The Lion's Pause


Rector's Ramblings

Yesterday, May 16, was the commemoration of the Martyrs of Sudan.  

In 1983, a group of Islamist extremist took over the government in Khartoum, Sudan, and declared that shariah law would govern all of Sudan.  At the time, the southern portion of Sudan was majority Christian.  On May 16, 1983, the Christian leaders in the south declared that they would not turn away from their Christian faith.  They knew that this would bring punishment, torture, and even death.  

Christianity has a long history in Sudan.  The man who is described as an Ethiopian Eunuch and official of the court of the Candace in the eighth chapter of Acts, was from what we now know as Sudan.  He was likely the first convert to Christianity from outside of Judea and Samaria.  

Between May 16, 1983, and the time a peace treaty was signed between the north and the south on January 9, 2005, 2.5 million people in Southern Sudan were killed.  At least half of them were Christians who refused to abandon their faith.  

I had an acquaintance a number of years ago who was a missionary to the People’s Republic of the Congo.  She described a trip that she took to Southern Sudan.  She said that the church gathered in the place that a church building once stood.  There were bomb craters all around where the building once stood.  The people sang hymns. They read scripture and heard a sermon.  They celebrated the eucharist.  (It was an Anglican Church).  In spite of the devastation around them and the losses they had all experienced, they still had the joy of the gospel of Christ.  

We often think of martyrs of the church as people who lived long ago.  However, there have been martyrs of the church in every generation.  They share in common the determination that nothing will turn them away from their Christian faith. 


Sunday, May 19:

8 and 10 a.m.



Live Stream

+ECW Planning Meeting at 9 a.m.

+Intergenerational Service at 10 a.m. with Lunch to Follow

Wednesday, May 22:

NO Evening Prayer

Yoga with Beth 6:30 p.m.

Fr. RJ out of the office May 21-23

View the St. Mark's calendar HERE.

Bird Houses in the Chapel!

Please join the Sunday School children in the Betty Fortney Sanctuary after the intergenerational service on Sunday for the official hanging of the bird houses! They had lots of fun painting the bird houses and now it is time to get them into the trees for spring nesting! See you there!


Mark your calendars now for Morning Prayer services to be held in the Betty Fortney Sanctuary in the Woods!  Three services have been planned, with food and fellowship following!  

June 9 - Morning Prayer followed by cookout and Strawberry Social

July 14 - “Sermon on the Mount” followed by our traditional picnic/cookout

August 18 - Intergenerational Service and Blessing of the Backpacks

 Yoga with Beth

  • Beth Julian, CYT 200, will guide you through deep breathing paired with slow, relaxing yoga stretches and guided muscle relaxation. Think of it as a moving meditation, more than “exercise,” so if you can breathe, you can do yoga!
  • Join us for any, or all of the four sessions on Wednesdays in May: May 8, 15, 22, 29 from 7-8:15 in St. Mark’s undercroft. 
  • Cost is $10 per session, cash, check, or PayPal to
  •  Limited to 15 participants
  • Doors open at 6:40 to allow time for paperwork and settling into a meditative mind. 
  • Bring your own mat. Yoga blocks and strap are helpful but not necessary.
  • Questions? Text or call 330-705-4359 or email


My mission is to cultivate the joy of yoga, harnessing its transformative power to relieve stress and promote holistic well-being. I believe in the gentle, nurturing qualities of yoga, tailored to embrace and support bodies of all ages. Through accessible practices, individuals are invited to discover the profound benefits of yoga, fostering a lifelong journey of health, vitality, and inner peace. 

Follow Yoga with Beth on Facebook or YogaBeth63 on Instagram

From time to time, St. Mark's experiences unexpected expenses just as we all do.  Most recently, our water conditioner needed a complete rebuild costing $2,816.  If you would like to help with this cost, please note "water conditioner" in the memo line of your check.  

Thank you, Geoff Gordon 

The Diocese has continued to offer easy online giving. To use this, please select "St. Mark's Canton" from the dropdown, and choose either a one-time or recurring gift. We thank you for your continued support.
Designate a Gift to St. Mark's

Newsletter Additions

If you are adding something to the Lion's Pause, please submit it here by the Monday prior to Friday publication.

May Birthdays

2 Benjamin Clark

9 Chris Arnold Arnold

10 Dave Kiesling Jan Hudson

12 Jane King

15 Derek Gordon

19 Connor Pelger

24 Justin Crowl 

*Please note: Your birthday/anniversary will only show up if you've completed your profile on Instant Church Directory.

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Bob's Music Notes

It was Spring, 1953, two years into my music position at Canton's First Methodist. I had been saving all winter to pay for an overseas adventure in the summer studying organ in France with Marcel Dupre.

This Dupre, at age 21, had memorized all of Bach's organ works. These pieces occupy nine volumes in an edition Dupre was later to publish - all of this from memory! Virtuoso Virgil Fox had studied privately with Dupre whom he described as an "IBM machine" for his business-like interpretations. (He also, unknown to Dupre, visited the organist of Notre Dame, Louis Vierne, who had more of a "soul.") But this in no way diminishes the genius of Dupre who not only edited the works of Bach but composed some of the most brilliant works in the organ repertoire - and here I was with the opportunity to learn from this famous man. (Side note: In 1925, the year of my birth, Dupre played a recital at Massillon's St. Mary's Church on a large Schantz pipe organ that had been dedicated in 1921 by Pietro Yon, famed composer of "Gesu Bambino.")


