Celebrating the rite of installation of the Rev. Kelley Ketcham

Pastor Kelley Ketcham at the altar

Please join us Sunday afternoon, August 21, for a very special event in the life of St. Mark’s as we gather for the rite of installation of our new pastor, the Rev. Kelley Ketcham. The service, which begins at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary, is the culmination of three years of prayerful work and a day of great celebration for all.

Special guests include the Rev. Robin Simpson Litton, assistant to the bishop for leadership, who will preside over the service, and Bishop William Gohl Jr., leader of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, who will bring the sermon.

The St. Mark’s choir and “Souls on Fire” band will participate, along with guest musicians Maria Rusu (violin) and Genevieve Hahn (flute), led by John Lasher, director of music and worship arts.

Pastor Kelley wrote a wonderful description of the significance of this gathering for our newsletter, The Lion. We include that here for your benefit:

“During the rite of installation, I will make promises: To commit myself to this responsibility; to preach and teach in accordance with the confessions of the church and the constitution of the ELCA; to be diligent in my study of scriptures and the use of the means of grace; to love, serve and pray for you; to nourish you with the word and sacraments; to lead you by my own example; and give faithful witness to the world.

“This is a pretty daunting task and it is one that I’m sure I will fail more often than I uphold. And so my response to each of these questions will be: ‘I will, and I ask God to help me’ because it will only be with God’s help that I can faithfully carry out these promises.

“But I am not the only one that will make promises in this service. You, the people of St. Mark’s, will also be asked to receive me into this community, to pray for me and my family, to help and honor me for my work’s sake, and in all things strive to live together with me in the peace and unity of Christ.

“I know that there also will be days when this is easier said than done for you. And so, your response will also be: ‘We will, and we ask God to help us’ because it will only be with God’s help that you will be able to faithfully carry out these promises.

“It is also important to remember that my installation as your pastor is not the end of the journey; it is the beginning of the next part. The past will not miraculously disappear now that you have called me to be your pastor, nor do I bring with myself a magic wand to wipe away all the struggles ahead of us. But what will happen is that we will work together as pastor and people to better share the Gospel with our community and our world.

“As we go forth in this journey as pastor and people together, may we remember the promises we will make to one another, and that it is only through God’s guidance, love and mercy that we will be able to uphold them.”

A special rite of installation

Pastor Kelley Ketcham at the altar

St. Mark’s is thrilled to invite your prayers and presence on Sunday, Aug. 21, for the Service of Holy Communion with the Rite of Installation for our new pastor, Kelley Ketcham.

Bishop William Gohl of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA will be present at the service, which begins at 3 p.m. Pastors and deacons from throughout our synod will be invited to celebrate this very special service.

Please RSVP by Monday, Aug. 15, to the church office by phone — (302) 764-7488) — email (office@stmarksonline.org), or sign up on the kiosk in the narthex if you will be attending.

Please come, pray and share our joy as we welcome Pastor Kelley and look to the future.

Introducing … St. Mark’s new pastor!

St. Mark's Pastor Kelley Ketcham

St. Mark’s is thrilled to introduce the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, who will soon join us as our new pastor. After unanimous agreement by the St. Mark’s Council and Call Committee, the congregation voted to call Rev. Ketcham to St. Mark’s and she has accepted this call. She will join us in June.

​”Reverend Kelley will not only be a fabulous pastor, she is a fabulous person!” said Francine Passerini, who chaired St. Mark’s Call Committee.

Rev. Ketcham was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. After working in the retail industry for a few years, she attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in 2009 with a Master of Divinity degree.

Her first pastoral call was to a church in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania, where she served for four years before moving to Ohio in 2013 in advance of her marriage to Robbie, who is also a pastor. She and Robbie welcomed their daughter, Abby, in 2015.

The Rev. Kelley Ketcham at a meet and greet at St. Mark's
The Rev. Kelley Ketcham visited St. Mark’s during a weekend in February.

During this period, she served as an interim pastor in Continental, Ohio, then was called to the pastorate of Augsburg Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio, in 2015.

When she is not serving the church, she enjoys performing with community theater groups, leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and watching the latest Marvel and Star Wars content on Disney+.

We are grateful to God for his guidance and provision and ask for your prayers as Rev. Ketcham and her family make this significant transition.

St. Mark’s is also grateful for the work of the Call Committee — including Chair Francine Passerini, Amy Lane, Vicki McDowell, Elise Mitchell, Michael Patterson, Cheryl Powell, Jerry Schrack and Wayne Smiley. We are also grateful to the Rev. Robin Litton, assistant to the bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, who helped to guide us through the process, and to the wonderful interim pastors — the Rev. David Mueller and the Rev. Dr. Barbara Melosh — who served our congregation during this three-year transition.

As we anticipate this wonderful new chapter in St. Mark’s history, Council President Kitty Dombroski has some observations and suggestions:

“Approximately three years ago St. Mark’s was left without a pastor. It was a difficult time for our congregation. Between then and now we have learned a lot. We were blessed to have an interim pastor who understood our situation and the pain we were going through.

“We now have a new pastor and are about to embark on a new chapter in our journey. I don’t have to tell you this is an exciting time with lots of possibilities. We are not the same congregation we were three years ago. The world has changed and we have changed. Together with Rev. Kelley we will move forward in ministry.

“I just finished watching a movie called “tick, tick … BOOM!” There’s a song stuck in my head again — “Louder than Words.” It reminds me of all the possibilities ahead of us. ‘Cages or wings — which do you prefer?’

“Let’s not get stuck in the old ways of doing things. Yes, traditions are important. So are possibilities and potential.

“Let’s lean into this next chapter, welcoming and supporting Pastor Kelley and each other. There are so many possibilities for Jesus’ ministry at St Mark’s.”

Call Committee Chair Francine Passerini embraces the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, new pastor of St. Mark's.
Francine Passerini, who chaired St. Mark’s Call Committee, embraces the Rev. Kelley Ketcham after the congregation confirmed her call.