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.



Shoeboxes for BUMP – Christmas 2017

BLACKFEET UNITED METHODIST PARISH (BUMP) CHRISTMAS SHOE BOX COLLECTION

We are delighted to continue our tradition of fostering a relationship with the Blackfeet by donating items for their children. Financial situations on the reservation are difficult for many. For some children the items in our shoe boxes are the only gifts they receive at Christmas.
 
Three Different Ways to Complete the Gifting
1.)  Assemble and wrap a standard size shoe box with gifts for a girl or boy of the age range you choose – newborn to 2, 3-7, 8-12 or 13-17. Suggested gift items include small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, winter gloves and scarves, etc.
 
2.)  Purchase some of the suggested gift items and deposit them in the box in the fellowship hall (Covenant UMC) or deliver them to the church office at 512 Logan Street (St. Paul’s UMC).
 
3.)  Give a monetary donation. Please make your check out to Covenant UMC or St. Paul’s UMC with “BUMP Christmas Shoe Box Project” on the memo line.
 
We hope EVERYONE will join us at a wrapping party at St. Paul’s on December 6 at 6 PM (following Wednesday Night Dinner) to culminate this meaningful mission project. United Methodist Women from both churches, youth, and individuals have purchased items to include in these gifts. Others have filled their own individual boxes or purchased individual items to be included and those may be taken to the office before that evening or brought to the event. If you are able to come on the afternoon December 6 at 2:00 PM, your help organizing the gifts will be appreciated. You do not have to commit ahead of time, but if you have questions, call Vicki Weida at 439-8390.


Mission Accomplished!!!!

Re-entry into the US atmosphere is imminent as this is being written. Before we peel off our flight suits and go through the post-mission debriefing with Mission Headquarters, it seems fitting to reflect on a few snapshots from this maiden Montana mission to Cuba.

* During the final stage of our launch to Cuba we endured a Mission “hold” of one day in Newark due to a “Nor’easter” snow storm. No flights were then available from Newark for two additional days. Fortunately, our Mission Navigator (Eric) established contact with Houston (… “HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM”…) and rearranged final launch from Houston. Thus an extra flight stage and night in that Texas city. Hence our Mission time in Cuba was shortened by several days.

* From Houston, gliding over the blue expanse of the Gulf, we spotted Cuba!! Surrounded by a turquoise patchwork quilt shallow sea sifting into sand and green shore vegetation. Touch down! First the asphalt of the Havana Airport, then the chaotic motions of the Cuban baggage claim and Customs…. Finally!!!….on Cuban soil!!

* Havana is ruggedly handsome in it’s old age and patina, with stewardship apparent in it’s historic buildings and vintage automobiles, yet it’s people are youthful regardless of their age!

* Church services in Cuba resonate with enthusiastic and passionate worship. Booming amplified voices of Pastors, colorful young dancers with tambourines, music and songs that literally vibrate your heart. Via con Dios!!

* Astounding contrasts are everywhere in Cuba….rusted-out holes in sidewalk utility covers (watch where you step!), juxtaposed with the beautiful old, old, buildings dripping with the romance of Spanish architecture, shortages of staple foods (two weeks of rations per month), but the absolute best ice cream (Coppela – from Havana) that you will ever eat.

* Cubans share among friends, guests, and strangers with Christ-like action, backing up their faith through their service – as the hands and feet of Jesus. On the day we left, Oscar told us, “Christ is in Cuba, and He has grace for his people, and He will be with us forever. They (the people) do not have much money, but when we ask, He does not fail.”

* Friendships in Cuba are like bread — flour, water, salt, and yeast mixed with love patted, and rolled and allowed to rise baked to perfection and savored. Jokes and laughs, hand slaps (high fives are now universal), hugs, exchanges of gifts, food and mementos, promises of emails to come, vows of remembrance, and many, many prayers. God has been our cook and baker.

* Our governments may have differences, and we may be separated by tariffs, blockades, diplomatic exclusions, executive decisions, and legislation from souls who have not yet set foot in both countries….but, we remain neighbors only 90 miles apart – brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandparents….all of God’s family – drinking the same Earth’s water, breathing the same Earth’s air, warmed by the same Sun, and held in the same comforting and nurturing hands of God, guided on the same paths by the teachings of Jesus. Our intentional sameness is overwhelming.

