Bishop Samuel Rodman visits

On Sunday, Dec. 16, Bishop Samuel Rodman of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina visited St. Mark’s. He preached at our 10:30 service and confirmed five new members of our congregation.

We welcome Bishop Samuel Rodman on Sunday

  The Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman will visit our parish this Sunday, December 16.  Although he was with us in April for our Celebration of New Ministry, this Sunday we are blessed to welcome him back to St. Mark’s.  
  Bishop Sam will preside and preach at the 10:30 am service. There will only be one service that day and the bishop’s visit is a wonderful and appropriate occasion for the entire community to be together.  The bishop will also confirm and/or receive those who’ve been preparing for this important step in their faith journey.
  The morning will begin with a welcome reception of Bishop Sam at 9 am.  At 9:30, the bishop will lead adults and young people in a parish-wide formation session.  He will have an opportunity to discuss 10 areas of leadership development that are vital to the work of our diocese.  Worship and the celebration of Advent III will follow. Finally, at 12:30, Bishop Sam will meet with the Rector and Vestry. Though this is a closed meeting, the bishop will offer his voice and vision to our ongoing work together. I hope you will make every effort to join us for this important day in the life of St. Mark’s.
             The Rev. Tyrone Fowlkes, Rector

First light of Advent

On Saturday, Dec. 1, we gathered in our Community Life Center for an Advent Workshop featuring Br. Daniel-Chad. On Sunday, Dec. 2, we lit the first candle of Advent.
“I am still walking in the energy and light that were offered me by members of St. Mark’s this past weekend,” Br. Daniel-Chad wrote. “At St. Mark’s I found: openness, listening, vulnerability, probing. All in the Spirit!  I am enriched for it.”

Your gifts can help women leaving prison

St. Mark’s will again participate in the chaplains’ program to provide gifts at Christmas for women in prison and in the Interfaith Prison Ministry Hope bag program.
The chaplains are asking St. Mark’s to provide as many of the
200 notebooks and pens needed as possible. The kind of notebook is one that is not spiral bound (see picture); any kind of pen is fine. The Hope bag (a bag given to each woman as she leaves the minimum security unit of N.C. Correctional Institution for Women) includes the following:
Devotional book, toothbrush and toothpaste, body wash, lip balm, socks, journal and pen, beauty wipes, and (most needed) a $25 card to a store such as Walmart or Target.
You can bring any of the items to St. Mark’s any Sunday until Christmas. If you prefer, you can give money for the purchase of a card or other items.

Alternative Gifts nourish the true spirit of Christmas

The Malawi Children’s Village is one of the charities you can support with St. Mark’s Alternative Gifts. 

 

Do you hate the holiday rush; the emphasis on materialistic gifts; and the pressure to find just the perfect gift? St. Mark’s has a solution.
This year our Alternative Gift Giving includes three organizations that provide specific support to those facing extreme challenges such as those impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the California fires: Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry; Episcopal Relief and Development – U.S. Disaster Program; and Doctors without Borders.
In addition, three organizations that focus on children and families will be included. They are New Hope Road Alliance (supports Wilburn Elementary and Wilders Grove Youth Center and other neighborhood projects); Friends of Fundal; and Malawi Children’s Village.
Grace Sved is again organizing this effort. Instead of giving in to the holiday madness and losing sight of the true meaning of Christmas, consider a donation to one of the nonprofit organizations.
You can make the donation in honor or in memory of someone. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Beginning this Sunday, Dec. 2, and going through Dec. 23, we will accept donations in our Community Life Center during Coffee Hour. Look for the table with the Christmas tree. You can select from a variety of cards designed for the occasion. Each card will include a description of the organization to which you are contributing.
Take the pressure off and participate in St. Mark’s Alternative Gift Giving program. All of your donation goes to the designated cause.

Looking from Afar

A 2018 Advent Workshop at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Advent in the Company of Thomas Merton
with Br. Daniel-Chad

This Saturday, December 1, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (includes lunch; rsvp required)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Raleigh, Community Life Center
1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh, NC 27604

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was the most prominent monastic voice of the twentieth century and a deep spiritual thinker, writer, and peace activist.  In this workshop, Br. Daniel-Chad will review Merton’s life and singular contribution to contemporary spirituality by viewing and discussing the award-winning film Soul Searching:  The Journey of Thomas Merton.  Then we will invite Merton into our 2018 Advent practice through readings and exercises in the Advent and Christmas Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton booklet. Participants will take home their copy of the booklet to use throughout the Advent season.


