Support group forming for ex-prisoners

Yavneh and St. Mark’s seek to help released women

St. Mark’s and Yavneh plan to form a pilot reentry support circle with Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women.

Many women – particularly those for whom drugs and substance use led to their convictions – risk re-engagement with their previous lifestyles if they return home. Some choose to stay in Raleigh for that reason. However, according to a March 2014 report on the impact of incarceration on families and the women who sustain them, cost and discrimination Interfaith Prison Ministry For Womenare the top barriers to finding housing after release from prison, and in Raleigh, much of the low income and affordable housing that formerly incarcerated women depend on is being sold to private developers.

Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) and Catholic Charities of Raleigh have joined forces to address this important issue. We need eight to ten persons to be in  relationship with a woman for 12 to 18 months. At present we have five people from St. Mark’s and one from Yavneh.

This provides an opportunity for us to practice our faith in a tangible way. Through a Reentry Support Circle we will share ourselves and cooperate with other congregations as a part of an effort to reduce recidivism and assist women, one person at a time, build a new life.

Meeting set for Aug. 23

A first meeting (combined information session, lunch and first training) at St. Mark’s is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 10am to 3 pm in our Community Life Center.

To become a part of this support group or for additional information, contact Sara Stohler at 919-821-4338 or You may come to this first meeting just to learn more without making a definite commitment.


‘Blessing of the Animals’ is Saturday; animal rescue ministry is Sunday

Saturday: Join us Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. for our annual “Blessing of the Animals.”
The service is in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town. He and his early brothers, staying in a small hovel, allowed themselves to be displaced by a donkey.
Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”
Sunday: Martha Myers speaks to our adult class about her family’s ministry of rescuing abused and abandoned animals.

‘Blessing of the Animals’ is Oct. 1 at St. Mark’s

St. Mark’s holds its annual ‘Blessing of the Animals’ Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10:30 a.m.
The service is in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town. He and his early brothers, staying in a small hovel, allowed themselves to be displaced by a donkey.
Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”
Please bring your furry, feathered or finned friends for this happy occasion. They should be on leashes, in carriers, in cages or in bowls.



Parish Area Care groups: Fellowship, fun and support in times of need

As the Parish Life Commission is strengthening and revitalizing Parish Area Care groups, people may be asking what they are.
Here is the reminder for old-timers and answer for questioners.
Parish Area Care at St. Mark’s reaches out to all members of the congregation and helps them to grow in awareness that they are loved and cared about. PAC members are present to one another through life transitions, giving and receiving love and support. Friendships develop and members become aware of each other’s special needs.
A Parish Area Care Group is composed of families and individuals from a geographical location. Everyone is in a PAC group. Although the gatherings are social in nature, the primary purpose of a PAC is “to respond in love to the needs of our neighbors.” It does not work to accomplish other tasks within the church. Participation in the activities of the group is voluntary.
Every PAC is long-term. If the group becomes too large, it can divide; or if too small, it may combine with another PAC.
Each PAC decides on its own activities and how often it will meet. Most groups find that six-week intervals work out well. The favorite activity is a potluck meal at one another’s homes. However, groups are encouraged to try out new ideas, e.g. a picnic in a park or even a trip to the beach. The Community Life Center is also available for meetings. Children are welcomed. If you have relatives, friends, or neighbors who are looking for a church home, bring them along.


Dear St. Mark’s Family,

Tonight our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the violence in Orlando, and to the LGBT community, the innocent targets of hate.

At times like this, the church is a place of comfort and refuge. For those who wish to stand in solidarity with others seeking comfort and healing, there will be a vigil at Pullen Memorial tomorrow (Monday) evening. Here is the information from their Facebook page:

“Pullen Memorial Baptist Church will host a candlelight/prayer vigil Monday night at 7:00 pm to remember the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fl. Reverend Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial, Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University, and Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham will be among the speakers. We will stand in solidarity with one another believing always that love overcomes hate.”

I am ill-equipped to act as a spiritual leader in these moments; the Rev. John Wall has offered the following words of comfort, compliments of the Episcopal Church:

Compassionate God, Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen


Virginia Cleary, Senior Warden

A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them.  Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  (Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer 1979)  


October 18, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., St. Mark’s Welcomes Special Guest Speaker

The Episcopal Farmworker Ministry (EFwM), a joint ministry between the Diocese of East Carolina and North Carolina, has been serving farmworkers in Johnston, Harnett and Sampson Counties in eastern North Carolina for nearly three decades. EFwM ministers to 3,500 farmworkers each growing season by providing Spanish-language sacramental ministries and Eucharist celebrations. Some of the programmatic ministries include immigration assistance; transportation services; food, clothing and toiletry kit collection and distribution; labor camp visits; counseling; and English as a Second Language (ESL classes), as well as a visitors program for church, community and school groups. No one is denied services based on ability to pay. Come, learn more about this important ministry, and welcome our guest speaker from EfwM, Dr. Juan Carbana, Interim Director.  Join us in our Community Life Center between the 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. services.

Bringing the Whole of Who We Are

In the Episcopal Church we get teased about ‘Episcopal aerobics.’  That’s because in our worship services we bring the whole of who we are — embodied creatures, made in the image of God.  We stand…we sit…we kneel and, at St. Mark’s, we walk forward and form a circle to receive communion.  We speak, we sing, we are silent.  We are younger and older and all in between.  We use words ancient and contemporary.  We seek and we wonder, we muse and we ask.  Bring the whole of who you are to be with us Sundays at 8:30 or 10:30 a.m. for services and at 9:30 a.m. for intellectual and spiritual inquiry.