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.

Coming in 2017 to a [Hanover, PA] St. Mark Near You

Donations of Wreaths and Stars for Christmas Decorating

Christmas is coming and decorating will be happening soon! We will be hanging 22” wreaths ($25.00/wreath) and one 36”wreath ($50.00).  Poinsettias to decorate the chancel are available at $11.00 per plant.  To sponsor any of these flowers in memory of or in honor of loved ones, envelopes will be placed in the church pew racks or you can call Susan Miller at (717) 632-0555 or the church office at (717)637-8904.  The deadline for ordering is Monday, December 11th.  The poinsettias may be retrieved after our Christmas Eve worship or any time the following week.

            A tree with stars made by Diana Weaver representing contributions to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal will stand in the narthex. For a donation of $5.00 a star can be dedicated in honor or memorial of a loved one.

Mark Your Calendars

​​​​​​​for Christmas Eve

This year Christmas Eve will be a Sunday. The 9:00 am Sunday will still be the 4th Sunday of Advent with our annual impromptu pageant service and hymns. Then Christmas Eve Worship will take place at 3:30pm for an afternoon service and the traditional service will be at 7:00pm.

Service of Healing

On the fifth Sunday of a month, we hold a Service of Healing. The service is an ongoing part of our church’s ministry of care. Those who sense the need for God’s healing in any aspect of their lives may receive the gifts of prayer and of the laying on of hands, which will be accompanied by anointing with oil. These signs, first given in baptism, tell us again that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked forever with the cross of Christ, who is health and salvation for the whole world.

This service of healing does not replace the gifts of God that come through the scientific and medicinal community, nor does it promise a cure. The church offers and celebrates God’s very real presence with strength and comfort in time of suffering. Also we lift up God’s promise of wholeness and peace, and God’s love embodied in the community of faith.

Our next Service of Healing will be on December 31st. Please spread the word to your friends and anyone in need of spiritual care. 

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.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (lyrics by John Mason Neale & Henry S. Coffin)

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas. It is a translation of a Latin hymn, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. The 1861 translation from Hymns Ancient and Modern is the most prominent by far in the English-speaking world, but other English translations also exist. Translations into other modern languages (particularly German) are also in widespread use. The words and the music of "O come, O come, Emmanuel" developed separately. The Latin text is first documented in Germany in 1710, whereas the tune most familiar in the English-speaking world has its origins in 15th-century France.

While "O come, O come, Emmanuel" is often linked with the 12th century, the earliest surviving evidence of the hymn's text is in the seventh edition of Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, which was published in Cologne in 1710. That hymnal was a major force in the history of German church music: first assembled by Jesuit hymnographer Johannes Heringsdorf in 1610 and receiving numerous revised editions through 1868, it achieved enormous impact due to its use in Jesuit schools.

In 1844, "Veni, veni Emmanuel" was included in the second volume of Thesaurus Hymnologicus, a monumental collection by the German hymnologist Hermann Adalbert Daniel. While the Latin text in this version was unchanged from Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, Daniel's work would prove significant for the hymn in two ways. First, the Thesaurus would help to ensure a continued life for the Latin version of the hymn even as the Psalteriolum came to the end of its long history in print. Second — and even more significantly for the English-speaking world — it was from Thesaurus Hymnologicus that John Mason Neale would come to know the hymn. Neale would both publish the Latin version of the hymn in Britain and translate the first (and still most important) English versions.


Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Charles Wesley 1707-1788)

Prolific hymnwriter Charles Wesley was never happy with simply painting the picture of the manger scene. In this hymn he begins by alluding to scriptural prophecies of Christ. Moving on to personal applications, he continues: Christ is not only ‘the desire of every nation’; He is the “joy of every longing heart.” He is not only the child born with the “government…on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6); He is “born to reign in us forever.”

Such personal application was a hallmark of the Wesleys’ ministry. Charles and his brother John challenged the staid Anglican traditions of their time. The church of their day had great scholarship; its theology was orthodox. Christians sang hymns straight from scripture. But the Wesleys seemed to ask, “Does this mean anything to you? Is the biblical story about long-ago events or about what is going on in your life?” They urged people to meet Christ personally and to include Him in every part of their lives – even their hymn singing.

The One Year Book of Hymns

Once in Royal David’s City – Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)

One of the Christmas traditions celebrated by many persons in the English-speaking world is to tune in on Christmas Eve, either on radio or television, to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, originating from King’s College, Cambridge. This tradition began in 1918, was first broadcast in 1928, and is now heard by millions around the world.

In 1919, Arthur Henry Mann, organist at King’s College (1876-1929), introduced an arrangement of “Once in Royal David’s City” as the processional hymn for the service. In his version, the first stanza is sung unaccompanied by a boy chorister. The choir and then the congregation join in with the organ on succeeding stanzas. This has been the tradition ever since. It is a great honor to be the boy chosen to sing the opening solo—a voice heard literally around the world.

The author of this text, Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), was born in Dublin, Ireland, and began writing in verse from an early age. She became so adept that by the age of 22, several of her hymn texts made it into the hymnbook of the Church of Ireland.

The first time the text appeared with its most popular tune pairing, IRBY, composed by Henry John Gauntlett (1805-1876), was in the Appendix to the First Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1868). Gauntlett, born in Wellington, Shropshire, England, was trained in the fields of law and music, and is said to have composed over 10,000 hymn tunes. IRBY is the primary tune for which he is known in the United States.

