If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2
2017 was a year shaped by transition and anticipation. This was our first full year living with our major renovations to the church facility. These necessary improvements have been instrumental to our increased hospitality, both in worship and fellowship. The community-at-large has provided excellent feedback, showing increasing interest in utilizing our facility for multiple meetings and events. Fellowship time has taken on new meaning here! I anticipate that 2018 will continue to build on this trend of offering new opportunities for our community to share our beautiful space.
Once again, our entire church staff is deserving of commendation as it works diligently to produce effective and inspirational leadership and results, week after week. They are worthy of our appreciation and expressions of gratitude as faithful partners in ministry here at St. Mark.
Likewise, our Congregation Council, various committees, and many volunteers continue to provide high levels of commitment and productivity…both in leadership and service. I have been pleased these past thirteen years to witness a positive growth in the levels of service and outreach by our members. Such involvement reflects not only the spiritual health of the congregation, but the joy of servanthood we share as followers of Jesus.
2017 was a transitional year for my family, as well. My mother, Sylvia, passed away on January 28 last year. I am indebted to you for your compassion and support during this time of loss. 2017 also included moving Naomi into day-care at The Atrium Dementia Care Center from March through November…and then into full-time care at Anam Glenn Memory Care beginning December 1. This transition has been the most difficult experience for me, personally. I am indebted to you for the remarkable care you’ve extended to Naomi and me throughout this process.
As your Senior Pastor, I am both challenged and fed in my assorted roles as preacher, teacher, counselor, administrator, head of staff, and resident Vikings fan…the last being the most hazardous! Together, we are growing in this holy partnership to advance God’s mission in this community and beyond. While 2017 was shaped by transition and anticipation, I envision 2018 as a year of celebration and inspired planning for our future. I am proud to be among you and to share in the marvelous activity of the Holy Spirit: growing in faith…sharing God’s grace!
Walking this journey of faith with you,
Pastor Mark Hagen