Announcements and Upcoming Events

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Contribution Envelopes Available - Please pick up your booklet of envelopes from the Narthex at your convenience. If you would like a booklet of envelopes, you may put your name on the list and one will be provided.


Holy Gossip Sessions - Join us as we dive into the MAKERS video series, "Have a Little Faith," featuring Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber. We'll watch short topical clips that will inspire our study and discussion. We have bi-weekly meetings. This month we will have “The Devil = Your Inner Critic“ on December 13th and “How the Truth Sets You Free” on December 27th. These gatherings will be held at Hackett's Causeway Cafe at the corner of Curlew Road and U. S. Alternate 19 from 7:00 pm until 8:00 pm. If you have any questions or need more info, call, text or email Jennifer Grumbling, 813-892-9707 or grumbje@gmail.com


St. Mark's Christmas Open House is open to all ages as well as friends and neighbors of our members. This is a great opportunity to come and enjoy our beautiful church decorations and socialize with old or new friends while enjoying a variety of refreshments. The event will take place Saturday, December 15th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  There will be holiday lights and music as well as some crafts or games for young attendees. Beer, wine as well as non-alcoholic beverages will be available. So that we know how many to plan for, there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex which has a check off box for anyone needing transportation that evening. The Fellowship Team is seeking 15 volunteers to provide an appetizer and 5 to bring a dessert. Appetizer/Dessert sign-up sheets are also in the Narthex.

  

Congregational Budget Meeting - St. Mark’s Congregational Meeting is held in two parts.  On Sunday, December 16 following worship we will meet in the sanctuary to adopt a budget for 2018. You’re invited to stay and get updated information on church finances and to ask questions, if you would like. All confirmed members are asked to attend these meetings. 

      

Handbell Ensemble Concert - The Suncoast Bronze Ringers Handbell Ensemble presents “Do You Hear What I Hear” a Christmas handbell concert. St. Mark has members who are a part of this group! You are invited to take time away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the relaxing and melodious sound of the season. The concert takes place on December 16th beginning at 3:00 pm at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Seven Springs located at 4651 Little Road in New Port Richey. 


WELCA (Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) will meet on Tuesday, December 18th at 10:00 am in the large conference room of the church office. All are invited and welcome to attend.


Advent on the Water - Experience the songs, prayers, and scriptures of Advent against the serene beauty of a sunset on the water. Grab your folding chair and flashlight and meet us at 5:00 p.m. on the water for Advent worship. On December 19th we’ll be at the Dunedin Causeway (near the kayak rental). As darkness unfolds for the day we will enjoy the music of guitars, djembe drum, and maracas as we reflect on how the light of Christ is coming into the world. Services will be led by Pastor Katy Fast of St. Mark Lutheran Church and Pastor Nancy Haupert of St. Matthias Lutheran Church.


Baptism of Luke Mariner Fast  - The Fast family would like to cordially invite you to the baptism of Luke Mariner Fast next Sunday, December 23rd. A light reception, hosted by the Fasts, will follow on the breezeway. 

  

Christmas Eve at St. Mark - Invite your friends and family to join us for Christmas Eve worship on Monday, December 24th! Our 4:00 p.m. service is great for those with children and will include candles, carols, and Communion. It will also have a message for “kids of all ages.” Then at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. we will have our Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Services with Communion that will include special music from Bella Música and our former flutist, Melissa Taylor. 


St. Mark's Christmas Lights Tour - We have filled two trolleys for this year’s tour on December 29th, at 6:00 p.m.! If you would like to be put on a waiting list for cancellations, contact the church office. We are excited to have 66 people hop on board an open air Jolley Trolley and tour local Christmas lights around the area! 

