Returning to two services, 8:45 and 11:15 a.m.

St. Mark's sanctuary

St. Mark’s returns to two services on Sunday, September 12, with two important changes. Our traditional liturgical service now begins at 8:45 a.m. and our contemporary service starts at 11:15 a.m. We will continue to share communion using the kits through September. All are welcome.

In the absence of Interim Pastor David Mueller, the Rev. Barbara Melosh will lead us on Sunday, September 12. The Rev. Wes Hamlin will lead us on Sunday, September 19.

Join us, too, for our Unity Homecoming Service on Sunday, October 3. On this Sunday, we will all gather at 10 a.m. for this joyous homecoming. We hope to return to celebrating communion together at the front of the church on this day, too.

Immediately following the Unity Homecoming Service, we will celebrate with our church picnic! Bring your own chair and a side dish or dessert. Hot dogs, hamburgers, rolls, condiments, iced tea and water will be provided. Please sign up for this on the kiosk in the church narthex or by calling the church office at (302) 764-7488.

Join us for LCS’ 30th Hunger Walk/Run

The start of the 2019 LCS Walk Run for Hunger

The Lutheran Community Services Hunger Walk/Run is back and all of us — runners, walkers, volunteers and givers — are invited to participate in this event, which supports the ministries of LCS in our community.

The funds raised and food collected from this 5-kilometer event go directly to LCS’ food pantries.

This year’s event marks the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Walk/Run. Though the 2020 event was “virtual,” allowing everyone to choose the place and time of their participation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year we return to an in-person event on Saturday, September 18 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 1530 Foulk Rd., Wilmington, Delaware 19803. Registration starts at 9 a.m. The run/walk starts at 10.

Afterward, stick around for the Family Fun Fair. Games, rides, music and food all are on the agenda.

You can contribute to the success of this day without lacing up any sneakers by supporting those who hit the streets . Register and/or contribute to the individual or team of your choice by visiting LCS’ website here.

Helping the people of Haiti and Afghanistan

Military zone image

The past two weeks have brought devastating news concerning the people of Haiti and Afghanistan.  I am overwhelmed with the enormity and desperation of the people involved.  If you would like to respond as a faithful member of the ELCA, please consider these two opportunities sent from the Delaware-Maryland Synod.

Thank you!

Kitty Dombroski

President, St. Mark’s Leadership Council

Haiti Earthquake Relief

A devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck southwest Haiti on Aug. 14. Hundreds of people were killed and relief efforts continue for the survivors and the thousands who were injured. Damaged roads have delayed the delivery of vital supplies to hospitals, which are overwhelmed. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.
A child standing in rubble in Haiti

To learn more about this crisis, what the ELCA is doing to assist in recovery efforts and how you can offer support, visit the Lutheran World Relief website here.

You can assist this work by donating to the Disaster Relief Fund web page here.

Afghanistan Crisis Relief

In the midst of the ongoing political unrest and humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, you are invited to support the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.

Through its Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies Fund, LIRS will provide food, housing assistance, clothing and other basic needs for our Afghan friends as they await official services available to them. To learn more and support this fund, visit the website here.

Songs, hymns and spiritual songs — together again!

Outdoor hymn sing

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God.” — Colossians 3:16

It has been more than a year since St. Mark’s worship has included in-person singing. Instead, because of the COVID-19 virus and the need to slow the spread of the pandemic, prerecorded music has been part of our worship. Those worshipping at home by way of St. Mark’s YouTube channel could sing along with gusto, but we haven’t sung together in the sanctuary since March of 2020.

John Lasher, director of music and worship arts, had an idea that resonated with many: He would organize an outdoor hymn sing.

Rain washed away the first date, but gorgeous sunshine smiled on Sunday, April 18 and almost two dozen people turned out to St. Mark’s parking lot for the event. Most everyone sat in camp-style chairs. Some sat on a nearby curb or in their car.

John set up his keyboard just outside the main entrance and placed several large speakers nearby.

He had prepared a booklet with 16 hymns, most of which were requested in advance by the congregation. It took almost an hour to sing through all of them, but the time flew by. It was good medicine to worship together, to see each other and to sing the songs we love so much.

“Many of those hymns bring emotion welling up in me that is so strong,” said Cheryl Powell, who attended with her brother, David McClure. “I can’t get through them without choking up.”

Among the hymns she noted: “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” the Navy Hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” the timeless “Jesus Loves Me” and, of course, “Amazing Grace.”

Other beloved hymns included “Blessed Assurance,” “Beautiful Savior,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “I Love to Tell The Story.”

Click on the image below for a quick sample:

Music is a treasure to many at St. Mark’s, which has had an active choir for generations and also — in pre-pandemic times — has had a less formal second service that includes a worship band.

“What sealed my membership in the Lutheran Church was the consistent use of music throughout the service,” Cheryl said, “and the story I heard about Martin Luther himself, urging another priest/churchman to ‘sing to the glory of God!’ as he played what is known as ‘the Lutheran hymn,’ [A Mighty Fortress].”

Thanks to John and all who came out to make a joyful noise!

Stay tuned. We hear there may be a sequel!

Midweek: The Rev. Jason Churchill

The Rev. Jason Churchill

This week’s Midweek guest is the Rev. Jason Churchill, pastor of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in downtown Wilmington. He and Interim Pastor David Mueller discuss the challenges (and opportunities) presented to a church in a city (with no off-street parking!). He also briefly discusses his experiences as a gay Christian and pastor. Click on the image below to watch the conversation on our YouTube channel.

