“The heart of worship is surrender.” – Rick Warren We worship to please God. We worship because He is worthy. We worship because He tells us to. Although we receive benefits (grace) through our worship of God, we our purpose in worshiping is to bring honor to our God and His Son, Jesus. St. Mark’s currently offers three worship services. Two are offered on Sunday mornings and the third is offered the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evening of each month.
first service – Sundays at 8:15am
This service has a ‘classic’ feel. We like to think of this service as being a little bit formal without being “stuffy”. Of course, the Truth of Scripture is shared and we are called to respond. During the non-Summer months, we have a full choir, with occasional bell choir and other special music offerings. While we appreciate the classic approach, we’re still informal enough that we can laugh when something goes wrong. We have no ‘dress code’ or expectation for attendance. We join together to worship God, and He wants us just as we are.
second service – Sundays at 10:30am
This service has a more modern feel. “Less formal” is probably a better term than “contemporary”: music and structure are more modern in Second Service, and the atmosphere is more relaxed. This service approaches worship as more “conversational” and so we share together in biblical teaching and try to discover how it applies to our lives in the 21st Century. Again, no dress code or expectation for attendance. We join together to worship God, and He wants us just as we are.
tuesday worship – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 4:45pm
This service is held at our food pantry location: 906 N. 10th Street (corner of 10th & Meibers). This service was borne out of our Food Pantry. If the ‘less formal’ is still too formal for you, this “informal” service should be right up your alley. We sing songs with guitar (or sometimes no) accompaniment from songbooks, we hear a brief devotion, we pray together. Although very informal, this service is characterized by touching moments with each other and with our God.
The roots of St. Mark’s Church – Decatur date back to 1839 when the first missionaries of the Evangelical Society came to the Decatur area. But it would be many years before evidence of established “classes” — sometime after the Civil War.
A number of loosely organized “classes” — or “societies” as they were also called at the time — was formally organized in 1870 as one “society” (or church) and the first building was erected in 1873 on South Winchester Street and dedicated as the Ebenezer Church of the Evangelical Association. At some point, it was changed to First Evangelical Church. A brick structure, which still stands today, was erected and dedicated in 1917.
In 1946, the Evangelical Society and the United Brethren in Christ denominations merged to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Since the city’s United Brethren church also had the “first” designation, each church agreed to choose a new name. The church on South Winchester became the Bethany E.U.B. Church. In 1954 an addition was completed which included classrooms, a modern kitchen, restrooms and a new heating plant.
But continued growth in Sunday numbers soon caused church leaders to look for a new location with more convenient parking.
Meanwhile, the other E.U.B. church in Decatur was experiencing similar growing pains. Trinity E.U.B.’s history dated to 1885 when small meetings began to be held at Kover’s Hall at the corner of Madison and First. The group grew quickly. Just one year later, they chose a site for their permanent building at what was then the west edge of Decatur. The land cost the group $225. They built a wooden structure at the corner of Ninth and Madison streets.
The First United Brethren in Christ Church sent a missionary to Africa in 1891. Ella Schenck served faithfully there but was killed in a native uprising on May 3, 1898 near Rotufunk, Sierre Leone, at the age of 31. She was to be married that same day. The stained-glass window in the lobby area of the church is a depiction of Ms. Schenck. This artwork was created as part of the new brick building erected in 1924 and was transferred to the new structure upon its completion.
The church had experienced significant growth over the years, despite what was recorded as “very difficult” times after the Panic of 1894 and during the Great Depression. After World War II, particularly in the 1950s, significant growth caused church leaders to look for a new location as the congregation had outgrown the facilities and was landlocked by residential homes. Parking was also a growing problem.
So it was only natural that the two sister congregations of the E.U.B. church explore a merger. These discussion began in 1955. Several options were explored, but it was not until 1962 until a formal report was produced and a merger proposed. A poll was taken of the members of the two churches on Sunday, May 6, 1962, which passed in favor. Hence, on June 17, 1962, the two congregations became the Decatur E.U.B. Church.
Committees were already in place to explore the variety of details in finding and obtaining a new location, building a new building. Because neither building could accommodate the average worship attendance of 416, services and Sunday school classes continued to be held at each location.
