Worship & Music Ministry

What's Going On This Month

What's up at St. Mark Lutheran Church? In addition to our Saturday and Sunday services, choir, and hand bells, we've got some special things coming up.

Cue the Trumpets, We Have an Organist

The organist search committee is pleased to announce that Mrs. Martha Lobaugh will be starting as our organist on June 25th. Martha is finishing up her eighth year as the organist at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Littlestown, PA. She will begin with us after the season of Easter and festivals of Pentecost and Holy Trinity are over. She is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College and holds a Master of Music Education from Shenandoah University.


We eagerly look forward to having Martha help lead us in worship every Sunday. 

Our Hymns - A Little of the Backstory

The origins for some of the Hymns scheduled for this month are presented here. Some will be sung at one of our services. Others are suggestions to be sung as a personal 'Hymn Sing' on Sunday.

Holy, Holy, Holy -- Reginald Heber (1783-1826)

After a happy childhood and a good education in the village school, he enrolled at Oxford where he excelled in poetry and became fast friends with Sir Walter Scott. Following graduation, he succeeded his father as vicar of his family's parish, and for sixteen years he faithfully served his flock.

His bent toward poetry...gave him a keen and growing interest in hymnody. He...wrote hymns for his own church, and it was during the sixteen years in the obscure parish of Hodnet that Heber wrote all 57 of his hymns. He soon felt God was calling him as a missionary to "India's coral strand". In 1822, at age 40, he was appointed to oversee the Church of England's ministries in India.

Arriving in Calcutta, he soon set out on a 16-month tour of his mission stations across India. In February of 1826, he left on another tour. In the village of Trichinopoly on April 3, 1826, he preached ot a large crowd in the hot sun, and afterward plunged into a pool of cool water. He suffered a stroke and drowned.

It was after his death the his widow, finding his 57 hymns in a trunk, succeeded in publishing his Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year. In this volume was the great Trinitarian hymn based on Revalations 4:8-11, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty".

Source: "Then Sings My Soul" Robert J. Morgan

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty -- Joachim Neander (1650-1680), trans. Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878)

Great expressions of praise to God have come from many different traditions and backgrounds. Throughout the centuries, God has used the talents of people from various cultures to provide His church with hymns of praise so His people might be known as people of praise and thanksgiving.


The author of this inspiring hymn text, Joachim Neander, has oftern been called the greatest of all German-Calvinist Reformed hymn writers. He wrote approximately 60 hymns and composed many tunes. Nearly all of his hymns are triumphant hymns of praise.


This hymn is a free paraphrase of Psalm 103:1-6, which begins, "Bless [praise] the Lord, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless His holy name." The translator of this text, Catherine Winkworth, is regarded as one of the finest tranlators of the German language.Her translations helped to make German hymns popular in England and America during hte 19th century. The tune, "Lobre Den Herron" ("Praise to the Lord"), first appeared in a German hymnal in 1665. It is said that Neander personally chose this tune for his text, and the words have never been used with any other melody.

Source: Amazing Grace -- 365 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions -- Kenneth W. Osbeck


Saved by Grace -- Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)

In anticipation of seeing her Saviour's face and praising Him for redeeming grace was a thrilling thought for blind Fanny Crosby to ponder, for the face of Christ as He opened the gate to Heaven would be the first sight her eyes would ever behold. Written in 1891 when she was 71 years of age, "Some Day", as Fanny titled the text was prompted by the final words of a dying pastor friend: "If each of us is faithful to the grace, which is given us by Christ, that same grace which teaches us how to live, will also teach us how to die." Deeply moved by this thought, Fanny completed the lines in a matter of minutes under a sense of "divine inspiration". Of all her many hymn texts, this one always seemed to be her favorite. She called it her "heart song". "Saved by Grace" was one of the favorite hymns by both D.L. Moody and his music asociate, Ira Stankey. In their later campaigns, they used it at nearly every service.


As Ira Stankey lay dying, it is reported that he drifted into a final coma as he softly sang, "Some day the silver chord will break...."

Source:Amazing Grace -- 365 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions -- Kenneth W. Osbeck  

O Happy Day -- Philip Doddridge (1702-1751)

Along with Isaac Watts and Charles Presley, Philip Doddridge is generally ranked as one of England's finest 18th century hymn writers. "O Happy Day", a text which expressed so aptly the sense of joy in a personal realtionship with God, is Doddridge's best-known hymn today. The hymn first appeared without the refrain in the 1775 collection of Doddridge's writings, published posthumously as were all of his 400 hymn texts. It was likely adapted from one of the popular secular tunes of that time.

Source: Amazing Grace -- 365 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions -- Kenneth W. Osbeck


Upcoming Events

We are proud to announce in advance that St. Mark has been chosen to host the Reformation celebration service for the Hanover Conference.  It will be on October 29, 2017 at 4PM. 

Additionally, St. Mark is also the host for the community Thanksgiving service this year.

Join the Fun

Make Thursday night your music night​​​​​​​

Consider joining one or both of these music ministries

with instrument and/or song.

A place in the choir...

Do you have the urge to sing at the top of your lungs on a Sunday morning but hold back because everyone around you is so soft? You suffer from “fear of being heard”. This is not a fatal affliction and the prescription is: join the choir. Trinity Choir is always hopeful that more people will join us. We sing as loudly or as softly as we want. While we have traditionally been in the balcony, we will also be singing downstairs at times. If you can’t climb the stairs, you can join us for the floor music. We meet on Thursday nights from 7-8:30 in the Choir Room (which is on the ground floor). 

While a weekly commitment is always appreciated, we understand that circumstances arise when you cannot make a rehearsal or even a service. We are contagious. 

The joy of socializing is one of the perks of choir but most importantly is ministering to the congregation in song and reinforcing the lessons of the day. We hope that our music opens their hearts and minds to the word of God.

See you then?

A Time to Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring…

Singing is not your thing? Perhaps then you choose to Ring.

“Once you put a bell in your hand, it is magic!” P. Spalding

TrebleBells has openings at the table. Knowing right from left IS helpful, but if you can tell the difference between red and blue, that is enough. You need not read music. You will learn by osmosis, and Melinda will keep preaching the language. 

We will have a bells class each month on the third Sunday after the postlude. We have had these classes throughout the summer and they have been very helpful to the ringers. 

We rehearse on Thursday nights from 6-6:45pm. Once again weekly attendance is desired but we make do when things come up. What we can’t make do with are too few ringers.

Worship & Music Special - Hymn Sing

On May 6th, as done every spring, the Hanover First Church of God hosted a community hymn sing with glorious praises to our risen Savior through hymns and grand musical surprises!


It is always an exciting evening of music. This year, the Hymn Sing featured the following:

1) Soprano Diane Susek, well known and loved soprano from our Central PA area, who ministers with her husband, evangelist Ron Susek, and

2) James Dobson, talented baritone vocalist from the Baltimore area who has twice been at past Hymn Sings. James recently retired from many years of employment with Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.