Organized in 1874, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was established to serve the growing German Lutheran community around Steeleville. The new congregation grew rapidly. The current sanctuary was built in 1897 and enlarged in 1922. Today St. Mark’s has around 1100 baptized members and continues to meet the spiritual needs or the Steeleville community 134 years after its founding.
“God created…and it was good”, we read in Genesis. All creation is a gift given to us to be used in service and praise to our gracious Lord. God’s gift of music plays an especially important role in our congregation’s worship services. Music is a vehicle to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and a way to respond back to God with our love, praise, and thanks. Here are some examples of the many ways we proclaim the Gospel through music at St. Mark’s.
In 1878 St. Mark’s congregation purchased six city lots and a ½-acre near the church. One of the buildings on these lots was remodeled for a school. Since the attendance of the school steadily increased, more room was needed to accommodate this growth. In 1885 the decision was made to build a new school building on one of the lots recently purchased. The new 22’ x 36’ building was completed November 3, 1885. School enrollment continued to grow and more school room was needed. To this end an addition was built onto the present building in September 1906.
German was taught in some subjects in the school. Consequently, during World War I St. Mark’s was the target of harassment so it decided to close the school for one year in 1918. The school was reopened in 1919. Growth of membership in the congregation prevailed also in the school, so much that present facilities were overcrowded. A building committee was appointed and the first cornerstone was laid July 1, 1928 for the new St. Mark’s Lutheran School. The new school had three stories and contained an auditorium on the top floor, plus three classrooms, a room for the Ladies Aid, and a full basement. In 1959 the school was remodeled by dividing the auditorium into 3 rooms. The additions and changes were completed in 1960.
God the Father is creator of all that exists. God the Son, Jesus Christ, became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings. He rose to life again in victory over sin, death and Satan. God the Holy Spirit creates faith through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
Part of being “Lutheran” means that we believe that the Bible is God’s Word. We accept the Bible-based, Christ-centered teachings of Martin Luther and his colleagues as the correct interpretation of God’s Word. They inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 1500s. Luther’s teaching is summarized in three short phrases:
God loves all people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly. Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace (undeserved mercy) for Christ Jesus’ sake alone.
By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased forgiveness of sins and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the forgiveness of sins, new life and salvation that it offers. God the Holy Spirit creates this faith (belief, trust) in Christ through the Good News message of the Gospel.
The Bible is God’s Word. Because God Himself inspired the Bible, it is without error and completely reliable. In it God reveals two great messages: His Law (God’s will for how we are to live — yet when we do not follow His will, God’s law shows us our sin); and His Gospel (the Good News of forgiveness for our sins, new life, and salvation in Jesus Christ). This Bible is the only source for Christian life and church practice.
Stephen Ministry trains lay caregivers (called Stephen Ministers) to provide one-on-one Christian care to the bereaved, hospitalized, terminally ill, separated, divorced, unemployed, relocated, and others facing a crisis or life challenge. Stephen Ministry helps pastors and congregations provide quality caring ministry for as long as people need it.
Once a month a number of members gather to help produce braille Bibles through the Lutheran Braille Workers at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Chester which is a congregation a few minutes south of Steeleville.
For a few months each year, a dedicated group of ladies meets in the Ladies Aid Room at St. Mark’s School and stitch together quilts. The quilts are then taken and donated to a different charity each year. Usually anywhere from 100 to over 200 quilts are made and given away annually.
St. Mark’s Altar Guild is a wonderful group of very dedicated people who work diligently behind the scenes to make sure that everything is in place for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Altar Guild launders and cares for the altar linens, polishes the silver and brass, sets out the wine and the bread and sets up for worship services.
On the third Sunday of each month, members are encouraged to bring food items or a monetary donation to one of the weekend services for the Steeleville Food Pantry. The Steeleville Food Pantry is graciously operated and staffed from the facilities of Peace Lutheran Church in Steeleville, but is a joint service of all congregations in and around the area.
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