Sunday, May 29, 2016

Worship Prayers from May 22

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Abba, Father, Creator – we call you by many names, but the names we choose show our relationship with you. Spirit of Life, Wind and Breath among us, we feel you move through us, guiding us, inspiring us to share your love with others.  Jesus, the Christ, Savior of us all, we desire to walk in your ways and to love one another as you first loved us.  Triune God, we desire to relate to you and to each other more fully.  Continue to call us, guide us, and lead us into this world and beyond.  Amen.
We meet in the name of God, Creator of the universe, mother and father of all.
         The love of God is with us.
We meet in the name of Jesus, Word made flesh, lover of all.
         The grace of Christ is with us.
We meet in the name of the Holy Spirit, sustainer and giver of life, inspirer of all.
         The communion of the Spirit is with us.
Amazing God, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  You call us to be faithful disciples.  But we do not always exhibit your grace.  We are divided in our devotion to you.  Forgive us, triune God.  Open our hearts.  Appear to us in forms we cannot deny.  Challenge us in ways we cannot avoid.  Lead us in paths from which we cannot turn back.  Be present here, befriend us here, renew us here.  Make us new creations who may perfectly love and serve you.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

In search of our next Senior Pastor

The second and last survey ended on May 21st.  There were 203 total responses electronically or hard copy.  Thank you to those members who completed the last of two surveys.  The results on ‘THEOLOGY AND PASTORAL IDENTITY’ will be analyzed and included in a formal report that will be submitted to The Session.  The Mission Study Team will next meet Tuesday, May 24th.

Romans 1:12  That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Daily Prayer

You, O Lord, are full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and rich in kindness.

God our creator, you made all things in your wisdom, and in your love you save us.  We pray for the whole creation.  Overthrow evil powers, right what is wrong, feed and satisfy those who thirst for justice, so that all you children may freely enjoy the earth you have made, and joyfully sing your praises.  Take all our doubts and uncertainties, O god, and fill us with such faith that we may be confident of your love and loyal  in the service of him who died and yet lives for us, Jesus Christ the Lord.  

Merciful God, you bear the pain of the world.  Look with compassion on those who are sick, cheer them by your word, and bring healing as a sign of your grace.  God of comfort stand with those who sorrow; that they may be sure that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, shall separate them from your love. (Add your prayers) Amen.

This prayer and others can be found printed at the Welcome Center at St. Mark Presbyterian.

From The Book of Common Worship (Westminster Press)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Extraordinary Worship in Ordinary

Summertime, and the living is easy . . . but that doesn’t mean you should stop coming to church.

Though this time on the church calendar is known as “ordinary,” it provides us the opportunity to gather and celebrate the extraordinary sacredness of God’s activity in our life.

Again this summer, the St. Mark Presbyterian session has voted to combine the two Sunday morning worship services to form one worship service at 9:30 a.m. The summer worship schedule will begin Memorial Day Weekend (May 29) and go through August 8. The Saturday night service remains the same at 5 in Fellowship Hall.

These Sunday summer worship services will emphasize God’s extraordinary transformation of “ordinary” people and events. Come hear Haitian missionaries, see God’s transformational power in the lives of our youth as they tell their Mission trip experiences, hear our Vacation Bible School singers and other musicians from our congregation make a joyful noise to the Lord. This is the perfect time to renew relationships and wor-ship with friends who attend the “other” service, find spiritual nourishment through powerful preaching and gathering at the Lord’s Table (so much better for you than hot dogs). And also get a peek at the extraordinary future God is creating at St. Mark when the Mission Study Team presents their report to the congregation.

Children’s Ministries Summer Program convenes also on May 29 each Sunday after Time with Children during church. The classes will be combined during the summer using the new PCUSA curriculum, Growing in Grace and Gratitude. If you wish to teach during the summer months, a sign-up sheet is available outside of the Children’s Ministries Office. The regular class schedule will reconvene on August 14.

The time may be ordinary, but God is extraordinary.

