A special season is fast approaching! Here are our plans for worship throughout Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve — please join us!
Thanksgiving week — Tuesday, Nov. 21:
7 p.m., Tuesday, November 21: Pastor Kelley will participate in the Community Thanksgiving Service at Holly Oak Calvary Methodist Church, 1511 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington. Let’s join in this thanksgiving gathering!
Advent Prayer Vigil, Saturday, Dec. 2:
8:30 a.m. to noon. Set apart time in our beautiful sanctuary to prayerfully meditate on Advent, the coming of the Christ, and to know him as Emmanuel — the “God-with-us” — who has the power to transform our hearts, our lives and even this broken world in which we live. Meditative Advent music will enhance the experience and an Advent Prayer Guide will be supplied. (More details below.)
Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24:
10 a.m. — Joint worship service with our neighbors at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (503 Duncan Road).
4 p.m. — Contemporary Family Worship at St. Mark’s
8 p.m. — Traditional Candlelight Worship at St. Mark’s
If you have encountered the transformative love of Jesus, you have a great story to tell and we want to hear it. In fact, we need to hear it!
Jesus’ love gives us hope for the future and hope for each other. All of us are strengthened when we share that good news.
So please join us for “What’s Your Story?” — our Adult Forum summer series, starting at 10 a.m. July 9 in the Great Room, as we share our faith stories and real-life experiences of God’s work in our lives.
Margie Dodson, who has been at St. Mark’s since 2007, leads us off this Sunday.
Here are a few things to know about Margie:
She is the youngest of five girls, has been married to Ollie Dodson for 30 years and is blessed with a “big, blended family” that includes two stepdaughters, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Margie has worked as a dental hygienist for more than 40 years and continues to work three days a week.
Margie loves music. Her favoriate hymn is “Be Thou My Vision.”
There’s so much more to her story! Join us, bring your questions and see what God has been up to with one of our dear family members.
We have a growing list of folks willing to share their stories and we’d love to add your name. If you’re interested, please contact Margie Dodson or Beth Miller and we’ll be glad to help you do it!
“Worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
St. Mark’s will present a unity Service of Love at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 11, where God’s radical love — shown through philia (brotherly love), eros (romantic love), and agape (unconditional love) — will be featured through scripture and song.
Family and friends are invited and encouraged to come and be a part of this beautiful event.
Following the service, a reception and special exhibits encompassing the three types of love will be on display in the Narthex.
We continue our Holy Week journey at St. Mark’s, reflecting together on the life, work and sacrifice of Jesus, celebrating His triumph over death and considering His call to action.
Our schedule includes worship in our sanctuary as well as livestream options on our YouTube channel. To find a specific service, click on the underlined text for a link. Join us in person or online as we worship our Lord!
Thanksgiving week is here — can you believe it? — and we hope you will make time to reflect on the many reasons you have to be grateful. It’s an important practice — best done daily or perhaps multiple times a day!
We face many challenges in our lives and in our world, it is true, but gratitude does not deny that or turn away from it. Rather, gratitude helps us put things into proper perspective, reminds us of the goodness of our faithful Shepherd and calls us to put our thanks into action.
In the words of the old hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr.:
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”
God has done so much — and way more than we ever notice or realize.
Here are just five brief examples of things God has done at St. Mark’s in the past year:
God guided our Call Committee and brought us a wonderful new pastor, the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, and her delightful family!
God has given wisdom and strength to our Leadership Council, with each member serving in specific areas of our life together — from facilities to financial stewardship to updating our constitution and responding to needs as they arise.
God has sustained our Worship and Music Committee, whose members have worked to plan and expand our worship opportunities, including the online options that have helped those who cannot attend in person.
God has led many to service in prayer, “Caring Hearts” ministry, congregational life, flowers, meals and care for our property and other resources.
God has provided multiple opportunities for study and faith formation, with several small groups meeting regularly — in-person and online — to discuss God’s Word, pray for our congregation and world, and strengthen our connections with each other. He has also raised up teachers, who prepare and deliver excellent learning opportunities for children and adults.
God has enabled us to provide support for Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Community Services, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Sojourners’ Place, Family Promise, Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center, Jewish Family Services’ refugee settlement efforts, Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Campus Ministry and other agencies that provide relief to those in need locally and around the world.
You could add many more examples, we know! Write them down and bring them up when we’re talking together! Problems are real and stressful and may seem insurmountable at times. But God’s faithfulness is new every morning and it’s a healthy, essential practice to stop and recognize the goodness, beauty and joy God pours into our lives and our world.
It is important, too, to remember God’s words to Abram, when He called him to leave his native country and go to a new land:
“I will bless you … and you will be a blessing to others.” (Genesis 12: 2)
We are blessed not only for our own good, but also to be a blessing to others.
And this is where gratitude goes into action!
Please remember the blessings God has poured into our lives and make a fresh commitment to share those blessings and resources with St. Mark’s, with our community and with those in need around the world.
We are thankful for you and we pray for God’s blessing on you and all of yours, that we may all be a blessing to our world.
That means it’s time to buy unique artisan-crafted gifts and time to bring home tasty items from the baked-goods and soup sale. It’s also time to see the newest addition to our Bazaar — a full-room train display brought to us by the Rev. Robbie Ketcham!
The theme of this year’s Bazaar is “Love Endures for All Time.”
Here’s the plan:
On Friday, December 2, we’ll host our delicious and popular Lasagna Dinner, starting at 6 p.m. Stick around after dinner and shop in the Bazaar. Tickets are $20 and will be available after Sunday services throughout November.
On Saturday, December 3, the full Bazaar setup will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Make plans now to join us — and let your family, friends and other guests know they’re welcome!
We have a great family day planned for Sunday, September 18 — Rally Day! It’s the day we kick off a new year of worship, study, service and life together!
We’ll start with worship — a Unity Service — starting at 10 a.m.
Then we’ll move outside to enjoy the company of our St. Mark’s family and friends and share a picnic lunch.
Among the special events is an outdoor concert, featuring our own Arden Shindel and friends. Arden is the daughter of Rob and Rebecca Shindel and is a student at Cab Calloway School of the Arts. She has been delighting audiences in the region with recent performances in “James and the Giant Peach” and “Into The Woods.”
Also planned are games for the kids, a candy buffet and other fun stuff.
Bring a dessert, a comfy lawn chair and your sense of humor!
Please join us Sunday afternoon, August 21, for a very special event in the life of St. Mark’s as we gather for the rite of installation of our new pastor, the Rev. Kelley Ketcham. The service, which begins at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary, is the culmination of three years of prayerful work and a day of great celebration for all.
Special guests include the Rev. Robin Simpson Litton, assistant to the bishop for leadership, who will preside over the service, and Bishop William Gohl Jr., leader of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, who will bring the sermon.
The St. Mark’s choir and “Souls on Fire” band will participate, along with guest musicians Maria Rusu (violin) and Genevieve Hahn (flute), led by John Lasher, director of music and worship arts.
Pastor Kelley wrote a wonderful description of the significance of this gathering for our newsletter, The Lion. We include that here for your benefit:
“During the rite of installation, I will make promises: To commit myself to this responsibility; to preach and teach in accordance with the confessions of the church and the constitution of the ELCA; to be diligent in my study of scriptures and the use of the means of grace; to love, serve and pray for you; to nourish you with the word and sacraments; to lead you by my own example; and give faithful witness to the world.
“This is a pretty daunting task and it is one that I’m sure I will fail more often than I uphold. And so my response to each of these questions will be: ‘I will, and I ask God to help me’ because it will only be with God’s help that I can faithfully carry out these promises.
“But I am not the only one that will make promises in this service. You, the people of St. Mark’s, will also be asked to receive me into this community, to pray for me and my family, to help and honor me for my work’s sake, and in all things strive to live together with me in the peace and unity of Christ.
“I know that there also will be days when this is easier said than done for you. And so, your response will also be: ‘We will, and we ask God to help us’ because it will only be with God’s help that you will be able to faithfully carry out these promises.
“It is also important to remember that my installation as your pastor is not the end of the journey; it is the beginning of the next part. The past will not miraculously disappear now that you have called me to be your pastor, nor do I bring with myself a magic wand to wipe away all the struggles ahead of us. But what will happen is that we will work together as pastor and people to better share the Gospel with our community and our world.
“As we go forth in this journey as pastor and people together, may we remember the promises we will make to one another, and that it is only through God’s guidance, love and mercy that we will be able to uphold them.”
St. Mark’s is thrilled to introduce the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, who will soon join us as our new pastor. After unanimous agreement by the St. Mark’s Council and Call Committee, the congregation voted to call Rev. Ketcham to St. Mark’s and she has accepted this call. She will join us in June.
”Reverend Kelley will not only be a fabulous pastor, she is a fabulous person!” said Francine Passerini, who chaired St. Mark’s Call Committee.
Rev. Ketcham was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. After working in the retail industry for a few years, she attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Her first pastoral call was to a church in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania, where she served for four years before moving to Ohio in 2013 in advance of her marriage to Robbie, who is also a pastor. She and Robbie welcomed their daughter, Abby, in 2015.
During this period, she served as an interim pastor in Continental, Ohio, then was called to the pastorate of Augsburg Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio, in 2015.
When she is not serving the church, she enjoys performing with community theater groups, leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and watching the latest Marvel and Star Wars content on Disney+.
We are grateful to God for his guidance and provision and ask for your prayers as Rev. Ketcham and her family make this significant transition.
St. Mark’s is also grateful for the work of the Call Committee — including Chair Francine Passerini, Amy Lane, Vicki McDowell, Elise Mitchell, Michael Patterson, Cheryl Powell, Jerry Schrack and Wayne Smiley. We are also grateful to the Rev. Robin Litton, assistant to the bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, who helped to guide us through the process, and to the wonderful interim pastors — the Rev. David Mueller and the Rev. Dr. Barbara Melosh — who served our congregation during this three-year transition.
As we anticipate this wonderful new chapter in St. Mark’s history, Council President Kitty Dombroski has some observations and suggestions:
“Approximately three years ago St. Mark’s was left without a pastor. It was a difficult time for our congregation. Between then and now we have learned a lot. We were blessed to have an interim pastor who understood our situation and the pain we were going through.
“We now have a new pastor and are about to embark on a new chapter in our journey. I don’t have to tell you this is an exciting time with lots of possibilities. We are not the same congregation we were three years ago. The world has changed and we have changed. Together with Rev. Kelley we will move forward in ministry.
“I just finished watching a movie called “tick, tick … BOOM!” There’s a song stuck in my head again — “Louder than Words.” It reminds me of all the possibilities ahead of us. ‘Cages or wings — which do you prefer?’
“Let’s not get stuck in the old ways of doing things. Yes, traditions are important. So are possibilities and potential.
“Let’s lean into this next chapter, welcoming and supporting Pastor Kelley and each other. There are so many possibilities for Jesus’ ministry at St Mark’s.”