* As we glide to a touch down on US soil, and the wheels of our craft are stilled, baggage is reclaimed and we disperse back to familiarity, the Mission travel is concluded….but the Mission continues. Each of the twelve pioneer Montana missioners to Cuba must now spread and share the great images, sounds, tastes, smells, touches, music, worship services, friendships, occurrences, and spiritual wealth that God has endowed on us from our Cuban experiences. This is our Quest. Our prayer of thanks to all who supported us in the name of Jesus thank you!!! Via con Cristo!!!! Amen.

2017 Montana Methodist Mission to Cuba



HUMM Mission Project – Blackfoot United Methodist Parish – Shoebox Gifts

Ministry with native people is challenging in a time when we understand the harm European Americans caused during colonization.  With events like Standing Rock at the very center of our reality, we know that this is a time to build relationships of support.  For many years we thought it was simply offering all the trappings of our culture to try and be more inclusive of native people. Slowly the process of listening to the damage caused by this attitude is sinking in and it is becoming clear that forcing our culture onto Native peoples has done significant damage. How then do we go about this ministry? There is no simple answer. The first thing we can do is to be in relationship with those who have been marginalized and listen to what the problems are. Then we need to work towards the solutions presented by the native culture.

This year St. Paul’s and Covenant will be teaming up with our United Methodist Women at both churches and Clancy UMC to create and collect shoe box gifts for children at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish during the holiday season. By sharing in the shoe box ministry with BUMP (Blackfeet United Methodist Parish), we are listening and maintaining a relationship with the Blackfeet. this ministry is an example of BUMP listening for needs, and asking us to assist. Financial situations at the reservation have not resolved, so poverty continues to be the predominant condition. For some, the boxes are the only gifts the children receive.
 

Here are ways you can participate in this mission project:

 

 
1. Donate the contents and a shoe box and then join us for a Wrapping Par- ty at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at St. Paul’s UMC in the Choir Room. is is a multi-generational and family- friendly mission project. Come for Wednesday Night Dinner and help pack shoe boxes.
 

2. Wrap the bottom and top of a shoe box in Christmas paper – separately (we must be able to remove the lid). Fill the box with gifts for a child of the age range you choose. Label the top with the age and gender of the child you have chosen, tie with a ribbon to be sure top and bottom don’t separate and deliver it to the church o ce by Monday, Nov. 28. Covenant folks may give shoe boxes to Berma Saxton by Sunday, Nov. 27. Please deliver to St. Paul’s church o ce Monday-Friday between 9 AM -3 PM.

3. Find a series of supplies appropariate for one of the age groups listed below and donate them for our shoe box wrapping party by dropping them by the St. Paul’s o ce by Monday, Nov. 28.

 

Ideas to determine what to purchase to donate for the packing party, or to create your own shoe box gift:

 
• Infants: onesies, toys, teethers, infant toothbrush, baby shampoo, lo on.
• Pre-school: crayons, small color books, washable markers, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, lotion, toy.
• Age 6-10: comb or pic, lotion, shampoo, crayons, markers, small notebooks, small color books, puzzles.
• Age 11-13: Caps, hair do-dads, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, small notebooks, puzzles.
•Age 12-17: For Boys: winter gloves, gum, candy cane, pencil. For girls: make up, hair stuff, lotion, shampoo, shower gel, markers, small notebooks, gel pens, colored pencils, craft items.
 

*All boxes should have toothbrushes, toothpaste, hats, mittens or gloves, combs or brushes.

 



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 helenaschools.org/contact/staff-directory.  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)



Brazil Mission Trip Update

There has been a change in plans for the Brazil Mission Trip – July 2016.  There are not enough team members to justify using the medical boat for a mission, so the parameters have changed. Medical care and other mission activities will be done via small boat travel to small communities near Boa Vista. This includes an indigenous tribal village.

 

The team is ready to accept donations of Tylenol, ibuprofen, vitamins, and children’s clothing. Pastor Augusto in Manaus will fill out our group with members from his church. We will need to buy antibiotics and worm pills in Brazil. So, instead of donating a big bottle of Tylenol, it would be just as helpful to receive a monetary donation for a similar amount. Cash or checks to the St. Paul’s July 2016 Brazil Mission would be extremely welcome.

