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.
A few years ago, when St. Mark’s had lost our pastor, the Rev. David Mueller reached out to me offering his services for St. Mark’s. He had been in discussion with members of St. Mark’s who had a relationship with him and he felt called to be our interim pastor. Since that time, we have been in his capable hands. Originally, his intent was to stay until we found our new pastor.
Over the past few months, Pastor Mueller has found that his knee has given him increasing pain and lacks stability. Those of us attending services at St. Mark’s and via Zoom have seen him struggling to maneuver at the altar. He is scheduled for knee replacement surgery in early January.
Pastor Mueller reached out to the Council at our last meeting on November 16, letting us know that he will not be able to continue as our pastor in his current capacity. In the days following, he and I reached out to Bishop William Gohl to let him know the situation and ask for assistance. The Synod has found a pastor to assist over the coming weeks. While not a full-time role, this seems to be the best solution in the short term.
The Rev. Barbara Melosh has been at St. Mark’s before and was introduced last month to assist in our transition. Pastor Mueller will continue to be present in a part-time capacity through January 9.
Please join me in welcoming Pastor Melosh to our St. Mark’s family. She will be serving during worship and with Pastor Mueller, providing pastoral care through the end of the year. After the new year we will have a combination of Pastor Melosh and supply pastors for our Sunday Worship.
Please let me know if you have any questions and continue to contact the office for any pastoral needs. Also, please continue to pray for our Call Committee!
If you were with us for the special worship service and 50th anniversary celebration of Interim Pastor David Mueller’s ordination on Sunday, June 13, you know how special it was to hear about God’s work in and through him. If you missed that event, the livestream is archived on our YouTube channel.
Friends and family from far-flung places have thanked God for Pastor Mueller’s ministry and the way God has used him over this half century. The St. Mark’s family has special gratitude for the way he and his wife, Gigi, so willingly answered God’s call to serve as interim pastor here for the past two years.
We thought it would be great to sit down with Pastor Mueller, giving him opportunity to share insights from this extended period of service to our Lord. He agreed to this and John Lasher made it possible. The interview now is available on our YouTube channel, which you can reach by clicking on the image below. We hope you’ll listen in!
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.
Clarence Pettit, senior pastor of Unity Church in Wilmington, joins us for a third conversation with Interim Pastor David Mueller in this week’s Midweek Extra. In previous conversations, these pastors have discussed race and pastoral issues anecdotally. This week, they pursue a more theological discussion of these matters.
Click on the image below to listen in.
Previous conversations are available at these links:
Interim Pastor David Mueller is joined in this Midweek Extra by the Rev. Gordon Simmons, director of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Delaware.
The office serves as a state public policy office of the ELCA and represents its strategic commitment to “step forward as a public church that witnesses boldly to God’s love for all that God has created.” This office works with congregations and individuals in Delaware to become better advocates for justice. You can connect by email.
Listen to the conversation by clicking on the YouTube link below:
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.
Two familiar faces joined Interim Pastor David Mueller for the “Midweek Extra” — Barb Gilbert and Pam Waters. Both have been leading our ministry with Family Promise, which provides shelter for families who find themselves in need of temporary housing in northern New Castle County.
St. Mark’s has been part of this effort for a few years, providing meals and other services at the Family Promise site on Milltown Road for one week each quarter. Barb and Pam share much more about this work and the impact it is having in the lives of many.
You’ll find the segment on our YouTube channel by clicking on the link below.
Because of a predicted ice storm, St Mark’s building will not be open Sunday February 14.
Instead, the 10 a.m. worship service was recorded Saturday and that recording will be available on our YouTube channel. You can also access the service by clicking the link below. Many thanks to Interim Pastor David Mueller, John Lasher, director of music and worship arts, and Greg Landrey, liturgist, for their quick response.
Don’t forget: The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 21, immediately following the 10 a.m. service.