The Rector's Reflection
Is the Lord Among Us?
“Moses called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’”
-From Exodus 17:1-7

I’ve had a lot of sympathy with the Israelites wandering in the desert in recent weeks. I’ve been grateful these are the lessons that the lectionary has gifted us during these upended times. I’m grateful to be reminded that the path to the promised land is not a straight journey and the tendency is to look back with longing at our places of imprisonment. It’s particularly hard to find oneself wandering if you didn’t perceive yourself in need of freeing. If you like to load up your refrigerator and freezer with enough food to last weeks at a time (guilty as charged - I blame my Grandma Chown), manna is not comfort food. As the grumbling gets louder and the novelty is fully worn off, it is natural to say, “is the Lord among us or not?” This question does not indicate a lack of faith, but rather names our pain and isolation and fear that perhaps God isn’t working in the ways we want and need.

God has a funny way of working in our lives in ways that we only see in hindsight. I won’t make the obvious joke about it being 20/20 - oops, I did. But I do think that there is something powerful about the experience of wandering. It’s not pleasant. And we become immediately aware of our own limits in terms of patience, control, or even where our places of idolatry reside. But the discomfort of the journey doesn’t mean the Lord isn’t present, it means we are invited to pray for new ways of seeing and reliance on the One who loves us as beloved children.

We have been away from one another too long. We have as a congregation made that sacrifice to wander in isolation, to be cautious, and pay attention to the public health data in our city. I’m grateful for the Vestry and the working group that has been so faithful, as we continue to cry out, “How long?” The biblical version of, “are we there yet?” I am cautiously optimistic that we have some new opportunities on the horizon in October. We will start with a “drive-through” Blessing of the Animals in our parking lot on Sunday, October 4 from 4-6pm. Then for the rest of the month we will experiment with a Wednesday evening and Sunday evening in-person service at 5.30pm. We have protocols and sign up information along with a video coming to you soon. You will need to register before the service to ensure we can appropriately physically distance ourselves. If you are not comfortable with in-person services at the church, we will have options for small, outdoor services for those who are at higher risk. Look at your mail and stay tuned for an instructional video. This is all predicated on the numbers staying in a safe zone. If we have learned anything in this time it is that planning is something that needs to be nimble and flexible. I remain grateful for this community and anticipate with hope the opportunity for these modest modes of regathering.

The Rev. Beth Knowlton, Rector
Worship, Formation, & Gatherings
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32
Sunday Service Time
10.00am - streamed live on Facebook and on the St. Mark's website.
Sunday Worship

Each Sunday at 10.00am we gather online for worship. The first Sunday of each month is a celebration of Holy Eucharist. The subsequent Sundays, we offer Morning Prayer.

We hope you'll make plans to join us each Sunday via Facebook Live or our website.

To listen or watch sermons online, visit our website.

Weekday Worship

Morning Prayer
- We are offering Morning Prayer, Monday through Friday. We hope you make plans to join us via Facebook Live at 8.30am. This is a more lengthy service with multiple scripture readings.

Resource for Morning Prayer:
- Mission St. Clare - they also have an app for smart phones.

We are offering Compline, Monday through Friday. On Monday evenings, we will have different families host Compline. We hope you and your family will make plans to join us via Facebook Live at 7.00pm. This is a shorter service and would be great for families to do together!

Resource for Compline:
- BCP Online - on the left side, click "Daily Office", then click "An Order for Compline"

Adult Formation

To view all Adult Formation offerings, visit the website.

Sunday Morning Formation - The Way of Love
Sunday, September 13 - October 25
9.00am via Zoom
Led by St. Mark’s Clergy with special guests The Rev. Mary Earle, The Rev. Dr. John Lewis, The Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson, and Br. James Dennis

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has outlined these seven practices in living out Jesus’ way of love and commended the whole Episcopal Church to engage them: TURN, LEARN, PRAY, WORSHIP, BLESS, GO, and REST. This class will explore each of the practices offering some practical applications.

Midweek with the Mystics
Wednesdays beginning September 16
12.00pm via Zoom
Led by The Rev. Beth Knowlton

Spend some of your lunch hour each Wednesday learning from the work and life of Christian Mystics. 

Coffee Hour via Zoom
Sundays at 11.15am

Join us on Sundays at 11.15am for Coffee Hour! We'll gather on Zoom for some time for fellowship and to check-in with each other. 

Zoom Gatherings

Online connections continue while in person programming have been postponed throughout Phase II.  

Monday Morning Bible Study
Mondays at 7.00am via Zoom.

