Online community

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

nor the human heart conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NRSV)


Ways to connect

WORSHIP

Sunday 10 A.m.

We invite you to join us for virtual worship each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. You may want to create a sacred space in your home by lighting a candle to make this service as meaningful as possible. You can also download the Order of Worship so you can participate fully. 

Bible Study
Thursday 8 P.M.

Each Thursday, Pastor Patrick is hosting a Facebook Live Bible study, using our Lenten devotional book, Beyond Question. The video will be posted on our "Live Streaming & Video" page and on our YouTube channel once the Live event has ended.

EVENING Prayer
Friday 8 P.m.

On Friday evenings, Pastor Charisse is offering a 10-minute devotional and prayer via Facebook Live. If you have prayer requests, please email them to Pr. Charisse. The video will be posted on our "Live Streaming & Video" page and on our YouTube channel once the Live event has ended.


YOUTUBE

St. Mark's YouTube channel is a great resource for our music, Bible Study, and Evening Prayer videos. You will also find a new series called FUN FAITH SONGS FOR KIDS, where Kristin Young, our Director of Worship & the Arts, teaches kids a new song plus a music lesson each week. 

FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

Check out St. Mark's social media pages!

St. Mark's Facebook page*

St. Mark's Instagram page


*St. Mark's has several private Facebook groups for Members, Families, Youth, and GraceRoad Ministry (parents of teens).

RESOURCES FOR KIDS
& FAMILIES

Want to keep your kids engaged? Looking for ideas? Check the St. Mark's Family Group on Facebook for ways to help your kids during this time. (If you're not already a member of this Group, click "join" or email our Director of Youth and Family Ministries if you have questions.)


  • LETTER ABOUT REOPENING THE ST. MARK'S BUILDING

    June 2020


    Dear St. Mark’s Family,


    We hope you are well, safe, and enjoying the beginning of summer. We are writing today to let you know about plans that are in the works for returning to the St. Mark’s building while living with the COVID virus.


    Phased Return

    At the beginning of COVID, many of us had mental images of all returning at once to our church building in celebration, but we are now recognizing that returning will happen in phases.


    What future we will find ourselves in depends not only on the behavior of the virus, but on the actions of people—as individuals, as churches, communities, and governments. The way forward will not be a matter of following a timetable, but of faithfully discerning the signs of the times and responding accordingly. It has always been that way for the church: “You have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown….”


    Return Team

    Please understand that, for at least the next year, we anticipate our lives will be shaped by the timeline set by COVID-19. With that as our basis, our new Return Team met for the first time this past week to review the Chicago Metro Synod’s document on physically returning to our building. Based on the Synod’s recommendations, plus the Center for Disease Control and our state and federal government guidelines, we have begun to outline what returning will look like at St. Mark’s. We have been in conversations with medical experts and local pastors, and we are developing a specific plan for St. Mark’s that we will share with you when it is complete.


    Guidelines

    In this first of many regular communications about re-opening the building, we want to highlight the four primary areas of concern for which we are writing guidelines:


    1. Sanitation/Cleaning Procedures (ensuring the building is safe)
    2. Plan for Entry, Flow, Seating and Exiting Measures
    3. Worship & Liturgical Modifications
    4. Training in Oversight Procedures (i.e., contact tracing, screening, compliance)


    When we have these four areas of the plan in place, you will be hearing more from the Return Team. Having these key plans will also allow us to consider inviting outside groups and meetings back into the building.


    Prayers

    We pray for a spirit of discernment, for wisdom and patience. We pray for researchers and medical professionals; for the planners; for the ill and recovering; for those grieving and struggling with the weightiness of these times. We pray for the watchers and the wonderers, and all those who wait upon the Lord.


    May the Holy One, our Hope, our Teacher, our Redeemer and Truth guide our decisions, keep us in good health and give us patience.


    Pastor Charisse and Pastor Patrick

    Return Team

    St. Mark’s Church Council


  • letter from the pastors about church opening

    MAY 22, 2020


    Dear St. Mark’s Family,


    On Friday afternoon May 22, President Trump made a public statement urging state governors to allow churches across the country to open this weekend.


    We write to reassure and remind you of two important things:

    • Christ’s Church has never been closed. It is impossible to “close” church because the church is not a building. We are the church. God’s people are the church.
    • St. Mark’s building has been and will remain closed. Our community of faith seeks to follow Jesus’ command to love God by loving our neighbors. We will not jeopardize the health and safety of our neighbors – nor of our members – by opening our building until medical and public health officials assure us that it is safe to do so.

    Our staff, Church Council, and Pastors have been in prayer, conversation, and planning over the past several weeks as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Please keep an eye out for a much fuller letter from us soon, outlining next steps and plans for our life together.


    In the meantime, keep being the church out there in the world, Saints. We’ll “see” you for worship this Sunday– online at 10:00!


    Living in joyful hope,


    Pastor Charisse

    Pastor Patrick


  • letter to the congregation

    SPRING 2020


    Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

    Psalm 33:22


    Dear Friends,


    We hope this letter finds you healthy and safe as we wait for all manner of life to return. We long for our lives to match the hopefulness of Spring coming to life all around us. The writer of Psalm 33 says that the Lord is also watching and waiting! And so we wait, we watch and we hope, though waiting is hard.


