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Pastoral Report - June 2015

Inspire … Serve … Grow are in our mission statement. Building Faith, Finding Friendships is our tagline. Do we express this as individuals and Disciples of Christ here at St. Mark’s? In Sunday’s sermon we heard Paul state, “we are adopted children of God, instilled with the Holy Spirit to say Abba Father and co-inheritor’s of the kingdom of God with Christ” yet do we just hear the words or do we live the words? Do they change how we live, make decisions and relate to each other?

It is becoming more obvious to me that we need some Holy Spirit power at St. Mark’s. We need to celebrate our victories, cherish our traditions, and move boldly and faithfully into the future with conviction and hope rather than anxiety and doubt. Are there challenges, you bet ya! Will there be times of concern - yep! Yet, I know if we let go of the doubt and accept the power of the Spirit of faith as the early disciples did we will accomplish miracles. It is not God who holds us back, it is ourselves and the whispers of the world telling us to be cautious and fearful.

I cannot lead this congregation without the help and inspiration of each one of you. Yes, people can give more, attend more, volunteer more, lead more ... yet they do give, they do attend, they do volunteer, and they do lead so let us rejoice for this and build off of this rather than belabor over the more we desire. Let us let go of living with the vision of scarcity and instead accept the richness of our blessings. This congregation will inspire…serve…grow with this perspective and with a bold faith or we will wither under the mantle of caution and fear. Will this entail change? Yes. Change led by the Holy Spirit. Let us not forget we stand in the tradition of the reformers who certainly changed not only the church but the world and call us to be a church that is constantly reforming.

I invite you, urge you to join me in the path of hope and faith and boldness so as I said Sunday we can soar like the Eagles we are created to be by God with Jesus in the lead and the Holy Spirit lifting us up.

Now to more mundane matters:

  • Synod Assembly met last week and my thanks to Stephen, Petra, Abraham, and Alexandra Elsen for their attendance and restaurant suggestions! There was the passing of the 2016 Spending Plan, elections, adoption of new compensation guidelines and adoption for the Synod to join the ELCA campaign “Always being Made New”. It was also good to have a few days with our son Andrew who was co-representing the ELCA at the Assembly.
  • VBS is coming along and you will be hearing volunteers tonight decorating the Parish Hall for our week long “Camp Kilimanjaro” event. We have 20 children register at this point and are hoping for a total of at least 50 so invite your neighbors, children and grandchildren.
  • ASP is approaching as well and I know Doug Fiery is busy with final planning. The group will be traveling to Harlan, Kentucky (the poorest county ASP serves) on June 14th.
  • Adult Sunday school is planned and will begin on the June 14th as well.
  • We had two funerals this past month, Rodney Miller and Sarah Young. Both services were held in the church followed by a reception.
  • Multiple hospital visits have been made to Baltimore and Meritus as well as several home bound visits with communion. I admit I am behind in these visits and have several planned for this week and the following.
  • Thanks to Kathy Barr, Mike Mogenson and Rich Mogenson as well as the Altar Guild for the music and flowers for Pentecost Sunday. We plan on having four Sundays a year with special music on Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Christ the King.
  • The Lunch Bunch is going very well with anywhere from 15 to 18 folks coming out each month
  • I am working on several baptisms and new members as well as one wedding this month of Paulina Danner and James Mills.
  • The small group youth experience is going well. Thanks to Elaine Rose, Gladys Spessard and Tiffany Shaw for their leadership.
  • The Learning Parties were a great success again. We had over 60 folks attend with the leadership of HARC and St. Mark’s. I am afraid to mention names as I know I will leave someone out so please know I am very thankful to each of you. We will have another round in the fall. I pray we all feel the power of God’s Spirit to lead this congregation into the future God desires. Together with the help of the Holy Spirit and the confidence of the grace of Jesus I know we can and will.

Pastor Stan