St Mark eNEWS
for December 11, 2022

painting by Karen EJ Klein 2015 

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
  my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for you, Lord, have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
  From this day all generations will call me blessed:
 you, the Almighty, have done great things for me
  and holy is your name.
 You have mercy on those who fear you,
  from generation to generation. 
 You have shown strength with your arm
  and scattered the proud in their conceit,
 casting down the mighty from their thrones
  and lifting up the lowly.
 You have filled the hungry with good things
  and sent the rich away empty.
 You have come to the aid of your servant Israel,
  to remember the promise of mercy,
 the promise made to our forebears,
  to Abraham and his children forever. 

Luke 1:46b-55

Good morning and I hope that you have had a great week.

This passage is sometimes called the "Song of Mary" or  "The Magnificat".  These are the words of a 16 year old Mary as she thought about what she was told by the angel, the significance of the One she carried within her, and the great thing God was about to do through her.

These 18 lines are filled with the hope of countless persons who waited for the arrival of the Messiah to rescue them from all that threatened them. Unbeknown to those persons, the Messiah they hoped for would come into the world in an unexpected way, not through the powerful, wealthy or entitled, but through a young woman who would give birth in a manger in a small country town. 

Every time a young child is baptized (or any person at an age) it is an opportunity to ponder (think deeply about) what God may do through your child or you in your lifetime. This is why Holy Baptism is so important, because it gives parents and any person being baptized, a very special event to set their lives on a course longside Mary and countless others through the ages. 

Last Sunday following worship, I watched parents congregating together near the Welcome Center while their children were preparing for the Sunday School Christmas service next weekend. I could see how lovingly they watched their children. They were smiling, laughing, and telling stories. And when their child stepped to the center to do something special, the whole world paused for those parents as they watched and listened. 

I'm sure more than one of them thought about the times that they were in the very same place, practicing for a Sunday School Christmas service. Taking their place alongside many others who have told this same story throughout the last two millennia. Just like God entrusted a child to Mary, God has entrusted children to loving parents, so that together, we may take our place alongside Mary, Jesus, and all of the saints through the ages. 

This is a great time to ponder these words of Mary, to think about the hope that rested upon Mary, and to ponder the possibilities of what God may yet do in the future through our lives.  

Children’s Christmas Service- Sunday December 18, next Sunday is the Children's Christmas Service at 9:00 AM. Come early and get a good seat as we are hoping for a big crowd. There will be plenty of singing, and lots of children telling the story of Jesus Birth.  Deb Mortensen, students, and parents are busy preparing a special message to be shared during our worship next Sunday. 

Blue Christmas Service-  Tuesday, December 13, 6:30 PM
We will have a special service called the Blue Christmas Service. It was written several decades ago to create an opportunity for people to gather together with others who have experienced a death in the past year, or longer. Over the years, the service has morphed into an event that embraces grief from the many losses we experience. Everyone is invited to attend.  The Buena Vista County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Fratzke Jensen Funeral Home, the Office of Veterans Affairs, and St Mark are working together to create and offer this event for the community. 

  • Christmas Eve Services- Saturday, December 24, 3:00 and 5:00 PM
  • Christmas Day Service-  Sunday, December 25, 9:00 AM
  • New Years Day Service- Sunday, January 1, 9:00 AM
I hope to see you in worship on Sunday 9:00. Here is a link to the service outline and announcements for this weekend.  There is a lot happening at St Mark and lots of ways for you to be more involved in the life here in the church building and as we reach out to more and more people.

Peace to you,

Pastor Dave  

 You can find us at: 
1614 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA, 50588
 Phone: 712-732-5255 

You can email us at

      You may log into Saint Mark Wi-Fi
Password- devotion

We gather for worship each Sunday morning at 9:00. You can join us in-person in the Sanctuary, or via livestream on our  Facebook page. Recordings of services may be also found on the St Mark Website.
We are each invited to keep the following persons in our prayers:

  • Prayers for Healing:   Irwin Strand, Marlon Gasner, Royce Larsen, Marilyn Jones, Larry Wells, Ken Russell, Don Northrup, Hildy Clewell, Julie Egland, Val Anderson, Jon Kruse, Donna Schulz, Steve Korner, Jane Evans, Evelyn Messenbrink, Alex Kron, Steve Berg, and all persons seeking healing and wholeness. 
  • Prayers for Comfort:
    • Family of Meta Davis- sister of Anna Hughes
    • Family of Bruce Strand- son of Irv Strand 
    • Family of Mark Sorbe
    • Family of Neil Lawton- Brad Lenhart’s brother-in-law.                    

Advent resources are available at the Welcome Center for everyone to take home to help celebrate this special season. Advent Study Guides and Advent Calendars are available to take home to use each day.
Is up and more items are arriving.  Everyone is invited to bring warm hats, mittens, gloves, scarves to help people stay warm this winter. These items will go to supply Upper Des Moines Opportunities as they do their best to help keep people warm this winter. 
SEW & DO will not meet in December.
NAOMI CIRCLE will not meet in December or January.

Sunday is the last day to order Poinsettias to be displayed on Christmas Eve and Day.  If you would like to order one please fill out an order form and turn it into the office. The forms are available at the welcome center.  Each poinsettia is $35.00 and can be taken home following the services. Orders need to be received in the Church Office by Monday, December 12.  

Looking for some new/different Christmas books to help get you in the Christmas spirit? The book discussion group share the following titles with you: 

Skipping Christmas – by John Grisham
The 13th Gift – by Joanne Huist Smith
The Crippled Lamb – by Max Lucado
The Christmas Shoes –  by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope –  by Donna VanLiere
Christmas Bells – by Jennifer Chiaverini
A Christmas Carol – by Charles Dickens

Everyone is encouraged to check out the selection of Christmas books from the St. Mark library located on the table in the Narthex, and in the library. Contact Cindy Smith with questions

St. Mark is participating in the Adopt a Family Christmas program with Upper Des Moines Opportunities. Please return your gifts to church no later than this MONDAY December 12th.   Please wrap each gift and mark with family number, sex and age of person. If you would  like to make a monetary donation or give a gift card, please leave it in the church office by December 9th.   Any questions can be directed to Lori Porsch (299-3129).  Thank you for helping make some families' Christmas a lot brighter!

The two furnaces that heat and cool the Fellowship Hall are scheduled to be replaced next week. The Congregation Council extends an invitation to anyone interested in sharing a gift to help pay for the replacements, above and beyond your regular offering.  Simply notate that the gift is for the FURNACE REPLACEMENT FUND.   The total replacement cost is @$8800

Methodist Manor- The residents of Methodist Manor are in need of persons to visit. Training will be available to prepare volunteers for the conversations. If you are interested, please contact Maxine Lampe 712-732-1058, or Pat Cowan 712-299-3120.
St Mark Worship Tech- we are in need of at least 2 more persons (families)  to serve one Sunday a month as worship tech.  New tech helpers may include families with junior high or high school aged kids, possibly a great way to involve them more with helping with church service.   If you are interested, you are invited to sit back at the console on a Sunday morning and watch/help the persons working on that weekend.  Contact Pastor Dave if you are interested.  
Is an opportunity for veterans of the United States military branches. There is no agenda other than an opportunity for veterans of the United States military services to have a place to be with others who have had similar experiences and who are willing to receive and give encouragement to others. As veterans go through re-entry into civilian life they may experience, short and long term, challenges unique to veterans such as: PTSD; disabilities; reconnecting to family and friends; finding meaningful employment; and other struggles.  Vets Together meet on Wednesday evenings, 6:00 PM in room 128. The gatherings are open to all community persons.  Please share this opportunity with friends. 

Proclaim is a radio ministry of St Mark and is broadcast every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM via FM 101.7 KAYL. The message and music are from the previous weekend. This ministry is one of the ways we reach out to Storm Lake and Western Iowa with the love of Jesus.  We invite you to consider supporting this ministry in addition to your regular financial support of St Mark. Cost is $38 per week and can be given online, or by check.  You can sign-up for a Sunday on the bulletin board sign-up located on the bulletin board near the west entrance to the building. Call Jane Hartwell 732-5255 if you have questions.
FINANCIAL PLEDGE CARDS FOR 2023- As of the printing of this bulletin we have received $207, pledges of financial support for 2023.  We hope that more pledge cards will be received over the next weeks. The information received so far is helping the Congregation Council to make plans for 2023.  We want to thank everyone for your generous support of St Mark. 


We are grateful for your faithful financial gifts to St Mark as they provide the needed support for all of our ministries, outreach, operating expenses, and staff. We are hopeful that through all of our gifts we will finish our year in the positive. If you have a financial gift you would like to share this morning, you may place it in the offering box found at the welcome center.  You are welcome to drop off an offering at the Church office or send it in the mail.  You can also go to the St Mark Give Page where there are links and instructions for sharing your gifts. You can:  

  • Give via EFT, banking cards, and credit cards. Make a one time, or set up ongoing gifts.

  • Text your gift to 833-643-0608. 

  • You can also give during the service electronically through the new VANCO MOBILE giving app available at Apple App Store on Google Play Store.

  • And a new way to give is through Amazon Smile each time you purchase something online. 

The next food distribution is THIS THURSDAY, December 15.  Volunteers are needed to help with loading the bags and delivering. Friends with Food is a partnership of St Mark Lutheran Church, SALUD, and other community persons who work together to offer a monthly food distribution to those who are permanently or temporarily homebound and without easy access to transportation. If you would like to help, or if you know of someone who could use some food, please contact Jane Hartwell 712-732-5255, Di Daniels 712-299-9863 or Julie Cook- Western Iowa Synod Office 732-4968. 

To help express our thanks and appreciation to Pastor Dave and Leslie, the St Mark Church Council is asking our St. Mark family members to contribute to a gift for them. These monetary gifts will be presented to him at a Christmas Eve Service.  Your gift may be dropped off or mailed to the church office.  Label the envelope “Pastor Dave Christmas Gift.”
The Upper Des Moines Opportunities Food Shelf staff says that any food is welcomed at the pantry.  The following items are very low and needed at this time: cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter, canned fruit & vegetables, beans and rice, spaghetti sauce and pasta.  Other items needed: laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, paper towels. You can drop the food off in the grocery cart by the church office, or at Upper Des Moines Opportunities Food Shelf, 620 Michigan Street, in Storm Lake.

Life Serve Blood Drive was at St Mark on Tuesday, December 6th. Stats from that day are 56 appointments, 48 registered, 40 were eligible to donate, and 46 units collected.  The next blood drive at St Mark is January 3, 2023 from 12:30-5:30.  You can register online or text LIFESERVE to 999-777 to make an appointment to Give Blood.  If you would like to know any other info about donating blood and Life Serve Blood Center, just click on this link, or contact Jane Hartwell in the Church Office.  

Sunday, December 11
7:30AM -            Proclaim Radio broadcast on FM101.7
9:00AM-             Worship Service- in-person and streamed live
                           on Facebook
10:00AM-           Fellowship Time (Fellowship Hall)       
10:00AM@-       Sunday School Christmas Rehearsal. (Sanctuary)

Tuesday, December 13
1:30PM-              Parkinson’s Support Group      (Library)
6:30PM-              Blue Christmas Service  (Sanctuary)
7:00PM-              NA- (Room 128)

Wednesday, December 14
6:00PM-              Vets Together (Room 128)
6:00 PM-             Confirmation Class  (Office)
7:00PM-              Congregation Council Meeting (Conference Room)

Thursday, December 15
TBA                     Friends with Food      (Main Hallway)
12:00PM-            AA-  (Fellowship Hall)

Sunday, December 18
7:30AM -             Proclaim Radio broadcast on FM101.7
9:00AM-              Children’s Christmas Service- in-person and
                            streamed live on Facebook
10:00AM-            Fellowship Time (Fellowship Hall)       
2:30PM-5:00PM     LSI -CPR training for adoptive and foster parents


Join friends from the Storm Lake area for a "Blue Christmas Service" on December 13, 6:30M. It is a time to gather together to acknowledge the losses we have experienced, and grief we experience as we enter into the holidays and new year. The service itself is rather solemn for listening and pondering. There will be piano music and readings, along with a time to light candles to acknowledge our grief and losses. The service is @40-45 minutes long. 
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