Church Family News
July 2019

Faith Active in Love
Our Stewardship Campaign is Here

Before his ascension into Heaven, Christ offered us a new commandment—love one another just as Christ loves us. We honor that commandment when we care for the needy, comfort the bereaved, and foster a community of faith.

Our faith is active in love when we pledge to support St Mark’s mission to be a welcoming and accessible church community through our annual and weekly offerings.

We pursue this mission through many actions: working to strengthen our ministry to children and youth, both in the Preschool and in our congregational community; completing our plan to create an accessible family restroom; and planning for a dedicated drop-off area to ensure safer access to the church. We are committed to creating a space where  all are welcome and able to join us at the Lord’s Table.

As we plan for the upcoming year and ask our congregation for support, we hope that you will consider making a financial pledge to St. Mark. We also hope that you will reflect on how you can enrich our ministry. Christ’s commandment asks us to reconsider our resources, time, and talents. How can we, as individuals and as a community of faith, strengthen and expand this mission to our families, our community and th e wider Church.

Thank you for prayerfully considering your offering this year to St. Mark and for pledging to support our mission. 

Thanks be to God for all that God has offered to our lives.

Thanks be to God for you, and for all that you mean to the St. Mark community.

Mission Church Council

If you are part of the safe church team or you want to come and be part of it, please meet at church this Saturday from  9am – noon  again.

  1. Our Theological Statement that we drafted.
  2. trauma and walking with survivors – we will review mandated reporting in more detail, work through a few scenarios, and learn more about the impacts of trauma from the head counselor at SARA
  3. There will be some refreshments when you arrive!
God’s Work our Hands-2019
“God’s Work, Our Hands” week will take place September 8-September 15.  One of the missions that we are focusing on this year is the Special Olympics Pepsi 10k and 2 mile walk which will take place on September 14th. We would love to get a team of St. Mark members to either run the 10K, participate in the 2 mile walk or volunteer to cheer and help at food tables and other jobs.   
The money raised from this run goes directly to the Local Area 3 Special Olympics.  There are no paid positions at the local level and all the coaches and staff are volunteers.  All funds are used to pay for equipment, uniforms, travel to competitions and educational materials about Special Olympics.
Come, have fun, and mingle with some of the best runners in Charlottesville and several UVa Athletic teams and Special Guest, our very own "COSMO" the famous sheep dog.  
To sign up for the run/walk you can go to the website, .  If you are interested in participating as a family and would like to get a discounted family rate, please talk to or email Pastor Viktoria ( ), David Zentmyer or Marcy Wisbauer. Scholarships are also available for individuals.
Are You Shopping on Amazon?

We all do. Please remember to support your church just by checking out with Amazon Smile. It cost nothing to you but the church benefits.

AmazonSmile donates to St Mark Lutheran Church Elca of Charlottesville Virginia.

Simply shop at  
 and AmazonSmile donates to St Mark Lutheran Church Elca of Charlottesville Virginia
Virginia Synod and ELCA News
Save the Date: ACTS Fall Course

Save the date! The ACTS Fall Course on The New Testament will be led by The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick on September 21 and November 2, 2019. Registration information will be released in the coming weeks! For more information about ACTS,  click here .
Download the Virginia Synod App

Keep in touch with us on our Virginia Synod, ELCA App!

Keep informed on upcoming events, stay up with the latest news and social media posts, view photos from our recent events, receive important notifications, give electronically, and so much more! Simply download the app and search “Virginia Synod, ELCA”. For more information on the Virginia Synod, ELCA App,  click here .

To download the app for an Android device,  click here .
To download the app for an Apple device,  click here .

We are pleased to announce that a new prayer book resource is available through Augsburg Fortress. "Hear My Voice" is a collaborative effort sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Augsburg Fortress. This enduring and conveniently sized book, designed to be permitted in prisons, is enhanced with beautiful color artwork and provides prayers for many times and circumstances.

To read more about " Hear My Voice: A Prison Prayer Book ", check out a blog post by Deacon Mitzi Budde.
Border Crisis Resources for Congregations
(from ELCA Advocacy)

The God-given dignity in all people and value of family unity have been cornerstones of ELCA faith-based advocacy, and we understand that many of us, immigrants as well as families and neighbors, are both afraid and confused by recent developments. Ways to take action can be found in  our latest blog post , which includes worship resources, Action Alert links, meaningful  ELCA Ammparo  strategy ministries,  Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service  tools and more.


Let us give thanks to God that Grace and Glory, Palmyra, has called Meredith Williams to be its new pastor. She begins on August 25. Please keep her in prayer during this time of transition, and offer any help that you can.

Listen, God is Calling!  

