S.P.A.R.K.   (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

 September 2022

Dear friends in Christ, I am taking some time off from church work, but I will see you again on Sunday, September 11th. Below are some newsworthy items you should know as the summer comes to a close, and school starts. 

  • On Sunday September 11th Leslie Abbott will be installed as preschool teacher at the 10:45 AM service. We are excited to have Leslie as our teacher along with a large group of thee-year-olds enrolled—that means lots of new families to meet and get to know over the course of the year. Diana Burda will continue as preschool aide along with Rebecca Sanchez. 
  • Also on Sunday, September 11th we say “farewell and Godspeed” to Kathy Prehm, who has been our preschool teacher and director since 2012. A reception will be held after the 10:45 AM service in the church lower level. There will be food, cake, and a presentation. I encourage all of you to attend to recognize and thank Kathy for her outstanding service to our church and community. 
  • Firm Foundations Academy is getting ready to launch their hybrid homeschool in Modular C and the old schoolhouse. Parents of the children who are enrolled in this program have donated many hours to cleaning and repairing the classrooms for school. This is a rental agreement and not a new mission of the church. However, we have established a good rapport with the owners of this exciting program and pray there will be opportunities for the ministry to be involved in the lives of the families who come here. 
  • Beginning Sunday, September 11th I will be leading a new adult education study, Callings for Life: God’s Plan, Your Purpose. This series will cover questions many of us have such as, “what is my purpose in life?” “what is the one thing I was born to do?” and more. While I encourage all adults in our congregation to attend Bible study between services, I especially encourage parents with children to attend this. We have a Sunday school for your children to learn about God while you attend the adult education. Please come! 

The ministry of our church enjoyed a productive and enjoyable summer. The National Youth Gathering, while brutally hot in Houston, was a success. So was our Vacation Bible School, thanks be to God, Jen Gatke, and all our volunteers who made it happen. Confirmation and Family Camps at Lutherwood were also highlights of the summer for our youth and families. Now it’s time for me to rest a bit, fly some model rockets at Sod-blaster IV in Pasco, and recharge for all the activity which will be happening on our campus after Labor Day. God bless you all and have a safe and blessed rest of summer. 


Pastor Don 

Greetings in the Name of Jesus,

How fast the summer past.  I pray that you had quality time with Jesus.  We were challenged to read the book of Acts.  This gave us an opportunity to explore the church in the post resurrection era.  Being in God’s Word is essential for survival in today’s woke culture.  This month I encourage the seniors to delve into the letter to The Colossians.  Read and meditate on one chapter per week.  I invite all of you to join the seniors in this exercise.  Colossians gives insight into the person and work of Christ.  You will discover what it means that Jesus is the Head of The Church.  It calls us to rise above all worldly philosophy and sin.

The Senior Saints will resume weekly gatherings on Wednesday, September 14.  Bring your sack lunch, your Bible, and yourself each Wednesday at 12 noon.  Water and coffee will be provided.  

Are you ready for persecution?  In 2 Timothy 3:12 it says everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  The world may hate you for what you believe, but in the end you win.  We have life everlastingly with Jesus.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Hi folks,                       

Hi all, I look forward to seeing my Senior friends again on Wednesdays.  

I will miss the dog days of summer.  Now I need to go back to sniffing out rabbits.  After all that is what we were bred to do.  Thanks to Claude Hampton and his crew for hauling a piano to the Center.  Thanks to all who took care of the Senior Picnic.  It was a great time!

Now time for a smile or two.  This month it is about rabbits.

  • What did the rabbit give his Girlfriend?  A 14 carrot ring.
  • Where do rabbits work?  At IHOP restaurants.
  • How do you know a rabbit is in a good mood?  He is hoppy.
  • Why did the rabbit build himself a new house?  He was fed up with the hole thing.
  • What is a rabbit’s motto?  Don’t be mad, be hoppy.
  • Why are rabbits so lucky?  They have four rabbit’s feet.
  • What is a rabbit’s favorite game game?  Hopscotch.
  • One more?  What do you call a rabbit working in a hotel?  A bell-hop.

Have a good September!  

