February 4, 2018

In Isaiah it is the one God who sits above the earth and numbers the stars—it is that God who strengthens the powerless. So in Jesus’ healing work we see the hand of the creator God, lifting up the sick woman to health and service (diakonia). Like Simon’s mother-in-law, we are lifted up to health and diakonia. Following Jesus, we strengthen the powerless; like Jesus, we seek to renew our own strength in quiet times of prayer.

8:00 am - Church Council/MLT Board Conference  - Mercy Center
9:00 am - Holy Communion with Children’s Time - Sanctuary
9:50 am - Sunday School - Sunday School Room
10:00 am - Adult Forum: Orientation to Nueva Esperanza Program - Heritage Hall
10:00 am - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall

10:00 am - Journeys in Faith - JIF Room
10:05 am - Confirmation - Youth Room
11:00 am - Choral Eucharist Worship Service - Sanctuary  
12:15 pm - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall
4:00 pm - Ensemble for These Times Concert - Sanctuary
6:00 pm - SF Interfaith Shelter - Auditorium

Pastor Susan serves as our preacher and presider this Sunday while Pastors Ron and Elizabeth gather in retreat with the Church Council, Martin Luther Tower Board and the Governance Task Force at the Mercy Center in Burlingame.  Pastor Susan recently served First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco.  Please welcome her this Sunday to St. Mark’s.  Our leadership teams are meeting at the Mercy Center for two days of reflection, decision-making and planning about governance issues at St. Mark’s.  Dan Hotchkiss, author of the book, “Governance and Ministry”, is helping facilitate these important conversations.  Please hold our leaders and pastors in your prayers.  

Orientation to Nueva Esperanza Program: Solidarity & Accompaniment with Migrant Communities
One year ago, St. Mark’s became an AMMPARO Welcoming Congregation. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity’s Nueva Esperanza program is a collaborative initiative seeking to respond to the needs of recently arrived minors and families, and individuals released from detention who require support, housing, and resources. The Nueva Esperanza program offers the resources, passion, and presence of faith communities in direct accompaniment with our migrant neighbors. Learn more about how to form an accompaniment team at St. Mark’s by attending the Nueva Esparanza orientation!

FEB. 11: #MeToo and the Church
How has the church responded to the #MeToo movement?  What do people of faith have to say about it?  Join Pr.Elizabeth, Jo Chadwick and others for an honest and safe discussion about sexual harassment and how the church responds   We will introduce a draft of the Social Statement:  Women and Justice as a framework for our discussion. Everyone welcome - men and women!

UPCOMING FORUMS: Lutherans Doing Ethics
If theology is how we speak about God, then ethics is how we speak about life.  Ethics is our lived response to the good news of the gospel.  As Lutherans, we have a penchant for ethics—for recognizing that we are sinners striving to live as saints.  But, as Lutherans, do we think differently, live differently precisely because we are Lutherans?  Please join us as we consider “Lutherans Doing Ethics.”  These 4 forums are facilitated by Dr. Margaret McLean, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and member of St. Mark’s.

February 18 We Are a Community of Moral Deliberation
February 25 Deliberating About Genetics
March 5 Deliberating End of Life Options
March 11 Deliberating Together from Birth to Death

We are working on updating the member directory and would like to make sure we have all of your most current information.  Please send any updates to Stefani at lawrence@stmarks-sf.org.  Thank You!

Losing loved ones is one of the most difficult things we will ever endure. The trained clinical and grief counseling staff at Institute on Aging are available to help with grieving the loss of a friend, loved one, or associate.  Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. a Drop-In Grief Group is available for free at 3575 Geary Blvd. Call Institute on Aging for further information 415 750-4111.

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14.  We will have two worship services that day:  12:00 noon and 7:00 pm.  To help accompany you on your journey during Lent, we are providing a Devotions for Lent titled, “You are the Way”.  Each of these devotions offers an evocative image, a reading from John, a quotation to ponder, a reflection and a prayer.  Pick up your devotion booklet next Sunday, Feb. 11.  Blessings on your Lenten journey.

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 6 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in the Conference Room in 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 discuss “Jesus - A Pilgrimage” by James Martin, Chapters 1-10..

Second Tuesdays
February 13 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the Fireside Room

All women are invited to come for study at 11:00 and at noon to bring their sandwich or salad and share fellowship.  Drinks and dessert will be provided.  Our Bible study will center on “Prepare the Way of the Lord,” Luke 3:3-17.

