February 2023


Dear Ones,

I am pleased to present my second report to you as St. Mark’s Priest-in-Charge.  Things continue to be difficult around the church and around the world.  Not just here at St. Mark’s or in Broome County.  I do not want to belabor the point.  We are all aware that times are tough.  Churches continue to strive to do more with less: less people, less resources, and less money.
That being said, some good things have also been happening.  Here are just a few highlights of St. Mark’s mission and ministry in 2022:
            CHOW served 4,455 meals & 3,246 pounds of food was donated
            St. Mark’s began to enjoy times of food, fun, and fellowship together again at the Ladies’ Brunch Bunch, the Annual Picnic, and monthly Youth Group
            9 youth were Confirmed by Bishop DeDe back in the fall

These are incredible successes.  Food, fellowship, and faith are at the heart of St. Mark’s.  We love to gather and share food together.  St. Mark’s then reaches out from that base to help feed others and to share God’s love.  Together we have a strong foundation upon which we can build as we seek to answer Jesus’ call to “Come, follow Me.”

I always think our reading today should come with a word of caution: “warning!  Do NOT try this at home.”  Jesus must have been a very special and magnetic presence.  One word and Simon, Andrew, James, and John drop it all.  I mean they leave behind everything.  Their families.  Their friends.  Even their livelihoods.

The willingness to give up so much speaks to Jesus’ character.  There must have been something special they could sense about Jesus as He called them.  Perhaps the four friends had seen Jesus before.  Maybe they had heard Jesus teach or  heal.  Three little words, “Come, follow Me,” and lives are changed forever.

Notice that Jesus meets Simon, Andrew, James, and John where they are.  The four are wrapping up a day of fishing.  Jesus comes to them amid their ordinary, everyday lives.  But Jesus’ love, God’s love, is too great to leave Simon and his friends where they are.  Jesus seeks to transform them and then send them out into God’s world.

Where is God calling us?  I mean that both as individuals and as a parish.  Where is God calling you, calling us in 2023.  The answers may take some time to discern.  After all, God’s call is not static, but constant and on-going.  Openness, flexibility, and a willingness to try things will be the key themes for this year. 

We are very saddened by the retirement of Cindi Ferranti and the resignation of Kathy Lasicki.  Both Cindi and Kathy have added so much to St. Mark’s.  I, for one, am very thankful for their dedication and ministry.  We will miss them both greatly.  This, however, opens up some opportunities for you and me to more deeply answer Jesus’ call.  I offer these examples to help get our thoughts going:
  •             Conversations have already started amongst some of the St. Mark’s family about mowing and cleaning.
  •             Musicians are invited to contact me to provide special music on Sundays.
  •             Consider reaching out to someone you have not seen at St. Mark’s recently to let them know you miss them.  Not to accuse, but to say, “we miss you.  How have you been doing?”
  •             Make a meal (or have one delivered) to a friend or neighbor who is going through a tough time.
This year, naturally, finances are going to be the Vestry’s major focus.  There is much work to be done on this front.  All possibilities are on the table, including fundraising.  We will review the budget frequently and make adjustments as needed.

Speaking of possibilities, the Wardens have started conversations with All Saints’ in Johnson City.  Another meeting is planned as well as a meeting of both Vestries.  If all goes well, we will start partnering with All Saints 1 March.  This includes some activities together (Bible study, for example) and sharing a priest.

Currently we are exploring a 2/3-1/3 split.  St. Mark’s would continue to worship at 9, then after a brief time at Coffee Hour, I would hop over to All Saints for an 11a Eucharist.  I also plan to spend one day a week at All Saints’, visiting and offering pastoral care along with Deacon Dorothy.  This arrangement presents some further opportunities:

        Volunteers will need to ensure all lights are off, and doors and locked after everyone has left after Coffee Hour.  Coffee hosts asked to clean up afterwards.  Please be in touch with me or with Theresa Brom if you can help out.  We are in the process of making a Sunday shutdown check list to help the volunteers.

