Church Family News

We are in the season of stewardship talks and learning about how we can offer, time, ministry gifts and financial resources to the community of Christ through St. Mark.

Each Sunday in August, we will have noisy offering, a way to remind ourselves and teach our kids about giving financially.

Of course we are fare removed from the time of using coins, instead of credit cards, PayPal or any on-line giving. And yet I still have coins in my purse hanging around. If you do, please bring it to church and we will drop it in the offering plate during offering.

For those who prefer on-line giving we have plastic coins right at the bulletins that you can use to put in the offering plate.

It is also a fun way to give. Help your kids learn about giving for mission by giving them some coins to put in the bucket.

There are many stories about Jesus healing people when he was walking with us.

On August 18 we will hear from the the Gospel Luke, who according to Colossians, was a physician (the Greek word for one who heals).

God cares about our pain and suffering, our struggles and problems. I know you have experienced God's Spirit of healing and life working through people. These special people are often caring friends or those who work in the medical field or caretakers.

On Aug 18 we will remember those who are doctors, nurses, caretakers or use their gift of healing for the people in need. If you know someone we can lift up during the prayers please send an email to the office with their names or leave a note in the office on Sunday.

During this service we will also offer prayer and anointing to those who need healing in body, mind or spirit.
AUG 25

You are invited to a picnic on the playground immediately following church on Sunday August 25th. 

We will provide the main dish (grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, along with vegetarian options) but ask that you provide a side dish to share. So bring your sunscreen, blanket and chairs and invite a friend! All are welcome! 

There will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex. 

If you have any questions please contact Christa Escobar.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

We are honored and humbled to have Deb Curtis include photos from St. Mark Lutheran Preschool in her recently published book "Children's Lively Minds."

As you may recall, SMLP faculty participated in a year long intensive training with with Deb, studying Schema Theory and it's application in early childhood classrooms. There is a copy of the book in the church office if you'd like to take a peek. 
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.
ELCA Churchwide Assembly Livestream Aug 5-10

The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the church’s primary decision-making event, is a process of communal spiritual discernment — a time for us to be the living body of Christ, guided by the Spirit and conformed to God’s will.
Watch the livestream of the  15th Churchwide Assembly , Aug. 5 through 10.

Six weeks of prayer for Churchwide Assembly

When the   ELCA Churchwide Assembly (CWA)  convenes on Monday, August 5, its voting members meet with confidence in God's grace around word and water, wine and bread, to carry on their work on behalf of the entire church.

This year will also include the election of a new secretary and a presiding bishop. As members of the ELCA, we encourage you to enter into a time of prayer for all who are involved and for the entire church.  A resource for including a congregational prayer is available .
LIRS needs help for families leaving detention

             Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services is providing support for families seeking asylum on the southwest border, according to information relayed by LIRS to Ann Hess, Luther Memorial, Blacksburg.

            Lutherans are invited to send financial support to LIRS to share with congregations in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico who are caring for these people.

      An humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of traumatized asylum-seeking families are released from detention and abandoned on the streets, according to Marta Spangler with LIRS.

            As many as 700 families a day, many with young children or infants, are being released by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents outdoors in unfamiliar cities. Often, they have only the clothes on their backs. Sometimes, at night, unable to speak English, they desperately seek shelter, food, medical care and transportation.

            Their release is not the crisis, said Sarah Eary of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. "The crisis is the complete lack of support they receive afterward."

            Many migrant children and families are fleeing drug trafficking, gang violence and extortion in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They have the right to seek asylum, under federal law. Since December, ICE has released more than 14,500 people who are released with no clothing, food, water or a place to stay for the night.  
You are invited to our annual Celebration and Awards party!

Join us on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 5:30PM at the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond for dinner, music, and an exciting awards ceremony.  

This is our only annual statewide fundraising event and your participation is greatly appreciated. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.

There are many ways to support our mission:
2 -   BECOME A SPONSOR LINK   - Individuals, congregations and company sponsors will get free tickets, recognition in the program, and online PR
3 -  DONATE AN ITEM FOR ONLINE AUCTION LINK   - Donate a gift certificate, a service, or an experience.

Kim Bobo and Pastor Rodney Hunter
Co-Executive Directors
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
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 .

On July 11, during the HLPF the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation co-hosted an event alongside the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Council for World Mission and the United Methodist Church, during the High-Level Political Forum. The event, “Taxation & Reparation: Tools for promoting Equity, Climate Justice and an Economy of Life” focused on the need for justice and reparation for exploitation.

