Pastor’s Corner 10/21/18

Positive Attitude Month

 

How positive are your actions and thoughts? Can you put your finger on what makes your mood sour? Do you know what cheers you up? Is it something that is accessible to you each day? How contagious is another person’s bad mood? These are viable questions for this month because it is Positive Attitude Month! Questions like these are important to ponder in our lives as we wade through our political environment this fall. It can be very easy to get wrapped up into fear-fueled social media news feeds, constantly listening to the same kind of pessimistic stories, and feeling hopeless about the world around us.

 

I know for myself, I struggle to keep a positive attitude some days. These kinds of questions of self-awareness have been really helpful to me, though. For me, a trip to the gym is usually accessible any day I am feeling less positive. Working out cheers me up and helps my stress. I have spent quite a few years learning about stress triggers and mood shifters in my own life. And, because of the nature of my work, I feel understanding these stressors is a priority. This is what works for me personally, but I would invite you to discern what works for you. For Positive Attitude Month, focusing on intentional positive thoughts is the objective. There are even health benefits from intentionally thinking positive: lowering distress, better cardiovascular health, coping skills can improve, etc. The proof of positive attitudes is evident, and the opportunities to view less-than-ideal situations positively seem to be abundant in our world. For the rest of the month (and hopefully longer), what is one thing you could do everyday to keep your positive attitude fueled? God created each of us to have feelings and emotions, and those feelings and emotions are how we experience our world. God also made us to heal, to be resilient and strong–to learn from our emotions and feelings. How can you embrace how God made you? How can you be intentional with your attitude?

 

Stay strong out there, my friends. And be gentle with one another,

 

Pastor Sami

 
 
 


Pastor’s Corner 10/7/18

The Power of Gratitude
If you have been in the office the past couple weeks, you may have seen a little desk toy with five metal spheres hanging from strings. It’s called Newton’s Cradle, or, more commonly, “executive desk toy.” Whether you saw ours or another one, did you study it? Maybe you even lifted one sphere and watched it collide with the others, ending the last in line flying out. Then, just as quickly as that last sphere flew, back it came, colliding with the rest sending the original sphere flying itself. This simple toy is our new image and metaphor for Helena United Methodist Ministries’ Stewardship Campaign. Sir Isaac Newton discovered this conservation and transfer of energy and momentum, and this simple toy demonstrates not only the science Newton discovered, but it can also show and teach us about the power and energy we each carry and transfer. This year’s stewardship campaign will look a little different. Instead of a seasonal campaign lasting a month-long with 4 or so sermons, we will celebrate stewarship throughout our year. Stewardship is the care, love, and service of all things, whether this is through money, time, service, witness, or even presence. All of these aspects are vital to growing in our discipleship. All of these aspects are important to our mission at HUMM. What does it mean for you to say “yes” to Jesus? In what ways is God speaking and calling to you? We begin with the power of graditude. Generosity can only begin with gratitude. When we see our gratitude not just as a feeling in our hearts, but a powerful energy that can move us to do amazing things, we will witness God’s work together. Generosity will flow from our gratitude, and it will collide with others, sending our brothers and sisters in Christ out into the world to be God’s hands and feet. Keep an eye out for our mailing coming later this month. Then, watch for new opportunities to be stewards! We have plans for new ways to give of yourself, creative ways to use the power of gratitude, and celebrations of the impact our generosity and gratitude make in this world. You will hear stories of how the church has changed lives, how your pennies add up, and how much more powerful we are together. In January, we will celebrate our second Stewardship Sunday, focusing on the generosity of our time and talents. Again, you will see new ways to grow spiritually and share your energy. Then, in May, we will celebrate our third Stewardship Sunday and party! We will rejoice in the good news we have shared, the impact we have made, and the growth we have seen. We are excited to celebrate all year round with you! May you see your importance and your power!
Blessings, Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner 10/7/18

