Seeing Ourselves in Prayer and Worship

How is your relationship with God? What things need to be given up and taken on this Lent? Our 8:30 and 10:30 liturgies on Sunday will provide opportunities to explore these questions. A new arrangement in the Centrum will also allow us to see each other and invite others to walk alongside us on this Lenten journey.

Seeing Ourselves in Faith Formation

Have you ever wondered what people who walk or drive by our church think of us? Sometimes our customs and routines have so thoroughly shaped us that they can hamper our awareness and impede our ability to identify new opportunities.

At our recent retreat, your rector and vestry began unpacking how our ‘4 pillars of faith’ might be used as platform for how we understand and do ministry at St. Mark’s. Each Sunday throughout Lent, Fr. Tyrone and members of the vestry will present on Welcome, Encounter, Justice, and Testimony. It will be a time where we can raise questions and reflect together on what meaning and implication each pillar has on our life at St. Mark’s. Each session will take place in CLC-1.

Seeing Ourselves in the Work of Racial Reconciliation

How do we reconcile the sin of racism? Can we? What is our personal obligation? What must we do socially and spiritually?

This year, our Lenten Study-Series will feature the provocative work of I Am Not Your Negro written by James Baldwin. In 2016, Filmmaker, Raoul Peck documented and completed much of what Baldwin was envisioning at the time of his death. This film and book will take us into the difficult but enlightening examination of race in America. Each Wednesday, we will view a portion of the film followed by discussion. The Lenten Study-Series begins on Wednesday, February 21st at 6:30 with a light meal. The film screening will begin at 7:30.

Toward the end of Lent, we will have more involvement with the book, I Am Not Your Negro. You are encouraged to order it online and use it as a Lenten devotional and study-companion to the film.

Jessie Maeck is coordinating transportation for those who have difficulty driving at night. Scholarships are also available for the book. Please see Fr. Tyrone

Lent 2018: Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us

Lent began on Wednesday, and I want to encourage you to enter deeply into this solemn season and take full advantage of the worship and learning opportunities at St. Mark’s.

Our Lenten theme: Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us, will provide us with a chance to come to terms with our human condition. And we’ll begin by examining the deep impact that structural and institutional racism has made and continues to make within our country, in the Church and upon our lives.

This Lent we can with wrestle with the parts of ourselves and the areas of our society which are sometimes hidden and unconscious—even to us—though nonetheless harmful. Your rector and vestry invite you into a time of prayer, conversation, and learning as we pursue together this major initiative for our parish.

–Fr. Tyrone

Be sure to view the post, Racial Reconciliation: How St. Mark’s can lead for more information on our Wednesday evening series.

Visual Arts seeks your help in providing challenging exhibits

The St. Mark’s Visual Arts Committee is charged with providing inspiring, creative and challenging works of art in the Community Life Center and elsewhere on campus as requested. We need your help as we seek new exhibits for 2018.

Our Rector Tyrone Fowlkes would like the committee to move toward exhibits that engage the viewers, toward exhibits that challenge and confront. We would like to have artists share their vision with the congregation and the community, such as during the Sunday school time or in a special lecture. Exhibit openings and receptions will be held when those working during the day can participate.

We need your help at making art shows an attraction to those both inside and outside of St. Mark’s. In particular, we need suggestions and ideas for shows, artists to provide those challenging and confronting art pieces and help setting up exhibits and hosting receptions. If you can provide any of these needs please let us know.

Of course, we will take suggestions throughout the year, but we are in need of new ideas now so we can start implementing them early in the New Year. Please send one or all of us your thoughts now in an email to co-chairs: Judy Radcliffe or Lloyd Childers, or 2018 chair: Richard Usanis .

Tuesday’s the night for pancakes, music and fun

Cameron McEwan sells Pancake Supper tickets to RPaul Smith. Cameron and PJ Plumeri will join other members of our Journey to Adulthood and Rite 13 youth groups Tuesday night for the Shrove Tuesday celebration.

This Tuesday you will want to be at St. Mark’s!

Laissez les bons temps rouler! as they say in New Orleans; let the good times roll.

St. Mark’s youth groups – Journey to Adulthood and Rite 13 – will be flipping the flapjacks in our Community Life Center. We’ll have Dixieland jazz, Mardi Gras beads and disco lights to lend a festive touch to this important fundraiser for our J2A pilgrimage.