    Our staff misses you! We truly hope to see you again soon and cannot wait to be together again in person as the congregation of St. Mark’s. Each week, we are creating ways to connect with you through worship, ZOOM calls, social media, phone calls, or the many options on our website. Our virtual worship has received a tremendous response, and we can feel the Holy Spirit surrounding us and lifting us. We are confident that God is acting, will act, and continues to act; for our God is steadfast.


    If you have not been receiving our weekly email newsletter and would like to, please click here to sign up. If you are not online and would like to receive a weekly letter with the order of worship by mail, please call the church office at 630-897-6891 and Deb can get you connected. 


    We also wish to share with you our financial position. Through March we had an income of $195,563 with expenses of $196,285.  We have been able to meet our financial commitments due to your consistent and faithful stewardship.  Cash reserves are $52,204 due to members paying their full 2020 commitments upfront. We anticipate reduced expenses in April and May. The other good news is that we applied for and received an SBA Payroll Protection loan via the Federal Government’s Corona Virus Stimulus package. 


    Friends, we pray that you hold on to hope, believing that nothing separates us from God. As we wait, let us practice patience to see what God has to reveal to us. Our plans may fail, so we live on in hope, believing that nothing already in existence and nothing still to come … will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus (adapted from Romans 8:38-39).


    In joyful hope,


    Pastor Charisse

    Pastor Patrick


  • LETTER FROM ST. MARK'S PASTORS

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2020


    There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Creator of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

    Ephesians 4:4-6


    Beloved Saints,


    We continue to monitor the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and St. Mark’s leadership is consulting with experts on how best to keep our community safe. With that in mind, we have made the decision to suspend church programming, outside events, and worship services until at least April 1.


    By making the difficult decision to suspend worship and programming, St. Mark’s is showing our love for our neighbor, caring for the most vulnerable, and standing in solidarity with our community. We choose abundant life. That’s what this temporary hiatus is: choosing to put our in-person community life on hold for a time in order to protect life.


    We acknowledge that we are living in times of uncertainty, and in such times, it helps to focus on the things we can do:


    Worship with us from wherever you are.

    • Join our Sunday live-stream worship service. Each Sunday that we are not together in person, you can join us live on Facebook at 10 a.m.
    • If you are not on Facebook, you can watch the video on our website, stmarksaurora.net.
    • If you know of someone who does not have a computer and internet, please let them know that we are setting up a system so people can call in by phone and hear the service. We’ll let you know the details and ask you to help share this information.
    • We will make available (from our website) a downloadable order of worship so you can worship where you are.
    • Please watch your email for more details on how to connect, or later watch a recording of the Sunday’s Worship.
    • We will also be posting inspirational verses, hymns, poems, and readings to keep you connected to our larger community and uphold you at this time.

    Please continue your regular giving.

    We do not yet know the affect this situation will have on our community, but we as a ministry team are committed to respond. Your continued gifts will ensure we have resources for those who need us. You can give electronically through the church website (StMarksAurora.net/GIVE), set up automated giving through your bank (call Beth Benson, 630-234-6529), or simply mail your offering to the church.


    Please consider a special gift to the Pastors' Discretionary Fund to help offset an anticipated increase of members in need (Click to make a gift to the Pastors' Discretionary Fund).


    We are convening a Community Care Team to brainstorm ways we can support the needs of our congregation and community. If you are interested in participating in this group, please contact Pastor Patrick (pfish@stmarksaurora.net or 630-272-5211). We will work to gather the group in a responsible way.


    This situation presents many challenges, but it also gives us the opportunity to practice “church” as a verb: by looking out for each other, anticipating how we can help our broader community, and exploring innovative ways to connect with one another.


    Care for one another.

    • Check on neighbors and friends, especially those in high-risk groups. Go grocery shopping for those who are safer staying at home. Share your supplies with neighbors.
    • Make phone calls and send notes to those who feel particularly isolated during this time, especially those who live alone and those who live in care centers that have restricted visiting privileges.
    • Continue your financial support to local businesses and non-profits. As you are able, buy gift certificates from local retailers, order food from local restaurants for pickup, and keep up your usual financial commitments to service providers, even if they suspend their services for a time.

    Our dedicated staff promises to live out our mission to be church, providing peace, love, and hope in an anxious world. We look forward to gathering again in person when it becomes safe to do so. As Easter approaches, we know for certain that death will not win the day; all praise and thanks to Jesus, for life and love will prevail.


    Know that your church leaders continue to pray for you and for our congregation.


    If particular needs do emerge for you during this time, please reach out.


    All our love,


    Pastor Charisse & Pastor Patrick

    St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Council


  • LETTER FROM THE ST. MARK'S STAFF

    FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020


    Effective immediately, all St. Mark's services and church-sponsored events are suspended through March 22nd.


    Because of the information released by the Illinois governor cancelling schools and limiting public gatherings, and the declaration of a national emergency, the St. Mark’s staff has met to rethink our plans.


    Out of an abundance of caution, we are cancelling all worship services and church-sponsored events beginning this Saturday, March 14th, continuing through the week and the following weekend of March 21st and 22nd. The church staff will keep limited office hours during the week.


    Please share this news.


    Further communications will be coming. Check our "SAFETY" web page for ongoing updates and information.


    Thank you for understanding. Take care. Be safe.


    The St. Mark's Staff