This Month at St. Mark


Birthdays This Month

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

Jan 03

Scott Miller

Jan 05

Sally Hershey 

Esther LeGore

Jan 06

Carol Greening

Joshua Sandruck 

Leonard Stambaugh

Jan 09

Hollis Long

     Happy Birthday!

Jan 10

Melanie Brady

Lexi Brown 

Lori Reber

Jan 11

Kelly Dube  

Jenna Klunk

Jan 14

Wayne Bollinger

Charles Coppersmith

Jan 15

Robert G. Miller

David Reese

Jan 16

Gay Leppo

Alice O’Donnell   

Penelope Spalding 

Daniel Weber

Jan 17

Rick Pado

Jan 18

Jody Boyers

William Reese

Jan 19

Cara Lynn Clabaugh

Jan 20

Glenn Mummert

Abby Shermeyer

Jan 21

Patty Warehime

Jan 22

Sandra Haymaker

Jan 23

Lois Bolin

Jan 25

Irene DeMart

John Hoffacker

Jan 26

David Sandruck

Jan 29

Mary Berry

Ashley Teal

Jan 31

Evelyn Barnhart


Current Church Season

Our Church Season for December is Advent

The church year in the West begins with a preparatory season called “Advent.” The word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “appearing” or “coming,” referring to the appearing of a great king or even a god. In Christian usage, it refers to the appearing of Jesus Christ in two ways - His first appearing as the Child born of the Virgin Mary and His second appearing in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. Advent isn’t only about getting ready for Christmas; it’s also about getting ready for Jesus’ final appearing in glory on the Last Day.


The season of Advent has its origins in France and Spain in the 4th and 5th centuries... 


Spotlight on

Apostles & Saints

This month, we are highlighting St. Paul. He was also known by his Jewish name, Saul of Tarsus, Though not one of the Twelve Apostles, he taught the gospel of the Christ to the first century world.

 St. Paul

Paul the Apostle (c. 5 – c. 67), commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Jewish name Saul of Tarsus was an apostle (though not one of the Twelve Apostles) who taught the gospel of the Christ to the first century world.


Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and in the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. He took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences. According to writings in the New Testament and prior to his conversion, Paul was dedicated to persecuting the

early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem. In the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles (often referred to simply as Acts), Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem" when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Approximately half of the book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works.


Fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul. Seven of the epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic, with varying degrees of argument about the remainder. Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not asserted in the Epistle itself and was already doubted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was almost unquestioningly accepted from the 5th to the 16th centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews, but that view is now almost universally rejected by scholars. The other six are believed by some scholars to have come from followers writing in his name, using material from Paul's surviving letters and letters written by him that no longer survive. Other scholars argue that the idea of a pseudonymous author for the disputed epistles raises many problems.

Today, Paul's epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship and pastoral life in the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Orthodox traditions of the East. Paul's influence on Christian thought and practice has been characterized as being as "profound as it is pervasive", among that of many other apostles and missionaries involved in the spread of the Christian faith. Augustine of Hippo developed Paul's idea that salvation is based on faith and not "works of the law". Martin Luther's interpretation of Paul's writings influenced Luther's doctrine of sola fide.


The two main sources of information by which we have access to the earliest segments of Paul's career are the Bible's Book of Acts and the autobiographical elements of Paul's letters to the early church communities. Paul was likely born between the years of 5 BC and 5 AD. The Book of Acts indicates that Paul was a Roman citizen by birth, more affirmatively describing his father as such, but Helmut Koester takes issue with the evidence presented by the text.[Acts 16:37][Acts 22:25–29]


He was from a devout Jewish family in the city of Tarsus–one of the largest trade centers on the Mediterranean coast. It had been in existence several hundred years prior to his birth. It was renowned for its university. During the time of Alexander the Great, who died in 323 BC, Tarsus was the most influential city in Asia Minor.


Paul referred to himself as being "of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee".


Paul's conversion can be dated to 31–36 by his reference to it in one of his letters. In Galatians 1:16 Paul writes that God "was pleased to reveal his son to me." In 1 Corinthians 15:8, as he lists the order in which Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, Paul writes, "last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also."


