Volume: 78 | Issue: 12
Sunday, December 24th, 4th day of Advent
Regular Worship Service will be at 10 am
Christmas Eve Service will be at 7pm
The church office will be closed the week of December 25th – 29th. Staff will mostly be off those dates. Should you need to contact someone, the office phone will be checked for messages, 916-483-7848.
From Rev. Quentisha Davis Wiles, MSW, ASW, MDIV, Senior Pastor
Happy Holy Season! I greet you in the loving and merciful name of God. ‘Tis the season of anticipation. The waiting season can provoke anxiety and excitement. Anticipation produces pleasure for some and anxiety for others. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum just remember, It Is Well! God is our creator, sustainer, and way-maker. Life is full of endless trials, tribulations, and adventures. The word I like best to describe life’s ups and downs is “the mystery.” The best part of life for me is the mystery! We never know what’s around the corner, we never know if we will get what we pray for or expect. But one thing for sure is that God loves us! God is the ultimate gift-giver, the gifts of life and love, gifts that keep on giving. What’s on your heart this season, what are you expecting of God in this season of life? As you wait, remember “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge, know, and recognize God and God will make your path straight removing all obstacles from your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Amp.
I invite you to join me in two practices this season. 1). Rest in an attitude of expectancy knowing God is the originator of Peace and Love and offers both freely to us if we choose to receive them. 2). Join me in the festive practice of greeting each Sunday in December with a biblical color honoring the season, to bring joy and fun to our gathering time in worship and celebration of life. Please see the colors below as they represent Advent Sundays and the color selected for each respective day. I hope you will join us.
- Hope: Green is associated with vegetation and represents life, eternal life, restoration, and a new beginning. 12/3/2023
- Peace: Silver is used to describe the word of God, divinity, purity, salvation, and truth (e.g., Jer. 6:30). 12/10/2023
- Joy: Pink/Fuchsia indicates a person’s right relationship with God. Pink is sometimes used by the church for the third Sunday of Advent and the third Sunday of Lent. 12/17/2023
- Love: Red represents humanity and, on a larger scale, represents the love of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 12/24/2023
- Christmastide: Orange, amber and yellow, are colors of fire, representing the power and presence of God. 12/31/2023
For more information about biblical color meanings, please review here https://crossexamined.org/reference-guide-to-the-biblical-symbolism-of-colors/
As we await the mystery, whether new or more of the same, let’s wait with a grateful heart. Sending light, love and hope your way.
Hugs and blessings,
Update on Rachael Davis and baby Jupiter
Jupiter was born on Nov. 13th at 3 lbs 14 oz. The surgery went perfectly. Rachael stayed in the hospital before her birth for 64 days, and has been home for a couple of weeks. Rachael, Ellery and family are expecting baby Jupiter to come home by Dec. 13. All she has left to do in the hospital is to eat from a bottle, and she’s improving every day. Rachael said she will never be able to thank the congregation enough for the prayers and support.
Rachael is hoping to come back to Saint Mark’s mid January. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.
Children & Youth Choir
The children and youth are invited to sing during the worship service on December 17th. They will be practicing after Church around 11:15 in the sanctuary on December 3rd and 10th for 15-20 minutes. Please contact Mary Kohatsu for any questions at 916-317-4893.
Church Conference meeting being held on Dec. 9th at 12:00 pm in Wesley Hall. This is the yearly church business meeting. There will be voting by Church Administrative Council members on Membership, Pastor’s Compensation package, and possibly one more thing. Everyone is invited to attend, but only Admin. Council members will be able to vote.
Sandy Allen is hosting a Luncheon fundraiser for Saint Mark’s at her house on Wednesday, Dec. 13th, one spot left! If you’d like to attend, please call Sandy to make a reservation. She is listed in the church directory. Checks should be made out to Saint Mark’s UMC for $35 and mailed to Sandy.
Welcome New Members!
Baptism and New Members joined Sunday, November 26th. Before taking their Membership vows, Dawn Delaloye was Baptised. What an honor to support her in this decision. Please greet and make them feel welcome. Take time to get to know our new members, and invite them to become involved in activities you enjoy at church.
