Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The Candle of Blessings
Reader 1 - We are a people accustomed to waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting in traffic.

Waiting for that call.

Reader 2 – But are we waiting for the right things this December? Are we waiting for the

Reader 1 - Advent is a season of waiting, but this year let it also be a season of giving.

Reader 2 – Long ago, God saw his children had a great need for a savior, but even now
there’s need for Christ to come down into our lives.

Reader 1 - But as we wait for Christ to be revealed to us again, let us not wait to do the good
Christ has called us to do.

Reader 2 - This day we light the Candle of Blessings, for as the Lord has blessed us with so
many gifts, we are called to be blessings to others. 

Let us pray:
Lord God, reveal yourself to us again. Help us this Advent season to focus on your son Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve. Help us not to serve ourselves this December, but to serve you as we serve others. Amen.

Please join us for Advent Worship on Wednesday evenings.  Click here for more information

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


St. Mark Family and Friends Annual Christmas Card Tree

For nearly forty years St. Mark family and friends have been invited by the Worship Committee to put a Christmas card on the tree at the right rear corner of the narthex, in lieu of sending cards through the mail to the church family. The thought behind this tradition is that each family would offer what they would spend on postage as a donation to the Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Missouri PCHAS (formerly known as Children’s Foundation of Mid-America and Farmington Children’s Home) serves children from broken or disrupted families throughout Missouri. A box for your donations can be found under the Christmas tree as well as hooks to hang your cards.

Please make checks, which are tax deductible, payable to St. Mark Presbyterian Church, noting “PCHAS” on the memo line. All cards and gifts should be brought to the church by Sunday, December 11, so we have time to send the donations to CFMA prior to Christmas, and also so family names on the cards can be included in an article in the January newsletter. Thank you for your support of this annual mission which strengthens these children.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13New International Version (NIV)

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Monday, November 28, 2016


You can help the homeless each Sunday by purchasing Bridge Bread in the Narthex.  Bridge Bread trains homeless people to be productively employed. This wonderful not for profit accepts our homeless brothers and sisters as they are and provides training and establishment of a positive work record.  25% of sales go to ingredients and facilities, 75% of sales go to the trainees in the form of wages, taxes, and benefits.  Make a difference in restoring someone's life, buy Bridge Bread.

Psalm 80:17-19New International Version (NIV)

17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Worship Prayers for Nov. 20

God, in Jesus Christ you come to seek and save the lost.  You cover us with mercy and uphold us in times of trouble.  Even when evil is all around, you show us a vision of justice and empower us with your own Spirit, so that we do not lose hope.  All thanks and praise to you, O God, for you come to save us and set us free.  Amen.

With steadfast love and growing faith, we come as the body of Christ.
         With prayers of love and songs of joy, we come to worship God.
Give thanks, my friends, for the call we have been given.
         Praise and glory the One who calls us to life.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                                                                                                             
O Holy God, our sin is ever before us.  We know that Christ welcomed sinners and ate with outcasts.  Will you welcome us as well?  When wander away, will you welcome our heistant return?  When we forsake commitments, neglect your call to justice, tolerate poverty and hunger, can we be forgiven?  O Holy God, welcome us into your arms of mercy.  Shower us with forgiveness when we need it most.  Help us to respond faithfully, in trust and generosity.  Reorder our lives to your purposes.  Teach us your ways, that we may live.

Click here for Advent Candle lighting ceremony

   PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER                                                                      
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.
[Prayer requests may be given to one of the pastors before the service.]

SCRIPTURE READING                                                                                                    Luke 19:1-10, p. 82

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Louisiana Mission Trip

Mission Committee Corner

On October 24-29th, six members from St. Mark embarked on a mission trip to Hammond, Louisiana to assist flood victims. PDA partners with a local organization The Fuller Center for Housing; Camp Living Waters provided comfortable housing and greatly appreciated meals. We finished renovations on an elderly couple’s home who had been flooded in March and then again in August. They had built the house in 1962, which had never had been flooded previously. Our team painted, framed doors and windows, caulked, cleaned water-stained furniture, and other finishing touches. The team was elated upon hearing that the couple moved back into their home on the weekend after we finished the final renovations.

