Sunday, July 31, 2016

Worship Prayers for July 24

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  O God, you promise to give your Spirit to those who ask.  Teach us to pray, and to trust your hospitality for our daily bread.  Overwhelm us with your
Word, so that we may be hospitable, and let us give good gifts those who are in need.  Help us to live by the hope of your promises, seek to follow your way, and rely on the gift of your Spirit.  Amen.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Christ taught us to say:
         “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
Christ has said to us:
         “Pray for the kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Christ is calling us today:
         Pray for God’s will to be done in us, by serving one another.
Christ is calling us in this moment to worship:
         We join our hearts, serving God by serving one another, lifting up our hearts in prayer.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, you are more ready to hear than we are to speak.  You are more ready to forgive than we are to confess.  You invite us to open our hearts to you in prayer.  You invite us into a relationship of honesty and compassion, of truth and love.  Again and again you draw near, but we turn away.  Forgive us, O God. Lord, teach us to pray.  Lead us to seek you. In your light, may we see our shadows.  In your truth, may we know our lies.  Help us to discover grace and receive your mercy.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Search for our next Senior Pastor Update

St Mark, for those who may not have heard; Congratulations! The Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy’s Pastoral Transition & Care Committee unanimously approved St. Mark’s Mission Study Report at their July 12 meeting.
The next step in the process of searching for our next senior pastor is to form the Pastor Search Committee. The St Mark Nominating Committee is faithfully engaged in reaching out within our congregation to form the best committee possible. This committee will be approved during our congregation meeting September 25.
 
Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Daily Prayer for July 29

FRIDAY
God is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God's good pleasure.

Judges 5:1-18; Acts 2:1-21; Matthew 28:1-10


God our creator, yours is the morning and yours is the evening. Let Christ the sun of righteousness shine forever in our hearts and draw us to that light where you live in radiant glory. O Lord, our creator, by your holy prophet you taught your ancient people to seek the welfare of the cities in which they lived. We commend our neighborhood to your care, that it might be kept free from social strife and decay. Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create here a community of justice and peace where your will may be done God of glory, you see how all creation groans in labor as it awaits redemption. As we work for and await your new creation, we trust that you will answer our prayers with grace, and fulfill your promise that all things work together for good for those who love you. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

(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, July 28, 2016

Transformation of Fellowship Hall for ABC Sale

 Fellowship Hall at St. Mark Presbyterian is used for Worship on Saturday night, but this week it is transformed to our Household Goods Room for the ABC Sale.
Sunday Morning

Monday Morning

Tuesday Morning

Wednesday Morning
 This is just one of 7 rooms stocked full of treasures.  Where else are you going to find a llama rug?
 All money made from this sale will go to local charities.  Left over items will also be donated to local charities.  Come to shop on Friday July 29 (8-1 Early birds can come at 7 for a $5 donation))and Saturday July 30 from 8-noon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pictorial Directory 2017

Our church is in the process of producing a new pictorial directory for 2017. We would love to have everyone included. There is no cost to have your photograph taken. For participating, you will receive a complimentary 8x10 portrait and pictorial directory. 

You may schedule your photography session online at or http://www.discoverstmark.org/events/st-mark-pictorial-directory-signup/  in person. If you prefer to schedule in person, a host will be present in the Narthex after our Sunday morning church service until August 14 and after the Saturday evening church service until August 13.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daily Prayer July 26

TUESDAY
The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor and release to the captives.

Judges 2:1-5, 11:23; Romans 16:17-27; Matthew 27:32-44

Almighty God, you sent Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with your Spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive. As you have made this day, O God, you also make the night. Give light for our comfort. Come upon us with quietness and still our souls, that we may listen for the whisper of your Spirit and be attentive to your nearness in our dreams. Empower us to rise again in new life to proclaim your praise, and show Christ to the world, for he reigns forever and ever. Holy God, from whom every family on earth takes its name: Strengthen parents to be responsible and loving that their children may know security and joy. Lead children to honor parents by compassion and forgiveness. May all people discover your parental care by the respect and love given them by others. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forevermore.

(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, July 25, 2016

Cancer Support and Stephen Ministry

Cancer Support Group for those touched by cancer continues to meet on the 2nd Thursday at 6:30 PM in the library at St. Mark Presbyterian (601 Claymont, Ballwin MO).  The next meeting will be August 11.  This is open to community and is sponsored by Stephen Ministry. Contact B. Nuzum for more information.

Stephen Ministry will have a new training session in August.  Please contact J. Stewart, D. Hames or the church office (636-394-2233) if you are interested in learning more about this ministry.  "Nothing is too large or too small to take to our Lord in prayer. Take this opportunity to pray to the lord and seek his guidance.  This may be just the ministry he has prepared for you."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Worship Prayers from July 17

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Redeeming God, you come to us in Christ to rescue us from slavery and lead us out of captivity.  Guide us by the wisdom of the cross, and show us how to live a life of peace, love, and blessedness.  Amen.
 
