Current SMPC Newsletter

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					9999 Ferguson Road Volume 56, Issue 12

Dallas,TX 75228

214-321-6437 December 2009

Annual Christmas Dinner Sunday, December 13th 6:00 p.m.
Please make your reservations by December 6th by calling the church office. The cost will be $10 per person, children under 10 are free. This dinner will be catered so the final head count must be given to the caterer by December 6th. Following dinner, the handbells and choir will present a musical program in the sanctuary. A sitter will be available in the nursery during the program.

Women of the Church Annual Christmas Party
Thursday, December 10th 6:30 p.m. in the Church Parlor
All St. Mark women are invited. Please bring a wrapped Christmas ornament or decoration for our fun gift exchange and your favorite party finger food or snack. We would also like to collect “Manna Bags” of nonperishable food for the residents of “The Bridge”. The Bible defines “manna” as food miraculously provided for the Israelites in the wilderness during their flight from Egypt—”good things which have been provided as sustenance”. Use quart or gallon zip lock bags or paper lunch bags to put your items in. Suggested items include: tuna or chicken with zip or pull tops, granola or cereal bars, small bags of pretzels, chips, sunflower seeds, raisins and peanuts, juice boxes, bottles of water, small cans of fruit (pull-top) or fruit cups, pudding cups, beef jerky or Slim Jims, hard candy, mints, gum, wrapped packages of crackers or cookies, plastic utensils, napkins, individual condiment packets of salt, pepper, sugar, mayo, catsup, mustard. You may also include a note of support, inspiration or an uplifting scriptural passage. Place your note inside the bag. The “Manna Bags” will be distributed by The Stewpot.

Special Christmas Offering
Christ’s birthday is coming and we have an opportunity to give Him a gift that will help thousands of people! Our Special Christmas Offering will support active and retired Presbyterian church workers, support Presbyterian racial-ethic schools and help the high school scholarship fund for students in Malawi, Africa. The offering will be equally divided between the Joy Gift and Malawi’s Ministry of Hope. The Session has set a goal of $5,000 and we know that is a generous amount. God has been so good to each of us and we hope this will be an opportunity for us to honor Him on His son’s birthday. Thank you for prayerfully considering these needs.

Christmas Services
Sunday, December 20th 10:30 a.m. - Service of Lessons & Carols Thursday, December 24th 7:00 p.m. - Candlelight Service Reception in the Parlor following service

Sunday Sermons, Scriptures and Events
December 6 “You’re Welcome” Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 2:1-12 Communion December 13 “Safe” Isaiah 40:9-11, 27-31; Matthew 2:13-23 Annual Christmas Dinner and Choir Program December 20 Lessons and Carols December 27 “Validation” Psalm 98:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17

“The doctrine of providence tells us that the world and our lives are not ruled by fate but by God, who lays bare His purposes of providence in the incarnation of His Son.” T.H.L Parker “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 The Word made flesh. Somewhere under all that wrapping paper, buried beneath the parties and around the corner from the food tray is the real reason for the season. He is brought into a broken world, birthed by a virgin named Mary, the Theotokos: God bearer. The Son of God has taken on vulnerable skin. And He has donned flesh for our sake, come here for healing a rift of our own making that we could never repair on our own. Indeed, we are not even inclined to repair the breach. We stand condemned. He brings forgiveness drenched in mercy. He brings life. G.K. Chesterton wrote of the Advent season: Christmas is good news. But if you ask me what it is, I know not. It is a track of feet in the snow. It is a lantern showing a way. It is a door set open. The Word made flesh marks the path, shines a light because He is the light, and invites. He calls. He waits. He moves from star to stable. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has come upon you. Jesus comes to dwell among us, take up residence in our hearts, claim our very lives, disturb our business. Thanks be to God! May this Advent season find all the members of St. Mark Presbyterian Church, our families and friends, grateful, thankful, and faithful. Blessings, Pastor Rick
The church office will be closed Thursday & Friday, December 24th & 25th for the Christmas Holidays.

Congratulations to . . .
Steve and Tina Duncan who were married in October.

Words of Thanks
Dear St. Mark Family, I was so thrilled when I got a call saying I had won the quilt from the Mission Mania raffle. It is truly gorgeous and I will treasure it always as a reminder of growing up in this church. Thank you to the ladies who put so much time and love into this quilt in order to raise money for missions. St. Mark has always had a huge heart for doing God’s work whether it is locally or around the world. It is a joy to know that the quilt that is now in my home will serve as a symbol of how St. Mark continuously reaches out to others to show them God’s love.

Jill Bradford Cox
Dear St. Mark , Jim spoke often of his St. Mark family and cherished every moment he spent at the church. You all meant a great deal to him. He appreciated your many thoughtful gestures, the cards and the visits. He felt truly blessed to be surrounded by such caring friends. We are so grateful for your support, kind words, prayers and love.

Jeanette Sanders and The Jim Sanders Family

White Rock Sunday December 13th
Please bring your donations of toys, canned or dried foods, paper products, clothing, etc. and place them in the baskets in the hallway. Pantry Needs: Macaroni & Cheese, Jelly Bath Soap & Feminine Products

White Rock Center of Hope Toy List
Distribution begins on November 30th and will continue through December 22nd.

A Few Words From the Stewardship & Finance Committee
Jesus said to His disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8 (NIV)

Church Pantry Needs: ⇒ pull-top cans of fruit and beans Ushers Needed for the New Year
If you can serve as an Usher one Sunday a month please contact the church office or Walter Zahn to volunteer.

For Small Children: Balls, books, Hi-Ho Cheerio Game, Memory games, coloring books, play dishes, pots & pans, baby dolls of all races, doll strollers, play telephones, building blocks, Lincoln logs, Legos & blocks, Mr. Potato Head, tricycles, trucks & cars, wagons. Young Elementary: Bibles, dictionaries, books (fiction & educational), games, (Candyland, Clue, Connect Four, Game of Life) Barbie dolls of all races, balls (all types) Older Elementary: books, checkers, games (Chinese checkers, Jenga, Monopoly, Scrabble, Tic Tac Toe, Uno) Pre-Teen & Teenagers: books, bibles, dictionaries, balls, puzzles (350 to 500 pieces), watches, radios, curling irons, makeup sets, calculators, hand-held games. All ages: bicycles & books

Join Us for Movie Night
Saturday, December 19th @ 7:00 p.m. Bring snacks to share and a covered cup for your drinks and join your friends in the cozy confines of the “Gleaners Cinema” for a new release or classic movie. Movie night is the THIRD Saturday of every month.

Newsletter Staff:
Cecilia Grayson . . . . Pat Bilger . . . . . . . . . Articles and information for the newsletter can be e-mailed to the addresses above.

Flower Calendar for 2010
Thanks to Ellen Roberts for our new flower calendar. If you wish to donate flowers for the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, please sign up. The calendar is on the wall outside of Pat’s office.

Newsletter Deadline is December 15th


correct focus. Here are four interesting suggestions I have found. They are not particularly complicated. I think these can work in most any household whether that household consists of one person or a house full of people. 1. Make it point to take some time to give to others beyond your household. Try sharing small gifts or acts of kindness with other people who rarely experience such things. 2. Here’s something to try if you decorate your home. Since Advent is a time of waiting and preparation put your decorations up in deliberate stages all through the season instead of all at once. 3. Use an Advent wreath and/or calendar. This is an oldie but goodie but many folks find these practices to be very meaningful and helpful as they prepare for Christmas. 4. Read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke before you open presents. If you try any of these things let me know how it went. Or if you have found something else that works for you share it with me as well. And if you’d like to explore these or other ideas further I have several resources that I can share with you.

Technology can be incredibly frustrating. But it can also be very useful. For example in just a few minutes while sitting with my laptop computer I have been able to review all the December newsletter articles I have written since 2003. It’s interesting to see what I have been pondering at the beginning of each Advent. Some articles are dated because they are tied to what was happening that particular December. But the very first one does not seem dated at all. In fact it may be a better fit now that when I wrote it 6 years ago. A good educator is never afraid to recycle something that is still useful. So in 2009 as it was in 2003: We are now in the season of Advent and soon it will be Christmas. This is an important time of year in the church. It’s a time of preparation and celebration that is supposed to be focused on the birth of Jesus. It’s also an incredibly important time of year in the wider culture but often for different reasons. With everything going on around us, it can be easy to lose focus on what Advent and Christmas are all about. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some things we can do to help us keep a

Randall McGee, Director of Christian Education

December 2 Phyllis Miller Helen Rose December 3 Trey Curry Collin Stephen December 6 Voni Robinson December 7 Leigh Taylor December 9 Colleen Kessler Pam McGuire December 10 Randall McGee December 11 Mary Moffitt

December 13 Alex Crawley December 14 William Davis Becky Page December 15 Ron McMahon December 21 Jana McIntosh December 27 Clint Taylor December 29 Sheila Wahl December 31 Julia Holloway Diane Thornton

Christmas Concerts
Rev. Rick Recommends . . . A Country Christmas with Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers. Presented by the Ft. Worth Symphony Wednesday, December 16th @7:30 Bass Performance Hall, Ft. Worth Anne Thomas Recommends . . . Perkins School of Theology Service of Lessons & Carols (2 services) Thursday, December 3rd @ 4:00 & 8:00 p.m.