A new chapter for St. Mark’s

Council President Kitty Dombroski and former Pastor Scott Maxwell

St. Mark’s is in a time of transition as we begin the process of finding a new pastor. As was announced in May, Pastor Scott Maxwell accepted a call to ministry in the Baltimore area and his last day was Sunday, June 16.
We had a wonderful turnout for our farewell to Pastor Scott and Candy that day and this wonderful congregation gave them a generous farewell gift.
Our Leadership Council, presided over by Kitty Dombroski, now is working to provide St Mark’s with an Interim Pastor.
The Rev. Bettye Wolinski, assistant to our Synod Bishop William Gohl, attended the Council’s meeting June 9 to review the interim process with us.
“It is Council’s goal to have the right Interim Pastor in place as quickly as possible,” Kitty said. “… I am confident that with the Holy Spirit leading us St Mark’s will be on the right track.”
A Transition Team will be formed to assist the Interim Pastor.
Sunday worship services will continue as scheduled (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.).
In addition, our congregational picnic is coming soon – Sunday, July 28 – as we join with our neighbors at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant for a combined worship service.
As Kitty says: “Lots of good stuff ahead!”

Community VBS planning meeting

Vacation Bible School lion logo

It’s time to ROAR about our love for God and plan for another exciting summer Community Vacation Bible School.

An organizational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant at 503 Duncan Road, right across the street from St. Mark’s.

We need many volunteers to help share God’s love with children of our community. Please plan to attend and learn more about ROAR!

Retirement celebration!

Gail Rodger, director of faith formation

Join us between services on Sunday, April 28 to celebrate the ministry of Gail Rodger, who will retire as director of faith formation effective April 30.

We’ll have light refreshments in the Great Room (downstairs) starting at 10 a.m. and all are welcome to enjoy this time of thanksgiving and well-wishing.

And just to be clear — Gail is retiring from the staff, not the church! She’ll still be part of our St. Mark’s family.

Hope to see you there!

St. Mark’s strategic plan in focus at leadership retreat, adult forum

Jim LaDoux of Vibrant Faith

More than two dozen people in leadership roles at St. Mark’s attended a half-day retreat on Saturday, April 13 to discuss the congregation’s strategic plan, now under construction. The plan also was the focus of the Adult Forum gathering on Palm Sunday, April 14.

Leading both meetings was Jim LaDoux, who works with congregations around the nation as a coach/consultant for Minneapolis-based Vibrant Faith. LaDoux has counseled the new St. Mark’s Compass Team, tasked with developing the plan, which will then be presented to the St. Mark’s Leadership Council for review and consideration.

Three congregational forums also are planned in May (see schedule at the end of the article), during which all are welcome to ask questions and share ideas with the Compass Team.

Participants at the Saturday retreat included Council members, committee chairs and ministry leaders. They heard more details from the congregational survey that was done earlier this year. Nancy Wilkerson, convener of the Compass Team, sketched out demographic data and summarized perceptions and priorities listed by the 70 people who responded to the survey. And they heard key insights from LaDoux about what makes for an effective plan.

Nichole Bishop
Compass Team member Nichole Bishop discusses a map showing where members of the St. Mark’s family live.

LaDoux said the strategic plan aims to help the congregation “create a culture of spiritual vitality” in a way that honors our calling and mission and helps us to bring our best to one another and to our community. That requires inspection and reflection, he said, and an embrace of adaptive change. What should we hold onto? What has been meaningful? We don’t want to lose that. What should we reconsider—perhaps celebrate its value in the past and let it go as something that accomplished its mission? Adaptive change can help to make room for new growth.

“If you want a deeper connection to the community, what does that look like?” LaDoux asked. “Maybe it is three signature programs. You can’t manage 15. To do your best might mean you do less.”

LaDoux said he sees great strengths at St. Mark’s—especially its caring and service-oriented atmosphere. He agreed with all who expressed desire for better communication and said he also sees an immediate need to better define and sharpen the church governance structure. He sees that as necessary before any expansion or new programs or ministries might be considered. He is collating material gathered in the discussion groups, will summarize that information and work with the Compass Team to bring further clarity to near- and longer-term goals.

“There’s a lot to celebrate here,” he said. “Every church has challenges. Sometimes we get so caught up in the challenges that we don’t see the strengths.”

Telling the stories of God’s work in our lives is a powerful way to develop the faith community, he said.