The August flood impacted more than 80,000 homes. The home owners of our project felt that the land use changes impacted the storm water flow that has resulted in the recent flooding’s widespread impacts. Since Katrina, many have migrated north and built several new housing developments which have resulted in landscapes less able to absorb rainwater. The raised highways that run through the area act as “leves,” not allowing storm water to run its natural course.

The team built a compassionate relationship with the people affected by the flood. St. Mark’s team worked diligently and volunteered not only their time, but also their vehicles, U-haul, gas, and meals not covered by Camp Living Waters. Thank you all for your dedication and gracious spirit. We hope to return in the spring. Contact Clarice Hutchens ( if you are interested in serving on our next mission project or support the flood victims by donating to the GFN Fuller Center, 955 S. Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70403 or at .

For more photos of the Louisiana Mission Trip, Click here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Coming Youth Events

18 of our youth participated in a night full of mission, fellowship, and a Bible Study on Esther!
We made over 24 capes as part of our Superhero theme. We watched X-men, Superman vs. Batman, and enjoyed pizza as a midnight snack! A great time was had by all and we learned that we are created “for such a time as this!”

December 3: Help with Table Top Tea 1-5 p.m.
Christmas Party 6:00-8:30 p.m.
December 7: Midweek meal and Worship 5-7p.m.
December 11: Wrap Angel Tree Gifts 11:30-2 p.m.
December 14 & 21: Midweek meal and Worship 5-7p.m.
December 29: Deliver Capes to Cardinal Glennon and Lunch afterward

YOUTH CHRISTMAS PARTY After the Table Top Tea & Worship on December 3rd, plan on a fast food progressive dinner! We will have apps, a main course and a dessert at three different restaurants. 6-8:30 p.m. Cost will be $10. Wear either your tackiest or fanciest Holiday Attire! $10 White Elephant gift optional! RSVP by December 1st!

If you are planning on attending Montreat Youth Conference next June 3-11, $200 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is due December 1. Need additional information? Contact Katie or Pastor Susan for details!

Youth Fundraising Lunch January 22
Trivia Night benefitting the Youth March 4
Middle School Retreat to Mound Ridge April 21-22
Montreat 2017 will be June 3-11.
MISSION TRIP 2017 will be July 22-30.
Details to follow.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Daily Prayer for November 24

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Zechariah 13:1-9; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 19:11-27

Eternal God, Author of our life and End of our pilgrimage: Guide us by your Word and Spirit amid all perils and temptations, that we may not wander from your way, nor stumble in the darkness; but may finish our course in safety, and come to our eternal rest in you. Eternal God, your hand shaped our lives by grace and your hand rescued us from sin by love. May your hand guide us through this day, shielding us from all evil, strengthening us to do justice and love. Enable us, O God, to do all things as unto you; that small things may be filled with greatness, and great things may be crowned with humility. O God, whom we cannot love unless we love our neighbors, remove hate and prejudice from us and from all people, so that your children may be reconciled with those we fear, resent, or threaten; and live together in your peace. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

With God's help and love may your lives be blessed and your labors fruitful as you offer yourselves gladly in the service of our common Lord.

(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.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Advent Midweek Gathering

"As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them . . . —John 17:18 God sent Christ into the world as our Savior. That’s what Christmas is all about. In turn, Christ sends us into the world. But do we really understand how, where, and why we are sent?" 

Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 will be worshipping and studying from the book "Sent:  Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas"  in Fellowship Hall beginning at 6 PM.

Dec. 21 will be "The Longest Night", a quiet, reflective worship service on the longest night of the year.  Please invite a friend, neighbor or family member who needs the comfort of God's healing presence during this Christmas season.

Program:  “Sent” Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas by Jorge Acevedo
Nov 30: Luke 2:10-11 — Jesus Reconciles and Luke 4:16-19 — Jesus Sets Us Free
Dec 7: Mt 1:23 — Jesus Is God With Us
Dec 14: Ezekial 37:1,3 — Jesus Brings New Life

If you care to, please join us for a light supper at 5:00 PM in Gleason Hall.
Reservations are required – call the church office: 636-394-2233

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Offering

The gifts received through this special offering are distributed by our Pastors to those experiencing crisis.  Historically, funds have been allocated for energy and utility assistance, temporary housing and emergency food needs.  Please consider giving generously to our Deacon's Emergency Fund.

