Significant Events at SMLC ‚Äď 2018¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 04/12/18

Day/Date             Event                                       Location                        Participants                   Leader      

Sat.,April 28         Youth Talent Show                   SMLC                            All                                   D. Baldwin

Thur., May 03       Circuit Pastors Conference    ??                                   Pastor                             Rev. Jordan

Thur., May 03       National Day of Prayer         SMLC                              All                       Pastor, Elders                     

Sat., May 05         Circuit Outreach/Kairos          SMLC                             Pastor, Leslie       Rev. T.Droegemueller

Sat., May 19         50th Anniversary                   SMLC                             All                                    E. Jugar

Sun., May 20        Pentecost                               SMLC                              All                                   Pastor

Sun. June 03        Confirmation                         SMLC                              All                                   Pastor, J. Aton

M-F, June 04-08     VBS                                      SMLC                              All                                    R.Wietbrock

F-Su.,June 22-24    District Convention               Orlando                          Pastor, H.Swanson           Pres. G. Walton

W-Su., July 18-22  Eritrean Luth. Conference     Washington D.C.            Pastor, Bemnet                  Pastor

Sun., July 29          Congregational picnic            SMLC                             All                                      Elders

M-W, Sept. 24-26  District Pastors Conf.              Orlando                          Pastor                                Pres. G. Walton


Our Mission Outreach to Pastor Song continues 1 1/2percent of out total offerings. We hope to get an update from Kairos and Pastor Song about their missions.

From Ruth¬†Wietbrock, our Education Director ‚Äst¬†VBS will be¬†June 4 thru 8th¬†, the theme is ‚Äúshipwrecked‚ÄĚ. The Sunday school mission for this quarter is ‚ÄúHeifer International‚ÄĚ.

Youth Talent Show fund raiser (for Minnesota trip) will be on April 28, with dinner after.    February Saturday movie night was a great success.

From the¬†Chin Baptist Congregation¬†-¬†Ceu Peng Lian (pastor) ‚Äď Thanks for the use of the facilities. The congregation is willing to help with St. Mark projects.

St. Mark’s 50th anniversary of the dedication of our chapel planned for  Saturday May 19, service at 2pm, meal afterward. 

FL/GA District Convention delegates will meet in Orlando,¬†June 22 ‚Äď 24th.¬†¬†¬†We need to call a special voter‚Äôs meeting on¬†March 18th¬†for approval of the delegates.¬†¬†¬†Pastor is our pastoral delegate, and Jim Aton and Ellen Jugar be our Lay and Alternate delegates.¬†¬†

Suzanne Mailman volunteered to chair an ad-hoc committee to develop, and submit for Council and Voters Assembly approval, proposed terms for future media use of SMLC facilities.  She could use your thoughts about Movie use of our fellowship room, chapel area, parking area. 

Pastor Mark and Susan will be leaving soon for their new home closer to their family. We are planning a reception after church services for them before they go! We'll pass on a date as soon as we know!

Dottie Harriman


A. Benevolent Fund Policy                05 December, 2017

St. Mark Lutheran Church, in the exercise of its religious and charitable purposes, has established a Benevolent Fund to assist members and member families in occasional dire financial need.  The church welcomes contributions to this fund.  Donors may suggest beneficiaries of this fund.*  However, such suggestions shall be considered advisory only, rather than binding.  The administration of the Benevolent Fund, including all disbursements, is subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Church Council. Authority for disbursements, not to exceed $1,000 per grant, is hereby delegated to the Board of Elders, with concurrence of the Pastor.  The Board of Elders may consider suggested designations, but is in no way bound to honor such grant suggestions.  

Approved by the Church Council & subscribed to this date December 05, 2018      Secretary    ________________________


B. Memorials & Special Gifts Policy      1/16/2018

St. Mark Lutheran Church, in the exercise of its religious and charitable purposes, has established a Memorials Fund for undesignated gifts to commemorate loved ones.  The church welcomes contributions to this fund.   It must be recognized that Memorial or other Special Gifts which are designated for a specific need or project should only be accepted with such conditions if said need or project is approved by the Voters Assembly.  Designated Memorial contributions or Special Gifts may not be diverted to another need or project without the donor’s approval.   If the donor cannot be contacted after a reasonable effort, the Voters Assembly shall have the authority to re-direct that contribution.  The administration of the Memorials Fund, including all disbursements, is under the exclusive control and discretion of the Church Council, subject to Capital Projects approvals by the Voters Assembly. 

