Pastor Tim Feiertag writes a monthly letter to members and friends of Trinity.  Please read his letters, and feel free to comment.
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April Letter

We think you'll be welcome here. At least, that is our intention.

As mentioned in the cover article of this Tidings, Sunday, April 3, this congregation will celebrate our commitment to being a place of welcome and hospitality to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Sometimes, that commitment gets shortened tojust "All are welcome!" One problem with that shorthand is that lots of communities use that phrase, and lots of people experience a lack fo welcome where a welcome has been proclaimed. I myself was told that I am an abomination by a congregation that had declared that all are welcome. Another challenge is the reality of human diversity. No community can be prepared to hold the diversity of the entire human experience simultaneously. It simply cannot be done.

However, this is no cause for despair. "God loves everyone - no exceptions" is another way this congregtion speaks about our ministry of welcome. God - the infinite source of love, the creator of all, the one in whose image each of us is made - is able to hold every beloved child simultaneously. Through Christ, we have been reconciled to God, meaning that God has removed every barrier between Godself and humanity. And through Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, to remove barriers that exiswt within the human family.

And so, seven years ago, this congregation joined the Reconciling In Christ program, uniting with other Lutheran faith communities who are public and intentional in their welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We will reaffirm that commitment in our worship on April 3, while we recognize that our work is not done. We continue to look for the barriers that exist even within our own congregation. We will continue to prepare ourselves to draw the circle wider still, to be prepared to celebrate an even wider section of the human family. I invite you to join us in that work.

"We think you'll be welcome here. At least, that is our intention." It isn't catchy enough to be on a t-shirt or in a brochure. But hopefully it is honest enough for a newsletter article.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Tim

From the Pastor, March 2016

We started with a talking donkey. Then we questioned if we can make God abandon us. By the end of February, we were debating the merits of competing altars.

Nom, those aren't the minutes of the church council or any other committee. These are the topics of our Wednesday mid-day Bible study series. You are invited to join us at 11:15 a.m. You can even invite a friend, neighbor, or co-worker for BS* You Won't Hear in Church (*Bible Stories). Each week is a self-contained unit with no prior sutdy necessary. Drop in for just one week, or sit in for the whole series. We will examine a passage not found in our three-year lectionary cycle of Sunday morning lessons. We will learn about he history of that book of the Bible, hear our passage fits within the book, and then figure out what each of these stories has to do with our own daily faith lives. You may learn as much about one another as you do about the Bible! If you'd like to attend, but just can't get to church on a Wednesday mid-day, talk to me and we will figure out if we can add a second day/time.

Here are the upcoming topics for the remainder of the series:
March 2 - An army who laps water like dogs
March 9 - The festival that lasted for two weeks!
March 16 - The queen who never mentions God
March 23 - Jeremiah's synbolic underpants
March 30 - The prophet who sailed away from God
April 6 - Responding to the early Christian gossip chain

In 2007, the ELCA embraced an initiative called Book of Faith "that the whole church become more fluent in the first language of faith, the language of Scripture, in order that we might live into our calling as a people renewed, enlivened, empowered, and sent by the Word." Come and be a part of this holy work!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Tim

Transfiguration of Our Lord

"Teacher, it is good for us to be here." - Luke 9:33a

On the first Sunday in February this year, we will celebrate the Transifguration of Our Lord, a church holiday when we remember a mountaintop encounter of the disciples Peter, John, and James in which Jesus' appearance became dazzling with light before them. Last month, I moved to Everett from a land without mountains. Now, I live in an apartment overlooking a trio of mountain peaks (though I don't yet know their names). I have not engaged in any mountain climbing yet, but my first two weeks of ministry among you certain feels like a mountaintop experience. I have been so warmly welcomed by you in worship. The love found at Trinity Lutheran Church has also been palpable during the communion visits I have made with some of our members in nursing homes and care facilities. This partnership in ministry seems to be off to a great start! It is truly great to be here.

"' Let's set up three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah!' Peter didn't really know what he was saying." - Luke 9:33b

It seems that Peter wants to capture and preserve the brilliance of the moment. Luke lets us know that this instinct is misguided. Jesus doesn't stay isolated and aloof. Ministry among the outcasts and the hurting awaits! And we who are called to follow Jesus know to expect the times when clouds overshadow us, when our desires to be like Jesus leave us feeling like a failure.

