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The Bishop is Coming October 11!
Bishop Larry Benfield will visit Saint Mark’s on Sunday, October 11. At the 8:00 service, he will confirm, receive and reaffirm baptismal vows of those who wish to make these commitments. Anyone wishing to be part of this must let the parish office (225-4203) know by Monday October 5, so we can reserve the correct number of seats. The Bishop will also preach and celebrate at the 10:30 service.
 
What’s the Big Deal About the Bishop Coming? Bishops are important to the Episcopal Church; so important, it's our church's namesake. One of the Bishop's essential roles is to serve as an outward sign of the unity of all the parishes in our diocese. We aren't just members of Saint Mark's but members of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. 
 
About once a year, our Bishop, as chief pastor of the diocese, will come to Saint Mark's to celebrate the Eucharist, preach, confirm, re-affirm, and receive members into the Episcopal Church. Our Catechesis explains that "Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop." Confirmation, together with reception and reaffirmation, means that every member of the diocese will come in direct contact with the Bishop at least once. The Bishop's visit connects each one of us to our whole church in Arkansas, and, through Apostolic succession, to all Christians in Christ's Apostolic church that came before us and will come after us.
 
During a year where our physical connections have been diminished, Bishops are more critical than ever. Their order is our connection to the whole church. They remind us that even though we have to stay six feet away from each other for now, we are always connected through our "one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism." No virus will ever be able to separate that bond.
Outdoor, In-Person Eucharist
8:00 a.m. Sunday by Reservation
We are providing an opportunity for our Saint Mark's community to worship together outdoors, with communion. We have room for 85 people set up around our breezeway in socially distanced (9 feet apart) areas for each person/family. When you arrive for the service, please check in with an usher who will lead you to your seat. After the service, please stay seated until an usher dismisses you. Masks will be required for everyone during the service.  If you do not have a mask, we will have some available. You will need to register on this link to attend the service. 
Worship Opportunities

Morning Prayer Morning Prayer leaders pray the office at 8:30, Monday - Friday. Everyone is invited to join. The service is in front of the outdoor altar in the Columbarium. Please bring your own prayer book or mobile device to following along with the prayers. Please wear a mask and maintain all social distance guidelines.   

Come Pray in the Chapel We know that many of you have missed being in the church. During regular office hours, the Church and Chapel will be open for you to go inside to sit and pray in quiet.  Please enter through the Chapel door and sign the book as you enter.  Masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be available as you enter.  We ask that before leaving, please wipe down any area that you may have come in contact with.  

More ways to Worship with us Live Online Sunday Mornings  In addition to already being able to watch live on our Facebook you can also find us on our Youtube account, or right on our own website. Links to all three are here: WebsiteYoutubeFacebook

Boy Scouts at Saint Mark’s  BSA Troop 7 at Saint Mark's has been in place since 1954 and during this time, the troop has produced over 100 Eagle Scouts and has enhanced the lives of hundreds of young men and adult leaders who have a love of the outdoors and a penchant for serving others. Recent activities include canoeing on the Buffalo River, overnight camping, backpacking trips, day hikes, visiting historic sites, and service projects in the community. With COVID19 precautions in place, Troop 7 has begun meeting again for the new school year and is open to any boys interested in being a part of this vibrant group.  Participants must be at least 11 years old or have completed the fifth grade, and not more than 18 years old.  Troop 7 meets on Monday evenings from 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm.  Please contact David Mann, Scoutmaster, for more information 501-944-2474.

EYC Registration Open! At Saint Mark's we recognize how important community is to the spiritual and mental well-being of our young people. With that in mind, we are excited to offer small group programming for Fall 2020. This is the best way for us to allow in person gathering for our young people, while keeping safety and health as our highest priority. Because of this, we are asking that every youth who plans to attend EYC this Fall register in advance for the semester. Each small group is limited to 12 youth. Registration is required
We have three small groups this fall:

  • 6th grade: meets from 6-7pm in the Close (grassy area between church and Youth Hall) or the Youth Hall when weather is bad

  • 7th and 8th grade: meets from 6-7pm in the English garden (outside the south doors of the Parish Hall) or the Parish Hall when weather is bad

  • Sr High: meets from 7-8 in the Close (grassy area between church and Youth Hall) or the Youth Hall when weather is bad

