What’s happening in St. Mark’s . . .
St. John’s UCC - Perhaps the greatest challenge for St. Mark’s for 2020 is the coming closure of St. John’s. While not exactly a total surprise, the timing of this momentous event is coming sooner than expected. On February 2nd, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Call of Penn Central Conference, spoke at the services of St. Marks and St. John’s. After St. John’s service she addressed the concerns of their congregation especially with matters of attendance and monetary giving. She then returned on Wednesday, February 5th, to attend St. John’s monthly Consistory Meeting. At this meeting she explained the procedures which would be necessary in closing the church. At the end of the meeting their Consistory voted to recommend to their membership that the church close its doors. It also called for a Special Congregational Meeting for March 8th. At that time the congregation will first have to vote to close the church, and if that is affirmed then several other decisions will have to be made.
Rev. Call joined St. Mark’s Consistory Meeting on February 13th to explain what effect the closing will have on St. Mark’s. At that meeting the Consistory voted to recommend two actions by St. Mark’s congregation. First to welcome any and all members from St. John’s and to invite them to bring with them significant artifacts from their church. The Consistory also called for a Special Congregational Meeting to be held on March 1st following the morning worship service so that the congregation can act on these recommendations.
On March 8th when St. John’s holds its Congregational Meeting, I will ask permission to address their congregation before the meeting begins to present St. Mark’s invitation to joint with our congregation. St. John’s will then have to take several votes. First, and most difficult, should they close their church? If that is approved then they will have to vote to set a final date of operations, to send their congregational records to the Historical Society of the UCC, and to give authority to disburse their assets to their Consistory.
If all this goes as planned Sunday, May 31st will be the last service for the congregation of St. John’s. It will be an afternoon service at 2 p.m. St. Mark’s congregation needs to attend this service to support them in this most difficult event and to welcome them home to St. Mark’s.
Another thought on St. John’s closing - We have just adopted an annual budget for the operations of St. Mark’s at our Annual Meeting in January. With the closing of St. John’s that budget now has a $30,000 hole in it! After the dust settled this spring, we absolutely must address this problem. Our giving must increase and/or items must be eliminating from our budget. This is a serious issue. Do you, our members, have any suggestions as to how this challenge can be met?
Pictorial Directories - It seems like a long time ago we were having our photos taken. All the material has now been submitted to the company which is assembling a proof copy for us to examine before the final one is printed. So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If everything goes well we may have the directories in our hands by Easter.
Lenten & Easter Services - In the last issue of the Carillon, I presented what I thought was the final schedule for the Holy Season. Turned out there were more changes after that. Below is the new schedule. On March 25th, the Lenten Service will be held at Hebron UM instead of St. John’s, and the April 1st service will be at St. John’s. Take time to take this journey to the cross with us during these services. The meals offer good fellowship (and good food) and the services are always inspirational!
February 26th Ash Wednesday 7 p.m. at St. John’s
March 4th. Lenten Service meal at 6 p.m., service at 6:30 at Grace UCC
March 11th. Lenten Service meal at 6 p.m., service at 6:30 at St. Mark’s
March 18th Lenten Service meal at 6 p.m., service at 6:30 at Moravian Church
March 25th Lenten Service meal at 6 p.m., service at 6:30 at Hebron UM
April 1st Lenten Service meal at 6 p.m., service at 6:30 at St. John’s
April 9th Maundy Thursday 7 p.m. reception, communion at 7:30 p.m. St. Mark’s
April 10th Good Friday 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s
April 12th Easter Sunrise 6:30 a.m. (no communion) at St. John’s
April 12th Easter Service 9 a.m. communion at St. Mark’s
(Note: The Lenten Services are short in time, usually 30 minutes.)
Security/Safety Upgrades - Last year the smoke detectors in the Sanctuary were replaced along with those on the third floor of the Christian Ed Building. The control panel which receives the data from these detectors was also upgraded. Phase 2 of the upgrades will begin very shortly. This includes replacing the rest of the old smoke detectors and installing additional fire pull stations to bring us up to code. This work will be financed through the Endowment Fund which was approved by the Congregation in January.
Lebanon County Christian Ministries’ Annual Lenten Breakfast - In the last issue of the Carillon, I mentioned that the Lenten Breakfast this year will be held March 28th at the Cedar Crest Middle School cafetorium. Tickets can be purchased in the office from Gayle for $15.00. Since that time a member has donated ten tickets which can be obtained FREE in the office. That’s a pretty good price so let’s not let them go to waste. See or call Gayle today.