Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Donuts and Divinity

By Kathy Deters  
Though my oldest daughter enjoys attending Sunday School, my younger children are still a bit shy, so when we all attend church together, they’re never far from my side. Those who have seen me chasing my children through the church’s halls know, quiet meditation is not something that comes naturally to our family. Our children are full of energy and joyful noises—lots of joyful noises, in fact, most of which they choose to share at inappropriate times. 

And of course, the weekly burst of energy and activity they bring to church is only half of the Sunday morning battle; there’s the act of getting them all into clothes that are somewhat presentable, convincing them to brush their teeth, holding them down long enough to wash their faces and comb their hair, and negotiating with them over appropriate breakfast choices (why is there always leftover pizza in my fridge on Sunday mornings?) It is a routine that is reminiscent of a scene from The Little Rascals.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When Christians Disagree: Part 2

Philippians 2:1-5
When Christians Disagree (part 2)

            Last week we were introduced to a church that the Apostle Paul loved that was in turmoil over a disagreement between two people. These people were at odds with each other, possibly over how to best share the Gospel with their community. This was troubling to Paul and he wrote to them to help them learn to set aside their differences and find the unity they once had in Christ. He began by exhorting them to remember what they each had received when they had invited Jesus into their lives. Those things were Ultimate Peace - knowing that God will win in the end and if we choose God, so will we; the true understanding that God’s love for them is unconditional and eternal; that they had received the Holy Spirit who connects us not only to God, but to each other; and as they understood all that had been done to win their forgiveness that they would be able to offer the same forgiveness to others. Paul used this to drive home the point that as each person has received these wonderful gifts through Christ, so have the people with whom they disagree.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cuba Photo Presentation (Spinnakers)

 Dr. Don York, President of the Camera Club, came to Spinnakers recently to present "Inside Havana, Cuba-Up Close and Personal", his award winning presentation of the journey he and his wife took for a family wedding.  He gave an introductory history of Cuba as well as describing the difficulties in traveling to our neighbor to the south.

 First, we had a pot-luck dinner and then we settled back for a journey few of us will ever make.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

When Christians Disagree Part 1

Philippians 2:1-2

            If I had to pick one word to describe the state of our world today, it would be division. I know that this is an election year, and that goes with the territory, with each side seeking to show how they are the better choice, but the divisions that I see go way beyond politics. Coke or Pepsi, omnivore or vegetarian, big car or small car, football or soccer, Apple or IBM??. Growing up in Chicago, we had two baseball teams, now there is only one and a half, but because I lived on the south side and liked the White Sox, I couldn’t say anything nice about the Cubs. (This has come in handy since moving to St. Louis.) It extends to many areas of life. It seems as if people make up their minds about what is right and if someone disagree’s, that is grounds for rejecting them.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Matthew 26:36-49

            Every time I encounter this episode in Christ’s life, I am amazed at the contrast between Jesus and his disciples. When faced with the agony of the path that was before him, Jesus chose to remain committed to His Father. Yet his disciples all betrayed him. Either they fell asleep when he asked them to be there for him, or they ran away when the mob came, or they sold him out, either for the money or as an ill-fated attempt to start a revolution, in the end they all betrayed him and left him to face this terrible night alone. As followers of Christ today, I must assume that we do not want to make those choices that cause us to betray our Lord, but many people who claim to follow Christ do, by their actions betray our Lord. How does that happen?

            Merit sat in his car across the street from the Mount Olive Presbyterian Church. It was Wednesday morning and he had come by to talk with the pastor. Rather than pulling into the parking lot and going in, he had pulled up on the street and turned off the car. What had stopped him was a faith crisis of sorts. This was not the one that people often face, where he was questioning the validity of the Bible or the existence of God. No, this was the opposite. This week he had come to face the reality that he had betrayed Jesus.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World
a new book by Brian McLaren

Members of St. Mark were among hundreds who gathered at Ladue Chapel Monday, September 17, to hear McLaren’s presentation about his newest book.  He asked the audience several questions:

>can we be committed to our Christian faith without condemning those who hold other beliefs?

>is it possible to affirm other faith traditions without watering down our own?

In this post-modern , ‘post-Christendom’ world which is growing smaller all the time, via electronic media, and faster means of transportation, some people feel threatened by people of different faith backgrounds, people perceived as ‘the other’. The tendency can be to react negatively out of fear or disdain.  Conversely, some try to appease and please -so they water down their Christian values to ‘get along’- and by doing so, abandon the very essence of their faith.

