This Month at St. Mark

Birthdays This Month

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

May 05

Tiffany Zeyn

May 07

Laurie Leppo

Lauren Seidenstricker

Steph Stonesifer

May 08

Alexis Hoke

May 09

Robert Sell

May 10

Phyllis Coppersmith

 Helen Hagarman

May 11

Mike Noble

     Happy Birthday!

May 12

Arlene Keiter

May 13

Roland Carbaugh

May 14

Emma Kindschuh

May 15

Ryan Hardin

Dustin Mummert

May 18

Levi Brown

May 20

Zachary Clabaugh

May 22

Amy Shermeyer

May 24

Linda Sanders

May 25

Mary Riley

May 26

Jonah Warehime

May 28

Audrey Noonan

May 30

Sue Buck
Sue Sell

May 31

Patricia Ormond

Page Footnotes

You have probably noticed the red boxes at the bottom of several pages (Welcome to St. Mark, Outreach Mission, Spiritual Growth Mission, and Stewards of Blessing Mission). In these small spaces, we will post information about many facets (history, etc.) of the church and the Bible. The subjects and information promises to be quite varied. But, all will be enlightening and fun. If you want to check them out, click the Start at Welcome Page link.

This Month, in the red boxes. we recognize Ascension Day – Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Ascension Day of Jesus Christ always falls on a Thursday and is a day when Christians celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven as recorded in the Bible.


Spotlight on Apostles & Saints

This month, we highlight Phillip and the James Matthew.

The Apostle Phillip

Phillip was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Philip is commonly associated with the symbol of the Latin cross. Other symbols assigned to Philip include: the cross with the two loaves (because of his answer to the Lord in John 6:7), a basket filled with bread, a spear with the patriarchal cross, and a cross with a carpenter's square.


The Gospel of John recounts Philip's calling as a disciple of Jesus.[Jn 1:43] Philip is described as a disciple from the city of Bethsaida, and the evangelist connects him with Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town. He also was among those surrounding John the Baptist when the latter first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God. It was Philip who first introduced Nathanael (sometimes identified with Bartholomew) to Jesus.

Of the four Gospels, Philip figures most prominently in the Gospel of John. Philip is asked by Jesus how to feed 5,000 people. Later he appears as a link to the Greek community. Philip bore a Greek name, may have spoken Greek, and may have been known to the Greek pilgrims in Jerusalem. He advises Andrew that certain Greeks wish to meet Jesus, and together they inform Jesus of this (John 12:21). During the Last Supper, when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, he provides Jesus the opportunity to teach his disciples about the unity of the Father and the Son.


An early extra-biblical story about St. Philip is preserved in the apocryphal Letter from Peter to Philip, one of the texts in the Nag Hammadi Library, and dated to the end of the 2nd century or early 3rd. This text begins with a letter from St Peter to Philip the apostle, asking him to rejoin the other apostles who had gathered at the Mount of Olives. Fred Lapham believes that this letter indicates an early tradition that "at some point between the Resurrection of Jesus and the final parting of his risen presence from the disciples, Philip had undertaken a sole missionary enterprise, and was, for some reason, reluctant to return to the rest of the Apostles." This mission is in harmony with the later tradition that each disciple was given a specific missionary charge.


Later stories about Saint Philip's life can be found in the anonymous Acts of Philip, probably written by a contemporary of Eusebius. This non-canonical book recounts the preaching and miracles of Philip. Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria. Included in the Acts of Philip is an appendix, entitled "Of the Journey of Philip the Apostle: From the Fifteenth Act Until the End, and Among Them the Martyrdom." This appendix gives an account of Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis. According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside-down, and Philip preached from his cross. As a result of Philip's preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross. Another legend is that he was martyred by beheading in the city of Hierapolis.


Nowadays relics of Philip the Apostle are in the crypt of Basilica Santi Apostoli, Rome.


NOTE: On Wednesday, 27 July 2011, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that archaeologists had unearthed a tomb that the project leader claims to be the Tomb of Saint Philip during excavations in Hierapolis close to the Turkish city Denizli. The Italian archaeologist, Professor Francesco D'Andria stated that scientists had discovered the tomb within a newly revealed church. He stated that the design of the Tomb, and writings on its walls, definitively prove it belonged to the martyred Apostle of Jesus.

Source: Wikipedia

The Apostle James

James, son of Zebedee (died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just). James the son of Zebedee is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago.

He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.

His parents seem to have been people of means. Zebedee, his father, was a fisherman of the Sea of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida, present Galilee, Israel, perhaps in Capernaum, and had some boatmen or hired men. Salome, his mother, was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and "ministered unto him of their substance", and his brother John was personally known to the high-priest, and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus.

