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
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.



Reading tutors needed at Wilburn Elementary

Many students at Wilburn Elementary School are reading below grade level. We hope that a small team of tutors will feel called to volunteer two hours a week in the classroom during the regular school day as literacy teachers.
  The Wilson Method is used; a multi-sensory phonics program that consistently results in great outcomes.

The training will occur Jan. 14-18, 2019, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, at The Hill Learning Center in Durham.
  Contact Linda Bamford right away to express your interest or to ask questions. Registration is due soon and places are limited. Social Outreach has limited funds to assist with covering the tuition, which is $300.
Linda Bamford, Terry Wall


Digging party attacks drainage problems

John Monahan and Ed Aguirre digging the new drainage trench.

Ed Aguirre(L) and John Monahan working on the new drainage trench. Burt Beames is present but not pictured.

The Properties team have been working on many projects around the church properties. One of the more pressing problems has been drainage around the church building. This has caused water in some of the ductwork which can lead to much more severe problems. Ed Aguirre and John Monahan can be seen at left working in the new trench as part of an effort to resolve these long-term drainage problems. 

This is only one of many things that the Properties committee is working on. It takes a lot of hard work to keep our physical plant in good repair.

It also takes money to fund those repairs and improvements that cannot be partially or completely handled with volunteer labor. Your contributions help fund this work and your pledges help us budget for this and future projects.

This Sunday we begin our discussion of “Between the World and Me”

This Sunday, Oct. 7, please join us for our first session to discuss “Between the World and Me” by Ta Nehisi Coates.
Coates is an American author, journalist, comic book writer, and educator. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues.

Between the World and Me is written as a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States.

Please read or listen to Part 1 (to page 71) before the discussion.
Audio book available:

St. Mark’s will hold regular services, classes on Sept. 16

To the Community of St. Mark’s,

Hurricane Florence has made landfall and has moved southwardland then westward across South Carolina —avoiding much of the Triangle area.

The storm has weakened quite a bit and the threat has been downgraded to tropical storm conditions. However, wind gusts, heavy rains and severe flooding are still possibilities.

With that, here is the plan for services and activities on Sunday, Sept. 16:

Preparation for services should begin Saturday by the Altar Guild, Flower Committee, hospitality and other groups.

Normal services will take place at 8:30 and 10:30 am.

Adult Formation with Jackson Doyle’s new Theology Study-Series begins at 9:30 AM in the Community Life Center.

Christian Education, including Godly Play, Rite 13 and Journey to Adulthood as well as nursery care services resume.

Following the 10:30 service, the Social Action Committee meets with a program and light lunch.

If conditions in the Triangle area change dramatically and for the worse, then these plans may be altered.

Even so, you should exercise judgement when traveling, walking and moving about the area.

You should travel only if the conditions in your area and final destination allow you to safely do so.

At the end of the day, all we really need is a Bible, prayer book, altar, bread, wine and each other to make community.

God Bless,

I look forward to seeing you soon.

The Rev. Tyrone Fowlkes, Rector

Christian education year begins Sept. 9; classes for adults, teens, tweens and tots

In addition to all the fun that will take place in the Courtyard beginning at 9 am this Sunday, please join us in Adult Formation at 9:30 am in the Community Life Center for a session of talk and introduction of our newest Adult Formation facilitators and coordinators: Jackson Doyle, Georgia McEwan, Rhonda Moody, Tim Rohde and the Rev. John Wall.
We will preview and discuss our plans for this fall and the early part of next year. Fr. Tyrone will share the results of what Episcopalians (generally) believe. The information will offer and assessment on where our church is today and will underline the basic importance of ongoing formation for Episcopalians.

Classes for children, tweens and teens
In addition to a robust adult program, St. Mark’s offers three youth programs:

  Godly Play
Classes are for preschool through second grades and third through sixth grade. Our children hear the stories of the Bible and of Christ’s ministry to our world. Parents and any adults who are interested are also invited.

Rite 13
This is a two-year program for ’tweens and young teens. This Sunday we will catch up with what we’ve been doing this summer, discuss possible field trips and play St. Mark’s Jeopardy.

Journey to Adulthood
  This program for high school students at St. Mark’s focuses on building relationships, seeking the holy and searching for answers to tough questions. We take seriously the need to deal with what is real for young people, to honor their questions, and to assure them that they are real people with real, valid, and authentic experiences.
We use the Journey to Adulthood curriculum, a three-year program that balances Bible study, prayer, and both serious and playful activities to nurture the whole person. The group also raises funds for a mission trip that caps the program. Past trips have been taken to the Lakota Reservation in South Dakota and to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in Costa Rica. Our current J2A group is planning a mission trip to San Francisco.


Discussions of “Between the World and Me” begin Oct. 7

As part of St. Mark’s racial reconciliation work, please start reading “Between the World and Me,” by Ta Nehisi Coates. We will have three meetings to discuss this important book.
The book is a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States. Please read the first section, to page 71, before our first session. An audio version is available from Amazon.
We will have the discussion on three Sundays in our Community Life Center, beginning on Oct. 7.
Novelist Toni Morrison wrote that Coates filled an intellectual gap in succession to James Baldwin. Editors of The New York Times and The New Yorker described the book as exceptional. The book won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis,” said the website GoodReads. “Americans have built an empire on the idea of ‘race,’ a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men – bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?”
“In a media world populated with pundits, so-called experts and public intellectuals driven by ego and familiar agendas, Coates’s voice stands nearly alone,” said The New York Times.

St. Mark’s ministry to women leaving prison wins grant

Look for an article in this month’s The Disciple that highlights work related to a Mission Endowment Grant that cites the work of St. Mark’s with Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women, most specifically our Re-Entry Support Circle.
The purpose of The Mission Endowment Grant is to establish “the Episcopal presence of Christ in communities in ways that bring the community to see Christ’s presence among them.” A unique feature of the grant is that it allows for partnerships with community and interfaith organizations, requiring only that one participating member of the project be associated with the diocese. In November 2017, the N.C. Diocese awarded the following grant, with St. Mark’s as the party associated with the diocese.
Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women: $25,000 a year for two years.

To partially fund a Mentor and Outreach Manager position which will serve ministries at the N.C. Correctional Institute for Women; First Presbyterian, Raleigh and St. Mark’s, Raleigh. This person will implement an outreach plan for the organization to build community involvement and awareness.
This grant was initiated by our former Deacon, Sallie Simpson, and Ron Aycock, then chair of Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women. St. Mark’s Re-entry Support Circle is the pilot project for Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women and Catholic Charities joint effort to establish support for women released from prison. Co-chairs of St. Mark’s Circle are Carol Monahan and Ann Stokes. Other members include Lynne Poole, Linda Bamford, Becky Brownlee, and Sara Stohler, along with Clarissa Schaeffer (Yavneh) and Linda Burton.