The blessings of our home at FLC

One of the perks of being a pastor is getting to hang out with and relate to all of you. I certainly am looking forward to more and more opportunities to do so. It is especially fun in a congregation like FLC that is made up of people of different ages, viagra life experiences, case faith stories, vocations, cultural backgrounds and, of course, personalities and passions.

The work of getting to know each other the past eight months has been exciting as well as a bit daunting for all of us. It takes work and it takes courage– putting on our best, putting ourselves out there, risking saying too much or too little, or worse, the wrong thing entirely. We all want to please one another. We want to listen to each other and to be open to our differing feelings and opinions.

We might be struggling to ask for help when needed—you may, I may. It can be hard to be vulnerable when we are still learning to trust each other.

On the other hand, it is interesting and fun to learn more about each other, to figure each other out. We are all learning about each other, and about FLC as it is and as it has been when we share stories and experiences (and our children).

Most importantly we get to participate in a real church family life in which we all share our deep love for Jesus Christ. We get to demonstrate, unstintingly, this love in the care and compassion we share for one another and the community around us.

As a pastor (and as a sometime pastor’s kid) I have always valued and appreciated close friendships with parishioners. It makes sense that we become friends with one another. To not be close would mean we were not being loving or compassionate, or not letting others love and care for us.

At the same time there are differences that distinguish the pastor-parishioner friendship. As your pastors we are your leaders. My job and my work is not just to work with you, but to make sure that we are functioning, that we focus on our mission. I get to use my particular education, skills and experience to preach, teach, plan and lead worship, to care for you as a shepherd. There are boundaries set in that relationship that are important to how we function as pastors.

This month our family will be moving into the beautiful new parsonage that FLC has been working on for a long time. On March 15 we will all get the chance to celebrate together with a tour of both houses and a blessing. After we move, our own family will be physically closer to the church building and this will have many advantages including ease of access, and opportunities for casual socializing and for hospitality. I expect challenges will come up as well, including the difficulty of separating work time from home time and others that we will learn about.

The new parsonage is a sign of our relationship of closeness and trust, of our family bonds, of your care for us. It is also a reminder, a traditional reminder, of the formal specialness of the relationship between pastors and the people they serve.

As we explore our relationship, I thank you all for all your love and support. I am very happy to be one of your pastors.


Pastor Kate

Part time childcare provider needed

P/T Childcare Provider Needed: First Lutheran Church, approved Palo Alto, CA seeks an
energetic and loving childcare provider to supervise its children (ages 0-6) every
Sunday morning during worship services and Sunday School. The position
requires the ability to meet multiple child care demands at once with a calm
nurturing presence, while communicating a genuine welcome to all visiting
children and their parents. Must feel comfortable working with children with
special needs and show an ability to maintain a safe and orderly environment.
– A minimum of 3 years of experience working with groups of small
– ECE units preferred
– Experience working with children with special needs is helpful
– First Aid and CPR certification required
– 2-3 professional childcare references
Regular Weekly working hours are:
Summer Sundays 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (July- Labor Day Weekend)
School Year Sundays 8:00 a.m.-12 noon (September-June)
Additional hours during holidays may be requested/arranged in
Pay range: $15 to $20/hr DOE
Location: 600 Homer Ave, at Webster, Palo Alto
Position reports to the Pastors and the Staff Support Committee
Please send your resume to Margaret Marshall at with FLC Childcare in the subject

March forums: Acts, Food for the Poor, Apocalyptica

Every Sunday in the library, adiposity 9:15-10:15am.

March 1: Ken Schreiber will lead the second session of what will be a series of Forum discussions of The Acts of the Apostles. The March 1st Forum will conclude discussion of some foundational questions such as:

Who wrote Acts and why was it written?  When was Acts written and how to different proposed dates impact how we understand Acts?  How does Acts relate to the Gospel of Luke?  Is Acts history and if yes, what kind of history?  How does Acts treatment of St. Paul life relate to Paul’s letters?  What is the implication that most of the Apostles are never mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles? Why, in the Common Lectionary, are there readings from Acts on only the Sundays of Easter? What might be the implications that the first surviving preaching on Acts didn’t occur until 400 CE?What does the long path that led to Acts being included in the New Testament tell us about the Book?  Why did the author include an extensive number of speeches and the role of the speeches in understanding the theology of Acts?  

