Dear St. Mark Community,
Happy New Year! It is time once again to take inventory of our 2021, and forge ahead together in 2022 at this year's Annual Meeting.
Please plan to attend our Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022 immediately following the 10:30am worship service. The meeting will take place in the sanctuary. Paper copies of the Annual Report will be available at church beginning Sunday, January 16th. Digital copies are also available for download by clicking the button below! If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 419-691-3597.
Don't forget to save your spot for Easter Worship on Sunday, April 4th! Sunrise Service begins at 6:30am across the street at Prentice Park, and two indoor services will be offered at 8:00am and 9:30am. Please use the form below to RSVP for your desired service.
You may also RSVP over the phone by calling our office at 419-691-3597. We can't wait to worship with you!
Dear St. Mark Members and Friends,
This year we hope to have in person worship on Easter. The details are pending. In order to
attend you will need to sign up in advance. Watch the Spire, Facebook, and our website for more
details as they are decided!
To beautify our building, you can order Easter flowers in memory of or in honor of your loved
one(s). We are offering a pot of yellow, red, or white tulips for $10 each. To order, you can call
the office at (419) 691-3597 or you can click the button below:
Payments may be made either by cash, check, or online by clicking the button below:
Orders are due no later than Thursday, March 4th. Thank you!
- St. Mark Office
In Lent 2021, we will explore the great story of the Bible and how it weaves into our own personal stories. On Ash Wednesday, we will have both in-person and live-streamed worship at noon and 7 pm. On the other Lenten Wednesday services, we will have in-person and live-streamed worship at 7 pm only.
Feb. 17th | Noon and 7 pm | ASH WEDNESDAY
"I Love to Tell the Story"
We will observe self-imposition of ashes at the end of each service. For those worshiping at home, you can pick up a packet of “Ashes to Go” anytime after Feb. 7th at church. We will also have drive-up/walk-up Holy Communion at the end of both services on Feb. 17th.
Feb. 24th | 7:00 pm
“Listening to the Story”
Reading and hearing the Bible with new insights.
March 3rd | 7:00 pm
“Jesus the Storyteller”
The parables of Jesus, the master storyteller.
March 10th | 7:00 pm
“The Big Story”
How the Bible came to be.
March 17th | 7:00 pm
“The Rest of the Story”
Don’t you wonder what happens after a Bible story ends?
March 24th | 7:00 pm
Where is God in your story?
Join us this Lenten season as we journey to the cross together!
Our Annual Congregational Meeting at St. Mark will take place on Sunday, January 24 at 10:15 a.m., following our 9 a.m. service. Because we need to vote on the East Toledo Parish Plan, we will conduct the meeting both in person and on live stream. We will practice social distancing and masking in the sanctuary, and will simultaneously take questions from online viewers.
In the interest of keeping our time together abbreviated, we will only review the 2021 budget and discuss the East Toledo Parish Plan. The usual reports are available in print form and by clicking below, but will not be presented or discussed on January 24. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
EAST TOLEDO PARISH FACT SHEET
1. To develop a more intentional presence in our neighborhood and in East Toledo, developing missional relationships.
2. To increase collaboration between East Toledo churches for the sake of the Gospel.
Basics of the East Toledo Parish Plan (ETPP)
1. Continue the ministry of St. Mark as it is currently, with the current staff.
2. Hire a part-time Visitation Pastor to assist with pastoral care, visits, and other pastoral tasks as needed. Pastor Cindy Ritter has recently been called to serve at Bethlehem and would be available to St. Mark for this position.
3. Issue a joint call with the Northwestern Ohio Synod and Bethlehem Lutheran Church to Jake Nekoranec, a recent seminary graduate, to serve as the part-time East Toledo Parish Pastor.
4. Create a supervisory team from St. Mark, Bethlehem and the Synod to create a vision and manage day-to-day functions.
5. This would be a three-year arrangement, to be evaluated regularly.
Funding (for 2021, 2022, 2023)
1. The Visitation Pastor would be paid $10,000/annually, funded by endowment disbursements. This has been approved by the Finance Board and the Council.
2. The East Toledo Parish Pastor position would be jointly funded by St. Mark, Bethlehem, and the NW Ohio Synod, with support from the Rudolf and Florence Willer Memorial Scholarship. St. Mark’s portion of that salary would be $7,000/annually, with $4,000 offered by the Scholarship and $3,000 from our Memorial Fund. This has also been approved by the Finance Board and the Council.
3. None of the funding comes from St. Mark’s annual operating budget.
1. Are we merging with other churches?
No, this is not a merger. Congregations will retain their individual identity and programming. The hope is that we can be stronger together in certain areas, and share the Gospel more effectively through new avenues.
2. Will our staff be going to other churches?
Like our current situation, there are occasionally Sundays when one of our staff is on vacation or out because of COVID or illness. There may be a Sunday when Emily or Pastor Beth is at Bethlehem, or one of the other pastors is at St. Mark. This will probably not be a frequent occurrence.
3. Isn’t this a different procedure for issuing a call?
Yes, this is different than the procedure that has been used at St. Mark in the past, but the last time St. Mark issued a call was to Pastor Giller in 2000. Our other staff members (Ron Fournier, Don Clark) have been hired by the Church Council and not been “called.” As the ELCA changes over time, the NW Ohio Synod and indeed, the whole ELCA, is looking at ways to make ministry more accessible to congregations, more streamlined, and more collaborative.
4. What will this ministry look like on a day-to-day basis?
We will be discerning that and figuring out as we move forward. This is new territory for all of us, and it is helpful to think about the East Toledo Parish Proposal as a three- year experiment in ministry. It can be anxiety-producing not to know exactly what is going to happen, but we are very fortunate that St. Mark has the resources and personnel to explore what God is calling us to be and do in East Toledo. In all things, we turn to God for guidance and direction, so please be prayerful and hopeful.
