Celebrating Those Who Have Gone Before Us

By Rev. Lynn Bartlow, Lead Pastor

This week our staff was visited by superheroes, extinct reptiles, community helpers, and more. We had a visit from multiple Batmans, Ninja turtles, wizards, and even a few aliens. Former staff members claim this is their favorite week of the year—the week when the Early Childhood Center kids and teachers come to our office trick-or-treating. This was actually my first year to experience it, and I have to agree it was the highlight of my week. If you want to join the fun next year, we can give you a bucket and a doorway to stand in as they come in—just let us know!

Pastor Kevin loves to remind everyone that Halloween is probably the most Christian holiday of them all. After all, it’s based on generosity, when we give freely to our neighbors. I like it because it can bring neighbors out to meet one another in a way no other night does.

All Hallows Eve has grown in popularity faster than the holiday that it precedes—All Saints Day. When’s the last time you saw an All Saints Day sale at the furniture store or the car dealership?!? We actually do have more cultural reminders here in the Southwest of this observance because of the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, but most places skip over this and move quickly to Thanksgiving.

This Sunday, we will be observing All Saints Day. It’s actually one of the holidays that John Wesley loved, and we have a rich tradition of our own observance here at St. Mark’s. On our Sanctuary Campus, we have added names to our altar cloth and will remember those who have passed away in prayer. We will have Communion together, surrounded by an amazing cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.

On our Magee Campus, we will process our bell banner filled with names of the loved ones you remember on this day. We will speak aloud the names of those within our congregation who have died in the last year while lighting a candle and tolling a bell. We will hear a wonderful musical offering from our choir and special musicians of the Saints. To top it all off, we will celebrate a baptism (at the 10 a.m.) AND Communion.

So pack away your costumes and join us this Sunday; it will be a great Sunday to be in worship!

See you soon!
Pastor Lynn

P.S. If you want to know more about All Saints Day from the United Methodist perspective, check out this article: CLICK HERE

• 8:30 and 10 a.m. Traditional service in Magee Campus sanctuary
• 10 a.m. Modern service at Sanctuary Campus
• 10 a.m. Magee Campus youth and children’s Sunday School (except fifth Sundays) and child care
• 10 a.m. Traditional service livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

Worship online at 10 a.m. on Sundays at umcstmarks.org/live-worship or YouTube UMC St. Mark’s AZ. You can also watch the service at a later time.