The Transfiguration of Our Lord helps us remember this both/and experience of our faith. Christ is truly present among us. The ministry that is done in this place AND in the daily walk of each one of us is miraculous. And that will not be enough to keep controversy, discord, and failure at bay. And so, we will return, again and again, to look to God to sustain us and guide us, to make us new each day. I can't wait to see each of your shining faces as God works through you within this community of grace.

Thanks be to God!

Pastor Tim Feiertag

From the Pastor

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10 You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. - Deuteronomy 8:7-10

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Many of us will gather with family and friends, watch some football, laugh, reminisce, and then sit down at a table that is overflowing with food. There will be turkey (or some other type of bird), potatoes (mashed and sweet), gravy, vegetables, bread, Jell-O, salads of all kinds, cranberry of some sort, and of course pie of various varieties. Abnd at the end of the day, bellies will be overflowing and the table will still have plenty of food on it. Enough food for several days of leftover Thanksgiving lunches.

But this is not the case for all. There will be many folks who will not experience Thanksgiving in this manner. It may be their first year wondering where dinner will come from, or it may be their 10th year. Either way, it can be devastating.

In chapter 8 of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are reminded not to forget the Lord when they come into the land of plenty. As we sit at the table many, if not all, of us will offer up some type of thanks or prayer. I wonder, is this enough or is there more in which we, who have plenty, can do to thank God for the gifts that we have received?

Matthew 25 says: "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." It is in our doing for others that we thank and praise God for all that God has done for us.

Trinity is about to embark upon a new chapter in its life. God will be calling you to give thanks and praise through your actions in new and exciting ways. It won't look like the old - Israel's new land didn't look like Egypt. For many, this is very scary; that's okay, the Israelites were scared, too. This new land, this new Trinity, will be just as meaningful with the rich presence of God.

Your Sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin

 

June Pastor's Letter

Dear Friends,

The Call Committee has begun their work finishing up the MSP (Ministry Site Profile). As you approach this time, I would like to share some words with you from a pastor in Massachusetts that were submitted and published in a Dear Abby column:

One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister. A member of an official board undergoing this painful process finally lost patience. He'd watched the pastoral relations committee (this would be yor Call Committee) reject applicant after applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise. It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee. So he stood up and read a letter purporting to be from another applicant.

"Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've been a preacher with much success and also have had some success as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I've been a leader most places I've been. I'm over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years. In some places, i have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. i must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of wrongdoing. My health is not too good, though I still get a great deal done. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in towns where I ahve preached. In fact, some have threatened me and even attacked my physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you."

The board member looked over the committee. Well, what do you think? Shall we call him? The good church folks were aghast. Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absentminded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who signed the application? Who has such colossal nerve? The board member eyed them all keenly before he answered, "It's signed, 'the Apostle Paul.'"\

Edward Jeffery said, "People expect the clergy to have the grace of a swan; the friendliness of a sparrow; the strength of an eagle; and the night hours of an owl."

Calling a settled pastor isn't so much as to who you want as it is who you need.

Your sister in Christ,
Pastor Diana Bottin
 

April Pastor's Letter

For the past month or so, I have been standing at my front window and watching my garden patch turn from brown to green, and now to an array of colors. Oh, how I so enjoy the spring!, watching all of the flowers pop-up through the dirt and begin their process of growing and blooming.

It is easy to see winter as a time in which plants do nothing. They go to "sleep" until the temperature rises and they are awakened to become what God has intended them to be. But that can't be farther from the truth. There is a lot happening during witner that we simply don't see. It is a time in which the flowers and trees are preparing for their upcoming growth spirt. They are preparing to be the best that they can be.

The church is no different. There are many times in which we are going through "winter," a time of preparing ourselves to be what God is calling us to be. A time in which it doesn't appear that much is happening, yet there is a great deal going on beneath the soil. Interim time can feel this way.

The Transition Team has been hard at work gathering information about who Trinity is, for the Ministry Site Profile (MSP). Their work is almost ready to emerge from what may appear to some as a dormant state. What they have been working on beneath the soil will soon be breaking through and showing its greenness as you begin gathering to discuss what they have heard you say.