For a PDF of this information, click here.
Dear friends in Christ –
Thank you so much for supporting the first in-person worship service on Sunday, June 21, and for continuing to be present to the streaming services on Sunday morning. This season of adapting worship so that best safety practices are in place has been a challenging one. We changed the structure for these first in-person worship services in an attempt to make the service worshipful for those in attendance, while also adhering to our safety guidelines. We know that many of you, especially those who are attending virtual worship, missed the music and singing you’ve gotten accustomed to in the last few months. While we welcome your feedback, please give us grace as we explore the best ways to serve the congregation and continue our ministry.
On Sunday, June 28, we will have only our virtual service at 9 a.m. In the month of July, we will resume in-person worship for those who wish to gather, using our live-streaming style at 9 a.m. We hope this will offer the best of both worlds, meeting the spiritual needs of our church family and extended congregation. On July 12, we will have Holy Communion at this 9 a.m. worship, both in the sanctuary and at home.
If you choose to physically attend worship, you won’t be able to sing along with the musical offerings just yet, but you will be able to be present in the sanctuary and reflect and enjoy the music. As you enter the church, we will take “attendance” so that we can notify you if someone in the congregation tests positive for COVID-19. Please be considerate of others by wearing your mask at all times, and practice social distancing.
Toward the end of July, we will evaluate and make some decisions about how to proceed for the month of August. Please, please continue to keep St. Mark and all churches in your prayer as we move ahead in uncharted territory. Thanks so much for remaining faithful in your financial support of the mission and ministry, for continuing to reach out to one another, especially to those who may not have internet access.
Peace to you!
Pastor Beth Giller and the Responsible Reopening Team (Barb Brossia, Kim Fletcher, Mark Padley, Brad
Isbell, Carol Kinsel, Beth Rokicki, Tom Ritter)
Dear St. Mark Family:
I hope you are all hanging in there during this time of national unrest. It has been a difficult few months, and prayer and connection has never seemed so important!
On Sunday, June 21, we will try “in-person” worship for the first time since March. Services will be at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Here is what you can expect:
Before you arrive, please use the restroom and wash your hands thoroughly. Restroom use will be limited to emergencies. Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
Please arrive early. When you arrive at church, you will be “checked in” at a table in the lobby. This is to be sure that we can inform everyone if someone at worship tests positive for COVID-19, per the Lucas County Health Department. Your temperature will be taken with a contact-less thermometer.
Bring your own mask. Everyone is required to wear a mask except for children 3 and under. We will have a few disposable masks available. If you are not able to wear a mask because of a medical reason, please share that as you enter the building.
Wait to be seated. As you enter the sanctuary, an usher will escort you to the next available seat. If you are with other people who live in your home, you may be seated together. The pews have been marked off to maintain appropriate physical distance. After the service, you will be dismissed pew by pew to minimize people walking too closely to each other.
During worship itself, you will be asked to practice “silent worship.” Even with masks, singing and group speaking is one of the most focused ways of spreading the virus. The service may look and feel quite different.
Please don’t gather to chat. If you’d like to catch up with friends, please do so outside and maintain the 6-foot distance.
The sanctuary will be warm. As we all know, St. Mark is hot in the summer anyway! Because fans simply blow aerosols around, we will not be able to use them. Please refrain from fanning yourself as well.
Whew! That is a lot of information, and after worship on June 21, we will NOT meet for in-person worship on June 28 so that the Responsible Reopening team can evaluate, seek your feedback, and make future plans, which may or may not involve gathering in person. Worship services will continue to be streamed every Sunday for the foreseeable future on the Facebook Live platform.
This has been a difficult season, and the decisions and actions we take are always with the health and safety of our most vulnerable members in mind. We ask for your continued prayers and encouragement as we navigate the challenging task of keeping everyone safe! God be with you in this time of physical distancing.
Peace in Him,
Pastor Beth Giller and the Responsible Reopening Team (Barb Brossia, Kim Fletcher, Carol Kinsel, Brad Isbell, Beth Rokicki, Tom Ritter)
Our St. Mark Responsible Reopening Task Force has put together a short survey in order to aid its decision making and best serve the St. Mark community as we look ahead to resuming in-person worship & ministry. Please complete the following survey by Friday, June 12th to have your answers relayed to our team.
A paper copy of this survey will be mailed out to each church member in the June Spire Newsletter. Please only complete one survey - the virtual survey and the paper survey are the same.
We ask that you keep this topic in your daily prayers! We are anxious to get back to in-person worship and, at the same time, want to be sure that we all are being safe, responsible and loving to each other and our community.
Dear Friends of St. Mark,
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, our St. Mark EDGE Mission Team has made the difficult decision to cancel our 14th Annual St. Mark Golf Outing that was scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 2020. We feel that, while disappointing, the decision to cancel is in the best interest of the health and wellness of our participants and volunteers. We have also cancelled our 2020 summer trip to Rogers, OH, and have chosen instead to safely serve our neighbors throughout the Toledo area.
If you have already sent in your registration for this year's outing, please contact me at email@example.com or 419-691-3597 to receive a full refund. If you would like to give towards this summer's service projects, you can contact me directly or visit our St. Mark Online Donation page and give under the "Youth" category.
I want to personally thank you for your support year after year. Thank you for participating in our Golf Outing, for providing our youth with the opportunity to serve others, and for being an important part of a ministry that impacts hearts for Jesus. We are praying that you and your loved ones stay well, and we hope to see you on the golf course in May 2021! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
Stay safe & be blessed!
Youth & Family Life Director