Newsletter – May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – May 23, 2017

This has been a great month for St. Mark’s and our community.  We began with a National Day of Prayer Interfaith Service on May 4, then, we celebrated Carol Brown’s graduation with her Master of Divinity from Clairemont School of Theology on May 16.  On Sunday morning, May 21 we celebrated the children of St. Mark’s, both the Nursery School and our church, and if that wasn’t enough, we closed that day with music from our Chime and Bell Choirs.  The work of the children and adults, through the instruction of their directors, Christina Peer, Robin Haber, and JoAnne Hammond was truly wonderful.

This Sunday, to close the month of May, we will be focusing on John’s Gospel and the passionate prayer of Jesus before his arrest.  We will also remember those who have fought the good fight for freedom, here and on foreign soil on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Next week brings us into a new month. I hope you’ll join us on June 4, as we bless the construction team traveling to Tijuana on June 10, celebrate our Sunday school teachers and graduates on June 11 and welcome our Fiji missionary family, Rev. Wes, Rev. Dr. Jerusha, Mercy and Josiah Neal on Monday, June 19 at Noon for lunch and conversation.

All of these events, every single one of them have been and will continue to be open to the community.  So invite your friends and family.  There is something for everyone.

See you in church,


Newsletter – May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – May 15, 2017

In an attempt to compete with Facebook, I’m going to write about kids and kittens.

This will be an especially fun and joyful Sunday in church, as we Celebrate Children!   The Cherub Hallelujah Choir will present a short musical called The Story of Paul’s Shipwreck by Allen Pote.  Also some students, leaders, and parents from St. Mark’s School will join us as Rev. Jeri leads a song from weekday Chapel Time.  School Director Dr. Anita Hill will lead our prayer of dedication.

Also on Sunday morning, Rev. Debbie Wise from Saipan Immanuel Methodist Church will be with us to share stories of her ministry in the Pacific.  (Saipan is 6,053 miles from San Diego.  It’s a very long swim.)

If that’s not enough, on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 in the sanctuary, the St. Mark’s bell choirs will present their Spring Ring, and I hear they have a surprise or two in store!

Our special thanks goes to the fantastic members of the bell choirs who, with Angel Cardenas, Kris Nieder, our youth group, parents, and a friendly police officer, succeeded in rescuing a frightened kitten from the innards of two different parked cars outside the social hall last Wednesday night.  It was a challenging three-hour project, but it had a happy ending!

The kitten is five weeks old, dehydrated, hungry, and VERY loud–but otherwise in good shape.  He is being cared for at the San Diego Animal Shelter, and may be available for fostering or adoption in two weeks.  Several of us are watching out for him.  If you want more information, be in touch with me or Kris.

See you in church!


Newsletter – May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – May 8, 2017

Last Thursday evening in our sanctuary six San Diego faith leaders joined Rev. Jeri, me, our choir, and 70 other persons in attendance for an interfaith service of prayer for our nation.  It was a meaningful and moving event, with much food for thought.

The idea for this service, and the informal dinner beforehand, came from Rev. Jeri, who is, as you know, amazing.  She organized everything and worked diligently to promote the event.  Our hope was to bring faith leaders and community members together to pray and connect with one another.  It is just a beginning for those of us–whatever our background, faith, or tradition–who work to counter the fear that has crept across both the country and our own community over the last year.

Participating in the service (from left to right, below) were Pastor Dan Koeshall, Metropolitan Community Church; Rabbi Michael Berk, Temple Beth Israel; Monsignor Dennis Mikulanis, San Diego Catholic Diocese; Rev. Cheri Matier, Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ; Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego; Rev. Craig Brown, First United Methodist Church of San Diego; Jeri and me.

This Sunday we will examine a text that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have in common–Psalm 31.  See you in church!


Newsletter – May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

Newsletter – April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – April 24, 2017

Dear friends,

This week I have transported myself away from the city life and placed myself, along with Jake, just outside Julian.  As this morning’s sun rose above the tree lined hills it was an amazing sight. The brilliant red and orange lighting providing a stunning backdrop to the silhouetted hills on the horizon. I thought of how many sunrises these trees have witnessed.  Each sunrise is reasonably predictable in its seasonal routine, yet each splendid ray of light is unique in its resurrection of a new day, one filled with wonder and hope.  Welcome to the season of Easter.

It is easy for many of us to look upon our routines as a ordinary part of our life, but what if, just for a moment, we look outside our routine to see the beauty and the wonder that glistens in front of us; the unique hue of the flower that grows up in the crack of the asphalt, the reflective display of dust particles as they dance in a shaft of light, the intricate lacelike weavings of a spider’s glistening web.  These are things we sometimes miss because we are busy focusing on our daily routines.  And yes, sometimes we work very hard to remove these acts of creativity from our presence because they do not fit into our orderly lives.   Yet, each one of these, and many other things, is an opportunity for us to pause and see God’s extraordinary creativity in our ordinary lives.

This week in church we will hear of two acquaintances who walked along the road, lost in their thoughts about the death of Jesus. Their ordinary routine was shaken, but they returned to walk a familiar pathway, expecting their lives to just move forward after this death.  We will also hear how Jesus walked with them but they did not know it because their eyes had not been opened to God’s presence with them; not until the simple routine act of breaking bread changed everything.

In this season of Easter, as we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus and our usual understanding of life, I hope that you’ll see something new in your many routines.  I hope that you will also find yourself in the presence of God in ordinary ways, and be reminded that life is more than normal routines – each day is filled with resurrection power.

See you in church,


Newsletter – April 18, 2017

April 18, 2017