February 3, 3019


The glory of God is often revealed when and where it is least expected. God uses our lips to declare that glory, inexperienced and hesitant though they may be. God uses our love to demonstrate that glory and so urges us to exercise it. God uses Jesus of Nazareth, water and the word, bread and wine, to reveal God’s glory where and when God chooses. Take heed, lest the glory of God slip through our midst unnoticed.

This Sunday at St. Mark's 

9:00 am - Holy Communion with Children’s Time - Sanctuary
9:50 am - Sunday School - Sunday School Rooms

10:00 am - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall
10:00 am - Confirmation - Youth Room
10:00 am - Adult Forum: Let’s Go to Seminary - Heritage Hall

“It’s ALL Greek (and Hebrew, etc,.) to Me”
10:00 am - Journeys in Faith - JIF Room
11:00 am - Choral Eucharist Worship Service - Sanctuary
12:15 pm - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall

Let’s go to Seminary - February 3 - March 3

The “Let’s Go to Seminary” series features four of the core faculty and one senior adjunct faculty at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  Their teaching reflects cutting edge developments in their respective disciplines, a passion for teaching and theological education, and the innovative new curriculum being launched at PLTS.  That curriculum prepares future leaders of the church for transformative ways of doing and being church that are centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, generate life-giving relationships and spirituality, and advance social justice and environmental well-being.

“It’s ALL Greek (and Hebrew, etc,.) to Me”: The Art of Translating Scripture  What does it mean to translate the Bible into the vernacular -- the language of the people?  Some historians have argued that Christian history is nothing but discussions on how to translate and interpret the Bible.  In fact, Luther had to “invent” early modern high German to proclaim Scripture to 16th-century Lutherans.  This adult forum journeys through the two-millennia task of figuring out how to speak about God and humanity through the multiple genres of the biblical witness. 

Feb 10  
Dr. Shauna Hannan, Associate Professor of Homiletics
“Preaching:  A Ministry of the Whole Congregation” 
Location: Auditorium

Feb 17
Dr. Luis Menendez-Antuna, Assistant Professor of New Testament
“Dancing with Scripture”
Location: Auditorium

Feb 24
Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Professor of Theological and Social Ethics
“Christian Ethics as Radical Love Embodied”
Location: Auditorium

March 3
Dr. Carol Jacobson, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Constructive Theology, “What Neuroscience Teaches us about Faith Formation”
Location: Auditorium

We have a new Teaching Parish student from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary--Evangeline Dai.  She will be with us for Spring and Fall semesters of this year, and spending her time primarily on Sunday mornings learning about the worship life at St. Mark’s, taking on some leadership roles in worship, getting to know the members of the congregation, and learning about the behind-the-scenes operation of a church.  We will have a fuller description about Evangeline in the forthcoming newsletter. We will be installing her this Sunday, and welcome her into our community of faith.  

Registration is now open for the week-long camps at Mt. Cross Ministries--our Lutheran Outdoor Ministry just north of Santa Cruz.  There are several exciting opportunities for children and youth of all ages.  Brochures are available on the bulletin board and table in Heritage Hall.  You also can go to www.mtcross.org for more information, costs, and registration.  Register prior to May 1 for an early-bird discount.  Think about coordinating your registration with other members at St. Mark’s so that your children can go to camp together. 

New to St Mark’s?  Thinking about your faith journey and a community to support it? Thinking about becoming a member of St Mark’s? You are invited to join in on the newest group of Journeys in Faith!  We meet on Sundays at 10:00 in the Urban Life Center in the Journeys in Faith room.  Join us as we reflect together on our lives of faith.  For more information, contact Liv Beck (beckliv@gmail.com; 415-205-3292) 

All women are welcome to come and study together at our evening and/or morning Women of the ELCA Gatherings.  In February our groups will meet on:

First Tuesdays – February 5 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in the Conference Roomin the Urban Life Center.  All women are invited to come for dessert and fellowship for the first half hour and then discussion until 8:30.   This month we will share our favorite novels.  Even if you can’t make our meeting, send me the name of your favorite novel to add to our list.  (suzathome@comcast.net).  

