Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Church Music---Contemporary or Traditional

Bellefontaine Methodist Children's Choir
As a non-choir person, I love the contemporary hymns and tend to roll my eyes at the old-time religion hymns, usually hearing the squeaky, squawking voice of my children's choir director from 60 years ago, Mrs. Sheets.  She wore her hair in braids wrapped into two cinnamon rolls just over her ears (long before Star Wars), wore orthopedic shoes, wire-rimmed glasses and sang with fervor!  Honestly her voice was like finger nails on a chalk board.  Did I mention she sang loudly?  " Little Church in the Wildwood" was one of her favorites (and I liked the drum-like "Oh, Come, Come, Come, Come, Come"--- that was an alternate chorus I took advantage of which helped drown out the squawks)

Then, there were my mother and grandmothers always singing an octave below everyone else.  In order to see, I stood on the church pew with them singing in my ear. Their occasional flat singing drowned out any hope of ever hearing the hymn as it was written.  So, my experiences with traditional church hymns is not so rosy through my cracked and critical childhood lenses.

The contemporary hymns have several advantages:  I don't have to read music, and they are in my key!  I don't have to strain my voice to hit the high notes, nor go an octave lower as my family did.  These hymns many not be rich in tradition nor scripture, but I can sing them!

Several weeks ago in worship, I was singing the "Gloria Patri" and instantly went into the alto harmony as I always do.  And then it hit me: I have been singing this almost weekly in Methodist and Presbyterian churches in St. Louis and Pittsburgh----like a thread connecting all of my church experiences for 70 years.  If I took nothing else away from Mrs. Sheets' church choir, I'd learned the harmony to "Gloria Patri" which was in my key and didn't strain my voice.

I looked down at my "supportive" shoes with my wire-rimmed glasses and was flooded with other memories besides squawking voices and voices singing an octave down.  I now see the smiling face of Mrs. Sheets singing with such passion, the arms of my grandmothers around me to keep me from falling off the pew (where I was standing). And, the memories of being in the children's choir with friends and family learning the alto part to "Gloria Patri".
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, World without end.  Amen, Amen

Jaclyn Morgan

Monday, June 27, 2016

Stephen Ministry

Sometimes it's comfortable to do things the same old way: buy the same brand of breakfast cereal every week, drink from a favorite mug every day, snuggle into that old sweater that's a little too small. But sometimes it's good to stretch into something new. 


Stephen Ministry may be where God is calling you to S-T-R-E-T-C-H. A new training class is starting soon. Contact Bette Nuzum, Debbie Hames or Jean Steward today to find out more about this ministry.

John 13: 34 

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Worship Prayers June 19

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Hear our prayer, O God.  As dawn breaks, you hear our voices.  We lay out the pieces of our lives and anticipate your presence among us.  You don’t mingle with the wicked, or invite Evil as your houseguest.  You banish the liars, and you will not tolerate the fraudulent.  It is through your unfailing love that we enter your house; you welcome us with open arms.  Lead us in your just ways, O God, set your straight path in front of us.  Amen.  (based on Psalm 5) 
CALL TO WORSHIP
Give ear to our words, O Lord; give heed to our sighing.
         Listen to the sound of our cry, for we pray to you.
You are not a God who delights in wickedness, and evil will not accompany you.
         We enter your house in awe: in reverence, we worship you. 
   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Holy God, through your abundant love, you have provided us with a bountiful inheritance. Age to age, you reach out to us, offering love without boundary, and grace without exception.  But we have turned from the heritage you have given to us, we have turned from the pledge you have made to us.  We heed earthly rulers and powers, rather than listen for your word of truth.  We withdraw when we should act; we remain silent when we should speak.  O God, often our actions are at war with what we believe.  Forgive our transgressions, draw us close to you, lead us by your spirit of wisdom, fill us with your hope, which is our glorious inheritance.  


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mission Study Report - Completed

2 Corinthians 8:32   For I testify that they gave according to their ability and even beyond it.  On their own accord,
The Mission Study Team attended the Session meeting on June 20 to present the Mission Study Report.  The report has been approved by Session and will be presented to the congregation at the 9:30 service on Sunday, June 26th.  The report will then go to Presbytery for their approval.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Daily Prayer June 24

FRIDAY June 24, 2016

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

Numbers 20:1-13; Romans 5:12-21; Matthew 20:29-34

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 your 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.