God is actively preparing Trinity for its future in ways we can and cannot see. God is creating Trinity in a way similar to the "tree of life" that we, Central and Trinity College created this past Lenten Season. The ground is cultivated, roots develop, a trunk or stem shoots out from the dirt and grows, branches develop, leaves are produced, and like Easter, flowers will bloom.

Remember to keep the Transition Team, Trinity, and your next pastor in your prayers. God is preparing you for your next pastor, and your next pastor for you.

Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin

Epiphany

In some ways my heart is saddened. Many of the lights that have been up for the past month are gone. The stores have replaced all the Christmas songs with the normal yearly tunes. They have also replaced the Christmas section with gifts for Valentine's. It is the flow of the year.

The bright spot that I cling to during this time of the year is the fact that we have had the longest night of the year - it was on December 21st. That means the nights are getting shorter and the days are getting logner.

This month we will be celebrating the time of Epiphany. The light has entered the world and the darkness cannot overcome it. It is a time in which we celebrate the revealing of who this baby Jesus is, and the God that became incarnate to bring Good News to ALL people.

This Christmas Season I saw Trinity come together to help support 45 families in need. Many of those families don't have ties to Trinity. What a great example of what the church is about. We as the church are here for those who are not here. We come to this place to be filled so that we can show the light of Christ to those who are not here. This is Epiphany!

We are the bearers of the light that has come into the world. The spreaders of the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who are outside the church. Sometimes this can be a difficult change in thinking. Just as the people of Israel struggled with the concept that God came to save even the gentiles, we in the church can struggle with the concept that the church is not here for "us", but we, as the church, are here for those who are outside our doors.

Yes, the days are becoming longer and summer will be upon us soon, but there is still a great deal of darkness in our world. Darkness in which the light we carry is begging to illuminate. When we were baptized a candle was lit and the presiding minister said "Let your light so shine".

Let the light of Christ that shines through you, personally and as a congregation, shine during this time of Epiphany and throughout the remainder of the year.

Your Sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana

The Gift of "No"

The Gift of “NO”
 
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him.  But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends'. 
                        - Mark 5:18-19a
 
We all have heard and spoken this one little word. We have all had this one little word spoken to us.  Often it is at a time in which we would rather hear “YES”.  It is not always easy to say it or accept it, but when it is spoken in love it is a gift that frees us to be who God is asking us to be. 
 
No’s come in many shapes and forms.  It can be spoken or implied.  It can come from what is perceived as road blocks to where “we” want to go or do. 
 
You may recall the hit song from Garth Brooks “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”.  It
 wasn’t until the person looked back on his life that the “No” he received was in reality a gift of “Yes” to many other gifts.
 
When we receive those no’s, and we will, remember that they are not being said to discourage us but to encourage us to press on, to seek new ways in which God is asking us to use our gifts.  Perhaps it is time to look at the issue(s) at hand in a new light, and maybe even begin walking in a completely different direction. 
 
Transition is the time to look at other avenues into which God is calling you.  It is a time of stretching and growing in a direction that for some may be a little uncomfortable.  That’s okay.  The no’s we receive are to help us grow in places that are new and sometimes scary to us.  That is the gift and grace of “No”.
 
Christmas is coming.  Gifts will be exchanged.  Is one of the gifts you need to give or receive the gift of grace heard in the word “NO”?
 
Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin
 

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From the Pastor, October 2014

Fall has officially begun. The days are getting shorter and colder. The rains have returned, and the hustle and bustle of church activities is in full swing. Throughout the next few months we will be celebrating many "holidays" beginning with Reformation Sunday.

Often we think of Reformation as something that happened in 1517. But in reality, Reformation, and what Martin Luther believed to be reformation, is an ongoing process. It is continuing to look at the church, its practices and teachings, and asking questions. The message has, and always will remain the same, but the way in which the message is conveyed must change as the world changes. The question is, "What are we doing and saying to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner in which all people are able to hear and understand it?"

Reformation is not new. It actually began at the very beginning. All one needs to do is read Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created. God changed what was into something new and different in order to convey God's love and grace. And God will continue to create and covey the love and grace for all on the corner of 24th and Lombard.

During the next several months, the Transition Team will be asking some very hard questions about how God is calling Trinity to spread the Gospel. Trinity is, and will be, reforming. This is one of our core values as Lutherans.

Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin
 
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