Installation Service on Sunday, July 31, 2022
Zero to Three in One Day
A Sign of God’s Purpose
Have you ever noticed that significant events in our lives often happen in patterns of three? This is certainly true in the biblical framework of God working among His people. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the number three is noteworthy and meaningful. The number three appears in the Bible 467 times. In the biblical context, it symbolizes completeness and harmony as well as God’s triune nature. The LORD speaking through the prophet Isaiah (55:8) says this: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
Very often, we as believers, have a tendency to ascribe anthropomorphic characteristics to the incomprehensible and invisible creator of the universe. This is never more apparent than in our prayer lives, individually and collectively as the Church. We approach The LORD with our requests, we even provide him with the answer we would like (which in our view would solve everything) … and we wait. However, God is way ahead of us and has other plans which include blessings and purposes far beyond what we ask for or can even imagine. This has been the experience of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of the Irish Hills in Brooklyn, Michigan.
In 2013 St. Mark’s experienced a devastating schism in the church; splitting it in half and leaving it without over half of its members. Most children were gone, and so there was no youth ministry. Leadership and ministry were sorely damaged. Eventually, the rift would cost St. Mark’s it’s Pastor as well. Those were dark days; and our direction and our future were uncertain.
For nearly ten years now we have wandered in a wilderness of guest speakers, several interim pastors and a deacon who served for one year. Although noble efforts were made in public ministry and church leadership, the Church struggled and membership dwindled. Then, Covid-19 hit and St. Mark’s was reeling!
In 2019 a plan was put in place by the District Office in Ann Arbor to form a dual-parish arrangement with another LCMS church in the area. After many meetings and several attempts to call several pastors to serve this dual-parish ministry over a course of almost two years, the arrangement fell apart and disbanded in the summer of 2021. It seemed we would have to start all over. We prayed in earnest and carried on even in the absence of a pastor.
Then, late in the year of 2021 we received a call from Dr. Robert Kasper of the Michigan District Office in Ann Arbor. “Would we be open to a dual-ministry arrangement with Cross and Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ypsilanti and would we be interested in having a Vicar and a Deacon?”
Well, the rest is history as they say. On July 31, 2022 St. Mark’s installed Rev. Bryan Schindel as Pastor; we inducted Vicar Bryan Varblow, as well as commissioning Deacon Mike McCain. In one historic and miraculous day our prayers were answered in a way we never imagined. We went from having zero Public Ministers to three in one day.
Although the official installations took place on July 31st. Vicar Varblow, Deacon McCain and Pastor Schindel have been serving since late March. Already, attendance is up; there is a new attitude of excitement and expectation of growth and better days to come. We happily proclaim that our prayers have been answered in ways we never thought or asked for. How do we know it’s God’s work? Three-in-one-day! Our God is a mighty God, and he communicates in ways that let us know His will and purpose.
God is moving and exciting things are happening and are about to happen here at St. Mark’s. If you do not have a church home and are seeking one, please come and visit us; you will be most welcome. If you are not a believer but would like to explore the possibility; you are most welcome as well. If you have been away for whatever reason, we are still here and would love to see you once again.
We have changed! Check us out! God is at work.
Come and see.
Mike McCain, Deacon
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of the Irish Hills
L-R: Vicar Bryan Varblow, Pastor Bryan Schindel and Deacon Mike McCain of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of the Irish Hills
The Sunday Experience
Sunday School and Bible Study at 9:30AM
What to Expect
Expect to be greeted sincerely and warmly. The service is led by the pastor. All the words to songs, the readings from God's Word, and the responses (we call this the "liturgy") are projected on a large screen so everyone can follow along. There will be times for prayer and depending on the service there may also be baptisms, time for silent reflection, or Holy Communion.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church is handicapped accessible. If you are in need of these services, park in front of the church. Accessibility is also available from the rear parking lot through an electronic stair chair. Portable defibrillator machines are available on the premises.
A little about ourselves
St. Mark's is located at 11151 US 12, just east of the M-50 intersection, in the heart of the Irish Hills. Within a 15 mile radius sit 50 beautiful all-sports lakes. Michigan International Speedway is close by. Whether you have recently moved to the area, are renting a summer cottage, camping or attending an event, the St. Mark's family can't wait to meet you!