St. Mark's United Methodist Church of Bloomington, Indiana
is an inclusive community bringing Christ-like love, healing and hope to all.

We embrace the United Methodist ideal of Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors
by welcoming those of all races, cultures, faith traditions, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
This Saturday, December 9th, Carpool from St. Mark's at 7:15am  
Oldenburg- Mindfulness Meditation Practices
Join the group from St. Mark's which is making another road trip to the convent at Oldenburg,IN, for workshop led by
Sister Olga Wittekind , PhD & Claire Sherman, PhD.  Drawing from the insights of Rumi (a 13th century Sufi Mystic & Poet) & Richard Rohr (a Franciscan Friar whose daily meditations are read online by tens of thousands), the class will explore how mindfulness can reduce the stressful chatter that clutters our minds - and how meditation can then place our minds & hearts into quiet currents headed toward spiritual growth. Register for the class at The $45 fee includes lunch at the convent. The workshop will run from 9:30am to 2:30pm.  
Our group will carpool, leaving the south parking lot of St. Mark's at 7:15am and making a quick stop for coffee and breakfast snacks at Nashville. After the workshop some of our group will head immediately back to Bloomington. Another carload will stay for a tour of the the convent, followed by holiday window-shopping in the quaint village of Oldenburg and an early dinner at their locally famous fried chicken restaurant. For more information call Charlie Matson at 812-331-0413.
This Saturday, December 9th, 9:30am
St. Mark's Women's Christmas Breakfast
Please join us for the Annual Women's Christmas Brunch. Enjoy breakfast, the Christmas story, and Christmas carols in Garton Hall. Contact Nina Taylor (823-322-9242) or Linda Crawford (812-336-2277) with questions.
Deadline to RSVP is This Sunday, December 10th
Wednesday, December 13th, 5:30PM
eXtra Years of Zest (XYZ) Christmas Dinner
No reservations will be accepted after Sunday, December 10th.  Your name on the sign-up sheet in Garton Hall is your reservation! See full article below. 
9:00am (Garton Hall) 
Thank you to the St. Mark's Operation Friendship Team who will prepare breakfast.  
Donations are appreciated to support our youth in the international exchange program.
9:15am    Pilgrims (Room 13) 
9:15am    Nomads (Room 10)
9:30am   Bible Banter (Room 11)
Infants through Three-year-olds  
(Rooms 24 & 25)
Children, Friends & Family
9:30am (Garton Hall)

Preschool - Room27
Kindergarten & 1st Grade - Room 28
2nd & 3rd Grade - Room 9 
4th & 5th Grade - Room 4 
6th-12th Grade - Room 3 

Reverend Mary Beth Morgan, preaching 
Selected scripture passages from the gospels of Luke and Matthew
Sermon Title:
Advent Shalom, Advent Peace:  
Those Whose Names We May Never Know

Get to know one another;  
wear a name tag, please. 
Need a name tag? Click here! 
This Sunday, December 10th, 10:30am
Sanctuary Worship: Lessons and Carols!
Each year in the Christmas Eve Pageant, we have new characters enter the story of Jesus' birth. Over the years, these have included a fox, ram, frog, dog-lion, census taker, the innkeeper's neighbors, Queen Herod, and a group of Pikachu from far, far away. In our reading of the early chapters of Gospels on Luke and Matthew, whom do we imagine were present to help and support Mary, Joseph and Jesus, even though they were not named? Who were those, in this story, that helped changed the narrative of how we might relate to one another, as Jesus would teach us? How are we called to be those people today?
This Sunday, we explore these questions as we celebrate worship with Lessons and Carols. The Chancel Choir, Bell Choir, flute and cello players, and Pam Freeman on the organ will lead us in music, under the direction of Gerry Sousa. We will light the Advent Candle. The youth will help lead us in a special Children's Moment. The sermon title is "Advent Shalom, Advent Peace: Those Whose Names We May Never Know". We hope to see you on Sunday!