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

On any given day, someone arrives at the doors of St. Mark’s needing a snack, a warm pair of socks, and some human kindness.  St. Mark’s staff and volunteers offer these gifts of hospitality.  We could use your donations of Safeway gift cards ($10 - $25) and healthy snack packs:  cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, etc,.  Please drop off your donations to the church office or give to Pr. Elizabeth.  Many thanks for your generosity and hospitality to our brothers and sisters living on the streets.  

Spring and the Lenten Season will soon be here! Please join the Property Ministry Team on Saturday, February 10, starting at 9 AM for a morning of activities and projects to prepare the church building and grounds for the coming weeks.

Save the date:  Friday, February 9, 7:30 PM for a BENEFIT CONCERT at Zion Lutheran Church, 495 Anza Street at Anza, SF.  The internationally recognized Friction Quartet will perform classical and contemporary string quartet repertoire.  

All proceeds will directly address the needs of  refugees on the ground in Greece and Turkey through the remarkable work of the all volunteer non-profit Sea of Solidarity, based in the Bay Area.  The concert is sponsored by Zion Lutheran and Interfaith Welcome Bay Area Refugee Support.  Learn more at:   www.frictionquartet.com/home  and www.seaofsolidarity.org 

When you have finished all your Christmas knitting, we need 30 more scarves for our guests at the shelter by the end of January.  If you need yarn, Marge can bring out the “Yarn Closet on Wheels” from its hiding place.

St. Mark’s held its annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 28th following the 11 o’clock service.  Some of the meeting highlights were:

  • Election of 4 incumbent council members to three-year terms:  Greg Jahnke, Cristin Owens, Mark Semonian, Kate Knickerbocker
  • A report from Treasurer Steve Ernst about our 2017 income and expenses, and a presentation of the 2018 budget as recommended by the Church Council.  2017 came in on budget (income planned at $789, 396 and came in at $791,268).  Contingency reserves withdrawal for 2017:  $31,634.
  • The 2018 budget includes 3% COLA increase for staff and salary expenses are on plan for a full staff in the St. Mark’s office.  The budget includes a couple of key differences:  plans to hire a part time junior property manager (Assistant Director of Operations) who will report to Winnie Heslin.  This salary will be re-imbursed by Martin Luther Tower (MLT).  Second, the hiring of a part-time bookkeeper (expenses will be split with MLT).
    • 2018 budget also includes withdrawal from the contingency reserves ($9,747) unless additional income and financial commitments are received.
  • The 2018 budget was approved by the congregation as presented.
  • Governance Task Force Report by Randy Schieber.  Discussed the development of the task force:  to analyze the needs of the entire St. Mark’s Square and to define how decisions are made that impact the Square. Consultant Dan Hotchkiss will be present to facilitate upcoming the Leadership Retreat which includes MLT Board, Council and the task force.
  • Elevator Installation Update and F.E.W. report:  Floors, Windows and Elevator all completed. Tim Bohan held up the Certificate of Occupancy  and Final Completion. A few members of the congregation took an inaugural ride in the elevator immediately following the meeting.
  • Report from the Development Committee by Barbara Engmann and Jon Moeller:  Lack of funds (from city) for low income housing so committee in exploration and open to other projects.  There is strong interest in our sites from developers.
  • Reports from Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale and Pastor Ron Moe Lobeda which included a challenge for members of the congregation to continue to get to know each other, attend a worship service other than their regular service, create more fellowship opportunities and for all to regularly attend worship at St. Mark’s.
  • Report from St. Mark’s Council President Mark Semonian, which included a thank you to past President Matt Helland and a willingness to continue to serve as Council President for 2018.
  • Report from Martin Luther Tower by Omer Voss:  MLT celebrates 50 plus years of service to the community through affordable senior housing. Board looks for bigger strategic purpose – looks toward future:  Voss asks, “What do we want to do for the next 50 years?” and encourages conversation.  Voss seeks 2 more trustees to serve on MLT board.

Director of Music...Dr. Timothy Zerlang
Assisting Ministers...Amy Brendel (9); Pam Reynolds (11)
Lectors...Suzanne Smith (9); Margaret McLean (11)
Acolyte...Halle Bohlig
Sacristans...Ed Chitty, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero
Ushers...Kimberly and David Lam (9) Pam Cheung, Linda R. Jackson (11)
Coffee Hour Chairs...Eva & Matt Dober, Kate Knickerbocker
Next Week’s Coffee Hour Chairs...Barbara Bock