As God's own, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, and crown all these things with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.


(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Congratulations Lili!

Congratulations, Lili H,, on completion of the Girl Scout Gold Award. As part of earning the award, comparable to the Boy Scout Eagle Award, Lili wrote and illustrated a book for Claymont Preschool at St. Mark. The book, “My First Day at Claymont Preschool”,  features a mouse, Edgar, who is wondering what his day will be like when he is at preschool. 

Parents and children can read the book together, or download the ebook, which will help with separation anxiety which both may be experiencing as children begin preschool. It is designed to generate discussion about some of the fun activities that children can expect during their day, what is appropriate to wear and bring, and how we learn about sharing and making friends. Lili received her early childhood education at Claymont Preschool, and we were delighted when she chose this as her Gold Award project. 

She received input from the Preschool Committee as well as teachers. We are very proud of Lili and her achievement.

For more about Claymont Preschool, click here.  If you would like a copy of the book, please contact Lynne Dauve:  (636) 394-2233 ext. 116  ldauve@discoverstmark.org

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Daily Prayer June 22

WEDNESDAY June 22, 2016

Numbers 16:36-50; Romans 4:13-25; Matthew 20:1-16
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else. 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. Eternal God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)  These daily prayers can be found at the Welcome Center each week.

Monday, June 20, 2016

How can you help the Deacons?

As Christians, we care for all of God’s creatures. Christian charity is a cornerstone of our beliefs and through deacon-supported missions you can help the needy in our congregation, community and even the world. 

Did you know that you can:
  • Serve a meal to the homeless (volunteer for Peace Meals)
  • Provide job opportunities for the homeless (buy Bridge Bread)
  • Feed those in need and provide resources that empower individuals to become self-sufficient (donate to Circle of Concern and Golf Tournament)
  • Provide clean water around the globe (donate shoes to Shoeman Water Project)
  • Stock Isaiah 58’s Thrift Store (donations in Clothing Shed)
  • Help transitioning domestic abuse victims to start their new safe independent living (participate in Christmas Table Top Tour & Tea –proceeds to go Lydia’s House)
  • Clean out your closets and help the Deacons provide monetary support to local mission (ABC Sale)
  • Provide home cooked Sunday dinners and desserts to college students (UKIRK food donations)
  • Support fellow St. Mark members through caring cards (sign cards on Sunday mornings), cooking/delivering meals (Caregiving Committee), and even providing/delivering flowers to our shut-in members (Flower Committee)

Want to know more? Ask a deacon! Interested in becoming a deacon? Contact Amy Shelton – she can answer any questions/concerns you may have.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Worship Prayers June 12, 2016

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Gracious God, draw near to us with compassion, touch us with healing, and speak to us with love, so that we may arise and live to spread the good news of your saving power: through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my Soul!
         I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
Sing praises to God,
         who made heaven and earth,
who is faithful forever,
         who gives justice to the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry,
         who sets the prisoners free,
who watches over the stranger,
         who cares for widows and orphans.
The Lord will reign forever.
         Praise the Lord! 
   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of the prophet, we confess that we have failed to heed your word.  You have the power to help and heal, yet we cling to our own provisions.  You are able to raise up to new life, yet we fail to trust what you can do.  Forgive us, God of grace.  Change our hearts and lives and challenge us to expect great things.  From your mighty acts of mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mission Study Team Update

May 27th, June 6, 10, and 13th
The Mission Study Team convened to engage in the beginning of writing the report.  Numerous documents, web sites, notes, etc.; was reviewed, sorted, analyzed, for inclusion into the report.  The writing team devoted hours in making this report their priority in meeting the timeline establish for Session to have during their June meeting.

THE REPORT SHOULD BE AVAILABLE SOON....

Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Youth Mission Trip


 After a long bus trip, the youth of St. Mark Presbyterian with Susan Hayes and Katie Sternhagen, arrived in Charleston, SC.  On Sunday June 5, they attended worship at  James Island Presbyterian Church.

Each day began with a study of The Beatitudes, then the group visited various historic places, worked at a food pantry and had communion on the beach.



Food Pantry Shenanigans

Ft. Sumter


They also visited Emmanuel AME church where they remembered the victims of the shooting on June 17, 2015.  Click here for more information



"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Daily Prayer June 16

THURSDAY
Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is near.

