Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Announcements: Mound Ridge Work Weekend

Work Weekend at Mound Ridge, May 3-4

Children, youth and families are welcome to join us at our Presbytery’s Camp and Retreat Center. Mound Ridge is located on the Meramec River outside of St. James, Missouri. 

We will spend the weekend helping with Spring clean-up around the camp in addition to beautifying the garden areas. Our worship will be led by Rev. Sean Butler. 

Come hike the trails and enjoy God’s wonders in this awesome setting. Of course, we will have time for volleyball, softball, walking the labyrinth, and worship in our outdoor chapel area. 

We will meet at St. Mark Presbyterian on Saturday, May 3 at 8 a.m. and return Sunday afternoon.  Please see the youth table in the Narthex for details and sign up sheets or contact the church office 636-394-2233.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


 Every 2nd Tuesday, between 20-40 women of the church go out to lunch.  In April, we visited Osage which was a combination nursery and cafe.  Click here for more information.  Originally this group was created as a social event for the elderly women in our St. Mark Presbyterian family, but it has grown to include women of all ages who enjoy each others' fellowship.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Acts 2:14, 22-32

ACTS 2:14A, 22-32
14aBut Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
22“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him,
     ‘I saw the Lord always before me,
          for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
26  therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
          moreover my flesh will live in hope.
27  For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
          or let your Holy One experience corruption.
28  You have made known to me the ways of life;
          you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
     ‘He was not abandoned to Hades,
          nor did his flesh experience corruption.’
32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Instagram and Hashtags

Photos grouped by #stmarkthankfuljournal
Instagram is a little like Facebook and a little like Twitter, but it deals exclusively with photos or videos and messages.  You can like something (with a heart), you can comment on someone's photo and you can use hashtags(#) which groups all photos together that have the same hashtag.  There are 3 St. Mark hashtags (that we know of---this is very popular with teens, so there may be more) : #discoverstmark #stmarkthankful #stmarkthankfuljournal.  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

St. Mark Church Wisdom Project

 One of the bulletin boards at St. Mark Presbyterian invites individuals "to share stories of your spiritual practices" "to share wisdom that your family values" "to share photos or videos of your spiritual practices and your faith in action" "to reflect on the ways that you will build up and encourage others in faith"
 "Prayer is no substitute for action, Yet no action is can substitute for prayer." "Nurture" "Encourage"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Midweek Programs for April 2014


23 Socrates Meets Jesus, Part I Doug Reed, St. Mark Adult Sunday School Teacher
30 Socrates Meets Jesus, Part II Doug Reed, St. Mark Adult Sunday School Teacher

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

Announcements: Stephens Ministry, Music, Mound Ridge

Romans 12:8
if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

April 26, 2014:  St. Mark Presbyterian will host a Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop  from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm for numerous congregations in the St. Louis area. The half-day workshop is designed to both enhance participants’ caregiving skills and to help congregations explore ways to expand their caring ministry. Registration begins at 8:00 am and refreshments will be served.

Members of St. Mark are invited to attend the workshop free of charge. However, it is still important to pre-register so that we will have plenty of materials on the day of the workshop. Please contact the church office if you would like to be added to our congregation’s list of participants. 

April 26 and 27, 2014:  The children's choir will be presenting our Spring musical, "Acorns to Oaks," and we'd like to ask the congregation for their help! We are asking that everyone bring in canned goods  the weekend of our performance for the harvest in our musical.  They will then be donated to Circle of Concern.  It is a perfect way for us to help those in need as we all grow from tiny acorns in might oaks through sharing God's Word.

April 26, 2014:  Mound Ridge Retreat Center presents An Evening at the St. Louis Zoo to benefit the Crippen Campership Fund. Enjoy keynote speaker Jean Ponzi from the Missouri Botanical Garden and KDHX while enjoying dinner and an auction. Tickets are $60 and are available from Mound Ridge Camp & Retreat Center and St Mark member Don Marshall. You may also contact Pastor Sean Butler (ext.115) or Pastor Susan Hayes (ext. 117) to make your reservation. To donate an item or underwrite part of the evening, contact Pat or Jim Cook at 314-846-5529.

April 27, 2014: Youth Group Car Wash has been CANCELLED

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tending God's Garden

I am Mother Nature. Or rather, I used to be. Or rather, I used to pretend to be.

