The Lion's Roar
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Chenango Bridge, NY
June 2016
From the Church Guy
     As Bishop Skip prepares to retire, I find myself thinking with gratitude of his support during a very difficult time in my life and ministry.  I had become Dean of the Cathedral in 2001, and realized shortly after I arrived that it was a mistake.  I'd left St. Mark's in Chenango Bridge, but realized I left my heart behind.
     I don't know if you realize how unusual it is for a priest to leave a parish, and then return to the same parish a year later.  It's really not done in the Episcopal Church.  But Skip understood the unusual circumstances, and the special bond I have with St. Mark's Church.  He could have disallowed my return (that is within the authority of a bishop), but he believed it would work out...and I think everyone agrees that it has.
     I will always be thankful for the way he listened and offered support to me in that difficult juncture in my vocation.  So when he visits us later this month, give him your very best wishes...he deserves them, I think!
                                                                         Father Mark +
The Bishop is Coming! (One last time)
     The Right Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III (or as he is more commonly known, Bishop Skip) has served the Diocese of Central New York as our bishop since 2001.  He is retiring later this year.
     On Sunday, June 26, he will be with us here at St. Mark's for the 8:00 and 10:00 services as preacher and celebrant.  Since it will be his last time to visit us, let's make it a day to celebrate.  We hereby declare Sunday, June 26 "Hawaiian Shirt Sunday."  And if you can't wear a Hawaiian shirt, at least wear very bright colors!   
A Special CHOW Collection in honor of Bishop Skip
     Starting now, we are collection jars of "Skippy" brand peanut butter for our CHOW pantry.  When Skip Adams was elected our bishop, he told the clergy to call him "GladSTUN" (not GladSTONE") or "Skip" (but not "Skippy").
     This of course stayed in the mind and mischief of your rector.  So in honor of his retirement and his final visit to St. Mark's on June 26, all this month we are collecting jars of Skippy Peanut Butter (accept no substitutes!) to make a tower of Skippy PB jars for the Sunday he visits!   
One Last St. Mark's Table Before Summer Break
     You're invited to the St. Mark's Table on Tuesday, June 21, at 6:00 p.m. (Bring a dish to share and your own place setting.)  We eat, we talk, we sing, and we enjoy a simple table Eucharist.  The Table will not be held in July or August, so be sure to come on June 21!   
 Please Sign Up to Help at the June Canteen
     On the fourth Sunday of the month (June 26), St. Mark's will provide the food and volunteers for the Sunday hot meal program at our sister parish, Trinity Memorial in Binghamton.  Can you sign up to help?  It's just a couple of hours of work that will make a huge difference in the lives of our needy neighbors.
     The sign-up sheet is on the church bulletin board.  The bishop will be with us that Sunday, but you can see him at the 8:00 service and still work the Canteen.     
 St. Mark's Youth Will Ramp It Up Again!
     Once again, the youth group of St. Mark's will build a wheelchair ramp for someone in need under the auspices of the Broome County Council of Churches.  The Vestry, to support the youth, have already authorized a gift from our mission budget of $2000 to cover the cost of the materials.
     The ramp will be built on Saturday, June 25.  The adult mentors for the St. Mark's youth are: Father Mark, Eric Laine I, Dave Surgent, and Ben Reid.  They will get the site prepared on Friday, June 24.  The youth will be getting a mailing soon about this project.       
 What's New in Sunday School
      As the 2015/2016 Sunday school year comes to an end, I would like to thank all of our dedicated teachers for giving time to work with the children, for the children who came each week, and the parents who brought them. You are the ones who make our Sunday school what it is: a fun, caring, learning environment.
     Regular classes end on May 29, but I will continue with activities thru June.  It will be a combined classroom in the undercroft (large room downstairs).  It will involve a story, craft, and game based on the environment and how we can be good stewards of it. 
                                                                                    Mary Taylor
                                                                                 Christian Ed. Director
 2016 High School Graduates
Jack Abbey
     Jack has been a member of St. Mark's since his baptism in 1998. He was confirmed at a district confirmation in May 2015. 
     Jack will be graduating from Chenango Forks High School.  He has wrestled from 1st grade thru 12th.  He placed 6th at the sectionals.  Jack has also received the Sportsmanship Award.
     In Jack's free time he works with the Chenango Forks Fire Department Team, where he has become the Chaplain of the Fire Department.
     Jack plans on attending MaCallister IFS in the fall. 