Second Tuesdays – February 12 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in Heritage Hall. 
All women are invited to come for study at 11:00 and then at noon to eat their sandwich or salad and share fellowship.  Drinks and dessert will be provided.  Our Bible study will center on “By Night and Day: Coming to Faith in Jesus..

If you have any questions, please contact Suzanne Smith at 415.285.7438 or suzathome@comcast.net.

Hospitality:  “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”  Christian hospitality:  the very same thing except we provide hospitality in the name of Christ! We are putting together a Hospitality Team at St. Mark’s and are looking for volunteers to serve on this important team.  We provide hospitality at our fellowship festivities on Sundays, our Oktoberfest celebration, receptions following worship service, and more.  Join Pr. Elizabeth to be part of the leadership at St. Mark’s in providing and coordinating our hospitality to guests, visitors, strangers, and friends.  We will meet on Sunday, March 3 at 12:30 in Heritage Hall.  Questions?  Contact Pr. Elizabeth at ekdale@stmarks-sf.org or 415 928-7770 ext. 2300

St. Mark’s Southwest SF Neighborhood Group will be gathering at Tower Burger (729 Portola Dr) on Monday 2/11 starting around 6:30PM.  They have several types of burgers, salads and other food and drink available for purchase. Please email Shelly Taylor and let her know  if you plan to drop by so we can save tables ( Shellymtay@gmail.com.) After dinner, we will go around the corner for dessert at Pr. Ekdale’s home: 185 Evelyn Way. All are welcome!

As of this week, we have received $439,821 in commitments for 2019 with a total of 113 commitments out of a possible 186 giving units, totaling 61% participation.  Thank you for everyone who has made a commitment! Our goal is to have everyone participate by sharing their commitment to St. Mark’s ministries.  Please bring your commitment card to worship and place it in the offering plate, mail it to the church office, or go online and fill out your commitment card on the website: stmarks-sf.org/giveagift. Every commitment has a direct impact to St. Mark’s ministries in 2019 and our goal is to have 100% participation!

THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8  -  at 7:00 PM:  Come and enjoy another CONCERT TO BENEFIT REFUGEES stranded overseas in Lesvos, Greece.  Having fled war in their homeland in search of safety they are denied entry to Europe and are now stuck in an overcrowded refugee camp, living in appalling conditions. MUSIC LOVERS: You can help!  San Francisco’s Interfaith Refugee Welcome is again co-sponsoring a concert with our wonderful friends at Zion Lutheran Church, featuring highly acclaimed pianist Sarah Cahill and virtuoso violinist Kate Stenberg performing contemporary chamber music. For a preview, watch them perform together here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd0k3d4F-bw Zion Lutheran is located at 9th Avenue and Anza in San Francisco. (Take MUNI’s Geary Bus #38; limited street parking also available.) All concert donations go to the non-profit  Dirty Girls of Lesvos Island. This unique group of women meets basic clothing and bedding needs of refugees on the island of Lesvos, Greece by salvaging, washing and redistributing literally tons of items to the refugees. Come - enjoy wonderful music and learn about this fascinating approach in refugee aid.  Suggested donation: $15./ $25 for families. If you cannot attend the concert, you may wish to learn more about this aid organization and contribute directly online through its U.S.agent CardiaCenterforWomen.org.

February 10: Big Group: Valentines for MLT and Lenten Box art.
March 10: Big Group: Mardi Gras/Lent observance.
March 24: Big Group: Pastor led lesson on the Sacraments
April 14: Big Group: Palm Sunday lesson and activity.
April 21: Easter: No Sunday School
April 28: Big Group: Passover meal and lesson.
May 19: Bay to Breakers, no Sunday School
May 26: Last day of Sunday School PARTY!!

St. Mark’s held its annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 27.  Some of the meeting highlights were:

  • The congregation approved the 2019 budget.  The budget includes a 3% cost of living increase for all of St. Mark’s staff and a 1% merit increase for Pastoral staff in keeping with synod guidelines.  Income from building use as well as general envelope giving has increased in 2019; all ministry teams have been fully funded as requested. 

  • A report from Treasurer Steve Ernst about our 2018 income and expenses: 2018 came in on budget.  General envelope giving was as estimated at $460,000 and was realized and income from building use increased in 2018.   2018 income was $739, 241.  Total expenditures were $765, 757.  The shortfall was anticipated and covered by the Contingency Reserves.

