Page 1

Issue 175

May 4, 2011

Vacation Bible School coming Find out how you can get connected

Vacation Bible School at St. Mark's will be a “bamboozling” experience full of fun and excitement held during the week of July 24-28! Our theme this year is "Pandamania", so imagine a place transformed into a bamboo forest full of cuddly pandas oozing with God’s love! We're ALL getting ready for a wild and crazy time. VBS is the perfect time to make new friends and learn that God is “WILD” about us! Each day, kids and adults participate in small groups, called Crews, where they’ll meet a new Bible Buddy and learn a new Bible Point to help grow closer to God. We’ll explore Bible truths with memory verses from Psalm 139! You and your kids will discover that God is active, and His fingerprints are EVERYWHERE! Pandamania provides amazing Biblelearning experiences involving our eyes, ears, hands and even our taste buds! Our bamboo crews will visit stations like Crazy Crafts, Bamboo Blast Games, Party Time Sing & Play, Wild Bible Adventures, Treetop Treats, and the always favorite Chad-

der’s Movie Mania! These Pandamania activities help faith flow into real life. We'll also be collecting canned goods and other items to help restock our local food pantry, Crossroads Mission. Get ready for an adventure into the bamboo forest—it will change you forever! Register your children, ages 3 through 5th Grade (as of fall 2011) for crew placement. Register yourself to be a volunteer (must be entering 6th grade in the fall or older). There are hundreds of opportunities ranging from behind the scenes tasks to working directly with the children throughout the week. Do you love God? Do you love kids? VBS makes it easy with little or no preparation! Just show up and let God bless your day! (We provide training and materials.) Pick up a donation card at the VBS display and provide supplies or cash. Register online at by following the VBS logo or pick up a VBS form at church. For more information, please contact Dana or Lynne at or call 447-0100.

Inside this issue: Good-bye Pastor Jonathan


Take note


Prayer requests


St. Mark’s Calendar


Thank You letters


Children’s Ministry


Youth Ministry


New sermon series


Page 2

Saying good-bye to Pastor Jonathan Hundreds of well-wishers gathered Sunday to attend Pastor Jonathan’s performance of “Witnesses”, to thank him for his six years of ministry at St. Mark’s and to prayerfully wish him well in his endeavors with Paraphrase Theatre.

Dear Partners in Christ at St. Mark's, Thank you so very much for your many kind words, notes, cards, hugs and well-wishes as I've been wrapping up my time at St. Mark's. The events of this past Sunday were overwhelming and deeply meaningful, not only to me but to my entire family. A very special thanks, also, for your generous donations of support for the launching of Paraphrase Theatre. As a result of your generosity I will be able to purchase much-needed sound equipment and other necessary items to get the business side of things up and running. Your warm words of encouragement and support, as well as your prayers will carry the Swenson family in the days ahead. May Gods' blessings and peace in Christ continue to hold and guide you. With much love and a heart overflowing with gratitude, + Pastor Jonathan

Page 3

North doors open on Sundays

Fair Trade coffee offered May 15

The North Doors will be open on Sundays during construc- The Lutheran World Relief Fair Trade Coffee Project, spontion to ease crowding, but closed during the week. sored by St. Mark’s Women’s Fellowship, will offer coffees, teas, nuts, dried cranberries and several different The search for pandas is under way! chocolate bars from 8:15 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 15. The VBS Decorations Team is on the hunt for stuffed panda bears of all shapes and sizes. If you have a Panda Church council to meet on May 16 bear you would like to donate or lend to St. Mark's for VBS The St. Mark’s church council regular meeting will be this year, please email Monday, May 16 at 4 p.m.

City-wide prayer event

Fifty Plus potluck May 26

St. Mark’s is joining eight other churches in City-Wide Prayer from 7-8 a.m. every Tuesday in May and June. The prayer gathering at St. Mark’s will be May 17. Coming up on May 10 is a prayer session at Valley View Baptist Church, 5555 Mt. Vernon Rd. SE. Other dates are: May 24, Living Waters Kingdom Church; May 31, Lifeline Ministries; June 7, Oakland Church of the Nazarene; June 14, Seaside Lighthouse; June 21, First Lutheran Church; and June 28, Noelridge Park Church.

Fifty Plus potluck will be Thursday, May 26, at 11:30 in the Fellowship Center. Please bring a covered dish and your own table service. Sara Zidoni and Helen Freeman from St. Luke's Hospice will present the program.

Planning starting for Beautiful Day It's time to start planning for our second annual "Beautiful Day", an opportunity to serve in our community as we did last fall following the "Do Something” sermon series. This year’s event will be held Oct. 8, and is a wonderful way to give back to our community. If you are interested in being on the planning team or want to know more about how you can help, please contact Tammy Bradley at or 373-8237.

