October 15, 2017

In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever.  Matthew narrates one of Jesus’ controversial parables, in which Jesus says the reign of God is like workers who get paid the same no matter when they start.In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.


9:00 am - Holy Communion with Children’s Time - Sanctuary
9:50 am - Sunday School - Sunday School Room
10:00 am - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall
10:00 am - Adult Forum: Food Insecurity in SF - Fireside Room
10:00 am - Reformation 500 Bookstore - Heritage Hall

10:05 am - Confirmation Class - Confirmation Classroom
10:05 am - High School Youth - Conference Room

11:00 am - Choral Eucharist Worship Service - Sanctuary
12:15 pm - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall
12:30 pm - Safe Congregation Training - Fireside Room
2:00 pm - Memorial Service for Joan Dickert - Sanctuary

THIS SUNDAY Commitment Packets for every member of the congregation will be available at church for you to pick up and take home in preparation for and anticipation of Celebration Sunday on November 5.  Please be sure to pick up your Commitment Pack today so that the staff does not have to take the time and go to expense of sending it to your home on October 16.  Please review all of the information in the packet and bring your Commitment Card to church on Sunday, November 5 to be presented as your offering for 2018 toward the mission and ministries of St. Mark’s.


THIS SUNDAY - Food Insecurity in San Francisco
Karen Gruneisen is the Associate Director of Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco and leads ECP’s strategic planning and program design.  She has served on the San Francisco Food Security Task Force for a number of years.  She also has authored several dozen articles and reports related to poverty, homelessness, and food security.  She is well versed in this subject and will bring a challenge about how members of St. Mark’s might further be engaged in this ministry.

Next Week’s Adult Forum: What would Luther do today?
Five centuries ago monk and academic Martin Luther stood up to say the Church can do better.  Today that’s still the case. In this adult forum, Elizabeth Eaton (via video), the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America applies Luther’s thoughts and writings to contemporary issues.  Join Pr. Elizabeth and Presiding Bishop Eaton (via video) for reflection on Luther and contemporary issues that challenge us today.

The high-school youth will meet today at 10:05 a.m. in the Conference Room for their monthly conversation.  Today, they will have the opportunity to meet with and get to know Erin Scheller, our new Youth Sponsor.  Come and be a part of this fellowship.

Although all of the ELCA churches in Northern California remain undamaged, several members of these congregations have lost their homes.  Churches also are being called upon to provide shelter for those who have been evacuated from their homes.  Power is out and cell service is spotty.  The Synod is suggesting that donations can be made to two affiliated agencies: Lutheran Social Services of Norther California (www.lssnorcal.org through “October Wildfire Relief Fund”)  and Lutheran Disaster Response (community.elca.org  through “U.S. Fire Relief”).  To donate to a specific congregation, you can indicate the name of the congregation in the designated donation box.  100% of these monies will be given directly to the churches and ministries that have been affected by the fires.  Please continue to hold these congregations in prayer, as well as all of the firefighters who are assisting in this disaster.  


This Sunday, October 15 has been designated as Bread for the World Sunday.  Since St. Mark’s is in a covenant relationship with BFW, we will use this opportunity to participate in BFW’s Offering of Letters following both of our services today.  Look for the advocacy table in Heritage Hall after the worship service and take a few minutes to sign a letter to your senator or representatives in support of BFW’s initiative for 2017.  Look for a BFW flyer in the narthex or Heritage Hall.  Thank you for taking the time to contact your Congressperson, either today or later this week. 

Here is sample wording for a letter to your Congressperson:

“As Congress works on the 2018 budget and spending bills, I ask you to make funding decisions that will put us on track to end hunger by 2030.  I urge you to invest adequately in programs like WIC, SNAP, tax credits for low-income workers, and international development assistance.  These programs are helping millions of people escape from hunger.  We have made great progress in reducing hunger and poverty in our country and around the world, but our work remains unfinished.  My faith calls me to urge you to make public investments that will dramatically reduce and perhaps end hunger.”

New to St Mark’s?  Thinking about your faith journey and a community to support it?  You are invited to join the newest group of Journeys in Faith.  