Deuteronomy 15:11English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Worship Prayers November 13

PRAYER FOR PREPARATION:  Eternal God, mother and father of every living creature, whose spirit of love is celebrated in our worship:  Be our nurturing guide and strengthening tenderness, that we may grow and serve in ways of trust, compassion, and purposeful living.  Amen

Loving God, we seek your presence here this morning.  We will sense you with us in the smile of a child, in the heartfelt promises of parents and parishioners, in the love we share within this church community, in our willingness to see the need around us and our responsiveness in meeting that need.  You come to us, loving God: enable us to come to you in praise and worship.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                                                                                                             
Ever-present God, with faith we proclaim that you are our God.  Like people throughout the ages, we turn to you naming our need for forgiveness.  It has been too easy for us to go about our daily lives ignoring your call to speak truth and live love.  We have walked our own paths, rather than your way of peace and reconciliation.  Forgive us and set us free.  We pray in the name of the compassionate Christ, Jesus our Lord.  Amen

SCRIPTURE READINGS                                                                                         Matthew 28:18-20, p. 34
                                                                                                                                             Luke 18:15-17, p. 81

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Outing to White Haven

 On Oct. 27 around 20 from St. Mark Presbyterian  went on an outing to U. S. Grant Historical Site where our own Julie Northrip gave us a tour of White Haven, home of Julia Dent's family.  Our annual PW Fall outing was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  Afterwards, the group ate lunch at the Barn at Sappington House, then toured that house.

Friday, November 18, 2016


St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 601 Claymont Dr, Ballwin, is offering the PRAY program beginning January 7, 2017.

The PRAY (God and Country) Program is the religious emblems program for Protestant youth in grades 2 through 12. Its goal is to encourage the Christian spiritual growth of children, youth and families. Lessons are based on scripture passages, which are then accompanied by exercises and activities. The curriculum is unique in that it is an interdenominational resource. The God and Country Program is open to both boys and girls.

God and Me (grades 2 and 3) studies about a God who loves us and knows us by name. Children are encouraged to recognize the importance and uniqueness of their lives and they are asked to express their views of God in their own ways. There are 4 meetings beginning Saturday, January 7. Classes are Saturday 9:00am-10:15, or as the class decides.

God and Family (grades 4 and 5) challenges young people to expand their concept of family to include friends, church and community. There are 6 meetings beginning Saturday, January 7. Classes are Saturday 9:00 am to 10:15, or as the class decides.

God and Church (grades 6-8) young people have the opportunity to work with a counselor in understanding their church’s structure and objectives, participate in service projects which will give them a better understanding of the mission of the church. This study is completed at your own pace.
God and Life (grades 9-12) is a reflective type of curriculum in which the students study the lives of men and women in the Bible, discovering what their lives teach us about God, and explore their own relationship with God. This study is completed at your own pace.

All interested youth are invited to participate. The cost is a $20 to cover expenses. Registration forms are available in the God and Country box in the church office, at the welcome center, or for more information, contact: Diana Johanning or the church office (636-394-2233)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Daily Prayer Nov. 17

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Malachi 2:1-16; James 4:13-5:6; Luke 17:20-37

Eternal God, Author of our life and End of our pilgrimage: Guide us by your Word and Spirit amid all perils and temptations, that we may not wander from your way, nor stumble in the darkness; but may finish our course in safety, and come to our eternal rest in you. Eternal God, your hand shaped our lives by grace and your hand rescued us from sin by love. May your hand guide us through this day, shielding us from all evil, strengthening us to do justice and love. Enable us, O God, to do all things as unto you; that small things may be filled with greatness, and great things may be crowned with humility. O God, whom we cannot love unless we love our neighbors, remove hate and prejudice from us and from all people, so that your children may be reconciled with those we fear, resent, or threaten; and live together in your peace. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

With God's help and love may your lives be blessed and your labors fruitful as you offer yourselves gladly in the service of our common Lord.

