St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Sabillasville
by Theresa Dardanell
“Small but mighty” was the way that the parishioners described St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville, when I met with them after a recent Sunday service.
Their Facebook page gives this description: “We are a small church. But, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Small churches can provide a level of intimacy of family that might be missing in a larger setting. That is, by far, what we do best at St. Mark’s. We are diverse, and yet, close as sister and brother.”
Interim Pastor Ray Shriver said that the warm and caring members are very open and welcoming to new people.
Their small congregation is very involved with community outreach. They provide financial support to the HELP Hotline, an organization which serves people in Sabillasville, Cascade, Blue Ridge Summit, and the surrounding areas, with a food and clothing bank, as well as limited financial assistance with electric, heat and rent bills. They provide financial assistance to the Community of St. Dysmas, a Lutheran congregation in the Maryland Correctional System; they also visit the prisoners and participate in the after-care program for released prisoners. Monetary donations are provided to the Emmitsburg Council of Churches to benefit medical mission trips to Kenya.
Young people of the parish participate in service to the community and have fun at the same time. The Mountain Top Youth Group is sponsored by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sabillasville, and Living Word Ministries in Blue Ridge Summit. The young people cook food for shelter residents, help with outdoor and indoor chores for elderly neighbors, and donate Christmas gifts to the HELP Hotline. They enjoy camping trips, paint events, parties, and an annual “lock in,” where they can stay up all night (with the help of adult chaperones) doing crafts, playing games, watching movies, and just hanging out with friends. Children are not the only ones who enjoy activities at the church. On the third Thursday of every month, retirees are invited for food, fellowship, and Bingo during the Senior Lunch.
Fundraising events support the church and the community outreach projects. The popular Strawberry Festival and yard sale held in May each year features soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, and, of course, strawberry pies and shortcake. The members keep very busy baking at other times during the year. Look for their bake tables at the Sabillasville Elementary School MountainFest in October and at the Ft. Ritchie Community Center Holiday Bazaar in December.
St. Mark’s history began with services held in the home of Levi Lichtenberger in 1892. The church was built the following year; many of the original parishioners helped to build the church. The membership eventually grew to 100 active members, but gradually declined. The current membership is between 20 and 30, and their numbers include lifelong members and young families with children.
Sunday morning worship services are held at 9:15 a.m. The regular Sunday services, with traditional hymns and organ accompaniment, are held in the church.
Once a month, Muffins with Ministers, a more informal service, is held in the social hall; it begins with a delicious breakfast of casseroles, fruit, pastries, and beverages, and continues with contemporary music, the scripture readings, prayers, and the Gospel.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 17015 Sabillasville Road in Sabillasville.
Visit their website at www.stmarkssabillasville.org for directions to the church and for contact information.
To see lots of photos and get information about previous and upcoming events, please visit the Facebook pages @stmarkssabillasville and @mountaintopyouthgroup.
Members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, along with Interim Pastor Ray Shriver (front row on left) and visiting Pastor Carl Fulmor (front row on right).