CALL TO WORSHIP
Show us your unfailing love, O God,
         and grant us your peace.
Listen to what the Lord our God says:
         “I promise peace to my people, who are my beloved saints.
The Lord will indeed give what is good.
         Righteousness goes before the Holy One and prepares the way for us.
May God’s face shine upon us in this time of worship.
         May we see God’s face and so know peace. 
   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O Lord, our God:  We live in a world in confusion; our peace depends on you.  We are a sinful people; our pardon depends on you.  We are full of good intentions but weak at keeping promises; our only hope of doing your will is that you should come and help us do it.

O Lord, our world waits for your peace, for your pardon, and for your grace.  Create in us clean hearts, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.  Through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Daily Prayer for July 23

SATURDAY

God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them.

Joshua 23:1-16; Romans 15:25-33; Matthew 27:11-23

Eternal God, we praise you for your mighty love given in Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and the new life we have received by his resurrection. We thank you for the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering, the ministry of Word and Sacrament, all who work to help and heal, sacrifices made for our benefit, opportunities for our generous giving. God of grace let our concern for others reflect Christ's self-giving love, not only in our prayers, but also in our practice. We pray for those subjected to tyranny and oppression, wounded and injured people, those who face death, those who may be our enemies. Eternal God, your love is stronger than death, and your passion more fierce than the grave. We rejoice in the lives of those whom you have drawn into your eternal embrace. Keep us in joyful communion with them until we join the saints of every people and nation, gathered before your throne in ceaseless praise. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


(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 can be found weekly at the Welcome Center.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ABC Sale Preparations

If you haven't signed up to help for St. Mark Presbyterian's ABC Sale there are still plenty of openings and opportunities. In addition to donating, setting up, organizing, selling, and cleaning up, food is needed to feed the workers:  breads, cookies, desserts, chips, snacks, fruit.  If you'd like to help with food, contact M. Holt or the church office (636-394-2233).  If you'd like to help with the set up, click here for more information.

Last year, 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. Click here to see where the financial donations have gone in the past.

We look forward to your "treasures" and thank you in advance on behalf of the area organizations that will benefit from the Deacons' mission work.  St. Mark rocks!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

School Supplies for Circle of Concern

 It's not too early to shop for school supplies for Circle of Concern.  Please help our kids be prepared for the start of school.  There are yellow school bus cartons in the narthex for your donations.  The St. Mark Presbyterian Deacons will see that they are delivered to Circle by August 3.
Click on the list above, or pick a flyer up at the welcome center for suggested items.  NEW 3 ring binders (1"-1.5"-2") are needed.

Proverbs 22: 6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vacation Bible School: Surf Shack, part 3


Vacation Bible School at St. Mark Presbyterian finished last week, but the memories will linger of fun and fellowship along with science "lessons", recreation time, crafts and  Bible study.








Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Daily Prayer for July 19

TUESDAY

The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor and release to the captives.

Joshua 8:1-22; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 26:47-56

Almighty God, you sent Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with your Spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive. As you have made this day, O God, you also make the night. Give light for our comfort. Come upon us with quietness and still our souls, that we may listen for the whisper of your Spirit and be attentive to your nearness in our dreams. Empower us to rise again in new life to proclaim your praise, and show Christ to the world, for he reigns forever and ever. Holy God, from whom every family on earth takes its name: Strengthen parents to be responsible and loving that their children may know security and joy. Lead children to honor parents by compassion and forgiveness. May all people discover your parental care by the respect and love given them by others. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forevermore.


(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.) Copies of weekly prayers can be down-loaded here.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Vacation Bible School: Surf Shack, part 2

 Chief Kevin Scott and Officer Mike Hitchcock from Ballwin Police Department came Friday morning to thank our St Mark Presbyterian VBS friends for cards that they made, and to assure them that Officer Mike Flamion who was critically injured while on duty is going to be OK.  To contribute to a fund for Officer Flamion, click here.


Prayer for a fallen police officer
(A prayer for an officer injured whilst on duty)

Heavenly Father,

Please be with our colleague who has been injured whilst on duty.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Bless the work of the nurses and doctors who are treating him.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Bring your healing into his body, come restore him fully.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Be with his family, comfort them and keep them in his absence.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

May he know that he has served well and grant him peace of mind and heart.
Lord in your great mercy,
Hear our prayer. 

Amen.


