Saturday, January 31, 2015

Do 1 Thing in February - Water

Taken from FEMA E-Brief - January 29, 2015

FEMA has introduced an exciting web-based program called “Do 1 Thing,” designed to prepare your family for emergencies throughout the year. February theme is: “Water.”
Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supply kit. During the month of February, take action to store three days worth of water for your household.
“Do 1 Thing” offers the following list of ways to achieve this goal:
·       Purchase and store a 72-hour supply of commercially bottled water;
·       Bottle a 72-hour supply of water at home; or
·       Learn how to provide a safe supply of drinking water for your household in a disaster.

By completing one of these actions, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected.  Also, you will be participating in America’s PrepareAthon!, a national campaign to prepare for hazards specific to your community through drills, group discussions, and exercises. Register your action on the campaign’s website.  Be counted among the two million preparedness actions already taken by families, businesses, and organizations across the country leading up to National PrepareAthon! Day on April 30, 2015. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Unconditional Love

St. Mark Presbyterian Women invite you to enjoy Unconditional Love on Wednesday January 28 at 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM.  We will have special guests, two- and four-footed, from the local chapter of Love on a Leash.  Learn about the wonderful work these therapy dogs are able to do.  Enjoy a tea table filled with yummy "pawty" treats.  This event is NOT for women only!  Please make your reservation at the PW table in the Narthex.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the 18th annual Women's Retreat, February 20-21 at Toddhall in Columbia, IL.  Join Reverend Susan Hayes, our retreat leader for "Life is Fragile.  Handle with Prayer".  Please register by Monday February 9.  For more information call M.B. Powell or L. Smith

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Commissioning Class at Mound Ridge

An unusually warm January weekend was a wonderful time for the 2015 St. Mark Presbyterian Confirmation Class to have their retreat at Mound Ridge.  Confirmands, mentors, and staff spent quality time together under brilliantly starry skies, around a warm campfire, in the comfort of camp facilities, and out and about in God's Creation.  It was a great time for all to get away from the daily routine and focus on our roles in the church family and our relationship with God whether you were working toward confirmation or sharing a lifetime of experience.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Worship from Jan. 18

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth.  Your works everywhere praise you, and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our Savior.  Therefore we praise you, blessed and holy Trinity, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Leader:      We are in the presence of the Almighty God;
People:      The maker of Heaven and Earth.
Leader:      We are here to honor our creator,
People:      to revel in God's boundless Love for us.
Leader:      Together, let us love God through our worship.

Lord, I know that You love me.  I also know that there is no way that I can ever repay You for what You have done for me.  But for some reason I keep trying.  I act as if I were an intruder in the Kingdom, rather than a child of the King.  Please open my eyes and help me to see the depth and breadth and height of Your love for me, so that I can live as one who knows You will always love me. Amen.

Click here for the sermon "Looking for Jesus

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Are you prepared for Home Fire Emergency

The below information is taken from an email received from the American Red Cross.  Click on the words in red below for a link to the survey.

  • You may not know it, but it’s the biggest disaster threat to people in this country.
  • It happens quickly, devastating lives and homes in just minutes.
  • It’s not always in the news, but it’s happening right now  somewhere in the country.  On average, 7 people die every day from a home fire. 
  • Disastrous home fires leave families with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. 
  • An astonishing 93% of all disasters the American Red Cross responds to are home fires, and unlike floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters, home fires can be preventable.
  • More importantly, knowing about fire safety and prevention can save lives. 
  • How can we help you be more prepared in the face of a home fire emergency?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Taco Soup Recipe

2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
St. Mark Winning Chefs 2015

2 cans of Ro-Tel (I like lime and cilantro)
2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained
1 can of kidney beans  rinsed and drained
1 can of corn
1 onion chopped
2 cans of low sodium chicken broth
1-2 cups of water 
2-3 taco seasoning packets

Add tortilla strips
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese as desired

Put chopped onion, beans, ro-tel, corn, water and spices in crockpot and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they are partly submerged in liquid. Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove chicken breasts and shred. Return chicken to crockpot!

Laurie D

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Alphie in Claymont Preschool

Claymont Preschool and St. Mark children are enjoying Alphie, the new alphabet caterpillar, and corresponding numeric butterflies on a long hallway wall.  The children spontaneously sing the alphabet as they walk in the hallway.  Some older children even recite the letters backwards.  Thanks so much to Property Committee and Phil and Lynn Laux for decorating us.  We appreciate your helping our children learn in a colorful, fun way.

 For more information on Claymont Preschool at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, click here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

And the winners are. . . .

This was the 4th year that this fellowship group has sponsored this event. The  chefs were Dale Birkbeck, John Northrip, Pat Timmerberg, Bob Lienemann, (winner chili category) Dale Shepherd, Kathleen Maas-Stokes, and Laurie Dolson (winner soup category).  Thank you to all who participated as cooks and as tasters.

 2015 Chili & Soup Cook off winners, Laurie Dolson & Bob Lienemann

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy New Year from Terri Rider

India – January 2015

Greetings in the Matchless Name of our L & SJC

Happy New Year to one and all. May you be filled with the hope of a New Year, a fresh beginning, a time of reflection and forward moving growth.

Such a glorious month this has been. Our Father has been so loving and gracious. I am excited to share the precious treasures the Lord has gifted this season.

The office work was a little slow this past month. Since my responsibities are solely with pastors/churches, there was not much interaction with them. All of them were quite busy with their local Christmas programmes and additional services. This allowed opportunity for me to catch up on outstanding bills and continue work with the newly created database, work which was needed. The database has been in progress for several months. There are three main sections to it. Two are now in the “usable” Beta stage.

The personal involvement with others this past month was such a blessing, for them as well as myself. Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to reach out to others.

The first Christmas gift given was for the children’s care home I frequent monthly. We took 45 slum/street kids to the zoo on a cool (75deg) Saturday afternoon. Unbeknownst to me, they had been praying for this opportunity for the past 3 years. These kids live a life of hardship. Some work early morning hours washing dishes at food stall to earn money to pay for their breakfast. Some girls work as maids in multiple houses to earn their daily meal. Many children are victims of physical/emotional abuse from their alcoholic father. Earlier this year, one young girl had to dig a grave & bury her new born sister that her mother killed. One girl had her older sister sold into prostitution. Such is the life they know, deep sorrow and pain. 

It was heartwarming to give them opportunity to be a kid for just one day. All their troubles disappeared and they were allowed to enjoy. Their faces lit up with joy, excitement and discovery the entire day. During lunch break, the girls sang, the boys danced and lunch ended with all of them playing a group game. All the kids were troopers. With less energy than a healthly child, they walked almost the entire zoo. They wanted to embrace all the park had to offer. The memory will be treasured for their lifetime – something no one can ever take from them. (See top photo)

The next gift was to “old-old” women in four villages. Since these women are no longer able to contribute much to their families, they are often neglected or treated as a “have to” inconvenience. Such delight came to their hearts when they received the new saree. Their torn and tattered old saree could finally be put to rest. They could once again feel good about themselves. A couple of women were squabbling over their new saree. Even though these women have extreme minimum and live in poverty, they would start a small commotion on color choice. One lady did not like the color she was given. Another lady wanted the pattern design her neighbor received. I just chuckled. Women are the same – dress color is important ( : The sarees were given with love and prayer and all the women happily accepted the three items. (once the colors were sorted)

The next gift given was to my youth friend from a different religious upbringing. During summer months this year, she told me she wanted to follow The Son and be finished with her restrictive black cloak. As an exclamation to her transistion, I wanted to let her experience Christmas. So plans were made for her & me to travel to different state and celebrate with other believing friends for a few days. Praises – her parents allowed her to go. At last minute, plans changed. It was just her & me traveling. The friends had to travel out of town for official reasons. The unplanned Christmas vacation was fantastic! I brought a few Christmas decorations and small Christmas tree for our hotel room. While Christmas CD was being played, Ruku was decorating her 1st Christmas tree. I do not know who enjoyed the moment more ( : I also brought along an English Children’s Book so we could read and discuss together. How excited she was to receive that book! She wanted to begin reading the entirety that night.
After day was done, she was doing the typical teenager activity; talking & texting on cell phone. That night she talked with one of her cousins til after 3a.m.. I was becoming so angered on her; how inconsiderate and rude her manners were. She is not my child and this was her very first time away from home/family. MUCH mercy & grace was extended to her with this situation. Next morning at breakfast I would talk with her & tell her I apologize for giving her so much pain from separation. Just as that conversation was to begin, she spoke up; “Last night I was talking with Mittou (one of her male cousins). He was asking about Christnty and wants to know more.” At 3a.m. she was sharing with him all she knew and had experienced through her relationship with the Father. How quickly my anger was diffused.

Then came surprises of the Father’s gifts received. Just as returning back from this trip and unzipping my luggage, Pooja, a girl from across the street & one of her friends walk in. Question after Question they asked. Final question they had; Show us pictures from the Stories of the Good Book. So luggage was put aside and their queries were addressed.

That same evening, after luggage was unpacked, Mahipal, a young man who lives in same house, different flat came to visit. We were discussing something and in walk the 3 neighbor kids. First thing the oldest boy said was “WHY do we have to believe in the Son?” With 3 questioning kids & an unfinished conversation with Mahipal, that was a challenge. But God is Good. Before neighbor momma called her kids home for the night, the eldest boy spoke up again. “give me a Good Book. I want to read it.”

Such precious gifts were received – questioning hearts and opportunities to share.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Worship Prayers January 11, 2015

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  O God, remind us once again of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which we are saved from the fears we and the world bring upon us.  Rekindle in us the joy we experienced when we first accepted your invitation to join you in covenant.  And let us go forth from here refreshed and renewed and ready to be your faithful sons and daughters.

CALL TO WORSHIP - (adapted from Psalm 8:1-2)
Leader:      O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
People:      You have set Your glory above the heavens.
Leader:      From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise.
People:      From our lips Your praise will come forth.
Leader:      Let us worship our majestic God. 

Almighty God, You have called us to reflect Your image to our world, but that seems, to us, like an impossible task.  We are finite beings and You are the infinite God, how could we hope to do Your image justice.  So, we often hesitate to let your light shine out from with in us, leaving those who do not have your light to wander in the darkness. 

Lord, give us confidence to know that You would not ask us to do something that is impossible for us and that through us Your image can be revealed in and to our world.  Then give us the confidence to let it shine forth.  Amen.

For the Sermon "In Between Time", Click here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Emergency Preparedness App "Lantern Live"

"Lantern Live" - FEMA E-Brief January 7, 2015

During a disaster when:  you have lost power and may need gas and/or fuel, wondered the status of the power outage, or just need some useful disaster tips;  the Department of Energy has created an app to increase your preparedness.  

Mobile applications have become more useful in keeping emergency preparedness information readily available to the public. Recently, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a new mobile preparedness app called "Lantern Live." The app helps consumers quickly find and share critical information about nearby gas stations and power outages during energy emergencies. “Lantern Live” allows users to:
·       Report operational status of local gas stations;
·       Find fuel;
·       Look up local utility power outage maps; and
·       Access useful disaster tips.
The DOE says future versions and updates of “Lantern Live” are likely to include the ability to source information on the status of gas stations through standardized social media hash-tags (Twitter).
“Lantern Live” is currently free to download for Android users via Google Play.
Looking for more preparedness apps? Keep disaster information at your fingertips with mobile apps from FEMA and the American Red Cross.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jailhouse Rock

Calling All Kids!
Lisa Marsh, Children's Choir Director

Rehearsals are now underway for "Jailhouse Rock" the children's spring musical scheduled to be performed for the St. Mark Presbyterian congregation the weekend of April 11-12

We'll be practicing downstairs in the music room on Wednesday evenings, from 6:15-6:45.  Can't make it to a Wednesday night rehearsal  No problem. .. .starting Sunday February 8, we'll also hold rehearsals on Sunday mornings from 9:00-9:30 am

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bolivian Dinner: "Joining Hands" with Chenoa Stock

Join us at St. Mark Presbyterian on January 17th following the 5:00 service--A Bolivian dinner will be served by the Mission Committee in Gleason Hall.  
Chenoa Stock will also give a presentation of her work.  

Chenoa is a PC(USA) Mission Co-worker and Companionship Facilitator for the Joining Hands Bolivia Partnership (initiated by the Presbyterian Hunger Program). Chenoa, a graduate of Wittenberg University, served as a Young Adult Volunteer in India for a year before she helped start the Joining Hands Sri Lanka Partnership.  There she served for four years, addressing post-tsunami land and environmental issues.  Chenoa has now served in Bolivia for four years, working with partners there and in the U.S. to address water contamination issues related to mining.  She is in the U.S. for three months, sharing her work with congregations.

From Presbyterian Mission Agency:
About Chenoa Stock’s Ministry
Joining Hands is an initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program that addresses the root causes of hunger, poverty, and injustice through networks of churches and non-governmental organizations in developing countries. In Bolivia, the Joining Hands Network is called UMAVIDA, which is a Spanish acronym for “Joining Hands for Life.” As companionship facilitator, Chenoa Stock accompanies UMAVIDA and the Bolivian communities it serves. UMAVIDA’s concerns include environmental contamination from the mining industry and issues related to land and health. It also educates youth about the growing water-related issues in Bolivia and throughout the world, and it works to empower communities, specifically women, to exercise their human rights. Chenoa acts as the bridge between UMAVIDA and its partner presbyteries and congregations in the United States. US Presbyterians who partner with Joining Hands networks accompany them and work with them to address the networks’ concerns on a global level.
For more information on Boliva and Chenoa Stock, click here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Worship January 4, 2015

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  Beginner of all things, begin again in us:  take these tired limbs and rouse them to dance, from sunbreak to sundown, with your joy.  Bless us, O Blessed One:  that we may shake off our disease; that we may know the splendor of your love and offer it to one another; through Christ who is your blessing and our joy.  Amen
One:                     In the beginning our God created the light.
Many:        Morning broke open on the first day.
One:                    This God of ours sent the light.
Many:        Jesus the Christ came to the world’s people.
One:                    Morning light opens for us.
Many:        God’s light illumines our lives; and opens us to worship this day.
Holy and Merciful God, in your presence we confess our failure to be what you created us to be.  You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, in forgetting your love.  By your loving mercy, help us to live in your light and abide in your ways, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Frozen Water Pipes

Winter Edition (FEMA E-Brief December 4, 2014)

I thought I would pass on to our congregation here at St Mark a winter home safety concern that sometimes gets overlooked.

During extreme cold temperatures, one of the most serious threats to your home is frozen water pipes. According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), approximately a quarter-million homes and offices have at least one room damaged by a frozen pipe each year. FLASH encourages you to protect your property this winter by following three easy steps:

·       FOAM: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. By keeping your water warmer, you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water in the cold, winter months;
·       DOME: Place an insulating dome or other covering on outdoor faucets and spigots to reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak; and
·       DRIP: Allow a slow drip from your faucets to reduce the buildup of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, the release pressure in the water system will reduce the likelihood of a rupture.

For more prevention tips or to learn how to properly thaw frozen pipes in your home, check out this informative Weather Channel video

Clicking on any of the blue text that is underlined will take you to another site for further information.