the many blessings we experience and we praise the God who loves us! 

Come and worship in the welcoming arms of God.

Pastor Jocelyn

You Are Welcome Here!

What words speak the loudest welcome to you?  One of my favorites is “Come and eat!”  When I hear those words, I know that good food will follow along with conversation and laughter.  While he walked on the earth, Jesus seemed to spend a lot of time eating with people—all kinds of people—rich and poor, pious and sinful, men and women, young and old.  On Sunday, February 7th we will celebrate that some of our younger members have received instruction about Holy Communion and that they are welcome at the Communion Table. 

Holy Communion is about remembering.  We remember that Jesus promised us the forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation with God and with one another at His Table.  We remember the Passover Meal and that God promises to guide us and accompany us, just as he led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  We remember our own first communion experience and the joy of being included as a child of God.  We remember meals of joy and meals of sadness, but always we remember God’s love and grace.

Our welcome statement is very specific.  We welcome people of all backgrounds, colors, sexual orientations, gender identities, addictions, economic classes, languages, mental or emotional states, talents, marital status, parents, children (quiet & noisy) adults (discreet or nosy), sons, daughters, youngsters, oldsters, all states of health, religious beliefs, responsible or flaky, true blue or straying, obedient or disobedient, happy, sad, lonely, mad, or searching.  Do any of these words describe you this day?  You are welcome!  Even if you have not been here for a while, you are welcome to come back and receive the blessing God has for you this week.  What words speak the loudest welcome to you?  “Come and eat!” “You have been missed!” “God loves you just the way you are!”  “You are welcome here!”

Welcome in the name of the God who created you and loves you always,

Pastor Jocelyn

Happy New Year

We begin this New Year with joy and thanksgiving as we look back on a year of numerous blessings.  I want to offer my personal thanks to all of those who were part of our Advent and Christmas Worship times.  There are so many people to thank for their special contributions this month and in every month of the year!  Thank you children, youth and adults who served, planned, gave, decorated, shared, sang, read, and played musical instruments.  You are all gifts from God to the people of God!

We begin this New Year looking forward to all that lies ahead of us in 2010.  The other day I sat down with my 2010 calendar to fill in some dates of events that have already been planned either by me or for me.  One date is a time of retreat and reflection at the end of February that promises to be a time of spiritual growth for me.  In late September I wrote in the date for our daughter’s wedding.  That day will take lots of planning and preparation, but we are looking forward to great joy and celebration.

A seminary professor once said to me, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.”  I think I know what he was getting at—life is full of unexpected changes and we need to be ready for things not to go our own way.  But still the empty calendar looms and we begin to fill in the dates with special events, appointments, holidays, and birthdays.  We make our plans for vacations and we make plans to be with family members.

I hope that as you fill in your calendar, many Trinity events are included.  This community of faith includes time for worship, fellowship, service and study.  Maybe this is the year you go to Holden Village, go to Advocacy Day in Olympia or start coming to Men’s breakfast.  Perhaps you will join a Bible study group or help with Sunday school.  I appreciate that so many of you are willing to include your service to this faith community on your personal calendars. 

I also hope that in your calendar and in your busy life, you find time for your personal, quiet time with God.  God is waiting for you and the time spent can be very simple.  This year, I plan to read a Psalm a day, or in the case of longer Psalms like Psalm 119, a portion of a Psalm each day.  Psalm 1:2 speaks of those who find time to be with God, “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.”  This is my prayer for us in 2010—that we become more and more like trees planted by streams of living water—nourished by God, for service to the world.

Thank you all for your Christmas cards and gifts to Dave and I and our family.  We are blessed to be part of this welcoming faith community.

Pastor Jocelyn

Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to All

Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news
of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of
David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.

Christmas 2009

Dear friends,

The angels sang for joy on the First Christmas, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to all.”   The shepherds ran to see the baby lying in the manger and knelt before him in awe.  They saw God’s infinite, glorious, amazing love given for us in a tiny baby.  God’s love comes to us everyday, but the Stories and Songs of Christmas hold a special message and blessing for us all.