A limited number of copies of the workshop booklet have been ordered for registered participants. A $5 donation suggested.

When replying, please indicate if you would like us to reserve a copy for you!

 


RSVP at jmclaurin@stmarks-ral.org with: ‘Advent Workshop’ in the subject line or call: 919-231-6767.

Thanksgiving Day service at 10:30 am; Advent Workshop is Dec. 1

Please mark your calendars for the following events as we begin the season of Advent.

Thanksgiving Day
  A Service of Thanksgiving at 10:30 am Thursday, Nov. 22. Fr. Tyrone assures everyone that the service will be concluded in time to get home for Thanksgiving dinner,

Saturday, Dec. 1
Advent Workshop, 10 am to 3 pm: The theme is Looking from Afar.
See details below.
Sunday, Dec. 16

An Episcopal visit with Conversation, Confirmations and Receptions, with the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman.
At 9:30 am, during our education hour, there is an Intergenerational presentation by Bishop Rodman in our Community Life Center.
There will be a single service at 10:30 am.

St. Mary’s School art show shines at our Community Life Center

The opening reception for St. Mary’s student artists was attended by about 30 people. Many of the attendees were the artists and their friends. Several sets of parents also attended.
All were impressed by the range of interpretations of “Joy” by the artists. The artists were particularly pleased at being able to see all their works hanging together, something they hadn’t seen before.
St. Mark’s parishioners enjoyed seeing the variety of the artwork and being able to talk to some of the artists about how they developed their work given that they were only told that the theme was “Joy.”
Rector/Artist Tyrone Fowlkes spent considerable time talking with the young artists about their work and their goals. The artwork will be on display until the first week in January and any comments you have would be appreciated by the Visual Arts Committee: Lloyd Childers, Bob Scully, Gene Brown, and Fr. Tyrone Fowlkes.

Parish survey looks at who we are, what we want

                     By Tim Rohde
SENIOR WARDEN
In early summer, a group from the Communications Committee surveyed the congregation to understand their preferences in getting information and the types of information they desired to get.
  Sixty-seven people returned forms. The results are stated as the percentage of people who selected a particular option in the questions. Because people can select more than one response the total will be greater than 100 percent.
  When asked what electronic platforms you regularly use, 88 percent of respondents said email, 52 percent the Web, 51percent Facebook, and 19 percent some combination of Twitter, Instagram, land line, text, and Google.
  As for devices used to get information, 85 percent said computers, 66 percent phones, 52 percent tablets, and 8 percent a combination of newspaper, landline, or watch.
  Information about St. Mark’s is most frequently gotten from The Messenger (96 percent), email (67 percent), committees (13 percent), other events (12 percent), and web or annual report (7 percent).
  Respondents would like to get their information from email (58 percent), The Messenger (51 percent), Worship (8 percent), the web (8 percent), and committees or landline (5 percent).
  Two insights arise from this portion of the survey. First, The Messenger and email are by far the principal means for congregants to get information about St. Mark’s. This underscores the centrality of Bill DuPre’s role and the importance of making The Messenger as user-friendly as possible.
  The second lesson is that the primary audience for the website is potential visitors, and it should be structured to serve this audience. Secondary features can be added for congregants.
  The last two questions are interesting.
  What information about St. Mark’s would it be helpful to have?

Calendar, 84 percent; Vestry news, 73 percent; Reflections from Rector, 70 percent; Prayer list, 64 percent; Committee news, 66 percent; Server schedule, 57 percent; Lectionary, 48 percent;

Episcopal news, 48 percent; Pastoral care, 9 percent
  How would you describe St. Mark’s to a visitor?

Welcoming, 34 percent; Sermons/Eucharist, 19 percent; Friendly, 15 percent; Progressive, 15 percent; Social Justice, 12 percent; Loving, 10 percent; Diverse, 10 percent; Caring, 9 percent; Open, 9 percent; Spiritual, 7 percent; Joyful and vibrant, 7 percent; Community-oriented, 7 percent; Warm, 6 percent; Aging, 6 percent.

Given the types of information from congregants, what calls for an assessment of current information and identification of potential improvement. This could be in The Messenger, on the web site, or through targeted emails (e.g. committee information and server information). The description of St. Mark’s seems in line with descriptions I have heard people give and my personal experience. These are themes that should be highlighted in our outreach on the website.