Transforming lives through meaningful relationships ?· Transforming lives through meaningful relationships…

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    St.MarksEpiscopalChurchTransforming lives through meaningful relationships

    with God in Jesus Christ

    St.MarksMilwaukeeisahealthy,diverse,andwelcomingcommunityofpeoplewhosupportoneanothersjourneyinChristianfaith.WeworshipGodthroughsharingliturgyandHolyCommunionduringchurchservices,andthroughministeringtooneanotherandtooursurroundingcommunity.

    Weareyoungandold;families,singlesandcouples;gayandstraight.Comingfromavarietyofeconomic,racial,andethnicbackgrounds,wetogetherrepresentadiversearrayofperspectivesandlifeexperiences.Manyofourmembersbegantheirreligiousformationinother

    denominations.ThevarietywithwhichGodhasblessedusispartoftherichnessofourlifetogether,andwesayinasmanywaysaswecanthatwewelcomeallchildrenofGodtoourchurchandtoourcommunionrail.

    WebelievethattheHolySpiritisatworkinourlivesandintheworld.Webelievethatwearecalled,bothasindividualsandasacommunity,toshareChristslovewithourneighbors.Wedothisbyofferingourprayersforthoseinneed,bysharingtheresourcesthatGodhasentrustedtous,bystudyingscripture,byencouragingoneanotherinthelifeoffaith,bycaringforcreation,andbyengaginginactsofloveandjusticeinourneighborhood,ourcity,andbeyond.

    OURSETTING

    St.MarksislocatedinalovelyurbanareaonMilwaukeesvibrantEastSide,aneighborhoodnorthofdowntownborderedbyLakeMichigantotheeastandtheMilwaukeeRivertothewest.TheEastSideisknownforitsculture,beauty,historicarchitecture,diversepopulation,andnightlife.

    Thechurchisjustoffthemainstreet(DownerAvenue)ofasmallretaildistrictofshops,restaurants,anartcinema,andthecitypropersonlymajorindependentbookstore.Afewshortblockstooureast,justbeyondahighlydesirableresidentialareaofhistorichomes,isabeautifulFredrickLawOlmsteaddesignedparkthatoverlooksLakeMichigan.

  • Withinafiveblockradiusareamajorhospital,twofairlylargeseniorretirementresidences,themainUniversityofWisconsinMilwaukee(UWM)campuswith30,000students,threeotherProtestantchurches,andaCatholicchurch.LessthanamilenorthalongthelakeisthesuburbofShorewood,whoseschooldistrictconsistentlyranksasbestoramongthebestinWisconsin.AlsonearbyandeasilyaccessiblearetheMilwaukeeArtMuseum,downtownMilwaukee,MarquetteUniversity,theMilwaukeeRepertoryTheatre,theMarcusCenterforthePerformingArts,andmanyofMilwaukeesbestrestaurants.Weareonamajorbusrouteandclosetomanybikepathsconnectingustothecityandbeyond.Thisideallocationoffersampleopportunitiesforcommunityinvolvementandoutreach,anditpositionsuswellforcontinuedgrowth.

    OURBUILDING

    Ourgatheringplaceisacharming,centuryoldGothicstylebuildingsaidtoresembleanEnglishcountrychurch.Highvaultedceilingswithwoodentrussesandstainedglasswindowsdistinguishournave,whichseats220people,andanadjacentchapel.Cloistersencloseacourtyardmemorialgarden,apeacefulplacewheremembersofthecongregationaswellasthegreatercommunitycancometoprayorsimplyreflect.ThisgardenislovinglytendedbytheGardenGuild,agroupofdevotedparishioners.

    TheadjacentGuildHallhousesourThriftShop,locatedinthebasement;theofficeofaneighborhoodoutreachprogramcalledEastsideSeniorServices;androomsrentedtoavarietyofgroupsforactivitiessuchasyoga,AlcoholicsAnonymous,musiclessons,danceclasses,andUWMcookingclasses.

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    PARISHLIFE

    AtSt.Marks,wesupportoneanotherseffortstoreachinanddiscoverourspiritualfoundations,aswellastoreachoutanddoGodsworkinthesurroundingcommunityandbeyond.