  • Mary Ritter, Sanctuary Task Force chair led an in-depth discussion with the congregation about what it means for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church to become a Sanctuary Congregation and addressed concerns.  These efforts will include AAMPARO with a broader scope.  Members of the Sanctuary Task Force supported the discussion points:  Laura Evenson, Kimberly Hamilton-Lam, Jason Jennings, Pastor Ron Moe-Lobeda and Cora Rose.

  • The congregation approved the resolution for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco to become a Sanctuary Congregation.  (70 for, 11 against). 

  • In addition to his printed report, Pastor Moe-Lobeda spoke of his work on the Outreach Team as well as on a new task force developed to determine the best use of the Urban Life Center - to utilize the ULC to provide services for seniors, children or the homeless.  He urges the congregation to invite a friend to service and also invite someone to return to St. Mark’s who has not attended lately and let them know they are missed.

  • In addition to her printed report, Pastor Ekdale spoke of her continued Governance work, with the Task Force to improve and define the working relationship of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (SMLC) with Martin Luther Tower (MLT).  She also highlighted the many opportunities to strengthen our faith and invites the congregation to attend one of the many 10:00 am adult forums.  She spoke of the 3 Goals and 3 Open Questions established by Council during their fall retreat and welcomes more conversation with the congregation throughout the year.  Appreciation was also expressed for the diligent work of the Sanctuary Task Force throughout this year. 

  • Report from St. Mark’s Council President Mark Semonian included a thank you to all St. Mark’s staff and special thank you to Ernst and Omer Voss for their many hours of dedication as they complete their current terms. A special thank you was also expressed to the co-chairs of the successful 3-year Capital Campaign:  Greg Jahnke and Roger Ostrem.

  • Report from MLT by Voss, Board President.  Voss provided an update on the many upgrades to the tower this year:  renovations of both elevators, plans for new windows and improved senior programming.  MLT also plans for re-syndication, “a new mortgage” Voss states that will help provide funding to continue affordable housing, programming for seniors and support to SMLC.  MLT also provided a $250,000 grant to SMLC for the Capital Campaign in 2018.

  • Report on St. Mark’s Square development by Jeff Kohler:  efforts continue and are on a positive path.  All development plans support the mission and ministries of SMLC.  Development will include mixed use spaces, some examples provided:  local retail, community health offices, non-profit offices, St. Mark’s offices and ministry partners, day care and some portion affordable housing.

  • Election of incumbent Council Members: Nadine Robinson and Matthias Will for 3-year terms, and new member, Emma Gray, youth Council Member for a 3-year term.

Respectfully submitted, Cristin Owens, St. Mark’s Council Secretary

If you didn’t receive an Annual Report, please pick one up at the information table in Heritage Hall.

A workshop to find solutions for housing 1500 unaccompanied immigrant youth in Alameda County schools on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2 - 5:30 PM.

Location: FirstPres Hayward Church, 2490 Grove Way, Castro Valley, CA 94546. Phone (510) 581-6203.  Register online at: https://tinyurl.com/uiyhousingworkshop. LET’S DO IT - learn how we can help these youth!

We could carpool from St. Mark’s after 11:00 worship - less than one hour by car; BART is also possible. Who can drive? Who can go?  Interested? Talk to Cora Rose or Linda Krauskopf. 

Director of Music...Dr. Timothy Zerlang
Assisting Ministers...Evan Schieber (9); Phil Krikau, Steve Ernst (11)
Lectors...Randy Schieber (9); Lisa Gray (11)
Communion Ministers...Kate Knickerbocker, Aaron Greig (9); Jesse Peirce, Rommel Schiefelbein-Guerrero
Altar Guild...Sharon Reinbott
Acolytes...Emma Gray, Katja Jackson
Sacristan...Liv Beck
Ushers...Jon Moeller,  Vanessa Hierbaum (9) Donna Dindia, Linda Jackson, Pam Cheung (11)
Fellowship Hour Chairs...Barbara Bock
Next Week’s Fellowship Hour Chairs...Nadine Robinson, Kimberly Hamilton-Lam