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September 15, 2015, 4:05 PM

From the Rector

The question is: where should we worship our Lord? Back in the mid 1970s the Lutheran Church in Estate Tutu on St. Thomas was new to the area and the congregation made significant inroads in that new and emerging community. The Episcopal Church did not have a presence in the area, so the Bishop of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands and the Pastor of the Lutheran Church worked out an arrangement to allow the Episcopal Church to conduct worship in the sanctuary at 7:00 a.m. while the Lutherans kept their worship at 9:00 a.m. This arrangement lasted for several years until the Episcopal Church built a new building on the east end of St. Thomas in Smith Bay. 

Here in Haines City, the Episcopal Church is making significant statements relative to our biblical understanding of why God called us to the city. We have forged a new understanding among our fellow colleagues about a good use of church property which is normally closed up and not in use. We have allowed the people of God from four different denominations to utilize the property for worship, and it seems as though they are as happy to be here as we are to have them. We have not allowed use of the main sanctuary like the Lutheran church did, but one never knows what next God is up to.

In addition to the novel idea about church building use, we can boldly say that the St. Mark's Thrift Store has become a main-stay in this city. One has only to volunteer in the store for a day or so and listen to the comments of people who come to the store to browse and see what's new. If you would think about it seriously enough, you will note that for some people, browsing in the thrift store may be a source of daily activity to fight off boredom.  The store is more an outreach to those bargain hunters who search for treasure than an economic engine for the church. Those of us who have served in the store understand the value the store is to people in the city and the surrounding area.  

All of you who call St. Mark’s Church your staunch place of worship should be proud of what God has allowed us to accomplish in Haines City.  We are here to make this city a place where the Name of Jesus is lifted up, regardless of denomination or church affiliation. All I can say is: we are trail blazers and we do it with pride.

I am yours, for the building up of God’s kingdom.

Fr. Chris


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