Canned Food/Can Opener Challenge Begins

GOD HUNGER group at St. Paul’s has decided to challenge the rest of our congregation to a Food Drive for Food Share. Starting in January and going through Valentine’s Day we will cheerfully gather, count and deliver canned tuna and chicken and peanut butter. We think it is important to remember that after the holidays hunger continues for many families in Helena. We can be part of the answer for that problem.

We also declare Sunday, January 21 to be Can Opener Sunday at St. Paul’s UMC and will also count the number of those we collect. Why are we counting??? Because next year we will be challenging the congregation to set a new record based on numbers this year.

We welcome anyone interested in meditation and being a part of a small group to join us for God Hunger group on Tuesdays at Noon in St. Paul’s Balcony. Bring your lunch if you wish…we will meditate and share with each other.

John Floridis Benefit Concert – December 12, 2017

Benefit Concert for Family Promise

Tuesday, December 12  – 7 PM – St. Paul’s UMC

John Floridis, Missoula guitarist and singer-songwriter, will be performing a benefit concert for Family Promise of Greater Helena. Attendance is free of charge. Monetary contributions are encouraged and will be accepted at the performance. The concert is generously supported by Big Sky Brokers of Helena.

Floridis will be performing material from his two seasonal releases: “December’s Quiet Joy” and “The Peaceful Season” both of which will feature his fingerstyle acoustic guitar arrangements of the traditional Christmas/Winter melodies, as well as original compositions. Floridis will also include uplifting and positive vocal songs in the performance. The audience will escape the frantic stress that too often pervades the holiday season and relax in an intimate listening environment with music to warm the heart and soul.

Letters to Educators

Thank you for taking the time to write a letter to a staff person or teacher at Central Elementary School, see sample below
.  This letter writing is a form of prayer and blessing that we can offer to one of the schools in our community.  Central was chosen because of its proximity to our church building (even while they are across town.)  If you feel called to write to a teacher or staff person at a different school, please feel free to also use the sample letter below.

You can locate other teachers and staff at  Any connection we make to the education system will impact our community.  Thanks for doing this ministry together as a church.





Central Elementary School

1325 Poplar Street

Helena, MT 59601


(School Employee’s Full Name),


I am writing to thank you for all you do to support children and families in our community.  Your continued work educating, sharing compassion, and caring for our children makes a difference to the entire Helena community.  As a neighbor to Central Elementary School (even with you across town), we at St. Paul’s United Methodist want to offer you any support you may need. 


We have people of all ages in our church and we look forward to supporting you.  We are dedicated to letting you know this each year and hope you will take this offer seriously.  Perhaps you are seeking a retired person to read in a class, adults to provide support or special skills, or even teenagers to connect with younger kids. We hope you can dream of ways we may assist you.


As members/friends of St. Paul’s United Methodist, we are writing to Central School employees to offer our support.  A core value at St. Paul’s is supporting our community through service.  We offer this letter as a message of support for the work you do. 


Blessings on your work,


(Your Name)

150th Jubilee Year-Draws to a Close

Over the past year we have been celebrating the 150th year of Methodism in Helena with the St. Paul’s Jubilee.  It began last Easter with Marianne preaching about our church rising from a pile of logs, then we had an incredible Jubilee celebration in June with Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky presiding, during the fall we invited the congregation to focus with Intermountain on Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) and how this study would help us see new ways we could share God’s love in our community.  Our study and effort in this area helped to propel our community to found a coalition of people who are hoping to transform Helena through understanding ACEs.  We are going to draw this Jubilee Year to a close on Holy Humor Sunday, April 3.


As a part of this Jubilee year wrap-up we will be screening a 30-minute video on ACEs in the Church Library at 9:45 on April 3.  This video is a presentation by Schylar Canfield-Baber who identifies as resiliently overcoming 10 ACEs and Dr. Elizabeth Kohlstaedt, Ph.D. a member of our church and the Chief Clinical Officer of Intermountain.  Dr. Kohlstaedt and Pastor Tyler will be present to answer questions about why ACEs continues to matter and what our community is doing to use ACEs to transform how we work to help people better their life situation and be more resilient.  Please join us for this great opportunity.


To learn more about ACEs and why it matters to us as United Methodists read our introduction letter to ACEs at

With Comfort Food, Everyone Wins!

By Kit Johnson – Team Leader of our winning Comfort Food Challenge Team
About three weeks ago Marcia Armstrong asked me if I would help cook for the comfort food challenge. I was honored to be asked, and always up for a good challenge. Comfort food; the first thing that came, to my mind was home made chicken pot pie. Visually stimulating, and palate pleasing. We assembled a small but efficient team, Marcia, Susan, and myself. Cooking went well into Saturday night, and final prep Sunday afternoon. Then the big event, Susan decorated our table beautifully. The pies were served at a feverish pace for two and a half hours.
 It was a humbling expirence seeing the outpouring  of generosity from local churches and businesses.  And the biggest winner of the night was Family Promise and people in need.
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A Freezer for Food Share

 On Valentine’s Day 2016 we want to send some LOVE to Food Share by collecting enough dollars to purchase an upright freezer. After a conversation with the staff at Food Share, it became evident that their current ‘biggest need’ is an upright freezer to help store food. We decided that instead of our traditional Souper Bowl Sunday we would raise funds to buy that freezer! If each of us gave $5 we would probably have enough! Let’s join our dollars together to help Food Share. Mark your checks “Food Share Freezer”.
Donations of food are always welcome and can be placed in the Food Share bin in the Foyer anytime.

The Giving Tree was a great success this year! 

Thanks to your generosity we provided gifts for 12 mothers at Florence Crittenton, 32 pairs of pajamas for Intermountain children, 40 gifts for 10 Helena Indian Alliance families and 65 gifts for 12 families in the Health Department Outreach program.  Christmas has been brought to all these families due to your generosity!  And thank you to Joan Sheline for her organization and passion for this ministry.

ACEs Awareness … for Good!

St. Paul’s, we have been faithful for 150 years and in turn God continues to call us to help bring healthy change to our community.  This fall as a part of our 150th celebration we partnered with our long-time ministry partner Intermountain and their educational organization Child Wise to explore ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences).  These 10 ACEs describe events that might happen in a child’s early life that can impact their physical, mental and social health for their entire life.  The studies show that the higher ACEs score the greater the likelihood the child will face adversity in their life.


In our work we shared the gospel message through the words “adversity is not destiny.”  St. Paul’s and our partners believe that adversity does not determine a person’s destiny and that we can reduce the likelihood of adverse results of their childhood experiences.  We facilitated two events and recorded three videos that will continue to share ACEs as a language to understand adversity, so that we can learn to prevent and overcome the challenges facing children and adults.  I want to especially thank our three speakers for these events: Todd Garrison, Director of Child Wise, Schylar Canfield Baber, Board Member of Child Wise, and Dr. Elizabeth Kohlstaedt, Ph.D.,Clinical Director at Intermountain.  To learn more about ACEs in Montana go to


Due to our efforts and the amazing work of Intermountain and Child Wise, our community has taken up this gospel message of hope.  A coalition of non-profits, schools, individual citizens, and hopeful entrepreneurs is uniting under the name Elevate Montana – Helena.  On January 25, at the Helena Middle School auditorium there will be screening of  Paper Tigers, a movie about how working intentionally with the knowledge of ACEs transformed an alternative high school in Walla Walla.  The coalition hopes to get 800 people to the event and then from that event get 100 people to be trained in the language of ACEs to help begin to transform our community.


St. Paul’s is most definitely following its calling… for good.  I am excited to see where the next 150 years take us.


Enthusiastic Peace,


Pastor Tyler


This video comes from our November event at the Art Walk, Design a Child’s Destiny.  It covers the clinical and biological realities behind ACEs and also how one person’s story relates to these statistics.

This video is art by 406 Youth United(our youth group) inspired by their work understanding ACEs.