Training for CARE Team offered May 15 Join our CARE Team and brighten the day of those who are hospitalized, in nursing homes or homebound. A special training and organization session will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 15. Whether you're a current CARE Team member or interested in becoming one, join us and learn more about how you can help. For more information, contact Donna Lunstrum at the church office, or 447-0100.

F.L.Y. program needs summer volunteers The mission of F.L.Y. is to feed lunch to youth in the Marion area because of Christ. We are looking for volunteers weekdays from May 31- Aug 12. We need 12 people from 10:15-11:45 a.m. to make sack lunches and 18 people to deliver them from 12-12:45 p.m. to sites in Marion. If you can help, please call Nathan Richardson @ 3774856, or email

Mission trip planned to Texas, Mexico A St. Mark’s mission team will travel to churches in Mexico and Eagle Pass, Texas to help with construction projects and medical and vision clinics. The trip is scheduled for Sept. 23-30. We’re looking for lay people as well as volunteers with construction or medical experience. For more information, contact Anita Haughenbury at

Summer Alpha begins June 5 Our next Alpha session will be held Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:00, beginning June 5. Alpha is a unique "meet-youwhere-you-are" course. Adults can benefit from the relaxed atmosphere and low-pressure setting. Alpha is about finding a place where you can ask perplexing questions and share experiences and opinions that lead to greater understanding. Your journey through Alpha is sure to be rewarding. Contact Marlys Fruhling at or call 447-0100 if you’re interested.

Page 4

Selected Items from St. Mark’s Calendar MOTHER’S DAY, SUNDAY, MAY 8 All morning VBS sign-upEaster breakfast 9:45 AM Men’s Fraternity 11:00 AM Crossways MONDAY, MAY 9 5:00 PM Joyful Sounds; Harmony ringers 6:30 PM Chancel Bell Choir rehearsal 7:00 PM Boy Scouts TUESDAY, MAY 10 9:00 AM Quilters 12:00 PM Crossways 1:00 PM Naomi Circle 7:00 PM LADOS WEDNESDAY, MAY 11 6:00 AM Crossways 9:30 AM Sarah Circle 7:30 PM Edge 7:35 PM Chancel Choir 7:40 PM Men’s Fraternity 7:45 PM Crossways Bible Study

THURSDAY, MAY 12 5:00 PM Celebration rehearsal 5:15 PM Crossfire! Prayer 6:30 PM Spiritual Gifts class 7:00 PM Financial Peace University SATURDAY, MAY 13 6:30 AM Men’s Work Team 9:00 AM Choir rehearsal SUNDAY, MAY 14 All morning VBS Sign-up Fair Trade coffee 9:45 AM Men’s Fraternity 11:00 AM Crossways Care Team Training 3:00 PM GriefShare

For a complete listing of St. Mark’s monthly calendar, go to our web site:

Welcome to St. Mark’s For anyone interested in learning more about St. Mark’s or becoming a partner with us here, our next “Welcome to St. Mark’s” Class will be held on Saturday, June 11 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Please contact Marlys Fruhling at or call 447-0100.

Military Addresses If you have a loved one who is serving in the military, either overseas or stateside, please let the church office know. We would like to keep these men’s and women’s names on our prayer list, and we send greetings to them at various times of the year, as well.

Lost and Found Please check the north coat closet shelf for lost and found items as well as unclaimed food containers. If you have lost jewelry or small items, check in the church office.

Hospitalized  Kathy Bennett at Mercy  Milo Japenga at St. Luke’s

Health concerns  Carol Kauffman  Linda Wood

Grieving  Darrell and Norma Ophaug on the death of his brother on April 29

Missionaries  For Maki Wolter, who has been diagnosed with Grave’s disease

Other  For the safety for those who are serving in the military, and for God’s presence for their families.  For all those who have lost loved ones or been affected by tornadoes over the last weeks and months, especially those in Alabama.  For Pastor Jonathan and his family as he begins a new phase of his life.

New Blog Pastor Paul Bailie at the San Lucas Church in Eagle Pass is blogging about his ministry: http://

Page 5

We are grateful for Melisa Fitch

Thank you for your prayers for Japan

We are grateful to constantly have new people joining our crew support team. I would like to express my appreciation for your support of Melisa Fitch, one of our valued crew members. People like Melisa are the lifeblood of our work, showing love and delivering a message of hope and healing to the world’s poorest countries. Around the world today, billions of people live in fear and desperation, with impure water, inadequate food, and little or no access to health care. Following the 2,000-year-old model of Jesus, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to these forgotten poor in some of the world’s most remote locations. In this way, Mercy Ships links the Great Commandment to love our neighbor and the Great Commission of reaching every nation. Melisa is one of more than 1,500 crew members from around the globe who serve with us annually. Each person working aboard the Africa Mercy volunteers his/ her services to help fulfill the mission of Mercy Ships. The ability to mobilize professionals who volunteer their time as Crew allows us to maximize our donor support and serve those who need our help the most. The statistics that describe Africa’s poverty can be overwhelming. And yet, behind every statistic is a person waiting for hope and healing. Melisa joins the ship’s crew in their commitment to reach each individual with whom we come in contact with a clearly demonstrated message of the care and love that God has for each one. Again, I want to express our deep appreciation for helping us make a lasting impact on the people of West Africa by supporting Melisa’s work amongst the world’s forgotten poor. Your commitment and involvement is a great encouragement. Patrik Bergstrom, International Chaplain, Mercy Ships

