Your online version of the First Lutheran Church newsletter

Welcome Pastor Randy
Pastor Randy Sinn has joined First Lutheran Church as our Interim Pastor. He has been ordained as a rostered ELCA pastor for almost 38 years and has served as a transitional/interim pastor for almost 5 years now. He will be leading us through this time of transition and then helping us as we go through the process to call our next pastor.

Building on Faith

First Lutheran has joined four other local churches to help build the ADA accessible, 1-story duplex to house two families. As part of this partnership, First Lutheran has pledged $5,000 and volunteers to provide labor.

Recently First Lutheran received a Creative Ministry grant from the Oregon Synod Endowment Team to purchase a water heater for one of the units. Edee Douglas is our church representative for this ministry.

Edee has information packets and forms to complete for First Lutheran members who plan to volunteer with this ministry.

According to Jennifer Anderson, the Director of the local Habitat for Humanity, we now have power at the build site! The electrician installed a temporary power pole, and PUD connected it. They hope to begin building in January.  There is a cabinet assembly party being planned for Saturday, February 15, at the Christian Church. The exact start time has not yet been decided, but once we know it, we’ll pass on the information. Lunch will be provided for volunteers.

The Faith Build project also includes the Christian Church, Christ Episcopal, Plymouth Presbyterian, and First United Methodist.

2019 Quilt
The prize quilt is on display in the Fellowship Hall. The quilt is based on a log cabin pattern and contains batik fabrics with a beautiful mix of colors, including purple and blue. It will fit on a queen-size bed. 

Judy Ann Johnson noted that tickets are on sale for a chance at winning the quilt.  They are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00 and may be purchased from a quilter.  Funds go into the WELCA account, which ultimately helps the church and community.

The drawing will be on Sunday, December 8. The photoi sabove, but you definitely need to see this treasure in person to fully appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship.  Thank you to our talented quilters!

Electronic Giving
First Lutheran now has electronic giving. Simply text 503-714-7869, and in less time than it takes to write a check, you can now make your offering with a quick text message!

To get started, text the amount you wish to give to First Lutheran’s text giving telephone number 503-714-7869. A link will pop up to MyVanco for you to complete your donation. Once you are set up, you can easily give anytime by simply texting the amount you wish to donate!

Try it, you will like it! Feel free to track down Barbara Gordon if you need help


Calling All Crafters

Wednesday at First Lutheran is typically called quilting day.  However, the quilters also welcome knitters and other crafters. Since everyone is not a quilter, it provides a fun and productive way for people to join in the Wednesday fellowship.  We even have a few cribbage players added to the mix.

The official start of the activity is 10 a.m., but people come throughout the morning and early afternoon.  It wraps up at 3 p.m.  Note:  The quilters are always looking for additional help with both tying and stitching and are willing to train.

Funds raised by consignment quilts go into the WELCA treasury and are used to help support a whole list of local agencies and worldwide efforts.

Welcome on Wednesdays!
No compensation is offered, just the satisfaction of knowing you are helping spread the mission of Christ into the world. Our amazing team of quilters need some help with both tying and stitching. Whether experienced or not, if you have an interest in this ministry, bring a sack lunch and come join the group on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Quilts are tied for Lutheran World Relief. If you can tie a good knot, you can start right in on this one. And if you know how to put simple squares together into a quilt top, they are needed too. Especially needed are hand stitchers, aka needlers. If you don’t think you are good enough, there are baby quilts for practice before you work on the consignment quilts. With practice, you might “graduate” sooner than you think!

First Lutheran Church Endowment Fund

Do you want to build upon our legacy of generosity for the future? — One way to achieve that includes contributing on a regular basis to the Endowment Fund.

If you want to leave a living gift the ELCA has a professional gift-planning staff, who can assist you with planning your legacy to First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Contact any member of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church St. Helens Endowment Committee for more information.

Committee members are Barbra Gordon, Norris Sundeen, Karina Strandjord , Audrey Webster, Bob Clore, and Mike McCoy.                 – Mike McCoy

Choir is active again
Margie Louws, our new Minister of Music, has re-activated our First Lutheran Church Choir.  They practice on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the choir room. 

They will be providing special music at our 10 p.m. Christmas Eve Service, and some soloists will be part of our Advent Prayer Service on December 4.  If you are interested in adding your voice to the FLC Choir, please see Margie.

Thoughts from Our Minister of Music 
 As once again December is upon us, we welcome our favorite Christmas music, some of which we enjoy year after year. One thing I find especially noteworthy is when hymns embody universal truths based on an abundance of Scripture, scripture over and above the traditional Christmas story recorded in the gospels. Two holiday favorites stand out as built on the foundation of an abundance of scripture.

