Friday, November 29, 2013

Claymont Preschool's Halloween

Claymont Preschool children enjoyed dressing up in their costumes for their Halloween celebration at Preschool.  We had a lot of variety. It's always fun to see which costume ideas the children will have and  how creative their parents will have to be to fulfill their children's expectations!  We parade through the church, each other's classrooms, and the halls which are lined with our parent and grandparent spectators.  One of the things we learn with Halloween is the difference between real and make-believe.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

"We Gather Together"

Thanksgiving Hymns

Theodore Baker, 1894

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

According to Robert J. Morgan in his book Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 
. . . "We Gather Together", which Americans associate with their Thanksgiving holiday, was actually written sometime in 1597 to celebrate Holland's freedom from Spain.  Its author, an unknown Dutchman, was full of thanksgiving that his people were finally free from Spanish tyranny and free to worship as they chose.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A St. Mark Thanksgiving Memory

 Back in the late 1970's or early 1980's we had a Thanksgiving Eve Dinner where we each brought an assigned item: stew, bread, fruit salad, dessert.  When we got to Fellowship Hall, we were assigned seats.  One family sat on the stage at several long tables filled with food set on linen table cloths, candelabras. Many of us sat in folding chairs, with paper covering the tables with one pot of stew, no dessert or fruit.  But most stood crowded around a table covered with newspapers, having to share one loaf of bread

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Labyrinths of West County Part 3

The third stop of St. Mark's Presbyterian Women's Labyrinth Tour was Mercy Center, a Catholic Retreat Center on Geyer Rd.
 "Labyrinths, unlike mazes, offer one path.  They are a tool for meditation.  By following the one path to the center, the seeker can use the labyrinth to quiet the mind and find peace and illumination at the center of his or her being.  The labyrinth serves as a metaphor for one's spiritual journey.

Monday, November 18, 2013

John Newton & Amazing Grace

(found on page 649 of “Glory to God”, our new Presbyterian hymnal.)

John Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, and at age 7, his mother died. When he was 11, he went to sea with his father, making a total of 6 voyages with him before his father retired.
In 1744, Newton was impressed into service by the Royal navy. He deserted and was flogged and demoted. He was exchanged for service on a slave ship, was himself enslaved by the African tribal wife of a slave trader, and then finally rescued in 1748.  While at sea, a huge storm made him confront his fear and the faith his mother had tried to instill in childhood prevailed. Newton always considered May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion to Christianity. He married in 1750.
He continued to ply the slave trade, making at least three more voyages until he suffered a seizure in 1755.  Between 1755 -1760, he worked in Liverpool as surveyor of tides.  He taught himself Greek and Hebrew and came to know George Whitefield, an evangelist preacher and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist church. He also met John Wesley during this period. Newton heard God’s call to ministry, but was denied permission to be ordained in the Church of England.  In 1764, he was finally ordained.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Red Tent

 St. Mark Presbyterian women attending the Red Tent will be studying ‘Bad Girls of the Bible’ by Barbara J. Essex with Pastor Susan Hayes.  Our gathering will explore lives filled with betrayal, deception, rejection, jealousy and exploitation.  We will look beyond the notoriety at these women of exceptional boldness, courage, determination, and independence.  Here is a list of the first few topics.
Nov. 7  Eve: Willful or Wise?  
Nov.21  Lot’s Wife: Homicide or Suicide?  
Dec.12  Rebekah:  Deceptive or Direct?  
Jan. 9  Tamar: Parasite or Persistent?  
 The video we saw Nov. 7 was "Brave" by Sara Bareilles.  Click here to see it (after the ad)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Labyrinths of West County Part 2

 Our second stop on our St. Mark Presbyterian Women's Labyrinth Tour was at Shaare-Emeth near Ballas and Ladue.  Theirs is called Chai Labyrinth and is "the first Jewish Labyrinth in St. Louis.  A Labyrinth, unlike a maze, offers one path.  We are all on a sacred journey, a path.  A Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, which is a model of that path.  It combines the imagery of the circle with a meandering but purposeful path.  The Labyrinth serves as a metaphor for one's spiritual journey.

 A Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint found in various forms around the world.  Its twists and turns weave in and out throughout the circuit.  The Labyrinth can quiet the mind, calm the body, stir the spirit and lead one to peace and illumination at the center of one's being.  Walking the Labyrinth guides one to healing, deepening self-knowledge, and empowering creativity and action.  It clears the mind and gives insight into one's spiritual journey.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Labyrinths of West County Part 1

Jesus said to them, Come away to a quiet place and rest for awhile
Mark 6:32

Be still and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10

Presbyterian Women at St. Mark went on a tour of local labyrinths. Our first stop was at Delmar Baptist church in Town and Country.  They had a sign before we entered with the following:
A Thin Place:  Ancient Celtic Christianity emphasized the connectedness of all things.  This was symbolized by a circle at the center of the cross.  One of the defining beliefs was the presence of God in creation.  they often spoke of thin places, a place where the veil between the physical realm and the spiritual realm become so thin that we encounter the presence of God in a deeper way.  A thin place is a sacred location that draws you into the life of God.  It is our hope that this garden will become a thin place for you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Favorite Holiday

 What, you never saw a Thanksgiving count-down calendar before?!  My family knows I love Thanksgiving and with a November birthday, I receive a lot of Thanksgiving-themed gifts and cards which I treasure  So, why do I love Thanksgiving---what's there not to love about it?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Come Browse, Shop, Eat and Repeat

Christmas Boutique and Angel Street Cafe

Tuesday Nov. 12, 10:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 10 AM - 2 PM




Monday, November 4, 2013

Large Print Hymnals

 The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) surveyed all PC(USA) congregations in 2011 about various issues related to the production of the hymnal. One of the questions asked was about a preferred format for the large print edition. 62% of all respondents said they wanted an edition with both words and music; 26% wanted a words-only edition. This overwhelming response led to the production of the large print edition in its current format. The weight of binding such a book would have been impractical and unwieldy for individuals to hold in worship. Although it was accurately advertised on order forms, some people have been surprised to see the format of the large print edition.
Now that the large print edition is in hand, how shall congregations enable members to use it? For the binding, simply place it in a large 3-ring binder. Invite a crafty member to create a special binder cover. Congregations with multiple copies of the edition may remove individual pages for use on Sunday. (Be sure to have the pages returned after worship!) With appropriate copyright permission, make copies of each hymn/song in worship, then keep the originals in their binder. Office volunteers and ushers can accomplish these things in short order. This is a small way to include and care for members with sight impairment.
Please share your congregation's ideas for creative use of the large print edition!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

An Interesting Look at Tithing

This is an excellent article that looks at giving from a different angle.


As we enter the Stewardship Season at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, we were asked at Midweek Dinner to think about why we give and how we determine our giving.  This is an interesting article to help guide our thinking.