Category: News & Events

Cancellations

Cancellations

Dear Parish Family,

Circumstances are changing hour by hour with regard to the COVID-19 situation.  Several dioceses have suspended all services in all their Churches, and more and more congregations around the country and here in Florida are doing the same.  The reason: to do everything possible to protect the health and well-being of parishioners and staff, and to be responsible members of the wider community. Among other things, it responds to requests from public health officials to suspend group activities in order to flatten the curve of potential new cases so to not overwhelm our health-care system.

After much prayer and consideration, it seems clear (though difficult) that St. Mark’s should suspend worship services and all other activities for the next two weeks (Saturday, March 14- Friday, March 27).  There will be no weekday activities and the church campus will be closed (for example, Bible Study, any meetings, rehearsals, dinners, youth group, Stations of the Cross, etc.).    While the church office is closed, we will be checking and responding to email and voicemail messages.

As you stay home, please know that you are in our prayers, and that we look forward to the time when we can reunite as a community.  The Sunday service bulletin is now available on our website, and it has the readings, prayers and announcements for the day.  As you read and pray from home, I hope you will feel a sense of connectedness with all of us at St. Mark’s, as well with the wider community.

Please let us know how you are doing, and keep in touch with us and one another as you can.  We will continue to evaluate the situation, and will keep you updated on next steps or other changes.

So look out for your neighbors, look out for each other. Look out for yourselves.  Listen to those who have knowledge that can help to guide us medically and help to guide us socially. Do everything that we can to do this together, to respond to each other’s needs and to respond to our own needs.” ~ Bishop Michael Curry

Peace,

The Rev. Robert, Cowperthwaite

Interim Rector

Bob@stmarksvenice.com

Cell: 615-423-9841

Sunday, March 15th Worship –> feel free to check out http://www.bonifacechurch.org/

COVID Letter 10-13-2020
Fr. Jim’s Response to Mass Shootings

Fr. Jim’s Response to Mass Shootings

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

SOMETHING I NEED TO SAY…

Throughout history, people of faith and people of moral courage, have stood up when events dictated that they needed to do so—events so horrific that doing nothing was not an option.  People have stood up because it was the right thing to do and the events before them called for their voice to be heard and some action taken.  Now is one of those times.

This past weekend we all observed another horrifying example of hate-fueled violence in our country with two more mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  These shootings have added to the growing number of mass shootings over the last few years that have left us numb and wondering will it ever stop.  In fact in this year alone, we have had more mass shootings than days in the year—255 to be exact where four or more people have been killed excluding the shooter. No one has been immune from the deadly killing sprees—not even our precious children.  Yet we do nothing but pray and grieve.

As a priest I believe very strongly in the healing power of prayer.  If not, I would start to doubt God’s grace that occurs so often in the midst of any horrible event.  I would also start to question my faith in a merciful God.  But that is not the case, because I believe God does hear our prayers and is constantly working to make all things right—just as God has done throughout all of history.  The truth of this has been revealed in all of scripture from Genesis through Revelation.

But God did not do it alone!  God’s Spirit and the wisdom of Jesus worked with, and through people, to right what was wrong, to bring justice where there was none, and to confront the darkness of evil when it reared its ugly head.  And today, the same is being required of all of us—God’s children and people of faith, to stand up, and with the help of God, to try and do something to face the challenges and tragedies of gun violence.

Therefore I ask every person in this faith community to put aside politics and any differences that may separate us as one Body of Christ and attempt with God’s help to find solutions regarding this difficult and complex problem of “what to do” with the preponderance of gun violence and hatred that is permeating our society and way of life in our country.  The road toward answers and change will be fraught with struggles and frustrations but the very peace and harmony of all people in this country is at stake.  It is not a time to be silent.  It is not a time to do nothing.  It is a time to confront the evil we see and the darkness that attempts to take away the light of God’s love in our world.

I wish I had solutions or answers to the problems of gun violence and the hate and insanity behind it, but I don’t.  I’m not sure anyone does.  I only know that we must do something—and maybe something starts with daily prayer and then getting up off our knees and getting involved in some way to help change the climate.  Contacting the members of Congress and our state legislatures who have the power and responsibility to protect us could be a good place to start.  Whatever manner of action you feel led to after that, may God guide you in that endeavor and may God give you the courage to do what is necessary to help bring about a more peaceful way of life and the realization and fullness of God’s kingdom on earth.

The following prayers may be useful for you to use in your daily meditation time or prayer time.  They were created by St. Thomas’ Parish, Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, as a prayerful response to the tragic acts of gun violence:

Giver of Life and Love, you created all people as one family and called us to live together in harmony and peace.  Surround us with your love as we once again face the challenges and tragedies of gun violence.  For our dear ones, for our neighbors, for strangers, and those known to you alone,

God of Righteousness, you have given our leaders, especially Donald, our President, the members of Congress, the judges of our courts and members of our legislatures, power and responsibility to protect us.  For all who bear such responsibility, for all who struggle to discern what is right in the face of powerful political forces,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Compassion, we give you thanks for first responders, for police officers, firefighters and EMTs, and all those whose duties bring them to the streets, the malls, the schools, the churches, and the homes where the carnage of gun violence takes place day after day.  For our sisters and brothers who risk their lives and their serenity as they rush to our aid,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

Merciful God, bind up the wounds of all who suffer from gun violence, those maimed and disfigured, those left alone and grieving, and those who struggle to get through one more day.  Bless them with your presence and help them find hope.  For all whose lives are forever marked by the scourge of gun violence,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Resurrection, may we not forget those who have died in the gun violence that we have allowed to become routine.  Receive them into your heart and comfort us with your promise of eternal love and care.  For all who have died at the shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, those others who have died in other gun violence and mass shootings, those who die today, and those who will die tomorrow,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Justice, help us, your church, find our voice.  Empower us to change this broken world and to protest the needless deaths caused by gun violence.  Give us power to rise above our fear that nothing can be done and grant us the conviction to advocate for change.  For your dream of love and harmony.

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace

In God’s love and peace,