Abbie Carr
     Abbie Carr has attended St. Mark's for the last 12 years with her family.  Over that time she has participated in many youth activities including Ramp-it Up and the Feeding Canteen.  She has also served as an acolyte since fifth grade, although she had to retire due to a Sunday morning job.  Abbie attends Chenango Valley High School, where she has been active in Band, Tennis, Student Government, S.A.D.D. and French Club.  She was one of 25 students who participated in the French exchange program this past year, traveling to France over Easter break.  She is also a class officer.  Abbie works as a summer Lifeguard for the City of Binghamton and also works as a lifeguard for The Court Jester.  Abbie will be attending Penn State University in the fall to study political science. 
Jenny Carr
     Jenny Carr has attended St. Mark's for the last 12 years with her family.  Over that time she has participated in many youth activities including Ramp-it Up and the Feeding Canteen.  She also has served as an acolyte since fifth grade, although she had to retire due to a Sunday morning job.  Jenny attends Chenango Valley High School where she has been active in Volleyball, Softball, and S.A.D.D.  She also serviced as the president of the student store.  Jenny has worked as a summer lifeguard for the City of Binghamton and has also worked at the B-Mets and Nirchi's Pizza.  Jenny will be attending S.U.N.Y Oswego in the fall, where she will study human development. 
Kenoa Tio
     Kenoa will be graduating from Chenango Forks High School.  He will be attending Villanova University next year to study finance and minor in real estate.  He hopes to get a job immediately following his four years in school and plans to go back to gain an MBA a few years later.  His extracurricular activites include playing baseball and basketball.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and enjoys staying active in the community.  Kenoa has been attending St. Mark's since he was very young and has been an acolyte since 5th grade and a member of the youth group for several years.
 Prayer Shawl Ministry
     Thank you to all the Prayer Shawl Knitters for another great year!  We will end our year with a lunch at Claire Ernstrom's home at 6 Badger Drive, Chenango Bridge, at noon on June 8.
 What's Up With the Book Club
     June is the time when we regroup and look towards possible books for the coming year - so we will not meet for a book discussion in June.  Our next meeting will be on July 11 at 1 p.m.  We meet at Denny's Restaurant; and all are welcome to attend.
                                                                               Lil Ruf
 To the Retreat Women
     A huge and heartfelt thanks to all of you who attended the retreat at Sky Lake.  The conversations were lively and meaningful and took us to some wonderful places.  Dorothy Pierce's mediation and Hildegard's music carried us gently to more wonderful places.  What a joy it is for me to be a part of all the varied and profound things you all contribute to our journey together.
     Another huge and heartfelt thanks to Stacey Gridley, Sue Thomas and Karen Van Kleeck for their shopping skills and for their culinary skills which nourished us so well, and their willingness to feed us in so many different ways.  Thanks also to all those who offered help in the set-up and clean-up for our meals together.  It is true that many hands make light work, and contributions were appreciated beyond measure.
     The retreat was amazingly rich and the comeraderie fantastic!  I'm already looking forward to next year and I hope you all are too.
                                                                         Blessings and love,
 An Invitation to create questions to be answered by the
CNY Candidates for Bishop at the Diocesan Walk-abouts
Dear Rector, Clergy-in Charge and all laity,
     The Transition Team for the upcoming election for Biship of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York seeks your help.  The candidates have been selected and presented electronically and in print.  Now it is our job to sort out who we believe could successfully be the next bishop of this diocese.
     We ask for your participation in this process by developing questions you would like the candidates to answer.  Perhaps something came to mind after reading both their biographical statements and their answers the questions posed by the search committee.  There may also be an idea that has been brought up that you would like to hear about.  These questions will be grouped, categorzied, melded and organized so they can be asked of the candidates at the walk-about presentations in July.
     There are several ways to accomplish this task.  Congregations may want to gather their questions and submit them as a group.  If study groups are in process in your parish, you may want to work and submit that work as a group within a congregation.  Individual questions may also be submitted.  When designing your questions, write them in a manner that a completed answer could be given in a five minute time frame, once the candidate has had an opportunity to hear the question and think about it for a minute.
     As in all things about this process, there is a final dealine.  Questions will be received until midnight on June 11, 2016.  Questions may be submitted electronically (the prefered way) to or they may be mailed using the postal service to Deacon Shelly Banner, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 900 Vine Street, Liverpool, NY 13088. 
People of Blessing Service
     The annual People of Blessing service is an ecumenical event of blessing involving gay, lesbian and transgendered church people in the Binghamton area.  For too many years, this community has suffered from prejudice, discrimination and condemnation from faith communities.  Happily, the change has begun.
     Fr. Mark has been a participant in this annual service for a number of years, and will attend this year's service.  It is being held at the 1st Congregational Church at the corner of Front and Main Streets in Binghamton on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome (of course!) and refreshments follow.
     Fr. Mark's favorite part of the service is the conclusion, when the clergy of the different faith traditions stand in a big semi-circle at the front and offer a blessing to the congregation.  If you have questions about the service, be sure to ask him.