Coming soon:

• Three discussion sessions have been scheduled to give opportunity for all in the congregation to meet with members of the Compass Team, ask questions and share ideas. The schedule is as follows:
Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m. in the Seminary Room
Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m. in the Seminary Room
Sunday, May 19, noon in the Seminary Room

The Compass Team includes Pastor Scott Maxwell, Nancy Wilkerson (convener), Nichole Bishop, Peg Bradley, Beth Miller, Dwight Novotny and Mike Patterson.

Pancakes with Zero Gravity!

Siblings serving at a pancake breakfast

As if Easter morning wasn’t special enough! Join us this Easter for an extra special breakfast — hot, fresh pancakes served up by the St. Mark’s Youth Group known as Zero Gravity.

We’ll gather between services in the Great Room (downstairs), starting at 9:45 a.m., and enjoy a great breakfast and the company of our wonderful kids!

A freewill offering will be collected, with all proceeds going to support Zero Gravity’s planned trip to Mar-Lu-Ridge Camp. Any extra proceeds will be squirreled away to help send youth delegates to the 2020 ELCA Youth Conference in Minnesota.

Come celebrate Easter, get to know our kids and have a great breakfast! Hope to see you there!

Vibrant Faith Goals

Jim LaDoux

Join us for a conversation with Jim LaDoux, executive staff with Vibrant Faith.

You may recognize Jim’s name, as he has been working with the Compass Team as a consultant on the strategic plan that team is working to develop. He is visiting St. Mark’s this weekend as part of a leadership retreat focusing on the work and communication that plan requires.

Today in our Adult Forum, Jim will talk about Vibrant Faith goals, including:

* Identifying your strengths and bright spots. Find ways to build on your strengths and use them to transform people’s lives and your community.
* Gain clarity about who you are, what you do best and where God is leading you.
* Create a plan. Develop a road map for moving forward that builds on your strengths and focuses your assets, actions and energies on the things that matter most in life and faith.
* Develop adaptive skills and strategies. Learn new strategies and approaches to address adaptive challenges facing the congregation.

Habitat for Humanity’s Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith of Habitat for Humanity

We are delighted to host Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, in our Adult Forum this week.

As you know, the U.S. housing market had an unprecedented number of foreclosures in 2008. Though the housing market has recovered, a new housing crisis looms across the country, in Delaware and in our community.

Habitat for Humanity brings a powerful remedy as volunteers and community partners join forces to develop and upgrade housing opportunities. New Castle County has many examples of Habitat’s life-changing impact.

Join us as we hear how Habitat is addressing the lack of affordable housing and helping to revitalize neighborhoods by putting God’s love into action.

In search of: Director of Music and Worship Arts

Organ console and pipes

Are we looking for each other? We are looking for a Director of Music and Worship Arts. Are you the one? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

A bit about us:

• We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
• Our beloved music director passed away in 2018 after more than 50 years of devoted service.Sanctuary and altar
• We have two services—a traditional 9 a.m. liturgical service, which incorporates our pipe organ and adult choir, and an 11 a.m. contemporary service, led by our praise band “Souls On Fire.”
• We have a 16-voice adult choir.
• The “Souls On Fire” band includes keyboard, guitar and several vocalists.
Choir• Our music-making inventory includes:
o A pipe organ, installed in 1971. It has approximately 1,200 pipes in three divisions, 20 ranks, with eight pipe chests.
o Two baby grand pianos, one in the sanctuary for use in our Sunday services, one in the basement Great Room for use with large gatherings.
o A console piano in the second-floor choir room, which is used in Adult choir rehearsals on Thursday nights.
Worship band vocalistso An electronic keyboard in the sanctuary, used primarily by the “Souls on Fire” contemporary worship band on Sundays.
o Hand chimes, kept in the second-floor choir room, approximately three octaves, used rarely by the adult choir on Sundays.
• We are eager to develop and expand our worship experiences and are looking for a skilled musician to lead us—planning, organizing and directing the music and other artistic elements of our worship services, always pointing us to the One who is worthy of our praise.
• This is a 30-hour, part-time position. Salary and benefits are competitive and negotiable.
• We are a collaborative congregation and value partnerships with our greater community. We love sharing music arts and worship opportunities with others.