Love from your Basset Hound


S.P.A.R.K.  (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

Summer 2022

In his report of the 50th anniversary celebration, Pastor F. Westerkamp, commenting on the fact that the congregation was getting old, said it so well: “May our gracious God grant that the dear Gospel of Jesus, the Savior of sinners always remain new, sweet, precious, and desirable to us until the Lord closes our eyelids. Then our weak and so often pitiful praise will become praise that is perfect and roars through heaven to the glory of Him who has purchased us sinners for His blessed possession and has transferred us into the heavenly inheritance. Oh, what a glorious and eternal Jubilee we shall then celebrate!”

 The above paragraph is from our church’s 125th anniversary booklet. Notice pastor Westerkamp, in 1928, said the congregation was “getting old.” My goodness! I wonder if he could have imagined the congregation would celebrate its 100th and 125th anniversaries? There’s no reason to doubt we will celebrate our 150th in 2028 either. If Pastor Westerkamp were alive today, he would think the congregation was getting very old for being around so long! Come to think of it, he would be very old himself! Thanks be to God, the Good News of Jesus Christ never gets old. It brings life and immortality to light in sinners like us. And it’s for all people who hear it and take it to heart.

In an essay I read recently by Roger Kovaciny, (a former Lutheran Church worker in Ukraine,) he outlines some reasons why the Church is experiencing an “evangelism implosion.” Some of them seem symptomatic to me as to why our church is facing difficulties in gaining people. For example, he says, “One reason why the church grew [in the first Century] was because during persecutions, the many people helped by Christians wouldn’t turn them in to the Romans. And during the numerous plagues that ripped through premodern cities, Christians saved many victims by nursing them instead of fleeing. Many who recovered attributed their rescue to the Christians or the Christians’ God. Many were converted. Just like today, the church didn’t grow from miraculous mass conversions or evangelism programs. The Mormons found out their ubiquitous cold calls are successful only one time out of a thousand. (Sound familiar?) What works for them is what works for us: having children or making friends and bringing those friends to church or a meeting with the pastor. Meeting with the pastor at the home of a friend is fruitful one time out of two—literally five hundred times oftener than a cold call on a stranger.”

I must admit, in my thirteen years in the ministry I have never been invited to someone’s home to speak to a friend about Jesus. I would in a heartbeat if asked to do so. Perhaps Mr. Kovaciny’s experience overseas was different than what I have seen in the Northwest. Some of you have told me you’ve invited your neighbors and friends to church, and they politely declined. What else can you do? Have more babies? That’s one solution; but it’s not an option for a lot of us at St. Paul because, well, to put in Pastor Westerkamp’s words, we’re “getting old.” If Kovaciny is right, then we will have to work harder and be more persistent in our invitations to friends to come to church. To that end I pray the Lord to give us courage and strength to do it.      

Pastor Don

Greetings in Christ Jesus,

Welcome to the Season of Pentecost.  All summer we will be in Pentecost.  What does this mean?  This is the time we focus on growing together in the life of God.  The Scripture readings focus on the life of Jesus in His Church.  The Church uses the color green.  This represents a time of growth in living out our life.  Note Colossians 3:17:  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  God bless your journey.

Thanks to Dave Van Winkle for the flowering plants that he planted at the Senior Center.  They are in loving memory of his wife Barbara.  They will be dedicated at one of our Senior Saints gatherings.

The Senior Saints will meet each Wednesday in June.  During July and August we will meet only on the second Wednesday of the month.

May God enrich your summer with His love and peace!

In Christ’s Love

Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Time for a word from Bingo, your friendly Basset Hound.   

Greetings All,

                                   I sure am looking forward to summer.  I hope your summer will be one of renewal.  We all need time for a change of pace.  I am not going to chase as many rabbits this summer. 

On the last Sunday of May the Senior Saints and all the Sunday school children met in the Senior Center for a Bible lesson led by Jen Gatke.  Young and old met together to celebrate that we all are one in Christ.  We will do this every fifth Sunday.  It was fun to watch. 

I hear Dottie Buss is making plans for a new picture directory of our members.  Watch for more information about getting your picture taken. 

Here are a few smiles for your good health.