Want to learn more?  Join us for a Welcoming Retreat at St Mark’s on Saturday, October 21st from 10:30-1:30.  We will meet in the Conference room in the Urban Life Center.  For more information, contact Liv Beck (beckliv@gmail.com; 415-205-3292).

The training session for orientation to St, Mark’s Safe Congregation policy and practice is scheduled for Sunday, October 15 at 12:30 PM in the Fireside Room.  Anyone and everyone who works directly with the children and youth at St. Mark’s is expected to take this training in order to know how best to create a safe environment for our children and youth.  Those who took the training 3 years ago are expected to renew their training.  Anyone else who might be interested in this training is encouraged to attend and participate. Margaret McLean and Mary Ritter facilitate this training and do a great job in ensuring that our Safe Congregation Policy is implemented and enforced so that our children and youth are invited into as safe an environment as possible.  If you plan to attend, please contact Mary (mlrpeds@aol.com), Margaret (mmclean.mrm@gmail.com) or Winnie (heslin@stmarks-sf.org) in the church office. 

The members of the Governing Board of the San Francisco Night Ministry invite you to attend their Fall Gala under the theme  Aloha Makahiki (A Gathering of Love).

Proceeds will support the ministry and outreach of Night Ministry which has offered pastoral care, counseling and crisis intervention every night of the year between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM for the past 53 years!  

Join us on St. Mark’s Square for: A Reception, program, live music, small plates from the islands, beer and wine bar, soft and specialty drinks, with silent, live and reverse auctions

$108.00 Individual General Seating, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3083923

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is fast approaching! Do you want to learn more about Martin Luther, his writings, and their impact on Christianity? Do you want to reflect on the ongoing impact of the Reformation today? Stop by our Reformation 500 Bookstore to shop for engaging books on the Reformation for readers of all ages and interests! Save up to 50% plus receive free shipping on all Bookstore titles.

Stop by the pop-up bookstore in Heritage Hall on Sundays, October 15, 22, and 29 between services (at 10:00 AM) and after the 11:00 service to get fascinating books on the Reformation for you and your family.

Our Bookstore is sponsored by Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the ELCA. The books will include bestselling biographies like Luther the Reformer as well as an atlas of the European Reformations, a graphic novel for young readers, and primary sources from The Annotated Luther series.

Questions? Can you help staff the bookstore for an hour? Please contact Cora at rose@stmarks-sf.org or talk to her during coffee hour!

Join Pr. Elizabeth every Monday from 11:00 – 12:00 in the Brockie Lounge of Martin Luther Tower for this time of sharing and support. What are the challenges of aging in today’s world? What are the joys and surprises? How has your faith changed and grown with aging? All these questions and more are for us to ponder and consider together. This is a safe place to share your feelings, frustrations and joys about aging. All are welcome.

Saturday, October 28 will be a memorable day as we gather for a special commemoration of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, celebrate 50 years of Martin Luther Tower ministry, and highlight our stewardship efforts and the mission of St. Mark’s.  The day begins at 1:00 PM with a Hymnfest featuring a festival of Reformation music presented by St. Mark’s choir members in concert with choir members from the Sierra-Pacific Synod and members of the SF Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.  At 2:30 PM, we will transition to our annual Oktoberfest in the St. Mark’s Square.  Come for an afternoon of great food, fun entertainment, and a bouncy house for the children.  This event is open to everyone in the community.  So, invite your friends and neighbors to join in this wonderful German festival—this year in honor of the 500th commemoration of the Reformation.  Suggested donation is $10/person.  Martin Luther Tower residents are free.  Please contact Cristin Owens at cristinowens@gmail.com if you are able to help with any of the set up, food preparation, or clean up.

St. Mark’s Seniors, Thursday October 19, is our next MLT monthly luncheon in Heritage Hall from 12:30-1:30 PM! Please join us for a delicious lunch prepared by MLT’s very own Delvone Anderson and his wife, Linh. Accompaniment on the piano will be provided by MLT resident, Tom Berg!  The cost is $5.

Luncheon Entrée Options: #1 Roast Brisket of Beef with Sautéed Green Beans and Steamed Jasmine Rice; #2 Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. Both entrees come with a Garden Salad and French Bread. Dessert will be Banana Pudding. Come be among friends. See you there!