    ReachingIn:OurWorship

    LifeatSt.Markscentersaroundourworshipservices.AsaparishwevaluethedepthofEpiscopalworshipandattempttoexploreallthattheBookofCommonPrayeroffers.Atour9:30a.m.Sundayservice,averageattendancehoversnear80.SundaySchoolandyouthgroupactivitiesareheldduringtheservice,withchildrenjoiningthecongregationatthepointofHolyCommunion.

    Wevalueintellectuallyengagingsermonsbasedonthelessonsoftheday,reflectingontheworldaroundus,andchallengingustoexamineourrelationshipwithGodandourexperienceintheworld.Thesermonisoftendeliveredinthecenteraisle,inthemidstofthecongregation,andsometimesfromthepulpit,atthepreachersdiscretion.

    Ourlayleadersdotraditionalliturgicalwork:readingthelessonsandprayersofthepeople,ushering,andservingasacolytes,chalicebearersandaltarguild.AftertheserviceweadjourntotheGuildHallforfellowshipduringapopularcoffeehouragoodplacetowelcomenewcomers.

    Specialservicesandeventsaugmentourworship.WehostaSederSuppereachMaundyThursdaywithaEucharistandfootwashing.WeoftenorganizeawatchovernighttoGoodFriday.TherectorhasheldspecialchildfocusedservicesonGoodFridayandnearChristmas.SundaySchoolchildrencreateandsymbolicallyburyanAlleluiabannerasLentbegins.

    MusicMusicaddsimmeasurablytothebeautyofourworshiptogether.Ourmusicallyliteratecongregationandactivechoirappreciatemusicfromavarietyoftraditions,fromGregorianchanttomodernjazz.TheHymnal1982isusedasaguide.

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    Ourmusicdirector,aprofessionalmusicianandcomposer,shareshisgiftformusicaspartofhisministry.Hehelpsdevelopmusicallytalentedparishmembers,inviteslocalmusicianstoserveasArtistsinResidence,andcreatesopportunitiesformembersofourparishfamilytocontributemusicallytoourservices.

    ReachingIn:ChristianFormation

    St.MarksisdeeplycommittedtoChristianeducationandthenurturingoffaithformembersandguestsofallages.SundaySchool/YouthFormationOurSundaySchoolisasmallbutvibrantcommunity,servingchildrenages4to17.Forelementaryschoolagedchildren,ourprogramisanchoredintheguidedBuzzcurriculumfromGroupPublishing,whichiseasyforourteachervolunteersandengagingfortheirstudents.Weaugmentitwithvariousprojectsthatteach

    youngpeopleaboutservicetothechurchcommunityaswellasaboutsharingtheirfaithmorebroadly.Classesmeetduringthechurchservice,withchildrenjoiningtheirfamiliesforHolyCommunion.TheSundayExplorersprogramformiddleandhighschoolstudentsmixesDioceserecommendedmaterialswithserviceprojects.The20142015programyearculminatedwithanenthusiasticallyreceivedYouthSunday.Youngsterstookonmanyrolesthatlaityperform,fromflowerarrangingandlessonreadingtousheringandinstrumentalmusicevenahomily.

    Ourcustomaryprojectsinvolvingyoungstersthroughtheyearinclude

    Fallandspringgardening,whichteachescaringfortheearthandbeautifiesourentrancesandflowerbeds

    CollectingandwrappingChristmasgiftsforEastsideSeniorServicestodistributetoclients

    PerforminganannualNativitypageantforthecongregation CreatinganAlleluiabannerthatweburyonthefirstSunday

    ofLentandbringouttodisplayoverthealtaratEaster Bakingpretzelsfromscratchandcollectingdonatedbaked

    goodsforaspringbakesale,theproceedsofwhichsupportastudentinoursisterparish,St.Marcs,inJeannette,Haiti.

  • AdultFormationAdultformationatSt.Marksisledbyacommitteecomprisedofmembersofthecongregation,ourrector,andourdeacon.OurmissionwithadultformationistoequipallbelieverswiththetoolstoshowGodsloveinourfamilies,ourchurch,ourcommunity,andtheworld.Withthatinmind,ourcommittee

    developseducationalopportunitiesthatspeaktohowweliveasfaithfulChristiansinthemodernworld.