  • I just saw a grandpa help a youngster who was staring into his phone, to cross the street.
  • A patient: Doctor, I think I broke my arm in two places.  He told me to stop going to those places
  • Have you heard the watermelon joke? It’s pitiful.
  • Why do golfers bring an extra pair of pants? In case they get a hole in one.
  • You know you are older when you have a party and the neighbors do not realize it.
  • Why do seagulls fly over the sea? If they flew over the bay, they would be bagels.
  • When you are 20 and drop something, you pick it up. When you are 80, you decide that you do not need it. 
  • The good thing about having a bad memory is that jokes can be funny more than once.


Hope you are feeling better.  Enjoy your summer!


Love from Bingo

S.P.A.R.K.  (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)                          June 2022

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thess. 3:11,12)


Paul, in his second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, encouraged them to do the work of an evangelist, not be lazy about it, and not put on a show of work just to impress others. In the church today, there is plenty to do as an evangelist, and very little of it impresses anyone. Nevertheless, one continues because he knows his labor is not in vain.


My labor will not be in vain this summer, as there is much important work to do in the church. Here is an outline of what’s going on that you can pray for:

  • Pentecost Sunday, confirmation. Five of our youth will be confirmed on Sunday, June 5th at the 10:45 AM service. A reception will precede the service in the lower level of the sanctuary. Please pray that Claire, Riley, Ashlynn, Ava and Elizabeth will remain steadfast in the faith in this ever-changing world.
  • June 9-11, Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Convention, Portland. I will be attending this convention as your pastoral delegate. Please give thanks to God that our district and synod, is not experiencing any undue controversy or division. Pray that our churches in the northwest will continue moving forward in our spiritually hard-soil environment.
  • Confirmation Camp, Camp Lutherwood. I am taking two of our newly confirmed young people plus one new confirmand to Lutherwood for a week-long camp. Please pray for good weather, and growth in faith during this extended time away from home with other Lutheran Christian youth.
  • National Youth Gathering, Houston TX, July 8-14. My wife Jill, Jen Gatke and I are taking two of our high school youth to Houston for the LCMS youth gathering. Please pray that our faith is strengthened through this dynamic event. This will be my fifth National Youth Gathering, Jen’s second, and Jill’s first. It will also be J.P. Garstka’s and David Sanchez’s first national youth gathering.

These and many more summer events such as Family Camp, Mission Festival, and Vacation Bible School are laid out before us. Please pray that people will be edified and encouraged in the Gospel of Jesus Christ though these opportunities He has given us.

After Labor Day, if you happen to drive through the east part of our campus on a weekday and see kids playing outside and cars parked there, it’s because I have approved a rental agreement with Firm Foundations Academy Northwest, to use modular C and the historic school house three days a week for home schooling. The pandemic has increased the need for alternatives to traditional schooling, and we have classroom space available for this purpose. There will be opportunities to meet new people, offer them our church and preschool, participate in our youth and family activities, as well as receive some income which will benefit our general fund. Please pray this will bear much fruit in the kingdom of God, and foster growth in the church.

Well, that’s enough idleness for now—I must get back to work. It is a joy being your pastor here at St. Paul, and partnering with you in the public ministry of the Church in such a wonderful community as Sherwood. God’s peace be with you.

Pastor Don 




 (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

May 2022

Dear Friends,


Easter 2022 was one to remember. The sunrise service was beautiful; our youth group served breakfast after a two-year hiatus, and there were so many in attendance at the 8:30 & 10:45 services – it was wonderful! Let’s continue being edified by Christ’s glorious resurrection this Easter season, which runs through the month of May. I thank everyone who had a part in the Easter egg hunt, the breakfast, and the cleanup of the church grounds.


Did you know the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is celebrating it’s 175th year as a church body? Those of you who read The Lutheran Witness may have seen the articles about it. This means our congregation’s 150th anniversary is not far behind. Many LCMS churches in the Midwest have already celebrated their 150th jubilee. But west of the Rocky Mountains, St. Paul Lutheran Church of Sherwood Oregon will be the first Missouri-Synod congregation to reach the 150th-year milestone. This will occur on the 24th of October, 2028. We have a few years to go before we begin putting together a celebration committee, but I’ve already started jotting down some things I’d like to see on that great day such as the synod president (whoever that will be in 2028) being our honored guest and preacher. All the LCMS churches in the district should be invited, and we may want to have multiple services. The weather may not be fit for an outdoor service in late October, so we may want to celebrate early, like in August or September so we can do it in the grove. Anyway, these are some things I’m thinking about.


