Dearest St. Mark’s family,

I hope that this week finds you healthy and connected!  When I was a kid, one of my neighbors always greeted me in the summer with a hearty “Hot enough for ya?” when I got home in the evenings after a day on the farm.  I think of him often in the dog days of summer, and I’m grateful the question still gives me a smile.  And yes, it is most definitely hot enough for most creatures, I think.

Summer is always a wonderful time for anticipation and relaxation, and I hope that in these unusual times, you are able to have healthy doses of both.  Anticipation can often give way to anxiety if it isn’t for the relaxation side of the equation.  So make sure to find some time to “chill out” when it gets too hot- literally and metaphorically!

I’m always grateful when people ask how I am taking care of myself.  I find that to be a really beautiful question in the repertoire of friendship.  So for today, I wonder if we, as a parish, can ask each other… How are you taking care of yourself?  I want to encourage you to reach out to your friends and loved ones and ask the very real question… How are you?  Are you taking care of yourself? Imagine the wonderful fruit that will come from asking that question of our loved ones and then patiently anticipating the answers that may come.

In these days of unusual life together and apart, I think there is an increased need for the vocation of friendship.  Not just the Facebook variety, although I’m super grateful for that medium these days (and yes, I know how that shocks some people to see me write that sentence). I have always believed that holy friendship is part of the vocation of the church, and we are responsible for nurturing that vocation on a daily basis.

So how can we live more deeply as friends linked by Christ?  Maybe it is anticipating a need for a friend or just relaxing on the socially distanced front porch.  Maybe it’s a phone call or a text message, or a Facebook wave that just lets your “friends” know that you are there.  I wonder what our week would look like if we practiced closing the distance between us through the wizardry of cell phones and social media?

Summer is a good time to ask questions of our neighbors that are silly and superfluous on the surface because underneath is the true desire that we all have - our need to be connected. 

Hot enough for ya, neighbor?  You better believe it.

And while you’re at it… remind someone that you love them.  And remember, you are loved!
Peace,
Ben+

This week we continue to gather online at 8 am and 11 am.  Why not invite your friends?  
From the Director of Youth and Family Ministries
How can we talk together as a family or household about OUR FAITH?
How can we encourage our children to stay engaged in worship while watching online?
How can I talk with my children about addressing racial injustice?
What are some simple ways we can show kindness to others during this time?
For guidance in answering these questions and more,

New Communication Schedule
This summer, we are shifting to a new communication schedule here at St. Mark's. In an effort to remain connected with the broader St. Mark's community, we are shifting a few of the days which content will be made available! Most content will be primarily available on our St. Mark's Facebook page. If you have not liked the page, please do so. It will help you stay up to date with current information and details as we move forward in our life together. Here is our new communication schedule for the foreseeable future:


Worship
Sunday Morning Worship - Live On FB page @ 8am & 11am

Reflection
Back Porch Blessings - Live On FB page Monday - Friday

Discipleship
Children's Chapel - Live on FB page @10:30am - every Wednesday

Prayer
Morning Prayer - Live On FB page @ 9am every Tuesday
Noonday Prayer - Live on FB page @ 12pm every Wednesday
Compline - Live on FB page @ 7pm every Thursday

Communication
St. Mark's eNews - Sent out through email every Thursday and made available on the St. Mark's Facebook page

If you are interested in participating by reading one of the three Prayer Offices, please contact Fr. Mike:mike.woods@sanmarcosepiscopal.org for availability.