Pastor Steve Brown
Greetings to the Saints of St. Mark!
8 [Jesus said,] You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (including Greenwood, South Carolina).” Acts 1:8
Happy Birthday, St. Mark United Methodist Church!!
Our church was conceived in 1964 by the people of Main Street UMC. It was then things were discussed, decisions were made, and ending with an organizational meeting held May 30, 1965, and nineteen persons becoming the first members of our church. Though we were called Trinity back then (we would change our name to St. Mark the next year) we have been worshipping, learning, serving, ministering, fellowshipping, giving, praying, caring, growing, loving, and seeking to follow Jesus for fifty-five years. What a story!
Of course, speaking of birthdays, May 31 is Pentecost Sunday when we celebrate the birth of Christ’s Church with a capital “C” of which we are all a part. In an upper room the followers of Jesus received the Spirit and moved out into the streets to the people of Jerusalem. That same Spirit has been filling and moving people ever since. From Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to Greenwood, South Carolina, and to all the ends of the earth, the good news of Jesus Christ and a new life in the Spirit have been changing the lives of people and bringing God’s Kingdom into communities around the world. And we are a part of God’s people and God’s mission in this world. We are a witness to this day to our community of God’s grace and love. What a story!
And as long as we are celebrating our life as a church, let’s remember that it was this month – precisely, May 24, 1738 -- that John Wesley went to a meeting of believers on Aldersgate Street. It was there that he heard the message of “the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, he felt his heart strangely warmed and he felt he did trust in Christ alone for salvation, and felt the Lord’s assurance that he was forgiven.” Wesley’s warmed heart was a flame lit by the Spirit that became the catalyst for the Wesleyan revival that would sweep England and cross the Atlantic Ocean to become the Methodist Church in America. God has moved through the people of Methodist churches around the world, in Greenwood, and in the folks gathered together as St. Mark. In our fifty-five years we have become one church of three campuses and offering four worship services each Sunday. We began a preschool to help families, started the Pathway House to shelter the homeless, offered food to hungry children through the backpack ministry, and hosted a Salkehatchie camp to fix people’s homes. This is only part of what we have done and what we do. What a story . . . and it still goes on with you and me!
Like other celebrations, the current state of the world does not allow a party to be held. Yet, the light that shines from St. Mark does not come from candles on a cake but the lives of each one of us. And while we miss the joy of celebrating together right now, our life as a church continues to make a difference as we “leave a mark of Christ” through our words and actions, our prayers and our service as we are scattered through our communities. We are a hopeful people, trusting Christ that we will be able to gather together again and trusting Christ that our story is still being written. Hallelujah and Happy Birthday – Church, Methodists, and St. Mark UMC!