Thursday, August 23, 2018

Blessed Comings & Goings

At St. Mark, we are always looking for new ways to welcome others into our faith community.  Thanks to a generous outreach grant from the St. Mark Endowment, we are hosting a community-wide outreach event on Rally Sunday, September 9, at 10:00 A.M.  Our theme this fall is, “Becoming a Welcoming Church.” We’re encouraging St. Mark members to invite a minimum of two guests to this special outdoor worship service.  We’re including two invitation cards in a separate letter to you this week.  More will be available at the church.

The morning will begin with our usual 8:00 service in the church nave with Holy Communion, followed by coffee and donuts.  However, we are combining the 9:30 and 11:00 services into one large outdoor service at 10:00 under a very large tent (60 X 60 feet), complete with seating for over 300 guests.  This tent will be located at the far east side of the parking lot, just north of the playground.  A combination of our many talented musicians will provide worship leadership, with Pastors Mark and Chad both speaking.  Backyard Grill will provide a catered outdoor meal at 11:00.

By providing two distinct worship experiences at 8:00 (no invitation cards necessary) and 10:00, we hope to accommodate the worship needs of everyone that day.  Regardless of which service you plan to attend, please consider welcoming your “neighbors” to worship at St. Mark.  These neighbors can be anyone with whom you come into contact…whether in your immediate neighborhood or beyond.  Perhaps, by God’s grace, St. Mark can be the renewing community of faith for which these neighbors have been waiting and searching.

In addition, I want to announce the retirement of Dave Blunt as our Finance Manager.  Dave has served in this position for nearly seven years, providing outstanding levels of leadership and management of our church finances.  We are deeply grateful for Dave’s commitment to the church and its mission.  It has been our privilege to work with him these many years.  With Dave’s departure comes the arrival of our new Finance Manager, Karen Osolin.  We’re delighted to welcome Karen as she shares her considerable experience and talents with us.  Dave and Karen will work together in the coming days as Karen learns the ropes around here.  I encourage you to thank Dave for his faithful service and to welcome Karen as she begins her ministry with us.  We continue to be blessed with amazing staff and leaders at St. Mark...thanks be to God!

Walking this journey of faith with you,
Pastor Mark Hagen

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Announcing Newness

As of today, I have been at St. Mark for three whole years. Three isn’t really a precious milestone. I’m told the traditional gift for folks who make it this far is just some paper. Nonetheless, it is a big deal for me. This is officially the longest full-time job I have ever held. These brief years have seen a lot of change here at St. Mark. The sanctuary is brighter and certainly more cozy. Common Grounds CafĂ© is host to many events. We have started a tradition of worshipping once a year under a big tent outside. Communion is celebrated at all our services. We have celebrated at the birth of children and grieved the loss of dear sisters and brothers. 

Like any community, our congregation will never stop changing. People move away and staff members retire, but there is always newness. Like a varied garden, flowers will bloom and fruits will grow in different places throughout the seasons.

As we look to the future together, I want to share with you two recent changes you may have already noticed. They may seem trivial, but they represent the hard work of our council and staff as we strive to make ourselves visible and available to our community.

First, we have a brand new logo! The council worked with a graphic designer to bring us a fresh new brand that captures some of St. Mark’s spirit. The three crosses are there, along with colors inspired by our stained glass.
It remains intentionally open as the lines direct our eyes inward and up through the central cross. The font also matches our outdoor signage. Changing all our printed materials to match this new look is an ongoing process. I am confident that this new logo will become a marker of our identity for the community just as our old logo was.

Second, it is with a huge sigh of relief that I am pleased to announce that we have a brand new website! Jill Davenport and I have worked hard this summer to create a more accessible, organized, and mobile-friendly place for folks to learn about what we are up to. It is at the same address as before: www.stmarklc.comThere are still links to weekly sermon videos, announcements, and blog posts like this one. One new feature that will be useful to both guests and members alike is a calendar of all upcoming events. When you are not sure if a meeting is happening or not, you can now check the website to see for yourself! Online signups for Confirmation and Sunday School are already posted in the Newsstand section.

As we work together to share God’s love with the world, I pray that these two changes, however small, may prove to be signs of welcome for our community.
Pastor Chad


Looking Back

Dear St. Mark friends, 2019 is a year I will never forget.   On January 13 of last year, my second granddaughter, Madlyn Olivia Hagen,...