The choir will be singing a song that is new to me on December 20th as part of the choir Christmas concert. It really touched my heart. It is called Where Shepherds Lately Knelt and reminds us that the love God gave at Christmas is given to each of us in great abundance. The first verse goes like this:

Where shepherds lately knelt, and kept the angels word,
I come in half belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;
But there is room and welcome there for me,
But there is room and welcome there for me.

As we experience God’s love for all of humankind this Christmas season, let us always remember that there is room and welcome for us in God’s heart.  Here at Trinity Lutheran Church we strive to create that room and welcome for others.  So many of us have come here and found God’s love and grace that we want to share with others this very Good News.

Opportunities to hear and share God’s Good News abound!  Sunday, December 20th the Choir Concert is at both 8:30 and 11:00 am worship times.  On Christmas Eve, the worship at 5:30 pm includes a children’s message and our Bell Choir.  At 11:00 pm, the worship will feature the Choir.  At both services we will celebrate Holy Communion and sing Silent Night by Candlelight.  On Sunday, December 27, we worship with the Service of Lessons and Carols at 10:00 am only, with Holy Communion.

Thank you for your support of the ministries of Trinity Lutheran Church this past year.  Many lives have been touched with God’s love and grace in this place of grace.  Each week in addition to Worship, Bible study, Sunday school and other activities over 600 people come here to attend one of the Twelve Step groups in our basement.  There is room and welcome here for them!  This year a portion of our special Christmas offering will be designated towards repairing water damage to the south side of our building so that we can continue our ministries of welcome.   

Wherever you are this Christmas, may God continue to richly bless you with gifts of grace and welcome!

Pastor Jocelyn Carson                         Clara Griffin, Associate in Ministry

Where Shepherds Lately Knelt, lyrics by Jaroslav J. Vajda, CCLI # 931824

Dear Trinity Friends

Dear Trinity friends,

This month I am sharing with you portions of a pastoral letter from the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in which he addresses some of the joys and sorrows of our common church.  If you would like to read the entire letter you may go to this website: http://www.elca.org/faithfulmission .  There will also be full copies of his letter available in the Fireside Room. 

As a congregation, we are partners in ministry with the ELCA.  A portion of our Synod benevolence is sent on to the ELCA to help fund essential programs of the church such as missionaries, seminaries, and feeding the hungry.  We receive back from them resources that strengthen our ministry in Everett, including consultations with our synod’s new director of evangelical mission, the Rev. Jerry Buss.  Thank you for your faithful gifts to Trinity and for your participation in the mission of Jesus Christ.

Moving forward in hope,

Pastor Jocelyn

“Sisters and brothers in Christ of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Where does the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) stand today?

We stand together in God's grace, but we are not standing still. We proclaim Jesus Christ and are fully engaged in this mission by actively caring for the world that God loves. God's mission is serious work that calls for serious commitment. We bring all that we are -- especially our rich diversity, our shared tradition and even our disagreements -- in service of God's mission.

We go forward in this mission trusting that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). Evidence abounds of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon us and through us:

  •   Our new directors of evangelical mission, based in synods, are trained and ready to serve ELCA congregations that they might continue to grow as evangelical centers for mission.

  •   ELCA chaplains Michael Lembke, Richard Brunk and Paul Dirksmeyer bore witness to God's mercy at Fort Hood, Texas. They ministered to families, friends and an entire nation grieving the tragic shootings at the nation's largest military base.

Think of the signs of the Holy Spirit being poured out in your life and in your congregation! Thanks be to God for this continued outpouring of the Spirit among us. When the ELCA Church Council faced the reality of reduced financial resources for mission, it made a difficult but necessary 10 percent budget reduction.  The decision, however, does not diminish our resolve and commitment to engage together in God's mission for the life of the world.     

We will engage Christ's mission with everyone who stands together in God's grace, using the rich gifts that the Holy Spirit has poured into our lives:

The apostle Paul wrote that where the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us, hope abounds and hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:4-5). What a wonderful promise this is as we now enter the season of Advent! With our hope in Christ, we face the future together as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving the world that God so loves.  Amen. Come Lord Jesus!”

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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