February 2024

Markings Newsletter

Volume: 80   |    Issue: 02

From Rev. Quentisha Davis Wiles, MSW, ASW, MDIV, Senior Pastor​

Ahoy, Saint Mark’s Community,

I greet you in the loving name of Christ and hope you are enjoying the newness of the year along with the plans and possibilities that come with new beginnings. I suspect some of us are recovering from the holidays and assessing our needs for this year’s journey while the rest of us are sailing into 2024 while riding the waves of life. As for me, I’m doing both! I am a “both/and” type of woman — a reflective planner and sojourner. As we sail into February, I am taken back by the arrival of Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day. It seems a little odd, or does it?

This Ash Wednesday, February 14 marks the beginning of Lent. We will be marked with ash, reminded of our mortality, and know that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. And on that same day the world around us will be celebrating Love with cards, candy, flowers, dates, parties etc. I wonder about the significance of the Lenten season beginning the same day as the secular holiday that ushers in the celebration of LOVE.

I’ve said many times over that I don’t believe in coincidence. Which leads me to ask, What does it all mean? Just for clarity’s sake, I don’t think it’s bad by any means. I absolutely love LOVE! I love all the warm and fuzzy ideas that describe love. Yet, I can’t help but wonder why two days rooted in the idea of love with vastly different meanings emerge at the same time.

Do you ever consider how flawed the idea of love becomes when our idea of love disappoints? What comes to mind when you think about love, and hear the word Love?

I don’t mind telling you that I think of romance, meaningful events, great music, great memories, my spouse, children, relatives, and friends. I think about ways to share my feelings and ensure others know that I love them. I think about the sacrificial love we are all called to by God. Then, I think about how expensive love is and wonder what happens when my exhaustive ideas about love fail, and/or are not reciprocated. Will I still feel warm and fuzzy or will something else emerge?

As we approach this season, I invite you to ponder with me, ask, seek, explore, and discover answers to the question and mystery of God’s love. This rare occasion offers us a rather rare opportunity to discover, rediscover and expand our idea(s) about love.

After searching for a meaningful study this season, I discovered one fitting for our journey offered by our sister conference in North Texas. The study is called, Be Real: Meeting Jesus in the Mess of Life. I believe this will be a wonderful series and invite you to come, attend and study.

Let’s see what God will reveal to us. As we prepare for the season, the writers urge us to remember “Lent gives us a chance to peel back the layers and get to the heart of what matters most. This Lent, we’ll walk these 40 days with Jesus who showed us we don’t have to come before God perfectly. God just asks us to show up authentically as our whole selves. This season is an opportunity to set aside the carefully curated life we often like to project to the world and instead embrace what’s real. We will meet Jesus in the messiness of our lives and recognize that God is right there with us.”

Mark your calendars and come to Ash Wednesday service, February 14 time TBD, join a Lenten study, and get connected; journey with us to the cross as we explore God’s unconditional love for us in the messiness of life.

Meditate on these words of Christ “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (CEB)

May God bless, strengthen, and keep you.


Pastor Quentisha

Saint Mark’s - General Budget 2024

CY Pledges Recvd CY454,109
CY Pledges Recvd PY Pre-Paid
Subtotal Pledged Contributions454,109
Loose Offering10,000
Church School
Subtotal Non Pledge Contributions185,122
Outside Building Use20,000
Subtotal Building Use20,000
Social Enterprise25,000
Church Council Fundraiser
Subtotal Fundraisers25,000
Other GB20,000
Yth Program3,000
GMB /Finance Committee Exp3,000
Mortgage Principal

We’re switching back to weekly Financial Updates

Effective January 21, we are returning to weekly financial updates which will provide more detail on your gifting. Contact Finance Manager Denise Cruz if you have questions or would like more information. 916-483-7848 or dcruz@stmarksumc.com

Weekly Financial Update 1-15 to 1-21

Special Offering: $0
Total Contributions: $7,016.58
General: $6,791.58
Designated: $225
Total Income Year To Date through January 21, 2024: $40,858.15
Total Expenses Year To Date through January 21, 2024: $25,345.88

Lenten Study

Lent is early this year! There will be two Lenten Study classes,

  • Online: Mondays 2/19 & 3/18 at 6:30 pm
  • In-Person: Thursdays 2/22 & 3/21 at 11 am in E-25.

The Lenten Study for Monday is People of the Passion by Cathy Randell. Thursday study is Mosaic: When God Uses All the Pieces by Shane Stanford. The sign up sheet is in the Narthex.

New Members Class

There will be a New Members Class on February 17th 9:30 am-1 pm in E-26. The sign-up sheet is in the Narthex

Lenten Challenge: Read a Chapter a Day from the Gospel of John

When was the last time you opened your Bible? Join Rev. Motoe Yamada Foor in a Lenten Challenge to read a chapter of John each day. Start the day after Ash Wednesday, February 14 and conclude the day before Palm Sunday, March 24. Use your own Bible or sign up to receive daily emails with the designated chapter.