Read more: http://www.living-prayers.com/people/policemans_prayer.html#ixzz4EgSKQBtE

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Worship Prayers for July 10

PRAYER IN PREPARATION:  Gracious and loving God, we come seeking your presence in worship.  Through our songs of praise we seek you;  by our words of prayer we reach out to you.  Grant that we may hear your voice and not merely echoes of our own.  Fill us with your Spirit;  bless us by your grace;  surround us with your love, now and always.  Amen 
CALL TO WORSHIP
In the name of God,
         wondrous, mysterious, marvelous.
In the name of Jesus,
         among us, beyond us, with us.
In the name of the Spirit,
         strange, startling, shaking:
We are called to worship.
         We come to lift our hearts and minds, to open our lips and our lives,
         to celebrate our God.
God calls us to God’s way in our time. 
   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O God, from whom all blessings flow:  Lead us by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit to think those things which are right, and enable us by the power of your love to do them.
We confess the ease with which we hurt one another; the ease with which we turn our backs on the hurts of the world.  We confess that so often we seek our own security over the common good.  Enable us to feel and know true sisterly/brotherly care within your family.  Encourage us to be the community of your people, the Body of Christ in the world.  Amen

For Susan Hayes sermon, click here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Life, Loss and Blessings

As I’m writing this, I’m watching “Adventures in Babysitting” with my three children. The original one, not the new one; I feel that it’s important that I clarify that, because we are a family divided on this cinematic great. My daughters and I love the humor, style (and occasional profanity) of the original, while my son enjoys the trendier and more wholesome Disney remake. 

I’m not sure why I’m sharing that; I suppose my mind is wandering a bit more than usual these past couple of days. But that’s to be expected, because my husband died yesterday, and minds tend to do that a bit in these circumstances.

Here are a few of the wanderings of my mind in the past 24 hours:
-He’s never coming home.
-He will never offer to run to Starbucks for me.
-I will never see his mouth open wide in a giant but silent laugh at one of my lame jokes; eliciting that large, open-mouthed, silent laugh from him felt like hitting a grand slam in the ninth inning of the World Series. 
-I will never get another silly text from him with a series of emojis that I don’t really understand, or one with the words, “Love you, miss you,” as he often texted me during his deployment.
-I will not celebrate my 17th anniversary with him on the last day of this month.
-I will never listen to him debate with my son who would win in a match between Brock Lesner and the Undertaker.
-I will never rest my head in that perfect spot on his shoulder that was made just for me.
-I will never watch him play video games with my children again. Or Uno. Or air hockey.
-He’s never coming home.

I apologize if these thoughts are upsetting to hear, but it’s the nature of the situation that’s brought us all here together, after all. This is a time of “bereavement,” as a good friend told me recently.

And yet, for me, that time for bereavement has already passed; it passed when he had that first heart attack in our home five years ago. He died that day, and I spent a year in mourning. 

And then by the grace of God, I got five more amazing years with the man I love.

We took our children to Disney World. We moved into our dream home. We celebrated anniversaries and birthdays together. He helped me shop for Christmas presents for the children, took them trick or treating around the neighborhood at Halloween, sat outside at sunset with a Schlafly and watched them play hide and seek with their friends, made road trips to Columbia for Shakespeare’s Pizza, sat in the nose bleeds at Blues games, and said “I love you” so, so many times.

How many people who have lost a loved one suddenly, wished that they could have had one more day? We got a little more than four years of “one more days.” And we never took a single one for granted.

These past few months, there were many nights when, as he put his arm over me to fall asleep, my last thought was, “If this had to be the last day, that would be okay. Because it was a really good day.”

So here I am, watching “Adventures in Babysitting” with my three children, just a little more than a day after losing my husband. We’re smiling. We’re laughing. We’re quoting our favorite lines (mostly those that contain potty words. Don’t F— with the babysitter). And some may be wondering, how is this possible?

Some will attribute it to shock or denial, and maybe they’re right. Make no mistake, difficult days, weeks and even months lie ahead for our big, loud, crazy, silly family. There will be moments when we will look at an unused air hockey table or a fridge full of fancy beer going to waste and our hearts will ache.

But in spite of that, we will carry on with great gratitude, and great hope. As I told my children, we had the very best husband and dad—the very best—for a short time. My children had more love in 14, 9 and 6 years than most people experience in a lifetime, and in 17 years of marriage, I received more than enough love and support to carry me through till my final days.

So we carry on with hope because that year after his first heart attack taught me that though there are times when it may feel like the best is already behind you, in reality, it still lies on the road ahead. I want my children to know that there will be more Christmas mornings, more trick or treating with friends, more late-night games of hide and seek, and more whispers of “I love you” exchanged between those of us who remain behind to carry on his legacy.

I share all of this with you today because I see people struggling with questions like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and, “If there is a God, why does he let things like this happen at all?”

As for the question, “If there is a God, why does he let things like this happen?” That’s a difficult question, one that humankind has pondered for centuries, and certainly not one that I am qualified to explain here today. 