Traditionally a Christmas favorite yet encompassing a wealth of scripture and meaning is Of the Father's Love Begotten (ELW 295). Set to a chant from the 12th to 15th centuries (tune name DIVINUM MYSTERIUM) it encompasses depths of meaning in eternal truths. Thus, this ancient hymn is also appropriate at other times in the liturgical year, as we have sung it on Christ the King Sunday, right before Advent.

The text is by Marcus Aurelius C. Prudentius (348-c. 413), a Spaniard and the greatest Christian poet of his time. Prudentius received a fine education, became a judge, and prominent citizen. At age fifty-seven however, he left his prosperous and successful life, gave away all his possessions, and took a vow of poverty. He served the church by meditating and writing on theology and apologetics as well as private devotionals.

Of the Father's Love Begotten is a confession of faith in Christ, the Eternal Son of God, whose birth and saving ministry were fulfilled in the ancient prophesies. The text is from Prudentius' cycle of twelve extended poems meant for personal devotions. Verse one is based on five separate scriptures, beginning with Ps 2:7 and Heb 1:5, "You are my son; today I have begotten you;" succeeding verses use many other scripture references including Ps 150:5, "Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!" The excellence and enduring nature of Prudentius' texts prompted John Mason Neale (1818-1866), an astounding 1400 years later, to translate Prudentius' texts from Latin into English.

Our second hymn under consideration is the favorite, Hark the Herald Angels Sing (ELW 270). The tune (tune name MENDELSSOHN) by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) has an interesting history. Originally scored for male voices and brass instruments, it was first performed in 1840 at the Gutenberg Festival in Leipzig, Germany at a festival celebrating the anniversary of Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. Mendelssohn said of this music, "It will never do to sacred words." Apparently, William H. Cummings (1831-1915), a gifted musician and tenor, was either unaware of Mendelssohn's wishes or decided to ignore them and proceeded to set the text to music.

It is often remarked that Hark the Herald Angels Sing is the best of all hymns written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), the great leader of the Methodist movement and hymnwriter of more than 6500 hymns. For this Christmas hymn, Wesley drew on scripture from 2 Corinthians, Galatians, John, Isaiah, Malachi, Philippians and 1 Peter, as well as the Christmas story in Luke 2. On this broad base of scripture Wesley's text begins as we stand alongside the shepherds, gazing heavenward, while the angels proclaim the magnitude of the birth of Christ, why He came, and what it means. Then we come to exclaim with the angels the powerful truths:
            Born that man no more may die!
            Born to raise the sons of earth!
            Born to give them second birth!
            Glory to the Newborn King!
As we pause in awe and reflection, let us also embrace the significance in the timelessness and grandeur of these hymns to inspire and strengthen us throughout the holidays, and as we usher in the new year.

Thanks be to God!

Community Rewards

First Lutheran Church participates in the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program.  If shoppers who use the rewards card actually link their card to the church, then  Kroger, who owns Fred Meyer,  makes a donation to the church. It does NOT cost you your rewards points. For the second quarter of 2018, 14 households used their Fred Meyer Rewards cards to bring in a total of $36.61  for First Lutheran.

Please note that they have upgraded their system, and as a result our non-profit organization (NPO) has a new account number. It is JJ283. So, if you haven’t yet enrolled in the Community Rewards program and plan to do so, use that new number. If you have any questions, you can talk to Audrey Webster.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship
All are welcome as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. First Lutheran offers two candlelight services, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Both include Holy Communion.  The choir will be singing at the 10 p.m. service.

Advent Gathering
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, December 4.   We will be having an Advent potluck beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Holden Evening Prayer service at 7:00 p.m.  Please come and bring a favorite food to share with everyone. 

This will be a wonderful beginning to the Advent season that culminates in the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Song leaders are needed to help with this special Advent service. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.


Giving Tree
First Lutheran has a special giving opportunity to help bring a Merry Christmas to homeless teens in need.  Our tree of joy is now assembled in the narthex. It is decorated with  tag ornaments that list gift ideas. Please place your unwrapped item in the barrel by the tree. Note, if you are purchasing a gift card please bring that to the church office.  Wrapping supplies are also welcome. Thank you! If you have any questions, please see Sandy Young.

Sharing Treats
Plates of cookies for shut-ins or other church members or friends who are unable to bake for themselves will be assembled and delivered on Wednesday, December 18, beginning at 9 a.m.
Those who would like to contribute goodies should bring 2 dozen of each item to the fellowship hall before then. If they are brought to the church prior to Wednesday, please leave in classroom Matthew well marked as for the cookie plates. 

We especially need drivers who are willing to deliver the finished plates. If you can help, please sign up on the list posted in the fellowship hall. For several of the recipients, this is a rare contact with another church member, so those who deliver should to be prepared to visit for a time and not just drop off the plate and go.  While only one or two helpers are needed for the actual assembly, more drivers for deliveries make the project easier and faster. 


