Friday, November 16, 2018

Daily Prayer Nov. 16

Good is the Lord, whose mercy is everlasting; and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.
Joel 2:28-3:8; James 1:16-27; Luke 16:1-9
Almighty God, you have taught us that all our deeds without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all goodness. Give us your hope, O God, that we may rejoice in your goodness to us and to all your children, and be thankful for your love revealed in Jesus Christ. Give strength to those who are searching together for that kind of obedience which creates unity. Heal the divisions separating your children one from another, so that they will make fast, with bonds of peace, the unity which the Spirit gives. High God, holy God: you rule the ways of peoples, and govern every earthly government. Work with those who work for your ways. Make every person in authority an agent of your reconciliation, and every diplomat an ambassador of hope. Bring peace and goodwill among all people, fulfilling among us the promise made in Jesus Christ, who was born to save the world. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


 St. Mark will continue our tradition of using poinsettias to beautify our sanctuary the last two Sundays of Advent. Please consider ordering one or more poinsettia to brighten your home or order a plant to be delivered to a homebound member as a tangible reminder of their spiritual connection to St. Mark.

Order forms can be found by the flower chart on the easel in the pastors’ office hallway. Place the order form and a check for $6 per plant in the “Flowers” mailbox in the church office by Sunday, November 25. Our poinsettias are sourced from a locally owned greenhouse. Any questions, please contact P. Eisenberg, Flower Committee chair  or the church office 636-394-2233

Monday, November 12, 2018

Music Notes

Sarah Vlodek
Sarah Vlodek, our new children's music director started rehearsals on Wednesday, October 17. She has begun preparing the choir for a mini-musical to be presented Sunday, December 9. All you parents who have been waiting for this, it is time to commit! Sarah also met our middle school students, and if there is interest and commitment, she would be an enthusiastic musical leader for them. There will also be an opportunity for those who play instruments (at least 2 years of band/orchestra or private lessons) to participate in the Advent season and on Christmas Eve. Watch for bulletin announcements and emails!

St. Mark invites youth and children to attend a special night on Wednesday, November 14 as we welcome our new children's music director, Sarah Vlodek. We'll enjoy an assortment of sweet treats before the children's choir begins at 6:15. The choir is working on its Christmas program, and we'd love to have many little voices present making a joyful noise. Children are invited to stay after choir to participate in our awesome Wednesday evening program.

Marsha Medley
The Chancel Choir has begun preparing the cantata The Promise of a King by Larson and Martin for Sunday, December 16 at the 10:30 AM service. We will again be accompanied by guest musicians. One feature of this cantata is the use of the Micah 6:6-8 passage. As we remember the wise men bringing their gifts to the newborn King, we are asked to think about what we can humbly bring to our Lord.

We do invite anyone interested in singing with us to join us for rehearsals starting Wednesday, November 28 at 7:45 PM, then progressively earlier as we get closer to December 16. There is also a rehearsal Saturday, December 15 at 9 AM.

Soli Deo Gloria, Marsha

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Minute for Mission: Veterans Day

Armistice Day – 100 Years Ago

November 11, 2018
Colossians 1:24 – Paul writes “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.”
 One hundred years ago today, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, fighting in World War 1 came to an end. Kaiser Wilhelm had abdicated on the previous day, and the new government of Germany, eager for peace, immediately concluded an armistice agreement with the Allies.
The war did not go out with a whimper, however, as the deadliest battle in U.S. history still raged with fierce destruction that morning. The Neuse-Argonne Offensive had begun on Sept. 26, 47 days earlier. By the time the armistice was declared, more than 54,000 soldiers had lost their lives in this battle; 26,277 of them were Americans who had volunteered for service.

T. M. Bulla (Photo provided)
First Lt. Thomas McNeill Bulla, a Presbyterian minister of Word and Sacrament serving as an Army chaplain, was among those who had given his life less than a month before.
Bulla was born of immigrant parents in the rural area of Cape Fear, North Carolina, in 1881. He attended Davidson College and Union Seminary. Ordained and installed in First Church, Emporia, Virginia, in 1913, Bulla served four congregations simultaneously at the time of his entrance into the Army Guard of Virginia in 1917. In June of 1918 his infantry regiment sailed for France. On Oct. 8,  the regiment joined the Neuse-Argonne offensive.
On Oct. 15,  Bulla’s unit became the lead element in an attack at the Moleville Farm. During the assault, Bulla exposed himself to enemy fire, moving across “no man’s land” to help wounded soldiers to safety and to bring back those who had died. The duty was not required of chaplains – Bulla went forward of his own volition and contrary to orders. On that day, Bulla was struck by enemy fire and mortally wounded. He died of his wounds two days later.
Chaplain Bulla answered in the affirmative to this vow at his ordination:
Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a minister of the gospel, whether personal or relative, private or public; and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the gospel in your conversation, and to walk with exemplary piety before the flock of which God shall make you overseer?
 In fulfilling this vow, Chaplain Bulla suffered and died.
Today, on this 100th anniversary of the end of fighting in World War I, we pause and remember more than 16 million people who lost their lives during the conflict. And as we remember and pray that we will never pursue such horrendous carnage again, may we also remember the Lord’s servants represented by Chaplain Thomas Bulla. He was a servant of peace, proclaiming the entire message of Christ, in the midst of war, sacrificing himself that others might live.
Lyman M. Smith, Captain, CHC, USN, Retired; Director of the Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel
Today’s Focus:  Veterans Day
Let us join in prayer for: 
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Let us pray:

Forgive us, Lord, for the carnage we call war. Heal us and restore us now, O God. May your servant Tom Bulla be an example that enables us to willingly suffer for your church, seeking the fullness of your peace. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 11, 2018, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Worship Prayers for Nov. 4

CENTERING PRAYER  Faithful God, source of every blessing: teach us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who persecute us, to turn the other cheek, to share our possessions, to give to those who are in need, and to do to others as we would have them do to us, so that we may join that company of blessed saints who feast with you in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
         I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
         Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Come!  Let us worship our God together!

O God, you have been faithful, yet we have not loved you with our whole hearts.  You showed us how to love our fellow human beings, yet we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  Turn us back to you, O God, that we may follow your commandments; through Christ our Lord we pray.  (Silent Confession)

SCRIPTURE READING                                                                         Mark 12:28-34

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH - Heidelberg Confession of Faith Question One

Q.    What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A.    That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful            Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.  He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.  Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

For the sermon First Things First: One, click here

Friday, November 9, 2018

Daily Prayer for Nov. 9


You, O Lord, are full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and rich in kindness.
Zephaniah 3:8-13; Revelation 17:1-18; Luke 13:31-35
God our creator, you made all things in your wisdom, and in your love you save us. We pray for the whole creation. Overthrow evil powers, right what is wrong, feed and satisfy those who thirst for justice, so that all your children may freely enjoy the earth you have made, and joyfully sing your praises. Take all our doubts and uncertainties, O God, and fill us with such faith that we may be confident of your love and loyal in the service of him who died and yet lives for us, Jesus Christ the Lord. Merciful God, you bear the pain of the world. Look with compassion on those who are sick; cheer them by your word, and bring healing as a sign of your grace. God of comfort, stand with those who sorrow; that they may be sure that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, shall separate them from your love. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
As God's own, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, and crown all these things with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Giving Thanks

St. Mark's annual Giving Thanks supper is Sunday, November 18 at 11:30 AM. Please RSVP by
signing your family up to attend at the Fellowship Table in the Narthex.

We will offer a children's menu this year, so please check that off on the sign-up sheet! Please bring a pie or dessert to share with your church family.

We will be collecting non-perishable foods and/or monetary donations for Circle of Concern. (Monetary donations will be used to purchase fresh, perishable foods for Circle Clients.) Hope to see you and your family at the event!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Worship Prayers for Oct. 28

CENTERING PRAYER  “Alas, Lord, we are not worthy that the earth should support us, nor worthy to set our eyes on heaven…But please do not turn thy face from us; look with pity not on us but on thy Son Jesus Christ. Grant that we shall turn to no other God but thee. Grant us to keep thy holy rest by resting from our work, in order to let thee work in us.” Pierre Viret (1511-1571)
Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory,
but by the grace of God we are redeemed.
Let us worship God.
   Eternal God, we confess we have failed to seek your will. You write your law in our hearts, but we ignore your holy word. You call us to be reconciled but we continue to live in discord. Forgive us, God of grace. Reform and transform our lives so we may live in the light of the truth that sets us free; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Silent Confession)
SCRIPTURE READING                                                                                 Mark 10:46-52                                                                                                     
   SERMON                                      “First Things First: Courage”
                                                               Dr. Dave Burgess

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH - The Scots Confession Chapter One
   We confess and acknowledge one only God, to whom only we must cleave, whom only we must serve, whom only we must worship, and in whom only we must put our trust: who is eternal, infinite, immeasurable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, invisible;  one in substance, and yet distinct in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; by whom we confess and believe all things in heaven and in earth, as well visible as invisible, to have been created, to be retained in their being, and to be ruled and guided by his inscrutable Providence, to such end as his eternal wisdom, goodness, and justice has appointed them, to the manifestation of his own glory.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Scripture for Nov. 4

Mark 12:28-34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The First Commandment

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Daily Prayer for Nov. 2


The Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Nahum 2:13-3:7; Revelation 13:1-10; Luke 12:13-31
Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you taught us to pray, and to offer our petitions to you in his name. Guide us by your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may serve your will and show your steadfast love. Lead us and every people into ways of justice and peace, that we may respect one another in freedom and truth. Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth and all that is in it. Righteous God, you rule the nations. Guard brave men and women who risk themselves in battle for their country. Keep our sons and daughters from hate that hardens, or from scorekeeping with human lives. Though they must be at war, let them live for peace. Encourage them as they encourage one another, and never let hard duty separate them from loyalty to your Son. God of all generations, we praise you for all your servants who, having been faithful to you on earth, now live with you in heaven. Keep us in fellowship with them, until we meet with all your children in the joy of your eternal kingdom. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)