Vibrant Faith Goals

Jim LaDoux

Join us for a conversation with Jim LaDoux, executive staff with Vibrant Faith.

You may recognize Jim’s name, as he has been working with the Compass Team as a consultant on the strategic plan that team is working to develop. He is visiting St. Mark’s this weekend as part of a leadership retreat focusing on the work and communication that plan requires.

Today in our Adult Forum, Jim will talk about Vibrant Faith goals, including:

* Identifying your strengths and bright spots. Find ways to build on your strengths and use them to transform people’s lives and your community.
* Gain clarity about who you are, what you do best and where God is leading you.
* Create a plan. Develop a road map for moving forward that builds on your strengths and focuses your assets, actions and energies on the things that matter most in life and faith.
* Develop adaptive skills and strategies. Learn new strategies and approaches to address adaptive challenges facing the congregation.

A new chapter for Gail Rodger

Gail Rodger, director of faith formation

“To everything there is a season,” the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, and our Director of Faith Formation, Gail Rodger, has announced plans to retire, effective April 30.

Gail has been part of the St. Mark’s staff for nine years, accepting the part-time position after more than 20 years as a music teacher and choirmaster in South Jersey.

“I felt God had drawn me to St. Mark’s,” she said. “My heart’s desire has been to help people grow — myself included — through studying God’s Word, discussion and talking to one another. So many Christians go to church and don’t think about how real God is and that he wants a relationship with them. That relationship grows through spending time with him and through our contact with our brothers and sisters.”

She loves the spirit of generosity and service she sees at St. Mark’s.

“Many at St. Mark’s put their lifeblood into service here,” she said, “in Sunday School, at Sojourners’ Place, with Lutheran Community Services, Family Promise and so many other efforts.”

Through the past decade, Gail has coordinated ministries including Sunday School, the adult forum, special services such as Candlemas, fun events such as “Trunk or Treat,” community service in Edgemoor and women’s ministries, including the quarterly brunch, and St. Mark’s partnership in Vacation Bible School at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant.

“Gail’s leadership as our Faith Formation Director has greatly impacted countless lives for the sake of Jesus Christ and her involvement in the community has connected us to our neighbors like never before,” said Pastor Scott Maxwell. “I am grateful for Gail’s willingness to share her gifts in ministry with our congregation. I will deeply miss her and her laughter, but I look forward to a continued relationship as she will still be a part of St. Mark’s. Thank you, Gail!”

The Human Resources Team will work with the Leadership Council to discern next steps, Pastor Scott said.

Gail said any successor “can expect a lot of freedom to dream together here and can expect a lot of support from the pastor and congregation.”

She hopes to spend more time with her family, especially her brother, Donald, who is seriously ill. She also plans to travel, do some writing and remain in fellowship with St. Mark’s.

“Thank you all for allowing me to serve God and you in this way for these nine years,” she said. “It will be hard to let go of a lot of things, but I’m excited to turn the page to the next chapter.”

Jewish-Christian Understanding

Peter Pettit

Peter Pettit, director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., will visit to talk with us about efforts to build bridges of understanding between the Jewish and Christian faith traditions.

Dr. Pettit has been active in Christian-Jewish dialogue for more than 25 years, giving leadership in local, national and international settings.

He earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees at Claremont (Calif.) Graduate University and a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

More than 100 connect in Covenant Bible Study

What began as a mission to nurture the faith of one church has developed into something more meaningful for the greater community. The Covenant Bible Study – a community-driven exploration of the Bible – started Sept. 9. Eight groups now are meeting in six locations across New Castle County, reading the Scriptures and connecting with God and each other through discussion and prayerful study.

About 130 people are participating, including 19 group leaders and nine clergy from six congregations. Leaders facilitate group discussions and all contribute to the group’s growing understanding of the biblical concept of the covenant God established with his people.

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