Your online version of the First Lutheran Church newsletter

Annual Meeting
Don’t Miss the Annual Meeting of the Congregation on Sunday, February 9, at 11:30 a.m.

The agenda includes reviewing and approving the budget and voting on new council members. We will also be choosing our representatives to attend the Oregon Synod Assembly, which is June 6-7 at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion Inn in Portland. Annual Reports will be available to review on Sunday, February 2.

As it is always better to meet without growling stomachs, we will first join together for a potluck lunch.

Building on Faith

Habitat for Humanity is holding a work party on Saturday, February 15 at the Christian Church at 10 a.m. to assemble the cabinets for the duplex.

All volunteers on the Faith Build Project need to watch the video and sign the waiver.  There are packets in the church office with instructions for volunteers. If folks are having trouble accessing the safety video they are welcome to come to the ReStore to watch it there.  There will also be at least one video station at the cabinet building event. There is a short quiz after the video. Please see Edee Douglas for more information.

Construction Update:  The foundation has now been poured and the slab will be placed once the plumbing has all been installed.

Habitat for Humanity has developed a wish list for the duplex. For more information, please see Edee Douglas, our First Lutheran Church Representative for this project. You may also follow Habitat for Humanity on Facebook at the address below:   

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

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.

The Season of Lent at First Lutheran
 The 40 days of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26.  Our journey with our Lord Jesus toward the cross will begin with confession, the reading of Psalm 51, and the imposition of ashes.  Ashes have been used in Christian churches to mark the beginning of Lent since at least the 10th Century, and ashes are mentioned in scripture as a symbol of purification and repentance.  We offer the imposition of ashes as a physical reminder of our mortality and sin; an assurance of God’s forgiveness and salvation.

Please come.  Bring a friend, neighbor, or another family member.  We will gather together at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary to begin our Lenten journey. 

During this Season of Lent, we will have five (5) Wednesday evening worship services, March 4 - April 1.  We will begin with a simple Soup & Bread shared meal at 6:00 p.m., participate in a video presentation of the Small Catechism at 6:30 p.m., and end the day with a short, reflective prayer service.

Special Visit
Pastor Melissa Reed from the Oregon Synod office will visit First Lutheran on Sunday, February 16.  She is our contact  person at the Synod  with  whom we are working as we go through our transition and call process. Pastor Reed will preach and then will join us for coffee fellowship for a Q & A session.

Save the Date for World Day of Prayer
First Lutheran will host our community’s worship service for the World Day of Prayer on Friday, March 6, at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon. The following is from the WDP website:

The host country for WDP 2020 is Zimbabwe.  The WDP 2020 program is based on Jesus’ encounter with a person who, although positioned for healing, had not acted upon the opportunities given (John 5:2-9a). Jesus asked –“Do you want to be made well?" with the theme “Rise!  Take Your Mat and Walk”.  You are faced with this life-changing question. What are you going to do? Use this opportunity to reflect with your WDP group, community and ecumenical partners. Prayer and action are what link us together around the globe.

Please see Judy Ann Johnson for more information.

Collecting Corks
 Attention, wine enthusiasts: Our FLC Collection Closets have a new bin for wine corks. Crafty volunteers have a variety of projects for the Harvest Bazaar Creation Station that requires wine corks for supplies. Thank you for your assistance in helping gather these needed materials.

February Sunday School
A big thank you to all of the parents, adults, teens, tweens and younger kids joining us for the Sunday School Program.  In January we learned about the magi, the special gifts they brought to the new baby and how hard it is to clean up glitter.  We also spent time looking at the 10 commandments – rules to guide us every day.

In February and March we will look at other Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament we all should revisit as we live our lives of faith.  Lesson learned – probably no glitter for a month or two – but we will find other creative ways to explore these familiar stories.  Maybe with play-dough?  Join us – it’s a lot of fun!
February 9      King David                                    
February 23    John the Baptist & Jesus’ Baptism          
March 8           23rd Psalm
March 22         Lord’s Prayer

February Guilds
First Lutheran’s three guilds are all using the study found in the Gather magazine.  All three also welcome new members. Soul Sisters meets on Tuesday, February 11, at 6 p.m. at Susie Tolleshaug’s home.  Mary Guild continues to meet at Avamere in St. Helens.  Kathy Bauska hosts the 1:30 p.m. meeting on Monday, February 17. Sarah Guild meets at the church at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 20.  Jan Burdett is hosting. 

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

"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.

