News, Events and Announcements

This Week at St. Mark

OCTOBER 15 - OCTOBER 22, 2017   


CROSS GENERATIONAL BIBLE STUDY—Let's all get together at church once a week for an hour or so. People of all ages and stages. Let's tell a Bible story. Sing a Bible song. Let's laugh together. Create something together. Share highs and lows together. Open our Bible and immerse ourselves in the story. Talk. Pray. Bless. Join us for Bible Study at 11:00 am today in the large conference room.   

ST. MARK CONGREGATIONAL RETREAT REGISTRATION - The retreat will take place from Friday, November 3rd (7: 00 pm) through Sunday, November 5th at 12:00 noon. We will be staying at the beautiful Luther Springs in Hawthorne, Florida. All are welcome! Pets are even welcome to come along if you tent or R. V. camp. Final payments and forms are due today, October 15. Payment plans and scholarships are still available!  

 500 FOR THE 500TH! - LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF KITS - St. Mark is preparing Personal Care Kits for Lutheran World Relief's Promise Project. As a way of helping us mark the 500th commemoration of the Reformation, our goal is to collect 100 of each of the 5 items in each kit - for a total of 500 items! Each kit includes a towel, soap, nail clippers, a comb, and a tooth brush. A list with instructions regarding what items to purchase is available in the Narthex or the October newsletter. Bring your items in my October 29th and then help us assemble the kits at our Reformation Brunch. Help us gather these simple gifts together and turn these ordinary items into extraordinary gifts.   

LUTHERANISM 101 – Have you ever wanted to learn more about what it means to be Lutheran? Did you grow up in a different denomination or not in a church at all and are curious about this Martin Luther fellow and Lutheran beliefs? Then join Pastor Katy on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. for an introduction course on Lutheranism. The first two weeks we will be watching and discussing the movie “Luther” and then we will read and discuss the book “Together By Grace: Introducing the Lutherans.” The class will meet in the large conference room and will run through December 6th with a break for Thanksgiving.     

REFORMATION 500 WORSHIP CELEBRATION - This year on Reformation Sunday (October 29th) we will be celebrating the 500th commemoration of the Protestant Reformation. We’ll have special music from Bella Música, a trumpet player, and everyone is invited to wear RED to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit – reforming and leading us still today. Stick around for brunch in the Fellowship Hall and help us assemble 100 kits for Lutheran World Relief. We’ll be collecting items in October (500 hopefully!) to be able to assemble personal care kits to be mailed to people all around the world who have lost everything due to natural disaster or life-threatening violence. Items to purchase can be found in the October newsletter and on the table in the Narthex. We will also collect a Noisy Offering this day that will go towards Lutheran Disaster Response – designated for Hurricane Relief Efforts.   

INVITATION TO SING HANDEL’S MESSIAH - Linda Lund, Music Director at Lutheran Church of the Palms, is extending an invitation to the musicians in our congregation to join with their choir in a performance of Handel’s Messiah. The invitation is being extended to other congregations in the area as well. Anyone interested in singing with them is welcome to join them for rehearsals on Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm. The performance is scheduled for Sunday, December 10th at either 4:00 pm or 6:00 pm. The time is flexible depending on how many other groups would like to join in. Linda is happy to share more details with you if you provide your contact information. You may call the St. Mark church office or email Linda directly at    

MISSION PROJECT – REVERSE TRICK OR TREATING - Children, youth, and adults! On Saturday, October 28, St. Mark’s Mission Project will be Reverse Trick-or Treating beginning at 10:00 am. Put on those Halloween costumes and bring a little light and laughter to residents at St. Mark Village. Instead of asking for candy – we will be handing out goodies and Halloween devotions to residents in the care center and assisted living. We’ll meet up in the lobby area, have a short devotion, and divide into visiting groups. Visiting will be done before 11:30 a.m. when residents are getting ready for lunch. Hope you can come help us spread a little love with our St. Mark Village neighbors!   

