Friday, February 28, 2014

What do you see?

 Once at a workshop, someone said, "What does a person see when he walks into your building?  What does this say about you and what you think is important?"

 If someone comes to our church for a funeral, a Scout meeting, a basketball game, the House Tour, pre-school, what do they see and what does it say about St. Mark Presbyterian Church and what we think is important?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mardi Gras Trivia Night

 St. Mark's Mardi Gras Trivia night was a wonderful benefit to support the St. Mark Youth Ministry and their summer trips to Montreat and Mobile, Alabama!  This is our Youth's largest fundraiser which earned several thousand dollars and included many fun activities in addition to the trivia.
 These were the winners in best decorated table, although the tables were already beautifully decorated.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tornado Season Fast Is Approaching

Joplin, MO

I thought I’d get a head start on dispelling some common myths about tornadoes. The following information was taken from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) web site. Please read each statement below and answer True or False!  Answers at bottom but if you want clarification, visit

“Opening the windows in your house before a tornado will reduce damage by balancing the pressure inside and outside the structure.”
“Tornadoes cannot cross lakes, large rivers or wide bodies of water.”
“Tornadoes never strike the same area twice.”
“A tornado is more likely to hit a mobile home park.”
“Tornadoes can always be seen from far away.”
“If I am near a highway overpass, I should abandon my vehicle immediately and take shelter there.”
“The safest place to take shelter from a tornado is in the southwest corner of a basement.”
“If a tornado is not coming directly towards me, I am out of harm’s way.”
“The damage to homes during a tornado is caused by an explosion from changes in air pressure.”
“Downward-bulging clouds mean that a tornado is forming.”
“Tornadoes do not hit big cities.”
“A tornado cannot travel up and down hillsides.”
“A tornado always forms and appears as a funnel cloud.”

Commonly accepted misconceptions about tornadoes often lead people to make mistakes when preparing for tornadoes – the answers to all the above is “FALSE”!

Click here for more photos of the St. Mark Presbyterian Worktrip to Joplin Missouri after the tornado in 2011.
St Mark Emergency Shelter Team

Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Dresses for Africa

As part of this year’s Presbyterian Women's retreat we will be creating pillowcase dresses for Little Dresses for Africa. There are tasks for all skill ...and no… skill levels. If you can’t be at the whole retreat but would like to join us from 2 to 4 pm on Friday afternoon March 7, please come. It’s only 30 minutes to Toddhall from the church and you’ll be back home before the evening rush. Click here for a map.  Can’t come but you want to help? Please consider donating a pillowcase! Contact Mary Beth or the church office (636-394-2233)  if you want to help or have pillowcases to donate.

Click here for more information on this mission.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Psalm 67

1   May God be gracious to us and bless us 
         and make his face to shine upon us, 
2   that your way may be known upon earth, 
         your saving power among all nations. 
3   Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
         let all the peoples praise you.

4   Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
         for you judge the peoples with equity 
         and guide the nations upon earth. 
5   Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
         let all the peoples praise you.

6   The earth has yielded its increase; 
         God, our God, has blessed us. 
7   May God continue to bless us; 
         let all the ends of the earth revere him.

From the Lectionary 23 Feb. 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Updates Needed for Church Directory

Does our Church database have YOUR family membership record correct?

Here is your chance to update YOUR record for our annual Guide Book & Directory (if you haven’t already done so).
It is time for us to update our database with any changes, additions, or deletions that may have occurred in YOUR family over the past year.  This book will be the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of our Congregation. 

Have you changed your phone number? Have you moved? Are you preparing to move soon? Are all of your children still at home and are they all included in your membership record? Do you want your record published?

If you have not already informed the Church Office about changes to your record, please let us know now so that the information in the Guide Book & Directory is correct. The Church Office number is 636-394-2233.

Recent survey results by Guide Book Publishing show that 92.1% of families would rather patronize a Guide Book & Directory advertiser over a non-advertiser. It “will pay” to advertise in our new Guide Book & Directory.
The book is being provided at no cost to our Church, including the mailing to each family, and again is being subsidized by local busi-nesses that advertise in it. If you own or manage a business and would like to find out about advertising in our book, please call the Church Office.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Midweek Programs

-Feb. 19 “Not for Sale” – Documentary – The Fight Against Human Trafficking
DVD with Pastor Susan
-Feb. 26  Human Trafficking – Close to Home
Special Agent Jeff Othic, Homeland Security Investigation

Join us after midweek dinner (5:30) & worship (6:30) in Fellowship Hall at 7 pm.