The building committee soon identified what they felt was the best choice for the site of the new church: on US 224 at Decatur’s west edge. The land was purchase in February, 1963.
Moving day was April 9, 1967. On that morning, a “farewell service” began at each of the two churches. The crosses and candles from the altars were carried from the sanctuaries; a caravan of cars began. As the cars from Bethany came up 10th Street, cars from the Trinity building were intermingled so that they arrived at the new building as one congregation. This procession required a great deal of coordination with the city and state police to make its way through town.
During this time, there had been discussions of yet another merger, this one national in scope between the E.U.B. and the Methodist denominations. That merger came to fruition in 1968, at which time the Decatur E.U.B. congregation voted to adopt “St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.”
Other significant dates in the church’s recent history include the addition of the educational wing (the L-shaped portion south from the kitchen and then east to include the lounge) in 1977. In 1987, Mr. Harry Heuer, from whom the original land had been purchased in 1963, made the adjacent 25-acres of woods available to the church; the purchase was completed and the woods was formally dedicated to Christian service on July 10, 1988.
In 1995, the church celebrated its 125th anniversary.
What We Believe
There is a long answer and a short answer to the question of the beliefs of the United Methodist Church.
The short answer is, we believe in the orthodox, traditional faith of the Christian Church as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. That orthodox belief can be encapsulated in the various ancient creeds, so this page is structured around the Apostle’s Creed.
The Creed is divided into sections affirming the doctrine of the trinity (three-in-one God).
We believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
God The Son
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
God The Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
* – catholic means universal, it is not a reference to the Roman Catholic denomination.
For the longer answer, check out the following links from the umc.org site (these will open in a new window):
What is this Salvation thing?
Salvation is a rescue. We believe that our sin, places us all on a collision course with God’s holiness. For our sake, God made a way for us to be rescued from the punishment we deserve. That rescue comes through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we’re guided to understand and receive God’s grace through the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 5:17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them.
- The Law is still in place!!!
- What is the Law?
- The Law begins with The 10 Commandments.
- If the Law has been fulfilled, what use is the Law?
The Law, Jesus & Salvation
Romans 3:19-20 19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it.
- The Law defines sin!
- The 10 Commandments are a measuring stick.
- How do you measure up?
- Can you remember/name any of the Commandments?
- Have you ever violated any of the Commandments?
- Even one violation makes you guilty!
- The Law defines sin and demonstrates that we (all of us) are not “alright”!
Romans 3:21-23 21 But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight– not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. 22 We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. 23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Re-read Romans 3:23.
- Who does the Bible define as a “sinner?”
- EVERYONE…even me!
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
- What should you be “paid” for your sin?
- Death Specifically an eternal death (Hell), but that’s a different study
John 3:3 Jesus replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.”
- Why did Jesus die?
- Jesus died to begin the Kingdom of God on Earth
- He died so that I wouldn’t have to die for my sins
John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me
- What is the only way to get to God?
- Through Jesus, God’s Son
Romans 10:9-11 9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.”
- What is required to be “saved” from the death you deserve for your sin?
- Confess that Jesus is Lord
- Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead
2 Corinthians 5:15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.
- For whom did Jesus die?
- EVERYONE…even me!
- So that those who receive His new life will live to please Him!
Revelation 3:20 “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.
- When can you receive Jesus as your “savior”?
- He’s standing at the door of your heart right now, waiting for you to invite Him in!
- Are you ready?
Ask yourself these questions.
- “Are you a sinner?”
- “Do you want the forgiveness Jesus offers through His sacrifice?
- “Do you believe Jesus died and rose from the dead?
- “Are you ready to call Him your Lord and surrender?
- “Are you ready to invite Him into your life?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, this prayer will guide you in inviting Him into your life:
I come to you today to ask for Your forgiveness.
I confess that I am a sinner and need the forgiveness Jesus offered through His death.
I believe He died for me and You raised Him from the dead.
I surrender my life to You, Jesus.
Please come into my heart, save me from the punishment I deserve for my sin, and take charge of my life.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time today, please email us and let us celebrate with you! This is not a decision to keep to yourself. We would love to know of your decision and to rejoice with the angels in heaven over your salvation!
If you still have questions, feel free to Ask a Pastor!