The Weekly Buzz
January 14, 2022
This Sunday,
January 16

  • 8:30 am: Traditional Service
  • 11:00 am: Contemporary Service
  • Holy Communion options in the pew and at the altar (both services)
  • 9:30 am: Fellowship Hour with refreshments in the John Bates FLC (masks are required except when having food/beverages while seated at a table)
  • 9:45 am: Sunday School (ages 3 through high school)
  • Per the Governor's mandate, masks are required indoors
  • The nursery will not be staffed but children may play in the nursery as long as a parent remains with them.
  • Please sign attendance pads in pews.
  • Bring a friend!

Online Worship:
The 11:00 am service can be viewed live hereClick here for Sunday's 11:00 am service bulletin. Click here to see previous worship services on St. Mark's YouTube Channel. Be sure to "like" the service, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, and share the post on your Facebook page so more people can hear the good news!
Service Preview

Service Preview: Epiphany has begun. Christ is being revealed to the world. The Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. This Sunday, Jesus performs his first public miracle by turning water into wine for a wedding feast. We will celebrate this by lighting the first of seven candles, one for each of the remaining Sundays in Epiphany. Come and see the light of Christ – and let it shine in your life!
Call Committee Update

In November, the Bishop’s office nominated two candidates for consideration as St. Mark’s next senior pastor. One candidate withdrew by mutual agreement due to a misunderstanding about the requirements for candidates for our pastoral opening. The Call Committee interviewed the other candidate in November, voted to nominate this candidate to our council, and hosted him and his family for a visit to St. Mark’s. As is often the case, this candidate was simultaneously interviewing with other churches as well, and eventually decided to pursue a call with one of those other congregations. Obviously this was disappointing, but the candidate had only positive feedback about our congregation and simply felt a different location was better for his family. The Bishop’s office is reviewing new candidates for a new candidate or candidates for us to consider. ~ Sarah Schryer, Call Committee Chairperson 
Staffing Update

  • We are pleased to welcome a new custodian, Karie Foster, who will begin on Monday, January 13.

  • We are seeking a new accompanist to play organ and piano for the 8:30 am service and to accompany the choir and special music on the piano. Please contact me about any potential applicants. We have had some interest. 

  • Tammy Stephens is leaving her position as Executive Director of Operations (EDO) at St. Mark's to take a position in nonprofit fundraising, in which she has a great deal of prior experience. Tammy is working with me on the details necessary for a smooth transition, and we will begin recruiting a replacement immediately. Please contact me about any potential applicants for this position on an interim or long-term basis. I’m sad that Tammy is leaving but happy for her that she has a new position that represents a promotion for her. Please join me in congratulating her and wishing her all the best.

~ Pastor Westphal
Blood Pressure Screenings
This Sunday, January 16
Between Services

St. Mark's Parish Nurse, Mary Hills, will be offering free blood pressure screenings in the Gathering Space between services this Sunday.
High School Youth

Summer 2022 Mission Trip: June 12 - 18
For our Summer 2022 mission trip, St. Mark’s High School Youth will be traveling to Detroit, Michigan to work with Cass Community Social Services, which is a Detroit-based agency with a person-centered philosophy, dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs to the homeless population of Detroit.  
  • CCSS prepares and serves 700,000 meals annually.
  • 300 homeless men, women and children currently stay in one of CCSS’ shelters or permanent supportive housing programs.
  • CCSS operates two weekly free medical clinics and a day program for 125 adults with developmental disabilities.
  • 80 adults are currently employed in the agency’s Green Industries which marry jobs with sustainability.

If you’re interested in going or want more information, please contact Jeremy at We will have an informational meeting in the near future, so be on the look out for that information!

High School Youth Group
The High School Youth Group meets twice per month.
Upcoming Events
  • Sunday, January 23, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Board Game Night (7th and 8th graders are encouraged to attend as well)
  • Sunday, February 13, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Super Bowl Party
Receiving New Members
Sunday, January 30
St. Mark’s will welcome new members during both worship services on Sunday, January 30. If you are interested in joining, or you know anyone else who is, please contact Pastor Westphal or the church office. You may also want to attend the Inquiry Class (see below) to learn more about St. Mark’s.
Inquiry Class
Sunday, January 23
9:45 am - 10:45 am

If you were unable to attend last Sunday's Inquiry Class, you can still participate in this Sunday's class! Grab a coffee and donut, and come to the Conference Room by the offices! This class is for people who:
  • Have considered joining St. Mark’s, either on January 30 or some other date in the future. This class is encouraged but not a prerequisite for membership.
  • Have joined St. Mark’s in the last two years during the pandemic, when we were unable to hold this class.
  • Want to know more about St. Mark’s and the Lutheran church (whether you are long-term or a newbie), who wonders what we’re all about!
Pastor Westphal and ministry leaders on the staff and Council will share about our history, beliefs and current activities. The information presented will be different each week so you can attend either, or hopefully both, sessions. This is an excellent way to meet people, become informed and get involved!
Contact the church office to register – or just show up!
Change for Charity:
South Side Mission
Sunday, January 23
Both Services

