Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Is God Using Me?" Church Drivers Needed!

Our vibrant congregation needs you!  Ever wonder what the feeling would be if you no longer have the capability to attend church, to be with your church family that for so many years you religiously attend services and worship with, the spiritual and cherished friendships established and wished would never end, and dreadfully hope that no one would forget you.  I wonder what that feeling would be like.

Some of our congregation may need assistance in getting to church.  Some members may not have the physical means to drive themselves anymore or family who live in the area to assist.  Some may live close to church or some may live a little ways away.  What I do know is that they don’t want to be forgotten and want to be with their church family and attend services when possible.

We need drivers who are willing to give of themselves knowing ‘God Is Using Me’ as his calling into this ministry.  Last Sunday, a member of our congregation was blessed and able to attend church because transportation was available.  If you could see how happy and excited this member showed being able to share their faith with God and their friends, says enough.

God Is Using Me as a driver because members of our congregation will be able to continue their faith journey with their church family and hopefully never forgotten.

Interested, contact a member of the Deacon Transportation Committee

Psalm 10:17
LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless.  Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Youth Events for St. Mark Presbyterian

*Dessert Auction and Lunch November 8th 11:30-1:30 p.m.

Come and see the delicious delicacies baked up for auction! Whether it is your favorite dessert from the Christmas Boutique, or one you’ve never tried, come and bid on pies, cakes, cookies, and more! 
Admission is $8, $20 for a family, & will be taken at the door. New this year, we will have BINGO cards available for $1.

St. Mark Youth would love bakers to donate their goods as well! ALL ARE WELCOME! Please sign up in the Narthex with your reservation, and see Katie Sternhagen or Debbie Brown with additional questions!

*Raffle Drawing for Walt Disney World Tickets is November 11th! Get your tickets today! Call the office or email Katie (!

November 1st: Help with Bridge Bread
                         Day of the Dead Party
November 4th: Shoebox Ministry
November 7th: Annual Leaf Raking with Deacons
November 8th: Youth Choir Practice 10:30 a.m.
                         Dessert Auction Fundraiser 11:30-1:30 p.m.
November 11th: Shoebox Ministry
                          Raffle Drawing
November 13-15th: Senior High Retreat at Mound Ridge
November 18th: Shoebox Ministry
November 20-21st: Presbytery Middle School Retreat at Mound Ridge
November 22nd: Youth Choir Singing at 10:30 service meet at 9:45 a.m.
                            Giving Thanks Dinner 11:30 a.m.
                            Hanging of the Greens
November 25th: NO MID WEEK~ Happy Thanksgiving
November 29th: Advent Prayer Stations 11:30-1 :00 p.m.

Save the Date! TRIVIA NIGHT 2016 March 5th, 2106 at St. Mark. Save the Date! Details to follow!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Christmas Boutique Workers Needed

Join in on the Fun and Fellowship by helping with the Christmas Boutique Tuesday and Wednesday, November 10 & 11.  We need people to make soup, chicken salad and/or desserts for the Angel Street Cafe, baked goods for the Bake Sale Booth, lend us card tables, help during the boutique and put a sign in your yard or neighborhood.  It is a great time to fellowship with other members and those who come to visit.  Please sign up at the PW table in the Narthex or call Laurie Dolson.  I know you will have a great time!  Yard signs will be available at the PW table in the Narthex by Wednesday, October 25.  Click here for more information, photos from the past and recipes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Presbyterian Women invite you to Meet Elijah Parish Lovejoy  after you’ve enjoyed your midweek meal on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.  The program will start at 6:15 in Fellowship Hall.  It will feature a video produced as a joint project of the Missouri and Maine Humanities Council.  The story is narrated by Maya Angelou.  This is the story of an educator, newspaperman, and Presbyterian minister who lived his faith and lost his life in pursuit of freedom of the press and human dignity.  Click here to learn more about him.
And then…
The next day, Thursday, October 29,  meet at St. Mark at 8:30 am to Follow Lovejoy’s Path to Alton, IL.  Our first stop will be at the little Stone Church (on the National Historic Register site) where Lovejoy preached. The Rev. Dr. Anne Epling will speak with us there.  Then it’s on to Alton to learn more about Lovejoy and the Underground Railroad in the area.  We will have lunch in Alton and then return to St. Mark.
Further information and sign-up sheets will be available at the PW table in the Narthex. These events are NOT for women only!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Zacchaeus and T-Swizzle