Neither approach, suggests McLaren, helps to bring about the Kingdom of God.  Neither approach is truly Christ -like.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mother's Cradle

By Kathy Deters
My two-year-old daughter has entered her baby doll phase. All three of my children have gone through it; a preoccupation with carrying their favorite dolls on errands to the grocery store, pushing them around the living room in toy strollers, feeding them from empty bottles, kissing imaginary boo-boos and tucking them in at bedtime. As a mother, it’s a wonderful phase to watch your child experience. Though the age of two is marked with frequent outbursts and occasional temper tantrums, the baby doll phase is the first glimmer that they are growing into a compassionate, loving person, and even better, that they’re learning those characteristics from you.

So last week, as I watched my little girl make a tiny pallet of pillows and blankets for her doll on the floor, I remembered something tucked away in my cluttered, unfinished basement. I snuck downstairs, pushed aside a few bags of baby clothes, Christmas lights and stuffed animals, and found my treasure, just as I had left it. I dusted it off, carried it carefully up the stairs and placed it in front of my daughter. Her eyes lit up with delight.

“Oooh, baby bed!”

I carefully unrolled the hand-stitched pink blankets and bumper pad that went with it, then watched as my daughter lovingly put all three of her Disney princess baby dolls to bed. After kissing the dolls’ tiny heads, she sat down and marveled at the cradle. By any little girl’s estimation, it is beautiful; a handmade antique that’s been in our family for three generations. Though I know little about carpentry, the construction seems impressive. With its solid rails, sturdy slats and beautifully curved rockers, it has more than stood the test of time (and numerous children’s clumsy hands). But perhaps what is most noteworthy about this cradle isn’t its construction or durability…but the fact that it was built by a mean drunk. A mean drunk who happened to be my grandfather.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


 Go-getters is a group of mostly retired (AKA Senior) women who go out to lunch each month. This is a wonderful opportunity for women (often new to our area) to have a social gathering with others from St. Mark Presbyterian Church. Last week our Go-Getters Group went to Wine Country Gardens  in Defiance, MO for lunch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering That September Morning

By Kathy Deters

I still remember that beautiful morning eleven years ago. I lived in Jefferson City but worked in Columbia as a public relations specialist for MU, so I had started my day with a long but peaceful journey down a 26-mile stretch of highway, just as I did every other day. I arrived on campus a little after seven, parked my car and headed toward my office in Jesse Hall. Since it was September, the students had returned from their summer vacation, so the campus hummed a bit with their youth and energy.

I rode the elevator to my third-floor office and then made a bee-line for the break room, where I quickly heated up breakfast in the microwave. Though I hadn’t told anyone yet, I had just found out I was pregnant, and the best way to ward off the morning sickness, I had found, was eating bacon-covered anything.

Our secretary flipped on the tiny television to the local news, as she did every morning; we liked to know the local headlines before we started getting calls from the media about whatever had happened overnight on campus. But that morning, it wasn’t a donation to the athletic department making headlines, or a new program in the business school; it was planes crashing into the World Trade Center.

Slowly my co-workers trickled in, and we huddled around that tiny TV. We watched over and over again, the footage of those planes crashing into those mighty towers in that iconic New York skyline.

We watched footage of crying bystanders in the street, trying desperately to reach their loved ones on the phone. We watched firefighters and policemen covered in soot and dust trying to reach victims, often losing their own lives in the process. And then, as the morning progressed, we watched reports of more planes crashing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fellowship Committee

John Deere Ice Cream Machine
The St. Mark Fellowship Committee is in full swing this Fall.  We continue to serve coffee each Sunday along with planning many future activities.  We ended the summer with a midweek barbecue with hot dogs, chips, watermelon and home made ice cream prepared by Dick Fuller and his John Deere contraption.  Our first Fall midweek was attended by over 100 people who enjoyed Amy's meatloaf dinner and a great time of fellowship.  Sign ups for midweek will soon be available online as well as the traditional sign up sheets at the Welcome Center. We will be assisting with Officer Training, Fall Festival, and planning the Giving Thanks dinner in November.  
Fall Festival Donkey Ride
Go to our website , look under the Fellowship or Events tab for more information.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How To Love God: Physical Touch