Position Description

The Director of Music and Worship Arts serves as the primary musician and coordinator for worship experiences at St Mark’s Lutheran Church. This position has overall responsibility for planning, organizing, leading and directing the music and other artistic elements of all services enhancing the worship experience for all. The candidate must have the musical ability to support both traditional and contemporary services.
Position Expectations:

1. Principal Musician and Accompanist
• The Director of Music and Worship Arts will develop, direct and oversee the musical life of such choirs and ensembles (including hand chimes and instrumentalists) as are needed to provide for a wide variety of musical involvement and expression within the congregation including both traditional and contemporary services.
• The Director will play the organ/piano/keyboard during worship services and rehearsals.
• The Director will be proficient in vocal leadership for both traditional and contemporary worship services. The Director will oversee, schedule and recruit all vocalists.
• The Director will prepare for worship services and rehearsals through practice and enhancement of personal proficiency in accompaniment.
• The Director will serve as musician/accompanist for weddings, funerals, memorials and other celebrations (additional compensation may be possible).
• The Director will identify and secure vocalists, instrumentalists and other worship artists for participation in selected services, including Christmas, mid-week/Holy Week services and festivals as appropriate.
• The Director will work with the Pastor to attend to Scripture and use the Lectionary as a guide to plan worship services in accordance with the seasons and community life of the church.
• The Director will compose, transpose and arrange music as needed.
• The Director will strive to incorporate a full range of artistic expression to enhance and add meaning to the worship experience.
• The Director will manage the musical instruments and music library.
• The Director will maintain licenses, copyrights, subscriptions and financial resources for the Worship and Music Department.

2. Colleague, Collaborator and Coordinator
• The Director of Music and Worship Arts will serve as a partner in ministry with the pastor, staff and congregation.
• The Director will connect the choir/ensemble/congregation with the greater community.
• The Director will create a network of colleagues and a list of substitute musicians.
• The Director will oversee and serve as the principal staff liaison to worship team leaders as a member on the Worship and Music Committee, including the altar guild, ushers, greeters, liturgists and nursery.
• The Director will determine and submit the annual budget requirements for the Worship and Music Committee and administer the expenditures of the approved budget.
• The Director will pray for, support and encourage members of the congregation to discover their personal gifts for leadership as well as participation in worship art expression.
• The Director will oversee the design of bulletins, programs and audiovisual effects (e.g., screen projections) to assist the community in worship.

Desired Skills:
• Proficient on the pipe organ, piano and electronic keyboard.
• Proficient in vocal leadership.
• Proficient in directing choirs, instrumentalists and bands.
• Proficient in management and administrative skills.
• Proficient in the use of MS Word and MS PowerPoint.
• Strong organizational and interpersonal skills.
• Self-starter and able to follow through on specific tasks.
• Able to conceptualize and explain his/her work as ministry.

Professional Requirements:
• A degree in sacred church music, a degree in music or a musician with equivalent experience.
• Familiarity with a wide range of church music, including classical, traditional hymns, Gospel and contemporary Christian, rock, pop and country genres.
• Basic knowledge of sound amplification, mixing and recording technology.

Professional Relationships:
• The Director of Music and Worship Arts reports directly to the pastor.
• The Director of Music and Worship Arts is supported by the members.

Notes:
This position requires a criminal background check and drug test. The above position description and duties stated are not all-inclusive. Additional duties and responsibilities may be assigned as needed.

To apply:
Does this strike a chord with you? Do you feel called to this kind of ministry? If so, let’s get to know each other and see where God leads.

We invite you to respond in either of these ways by April 30, 2019.
• Mail your resumé with a cover letter and contact information to: Worship Search Committee, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 501 Duncan Rd., Wilmington DE 19809
• Send your resumé with a cover letter and contact information electronically to resume@stmarksonline.org.

Lutheran Volunteer Corps BOWLATHON

Bowling ball in the middle of the bowling alley

So you say you can bowl? We’ve got just the thing for you. And even if you can’t really knock ’em over, you can be a bowling powerhouse by supporting the Lutheran Volunteer Corps’ annual Bowlathon.

Planning is already underway, with five-person teams forming for youth, adults and combination teams. Individuals also are welcome to register. LVC will connect you with a team if you need one.

If you register by Wednesday, March 20, fees are: $10 for individuals, plus at least $30 in pledges; $50 for five-member teams, plus at least $150 in pledges. After that fees go to $15 for an individual, $70 for a team.

Bill Fuson is the coordinator for St. Mark’s participation. See him for registration forms and more information.

Come out and roll with us–or cheer us on with a donation!

Online donations are accepted, too.

All proceeds benefit the work of Lutheran Volunteer Corps, which you can learn much more about on its website.

Jewish-Christian Understanding

Peter Pettit

Peter Pettit, director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., will visit to talk with us about efforts to build bridges of understanding between the Jewish and Christian faith traditions.

Dr. Pettit has been active in Christian-Jewish dialogue for more than 25 years, giving leadership in local, national and international settings.

He earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees at Claremont (Calif.) Graduate University and a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.