Advent Peace, Advent Shalom
This season of Advent, which marks the start of the Christian year, began on Sunday, December 3rd. It is a time of expectant waiting and watching as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As we move through the four week Advent sojourn toward Christmas, we anticipate songs of angels which proclaim "peace on earth." During this Advent Season, St. Mark's United Methodist Church will be asking what are ways we might embrace peace and Shalom. Advent Candle lighting readings, songs and scriptures will highlight this theme. In every Sunday morning bulletin during Advent, there will be an insert with actionable suggestions as to how we may seek peace and Shalom in our lives and community. And on Monday evening, December 11th at 7:00pm, there will be a "Blue Christmas" Service which will seek to bring comfort and peace to those who are having a hard time during the holidays. We hope you join us for our Advent adventure.

Sunday, December 10th, 6:00pm
Parents of Youth Night, DeAngelo's
All parents of youth (and grandparents/other loving adults caring for pre-teens and teenagers) are welcome! Enjoy some food & conversation with other folks raising teens. If you have questions or would like to be on a contact list for future gatherings, contact Dawn Walters at or the church office.

Monday, December 11th, 7:00pm
Blue Christmas Service 
The holiday season, a joyful time for so many, can be very challenging for others. In this time of joy, many of us are poignantly reminded of times of sadness and loss. You are invited to join us for a Blue Christmas service of Comfort and Healing in the sanctuary, sponsored by the Care Ministries of St. Mark's United Methodist Church. Blue Christmas is a contemplative service with carols, readings, reflections, and candle lighting. Everyone is welcome; we hope to see you.
NOW! through This Sunday, December 10th: Last Day to Order 
Poinsettia Orders for Advent and Christmas
Ordering of poinsettias to decorate the Sanctuary and Garton Hall during Advent and Christmas has begun. Orders will be taken through Sunday, December 10th. The cost for each poinsettia plant is $10. You can find an order form in at the Welcome Desk in Garton Hall, print an order form here, or order online at this link. Poinsettias may be dedicated in honor of or in memory of loved ones or friends. You may also call the church office to place an order or with any questions.
Now through Christmas
Christmas Trains Have Returned to St. Mark's!
Rev. Robert Sharp and the Bloomington Model Railroad group have again agreed to set up a Christmas Village complete with an ON 30 operating Christmas train! The train is set up and in operation in Room 12 through Christmas before and after worship.
The village will be a traditional 1950 vintage town with a winter theme. The layout will be open and running before and after church on Sunday mornings in December. Other viewing times can be arranged by appointment. For more information, contact Robert Sharp or Charlie Matson ( or 812-331-0413), or you can call or email the church office.
Sign Up For Christmas Eve Pageant:
All Children & Youth Welcome To Participate!
All children and youth (preschool through senior high) are invited to be part of the Christmas Eve Pageant at 5:30pm! There are both speaking and non-speaking parts, with roles being age appropriate and matching the interest of the child or youth. Children and youth can also participate by greeting (handing out bulletins),
sharing a piece of music or art, lighting candles, etc. There are roles for Everyone! Sign up in Garton Hall, or contact Mary Beth Morgan or Sarah Gettie McNeill. Costumes will be available for selection on Sundays in the Youth Room or by contacting Mary Beth or Sarah Gettie.
