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  • the saint mark messenger

    the newsletter of Saint Mark Presbyterian Church March 2011

    Worship 9:30 and 11:00 AM Church School for all ages 9:30 AM www.saintmarkpresby.org

    Saying Grace… ….from Roy

    When Jim Macdonell, Pastor Emeritus, started inviting people to a new Presbyterian congregation forming fifty years ago in Montgomery County it was an act of bold faith in the future of God’s providence. He along with seminary interns simply invited people to join this fledgling community of Presbyterians seeking to be an outpost of God’s kingdom proclaiming the gospel with acts of social ministry lifting up the poor and advocating for a more fair and just community. In his inaugural sermon Jesus said he was sent to proclaim good news to the poor. This emerging congregation of Presbyterian Christians under Jim’s leadership sought to do the same. It was an exciting venture during turbulent times filled with risk taking. They were not alone; at least three other Presbyterian congregations came into being at the same time in much the same manner. (Geneva, Saint Matthew and Immanuel.) While some have questioned the wisdom of establishing so many congregations close together their continuing existence is a testimony to the God’s providence. The original leaders and many of the original members have gone but the congregations are thriving fifty years later. But much has changed during those fifty years in ways few people imagined. The congregations are being challenged to proclaim the gospel in world of social networking, a multi-cultural and multi-religious context, where consumption is the driving force of the economy. Jesus once spoke of the need for new wineskins to hold the new wine of the gospel. This is one of the challenges facing contemporary congregations: how shall we form communities of faith that provide a sense of belonging, nurture the core Christian faith and send people forth as committed disciples of Jesus to love their neighbors in a increasingly diverse neighborhood? On the one hand there is nothing new about this challenge, it has been there since the first century resurrection communities. On the other hand, the context in which we face that challenge has dramatically changed. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is now debating among the presbyteries a new form of government that will intend to make our polity more missional, giving more freedom to local

    communities to respond pastorally to their unique situations. The new form of government is a response to the growing perception that we must change our way of “doing church” to be more responsive to the current context. Presbyteries are also debating whether to include a new confession into a Book of Confessions: the Belhar Confession from the South African church. If it is approved, it will be the first confession from the Southern Hemisphere. These are all indications of the changes that will be coming to our life together as Presbyterians. Saint Mark, along with the other congregations of its era, was founded on a bold vision of the Presbyterian Church embraced by its founder pastor and members. That original vision to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in deeds of service and acts of praise and thanksgiving to a generous God remains as we embrace the future trusting in God’s providence. The legacy contines.

    Worship and Lectionary for March

    March 6: Exod. 24:12-18: Ps. 99;

    2 Peter 1:16-21; Matt. 17:1-9 Holy Communion

    Spirit and Service Sunday: One Service of Worship at 9:30 AM

    March 9: Ash Wednesday Worship with Holy Communion 7:30 PM

    March 13: Gen. 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Ps. 32;

    Rom. 5:12-19; Matt. 4:1-11

    March 20: Gen. 12:1-4a; Ps. 121; Rom. 4:1-5,13-17; John 3:1-17

    March 27: Exod. 17:1-7; Rom. 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

  • March 2011 Saint Mark Messenger

    2

    Lent Evening Study Series begins Wednesday,

    March 16, through to April 13 at 7:00 PM

    Free of Charge – Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace: In an increasingly graceless culture, how do we learn to forgive when forgiving seems so counterintuitive or even futile? When incivility reigns, where can we find the motivation to give? These are deeply personal questions of Christian faith and practice which Miroslav Volf, one of the most celebrated and respected theologians of our day, raises in light of God’s generosity and Christ’s sacrifice for us. This is a fresh examination of two practices at the heart of the Christian faith – giving and forgiving – that will launch our Lenten discussions led by Pastor Roy Howard. This particular book offers a compelling invitation to Christian faith as a way of life through personal stories, reflection and sheer celebration of the giving God.

