Monday, July 31, 2017

Deacon's Doings: Peace Meal Project

THANK YOU to all involved in the ABC sale! As the deacon’s primary fundraiser, how about
looking at where the money goes. The deacons review and allot donations to a variety of worthy causes including Isaiah 58, Lafayette Industries, UKirk and Peace Meal Project.

This month’s article is an overview of Peace Meal Project, an initiative to help alleviate hunger right here in St. Louis. (future Deacons Doings will provide overviews of other charities supported by the ABC Sale) The Peace Meal Project is a free fellowship meal for all every Saturday from 4:00 - 5:30 pm in the Parish Hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tower Grove area. St. Mark is one of the founding churches of the Peace Meal Project. It started in a St. Mark Sunday School class that wanted to help the needy in the city through actions, not just money. A former St. Mark pastor suggested contacting The Rev. Teresa Mithen Danieley at St. John’s and a partnership was born. St. Mark members assist with 5-6 dinners each year while providing a very meaningful and enriching experience for each participating volunteer. The deacon’s monetary donation helps the program defray ongoing costs to keep feeding the hungry. Want to learn more? Visit the Peace Meal Project webpage at: https://www.towergrovechurch.org/serving/peace-meal-project/

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Worship Prayer for July 23

CENTERING PRAYER - God of yesterday and tomorrow:  Always you startle us into new
understandings just when we think we have it all sorted out.  Startle us again.  Break open our preconceptions and confound our pat answers, that we might be gifted with new vision.  Praise be to you, Holy One.  Amen
  
  

CALL TO WORSHIP
We are not here because we have found God, but because God has found us.
         God has called us to accept the cost and discover the joy of discipleship.
God’s promise is of forgiveness of sin and fullness of grace, courage to work for justice in the face of evil, power to make peace, hope against hope that God’s promises will be fulfilled.
         Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto God, now and forever.


   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                    
O God, who is life and hope and newness:  We confess that it is easier to be lazy than to be lively; that it is more comfortable to take our ease than to be on the growing edge; that it is safer to make rules than to wrestle with the complexities of relationships.  Be gentle with us, yet firm.  Be gracious toward our failings, yet relenting in your call to wholeness.  This we pray through the one who accepts, forgives, and challenges us into life in all its wholeness.  Amen.


   SCRIPTURE                                                                                   Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Daily Prayer for July 29

SATURDAY

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

2 Samuel 1:1-16; Acts 15:22-35; Mark 6:1-13

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.)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Worship Prayers for July 16

CENTERING PRAYER - God of yesterday and tomorrow:  Always you startle us into new understandings just when we think we have it all sorted out.  Startle us again.  Break open our preconceptions and confound our pat answers, that we might be gifted with new vision.  Praise be to you, Surprising One.  Amen
  
  
CALL TO WORSHIP (In Unison)
May our hearts be in tune with God’s Spirit, may our minds think God’s thoughts, and may we share our songs of praise with all the world…beginning with each other.  Come, let us worship.


   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                    
Compassionate and liberating God, week after week we acknowledge our sins only to turn again and continue in past patterns.  Free us from that which restricts new life.  We admit that discouragement, despair, and uncertainty have blocked us from embracing a new vision.  Open our eyes to wonder and our lives to accept your way of love and peace.  Amen


   SCRIPTURES                                                                 Isaiah 55:10-13 and Mark 13:1-9

Click here for the sermon "Anticipating the Harvest" by Rev. Dr. Craig Howard.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Prayer for July 22

SATURDAY
1 Samuel 22:1-23; Acts 13:26-43; Mark 3:19b-35

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

God, our creator, you have given us work to do and call us to use our talents for the good of all. Guide us as we work, and teach us to live in the Spirit who made us your sons and daughters, in the love that made us sisters and brothers. Remember, O God, your church. Unite it in the truth of your Word and empower it in ministry to the world. Remember the world of nations. By your Spirit renew the face of the earth; let peace and justice prevail. Remember our family and friends. Bless them and watch over them; be gracious to them and give them peace. Remember the sick and the suffering, the aged and the dying. Encourage them and give them hope. Rejoicing in the communion of saints, we remember with thanksgiving all your faithful servants, whom you have called from this life. We are grateful that for them death is no more, nor is there sorrow, crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
Go forth into the world, rejoicing in 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.)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Worship Prayers for July 9

CENTERING PRAYER - Most Holy God:  We rejoice in our awareness of your presence.  Enter our    lives, refreshing and renewing us through the touch of your Holy Spirit.  Grant that we may live with    love after the example of Jesus Christ, through whom we pray.  Amen
  

CALL TO WORSHIP
We have encountered the Word, calling us into communion with God and with each other.
And calling us into discipleship to carry on Christ’s work in our world.
So we come together here, joining hands in the great quest:
To worship God, to love each other, and to serve the world.


   PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                    
Christ Jesus, we have lived as if we did not need you, pretending that life is what we make it.  In those exceptional moments of openness when we receive the gift of faith, we have assumed it was given for ourselves alone.  Awaken us by your Spirit to fuller dimensions of faith.  Lead us to find in our neighbors the opportunities for love, in the social order the possibilities for justice, and in the affairs of nations the potential for peace.  Reform our attitudes and behavior until in every circumstance we may, by your grace, be the instruments of your saving Word.  Amen


   SCRIPTURE                                                                                   Matthew 11:18-19, 28-30

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Prayer for July 15

SATURDAY

God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them.
1 Samuel 17:31-49; Acts 11:1-18; Mark 1:14-28

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.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Music Notes

 Summer is not quite over yet, so there is still time for a wide variety of music in worship!
St. Mark Presbyterian Youth Bell Choirs from 1980's and 1990's 

Psalm 150 Youth Band: Musicians third grade and up, who have taken at least one year of private instrument or band/orchestra are invited to rehearse with us on August 16 and 23, from 5:30 - 6 pm and play in worship on Sunday, August 27. The piece is Ode to Joy. I have one pianist, but could use up to three more (1 to double piano,1 to play keyboard, 1 to play organ!). Flutes, clarinets, trumpet, strings, percussionists welcome! I can also add 1-3 bell players to this event (with a little extra training). Please let me know soon, so I can get you your part and you can start preparing. Rehearsals are important!

We want to offer our best to God and the Congregation. But it is time to start thinking about Fall.

Chancel Choir: will rehearse Wednesday, August 9 at 7 pm and sing on Rally Day, Sunday, August 13. We will start our regular Wednesday evening rehearsals on Wednesday, August 30 at 7 pm with our first official Fall Sunday being September 10. Newcomers, returners, long-lost singers are invited, begged, pleaded, cajoled to join us! All voice parts are welcome, but let me lay a little “guilt” on the singing men of the congregation -- WE NEED YOU even if you can just come part of the year!

Middle School/High School Bells: Is there an interest in playing bells for about 4-6 weeks in the Fall? Some basic rhythm reading skills would be required. Starting August 23? Around 6 pm? Let me know. Even if just one or two students are interested, I can teach you descants to play with hymns in worship.

Chancel Bells: Tentative start date would be September 13 at 6 pm. Experienced players. We especially need ringers in the low bells and the highest bells. Want to join us? Give me some notice, so I can plan what pieces to select. Celebration Ringers: Tentative start date would be September 27 at 5:15 pm. Beginning ringers with basic rhythm reading skills are welcome (and needed). This year, we may try playing for 4-6 weeks, taking a break, then playing another 4-6 weeks, so if you cannot commit throughout the year, you can still play with us. Let me know if you are interested so I can plan the music.

Looking forward to another year of making music with you! Marsha

Congregational Nominating Committee

“The most important role in any Presbyterian (PC-USA) church,” as expressed by Pastor Jim during a
Session meeting, “is the Congregational Nominating Committee. They, through the work of the Holy Spirit, will select leaders from the church members who will oversee St. Mark and guide it into the future.”

The St. Mark Congregational Nominating Committee will soon begin its work to identify these new leaders – the people who are called, by the congregation and the Holy Spirit, to serve as elders, deacons, and other positions in our church.

Do you feel this call to serve? Would you suggest names of people that you think have gifts and skills that can guide our church into the future?

 Nomination forms for submitting your name or others are available at the Welcome Center. The Congregational Nominating Committee has a mailbox in the office to deposit your suggestions. You can also contact V. Sherman or L. Larimer, who are nominating committee members.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Worship Prayers July 2

CENTERING PRAYER - Holy God, one in grace, one in glory, one in love…you have joined with us in every moment of our lives, calling us to love and serve you as one people.  Unique in gifts and energy and perspective, united in heart and mind and spirit.  As this Sabbath day unfolds, whisper to us the ways you wish for us to live.  We are your people, God, and we are listening…..Amen

CALL TO WORSHIP
Breathe. Just breathe.
Breathe in … and breathe out.
Breathe in God’s mercies … breathe out your worries.
Breathe in all that is sacred in this place … breathe out everything you have left behind.
Breathe in the all that is good and holy … breathe out everything else.
Breathe in God’s peace … breathe out any chaos.
Breathe in God’s peace … breathe out any distraction.
Breathe in God’s peace … breathe out any hurt.
Breathe in God’s peace … breathe out any hate.
Breathe in God’s peace … breathe out any fear.
Breathe in God’s peace … and realize there is nothing else left.
So breathe in God’s peace … and breathe out God’s peace.
Breathe in God’s peace … and breathe out God’s peace.
Breathe in God’s peace … and breathe out God’s peace.
Breathe. Just breathe.


   SCRIPTURES               Isaiah 42:6-9, p. 670; 43:1-4, p. 672 and John 20:19-23, p. 115

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Daily Prayer July 8

SATURDAY

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever. Because I live, you also will live.