There is one Pageant rehearsal on Saturday, December 23rd at 10:30am. (If you cannot be there, let us know.) All interested children and youth can participate, including friends and visiting grandchildren and other relatives. Walk-ons are welcome. Contact Mary Beth with any questions. We look forward to sharing in this
great night together!
Christmas Pageant Help Needed!
Regardless of your skill set, the Christmas Eve Pageant needs you! Please contact Mary Beth Morgan if you can help.
Before the Pageant
*Help children/youth choose costumes 
*Make simple costume repairs, wash or iron 
*Help with simple set-up of Sanctuary 
*Go shopping for needed items 
During the pageant and rehearsal
*Be an adult helper for a group of pageant participants (angels, shepherds, manger animals, magi, main 
speaking parts, greeters, candle lighters, etc.) 
*Serve as an usher during the pageant, helping everyone find a seat. 
After the pageant
*Help reset the Sanctuary or collect costumes.  
Now Through Christmas Eve 
Bring Items or "MUSH" Christmas Trees
There are multiple MUSH Christmas trees at St Mark's: in the sanctuary, Garton Hall and in the Nursery School & Kindergarten Hallway. You are encouraged to bring in new Mittens, Underwear, Socks, and Hats, for children and adults in need of these items. You are welcome to hang hats and mittens (or gloves) on the trees, and place underwear and socks under the trees. Items will be donated to Monroe County United Ministries. 
"Where the Heart Is" 
An Update & Thank You From The Stewardship Team
As of December 7th, 112 pledge cards had been returned for the 2018 Stewardship Campaign: Where the Heart Is, totaling $416,745. Also, as of November 27th, new and additional pledge cards had been returned for the capital campaign Project St. Mark's: The Sequel (which includes the recent repaving of the parking lot).*
We deeply appreciate your commitment and pledges to both campaigns. If you have already returned your pledge cards, or are doing so soon, thank you! This will help church leadership determine an estimated budget for next year. We recognize that some of you may need more time for discernment regarding pledges, and are grateful for pledges received through the fall and beyond. Stewardship packets are available in Garton Hall and in the church office. These can be returned anytime in the offering plate, to the church office, or can be filled out online via the link on the church website ( Thank you for your generosity in supporting the ministries and missions of St. Mark's!
* Project St. Mark's: The Sequel is a two-year capital campaign, which began last year. We have added 17 new pledges (as of November 27th) for a two-year total (2017-18) of 100 pledges and a current total of $206,260. The goal is $275,000.
Tax Advantages for Giving to Charitable Organizations
A Note From The Endowment And Stewardship Committees 
Below is information about methods and tax advantages for giving to charitable organizations.  It's includes methods for donating appreciated stock and Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).  This information was provided by Hurlow Wealth Management who manages the church's endowment fund.
  1. Giving appreciated stock -  If you were to gift appreciated stock directly to St. Mark's, you could avoid the capital gain tax and an additional tax deduction for the donation.
  2.  Donating you RMD.  Did you know that instead of taking your yearly (RMD) from your IRA and paying tax on it, you could give it directly from your IRA to the church or other charities and gain tax advantages? 
For more information about these charitable giving options, click here. 
9:15am-10:15am in Room 13
9:15am-10:15am in Room 10
9:30am-10:15am in Room 11
Infant through Three-year-olds  
(Rooms 24 & 25)

