Friday, November 30, 2018

Daily Prayer for Nov. 30


God is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God's good pleasure.
Zechariah 14:1-11; Romans 15:7-13; Luke 19:28-40
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.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Advent Bags

 The Caregiving Committee at St. Mark Presbyterian assembled Advent bags for many of our elderly members.  Sara L. made lovely bags in which we placed a wrapped item for each day in Advent. Items included ornaments, candy canes, hand lotion, mugs with hot chocolate, a Christmas card, cookies, lip balm, gum, tea, tic-tacs----25 items in all---one to be opened each day.

They will then be delivered to members living in Senior housing---those who don't get the Care Meals which we provide twice a year to our elderly living in their own homes. Our Caregiving Committee also assists at funerals and sends out cards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Christmas Alternatives

Luke 6:30-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Because we are blessed with many material possessions, when Christmas comes around, we encounter a huge challenge selecting gifts for family and friends. Finding the perfect gift for someone who has many wonderful possessions is a difficult task! With this in mind, in 2001 the newly formed Mission Committee at St. Mark created “Christmas Alternatives.” 

After much research the Mission Committee selected three international and four national missions to support during the first St. Mark Christmas Alternatives. A shopping list was created that included items such as: school supplies, chickens and other animals, scholarships to train nurses, vaccinations for villages, drilling a water well and more. Purchasing a gift through Christmas Alternatives not only honored the recipient, but also aided other deserving people.

During Christmas Alternatives 2018, you will be able to give support to our mission co-workers Jed Koball in Peru and Mark Hare in Haiti. You might select to purchase ducks, goats or seeds for farmers in Haiti. Perhaps the person you honor with a gift would appreciate knowing that their gift would be building a well, supporting a health clinic or training a nurse. Medical Benevolence Foundation and Marion Medical Mission will apply your gift to make this possible. This is our third year with “Give a Child Christmas” a component that we developed with Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services. This gift allows children to celebrate Christmas at a modestly priced restaurant and receive a gift of new clothing such as a sweater or shirt.

Thank you for your support during the past 17 years. Our displays will be in the Narthex in December. We look forward to helping you select the perfect gift!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Scripture for Nov. 25

John 18:33-37 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Stained glass window of
Christ the King, 
Tipperary, Ireland

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters[a] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 


  1. John 18:33 Gk the praetorium
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Daily Prayer for November 23


Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Malachi 3:1-12; James 5:7-12; Luke 18:1-8
O God, whose presence is veiled from our eyes: Grant that when we do not recognize you, our hearts may burn within us, and when feeling is lost, we may cling in faith to your Word and the power of bread broken. Eternal God of unchanging power and light, look with mercy on your whole church. Bring to completion your saving work, so that the whole world may see the fallen lifted up, the old made new, and all things brought to perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God of grace and hope, we thank you for life, love, and good memories, for the gift of age, and for the wisdom that comes from experience. We bless you for your constant presence, for with you there is fullness of joy. Give us the courage and faith to accept life as it comes, confident that the future is yours and that we belong to you forever. (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.)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Worship Prayers from Nov. 25

CENTERING PRAYER  "Gracious God,help me to receive this day as gift: in the tasks for which I do not feel prepared, in the needs I am not strong enough to meet.  In my caution and in my confidence teach me to listen for your voice and to watch for your provision.  Grant me the gift of life in community, that I might witness your desire flowing through others, that I might be joined to greater service, for I pray in the name of Jesus, whose every breath was praise.  Amen."

Grace to you and peace from the one who is and who was and who is to come,
        and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
        and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.                                        
           The whole earth is full of God’s glory.
Come!  Let us worship our King together!

Eternal God, we confess we fail to seek your will.  You come to us in glory, yet we hide our faces from you.  You speak to us in truth, but we close our hearts to your word.  Forgive us, God of grace.  Release us from sin, restore our lives, and rule in our hearts, this day and always; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Silent Confession)

SCRIPTURE READING                                                           John 18:33-37
  For the Sermon "Who is the New What", Click here.

Thanksgiving for Earth's Bounty

Psalm 65:5-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Corn Harvest

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
    O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas.
By your[a] strength you established the mountains;
    you are girded with mi
You silence the roaring of the seas,

    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide the people with grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.


  1. Psalm 65:6 Gk Jerome: Heb his
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Giving Thanks Canned Food Drive -- THANKS!

The Fellowship Committee at St. Mark Presbyterian has again hosted a successful Giving Thanks Dinner. The cost of this his sit-down Thanksgiving feast is canned goods or donations made to our local food pantry. A huge thank you for the Fellowship Committee and all of those who contributed.

Thirty nine bags of food were collected on November 18th and delivered to Circle of Concern and Isaiah 58.  Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of families; working adults, children, seniors, disabled people, veterans, underemployed, homeless individuals and others who struggle with poverty and hunger.  In addition to their food pantries, Circle of Concern and Isaiah 58 also provide a variety of resources and services to help individuals and families become self-sufficient.   Thank you for your generosity!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Christmas Tea for Lydia's House

The St. Mark Christmas Tea will be held on Saturday, December 1 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.  Seats are still available to come and enjoy this tea party.  All proceeds benefit Lydia's House.  The fourth annual tea highlights lovely seasonal table settings, tea served by our St. Mark youth, and entertainment and fellowship in the Narthex.   Tickets are $25.00 per person (make your check to St. Mark Presbyterian) and can be bought at the tea table in the Narthex after services on Sunday.   

At St. Mark Presbyterian, this fundraiser has grown to be a multigenerational outreach to our congregation and our community. Deacons may organize the event, but the participation of other ministries makes it happen. Presbyterian Women offer their talents in developing very tasty savories, and Choir women have joined in the sweets area! St. Mark Youth continues to serve all guests with great courtesy dressed in those “fun to see” Christmas clothing! 

How are funds raised for Lydia’s House? Any items remaining from the PW Holiday Boutique can be purchased at the Christmas Tea. Then, the Silent Auction provides the best fundraising opportunity. Donations are gathered, and tickets to the event are sold. The event features local high school entertainment performing while tea is served; this year, Lydia’s House chaplain will come again and speak for a few moments about their goals. We hope you will join us and enjoy a Christmas Tea while supporting a worthy cause.  Thank you.Questions? Contact Debbie Cloud or the church office 636-394-2233

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Worship Prayers for Nov. 11

CENTERING PRAYER  “Although now we be men of war, our Father, Thou knowest that we would rather be men of peace.  Help us to learn those principles upon a lasting peace may be built.  Help us to learn to love one another.  Help us to walk in the footsteps of our peace-loving Prince of Peace.  In His Name.  Amen.”[1]
Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.
         God’s steadfast love endures forever.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
         God upholds those who are in need.
Let us worship God.

Eternal God, we confess we have failed to seek your will.  We revel in power and privilege while many are struggling to survive.  We boast of our great contributions while some who have little give all.  Forgive us, God of grace.  Strip us of all pride and pretense and clothe us in your mercy alone, ready to meet you in your glory.  We continue to pray through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Silent Confession)

SCRIPTURE READING                                                             Mark 12:38-44
  For the sermon "First Things First:  Everything", click here.

† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH - Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  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.

[1] Nygaard, N. (1942). Strength for Service to God and Country:
        Daily Devotional Messages for Men in the Services. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Scripture for November 18

50th Anniversary Celebration
at St. Mark Presbyterian 2012

Mark 13:1-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold

13 As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’[a] and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.


  1. Mark 13:6 Gk I am
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
"Clipping" of St. Mark Presbyterian
50th Anniversary, 2012