All Church Landscaping Work Day

Thank you to all the hands and hearts who recently cleaned up winter leaves and overgrown shrubs around the Education Building. Now, it’s time for winter pruning and landscaping. Adults, teens, and youth are invited to join us on February 3 from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. If you’re available to help on other days please contact Mary Kohatsu at 916-317-4893.

Open Hearts for Valentine’s Celebration by United Women in Faith

On Tuesday, February 13, at 9:45 am Saint Mark’s United Women in Faith will gather and share Valentines greetings. Following refreshments, those attending will create valentines to share with others and play seasonal games. Come and share the warmth of UWF sisterhood.

Outside org Event - An Evening with the Sherriff’s Department for Faith Communities

Arden Arcade and Carmichael Faith Communities Presents A Visit with the North Area Sacramento Sheriff’s Department Problem Oriented Police (POP) discussing Site Security, Reporting Problems, Supporting Patrols, and strengthening our partnership with the Sheriff Tuesday, February 13 6:30-8:00 pm at Sierra Vista Community Church, Pilgrim Hall 890 Morse Ave, Sacramento, CA 95864. Refreshments served. RSVP is not necessary but appreciated, to carol@aacfc.us. Open to the Public.

New Prayer Requests

Pam Cummings for grief and healing upon the loss

of her brother

Jean Fado

Khady Bannister

Margo Perry for health and healing

Richard Burns and Bob Jacobs

Marie Smith

Doreen Hinshaw

Crystal Grant

Saint Mark’s 2024 Leadership – the fulfillment of our Vision, Mission, and Direction and for God’s love, mercy, and grace to abound in the lives of our entire community, in Jesus’ name

Prayers for world peace

Historical Perspectives: Sierra Service Project

Barbara Eychaner

In February 1975, a meeting took place in Big Pine in the east Sierras attended by members of the local Methodist church, representatives of the Tribal Council and three visitors: Jim Robinson, representing the United Methodist Church’s Appalachia Service Project; Floyd McKeithen, a seminary student from southern California who worked on the ASP; and Dave Wolf, the pastor at Saint Mark’s Sacramento. The focus of the meeting was to replicate the work done in Appalachia here in the west. This would be a partnership between the California Nevada Conference and the Pacific Southwest Conference. The first project would happen in the summer of 1975 fulfilling housing needs for Paiute families. Dave Wolf served as president of the board for the first six years of SSP, so of course a Saint Mark’s connection has continued. By 1980, a total of 235 youth volunteers worked rehabilitating and weatherizing homes identified by Indian tribal councils for Miwok, Mono, Paiute and Shoshoni people.

There were often two projects each summer, one north and one south. Each crew was often as many as thirty youth — each of whom was asked to raise $100-$200 for materials. This provided each congregation with a stake in the projects, which included installing insulation, sealing cracks, wrapping pipes, roof repairs, painting, replacing floor boards, and providing running water. The list of necessities for each youth included heavy work clothes (some you may never want to see again), sleeping bag, pillow, work gloves, a favorite tool, soap and towel, and a sense of humor. A typical day started early with breakfast at 8 and work at 9. Lunch was brought to the site and often shared with the family. Clean up started around 3:30. Dinner at 6, followed by a seminar at 8. It wasn’t all work. Evenings there was singing and discussing the meaning of the work, occasionally the hosts provided a native American meal. There may also have been a tour of a local site, such as Grinding Rock State Park, with cultural orientation.

The historic record is full of Dave Wolf’s thank you letters — thanking people for use of a vehicle and thanking host communities for their hospitality. He also expressed concerns about funding with letters to non-profit organizations requesting grants. After Dave was no longer on President of the Board, the historic record is meager. In 1985 SSP ordered t-shirts and Debbie Stoughton handled that project. In 1986 SSP held a fund-raiser car wash. A list of 42 participants in 1987 appeared. And in 2003 SSP requested space at Saint Mark’s to locate their cargo container. There are, however, no reports from the youth of their experiences. If you are reading this and remember your own SSP experience and would share it, the archive would be pleased to receive it! Sierra Service Project is yet another example of Saint Mark’s effort to enrich the community and transform the world through God’s love….

Mercy Pedalers Update

As of 1/17/24

Sleeping Bags – Received: 53 Distributed: 43

Tents – Received: 33 Distributed: 33

Tarps – Received: 35 Distributed: 28

Holding in Prayer

Wayne Turner

Pam and Chris Waldrep for health and healing

Luci Schwartz

Mary Ann Gile

Dick and Jan Dell

Lori and Dick Bishop

Sarah Holst for healing

Robert Grieve for health, healing, and decisions

Sharon Grieve

Johanna Brownell

Ann Parsons

Lois Adamek

Paul Blankenship

Charlotte Gardner

Lucy Jeffries

Peggy Smith

Olivia Jones

To be added to the Prayer List please contact Amelia Romero at 916.483.7848

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