St. Mark’s members contribute to four designated organizations as our quarterly benevolences.

Q1 - Our First Quarter 2019 Benevolence Recipient at St. Mark's is ECHO, the Ecumenical Community Helping Others, of which St. Mark’s is one of the nine charter member congregations when it was formed in 1968. ECHO is an all volunteer, 501(c)(3) charity, which gives food and financial help to people with short-term emergencies and provides clothes and household items to people with low incomes. In our current situation of the government shutdown, ECHO is helping by also offering emergency financial needs among people who are normally self-sufficient. ECHO’s only requirement is that the caller live within the boundaries of their service area. Learn more at https://www.echo-inc.org/.

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Q2 - Our Second Quarter 2019 Benevolence at St. Mark’s is divided between two of our local Lutheran camps:

* Caroline Furnace Lutheran Retreat and Camp Center is a place to encounter God in God’s creation and through an intentional Christian community. They believe this experience has the power to permanently change lives. Caroline Furnace is committed to remaining a special place apart, with a focus on God’s grace and presence, and on positive community building. Learn more at https://www.carolinefurnace.org/.
* Mar-Lu-Ridge Year-Round Retreat and Conference Center is a year-round ministry of the ELCA. Situated in the beautiful Catoctin Mountains of central Maryland, Mar-Lu-Ridge ministers through summer camp, retreats, our conference center, and a variety of programs offered throughout the year. In addition to their traditional summer camp sessions, they also offer many specialty camp sessions including, but not limited to: adventure, arts, horseback, Night Owls, Civil War, and space camps. Learn more at https://www.mar-lu-ridge.org/.

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Q3 - Our Third Quarter 2019 Benevolence at St. Mark’s is also divided between two local groups, each of which helps the homeless in our community, as part of our CONNECTING OUT solutions for this year:

* The Lamb Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Virginia Corporation and an ecumenical center serving the homeless in Fairfax, Virginia. The Lamb Center focuses on ending homelessness and providing hope. But to make a difference in homelessness, food, clothing, and hot showers are just the first steps. Almost every person The Lamb Center encounters needs job counseling, transportation, and housing. We work with other organizations, ministries and government agencies to help people get back on their feet. The Lamb Center is working to end homelessness by transforming lives through Christian spirituality, counseling, and service. Learn more at https://www.thelambcenter.org/.

“We are serving the poor and homeless, transforming lives, and sharing God's love.“ ~ The Lamb Center

* Founded in 1988, FACETS, which stands for Fairfax Area Christian Emergency and Transitional Services, is a well-established 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that touches and improves the lives of thousands of families and individuals every year. We open doors by helping people meet their emergency shelter, food, and medical needs, helping them gain safe, sustainable and permanent housing and working with them to end the cycle of poverty through educational, life skills and career counseling programs. Our multi-disciplinary professional staff manages a comprehensive range of programs and services and a volunteer base of several thousand.  As a founding and active partner in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness, FACETS is committed to working collaboratively in the county-wide effort to help our neighbors in need of safe and affordable housing. We invite you to be and feel a part of our work to open doors for people in need in Fairfax County. Learn more at http://facetscares.org/.

St. Mark’s volunteers our people and our facility to host our homeless guests one week each winter under the FACETS Hypothermia program.

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Q4 - Our Fourth Quarter 2018 Benevolence Recipient at St. Mark's is ELCA World Hunger Appeal. God richly provides for our daily bread—the earth can produce enough to feed everyone. Yet many still go hungry. Working alongside other organizations, ELCA World Hunger has already made a huge collective impact on hunger worldwide. But the rate of global progress against hunger is slowing in many of the world’s poorest communities. And here in the United States, one in six Americans aren’t always sure where their next meal is coming from. Many are forced to choose between paying for food and other basic necessities. There is more work to do here at home and around the world. And God invites us to participate and lead in this effort. As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and through our gifts to ELCA World Hunger, we commit to pursuing a world of justice where all are fed. Learn more at https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/ELCA-World-Hunger.