Donations collected will benefit South Side Mission, which serves residents of the 61605 zip code in Peoria (one of the 100 poorest zip codes in the country). Their mission is to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the poor, and love, feed, house, and teach those in need. Donation canisters will be placed in each pew.
Stewardship Update

Thank you for your strong response to the 2022 stewardship appeal.
If you haven’t returned your pledge form yet, you can download it here.
Nominating Committee Update

Here’s some good news to start the year. The Nominating Committee already has willing volunteers for 14 of the 16 open positions for appointment or for election at the annual meeting on February 6 – almost a full slate! Only two positions are yet unfilled:
  • Mission Coordinator position on council.
  • One more lay representative to the 2022 Synod Assembly. Three lay representatives have already agreed to serve, and the pastors will attend as well. This will be held in two stages. First will be a short Zoom meeting on Saturday, March 26, 9:00 am -10:30 am, to nominate people for leadership roles in the Central/Southern Illinois Synod. Then it will reconvene Thursday, June 2, through Saturday, June 4, in person at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. This is a wonderful way to learn more about the work of our synod and the ELCA. Registration and hotel will be paid for by St. Mark’s.

Prayerfully consider serving in one of those roles. If you would like more information or would like to submit your name or another qualified individuals name for consideration, please contact the chair of the Nominating Committee, Margaret Swanson ( or 309-694-1562) or the Council President, Case Pudik ( or 309-648-4607). Thank you.
Your Input is Needed:
Winter Fellowship Events Survey

We'd appreciate your input on possible winter fellowship events for our congregation! Please complete a brief survey here. Thank you in advance!
Annual Meeting
Sunday, February 6
Following 11:00 am Service
The Annual Meeting will be held on-site in the sanctuary on Sunday, February 6, following the second service. It can also be attended online via Zoom. Due to the recent rise in COVID cases, we will not be offering a congregational meal.

Voting members are encouraged to attend to stay informed, elect leaders, adopt a budget, and vote on proposed changes to four of our bylaws. Our Council Vice President, Derek Schryer, has provided a letter of explanation here for these proposed bylaw changes as well as a copy of the complete constitution, bylaws and continuing resolutions with the proposed bylaw changes in red, which can be read here. You may pick up a copy of these documents at the Welcome Center in the Gathering Space.
2022 Giving Envelopes
Available in Beckwith Hall

The 2022 giving envelopes have arrived! Please pick up your box of envelopes from the table in Beckwith Hall. The boxes are in alphabetical order. Thank you!
2022 Altar Flower Sponsors Needed

If you would like to sponsor altar flowers in 2022 in memory of someone or to honor a special anniversary, please call the church office at 309-444-4618 for available dates.
January WHIP Donations:
Canned Chicken and Tuna

WHIP is in need of unexpired canned chicken and tuna. Donations may be left in Beckwith Hall and in the boxes inside St. Mark's East Entrance vestibule (the glass doors facing Main Street).

Monday, January 17
  • 9:30 am: Staff Meeting (Zoom)
  • 9:30 am: Powell Memorial (John Bates FLC)
  • 6:00 pm: Mission Endowment Fund Team (Zoom)
Tuesday, January 18
  • 5:30 pm: Music Planning (Zoom)
Wednesday, January 19
  • 12:00 pm: Deadline for Buzz
  • 1:30 pm: Hanna Circle (John Bates FLC)
  • 6:30 pm: Confirmation & Cross Trainers Games/Fellowship Time (John Bates FLC)
  • 7:00 pm: Confirmation (John Bates FLC)
  • 7:00 pm: Cross Trainers (Beckwith Hall)

Sunday, January 23
  • Change for Charity (both services): South Side Mission
Sunday, February 6
  • Annual Meeting (following 11:00 am service)
Saturday, February 12
  • Annual Council Retreat (8:00 am: John Bates FLC)
Sunday, February 20
  • 2nd Grade Bible Presentation and Blessing
Wednesday, March 2
  • Ash Wednesday
Saturday, March 5
  • First Communion Instruction
Saturday, March 26
  • Synod Assembly (9:00 am: Zoom)
Sunday, April 10
  • Palm Sunday
Thursday, April 14
  • Maundy Thursday
Friday, April 15
  • Good Friday
Sunday, April 17
  • Easter Sunday
Sunday, April 24
  • Presentation on Planned Giving by Tim Urness, ELCA Foundation (9:45 am - 10:45 am: Conference Room)
Sunday, May 1
  • Confirmation Sunday
Thursday, June 2 - Saturday, June 4
  • Synod Assembly (I Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign)

Multiple Ways to Give
Thank you for your support of St. Mark's.

Weekly Offering Checks can be brought to the collection boxes in the sanctuary or mailed to St. Mark's (200 S. Main Street, Washington, IL 61571). You can set up an online automatic gift from your bank as well.

Website - Give through this link.  

Mobile App - Download the free Vanco Mobile app from the App Store, and search for St. Mark's. Follow the instructions to donate. 

Text - Send a text to 833-948-2192, enter the amount you would like to give, and follow the instructions. 
Prayer Requests

Please email prayer requests to the church office. Confidential prayer requests can be emailed to Pastor Westphal.
Giving Thanks

Your gifts and offerings helped create a prototype ELCA program for digital small groups that involve over 400 young adults. Thank you. You can read more here.