By Kathy Deters
As anyone with a daughter under the age of 19 is probably aware, pop star royalty visited St. Louis recently. Taylor Swift, also known as Tay-Tay or T-Swizzle to her fans, was in town for two concerts. All three of my children absolutely adore her; they have her catchy lyrics committed to memory, and often revert to her pithy words of advice in dark times, when we can understand them (I continue to sing “Starbucks lovers,” despite having being told numerous times those aren’t the right words).

A frenzy about her St. Louis performances seemed to spread throughout the region as the concert dates drew near. Radio stations gave away tickets, restaurants begged her to stop by and concert-going fans worked diligently on glitter-adorned neon pink posters. The buzz reached my children’s schools, as students planned what they would wear to the concerts that night. Over the years my family has purchased her music and the perfume that carries her name, we’ve planned New Year’s Eve celebrations around watching her perform on television at Times Square and, like true fans, we’ve tracked the trials and tribulations of her romantic life like some people track their favorite sports teams. 

But, sadly, we did not purchase tickets to either of her St. Louis concerts.

Though I had expected some guilt from my kids as they watched their friends head off to the concerts, the older two children handled it well. I was surprised to find, however, that at a quarter-past bedtime, my youngest was still bouncing off the walls downstairs.

“Bedtime, sweetie,” I said to the 5-year-old.

“Nope, I need to stay up!” she replied brightly.

“For what? Everybody else is already in bed,” I pointed out.

She stopped jumping from the sofa to the recliner and looked me square in the eye.

“I think Taylor Swift might stop by to see me after her concert,” she said earnestly.

I smiled weakly. “Oh, sweetie, what makes you think that?”

“Well, she’s in town,” my daughter replied. “And I love her.”

I nodded. While the reasoning was sound, in my heart I knew that my itty bitty 5-year-old daughter was completely invisible to Taylor Swift. While I’ve heard numerous stories about this lovely young woman taking time to surprise fans, visit with sick children and reach out and connect in other amazing ways, she is, still, only one woman, and could not possibly be in the home of every young fan.

And then I heard another catchy little song in the back of my head, one that I hadn’t heard in years:
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he; he climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the lord he wanted to see.”

At those times when we feel insignificant and even invisible to the world, we are always visible to God. He is always present, always in our homes, always a part of our lives. We are never so tiny, or so quiet, that he isn’t aware of our presence. With or without glitter-covered neon posters.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Festival

 With a blue grass band, food, games, pony rides, crafts, apple butter, Lolly the clown with her fantastic balloon art,  pumpkin carving and bounce houses, St. Mark Presbyterian's Fall Festival had it all---most of it free and open to the community.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Worship Prayers for Oct. 18

PRAYER IN PREPARATION  We give you thanks and praise, O God, that you have called us to this place to hear the promise of your holy word, to be immersed in the font of your grace, and to drink the cup of your blessing.  Draw us deeper into your presence and send us out to love and serve; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen 
God is not a God of war but of peace, not a God of chaos, but of order
         not a God of judgment and condemnation, but of forgiving love.
Therefore may we come to God as we are, confident in God’s desire and ability to deal with all the conditions of our souls and of our world.
         Let us approach the throne of grace and find help in our time of need.

Merciful and gentle God, we have wanted reward without sacrifice.  We have been unwilling to serve and have not humbled ourselves in obedience.  Forgive our hubris, gracious God. Correct our ignorant ways and help us to know your glory through servanthood.  Guide us to be true followers of your way, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

DEACONS of St Mark Presbyterian Church

"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 and resources of the congregation.  In so doing, through faith, Deacons lead the congregation to accomplish tasks that serve the greater congregation and community."