Martti Eckert & Jenna Cederburg Eckert
Elaine & Lance Bach
Dawn & Jim Delaloye
Mike Jaske, Co-Chair, SacACT Homelessness & Housing Committee
In the October 1st issue of Markings, I introduced Advocacy – one of Saint Mark’s core values – and how it was being pursued on the issue of homelessness here in Sacramento. In this issue I will try to dissect how housing is a key element among the causes for homelessness as well as the focal point for its resolution.
People become homeless for many reasons including mental health or substance abuse challenges, domestic violence, parental intolerance of an LGBTQ teen, PTSD trauma, jobs paying less than a living wage, or eviction. Some of these challenges lead quickly to suddenly being on the street with nowhere to go and no knowledge of how to seek help. For some people, one or more of these create tensions within a household that build over time until someone is forced to leave their housing. Most of these causes have been around for many years, but eviction from rental housing is a rising challenge. In some cases a landlord is justified in wanting to remove a disruptive renter, but too many evict tenants due to non-payment of rent caused by inadequate savings or income to cover a sudden event – a job loss, a major car repair or an accident totaling a vehicle, or medical expenses not covered by insurance or health care programs. SacACT is beginning to focus more attention on Homelessness Prevention efforts that try to assist people in distress before they actually become homeless.
SacACT is also increasingly focused on the development of affordable housing – housing for low and very low income residents with insufficient income to pay sky high monthly rents. In the past several years Sacramento has become notorious for being among those cities with rapidly increasing rents and general lack of housing affordable to retirees or low wage service workers. Since it seems impossible to reform the entire wage structure so that everyone can afford current rent levels, the remaining option is to construct housing that is actually affordable. The City of Sacramento and the County of Sacramento are now taking baby steps to develop more affordable housing using some state funds, but the number of units now in the pipeline is woefully inadequate.
This is where advocacy comes into play – urging elected officials to focus on the scale of the affordable housing problem rather than just how to build more with existing limited funds. Understanding the scale of the problem is the first step in being creative about solving the problem. Advocates help decision-makers to focus on the real problem even when it takes a long time to implement a solution.
Need a new way to put your spiritual beliefs into practice? Coffee hour needs more hosts the 1st and 2nd weeks of the month. Easy to follow instructions are available. Very vital part of hospitality ministry. Contact Ken Banghart: 916.955.0507
Keep Saint Mark's Safe
Please help keep our facility safe by making sure doors are latched and locked when leaving. There have been issues with people getting into buildings. Call Elizabeth Cruz, the Facilities Coordinator, if you have any questions: 916.963.7885
December Financial Update
Special Offering: $5,050
Annual Budget: $683,193
Monthly Requirement: $56,933
Received through 10-15 to 11-14
Total Income YTD through November $507,912.95
Total Expenses YTD through November$536,295.18
New Prayer Requests
President Jimmy Carter and family, for the loss of his wife Roslyn Carter
New St. Mark’s members and their families as they embark on this journey of faith and faithful witness with the Saint Mark’s community
Mary Ann Gile
Pam and Chris Waldrep for health and healing
Margo Perry for health and healing
Richard Burn and Bob Jacobs
Lori and Dick Bishop for improved health
Sarah for healing
Prayers for world peace
Dick and Jan Dell
A special prayer for caregivers of loved ones
UWF in December: A Time to Celebrate
As the 2023 Advent season progresses, United Women in Faith at Saint Mark’s will come to MacMurdo Hall, Tuesday December 12th, at 9:45 am, to share holiday treats for themselves and others in the UWF membership. At 10:00 am, members from all activity circles will build joy in the gathering with music and readings. Those who have provided outstanding service will be recognized as well as participants in the UWF reading program.
Officers for the coming year to be installed at the meeting are Margie Shunk, President; Nancy Landrum, Vice President; and Ginny Romero, Treasurer. Mission Coordinators will be Lori Bishop, Education; Boni Fields, Spiritual Growth; Lynne Tracy-Kendall and Iola Halligan, Membership Nurture and Outreach; Cynthia Lawrence, Social Action as well as Marilyn Kissler, Program Resources.
The United Women in Faith membership is comprised of women from all backgrounds and experiences, compelled by their Christian faith to serve wherever they are called. Newcomers are always welcome. UWF Mission Giving – which is unrestricted funds – supports the total program of the organization. Members are asked to send their pledge payments to Treasurer Ginny Romero before the end of the month.
