Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PW Book Club 2015-2016

After our suggestions for October 2015- September 2016 were discussed and voted on, we present our St. Mark Presbyterian Book Club schedule meeting fourth Wednesday of month except December.

Note: the books with an asterisk after the title are available as an audio book from the Library

Oct 28 Prince and the Pauper * Mark Twain


Dec 9 Patron Saint of Liars * Ann Patchet

Jan 27 A Higher Call * Larry Makos

Feb 24 Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry * Rachel Joyce

Mar 23 Dead Wake * Erik Larson

Apr 27 The Pearl that Broke Its Shell *Nadia Hashemi

May 25 Girls of Atomic City Denise Kiernan

June 22 Color of Lightning Paulette Jiles


Aug 24 All the Light We Cannot See* Anthony Doerr

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Drive Oct. 4

This is St. Mark’s fourth and final blood drive of 2015. Let’s make it our best! On Sunday, October 4 from 9 AM to 1 PM the Red Cross will take donations in Gleason Hall. Please bring your Driver’s License and Blood Donation Card if you have one.  You may also make an appointment by calling 1-800-Red Cross.  Our code is "SaintMarkPres"

Thank you for giving blood to the American Red Cross on July 26. After first ensuring that our local needs were met, your blood donation was sent to Norton Hospital in Louisville, KY to help a patient in need.

Your donation helps save lives!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Worship Prayers from Sept. 20

PRAYER IN PREPARATION  Lord, I know that you have been calling me all of my life.  You want me to come into your presence and share my very soul with you.  The problem is I am afraid that if I do that, you will reject me.  Help me to set aside my fear of you so that I will come to you just as I am.  Fill me with a sense of your love, so that I can come to know you more fully.  In the name of your Son I pray, Amen.
The Lord's unfailing love and mercy never cease,
         fresh as the morning and sure as the sunrise.
Let us worship God.
Gracious God of light and life, each and every morning we have reason to praise you for your re-creation of a new day.  We approach you in your holiness and might only through the merits of Jesus Christ, confessing that our lives are less than perfect, and often reveal our all too human weaknesses.  As we engage in worshipful work, fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we may know your will, walk in your ways, build up your church, and glorify you.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A-B-C; Back-to-School Preparedness

In the aftermath of the recent school closure due to an active shooter, I thought it necessary to remind our congregation of important disaster preparedness planning techniques. Information is taken from: FEMA e-Brief, September 10, 2015

Parents and caregivers! Disasters can strike even when your child is away at school, so it is important to have plans in place so you can connect during an emergency. Preparing your child for emergencies that may happen during the school day is as easy as A-B-C.
Steps you should take to protect your child:

A: Ask how you will be reunited with your child in an emergency or evacuation;

B: Bring extra medications, special food, or supplies your child will need if you are separated overnight; and

C: Complete a backpack card and tuck one in your child’s backpack and your wallet.

To learn more, visit You can also download and complete the Family Emergency Communication Plan now available from America’s PrepareAthon!
2Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Future of Mainline Churches

What can you see we are doing at St. Mark Presbyterian to remain alive?  What do we need to work harder to do?

"Five Signs of the Resurrection of Mainline Churches"

Joe insists that the days of our denomination are numbered. The last time Joe and I connected, he gave the PCUSA 10 years, maximum, until its death. You hear that comment about a lot of denominations, not just the PCUSA.
I don't think so.
It's true, the church will not look like what we have been in the past. I fully believe, as Paul says to the Corinthians about resurrection, "We shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51)." There is a good chance that Joe will not recognize the PCUSA as we rise.
What might this risen church look like? Here are some signs I see of this revival in the Presbyterian Church. I invite you to watch for them in all the mainline American churches. Do you see them too?
1. The Emergent Church Phenomenon
Imaginative efforts to remake the church are everywhere, including among evangelical circles. The aging of members and membership decline is now a constant for conservatives as well as the mainline. We are all trying to reverse this.
In the PCUSA we call the effort 1001 Worshipping Communities: a challenge to the church to establish 1001 new "congregations" in the next decade. These emergent fellowships take a host of different forms. Some are purely virtual, living online. Others meet in bars or coffee shops, gather late at night or once a month, share leadership or have a dedicated "new church development" pastor.
Emergent churches are limited only by their energy and imagination, inspired by the Holy Spirit. And they are springing up everywhere.
2. Vibrant Embrace of Scripture
It is clear that the rising mainline congregation will not have one understanding of Scripture that is required of all. Those who belong to the church do so by attraction and participation more than agreed-upon confession.
The Bible is taken seriously, not literally. Its meaning and wisdom arise from deep conversation within the congregation, based upon a common conviction that no one person knows the mind of God and everyone may contribute to our understanding through inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Scriptures are an essential guide to living. They offer to us the wisdom distilled from the faith experience of our distant ancestors who, as we do, tried to know and abide by God's will. In this way, it is God's word to us.
3. Happy in the Multi-faith Environment
The thriving church of the future will make its peace with the complex, multi-faith world in which we live. They will plumb each day the mystery of Jesus' declaration that He is "the way, the truth and the life" and that "no one comes to the Father but by me (John 14:6)." They will seek to discover the Christ in all they meet, including those of other faiths (and other wings of Christianity) with whom they work for good in the world.
Mission will be service to the needy. Willing partners in this evangelism, whose faith compels them to heal the sick and lift up the downtrodden, will be treasured, even though they may not declare themselves to be Christian.
Perhaps most alien to Joe will be the capacity of the coming church to learn from devotees of other faiths. This arises from the fact that God often chooses unexpected messengers to reach out to us, including those who know God by other names.
4. Fundamentally Committed to Welcoming All
What we become often arises out of learning from mistakes and failures. One great sin of the church has been the shunning of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We taught our children to sing, "Jesus, loves me. This I know," and showed our mendacity when we then said, "No, sorry, wait, not you or you." We can try to judge nicely but our children see through that, too.
A hallmark of the rising mainline church is a clear "Welcome to All" sign front and center above the door. If there is a fundamental confession shared by these churches, it is that God loves all God's children. This is a seismic shift from millennia of instilling fear of a judging God to a vision for the church of inspiring relationship with a loving One. Both are in the Bible. Now the second is being lifted up.
Fathoming what God loving all means for us is the wonderful work of the emerging mainline church. I give thanks this can include Joe and his congregation who are earnest in following Jesus.
5. Follow the Youth
What the mainline church is becoming gives new meaning to Isaiah's prophecy, "A little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6)." It is time to let the youth show us the way. I invite all of my generation to step aside with me and let the millennials show us how to be the body of Christ in this world that has so much more in it than we were born into.
Our PCUSA youth share the spirituality of the "Nones" who have forsaken the church (both progressive and evangelical) but have remained out of sheer grace and vision of what we can be but have not been. They see value in "religion," not just our terrible flaws.
They see the strength in spirituality, cultivating a relationship with God. And they appreciate the strength of forging a community so that we may help one another better love and serve God--religion at its best, I'd say.
But the youth will do church differently from what we have known. If we want to continue in the church, we must follow them.
What an exciting time! Not many live in a time of large, structural death and resurrection. We do. I invite you to join me in watching for these signs and, when you see them, flowing with them toward a new day.
Reprinted from the Huffington Post

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Midweek Activities

Come for any of the activities or just for the fellowship of dinner!

Midweek Dinner will be Garlic chicken, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Texas Sheet Cake for Dessert ($7 per adult)

Celebration Ringers rehearse at 5
Chancel Bells at 6
Chancel Choir at 7 (Music Room)

Youth Bible Study at 6:15 (Youth Lounge)

Children's Choir 6:15-6:45 (downstairs in music room) They are currently rehearsing the Christmas Musical  "Wrapping All the Way" will be presented Dec. 12-13. Have a good time while sharing your love of Christmas!

Children's Activity 6:15-7:30 (Rooms 20, 23)

Adult Study 6:15 (Fellowship Hall):  "Caring for Creation: A Common Concern of Faith and Science" presented by Rev. Dr. Clint McCann from Eden Seminary

Monday, September 21, 2015

Crop Walk!

Children & Youth of St. Mark Presbyterian are both participating in the CROP walk. The congregation can help in a couple of ways.
1.       Walk with the students on the day of the walk (October 11th 1:30 p.m. at Eden Seminary)
2.       Make a donation to the CROP Walk.
The CROP walk is part of the Church World Service. Walks are held all over the United States to create hunger awareness in addition to raising money to help extinguish global hunger.
For additional information, contact Katie or call the church office.
Thank YOU!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Worship Prayers September 13

PRAYER IN PREPARATION  Thank you, God, for this good night and day, for time to sleep and wake, for dark and light, for silence and noise, for stillness and movement, for my body, mind, and heart.  Give me the strength today to bear my cross with patience so that whoever I meet will find a moment of calm in my presence because of you.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen
We are here because we have heard the call of Jesus in our lives.
         We are here to challenge and support one another to rise up and follow.
We are here because we want to be God’s people.
         We want to learn more about what it means to be the people of God.
We come, seeking to be moved, changed, and made whole by the Spirit of the Living God.
         Let us open our hearts to the moving of the Spirit, and prepare to leave this place as true disciples of Christ.  Amen

Holy God, in the face of sin, our gravest enemy, we call to you for help.  You know our fault before we speak.  Forgive us for what we have done in opposition to your will.  Forgive us for those things we have not undertaken and for which we know our wrong.  We have not loved you and our neighbors as we ought.  We have denied our dependence on you.  Lead us away from this grief and sorrow.  Save us so that we may fulfill our vows to you and attend to the needs of your people.  Amen

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Circle Of Concern Charity Golf Tournament - SUCCESS

The Circle Of Concern Charity Golf Tournament held Monday, September 15 at The Legends was a success.  The field of 72 golfers enjoyed the day slicing, hooking, squibbing, missing, and yes even hitting the little white ball straight with the most perfect weather for a good cause in raising more than $8,000 for the food pantry of Circle Of Concern.

I would like to share the below message from the Executive Director of Circle Of Concern to our St Mark Congregation.

"We are honored to be the long-time beneficiary of the St. Mark Charity Golf Tournament.   On behalf of the struggling families we serve, I want to thank you for giving your time and resources to organize and staff the event.  I have been involved with golf events for many years, and I know the work that goes into it...and oh, the necessary arm-twisting of friends, family and colleagues to support the event!  It is not for the meek of heart! 

We are all so incredibly busy these days.  And there are many worthwhile causes.  It means a lot when individuals give their time and resources to raise dollars to support our mission.     

Support from caring folks like you enables us to help families with healthy foods, personal care items, financial assistance and other resources during their most difficult times.  Kids in our area whose families have a financial need may apply for scholarships that help them to pursue their dreams – and change their future for the better.  Others benefit from the coaching of volunteer mentors, who help them to network, build a resume, and strengthen their interviewing skills, etc., which can help them to land their first job – or a better job. 

Circle could not exist without the help of compassionate individuals and community partners such as you.  Thank you so much!"

Sincerely Yours,

Cyndi Miller

 Cynthia R. Miller, Executive Director

Circle Of Concern

Feeding Families is Just the Beginning
Acts 20:35  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Friday, September 18, 2015

French Toast Bake

French Toast Bake

1 stick butter
1 c. brown sugar

12 slices Texas Toast
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1.5 cup milk
1/2 t. nutmeg

4 T sugar
2 T cinnamon

2 T extra melted butter

Mix butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended.  Pour into 9"X 13" pan and spread evenly to coat bottom of pan

In a bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilaa. Lay 6 slices of Toast in pan, spoon half the egg mixtur over toast.  Sprinkle with 3/4 of sugar mixture.

Top with remaining 6 toaast slices.  Spoon remaining egg mixture on top.  Drizzle lightly with butter and sugar mix.

Cover with foil.  Refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.
Remove foil, bake another 20 minutes.

This dish was served at the Presbyterian Women's Brunch.  For more photos, click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Peace and Global Witness Offering

A Season of Peace begins September 7 and completes October 5, World Communion Sunday.
The Peace and Global Witness Offering (previously the Peacemaking Offering) will be collected during that time.

What does “A Season of Peace” mean? PCUSA has made a commitment to be active in working to transform cultures of violence into communities of peace. That may mean working to end violence against women, children or others, establishing lines of com-munication with groups and communities with whom there is little contact, and many other initiatives.

Our participation in the Peace and Global Witness Offering provides funds for those programs and St. Mark Presbyterian will retain 25% of the total for local use. Session voted that those funds would go to the Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services and St. Martin Peace Meal.

Click here, for more information on the Season of Peace and to subscribe to  Devotionals.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Midweek Programs

Please join us Wednesday evenings at 6:15 in Fellowship Hall following dinner. (5:15)
Sample Menu

Sept. 16-Oct. 21 Christianity and Science:
  • Sept. 16 The Origin of the Universe?  The Bible's "Simple Answer"  Rev. Dr. Clint McCann from Eden Theological Seminary
  • Sept. 23  Caring for Creation  A Common Concern of Faith and Science presented by Rev. Dr. Clint McCann Eden Theological Seminary.  These sessions will focus primarily on the creation accounts in Genesis 1-2; but we shall also bring in other creation texts from the Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, all of which profess that the world derives from and belongs to God.  This is a claim that is entirely compatible with science and the scientific investigation of the origins of life and the world.

Sept. 30 Meet our new Interim Pastor 
Oct. 28 -Nov. 25 What we Believe-‘Reformed and Reforming’
Dec. 2 Blue Christmas Worship 
Dec. 9, 16 Advent Program

For more information, menu and sign-ups, click here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

All Aboard Presbyterian Women

The Presbyterian Women began their programming year with a brunch "All Aboard" which had a train theme.  After social time and prayer, the "Harvey Girls" sang "Chattanooga Choo-Choo".  President Sharon Tharp gave an overview of the coming year and an invitation for all women to join us for one of the activities or a circle.   After brunch was served, a program of inspiration and a railroad journey through photos was presented.

Recipe for French Toast Bake with more photos on Friday!

Monday, September 14, 2015

ABC Sale Success

The July ABC sale was a grand success, thanks to over 150 people who were so gracious to volunteer their time and their talents to guarantee that our yearly event actually happened once again in 2015. We are humbled by all that was done by so many; please know that your setting up, donating, unloading, sorting, pricing, salesmanship, baking, cooking, cleaning up, etc, was unbelievably appreciated by the four of us. The $11,000+ that the Deacons will send to organizations in our community will truly make a difference in the lives of so many!

In addition, actual goods have been contributed directly from the items that were donated. The organizations that received material donations include: St. Vincent DePaul's, The American Kidney Foundation, BRO, Children's Ministry and the Claymont Preschool at St. Mark, the Property, Fellowship, and Design committees at St. Mark, Isaiah 58, a prison ministry, the USO, Shoes for Hope, New Life Evangelical Center, The Shoeman, St. Mark Knitting Circle, and the PW here at church.  These were the organizations where the "left-over" donations went.

We would be amiss if we didn't publicly thank the ministers and the staff at St. Mark; you did everything possible to support and encourage us, particularly the week of the sale. And for those of you who chaired the ABC sale in the many years before we (gulp) said that we would attempt to (no way) fill your shoes, we owe you more than you will ever know.

With a special thanks to all of you in the St. Mark community who donated your treasures from your attics, basements and closets - Fondly, G. Knopf, C. Bartell, V. Chabot and B. Pierce

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Worship Prayers Sept. 6 Iona

Photographed by Nancy Sutch at Iona Community 2015

Lord, set your blessing on us as we begin this day together.  Confirm in us the truth by which we rightly live; confront us with the truth from which we wrongly turn.  We ask not for what we want but for what you know we need, as we offer this day and ourselves for you and to you through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen

Iona Community 2015
Upon this gathering of your people,
         pour out your Spirit, O Lord.
Be near to us and speak to us,
         and we will proclaim your glory.

God of favor, we have not been true to you.  You have chosen the poor in the world, but we have dishonored them.  You plead the cause of the afflicted, but we crush them.  We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  We have favored the rich and despised the poor.  We have dismissed the needy with empty words.  Soften our hearts and make straight our ways.  Heal our unbelief and turn us back to you.  Amen

Thanks to the Sutches for sharing their photos of the Iona Community in Scotland, June 2015.  For the sermon Sept. 6, click here.
Iona Community 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Golf...Monday, September 14

Circle of Concern St Mark Charity Golf Tournament is finally Here
You can still sign up to play or show up Monday morning, September 14, 10:30 at The Legends Golf Course.
We will pair you up with other singles or place you on a team who is short. 
If you can’t play, think about making a financial donation as a ‘Friend of Circle’. 
Pick up a REGISTRATION BROCHURES at the Welcome Center and or visit the church web page at  for more details.
GOD HAS PROMISED US GREAT WEATHER FOR THE EVENT – or at least according to the local weather stations.
1 Peter 3:10   For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; ....especially on the golf course!