St. Mark’s Lenten Book Read

March 16 & 23 @ 7:30 P.M. in person and available on Zoom

Canon Stephanie Spellers recently began a talk about her new book The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for the Beloved Community with this quotation from Paul: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5. 17-18) In her short work she engages the decline of the influence of the mainline churches in American society, the history of the complicity of Christianity with structures of racism, the heroes who at critical times stood up for gospel values, and suggests ways that we all individually and collectively can begin to become a new creation and transform our churches into the Beloved Community. 

Margalynne Armstrong and Rebecca Lyman will lead two discussions of the book during Lent. We will look at definitions of Beloved Community and the struggles of the church in history (Intro-Chapter 4) on March 16. We will discuss her suggestions for transformation through kenosis, solidarity, and discipleship (Chapters 5-Conclusion) on March 23.

We chose this book as our shared reading for Lent because Canon Spellers is challenging and hopeful in addressing both our individual and community journey toward God’s dream for our world. Church history   contains the worst and the best of human actions, like our own lives, and all are always surrounded by both   God’s judgment and grace. We struggle with our history of race in our country and church as a means of   restoring justice and wholeness for ourselves and our communities. There is a Reader’s Guide with questions   and scriptural passages which can be used while reading: 

 If you would like to obtain a copy through the church office, please email LeeAnne McDermott ( and she will leave a book out on the table by the office door for you to pick up. You can leave payment ($16.50, checks made to “St.Mark’s”, note-”Lent Book”) in an envelope with your name on it in the locked box above the pick-up table.