July 2024

Markings Newsletter

Volume: 85   |    Issue: 07

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

Greetings, fellow believers!

Its summertime and hot! One of the many perks of living in California, we usually get all four seasons. I wonder what you have planned this season? Whatever you plan to do, I invite you to plan by faith. Faith is the one spiritual practice that enables us to move through the world with confidence. The apostle Paul refers to this in 2 Corinthians 5:7 when he declared, “for we walk by faith not by sight.” He reminds believers that faith equips us for all things seen and unforeseen.

We embark today on a journey to rekindle the flames of unwavering devotion with a dash of self-reflection. Imagine your faith as a glowing ember, warmth radiating through every aspect of your life. Ask yourself: Is my ember burning brightly or is it flickering in life’s challenges?

Well, St. Mark’s community, the answer lies in two simple yet profound spiritual practices:

  1. Laughter and joy: Laughter is indeed a spiritual practice. What better way to honor our creator than embracing joy? When have you last allowed yourself to truly laugh and bask in the simple pleasures’ life has to offer? A joyful heart is fertile ground for steadfast faith.
  2. Intentional reflection: it’s all too easy to quickly go through the motions without reflecting on the depth and meaning of our faith. Take a moment each day to pause and ask yourself difficult questions, seeking genuine answers. Identify the true purpose of your faith. Live out its principles in your daily life. Reflection breeds understanding; understanding breeds steadfastness.

Now, let’s put these practices into action with a few questions:

  1. If your faith were a flavor, what would it be and why?
  2. If you chose a soundtrack to accompany your faith, what would be on the playlist?
  3. If your faith were a superhero, what superpower would it use? How would it change the world?

Marinate on these questions and share them with whoever God leads into your path. We can reignite the flames of steadfast faith, one laugh, one reflection at a time.

Steadfast faith is not a destination, but a journey that requires constant tending and nurturing. Embrace the joy and intentionality this journey demands, watching as our embers transform into a blaze that illuminates the path for generations to come.

This month we’ll study and examine ways early believers used faith as fuel to preserve and look to God in every season of life. I invite you to come and invite a friend to journey with us on this faith filled series.

I look forward to seeing you all. May God bless and keep you.

Pastor Quentisha Davis Wiles, Senior Pastor

Reappointment of Pastor Quintisha Davis Wiles

The 176th Session of the California Nevada Annual Conference met in Sacramento for its annual meeting June 7th thorough the 10th. During the session on Monday, June 10th our Pastor Quentisha Davis Wiles was reappointed to the Community of Saint Mark’s by Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño. We look forward with excitement about her continued ministry with us in the coming year. Continued blessings to Quentisha, Edward, and her family. Be sure to reach out and welcome them all back.

All Church Landscaping Workday - Saturday, July 6, 8 AM - 12 Noon

We will be having the All Church Landscaping Workday on July 6 from 8 AM – 12 Noon. Help us get ready for the hot summer season with weeding, pruning and cleaning up debris. We also have landscaping workdays occasionally on weekdays. If you are interested in helping volunteer, please contact Mary Kohatsu at 916.317.4893.

VBS Brunch - Sunday, July 21

Sandy Allen will be hosting a brunch to honor our 2024 VBS kids after worship service on Sunday, July 21. Please come join us in celebrating these young people! We will also be celebrating Iola Halligan’s 95th birthday with a special treat, so, don’t miss this chance to relish in the fellowship of our Saint Mark’s community!

If you would like to help Sandy prepare brunch, please call her at 916.412.1958

Weekly Financial Update 6-17 to 6-23

Special Offering: $200

Total Contributions: $17,010.50

  • General: $9,853
  • Designated: $7,357.50

May Monthly Financial Totals

Total Income YTD through May 2024

  • $269,217.70

Total Expenses YTD through May 2024

  • $255,215.94

Equipping, Educating, Informing & Engaging

A Conversation with Saint Mark’s Angola VIM - Written by Christopher Harris, Lay Leader

I had the pleasure last month to have a conversation with Joel Bulaya and Jim Eychaner about the planning for the upcoming Mission Trip to Angola and the Community of Bom Jesus. If you have not met or had the pleasure to be in conversation with these two individuals, I sincerely encourage you to seek them out when you have the opportunity. You will get a real feel for their passion to be in service not only in our community but in communities around the world, making life just a little bit better for all they meet on their journeys.

Saint Mark’s has been involved with missional work with the Community of Bom Jesus for twelve years. We have had an impact in the community by helping with the purchase of a truck for agricultural products produced by Co-op of women farmers and neighboring churches. Distribution of a manual on nutrition and child development written by the late Shimba Bulaya. Sending dresses made by United Women in Fatih (UWF) for children. Among other projects. The “Interview”:

Tell me how has your lives been impacted by your mission work with the West Angola Community of Bom Jesus?
We are one people of God together around the world. No critical boundaries. I now know the people of the community and trust them, and they trust us. It has gone from an intellectual theory to knowing that trust has been built. We have developed a comfort about the possibilities, Jim stated. Joel said that he has been impacted by the contributions he has been able to make over the years. Helping them achieve their goals. They have become like family with each name I have learned and people that I have met. I remember the day when I first visited the community and they learned that I was one of them (born on the continent of Africa: Congo) not just an American, the excitement was felt deep in my soul and theirs as well, which has helped develop trust and understanding over the years. Being able to tell my story to the young people of Bom Jesus and inspiring that curiosity about possibilities in their lives has been special. Communication is key to make impactful contributions to the community.

