October 22, 2017

In today's first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.


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: What Would Luther Do Today? - Heritage Hall
10:00 am - Reformation 500 Bookstore - Heritage Hall
10:05 am - Confirmation Class - Confirmation Classroom
11:00 am - Choral Eucharist Worship Service - Sanctuary
12:15 pm - Refreshments and Fellowship Hour - Heritage Hall
12:30 pm - Cordero de Dios El Salvador Travel Meeting - Conference Room

4:00 pm - SF Early Music Society Concert - Sanctuary 

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

THIS SUNDAY 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 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 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!

The Memorial Service will be Sunday, October 29th at 7 pm at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 401 Grizzly Peak Blvd. (cross street Spruce) in Berkeley. The congregation is encouraged to attend and be present in support of Barbara and all those who grieve Keith’s death.  

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 Northern 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.  

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

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.

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.

Bay Area is a group of faith communities working together to help refugees new to the Bay Area.  In support of Interfaith Welcome, Zion Lutheran Church presents noted pianist Sarah Cahill in concert on Friday, November 10, 7:30 p.m.  Concert proceeds will benefit the Vision Project, which helps refugee girls in Oakland schools envision their futures in America.  Mark your calendars for November 10 to hear Sarah Cahill at Zion Lutheran Church, 495 - 9th Avenue at Anza Street, San Francisco (Richmond District.) 
Suggested donation:  $15 per person; $25 per family ( 3 or more.)


On behalf of the Church Council as your Treasurer, I submit to the congregation a summary of St. Mark’s fiscal picture. This summary captures the months of January through September 2017. It is the goal of the Council and myself to be transparent with how we are stewarding our finances on behalf of the congregation.

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Urban Life Center
Our total income through June is $495,318 or only $68 under budget. The income figure includes offerings (pledge fulfillment, Sunday and special offerings), in addition to building and parking use income for both the church building and Urban Life Center. Offerings generally catch up to plan this time of year after running under plan in the early months. While parking income is down due to stalls occupied by construction, this shortfall was more than recovered by deposits received from building use fees.

On the other hand, the total expenditures through September is $540,877, which is 1.5% below our projected budget of $548,998. The lowered expenses were mainly in the areas of utility bills and maintenance costs. Warmer than usual weather and lack of rain were the key reasons.

All in all, the bottom line is that we remain very close to our planned budget so far this year. 

Capital Campaign
As you look around you know the windows are nearing completion and the
elevator is taking shape. Many of you have signed bricks that will soon be covering the exterior of the elevator shaft. We continue to draw from the Housing Equity Fund to supplement our Capital Campaign pledges and offerings designated toward the campaign, and all vendor accounts are paid and current. 

As you know from previous reports the time is upon us where we will need to borrow from outside resources to cover the final Stained Glass and Elevator
expenses. Talks are underway with Plant, our elevator contractor, the Mission
Investment Fund and others. I continue to closely monitor our cash flow and will keep the congregation advised as we wrap up commitments for outside help.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Ernst


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.

As we continue this month of commemorating the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, we look at the centerpiece of the altar frontal: the lion.  Dr. Zerlang modeled the frontal on a tapestry that hangs in Wartburg Castle.

The castle in Wartburg Saxony holds a prominent position in Luther’s life and was owned by Luther’s benefactor Elector Frederick the Wise.  Following the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was whisked away to the castle for his protection, since he was technically considered outside the law.  Luther stayed at the castle from May 4, 1521 to March 6, 1522.

With the encouragement of colleagues, Luther translated the New Testament from Greek and Latin into German in eleven weeks, which was subsequently published in September 1522.  His translation of the Old Testament took much longer because of the difficulty in rendering the texts into readable German, as well as Luther’s health problems.  A complete translation of the entire Bible appeared in September 1534, which included prefaces for each book and accompanying woodcuts.

Although a few vernacular (of the people’s language) Bibles had appeared before Luther’s translation, Luther’s was the first widespread translation and has had a significant impact on the Church then and now.

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!

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.  

Director of Music...Dr. Timothy Zerlang
Assisting Ministers...Rachel Boles (9); Steve Ernst, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero (11)
Lectors...Robert Rathmell (9); Cory Schoolland (11)
Acolytes...Halle Bohlig and Linda Jackson
Sacristans...Ed Chitty, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero
Ushers...Marisa Lee (9); Debra Varian (11)
Coffee Hour Chairs...Susie Smith and Frederick Blickle
Next Week’s Coffee Hour Chairs...Brandee Marckmann, Kathy Lautz