We have a great family day planned for Sunday, September 18 — Rally Day! It’s the day we kick off a new year of worship, study, service and life together!
We’ll start with worship — a Unity Service — starting at 10 a.m.
Then we’ll move outside to enjoy the company of our St. Mark’s family and friends and share a picnic lunch.
Among the special events is an outdoor concert, featuring our own Arden Shindel and friends. Arden is the daughter of Rob and Rebecca Shindel and is a student at Cab Calloway School of the Arts. She has been delighting audiences in the region with recent performances in “James and the Giant Peach” and “Into The Woods.”
Also planned are games for the kids, a candy buffet and other fun stuff.
Bring a dessert, a comfy lawn chair and your sense of humor!
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.”
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Because of snow, ice and frigid temperatures, St Mark’s has canceled our worship service for Sunday, January 30, and postponed the annual meeting which was to follow. The annual meeting now is scheduled for Sunday, February 6. The time and other details will be announced shortly.
Many previous services are available online at our YouTube channel. If you missed one, this may be a great time to catch up!
Alternatively, you may want to take a virtual visit to another congregation of the Delaware-Maryland Synod. Our Synod’s website has a directory of congregations that offer online services.
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.