March 8: Don Knuth has been spending his spare time trying to write some unusual (but hopefully inspiring) organ music entitled Fantasia Apocalyptica, based closely on the Biblical book of Revelation. He will give a progress report on this project in a special session of the Adult Forum, to be held in the church sanctuary.

March 15: Pastor Marv Abrahamson will lead a discussion of his work for and the work of Food for the Poor.

March 22 and 29: The Forum series on the Book of The Acts of the Apostles will continue with discussions of the Resurrection and Ascension and the Arrest, Trial and Death of Stephen.

Blue the Flute Man to play at FLC


Music and Worship at FLC

Music for worship at First Lutheran Church – WAM committee goals from this process

worshipmusicforum – general principles about music and worship used during forums

As you will have read in previous newsletters, information pills we are in an interim year with respect to the choir / music director position.  As part of this process, pastors, council and Worship, Arts and Music (WAM) committee thought it would be a good idea to revisit a goal identified during the call process: “evolving our worship offerings, as we foresee a need to incorporate a wider variety of high-quality styles and formats, especially in the area of music.”  What was meant by that?  We held two forums and provided a survey.  Around 40 people participated, including some of our youth.  Some had very well developed thoughts, others struggled to articulate feelings or were mostly present to listen.  I must say it was helpful for me, as one of your pastors, to hear your ideas but also what it is you value about music and worship at FLC.  It was one more way to get to know you better.

What now?  We pastors together with WAM committee are discerning ways to articulate some values about our worship and music, what some goals might be (short and long term), what further questions might be ahead of us.  Getting clear on this can help us know what to look for in a choir / music director and what we share with candidates about FLC.

What did people say?  It’s not easy to summarize, but there were some general and interesting ideas that seemed to be emerging out of this process (a few direct quotations below):

People highly value the music and worship at FLC, where we’re able to experience a full and rich liturgy and music that’s sophisticated, interesting, challenging and with real depth for adults and children.  We have a superb organ and first rate musicians who find spiritual meaning in how they serve us.  In our Lutheran heritage, “music per se is theologically important.”  We enjoy a rich artistic heritage, and music connects us to the communion of saints who have gone before us.  The recent use of piano / guitar / mandolin at 8:30 is “simple” and “genuine” and fits that service in its own way.

Let’s be thoughtful about the mission of the church and wary of simplistic answers about the way forward.  In many churches people are told: “get rid of the old hymns and use the new stuff, or you have no future.”  I don’t know if there’s anyone who would say that around FLC.  Some also question the wisdom of splitting into “contemporary and traditional” services, which can be divisive when many have a broad range of musical interest.  You don’t want things “bland” or “boring.”  Maybe it’s OK to be musically extreme, so long as we’re passionate about it.  Music is not a “gimmick” to get people in the door.  But as we get clearer about our mission in neighborhood and world, we’ll get more clear about future direction for music and worship.

One area of growth might be around involving the congregation more meaningfully, or music and in worship that’s more accessible.  Some feel “overwhelmed” or “intimidated” when music is unfamiliar, hard to sing or seems obscure.   It can seem “solemn” rather than “joyful,” helping us to “feel the gospel in our hearts.”  Some people mentioned the idea of doing further education, whether it’s teaching a song at the beginning of the service or explaining the pattern of worship.  How else might we strengthen the connection between musicians and congregation?  Some wonder about new ways to involve the congregation in singing or playing instruments, such as a temporary choir with less of a rehearsal commitment.   Or “jam sessions?  Community band camp?”  A particular area of interest / concern is in worship and music experiences that better involve youth and children.  Youth music group?  Worship experiences that are more child-friendly?

People are very open to using a great variety of music, with some question as to what variety we might pursue and how to do it well.  Some point out the variety of music that has already been in use in choir repertoire and other music.  Others point out that the variety goal wasn’t just about music but worship more generally.  What new worship opportunities can we provide?  More meditative?  More use of technology with appeal to a younger generation?  A wider variety of liturgical settings?  A few mentioned Taize’ – which will be the basis for our Lenten Sunday liturgy.  Also, jazz, gospel, world music, and the music they use at youth conventions – and adding more instruments.  A few people mentioned the possibility of a folk or youth-oriented service once a month or so.  Some say: as we add variety, let’s not sacrifice quality.