Panelists James Henry, Manuel Montes, and the Rev. Suzanne Matale spoke about the current tax system, urging greater transparency concerning investors and emphasizing the need for people of faith to become more involved because “taxation is no longer a matter for the privileged few.” Montes discussed the history behind the United Kingdom’s tax evasion, the Rev. Matale spoke of her experience in Africa and the unnecessary taxes, including those for digging one’s own bore holes to access clean water, whereas Henry explored the types of tax evasion taking place in the world, including offshore taxation. Raveen Shepherd shared her knowledge of the desperate need for reparation needed in the Caribbean and Iva Karuthas emphasized the need for reparations, calling them a necessary tool for healing rather than a fight for money arguing that there is “not enough money to pay back for the violence, racism, exploitation and cheap labor experienced.”

To conclude the event, the sponsors launched the  Zacchaeus Project , part of the “New International Financial and Economic Architecture initiative” ( NIFEA ), modeled on the transformation of the tax collector, Zacchaeus, in the Gospel of Luke. This campaign’s purpose is to advocate for tax justice, address social & ecological debts, while also educating churches about the issues involved when advocating for tax justice and reparation.
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.
How the Bible Actually Works
Wisdom and Reimagining God

In the book " The Great Spiritual Migration ," author Brian McLaren compares the evolution of thinking about God to that of a computer operating system, starting with the first release, God 1.0, and unfolding one version at a time to our current need for God 5.0. Paul R. Smith, in his book " Integral Christianity ," outlines the progression of what he calls stages in spiritual development, starting with the tribal and warrior phases, then moving to traditional, modern, post-modern and finally integral phases. Both of these frameworks are ways to think about how we have and continue to reimagine God.

Theologian Peter Enns argues that this kind of reimagining is a feature of the diverse books and voices that make up our sacred Scriptures. In " How the Bible Actually Works ," Enns writes that the Bible was never intended to be a rule book providing clear, straightforward answers for every decision and choice we need to make. Because the Bible contains distinct, ambiguous, and sometimes contradictory perspectives of people reimagining God, the Bible is an invitation to wisdom and discernment, not a source of neat and tidy solutions. Said another way, the Bible is not a book that reflects one point of view. 

For example, you may have noticed the Bible contains more than a few unfortunate passages that connect God with ideas we no longer accept, things such as killing enemies in God’s name, child sacrifice, owning slaves and God thinking more highly of men than of women. It’s also possible to find passages of Scripture that imply that wealth is a blessing, and others that imply wealth is a curse. So which is it? Jesus himself reimagines God and the tradition by saying, "You have heard it said ... but I say to you ..." 

In the end, reimagining God is nothing more or less than asking what God is like here and now. To further explore these ideas, check out the book " How the Bible Actually Works " or watch Peter Enns in his recent  TheoEd Talk .  
Called to Be Prophets

Called to Be Prophets is a 2-day conference at Christ the King, Cary, on Friday-Saturday, September 27-28 , to help you wrestle with the question: what is God calling you to do? Our world faces issues we can solve--or at least improve--in areas of climate change, racial inequality, and acceptance of all genders and sexualities as the Image of God. 

Join theologians, activists, pastors, and advocates as we answer the call to be modern-day prophets. Presented by the NC Synod; Christ the King, Cary; and Homebrewed Christianity; and featuring speaker Brian McLaren. 

The first 100 people signing up will receive copies of Brian's and Robyn's new books.

Bringing people together from all over the world

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)   Wittenberg Center   celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, just as the   Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Wittenberg Center   celebrates 20 years in the city of Martin Luther.  Read more from LWF about this historic anniversary celebration .

We are pleased to announce the debut of the   Virginia Interfaith Center YouTube Channel  and the launch of a short video that tells our story. 
Visit and subscribe to our channel  to see videos highlighting our priority issues, marches and rallies, and messages from our board members and community leaders.  Please share this link  with your network and encourage people to subscribe.

Special thanks to the video producers who donated their time and creative ideas: Julian Pozzi, Wells Hanley and Tania Fernandez of Stillpoint Studio, and to Professor Pozzi's students in VCU's Advanced Media Technology Production class of 2019: Sarah Kerndt, Kahlil Shepard, Ellis Warner, Chetara Hooker, Daniel Davis, Daniel Adams, Crixelle Matthews Austin Schnarrs.

We also thank those of you who participated in our marches, Day for all People, forums, and other events – this video is about YOU and it’s for YOU.

In Appreciation,
Kim Bobo and Pastor Rodney Hunter
Co-Executive Directors
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Community News

Walk.  Give.  Change the world.
Walkers have reported $250 in online and offline gifts! 