Monday, February 17, 2014

John McCall, Missionary to Taiwan

Join us for an Evening of Taiwanese Fellowship

The Rev. John McCall, PC(USA) Mission Co-worker in Taiwan, will be our guest speaker during Lent at St. Mark’s worship services on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30th.
We are inviting our Ballwin neighbor, the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Greater St. Louis, to join us for the Saturday service followed by dinner. By worshipping and eating together we may experience cross-cultural Christian unity here in our own neighborhood while gaining an understanding of the John’s work around the world.
“The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood”. John McCall says that he loves this translation of John 1:14 by Eugene Peterson (The Message). It inspires his work. Come and hear John speak on the last weekend in March. Maybe we, too, can discern how to experience Christ in our own neighborhood.
Watch the Weekly Bulletin for more details.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Psalm 119

 PSALM 119:1-8
1   Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. 
2   Happy are those who keep his decrees, 
          who seek him with their whole heart, 
3   who also do no wrong, 
          but walk in his ways. 
4   You have commanded your precepts 
          to be kept diligently. 
5   O that my ways may be steadfast 
          in keeping your statutes! 
6   Then I shall not be put to shame, 
          having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 
7   I will praise you with an upright heart, 
          when I learn your righteous ordinances. 
8   I will observe your statutes; 
          do not utterly forsake me.
From Lectionary Readings for Feb. 16

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Austin Seminary Award

We are so proud of the Boyds who are finishing their last semester at Austin Seminary.  Four students won the Fellowship Award, but this is the first time a married couple were two of the four. Congratulations to David and Jill (who won the top award)!  Here is a note from Jill explaining the award:

Yesterday [Feb. 5, 2014], the annual ASA banquet was held at the seminary, and four students were awarded fellowships in recognition of their Christian character, scholarship, abilities, and potential/readiness for ministry. David and I, along with our classmates Layton E. Williams and Charlie Shin were the four recipients. From what I was told by a faculty member, the decision was especially difficult this year because we are part of a class that is especially gifted and amazing, and we have many other classmates who meet the criteria for the fellowships that were awarded. It is a tremendous honor to be a part of this amazing journey with each and every one of them, and I am humbled beyond belief by such recognition. Thank you all for your interest, well wishes, and support. None of the class of 2014 would be where we are without your love, prayers, encouragement, and faith in our abilities and calls.

Click here for more photos of the event.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day and Love

1 Corinthians 13
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Gift of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(Click here for another version)

Our Small Group at St. Mark Presbyterian is doing a study on holidays.  This week, we studied St. Valentine's Day from a historical and Christian perspective.  We asked what is the difference between the love described in the verse above and the love promoted by Valentine's Day.  One study says that in 2008, Americans spent $16.9 billion for Valentine's Day ($120 per consumer).  We scratched our heads over how so much money could be spent to tell someone, "I love you."

We have been led to believe that by spending a lot of money on flowers, chocolates, cards, jewelry for someone shows our love, but wouldn't the day be better spent talking and sharing an activity that you both love. Or perhaps reflecting on your years together, renewing your vows to love, honor and cherish. . . 

Our Small Group study suggested that marriage is a commitment that liberates us to know each other more deeply. "Valentine's Day can be an opportunity for partners to say to one another what it is about the other person that thrills and gives life.  It can be a time to listen to the other person attentively and stay in touch with what is going on in her or his soul in order to keep the intimacy alive." ("Make Love, Not War" by Steve Lytch from

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lenten Devotionals

Missouri Botanical Garden
Last year, we were able to have devotionals each day during Lent thanks to Lenten Devotional books written in the past by St. Mark Presbyterian members.  To do that again, we need individuals to contribute photos, inspirational pieces, prayers, memories or links to web sites you think our members would like.

Perhaps your circle, small group or Sunday school class had a discussion which others might be interested in or maybe a sermon got you thinking about something that happened or maybe a hymn inspires you.  If you have something to share, contact J. Morgan, e-mail it to the church office( or put the information in the Communications mailbox.)