Come see, hear, and taste what extraordinary things God is doing in our ordinary world at Sunday Summer worship at 9:30 am or Saturdays at 5 pm.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mission Potluck and Presentation

Mark Hare, mission co-worker in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and his family are coming to St. Mark Presbyterian's Saturday night service at 5:00 on May 28, with a potluck, presentation, and fellowship after the service. Mark is serving with Farmer's Movement of Papaye (MPP), which is a grassroots movement throughout Haiti whose goal is to help small farmers improve their living conditions and increase food production to provide ade-quate nutrition for their families plus generate income by selling excess crops. The mission works in community health program in bateys, company towns where sugarcane workers live. Many of these workers are from Haiti and work long days for low wages and live in conditions that often lack clean water and sanitation services. Jenny Bent, Mark’s wife, helps the Evangelical Dominican Church with their health clinics and with the develop-ment of its program to train health care leaders.

Since 2004 Mark has worked with MPP, helping Haitians learn to grow a lot of food on a small amount of land. Mark’s work in Haiti demands resourcefulness. One of the most popular agricultural techniques he teaches in-volves making miniature garden plots inside discarded auto tires. “In the dry season, there is no rain for five to seven months and people run out of food,” Mark says. “So the tires are a way that they can produce something even during the time when they normally couldn’t.” This and other productive practices developed by MPP helped rural Haitians feed family members and friends who fled to the countryside after the 2010 earthquake devastated Port au Prince.

Mark and Jenny intentionally encourage the participants in their presentations to reflect in new ways on the mission of their church, on their witness to their local communities as well as on their international mission. In part they initiate these dialogues to create points of reference—they want the congregations that support us to understand and to know them better, and they want to know and understand the people of congregations they visit. Mark and Jenny also want participants to see how much there is to learn from the lives of the people in Haiti and the DR—from their faith, their vision and their actions.

Regional context: Haiti became an independent country in the early 19th century when a slave revolt over-threw the French colonial government. It has had a turbulent history marked by military dictatorships, corrup-tion and violence. A massive earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, killing thousands of people and ruining the infrastructure of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, and the surrounding area. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues to help the country rebuild alongside its partner organizations. The PC(USA) has a long and continuing history of participation with Dominican Christians in their ministries of evangelism, health educa-tion and care, development of water sources, academic education and outreach to Haitian immigrants.  Click here for more information on their ministry.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Worship Prayers May 15

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Dear Lord, without your Spirit we are nothing;  we are not a church, not your people, not able to be ourselves.  Give us your Spirit again, Lord: let your power sweep in among us, breathe upon us, and enliven us by your presence, that all our speaking and all our listening might be empowered by your Holy Spirit.  Amen
Come, believers and faithful ones, sing your alleluias to God!
         Praise God, who invades us with the rush of a mighty wind and fills us with fire.
Praise God, who out of love for us sent Jesus Christ to live among us.
         Praise God, whose spirit is poured out upon all flesh so our
         sons and daughters might prophesy.
God reaches into our lives and claims us, calling us honored and loved.
         We are God’s people:  we are redeemed; for God has called us by name.
Come, Holy Spirit, and find us in our wilderness.  Lead us forth into the wonders of your love. 
God of windy breath, blow into our lives; God of fiery presence, burn away our despair.  We bear in our lives the world’s dis-ease: prejudice, selfishness, fear.  We are burdened with our incompleteness; broken and shriveled up we have lost hope.  Touch us with your Spirit, God.  Moisten the dry places with tears of love; mend the broken places with bonds of hope.  Birth us as your new creations, that we might come alive in the Spirit’s power.  Amen

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vacation Bible School is Coming

VBS – 2016  July 11-15.  We need all available youth and adults to make this a meaningful week for our children.  You may register as a volunteer or register your child online.  Forms are also available in the Narthex. Join us for Surf Shack and feel the wave of God’s amazing love!

VBS Mid-week Potluck Dates:  June 1 – Fried Chicken  and June 29-Pulled Pork, 6:00pm.  Bring a side dish and help us prepare crafts and sort items for our special week with the St. Mark children.  Or if you prefer, just come and eat dinner with your church family.
Ballwin Days Parade   Families are welcome to join the Children’s Ministries Committee with float preparation and even participate in the parade!  On June  10 we will roast hot dogs and decorate the float at 6:00pm.  The following morning we will hop on the float and share the news of God’s amazing love with the Ballwin community.