    ThecenterpieceofouradultformationprogramisMarksBistro,heldonThursdayeveningsduringmuchoftheprogramyear.Parishionersandtheirguestsgatherforameal,whichencouragesfellowshipandpreparesustolearnfromoneanotherasweshareourbeliefsaswellasourdoubts.RecentBistrotopicshaveincludedTheFirst100Years:TheChurchThenandNow;amultipartseriesonParkerPalmersHealingtheHeartofDemocracy;MindfulEating:Food&DrinkintheBible,whichincludeddiscussionoffoodpreparation;TheLifeandWritingsofDietrichBonhoeffer,andavarietyofAdventactivitynights.

    OtheradultformationoptionsincludeaweeklyBibleStudy,aWomensBookClub,anewmonthlyTheologyPub,amonthlyMensFellowshipBreakfast,andanannualMensRetreat.OurrectorshavealsoofferedanInquirersClassforpeoplefromotherfaithbackgroundsorthosewhoaresearchingforanewsenseofcommitment.Finally,ConfirmationclassesareofferedinpreparationfortheBishopsbiennialvisit.

    Ongoingadultformationopportunitiesareanimportantpartofourmembersspiritualgrowth,andweopenourheartsandmindstochanginganddevelopingneweducationalformatsasnewneedspresentthemselvesintheparish.Forexample,theparishalsosponsorstheEducationforMinistryprogramatSt.JohnsontheLake,oneofMilwaukeespremierretirementcommunities,locatedaboutamilesouthofourchurch.EfMprovidesfouryearsofinstructionontheOldTestament,theNewTestament,ChurchHistory,andTheologyandPhilosophy.

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    ReachingIn:FinancesandStewardshipOurmembersgivegenerouslyofboththeirtimeandtalent.Withadedicatedstewardshipteamandtheparishsstrongparticipation,St.Markssustainsfinancialindependence.

    Werecentlycelebratedanumberoffinancialachievements:

    Movingfromsignificantbudgetdeficitsin2011and2012toasmallnetbalanceattheendofboth2013and2014.Achieving95percentofourstewardshipgoalin2013Establishing,throughaparishionersgift,adedicatedorganfundEstablishingatrueendowmentfundwithanuntouchableprincipal

    Toachieveourgoalsofaconsistentlybalancedbudgetandtogrowthenewendowmentfund,wecontinuetoencourageprayerfulconsiderationofproportionalgivingandincreasesincontributionsandpledges.OurfinancialteamincludesadetailorientedvolunteertreasurerelectedfromtheVestryandaparttimebookkeeperwhoistrainedasaCPA.Closeto75percentofourmemberspledgeregularly,andouraverageannualpledgetypicallyexceedsthediocesanaverage.Ourmembershavecomethroughduringspecialpledgerequests,suchasacampaigntocoverexpensiveroofrepairs,anadditionalspringasktohelpbalancethe2012budget,andtherecentreplacementofourkitchenscommercialrange.

    ReachingIn:TheRectorandthePeopleinPartnership

    TheSt.Markslaitytakessignificantresponsibilityinpastoralaffairs.Withthepriestandthedeacon,Shepherdsdeveloponetoonerelationshipswithnewcomersuntiltheyfindtheirnicheinthechurch.Ourcommittedpastoralcareteam,withclergyoversight,keepstrackofpeoplewhomaybeingreaterneedatanygiventimetheteamwritesnotes,calls,andvisits.SeveralEucharisticministerstakecommuniontothehomebound.AveryactivemensgroupprayswiththeRectoreachSundaybeforetheservice,andholdsmonthlybreakfastsaswellasapopularannualretreat.

    Webuildfellowshipasweworktogetheronbuildingandgroundsprojects.Wemayshareamealaswedopastoralandformationwork.Wehaveanactiveprayerchainwithmemberswhocanleadthemonthlyhealingservicewhenaclergymemberisnotpresent.

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    ReachingOut:YearRoundGenerosity

    Weraisefundsforlocal,national,andinternationalcauseswecareabout.Weextendourselvessociallyinthecommunity.Weinvitemembersofthecommunitytojoinusforartsandholidayevents.Wevolunteerforeffortswebelievehelpcreatejusticeintheworld.

    ReachingOut:InvitingIn

    MembersofSt.Marksreachintothecommunityinmanyways,withtheirtimeandtalentaswellastreasure.

