393 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
phone: 630-858-1020

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Father George’s Sermon

“Which holiday is Christmas – is it the one when Jesus died or the one when he was born?”  This real question from a real person was an early Christmas gift to me this year.  Like all good gifts, the question was unexpected, made me smile and is something I will appreciate for a long time.

It’s a silly question, right?  Of course, WE know which holiday is Christmas, don’t we?  But think about it for a minute. If you were from another planet and were suddenly plopped down anywhere in the United States over the past week, you would see lights and decorations, people shopping, carrying bags with presents and saying, “Merry Christmas” to each other, some with a happy lilt, others with automatic perfunctory, and others with firmness hinting at righteous anger.  “Merry Christmas!”  You might see a bumper sticker or hear someone say, “We need to put Christ back in Christmas.”  You might hear Christmas songs like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” “Silver Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  But none of these would tell you what Christmas is – other than that it has something to do with happy feelings, dreaming, snow and heart-felt sentiments. So that question, “Which holiday is Christmas” is not a stupid one.  It is true that the person who asked the question doesn’t go to a church and isn’t a Christian, but they were born and live in the United States, in the Chicago area and have an above average intelligence.  But how could they not know which holiday it is, that it the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus?  Well, when the other big holiday for Christians, Easter, is about a bunny with a basket hiding pastel blue and pink colored egg, it’s totally reasonable that someone might think Easter is about celebrating a new baby.  Looking at it this way, it is confusing.”

To read the sermon in its entirety, please click here.

St. Mark’s Preschool 2019-2020 Enrollment

St. Mark’s Preschool registration is right around the corner! An informational flyer and the 2019/20 application are available in the preschool mailbox in the church office, in the preschool office, or on the preschool website at: www.stmarksglenellyn.org/preschool

Registration Dates for the 2019/20 school year:
Jan. 22: Priority for current and alumni families
Jan. 24: Priority for church members and PDO
Jan. 28: Open Registration
For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact the Director, Kristine Osmond, at 630-858-1020 ext. 234 or preschool@stmarksglenellyn.org

Annual Cake Auction and Bake Sale Sunday January 20 at 11:45 am

On your marks. Get set. BAKE! It’ll soon be time for the St. Mark’s Annual Cake Auction and Bake Sale, held Sunday, January 20, 2019 in conjunction with the St. Mark’s Annual Meeting at 11:30 am in Mahon Hall. We need cake and cookie bakers! Do you have a showstopper that always gets a handshake from friends and family? We would love to have it! Cakes will be auctioned off in live and silent auctions and additionally we will be holding a bake sale. Please let Kim Reed know if you can help, kimreed178@gmail.com or 630-660-3611. All proceeds will go to our companion parish, San Marcos in Nigromante, Mexico.

Sermon by Father Bob Wyatt

“I’m ashamed of Christianity, but never of Christ,” the Facebook headline screams. The blog, from the progressive Evangelical publication Sojourners (https://sojo.net/node/226843) continues:

“As a child, I was taught that Christianity essentially meant being like Christ, loving Jesus and emulating His life to the best of my ability. But as I got older this message became infinitely more complex.

“Instead of loving our enemies, it became OK to kill them, especially if they lived in the Middle East and were Muslim. ‘Thou shall not kill’ soon only applied to unborn babies, but not to the death penalty, war, or gun violence. ‘Love your neighbor’ was no longer relevant to particular people — immigrants and refugees — and the spiritual motto of ‘Do unto others and you would have them do unto you’ wasn’t practiced with our political opponents.’”

Of course, we at St. Mark’s, we in the Episcopal Church, can take pride that this version of toxic Christianity bears no similarity to ours. But, as our famous Diocesan Convention keynote speaker, the journalist Ray Suarez, reminded us Friday, that fact is largely irrelevant. We are tarred by the same charges or judgmentalism and hypocrisy as other Christians. At the same time, our decline in numbers and influence is precipitous. And much of what I love about the Episcopal Church – Anglican chant, a liturgy that is the glory of the English language, stained glass, million-dollar organs, superlative choirs, the most educated laity and clergy in Christendom, and solid, seeming indestructible stone churches has not brought a throng of millennials rushing through our red doors.

Yes, we still have pockets of success. Yes, in my native South – where the bigger parishes have budgets five times greater than St. Marks – in my native South, the decline has proceeded much more slowly. And, yes, in the Western suburbs, Chicago’s own mini-Bible Belt, people still go to church in greater numbers and smile when they see my clerical collar.” To read this sermon in its entirety, please click here.

Sermon by Jaime Briceno

“I  know  there  is  a  lot  to  pay  attention to in  the  news  lately…but  one  thing  that  has  caught  my  attention  lately  has  been  the  demise  and  end  of  the  company  Sears as we  know  it.  Maybe  this  has  to  do  with  the  fact  that  my  main  consumption  of  news  these  days  are  headlines  from  NPR  and  two  podcasts:  Planet  Money  and  The  Indicator.  If  you  have never  heard  The  Indicator  before  I  highly  recommend  it.  It  is  a  daily  podcast  in  which  the  host  takes  a  look  at  the  main  economic  indicators  of  the  moment  and  tries  to  break  it  down  in  to  what  it  could  all mean,  sort  of  like  this  sermon  but  only  seven  minutes  long. In  the  last  edition  in  which  they  discuss  the  end  of  Sears  up  came  an  economic  theory  that  resonates with  my  critical  observations  of  Christianity  in  the  past  few  months.  The  theory  is  called  Reveal preference.  Economists  refer  to reveal  preference  as  not  the  things  we  say  we  want  but  the  things  that we  reveal  we  want  by  the  things  that  we  do.” To read the full sermon, click here.

