Deadline to register is Today, February 19th. Living Water Ministries, a ministry of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) in Michigan, will be offering a youth event for junior high youth (grades 6-8). Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth will be attending along with others from The Diocese of Western and Eastern Michigan! The “Junior High Charge” event will be held at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City from March 24-26. The mission is to energize and form faith through worship, small groups, and congregational time. It is hoped that through skillshops emphasizing service opportunities, leadership development, and community (through team building) youth return home equipped ready to make change in the world in the name of Christ. There will also be time to enjoy the recreational opportunities at Great Wolf Lodge. Jeff is asking for RSVPs by TODAY, February 19, 2017. We will leave around 5pm on Friday, March 24, and return early to mid-afternoon on Sunday, March 26.
With the culmination of one of the most rancorous and stressful election cycles most of us have experienced, many St. Mark’s parishioners are questioning how we could live into our baptismal covenant in a more tangible and visible manner. Today, February 19th, we will have a conversation surrounding this question at 12:30pm in the Parish Hall. Spaghetti and beverages will be served. Childcare will be available. Everyone’s voice is welcome, whether a newcomer or a long-timer; liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between.
Today (February 19, 2017) is the last Sunday for The Rev. David Brower as our Pastor During Transition. We are extremely grateful for his wise and gentle leadership. Please take the time to personally thank him at both services today. He will join us again to teach and lead discussions on Lenten Wednesdays (March 8 through April 5) following the tasty soup suppers in the Parish Hall.
From our gifted floral designers, Linda Busman & Sandie Snelling, the remaining poinsettias are available this SUNDAY only! Free to a good home!
This FRIDAY, February 17th, is Parents’ Night Out from 6pm to 10pm. $15/child or $30 max/family. RSVP to Jane Stidolph at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday. Pizza will be served with a fun-filled evening of crafts, games, popcorn, and a movie. All proceeds go towards our Episcopal Youth Camp Scholarship fund.
The Lunch Bunch will be meeting again this Sunday, February 12th, following the 10:30 AM service. We will be going to Big O’s (pizza, subs, pasta). Childcare is provided at the church with pizza and fruit for the kids.
This Sunday, February 5th, is the 180th Annual Meeting of the congregation will be held following the 10:30 AM service. Highlights include the Annual Report with ministries and financial details; new Vestry members elected, and addresses by Senior Warden, Jackie Taylor, and from the Rector Search Committee by Judy Freeman-Walker. Childcare will be available. Click here for the Annual Report.
This is a reminder that the first Sunday of the month is the Discretionary Fund Sunday. The loose plate offering and those in the green envelopes at both services will be designated for the Parish Discretionary Fund. We have had a dramatic increase in the number of requests for assistance recently and our fund is depleted. We also have a young parishioner in urgent need of financial and housing assistance. Any assistance with our member that you could give would be greatly appreciated. Checks may be made payable to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and denote the memo line as Discretionary Fund. Please call Mother Sue York if you are able to help.
If you are interested in forming relationships with other St. Mark’s members and exploring your own spiritual practices, please join the Devotional Group. We are currently reading Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved. We will meet every Sunday during the month of February in the St. Mark’s Library from 9:30-10:30 AM.
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am honored to have been selected as your new Rector. Who would have thought six months ago I would be making mental and physical preparations to move to Michigan! God’s plans are often times mysterious, are they not?
I frequently remind myself and my parishioners that we only have to look deep within ourselves to experience God’s grace alive in our hearts. We need to ‘pay attention’ to that grace and God’s grace as it is revealed in and through others in community, a kind of ‘both and’, if you will. That ‘both and’ is important in our spiritual lives as followers of Jesus, followers who are nourished and fed through private prayer and corporate prayer, the prayer we experience gathered around God’s Word, Eucharist and one another.
St. Mark’s has certainly been about prayer in the search process which has unfolded over the past year or so. I believe the Parish has been greatly blessed by dedicated individuals involved in the important ministry of that process, individuals I had the privilege of meeting last month. For me, the process initially unfolded through an invitation to consider St. Mark’s by The Rev. William Spaid, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. Who would have thought that that initial email invitation would have resulted in my being called to be the next Rector at St. Mark’s and the privilege of accepting that call?
My acceptance was very much based on paying attention to God’s grace within me as well as in and through the amazing and dedicated people involved in the search and approval process at St. Mark’s. To the person, genuine and warm hospitality have spoken loudly to me of God’s grace in abundance in the dedicated parishioners of St. Mark’s and in the Bishop of the Diocese. Your commitment to God and Christian formation for all ages through worship, prayer, sacred music, creative activities and outreach are consistent with my values as a priest, as I strive to serve God and God’s people as best I can.
I have very much appreciated the process of engagement and especially the dedication of Judy Freeman and the search team and Jackie Taylor, Senior Warden, and the Vestry. I’m grateful to them and to all those who have been involved in God’s work of calling me as your new spiritual leader. My hope and prayer is that God will give me the grace I need to be a ‘good’ spiritual leader, one who will continue the powerful witness of St. Mark’s and who will journey with you as we serve God and God’s people for years to come. Please be assured that I will minister as one among many, as we strive to discern God’s will in our individual lives and in our life together as the beloved community of God at St. Mark’s.
I give God thanks for the opportunity that awaits us as we will soon journey together in 2017 and for years to come. I pray for you and ask that you pray for me and my Parish, as I transition from Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts www.saintpeterscambridge.org to be with you at St. Mark’s very soon.
May God bless us in our journey and continue to shower grace upon us through the power of the Spirit and in the Name of Jesus. +God bless us, one and all! ~ Christian+