Thursday, April 30, 2015

Worship Volunteers Needed

Looking for a way to serve St. Mark Presbyterian Church that does not involve monthly meetings?  Do you want to be able to offer church your time without overwhelming your already over-committed lifestyle?  The Worship Committee has a need for someone like you!  We are trying to form a fifth usher team of at least 5 volunteers, as well as add to our Usher Substitute List.

Commitment on a team involves 4 Sundays in any given month, but only for 2-3 months out of a year!  In other words, if we can form 5 teams, your team would serve in April and September in any given year.  If your team is scheduled to serve and you cannot make it on a Sunday, we can use our list of subs to fill your position that week.

Duties include welcoming congregants and distributing bulletins, collecting and depositing the offerings, tidying up after Worship and being alert to any safety concerns while Worship is going on.  Please contact Donna Schiro if you can help.  Thank you!

Pastor Susan has also requested individuals to volunteer to be liturgists. "Our worship experience is enhanced each week as we hear different voices offer the liturgy." You can e-mail her at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pastor Search Begins

St. Mark Presbyterian Church

This should be a smooth and exciting transition for St. Mark Presbyterian. Our search committee has already met and set about the preliminary task of imagining ‘where we have been’ and ‘where we would like to go’ as disciples of Jesus Christ in this time and place. Bertha Larez, Donna Schiro, and Melody Wintz-Hostetler will be working closely with the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry to insure our next chapter includes the Interim Pastor that best fits our needs and God’s will for this ministry. Please hold this committee and our household of faith in prayer as we journey together.

The session has also approved the salary range recommendation for the interim pastor proposed by the personnel committee. Meanwhile the interim pastor search committee continues to gather information for our Ministry Information Form. Prospective pastors will use the form to help them discern whether God is calling them to serve our church. 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Worship from April 19

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  Loving and Beloved God, in the resurrection of Christ you have overcome the powers of this world and shown your saving love for all people.  As Christ has loved us, may we remain in his love, growing in love for one another; through Christ your Incarnate Love, to whom with you and the Spirit, one holy God, be honor and praise now and forever.  Amen.

Call to Worship:
L:  The earth is the Lord's and all it contains

P:  Who may ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in God's holy place?

L:  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted their soul to  falsehood.

P:  They shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of their salvation.

L:  Let us worship the God of our salvation.  (adapted from Psalm 24)

Prayer of Confession
Lord, I acknowledge that one of the results of sin is my desire to control everything in my life.  I even try to control You, attempting to bend You to doing my will rather yielding myself to You.  Because of that, my life is often filled with anxiety as so many things are out of my control.  Forgive me for getting things backward.  Help me to let go of my desire to control You.  Free me from the anxiety that often controls me and fit me into Your plan for our world.  Amen. 

For the April 19 sermon, click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

St Louis County Emergency Operations Plan

Curious as to how your St Louis County operates in an Emergency.

Click on the link below titled 'Plan' and it will take you to the St Louis County Law and Public Safety Web page; and the The St. Louis County Basic Emergency Operations Plan, minus annexes.


Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hats On Day

Join the Youth on April 26th for Hats On Day! It is more than a fundraiser: it is a symbol of the fight and the struggle of all kids who battle cancer and its devastating effects. It is an enlightening experience for students who do not understand why one of their classmates lost their hair, or misses extended periods of school. It is a rallying cry for the community to show support for these brave kids fighting for their lives while living them everyday. Participate by paying a dollar to wear a hat and receive a sticker.

Hats On Day was founded in 1995 by four sixth-graders at Henry School. They began the fundraiser when their friend and classmate, Kevin Beffa, was diagnosed with a type of childhood cancer called Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Kevin had been a bright, happy child with a passion for soccer. When he got sick, he had to miss school and lost all his hair from the treatments. Also in need of a bone marrow transplant, Hats On Day was planned to support Kevin during his battle with cancer. However, just days before the event, Kevin passed away. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hat Day. Wear a hat on April 26 and donate to help Friends of Kids with Cancer!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

God Be With You, Pastor Steve

Dissolution of a Pastoral Call
The church of Jesus Christ is constantly changing. Our church is changing as well. Babies are born. Children grow up. People commit themselves to one another. Loved ones and friends die. Newcomers join our community and our church. Others leave, moving on to new places and new opportunities. It is important that we recognize these times of change.

Today we say farewell to one who is leaving our fellowship.

On Nov 7,2006 this congregation called Rev Steve Ranney to serve with us as pastor. Today that call comes to an end.

In your world, be present , Lord.
In this congregation, be present Lord.
In this community, be present , Lord.
In this presbytery and the whole church, be present, Lord.
In the homes and hearts of all your people, be present, Lord.
For work begun but not completed, Lord, have mercy.
For expectations not met, Lord, have mercy.
For wounds not healed, Lord, have mercy.
For gifts not shared, Lord, have mercy.
For promises not kept, Lord, have mercy.
For friendships made, for joys celebrated and for times of nurture and growth, thanks be to God!
For wounds healed, expectations met, gifts given and promises kept,
thanks be to God!
For our fellowship in Jesus Christ, and for the love of God which has sustained us, thanks be to God!

The Dissolution
Do you, the members of St. Mark Church, release Rev. Dr. Steve Ranney from service as your pastor?
Do you, Rev. Dr. Steve Ranney, recognize and accept the completion of your ministry with this congregation?

Closing Prayer

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Changes in Church Dynamics

Bethlehem Baptist, Jefferson County, Missouri
When my ancestors attended church in southeast Missouri, they had to travel by horse and wagon
which sometimes took hours.  When they got to their meeting place, they didn't stay for an hour and go home, but camped out attending a month of church services and meetings in a weekend.  Sometimes they met in a field, but sometimes they would hold worship on one another's farms.  To have an ordained pastor to marry them or baptize them, they often had to wait for several months.  But they loved these gatherings which were more like family reunions since they were all related "one way or another."

As civilization caught up to them and there were more permanent pastors, worship was held every week, with Sunday School and good attendance pins.  As permanent structures were built, my families' members started attending the church that was closest to their homes.  They no longer had those family reunions, but now were attending three different churches.  That had to have been hard for them   That had to be a cultural shift that made some uncomfortable. And yet permanent neighborhood churches are the churches many of us remember.

Think of how life has changed since the 1950's and 1960's.  In my case, my cousins lived in the same subdivision in North County.  We no longer attended the same church---one aunt had married a Catholic, another aunt's family attended the Evangelical and Reformed.  So, we didn't all attend the same church like my ancestors did with their cousins, but I could ride my bike to their houses.  We visited my grandparents every Friday night in South St. Louis.  My softball team played other Khoury League teams in North County.  We rarely vacationed outside of Missouri.  I recall a cousin saying before he went to Viet Nam that he'd never been out of Missouri.  Life was different then:  my world was still in about a 20 mile radius.

The church dynamics many of us grew up with have changed since the 1960's just as our personal lives have changed.  Our daughters live in Kansas City and Texas.  My siblings and many cousins are from one coast to another. Our church lives have also changed as a result of changes in our personal lives.  click here to read how one person has outlined the changes and how it impacts Sunday morning worship.

Briefly, here are some of the changes  he addresses:

-Greater affluence means people have the money for technology, the money to travel often, living one place in the summer and another in the winter
-Higher focus on children's activities which often travel out of town
-More travel visiting relatives who live somewhere else
-Blended and single parent families

At St. Mark Presbyterian we have addressed many of these issues  for those traveling on Sundays, by having Saturday night worship and often Wednesday night worship and educational opportunities.

We keep our members engaged through various social media:  Facebook, Twitter and the Blog, which encourage our members to engage in conversations with church members even though they may be out of town.

Our church web-site is available with sermons and announcements if individuals cannot attend worship.

But, I think these changes go much deeper than just Sunday worship attendance:  they impact our giving and our leadership roles as well.  For those who are out of town a lot, it is sometimes hard to remember that the church depends on our fulfilling our pledges to pay the bills.  Many pre-pay for a month or a year, so the church has the income to operate.  Others are using an automatic payment plan available through some financial services.

It is often difficult for small groups to continue over the winter with members on cruises, in Florida or in Arizona.  One small group used Skype to stay connected with their Florida members.  But, it is difficult to serve as a Deacon or an Elder while living out of town part-time.  Some committees have an elder chair person but a "lieutenant" who can take over, lead meetings, or work with the chair person on the agenda.

What are some other ways St. Mark can stay "in touch" and relative during this cultural shift?  We welcome your suggestions.  Please contact one of the pastors, C. Weber (clerk of session), or V. Sherman (chair of communications) if you have suggestions. Or, you can comment below!

Printed with permission of Jaclyn Morgan for St. Mark Presbyterian Church.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Worship Prayers April 12

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  Jesus Christ, changer of the world, change us.  Transform us, transfigure us.  Make the passion for God which was in you shine also in us, as you mold us day by day into your disciples.  Amen
Leader:      Trust in the Lord at all times, O people of the earth!
People:      We will pour out our hearts before our God!
Leader:      God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble!
People:      We will trust, and not be afraid!

Eternal God, we have been so blind when truth has been so clear.   When we could have looked ahead, we fell behind.   When we could have viewed the wider picture, we saw only a part.  When we could have sensed the Spirit leading, we missed the way.
Forgive our dim apprehension of love’s clear leading.  Give us faith that trusts when it cannot see, through the light that lingers when all else fails, even the bright Morning Star of our faith, Jesus Christ, the Savior.  Amen.

We had a children's program instead of a sermon: Jailhouse Rock.  Thanks to all who participated and prepared this musical program.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Season for Severe Weather

The following information is taken from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), Region 7.
With the potential for severe weather across the plains and several Midwestern states, please be prepared and stay informed.
“As the threat of severe weather develops, listen to a Weather Radio and local newscasts, monitor digital media feeds for updates and follow the  instructions provided by local emergency officials.” Anticipating severe weather, treat this as a reminder - everyone needs a family emergency plan as we can’t always anticipate when or where a disaster might strike.
As your St Mark Emergency Disaster Preparedness Manager, I've already provided you basic information on how to create your family’s emergency plan.  If you would like further information you can obtain a "Ready in Three" booklet from the St Mark Visitors Center or click on this link:
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mound Ridge Retreat

Mound Ridge Mission Retreat is coming! Join Children’s and Youth Ministries for a weekend of Mission, Worship, Fellowship, & Fun at our Mound Ridge Camp May 2nd-3rd. Renew friendships, create new ones, and be in community with your church family. Of course, we’ll have S’mores around a great campfire! 

To reserve your spot and for additional information, contact Ellen Hynes or Katie Sternhagen 

Departure Time: 8:00 A. M. (Saturday Morning) from St. Mark
Cost: $20 for meals only/person
$30 for lodging only/person
($50 for the whole weekend)*
Plus spending money for breakfast and lunch on the road—McDonald’s

Bring: Bible, bedding, pillow, towel/washcloth, work clothes, and necessities for an overnight!
Return to St. Mark: Approximately 2:00 P.M. on Sunday.

We will do trail work, gardening, and maybe some painting. Saturday night will be spent around a campfire (with Fellowship Hall available in case of rain.) We will celebrate worship in the outdoor chapel on Sunday morning before returning to St. Mark. Please come spend a weekend at our awesome church camp.

Questions: Ellen Hynes
Katie Sternhagen

Registration Deadline: APRIL 26, 2015
*Scholarships Available

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Angels Among Us

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:  for thereby some have entertained angels unawares"
Hebrews 13: 2

The Daughters of God Luncheon, on Saturday, May 9 at 11:00 am will have the theme "Angels Among Us". 

Sign ups will begin April 19. $8 per person.  If payment is made at the time of registering, you will receive a gift.  

Wear something white and bring something "angelic" such as a figurine, ornament, magnet, etc.

Please join us for fun, fellowship and "heavenly" food.  Look for Molly the Mop, the Daughters of God cherub.  For questions, call Sally Shepherd.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Foreign Mission Opportunities

Groups are now being formed for two fantastic mission experiences this summer!

May 30-June 8 is the Joining Hands Partnership Visit to Peru. Meet and listen to our partners in Lima and Huancayo, organic farmers using renewable energy in Chaquichocha, a rapidly melting glacier in Huaytapal-lana, and experience the rich history, culture and wonderful people, including a visit to the ancient Andean Incan Capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu.

July 11-19, 2015 - Mission Delegation to Nicaragua (Plan Grande #2, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua) The Giddings Lovejoy Presbytery has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with this small coffee farming community nestled in the mountains of Northern Nicaragua. Join us on a trip to visit with our friends, lead Vacation Bible School, meet with the scholarship program recipients, and learn about the lives of God's people in Nicaragua. Spanish not necessary...translators are always a part of the trip!

See Greg Nuckolls or a member of the Mission Committee for details. Financial assistance is available for all St. Mark Presbyterian members who wish to join an international mission trip!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Worship from March 22

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  Loving and Beloved God:  You sprinkle signs of your mercy along our wandering way.  Keep us from faint heartedness and despair, that we might find firm faith as we journey through this Lenten season; through Jesus Christ our Companion, to whom with you and the Spirit, one holy God, be honor and praise, now and forever. Amen

CALL TO WORSHIP (Adapted from Psalm 25)
Leader:      Show us your ways, O LORD,
People:      Teach us your paths;
Leader:      Guide us in your truth and teach us,
People:      For you are God our Savior,
Leader:      And our hope is in you all day long.
People:      We remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love.
Leader:      So, let us 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 on March 22, click here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What is E-Cycling (Recycling of Electronics Equipment)

When:  May 30, Jun 27, Jul 25, Aug 29, Sept 26, Oct 31, and Nov 28
Where:  Parking lot across from Dillard's at Chesterfield Mall

Acceptable Items:  Computers, laptops, monitors, printers, cables and peripherals (keyboards, etc); Networking equipment, telecommunications, phones, clocks, etc; CRT TVs (limit 3), VCR's, stereos and like audio/video/satellite/cable equipment; home electronics, blenders, toasters, etc; all white goods like: washers, dryers, dishwashers, furnaces and A/C equipment; electrical, cabling, and communications machinery and equipment; lawn equipment, tools, old mowers, tillers, etc; old motors, transformers, and all electrical equipment; car and lead-containing batteries; CD's, VHS, DVDs, cassettes, DAT, and all types of software

ABSOLUTELY NO paints, tires, chemicals/hazardous or wood products will be accepted

Sponsored by:  Web Innovations & Technology Services (WITS) a not-for-profit reuse charity, and the city of Chesterfield

All donations are tax deductible
Fees for items containing lead and other materials may apply.
Click here for more information

Jeremiah 18:1-6
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ... 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Youth News

Flocks of Flamingos have returned! The Flamingos are back from migration! If you are interested in “Flocking” your friends, family, or neighbors, please contact Katie Sternhagen! Several dates are available! This is a fun way to get involved in the fundraising for the Youth Ministries Mission Projects!

Montreat and Mission Trip Meeting April 12 Parents and students are welcome to join us after the 10:30 worship service in the youth lounge. $140 Deposit for Mission Trip is due that day along with the registration form.