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.

Service of Healing

On the fifth Sunday of a month, we hold a Service of Healing. The last Sunday Service of Healing was offered on July 30th. 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 Services of Healing will be on October 29th and 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.

Break Thou the Bread of Life (Mary A. Lathbury, 1841-1913)

While this hymn is often sung during Communion, it is really intended to prepare us for Bible study. The great London preacher, G. Campbell Morgan, customarily read the words of the hymn before his midweek service.

The author, Mary Lathbury, was better known as a commercial artist than as a poet. Her illustrations regularly appeared in the popular magazines of the nineteenth century. She ws a devout Christian who often vacationed at Lake Chautauqua, where she became one of the founders of a new movement. Mixing Christian inspiration, culture, and education, the Chautauqua movement spread across the country. She was asked by the leader of the movement to write a vesper hymn, which she did (“Day is Dying in the West”), and then a Bible study hymn. As she sat with her Bible, overlooking Lake Chautauqua, she thought of the disciples at the Sea of Galilee and wrote this hymn. Mary Lathbury’s desire was to take Bible students “beyond the sacred page” the meet the living Word.

Source: The One Year Book of Hymns

Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Author - Unknown)

The precise author of "A Closer Walk" is unknown. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggests it dates back to southern African-American churches of the nineteenth century, possibly even prior to the Civil War, as some personal African American histories recall "slaves singing as they worked in the fields a song about walking by the Lord's side.". Songs with similar chorus lyrics were published in the 1800s, including "Closer Walk with Thee" with lyrics by Martha J. Lankton (a pseudonym for Fanny Crosby) and music by William Kirkpatrick, which was published in 1885. Some references in Atchison, Kansas credit an African-American foundry worker and vocalist, Rev. Elijah Cluke (1907-1974), for the current rendition of the song. "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" became better known nationally in the 1930s when African-American churches held huge musical conventions.

As Paul said: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8) Fortunately, our Lord is there for us and will grant this request. He is happy to walk with us, to share our burdens, to guide us safely to the shore of His kingdom.

Sources: Wikipedia & The One Year Book of Hymns

There’s  A Wideness in God’s Mercy (Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863)

A wealth of truth about the depth of God’s love and mercy is expressed simply but eloquently in this choice two-line hymn text written by Frederick Faber in the middle of the nineteenth century. In addition to being known as a man with unusual personal charm, persuasive preaching ability, and excellent writing skills, Faber made his lost lasting contribution with the 150 hymn texts he composed during his brief life of 49 years.

Frederick Faber had an unusual spiritual journey. Raised as a strict Calvinist, he strongly opposed the Roman Catholic Church. After education at Oxford, he became an ordained Anglican minister. Gradually, however, he was influenced by the Oxford Movement, which stressed that Anglican churches had become too evangelical – with too little emphasis on formal and liturgical worship. Eventually, Faber renounced the Anglican State Church, became a Catholic priest, and spent his remaining years as Superior of the Brompton Oratory in London.

Faber had always realized the great influence hymn singing had in Protestant evangelical churches. Determined to provide material for the Catholics to use in the same way, he worked he worked tirelessly in writing hymns and publishing numerous collections of them. In 1854, the Pope honored Frederick Faber with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his many accomplishments. Today, we are still grateful for this memorable declaration of the boundless love and mercy of our God to all mankind.

Source: Amazing Grace, 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories

Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (Latin Hymn, Translated by John M. Neale, 1818-1866)

This hymn is drawn from a Latin meditation on the New Jerusalem. Some scholars think the original work may have been used as a dedication for a new church. But, in this translation, John Neale clearly identified the “temple” as the people of the church. This is where Christ lives, not in walls of stone, but in the hearts of people whose lives belong to Him.

Neale was a scholar in the Church of England. Though he had poor health, he ran churches, colleges, and charities. But his greatest contribution to the church was in hymnology. He unearthed a treasure trove of ancient Latin and Greek hymns, which he translated for church use. Many are widely sung today. In this way, Neale helped to “bind together” the church, new and old. Though his own body was a frail temple, he used it tirelessly to strengthen that other temple of God, the church.

Source: The One Year Book of Hymns

Upcoming Events

Reformation Celebration Service

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.

Organ Recital by Hanover Native Cameron Wentz

Hanover native Cameron Wentz will present an organ recital at St Mark Lutheran Church here in Hanover on Sunday, Sept 3 at 4pm.

The recital is a "send off" before Cameron leaves for the U.K. to begin his PhD at King's College London. The concert will feature a broad range of works, with a focus on contemporary composers including Mr. Wentz himself.

A free will/love offering will be taken and given to Cameron as a bit of extra support for his travels and studies.

For more information, please visit cameronwentx.com.

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.

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

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