    OurThriftShop,opentwomorningsaweek,offersmanyusefulitemsforveryreasonableprices.

    Weinvitethepublictofrequentconcertsgivenbyour

    musicdirectorandourtalentedArtistsinResidence. Exhibitsofartworkfromparishionersandlocalartistsgracethe

    hallwaysandwallsofourGuildHall. OnthefirstFridayinDecember,wejointheDownerAvenue

    MerchantsFestiveFridaybyholdinganopenhousethatfeaturesSt.Nicholas,music,craftsforkids,andasmallmerchandisefair.

    WehavearegularrelationshipwithTheGathering,anonprofithungerrelieforganization(foundedinourEpiscopalDiocese,butnowindependent).Ourmembersservedinnerto150200hungrypeopleonselectedSaturdays.AtThanksgiving,ourparishionersroastandcarveturkeystoprovideatraditionaldinnerfortheGatheringsguests.Thisyear,theSundayExplorerscollecteddoughduringcoffeehourtomakepumpkinpiesforthisdinner.

    ReachingOut:AnnualFundraisingSomeyearsago,weremovedtheoutreachlinefromtheparishbudgetandinitiatedneweventstoraisefundstosupportavarietyofnonprofitorganizations.Theresultshavenearlydoubledourexternalgivingfromanaverageofapproximately$6,000annuallytoalittleover$11,000in2014.CertainoutreachfundraisingprojectshavebecomeannualtraditionsatSt.Marks.InSpring,weholdaplantandflowersaleforhomegardens.

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    InSummer,theparishparticipatesintheDownerDayscyclingracesbysellingfreshroastedcorntospectators.Thatdaywealsorunasmallfaironourgreenspaceforchildrenandsponsoramusicalstageonwhichlocalmusiciansperformrock,jazz,pop,andclassicalpieces.InFall,wesellpumpkinsandgourdsonourfrontlawntoparishionersandneighborsalike.OurOutreachCommitteedistributesthemoneyfromallthesesalestononprofitorganizationswithmissionsthatour

    parishionerssupportandareinvolvedin:feedingthehungry,shelteringthehomeless,aidingyouthfulrunaways,treatingandshelteringvictimsofdomesticviolence,supportingpeopleinaddictionrecovery,tutoringchildrenfrominnercityschools,andworkingwithsenioradultswhoseekindependence.Eachcausehasvolunteersfromourparishwhoknowitsworkintimately.

    ReachingOut:SupportforSpecificCauses

    Specialeffortstoraisemoneyforspecificcauseseachyearincreasethetotalgivingthatisdistributedthroughthechurchorinthenameofthechurch.In2013,forexample:

    OurSundaySchoolheldanannualbakesaletoraisemoneyforschoolsuppliesforayoungstudentatSt.MarcsEpiscopalChurchinJeannette,Haiti.

    ThecongregationrespondedtoappealsfromEpiscopalReliefandDevelopmentfortyphoonreliefinthePhilippines.

    TheofferingfromourEasterVigilwassenttoTheGathering. WeconductedanannualfundingcampaignforCommonGround.

    CommonGroundSoutheasternWisconsinCommonGround,Inc.,isaspecialcauseforusbecauseanumberofourparishionersareactivelyinvolvedinoneormoreofitsinitiatives.CommonGround(CG)isacommunityorganizingnonprofitaffiliatedwiththeIndustrialAreasFoundation,whichtypicallyoperatesthroughchurchnetworks.CGsmembershipincludesabout50churches,synagogues,nonprofits,schools,andsmallbusinessesworkingtogethertobringcreativesolutionstopressingsocialproblems.

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    CommonGroundsrecentmajorcampaignsinclude Establishmentofanonprofithealthcareinsurancecooperative

    offeredonthefederalhealthinsuranceexchange.Morethan37,000peoplehavebeenenrolledsinceinception.

    Acquiringandrehabbinghomes(morethan50todate)inMilwaukeesShermanParkneighborhood,thenputtingthembackonthemarketusingaclusteredapproach

    In its FairPlaycampaign,opposinguseofpublicmoney tofunda$500millionarenafortheMilwaukeesNBAteam,advocatinginsteadfortaxdollarstobedirectedtowardexpandedandimprovedathleticandrecreationalfacilitiesforMilwaukeeparksandpublicschools.