Children's Sunday School This year’s program will be a mix of VBS, Children's Chapel and what we would do in the classroom. Until we are able to meet in person, we will meet over Zoom. I know Zoom isn't the same as in person, but as a parent, I promise we will make the time they spend with us worth it! Kids will need a Worship Tool Box, filled with all sorts of interactive spiritual goodies to use each week. If your child wants to participate, we will get a tool box  to you! Luke Gilbert will leave one in the office or deliver it to you. Children 3y-5th grade can have a fun and interactive Bible story lesson each week. From 9:30-9:45 we will share music, games, and the weekly story. From 9:45-10:00 the kids will join their teachers in zoom breakout rooms to worship and react to the story. All will come back together at 10:00 for a closing video and prayer. We hope these 30 minutes will help your child grow in God's love each week! Contact Luke with questions.

Youth Sunday School: Think. Believe. Do. We will begin Sunday school via Zoom this Sunday at 9:15am. Youth in 6th-12th grade are invited to join us to think about faith, grow in our beliefs and do the work of God in the world. Zoom info: Meeting ID: 833 5617 9439 Password: tbd2020

Summer Camp 2021 Schedule
We are very excited to offer a Christian Formation camping experience in Summer 2021 at the Vines Center (formerly the 4-H Center) just outside Little Rock. In addition to camp songs, camp games, and your favorite camp friends, expect new activities like canoeing, ropes course adventures, and many other programs run in partnership with the Arkansas outdoor school. Camps are one day shorter than past years and therefore the cost will be less also. Applications for staff and volunteer positions will go out in November, and we hope to have summer camp applications online in December. For more information, contact Randall Curtis.

Shea Tuttle to Speak October 18

Shea Tuttle, author of Exactly As You Are: The Life and Faith of Mister Rogers, will present a book talk on Sunday, October 18, at 7 pm as part of the Central Arkansas Library System's  Six Bridges Book Festival. The festival is a virtual event this year with over 50 authors speaking October 8-18. The book festival program will be in the Sunday, September 27 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

All talks are free. Here's a link to the library's site so you can register to attend.

Saint Mark's and the Betty Rowland Wittenberg Foundation are sponsoring Shea Tuttle. The full list of authors and a description of their books is here.

WordsWorth Books is the book seller for the book festival and has Tuttle's book in stock.

 Online Worship Bulletin
Each week, a copy of each Sunday’s worship bulletin will be on our website. This contains all the hymns and scripture texts appointed for that day, making worship from home even easier. 
Sunday Mornings at 9:15
Music Discussion Class on Thursday Evenings

You don’t need anything other than an interest in or curiosity for music to be able to enjoy this offering from organist/choirmaster, Tim Allen. Each week we will discuss a well-known musical masterpiece. Next week, October 1, the group will meet again to work our way through Portraits in Jazz, a ground-breaking album by Bill Evans. Participants will be invited to listen to the selected piece prior to the class. Links to a score will be given for those who wish it. The music will be placed in its historical context, but our main area of discussion will be centered around its spiritual and emotional impact on us as listeners. Please join us on Zoom at 7:00 pm on Thursdays. If you wish to participate please let Tim Allen know at tallen@st-marks.com, and he will forward you the link.
Parish Notes

Arkansas ECW Fall Gathering This year’s Fall Gathering will be held virtually on Oct. 10, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Jerusalem Greer, staff officer for evangelism at the National Episcopal Church, will speak on The Good News of Change--Faith, Race, and Living Through a Pandemic. Learn more about Fall Gathering and other ECW events on the ECW wesbite.

2020 Pride Fest Will Be Virtual The 8th annual Central Arkansas Pride Fest will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, on Facebook Live. Churches are invited to participate by submitting a video clip. The virtual submission portal will be open through Sept. 30. Submission will be reviewed and as many as time allows will be shown.

Small Group Guidelines Small groups (15 people max) may begin meeting again on Saint Mark’s campus. The group is to think carefully about whether meeting in person is better than Zoom and ask members if they feel safe and comfortable meeting in person. If someone can’t come, and you decide to meet in person anyway, is there a way to include them via Zoom or FaceTime? How? To assist groups in making a decision, we have prepared extensive guidelines. Read all the guidelines on our website

Condolences We send our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Sharon Williams and her family on the recent death of her husband, Art Williams.

