Dear Friends: In his final words to the disciples before ascending into heaven, Jesus tells them, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).”
As disciples of Christ today, we take seriously this mandate from Jesus “to be my witnesses.” Our job is to witness to the love we know in Jesus through words and acts, both individually and collectively. Witnesses tell others of what they know to be true and they act in accordance with that truth.
This theme will guide our vibrant community of faith into the next five years of our life together. For more than a year, parishioners have participated in listening sessions and completed surveys while vestry has studied responses while praying and working toward the creation of this strategic plan. We reaffirmed our mission and congregational values while creatively and faithfully mapping out a way for us to witness to the love Jesus came to share with all the world.
As St. Mark’s lives out its mission, the leadership will continually refer to the strategic plan. You Will Be My Witnesses ensures that we are working together toward a common goal. It also helps us to stretch our imaginations while respecting our limitations. St. Mark’s cannot be all things for all people but we can be a powerful witness to the Gospel in Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach County and to the ends of the earth.
I hope you will take a few minutes to review You Will Be My Witnesses and your place in helping St. Mark’s shine as a beacon of faith, hope and light.
See you Sunday!
The Rev. James B. Cook
The purpose of St Mark's is to glorify God, nurture and serve the community, and share in the life of the risen Christ.
Congregational Core Values
Investigate the need for an Episcopal retirement community in northern Palm Beach County.
Do what we say we are going to do!
Develop a partnership of ministry and worship with New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach and/or with other congregations in differing areas of northern Palm Beach County.
Require volunteer succession plans.
Evaluate appropriate staffing for growth, communication, and ministry leadership initiatives.
Fund appropriate staffing for growth, communication, and ministry initiatives.
Complete the rehab of transitional house in West Palm Beach.
Support Hearts of Palm through funding, volunteers, ideas, and staff.
Be open to new ministry ideas.
Develop and train new leaders for ministries and committees.
Identify parishioners who volunteer in other ministries that are outside the scope of St. Mark’s and pray for them.
Continue to develop social media communications.
Take a pilgrimage to Coventry Cathedral through Cross of Nails.
Initiate partnerships with existing non-profits in Palm Beach County that complement ministries at St. Mark’s.
Offer more services for seniors, including luncheons, studies, resources on aging, estate planning and health care.
Create, develop, and implement “Arts at St. Mark’s” that promotes Coleman Hall and strengthens relationships with St. Mark’s School.
Build program that promotes the agenda for being a Cross of Nails community.
Strengthen ties with the local police and fire department.
Create events that position St. Mark’s as a leader around national and world issues: interfaith challenges, climate change, educational advancements, aging, values, theological distinctions within the Christian faith, racial healing, etc.
Convene groups to identify community needs and determine how St. Mark’s is involved.
Maximize building usage that complements our ministry goals.
Continue to build a culture of safety for anyone who comes onto the campus through regular reviews, integration with school, safe-church child care, and safety measures through increased security.
Lead the conversation around racial healing and commit to learning more and talking more about current challenges facing Western cultures.
Ensure that technology facilitates better communication.
Continue to partner with St. George’s Church and Community Center in mission, outreach, worship, and fellowship.
Offer additional adult formation opportunities at St. Mark’s.
Offer additional adult formation opportunities on-line for personal study at home.
Increase fellowship opportunities.
Evaluate appropriate staffing for formation initiatives.
Fund appropriate staffing for formation initiatives.
Implement Renewal Works offered by Forward Movement.
Encourage personal responsibility for faith development.
Build a stronger, more comprehensive music ministry.
Form a children’s choir.
Research, evaluate and possibly implement alternative weekend worship services.
Encourage scriptural learning in relation to mission and service efforts.
Support youth group leaders and fund youth-group activities and events.
Explore opportunities for worship with other churches and denominations.
Build on St. Mark’s Cares ministry.
Increase participation in Breaking-Bread ministry.
Increase opportunities for children’s talents and gifts to be used in church, school, and personal lives.
Continually evaluate existing programs for relevance, effectiveness, and growth opportunities.
Invite outside guests and preachers who promote the spiritual life.
Provide a forum for parishioners to share how their Christian values, moral and ethics shape their professional lives.
Continue to invite school families into the life of the parish through church ministries, worship services and events.
Explore ways to integrate multi-generations.
Explore a regular Sunday Forum or Bible study.
Encourage growth and excellence in all existing and future programs.
Continue St. Mark’s involvement in the Mama Ada Foundation and further mission work in Haiti, Costa Rica, Kenya and elsewhere God calls.
Find ways to include youth in worship leadership roles in addition to maintaining existing acolyte ministry.
Provide resources for families while addressing all ages.
Support labyrinth ministry and other prayer ministries through the Peace Chapel at St. Mark’s.
Recommit to Daughters of the King and encourage their leadership in deepening the prayer life of the parishioners.
Communicate ways to participate in planned giving.
Develop an app for giving to St. Mark’s and for general communications.
Hire a manager for retail operations at St. Mark’s (Lion’s Den, Thrift Shop, On-Line Store).
Challenge the congregation to achieve 75 percent pledge participation.
Lower debt left from We Will! Build in Faith campaign.
Support Cornerstone Scholars at St. Mark’s School.
Fully fund implementation of initiatives by acquiring appropriate staffing and financing of that staff as recommended by existing staff of church and school.
Promote and encourage “green” sustainability projects such as technology and sound ecological and environmental policies.
Provide support to staff for continuing education and development that is necessary to fulfill initiatives, including spiritual retreats, opportunities for growth & renewal and professional development.
Partner with local colleges and universities to develop IT projects.
Encourage participation in church and school activities by all adults.
Build relationships with vendors and sponsors that align with St. Mark’s missions and ministry and support our life together.
Host a family movie night.
Integrate school and church strategic plans.
Develop technology that makes giving to St. Mark’s easier.
Increase profits from Lion’s Den and Thrift Shop.
Integrate new members into life of parish.