Thank You to Friends at Pilgrim

We express our gratitude to Pastor Jim Rehder and all of our friends at Pilgrim Lutheran Church for the wonderful turnout for our Easter Breakfast. 

The 2017 Easter Breakfast was in memory of some wonderful Pilgrim members and LMSN supporters - including John Gorman, Ann Smallbeck, Ken Hoefs, and Rudy Mantie. 

Thank you to all who took part!

Wishing You a Blessed Easter!

We at Lutheran Ministry Services Northwest wish you and yours a blessed Easter! 

Your support of our ministry helps us spread the joy of Easter - the promise of the resurrection and new life with those we serve.

Thank you for your partnership in our ministry.

A copy of our most recent mailing can be found at this link.

"On the evening of the first day of the week ... Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  (John 20:19)

Our February Meeting - Thank you Boeing Choir! On to Reformation Sunday 2017!

This picture is a small hint of what we enjoyed at our annual meeting on Feb. 21, 2016, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Des Moines, WA.

Our time together began with a dessert potluck - some tasty treats. We also shared highlights of our ministry over the last year.  Thank you to all who joined us and took part!

In our time together, we worked to generate excitement about Reformation 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We read an inaugural publication on Reformation 2017, written by Mr. Gary Beard, an historian.  He challenged us to remember why the Reformation is still relevant 500 years later.

All of that information about the Reformation is meant to build excitement for our regional celebration of the Reformation in Seattle on October 29, 2017, Reformation Sunday. With the blessing of the Northwest District of the LCMS, LMSN is working with regional pastors and congregations to put together a grand, outreach-orientated, celebration of this key anniversary in the life of the Western World. Contact us if you would like to be a part!

We can't say, "Thank you!" enough to the Boeing Employees Choir for their beautiful performance and help with our meeting and fundraiser. They were excellent!!! A short video clip of their performance of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" can be found on our Facebook(TM) page.  (See the Facebook-TM link below.)

January 16th Wellness Event

We express our appreciation to Mr. Bob Kaftan of the Alzheimer's Association Washington State Chapter for his presentation on Alzheimer's Dementia! He touched on defining dementia, diagnosing dementia, dementia treatment and care, dementia risk and prevention, and provided valuable insight.

It gave those who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's and similar forms of dementia insight into the disease as well as resources for support.

We were blessed to have several fa...ith community nurses in attendance, and we are excited about being able to support those who have a heart for wellness ministries.

Our breakfast was a team effort led by the gifts of Dcn. Eric Van Devender, our cooker, as well as Dcs. Ruth Ann Shimoi and Don Sundene. (It was delicious!)

LMSN is looking forward to sponsoring more wellness events at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, The Hearthstone in Seattle, and a church near you (perhaps even your church - contact us ....). Watch FB and our website for upcoming dates. We are close to finalizing two more dates in the near future.

Blessings on your Epiphany celebration!

In Memory of John Gorman

Our hearts go out to June Gorman as we fondly remember her husband John.

John was a deeply faithful Christian - a loving husband and father.

His heart for serving others inspired him to sponsor Pilgrim Lutheran Church of Bellevue, WA's, annual Easter Breakfast. Proceeds from the breakfast went to ministries like Sophia Way, Pilgrim Lutheran Church and Preschool, and yes, Lutheran Ministry Services Northwest.


John went to be with Jesus on December 14, 2015. A memorial service in his honor was held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church on Sunday, January 10, 2016. The service was a great reminder of how many lives John had touched and a great witness to our hope in Christ.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV)

In his memory, we express our gratitude.

We Are Here for You

Below is a letter that has been sent to all church workers of the Northwest District LCMS.  It is to let them know that LMSN is here for them and the people they serve.  A PDF copy of the letter can be found at the link below.  (If the link doesn't open automatically, copy and paste the link into your web browser.)


LMSN History Video

We put together the following video in celebration of our 75th Anniversary.  (Copy and paste the link into your web browser if selecting the link will not navigate there automatically.)

The video highlights the hospital, care center, and jail ministry that we have carried out since the founding of LMSN.  We give thanks to God for former and present care givers!


Christmas Blessings

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit.” 

(Isaiah 11:1, NIV)

                One of my favorite sanctuary banners artfully illustrates Isaiah 11:1.  Against the Advent blue colored backdrop is a large tree stump.  The many rings of the once great tree were laid bare.  Visible at the base of the trunk are the tops of sturdy roots that looked strong and imaginably deep enough to support the tree through many a storm and drought.  The stump is a stark reminder of what had been taken away. 

