Wednesday, July 30, 2014

VBS: God is A-Mazing

It was the first day of St. Mark Presbyterian's VBS and I walked into church as the morning was ending. The narthex, sanctuary, hallways, and classrooms had been transformed into colorful places of wonder and worship. 

Workshop of Wonders was this year’s VBS theme. Months of preparation went into planning and getting ready. Children’s ministry committee members and dedicated volunteers had helped with decorations and lesson plans for weeks. As it got closer to the first day of VBS we hoped it would all come together in time…it seemed there was still so much more to do!

I visited with a few campers at the end of that first morning. They showed me their craft activity…a pizza box with wooden popsicle sticks glued inside to make a marble maze. At the top of the box they wrote “God is A-Mazing.” How true I thought! God is Amazing! Vacation Bible School had begun and everything had come together. Those things that didn’t happen the way we had hoped or wanted didn’t matter to those children who spent that morning exploring God’s wonders and discovering their own creative gifts. At the end of the day they all joined together in the sanctuary to sing their new songs of praises to God.

We as adults can learn much from the simple messages taught in VBS. When we are overwhelmed by all that we think we have to do on our own we need to remember “You are the God who works wonders.” (Psalm 77:14a, CEB) Yes, God is A-Mazing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Days of a Blog Week

There is some method to the blogs----the topics aren't set in stone, but they help us get organized, get
inspiration and write. (Yes, we do keep track on a paper calendar.  Lent gets a little messy) Hopefully, this will inspire some of you to write a post or two.  Hard copies can be placed in the Communications mailbox or you can e-mail them to J. Morgan.

Mondays:  Mission and Music---if you want to submit an article about one of our missions or want to write about our music program or hymns.

Tuesdays:  Testimonials.  This idea just came from our friend Steve Drake who is a public relations consultant (but the idea was from his wife Barb!) Click here.  If you have a testimonial, an epiphany or want to write a shout-out to a member of staff, please do.

Wednesdays:  Announcements.  This is just a good day of the week to remind people of what might be happening at Midweek or the coming weekend in case they missed an announcement on Sunday.

Thursdays:  Throw Back Thursdays (TBT) have become popular.  The Historian of our church shares photos from the past at St. Mark.

Fridays:  Food and Future----recipes from St. Mark cook books or from St. Mark events.  John Northrip introduced Future Fridays which was a series on the future of the church and media.

Saturdays: There is no theme----we are open to ideas.  Maybe "Study Saturday"---commentary about what is being discussed in Small Groups, Sunday School Classes, Circles, Bible Study?

Sundays:  Worship and Scripture

If you get this as an e-mail (you subscribed in the upper right), you may not see that there is a long list of labels on the internet version which can take you to  all of the blog posts we have had on a particular topic. Click here to see the internet version. That's how a blog differs from a web-site, newsletter or an e-mail:  it is easy to go back and re-read the posts.

Here's a challenge:  write a testimonial so we can start Testimonial Tuesdays---how has your life changed by something which has happened at St. Mark Presbyterian Church?

We have plenty of room on the August calendar!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Worship July 20

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP: Eternal God, you have called us to be members of one body.  Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name, that, with one heart and mind, we may show the unity of your church, and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Adapted from Psalm 32:10-11)
Leader:        Many are the torments of the wicked;
People:       But steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
Leader:        Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
People:       And shout for joy all you upright in heart.
Leader:        In joy, let us worship God.
Lord, You have said that you will take even the worst pain and use it for good in our lives, but there seems to be so much suffering in our world, and even in our lives at times that we wonder how that can be.  Sometimes when it hits close to home, the pain can be so overwhelming that we wonder if You even understand what we are going through.  
In our weakness, Lord, please help us to trust you.  Remind us that Your Spirit knows all that we are feeling and that You really are at work in our lives, even when our world seems to be crashing all around us.  Help us to see beyond our immediate circumstances, so that we may rest in Your power and grace.  In the name of the One who died on our behalf, we pray.  Amen.