(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.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Books for the Christmas Season will be on display on the book carts and shelves all over the libraries.  Some suggestions for the season include:
The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke – follows the travels of the 4th Wise Man who arrived too late to make the trip with the original three.
The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg – transports us to Nazareth in biblical times to reimagine the events of the classic Christmas story.
Christmas Stories by Max Lucado  - heartwarming classics of Angels, a manger, and the birth of hope.
Bartholomew’s Passage by Arnold Ytreeide – a family story of adventure (children 7 and older) for Advent.  Read a chapter each day during Advent while lighting your advent candles.
Mouse Tales:Things Hopes For by Ruth L. Boling – individual story themes correlate to the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Ordinary time and are especially appropriate over the four month period from December through March.  Follow the adventures of the church mice as they experience the church season.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Poinsettias and Flowers

St. Mark Presbyterian will continue the tradition of using poinsettias to beautify our sanctuary during the holiday season. Please consider ordering one or more poinsettia to be displayed from Dec. 18-25. Donors may take the plant(s) home with them on Christmas Eve or have them delivered to a home-bound or ill member of the congregation. Order forms can be found on the easel beside the food pantry table. Deadline for ordering is Sunday, Nov. 27. Any questions, call or email flower committee chair P. Eisenberg, Deacon.

The flower Chart for 2017 is on the easel near the food pantry table. If you would like to provide an arrangement for an upcoming worship service, please sign your name on the chart and fill out the flower donation form. Place the form, with your check in the "Flowers" mailbox in the church office. Each arrangement is $25. Checks should be made payable to St. Mark Presbyterian Church with a notation of "flowers" on the memo line of your check. Please remember to indicate if you wish to take the flowers after worship or have them delivered to a home-bound or ill member. Any questions, call or email flower committee chair P. Eisenberg.

Flowers enhance our worship, commemorate loved ones and special events and bring joy to our shut-ins. Consider contributing a poinsettia or a worship arrangement.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Worship Prayers November 6

PRAYER FOR PREPARATION:  Almighty God, whose people are like living stones built
into a spiritual house, you call us to share all that we have and all that we are with one another and the world.  Bless each offering, that together they may bring your kingdom into being in the broken places here and beyond.  Amen.

Come, O people of God, let us give thanks to the Eternal Source of all good gifts.
         We come to offer prayer and praise with glad and generous hearts.
Come, O people of God, as living stones that God may build as a spiritual house.
         God is our rock and refuge. In God’s care we rest secure.
God has crafted us into a community of faith.
         God sends us to tell the story, to bring healing to a broken world.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                                                                                                             
Holy and Gracious God, you have promised to be the strong rock on which we base our lives.  Yet, we cannot fully place our trust in you.  You have given us Christ Jesus to be the cornerstone of our faith.  Yet, we stumble on the foundation you provide.  You have called us to be living stones to build up your kingdom.  Yet, instead we gather stones to build up and protect our interests.  Forgive us, O God.  Let your face shine upon us again, that we may grow and serve you with faithfulness and hope.

SCRIPTURE READINGS                                                                                                Acts 2:43-47, p. 120
                                                                                                                                              1 Peter 2:1-10, p. 233

May we be as living loaves, kneaded and shaped by the hands of God.  May we be as wine of the Spirit, poured out that others might know joy.  Love be the leaven within.  Love be the flavor of thought and word and deed.  Peace be among us.  Amen.

Let us give praise to the Lord, who is good. God’s love is everlasting.
    Let us come to God with thanksgiving, let us complete our promises to the  Lord.
We praise you God, for the many gifts of this church.
    We celebrate the wonders and signs of grace in our midst;
         we dedicate ourselves as Christ’s faithful disciples.
Make us instruments of your truth, O God, enable us to proclaim your kingdom.
    Where there is injury, let us be healers.  Where there is hatred, let us share love.
Encourage us in the tasks before us, for talking and moving and thinking together,
for enacting of the gospel.
     Where there is darkness, let us bring light.  Where there is sadness, let us bring joy.
Bless these gifts, gracious God, and bless all those who are served by them.
     We bring these gifts and offerings and our promise of giving in a new year
         because we hope for more in the days ahead.
We hope for a stronger church, and a more compassionate world.
        Shape us, through our giving, make us a people of true discipleship.  Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Feasting on the Word

Join the discussion!  Pastor Susan leads our spirited discussion of the weekly revised common lectionary Sunday 9:30 AM in Fellowship Hall.