OK, but for what? how? when? where? All of these are questions that come up as we all discern God's call in our lives. If you feel God might just maybe, perhaps be calling you to be a pastor or deacon in the church, you are invited to the Virginia Synod Vocations Conference, where we will talk about " How to become a Pastor or Deacon ." You'll hear about the basic Candidacy Process (which is how you become a pastor or deacon!), meet others who are also discerning God's call, and meet the Virginia Synod Candidacy Committee (who will walk this journey with you). Pastor Jason Darty will lead us in the practice of Spiritual Direction. You'll have time to ask questions and to learn new questions that you hadn't even considered before!

The Vocations Conference is Friday, August 16, 12pm – Saturday, August 17 , 1pm at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center near Lynchburg. Although Candidacy Committee members will meet Thursday, August 16 at 12:00 pm., the Vocations Conference does not begin until Friday.

Cost for the Vocations Conference:
  • Candidates, pastors, and Candidacy Committee members: the Virginia Synod will be cover double-occupancy lodging accommodations
  • Inquirers (those not yet officially Entranced into Candidacy): $75 [Congregations are encouraged to cover this cost of their Inquirers.]
  • Guests/Spouses of Candidates or Inquirers: $75
  • If you prefer to have a single-occupancy room, please note that at registration; you will be responsible to pay an additional $25 for a single-occupancy room.
  • Friday lunch and dinner and Saturday breakfast will be provided at Eagle Eyrie; and the Conference will end before lunch on Saturday.

About Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

At the close of the Second World War, one in five Lutherans worldwide had no home. “Displaced persons,” refugees from a continent ravaged by war, fleeing poverty, disease and likely death, many sought a new hope in the United States.

To aid them, church founded Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service in 1939. Eighty years later, LIRS remains a leader in its field. It is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies working with the Office of Refugee Resettlement and one of only two that serves unaccompanied refugee minors. LIRS also advocates for just policies and practices relating to immigration and detention.

Lutherans were not new to ministry among immigrants and refugees. For decades in the 1800s, our churches had established hostels and settlement houses near the great port cities of the East Coast. We were then, even more than we are now, a church built by newcomers to this nation, with a deep commitment to helping our bothers and sisters become part of the American mosaic.

Today, LIRS’s work embraces new Americans from many nations and religious traditions. But the fundamental tasks have not changed. LIRS provides refugee resettlement, foster care services, and family reunification. It works with new American communities to help them find work and foster welcoming workplaces, as well as teaching them to tell their own stories and advocate for their own rights.

LIRS remains a faith-based organization, which grows out of the distinctive experience of Lutherans in America, and which has touched the lives of nearly 400,000 people in need – and counting.

Offerings were collected at our Power in the Spirit communion services and will go to support the mission and ministry of LIRS. To learn more, visit:

(click on the blue for more)

The Sanctuary Movement is a growing movement of immigrant and faith communities in the current political climate.   Sanctuary: A Discernment Guide for Congregations   from the Presbyterian Church USA may facilitate discussion of this possible involvement in your congregation.

In the ELCA, many congregations are sanctuary congregations. Identify  ELCA  welcoming and sanctuary congregations and synods on the map.
ELCA Advocacy attended the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB50) in June. The UNFCCC Executive Secretary highlighted four numbers in her Global Climate Briefing:  1.5 or less – the degrees Celsius to which we must limit global warming;  2050 – the year by which the world must reach carbon neutrality;  2030 – the year by which we must limit global emissions by 35-40 percent; and  2020 – when new and revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), quantifying commitment for greenhouse gas reductions, must be issued by countries. SB50, an (intersessional) meeting of the United Nations Framework Convening on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saw some progress in moving forward with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but much work remains to be done.

The House of Representatives passed the International Affairs budget, which funds international anti-poverty programs. Compared to the Fiscal Year 2019 enacted budget, the Fiscal Year 2020 House bill increases by $2.2 billion (four percent). The House rejected President Trump’s proposal to cut this budget by 24 percent. Many of the anti-poverty programs either saw a small increase or were funded at levels similar to those in the FY19 budget. This includes funding for malaria, HIV/AIDS, child/maternal health, food and nutrition, and other humanitarian and development programs.

Federally funded Summer Meals begin this month and are served in local communities all over the country to low-income children who could lose reliable and healthy food during the school year. ELCA Advocacy will use this summer to bring awareness to the importance of the Summer Food Service Program and other hunger issues that affect our communities.
Community News

Habitat is currently recruiting for our high school  2019-2020 Youth Leadership Team!

The Habitat Youth Leadership Team (HYLT) is a group of 12-15 high school volunteers selected to educate, advocate, and fundraise on behalf of affordable housing initiatives. Participating youth are leaders, planners, fundraisers, advocates, and, if old enough, builders (ages 16 and up). As a member of the Habitat Youth Leadership Team students can earn service hours, hone new skills, and make friends across the community. Additionally, they will act as communicators of the Habitat for Humanity mission to peers, teachers, and parents, and play a vital role in planning and supporting HFH events. 