            I made over 120 Communion visits in 2022, along with Deacon Dorothy.  I will need help going forward.  A training will be held in February for those who wish to be a licensed Eucharistic Visitor to share in these important visits.  If you are interested, please call or e-mail me.

A third target area for 2023 is for the Vestry and I to discern our future together.  This is a two-way process.  The Vestry will be discerning to call me as St. Mark’s Rector.  I will be discerning whether God is calling me to stay with St. Mark’s.  Canon Carrie will be here in a few weeks to help the Vestry start that process.  No doubt the Vestry will also be looking for your input into the process.

Finally, Canon Tom joined us in the Fall for a Safety Preparedness and Preparation program.  In response to Tom’s presentation, the Vestry will be forming a task force to work on various parts a plan for St. Mark’s.  That includes things such as simply making sure everyone knows where First Aid kits are located (in the Kitchen and above the Coat Rack in the Foyer, BTW).

No, the past several years have not been easy.  However, new life from seeming death is at the heart of the Christian story.  Good Friday comes before Easter’s joy.  Death gives way to resurrection and new life.  This will require that we all come together, that you and I each do our parts in response to the age-old call: "Come, follow Me.”

I will close with two verses of a hymn called “The Summons” from the Iona Community”:

Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see
If I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
And never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
And do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean
In you and you in me?[1]
[1] “The Summons” WLP # 757.  From The Iona Community.

Faithfully Yours,

Welcome Aboard!!
            A hearty welcome to Renee Dallimore (Junior Warden), Nadene Sevara and Carl Wright who were elected to St. Mark’s Vestry at the Annual Meeting and Election.  We are grateful for their willingness to serve.

            Thank you to Jeff Jacobs (Senior Warden), Dalya Al-Kass-Blaise, and Emily Peterson for their service.  Jeff, Dalya, and Emily all completed their terms on the Vestry.
Dear St. Mark's Parishioners,
I want to thank all of you for the thoughtful farewell gifts.  I was overwhelmed with your kind words and generosity.  It was an honor to work for you!!  


St. Mark’s youth and friends are invited to join us on Sunday, 5 February for food and fellowship at a Pizza Party.  We’ll gather in the Undercroft at 4p to make pizzas and play games.  Bring your favorite pizza toppings to share.  Individual pizza crusts, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese, water and soda will be provided. 


Dawn-Victoria presented one model for looking at the church and out relationship to our community.  Gather-Transform-Send is just one of several models taught at the College for Congregational Development.  November’s Diocesan Convention highlighted this model. Along with another one, on the Saturday learning day.  Dawn-Victoria and the Vestry welcome your continued reflection and input.
Gather: coming together as the Body of Christ, forming a community of the people of God.
            Invite: how we draw attention to Christ and the Church.  This includes things such as signage, our social media presence, and advertising.
            Greeting: how we  welcome and recognize guests in an appropriate manner that does not put folks on the spot.  This includes having a functional and hospitable coffee hour where guests can meet established members.
            Orienting: how we enable people to fully participate.  This includes following up with guests, classes to help newcomers learn about the Episcopal and local church communities.
            Incorporating: how we are knit together into the life of the congregation and its people.  This includes deeper involvement in the life ministry of the parish and becoming a pledging member.
Point to ponder: How do you invite people to St. Mark’s?
            **this includes the invitation to worship and into our ministries**
            Worship: Facebook presence & livestreaming
Transform: the gradual process of being shaped more and more into the human beings God calls us to be.  This transformation is about forming hearts, minds, and actions so that we (both individually and collectively) live out our Baptismal identities and purpose.
            We are transformed through prayer and worship, through study and learning, through action, through life in community, through relationships, and through the decision-making processes of the church.
Point to ponder: Where or when have you been transformed in the past year?
            The Pandemic continues to call us to adapt and change
            The same with the uncertainty and fluctuating economy
            The potential partnership with All Saints’
Send: Going forth as God’s presence into the world, seeking to be God’s heart, hands, and feet in the world.
            In our family life, in our work life, in our societal and civic life, and in our church life.
Point to ponder: Where are you sent to be God’s salt, leaven, and light?
            Society & Civic life: Volunteering with Meals on Wheels, ministry to the elderly & those in long-term care facilities
            Church life: Vestry membership
The Vestry and Dawn-Victoria welcome your reflections on how St. Mark’s gathers-transforms-sends YOU!
Bible Study is back!  Join us on Wednesdays at 7p via Zoom.  We will look at important Hebrew Bible stories.  Here is the Zoom link:
Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 874 4969 7803
Passcode: 099721