We also need a couple of volunteers to help set up the place settings and serve the meal to our guests.  Please let Pr. Elizabeth know if you are available.  We would ask that you arrive at 11:00 AM and would be finished by 1:00 PM And, we will happily feed you a lunch. ekdale@stmarks-sf.org or 415 928-7770 ext. 2300. 

The next opportunity for members of St. Mark’s to serve at the Food Pantry at Old United Presbyterian Church is Saturday, October 21, 7:30 to 11:00 a.m.  You can come for all or part of this time to help unload and set up (7:30 – 9:00), hand out food (9:00 – 10:30), or clean up (10:30 – 11:00).  Over 300 people who are affected by food insecurity in the City turn out to receive a bag of healthy food to supplement their needs.   The youth of St. Mark’s are being encouraged to participate in this particular service.  If you are planning to participate, please contact Diana Gomez at dianamrsgomez@mindspring.com or (415) 533-5205.

The high-school and middle-school youth are encouraged to participate in the Food Pantry on Saturday, October 21 at Old United Presbyterian Church.  This service project is a great opportunity to join with the adults of St. Mark’s, see the church in action, and get a sense of all of the people who are affected by food insecurity in the City.  If you plan to participate, please contact Diana Gomez at dianamrsgomez@mindspring.com or (415) 533-5205.

The young adults of St. Mark’s have scheduled a game night at church on Monday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m.  They will meet in Heritage Hall for this fun activity and fellowship.  Please bring a favorite board or card game from which we will choose what we play.  Also, bring a snack or beverage to share.  Please let Pastor Ron know if you plan to participate.

The Property Team invites you to join us on Saturday, October 21 from 9 AM until Noon as we prepare the church building and grounds for the upcoming Reformation Commemoration and Oktoberfest. In addition to freshening up the building, we will take on some special projects and help install festive decorations for the October 28th Hymn Festival. Please contact Gary Schilling at 415-218-2778 if you have questions or would like to join in the festive preparations.

St. Mark’s AMMPARO group and the Synod AMMPARO group will host an early dinner Thursday October 26th from 5:30-7:30pm at St. Mark’s Heritage Hall for Nicaraguan Lutheran Bishop Dr. Victoria Cortez. She will be the guest preacher at the Sierra Pacific Synod Reformation worship at Grace Cathedral  on Sunday October 29. Come for a simple meal and an opportunity to meet this leader of the global church. RSVP to Mary Ritter at mlrpeds@aol.com.

Nine St. Mark’s members have made a commitment to visit our sisters and brothers at Cordero de Dios November 21-26, 2017. It is not too late to join the group. Please contact Mary Ritter mlrpeds@aol.com or Matt Helland helland@nka.com if you have questions.

Travelers will meet monthly before the trip to discuss accompaniment, the growth of our relationship with Cordero de Dios, and travel and safety concerns. We hope all travelers can attend all the sessions. Save these dates and times: October 22 at 12:30, November 19 at 12:30. The meetings will be in the Conference Room.

Next Sunday, the congregation will recognize and be honoring the pastors in our congregation during our worship services.  Please come and show your appreciation for their ministry among us and in the community on our behalf.

As we continue to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we look specifically at the Roman numerals on the altar frontal.  The numerals indicate the years 1517 and 2017.  The year 1517 has historically been considered the beginning of the Reformation, tied to Luther’s act of distributing the 95 Theses publicly (most scholars believe that his nailing them to the church door is a myth).

The 95 Theses was a draft proposal for a public debate about the power and efficacy of indulgences, a mechanism with which to “purchase” the forgiveness of sins.  Thus, Luther’s primary concern was over the sacrament of penance; he believed that it was no longer serving its purpose as a means of pastoral care, but rather was being used to create anxiety and fear.  Although never his intention, this call for a public debate was seen by Rome as a challenge on papal authority, which thrust Luther into the public arena of theology.

We thank our Director of Music, Tim Zerlang, for designing and creating this beautiful parament. 