Pauline Letters Bible Study
Wednesdays at 6.30pm via Zoom.

Time Out Bible Study
Thursdays at 10.00am via Zoom.

Art Class
Tuesdays at 10.00am via Zoom (Meeting ID - 359-019-174, password - stmlion315).

Questions about Zoom? Email Rachel Dugger.  

Giving as an Act of Worship
You make worship, formation, and fellowship possible through your generosity.
Make a one time gift now.
Make a pledge for 2020.

Text giving
Text the amount you want to give to 210-399-0072. Text 100 to give $100 toward your pledge or as a one-time gift if you do not have a pledge on file.
Gifted Years Zoom Book Study
Tuesdays - September 29 - October 27
10.00am via Zoom

We will study The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. This group has engaging discussions and everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Pat Donegan (210) 288-5634 or by email.

Generosity Kit Deliveries - Volunteers Needed

As part of our stewardship campaign this year, St. Mark’s households will receive a Generosity Kit, which will contain items that help us be mindful of God's generosity and invite us to be generous with our family, friends, and neighbors. The kits will also include a treat from our own kitchen staff!

We need lots of helpers, so if you’d like to help deliver the kits, email Shea Pollom.

Drive-Through Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 4 at 4.00pm
Location: St. Mark's Parking Lot

Join the clergy next Sunday, October 4, for a drive-through Blessing of the Animals! Bring your pets in your car and drive through anytime from 4-6pm. They will be blessed by one of our clergy members in the parking lot.

There will be specific instructions in next week's eNews about how to enter and exit the parking lot, so stay tuned!

A portion of the 10.00am streamed service will be a pet blessing if you would like to join us in that way.

Did You Know?

Introducing a new section of the weekly eNews! We will fill this section with interesting facts, tutorials, and many other things!

This week, we're going to teach you how to find events on the website and where the Zoom information is. Watch the video below to learn how to find events on our new website.
St. Mark's Second Sundays

The St. Cecilia Series presents St. Mark's Second Sundays. 

Sunday, October 11 at 7.00pm: Lydia Beasley, soprano; Samuel Gaskin, accompanist - Lydia Beasley and Samuel Gaskin present “Letters”, an art song recital comprised of letters of love, familial connection, and a war-time farewell. Featured in the recital will be Songs from Letters: Calamity Jane to her daughter Janey, 1880-1902, a song cycle by American composer Libby Larsen.

Join us on the website for this offering!

Mental Health Minute

Practice ‘Anchoring’
Another way to stay present rather than spin into a crisis is to notice if you are engaged in thinking that isn’t helping you. Our interpretations of events supercharge the intensity of our emotions. After all, anticipating, “This will go on for years!” in a moment of anguish will only inspire more hopelessness. But mindfulness, or learning to see more clearly as opposed to jumping to conclusions, is a nice remedy for anxiety. One brief way to enter the moment is known as “anchoring,” a popular strategy.

Start by physically centering yourself by digging your heels into the floor — this evokes a feeling of being grounded in reality. Then take a moment to observe: What am I thinking? Feeling in my body? Doing? Then ask yourself: Is my response: A) Helpful? B) Aligned with my values now? Or C) Related to future worries or a past problem? While we can get stuck in specific thoughts, stepping back to more generally decide if those thoughts are helpful can get us out of rumination mode. It may also help to tape a list of these prompts on your computer to remember to take a step back and refocus when your thoughts are only making things worse.

This tip was taken from the New York Times article, "Five-Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets: How to get unstuck from your anxiety" by Jenny Taitz.

Interfaith Study & Dialogue
The Second Temple Period, the Roman Period, the time of Jesus: All of the above and more 
Tuesdays, 12.00-1.00pm
October 13, 20, 27, November 3

Uri Feinberg is back to lead us in a 4-week exploration of this watershed evolutionary moment in Jewish history, Christianity and the history of the world. Our exploration will begin shortly after the return of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel, when during the regional reign of the Persians, the Second Temple will be built.

Over the course of four sessions together, we will follow the trajectory of the Jewish People as they begin anew in the Land. The fall of the Persians and the rise of the Greeks will provide fodder for rebellion, new leadership, new law and lots of challenge. Once the Romans enter the picture the Jewish world changes forever, in more ways than one. As the dust settles around the destroyed Second Temple, with continued residue yet to fall, the stage will have been set for new paths, both internally and externally.

Construction Update

On September 19, 2019, one million pounds of scaffolding from across the street fell on our Parish House. This construction update, on the one-year anniversary, shares the progress we have made as we work towards full recovery. We continue to be grateful for the resilience of this beloved community.