Friday, May 31, 2013

Spaghetti Casserole

At our St. Mark Emergency Preparation Meeting, Marie Holt served up her famous Spaghetti Casserole (which has also been served at the Stewardship Luncheon in 2010 and Officer Training 2012).  Thanks, Marie, for such a delicious dinner (all 3 times)

Spaghetti Casserole

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. chopped green pepper
Brown in a large skillet

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1 can water
sm. can of sliced mushrooms
Garlic to taste
Add to skillet mixture.  Heat throughly.

1/2 lb spaghetti (cooked and drained)
1 c. shredded cheddar
1/3 c. sliced olives
Add and put into sprayed casserole, top with more cheese and bake at 350 degrees or until bubbly.

Note from Marie:  When I serve this recipe at home, I top individual servings with grated Parmesan and a generous splash of Tabasco sauce.  Enjoy!!!

And, like Marie, serve with a generous smile!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Role of Hymns in Worship

When God created Man, he gave him Music as a language different from all other languages.

Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, writer and artist

Before the church emerged at Pentecost, Jesus and his followers sang to the Lord: “When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30) Barbara Brown Taylor points out that this song was most likely the Hallel- Psalm 113 through Psalm 118 - traditionally sung during Passover.  As the church grew beyond Jerusalem, Paul and others wrote words of encouragement to the new believers, offering guidelines for living a faithful life, which included singing.

            “ be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making melody to the Lord in your hearts.” (Eph 5:18-19)

Paul also admonished the church in Colossae:
“…with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God.”
            (Col 3:16)

Both Jews and Gentiles sang with one voice when they came together as the new church. Song is a common language, uniting even the most diverse populations. Early Christians had limited access to written scripture; they learned it through oral repetition. Song enhanced this knowledge. John Bell, a minister in the Church of Scotland, asserts that even today, we sing not only to “…give a gift to God, but also to shape our discipleship.”

            Over the summer, we will explore how hymnody evolved from the early Church, through the ages, to its present form and usage. Much has changed, and hymns and church music continue to evolve even today as we await the delivery of our new Presbyterian hymnals, “Glory to God.”  Meanwhile, we invite you to contribute a post on your favorite hymns as we reflect on this important element of our worship.

Daughters of God Luncheon Part II

The Daughters of God Luncheon at St. Mark Presbyterian Church had a program which continued the theme of "Recycle, Reuse, Reduce." After an introduction by Sally (and a reminder not to eat the hand lotion), Bertha read a presentation written by Becky P. who could not attend the luncheon.  After the presentation, Dale took the stage to have the audience help her prepare a list of re-sale shops for clothing, building supplies, furniture, baby and children's clothes and "gear". 

Then, Sally began the fashion show with a crepe, "bear" back dress with a plunging neckline.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Amazing Grace and Bagpipes

Phil and Chris Keim write that "Amazing Grace" with bagpipes makes them emotional.  Phil writes: "My wife's profession was and is in Law Enforcement and mine was in the Fire Service.  In each profession, the only time this is played, is when one of our brothers and sisters have died, especially in the line of duty."

Although Memorial Day is to remember those who died in military service to our country.  Let's also remember the "first responders" who also die in the line of duty in service to our Communities.  God's blessings on all of those who keep us safe and their families.

Click here for St. Mark Presbyterian's Ensemble recently singing "Amazing Grace"

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Daughter's of God Luncheon, Part One

The Daughters of God Luncheon held at St. Mark Presbyterian Church a few weeks ago had the theme of Recycle, Reuse, Reduce.  We were asked to wear clothes we got from the ABC Rummage sale, someone else's closet or a re-sale shop.  The committee also asked everyone to clean out their party supplies and donate napkins, plates, cups left over from another occasion.

 The Fellowship Committee first had this idea a few years ago when Jean (pictured above) was trying to talk people into buying this dress because she thought it was wonderful.  The seed was planted for a luncheon in which everyone wore something re-cycled.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Red Tent Gathering

 In ancient times the Red Tent was a safe and sacred space where only women gathered to experience, share, celebrate, and mourn the rhythms of life of a woman.  As we meet biblical women in this sacred space we are able to bridge the generations and discover that we women today share similar stories and choices.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Emergency Preparation

Several years ago, we had a disastrous tornado in Joplin, Mo. which prompted me to write a blog about  emergency preparation (Click Here). Recently we had another in Oklahoma and some of us have spent quite a bit of time in our basements this week.

