Tentative reopening date: Sunday, Sept. 6

St. Mark's altar

Here’s the date we’ve all been waiting for: Sunday, September 6! That’s our tentative reopening date, as outlined by St. Mark’s leadership.

Details were included in a letter sent to members and friends by the Worship Committee last week.

As part of the planning process, the Worship Committee distributed a survey, asking respondents their preferences about returning to in-person worship. St. Mark’s building has been closed since mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Seventeen people are ready to return as soon as possible. Sixty prefer to wait until Delaware enters “Phase Three” status — or later.

The plan now is to re-open St. Mark’s for a single 10 a.m. service. The plan is tentative and will follow state guidelines, with proper safety measures and volunteers in place in our worship area.

The following recommendations were made by the Worship Committee:

  • Greeters will ensure that names are gathered, temperatures taken and will distribute homemade face masks, if needed
  • Ushers will distribute communion items from a table prior to entering the sanctuary and provide guidance as people move to pews and leave the service.
  • The congregation will not sing or speak during the service.
  • Communion will be consumed in the pews
  • The offering will be collected in a basket at the rear of the church

Several volunteer roles are essential for us to re-open. If you are planning to attend when the building is first opened, we ask you to prayerfully consider filling one of these roles during this time of transition:

  • Greeters – take temperatures, gather names, hand out face masks, if needed
  • Ushers – monitor communion table elements, guide worshippers to their pew, count the number of worshippers in attendance, dismiss worshippers at the end of service, take offering to the church office.
  • Liturgist/worship leader – Read the prayers and scripture
  • Sound board – operate sound board and livestreaming equipment

In order to familiarize you with these recommendations and roles, a video will be produced to illustrate the manner in which worshippers enter, attend and exit the church.

We hope that you prayerfully consider volunteering for one of these roles and that you will attend church at St. Mark’s when you feel it is safe for you to do so according to your personal needs. Services will be livestreamed for those continuing to worship from home.

Our prayer is that you be blessed by our worship service wherever it finds you!

Please indicate your willingness to serve by filling out this form by August 14 so that we may prepare for returning to Sunday worship on September 6.

Returning to worship services at St. Mark's
Help us plan for reopening St. Mark's building by telling us if you plan to return and, if so, whether you are willing to serve in one of the volunteer roles.

Community VBS planning meeting

Vacation Bible School lion logo

It’s time to ROAR about our love for God and plan for another exciting summer Community Vacation Bible School.

An organizational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant at 503 Duncan Road, right across the street from St. Mark’s.

We need many volunteers to help share God’s love with children of our community. Please plan to attend and learn more about ROAR!

St. Mark’s serves families, makes new friends in new partnership with Family Promise

Hector hugs his child

St. Mark’s partners with Family Promise of Northern New Castle County again from January 27 to February 3, our second week of “hosting” families at the Hospitality Center.

Our first week of service — Christmas Week 2018 — was a great introduction to this ministry, which serves families who are in transition and in need of housing. Scores of volunteers participated — preparing and serving meals, planning activities, providing overnight security and bringing special gifts and other essentials for this holiday week.

We made many new friends and one of them — Hector (seen in the photograph above) — was featured in Family Promise’s recent report on the things accomplished during 2018. His story, which was also covered by several local news outlets, was shared this way in Family Promise’s report:

“Hector had a full-time job and was supporting his four kids. But when his job was cut to just 25 hours, he couldn’t make ends meet. He had to give up his apartment, and his family bounced between houses of friends and family members — eventually ending up in a motel. The day before our new Hospitality Center opened in November, Hector had just enough money to pay for one more night in the motel. For a family like his — one headed by a single father — it was difficult to find resources, and he faced the grim choice of living in his car or splitting up from his kids. Supporters like you gave Hector a third option: our new Hospitality Center. He was able to keep his family together while receiving shelter, food, and hospitality. He shared his story on WDEL and Community Issues with Omar Rashada, and just this week, he moved back into permanent housing!”

What a glorious testimony to God’s provision — and what amazing timing for Hector and his family.

The Family Promise Hospitality Center, which opened in November 2018, shares space at The Jesus House and Retreat Center on Milltown Road. It has capacity for up to six families with children — about 20 people in all — giving them a way to stay together while they pursue new housing.

Each congregation that partners with Family Promise provides seven days of “hosting” services, which include meals, washing linens, activities for the kids (as desired by residents) and other things as needed. Our commitment is for four weeks each year.

There are many ways to participate. Connect with our coordinators, Barb Gilbert and Pam Waters, if you’d like to join us!

And if you’d like to help with supplies, here is a list of needed items which can be dropped off at the Family Promise Day Center at 2104 St. James Church Rd., Wilmington DE 19808 or stored in a (yet-to-be-established) Family Promise Ministry storage area at St. Mark’s: twin comforters, twin sheet sets, new bed pillows, towel sets (bath, hand, wash), dish sets, flatware sets, plastic drinking cups, sets of glass drinking glasses.

Thank you for caring for families such as Hector’s! Working with Family Promise and the many other congregations and groups who support this work, we can do so much more. Hope to see you at the Hospitality Center!

Photo: Courtesy of Family Promise of Northern New Castle County

St. Mark’s joins forces with Family Promise

New doors are opening – literally – for the St. Mark’s family in its partnership with Family Promise of Northern New Castle County, which recently announced its  new Hospitality Center for families in need of temporary housing. And our first week of service is special indeed – Christmas Week! We will serve from December 23-30.

Barb Gilbert
Barb Gilbert

“What an opportunity for us to be Jesus’ hands and feet, opening our hearts and giving of our time and ourselves by providing meals, hospitality and support to those who need it most,” said Barb Gilbert, who with Pam Waters is coordinating the St. Mark’s team.

The Hospitality Center includes two ranch houses on the grounds of the Jesus House on Milltown Road. The Center will accommodate six families, up to 20 individuals. Continue reading “St. Mark’s joins forces with Family Promise”