1 Samuel 14:16-30; Acts 9:10-19a; Luke 23:32-43

O God of grace, you have given us new and living hope in Jesus Christ. We thank you that by dying Christ destroyed the power of death, and by rising from the grave opened the way to eternal life. Help us to know that because he lives, we shall live also; and that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come shall be able to separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. By your power, great God, our Lord Jesus healed the sick and gave new hope to the hopeless. Though we cannot command or possess your power, we pray for those who want to be healed. Mend their wounds, soothe fevered brows, and make broken people whole again. Help us to welcome every healing as a sign that, though death is against us, you are for us, and have promised renewed and risen life in Jesus Christ the Lord. (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.)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Covenant of Closure

Jim with gift of John Pils St. Louis print
Rev. Jim Poinsett’s final Sunday at St. Mark was June 25, 2017. He and this congregation are obligated to follow the guidelines of the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery’s Covenant of Closure. This is a formal agreement stating that the outgoing pastor shall not worship with, give opinions, accept invitations, or intervene in any way with the congregation’s life together. That means Pastor Jim must decline pastoral duties such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, hospital visitation, or counseling (except on special invitation of the Session).

However, Covenant of Closure does not prohibit the ties of friendship and gratitude. It isn’t inappropriate to drop Pastor Jim an email, make a phone call, or even get together for lunch or a game of golf once in a while – and, of course, hold him in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

All-Church Book Read Begins Tonight

Wednesday, July 5
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Chapters 1-3
In her insightful and encouraging new book, Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott explains that it is mercy which gives us the chance to “soften ever so slightly” to understand one another more deeply.

Let’s talk about it!!!!

Gather to discuss…
Chapters 1-3 Wed, July 5, 6-7pm
Chapters 4-6 Wed, July 26, 6-7pm
Chapters 7-9 Sun, Aug 13, 9:30-10:15am
Each discussion will focus on overall themes so come to any or all!!!
Sponsored by Adult Education Committee

Monday, July 3, 2017

Deacon's Doings: ABC Sale

JULY = ABC SALE!! Friday, July 28 – 7AM to 1PM (Early Bird admission $5 7- 8AM) Saturday, July 29 – 8:00 AM to Noon. That’s right, the time has come! The week of July 23- 29, St. Mark Presbyterian Church undergoes a Miraculous Transformation and becomes a building-wide rummage sale.

 Gleason Hall becomes “Neiman Markus” (see what I did there? Hehe) and is filled with clothing for young and old, plus accessories. Need housewares? Head to Fellowship Hall for a huge selection of kitchen, bath and general d├ęcor. Furniture, baskets, and artwork adorn the Narthex. Room 102 transforms into our very own Boutique with jewels, baubles, and other treasures. Hallways get filled with tools, sporting goods, luggage and more.

Why do all this? This is the deacon’s primary fundraiser that in turn provides monetary support for a variety of local mission and outreach programs that include Beyond Housing, Isaiah 58, Lafayette Industries, Presbyterian Children’s Services, and UKirk. The monthly Deacons Doings updates have and will continue to highlight the great works done by these organizations.

How can you help? I’m so glad you asked! The week of July 23rd is a very busy week and we all know many hands make for lighter work (plus we have a LOT of fun). So here are your options: Rack set up – Saturday, July 22, 9-11 AM Drop off items: Sunday, July 23 after 9:30 service Monday, July 24 until noon and also 5-7 PM (enter thru the side kitchen doors for this evening drop off) Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 until noon Take Down & Clean up – Saturday, July 29 beginning at 11 AM (usually done by 1-2 PM)

Please check the Discover St. Mark website for more information at http://www.discoverstmark.org/event-items/abc-rummage-sale-set-up/

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Worship Prayers June 25

PRAYER IN PREPARATION - Living God, we come this day with praise and thanksgiving.  May this time of worship empower us to embody your good news.  May we always abide in you, and you in us.  May we respond to the power of your word, and the promises of your love.  May we be so filled with your Spirit that we can't help but proclaim your goodness.  Amen.

  


CALL TO WORSHIP
We gather in the name of God, creator of all the moments of our lives.
         The love of God is with us.
We gather in the name of Jesus, the Word made flesh.
         The grace of Christ is with us.
We gather in the name of the Holy Spirit, sustainer and giver of life.
         The communion of the Spirit is with us.


   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Loving God, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Our endings and beginnings are rooted in your love.  But we wander far from your claim upon us.  We are tempted to go our own way, rather than trusting the path you put before us.  We find it easier to resist change, lest it require more of us.  Forgive us, O God.  Open our hearts to hear your voice in ways we cannot deny.  Challenge us in ways we cannot avoid.  Lead us in paths from which we cannot turn back.  Hold us close by your love and keep us from lasting loss.  Help us to live with courage and gladness in the future you present to us.  In every time and place, may we offer you our highest and our best through Jesus Christ.


   SCRIPTURES                                          Philippians 1:3-11, p. 196 and 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, p. 186

To listen to Pastor Jim's sermon "Thanksgiving and Blessing", click here.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Prayer July 1

SATURDAY
Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

1 Samuel 9:15-10:1; Acts 7:30-43; Luke 22:39-51

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation. You have given us the light of day that we might see your wonders in all we say and do; you give us the gentle darkness of the night that we might rest from our burdens and be refreshed in body and spirit. 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. Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to faith, and welcome them into the church family. May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters, who with us believe and with us will work to serve you. Keep us close together in your Spirit, breaking bread in faith and love, one with Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(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.)