Come and meet our pastoral candidate Sunday, Feb. 20

Welcome sign

St. Mark’s Council is pleased to announce a special congregational meeting Sunday, February 20, to approve a new pastor. The candidate has been unanimously approved by both the Call Committee and the Church Council — the culmination of a process that began in 2019.

Thank you, Congregation, for your prayers and support! Thank you especially to our Transition Team and Call Committee!

This is an exciting time for St. Mark’s and we are planning a special weekend. Check the email that was sent to all members last week for more details on a “Meet and Greet.”

Then join us Sunday, February 20. There will be no 8:45 service that day. Instead, we will gather at 11:15 a.m. for a Unity Service. Our candidate will preach and our special congregational meeting will follow at noon.

I strongly encourage all members of St. Mark’s to be present Sunday, February 20, to vote and show our support.

Thank you!

Kitty Dombroski

President, St Mark’s Church Council

St. Mark’s schedule updates for Sunday, February 6

Open doors

With no big storm in the forecast, we will be open on Sunday, February 6, with a few schedule changes.

There will be no 8:45 a.m. traditional service. Instead, we will start with the Adult Forum at 10 a.m. in the Great Room. This week’s guest is Allison David, CEO of the Claymont Community Center.

At 11:15 a.m., we’ll gather in the sanctuary for a Unity Service, led by Interim Pastor Barbara Melosh. Immediately after the service, we will hold our annual business meeting, which was postponed by last weekend’s snowstorm. Please review the packet mailed to all voting members for more information and instructions on how to vote if you are joining us remotely.

Our services are also available online on our YouTube channel.

Hope to see you soon!

Update from Council: Shifting protocols for in-person worship

Open doors

St Mark’s Council met on Tuesday, January 4, to discuss the surge in Covid cases in Delaware and our safety response at St Mark’s.

After a lively discussion we decided to continue having in-person Sunday worship as well as the 10 a.m. Winter Forum for Sunday January 9, 16 and 23rd — with the following restrictions:

  • There will be no live music. John Lasher, director of music and worship arts, has pre-recorded music that we will use during our services. We are also asking worshippers not to sing.
  • We are requiring that everyone sit 6 feet away from other worshipping family groups.
  • We are asking that everyone wear a medical-grade paper mask. We will have them at the church for all those who do not have one. If you prefer a cloth mask, we ask that you wear the paper mask under your cloth mask. These restrictions are for the safety of the people around you.
  • We will use Communion Kits only. For now, we will not go to the altar for communion.
  • The Winter Forum will continue as scheduled as long as our presenters are comfortable with our restrictions. Chairs will be socially distanced in the Great Room.

I know this is not how we want to participate in our Church Life at St Mark’s, but the Council believes that for the next few weeks, until this surge is over, these restrictions will enable us to be together, in person.

Admittedly, there is still risk and I can’t guarantee you will not be infected. If you have been exposed to Covid or exposed to people who are unvaccinated please stay home. If you do not feel safe; please stay home. We will continue to have worship services online. We will also have  recorded Winter Forum sessions on St Mark’s YouTube site.

There will be information in the coming weeks concerning the Annual Meeting currently scheduled for Sunday, January 30.

Thank you,

Kitty Dombroski

President, St Mark’s Council

A Call to Prayer

The altar, cross and window

Join us as we gather for a Prayer Vigil on Saturday morning, December 4. The sanctuary will be open from 9 a.m. to noon. You may come for any portion of that that time — or all of it! Between 10 and 11 a.m., we will focus our prayers on St. Mark’s.

Here’s why: Prayer is woven throughout the entire Bible. As believers in God, we believe that as we pray God listens, responds, heals, guides, blesses, anoints, forgives, provides, protects, redeems, leads, directs, empowers, nourishes, unites and much more.

We want to make our praises and prayer requests known. Whether we do that privately, corporately, silently or out loud, we believe God will be listening.

Come and pray silently in the pews. Come to the altar to kneel and pray. Speak your prayer aloud for others to hear. Submit a prayer to be read by someone else. (You may submit these written prayers to the prayer collection envelope in the sanctuary.) Or join us in prayer while you are at home.

A prayer guide will be provided.

If you have questions contact anyone on the prayer team: Cecilia Cronk, Margie Dodson, Vicki McDowell, Beth Miller, Nancy Myers, Cliff Smith or Jan Sullivan.

We hope you’ll join us!

A glorious Homecoming Sunday!

Wide view of church picnic

Just like a good old-fashioned, high school homecoming weekend, the St. Mark’s Homecoming Sunday on October 3rd was a glorious, festive and truly enjoyable time. The day started with a beautiful, spiritual Unity Service, with inspiring music and singing voices. Everyone then brought their delectable dishes outside for a picnic, where they were met with the aroma of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. What a great gift to the smell senses. And God blessed us with great weather!

Grillmasters Dwight Novotny and Kevin Carr
Grillmasters Dwight Novotny (left) and Kevin Carr

Sitting down and spending time with our spiritual and loving church family was the highlight of the picnic. Grillmasters Kevin Carr and Dwight Novotny enjoyed the pleasure of chatting with everyone as they came to get their hamburgers and hot dogs.

Dwight said he didn’t mind being at the grill most of the time, “because I had the opportunity to share a little time with everyone, most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while.”

The festivities included a visit by two special guests, London and Ava, who are members of Girl Scout Troop 1391, the troop that put in a gorgeous flower bed and donated the new picnic table to the church. Interim Pastor David Mueller blessed and dedicated the flower bed, the new picnic table as well as St. Mark’s new roof in a brief ceremony. A big thank you to these Girl Scouts!

