Saint Mark Evangelican Lutheran Church - Saint Mark Cares
Welcome. Worship. Witness. A photo of Saint Marks Lutheran Church
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Worship Schedule

We invite you to worship:

Saturday Evenings: 5:00PM

Sunday Mornings: 9:30AM

Sunday Worship

St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church

Our mission is: St. Mark Cares: welcome, worship, witness

"They will know we are Christians by our Love"

Dear St. Mark Members and Friends,

As we continue to struggle to keep Covid-19 at bay, we have become numb to the fact that this virus is deadly, and the long-term effects are unknown. As the number of infections and deaths rise we are seeing a lack of care and love to those who are most vulnerable. The St. Mark Church council has had many conversations about how we can safely worship together. Although all of the council members wish we could return to regular worship indoors, we know that it is not what Jesus would want of us. Jesus would not want us to sacrifice the lives of others to gather to worship as we have been accustomed. Jesus would want us to love our neighbor as ourselves; which requires sacrifice of us. Who best to know about sacrifice as the one who came to take away the sin of the world?

In August of 1527, the plague visited the little town of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther had begun the Reformation only a decade earlier. Martin Luther, during the black plague, wrote:

"Now if a deadly epidemic strikes, we should stay where we are, make our preparations, and take courage in the fact that we are mutually bound together so that we cannot desert one another or flee from one another ... Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body? … I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence … If the people in a city were to show themselves bold in their faith when a neighbor's need so demands, and cautious when no emergency exists, and if everyone would help ward off contagion as best he can, then the death toll would indeed be moderate. But if some are too panicky and desert their neighbors in their plight, and if some are so foolish as not to take precautions but aggravate the contagion, then the devil has a heyday and many will die … " (From Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther's Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1968), 43:119-138.)

As many members as we have at St. Mark, we also have varied opinions about what should be done and how each one of us carries out our lives - even during a pandemic. This makes it impossible to address the needs, wants and desires of all our members regarding the way we would safely return to worship and/or if we should return to worship. Some of our members have tested positive, some continue to have medical issues, and some have lost loved ones due to Covid-19. Taking heed to our name sake Martin Luther who faced a similar pandemic during his life, and the fact that Jesus repeatedly reminds us "to love our neighbor as ourselves", the St. Mark council has voted unanimously that we should not worship indoors until after the first of the year – out of love for our members and visitors alike. We realize that we have kicked this can down the road month by month, but we had hoped that the virus would be under better control. In effort to return safely to worship, we will continue to follow the advice of epidemiologists, the recommendation of Bishop Burk, Martin Luther, and the life of Jesus.

I thank you for your continued prayers and support. I am only a phone call away to help your spiritual needs in this time of trial. I encourage you to continue to read your Scripture and spend time in daily devotions.

Journeying with you,
Pr. Travis M. Fisher-King

Matthew 22:36-39
36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

 

St Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church is a congregation of
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. ELCA
in the Southeastern Iowa Synod (hotlink: seiasynod.org)

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