The 48th Annual Charlottesville Albemarle CROP WALK will be on Sunday, October 13, 2019 . Last year we raised $27,074 for local and international hunger relief.

Our CROP WALK will follow our route that starts and ends at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Rugby Rd. We will walk past the University Corner, and on Main Street to Ridge Street, on Cherry Ave., Jefferson Park Ave., to University Avenue and back on Rugby Rd. to Westminster. Alternatively, a shorter walk can end at Cherry Avenue Christian Church.

Together, we can help end hunger in our community and around the world!
Cville Resonates
Saturday, August 10, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm,
Market St. Park, 101 E Market St,
"Charlottesville Resonates" is a gathering in Market St. Park at 11:00 am, to bring musical resonance and community participation using musical harmony.
Various brass ensembles from around the Commonwealth will play and encourage community members to engage in resonance exercises. A "Pot Luck" meal will follow in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church.

Coming to the Table: Monticello to Main Street Walking Tour
Saturday, August 10, 11 to 12 pm,
meet at Courthouse Square, 501 E Jefferson St.
This month our local group will join others in the community as part of Unity Days events by taking a downtown history tour with Monticello guides. This one-hour tour connects the lives of families enslaved at Monticello to Charlottesville’s early history. RSVP to Kathy Spaar at
C’Ville Sing Out! (A Unity Days event)
Saturday, August 10, 4 to 6 pm,
The Sprint Pavilion in the Downtown Mall
Everyone in our community is invited to participate in a wonderful group singing event - a positive celebration of our town to promote love and brotherhood among all races, cultures, and beliefs. More information and registration to sing in the choir can be found at

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, Garrett Trent


We are in need of dry cat food.
If you have any opened bags that you're not sure what to do with, we can take those too! 

office: office 434-293-4364.
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

PACEM is currently hiring for two full-time positions.

The Program Director is responsible for the smooth operation of the men’s and women’s shelters including on and off-season functions. This requires cultivating support of local congregations to serve as shelter sites, meal partners, and fiscal supporters. The Program Director supervises seasonal shelter staff, manages the shelter schedule, and participates in staff training. Additionally, the Program Director oversees volunteer and congregational communications and training. The Program Director also acts as Shelter Director during the shelter season and works in close coordination with the PACEM Case Managers and Executive Director in the overall management of the program.

Women’s Case Manager for the 2019-20 shelter season . In 2018-19 we served the most number of individuals in shelter history, including a 30% increase in the number of women needing shelter. The Women’s Case Manager will focus on supporting guests of our women’s shelter to navigate the Region Ten/TJACH service system and greater Charlottesville housing market. The Women’s Case Manager will have strong empathy and training to serve highly vulnerable female-identifying guests, ideally with a Social Work or Human Services background. Organizational and time management skills are essential. This staff person will ensure compliance with data collection and reporting, and maintain case notes on conversations and progress with each guest of the women’s shelter. The majority of this staff person’s work is completed during standard business hours (8am-4pm), but we ask for some evening work to meet with guests at the shelter site (2 hours, 1-2x week). A few times a year s/he may be asked to support additional evening or weekend work activities. Some driving is required throughout the greater Charlottesville area, so reliable transportation is a must.

Pastor Viktoria will hold office hours any time by appointment. 

Please leave a message at 434-293-3311  
Sunday August 11
Welcome:   Howard Imhoff                        
Greeter:   Duane Osheim              
Ushers:  Marcy Wisbauer & Will and Leo Abrahamson
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Izzie Hecmanczuk     
Assisting Minister:   Jack Milligan
Children Moment:   Tony Marbury
Lector:   Pat Dwiggins
Cantor:   Helen Ida Moyer
Altar Guild: Patty Marbury
Nursery: Madeleine Jones
Snack:      Heidi & Madeleine Jones and Patty Marbury
Coffee/Clean up:  Kara McClurken
Counters:  Pat Dwiggins & Lois Shepherd
Sunday Aug 18
Welcome:  Alice McKenna
Greeter:  Lois Shepherd
Ushers:  Ali Griffit & Lewis Horton
Crucifer/Acolyte/Chalice:   Nora Giesecke
Assisting Minister:  Constance Johnson
Children Moment:  Pastor
Lector:   Helen Ida Moyer
Cantor:  Paul Shepherd
Altar Guild:  Elaine Oakey
Nursery:  Izzy Hecmanczuk
Snack:  Gail Milligan & Sue Ann McCarty
Coffee/Clean up:  Linda Roberts
Counters:  Christa Escobar & Elain Oakey
St. Mark Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Charlottesville, VA
(434) 293-3311 |