To hear the sermon from July 20, Click here

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#TBT: Dr. Travis Stork

St. Mark Youth Newsletter
A few months ago at a St. Mark Presbyterian event, we were asked to tell about a time when we met someone famous.  To the gasps of some and nods of others, I mentioned having Dr. Travis Stork in Sunday School Class at   St. Mark Presbyterian Church.  Not only was he fairly active as a youth, but his mother was an elder.

His first brush with celebrity was on The Bachelor, a TV show which his sister Andrea talked him into.  It was fun watching the show especially when we got to see his mother, dad, sister and M. Buchanan (another St. Mark youth) on the show.  (The Storks moved away while Travis was in college)

Then, he surfaced again on the show The Doctors and often appears in Facebook ads touting products (similar to Dr. Oz, I think his face is just used to lure us in).  Recently he was even on the cover of a magazine.

I can't help but think he would thoroughly approve of our new Facebook Group "St. Mark's Ministry in Motion" which promotes good health and fitness among our members.  It is a "closed group", so you have to request to join.  We encourage each other and share information.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Worship July 13

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  In the beginning before time, before people, before the world began, God was.  Here and now, among us, beside us, enlisting the people of earth for the purposes of heaven, God is.  In the future, when we have turned to dust and all we know has found fulfillment, God will be.  Not denying the world but delighting in it, not condemning the world, but redeeming it, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God was, God is, God will be.  Amen                                                                CALL TO WORSHIP

One:             We are empty, fill us up, to make noise, plant seeds, take what seems to be empty and fill it with sounds, praise, shouts, beats, joy, lament, growth, God.
Many:          Sun, song, story and sling
                     Beats, bands, bops and brings
                     Feed, free, fill and fling!
                     Sound, slam, sowers and seed
                     Plant, pray, preach and plead
                     Root, reach, roar and read!

Creator God, who grows and nurtures all living things, we cry out to you with faces hidden, eyes lowered and voices softened.  We have seen what has been done.  We have heard what has been said.  But we put on repeat what should not be repeated, we turn away instead of speaking truth.  We throw away precious life, treat your creation like garbage and scatter hurtful words like ash.  And yet we hold on to things that if let go of would free us all into more joy, more hope and more calm.  Give us clear eyes and honest tongues that witness to your coming kingdom.  You are our greatest hope in life and in death.  Amen.
To hear the sermon "Reflections", click here

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Game Has Changed

 “Somebody Dropped the Ball”

Those of us on the Communications Committee at St. Mark Presbyterian have heard that several times this past year referring to poor attendance to church events open to the public.  No one has “dropped the ball”, but the game has changed.  10-15 years ago, there was one ball: advertising a church event was easy---we bought an ad in the newspaper.  Sorry, newspaper readers, but few people read the newspaper anymore and ads are not worth the expense.
Hundreds of websites and social media platforms have replaced the newspaper.  We are trying to play the same basketball game but with hundreds of balls. The good is these sites are usually free advertising, the bad is there are hundreds of them.  Our Communications Committee can’t possibly know them all, so we just focus on a few:  Blog, Facebook, Twitter, the Patch, Pinterest, Instagram, Website.
The real solution is YOU!   Word of mouth advertising is still the best.  Whether you call a friend, make an announcement in your Water Aerobics class, or share a posting on Facebook, YOU are an important part of our advertising. 
Yes, simple word of mouth, picking up a phone, forwarding an e-mail, liking a Facebook page, re-tweeting an announcement are very important for all events in the life of St. Mark Presbyterian Church.  We all have to work harder.  There is an old-fashioned word for this: EVANGELISM, individuals spreading the Word, telling the Good News.
If you “like” something we put on Facebook, many of your friends see it too---especially church friends who may have the announcement lost in their feed.  If you “share” it, then all of your friends see it. If you simply read it, it stops with you and eventually Facebook will stop showing you our messages because it thinks you aren't interested.  The success of social media depends on individuals being social. 
We will continue to promote church events, though, and we will continue to depend upon each of you to be part of our team, not only to the rest of the congregation, but to the surrounding community as well.  Thank you for continuing to share our good news.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#TBT: Vacation Church School

1977 in Sanctuary
 Our Throw Back Thursday is St. Mark's Vacation Church School in the 1970's.  The photo above was taken in the sanctuary (what is now the Narthex).  There are no names written on any of these photos, but I thought members would be interested in seeing how the church and the grounds looked 40 years ago.
1973 Playground looking East

1973 Playground on the North

1973 on the East where the driveway and canopy are.

The upper photos show the baseball field we had until 1980's and construction that might have been Caprice Gardens.  If anyone knows more about these photos, please e-mail J. Morgan, put a note in the Historian's mailbox or comment below.

Don't forget St. Mark Presbyterian's 2014 Vacation Bible School is July 21-25.  Click here for more information.  To volunteer or donate snacks or supplies, contact the church office.

Isaiah 54:13  All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Little Dresses to India

 Several months ago at the Presbyterian Women's Retreat, a group of women started making pillow case dresses to be shipped overseas to little girls.  While Terri Rider was here, she agreed to take a suitcase of 50 dresses back to girls in India.

We are all looking forward to seeing photos of "Terri's girls" wearing these adorable dresses.  If you are interested in helping with this project, contact Mary Beth or the church office to see how you can help.

For more on Terri Rider and her mission, click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Worship from July 6

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  God of heaven and earth, on this weekend in which we celebrate our nation’s independence and freedom save us from any false pride in our goodness and remind us always the source of our blessings.  Save us from any preoccupation with piety that would obscure the needs, both physical and spiritual, of our hurting neighbors near and far.  Grant us the spirit of our caring Lord and may His Loving Truth truly set us free.  Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP (Adapted from Psalm 117)

Leader:      Praise the Lord, all you nations;
People:      Extol God all you peoples.
Leader:      For great is God's love toward us,
People:      And the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Leader:      Let us Praise the Lord. 
Almighty God, we have been selfish.  You have given us great news to share with our lost and dying world, but we have kept it to ourselves.  We have let the fear of rejection, among other things, keep us from speaking the truth about you to those we love.  Forgive us, Lord, and fill us with your Spirit.  Give us the courage and the words we need, to share Your Good News with the people that ask.  From the depth of our hearts we ask, in Jesus' name.  Amen.
To listen to Terri Rider's sermon "Christians on the Front Line", Click here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ABC Sale Workers

 The success of St. Mark Presbyterian's ABC Sale depends on all of those who donate their treasures but also the legion of workers who sort, tag, price, cook, repair and research all of the items.

 It's a labor of love which benefits many local charities, but it also gives a chance for people of all ages to work together for a common good.  If you couldn't donate or work at the ABC Sale, be sure to attend on Friday July 11 8-1 (early birds 7:00 AM for $5) or Saturday July 12 from 8-12.  If you want to still help we can use helpers for cleaning up Saturday afternoon, too.

 Thank you to all who help to make this such a successful mission:  those who donate, those who work, those who buy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yoga Reflections

Tuesday I attended my first Yoga session here at St Mark and it was inspiring. When I arrived I was greeted by those yoga’ites (new word made up) who have been doing it for some time. At least I was not the lone ‘first timer’ this day as there may have been five other first timers too. How new was I to the yoga world, I couldn’t spell yoga before that day and I admit I didn’t know what to expect! Trying to listen to Pastor Susan as she put our bodies through all those different stretching positions was an undertaking. My vocabulary increased as I learned new meanings for words like: Triangle, Warrior, Tree, Child, Bridge, Locust, Cobra, and Sphinx to name a few. During our session all the routines look so easy with not much exertion but…ha! Don’t think for a moment that this yoga thing does not exhort your body. Half way through our lesson I was sweating pretty good because my ‘heart rate’ was peeking at a level that was ‘GOOD’ for you. If you can’t employ your body into all the different positions not to worry -- remaining at the basic position and not able to do some or any of the ‘add-on position’ will continue to benefit you. 

If I peeked your interest that is good. I believe I will return for another session! (July 15 9:30 AM downstairs)

Bob Lienemann

Monday, July 7, 2014

BRO: Collecting Art and School Supplies

BRO (Board of Religious Organizations) Art and School Supplies Collection During July and August, we will be collecting art and school supplies to make into kits for BRO. These items will be distributed to St. Louis area children at Christmas time. 

Art kits include suggested items: scissors, drawing paper or printer paper, water color paints, and construction paper. School supplies kits include suggested items: wide ruled paper, colored folders, new and gently used backpacks. The following may be used in either kit: pencils, erasers, glue sticks, colored pencils, markers, and pencil sharpeners. All these items go on sale the end of July for only a week or two.

For further information, contact the church office (636-394-2233), S. Boeker  or L. Grothe. Thank you for your support.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Worship June 28

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  O God, whose glory is our hope, whose love is our deepest joy:  Open us this day to the presence of your Spirit and the truth of your gospel, that our lives may be challenged and our faith strengthened; through Jesus the Christ, to whom with you and the Spirit, one holy God, be honor and praise, now and forever.  Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Adapted from Psalm 107)
Leader:      Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;
People:      His love endures forever.
Leader:      When we sat in darkness and deepest gloom;
People:      When we had rebelled against the words of God;
Leader:      Then we stumbled and there was no one to help.
People:      Then we cried to the Lord and He saved us from our distress.
Leader:      He brought us out of darkness and deepest gloom.
People:      We will give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love;
Leader:      For His wonderful deeds we will worship our God.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (Psalm 25:8-11, New Living Translation)
The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.  He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.  The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.  For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins.

For the sermon "Winston and Chuck (Part 2)", click here

Thursday, July 3, 2014

#TBT: ABC Sale History

This newspaper clipping shows the chairpersons of the ABC Sale and the director of Lafayette Work Center, George Schumacher in 1982 when we donated $1,200 to Lafayette Work Center.  The sale that year was only held in Gleason Hall, but before Gleason Hall was built, we held it in what is now Fellowship Hall---the entire sale was held in one room!

St. Mark Presbyterian's first rummage sale was held in 1970 when it was held in E. Rothrock's basement for two days.  Then, the stuff was carted to Valley Park where it sold for two more days:  $875 was raised.  The first rummage sale at the church was in 1973 and also ran for two days.  In the first 5 years, $2,602 was raised for charity.  It was officially known as the ABC sale in 1976 which originally was for "Attic, Basement and Cellar" not "Attic, Basement, Closet" which is how we currently advertise it.

Continuing in an over 40 year old tradition, the ABC Sale will be held July 11 (early bird $5 at 7) 8 AM-1 PM and July 12, 2014 (8-noon). Bring your treasures to church beginning Sunday, July 6 and volunteer your time to help with this sale which has donated more than a hundred thousand dollars over the years to our local charities.  For more information consult the church website or call the office 636-394-2233.

Acts 4:32-35

New Century Version (NCV)

The Believers Share

32 The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything. 33 With great power the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from the dead. And God blessed all the believers very much.34 There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, 35 and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Service of Ordination of David Boyd and Jill Boyd

The Reverends Boyd

Gathering                                                                                                            (Thom Hood)
Leader:        As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
People:       There is one body and one Spirit, just as we were called to the one hope of our calling.
Leader:        In their baptism, David and Jill were clothed with Christ, and are now called by God through the voice of the church to enter upon the ministry of Word and Sacrament.
People:       We remember with joy our common calling to serve Christ, and we celebrate God’s particular call to our brother David and sister Jill.
Leader:        The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
 Alleluia!   Alleluia Amen.

Call to Worship (from Psalm 66)  
(Chaney Skilling)
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
People:       Sing the glory of God’s name; give to God glorious praise.
Leader:        Say to God, How awesome are your deeds!  Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
People:       All the earth worships you, they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name.
Leader:        With the rest of creation, let us praise and worship God.