This Month at St. Mark

Birthdays This Month

Recognizing our congregation members who were born this month...

Mar 01

Natalie Ormond

Julie Sell-Smith

Mar 02

Andy Brough

Mar 03

William Naill III

Michele Smeach

Phyllis Tasto

Deborah Wilson

Mar 04

Melissa Wise

Mar 06

Matthew Smith

Mar 07

Bill VandenHeuvel

     Happy Birthday!

Mar 13

Madlyn Farley

Bill Sterner

Mar 14

Jackie Brown

Mar 15

Barb Watson

Mar 17

Marian Stabley

Mar 19

Ruth Noble

Mar 20

Norma Lesher

Julie Ruth

Mar 21

Emma Hagarman

Susan Zamudio

Mar 22

Christopher Hoke

Marcus Lobaugh

Mar 24

Derek Eline

Justin Eline

Jeffrey Little

Faith Warehime

Mar 28

Toni Garman

Breita Stahl

Shane Stambaugh

Mar 31

Ashley Yelton

Current Church Season

Our Church Season for March is Lent

Purple is the Lenten season's sanctuary color. Purple suggests repentance and solemnity.


Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.


It is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.


The Lenten period is marked by solemnity and contemplation, and...

Page Footnotes

You have probably noticed the red boxes at the bottom of several pages (Welcome, Events, Christian Education, Evangelism, Fellowship, Social, and Worship & Music). In these small spaces, we will post information about many facets (history, etc.) of the church. The subjects and information promises to be quite varied. But, all will be enlightening and fun.

For January, the red boxes show seven of hymnist Isaac Watts most popular hymns. For more on Isaac Watts, see our Notables section below.

Spotlight on

Apostles & Saints

This month, we are highlighting  Joseph the father of Jesus and. as it is March, St. Patrick

Joseph, Father of Jesus

What do we know about Joseph the Father of Jesus?  

What we know about Joseph, the earthly and legal Father of Jesus, is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Joseph’s complete genealogy is given in Matthew 1:1-18. Though it is curious to new readers why this long genealogy is given, we quickly learn its importance. Genealogies were very important to the Jews but these verses demonstrate the lineage of Jesus Christ back to Abraham for all mankind to recognize another fulfillment of the many prophecies given about the Messiah. 


Joseph was a direct descendant from David. He was a gracious man 

who kept the laws of Judaism and was well respected. He was a man of meager means but none the less, an honorable and faithful man. Skilled as a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth, Joseph spent time teaching his son the trade as well as providing spiritual training. Jesus is very often described as working and being taught by Joseph in his carpenter’s shop. This was an inherited occupation Jesus performed before going into His ministry. 

Joseph observed the Holy Days and Hebrew Feast with his family as shown in Luke 2:41-42. “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.” We also know that through Joseph’s sensitivity and obedience to God, he fulfilled the role of protector and guardian of Jesus. He enacted the role of ‘father’ admirably in every way. Little detail of Joseph is given in the Gospels so because Jesus entrusted Mary to the care of John, it is speculated that Joseph may have died a natural death between their visit to the temple when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:41-51) but before the Baptism of Jesus when He was thirty (Mark 1:9-11). 

It is clear that others recognized Joseph as the legal father of Jesus in verses such as John 1:45. Joseph's influence during those early years must have been incredible. When Jesus spoke of God as being like a loving Father, he could draw from his youth the kind of love he had from Joseph. Joseph stands as a testimony to the value of integrity, obedience, faithfulness, and especially to honoring the entrusted role of "fatherhood.” 


St. Patrick

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:


"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so

that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.

A few years after returning home, Patrick saw a vision he described in his memoir:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish.' As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"

The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years, and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland.

Patrick arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. There are several legends about what happened next, with the most prominent claiming he met the chieftan of one of the druid tribes, who tried to kill him. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people -eventually thousands - and he began building churches across the country.

He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church. He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. His grave was marked in 1990 with a granite stone.

In His Footsteps:

Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. So complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission, he feared nothing -not even death.

"The Breastplate," Patrick's poem of faith and trust in God: "Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."


Notable People This Month

Each month we introduce people who are notable for us Lutherans. Some will be saints. Some will be recognized as having made other significant contributions. 