Although usually stored in the laundry room near the garage, we also carry these bins to the basement with us when there is a tornado warning.  At the suggestion of our TV weather people, we have added dust masks and sunblock to these bins. The newspeople also suggest boots and gloves go to your tornado shelter.

Not only do we carry these to our basement for tornados, we travel with them on vacations. We also throw in an extra pair of boots and gloves into the car when it isn't summer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

 When asked to name a hymn that filled him with joy, Frank Calkins chose this hymn as did Sherry Naylor.  Sherry says," How can you listen to that uplifting music and sing those happy words and not be full of joy?  All hymns are joyful--they praise God.  Easter service is not right without the joyful words of "Jesus Christ is Risen Today!  Alleluia!"

 When we sang it a few weeks ago during worship at St. Mark Presbyterian, I, too, had decided this was one of my favorite hymns.  As an English and German teacher, this hymn is perfect.  The lyrics are beautiful poetry and the music is Beethoven's "Hymn to Joy".  It doesn't get any better than that.  If you don't want an English teacher's analysis of the poetry, stop here and just savor the lyrics.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


ACTS 2:1-21
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hannah Circle Bids Farewell to Julie Hunt

Each year, at the conclusion of their Bible Study, Hannah Circle has what we refer to as "joke night".  The Biblical reference for this is Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, we concentrate on  Verse 4. For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.... Verse 4 is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  We meet at a member's home and this year we enjoyed a potluck dinner.  We wear some silly hats from one of our member's collections, and share jokes with one another.  It is a very joyful time together.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Late Spring Gardens Part One

 "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, he made their glowing colors, he made their tiny wings." 
 After planting our beautiful gardens, we needed some decorative protection against the deer.  Another bequest helped pay for these beautiful fences at St. Mark Presbyterian.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bring a Smile to Your Face

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!  Sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name:  Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day."  Psalm 96:1-2

I love to sing, and I always have.  A local AM Christian radio station is my station of choice when I am in the car, especially during programs focusing on Christian music.  Depending on the time of day, it may be contemporary music or at others, it is more traditional.  One recent Saturday, my daughter and I were running errands and I, of course, had the radio on.  We were listening to a choir singing an older traditional hymn that she was not familiar with, but I sang along and was able to go the full four verses.  She asked me, "Mom, how in the world do you know all of these songs?"

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lemonade Cake with Raspberries

 Amy served this delicious cake at our Midweek Dinner at St. Mark Presbyterian a few weeks ago.  If you want great fellowship and wonderful food like this cake, be sure to sign up for the last Midweek Dinner of the year or sign up on line (Click here).  Here are Amy's instructions for the cake.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Early Spring Gardens

 We have some of the most beautiful gardens for a church thanks to several talented gardeners and bequests from members' and their families.  We have seating areas right outside of church and closer to the street for neighbors to sit.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why Do I Sing?

"Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name: give to Him glorious praise!  All the earth worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee, sing praises to Thy name." Psalm 661-2, 4

"Clap your hands, all peoples!  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!" Psalm 47:1

Why do I sing?

Do I sing so that people will praise MY talent? . . . I used to.
Do I sing so that people will look at ME?. . .I used to.
Do I sing just to hear MY voice?. . .I used to.

Why do I sing?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Everyday Meatloaf Recipe

If there is a Midweek Night, we can guarantee a crowd, it's "Meatloaf Night".  My husband had already finished his salad, but he was ready to dig in to meatloaf, mashed potatoes, rolls and carrots. All of this plus huge ice cream cones is just $6 per person.  If you have never come to Midweek dinners, we only a few more before Fall.  Sign up on line, after church or call the office.  Click here for on-line.

Everyday Meatloaf
Amy Ratzki

2 beaten eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. fine bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped onions, sauteed
2 T. chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground beef