According to the account in Acts, it took place on the road to Damascus, where he reported having experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus. The account says that "he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Saul replied, "Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks (goads)."[Acts 9:4–5]


According to the account in Acts 9:1–22, he was blinded for three days and had to be led into Damascus by the hand. During these three days, Saul took no food or water and spent his time in prayer to God. When Ananias of Damascus arrived, he laid his hands on him and said: "Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou might receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost."[Acts 9:17] His sight was restored, he got up and was baptized.[Acts 9:18] This story occurs only in Acts, not in the Pauline epistles.

wikipedia

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 November and December, we present Influential Women of the Reformation. For December, seven influential women from England, Italy, France, and the Low Countries are highlighted.


For more information and related articles, please use the Internet address at the bottom of the article.

FRANCE & THE LOW COUNTRIES

Jeanne d’Albret was the Queen of Navarre and an influential leader of the Huguenot movement in France. She invited Reformed preachers to speak in her land and publicly declared her adherence to Calvinismin 1560; however, she made it clear that she followed “Beza, Calvin, and others only insofar as they follow Scripture.” She attempted to bridge the divide between Catholics and Protestants and tried to bring peace as wars began to break out. In fact, while a Protestant, she continued to allow the Mass to take place in her land, refusing to punish Catholics who did not convert to Protestantism.


Idelette de Bure was a widow with three children when she married John Calvin. One child of theirs died while an infant and she miscarried another. In the process, Calvin, who spoke little of his married life, was deeply touched. Their relationship softened his heart deeply.


Marie Dentière (c. 1495-1561) was of Flemish descent from a family of minor nobility. She was part of an Augustinian monastery in Tournai, which she later left after embracing the teachings of the reformers, a crime against both church and state. She fled to Strasbourg and married Simon Robert, who had had been a priest in Tournai, becoming his assistant in their goal of spreading the reform to the area to the east of Geneva. After her husband’s death she married Antione Froment, a follower of reformer William Farel. Marie wrote an anonymous pamphlet intended to convince the Genevans of God’s intentions for their city. She also spoke out in public taverns and on street corners. It was a success as Geneva eventually became a Protestant republic. She also wrote a book recounting the history of the Geneva reformation. 



ENGLAND

Jane Grey wrote letters to the reformer Heinrich Bullinger at age 14. As queen, Jane fought off intense efforts to convert her to Rome when she was 16. She resisted those efforts with theological reasoning and biblical teaching against a professor of theology twice her age.


Catherine Willoughby became the duchess of Suffolk in 1533 and was related to Jane Grey. She protected the preacher-bishop Hugh Latimer from persecution until things became so unbearable for her that, to save her life, she fled to the Netherlands with her infant.  She was forced into exile as a supporter of the Reformation.



ITALY

Olimpia Fulvia Morata was an Italian scholar born in Ferrera as the oldest child of a humanist scholar, who, after being forced to flee his city to northern Italy, lectured on the teachings of Calvin and Luther. Olimpia flourished in her studies, especially in Latin and Greek, exhibiting impeccable scholarship. She wrote Latin dialogues, Greek poems, and letters to both scholars (in Latin) and less educated women (in Italian). In her “Dialogue between Theophilia and Philotima,” she encouraged those who feared that their gross sins obstructed their way to God:

Don't be afraid … No odor of sinners can be so foul that its force cannot be broken and weakened by the sweetest odor that flows from the death of Christ, which alone God can perfume. Therefore seek Christ



All of these women longed to see the Reformation triumph, and the good news of the gospel overcome opposition both within the church and outside it. They served with patience, perseverance, and courage. They were not just observers of the Reformation, but they were also participants. Moreover, each was used mightily by God to maintain the integrity of his church and redeem a fallen humanity.

by Justin Holcomb - http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/influential-women-of-the-reformation.html

Text...

Do You Know

This month's quiz focuses on A Psalm of David.


As you might expect, the psalm has change a bit over the centuries. There a few alternate texts shown here.


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

Can you identify to which common pieces of the 23rd Psalm text the alternate texts belong?

  • [Hebrew] beside waters of rest
  • in right paths
  • the valley of deep darkness
  • Only
  • steadfast love
  • shall return to dwell
  • [Hebrew] for length of days