Family Outdoor Movie Night   Friday, June 17, 7:30pm.   St. Mark is welcome to join us for an old-fashioned movie night viewing Surf’s Up with popcorn and refreshments.  (In case of inclement weather, movie will be shown in Fellowship Hall.)
On May 22, Children’s Ministries is launching a summer reading program for children age 2-5th Grade. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Celebrating Pentecost

Sunday May 15, St. Mark Presbyterian Celebrated Pentecost with red flags marking the entrances, youth running down the aisles with red flags, balloons in the sanctuary, but most importantly welcoming our new confirmands.

They all participated in the worship including a video of the Lord's Prayer.  After worship, Fellowship Committee had cake for everyone.

\Prayer of Welcome:  O God, with joy we receive these who are confirming their faith today.  We thank you for the diversity of the gifts they bring to our community, for the questions they will ask, for the ways in which they will shape your church.  Help us to provide a nurturing environment so they may flourish in faith, hope and love.  Bless us all, O God, as we worship together and seek to be your faithful disciples.  Amen

To hear the sermon, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Red Cross Blood Drive

St. Mark Presbyterian's first blood drive of 2016 was a success. We were able to collect 20 pints of life-saving blood.  Because each donation could help up to three patients, these pints of blood could actually help up to 60 lives.

Our second drive of the year will be held on Sunday, May 22 from 9 AM to 1 PM in Gleason Hall. The need is great for your donation.

If you want to save time and not sit in that little room for what feels like hours visit: RapidPass to do the pre-reading and answer the donation questions from the comfort of your own home.  The catch is you have to do it the morning of the drive.

This is a great opportunity for us to help save lives.
Let's see if we can get more than 20 pints this time.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Worship Prayers May 8

PRAYER IN PREPARATION: Living God, you meet us where we are.  As we gather in this place, open our ears to hear your voice, open our eyes to see your glory, and open our minds to understand the word you have for each one of us.  We gather here from many walks of life, united as the body of Christ. Holy Spirit, speak to us, guide us, and fall gently upon us, we pray.  Amen.
As the sun rises in the morning:
         Let all creation worship God.
From the highest mountains to the deepest seas:
         Let all creation lift high the name of the Lord, for God alone is worthy to be praised.
You alone, O God, are worthy of our praise, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End.
         You alone make all things new. 
Living God, in raising Jesus from the grave, you shattered the power of sin and death. Through your wondrous grace, you turn despair into rejoicing, you make the ordinary extraordinary.  You infuse our lives with joy.  Too often we respond to your creating spirit with irritation and fear, rather than wonder and thanksgiving.  Forgive us, O God, when we take your grace for granted; when our habits and routines dull our senses to your holy presence; when we are skeptical about your word.  Come, and make all things new.  Come, and make us new.  Help us to trust your power to change our lives, so that we may know the joy of life abundant given in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Survey #2 and LAST

The last survey in search of our next Senior Pastor has been sent electronically to the congregation.  If we have your email on file through the church office you should have received the link to access the survey to complete on-line.  If you would rather have a 'hard copy' of the survey, you can pick that up in the church office.  The focus on this survey is:  Theology beliefs and Senior Pastor qualities.  Suspense date for survey #2 is May 21st.
Please help the Mission Study Team help you as it is your input that will be used to provide an analysis the Pastor Search Committee will use to draft a Ministry Information Form in preparation for their search for the next Senior Pastor at St Mark PCUSA.

Romans 1:12  That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21New International Version (NIV)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[c]

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pentecost Sunday

Wear RED to church on Sunday, May 15 to celebrate PENTECOST. We will celebrate the end of the Easter season with stories and scripture on the Holy Spirit and witness our Confirmation Class received as adult members at 10:30 worship. You will want to be a part of this special service!

When we think of Pentecost think of the color red—balloons and streamers in the sanctuary and our Confirmands—the red of youth, joy, discovery, and growth. 

The Pentecost Special Offering gives each of us an opportunity to contribute to change in the lives of thousands of youth through education, support and care. St. Mark retains 40% of what is col-lected to distribute locally, which goes to Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services and UKirk College Ministry. This is a chance to make a difference for children at risk—youth and young adults.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Red Tent: Lois and Eunice

In ancient times the Red Tent was a safe and sacred space where women gathered to experience,
share, celebrate and mourn the rhythms of life of a woman.