It is probable that his brother had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him.[Matt. 4:21-22][Mk. 1:19-20] James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. James and John (or, in another tradition, their mother) asked Jesus to grant them seats on his right and left in his glory. Jesus rebuked them, and the other ten apostles were annoyed with them. James and his brother wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus.[Lk 9:51-6] The Acts of the Apostles records that "Herod the king" (traditionally identified with Herod Agrippa) had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve apostles martyred for his faith.[Acts 12:1-2] Nixon suggests that this may have been caused by James' fiery temper, for which he and his brother earned the nickname Boanerges or "Sons of Thunder".

Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and, according to legend, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. (The name Santiago is the local evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu, "Saint James".) The traditional pilgrimage to the grave of the saint, known as the "Way of St. James", has been the most popular pilgrimage for Western European Catholics from the Early Middle Ages onwards,

The feast day of St. James is celebrated on 25 July on the liturgical calendars of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and certain Protestant churches. He is commemorated on 30 April in the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 30 April currently falls on 13 May of the modern Gregorian Calendar).

According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Iberia. She appeared upon a pillar, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and that pillar is conserved and venerated within the present Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, Spain. Following that apparition, St. James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44.

A [later] tradition states that he miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the legendary battle of Clavijo, and was henceforth called Santiago Matamoros (Saint James the Moor-slayer). ¡Santiago, y cierra, España! ("St. James and strike for Spain") was the traditional battle cry of medieval Spanish (Christian) armies. Cervantes has Don Quixote explaining that "the great knight of the russet cross was given by God to Spain as patron and protector".

James' emblem was the scallop shell (or "cockle shell"), and pilgrims to his shrine often wore that symbol on their hats or clothes. The French for a scallop is coquille St. Jacques, which means "cockle (or mollusk) of St. James". The German word for a scallop is Jakobsmuschel, which means "mussel (or clam) of St. James"; the Dutch word is Jacobsschelp, meaning "shell of St. James".


Notable People This Month

Each month we introduce people or things that are notable for us Lutherans. Some will be saints. Some will be recognized as having made other significant contributions. Some will be interesting seasonal information.

The Lutheran Church - 15 Facts to Know...

"The Lutheran Church – 15 Facts to Know about Martin Luther, Lutheran History, and Beliefs"



The Lutheran Church is primarily based on the teachings and beliefs of the 16th-century German friar, church reformer and theologian, Martin Luther. While there are many distinct bodies of the Lutherans throughout the world, each one to a certain extent follows the theology of Martin Luther and his Protestant Reformation from the Catholic Church.


Lutherans promote the concept of justification "by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone", the belief that the Bible is the ultimate authority on all issues of faith. Today, it is estimated there are over 70 million members of different Lutheran denominations all around the world. [Here is] our list of 15 facts…


Article creator’s note: This article is part of our Denomination Series listing historical facts and theological information about different factions within and from the Christian religion. We provide these articles to help you understand the distinctions between denominations including origin, leadership, doctrine, and beliefs.

          Use the source link to learn more about’s Denomination Series.


1. Martin Luther's family actually benefited economically from the Black Death.

At the start of the 16th century, Europe had seen large changes in the arrangement of social classes in the last hundred years. The severe drop in population from the Black Death created new economic opportunities and mobility for the lower classes of society. New technologies were invented to offset labor shortages and increase productivity, which then established new classes of society to facilitate manufacture and trade.


Hans Luther, the father of Martin Luther, was a benefactor of this new middle class as he earned a living leasing and operating copper mines and smelters. The Luther family made a sufficient income to provide a university education for his son, helping Martin to become a renowned theologian, contributing significant reformations, leading to the creation of Lutheranism.


2. Gutenberg's Printing Press helped enable the Protestant Reformation.

It is arguable that the Protestant Reformations would not have happened, or at least nearly not as effectively, without the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439.  For most of the Middle Ages, books were hand-written by scribes in Latin, a language which only the most educated people could understand. 


The printing press is considered one of the most important innovations of the Middle Ages because, as nothing before, it enabled the vast distribution of information.  The spread of books, enabling a growth in higher education, had a clear impact on the Lutheran reformers.  Now that more of the general population could read and know the teachings of the Bible, it was the reformers' affirmation, led by Martin Luther, that Christians should live in accordance with scripture and disregard non-biblical Catholic traditions.


3. Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation with his "Ninety-five Theses."

On October 31st, 1517, Luther wrote to the Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences by the Catholic church. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as the Ninety-five Theses.


