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Annual Budget Meeting - St. Mark’s Congregational Meeting is held in two parts.  On Sunday, December 17 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.   On Sunday, January 28, 2018, we will hold the second part of our meeting to celebrate God’s activity in the mission and ministry of the people at St. Mark. We will receive annual reports, elect a new council member, and nominate members to attend the Florida-Bahamas Synod Assembly in June. All of this will take place in our Fellowship Hall over a delicious meal of CHILI! Look for more information to come from your Fellowship Team about our January Chili Cook Off! 

   

ST. Mark Christmas Open House - Sunday, December 17th St Mark’s will have a Christmas Open House. Instead of our “progressive” appetizer and dessert Christmas Party for adult members, your Fellowship Team has decided this year to have an Open House here at St Mark. This event 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 from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. There will be holiday lights and music as well as some crafts and games for young attendees. The Fellowship team will provide beer and wine as well as non-alcoholic beverages. 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. Just like our progressive party, we are seeking volunteers to bring either an appetizer or desert to share with others. We expect there will be plenty of food, so if you don't have a favorite dish in mind to bring, come to the Open House just the same. Appetizer/Dessert sign-up sheets and idea reminders are also in the Narthex for your convenience.


Go “Tail” it on the Mountain: Alternative Gift Giving - This year, St. Mark’s Giving Tree will go from local to global. Once all the tags have been taken off our Giving Tree to be purchased for local families in need, new ornaments with farm animals will take their place! Help us raise funds to purchase a farm through ELCA Good Gifts. A cow, a couple of goats a dozen chicks, two pigs, farming tools, seeds and agricultural training (totaling $715) will help a family somewhere around the globe achieve a fresh start. Simply take an ornament envelope off the tree, place your gift inside it, and place it in the offering plate by December 31st. If your gift is in honor of a friend or loved one, cards are available on the table by the tree for you to take. Give a gift that will keep on giving! For more information, please go to the Good Gifts website: www.elca.org/goodgifts.     


Blue Christmas Evening Prayer Service - While Advent is a season of hope and Christmas is a season of joy, not everyone feels hopeful or like celebrating. Grief, illness, aging, depression, loneliness, unemployment, and loss are magnified. Even those who are not struggling with losses may feel the stress of preparations and expectations around Christmas time. This Blue Christmas service may provide a time and place of solace during the often-frenetic days surrounding the celebration of Christmas. We come together seeking healing and room to share grief, sadness, loneliness, or confusion when these emotions often feel out of place during the holidays. This service will take place on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:00 pm and is hosted by Grace Lutheran Church in Clearwater - 1812 N Highland Ave, Clearwater, FL 33755.    


Christmas Eve Worship - On Sunday December 24th, St. Mark will NOT have its regular 9:30 am worship. Instead, there will be three later worship services. We will have a 4:00 p.m. Family Service with Communion. We will a 7:00 p.m. Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Communion and we will have a 9:30 p.m. Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Communion. We hope that you will join us for one of the three evening worship opportunities.   


Service of Lessons and Carols - Please join us on Sunday, December 31 at 9:30 a.m. for another special worship service featuring scripture and music. This is a great way to ring in the New Year.   


Eva Hoenig Memorial Service - At the beginning of this month, our sister in Christ, Eva Hoenig, joined the heavenly hosts and passed from death to eternal life. Eva was a long-time member of St. Mark and faithful witness to Christ. Eva was also a resident of St. Mark Village for many years and passed away in their care center on November 1 - All Saints Day. As one staff member here at St. Mark put it "And what a saint she was!" She is going to be missed. A Memorial Service honoring Eva's life and witness will be held on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. in the St. Mark Village Chapel. May God surround Eva's family and friends with comfort as they mourn and may they find hope in the power of Christ's victory over death as they prepare to honor the life of a dear and faithful servant of God.   


New Bishop to Be Installed - You are invited to the installation of The Reverend Pedro Manuel Suarez as the fifth Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The service will take place at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church (9724 Cross Creek Blvd, Tampa, FL 33647). A reception will follow the worship service. RSVP for the reception at www.fbsynod.com/installation.


 Kennedy Space Center Excursion - Grace Lutheran Church (Clearwater) is hiring a motor coach (bus) for a two-day trip to the Kennedy Space Center May 18th and 19th,2018. Other area congregations have been invited to join them and you are welcome to get a few friends together to make this a fun spring outing. The cost is ONLY $149 PPDL. Included in the cost are transportation, entrance into the Kennedy Space Center, one night hotel lodging, and breakfast. What a deal! The organizers at Grace Lutheran would like to fill the bus. So, contact Florence Bencivenga at 727-773-2766 or 727-543-4950 for more information and to make your reservation as soon as possible. Please pick up a flyer in the Narthex as a reminder.  


The 2018 United Faiths Walk of Peace will take place on Sunday, February 4 at 2:00 pm. Groups from a variety of faith traditions invite you to join us! The Walk is roughly along a 2 mile route through Dunedin that begins at John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park at the corner of Douglas and Main St. in downtown Dunedin, and ends at First United Methodist Church. People may join or leave at any point on the Walk. There will be gatherings along the route for reflections on peace by appointed leaders from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian perspectives. If you have questions, contact the Rev. Becky Robbins-Penniman at 727-733-4125 x 206 or RevSBRP@gmail.com. You may also check the FACEBOOK PAGE for a map, where to park and updates. Our faith communities are working together in the hope that the world can find a way to live in peace.