An insightful essay by our own Dr. Schiefelbein-Guerrero about the 95 Theses can be found here: http://www.pcts.org/meetings/2017/PCTS2017Apr-Schiefelbein-Guerrero-Theses.pdf

The next Outreach Team meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 25 at 5:00 p.m. in the Conference Room.  As this is a newly-established ministry team, we are open to people who are interested in discerning how St. Mark’s can be more visible to and welcoming to people in our neighboring communities.  If you are interested in this conversation, please contact Pastor Ron.

Things are quickly coming together on the elevator addition! The signed bricks now form the outside finish of the elevator enclosure; the inside surfaces are sheathed with drywall; the addition has new roofing; and Plant is now assembling the elevator mechanism and car that were temporarily stored in Heritage Hall. Following the installation of seismic joint covers between the elevator and the historic building, Plant will remove the scaffolding, probably before we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on October 28. Following the Reformation weekend, the contractors will apply the exterior plaster finish on the first story (matching the stone-like parge coating on the church building), finish the interior spaces and arrange for final inspections by city agencies and the State Elevator Inspector. Our congregation’s support of this important improvement to our building as well as our members’ continued contributions to fund this project are much appreciated. Soon, this long-awaited addition will be ready to serve our parishioners and guests. Thank you!

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Oakland, California has extended the call to Pr. Christian Jennert to serve as their Pastor. 

Pr. Jennert will begin his pastoral ministry with them on Nov. 5.  Please hold Pr. Christian and the congregation of St. Paul’s in your prayers during this time of new beginnings.  

We have 18 people who have agreed to serve as greeters on Sunday mornings, along with the ushers, in order to be intentional about welcoming guests and visitors into our worship and community of faith.  If you would like to be included in this corps of greeters, please contact Pastor Ron.  

Friday, October 20, 8:00 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, SF
Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance
The California Bach Society, recently awarded “Best Baroque Performance” by San Francisco Classical Voice for its 2016 production of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, presents two other jewels from Bach’s work: Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (BWV 21) and the Missa Brevis in G (BWV 236). 

Initially written for a funeral in Weimar in 1713, Bach’s magnificent Cantata 21 was performed often during his lifetime and remained well-known among his colleagues and students throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Later in his life, Bach elegantly reworked some of the best choral and solo writing from his Leipzig cantatas into the Missa Brevis in G Major. With no less than three different choral fugues, two graceful arias, and a wonderfully expressive soprano-alto duet, the Missa Brevis  is a worthy companion to Cantata 21. The program also includes Johann Kuhnau's poignant motet, Tristis est anima mea.

Artistic Director Paul Flight leads the 30-voice chorus and a Baroque orchestra of trumpets, tympani, oboe, and strings. Vocal soloists are Caroline Jou Armitage, soprano; Paul Flight, countertenor; Jonathan Thomas, tenor; and Sepp Hammer, bass.

Advance Ticket Prices: General - $30, Senior - $20, Students and Under 30 - $10
At the door: General - $35, Senior - $25, Students and Under 30 - $10

Students: please bring your ID to show at the door.
Special Early Bird Offer for St. Mark's Parishioners!

Order tickets by Thursday, October 19 at 5 p.m. and receive $5 off the above price of Advance General and Senior tickets (discount does not apply to Student/Under 30).

Order online at http://www.calbach.org/ticketsand enter the code stmarkssf in the promo code box on the checkout page (online orders subject to $4 handling fee); or order by phone at (650) 485-1097 and mention St. Mark's SF to receive the discount.

Director of Music...Dr. Timothy Zerlang
Assisting Ministers...Sharon Reinbott (9); Greg Jahnke, Ed Chitty (11)
Lectors...Dianne Velleno (9); Cora Lea Rose (11)
Chalice Bearers...Beth Dioli (9)
Acolytes...Meghan Foster and Eli Foster
Altar Guild...Jane Borg
Sacristans...Ed Chitty, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero
Ushers...Omer Voss, Jerry Lundblad (9); Debra Varian (11)
Coffee Hour Chairs...Andrew Sallach, Elaine Lanier-Bohan & Tim Bohan
Next Week’s Coffee Hour Chairs...Susie Smith and Frederick Blickle