This is one of Alexander’s most narrative and vivid texts, shattering perceptions of the picturesque Nativity with the realities of the lowly stable, and the weak and dependent baby. The hymn’s controversial nature comes from the language expressing the cultural patronizing of children during the Victorian era (words such as “little,” “weak” and “helpless” are ones found particularly appalling in a 21st-century context).

Source: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-once-in-royal-davids-city-serves-as-processional-hymn

Photo is of A. Adam.

No likenesses of P. Cappeau were found.

O Holy Night (Adolphe Adam & Placide Cappeau)

“O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël“) remains one of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols. But in 1847 it started with a French poem written by Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant, mayor of the town, and an occasional poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a poem for Christmas mass. In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France’s capital city, Cappeau considered the priest’s request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him. By the time he arrived in Paris, “Cantique de Noel” had been completed.

Cappeau decided that his “Cantique de Noel” was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician’s hand. Not musically inclined, the poet turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help, when he arrived in Paris. Adolphe Adam composed the music for the poem.

Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.

On 24 December 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the first AM radio program, which included him playing “O Holy Night” on the violin and singing the final verse. The carol therefore was one of the first pieces of music to be broadcast on radio.

Enrico Caruso, often considered the greatest operatic tenor who has ever lived, recorded a version of the song with its original French lyrics in 1916. Originally released on a 78-RPM acoustical disc, it has turned up on several compilation discs on CD, notably Prima Voce: The Spirit of Christmas Past.

Source: http://todays1019.radio.com/2011/12/19/the-story-behind-o-holy-night/

O Come All Ye Faithful (multiple authors)

This favorite Christmas hymn appears to be the result of a collaboration of several people. What we sing is a 19th-century version of a hymn written in the 18th century.

The Latin text comes from the Roman Catholic tradition, found in an 18th-century manuscript in the College at Douai. The college was located in northern France beginning around 1561 and continuing until it was suppressed in 1793. The college was exiled to England at the time of the French Revolution (1789-99).

One possibility is that John Francis Wade (c.1711-1786) was an English musician at the college. Methodist hymnologist Fred Gealy notes: “Seven manuscripts containing the Latin hymn are known; they are dated 1743-61. All appear to have been written, signed, and dated by John Francis Wade, an Englishman who made his living by copying and selling plainchant and other music.”

Research by Dom John Stéphan, author of The Adeste Fidelis: A Study of Its Origin and Development (1947), has determined that the first and original manuscript was dated in 1743, indicating that Wade composed both the Latin words and the music between 1740 and 1743.

The English language translation of stanzas one, two, three and six is the work of Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880), a translator of Latin hymns during the Oxford movement who worked closely with Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), a leader in the movement. Oakeley became a Roman Catholic and was known for his ministry to the poor at Westminster Abbey. Oakeley’s stanzas, penned in 1841, first appeared in F.H. Murray’s Hymnal for Use in the English Church (1852) under the title “Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass.” (Luke 2:15)

Abbé Etienne Jean François Borderies (1764-1832), who was inspired upon hearing the hymn, translated three additional stanzas, of which four and five are included in the UM Hymnal, to fill out the Christmas story. Other versions and many alterations exist as well.

The invitation to “come, all ye faithful, . . . to Bethlehem” places the singer both among the shepherds who rushed to see the Christ child, and in the long procession of the “faithful” that have journeyed to Bethlehem in their hearts for over 2,000 years.

Of particular note is the second stanza that draws heavily upon the Nicene Creed. Thus, singing stanza two establishes a link to the church that reaches back to 325 A.D., at the Council of Nicea, where the Creed originates.

In the third stanza, the “faithful” join their voices with the angels singing “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Luke 2:14). The refrain then becomes a cosmic chorus uniting heaven and earth.

Stanza four invites us to model our response on that of the shepherds: “We too will thither / bend our joyful footsteps.” An omitted stanza notes the appearance of the magi. The fifth stanza takes a decidedly different tone, placing us not only at the manger scene as one of the humble who have come to see the Christ child, but actually in the manger!

The tune Adeste Fidelis by Wade has served this text well—though about as many variations have appeared for the tune over the years, as for the text. The refrain has a fugal feel with the staggered entry of voices until all four parts join in the imperative: “O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”

Source: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-o-come-all-ye-faithful

Upcoming Events

Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebrations (see above and elsewhere in this web site for related activities)

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...

We are getting ready to rev up the old Victrola and start singing on a regular basis in the balcony or on the floor and occasionally ringing those bells and chimes. 

Don’t you want to be part of this incredible, fun ministry? It is our position that we present the word of the Lord in prayerful song to open the hearts, minds and ears of the congregation in order for them to receive the message of the day. We are just one instrument to deliver the good news of the love of Christ. The more instruments, the louder the band. The louder the band, the better they hear! 

Please consider joining us. Choir begins September 7th from 7pm-8pm. Then on September 14th, hand bells begin from 6:15pm-7:10pm and the Trinity Choir begins with their NEW TIME—7:15pm-8:15pm.

See Melinda or any member of the choirs for more information.  It could be the best hour or two you spend with us!

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;

and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.