In the meantime, there is much work to do on a daily basis. I am working with Jennifer Gatke to revitalize our youth group in the wake of Covid and the fact that a large contingent of our youth has graduated high school and is now dispersed for college, work, or relocated. Every day I greet the families of our preschool and I think to myself, if all these families were members of our church, we would be busting at the seams—they have lots of kids! Our teacher, Kathy Prehm, constantly promotes our church through the daily curriculum and her relationships with the parents. But she and I know after years of church work, getting families in the church is not an easy nut to crack. As an end-of-year booster, I am hosting a preschool family mixer at the church. It’s going to be good-old-fashioned evangelism and fun, and I pray it works. Please keep this event in your prayers that God will move the hearts of the people in our community to join us in our journey to life everlasting with Jesus.


This summer will be a busy one for me and an exciting one for our church. I have a conference this month in Corvallis, the district convention in Portland next month, the LCMS National Youth Gathering in Houston Texas in July, multiple camps at Camp Lutherwood Oregon, and Vacation Bible School. I’m looking forward to working with you in our Christian witness to those we encounter and interact with.


May God bless us and keep us in His love and care.

Pastor Don

St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know

Greetings in Christ Jesus

Jesus Christ is Risen!  The Easter message is wonderful news!  Some day we will walk into heaven.  Because He lives, we can walk through that door.  We have an incredible life to come. I know that my Redeemer lives, and because He lives, I shall live also.  May this truth be in your heart.  We can live each day now in confidence that we are eternal people.  May the joy of Easter continue!

Our thanks to Garrett and Paige Robison for donating a coffee maker to the Senior Center. Thank to Peggy Pariseau for setting it up.  

It was a blessing to have a wonderful turnout on Good Friday afternoon for the Hot Cross Bun treat.  

May God bless your May journey.

Pastor Rich

Bingo the Basset HoundI am busy. Enjoying the longer daylight.  Now for some warm weather.  I am also ready for some Bingo!  Hope you can enjoy the Summer!  The Senior Saints are, experiencing aches and pains,

this Spring.  The older we get, the more thankful we are for every day. 

The irony of age, when you are a baby, your parents take care of you.  When parents grow old, they are taken care of by their baby.  Seniors do not call their bathroom John, instead they call it Jim.  That way it sounds better when you say I go to the Jim first thing in the morning.


  • How are stars like false teeth? The both come out at night.
  • The Senior Saint stood outside the pub fishing in a puddle of water. A well- dressed businessman felt sorry for him.  He invited him inside for a drink.  As they sipped their drinks, he asked, how many have you caught today?  The old man replied, you’re the eighth.  Note:  watch out for those seniors!

Keep smiling.


 Bingo your Basset Hound


Spark April 2022


Dear friends,

Being as we’re two-thirds of the way through Lent, and church work has been increasing these last couple months, I’ll offer you a brief string of items from my plate as they come to mind:





  • Many thanks to Frannie Moss for doing double duty on the organ during Lent!
  • Keep our sister church, Pilgrim Lutheran in Beaverton in your prayers as they work through the process of calling a pastor. 
  • While the pandemic is still with us, it seems like things are returning to the way they used to be. We thank God for that as well as pray there are no more surges in the spread of infection. 
  • Our preschool mission has soldiered on valiantly through the pandemic, thanks be to God, and our teacher, Kathy Prehm, aides Diana and Jane Burda, substitutes Jennifer Gatke and Leslie Abbott, office managers Jennifer Snellen and Ellen Kulle, the volunteers on our board of education led by Steve Perone, and your prayers and support. I feel it a great blessing to get to know each child by name, and get to know their individual personalities, as well as get to know the parents a little bit too. Our preschool continues to be a worthwhile, vital mission of our church.
  • I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday, where we will have the return of our breakfast in the church lower level, served by our youth group. I will be putting together a sunrise service (7 AM) and, weather permitting, we can worship as the sun rises and have a nice breakfast in the church afterwards. 

That’s all for now. May you continue drawing faith from the Holy Spirit as we enter into Holy Week and Easter. 