It started simply enough. When I was 12, my family joined First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City. My parents quickly became involved in the church community, my mother serving as a deacon, coordinating crafts for vacation bible school, teaching youth programs, the usual.

It took me a bit longer to find my niche, however. In my limited experience with tweendom, I’ve found that most kids that age don’t quite feel like they belong anywhere; couple that with the fact that I was a bit shy anyway, and it’s not surprising that I preferred to hide in the balcony at church—and in the uppermost row of the balcony at that. I had hoped that pew, farthest from the pulpit, might be my “niche.” My mother thought otherwise.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mission Monday: Meet the Deacons

 Mondays for the past few weeks have been devoted to the Missions which St. Mark supports.  We have two groups which focus on missions:  Mission Committee and Deacons.  The Deacons are called, elected and serve for three years.  Their mission statement reads:
The opportunity for service and caring for God's people is great.  Through the example set by Jesus Christ, the Deacons continually find ways to mobilize the strengths resources of the congregation.  In so  doing, through faith, Deacons lead the congregation to accomplish tasks that serve the greater congregation and community.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

Prayer in Preparation for Worship:  O God, we praise you for the Master who rode in triumph into the city of his fathers.  We thank you that he came not as a conqueror to destroy but as the messiah to save. Enable us in this time to cast the garment of pride before him, that in the right spirit every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to your eternal glory.  Amen

Prayer of Confession  Lord even though You have ridden into our lives like the people of old, we do not recognize You for who You are.  We see Your humility and assume that You are only a servant that has come to meet our needs.  We forget that in reality You are the King of Kings deserving of unfettered devotion and allegiance.  We fail to see that it is You we are to serve, not our own desires and wants.  Forgive us for our haughtiness and be patient with us as we learn how to make You the King of our lives.  In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

For the sermon "Levi", about the events leading to Easter, click here and scroll down to April 13

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sunday is Coming

"Go quickly now, and tell his disciples. 'He has been raised from death, and now he is going to Galilee ahead of you:  There you will see him!'  Remember what I have told you." Matthew 28:7

The words of the Apostle's Creed stipulate both a belief and also, at the same time, the prime metaphor of our faith.  "I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried...on the third day he arose from the dead".  Birth, life, suffering, death and burial, and finally Resurrection.   It is the path of Jesus, but also the path that we walk on a daily basis.  We struggle through the midst of life, we suffer loss and pain and ultimately death.  The death is not always literal, but sometimes figurative.

I watched a young woman the evening she contemplated the end of her marriage.  She is about to experience the death of many things that she values--her relationship with her husband, her style of life, her role in the world, etc.  Yet in the midst of this suffering she strengthened.  Her composure changed. In the words of one Gospel passage her "face was set on Jerusalem."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Suffering and Death

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
St. Mark Presbyterian
Romans 5:8 New International Version

Writing for the DiscoverStMark blog these past few weeks has made my Lenten journey this year something that I will never forget. I highly recommend taking advantage of this relatively new and exceedingly accessible form of communication to express yourself, to help direct and organize your thoughts, and to share your unique perspective with others who share your interests. I had wanted to do a “Future Fridays” series for some time, exploring the possibilities of new communication technology and forms of social media as they become an essential part of living in and spreading the Gospel, but starting it out as a series of Lenten devotionals has been an unexpected joy, helping me to see the topics of my own interest in the light of the season, and it has been a truly rewarding journey.

Now for the hard part. It took me about 10 minutes to write the previous paragraph. I have been working on the next ones for a week.  

I ended my last posting, the one on Jerusalem, with the thought that even though we know what happens next, we know it isn’t the end, and in that we take comfort. But I can find no way around the events of Good Friday, can’t turn my head and walk on by, and can’t pretend that I am somehow not part of this scene. I don’t need to go into the details here; you can find plenty of depictions in art and literature, in martyrdom and symbols, and a marketplace of everything from relics to movies to t-shirts. But why did it have to happen this way? Why is this essential for our salvation?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Father, Forgive Them

And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

I have been contemplating this scripture passage lately.  As many of you know, it occurs in the Bible during the crucifixion of Jesus.  Sometimes when I read the story, I think Jesus was talking to God about the soldiers who were pounding the nails into His hands and feet.  Sometimes, as I reread the passage, I think He was referring to the soldiers who were playing a dice game to see who would win His clothing.  Sometimes, when I'm in a reflective mood reading this passage, I think Jesus was looking out into the people's faces that were there watching Him die.  Sometimes, on a day like today, I think Jesus was talking to me.