    Asamembercongregation,wesupportCommonGroundfromfundscollectedforoutreachinanamountequaltoatleastonepercentofourannualpledgedincome.Ourparishionersalsogiveoftheirownmoneyandtime,withseveraltakingleadershiprolesincurrentissuecampaigns.

    OURGROWINGEDGES

    InOctober2014ourmembersgatheredtoidentifyourstrengthsandtodiscernthequalitieswemostdesireinanewrector.Overwhelmingly,memberssaidtheyappreciatedthefriendliness,thewelcomingspirit,thehospitality,thesenseofcommunity,thespiritofbelongingwithoutcliques,andthediversityofourcongregation.Theyappreciatetheworshipexperience,includingthefinepreachingandthewonderfulmusic.Andthey

    appreciateourcommitmenttojusticeandthelessfortunate.TheylikethatwereachouttotheneighborhoodandtogreaterMilwaukee.

    We,ofcourse,wouldlikearectorwhowillsupportusinthesestrengthsandhelpusfindnewwaystoapplythem.WeknowwecangrowinoureffortstoserveGodandourneighbors.

    Anewpriestmustcometoknowourtalentsand,combinedwithhisorhertalents,helpuschoosemissionsthatwe,together,canaccomplish.Hereareafewofourhopes,gatheredfromthemembership,thatserveaspossiblegrowingedges.

    ArobustandconsistentSundaySchoolprogram.St.Marksis

    challengedinthisarea,mostlybecauseofthecurrentlysmallnumberoffamilieswithyoungchildren.Weseekwaystoattractthisimportantdemographicthroughnewideasandactivities.

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    Commitmenttodiversity.InourneighborhoodliveasignificantportionofMilwaukeesLGBTpopulation.Whilearainbowstickeronthechurchsignillustratesthatallarewelcome,therehasbeenlittlefocusedministrytotheLGBTpopulation.EnhancedrelationshipswithUWMilwaukeeandMarquetteUniversity.Anumberofstudentsandfacultymembersfromthesenearbyuniversitieshaveworshippedwithusovertheyears,butaconcertedeffortto

    introducethechurchtoUWMandMarquetteisneeded.Intherecentpast,membersvolunteeredforatwiceyearlychilifeedincollaborationwithUniversityChristianMinistriesatUWM.Thereisadesire,however,toservethestudentpopulationinamoreconsistentandproductiveway.

    Developingadeeperrelationalculture.Ourassociationwith

    CommonGroundencouragesustodeveloparelationalculturewithininourchurchandwithourneighbors.Thisentailshavingoneononeconversationstodiscoverourfellowparishionersonapersonallevelandlearnwhatismostimportanttothem.Ourconversationsatchurchareoftenjustscratchingthesurface.WeneedadeeperunderstandingofoneanotherifweintendtoliveGodswordandserveourneighbors.

    Adultformation.Ouradultformationeffortsneedagreater

    numberofparticipants.Wewouldlikestrongdirectionandparticipationfromtherectortobeassuredthatthemesandgoalsareconsistentwiththoseoftheparishsspiritualdevelopment.IntherecentpastourrectorpresentedanInquirersClassaswellasaconfirmationclassforyoungpeopleandadultsinanticipationofBishopMillersbiennialSundayvisittotheparish(nextin2016).

    Useofalternateliturgies.WhileSt.Markshasofferedavarietyofservicesandtypesofmusicinthepast,thereiscurrentlynoLiturgyCommitteethatmighthelpexpandourministriestoaccommodatetheneedsandconcernsofourchanging,largelyunchurched,metropolitanneighborhood.OurpreviousrectorexperimentedwithaSundayeveningTableGraceservicethattookplacearoundpreparationofacommunitymeal.Whilethisserviceisnolongeroffered,withtheleadershipofournewrectoritmaybeprudenttohelpcreateothernewministriesandservices.

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    LetUsGoForthtoLoveandServetheLord...

    Nopersoncanorshoulddoalltheworkthatissometimesexpectedofonechurchanditscongregationalleaders.NochurchcanembodytheentireChristianmission.Witharectorwhopossessesthevision,leadership,flexibility,andabilitytoshareherorhisministrieswithus,andwiththecommitmentandcollaborationofourparishioners,St.Markswilldoitselfproudinourcorneroftheworld.