Sermon by Sandy Miller

“Our Gospel for today ends with Jesus blessing the children – in fact it ends with him insisting on letting them come to him, even as his disciples tried to get them to go away and stop bothering Jesus. Blessing them – even though in Jesus’ day, children were considered so insignificant that they were the least of the least.

Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of God belongs to everyone; including the weakest, most vulnerable of our society – words that we heard in our Gospel a few weeks ago.

As a clinical child psychologist, who spends my days with children, I was sorely tempted to focus this morning on those last few verses of our Gospel – to concentrate on the important message of what children have to teach us about the kingdom of God and, in doing so, successfully avoid the rest of our lesson from Mark and the messy subject of divorce! After all, in my almost 30 years of being a psychologist, I’ve succeeded in mostly avoiding the complicated, emotionally-wrought work of marital counseling!

But like it or not, our Gospel today includes the topic of divorce – Jesus’ response to the questions posed by the Pharisees. And though Jesus responds to their question, he doesn’t appear to want to get caught up in the topic of divorce any more than I do. It was as complicated an issue then as it is now.” To read her sermon in its entirety, please click here for English and here for Spanish.

Sermon: A Different Kind of Way by Paul-Gordon Chandler

“When I was doing research for my book on Kahlil Gibran, the early 20th century Lebanese born poet-mystic and author of The Prophet, who was from a Christian background, I came upon an article titled “The Crucified” that he wrote in Arabic one Good Friday that very much catches the spirit of today’s Gospel reading. He writes: “Today….man is startled from his deep slumber and stands before the phantoms of the Ages, looking with tearful eyes….to witness Jesus the Nazarene nailed on the Cross…For centuries Humanity has been worshipping weakness in the person of the Savior. The Nazarene was not weak! He was strong and is strong! But the people refuse to heed the true meaning of his strength…” In our reading in Mark’s Gospel, we are told of Jesus’ “different kind of way”—what one might call “the way of non-power” Our account finds Jesus and his disciples heading towards Jerusalem. And Jesus chooses to travel anonymously on this Galilean journey. For it was to be a period of intense teaching.” To read the entirety of his sermon please click here.

Columbarium Expansion Project

The St. Mark’s Columbarium is an outdoor burial and garden space located on the north side of the church building.  The Columbarium provides spaces or “niches” in a wall and sites in the ground for the cremated remains of deceased parish members and their families. It is an accessible peaceful setting for remembrance, prayer and meditation. The Columbarium was constructed in 1998 with 80 niches in the wall portion and 64 spaces in the adjacent ground terrace. Twenty years later, only five niches in the wall remain unsold. With the Columbarium wall nearing capacity, this summer we will undertake an expansion of the wall, adding two “wing” sections, each with 60 spaces for a total of 120 additional niches. Members and friends of St. Mark’s have the opportunity to purchase niches at a pre-construction discount this summer. The discounted price is $1,500 per wall niche and $750 per in-ground space. After construction is completed in September, prices will be $2,000 per wall niche and $1,000 per in-ground plot.

Purchasers of Columbarium spaces receive a license for each niche or plot purchased.  A bronze plaque bearing the name and birth and death years of the deceased is attached to the face of the niche or to a bronze tableau on the outside chapel wall above the in-ground plots.

The word “columbarium” comes from the Latin “columba” meaning the dwelling place of a dove, which for Christians is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In ancient Rome, the early Christians referred to their burial niches in the catacombs as colombaria, noting the resemblance to the nesting boxes provided for doves. Later the word came to mean an area of consecrated church ground used for the burial of cremated remains.

If you would like to purchase a niche or plot, please contact Dellana Mote, office manager at frontdesk@stmarksglenellyn.org.

Music Associate position available

The Music Program at St. Mark’s consists of Adult and Youth choirs which provide sung music for a variety of services held in the parish during the liturgical year. As we are a part of the Anglican Communion, much of the choral music offered is drawn from the rich tradition which comes to us through the Church of England. A wide variety of other styles of music are used as well, from early monastic chant and Renaissance composers to contemporary American works and spirituals. If you are interested in joining us, please read the job description here.

St. Mark’s listed as one of “100 Awesome Churches in the US”

Congratulations St. Mark’s! And thank you to everyone that helps make us who we are. Our doors are always open and everyone is always welcome, without condition. From the article:

“What makes a church awesome? Here are my criteria:

1️⃣ spiritually-enriching community
2️⃣ vibrant worship
3️⃣ social justice warriors
4️⃣ fully LGBTQ-inclusive
5️⃣ actively invite people into Christian identity/belonging

I crowd sourced suggestions on social media this weekend. Immediately, nominations started pouring in from across the country. 33 states to be exact.”