Things going on at St. Mark’s and our community

How to Apply for DACA Webinar

Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00pm
Spanish interpretation will be available.

Register here:  Webinar Registration – Zoom

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Montgomery College (MC) and CASA invite students and community members to an information session about how to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. DACA protects people from deportation and provides work authorization and a Social Security number. DACA enables Maryland high school graduates to qualify for in-state tuition at a public community college or university.

To learn about how to obtain DACA; what the process is like as a high school or college student; and to meet resourceful contacts at MCPS, MC and CASA, join this webinar at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

Spanish interpretation will be available.

Webinar Registration – Zoom: REGISTER HERE

Free Grocery Drive-Thru


Sikh families from the Guru Nanak Foundation of America would like to support your family by providing groceries safely to your car.

Just Show Up and Drive-thru!

Regathering Update – Excerpts from Suspended Services Letter

from The Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilkins, December 2020

December 7, 2020

Dear People of St. Mark’s,

Following our successful Special Parish Meeting yesterday, and some seven weeks of safely-conducted in-person worship services, and after consulting with the wardens and vestry, I find that it is time for us to heed Kenny Rogers’ words from “The Gambler:” “Know when to fold ‘em.” In the midst of the ongoing surge in the coronavirus pandemic even though vaccines are within sight, in order to keep us all as safe as we can, I’m suspending regular in-person worship as of today until conditions improve, ideally matching those that pertained in late October, when we first reopened.

…Back to the suspension.  Staff are to work from home to the extent possible. Committee chairs and the vestry are encouraged to hold meetings via Zoom where possible, and to always have a remote option available for meetings held in-person. All Christian formation activities will be held via Zoom. The current plans to open the Thrift Shop by appointment may continue at the discretion of those who are handling such appointments.

Special pastoral services – baptisms, weddings, funerals, and reconciliation – are permitted us to offer as occasion serves, so long as physical distancing and all safety precautions are followed. Please email or call me about any requests for these.

Those of us who have felt called to gather again in person have been blessed to share communion in company, even as we have felt more strongly the absence of those who have not felt so called. In that spirit, and to ensure that we minister equally to all parishioners, a small crew of volunteers will gather as time allows to record our Holy Eucharist services in the sanctuary. We will post a service each week prior to Sunday morning – or, in the case of Christmas Eve, no later than December 23rd. Each service will include a way for viewers to participate in the Eucharist at home, as did this weekend’s St. Nicholas Eucharist.

In addition, I will continue to record midweek services of prayer and song, on the model of the Feast Days and Healing Vespers offered from March until October. I will be asking our layreaders, choristers, and musicians to aid in these tasks, and to send to me recordings of scriptural readings, spiritual devotions, prayers, hymns, songs, and Christmas carols for us to include in our recorded services. I would only ask that choristers request prior approval before attempting such pieces as “O Holy Night” or those involving a tin whistle.

Lastly, I have two other requests. First, it is clear to me that we need more opportunities to gather as a community to support one another and even just to say “Hello,” “Merry Christmas,” “Happy New Year,” and “How are you? It’s good to see you. Do you need anything?” If this winter we have to do this via Zoom, phone calls, and FaceTime, so be it. But I need your help to make these things happen – and we all need each other’s ideas, suggestions, thoughts, and creativity. Please let me, our Parish Administrator Linda Lee, and your vestry members know of any of these.

Second, our community and our world are going to be in ever-greater need of support as people endure this pandemic. Let us turn whatever grief we feel into help for them. The Diocesan Hunger Fund ( is but one of many organizations that is spread thin in trying to meet people’s growing need for food. Please support them, and your local food banks, to the extent possible – and please let us know of any organizations you know that need and deserve our support. Please also prayerfully consider your support for St. Mark’s and its ministries. Without your generosity, none of this could continue.

It is, and remains, a blessing to serve this community. My prayer is that we all continue in good spirits and in good health, and have a blessed Advent.

Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilkins, Priest-in-Charge                

Galway Elementary Backpack Ministry Redux

Exciting news: St. Mark’s can still assist Galway Elementary School in providing necessary supplies to its students for the 2020-2021 school year! Although Montgomery County Public Schools (“MCPS”) will be in a virtual learning mode for the first semester of the school year, the students will need the same school supplies as if they were in a brick and mortar classroom. So, MCPS decided to have a “backpack” drive for the students in the school system. The twist is that a “backpack” is a $10.00 donation, which will be used to purchase and to supply students with supplies. What makes this program even more special is that donations can be designated to a specific school. Rev. Wilkins and the Vestry determined that St. Mark’s will keep its commitment to Galway by donating $650.00, the equivalent of 65 Backpacks!

St. Mark’s Painting and Improvements

The closure of all buildings in Montgomery County (because of the COVID-19 pandemic) spurred the St. Mark’s Buildings and Grounds committee to get a long-awaited repainting of the Church and Parish Hall going. When we return to being able to use the building (see Worship and Activities in St. Mark’s Buildings Suspended) we’ll see a greatly spiffed up worship and meeting space, with repainted and repaired services.

The opportunity to deeply clean all building areas has been used to great advantage. And you will see some new appliances in the kitchen area, courtesy of the Fellowship Committee. These replace older appliances that were failing (stove, refrigerator, etc) where repairing was less cost-effective, in the long run, than replacing them.

Events Concerning Race and Social Justice

Nationwide protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police have brought systematic racism to the forefront of national attention. Members of St. Mark’s represented the local community in a peaceful protest on June 13, 2020.

The Justice & Advocacy page of the website of the Diocese of Washington has multiple links to media interviews with The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington on her response to the use of St. John’s Episcopal Church as a political prop at the beginning of June.

Comments from a St. Mark’s Parishioner who was downtown that day are from some of her classmates who were in the immediate vicinity:

Students from Virginia Theological Seminary were in front of the White House yesterday, at St. John’s Episcopal, praying with, and providing water and snacks and care (and eventually, eye flushes) to the protesters. It was peaceful, people were kind, smiling eyes and warmest “Thank yous” for the gifts of water, granola bars, and compassionate presence.

“It was significantly before the 7pm curfew, I was scared, astounded and shocked when flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets were unleashed to clear people out of the street and off of church property.. so the President could have a terrible photo op, using my Church and my faith as props while gassing its clergy and all the innocent and peaceful people.

I understand anger, and have no problem with the emotion, and I rarely feel it roiling within me. Anger can empower people to make change, to speak and act against evil, like Jesus in the temple. What happened today was another branch of this evil, perpetuating violence against innocents. And when I talk about it I’m believed, I receive sympathy and understanding. I am not doubted or dismissed. I am alive, and my only injury is stinging eyes and a tiny bit if breathing discomfort.

My anger is roiling for all Black lives that are continually disregarded, for murders ignored and perpetuated and repeated, for dignity trampled, for shame and belittling and violence rather than honoring and respecting and upholding.”

From another classmate:

“Tear gas, flash bangs, and, rubber bullets were employed against peaceful protesters at an Episcopal parish for a political purpose. Some of my friends were there. They and others were put in danger for a political stunt. This is not Jesus.This is not the church I know.”

Other News Sources:

Episcopal News Service

Diocese of Washington’s News Page