Click here to see last year's blog posts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Letter from Ryan

Dear St Mark Families,

As many of you have heard, I will be leaving St Mark in the middle of February to begin new ministry with my wife in Peoria, Illinois. Sharing this news, I feel a deep sadness as I prepare to leave, but also a sincere gratitude for your friendship, for your support, for the many ways that we have been able to serve God together in the last 3 years, and for the new opportunity that God is preparing for both Andrea and I. I will miss you all deeply. It truly has been a blessing and privilege to serve alongside you all as your youth director.

While at St Mark, I have seen the Spirit empower and raise up incredible adult and youth servant leaders. I am truly inspired by the commitment that each of you has brought in your own way to serving God and building up the Body of Christ. And I know that God will continue to prepare and push St Mark to be a loving and serving community of faith.

Monday, February 10, 2014

St. Mark Women's Retreat

The Forgiveness Café

17th Annual St. Mark Women’s Retreat

March 7-8, 2014

Each day starts anew with a full cup of life!

Grudges, the blame game, and guilt all take away the peace, the joy and the love that God intends for us to find in life. 

Jesus instructs us to pray, “ And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” 

In Colossians 3:13, Paul writes “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Often times this is easier said than done.  Forgiving ourselves can be an even greater challenge. 

Join Reverend Susan Hayes as she leads St. Mark women in a discussion, study and reflection on… 

What are we given when we are forgiven?

What do we give when we forgive?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Psalm 150

1   Praise the Lord! 
     Praise God in his sanctuary; 
          praise him in his mighty firmament! 
2   Praise him for his mighty deeds; 
          praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3   Praise him with trumpet sound; 
          praise him with lute and harp! 
4   Praise him with tambourine and dance; 
          praise him with strings and pipe! 
5   Praise him with clanging cymbals; 
          praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 
6   Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! 
     Praise the Lord!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Upcoming Fellowship Events

  • Chili & Chowder Cook Off Sunday, February 16 following 10:30 service.  Chefs needed.  Bring a large crockpot of favorite soup.   Soup tasting is $3.00.  Hot dogs are also available for $1.00.
  • Shrove Tuesday on Sunday Pancake & Sausage Extravaganza.  Sunday, March 2, 9-12:30.  Free will donation.  St. Mark version of an old Mardi Gras celebration.
  • Bunko will be on Saturday, March 15 with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  Wear something green.  This is a fun, easy, fast-moving activity.  6:00-8:00 PM.

More information will be in Sunday Bulletins and Messenger or call the church office 636-394-2233

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Trivia Night

What Hall of Famer wore number 6 for the St. Louis Cardinals? 

Which President was the first to live in the White House?

What is the capital of Swaziland?

If you attend the St. Mark Trivia Night, you’ll be able to answer all of these questions in your sleep! 

What?: St. Mark Presbyterian Church is hosting a Trivia Night! There will be food, fun prizes, and, of course, TRIVIA! The theme is Mardi Gras, so wear purple, green, and gold to double the fun! (Prizes awarded to the best costumed table)

Where?: St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 601 Claymont Dr. Ballwin, 63011! (In the Gym!)
When?: Saturday February 22nd, doors open at 6:15! Trivia game begins at 7pm.
Who?: You, of course! Register alone, as a couple, a family, or as a table of 8! Register with Clarice or at the Youth Table in the Narthex by Feb. 17th.
Why?: To support the St. Mark Youth Ministry and their summer trips to Montreat and Mobile, Alabama! This is our Youth’s largest fundraiser of the year, and your participation is greatly appreciated! 

If you are unable to play at this year’s Trivia Night, please consider making a donation, baking a dessert for our dessert raffle, or creating a gift basket to be auctioned. Thank you for all your support!

(For more information, please email Clarice Hutchens
*Please note that this is a family friendly Trivia Night, and there will be no alcohol.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Psalm 84


1   How lovely is your dwelling place, 
          O Lord of hosts!
2   My soul longs, indeed it faints
          for the courts of the Lord;
     my heart and my flesh sing for joy
          to the living God.
3   Even the sparrow finds a home,
          and the swallow a nest for herself,
          where she may lay her young,
     at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
          my King and my God.
4   Happy are those who live in your house,
          ever singing your praise.                          Selah

5   Happy are those whose strength is in you,
          in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6   As they go through the valley of Baca
          ithey make it a place of springs;
          ithe early rain also covers it with pools.
7   They go from strength to strength;
          ithe God of gods will be seen in Zion.