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.

Ash Wednesday

A stylized cross, drawn with ashes

St. Mark’s will host an Ash Wednesday service starting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14. Our neighbors at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant will join us.

If you can’t be with us in person, you can join us remotely on YouTube.

For those unable to attend the evening service, Pastor Kelley Ketcham will also offer “Ashes to Go” in the church parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. Pull up outside the main entrance and Pastor Kelley will come to your car, offer ashes, prayer and a short litany. There is no need to leave your car.

22nd annual Christmas Bazaar

A scene from a former St. Mark's Christmas Bazaar

St. Mark’s 22nd annual Christmas Bazaar returns Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As in years past, you’ll find crafts of many kinds, an assortment of homemade soups, baked goods, floral arrangements, gift baskets and — oh yes! — the fun Lionel train display that so many have enjoyed.

Admission is free!

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

Stock the food pantry for LCS!

Grocery cart

July brings challenges for low-income families with school-aged children, as they may need to provide an additional 10 meals each week during the summer. This year, inflation makes that challenge even greater for food-insecure households.

We at St. Mark’s have a special opportunity to help these families and others who find it tough to put food on the table.

July is “LIFE” Month for us — and that stands for “Lutherans Involved in Food Emergencies.” During this month, we focus on helping to stock the food pantries of Lutheran Community Services, which includes LCS’ headquarters and pantries at St. Stephen’s, Unity, and Hope Lutheran churches.

As in years past, the grocery cart is in the Narthex. You know what to do! Please bring shelf-stable items, diapers and personal hygiene products.

Making a financial donation is also a great way to help. You can write a check directly to Lutheran Community Services or designate your gift to LIFE on your St. Mark’s offering envelope.

Join us as we work together this month to keep the LCS food pantries stocked for those who need them most.

Thank you for your support!

Thursday Lenten Series: Who are we and what are we doing here?

Pastor Kelley Ketcham leads a discussion during the Lenten Series

Our mid-week Lenten meal and service series continues weekly on Thursdays through March 30. Dinner is served in the Great Room at 5:30 p.m. and includes bread, drinks and dessert. Please bring a crock pot of soup or a bowl of salad to share if possible.

Pastor Ketcham’s message starts at 6:15 p.m.

This series of messages — titled “Who are we and what are we doing here?” — will help us reflect on our future and give us opportunity to reexamine our identity and mission.

What does it mean to be a Lutheran Christian congregation? What does it mean to be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church? How have we lived out our identity and mission in the past, and how can we continue to live this out today and in the future?

Through this five-week Thursday evening series, we are looking at these questions and discerning our congregation’s identity and mission.

Join us in the Great Room on Thursday evenings. You may also listen in on our YouTube channel, where you will find recordings of any session you may have missed.

March 2 and 9: Our Lutheran Christian identity, ministry, and mission

What does it mean to be a Christian church? To be a Lutheran church? We’ll look at five basic Lutheran beliefs to help us discern our mission as Lutheran Christians, how well we follow them, and how they are reflected in our congregation’s life. Watch recording of March 2 on YouTube. Watch recording of March 9 on YouTube.

March 16: The historic identity and mission of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

How has St. Mark’s Lutheran Church lived out its mission in its over 80-year history? When were our periods of growth and vitality, and what factored into this? How can our past practices inform us as we look to our future? Watch on YouTube.

March 23: The current identity and mission of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

What is St. Mark’s Lutheran Church identity today, and how do we see our mission in today’s environment? What is Bellefonte and northern New Castle County like today? Why does our surrounding community need us? What has led more recent members to become partners in our ministry? Watch on YouTube.

March 30: The future identity and mission of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

God has a plan for us, and God is calling us to a bright future spreading God’s Gospel today. How can our Lutheran Christian tradition and our historic identity and mission help us meet today’s need for the Gospel? How can we carry out this mission and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ? Watch on YouTube.

All are welcome and encouraged to join us!

Girl Scout Sunday and Toy Drive

US postage stamp: Girl Scouts

Did you know that St. Mark’s hosts three different Girl Scout troops in our building each week?

Girl Scout Sunday — which we will observe during our 11:15 a.m. contemporary service on Sunday, March 12 — celebrates the powerful ties between Girl Scouting and faith. Girl Scouts are encouraged to connect their faith to the Girl Scout Law and earn the religious recognitions of their faith, because at the heart of Girl Scouting are many of the same values most faiths hold:

  • Supporting girls
  • Making our world a better place
  • Building compassionate leaders

Girl Scouts from our service unit will join us as we honor the Girl Scouts and adult volunteers who give their time and talents in service of others.

All Girl Scouts and past/present volunteers are invited to wear their uniforms or other Girl Scout gear to both worship services on that day as we give thanks for your commitment to making our world a better place!

Stuffed Animal and Toy Drive

Girl Scout Daisy Troop 424 (which Pastor Kelley leads) invites you to join us for a stuffed animal drive to benefit patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

We are collecting new Squishmallows for older children, as well as small lightup toys or loveys for babies age 3-12 months.

All donations must be new, in the package as you receive them (tags on, still in the bags/boxes). Please place any donations in the box in the narthex between March 5 and April 9.

Thank you in advance for your support!

One-and-done garage sale

Blue wooden wall with the inscription Garage Sale

It’s time to clean out our attics, cellars and garages! St. Mark’s is cleaning out items from our basement areas, too. Bring your treasures to church for this “One and Done” garage sale, which we’ll host from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22.

Your donated items may be placed in the basement classroom behind the Great Room, effective immediately.

We also need your help setting up, pricing, cleaning up and working on the day of the sale. Set up will begin April 11 and helpers are welcome during the day or in the evening. Look for the signup sheets on the kiosk in the Narthex.

If you have questions please contact Lori Weniger or Karen Hansell. We hope to see everyone here!

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

Rally Day is here! Bring your friends and family!

Arden Shindel of St. Mark's

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!