 
Virtual Coffee Hour Saint Mark’s hosts two opportunities for a virtual coffee hour via Zoom. This will be unstructured time where members can join and socialize with one another. Coffee hour times are 8:30 (leading into the Forum at 9:15) and after the 10:30 service. The Zoom information is the same for both coffee hours, and the Sunday formation. Meeting ID: 663 023 204 Password: saintmarks

Food Pantry Continues to Serve  8:30 – 10:00 Thursdays Saint Mark's Food Pantry, with help from the League of Women Voters, is offering voting help during the month of September.  We'll have Voter Registration Forms, Applications for Absentee Voting, and information about deadlines and dates.  This will be at the EYC Center during regular Pantry times (Thursdays, 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.) and Saint Mark's members and friends are welcome to attend. Current food needs include: jelly, mac & cheese, and loaves of sliced bread.

Have You Been Counted? Every ten years, the federal government is required to count every single person living in the United States through a census in order to determine how billions of dollars in federal funds, as well as political representation, will be distributed among states and local communities for the next decade. Though the census count has improved over time, certain populations continue to be “undercounted.” When we answer the Census and encourage our neighbors to do so too, we declare that we are part of “we the people” and refuse to be excluded from the critical funding and political representation all people deserve. What’s at stake? 

  • Federal Funding: Over $800 billion in federal government funding will be determined by the 2020 Census count. The 2020 Census will impact how many teachers are hired in our local schools and how many nurses and beds are in our local hospitals. From roads to food assistance, when people are not counted, our communities lose out.

  • Political Power: The 2020 Census will determine how many representatives your state will send to Congress and how your congressional district will be drawn. This is why we must ensure a fair and accurate count as citizens and people of faith. State and local governments also use Census data to redraw state legislative districts.

There's still time to complete the #2020Census and make sure #LRCounts.  Online or phone: 844-330-2020
 

How to Request an Absentee Ballot
  • Option 1: Request to have an absentee ballot application sent to you by contacting your county clerk in the county where you are registered to vote.

  • Option 2: Go here to download and complete an absentee ballot application, then return it to the county clerk in the county where you are registered to vote.

Prayer List
For the Episcopal Church Justin, The Archbishop of Canterbury; Michael, the Presiding Bishop; Larry, our Bishop; our clergy, Danny, Michael, Patricia, Susan, Joanna and Billy; our Staff & Vestry                
 
In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Pray for the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan
 
In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Trinity, Van Buren; Holy Cross, West Memphis
 
For peace and an end to terrorism, oppression, poverty, pollution, persecution
 
For our staff: Cedric Gaither, Sexton
 
For our parish ministries, especially: St. Mark’s ChristCare groups
 
For the safety of first responders, healthcare workers and those in the military, especially: Megan Witzke, Sam, Breen, Marshall
 
For those commended to our prayers: Don, Tim Woods, Cole Jeffries, Austin, John, Madison Moore, Paul Gilman, Rachel, Mary Thompson, Dean Hicks, Irene Glasgow, Diana Boston, Betsy Depenau, Carl Gessler, Cynthia Fisher, Lauri Williams, Samantha, Dale, Ashley, Jerry Didier, Mathieu, Craig Chotard, Becky Moore, Ward, Kim Harrelson, Bailey Hernandez and her family, Bobbe Drake, Mary Sue Jacobs, the Weber family, Sue, Judi Blevins, Rita McGee, Alex, Wayne, Karen Head, Suzanne Hawkins, Mary Ann Nilles, Don Strother, Rod Adams, Joe & Ashley, Ruth Garrett
 
Birthdays: Mike Hardcastle, Tracy Spillman, Ed Tardy, Johnette Fitzjohn, Ruthie Strode, Elizabeth Strode, Mark Zbinden, Paul Gilman, Gayle Hoffman, Kiran Patel, Herbert Phelps, Jennifer Wells, Gene Martin, Madison Moore, Mackenzie Moore, Judy Schieffler, Henry Delozier, Cate Willis, Ann Anderson, Mardi Blissard, Greyson Bryan
 
Wedding Anniversaries: Tracy & Margaret Willis-Spillman, Marie & Gio Bruno, Chris & Maggie Young
 
For those who died: Art Williams
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