Approved by the Church Council & subscribed to this date January 16,2018     Secretary ________________________


C. Handling&Controls for All Contributions and Receipts Policy        1/16/2018

Scope: This document shall govern the handling and controls for all revenue received by/for St. Mark Lutheran Church.  This includes member tithes & offerings, contributions for facilities usage,  non-member contributions, memorial contributions, direct deposits, and all other revenue.


Responsibility: It shall be the responsibility of the Finance Secretary to:

1.    Assure the safe-guarding of all receipts;

2.    Coordinate timely counting, recording, and depositing of all receipts;

3.    Maintain & provide necessary forms for the recording of all tithes & offerings;

4.    Recruit and schedule count teams for the counting, recording, and depositing of all receipts;

5.    Reconcile regularly, with the Treasurer, deposit records vs. bank statements;

6.    Record all member tithes, offerings, and other receipts in Shepherd’s Staff;

7.    Provide annual statements to members of their tithes and offerings; and

8.    Acknowledge all non-member receipts and major gifts.



Safe-guarding of receipts:

- The Elder(s) shall place all tithes and offerings from collection plates into the safe.

- The person receiving non-member contributions, for facilities usage, memorials, etc., shall immediately place such receipts in the safe.

Counting & depositing of receipts:

- The count team (including no less than two members) shall, on a timely basis, retrieve all receipts from the safe, count & record all receipts.

- A member of the count team shall deposit all recorded receipts in the designated bank depository as soon as possible.

- The count sheets record of tithes, offerings, and other receipts shall be provided to the Treasurer & Finance Secretary. All bank deposit forms shall be provided to the Treasurer.


Approved by the Church Council & subscribed to this date January 16, 2018           Secretary ___________________  


D. Delegation of Financial Authority for St. Mark Lutheran Church   1/16/2018 under revision

Dottie Harriman

Notes from the December 5th Council Meeting


The Georgia Chin Baptist Church has requested to share our sanctuary and facilities on Saturdays and Sundays. A copy of the reply from Pastor Gebremichael is on the church bulletin board. This will be an item for discussion at our next voter’s meeting.

Capital Projects needs are being analyzed. Please contact Carolyn Swanson with any suggestions.

There are many opportunities to assist with planning for ‚ÄúChurch Mission‚ÄĚ expansion!¬†¬† We need qualified people to determine what is needed, for facility and usage, administrative experience for applications, permits, and certifications.¬† Also help to setup a budget, determine architectural requirements. Ruth will assist, Howard/Carolyn will assist as available. We need many others willing to assist.¬† We may be eligible for a grant for some of the work.¬† Larry Wenndt is working on this possibility.

Education and Youth  will have a  Happy Birthday Jesus party Dec. 17th.  We are working on a nighttime Christmas Eve program. We expect to be starting a new class for teens in January.

Game Night may be last Saturday in January (Jan. 27th).

Youth went to a movie on Sunday; ¬†several Youth members helped with Nativity construction and are helping with the ‚Äúactors‚ÄĚ for the Live Nativity program.


We are cleaning the storage room next to the Library for the Youth to use as a Youth Room, since the Chin church may be using the chapel area.  Come and give us YOUR suggestions!

Pastor’s Amharic Prayer group meets at 6:30 every Friday.

Dec. 13th we will have an Eritrean/Ethiopian monthly prayer group.

Bring food or money contributions for Christmas Baskets by the 17th.   

Your Council is working on new Fiscal Policies recommended by the synod:

A new ‚ÄúBenevolent Fund Policy‚ÄĚ has been approved; ¬†Policies for ‚ÄúMemorials & Special Gifts‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúHandling & Controls for all Receipts‚ÄĚ are still being considered.

Next Council meeting: Tuesday January 16, 2018 @ 7:15.    There will be a Voter’s meeting in January for election of officers for 2018.




By¬†Ed Stetzer¬†‚ÄĘ August 27, 2015

            All churches love certain things. Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer. Those are good loves. Some are neutral loves. Some are not. Other churches love their building, their history or their strategy.

            Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things. But, some things that churches love hurt their mission and hinder their call. Here are three I’ve observed from my work with thousands of churches.

1. Too many churches love past culture more than their current context.

            It’s remarkable, and I’ve said it many times: If the 1950s came back, many churches are ready. (Or the 1600s, or the boomer ’80s, depending on your denomination, I guess.)

            There is nothing wrong with the fifties, except we don’t live there anymore. We must love those who live here, now, not yearn for the way things used to be. The cultural sensibilities of the fifties are long past in most of the United States. The values and norms of our current context are drastically different and continue to change. The task of contextualization is paramount to the mission of the church because we are called to understand and speak to those around us in a meaningful way. We can learn much from the Apostle Paul’s example recorded in Acts 17:16-34.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So, a church on mission ‚ÄĒ¬†in this time and place ‚ÄĒ¬†engages the people around it. Yes, in some ways, it resembles its context ‚ÄĒ¬†a biblically faithful church living in its cultural concept. But, if your church loves a past era more than the current mission, it loves the wrong thing.

2. Too many churches love their comfort more than their mission.

            The fact is, your church probably needs to be less focused on what makes it happy and more focused on what pleases Jesus. This is an easy trap to fall into because it happens very subtly.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Most churches have worked hard to get to a place where congregational customers are happy ‚ÄĒ¬†their needs are met. We are called to equip co-laborers. When we win the affections of those inside our circles, it becomes hard to pull away from the affirmation we receive. Again, this only becomes a problem when the affirmation of those on the inside works to the detriment of our mission to those on the outside.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So, a church does not exist for the comfort of its people. Actually, the Bible reminds us again and again that we are to ‚Äúprovoke one another to love and good deeds‚ÄĚ (Hebrews 10:24), to ‚Äúbear one another‚Äôs burdens‚ÄĚ (Galatians 6:2), and more. But, if your church loves its comfort more than caring for others, it loves the wrong thing.

 3. Too many churches love their traditions more than their children.

            How can you tell? They persist in using methods that are not relevant to their own children and grandchildren. Far too often, church leaders, in an effort to protect the traditions of their congregations, draw lines in the sand on nonessential issues.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This is not to say that ‚Äútradition‚ÄĚ is wrong. It depends on how you define it, but I think most will know what I mean. Christian scholar Jaroslav Pelikan said, ‚ÄúTradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.‚ÄĚ Churches that love tradition that way will choose their traditions over their children every time.

            Too often, churches allow traditions to hinder their ability to humbly assess their missional effectiveness. Moreover, they allow traditions to trump the future trajectory of their demographic. I know of several young pastors who have been exiled from their local congregations because they didn’t fit the mold of what had always been the ethos of the leadership.            Undoubtedly, there are always times to defend the traditional stances of essential doctrines in the local church. But we should not have a cultural elitism that hinders passing the torch to a new generation of leaders. If your church loves the way you do church more than your children, it loves the wrong thing.

It’s time to evaluate your church.

            Love is good, and everyone wants a loving church. However, loving the wrong things leads you the wrong way. Loving what is good, including our context, Jesus’ mission and the next generation (to name a few things), moves the church in the right direction. The church should be always reforming, that is, humbly looking at itself and assessing its ability to reach people with the good news of Jesus. Sadly, many of the people Jesus devoted His time to would not feel welcome in our churches.

            What about your church? What does its posture, behavior, practices and activities communicate to your community? I think all of us want to understand the culture and community we are ministering in so we can communicate the gospel with absolute clarity. To do this, we need to ask ourselves the hard but needed questions.

  • Who are we reaching?
    -Are we primarily reaching people who are like us?
    -Are we primarily reaching people who are already believers?
    -Are we primarily reaching people who understand Christian subculture and taboos?
    -What about the people who don’t have a church background?
    -What about the people who are unfamiliar with Christian beliefs?
    -What about the people who don’t understand church subculture and behavioral taboos?
  • To say we are unable to reach the lost because of our traditions or preferences is simply unacceptable and antithetical to the mission of God.

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham distinguished chair of church, mission and evangelism at Wheaton College and the Wheaton Grad School, where he also oversees the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism