Monday, February 28, 2022

LAFAYETTE WORK CENTERS: Annual Report (excerpts)


This past year, 2021, was another very challenging year (seems like they all are, don’t they!), but we again were able to stay safe and stay open! We saw several of our long-time employees retire, but we were able to hire 24 new workers despite all of what 2021 brought, and provided our unique program service to 424 individuals the past year. We continue to be very blessed. Our dedicated employees who had to stay home in 2021 but performed training via Zoom, or worked at home, transitioned back to work during the year, and we eventually reached 98% attendance back in the shops by September. 

Once again, as I have stated over and over, what a pleasure it is to work with people who love having a job! We again received great financial support from our sponsors throughout the year which enabled us to employ those new folks and keep everyone following safety protocols. This year, we conducted free COVID vaccination shots; round 1 & 2 in the Spring, and then the booster shot in late Fall. In between there were free flu shots as well! We served over 4,000 individual free healthy lunches. 

In September to celebrate our 45th anniversary, we held our Employee family celebration and picnic in person—with an attendance of almost 400! At the end of the year we again awarded 5 more gold watches (for 25 years of service), bringing the total to 98 that we have given out in the last 16 years. Is that not something special! 

On the business side of our operation. We again produced close to 10 million packages. As you recall in October 2020 we entered into a partnership with McArthur’s bakery in Kirkwood to open up the “Pioneer CafĂ©” on Kirkwood’s main street. McArthur’s runs the bakery, and we train persons with intellectual disabilities. Well, this has been a tremendous success, as we received a State-wide award for innovation, and the program was interviewed by all the major TV stations in St. Louis, PBS, and NBC’s Today show! 

I again would like to convey my personal thanks for your continuous support and constant prayers as well as thank those St. Mark private donors who made contributions, as well as the St. Mark Presbyterian Women and the Deacons who support us every year. 

Unfortunately, 2021 saw the passing of R. McLuen, who, along with his wife Ethel and several noted individuals, founded Lafayette. Bob was a determined visionary that resulted in the betterment of thousands of lives. We all will be forever in debt and gratitude to Bob, Ethel, and our other selfless Founders for making such a difference in those -- and our lives -- as well. There would be no Lafayette Industries were it not for the McLuen’s and a handful of other families who, back in 1976, were looking for a post-schooling work opportunity for their adult children with disabilities. 

With funding from the state of Missouri, they opened a modest, one room warehouse with an oil- and grease-filled floor in Valley Park, Missouri. There were 16 workers originally, including the McLuen’s son, Kenny. Today there are 411. Wow. 

Speaking of Kenny, our very 1st employee, he celebrated his 45th year of employment in September, and retired on Dec. 13, 2021. What an inspiration for us all. The vision that founded Lafayette continues to hold true today as it did in 1976---to provide employment to deserving folks that gives them Dignity through work and the opportunity to use their God-given talents and abilities, just like the rest of us. 

To Bob and Ethel, Boots and Bob, Rev. Howard and Rosella Gleason, Bev and Bob, and to the St. Mark’s community----we are forever indebted to you. Thank you once again, may God continue to bless you all very much, and here’s to a Safe and Happy 2022! 

Respectfully submitted, Rob Libera CEO & Executive Director

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Order of Worship February 27, 2022


CENTERING PRAYER                                                                            J. Birch, 

We meet today, Lord God, not as in the days of Moses when a physical barrier, the veil, separated the people from your presence, but in the sure knowledge that when your Son died on the Cross for us, the curtain of the temple was torn in two to grant us access to the holiest place. It is in this confidence that we approach your throne with our sacrifice of worship, and ask no more than that you will bless us with your presence, draw close to us and enable us to know you more. Amen 

PRELUDE (Sunday Worship)     Offertoire                                Marty (1865-1942)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



CALL TO WORSHIP                                                                                                               Psalm 99                          The LORD is king;  

                        let the peoples tremble! 

                        God sits enthroned upon the cherubim; 

                        let the earth quake! 

                        The LORD is great in Zion; 

                        God is exalted over all the peoples. 

                        Let us praise God’s great and awesome name! 

    † HYMN         “Lord, the Light of Your Love is Shining”                Hymnal# 192                                                            Accompanied by Declan Phipps, guitar 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                                                                                     

Merciful and gracious God, we bow before your unending compassion, the measure of our falling short. We do not love as you command. We do not speak truthfully.  We do not care for your creation, including ourselves, according to your will. What we intend, we do not pursue; what we mean to avoid, we embrace. Help us to know the mind of Christ, that in all thoughts, words, and deeds, our lives might come to honor you. (Silent Confession) 

ASSURANCE OF GRACE SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST                      The peace of Christ be with you.                      And also with you.GLORY TO GOD                                                                              Hymnal #582          

TIME WITH CHILDREN (Sunday Worship)(Children 5th grade and younger may leave to attend Sunday School)SCRIPTURE                                                                                                                                          Luke 9:28-36 

SERMON                          “Cloudy Vision”                            Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess

 AFFIRMATION OF FAITH                                      The 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.  

OFFERING                           Higher Ground                                                Wachter                                                                                                            Chancel Choir                                                                           THE DOXOLOGY                                                                    Hymnal #606PRAYERS 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, forever. Amen.                            

               HYMN       “Open My Eyes, That I May See”                             Hymnal #451 

                        † BENEDICTION                       “We’ve a Story to Tell the Nations”     (Sunday Worship)                    Verse 1 & Refrain, See last page of bulletin                                                                                                                    POSTLUDE (Sunday Worship)       Postlude In G                                                  Peterson                         You are invited to stand, as you are able