Thoughts on a year of change

Council President Kitty Dombroski and her makeshift vote collector

This past year required lots of change! Here, for example, you can see how Council President Kitty Dombroski rigged up a basket on a pole to collect drive-by votes from a pandemic-safe distance. (Photo by Cheryl Denneny)

I am writing this on Ash Wednesday, 2021. By the time you read this it will be later, but while writing I am reminded of this past year.

Last year, Ash Wednesday was February 26. Our first Lenten Wednesday service (remember those?) was March 4. We gathered for soup and salad. I brought a salad. Jan brought olive bread. Vicki made ham and bean soup. Ann and Kevin made chili. I think I got that right. I used the cheddar cheese from the salad and put it in my chili. There was more and it was really good. Food, people — fellowship. We were talking about the Transition and when were we going to get our new Pastor.

It was the last “normal” in-person event at St Mark’s. Quickly, all the energy in the world was around COVID-19. Or at least it felt that way. Cancelled Wednesday services, cancelled Sunday services, cancelled in-person meetings. WHAT ABOUT EASTER?

Along with the rest of the world we were scrambling and mourning. How do we worship? How do we have Bible Study? How do we have meetings? How do we have all those things that make us St Mark’s?

Enter ZOOM. For most, this was a new concept. Virtual meetings were not “normal,” but we quickly learned. And along the way we learned that the MUTE button is really important.

We purchased equipment for pre-recorded services. John has gotten really good at them.

We were hurled into the technology of the 21st Century. Not without some kicking and screaming and, yes, whining. Or maybe that was just me? Masks, hand sanitizer, CDC recommendations. Oy vey.

And like the faithful Christians before us — we carried on. Is it easy? NO. Is it comfortable? NO. The safety and comfort of our world has been shaken to the core. The world outside our doors and the world within our doors is not the same.  We are grieving for the life we had and the people we have lost. We may never be exactly the way we were.

But I have hope. There are lots of good things happening in 2021. The days are starting to get longer. There is a vaccine. Our Call Committee continues to meet and is moving rapidly to the interview phase. We have a lot to look forward to.

The most important part is to keep praying — for the world, for our country, for the Church, for St Mark’s, for our interim Pastor and our new Pastor and, also, not unimportant, for us.

Kitty Dombroski

President, St. Mark’s Leadership Council

Praying together for St. Mark’s

Praying hands with a laptop

Join us for real prayer in a virtual context, as we launch a new series of prayer meetings for our church, St. Mark’s Lutheran.

We’ll meet by way of the Zoom video conferencing software on the first Saturday of the month, starting November 7. We’ll pray from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. If you can’t join us online, we hope you’ll pray with us wherever you may be.

All are welcome. To get your Zoom link, fill out this form to contact organizer Margie Dodson.

Exploring the thoughts of modern-day theologians: A discussion group

Modern-Day Theologians Discussion Group

YOU ARE INVITED — COME AND JOIN US!

A discussion group exploring the thoughts of modern-day theologians has been meeting since November 12. With from 10 to 14 attending participants, we have had thoughtful, lively, interactive discussions of the books “Unbelievable,” by John Shelby Spong, “Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most,” by Marcus J. Borg, and nine articles on “The Future of Christianity” by various authors from the journal Oneing, from Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation.

Now we are ready to consider and discuss a new book: “Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?” by best-selling authors Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. This is the perfect time for any interested new participants to join the MDT Discussion Group. We are now meeting by means of Zoom and the next meeting will be 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 23. If you wish to join us, send your email address to Clifford Smith (whose contact information may be obtained from the church office at (302) 764-7488 or office@stmarksonline.org) and your name will be added to the email membership list. You will then receive all emails regarding the meetings of the MDT Discussion Group, including a Zoom invitation for the May 23rd meeting and all subsequent meetings.

We are a participatory discussion group, more like a book club than an Adult Education Class, guided by the assumption that each person is the “expert” for his/her own responses and expressions of thoughts, emotions, and opinions. We make use of a changing designated facilitator whose task is to keep the group on track but not to be the teacher. Lynne and Greg Landrey will facilitate the discussion of “Red Letter Revolution” for the meeting on May 23. We will discuss “Part I: Red Letter Theology” (pages 3-73).

If you are at all interested, feel welcome to join us and check us out on May 23 or any time thereafter.

Clifford Smith

Virtual meetings, real connections

Two new online classes launch next week

By now, you probably know a lot about Zoom — the online video meeting platform that allows people to “meet” remotely by computer during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe much of your work requires such meetings, maybe your family and friends are catching up that way or maybe you’ve just heard a lot of Zoom jokes.

Some St. Mark’s members have been meeting by Zoom to carry on church business and to study. Among them are: the Leadership Council, the Transition Team, the Worship and Music Committee, the Wednesday Morning Bible Study and the Modern-Day Theologians group.

Now two new studies are forming — one studying Martin Luther, led by Gregory and Lynne Landrey, and one studying the seven churches of Asia Minor, led by Interim Pastor David Mueller. Details are below.

Both require a computer and Internet access. Both are limited to 20 participants. If you have not used Zoom before, we’ll help you get up to speed.

Registration information is listed below, depending on which class you wish to join. If you have any questions, call the church office at (302) 764-7488 or send an email to office@stmarksonline.org.

CLASS DETAILS

WEDNESDAY EVENINGS:

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World

Video and discussion

On October 31, 1517, a young monk named Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 debate topics denouncing the corruption of the medieval world’s largest and most power institution to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This act set into motion a series of events that would change the world in ways he could never have imagined.

The PBS documentary “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World” was produced in 2017 to celebrate the 500thanniversary of this remarkable event.

During this six-session class, we will be viewing the movie in its entirety. Each session will consist of watching approximately 15 minutes of the movie, reviewing it, making scriptural connections and discussing how it applies to our lives today.

WHEN: 7 to 8:15 p.m., Wednesdays, from May 6 through June 10

LEADERS: Gregory and Lynne Landrey

CLASS SIZE LIMIT: 20

FORMAT: Zoom

TO REGISTER: Send an email to lhlslp@comcast.net

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 4

NOTE:  When signing up, please provide First/Last Name and email contact information. Also, kindly indicate if you are familiar with using the Zoom format or would like to participate in a brief tutorial.

SUNDAY MORNINGS:

The Seven Churches of Asia Minor

(Revelation 2 & 3)

The last book listed in the Christian “canon” has been the subject of abuse by some and neglect by most of us. “Apocalyptic” literature is utterly unfamiliar to us. Apocalyptic literature is characterized by the use of numbers and word pictures employed to assist in giving the best possible understanding of otherwise complex and seemingly cryptic matters.

Revelation can simply be viewed as a series of seven sevens. Do the math and one gets 49. The next number is 50, which in Biblical presentation is “Jubilee” or “The chance to start over again in a fresh manner.” This makes Revelation hopeful even if after some frightening images throughout.

The first “seven” has to do with the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. These are foundational to the rest of the book. Since seven means “complete,” this is a complete commentary by Christ of the Church, today as then.

WHEN: 9 to 10:15 a.m., Sundays, beginning May 10 through June 21

LEADER: Interim Pastor David E. Mueller

CLASS SIZE LIMIT: 20

FORMAT: Zoom. Written copies of each session will be provided via email, each Monday after the session.

TO REGISTER: Call the office at (302) 764-7488 or send an email to office@stmarksonline.org.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 8