What excites you about this ongoing ministry to this community?
Its exciting to see that they are overcoming problems and becoming more self-sufficient. It will be nice to widen windows to see possibilities, explore, and experience more of life in the community this time, Jim expressed. Joel said that he is looking forward to keeping the momentum going and reigniting the old fire and see the good continue to come of the work that has already been started and done.

Why is the time right to go back to Bom Jesus?
Jim said besides the weather being the right time to return, since Angola is in the southern hemisphere and temperatures should be in the 70 degrees range. The foundations for ongoing relations and increased visibility seem to be right for the return to the community. Joel said that every time is right to return. The need is constant. We must act in the moment and stay positive of what can be done to improve the lives in the community.

Why have you stayed dedicated to this mission project?
The connection with the people. The joy, sense of responsibility, able to be helpful and make an impact even if small. You just cannot stop. The friendships that cannot be broken that keep you going. I just think about the people in the community of Bom Jesus all the time and the sharing of life we have experienced together, Joel explained. Jim expressed that it has been the whispers from God that I can do that. I have skills that can be of use to make this project successful. I have had experience in living and working with communities that are not native to my experiences. It will be interesting to see how this develops as a church-to-church relationship in the future. I believe we have a firm foundation at Saint Marks to build on this and be successful.

What do you want the Community of Saint Marks to be excited about regarding this mission project?
I want us to be excited about the seeds that have already been planted with the sewing ministry that has been started through the efforts of Saint Marks United Women in Faith (UWF) through the fabric and dresses that were sent for young girls. The sewing ministry has made an economic possibility possible with the women of Bom Jesus being able to produce robes, stoles, and other items for sale back here in America. Also, it is developing skills for all those involved. I also want us to be excited about the two-way communication with the community and making those connections to help this project grow and become successful, Jim stated. Joel said I want the Saint Marks community to feel apart of the community of Bom Jesus through ongoing communication, messages, kindship, and missions. Maybe one day people from the community of Bom Jesus will come here for a visit. I see a connection and relationship in which both communities thrive as we work together.

What are some of the accomplishments that have been successfully implemented in the Community of Bom Jesus over the years?
Expanded knowledge of who we are in the community of Saint Marks. The conversation that has been happening has been helpful in participants getting to know each other. Look forward to getting youth more involved with these interactions. Developing more transparency in the connection and building trust. The success of the women to women activities with the sewing ministry, Joel expressed. Jim stated that organizing of the Co-op program, and self-development have been key. Continued effort on a work plan to make the community a better place. Continued efforts to restore buildings (Church buildings, Malaria Center, Social Training Center, and Parsonage). Making sure all plans are available in necessary languages, so we are all on the same page of understanding to be successful.

How have the resources sent from the Community of Saint Marks impacted lives in Bom Jesus?
Resources from this community have enabled them to proceed with plans they have had and turn them into reality, with some of the highest priorities related to nutrition, healthcare and economic sustainability, Jim stated. Joel said that community of Saint Marks has provided needed financial support over the years and provided logistical support of materials, fabric, and medication. They have helped build community and connect to build better relationships and understanding over the years. It has also helped with coordination and support to help the people of Bom Jesus in their efforts to a better way of life.

What is needed from us as a community to continue the progress in Bom Jesus?
Continuity, prayers, and funding no matter how small or large. We need intention and clear decisions on what we are funding and hope to accomplish in the years to come. Create that partnership of church-to-church missional opportunities. Over the next 3 to 5 years develop relationships to make all the efforts, Jim stated. Joel expressed that financial support would be key to carry out efforts for the community of Bom Jesus with logistical support and coordinated help to aid them with their plans and vision for the future and help in building connections for possibilities. I just love the community and country, and I am sure you will feel the same as we help to build better lives and opportunities for the people there.

What are the plans for this upcoming trip?
The plans are to continue to build the relationships with the people in the community, by having several people engaged so that we can; Better understand each other and the needs, how we can be most effective in our efforts, build on the church-to-church relationship, build better relationships with leadership, celebrate accomplishments, hear each other better and work to become better friends which is the hope of Jim for this trip. Joel hopes to expand connections; build better ideas on what we can do, hear, listen, and see what is needed for the community, discern what the immediate needs of the community are, and how to be most impactful in helping them become reality.

Final Thoughts:
I want to thank Joel and Jim for their commitment to this ministry. Your commitment to the community of Bom Jesus and this mission project has made tremendous efforts over the years in helping prepare a better and sustainable way of life for all involved. There are more blessings on the horizon as you prepare to take a team from Saint Marks this fall to evaluate how we can be in better relationship in the years to come. As you are aware, our vision statement is enriching community and transforming the world through God’s love. This project is a step in the direction of making this reality not only for the people of Bom Jesus but for the community of Saint Mark’s. May each of us be inspired to share our gifts and graces as we discern our mission and purpose in the world. Continued blessing to each and everyone of you in the days and weeks to come.