In order to accomplish and fulfill our mission the St Mark Presbyterian Church Board of Deacons primarily lead 9 committee's and three main fundraising events made possible by the participation and efforts of the congregation.  Deacons also support the following community outreach:

Beyond Housing
Board of Religious Organizations
Bridge Bread
Businesspersons Between Jobs
Circle Of Concern
Habitat for Humanity
Isaiah 58 Ministries
Lafayette Industries
Lydia's House
Matthew 25 Hunger Fund
Mound Ridge Camp
Peace Meal
Presbyterian Children Homes and Services
Room at the Inn
Solea Water Project

Acts 2:42   And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Friday, October 23, 2015

. . .and The Other Gold

This is the third in the series recognizing those who have been members for over 40 years.  Please thank them for their dedication and service to the ministry of St. Mark Presbyterian Church.  Click here to see the others spotlighted.  Thank you Barb, Virginia, June, Ermalynn, Bob, Stuart, Phyllis, Kirby, Helen, Bob and Kris for your faith.  Also, thanks to Ed Acheson whose photo wasn't in the directory, but who has certainly been a loyal, dedicated member.  The photos below are from the 1975 photo directory.

The Stone Family

Be sure to stop by the bulletin board to see the new members, too!  21 new members since this summer and over 30 that have been members for 40 years.  St. Mark Presbyterian has a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Future Starts Now

“Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.” 1 Peter 1:3-4 (The Message)
Today, October 21, 2015, is “Back to the Future Day,” when our day will finally catch up to the tomorrow depicted in “Back to the Future, Part II.” In that 1989 film, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) appear with a flash in their DeLorean time machine from 30 years in the past. Suddenly, they find themselves in the same town, but surrounded by impossible technology and outlandish cultural changes.

October 21, 2015 also marks one month that I have been your interim pastor. We are beginning our interim journey together, and like Marty McFly and Dr. Brown we find ourselves in the same church and same town as 30 years ago, but we are now surrounded by impossible technology and seemingly outlandish cultural changes. A pastor transition, such as the one we are beginning, provides a congregation with an excellent opportunity to observe the changes happening in the world around us. This will help us intentionally plan a future for St. Mark that addresses these changes rather than planning a future based on assumptions that no longer work

But this really isn’t anything new for us. As Christians, we live in an interim time, looking back to the first Easter and headed to the fulfillment on God’s kingdom. We may have to put up with some changes, and with a fair bit of aggravation, in the meantime, but it’s important to remember that we are involved in something that will even outlast us. So we will begin our work with confidence, trusting God for the results and believing that “The Future Starts Now!”

In my short time here with you I can see that this is a vibrant church with a committed, caring congregation. God’s Spirit is being poured out in all sorts of ways. As we go forward together, we will continue building on the many gifts of this congregation as we actively await the bright future God has in store for this church.

My job as an interim pastor, in addition to being your pastor and regular preacher and teacher, is to guide and support you during a time of self-study and reflection. This time of self-study and reflection will help St. Mark embrace a new beginning and prepare for the next season of ministry.

Over the next couple of months, I will be working with the church elders to identify people to serve on a Mission Study Team. Beginning in early 2016 the Mission Study Team will lead the congregation in intentional conversations about St. Mark. Those conversation’s will help the church gain clarity about its core values; recognize the cultural changes taking place in the world and how it affects our current and future possibilities for growth; and identify our hopes and dreams for the future so we can develop a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. From this process, which should take about 6-8 months, we will be ready to form a Pastor Nominating Committee and begin seeking a new installed pastor.

The interim time can be stressful, as most transitions are. But this is also a time of great excitement and wonder, the kind that always comes with something new. So as we begin our journey during this interim process, let’s see what we can accomplish together through prayer and the Holy Spirit. God can use this time in surprising ways. We have important work to do in the next few months. I ask your support, your prayers, your gifts and your presence on Sunday mornings as together we face the future with its hope and its great promise.