  

December 2018 Noisy Offering - Start saving your loose change now for our next Noisy Offering that will take place on Sunday, December 30th. This collection will go toward the Central Florida Chapter of ReconcilingWorks. Through the Reconciling in Christ Program, ministries, resources, events and alliances, ReconcilingWorks builds community for worship, education and support; fosters welcome and acceptance in all Lutheran settings; and advocates for the ecclesial changes necessary to ensure full participation in all sacraments, inclusive liturgical resources, and ministries of the Church, inviting all people into Gospel lives of authenticity, integrity, and wholeness. 


Opening on Church Council - Are you interested in being part of our leadership team here at St. Mark? There will be an opening for a three-year term on St. Mark’s Church Council starting in February 2019. The Nominating Committee is currently looking for members who might be interested in serving in this capacity. Elections will take place at the end of January. If you feel the Spirit moving you to serve, contact Helen Henwood (helen.henwood@aol.com) or Tim Langenback (tlangenb@tampabay.rr.com).


Sunday School - Our Faith Formation Team has begun Sunday! With an influx of new children and requests for more adult learning opportunities we are now offering classes for children and adults on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. We gather in the sanctuary for a time of welcome and then divide into age specific classes for young people and adults. Join us each Sunday! 


Bags of Blessings - On the last Sunday of each month, empty brown grocery bags are distributed and members and friends are asked to fill them with non-perishable groceries for FEAST, our local food pantry. Bags of Blessings are then returned on the first Sunday of the month as God gives us the opportunity to share our blessings with those who are hungry.


St. Mark WELCA and Grace Lutheran Church in Partnership - The group is helping to provide men’s and women’s clothing as well as toiletries for their homeless outreach project at Grace called Lydia’s Closet. This is an ongoing project and you are invited to donate as you are able. Please donate any extra items, including the mini sized soaps and shampoos that you may accumulate from travelling. Small baskets for toiletries and a large bin for clothing are located in the Narthex.

    

Brooker Creek Night Hike - Join St. Mark’s youth and families on Saturday, January 5th from 6:00—8:00 p.m. for a one mile hiking experience along the Ed Center Trail at Brooker Creek Preserve...at night! Experienced guides will lead us through an evening experience of the holy nature of God’s creation in the darkness. Meet us at Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpons Springs, FL 34688. Sign up in the Narthex so we know how many walkers to expect. 


St. Mark Winter Blood Drive - Give life - Give Blood on Sunday, January 13, 2019 when St. Mark will sponsor its winter blood drive from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon. All donors will receive a FREE wellness checkup including blood pressure, temperature, iron count, pulse and cholesterol screening. A photo I. D. is required and donors must be at 16 years of age or have parental consent. A sign-up sheet will be posted in the Narthex with available times. Your participation is vitally needed and your gift will have a significant impact on the lives of many others. Each donation of blood has the potential to save the lives of three people. You can be a St. Mark “Everyday Day Hero” when you share your power!


Annual Congregational Meeting -  On Sunday, January 20, 2019, we will hold the second part of our meeting.  St. Mark cooks will have an opportunity once again to submit their chili to compete for the prestigious 2019 Golden Ladle Award. While feasting on our chili, we will hold our Annual Congregational Meeting to celebrate God’s activity in the mission and ministry of the people at St. Mark, receive annual reports, elect council members, and nominate members to attend the Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly in June. A free will offering will be collected as part of the event to benefit our Youth Fund. Watch for attendee sign-up sheets in the Narthex as well as contestant sign-up sheets. 


Congregational Directory Update -  St. Mark has scheduled an update to the pictorial directory this winter. The next session to take photos will be Saturday, January 26, 2019. from about 11:00 am until 5:30 pm. Anyone who did not have a photo taken during the last session or would like their photo updated is encouraged to be photographed in January. Also, if you have a photo that you would like to simply submit, please get it to the church office as soon as possible. Thank you for helping to keep the directory up-to-date so that members can stay connected when near and far. You may contact Carol Bernstein by email (bernstein.cr@gmail.com) or phone (727-942-8968) to schedule a session.