ST. MARK FALL BLOOD DRIVE RESCHEDULED - St. Mark’s fall blood drive has been rescheduled to Sunday, November 12, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for a projection to collect 5 units.    

THE FLORIDA-BAHAMAS WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FALL GATHERING will take place at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg, Florida from Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12. The theme is “One bread, One body.” Gather as One Body of women to worship and praise the Lord. “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:17. Anyone interested may register at or contact our Congregation Unit President, Connie Feig, at 507-828-6456 for registration forms.    


Assisting Minister:  Emery Horvath

Ushers: Janice Froelich and Carol Kitchen

Offering Bearers: Emily Seiter and Madison Seiter

Acolyte: Connor Jensen

Lector: Lisa Rude

Communion Assistants:David Henwood and Robin Bower-Miller

Bread Baker: Carolyn Elliott

 Altar Guild: Janice Froelich and Grace Hererra   


GOT FACEBOOK? -  St. Mark is on Facebook. To find it, please visit, do a search for “St. Mark Lutheran Church ELCA” or scan the QR code below with your smart phone. Let us know that you “LIKE” St. Mark.                 

Martin Luther and the Reformation-A Project by Rick Steves'

We Celebrate Reformation 500

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1517, the German monk Martin Luther collected 95 points to stoke discussion about the corruption of the medieval Church. He then nailed his famous “95 Theses” to the door of his hometown church in Wittenberg. With that small, symbolic act, Luther unleashed a storm of change, kicking off the most important religious event of the last millennium—the Protestant Reformation. To help those interested understand the what’s, how’s, and why’s of it all, Rick and his crew produced a public television special, called Rick Steves’ Luther and the Reformation. Following is a little background on its production.

The Reformation—even if you’re not a Lutheran—is a very big deal. As 2017 approached, Rick wanted to contribute to our society’s appreciation of this event on its 500th anniversary. The mission: to produce an hour-long documentary that would be useful for Lutheran churches, other Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic churches, and secular media. The film aims to be a teaching tool for churches and have wider appeal for broadcast on public television—reaching far beyond a Sunday school audience.  

Although there have been good movies about Martin Luther, Rick planned a broader coverage—­explaining the historic, economic, and social context of the Reformation, and how this tumultuous age helped Europe leave the Middle Ages and enter our Modern Age.  

Writing the script was a wonderful challenge. Church scholars helped him by reviewing it. Their concerns were generally that he left out (or covered too thinly) topics they felt should have been included. But you can only fit 6,000 words into a one-hour TV show, and the script filled up quickly. To add even another phrase would mean dropping something else. You can’t just talk faster. In the end, it was a good discipline to limit this program to an hour. 

Weaving the story of Martin Luther into the big historic sweep, required dealing candidly with Luther’s human foibles and weaknesses. His authenticity is endearing. The production team followed the tortured path of a troubled young monk, as he fought depression, walked from Germany to Rome to sort out his feelings, and climbed the Holy Stairs on his knees…struggling to make sense of it all and eventually becoming “the Great Reformer.” As a tour guide and travel teacher, writing the script provided an opportunity to explain concepts people may have heard of but didn’t really understand—concepts like relics, purgatory, indulgences, iconoclasm—and to delve into the Counter-Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, and Lutheran notions like “the priesthood of all believers.” 

Rick say he is a proud Lutheran, and his friends in public television were wary of an overtly religious program. Several times, early drafts of the script were returned with notes along the lines of, “be careful that you’re not proselytizing.” He took this advice seriously and dealt with complex issues (both historical and religious) in simple and concise terms—which, if you’re not careful, can be inaccurate or misleading. Theological concepts like Luther’s “three pillars” (by scripture alone, by faith alone, and by grace alone) would have been interesting for some, but a complete turn-off for many. The only fundamental bit of theology Rick felt really needed to be included was Luther’s epiphany of the “Good News.” That’s when he discovered in the Bible the idea that people can’t earn salvation but are saved by faith alone. 