Numbers 12:1-16; Romans 2:12-24; Matthew 18:10-20

Eternal God, you taught us that the night is far spent and the day is at hand. Keep us awake and alert, watching for your kingdom, and make us strong in faith, so that when Christ comes in glory to judge the earth, we may joyfully give him praise; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. God of holiness and light, cleanse our hearts and give a new spirit to all your people, that your saving grace may be professed and proclaimed to the whole world. How great is your love, Lord God, how wide is your mercy! Never let us board up the narrow gate that leads to life with rules or doctrines that you dismiss; but give us a Spirit to welcome all people with affection, so that your church may never exclude secret friends of yours, who are included in the love of Jesus Christ, who came to save us all. Amen. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)  These prayers can also be found on the web site.  click here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Children's Ministry Summer Programs




 

We kicked off the St. Mark Presbyterian Summer Program with a float in Ballwin Days parade promoting Vacation Bible School.
  • June 17 will be an out-door movie night at 7:30 Click here for details.
  • June 20 is the deadline for Early Bird Discount for VBS.  Click here for details.
  • June 29 6 PM is the Mid-week Potluckwith Pulled pork. Click here for details.
  • June 30 is the deadline for registration.  Click here for details.
  • July 11-15 is Vacation Bible School with the theme "Surf Shack".  See below on how you can help.  Click here for details


Items requested: Small water or soda bottles with screw on top and an authentic surfboard or pool surf boards.
Click here for ways youth and adults can volunteer to help---Feel the wave of God's amazing love!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Daily Prayer June 14

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.

Numbers 11:1-23; Romans 1:16-25; Matthew 17:22-27

Eternal God, through long generations you prepared a way for the coming of your Son, and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths. Renew us in faith and hope that we may welcome Christ to rule our thoughts and claim our love, as Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom be glory always. Fill your church with the power that flows from Christ‘s coming, that, in the midst of the sinful world, this may signal the beginning of a renewed humanity, risen to new life with Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. We thank you, O God, that you call all people to worship you and to serve your purpose in this world. We praise you for the gift of faith we have received in Jesus Christ. We praise you also for diverse faith among the peoples of the earth. Help us all to celebrate your goodness, act upon your truth, and demonstrate your righteousness. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, make you complete in everything good so that you may do God's will, working among us that which is pleasing in God's sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever!

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)  Paper copies of Daily Prayer can be found on the Welcome Table.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mission Workers in Dominican Republic and Haiti


 On Saturday, May 28, 2016, St. Mark Presbyterian was privileged to host Mark Hare and his two daughters.  First, Mark preached "Eden Restored", then we had a pot luck dinner in Gleason Hall followed by Mark's presentation which highlighted both his mission and the work of his wife Jenny Bent in Haiti and Dominican Republic.






 Mark's wife Jenny, originally from Nicaragua, is a mission worker with Evangelical Dominican Church working in Batey 7, where Haitian sugar cane workers live in Dominican Republic.  In Batey 7, 30% of the people cannot read or write, 48% of children under 5 have no birth certificate, 36% of children have not been vaccinated, 21% go on to high school and 85 % of adolescents have no access to legal documents.




Mark's ministry, supported by St. Mark Presbyterian and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, is with Farmer's Movement of Papaye (MPP) a grassroots movement throughout Haiti whose goal is to help small farmers improve their living conditions and increase food production.

 They have focused on involving families by encouraging them to growing their own food in recycled tires and planting of Moringa, a native plant which can be eaten or ground into a powder and made into a tea.  It increase birth weight of babies, increases milk production in mothers who are breast feeding and combats malnutrition in young children.  It grows well in that climate.

