Outreach

Outreach is how we seek to make Christ known to the world. Current ongoing outreach ministries include the Eliot Meal, the Middlesex Meal, food pantry collections, can tab collection, the Westford Preschool, blood drives, the Chocolate Festival, the Walk for Hunger, and others. The Outreach team provides opportunities for, and welcomes your involvement in, the projects we support throughout the year.


Feeding the Hungry

Eliot Meal: St. Mark’s serves approximately 1,700 meals per year through our monthly
participation at St. Paul’s Table at Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell. On the first Wednesday of
the month, a team from St. Mark’s prepares and serves meatloaf, mashed potatoes, bread and
salad, provided by parishioners who sign up monthly to prepare and donate the food of their
choice. To learn more or sign up for next month’s meal, please contact Paul Ackroyd at phackroyd@verizon.net
 

In 2014, we expanded our ministry at the Eliot meal to spend more time talking with the guests,
exchanging our stories, and getting to know some of them better. To enable this growth, in
November we hosted a workshop called "Eat & Share: Next Steps in Food Ministry," which was
designed by The Mission Institute at the request of St. Mark's. The workshop offered both
practical hands-on exercises for building relationships in settings like the Eliot Meal, as well as
time to reflect on how our faith teaches us to reach out to those in need and to walk with them in their struggles.
About 20 people from across the diocese, including several from St. Mark’s, attended the workshop. 
We welcome all to join in this aspect of our ministry.

Food Pantry: St. Mark’s supports both the Open Pantry in Lowell and the Westford Food Pantry
at the Cameron Senior Center in Westford through ongoing collection of food items and through
annual food drives. A basket stands ready in the church entryway to receive food donations,
which are delivered weekly to the food pantry. 

Chocolate Festival


The Chocolate Festival is St. Mark’s signature outreach event, raising thousands of dollars each
year for local food pantries. Local restaurants as well as dozens of chocolate experts from St.
Mark’s show off their best chocolate creations in a festively decorated Williams Hall just before
Valentine’s Day. Guests pay an entry fee and then they can sample as much chocolate as their
stomachs can handle. The can also vote for their favorites, both professional and amateur, to
help bestow bragging rights at the end of the afternoon.

The event includes live music, a children’s craft area, raffle items donated by local businesses
and a silent auction. Half the proceeds benefit the Westford and Lowell food pantries.

For 2015, the Chocolate Festival will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For
more information, contact the church office at 978-692-7849, secretary@st-mark.org.

Read more about the event in the local media:
Lowell Sun: St. Mark's Chocolate festival helps to feed the hungry


Walk For Hunger


The Annual Greater Lowell Walk for Hunger begins and ends at St. Mark's, and has for the past 32 years.
The walk is a 13-mile scenic course through Westford and Chelmsford consisting of two loops (4.2 & 8.8
miles). Money raised from the walk is distributed to support the Alternative House, the House of Hope,
the Lowell Transitional Living Center, the Open Pantry of Greater Lowell, the Merrimack Valley Food
Bank Mobile Pantry, the food pantries in Westford and Chelmsford, and Sharing, Inc. For more
information, visit the Walk for Hunger website http://www.westford.com/walkforhunger/. 


Pastoral Care

Pastoral care at St. Mark’s is provided by Rev. Suzanne and by a pastoral care team of lay people
committed to providing assistance and support to people in need. Pastoral care includes home
communion to those unable to join regular Sunday worship; counseling, emotional support, and referral
to professional services for those experiencing life crises; meals for those recovering from childbirth,
surgery, and illness; prayers for healing for anyone who requests it for themselves or on behalf of
someone they love; and emergency financial assistance. For more information on opportunities to
participate in caring for our community, please contact Herb Elliott, Pastoral Care Team leader, at herb.elliott@cheza.com

The Pastoral Care Team also sponsors a monthly worship service at Bridges Memory Care for residents
and their families. St. Mark’s members join residents in offering prayers and singing familiar hymns,
followed by distribution of Holy Communion to all who desire it. The service is held on the third
Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m. at Bridges Memory Care, 108 Littleton Road, Westford.

Home communion visits are available to anyone prevented from attendance at worship, whether by
illness, disability, work schedules, transportation issues, or family situation. You do not have to be a
member of St. Mark’s to request a home visit: we welcome the opportunity to connect with neighbors
unable to join us on Sunday morning, regardless of church membership. To schedule a home visit,
contact Rev. Suzanne at Revsuzannewade@gmail.com or (508) 472-9656.

Memorial Garden


St. Mark’s has established a Memorial Garden for the interment of cremated remains in a
Christian, dignified, inexpensive and simple manner. This Garden has been established in a sheltered
corner of the church property. It is intended to be a natural and pastoral setting conducive to
contemplation, prayer and reflection on the loved ones who are interred in the garden. The Garden
area is also an ideal setting for small church services in times of pleasant weather.

Interment in the Memorial Garden is intended for members of St. Mark’s Parish and their
immediate family. Others may be interred at the recommendation of the Memorial Garden Committee.
Only cremated remains in biodegradable containers will be interred in the Memorial Garden. Interment
sites are marked with church-supplied granite blocks with brass name plates, flush mounted to the
ground. No other plaques or monuments are permitted, and no shrubs or flowers may be planted in the
enclosed section of the Memorial Garden.

For more information or to request a space reservation, contact the parish administrator or the
rector  Revsuzannewade@gmail.com .
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