Garton Hall 

Preschool - Room27
Kindergarten & 1st Grade - Room 28
2nd & 3rd Grade - Room 9 
4th & 5th Grade - Room 4 
6th-12th Grade - Room 3  
Each Sunday
Sign In & Name Tags for Sunday School & Childcare 
Children attending childcare or Sunday School must be signed in and have a name tag from the table in Garton Hall. Please sign in before worship. 
Each Sunday, 9:30am
Children, Friends & Family of all Ages 
CELEBRATION! takes place in Garton Hall, near the piano.  People of all ages are invited to reflect on the theme for the day and to take part in the hands-on experiences available at the tables near the piano.  Also, on Sundays when he's available, Aaron Comforty will close out our community in song as we end in a communal "Great Amen" before heading to the Sanctuary for worship.  
Sunday School Registration Renewal
Complete registration forms here.
If you have not yet registered your child for Sunday School this year, please do so today. If needed, forms are available at the Sunday School table in Garton Hall. This form is an annual requirement for each child (multiple children can be entered on one form).
Adult Sunday School, 9:30am
Bible Banter

The Bible Banter class meets in Room 11 each Sunday from 9:30-10:15am. The Scripture text for the morning's sermon is used as a discussion-starter.

We look at the passage in its larger context, and we sometimes explore a bit of Bible-writing history. We offer some thoughts on what the morning's sermon might look like, based on the Scripture the pastor has selected. We leave time to discuss implications of the Scripture for our own lives, and we often even delve into topics far afield of the morning's original topic. You are invited to bring some breakfast from Garton Hall into Room 11 and join the conversation.

Adult Sunday School, 9:15am
The Nomads class is a generally progressive group which meets each Sunday at 9:15am in Room 10 for fellowship and discussion of selected readings on issues related to faith, spirituality, or social justice. Nomads will discuss The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister. All are welcome with no preparation required.

Adult Sunday School, 9:15am 
Pilgrims' Sunday Morning Class is studying how the five major religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism - address the same core issues. We will be using a video lecture series titled Comparative Religion by Professor Charles Kimball, Professor and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma.
All are welcome at any point in the lecture series. Come join us for the presentation and resulting discussion.

Lecture #11-Sunday, December 10th  
"Sacred Texts for Hindus and Buddhists"  
The body of literature deemed sacred by various Hindus and Buddhists is massive and somewhat bewildering. The ways in which Hindu and Buddhists appropriate their sacred texts are as diverse as the various schools of thought and paths to the ultimate goal present within these traditions.
This second lecture on sacred texts will help demystify the major types of sacred literature in these traditions - from the ancient Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita of India to the most prominent collections embraced by various schools of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. 
Stephen Ministry  
St. Mark's is looking to revitalize its Stephen Ministry program. A Stephen Minister is a lay member (not a pastor) who is trained to offer one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. If you are interested in continuing as a Stephen Minister, or in learning more about the program, please contact Dan Hughes at If you have been trained and would like to continue serving the congregation, please contact Dan as soon as possible.
How To Help Those In Need Following Recent Natural Disasters   
The impact of recent hurricanes and other disasters, both nationally and internationally, has been devastating. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to the destruction and overwhelming needs from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria; Earthquakes in Mexico; Mudslides in Sierra Leone and West Coast Forest Fires. Pray for those who are in great need, as well as the early response teams, including countless volunteers.
It will take a long and sustained effort for all of these areas to fully recover. The most immediate way we can help is through financial assistance. If you can donate, checks can be made out to "St. Mark's" and put in the offering plate or sent to the church office. Please write "Disaster Relief-U.S." on your check's memo line for your assistance to aid U.S. states and territories, OR write "Disaster Relief- International." One hundred percent (100%) of all money donated will go directly to the children, women and men most in need. To get continuing updates of the work of UMCOR, and ways to give on-line, go to

Meets Each Wednesday, 1:00pm 
St. Mark's Quilters & Crafters
Bring your quilting or crafts to Room 10 and spend time with others who enjoy these activities. Quilters & Crafters meets each Wednesday. All skill levels are welcome and encouraged to attend.  
Meets Each Thursday, 11:30am 
Women of Wonder and Faith
A group of faithful, journeying women meeting weekly to read and discuss books on various topics of faith. We are reading John Shelby Spong's book Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy through December 14th. Please join us as we move along our faith journey, collectively and individually, as well as build valuable friendships to support each other through life's many challenges and joys. Contact the facilitator, Maria Schmidt, with questions and to let her know you are coming.
Meets Each Friday, 12:30pm
Conversations on Life Men's Group
This Friday Conversations on Life men's group will discuss the short essay by Dr. Gregory E. Sterling:  "Is the Bible Still Relevant?"  Info on Dr. Sterling can be found at:   
In the essay he argues that the Scriptures still do many things for today's people.  He suggests that there would have been no Martin Luther King Jr., without  Martin Luther's insistence on the importance of Scripture.
The group meets in the private dining room, at the basement level on the west side of the main building of Bell Trace. Visitors are always welcome.
Tuesday, December 12th, 5:30pm
Buddies of St. Francis
Buddies of St. Francis is a small group experience for those who love animals and believe that our spirituality is enhanced by their presence in the world and in our lives. This humans-only gathering will be a time to share stories, reflect, and consider opportunities for advocacy. Join us in Room 8 on Tuesday evening, December 12th, at 5:30pm. Contact Jimmy Moore for more information.