The application (attached) has a little more information about the HYLT.

If you know a student(s) who might be interested, please pass along their email and/or phone number, and we would be happy to reach out to them with more information.  We recruit primarily based on referrals.

Thanks in advance for considering who might be a good fit!

In Partnership,

SUPPORT THE IRC (International Rescue Committee)

Donate supplies for students returning to school

This fall, refugee students will return to school, many for the first time in the US. Help students start their school year with the right tools. Donate backpacks in gender-neutral themes and colors, school supplies, children's socks and underwear (new, please), and shoes to the IRC.  

Donations can be dropped off at the IRC office (609 E Market St) Mondays and Wednesdays 9am-12pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-5pm, or Fridays 9am-5pm. Please email if you have questions about donating.

What can we do in Virginia? We can:
1 - Share information with our immigrant friends, neighbors and family members about their rights. The Immigrant Defense Project has immigrant rights information in 16 languages. It also suggests ways local communities can implement policies to welcome immigrants and avoid collaborating with ICE.   See these resources  
2 -  Sign our petition  to show your support for two Virginia policies to welcome immigrants: 
Driver’s Privilege Card and In-state Tuition for DACA students.
3 -  Download and share our fact sheet  about In-state tuition. 
4 - Invite a speaker to your congregation and host a conversation at your home. Do your part to dispel myths about immigrants.  Email Yanet Limon-Amado  to arrange for a speaker.
We are living in challenging times. Many immigrant families in our midst are afraid to go to work, school or religious services. Let us pray and take action to stop this now!
In Solidarity,
Kim Bobo
Co-Executive Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy


Ever wonder what your faith has to do with climate change? How climate disruption affects different groups in your community? What work to care for Creation is being done in Harrisonburg? How can you get involved and take action to care for nature and our neighbors? 
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light (VAIPL) invites you to come find your place at the table!

On  Saturday, August 3rd from 11am to 4pm, VAIPL will host a Climate for Justice training at The Gathering Place in Harrisonburg that will answer these questions and more. 

Who: New and seasoned environmental advocates
What: Climate for Justice Training
When: Saturday, August 3rd from 11am-4pm
Where: The Gathering Place, 841 Mount Clinton Pike ( MAP )
Why: Learn about connections between climate change, environmental justice, and faith; focus on energy justice concerns and activism; and get plugged into climate justice efforts ongoing in the area.

This training is open to anyone in The Valley interested in engaging with faith and spirituality to care for Creation. It will feature a session on connections between faith and climate change, a lunchtime panel focused on energy, a workship on storytelling for advocacy, all led by experts in the region. 
Lunch will be provided at this event. To help defray costs associated with the training, there is a registration fee of $10 (free for students). If this registration fee provides a barrier to your participation, please don’t hesitate to contact Laura at

Addressing climate change and environmental justice is our moral responsibility as people of faith. We hope you (and your faith community) can join us!  RSVP now.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out Laura at  or (704) 724-5943.

Click here to spread the word  on Facebook !
Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA: A film screening and discussion ( A Unity Days event )

Wednesday, July 31, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center, 233 4th Street

Join the Charlottesville chapter of   Coming to the Table  and the DOR History Action Team for a screening of the documentary, “A Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA” followed by a panel discussion about the film’s themes of racial inequality, tolerance, and healing. This event is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served. Part of Unity Days events.    More information here .

Pastor Viktoria will hold office hours any time by appointment. 

Please leave a message at 434-293-3311  
Sunday July 28
Welcome: Marco Escobar                          
Greeter:    Karen Love               
Ushers:  Tom & Caroline Hecmanczuk
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Sara Bon-Harper         
Assisting Minister:   Helen Ida Moyer
Children Moment:   Tom Hecmanzuk
Lector:   Jack Milligan
Cantor:   Amanda Nelson
Altar Guild: Linda Imhoff
Nursery: Nora Giesecke
Snack:  Carolyn Rader & Kristen Wray   
Coffee/Clean up:  Caroline Hecmanzuk
Counters:  Lynn Stephenson & Elaine Oakey
Sunday Aug 4
Welcome:  Tom Hecmanczuk
Greeter:  Gail and Jack Milligan
Ushers:  Dick Sundberg & Marco Escobar
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Crosby Horton
Assisting Minister:  Paul Shepherd
Children Moment:  Christa Escobar
Lector:   Kara McClurken
Cantor:  Paul Shepherd
Altar Guild:  Linda Imhoff
Snack:  Margy Roache & David/Will Zentmyer
Coffee/Clean up:  Gail Milligan
Counters:  Greg Wichelns & Mark Giesecke
St. Mark Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Charlottesville, VA
(434) 293-3311 |