In February and March, we look at one of the "Godfather of English Hymnody" -- Isaac Watts.

Isaac Watts

(17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748)

Watts was an English Christian minister (Congregational), hymn writer , theologian, and logician. He was a prolific and popular hymn writer and is credited with [over 600] hymns. He is recognized as the "Godfather of English Hymnody"; many of his hymns remain in use today and have been translated into numerous languages.

Watts was born in Southampton, England in 1674 and was brought up in the home of a committed religious nonconformist; his father, also Isaac Watts, had been incarcerated twice for his views. Watts had a classical education at King Edward VI School, learning Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

Watts could not attend Oxford or Cambridge because he was a noncomformist and these universities were restricted to Anglicans—as were government positions at the time. He went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690. Much of the remainder of his life centered on that village, which is now part of Inner London.

Following his education, Watts was called as pastor of a large independent chapel in London, Mark Lane Congregational Chapel, where he helped train preachers, despite his poor health. He held religious opinions that were more nondenominational or ecumenical than was common for a nonconformist Congregationalist. He had a greater interest in promoting education and scholarship than preaching for any particular sect.

Watts took work as a private tutor and lived with the nonconformist Hartopp family at Fleetwood House on Church Street in Stoke Newington. Through them, he became acquainted with their immediate neighbors Sir Thomas Abney and Lady Mary. He eventually lived for a total of 36 years in the Abney household, most of the time at Abney House, their second residence. (Lady Mary had inherited the manor of Stoke Newington in 1701 from her late brother Thomas Gunston.)

On the death of Sir Thomas Abney in 1722, his widow Lady Mary and her unmarried daughter Elizabeth moved all her household to Abney House from Hertfordshire, and she invited Watts to continue with them. He particularly enjoyed the grounds at Abney Park, which Lady Mary planted with two elm walks leading down to an island heronry in the Hackney Brook, and he often sought inspiration there for the many books and hymns that he wrote.

Watts lived at Abney Hall in Stoke Newington until his death in 1748; he was buried in Bunhill Fields. He left an extensive legacy of hymns, treatises, educational works, and essays. His work was influential amongst nonconformist independents and religious revivalists of the 18th century, such as Philip Doddridge, who dedicated his best-known work to Watts.

Watts led the change in [hymnody] practice by including new poetry for "original songs of Christian experience" to be used in worship... The older tradition was based on the poetry of the Bible: the Psalms.

Watts also introduced a new way of rendering the Psalms in verse for church services, proposing that they be adapted for hymns with a specifically Christian perspective. As Watts put it in the title of his 1719 metrical Psalter, the Psalms should be "imitated in the language of the New Testament." Besides writing hymns, Isaac Watts was also a theologian and logician, writing books and essays on these subjects.

Watts wrote a textbook on logic which was particularly popular; its full title was, Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences. This was first published in 1724, and it was printed in twenty editions.

On his death, Isaac Watts' papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which nonconformists (Puritans/Congregationalists) had established. King Edward VI School, Southampton, which he attended, named one of its houses "Watts" in his honor.

The Church of England and Lutheran Church remember Watts (and his ministerial service) annually in the Calendar of Saints on 25 November, and the Episcopal Church on the following day.

The earliest surviving built memorial to Isaac Watts is at Westminster Abbey; this was completed shortly after his death. His much-visited chest tomb at Bunhill Fields dates from 1808, replacing the original that had been paid for and erected by Lady Mary Abney and the Hartopp family. A stone bust of Watts is installed at the nonconformist Dr. Williams's Library, in central London. The earliest public statue, erected in 1845, stands at Abney Park, where Watts had lived for more than 30 years at the manor house, where he also died.

Source: Wikipedia

Do You Know

This month's quiz focuses on St. Patrick's favorite poem, "The Breastplate." Of the choices to the right, which are from that poem? There are a few made-up ones thrown in. Can you identify them?

The answers can be seen by clicking the Show Me... button below.

In St. Patrick’s favorite poem, where and why is Christ?

Within me

Behind me

Before me

Beside me

Kitty-cornered across from my left

To win me

To comfort and restore me

Beneath me

Above me

On my right shoulder

Christ inquired

Christ in danger

In my breast pocket

In hearts of all that love me

In mouth of friend and stranger