 

Please contact Don Skillman for more information at 461-8061;

donskillman24@gmail.com

.


MISSION TRIP – BRAZIL – JULY 2016

You’ve heard about them. You’ve always wanted to go. You’ve seen the joy and sense of value in others when they return from a trip.  Now, it’s your turn. Don Skillman is putting together a team to go to Manaus, Brazil in late July 2016.  We will probably leave the USA on July 22, arriving in Manaus on July 23.  We will leave Manaus and come back to the USA on either July 31 or Aug 1.  It’s an overnight flight, so you’ll get to the USA a day after you leave Manaus.

Once we get to Manaus we’ll have 36-48 hours for tourism and acclimation while staying in a comfortable hotel.  Then we’ll go to a large boat where we’ll sleep in cabins with bunks (or possibly in hammocks) for the next five nights.  The boat will have a kitchen, bathrooms, showers, cooks, a meeting room, bathrooms, and perhaps a dental suite.  Pastor Augusto in Manaus is choosing the boat and we’ll use it to travel to several very small communities along the Amazon River where we will provide basic medical care, teach dental hygiene, distribute toothbrushes, assess vision and give away reading glasses, play with children, and make friends with everybody.  These last two items may be the most valuable thing we do, and it will be the part you enjoy the most.

We are not on a mission to recruit people to our church or any other with preaching and evangelism.  It’s all about selfless service and building relations.  As John Wesley said “Preach constantly! When necessary, use words!”  (He also said, “Don’t send help to the needy.  Take it!”)
 

I won’t promise that a trip like this will change your life, but I certainly won’t be surprised if it does.  You will serve some of the very poorest people in the world. They are people with the warmest smiles, people with the most gracious hearts, people with a spirit just like your own.

Major expenses are airfare, a passport, a Brazilian visa, and possibly some vaccines.  (There are rumors that Brazil will waive the visa requirement this summer because of the Olympic games being there!)  Please contact Don Skillman for more information – and don’t delay!  406-461-8061; donskillman24@gmail.com
brazil boat don s

 



150th Jubilee Year-Draws to a Close

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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

http://goo.gl/vqQ2aF



Brazil Mission Update 2

 
It’s encouraging to build things because you get a concrete vision of what your labor accomplished at the end of each day.  Our team (with no surprise) spontaneously evolved into a highly efficient “amorphous blob” (Ron Waterman’s term) that does everything and anything with the constantly changing combination of people and skill sets to get the job done. We’ll explain further when we can.
The local people learned that I am a doctor. Each day a few will approach and ask if I can help with an ailment or two. Our robust first aid kit is all that I’ve got, and it has helped a lot. In two occasions I was asked to follow someone home because someone there was too sick to come to me.
 
Once it was to see a man if 59 years old. Decades of untreated diabetes made him appear more like 75 years. He was super sick. That was immediately evident from the horrendous stench of decaying flesh that surrounded him. He was sitting in a chair with his feet elevated on another chair in front of him. Both feet were wrapped in bloody gauze. Frank pus oozed from under the bandages. His legs were tremendously swollen, to the point that edema fluid dripped through the skin. Blood and pus were all around his left ear. His abdomen was hugely swollen with fluid. He clearly had end-stage kidney failure with massive fluid overload, and was horribly infected as well.
 
The scene of suffering and the overwhelming smell of dead flesh was too much for the New York nurse with me. She left her meager supplies and had to go. The Brazilian girl who brought me to him had to leave the house and sit outside.
Somehow I was able to talk with him and change the dressing on the foot that hurt the most. It was terribly infected, deep into the flesh and bones, draining pus and dark blood.
 
I gave him all of our narcotics and a few supplies. Then I stretched the limits of my comfort zone and asked him if he wanted me to pray with him. He said, “yes, definitely.”  So I knelt by his side and held his filthy contaminated hand that id watched him pick at his wounds with and began to pray out loud for him. He started to sob deeply as I did so. It broke my heart. I had to go be alone for awhile. Much later when I was able to share this with Mike, I told him that I was doing OK until Jesus walked into the room and blessed us both. It was intensely powerful.
 
By Mission Team Leader – Don Skillman