Asserted by Philipp Melanchthon in 1546, Luther also posted his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that same day, as church doors acting as the bulletin boards of his era, an act now viewed as sparking the Protestant Reformation and celebrated each year on October 31st as Reformation Day.


4. Martin Luther strongly believed in "justification by faith alone."

As Luther obsessively studied portions of the Bible, he came to believe that the church was significantly corrupt with the sale of indulgences and had lost sight of the essential truths of Christianity. The most important of which was the doctrine of "justification by faith" alone through God's grace. Luther began to teach that salvation is a blessing of God's grace, attainable solely through faith in Jesus as the Messiah. "This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification," he wrote, "is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness."


5. Pope Leo X threatened to ex-communicate Martin Luther.

On June 15th, 1520, the Pope warned Luther with a public decree titled Exsurge Domine that he risked excommunication unless he renounced 41 statements from his writings, including the Ninety-five Theses, within 60 days.


Later that year, Johann Eck posted the decree publicly in Meissen and other towns. Luther, who had sent the Pope a copy of On the Freedom of a Christian in October, publicly set fire to the Pope's decree at Wittenberg on December 10th, 1520, an act he defended in Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles.


Consequently, Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on January 3rd, 1521, in the decree called Decet Romanum Pontificem.


6. Roman Emperor Charles V declared Luther a notorious heretic.

The Diet of Worms was an imperial assembly of the Holy Roman Empire held in Worms, then an Imperial Free City of the Empire. A diet was a formal contemplative assembly of the Roman Empire. This diet is most known for the Edict of Worms, which condemned Martin Luther and his writings contradicting the Catholic church.


The Edict of Worms was a decree issued on May 25th, 1521 by Emperor Charles V, declaring:

For this reason, we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, whereupon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said, Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.

The Edict of Worms declared Luther an outlaw, banned his literature, and required his arrest: "We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic". It also declared it a crime for anyone in Germany to give Luther food or shelter and allowed anyone to kill Luther without legal ramifications.


7. Martin Luther went into exile as a political enemy of the Roman Empire.

Luther's escape into exile during his return trip was organized with the help of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony.  Frederick III had him secretly intercepted on his way home by masked horsemen and taken to the security of the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach, where Luther grew a beard and lived incognito for nearly eleven months, pretending to be a knight called Junker Jörg.


During his time at Wartburg, Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German and poured out doctrinal and controversial writings, including a "Refutation of the argument of Latomus," in which he clarified the doctrine of justification to Jacobus Latomus, a philosopher from Louvain, and a renewed attack on Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, whom he disgraced into ceasing the sale of indulgences as a bishop.


8. The term "Protestant" was originally used politically.

In 1526, at the First Diet of Speyer, it was determined that, until a General Council could meet and decide the theological issues raised by Martin Luther, the Edict of Worms would not be enforced and each Prince could decide if Lutheran teachings and worship would be allowed in his state.


In 1529, at the Second Diet of Speyer, the decision the previous Diet of Speyer was reversed — despite the strong protests of the Lutheran princes, free cities, and Zwinglians. These states quickly became known as Protestants. At first, this term Protestant was used politically for people that resisted the Edict of Worms. Although, over time this term came to be used for the religious movements that opposed the Roman Catholic tradition in the 16th century.


9. Martin Luther found an important ally in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

In 1534, Michael the Deacon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church traveled to Wittenberg to meet with Martin Luther, both of whom agreed that the Lutheran Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church were in agreement with one another in regards to many doctrinal beliefs and practices.


In their discussion, Michael the Deacon also affirmed Luther's Articles of the Christian Faith as a "good creed". Martin Luther saw that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church practiced elements of faith including "communion in both kind, vernacular Scriptures, and married clergy" and these practices became a tradition in the Lutheran Churches. For Lutherans, "the Ethiopian Church conferred legitimacy on Luther’s emerging Protestant vision of a church outside the authority of the Roman Catholic papacy" as it was "an ancient church with direct ties to the apostles."


10. After Martin Luther's death, a war broke out between Lutherans and the Holy Roman Empire.

Many of the German princes, and later, kings and princes of other countries, signed the Augsburg Confession to define "Lutheran" territories. These princes would form an alliance to create the Schmalkaldic League in 1531. Martin Luther used his political influence to avoid war but acknowledged the authority of rulers to defend their lands in the case of an invasion.


Martin Luther died in 1546 and the following year the Schmalkaldic War started out as a battle between two Lutheran rulers. Soon the Holy Roman Imperial forces joined the battle and conquered the members of the Schmalkaldic League, oppressing and exiling many Lutherans as they enforced the terms of the Augsburg Interim until religious freedom was secured for Lutherans through the Peace of Passau of 1552 and the Peace of Augsburg of 1555.