    This will be a wonderful occasion for you to enter more deeply into faith during this season of Lent 2011. Books are available for $13 in the church office. Make your checks payable to: Saint Mark Presbyterian Church, with the memo portion noting: Volf book for Lent Study. Put the check in Tom Hudson’s box #21.

    Parish Life Once again Parish Life will sponsor Soup and Salad Suppers on Wednesday evenings during Lent. Join us at 6:30 PM for dinner March 16 through April 13 and stay for the Lenten Study at 7:00 PM. Cost for supper will be $6.00. Contact Lyn Hill at [email protected] if you would like to make soup, or help with set up or clean up for one week.

    Adult Education

    Sunday Morning Adult Class Five Week Lenten Series March 13 through April 17 (no class on April 3)

    Spreading a Table in the Wilderness: Practicing

    the Presence and Absence of God

    Leader: The Rev. Maggie Hayward, Minister Member- at- Large of National Capital Presbytery

    The Saint Mark Adult Education Team is very pleased to welcome our former Christian Educator, Maggie Hayward, as the leader of our Sunday Morning Adult Class Lenten series this year. Using the biblical themes of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites as they made their way toward a promised land and of Jesus' 40 days of temptation in the desert immediately following his baptism, Maggie will explore with us how we might relate these passages to our own lives when we too find ourselves in a wilderness of one kind or another. What spiritual practices might we learn from them to help us better cope in times of turmoil when we sense the absence of God? During this series, through story, discussion, and hands-on learning we will explore the biblical theme of wilderness and discover the feast to which God invites us, a table fully spread even in the difficult seasons of our lives. Plan to join us for all or as many sessions of this series as you can and deepen your own spiritual experience of God's presence in your life!

    Books on Islam now Available

    Visit our Saint Mark library to view and perhaps check out a book on the timely topic of Understanding Islam. For information of specific titles available, go to the Saint Mark web page and click on What's New. Books on this topic may be checked out for three weeks.

    Saint Mark Book Lovers 2010-2011

    Book Lovers, the Saint Mark book discussion group, meets the 3rd Monday evening of the month at 7:30 in the parlor. Our list of books to discuss for the coming year is below and is also on our website. Join us! March 21: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot April 18: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay May 16: Triumph & Hope: Golden Years With The Peace Corps in Honduras by Barbara E. Joe

  • March 2011 Saint Mark Messenger

    3

    Youth News

    Annual Lenten/Mardi Gras Pancake Feed

    Sunday, March 6 at 10:30 AM

    Listen to Dixie-land music! Feast on scrumptious breakfast fare! Enjoy the colorful Mardi Gras décor! Support the Saint Mark Youth Group!

    Be sure to mark your calendars for this fun event! Organized, cooked and staffed by Middle School/High School Youth; free-will offering for 2011 Youth Group Mission Trips

    Electronics recycling program starts March 1

    The youth of Saint Mark will be collecting small electronics for recycling again this year. It's a win-win for everyone. You can get rid of old electronics in a convenient, environmentally responsible way, Saint Mark renews its commitment to stewardship care of the earth and the you earn money for mission trips. The range of items to be collected has expanded this year. In addition to cell phones, PDAs and inkjet cartridges, you can also donate laptops, iPods, digital cameras, laser toner cartridges, GPS devices, DVDs and video games and consoles. There's a theme here. Everything listed is relatively small. Larger electronics cannot be accepted for this program. Drop off boxes are located in the atrium and coat closet of the education building. Any questions should be directed to Carol Henig, program coordinator. Call Carol or email at [email protected]

    Youth Group

    • March 6: Lenten/Mardi Gras Pancake Feed following

    9:30 AM service • March 13: “A Big Sing: John Bell” Concert at Arlington

    Presbyterian Church: carpool from SMPC, 6:00-9:30 PM • March 20: YG Get-Together @SMPC, 5:00-7:00 PM

    • March 27: Presbytery-Wide Youth Event in Northern

    Virginia (location: TBD) carpool from SMPC 4:15-7:30 PM $5 per person for meal Additional information is provided via e-mail. To b

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