Our Mission in Action: Care Visitor Ministry

By Colleen Townsley Brinkmann


“This program is solely to provide sustenance to the Care Giver who often experiences being disconnected and can’t attend a support group meeting or leave their loved one alone,” explained Saint Mark’s Faith Community Nurse Pam Taylor, RN.


It barely takes a nanosecond when talking with Pam to recognize her deep well of compassion, care, and love she possesses for others. As Saint Mark’s first-ever Faith Community Nurse, she brings a wealth of experience in hospice and home healthcare. Initially funded by a United Women of Faith Beulah Grant, she began offering various health services – blood pressure checks, health education, home visitations, and consultations, in 2010.

Six years after becoming a part of the Saint Mark’s family she said “Yes!” to launching the new and innovative Care Visitor Ministry Program which was created by Joan Hurlock, RN, of Carmichael Presbyterian Church two years prior. So, in 2016 Saint Mark’s expanded its healthcare ministry. This program provides outreach and support to those caring for loved ones. And, this is where the new role of Care Giver Visitor comes in.

Following a thoughtfully managed recruitment and 6-hour training, Care Giver Visitors are paired with a Care Giver. Based on the Care Giver’s wishes, the Care Giver Visitor connects monthly via a phone call, visit, or other activity with the Care Giver. “So often the Care Giver cannot even go to a support group meeting because they can’t leave their loved one alone,” said Pam. “Care Givers express how grateful they are for the bright light and connection they experience from their relationship with the Care Giver Visitor.”

Six families are presently enrolled in the program – all with a connection to Saint Mark’s, a requirement of the ministry. Those interested in learning more about becoming a Care Giver Visitor or enrolling in the program can contact Pam Taylor at PTaylor@stmarksumc.com.

Summer Opportunities for Saint Mark’s United Women in Faith - from Cynthia Lawrence

The next general gathering of United Women in Faith will be September 10. During the summer, members continue to meet in their activity groups, help at Vacation Bible School, read books from the UWF book cart, listen to UWF podcasts, and attend Mission u.

UWF members may check out books for the UWF Reading Program from the cart in the Library Tuesday and Saturday when the Food Closet is open. The cart may be on the Patio after the worship services. Treasurer’s Reports and Minutes of UWF meetings are in binders on the cart.

While enjoying walks and the outdoors or the air-conditioned indoors, podcasts offered by United Women in Faith can be opened at uwfaith.org/resources/podcasts/ . Three varieties are offered:

Faith Talks: Each month timely themes and resources are explored with expert insights on ways to live one’s faith with inspiring interviews by spiritual leaders.
response Podcast: Tune in to audio versions of some of the top articles from each issue of response magazine, the award-winning official magazine of United Women in Faith.
From the Field Webinars: Come learn about the national and international initiatives that benefit from Mission Giving.

This year the study topic of Mission u is Welcome Home. The adult Mission u curriculum explores how we can know God as an intimate friend who welcomes us. Abiding in God’s safety and dwelling in God’s provision allows us to open our hearts to a fuller embrace of the power and presence of God so that we may find our home in God. Participants are invited to dig deeper into what it means to live in the kin-dom of God and how this helps us to develop practices for building and existing in healthier communities.

Author Neomi Fletcher leads participants through a journey in eight one-hour explorations that start with examining home and redefining what it means in light of Scripture’s repeated invitations to dwell with God as individuals, community members, and persons of faith.

Fletcher has a passion for social justice and works to advocate for young people. She is pastor of Haven Chapel UMC in Denison, Texas, and an early childhood policy advocate for Children at Risk.

Register now for one of these 2024 Mission u sessions at https://canvuwf.org/

3 Day Event- July 26 to July 28 @ ECCO, Oakhurst, CA–Conference Center- 43803 Highway 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644 — Register by 7/12/2024

1 Day Event- August 31@ Centennial UMC, Sacramento, CA–5401 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822 — Register by 8/17/2024

Have a blessed UWF summer!

New Prayer Requests

Aubrielle Rylee Asprer, granddaughter of Leilanie Joy Asprer
Deanna Pootjes and Family
Sally Weinland upon the loss of her sister, Bev Mock
Jane Hines
Lori White
Hezekiah Wiles
Erica Williams
Xavia Ortiz
Dejohn, Innes and John Davis
Billy Garner

Holding in Prayer

Jessie and Deborah Wiles
Erster Koker
Heinrich & Gladys Lugert
Joe Eckardt
Jim Bulls
Rebecca Fain
John Miller
Danielle Ortiz
Robin Ware
Brenda Zipners
Pastor Linda Kelly
Khady Bannister
Crystal Grant
Richard Burns and Bob Jacobs
Millie Loutensock
Pam and Chris Waldrep
Mary Ann Gile
Robert Grieve
Sharon Grieve
Ann Parsons
Paul Blankenship
Charlotte Gardner
Lucy Jeffries
Olivia Jones
Prayers for world peace

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