Today, our Red Tent gathering at St. Mark Presbyterian is a safe and sacred space for all who gather.

Join us in Fellowship Hall 9:30-10:30 am as we study Girlfriends: Exploring Women’s Relationships in the Bible by Barbara Essex.

2 Timothy 1:5-7King James Version (KJV)

When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Christmas Alternative Giving Program

The St Mark congregation gave generously to the mission efforts offered for the 2015 Christmas Alternative Giving program, with a total of $4,328 raised. This program is an opportunity for individuals to give items that are needed by our missions as part of their  Christmas giving or as presents to family and friends. Click here to see more about this program.   Based on designations by the many donors, letters with distributions have been sent to all of the receiving organizations as follows:

315 Mission work of Rev Jed Koball, Peru
215 Mission work or Rev John McCall, Taiwan
270 Ministry of the FFFF Children's Home, Hyderabad, India
413 Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services of Missouri
1365 Medical Benevolence Foundation
390 Nicaragua Community Partnership Scholarship Fund for Children of Plan Grande #2
655 Work of Presbyterian Missionary Mark Hare regarding food security, Haiti
705 Marion Medical Mission, Africa

The Mission Committee would like to thank the St Mark congregation for their generosity to these missions – your contributions make a big difference to those in need and living in difficult circumstances.
God Bless.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Worship Prayers from May 1

PRAYER IN PREPARATION: Living God, you meet us where we are.  As we gather in this place, open our ears to hear your voice, open our eyes to see your glory, and open our minds to understand the word you have for each one of us.  We gather here from many walks of life, united as the body of Christ. Holy Spirit, speak to us, guide us, and fall gently upon us, we pray.  Amen.
God calls us to this place, a haven for healing and hope.
         We come to hear God’s Word of hope for us.
Together, as we sing songs of joy, each one of us will hear God call to us.
         We join our voices in prayer and praise, longing for new lives.
Here, our shadows are filled with light, we discover God’s presence.
         Here, we gather, praising God, as part of God’s family.
Living God, you surround us with your presence, but we do not see it as a way of life.  You call us, but we do not listen.  We trust the world’s emptiness and refuse to be filled with your Word.  We want understanding; we want answers.  Forgive us, O God.  Touch us with healing: pain released, brokenness remade, the marred image restored.  Touch us with love: frozenness melted, loneliness allayed, tears turned to laughter.  Touch us with liberation: freedom from the past, power for the present, courage for the future.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Search for our next Senior Pastor

Surveys, Surveys, Surveys!!!  The next and last survey has been sent to our congregation.  This survey focus is on your Theology beliefs and your next Senior Pastor qualities.  If you can't complete the survey on-line, a hard copy is available in the church office. Suspense date for survey #2 is May 21st.

The Mission Study Team will use the information from these two surveys and the congregation conversation to provide an analysis to the Session for their approval.  When formed, the Pastor Search Committee will use this analysis to draft a Ministry Information Form in preparation for their search for the next Senior Pastor at St Mark PCUSA.

Romans 1:12  That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Offering Plate or Digital Technology— Your Choice

Do you know there are options beyond using offering plate envelopes for giving to St. Mark Presbyterian’s general fund? It can be done through two different online methods.

First option is using your own bank's bill pay system. It can be used for a onetime gift or for scheduled regular automatic donations. There are no charges to either you or the church when you transfer funds using your own bank’s bill pay system.

A second online option is through a link that is on our website Go to the “Giving” tab and click on “On line Donation.”  Or, click here. You can then make money transfers using a debit or credit card or from your checking account. Because this method em-ploys the services of the Presbyterian Mission Ex-change, St. Mark is charged a nominal fee when you donation is processed. This method can also be used for a single gift as well as for regularly scheduled contributions to the general fund.

Whatever method you use – envelopes in the offering plate, online transfers, and whatever time sequence – weekly, monthly, yearly, the work of St. Mark is financially supported. We pray our work is the will of God and is contributing to the kingdom of God. (Note the cards in the pew racks for a summary.)