Tickets are $5 each or $20 for a family of four or more. Children under 5 eat free. They will be on sale after both church services for this Sunday, or you can purchase them at the door on Feb. 13. The fun starts at 6 pm and goes to 7:30.

Non-pancake and gluten-free options will be available (casserole donations welcomed).

Racial Reconciliation: How St. Mark’s can lead

Our Lenten Study series this year will focus on the theme of racial reconciliation. This will be part of a broader-based effort at St. Mark’s to delve into this issue.

On Sunday after the 10:30 service, Father Tyrone Fowlkes led a discussion on the topic of Racial Reconciliation.

Last Sunday, Father Tyrone led a well-attended session to discuss how we might address this issue. “Why this issue, why now?” Father Tyrone asked. “Let’s look at where we might go on a very sensitive, very charged, very delicate, very necessary issue.”

Tyrone mentioned conversations with Vestry member Jessie Maeck concerning St. Mark’s participation in the New Hope Road Alliance of faith communities. “This is one thing for the alliance to rally around.”

The Charlottesville, Va., rally of white supremacists which erupted into violence occurred the day before Tyrone’s second sermon at St. Mark’s, so, he said, this is a timely topic.

Please make plans to join us for our Lenten study series that begins Wednesday, Feb. 21. It will feature “I Am Not Your Negro,” a documentary based on James Baldwin’s book.

“We can all make some contribution, if only the idea of awareness,” Tyrone said.

“There was a lot of coverage was around the clergy, of the skirmishes between the clergy and the white supremacists. That was a witness the church needs to make; Jesus calls us to care about the dehumanization of people, to have some response to that. There is a particular witness that the faith community can make.

“You and I have our own experiences with racism. Racism is sinful, it’s insidious, it’s of the devil, it robs people of their dignity and self-worth, it dims and diminishes the image of God that is in all of us. It diminishes opportunities and pathways to livelihood and to education. All of these have been impacted and infected by the sin of racism. Racism undermines people, communities, and the Gospel. We are all impacted by this.

“So my thought is that we open up this conversation, we invite our parish into this discussion. This may be an issue in which our parish takes some leadership in this diocese. Right now the work is beginning the conversation, being informed, looking at who we are and how we contribute either overtly or
covertly, or unknowingly and unwillingly. We begin to travel down the road that will be difficult; it will not be a walk in the park – and that is probably a good indication why you should be doing it. I’m not willing to sit silent and take it. We all lay down in bed at night with feelings about it, we all wake up in
the morning with feelings about it. We can’t dodge this one.”

Protest As Spiritual Practice And Liturgy – Adult Ed, Sunday, Feb 11

Karen Ziegler, former MCC pastor, nurse, and current activist

Karan Ziegler

Karen Ziegler

For many of us, street protests can evoke deep human emotions of love, grief, and awe and allow us to release frustration and loneliness through the vibration of unison chants and songs. In many ways this experience can be like church.  We march (process) and hold signs aloft displaying our beliefs.  As in liturgy, we are led through an experience that has a beginning, middle, and end.  These experiences allow us to feel connected with a community and give us courage to face difficult truths and together we find a way forward. We will look at some brief videos, share our experiences with protest, and experiment with some of the forms shared by protest and liturgy.


Report on Vestry retreat – Classes for Sunday, February 4


Father Tyrone and members of our Vestry will discuss the recent Vestry Retreat. Please join us to hear what the Vestry discussed in planning for our future together as a faith community.

Godly Play: Ages 3 and up

Children are invited to enter the exciting world of Godly Play, in which storytellers share ancient tales of God’s people and then invite our young ones to “wonder” about what they have heard. What glimmers of faith do they hear in the stories? How do they experience God? Where do they fit in the stories?

Rite 13 is for middle schoolers

We celebrate the individuality of each young person and his or her creative potential. The Rite-13 liturgy (A Celebration of Manhood and Womanhood) is the  community expression of this focus.

Journey to Adulthood

Journey to Adulthood is for older youth, engaging them with the skills and critical thinking necessary for adulthood. This three-year program culminates in a spiritual pilgrimage, which involves fundraising projects to pay for the trip. St. Mark’s groups have trekked to the Pine Ridge Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Epiphanies in Genesis – Adult class January 21

JacobWrestlesWithGodThxOne of the fascinating stories in Genesis is the story of Jacob. This week we look at Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestles with God and is renamed Israel. This is a strange epiphany. Jacob sees God “face to face” but his life is spared. What do we make of it?

Please join us at 9:30 a.m. for this, the last of three classes led by Dirk Hart.