They were careful to write the script so that Roman Catholics would also find the program useful and constructive. For example, when criticizing the Church, the team was careful to call it “the medieval Church” rather than “the Catholic Church.” They also made a strong point to acknowledge the work of other reformers, like Erasmus and Francis Xavier, who worked for change but stayed loyal to the Roman Catholic Church. To ensure striking the right balance, Rick carefully vetted the script with Lutheran scholars, Catholic scholars, and secular scholars. And, as scholars like to point out, many beloved bits of the Luther lore are most likely romanticized or even just legends. Did Luther literally hammer those 95 Theses onto that church door? The world may never know for sure. But if these tales are part of the popular consciousness—and not incorrect in spirit—they were generally kept in the story.  

In preparing the show, a common question Rick got was, “Are you going to talk about Luther’s poor treatment of the Jews?” And the answer, of course, was yes. Luther was angry with Jews for not accepting his theology, and wrote hateful pamphlets lambasting Jews in harsh and crude ways. And this was included, unapologetically, in the program. Admittedly, the show is dense. And, for many, viewing it will be demanding. I’m thankful that in public television, we can assume a one-hour attention span. These days, this show would not see the light of day anywhere else on the dial.  

Although most of Rick’s European travels are easy to make entertaining: fun-loving people, great art, decadent dining, and vivid travel experiences from the beaches of the Riviera to the scalps of the Alps, this Luther special was tougher. While it’s mostly static with few ways to inject liveliness, the original art, intimate artifacts, gorgeous German townscapes, and fascinating story all combined to help make it both entertaining and interesting. Rick’s Luther program included lots of substantial “on cameras” explaining of historic and theological bits that just couldn’t be illustrated with filmed images. As you watch, take notice of the effort made to make each “on camera” setting gorgeous, and to craft fun and tight ways to explain those complex historic points.

The Crew included a little travelogue material, filmed on location in Germany: the Luther sights in Erfurt, Wittenberg, and the Wartburg Castle are great to visit. The amazing Luther House in Wittenberg is a treasure trove of artifacts, and hours were spent there filming paintings, woodcuts, and historic items that helped illustrate details throughout the script. And you’ll see Germany’s most beautiful little walled town, Rothenburg, throughout the program. It’s perfect for portraying Germany in the days of Luther and the Thirty Years’ War, and that’s where most of those generic “on cameras” were filmed. Just like there are Civil War reenactors in the United States, Rothenburg has Thirty Years’ War reenactors. And, in exchange for giant mugs of good beer, the entire fun-loving army suited up and marched into battle as the cameras rolled.

From our modern point of view, a monk translating the Bible into German may seem like no big deal. But to imagine it from the perspective of Jan Hus—the Czech reformer who tried to accomplish some of what Luther did a century earlier, but failed and was burned at the stake—that’s our challenge. To explain the courage (and public relations brilliance) of Luther, 500 years ago, standing up to power—a simple monk defying the emperor and the pope—gives the story extra punch. 

Wrapping up the documentary—and bringing it all the way to the 500th anniversary year of 2017—was a challenge. For a dramatic finale, Rick (jokingly) imagined Pope Francis and the Presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church (Elizabeth Eaton) doing a happy theological high five...but that wasn’t to be. Even so, Catholics and Lutherans alike can look back over five centuries and be thankful for the bold work Luther and the great reformers did to help modernize the medieval Church. In fact, that’s exactly what Pope Francis and Bishop Eaton recently did together in Sweden. In our age, Lutherans, Catholics, and everyone else can come together to celebrate the tolerance and mutual respect the various Christian denominations now share. 

With this documentary, Rick says he’s honored and thankful to make a small contribution to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.    

    NOTE: Here is a link to view the documentary online: A DVD is also available to check out from the church office.      



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