I read bits and pieces of a book from our church library once that explored this topic. The author postulated that God isn’t behind earthquakes (or in this case, heart attacks); that’s science and nature. God is behind the people who swoop in to help in the aftermath, and the strength and peace that you have to move forward. And, in our case, I believe God exists in the five bonus years we were given.

But I smile at that other question because the truth is, Jeff was no saint, as those closest to him would surely know. If he were standing here he’d laugh and say, “Maybe the more appropriate question to ask is, ‘Why do bad things happen to good-ish people?” Truth is, it was a battle to get him to church on a Sunday morning; that’s when all the good soccer games are on TV. We struggled to find a scripture to share at a service for a man who probably couldn’t even name the disciples…you know, Matthew, Mark, Yadier, Tarasenko, Randy Orton, The Rock and those other guys. I suggested that perhaps we could choose some really weird, vague Bible scripture that no one ever really understood to begin with, so everyone walks out of the sanctuary more confused than sad—truth be told, it’s what Jeff would have enjoyed—but we decide to go instead with the old classic, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” because in his line of work and the current state of politics and world affairs, it’s fitting.

On a trip to Target recently we saw an elderly woman attempting to load a cartful of soda cases into her van, and I volunteered our assistance. Later, Jeff mused at why one little old lady could possibly need that much diet soda, and said to me, “It’s always an adventure going out with someone who has a soul.”

That’s how he saw me: The one with a soul. I guess, in his mind, I was his conscience, the one who was always nudging him to do a little better, to be a little better, to be a little kinder, to be a little softer, to be a little more patient. I loved that he saw me that way, loved that he needed me that way, loved that I could be that for him.

And now he has returned the favor by giving me a piece of his soul. I find myself with strength and clarity that I didn’t have a week ago; his strength and clarity. I have his edge—his sarcastic, rapier, biting wit. And I know that I will be okay. We will be okay.

So as we prepare to make that difficult transition to our new “normal life”—school, work, dance practice, playdates, pool dates and trips to Target—I would ask each of you to be patient with us if we cry for no apparent reason. I probably don’t even have to ask, because it’s expected. But more than that, I would also ask that you be patient with us when we smile, laugh, and radiate love and joy, even if at times it seems “too soon” by some standards. Jeff gave us that. And we will not let it go to waste.


Kathy Deters

Friday, July 15, 2016

Vacation Bible School Surf Shack, part 1

 Vacation Bible School at St. Mark Presbyterian began with a fellowship gathering in the sanctuary decorated like a Beach.  With music and dialogue between Katie and Crabby, the puppet, 2016 Bible School began.

3 Generations of Vacation Bible School Volunteers

The kids were divided into classes and had snacks. Friends, fellowship, fun and learning about Jesus!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What it Means to be a Deacon

For me, the call to be a Deacon meant an opportunity to get “re-involved” in the Church. When my children were young, I actively participated in the life of St. Mark by teaching Sunday School, volunteering at VBS, and being a member of PW and the Children’s Ministries Committee. As my boys grew, I went back to work part-time, and I had the overwhelming feeling of over-commitment. I started to pull away from the church, but never pulled away from God. He heard my prayers about making the right parenting choices, and also for my brother and his family as he received a cancer diagnosis. Many of my prayers have been answered!

So, when I became a Deacon, the Care Giving Committee really spoke to me. I feel as though I have always been a sort of care giver, whether with my own family, or my students that I teach, so this was right up my alley, and it is a job I take very seriously. Care Giving is such an important ministry for the members of St. Mark, and I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderfully dedicated group of individuals. I have met so many new people, as well as reconnecting with some old friends. Our committee is very self-directed fulfilling needs with cards, funeral receptions in time of grief, and meals…many, many meals! This support is much needed and greatly appreciated by those that benefit. With humbleness and grace, our St. Mark members always step up in someone’s time of need. For that, our committee is so thankful! We are truly blessed to support our members through the Care Giving Committee!

Missy Reiter, Care Giving Committee Deacon

For more on this committee, click here.

Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daily Prayers Tuesday July 12

TUESDAY
The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor and release to the captives.

Joshua 2:15-24; Romans 11:13-24; Matthew 25:14-30

Almighty God, you sent Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with your Spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive. As you have made this day, O God, you also make the night. Give light for our comfort. Come upon us with quietness and still our souls, that we may listen for the whisper of your Spirit and be attentive to your nearness in our dreams. Empower us to rise again in new life to proclaim your praise, and show Christ to the world, for he reigns forever and ever. Holy God, from whom every family on earth takes its name: Strengthen parents to be responsible and loving that their children may know security and joy. Lead children to honor parents by compassion and forgiveness. May all people discover your parental care by the respect and love given them by others. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forevermore.

(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.)