Food Closet - Request for the Holidays
Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the Saint Mark’s Food Closet. The Food Closet, operating only on donations, continues to serve hundreds of our neighbors who find themselves in need of food. Our numbers have grown in the past couple of months to serving 50 – 60 families and individuals per week and feeding over 200 family members!
As in years past, the Food Closet would like to do a little extra for our guests during the holiday season. With all the special needs of our guests (Halal, vegetarian, unhoused, traditional, etc.) one size does not fit all. It has become extremely difficult to provide boxed meals for all these various needs. So this year, we want to try something a little different and we need your help. In addition to the usual bags of food, we would like to include gift cards to WinCo (based on family size) for each family or individual. This way, guests can select their own ”special” foods. Donations of $10 to $50 WinCo Gift Cards are needed. If you cannot get to WinCo to buy gift cards, a monetary donation will help us handle this extra expense.
The quickest and easiest ways for you to donate money is still through the church’s website with a designated (one-time or repeating) donation to the Food Closet, or a check made out to Saint Mark’ UMC with Food Closet on the memo line. Checks and gift cards can be placed in the offering plate on Sundays.
The shopping basket will continue to be available in the courtyard on Sundays for food donations. Donations can be brought directly to the Education Building basement on distribution days (Tuesday or Saturday) between 8:45 and 11:00 A.M.
Please contact Jane Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Again, THANK YOU for the support!!
Holding in Prayer
Robert Grieve for health, healing, and decisions
To be added to the Prayer List please contact Irene Celedon 916.483.7848
By May of 1959, Rev. Dave MacMurdo’s annual assessment of his flock reported 646 members, 65 baptisms, and 15 weddings. He added that there was “a fine spirit throughout.” Staff included himself as senior pastor, Jun Jue as full time Director of Christian Education, Mrs. Arnold Fuson as a part-time secretary, and a part time custodian. The congregation was in debt over two hundred thousand dollars for the new sanctuary and parsonage.
Dave kept his members busy with six organizations. Christian Adventure Fellowship met every Sunday evening for social activities, worship programs, recreation and fellowship for 7th and 8th graders. There was much parent involvement! The Senior High Methodist Youth Fellowship also met on Sunday evenings with similar activities. The held a rummage sale, a car wash and other activities to raise money for their August trip to Camp Sierra. Double Harness was the fellowship group for young married couples. They each contributed 25 cents per month for mailing costs! Another group was the 49’ers Club, especially for those folks 49 and over. The third Sunday of each month they met for a potluck supper. The Building Council met quarterly to plan and carry out negotiations for the new sanctuary. The final organization was the Nominating which also appears on his list of Committees.
St. Mark’s official board consisted of the chairs of each of the committees. Some were similar or had the same function as committees we have currently. But others were unique to that time. There was a Parsonage Committee under Trustees whose job was to maintain and furnish the parsonage. They did the painting, landscaping, repairs, and generally maintained the property.
Mrs. Fred Loutensock (whom we know as Millie) chaired the Office Help Committee. She “assigned regular tasks to several volunteers, who then were responsible, under the direction of the church secretary, for maintaining [their] area of work.” Some of their tasks included address changes and mimeograph work.
The Fred Finch Children’s Home Committee was responsible for visiting the children’s home in Oakland as well as the Beulah Rest Home and reporting back to St. Mark’s so that there was better understanding of the work and operations and so appropriate support could be given.
The Methodist Union and Co-operation Committee represents St. Mark’s at the Sacramento Council of Churches and the Northern California-Nevada Council of Churches. It also served to represent our congregation, either in person or financially, with organizations such as the World Council of Churches, the Boy Scouts of America, and several others all of which had been chosen at the quarterly conference.
Church Campus Relations Committee helped to establish the Methodist sponsored student center at Sacramento State College and was looking into doing the same at American River Junior College.
The Public Relations Committee was concerned with “first impressions’ on visitors, as well as outside publicity such as getting stories and photos in the [Sacramento] Bee, and the Suburban Shopper about activities like the Women’s Society bazaar.
Reverend MacMurdo believed in keeping his congregation busy and involved, not just with St. Mark’s but with the wider community. He set us on a good path toward enriching our community and transforming the world through God’s love.