Swords to Plowshares: ‘Youtherans’ host Shane Claiborne at St. Mark’s May 25

Shane Claiborne

Join us Saturday afternoon, May 25 for a very special event as the “Youtherans” and Lutheran churches (ELCA) in Delaware and Maryland welcome Shane Claiborne and the RAW Tools’ “Swords to Plowshares: Forging Peace. Disarming Hearts” project to St. Mark’s.

Using a forge and a hammer, Claiborne will demonstrate how weapons of violence — guns that were donated, broken down and decommissioned — can be turned into garden tools and other instruments of peace.

The project draws its inspiration from a Scripture passage in Isaiah: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, they will train for war no more. Everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree. No one shall make them afraid.”

Also participating Saturday will be the Rev. Raymont Anderson, a survivor of gun violence and a representative of the Newark chapter of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.

Claiborne is the co-author of “Beating Guns: Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence.” He worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, and is the founder of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and the leader of Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks committed to living “as if Jesus meant the things he said.” In 2023, he received The King Center’s Beloved Community Award for Social Justice from Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King).

“We do more than turn guns into garden tools. We are turning violence into peace. We are turning fear into trust. Through relationship, dialogue, and resources, we are welcoming neighbors with loving arms rather than bearing arms. Join us.”

Holy Week services

Journey through Holy Week with us.

Holy Week is a precious and momentous time for the St. Mark’s family and all of our siblings in Christ. It is the week we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Lord.

Our schedule is below. If you cannot join us in-person, most services will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel. Links are included below for each service.

  • We start with Palm Sunday, which recalls a day of public acclaim for Jesus. On this day, we will gather for our traditional service at 8:45 a.m. and our contemporary service at 11:15 a.m.
  • On Maundy Thursday, we recall the last supper, the betrayal of Jesus and his arrest. On this night, we will gather with our siblings in Christ at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, just across the street at 503 Duncan Rd. The service begins at 7 p.m. and will be live-streamed.
  • Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. On this night, we will gather at St. Mark’s. The service begins at 7 p.m. and will be live-streamed.
  • On Holy Saturday, we hold vigil, reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Our sanctuary will be open from 9 a.m. to noon for all who wish to join us for prayer and meditation.
  • Easter Sunday is the most glorious day in the Christian calendar, a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection. We will rejoice together at our 8:45 a.m. traditional service and our 11:15 a.m. contemporary service.

GriefShare group to start March 4 at St. Mark’s

Photo of a group of people meeting together.

If you’ve lost a loved one — a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a co-worker, your dearest friend — you know the anguish of such a loss and the hollow place that once was filled with that precious person.

How does life even work when such a powerful bond is severed? Often, it includes searing pain.

Cecilia Cronk knows that feeling. She lost her husband, Homer, in 2018, after 54 years of marriage. Three months after Homer died, Cecelia decided to join a GriefShare support group. She knows the strength it provided for her and the value of the connections made in those meetings, with others who understood.

Cecelia Cronk
Cecelia Cronk is starting a GriefShare chapter at St. Mark’s.

Now she is helping to start a GriefShare group at St. Mark’s. The group, which already has five co-leaders and one external registrant, will start its first 13-week session at St. Mark’s at 7 p.m., Monday, March 4.

“Going to GriefShare meetings was such a comfort after Homer died,” Cecelia said. “I learned that it is OK that my grief journey was not the same as everyone else’s. Whereas there is no set roadmap for grief, I came to give myself permission to grieve

in my own way and on my own timetable.

“I was already a Christian, but I came to have an even closer walk with Jesus — partially as a result of the knowledge and support I gained from attending the GriefShare sessions. It is now time for me to share this peace and comfort with others.”

Each session includes a 30-minute video and a time of discussion. The series explores many facets of the grieving process, including loneliness, fear, anger, regrets, relationships, hope and more. A participant’s guide will be provided to each person in the group.

To get more information or register for the group, visit the “Find A Group” link on the GriefShare website, enter St. Mark’s ZIP code — 19809 — and click on the link for St. Mark’s March 4 meeting. You can register online in advance or at the door. There is no cost to participate, but donations are welcome.

GriefShare is an international ministry, part of Church Initiative, a nondenominational, nonprofit ministry serving more than 20,000 churches worldwide.

To hear from some who have participated in the past, watch the video below:

What Is GriefShare? – Find a Group from Church Initiative on Vimeo.

Worship with us during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

An image with candles and stained glass

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

  • New Year’s Eve, Sunday, Dec. 31:

10 a.m. – Joint worship service at St. Mark’s

What’s your story?

What's your story?

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:

Margie Dodson
Margie Dodson
  • 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)

Service of Love

Service of Love 10 a.m. Sunday, June 11

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 hope to see you on this joyous day!

Holy Week at St. Mark’s

Journey through Holy Week with us.

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!

  • Good Friday, April 7: 7 p.m. Joint evening worship service with Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, hosted by St. Mark’s
  • Holy Saturday, April 8: 9 a.m. to noon. Prayer vigil in St. Mark’s sanctuary
  • Easter Sunday, April 9: 8:45 a.m. Traditional worship service; 11:15 a.m. Contemporary worship service (There are no Christian education programs on this day.)
  • Monday, April 10: St. Mark’s office will be closed on this day.

Lent and Easter schedule at St. Mark’s

Lent: A season of renewal

We have begun our observance of the Lenten season,  which culminates in Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Join us as you are able.

  • Every Thursday evening in March, we will host a Lenten Dinner, with soup, salad, bread and dessert in the Great Room. This is followed by a 6:15 p.m. program, led by Pastor Kelley Ketcham.
  • Palm Sunday, April 2: 8:45 a.m. Traditional worship service; 10 a.m. Christian education; 11:15 a.m. Contemporary worship service
  • Maundy Thursday, April 6: 7 p.m. Joint evening worship service at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant
  • Good Friday, April 7: 7 p.m. Joint evening worship service with Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, hosted by St. Mark’s
  • Holy Saturday, April 8: 9 a.m. Prayer vigil in St. Mark’s sanctuary
  • Easter Sunday, April 9: 8:45 a.m. Traditional worship service; 11:15 a.m. Contemporary worship service

Count your blessings — and share them!

Let our lives be full of both thanks and giving

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.

It’s Bazaar time! That means lasagna, baked goods, a new train display, lots of great gifts!

A scene from a recent Christmas Bazaar at St. Mark's

It’s that time of year again — Bazaar time!

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!