11. Lutheran scholasticism was partially inspired by the philosopher Aristotle.

Lutheran scholasticism was a theological method that steadily developed during the time of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Theologians used the neo-Aristotelian form of presenting their ideas and beliefs in their writings and lectures. They defined the Lutheran faith and defended it against attacking criticisms.


Scholasticism in Lutheranism aimed at a comprehensive examination of theology, augmenting revelation with the conclusions of reason. The Greek philosopher Aristotle developed the rules according to which it proceeded, and after some time, he became the authority for both the source and process of theology.


The philosophical school of Neo-Aristotelianism originated among Roman Catholics, however, it expanded to Germany by the late 16th century, resulting in a uniquely Protestant methodology of metaphysics associated with humanism. This scholastic idea of metaphysics held that abstract concepts could better define the world in clear, distinct terms. This influenced the later development of the scientific method.


12. The Three Solas of Lutheranism.

The main doctrine, or primary principle, of Lutheranism, is the doctrine of justification. Lutherans believe that humans are saved from their sins by God's grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), on the basis of Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura).


Orthodox Lutheran theology holds that God made the world, including humanity, perfect, holy and sinless. However, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, trusting in their own strength, knowledge, and wisdom. Consequently, people are saddled with original sin, born sinful and unable to avoid committing sinful acts. For Lutherans, original sin is the "chief sin, a root, and fountainhead of all actual sins."


13. The Three Sacraments of Lutheranism

The Lutheran sacraments are "sacred acts of the divine institution". These sacraments teach that God earnestly offers to all who receive the blessings of forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation.


Baptism - The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is the ceremony by which one is initiated into the Christian faith. Lutherans teach that as a result of baptism, you receive God's promise of salvation. At the same time, to receive the faith you need to be open to God's grace. Lutherans baptize by sprinkling or pouring water on the head of the person (or infant) as the Trinitarian formula is spoken.


Eucharist - The Sacrament of the Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, is where recipients eat and drink the true Body and Blood of Christ Himself, in the forms of consecrated bread and wine. This Eucharistic theology is known as the Sacramental Union.


Penance - This Sacrament has two forms: the General Confession that is done at the beginning of the Eucharistic service with the whole congregation. Also, the Holy Absolution that is done privately with a pastor where the person confesses sins that trouble them and makes an Act of Contrition, the pastor announces God's forgiveness to the person, as the sign of the cross is made.

[Note: The ELCA generally promotes two sacraments - Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.]


14. There is a strong Lutheran fellowship in India.

Lutheranism came to India beginning with the work of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, where a community totaling several thousand developed, complete with their own translation of the Bible, catechism, their own hymnal, and system of Lutheran schools. In the 1840s, this church experienced a revival through the work of the Leipzig Mission, including Karl Graul.


After German missionaries were expelled in 1914, Lutherans in India became entirely autonomous, yet preserved their Lutheran character. In recent years India has relaxed its anti-religious conversion laws, allowing a resurgence in missionary work.


15. Lutheran membership is more than 72 million people worldwide.

Today, millions belong to Lutheran churches, which are present on all populated continents. The Lutheran World Federation estimates the total membership of its churches at approximately 72.3 million. This figure undercounts Lutherans worldwide as not all Lutheran churches belong to this organization.


In recent years, Lutheranism saw a slight increase in its fellowship, which continues to the present. Lutheran churches in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean regions are experiencing decreases and no growth in membership, while those in Africa and Asia continue to grow. Lutheranism is the largest religious group in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, and Namibia


Lutheranism is also a state religion in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Finland has its Lutheran church established as a national church. Similarly, Sweden also has its national church, which was a state church until 2000.


Do You Know

This month's quiz focuses on Easter traditions in a few other countries. 

How many traditions can you 

correctly match with the country?

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

Can you match the Easter tradition with its country? If not, click Show Me the Answers.

Australia                On Easter Monday ("Ducking Monday"), boys playfully sprinkle

                                perfume or perfumed water on girls and ask for a kiss.

Corfu, Greece       On Easter Monday, a giant omelet, made of 4500 eggs and

                                feeding 1000 people, is served up in the town's main square.

Finland                   No rabbits here, companies make chocolate bilbies for Easter,

                                 with proceeds benefiting the endangered animals.

Haux, France         Children in this country dress up like witches and beg for

                                 chocolate eggs in the streets with made-up faces and scarves

                                 around their heads, carrying feathered willow twigs.

Hungary                To welcome spring, people throw pots, pans and other

                                earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the street.