​​​​​​​OUR MINISTRIES


EDUCATION

MINISTRY

The Education Ministry of St. Mark's offers Sunday School classes for all ages.  In addition, during Sunday School a two-year confirmation class is held for those youth in grades seven and eight in preparation for becoming confirmed members of St. Mark's. Usually during the first and second Sundays of the month, junior church is held during the regular church service with activities geared towards the Gospel lesson of the day for the children. Finally, a Vacation Bible School program is held in June for the children of the church as well as the community.








MUSIC

MINISTRY

St. Mark's Music Ministry provides numerous opportunities to participate musically in the church.  

For singers, there is the Senior Choir, the Joyful Noise Choir, and the Angelic/Cherub Choir.  A new addition to the music program is the Messengers, the praise team, that leads contemporary religious hymns during worship usually on the third Sunday of the month.  

Also, the handbell choirs, Chancel Bells and Family Bells, are an important part of the music ministry.  As a result of the generosity of members anf friends of St. Mark's, the church has been to purchase handbells and handchimes as memorials. The handbell choirs usually perform during both regular and special services during the church year enriching our worship experience.

Instrumentalists are often a part of worship during special worship services as well regular services.  In addition to member instrumentalists, St. Mark's Director of Music Lee Ferrier has invited guest instrumentalists to be a part of our services.

During May, as a part of Sunday worship, we celebrate our ministry of music with all the choirs participating.   Music Sunday is a time for the church to recognize and honor those who have been a part of the music ministry of St. Mark's during the past year.

Lee is eager not only to share his musical gifts but also to encourage others to develop and share their musical gifts with the church. 






WORSHIP

MINISTRY

As mentioned on the home page of this website, the church's Worship Ministries are overseen by the Worship Committee. Recruiting scripture readers, liturgists, leaders of the children's moment are all a part of the overall ministry of the Worship Committee.  The committee also oversees the usher teams, the communion teams, and the greeters; all an important part of worship experience.  An altar guild, overseen by the committee, sees that the appropriate paraments for the liturgical season of the church year are placed on the altar, the lectern, and the pulpit. Encouraging each person to be a part of worship, according to their gifts and comfort level, is a major priority in making St. Mark's a family and community of faith.









OUTREACH MINISTRIES

St. Mark's outreach ministries support local, regional, state, national and international relief efforts to help those in need of many different types of assistance as evidenced by the many benevolent outreach ministries supported by the church.

LOCAL OUTREACH

St. Mark's, through the Cressona Ministerium and the Cressona Welfare Fund, helps to provide financial assistance to those in the community in need related to fuel, food, heating needs, and other vital services. 

In addition, St. Mark's sponsors Light Up The Night on the Thursday closest to Halloween as a safe experience for children of the community and the surrounding areas.  A variety of activities, as well as food, prizes, and treat bags are available to the children. Community involvement is evident with local businesses donating funds, local fire police helping with traffic, and church volunteers providing supervision for the event.


In addition, the church is a member of the Schuylkill Haven and Vicinity Council of Churches.  The Council of Churches sponsors a local food pantry, the National "Backpack Buddy" Program, and a local blood bank drive in cooperation with the Red Cross. The council also provides emergency assistance for uitilities, lodging, food, and other necessities for those in need.


QUARTERS-BY-THE QUARTER CAMPAIGN

As a part of its benevolent outreach ministry, St. Mark's has initiated a Quarters-by-the Quarters Campaign to provide funds for a variety of causes. During each quarter of the year (January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December), quarters collected during the Sunday offering are designated to benefit a particular organization or cause in need of support.  Monies have gone to the local SPCA, to the Lancaster Theological Seminary, to the Church Summer Camping Program, to the CROP Walk, and  to other relief efforts of the Council of Churches.


SOUPER BOWL

On the Sunday of the NFL Super Bowl, the youth of the church, as well as other volunteers, aid in the collection of canned goods, other supplies, and funds to support the local food pantry.

In addition, a soup lunch is held in the church's Fellowship Hall following the worship service, hosted by some of St. Mark's excellent soup makers, to raise additional funds for the local food pantry by offering a variety of soups to enjoy in exchange for a monetary contribution.


SHAWL

MINISTRY

The "Knitwits," a relatively new ministry, have organized a prayer shawl ministry at St. Mark's.  Meeting on a monthly basis, members of the church volunteer their time and talents to knit shawls and prayers squares that are available to anyone experiencing loss and sorrow and in need of spiritual comfort.




WIDER OUTREACH

As a member of the United Church of Christ, St. Mark's supports Our Church's Wider Mission (OCWM), as well as special and emergency mission offerings.

One Great Hour of Sharing, received on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, supports partners in countries with ministries that fund health, education and agricultural development, emergency relief and refugee ministries, both as a domestic and as an international response.

Strengthen the Church, received on Pentecost Sunday supports church growth, pastoral and lay leadership development, youth and young adult ministries within conferences.

Neighbors in Need, received on World Communion Sunday in October, supports the Council for American Indian Ministry and supports a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.

The Christmas Fund, received during the Advent/Christmas Season, provides direct financial assistance to retired and active U.C.C. ministers and lay employees and their surviving spouses, including pension and medical premium assistance and other emergency assistance.



BETHANY

CHILDREN'S

HOME

During the Christmas season, St. Mark's conducts a ministry to provide gifts for the youth at Bethany Children's Home in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. Up until the week before Christmas church members are encouraged to take a gift card suggestions from the tree in Hock Hall with ideas for possible gifts.  The gifts are then placed around the tree.  These gifts include clothing, gift cards, school supplies, and a variety of other items for the youth.  The gifts are then taken to Bethany by a member of the church and then distributed by the home to the youth living there, helping to make Christmas even more special.


SEASONAL

OFFERINGS

Both at Christmas and at Easter,  St. Mark's sets aside a certain percentage of the seasonal offerings for benevolent outreach ministries. Approximately 40% of the Christmas offering and approximately 25% of the Easter offering are designated for a variety outreach programs; such as the local food bank, the local SPCA, the Phoebe Home Ministries, the Cressona Welfare Fund, the Christmas Fund, the Lancaster Seminary, and the Locust Lake Ministries.  Over $1500 is distributed through this outreach every year. 



NONDENOMINATIONAL

OUTREACH

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE

Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe, responds to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster..  St. Mark's participates in the annual CROP Walk of the Council of Churches and the Blanket Fund campaign, both a part of CWS.

The church's commitment to both these programs helps people in communities around the world address the issues of hunger and helps them recover from disaster and know that someone cares enough to provide them assistance in a time of need.


ST. MARK'S

WORK CAMPS

Throughout the years members and friends of St. Mark's have volunteered to be a part of work camps that have traveled to neighboring states, as well as within Pennsylvania, to help those in need  of rebuilding, upgrading, and renovating structures that have been damaged by the forces of nature or just have experienced deterioration over time from exposure to the elements of nature. These volunteers have traveled distances to neighboring states to help families and organizations in need of help to restore and rebuild homes and other structures.