Holy Week at St. Mark’s

Image of palm frond by Gini George from Pixabay

There are many opportunities to prepare our hearts as we approach Easter and the commemoration of our Lord’s death and resurrection. We hope you’ll join us this week. All in-person worship requires a reservation. All livestream services may be found on our YouTube channel.

From Council President: Thank you!

2021 calendar. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We finally had our annual St. Mark’s congregational meeting on February 21.  Like everything else this past year, a great deal of patience and flexibility was in order. All of my school-age prayers for snow holidays were answered in January and February, resulting in a three-week delay. In God’s Time.

Thank you to everyone who participated either in-person or online. Participation indicates to me that people actually care what is happening at St. Mark’s. We met our quorum and successfully elected Barbara Breisch to Council and approved our 2021 Budget. The votes were unanimous!

I want to take this time to thank our outgoing Council members — Peg Bradley, Karen Hansell, Brian Schmidt and Barbara Sheridan. The Council has done a great job over the past few years keeping St. Mark’s afloat.

There has been a lot of transitioning. We continue to look for Council members. I anticipate this year to be very exciting at St. Mark’s. Do you see yourself as a leader? Please contact me if you feel a call to serve either on Council or on a committee (existing or new). We are open to new ideas.

Kitty Dombroski

President, St. Mark’s Leadership Council

Easter-season hymn sing!

Outdoor Hymn Sing with sheet music illustration

We have missed singing together during these days of pandemic. But take heart! John Lasher, director of music and worship arts, has a plan for a new and wonderful way to rejoice this Easter season!

At 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 11 (the week after Easter Sunday), St. Mark’s will host an outdoor hymn sing in our parking lot.

All are invited to submit their requests for hymns or contemporary worship songs to John via email, phone call or text message. He will make the selections and assemble a music packet for distribution.

If the weather goes south, the event will move to Sunday, April 18.

Get ready to sing your heart out!

Sharing God’s blessings with all

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When we share the blessings God has given us, powerful things happen! We honor Him and share in His work of provision and reconciliation.

St. Mark’s supports and partners with many other groups in service to our Lord and our community. Your gifts are important to these efforts and greatly appreciated. We offer below a list of such opportunities, including the monthly focus approved by St. Mark’s Council and a special 24-hour appeal for EDGE for Tomorrow that starts March 4.

St. Mark’s monthly giving targets include:

January – Family Promise
February – EDGE for Tomorrow (more details below)
April – Lutheran Volunteer Corp & Bowlathon
May – Kairos (prison ministry)
June – Sojourners’ Place/LCS Gimme Shelter Golf
July – LIFE (Lutherans Involved in Food Emergencies)
August – Youth Group
September – Lutheran Community Services & Walkathon
October – ELCA World Hunger
November – Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center

To make a designated gift, you may:

  • Note the designation on your weekly church envelope in the “Special Appeal For:” section
  • Indicate your distribution in the memo on your check or include a note with your check.
  • If you give electronically, you may include a memo or notation to specify the designation.

In addition to these ministries, the Delaware-Maryland Synod, of which St. Mark’s is a part, is in the midst of its 2021 Lenten Appeal, which continues through April 5. Every dollar given will be matched during this time, up to $40,000. These gifts support the synod’s Ministry Fund, helping to build local ministries for the future.

About EDGE for Tomorrow and the DoMore24 campaign March 4-5

EDGE for Tomorrow is thrilled to participate in the monumental DoMore24 statewide campaign, 24 hours during which your gift has extra impact. The period runs from 6 p.m. March 4 to 6 p.m. March 5. This can have a great impact on EDGE’s ability to remain nimble and continue to meet the needs of the low-income children and families we serve in Edgemoor Gardens, Bellevue and Bellefonte during the most tumultuous year of our organization’s history.

Check out our campaign page by clicking here and set up a reminder to donate. Please help us all do more together. Thank you for your support!

EDGE for Tomorrow was founded in 2011 as an outreach ministry of
our neighbor, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (PCOC). Primary funding comes from private foundations and government grants, along with individual donations and fund-raising events. EDGE provides after-school care, addresses food insecurity, and advocates and supports the marginalized in our community.EDGE for Tomorrow logo
Located in PCOC’s building at 503 Duncan Rd, EDGE After-School is for children in grades K through 5 who attend Mount Pleasant Elementary School, offering:
  • Virtues-based programming and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) that teaches good citizenship, social skills, empathy and kindness,
  • Tutoring and enrichment activities with specialized reading and math help,
  • Homework help, healthy snacks and physical activities, and
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning to enrich skills needed for reading, math, geography, science and the arts.

COVID-19 forced us to be creative and adaptive when our schools went all virtual in September, stepping up and opening an in-person Remote Access Learning Hub; a safe place to provide students’ academic support with much-needed emotional and social enrichment.

The Hub helps up to 18 at-risk students access school Monday thru Friday. EDGE offers students technical support and encouragement during the online school day, two nutritional meals and a snack from Brandywine School District, recreational activities in the fresh air, and emotional support through activities such as yoga, team building, and arts programming.

When the school day ends, students stay for three hours of after-care, where The Music School of Delaware’s MELODY program provides an outlet for kindergarten through grade 2 students to experience the art of music through Rhythm, a Bucket Band percussion group, and the violin. Grades 3 through 5 participate in Bucket Band and gain enrichment through art, creative writing, yoga, storytelling, and STEM using learning tools that build self-esteem, confidence, resilience and coping mechanisms that are so necessary in addressing the effects of childhood trauma and stress.

Lenten devotionals

A person studying the Bible

Interim Pastor David Mueller, in collaboration with John Lasher, director of music and worship arts, will host brief meditations on our YouTube channel every Wednesday throughout the Lenten season. These prerecorded messages will begin at 7 p.m. You can join in by clicking on the image below.