On Decisions and Voting

This past week, the Covenant Council met at St. Mark’s for its regular meeting. As you know, this is the committee in the church tasked with keeping us on target with our ministries and activities. We are the administrative agency of the church. We approve budgets, set special offerings, focus on the priorities and mission of the church in all that we do. If you want to know what the Discipline says, check out this website: https://www.umc.org/en/content/book-of-discipline-252-the-church-council

Here at St. Mark’s, our Council meets roughly every other month. We met this week for our normal agenda items—receiving reports, discussing committee work, looking at scripture, and keeping informed about the special projects happening.

At this meeting, we voted on and approved the process that we will use for our upcoming vote on a merger with Sanctuary UMC. More on that in a minute.

I’ve had no fewer than five people say to me recently that this merger is a “done deal.” This is wrong. Our church leadership was approached by Sanctuary’s church leadership. Our church leadership opened conversation and set in motion the task force to explore how it could work. It is doing the work to determine how it can be a smooth transition and a good partnership as we potentially move to a multi-site model of ministry in the local church. They are taking the questions raised at the Town Hall meetings and in conversations of how it would work and giving a framework based on the best practices for both mergers and multi-site churches.

But it’s not a done deal.

All members of the church are invited to vote on this merger. If a simple majority of those present and voting do not vote in favor, there will not be a merger. We can still do ministry together, but there will only be an official merger if the congregation approves it.

With this in mind, the Covenant Council made decisions this week about how the meeting will happen. A formal church conference will be held with our District Superintendent at 11:30 a.m. April 30. This meeting will take place in person in our worship space or live-streamed via Zoom. We will send out an information packet with the exact wording of the motion, supporting documents, and instructions for joining online (we hope to send it by April 17). The Book of Discipline states that while everyone has a voice, only members of the church have a vote in this kind of meeting. Covenant Council affirmed that we will not check membership records as we pass out ballots but will trust that only members will vote. Please mark your calendar, watch your emails after Easter, and join us.

Before we get to Easter, we will celebrate with Hosannas as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It’s coming up soon! The choirs have added chairs to the choir loft as they prepare for the special Sundays ahead, the staff is getting ready, the volunteers in children’s ministry are getting ready for their Easter Eggstravaganza, and more!

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we invite you to come eat a hot dog and meet some new people at a Palm Sunday cookout. Sunday, April 2, at 11:30 on our patio, we will join around tables with Sanctuary members, have conversation about the potential merger, get more information from an updated “Frequently Asked Questions” document, and be truly Methodist as we eat! Bring a side to share and join us on the patio!

As always, the Task Force is available to field questions. Look for them between services in the courtyard or email them at merger@umcstmarks.org.

See you soon,
Pastor Lynn



  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.