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.

HACC Thanksgiving Eve Worship

Hanover Area Council of Churches is offering a Thanksgiving Eve worship service on Wednesday, November 22nd, at 7:00pm. 

This year, the community-wide service will be held here at St. Mark.  Led by a variety of pastors and church volunteers, this worship night is a wonderful opportunity for the greater Hanover area to come together to worship as one Christian family.  Remember, Thanksgiving is a time to lift up our praise and gratitude to the Lord for all the benefits we enjoy throughout the year.  Please bring some food staples (canned or boxed) to donate to the HACC shelter food bank and a blessing of thanksgiving in your heart!

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.

Big Thanksgiving Eve Community-wide

Service at St. Mark

November 22nd at 7:00PM

     - HACC community wide Thanksgiving Eve Worship service here at St. Mark.

Ruth's Harvest and the ASPCA

Beginning November 1st, items will be collected for HACC food pantry, Ruth’s Harvest and the ASPCA. 

While food is always appreciated for all, paper products and cleaning supplies are also necessary to the pantry and animal shelter. As those great “buy one get one free” sales pop up, consider the buy one give one option. Just check the expiration dates to make sure they have some shelf life.

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.

For All the Saints (William How, 1823-1897)

Bishop William W How, an English Bishop, wrote the text of “For All the Saints’ in 1864, for use in the Anglican church liturgy commemorating All Saints Day. It was originally titled “Saints Day Hymn – Cloud of Witnesses – Hebrews 12:1”.

How do we best honor the memory of loved ones and friends who have contributed to our lives? By rededicating our own lives to God, obeying Him implicitly, and reaching out to the needs of others.

How was commonly known as Walsham How. It was during his period as Rector of Whittington in England that he wrote the bulk of his published works and founded the first public library in Oswestry. In 1863–1868 he brought out a Commentary on the Four Gospels and he also wrote a manual for the Holy Communion. Published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge during the 1890s under the title "Holy Communion, Preparation and Companion...together with the Collects, Epistles and Gospels" this book was widely distributed and many copies still survive today. In the movement for infusing new spiritual life into the church services, especially among the poor, How was a great force.


Mraching to Zion(Robert Lowry, 1826-1897, & Isaac Watts, 1674-1738)

MARCHING TO ZION (1867), inspires an energy that fits its American revival context perfectly. Robert Lowry adapted this hymn text and composed an original tune for it. Lowry was a Baptist preacher in the United States ministering and teaching during the critical time of the Civil War, a time coinciding with the rise of revivalism. He is widely recognized for his compositions, and was noted for adding refrains to popular hymns.

The repetitive nature of the text in Lowry’s version reflects the energy of a revival atmosphere, making the text more easily sung in cultural settings where not all present were literate. The refrain of Lowry’s version changed the focus from a reverent recognition of “Heavenly Joy on Earth,” to a proclamation to a community setting out on a journey. The addition of Lowry’s refrain increased the popularity of Watts’ text and enhanced the joyful message of the original text:

We’re marching to Zion,
beautiful, beautiful Zion.
We’re marching upward to Zion,
the beautiful city of God.

According to the hymnologist Ann V. Smith, the Scriptural references for this hymn come from Revelation 14:1-3, 21:21, and 7:17. These passages address the joys of the saints, singing as they “surround the throne.” In stanzas eight and nine of the original poem (omitted in most hymnals today), we hear Watts describe the presence of joy that can be found not just in heaven, but also on earth: The men of grace have found glory begun below:

celestial fruits on earthly ground

from faith and hope may grow.

The hill of Zion yields

a thousand sacred sweets

before we reach the heav’nly fields,

or walk the golden streets.

From these stanzas, we can see how Watts not only wanted the singer to communicate the joy of what was to come through eternal life in heaven, but also the blessings of God on earth. An allusion to John Bunyan’s popular devotional classic The Pilgrims Progress (1678) is found in the final stanza calling attention to the Christian journey toward Zion and a triumphant entry into “Immanuel’s ground.”

The inclusion of both settings in The United Methodist Hymnal reflects the broad range of piety found in [Christians] in the United States, a piety that ranges from the stately solemnity to the revival spirit. Lowry’s refrain actually adds a Wesleyan tone to Watts’ text that may be sung in light of the doctrine of sanctification – “marching” toward perfection that will ultimately culminate in heaven (“Zion”). The hymn found in our hymnals today proclaims a simple, straightforward biblical truth.


His Loving Kindness (Samuel Medley, 1738-1799)

Samuel Medley (1738–1799) was an English Baptist minister and hymn-writer. He was educated by William Tonge, his maternal grandfather, and at 14 was apprenticed to an oilman in the city of London. In 1755, however, he obtained his freedom on entering the Royal Navy, from which he was discharged after being wounded in the Battle of Lagos on 18 August 1759. He ws severely wounded in this battle off Cape Lagos, Portugal. While convalescing, he read a sermon by Isaac Watts on Isaah 42:6,7. These verses ultimately led to his conversion and late rto his becoming a minister of the gospel.

"His Loving Kindness" was written as a personal testimony of thanksgiving to God. The first text appeared in published form in 1782.  For 27 years, Medly pastored the Baptist church in Liverpool with much success, especially as a preacher ot sailors.

Medley wrote a large number of hymns but always stated in the preface of his books that his only purpose for writing was to "comfort Christians and to glorify Christ". It has been said that the underlying purpose of Samuel Medley's ministry, both in preaching and in hymn writing, was to "humble the pride of man, exalt the grace of God in his own salvation, and promote real holiness in the hearts and lives of believers."

The spritely music for this text  is an American camp meeting melody in popular use throughout the South before its publicatio in the 19th century.

Wikipedia and "Amazing Grace - 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories"

Crown Him with Many Crowns (Matthew Bridges. 1800-1894. and Godfrey Thring, 1823-1903)

“Crown Him with Many Crowns” was written by Matthew Bridges, an Anglican clergyman who at age 48 converted to Roman Catholicism and at age 51 wrote this hymn.  It is the one hymn written by Bridges to still be sung widely today.

Bridges wrote six verses, each celebrating some aspect of God, such as kingship, love, and peace.  Some years later, Godfrey Thring, an Anglican clergyman, thought that the hymn needed a verse celebrating the resurrection, so he wrote the one that begins, “Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave” — and he wrote additional verses as well.  The hymn as found in most hymnals today includes verses by both Bridges and Thring.

Bridges became a convert to Roman Catholicism at hte age of forty-eight and published this hymn three years later under the title "The Song of the Seraphs". Godfrey Thring, an Alglican clergyman, add ed several stanzas ot the hymn about thiryt years later wiht Bridges approval. So, a Roman Catholic layman and an Anglican cleric, who probably never met, were co-authors of a hymn about heaven where Christians of every tribe and tongue, as well as every denomination, will crown Him Lord of all.

https://www.sermonwriter.com/hymn-stories/crown-many-crowns & The One Year Books of Hymns

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.