We have recently heard of your continuous prayers on our behalf and for the people of Japan. We are so appreciative of your care and concern, as well as for your intercession at this crucial time in Japan. God is using your prayers to work miracles among us here. As you may know, I (Mark) was able to go up to the devastation area in northern Japan earlier this month. As you might expect, it was a horribly shocking site to personally view and interact with such physical and emotional destruction for over a week. Through this, however, we have seen God do many amazing things that have been equally shocking. He is working amazingly good things out of tragedy for His called people, just as He promises in Romans 8:28. I have recorded some of these experiences on my blog at Just so you know, your prayers are being used mightily to affect the people here. Already I have seen a much greater openness in talking about spiritual things to those less affected. It seems everyone is more aware of their own mortality and less concerned with material things. People are becoming more compassionate to those around them and more eager to express it. Though the affected area was one of the least reached areas in Japan, people are gaining a very positive view of Christianity through the constant flow of Christian aid and practical expressions of love in the area. Before we left the town where we were ministering, several people stopped us on the street, asked us if we were "the Christians", and expressed deep gratitude for our coming. I am excited to see what the future holds as Christians continue to come! With your continued prayers we can be effective here. Mark & Maki Wolter, St. Mark’s Missionaries in Japan

Page 6

Summer Sunday School is coming! 9:45 a.m. in June & July Ages 4-12

“One room school house style” We need volunteers and parents to select a week or two to help. No special training required!

Vacation Bible School Be watching for your special VBS mailing! On-line registrations will begin by the middle of May! Evening sessions: Sunday, July 24 through Wednesday, July 27, plus the Family Night on Thursday, July 28. Morning sessions: Monday, July 25 through Thursday, July 28, plus the Family Night on Thursday, July 28.

Coming Soon: Family Toy Drive The St. Mark’s Nursery Vision team will be sponsoring a Toy Drive for gently used toys to help fill our new nursery space! Watch for more details!

Hold the Date… Hairy & Company is coming again this year and will be with us on

Sunday, Aug. 28

Family Devotion What Could You Do? Since we just celebrated Easter, challenge your kids to share the GOOD news about Jesus; it's too good to keep to ourselves. First, think about people who may not know about Jesus or have Him in their life. Second, think of how you can share this good news with them. Could you . . . send a card with John 3:16 written inside? share your story about Jesus with a friend? (Ask, Would you like to hear how Jesus has helped me?) ask Dana for another Salvation Story egg to give to a friend invite a friend to sleep over on Saturday night and come to church with you.

Page 7

For those impacted by St. Mark’s 6th – 12th Grade Ministry

Middle School Ministry

High School Ministry

What a great year this has been! As we’ve journeyed through The Lord’s Prayer and the Old Testament, we’ve been recognizing God’s amazing grace. Now we look ahead in expectation of what God has before us! :) We’ll be excited about celebrating a new step in faith for our going-to-be 9th graders as they confirm their faith on Saturday, September 3. (mark your calendars and join us please!) We’re also excited to welcome our soon-to-be 6th graders into Middle School Ministry! (Remember: we have a 5th grade retreat this Friday!) God is good and we look forward to seeing how He desires to shape us and help us to follow Him. :)

THE EASTER BREAKFAST... ...was fantastic! Our goal was to raise $8,000…

WE SURPASSED IT! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING OUR H.S. MINISTRY! It’s not too late sign up for the mission trip. We’re accepting registrants until June 2.

Coming Soon! Summer events which will help our middle schoolers come together, have fun and grow. :)

THE EDGE The last weekly meeting of the school year:

Wednesday, May 11 7:30-9:30 PM More information coming soon! :)

Current Series:

8th graders! You’re invited to check out The Edge! Wednesday, May 11, 7:30-9 p.m.! Grab your friends and fellow small group members and join us!

THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX Come and join a movement of students who are pursuing, encountering, and learning together how to live for Jesus!

Profile for Tracy Pratt

Connections 5-4-11  

Newsletter for St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Marion, Iowa, May 4, 2011

Connections 5-4-11  

Newsletter for St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Marion, Iowa, May 4, 2011