I need forgiveness for some of the the things I do.  some of the things that I do that directly go against the teachings of Jesus.  Sometimes I stop myself, and say, "How should I handle this as Jesus would want me to?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Announcements: Celebrate Easter

April 17—7:30 pm
Maundy Thursday Communion
April 19—9 am to 11:30 am
Bunny Breakfast
 April 19—5 pm
Service of Reflection
April 20-8:30 & 10:30 am
Easter Sunday Worship
The Living Last Supper drama will again be part of our St. Mark Maundy Thursday Worship service this year, Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 pm. Many of you have asked how this drama came to St. Mark. Several years ago, Jim and I were witness to this powerful drama at our former church, and when Pastor Steve came to St. Mark he mentioned to the worship committee that he had participated in this drama at his former church, and wondered if it would be something the worship committee would like to undertake? I jumped at the opportunity because I knew what an impact it had made on me and Jim…and the rest is history! I encourage as many of you to attend as possible, and want you to extend the invitation to your family and friends. Being a part of this worship experience can really enhance your Lenten and Easter journey.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Doing For Others

Matthew 25:40  The King will reply, "I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me."

I'm a husband, a Dad, a son, a brother, and many other things to many people.  I don't think about themany titles or the many hats I wear.  I live my life for my family, my God my church, and all those people who depend on me for one reason or another.  But, how about all those others who may not have anyone they can depend on, on a day-by-day basis?  Even though our plate may be full, can wetake time each day to do something for someone else who would least expect it?  Can we do an act of kindness each day for someone and remain anonymous?  Jesus will know and you will know someone benefitted by your thoughtfulness.  Your kindness to another may be minimal but to that person it could mean much more.  Maybe there is no one in their life who ever does anything for them or maybe that person seldom does anything helpful for anyone else either.  Your random act of kindness may motivate someone to pass it on to another, and with God's blessings, you may start a new routine in others to do something each day for someone who would least expect it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mission Monday: Care Giving Team

In John 21:16 Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep”. This is the command from Jesus that inspires St. Mark’s Care Giving Team.

We provide meals for those who are sick, been hospitalized, or experienced situations which make them unable to care for themselves. Our card giving program recognizes birthdays for those over 80 and sends sympathy cards to bereaved members. We also send cards from the congregation to those who can’t attend church or are going through health issues. We provide funeral receptions for members and socialization events for care givers a few times a year. 

Our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 9:00 in room 102. We have approximately 20 active members. Many of our members come to us after experiencing a situation in their lives where care giving is received and they realize that they, too, want to give to others.

In I Peter 5:2 Peter said, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aprils 6 Sermon: Five and Following

Prayer in Preparation for Worship:
Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us from sin and death.  Breathe upon us with the
power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ, and serve you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one god, forever and ever. Amen

Prayer of Confession:
Lord, Your love for us is so deep that any human attempt of love pales by comparison.  But as we respond to Your love, it is obvious that we shy away from trying to understand the depth of Your love. It is because we are afraid---that it will overwhelm us.  After all, what have we to offer in return, that would not seem puny next to the love You showed us.  So, to protect ourselves, we limit ourselves to examining reflections of your love, refusing to dive in and examine its fullness.

Forgive us, Lord for letting fear run our lives so that we do not allow in the fullness of Your love.  Give us the courage to open our minds to understand Your love, and to open our hearts so that it may fill and overflow our lives.  AMEN.

For the April 6 Sermon, Click here and scroll down.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Easter Means To Me

It is warm outside.
We get new clothes for church.
There are baby birds in the nest.
The grass is green and tickles my feet.
The trees are getting leaves again.

It doesn't get dark as early at night.
The flowers are blooming again.
The sun feels good on my face.
I can play outside without a coat.
There are baby animals being born on the farm.

We talk about Jesus dying on a cross.
All the people are very sad and crying.
Three days later, the ladies go to His grave.
But He's gone and an angel says Jesus is alive!
Everyone is very happy!!

God, we thank You for sweet children and their uncomplicated vision of the world.  Let us remember that Christ welcomed the children into His circle because of their simple, all encompassing faith.  Help us keep our lives and our faith in that same perspective.

Reprinted from St. Mark Presbyterian's 1998 Lenten Devotional by the 9:00 AM First Grade Sunday School Class

Friday, April 11, 2014


St. Mark Presbyterian Church
Matthew 21: 6-11

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Not long ago the family went to the Science Center here in St. Louis to see a new movie at the Omnimax theater- "Jerusalem". It was an awesome cinematic trip to the Holy City, and I don’t know of a better example of high-tech storytelling, of bringing the history and the now together in a ways that we expect from modern media, though in this case four stories high, and wrapped around all of our audio and visual senses. The technology of storytelling will certainly become more compelling in the future, but what I find most exciting is the way it will become more accessible as well, allowing us to create and share our own experience.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Be Kind

Ephesians 4 New International Version (NIV)

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 5 New International Version (NIV)
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

"Be kind to one another."  Those are wonderful words.  You and I would like it if we were always treated with kindness.  The same is true of the other person.

When we meet another person, we do not know what they have just been through, whether they are smiling or they are downcast.  They may have just come from a very unsettling experience or having heard distressing news.  They may be nearly oblivious to you, or they may be putting on a front.  Whatever, give them the benefit of the doubt, and be kind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Announcements: Lenten Children's Programs

  • Palm Sunday Worship
  • April 13---8:00 am, 10:30 am    Children will meet in their classroom at 10:15 am, process into the sanctuary at the beginning of the service, and proceed to Gleason Hall to their learning centers.

  • Jerusalem Festival
  • April 13—9:00 am—12:00 Noon
  • Come and experience a 1st Century Jerusalem Market-place! 
  • Visit a Jewish temple, shop in the local market, visit the petting zoo, and more!   Please join your St. Mark Presbyterian  family as we begin our walk together through the Holy Land.

  • Bunny Breakfast
  • April 19--9:00 am-11:30 am  Please join us for the St. Mark's annual Bunny Breakfast.  The breakfast will run from 9am-11:30am offering pancakes, sausage, applesauce, juice, milk and coffee.  Cost is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children.  There will also be children's egg hunts, games, crafts and pictures with the Easter Bunny!  Sign up in the Narthex or call the church office 636-394-2233.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Luke 19: 1-10 Zaccheus

Middle school youth became poets during a Sunday School class at St. Mark Presbyterian a few weeks ago. They read and discussed Luke 19:1-10 and wrote Cinquains (sin-canes).

Surprised, changed
Giving back possessions
Changed by the Lord
Julia D.

Storyteller, savior
Striving for peace
Giving salvation to man
Andy N.

To hear John McCall's sermon on Zaccheus called "Climbing the Tree of Opportunity", click here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mission Monday: Perspectives of a New Deacon

Deacon Preparing Communion

I recently retired after a long career. I had been blessed with rewarding, intellectually challenging work and considered many of my colleagues as family. I was listening for my “next calling” – was it to be as a community volunteer, a new job, with family, church or???? My first post-retirement “next calling” was to take care of family members (children, parents, and siblings) that were simultaneously experiencing significant health issues. I received my “next calling” via a fellow St. Mark member on the deacon nominating committee. I didn’t hesitate, I knew I had to say “yes”. My natural “love language” is “acts of service” and that is exactly what the deacons do – acts of service. It is improbable not to be in awe of the range of activities and impact of the deacons on St. Mark members and friends: caregiving, food, clothing, communion, flowers, health & wellness, shelter, and transportation.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March 23 Sermon

Ephesians 4:11-16

New International Version (NIV)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of Godand become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

This reading is for today's sermon and the one on March 23.  To hear the sermon from March 23, "Five and Following", click here

Saturday, April 5, 2014


The colors of winter-
brown, gray and black -
relieved only by the occasional
patch of snow left from the last storm.

Friday, April 4, 2014


1 Thessalonians 5:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Some of you may have seen my facebook post a couple of days ago on World Autism Awareness Day expressing my gratitude for all the people who have become parts of our puzzle these past few years. Our support network of family and friends, teachers, therapists and everyone else began to form before I had ever heard the term “social media,” but it is now what keeps us all in touch on not only a regular basis, but sometimes a moment-to-moment one. Electronic communication has been part of this group from the very beginning- it was the ability to use e-mail from our hotel room in China those first two weeks after this scrawny little baby was placed in our arms that gave us the information, support and encouragement we needed to begin this unexpected journey. As the circle has grown over the years, and as the hard work and love have helped Vivi become the wonderful young lady that she is today, it is this community that confirms my belief that when we asked God for the perfect child that’s exactly what we got, although we didn’t known why at the time.