Nov. 13  2 Thess 3: 6-13  "practice of living together as a community of faith"

Nov. 20 Jer 23:1-6  "living in Christ's reign now and in the future"

Nov. 27 Isa 2:1-5  "prophecies of hope and peace"

Friday, November 11, 2016

Scout Corner

Did you know...?
Every Wednesday night Troop 631 scouts and parents work with St. Louis Food Rescue to save food that would normally be thrown away. They show up at Whole Foods in Town and Country and clear out their fresh baked goods, dairy, produce, and other items. Our boys pack the food in boxes, load it in vehicles and haul the food out to a Salvation Army Shelter in O'Fallon, MO.

The donations from Whole Foods have increased so much that the shelter now distributes much of the food to other shelters in St. Charles County. This goes on year round. Most of the year this is a school night and the boys need to work around homework and sometimes miss sporting events, band practice, etc. to provide this service. Many lives have been changed on both the giving, and receiving, sides of this ongoing service project. Troop 631 has been blessed to be part of it. Great job!

For more information on Boy Scout Troop 631 at St. Mark Presbyterian, call the church office.  636-394-2233

Thursday, November 10, 2016


November 18, 2016
St. Mark Fellowship Hall

Enjoy an evening at St. Mark as we discuss the importance of the Advent Season for your child. We will be creating a bag full of scripture and craft items to symbolize the joy with which we celebrate the anticipation of Christ’s birth. We hope you find time in your busy schedule to join us as we look forward to Christmas.

The workshop will be led by Shelley Lester 

***Sponsored by Children’s Ministries St. Mark Presbyterian Church

Childcare available

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Daily Prayer November 9

Joel 2:12-19; Revelation 19:11-21; Luke 15:1-10

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.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Beyond Housing Community Garden

On a dark, rainy Wednesday in mid October, a group of St. Mark Presbyterian members journeyed to the Beyond Housing community garden in Pagedale. Miss Faye and Miss Clora, the neighborhood matriarchs and garden supervisors, greeted us warmly. A few neighbors and city employees also stopped by during the morning to see what we were doing. They were pleasantly surprised that we did not cancel due to the weather.

This was our fifth and last trip to the garden for 2016. Peppers and okra and tender greens were harvested -- fresh food that would be distributed to primarily elderly shut-ins that lived near by. We weeded the strawberry bed as well as the mustard and turnip greens beds. Fruit trees were mulched. We weeded and turned over the soil in the inactive beds, readying them for winter. The big flower bed along the street received a much over due weeding and trimming. We enjoyed lunch and friendly chatter at a local restaurant treating Miss Faye and Miss Clora to a rare meal away from home.

Beyond Housing is a not for profit focused on a holistic approach to make the communities in the Normandy School District a better place to live. It is a daunting set of challenges, but there is progress. St. Mark members have been blessed to be able to share our faith through our words and deeds, becoming a small part of that progress. We are building personal connections with members of the community. We are learning much about each other in positive, respectful, honest, and relaxed ways. Our work in the garden helps provide fresh, healthy food for those who have so little, but need so much.

Please lift up all those who are served by Beyond Housing and those that volunteer to serve. Consider joining others in the St. Mark family when we return to volunteer in the garden or in another opportunity for engagement through Beyond Housing. (for more on this organization:

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Worship Prayers October 30

PRAYER FOR PREPARATION:  Good and generous God, you have blessed us with favor and counted us as your people.  Freed by your grace, let us extend your generosity to others, sharing our bread with the poor, and pleading the cause of the afflicted, and receiving all who assemble in your name with the warmth of your love and the richness of your hospitality.  Amen.


We have gathered in God's holy presence, the One who etches grace on our hearts.
         This is the place where God will transform us into disciples.
We glorify our God, who yearns for justice, not just for a favored few, but for the least of our world.
         This is the place where God will write compassion on our souls.
We give thanks to God for unceasing grace; we remember God's persistence in saving us.
         This is the place where God will breathe the Word into our lives.

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                                                                                                             
Gracious God, we do not always live as a people bound together in your love.  Forgive us, when we do not pray for those who suffer, or care for those who are sick; when we forget to offer words of gratitude for the many gifts in our lives; when we judge others and hold grudges for their mistakes; when we lose the saltiness of your teachings, and the energy you offer us on our spiritual journey.  Even as we are forgiven, help us pray for the forgiveness of others.

SCRIPTURE READING                                                                                                 1 Corinthians 12:26-13:13, p. 174