Pastor’s Corner 3/3/19

God is love. That is the central truth of our Christian faith. That is why the actions of General Conference this week are so heartbreaking. In case you have not heard, the Traditional Plan, which retains the discriminatory language against the LGBTQI community in our Book of Discipline was approved. Along with thousands of others, I am angry, I am sad, I am shocked, I am hurt, I am confused, I am weary. Perhaps all this snow is God’s frozen tears. We need time and space to process all of those emotions. Pastor Sami and I will lead a healing service next Sunday, March 10th at 1:00 pm in the St. Paul’s sanctuary, to help us process all these emotions before our loving God. Please join us. All are welcome. The Western Jurisdiction is meeting in a few weeks to create a more organized response. We need to give our institution time to work this through its systems. The items voted on at General Conference are not effective until January 2020. They will all be reviewed by the United Methodist Judicial Council and it is predicted much will be ruled unconstitutional. Much is still very uncertain. Despite what is happening at the global institutional level of the United Methodist Church, we here at St. Paul’s and Covenant continue to be a beacon of love and hope for all people. May our response finally be about loving boldly! May we be all the more determined to create beloved community in Helena where all people are valued and honored. I am not ready to give in or give up. Will you join me? May we fight, invite, include, love, reach out, resist, and affirm. May we freely extend God’s grace to all. One more thing, I invite you to surround our Bishop with love and affirmation. Let’s do an old-fashioned card shower! Her address is Bishop Karen Oliveto 6110 S. Greenwood Plaza Blvd. Greenwood Village, CO 80111. Walking on the path of grace and marching on the road of resistance, Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 2/17/19

For more than 40 years, The United Methodist Church has faced serious internal disagreement over how accepting to be of homosexuality, with the ordination of LGBTQ+ persons and same-sex unions as flashpoints. As each decade passed, the topic-at-hand became more important and more polarized. In 2016, our denomination began a journey seeking a way forward…a way forward in unity. A commission was organized, and a special conference has been called for this month in St. Louis, MO. Long-story-short, how and to what extent our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters are welcomed into the life of the church (on the denomination level) is on the table. This is important work. This is emotional work. To say there are many feelings floating around in our denomination would be an understatement. As a community where both of our congregations have taken intentional steps toward being more inclusive, we have an opportunity to advocate, gather, and support our community in unity! What can we do to advocate, gather, and support?

  1. Pray. Pray at home. Pray with us. Delegates from across the globe are gathering in St. Louis February 22-26 to review and discern our way forward. They need our thoughts and prayers. Join us for our prayer services throughout the conference. Details in the bulletin.
  2. Read the insert information sheet about the conference and visit our conference website to learn more: mtnskyumc.org has so much information about this Special General Conference, it’s too much to share on my own! There are videos and information sheets and regular updates.
  3. Join us for our Follow-up Workshop in March, following the Special General Conference. Details coming soon!
  4. Communicate. Talk to each other. Discuss with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s dream and work together for our mission and our community.

If you have any questions, please email Pastor Patti, Pastor Sami, or Vicki Weida. We will try to answer your questions as best we can. Peace,

Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner 2/10/19

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

I love this passage from Isaiah, I come back to it often. It always has a message for me in difficult times. Chapter 43 begins with the Lord reassuring the people, “You are precious in my sight and I love you.” A simple, yet powerful reminder when times are hard. Then it describes how even when we pass through rivers we will not be swept away; even when we walk through fires we will not be set ablaze, for God is with us. Words of comfort when we feel overwhelmed. The passage continues by recalling how God dramatically rescued the people from Egypt. We persevere knowing that God loves us and will be with us through whatever difficulty we find ourselves in. But then it takes an unexpected twist in verse 18 when it says, but forget all that! I am doing a new thing! Why spend a chapter assuring us of God’s love and recalling God’s past acts of deliverance only to say “forget all that”? I know for myself, it is easy to dwell on my current circumstances and get stuck in the mud and the mire. I can also get caught up longing for how things used to be. The Lord reminds us to not dwell on the past but to look at the new thing God is doing. For we believe in a God of resurrection, a God of new life, a God of redemption! Yes, we remember God’s activity in the past, but we can’t get stuck there. We always need to be looking for the new thing God is doing. God will make a way when it seems like there is no way. And that gives me hope.   Walking on the path of grace, Pastor Patti



Pastor’s Corner 1/20/19

What Gifts?
 
For the last couple weeks, we have talked about stewardship through our connection with others and in sharing our gifts with others. We often focus on monetary gifts as the only way to give to the church, but what about our time, energy, experiences, or other resources? They all are valuable and worthy!
 
As Jesus’ earthly ministry was coming to an end, he began to prepare his disciples for the time when they would be called upon to carry on the work Jesus had started. He promised the disciples that they would not be left alone and that the Holy Spirit would come and would teach the disciples all they would need to know in order to continue the ministry. Soon, Jesus did ascend into heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers, and she was not picky! The Holy Spirit is generous and thorough!
 
We all have gifts to share; we all are worthy and needed in the community. We all have spiritual gifts (like the gift of teaching, or offering mercy, or knowledge, etc.) and all have talents ( life experiences, work experience, hobbies, etc).
 
You will find a handout in your bulletin that has some questions to ponder and answer. These will help us create a ministry profile for you! Then, return the handout to the office or by mail or in the offering plate. This will help us build our ministry! Other than the Holy Spirit, you will also receive a prize!
 
Happy exploring!

Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner 1/6/19

It is a new year! 2019. Full of possibilities and opportunities. Have you made resolutions? Have you defined intentions for this year? Do you have goals you are aiming for in 2019? For Christmas, my kids got me a coffee mug which has a nutcracker on it with the words, “Crushing It.” It is now the wallpaper on my phone. A daily reminder not to sit back passively, but to crush 2019. The dawn of a new year is our annual chance to push reset. A natural point to get a fresh start. Which is usually accompanied by a list of things we hope to do. However, this attitude juxtaposed with winter makes an interesting contrast. For winter is a quiet season when life slows down. I learned last winter that I even need to walk slower so as not to fall on the ice! Winter has its own pace. Creation appears to be waiting while significant organic changes are happening under the surface. What if we applied that to our spiritual lives? Using winter as a season to make changes under the surface. We can take advantage of the quiet of winter to sit more, to reflect, to create space. The under-the-surface growth takes time. It requires space to let our spirit connect with God’s spirit. Perhaps a worthy goal for January is to take 5 minutes a day, or more if you can, to just sit in silence. Allow your spirit to settle. To dig your roots in the soil of God’s love. Don’t expect anything or evaluate the effectiveness of the time. Just sit and consciously open your soul to the presence of God. You might not see the visible fruit for months to come, but you can trust that the spirit of God is at work, deep under the surface. My prayer for us in this new year is Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT) Walking on the path of grace into 2019!

Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 12/23/18

Note: This year St. Paul’s will collect a special Christmas offering which will be divided in half. Half of the offering will be shared among God’s Love, Good Samaritan, The Salvation Army, and Food Share. We refer people asking for help to these organizations year round and want to support them. Each does amazing work meeting needs in our community. The second half of the offering will go toward upgrading our technology here at St. Paul’s. If you would like to contribute, please designate “Christmas Offering” on your check or put your donation in the designated envelopes, which are available in the foyer, pews, and church office.


Pastor’s Corner 12/9/18

St, Paul’s has a longstanding tradition of a poet who submits poems at significant times in the year. This week we received an Advent Poem. Reflect and enjoy!
 
Advent A time for healing and for grace. A time to remember to slow down our pace. A time for good will and thought of those around. To feed the hungry and give to the poor and let our love abound. We come to God with a heart, open and sincere awaiting the Christ child for us to appear. Prepare the way to receive the hope joy and love, Anticipation, preparation for the blessing from above. Light and candles all around, as they signify That the darkness has been dispelled As Christ we glorify! In this Advent season as watching and waiting increase, May your heart be filled with God’s warmth and peace.
 