Pastor Jim Poinsett

Monday, October 19, 2015

BRO Doll and Toy Drive

During the months of September and October, Presbyterian Women will be collecting new and slightly used dolls, toys and monetary donations for girls.  These gifts are distributed b volunteers of BRO (Board of Religious Organizations) to over 5600 needy children in the St. Louis area for Christmas.  A $6.00 donation will be used to purchase one of these items.  In addition, gently used toys, dolls, games and books may be laced in the BRO gray container at any time.  Especially needed are toys for boys and girls ages 6 to 10.  Donations will be accepted in the Narthex in the playpen.  For further information, contact S. Boeker or L. Grothe.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Worship Prayers for Oct. 11

PRAYER IN PREPARATION  Giver of light and life, we would be made whole again in your presence for we have been drained by this week.  We would see again your glory and offer our praise for we have lost touch in the hurry of our days.  We would renew our faith and commit again our lives as you have called us to do, in Jesus’ name.  Amen
Where can wisdom be found?  Where is the place of understanding?
         God knows the way to it, and God will lead us there.
Where does wisdom come from?  Where is the place of understanding?
         Leaving the ways of sin, and walking in the ways of God.
The wisdom of the world tells us to seek our own paths and success.
         The wisdom of Christ tells us to serve and love others.
Leave the wisdom of the world behind, and let us follow God!
         Let us walk in the ways of God’s wisdom: love, justice, and peace!
Gracious God, we pray for forgiveness this day: for choosing power over service; for seeking glory rather than humility; for pushing ourselves to the front.  Help us know where we are needed and how best to serve you and your people, that we might be your hands of healing and compassion for a world in need.  Remind us that the waters of baptism cleanse and make us new, and that Jesus Christ is the One who calls us to service as we seek to be faithful disciples.  Amen.

For the sermon "Baptized to What.?" click here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fire Extinguishers

Taken from FEMA E-Brief, October 14, 2015

Fire extinguisherPortable fire extinguishers are a valuable resource for immediate use on small fires, and can save lives and property. However, before you consider using an extinguisher, consider these very important details:
Should you need to use a fire extinguisher, follow the PASS method:
·       Pull the pin to break the tamper seal;
·       Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle, horn or nose at the base of the fire;
·       Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent; and
·       Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.
 Type of fire extinguisher should match the type of fire. An electrical fire would require a different extinguishing agent than a grease fire.  Most extinguishers display symbols to show the kind of fire on which they can be used.

NOTE:   If you do not think you would be able to safely put the fire out in five seconds using an extinguisher, do not attempt to use it! Leave the area and call 911.

The U. S. Fire Administration recommends only trained personnel use and maintain a fire extinguisher! Contact your local fire department for training in your area.

Isaiah 41:10   Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Christmas Boutique

St. Mark Presbyterian
Christmas Boutique 

Crafters will provide Christmas Decorations and Ornaments
Handmade Holiday Items – Children’s Items - Jewelry
Hand Painted Folk Art Items - Floral Arrangements
Personalized Items - Cookbooks & Many More Unique Gift Ideas
Also there will be Wonderful Hand-made Items and Fresh Baked Delicacies for sale
by the Women in Our Church

Tuesday · November 10 · 10:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday · November 11 · 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Join us for lunch or dinner at the
Angel Street Cafe
St. Mark’s Famous Chicken Salad
Homemade Soups - Salads - Heavenly Desserts
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
601 Claymont Dr.
Ballwin, MO 63021
Profits are distributed to different youth and women's missions*:  
Free Admission

 *Last year's profits went to BRO (for children in need), Presbyterian Children's Home, Children's Foundation of Mid-America/Regional Girls Shelter, Circle of Concern, Mound Ridge Camp, Lydia House (for abused women),  Fellowship Committee of St. Mark, Childrens Ministries of St. Mark, Youth Committee of St. Mark