In Isaiah 11:1, the stump depicts the house of Jesse, the father of King David and the house and lineage of King David.  Under David and Solomon, Israel had grown to be a wealthy and mighty kingdom.  But subsequent rulers and subsequent years would see that mighty kingdom and the royal house of Jesse brought low like a great tree that had been cut at the base. 

Trees cut at the base – not a foreign sight in the Pacific Northwest, an area famous for forests and a thriving forest industry.  Have you ever seen what had been a stand of trees after it has been cut?  The first time I saw acres of stumps off of Highway 101, my heart sank thinking of the beauty that once was.  I don’t share that as commentary on responsible forestry, rather to show the contrast between what is and what had been.

A tree cut at the base - it is easy to use that image in describing the lives of people whose health has failed.  Vigor, vitality, and normalcy (the list could go on) are all things that often get taken away and leave a stark contrast between what is and what had been.  Yet no matter what is taken away from us in this life, there is hope – hope founded in the promise that our verse from Isaiah 11:1 heralds.

The tree depicted in Isaiah 11:1 had been cut at the base, but God still had something good in store for it.  Isaiah 11:1 speaks of a shoot, a branch that would come from the stump of Jesse.  From the house and lineage of David would come the Messiah whose birth we first anticipate during Advent and then celebrate during Christmas.  The fruit that the branch would bear is all that the Messiah accomplished to bring reconciliation between God and sinful people.  The Messiah’s birth offers joy for the world and joy for each and every one of us. 

The image of the branch is an image of renewal in the face of death and devastation – renewal for this life and the life of the world to come.  Those who hope in the Messiah can draw strength from Paul’s words when he writes, “… though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16b, ESV).  Those who hope in Christ can savor the blessings when God brings restoration to body and spirit – not to mention relationships.  Those who hope in the Messiah have everlasting hope – for this life and the life of the world to come.  That is why we celebrate at Christmas and await our Lord’s return. 

At LMSN, we are thankful for the chance to renew outreach at the King County Jail and Veteran’s Hospital in Seattle.  We ask for your prayers and financial support as those efforts get underway, and we pray that those efforts bear fruit by giving people the hope we celebrate this time of year.                

Use this link to find a copy of our Advent and Christmas Newsletter.  (If the link doesn't open automatically, copy and paste the link into your web browser.)



LMSN Volunteer Christmas Celebration

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA.  We found that the best time to get our LMSN Care Center volunteers together for a Christmas celebration was before Advent, so we "rolled with it."  We came together to sing Christmas hymns, exchange gifts, and to support each other in our work.  It was a joyful time - not to mention a useful rehearsal for our care center outreach!  Pictured above are several of our volunteers.  Visit our Facebook page for more videos and pictures.


Our Oktoberfest was a tremendous blessing! We started out with King of Kings' praise team, "Royal Praise." Their love for the Lord, talent, joy for what they do is awesome. Then, Pr. Dallman of All Saints joined Sean H., Andrew S., and Jennifer W. (Organist at Redeemer) for a trumpet, drum, and piano group that played some favorites - great stuff, indeed. Rebecca C. of Pilgrim played several solo pieces, a great talent. Don Sundene and Chp. Werzner talked about our min...istry. Then, Concordia Lutheran School in Seattle sent their chimes group to play some excellent songs. (A special thank you to the children and parents who sacrificed to come, not to mention their joyful director who came in Oktoberfest attire ...). Finally, Jennifer W. of Redeemer played a powerful solo of "A Mighty Fortress" followed by a chance for all who gathered to sing that powerful hymn of our faith.

Then, of course came the fellowship - Oktoberfest music from none other than Mach One Jazz Orchestra; bratwurst (excellent fare from Fischer Meats of Issaquah, WA) and German potato salad (many an authentic family recipe - thanks to all who helped); desserts (many home made, thank you!); and some festive - albeit nonalcoholic - beverages (Carolyn's labor of love).

Multiple people worked behind the scenes - setting up tables and decorations, serving food, filming the event (more on that to come), and running the sound (no small endeavor).

We can't say, "Thank you" enough. Pictures and video clips will come.

Blessings to all!

October 10th Senior Wellness Event

October 10th Senior Wellness Event

Eastside Senior Wellness Event - Sue S. from the WA State Alzheimer's Association did an excellent presentation on "The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's."  We are grateful for Sue and the work that the Alzheimer's Association does to raise awareness and sponsor research into this important health concern. 

This presenation will be offered in Seattle on Saturday, October 24th, at Messiah Lutheran Church.  Join us.  See our "Events" page for more details and to RSVP.

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"... For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10, NIV)

                “Hi.  You’re the chaplain aren’t you?”  I honestly didn’t recognize the person who turned to me to say those words.  Familiar, yes – but a name and where we had met wasn’t coming to me.

               After some conversation and apologies on my part for not being good at recognizing people out of context, memories started to come back along with recalling the trials this person had faced – surgeries, months of treatments, seeming success followed by months of setback.  The struggles had taken a toll – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  There were times when the outcome wasn’t clear – even whether that illness would take the person’s life.

                Somewhere in the midst of our time together, conversation about the Apostle Paul had come up.  We had talked about Paul’s struggles and prayed for the kind of divine help that allowed Paul to make it through.  Paul was an amazing individual and an indomitable spirit to boot.  My Study Bible has maps of where he traveled on his three missionary journeys.  Look at a map like that for yourself and consider the scale of miles / kilometers.  Fit-Bit fans would have no trouble making their “step total” if they had followed the Apostle Paul around.  Paul called it being “constantly on the move” (2 Cor. 11:26).  Hardships - he was no stranger to those.  In 2 Corinthians 11, we get a sampling of other trials he faced in summary form – imprisonment, flogging to within inches of his life at least five times, beatings with rods, shipwrecked, going without food and warm clothing – not to mention the pressure of being concerned for the churches. 

                The Apostle Paul was an amazing man to have endured all of the things he did in order to share the Gospel message.  His accomplishments were incredible, but he was also honest about his struggles.  When Paul faced an affliction that he called “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me,” (2 Cor. 12:7-10), he pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away. 

                The Lord chose not to take away the Apostle Paul’s “thorn.”  However, our Lord did give him a priceless gift – a treasure – exactly what Paul needed to make it through in spite of it all.  Do you remember how Paul put it?  “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore, I [Paul], will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor. 12:9, NIV).  Christ’s grace is what allowed Paul to press on.

                 “For when I am weak then, I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10, NIV)  That is how the person I met that day described life since our first meetings.  Christ’s grace is what allowed the person who stopped me that day to keep pressing on.  God’s power had brought restoration in spite of it all.  Indeed, Christ is our strength.  Thanks be to God!

(Note: The above story depicts the kind of interaction that a chaplain may have with an individual.  It is not based on an interaction with a specific individual.)

"Doubting" Thomas

“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:26, NIV)

“I don’t know what I believe anymore…” Over the years, I have come to realize that statements like that can reflect honest feelings that come from a place of deep despair – a time when circumstances test our faith and leave us shaken to the core.

Life’s tragedies and trials can shake the best of us. The account of Thomas from John 20 is an illustration of that. If you have heard good sermons on Thomas, you may recall that the moniker “Doubting Thomas” isn’t a balanced depiction. In John 11:7, Jesus had told his disciples “Let us go back to Judea.” Most of the disciples respond, “…the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there.” Yet it is Thomas who responds to the rest of the disciples by saying, “'Let us also go, that we may die with him [Jesus]'” (Jn. 11:16).

Thomas’ love and zeal for Jesus had been as great as anyone else’s. Yet the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday had tested Thomas’ faith and had left him shaken to the core.

Thomas’ famous words “unless I see … and touch … I will not believe it” (Jn. 11:25) reflect his honest feelings at that moment. For Thomas, everything changed when his honest feelings were confronted by God’s Truth, i.e. the Risen Lord himself. Jesus was there in person - able to be seen and touched. Like a gentle shepherd, he guided Thomas back to faith. We shouldn’t let familiarity with the story keep us from taking Jesus’ words to Thomas and disciples through the ages to heart, “'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (Jn. 20:29). 

At LMS, we often meet people whose circumstances and experiences leave them shaken to the core. We allow them to express honest feelings. All the while, our ministry (whether it is sharing Scripture or offering a quiet, reassuring presence) serves as a testimony and a reminder of the Risen Christ’s presence – even to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20). Thank you for partnering with us in this ministry.

–Chaplain Arthur Werzner