Pastor Don 

Youth worhsip leaders
Youth worhsip leaders

Youth Worship Leaders

In an effort to bring families with children to midweek worship during Lent, I’ve had the youth from Confirmation class be our liturgists at the evening services. My thanks go to Ashlynn Brenner, Elizabeth Johnston, Claire Baldridge, and Riley Baldridge for doing something many young people don’t get the opportunity to do, and for doing it well.  

“My thanks … for doing something many young people don’t get the opportunity to do, and for doing it well.”


easter cross


 (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

March 2022 – A plan for Holy Week 2022

Dear friends in Christ,

By the time you read this newsletter, we will have begun our Lenten worship series, “In View of God’s Mercy.” I outlined the series in my article in last month’s newsletter.

Holy Week

Now I will familiarize you with the services for Holy Week, beginning Sunday, April 10th. Holy Week is a time when we take a look at our lives in view of God’s mercy toward us in the sacrifice of his Son for us on the cross.

Living Sacrifices

We, in turn, are called by God, especially during these holy days, to be living sacrifices for him, living out our devotion to him in word and deed. Jesus helps us to see the richness of God’s mercy in his life, death, and resurrection. 

May God bless you this Lenten season, as you prepare to receive his mercy at these holy, divine services.


Pastor Don

Palm Sunday, April 10

Mercy in Palms. In this service (8:30 & 10:45 AM) we wave palm branches to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem, as we also witness Jesus beginning his mission of mercy for all people for the saving of our souls.


Mercy in Bread and Wine. As the bread is broken and the cup is poured in this service, (1:30 & 7 PM) Christ’s body and blood serve as agents of mercy to us who are broken by sin and thirsting for righteousness. The junior confirmands will partake in their first communion at the 7 PM service.


Mercy in the Cross. In this service we ponder how Jesus mercifully removed the sentence of sin against us by going to the cross to declare us “not guilty.” We will use the Good Friday Tenebrae (darkness) service (1:30 & 7 PM) projected on the screen in the sanctuary.


Mercy in the Open Tomb. In this service (8:30 & 10:45 AM) we celebrate Christ risen from the dead, so that we might have a new beginning which mirrors the mercy of our Lord and Savior. Weather permitting, we will have a sunrise service in the grove at 7 AM.  


Greetings in Christ Jesus

Beware the Ides of March!

It refers to the assassination of Julius Caesar, which marked the turning point in Roman history.  Now it can refer to a change that might happen.  Could there be a turning point this March with the invasion of Russia into Ukrainian territory? How should we be prepared?  As with anything, we should face life with courage.  How do we get the courage to face the future?  By being with Jesus. In Acts 4:13 

““When they saw the courage of Peter and John they were astonished and they took note these men had been with Jesus.” 

As we face this time in history, we can be courageous if we are with Jesus. 

How are we with Him?  By being in His Word, the Scriptures, and in prayer and in worship.   Jesus is the solution.  Let others see that you have been with Jesus; that they too may have courage. May we face March and the future with courage!

Come closer to Jesus this month by participating in mid-week Lenten worship on Wednesdays. 

There are two opportunities, 1:30 or 6:30 pm.  Both times are in the Sanctuary and are the same service.  Come to the one that works best for you.

May this Lenten Season give you courage!

God Bless you,

Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Bingo is here to cheer you up!


Hi Gang,


Things are hopping at the Senior Center.  During Lent, there will be Soup lunches on Wednesday at noon.  They will start on March 9.  As for myself I prefer rabbit stew. Anyone got a good recipe?  I was raised to smell and find rabbits.  So this month here is some rabbit humor.


  • What did the rabbit give his girlfriend? A 14 carrot ring.
  • Where do rabbits work? At IHOP restaurants
  • What do rabbits put in their computers? Hoppy disks.
  • Why did the rabbit build a new house? He was fed up with the hole thing.
  • What do you call a cold Basset Hound sitting on a rabbit? A chili dog on a bun.
  • What do you call a group of rabbits hopping backwards? A receding hare line.
  • What did the naughty Rabbit leave for Easter? Deviled eggs.


I hope this gave you a smile.  It is good for your health.

Enjoy March and be nice to your Basset Hound and your rabbit friends.


With love,