Genesis 2:8-10New International Version (NIV)

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Worship Prayers from June 5

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Almighty God, in a world of war, we celebrate your peace.  In
the midst of oppression, we welcome that you lead us to freedom.  In the tangled doubt of our hearts, we celebrate the seed of faith.  In the flood of our tears, we celebrate the safe ground of hope.  In the pain and hurt and hatred, we celebrate the family you have given us that loves us.  In every moment, God of all people, we celebrate all the graces of your heart.  Amen.
 CALL TO WORSHIP
Sing praise to God, who lifts us up.
         We will sing our songs of joy.
Sing praise to God, who comforts and cares.
         God showers us with hope, offering help in every moment.
Sing praise to God, who is faithful.
         With hope and joy, we lift our songs of praise.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Faithful God, you pour upon us the power of your Holy Spirit.  Yet we neglect to recognize the miracle of your constant presence in our lives.  We speak words that injure those we love.  We cling to the ways we have always lived.  We have trouble believing that you can do miracles in and through us.  Forgive us, O God.  Instill in us the constant hope and the steadfast faithfulness – to be your disciples, to be your messengers, to be your hands and feet in the world.  Let your grace shower us and end the drought of fear and doubt in our lives, so we can trust the good news of your abundance.  Amen.
For the sermon, click here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

$13,353


$13,353; This is the net profit that Circle Of Concern will receive from the St. Mark Presbyterian Charity Golf Tournament held Monday, May 9th at The Legends.  The Circle Of Concern Charity Golf Tournament was a huge success with roughly a 30% increase in profit from the year prior.  One hundred and forty golfers, the most ever, outlasted the weather conditions and teed off at The Country Club at the Legends in Eureka, MO on May 9th.  The first prize for the lowest team score in A-Flight shot a 57, which is 15 under par.  The B-Flight winning team shot a 69, 3 under Par on a six team scorecard playoff.  We awarded prizes for men and women’s longest drive and closest to the hole on the four par 3 holes.  Six golfers outlasted the rest of the field during the Putting Contest for a $100 Callaway Gift Card.  NO GOLFER WON THE $10,000 PRIZE THIS YEAR FOR A HOLE-IN-ONE.  Thank you to the committee and most important to the sponsors/golfers/volunteers who helped organize this event enabling this success.  St Mark looks forward to hosting this event for the 14th year in 2017.  Spiritually, keep Circle Of Concern and all of our Outreach Charities in our hearts and prayers through continued support.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Friday, June 10, 2016

FAMILY OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT


When: Friday, June 17
Where: St. Mark Presbyterian Parking Lot
(Upper Level)
Time: 7:30 pm
Movie: Surf’s Up

Children’s Ministries invites you to an evening of fellowship, crafts, and, of course, we can’t have a movie without refreshments and popcorn! 

Admittance fee is canned goods to benefit Circle of Concern.

(In case of inclement weather, movie will be shown in Fellowship Hall)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Daily Prayer


The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-18; Galatians 5:1-15; Matthew 16:1-12

Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else. 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. Eternal God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him.

Daily prayers can be found on our website in a pdf format if you want to print them out.  Click here.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Reaching Out

Cucumbers, strawberries, peppers, onions, fruit trees…

The Pagedale Community Garden will be harvesting all of this bounty thanks in part to seven from St. Mark representing the Deacon outreach committee. 

On Saturday May 21, led by Deacon Joyce Blackwell, St. Mark weeded, planted and fellowshipped with our neighbors from Beyond Housing. Want to join in the fun next time? 
Contact Joyce or the Church office (636-394-2233). 

In gratitude: Bertha Larez, Scott and Nina Collier, Joyce, Jourdan and Theresa Blackwell, Susan Hayes.






Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Genesis 1: 29

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Worship Prayers May 29

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  O God of promise, who in Christ assembled the alienated and the excluded into the folds of your compassion, we give you praise for your redeeming grace.  You break down dividing walls of hostility, and fill us with your Spirit of reconciling love.  You set our feet firmly on the foundation of your goodness, and impart to us wisdom that enlightens our days.  You are God, who indeed promises new life to all.  Amen.
 CALL TO WORSHIP
We come, to restore our souls, to be strengthened by God’s Spirit.
         The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not want.
Jesus feeds and fills us with hope.
         God prepared a table for us, our cups overflow.
Sing for joy, people of God, there is plenty for all.
         Surely goodness and mercy shall follow all the days of our lives.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, we are empty, and long to be filled; we are hungry, and long to be fed; we are lost, and long to be found.  Often, we seek your help, only to serve ourselves.  We seek to use you only to meet our own wants.  We limit our vision, seeing only our little world, and not seeing the lives and needs of others.  Forgive us, O God.  Gather us into your love, and pick up the pieces of our lives.  Call us anew to find our fulfillment in you.