Liturgy Corner 
      (The Vestry has asked Fr. Mark to write a little note explaining something about our liturgical worship services each month, as a sort of educational piece.)
     You may have noticed how an acolyte pours water over my hands into a small bowl after the Passing of the Peace and just before the Great Thanksgiving.  This is a symbolic washing, and I use a prayer as I wash my hands.  The prayer comes from Psalm 51:  "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."  I feel a deep honor when I preside at the Eucharist, standing across from you at our altar, and it is meaningful to me to offer these words in prayer to center my heart and mind.
     This ceremony is called the "lavabo" (from the Latin word meaning "wash"), and is not required, but is customary for many clergy.  The small silver bowl is called a "lavabo bowl" (note:  when I was in seminary, we had a football game each autumn between my alma mater, Seabury-Western in Chicago, and Nashotah House seminary in Wisconsin...and we called this football game "The Lavabo Bowl."  I was too smart to play in the game, which was pretty rough!).  The small towel is called the "lavabo towel." 
     By the way, it is only a ceremonial washing.  Before I touch the bread and wine, I also use hand sanitizer we keep on the altar.  I don't know if cleanliness is really next to godliness, but clean hands are truly important!
June Birthdays
Kristen Bertram 6/2
David Surgent 6/18
Sara Abbey 6/3/05  
Arden Meier 6/19
Sandy Zanker-Nichols 6/3 Libby Graham 6/20
Cecilia Kasmarcik 6/4/10
Audrey O'Brien 6/20
Stacey Gridley 6/5
Alexis Hill 6/21/04
Maxwell Johnson 6/6/00
Kathy Lockwood 6/21
Karen George 6/8 Edie Baker 6/23
Elaine James 6/8
Ben Reid 6/25
Sabrina McHale 6/9 Dorothy Lasicki 6/27
James Deyo 6/12
Andrew Bodine 6/28/14
Abbey Meier 6/13/09 Daniel Gridley 6/28/96
Gary Henderson 6/13 Jack Roberts 6/28/11
Shaylee Meier 6/14/05 Joshua Black 6/30/01
Ben Carr 6/15 Mary Porteus 6/30
Laura Chestnut 6/18
*  *  *  *
Anniversaries in June
David & Diane Pierson 6/7/75
Arden & Kim Meier 6/9/01
 Marty & Sabrina McHale 6/9/12
Mark & Susan Phelps 6/14/80
Fred & Mary Jo Doolittle 6/15/57
Yassin & Shanna Laroussi 6/22/12
Gary & Libby Graham 6/28/75
Dave & Melissa Rowley 6/30
*   *   *
For Your Calendar in June
    June 2
    7am             Men's Group - Red Oak
    7:30am        Women's Group - Denny's
    9am             Morning Prayer
    6pm             Weight Watchers
June 3
1pm             Singles Ministry
June 5 -  CHOW Sunday
8am             Holy Eucharist - Rite 1
9am             Bible Study
10am           Holy Eucharist
10am           Children's Program 
11:30am      Choir Rehearsal
12:00pm      Baptisn of Madison Smith
June 6
7pm             Al-Anon
June 8
Noon           Prayer Shawl luncheon at Claire's
June 9
7am             Men's Group - Red Oak
7:30am        Women's Group - Denny's
9am             Morning Prayer
6pm             Weight Watchers
June 12
8 & 10am     Holy Eucharist
9am             Bible Study
10am           Children's Program
11:30am      Choir Rehearsal
June 13
7pm             Al-Anon
June 14
9am             Guy's Breakfast @ Red Oak
June 15
1pm             Womens Lucheon @ Cortese
June 16
7am             Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am        Women's Group @ Denny's
9am             Morning Prayer
6pm             Weight Watchers
June 17
1pm             Singles Ministry 
June 19- Father's Day
8 & 10am      Holy Eucharist
9am              Bible Study
10am            Children's Program
11:30am       Vestry meeting
11:30am       Choir Rehearsal
June 20
7pm             Al-Anon
June 21
6:30pm        St. Mark's Table
June 22
7:30am        Clericus
June 23
7am            Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am       Women's Group @ Denny's
9am            Morning Prayer
6pm            Weight Watchers
June 24 & 25
                  Ramp-it Up
June 26 - Final Visitation of Bishop Adams
8am            Holy Eucharist & Healing
9am            Bible Study
11am          Trinity Feeding Canteen
June 27
7pm            Al-Anon
June 28
9am            Guy's Breakfast @ Red Oak
June 29 - Father Mark on vacation thru 7/12
June 30
7am             Men's Group @ Red Oak
7:30am        Women's Group @ Denny's
9am             Morning Prayer
6pm             Weight Watchers
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 458, Chenango Bridge, NY,