Ladies Brunch Bunch 

Tuesday February 14th, at 8:30am. 
Join us at St. Mark's undercroft for food & fellowship!  Bring a dish to pass or just yourself. We always have plenty.


Get Your Ash in Church

Ash Wednesday is the start of our Lenten journey each year.  We gather to remember the grace of God’s forgiveness.  We receive ashes (optional) and the Eucharist as signs of God’s love.  St. Mark’s will have two Ash Wednesday services on Wednesday, 22 February: 7a and at 6p.  All are invited to join us.
Coffee Hour is back!!  Please be sure to sign up to host.  Just bring some sweets or other treats and leave them on the table in the undercroft.  Coffee, hot water, and bottled water are always available.  Make it fun and pair up with a friend -- easy peasy!! 
Dawn-Victoria is now blogging!!  You can catch her blog at  A new blog comes out about every other week.  She covers a wide range of subjects including Episcopal trivia, liturgical matters, and general musings about church life.  Sign up and follow her today!  Feel free to suggest a topic for her to cover.
Video Volunteers Needed!
We are still looking for people to record Sunday Service.  We stream to FB and YouTube and need people to fill in on Sunday morning.  We will train you on using the cameras and iPad to record.  It's as easy as turning on the cameras and hitting the record button.  
Please email your desire to serve to to volunteer.
February Birthdays

2/1     Kelly Renfro
2/2     Christopher Phelps
2/3     Brooke McCall
2/5     Matt Henry
2/7     Barb Boudreau
2/8     Nick Stento
2/8     Matt Laine
2/11   Jackie Deinhardt
2/15   Haleigh Bodine

2/16     Renee Stento
2/18     Don Heller
2/18     David Pierson
2/19     Jaidyn Ericksen-Hrehor
2/20     Don MacDuffee
2/21     Emma Langstaff
2/23     Christine Samsel
2/28     Ruth Pierce (Turns 104!!)

February Anniversaries
2/22/82             Kelly & Mike Renfro
2/22/17             Renee Dallimore & Kathy Lasicki

St. Mark's Calendar

 1 Feb      Wed         Bible Study - 7pm online - Zoom
 2 Feb      Thurs       Compline with Deacon Dorothy (Zoom) 8pm
 5 Feb     Sun          Holy Eucharist - 9am
                                Youth Make a Pizza night.
7 Feb      Tues         Compline with Rev. Dawn-Victoria (FB) 8pm
8 Feb      Wed          Bible Study - 7pm online Zoom 
9 Feb     Thurs         Compline with Deacon Dorothy (Zoom) 8pm
12 Feb    Sun          Holy Eucharist - 9am
14 Feb    Tues         Ladies Brunch Bunch 8:30am
14 Feb     Tues        Compline with Rev. Dawn-Victoria (FB) 8pm
                                 Happy Valentines Day!
15 Feb     Wed         Bible Study - 7pm online Zoom     
16 Feb     Thurs       Compline with Deacon Dorothy (Zoom) 8pm
19 Feb     Sun         Holy Eucharist - 9am
21 Feb     Tues        Compline with Rev. Dawn-Victoria (FB) 8pm
22 Feb     Wed         Ash Wednesday---Imposition of Ashes 7am &

23 Feb     Thurs       Compline with Deacon Dorothy (Zoom) 8pm
26 Feb     Sun          Holy Eucharist - 9am
28 Feb    Tues          Compline with Rev. Dawn-Victoria (FB) 8pm

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