Sunday School changes for December
We’ve heard from parents and are making changes to accommodate parent’s hectic schedules and attention spans of our little lambs! We will continue with twice a month lessons, sending out e-mails to the entire congregation in advance to remind them of the day, time and theme of the lesson.  This will allow parents and grandparents to mark their calendars to join in the fun.

December is a busy, busy month for everyone.  This year we will present a slide show for the Christmas Program – sometimes it’s more fun for kids to see themselves on the big screen than try to remember lines and songs. 

On December 15th we would love to see children of ALL ages at 9:30 a.m. to learn the Advent Story followed by dress up time as the various characters from the story for picture time.  The Christmas Program will be shown the following week for all to enjoy!

We are now accepting donations to help purchase poinsettias to decorate the Sanctuary.  Donations may be placed in the offering plate or left in the church office. Please note “poinsettias” on your contribution and make checks payable to WELCA and note if the flowers are in memory of anyone.  Thank you.

Christmas Parties
‘Tis the Season for celebrating.  The All-Guild Christmas party is Saturday, December 14, at 2 p.m. at the home of Caroline DuBois. Ladies are asked to bring something for the “white elephant” gift exchange and an appetizer and/or treat to share.

The quilters, crafters, and friends hold their annual Christmas potluck luncheon on Wednesday, December 18 at Noon.

Amazon Smile
Do you shop at  If you do, I would guess you spend more there than at Fred Meyers. We are asking you to join When you select 1st Lutheran Church, St. Helens, as your charity, the church will receive 0.5% of every dollar you spend.

With all of us doing this, FLC will quickly receive a lot of money. Jon, our Treasurer, has already set up the church account so that the 0.5% goes directly in to the church bank account.  If you already have an Amazon account or are Amazon Prime, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

For more information, please Google Thank you for considering this as another way to support your church at no additional cost to you.

Warming Center
The Columbia County Warming Center, located at and managed by the Community Action Team, needs help for the winter season. When it is below freezing, they offer shelter to the homeless December 1 through March 1. It can’t happen without a team of volunteers and they are now recruiting for help. According to the website, they need six volunteers each night in order to open the doors. If you are interested in helping, contact Community Action Team, 503-369-4889 or

WELCA Planning Meeting
The annual planning meeting for WELCA is scheduled for Saturday, January 11, at 10:00 a.m.  There will be a potluck lunch at noon.  We will be approving the budget and planning topics for meetings in the new year.  Please come and share your thoughts.

Photos for PowerPoint
We’ve now had the new visual system up and running for a few months. Thank you to Kitty Heide for being our regular volunteer for this duty!  Do you notice the different picture slides that separate hymns and parts of our worship?  Most of these are just some stock photos from our clipart subscription.  Recently, Caroline DuBois inquired about the photos and offered to send in a few photographs that she had taken.  Candice incorporated them into the February 24 PowerPoint presentation.  If you are interested in sharing photographs for our worship, please email them to Candice at  We look forward to a variety of scenic pictures.

"Christ in our home" devotionals available

The current church budget includes funding for several copies of the "Christ in our home" devotional.

Each page includes a scripture reading, a devotional message, and a prayer.  It is a useful tool to help us slow down and spend a bit of time with our Bible and with Christ during our busy days. They are available in the church narthex. 

We have regular and large print versions available.  We hope you can take advantage of this thoughtful gift.




Coffee Hour Duties September 8 – January 5

Here is your coffee hour list for September 8 through January 5. Folks had a few months to choose a service that worked best for them. Thank you to Sharyn Sundeen and Sandy Young, who volunteer to put this schedule together for the church. They had to assign people to the empty slots. Please take a moment to find the date you are asked to serve and mark your calendars. If for any reason you have can’t serve, please

   September 8
Rally Sunday at McCormick Park. No Coffee Hour.
September 15
Harold & Louise Gullickson and Mariel McMullen
September 22
Ellen Bailey and Sue Christophersen
September 29
Matt & Kate Freitag
October 6
John & Jan Burdett and Tim & Donna Meyers
October 13
Beth Hunnicutt and Mike & Linda McCoy       
October 20
Diane Dillard, Edee Douglas, and Geri Logan            
October 27
Jon & Jackie Vingerud and Tom & Christina Vingerud         
November 3
Scott & Kathy Bauska and Jessie McClintock
November 10
Margaret Booth and Audrey Webster
November 17
John & Jan Burdett and Steve & Caroline DuBois
 November 24
Terry & Wendy Rude and Michelle Worden
December 1
Marilyn Hensley and Jerry & Judy Ann Johnson
December 8
Candice Becker and Norris & Sharyn Sundeen
December 15
Chuck & Katie Garman and Sandy Young
December 22
Kristol Cohn and Penny Miller
December 29
Jean LeMont, Laura McDonough, and Laurie Wilson
January 5, 2020
Janet Abbott and Don & Rose Jensen