While I was gone, to care for the musical ministry at First Methodist, I was fortunate to access the outstanding musical talent of G. Dene Barnard to substitute for me all summer long. Dene went on to be the parish musician at First Congregational in Columbus noted for the pastor who wrote "O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee."

I was able to book passage on the Queen Mary! Not first class, though - I shared a room with six bunk beds but the delight of being on that famous ship and enjoying a transatlantic crossing was all that mattered. Travel agents like to advertise "Getting there is half the fun!" - and they're right. The trip was an episode of pure relaxation and delight.  

The summer academy at Fontainebleau was established after WWI by Walter Damrosch and leading French musicians. The locale was the massive summer royal palace at Fontainebleau about 35 miles southeast of Paris. The male students were farmed out to private homes; the girls, in their own hotel. The former tennis court was fitted with a modest Cavaille-Coll pipe organ and the various rooms in the palace contained harmoniums for organ practice. These small instruments were akin to parlor pump organs but had full manuals and pedals and electric blowers. The daily schedule included dining, practice, and classes headed by none other than Nadia Boulanger, legendary teacher of almost every composer you can name (think Aaron Copland) and conductor of orchestras worldwide. Mademoiselle Boulanger had coal-black eyes that could penetrate right through you - a formidable character indeed. I was to learn later on from Robert Hebble who had private lessons from her what it was like. He would compose some music and bring it to his lesson. Boulanger would silently peruse the score, hearing every note in her head, and then proceed to advise Hebble in ways to bring out his native talent, not imposing her style. This was her great ability: to discover each student's inner voice and expand on it. Of course, my association with this master was simply one of many in her class.

Having been settled in my quarters and exploring the Palace, the date was set for my first lesson with Dupre. I was apprehensive.

Prayer Concerns

Have compassion on:  Ten Gall, Vonda Temelkoff, Henry Aegerter, Jim Weaver, Jane Schutrum, Ron Brooks, and all those who suffer from any grief or trouble.

For those who have died:  

Family & Friends:  Kathy Kennedy (former St. Mark’s parishioner) + Sandy & Lauren Stuckey (wife and daughter of Dick Stuckey, former St. Mark’s parishioners)  +  John Fortney (brother of Cindy Brown)  +  Bletzacker/Stutz families (death of Beth’s brother, Jeff)  +  Joel Harris (friend of Derek & Emily Gordon)   +   Doug (friend of Marcia Tirpak)  +  Joanne C. (Florida friend of the Kieslings)  +  Tom (brother-in-law of AnJane McConville)  +  Jody Shumway (Co-worker friend of the Rand’s daughter)  +  Dr. Mallamaci (acquaintance of Bobbi Zollinger)  +  Jolonda Mull, Kirk Schuring, Pam Lagodich, & Bill Allen (sister-in-law & friends of the Mulls)  +  Earl Hoot (father of Joe Hoot)  +  Ashley Stockman (friend of Katie & Ryan Kuceyeski)  +  Scott Jones & Tim Swihart (cousing & friend of the Gordons)  +  Larry Aclaska & Judy Heisser-Turner (acquaintance & sister of Bert Heisser)  +  Lee, Theresa, and Chuck Boone (friends & cousin of the Hixons)  +  Nori Shawk (friend of Brynn Pelger)  +  Johnny Willoughby (grandson of the Willoughbys)  +  Heather Armington & Mark Osterhage (friends of the Watters)   -   Elaine Campbell (friend of the Turners)  +  Sammy Coates (friend of Leslie Redmon)  +  Melanie & Trish (friends of Paulette Frech)  +  Pat Walter & family (friend of Barb Whitehouse)  +  Alycia Geis (Karen Violand’s friend’s daughter)  +  Don & Janet Sheatzley-Morgan (husband & sister of Barb Siegfried)  +  DaNay Jackson (friend of Ron Brookes)  +  Allison Cornell-Hood & Anne Higgins (daughter & friend of Diane Cornell)  +  Finnigan Savage (friend of Pam McCarthy)  +  Jimmy Little (son of Sue Little)   +   Yanette Pysher (Vonda Temelkoff’s cousin)   +   Tony Donahue (friend of the Boyds)  +  Marc Hostetler (brother of Susan Hostetler)  +   David (acquaintance of the Nadels)  +  Those in the Armed Forces.


St. Mark's has a group of prayer warriors who pray for the specific needs of those on the prayer chain. If you would like to place yourself or a loved one on the prayer chain, please contact Bobbi Gordon at

Prayer requests may be placed on the private Prayer Chain or on the Prayer Concerns list appearing in The Lion's Pause and Sunday bulletin or in both places. Please let Bobbi know your preference. Unless otherwise instructed, names will be listed as we receive them. Please update Bobbi or Katie on the status of your friends or family members as to when they may be removed from the prayer lists.

Contact Us:

Fr. RJ



Ministry Leaders

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515 48TH ST. NW CANTON, OH 44709



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