For more videos on ACEs go to and to learn more go to

ACEs – 150 Years of United Methodism…for Good


In his book 3 Simple Rules the United Methodist Bishop, Reuben Job, sums up United Methodist theology in 3 rules: 1. Do No Harm. 2. Do Good 3. Stay In Love With God. For the past 150 years, St. Paul’s and Methodists in Helena have lived this out in our practice. To celebrate this historical achievement we chose to not just sit and cheer, but to stand and make a difference. We want to Do Good… for Good and to continue to share the love of God.

Intermountain has been a part of our history from our very early days and so this fall we are teaming up with them to learn about ACEs. This facility that we started, as the Deaconess Home for Children has turned into an organization that helps children with severe emotional and mental health needs through holistic, integrated services and a relationship-based approach. The education wing of Intermountain, Child Wise has begun a campaign to educate the community on ACEs to help us look at some big challenges we and our children are facing.


What is an ACE?

“ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. The ACE Study was initiated as a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic. A decade-long study, its participants numbered more than 17,000 members that underwent a comprehensive physical examination and chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than 100 conference and workshop presentations have been made. No further participants will be enrolled, but the members are still being tracked for their medical status.” (This information and more can be found at

What do ACEs mean for us?

The higher number of ACEs a person has in their lives the higher their risk for not only mental illness, but also chronic health conditions, like COPD or high blood pressure. The list of effects of ACEs are numerous and growing as we learn more and more. Learning about ACEs helps us do a few things:
1. Build relationships in our community to prevent ACEs from happening to children in our own community.
2. Remove stigma around people who have experienced high ACEs and their resulting realities.
3. Learn about our own ACEs to build awareness that “Adversity is not Destiny,” we can use the knowledge to bring a positive future through things like the treatment of ailments brought on by ACEs or helping our neighbors learn this knowledge.
Wednesday Night Dinner to benefit Intermountain
Hosted by 150th Jubilee Committee – November 4
Our 150th team has geared up to support our long!me mission at Intermountain by hosting a Wednesday Night Dinner. This event will highlight our work with Intermoun- tain from the past to the present and our work on the ACEs campaign. Please join us for good food and a chance to support Intermountain.

Chaplain Chris Haughee of Intermountain’s intensive residential program will be there to share his heart for the ministry and meet with those individuals that are motivated to combat the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how they present obstacles for these children and families that want to connect to a church community.

Beyond his personal and professional interest in ACEs, Chaplain Chris Haughee is an advocate for greater inclusion of foster and adoptive families in the life and ministry of local congregations. You can follow the ministry at or contact him at

After the dinner on November 4 in the Fellowship Hall, those that are excited about starting the conversation around what a faith-based response to ACEs would look like in our community are welcomed to meet with Chaplain Chris in the Library (Room 101). We
anticipate that this meeting would last no more than an hour.

Design a Child’s Destiny: Adverse Childhood 

Experiences; Painting a Different Future 

ACEs Event – Friday evening, November 6, 6pm – St. Paul’s Sanctuary.  Join us to hear from two dynamic speakers: Dr. Elizabeth Kohlstaedt, Ph.D. the Clinical Director at Intermountain and Schylar Canfield-Baber will share two talks on the realities of ACEs and how “Adversity is not Destiny.”  Schylar will speak from his personal experience with ACEs and Dr. Kohlstaedt will focus on how ACEs affect the brain and development.  Please join us for this short presentation and then enjoy the Art Walk in Downtown Helena.

Challenge Helena – October 22 
Challenge Helena has spent the last year highlighting issues affecting vulnerable populations and then challenging Helena to make a difference on those issues.  This fall we are teaming up with Child Wise to challenge our community on ACEs.  Our goal is to provide personal and community ways you can make a difference to prevent ACEs and also to support those who have experienced ACEs.  Join us for a double header talk by the Executive Director of Child Wise, Todd Garrison and a young man who embodies “Adversity is not Destiny” when it comes to ACEs, Schylar Canfield-Baber.  We invite you to grab dinner and join us for two 20 minute talks, some Q&A, and a challenge.  Learn more at