Tuesday, December 12th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Prayer Shawl Ministry now meets once a month, on second Tuesdays at 6:30pm. We invite those who knit or crochet to help provide prayer shawls for those experiencing grief, change, and life joys. We also make baptism blankets and special projects.

Wednesday, December 13th, 5:30pm-7:00pm
Meal Share Food Repack
Each month, St. Mark's volunteers go to Hoosier Hills Food Bank to repack donated food for agencies which
provide food for families. For more information, contact Glenda Murray at 
Wednesday, December 13th, 5:30PM
XYZDECeXtra Years of Zest (XYZ) Christmas Dinner
Plan to attend the eXtra Years of Zest Christmas Dinner and Entertainment in Garton Hall. The cost is $15.00 per person. Dinner will be provided by Bucceto's and will also include homemade desserts. Punch and appetizers at 5:30pm precede the six o'clock dinner. Christine Conrad will provide an inspirational musical program.
This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with old and new friends. If you are new to St. Mark's and 50 years or older, please consider putting this on your calendar.  
Sign up on the sheet at the Welcome Desk in Garton Hall, or contact the church office by December 10th. Make check payable to St. Mark's UMC and note on memo line that the check is for XYZ Christmas dinner. If you wish to pay with cash, put money in an envelope and mark it "XYZ Christmas Dinner". No reservations will be accepted after Sunday, December 10th. Your name on the sign-up sheet in Garton Hall is your reservation! 
Upcoming@St. Mark's is published once each month as an information resource and guide to the activities and events within and around the St. Mark's church community. Copies are distributed the first Sunday of each month along with the Sunday worship bulletin, and thereafter are available at the Welcome Center Desk, at the main entrances to the building, or by contacting the church office.
All ministry areas, church committees, and interest groups are encouraged to submit articles for the next edition of UPCOMING@ ST. MARK'S. Please submit information for the January 2018 Upcoming by Wednesday, December 13th. For more information and to submit articles for publication, please contact the church office.
Rev. Jimmy Moore, Pastor
Rev. Mary Beth Morgan, Pastor
Gerry Sousa, Director of Music Ministries

Rev. Sarah Gettie McNeill, Director of Children's Ministries
Please contact Sarah Gettie McNeill for Youth Ministries.
Natalie LeBeau, Finance Director
Aaron Comforty, Children and Youth Music Leader
Sierra Roussos,
Director of St. Mark's Nursery School & Kindergarten

Amy Jones,
Coordinator of Childcare
Claire Schaffer, Administrative Assistant

Dennis Morgan, Head Custodian

100 N. State Road 46 Bypass, Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: 812-332-5788     Fax: 812-333-5544
Click for a map to our location: Directions to St. Mark's UMC
Click for St. Mark's Nursery School & Kindergarten website:
100 N. State Road 46 Bypass, Bloomington, IN 47408
School Office Phone: 812-333-4007
St. Mark's UMC Newsletter Sign Up
St. Mark's United Methodist Church on Facebook
Like our Facebook page, St. Mark's United Methodist Church.
St. Mark's Parenting Facebook Group
Looking for ways to connect with other St. Mark's families in the church?  Join the St. Mark's Parenting Facebook page.  Direct questions to Sarah Gettie McNeill. 
Pets of St. Mark's UMC Community on Facebook  
Buddies of St. Francis, a small group at St. Mark's, celebrates our pets and supports the love and care of animals.  

St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 100 North State Road 46 Bypass, Bloomington, IN 47408
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