 From Our Minister of Music February 2020

Can it really be February already? One month of the new year, and the new decade, already behind us? Like all months, February contains its share of commemorative days. We may look forward to celebrating light-hearted days like Ground Hog Day (2nd), Valentine's Day (14th), or some less well-known days like National Ukulele Day (2nd) or National Pizza Day (9th). Days of deeper thought and reflection also come upon us, such as Presidents Day (17th) or World Cancer Day (4th). February is also known as American Heart Month and Black History Month as well as some we may not hear of so often, such as the Great American Pie Month, National Embroidery Month, or Dog Training Education Month.

But our liturgical calendar nudges us to look forward, to consider the days we will soon be celebrating in the continuing cycle of the church year. This month, Epiphany gives way to Transfiguration Day on the 23rd, followed by Ash Wednesday on the 26th and the beginning of Lent.

What marvelous material past hymnwriters have had to consider in this forward motion – time's relentless movement, urging us to look up, to see the past and past saints, and to prepare for coming days. Our Gathering Hymn that begins the month is Rejoice in God's Saints [Tune: Laudate Dominum Parry], no. 418 ELW, a fitting text highlighting the timelessness of faith and the people of God called by His Name from all ages.

Rejoice in God's saints, today and all days;
A world without saints forgets how to praise.
Their faith in acquiring the habit of prayer,
Their depth of adoring, Lord, help us to share.

The 20th century brought great change in hymnology, with proliferation of contemporary hymns and worship songs in the last half of the century. Nearly every denomination published its own hymnal and even additional song books for worship. In the British Isles, three hymnwriters represent what is sometimes called the English Hymn Renaissance, setting uplifting texts to music: Fred Pratt Green (1903 – 2000), a Methodist minister and prolific hymnwriter. Of all contemporary hymnwriters, Fred Pratt Green is considered one of the finest. Our ELW hymnal includes twelve of Pratt's hymns. The other two hymnwriters forming this renaissance group included Fred Kaan (1926 – 2009), a United Reformed Church minister, represented by two hymns in our hymnal, and Brian Wren (b. 1936) a Reformed Church Minister, represented in our hymnal with five hymns.

Pratt's text is set to the majestic tune LAUDATE DOMINUM by Englishman Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848 – 1918). Parry's great musical talent was clearly evident early in his life, and Parry so distinguished himself he became the youngest student of all time to successfully complete the Oxford Bachelor of Music examination. His parents, however, preferred a more commercial occupation for him, encouraging him to pursue the insurance business. Parry became more and more unsuccessful in the insurance industry, but extremely successful in the music field. In time, he became a well-known composer, professor at Oxford, and music historian. Some contemporaries rate Parry as the finest English composer since Henry Purcell. In this hymn, Parry's enlivening melody and compelling harmony perfectly set Pratt's verses.

Rejoice in those saints, unpraised and unknown,
Who bear someone's cross or shoulder their own;
They shame our complaining, our comforts, our cares:
What patience in caring, what courage, is theirs!

Rejoice in God's saints, today and all days;
A world without saints forgets how to praise.
In loving, in living, they prove it is true:
The way of self-giving, Lord, leads us to you.

May we continue to be led to our Creator and Lord as we sing this and all our timeless hymns in praise.  

Thanks be to God!
Margie Louws, Minister of Music, First Lutheran Church


Coffee Hour Duties January 12 -  May 3, 2020  Coffee Hour Schedule

Here is your coffee hour list for January 12 through May 3, 2020. If you can’t serve on your assigned date, please find a replacement.  Thank you, and thank you to Sharyn Sundeen and Sandy Young for finalizing the list.

Jan. 12
John & Jan Burdett and Harold & Louise Gullickson
Jan. 19           
Ellen Bailey and Sue Christophersen
Jan. 26
Matt & Kate Freitag
February 2    
Beth Hunnicutt and Mike & Linda McCoy
February 9
February 16  
Diane Dillard, Edee Douglas, and Geri Logan
February 23  
Penny Miller and Mariel McMullen
March 1
March 8         
Jon & Jackie Vingerud and Tom & Christina Vingerud
March 15
Jerry & Judy Ann Johnson and Marilyn Hensley
March 22       
Sharyn & Norris Sundeen  and Sandy Young
March 29       
Steve & Caroline DuBois
April 5            
Scott & Kathy Bauska and Jessie McClintock
April 12         
April 19
Candice Becker and Mark Hagelberg & Enid Schantz-Hagelberg
April 26         
Terry & Wendy Rude and Michelle Worden
May 3 
Margaret Booth andAudrey Webster