Thank you, too, to St. Mark’s Worship & Music Committee and the Congregational Life and Outreach Committee for organizing this wonderful day!

Annual meeting postponed to Sunday February 7

Council President Kitty Dombroski

Because of the anticipated snowstorm, the annual meeting of the St. Mark’s congregation has been postponed to Sunday, February 7, immediately following the 10 a.m. worship service in the sanctuary and live on our YouTube channel.

If you plan to attend in person you must call the office — (302) 764-7488 — to reserve your spot, even if you typically worship in-person. Because of COVID-19 safety recommendations, we are limiting the number of people who may attend in-person.

By now you should have received your Annual Meeting Packet in the mail. I have added the instructions for attending and voting here:

The Annual Congregational Meeting will be held Sunday, February 7,  immediately following the 10 a.m. service. You may participate in the meeting in person in the Sanctuary or electronically (YouTube). There is a paper ballot to vote on a new Council member and approval of the 2021 Budget. We will also have copies on site. All ballots must be delivered onsite by the voter. You must vote in person. That means if you are participating electronically, you must come to St. Mark’s to submit your ballot. Ballots will be collected in the parking lot immediately after the meeting until 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 7. You will not need to leave your car, but you must be present. No proxy or absentee ballots can be accepted.

I strongly encourage you to attend the annual meeting, either in person or via YouTube. St Mark’s Church is our church and we need everyone to participate for us to be successful in mission for Christ! The Council and budget must be approved by you.

I anticipate 2021 will be an exciting year for us and I am looking forward to getting started!

Kitty Dombroski, president, St. Mark’s Leadership Council

For such a time as this: A message from Kitty Dombroski

A laptop with a virtual meeting

“For such a time as this.”

Six words from the book of Esther I can’t get out of my head. As a country, as a church, as a congregation we have never seen anything like the time we are living. My emotions have been all over the place. Concern, worry, irritation and fear are just some of those. And yet, in the middle of all of it — always when least expected — a lot of good. For such a time as this. Our congregation amazes me as we continue to be there for each other.

St Mark’s Council met on Sunday April 19 — not the way we always have, in a room, facing each other — but in a new way, on the phone and on our computers. For such a time as this. I am grateful for technology. Technology has brought us connectivity and using it is keeping us together. Without skipping a beat our worship services continue — not the way we always have in the sanctuary, with each other, but in a new way – on the phone and on our computers.  For some, in the mail. For such a time as this. I am grateful for our Interim Pastor Council President Kitty Dombroskiand staff. I am grateful for our members and the use of the gifts we have been given. The gift of technology and knowledge and persistence and a willingness and desire to continue.

While most of us have been waiting and praying at home, for some in our church this has been a very busy time. Our Worship committee, Communication Team and Staff have worked many hours putting together worship services that seem almost effortless. For such a time as this.

Good News.

During this quiet time in our Church life members of our congregation have been busy painting the Great Room — floor to ceiling. The floors have been cleaned and waxed. A lot of hard work went in to that. I am grateful.

Over the past weeks, while we’ve been social distancing at home, our Mission Endowment Fund approved and funded purchasing equipment to record our weekly and Holy Week Services. Worship services were recorded, blended and edited. A lot of hard work. I am grateful.

Our website and specifically, the Worship service viewership has increased weekly. March 15, our first Sunday online, was visited 133 times. Easter Sunday, we had 437 visits. A lot of hard work. I am grateful.

Our Council and Transition Team continue to meet. Our staff continues to work. Our members are doing everything they can. Leadership is making difficult decisions. I encourage you to continue to reach out to one another. The church is the people – not the building. But you know that already. Speaking of the building – back to the practical. I strongly encourage you to continue giving financially to St Mark’s. Our bills still need to be paid. Giving is down.

St Mark’s is still here. Call the office or Pastor. Continue to pray. We will be together soon. For such a time as this.

Kitty Dombroski

President, Leadership Council

Missing St. Mark’s? A ‘critter congregation’ has saved your seat

Bob and Cindy Maser with the critter congregation

Church families — including ours here at St. Mark’s Lutheran — are really missing each other during this grievous COVID-19 pandemic that has swept our world. We love to be together, worship together, serve together, laugh, weep and grow together.

In this very special week — Holy Week — the separation is palpable, with grim realities all around us, great loss, great need and also the living and powerful hope that Easter represents to those who follow Jesus.

Our own Bob and Cindy Maser saw a photograph of the empty pews at St. Mark’s and were inspired to do something. Those empty pews represent our respect for the guidance of health care officials and our commitment to do all we can to stop the spread of this virus and protect our community and each other — even if it means we must be apart for a while.

“But Easter should be a time of rejoicing,” Cindy said, “and we need to bring a smile to everyone at a time like this.”

So they conspired — remotely — with Interim Pastor David Mueller, drawing inspiration from a Facebook post Cindy had seen.Pastor David Mueller with Leroy and Lion and Larry the Sheep

“In these increasingly difficult and sad times, we felt a little fun might help!” Pastor Mueller said. “So while we cannot get to church these days, my good friends Larry the Lamb and Leroy the Lion invited a few of their friends to come by.”

And they came, all right — some two by two, some solo, all with appropriate social distance.

“They were very enthusiastic and wanted to come but I only had room for two bags full,” Cindy said.

Pews with stuffed animals

And a critter congregation — sort of a Zoo Lutheran fellowship — assembled for just a few minutes of “togetherness.”

It’s true that the pews and the buildings have no humans in them — for now. But we’ll be back soon. And the heart of the Church is beating and full of love and hope for the future.

“As you can see — the church is not empty!” Cindy said. “And God loves His creatures, great and small. Spread the message to all!”

Mickey and Minnie

A couple of critters sitting atop hymn books