How to Love God:
Pastor Steve Ranney
Physical Touch
Mark 5:25-34

            After seeing in Luke 10 that the one thing that God longs for from us is that we love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind, we have been looking at how to love God using the five love languages described for us in the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. So far have we looked at Words of Affirmations, how to say to God how much we appreciate what God has done and is doing for us, Quality Time, spending time with God, Gifts and what is on God’s list. Last week we looked at the language of Acts of Service and how we can love God by caring for the people that God loves. Today as we conclude this series, we look at the final love language of Physical Touch.
            Now, I know the first thing you are thinking, is “since God does not have a physical body like us, how can we touch God?” Well, I know it was two weeks ago, but remember our passage from Matthew 25. Jesus described for us the way that we could serve him, by caring for the people that He sends into our lives. In the same way, Jesus would tell us that if we want to speak this love language to God, we do it by offering that physical touch to the people that God loves.
            There are all kinds of illustrations of the importance of physical touch for us as human beings. For example, a woman named Rene Spitz observed and recorded what happened to 97 children who were deprived of emotional and physical contact with others in a south american orphanage. Because of a lack of funds, there was not enough staff to adequately care for these children, ages 3 months to 3 years old. Nurses changed diapers and fed and bathed the children. But there was little time to hold, cuddle, and talk to them as a mother would. After three months many of them showed signs of abnormality. Besides a loss of appetite and being unable to sleep well, many of the children lay with a vacant expression in their eyes. After five months, serious deterioration set in. They lay whimpering, with troubled and twisted faces. Often, when a doctor or nurse would pick up an infant, it would scream in terror. Twenty seven, almost one third, of the children died the first year, but not from lack of food or health care. They died of a lack of touch and emotional nurture. Because of this, seven more died the second year. Only twenty one of the 97 survived, most suffering serious psychological damage.
St. Mark Presbyterian, Memorial Day

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Taking the Stage

By Kathy Deters
Though Halloween is still almost two months away, rehearsals have already begun for this year’s children’s choir Christmas musical, “The Secret of Snowflake County.” Anyone who has attended one of these musicals knows that they are filled with lively music and an inspiring message. St. Mark’s annual Christmas musical is Christian entertainment at its best…second only to rehearsals for these lively productions.

When my family first joined St. Mark Presbyterian Church almost three years ago, finding a church with a children’s choir was at the top of our list of my priorities; some of my best Christmas memories from my own youth involve dressing up as a sheep and singing a rap in front of a Christmas tree (if you saw the whole musical, it made sense—I think). It was important to me that my own children have that same opportunity. It’s a fun way for children to be exposed to some of the Bible’s most valuable lessons, it enables them to serve the church by inspiring the congregation through music, and it provides a gentle reminder of the meaning of Christmas, at a time when the season has so many distractions.

I had no qualms about letting my oldest daughter join the choir; she loves to sing and has performed in various school talent shows and dance recitals. But when the choir director, Lisa Marsh, invited my son to participate, I was a bit nervous. He was just under the minimum age, but more than that, he tends to be more introverted than his sister. He’s soft-spoken, prone to anxiety and at times, a bit rebellious. In short, he’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill, angelic choir member-type. But, against my better judgment, I took him anyway.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mission Interpretation Quiz

 Last week while at the Mission Dinner (Click here if you missed it), We had place mats with a multiple choice quiz.  So, get your pen and paper.
 1.  How many Special Offerings have been established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)?  a) 2   b)3   c) 4   d)5
2.  Where does PC (USA) have more mission workers? a) Kenya   b)Malawi   c)Ethiopia   d) South Africa
3. The majority of international mission personnel work in which of the following fields: a) Peace and Justice  b)Evangelism   c)Health ministries  d) Education
4.  What percentage of Presbyterian Church (USA) mission workers are clergy? a) 10%   b)25%   c) 50%   d) 85%
5.  "Stop In and Find Out" is the slogan for which of the following?  a)The PC (USA) national media campaign   b) Theological Education Fund   c)Presbyterian Department of History archives  d)Montreat Conference Center
6. What is the name of the national women's organization in the Presbyterian Church (USA)?  a) Church Women United   b)Presbyterian Women   c)PC (USA) Circle Meeting Association   d) None of the above
7.  How many seminaries are related to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?  a) 25   b) 10 plus 2 related by renewable covenant agreements   c)5   d) 7
8.  How many homes in the United States report that household members skip meals, eat less or cannot eat balanced meals because of lack of food?  a) 1 in 25   b) 2 in 10   c) 1 in 10   d) 1 in 100
9.  What official PC (USA) publication contains the church's form of government?  a) Book of Order  b) of Confessions    c)Book of Common Worship   d)Presbyterian Hymnal
10.  Both Presbyterian and Reformed churches follow in the tradition of which religious leader?  a) John Calvin   b) John Wesley   c) Martin Luther   d) Peter Waldo