– Anonymous Poet II


Pastor’s Corner 12/2/18

This month we will be looking at the story of The Nutcracker through eyes of faith. For many seeing the Nutcracker is a treasured holiday tradition. It is a fairy tale centered on a young girl who is given an odd Christmas present, an ugly toy soldier nutcracker. She treasures the gift and at the stroke of midnight the magic begins. A battle ensues between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Clara and the Nutcracker conquer the evil Mouse King and then are transported into the Land of the Sweets through the snowflake forest. Clara and Nutcracker watch dances of sweet treats from many lands, culminating in the dance of the Sugar Plum fairy. Then suddenly we see Clara asleep under the Christmas tree with the nutcracker doll cradled in her arms. She remembers her enchanted dream and wonders if it was real. Like all good fairy tales, The Nutcracker has themes of good and evil, waiting, love, spells and magic. We will pick up these themes in worship through the characters: Drosselmeier, Mouse King, and the Nutcracker. The tale invites us to dance with steps of justice to the music of peace with God as our partner through this holiday season. We hope you can join us in worship! December Worship Schedule Our theme in worship is “The Gift of the Nutcracker”. Each week we will look at a character in the timeless fairy tale through eyes of faith.
 
Special Services
 
Winter Solstice: Join us in the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church sanctuary for our annual Winter Solstice Jazz service on Friday, December 21, at 7:00 PM. This interfaith service will move us from the darkness and into the light, reminding us of the hope we carry through this season. This year we are adding an element of dance by members of the Cohesion Dance Project. We hope you can join us for this uplifting service.
Bells of Covenant Concert: Join this festive evening of beautiful Christmas music presented by the bell choir of Covenant on Dec. 15th at 7 pm at Covenant United Methodist Church.


Pastor’s Corner 11/25/18

#GivingTuesday
 
Looking for some alternative Christmas gifts? See opportunities in the world you would like to impact?
 
Throughout the year, we United Methodists have many opportunities to support projects that advance vital ministries around the world, such as relief aid for disaster victims, scholarships for Native American seminarians, and scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist schools. For another giving option other than Black Friday, there is Giving Tuesday, which occurs this year on November 27. We have the choice to support Advance projects that matter most to us, so our gifts can make the biggest impact.
 
Some of the areas you can give to are the following: agriculture, church development, construction, disaster response and relief, diseases and viruses, education, health ministries, hunger and poverty, small business development, social justice, transportation, water sanitation, and women and children.
Visit umcmission.org/giving-tuesday to read the stories of the lives changed through your giving! Find a category that interests you, and remember, when you support one of these on Giving Tuesday, 100% of your gift reaches the project / missionary of your choice. If you don’t have a specific interest, you can instead designate your gift to the “Overall work of Global Ministries” or the “Overall work of UMCOR.” If you want to give to the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish. It is Advance #910092
Happy exploring all the ways to give in the world!
 
Pastor Sami
 
 


Pastor’s Corner 11/11/18

“Love is patient. Love is kind. … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Corinthians 13:4, 7 NRSV I reference this scripture most often for weddings. However, I saw it in a new light today reading the September/October issue of DevoZine. (A devotional magazine written by teens for teens. I highly recommend it! www.devozine.org) What if we loved ourselves with this kind of love? What if we were patient with ourselves? What if we were kind to ourselves? A meme making the round on social media says, “You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself. Be kind.” Hmmm.
Self-talk is so powerful.
Words are so powerful. How do you treat yourself with your words? These few weeks we are focusing on loving ourselves. After spending several weeks talking about how we love God with our whole selves and love our neighbors, we are wrestling with the second half of that phrase, love your neighbor as yourself. An often neglected topic. Finding that space between self- loathing and pride. That healthy space of self-love.
In that same issue of DevoZine Ashley Taylor, age 15 writes, “Each one of us is unique, and the God who created us loves and treasures us all. When we accept this truth, our lives change. We begin to see others through God’s eyes and to love ourselves as God does. Talk with God this week about how you were created so perfectly imperfect. You truly are a magnificent work of art.”
Wise words from this teen that we would do well to heed.
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti