Parish Education


         We study together the Holy Word of God and the testimonies of his great witnesses.  

          In addition we explore the great issues facing our world.  All of this is to enhance our understanding and perfect our discipleship today.  



          Adult......................9:00 to 10:00 am

          Children/Youth.....9:00 to 10:00 am

               (No children's classes during summer recess.)


          Morning Bible Study....10:00 am


          Evening Bible Study......7:30 pm


          "With the Mind" (book discussion, see below)

                         3-5 pm, every fourth Saturday


Summer Hymn School in 2015 is scheduled for Wednesday through Friday, June 17 - 19, 9:30 to 11:30 am. 


We also have confirmation and acolyte classes for our youth.  The dates and times of these classes vary accordingly.  See below for more information.




House of Studies

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle

(as taught by the Rev. Ronald F. Marshall)


Bible. From September to May there are two different 90 minute Bible studies on Wednesdays – at 10 am and 7:30 pm. Each class is 16 weeks long. There is also an eight week, 60 minute study at 9 am on Sundays, year round, that often studies the Bible. And every month there is a two page home Bible study made available.


Luther. From September to May the Sunday 9 am class usually includes a couple eight week classes on Luther. Quotes from Luther are also included in the church newsletter articles and in the sermon notes for each Sunday.


Historical & Social Topics. From September to May the Sunday 9 am class periodically studies an historical topic or social matter that is germane to the Lutheran church, e.g. the causes of WWI or recent US Supreme Court decisions on prayer in public schools.


Book Club. From September to May nine books on topics in Christianity are discussed in a two hour session on the fourth Saturday of each month. Book lists from past years are posted on the church webpage –


Qur’an. Since 2003, a two hour class has been offered on the Qur’an, on four consecutive Thursday nights, four times a year (January, April, July, October). Each class goes over two worksheets highlighting a total of 50 verses from the Qur’an – comparing them to the Bible. Over a hundred handouts from Islamic scholars are also made available.


Publications. Pastor Marshall has published over 50 peer reviewed articles in journals and magazines – as well as his 2013 book, Kierkegaard for the Church: Essays and Sermons. These works are available through the church office. Appointments can be made to discuss them with Pastor Marshall.

                                                                                           April 2015






With the Mind


Readings in Contemporary Theology with Pastor Marshall

in the Church Lounge, 3-5 pm, the fourth Saturday of each month.



Sept. 27       Brett McCracken, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide (2010).

Oct. 25        David Montgomery, The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood (2012).

Nov. 22       Frederica Mathewes-Green, The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Tunes the Heart to God (2009).

Dec. 27       Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (2008).

Jan. 24        Thomas Bergler, The Juvenilization of American Christianity (2012).

Feb. 28        Tosca Lee, Iscariot: A Novel of Judas (2014).

Mar. 28      C. C. Smith & J. Pattison, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus (2014).

Apr. 25       Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy (2006).

May 23       Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012).



Sept. 28     Caroline Coleman O’Neill, Loving Søren: A Novel (2005).

Oct. 26      Johan Corvino and Maggie Gallagher, Debating Same-Sex Marriage (2012).

Nov. 23     Duncan K. Foley, Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology (2006).

Dec. 28      Stacy Horn, Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing With Others (2013).

Jan. 25      J. M. Brandt, ed., Selections from Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Christian Ethics [Sittenlehre, 1843] (2011).

Feb. 22      Gregg A. Ten Elshof, I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life (2009).

Mar. 22     Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, Why I Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion (2009).

Apr. 26     Mark A. Gornik, Word Made Global: Stories of African Christians in New York City (2011).

May 24     Richard John Neuhaus, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile (2009).





Sept. 22        Richard Watson, Cogito Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes (2002).

Oct. 27         Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (2004).

Nov. 24        Mark Johnston, Saving God: Religion After Idolatry (2009).

Dec. 29         W. A. Dembski, M. R. Licona, ed., Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (2010).

Jan. 26         Carl E. Braaten, Who Is Jesus? Disputed Questions and Answers (2011).

Feb. 23         Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (2007).

Mar. 23        Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2004).

Apr. 27        Stephen King, Desperation: A Novel (1996).

May 25        Michael S. Gazzaniga, Who’s In Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain (2012).




Sept. 24     Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (2005).

Oct. 22      Rebecca Goldstein, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (2010).

Nov. 26     Andreas Köstenberger & Michael Kruger The Heresy of Orthodoxy (2010).

Dec. 30 (Fri.)  Bill Myers, Eli: A Novel (2000).

Jan. 22      Julia Scheeres, Jesus Land: A Memoir (2005).

Feb. 26      Walker Percy, The Second Coming: A Novel (1980).

Mar. 26     Susan Pfeffer, Life as We Knew It: A Novel (2006).

Apr. 23     William Johnston, Christian Zen, 3rd Edition (1997).

May 28     Andrew Newberg, et al, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science & the Biology of Belief (2002).



Sept. 25              Ken Grimwood, Replay: A Novel (1986, 2002).

Oct. 23               Anne Rice, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession (2008).

Nov. 27              W. J. Wright, Martin Luther’s Understanding of God’s Two Kingdoms (2010).

Dec. 26 (Sun.)    Bruce D. Forbes, Christmas: A Candid History (2008).

Jan. 22               Peter Gay, Modernism: The Lure of Hersey (2007).

Feb. 26               Clyde Edgerton, The Bible Salesman: A Novel (2008).

Mar. 26              Reynolds Price, The Good Priest’s Son: A Novel (2005).

Apr. 23              Barbara Ehrenreich, Bight-sided (2009).

May 28              P. Pullman, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (2010).



Sept. 26     Bowman & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Divinity of Jesus (2007).

Oct. 24      Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity (2008).

Nov. 28     Quash & Ward, eds., Heresies and How to Avoid Them (2007).

Dec. 26      Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity (2007).

Jan. 30      Alister McGrath, The Twilight of Atheism (2006).

Feb. 27      Michael Faber, The Fire Gospel (2009).

Mar. 27     William Young, The Shack (2007).

Apr. 24     Carl Braaten, Because of Christ: A Memoir of a Theologian (2010).

May 29     Ann Rice, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (2007).


Sept. 27     Anne Rice, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel (2006).

Oct. 25      Mischa Berlinski, Fieldwork: A Novel (2007).

Nov. 22     Lizsa Mundy, Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Our World (2008).

Dec. 27      Pope Benedict XVI, Saved in Hope: Encyclical Letter (2007).

Jan. 24      Calvin R. Stapert, A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church (2007).

Feb. 28      Derby Applegate, The Most Famous American: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (2006).

Mar. 28     Joseph Roth, Job: The Story of a Simple Man (1930, 1982).

Apr. 25     David Klinghoffer, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History (2005).

May 23     Antony Flew, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007).



Sept. 29   Fydor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. R. Pevear & L. Volokhonsky (1880; 1990, 2002), Parts I & II.

Oct. 27     Fydor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov , trans. R. Pevear & L. Volokhonsky (1880; 1990, 2002), Parts III, IV and the epilogue.

Nov. 24    Carl E. Braaten, Principles of Lutheran Theology, Second Edition (2007).

Dec. 29    Daniel C. Maguire, The Horrors We Bless: Rethinking the Just-War Legacy (2007).

Jan. 28    Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006).

Feb. 25    Matthew Stewart, The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World (2006).

Mar. 25   Leonard Sweet, The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living With Grande Passion (2007).

Apr. 29    Janis Rozentals, The Promise of Eternal Life: Biblical Witness to Christian Hope (1987).

May 27    Susan Howatch, Absolute Truths: A Novel (1994).



Sept. 24     Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love (1847, 1995), Part I.

Oct. 22      Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love (1847, 1995), Part II.

Nov. 26     Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI], Salt of the Earth (1997).

Dec. 31      Philip Jenkins, Hidden Gospels (2001).  

Jan. 28      Glenn C. Altschuler, All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America (2003).

Feb. 25      Colleen Carroll, The New Faithful (2002).

Mar. 25     William A. Dembski, ed., Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (2004).

Apr. 22      Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter: A Novel (1998), Parts I-II.

May 27      Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter: A Novel (1998), Parts III-IV.







Confirmation instruction at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle is a three year program. On Sunday mornings, from September to May, the students meet for 60 minutes to study Luther's Small Caethcism (1529) with a lay instructor. Their textbook is Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation (1943) (Concordia, 1991). On Thursdays, for the same length of time, they study the Bible with Pastor Marshall, again in 60 minute classes.

The first year covers the Old Testament.

The second year the Four Gospels.

The third year the Letters of Paul, the Book of Acts, and Revelations.

The three years conclude with the rite of the Affirmation of Baptism. Upon completion, each student is given a personal copy of The Book of Concord (1580) and the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).


The Ministry of Acolyte

First Lutheran Church of West Seattle


2015 marks the 68th anniversary of the Ministry of Acolytes in our parish.  This ministry was begun in 1947 by the Rev. Norris R. Halvorson our 7th pastor (1945-1959).  Pastor Halvorson trained the acolytes the years he served as our pastor.  He also formed the churches Altar Guild and Altar Sewing Guild.

    In 1959 the Rev. M. Donald Hinderlie was called as our 8th pastor. Pastor Hinderlie continued the acolyte program but assigned the teaching to the interns (seminarians) serving our parish.  In the summer of 1968 Rev. Hinderlie asked Dean Hard, our then Assistant Choirmaster and Youth Advisor, to take over the training of acolytes.  Forty plus years later Dean continues this teaching ministry.

    Most Lutheran church’s have acolytes.  In most cases the acolytes are shown how to light candles in "one easy lesson" and little else.  Our program is unique in the Lutheran Church in that it requires of each student a commitment of eight 1½ hour classes of instruction, required reading, practice time, and the satisfactory completion of a two hour written exam.  The subjects covered are:     Acolytes:  The Who, What, Why and How.  2.   Lutheran Worship:  A Historical Overview.  3.   Vestments:  The Things We Wear.  4.   The Sacraments:  Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.  5.   Church Architecture:  Liturgical Space/Holy Ground.  6.  Holy Objects:  How We Handle Them.

Our best estimation is that over 200 of the youth from First Lutheran Church of West Seattle have been instructed by our Parish Deacon to serve at the altar of our church as acolytes.  On Passion Sunday, March 29, 2015, in order as pictured above, Evan Ceaicovschi, Sam Allen and Lily Allen were invested as acolytes at the 10:30 am liturgy.