August 12, 2022
in Pastor's Weekly Message
With school back in session and summer winding down, programming here at St. Mark’s is beginning to wake up again. This Sunday we will hold our Rally Day—our kids will invite us to cheer for Jesus as they celebrate a return to Sunday School classes for a new year. On Wednesday, Soul Station will resume in person—join us for a meal, communion, and a conversation about intersections of faith and life. The next Wednesday the choirs resume rehearsals—there’s always room for you to join!
As we say farewell to summer, we will return to our traditional worship format at 10 a.m. without our Praise Team leadership. It’s been good having them lead us through the summer and we thank them for their enthusiastic leadership, but with the return of the choirs, their leadership is no longer needed in that space.
As you’ll recall, we decided to pause our Contemporary Service for the summer. This allowed the Praise Team to lead us in the 10 a.m. service and gave us time to evaluate where we stand with a third service. Since no more than 15 people regularly attended the service (plus the paid and volunteer leaders), we were aware it was not one of our church’s most effective ministries. After a summer off, we’ve made the difficult decision not to resume the Contemporary Service at this time. This has been the hardest decision we’ve had to make in my time at St. Mark’s and we have not reached this conclusion without lots of prayer and discernment. I firmly believe it’s time to re-imagine what worship looks like here at St. Mark’s, and that’s not a task to be done in a couple of weeks. My hope is that the new year will bring us another worship service again, expanding our reach beyond our traditional services. However, before we begin another service, we are going to rest for a bit. We are going to regroup. We are going to dream.
This fall we will pause to take stock of who we are and who we want to be. We will ask if our mission statement and our priorities are still relevant. We will ask if our worship is reaching those people who live around us. We will ask who we are missing and what we can do to reach out to them. Watch the Messenger for invitations to give input, to celebrate, and to dream together as we ask these questions. I am both excited and apprehensive about this work; it’s not easy work to do together!
In the meantime, we will continue to offer quality traditional worship with two choirs and accompanists. We will continue to worship the Divine who created us as diverse creatures who long for connection. We will continue to be St. Mark’s in all the ways that we can be, seeking to change the world through Christ by caring for all people.
Next week, on the 21st, join us at the 10 a.m. service as we say THANKS to those who have led well and faithfully during the last years in our contemporary service. While we hope it’s not a goodbye, it is a thanks for a job well done.
See you Sunday.
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary
- 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.