The Power of Gratitude
If you have been in the office the past couple weeks, you may have seen a little desk toy with five metal spheres hanging from strings. It’s called Newton’s Cradle, or, more commonly, “executive desk toy.” Whether you saw ours or another one, did you study it? Maybe you even lifted one sphere and watched it collide with the others, ending the last in line flying out. Then, just as quickly as that last sphere flew, back it came, colliding with the rest sending the original sphere flying itself. This simple toy is our new image and metaphor for Helena United Methodist Ministries’ Stewardship Campaign. Sir Isaac Newton discovered this conservation and transfer of energy and momentum, and this simple toy demonstrates not only the science Newton discovered, but it can also show and teach us about the power and energy we each carry and transfer. This year’s stewardship campaign will look a little different. Instead of a seasonal campaign lasting a month-long with 4 or so sermons, we will celebrate stewarship throughout our year. Stewardship is the care, love, and service of all things, whether this is through money, time, service, witness, or even presence. All of these aspects are vital to growing in our discipleship. All of these aspects are important to our mission at HUMM. What does it mean for you to say “yes” to Jesus? In what ways is God speaking and calling to you? We begin with the power of graditude. Generosity can only begin with gratitude. When we see our gratitude not just as a feeling in our hearts, but a powerful energy that can move us to do amazing things, we will witness God’s work together. Generosity will flow from our gratitude, and it will collide with others, sending our brothers and sisters in Christ out into the world to be God’s hands and feet. Keep an eye out for our mailing coming later this month. Then, watch for new opportunities to be stewards! We have plans for new ways to give of yourself, creative ways to use the power of gratitude, and celebrations of the impact our generosity and gratitude make in this world. You will hear stories of how the church has changed lives, how your pennies add up, and how much more powerful we are together. In January, we will celebrate our second Stewardship Sunday, focusing on the generosity of our time and talents. Again, you will see new ways to grow spiritually and share your energy. Then, in May, we will celebrate our third Stewardship Sunday and party! We will rejoice in the good news we have shared, the impact we have made, and the growth we have seen. We are excited to celebrate all year round with you! May you see your importance and your power!
Blessings, Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner 10/7/18

The Power of Gratitude
If you have been in the office the past couple weeks, you may have seen a little desk toy with five metal spheres hanging from strings. It’s called Newton’s Cradle, or, more commonly, “executive desk toy.” Whether you saw ours or another one, did you study it? Maybe you even lifted one sphere and watched it collide with the others, ending the last in line flying out. Then, just as quickly as that last sphere flew, back it came, colliding with the rest sending the original sphere flying itself. This simple toy is our new image and metaphor for Helena United Methodist Ministries’ Stewardship Campaign. Sir Isaac Newton discovered this conservation and transfer of energy and momentum, and this simple toy demonstrates not only the science Newton discovered, but it can also show and teach us about the power and energy we each carry and transfer. This year’s stewardship campaign will look a little different. Instead of a seasonal campaign lasting a month-long with 4 or so sermons, we will celebrate stewarship throughout our year. Stewardship is the care, love, and service of all things, whether this is through money, time, service, witness, or even presence. All of these aspects are vital to growing in our discipleship. All of these aspects are important to our mission at HUMM. What does it mean for you to say “yes” to Jesus? In what ways is God speaking and calling to you? We begin with the power of graditude. Generosity can only begin with gratitude. When we see our gratitude not just as a feeling in our hearts, but a powerful energy that can move us to do amazing things, we will witness God’s work together. Generosity will flow from our gratitude, and it will collide with others, sending our brothers and sisters in Christ out into the world to be God’s hands and feet. Keep an eye out for our mailing coming later this month. Then, watch for new opportunities to be stewards! We have plans for new ways to give of yourself, creative ways to use the power of gratitude, and celebrations of the impact our generosity and gratitude make in this world. You will hear stories of how the church has changed lives, how your pennies add up, and how much more powerful we are together. In January, we will celebrate our second Stewardship Sunday, focusing on the generosity of our time and talents. Again, you will see new ways to grow spiritually and share your energy. Then, in May, we will celebrate our third Stewardship Sunday and party! We will rejoice in the good news we have shared, the impact we have made, and the growth we have seen. We are excited to celebrate all year round with you! May you see your importance and your power!
Blessings, Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner 9/30/2018

Please help me welcome our two new staff people! They each bring a lot to our staff team serving both St. Paul’s and Covenant UMC’s.
Shanna Morin is our Office and Facilities Coordinator. She sits at the front desk and assists anyone who walks-in, calls, or emails. She will also be taking over the responsibilities of our facilities, working with Trustees, vendors, and custodial crew while also managing facility use. Shanna is very capable and learns quickly. Her email is office@stpaulshelena.org
Sienna Knott is our Communications Coordinator. She will be creating all of our communications such as the bulletin and newsletter, website, worship graphics, and social media. Sienna is very creative and techy. Her email will be communications@stpaulshelena.org (It will be activated by Oct. 3)
 
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti
 
Hello Congregation! My name is Sienna and I am very excited to be joining St. Paul and Covenant’s families. I just moved to Helena from Durango, Colorado about 4 months ago, My boyfriend and I bought a house and have an adorable 2-month-old son named Cayde. We also have two fun cats in our family! I love all the tech in our modern world and spend my free time (the little time that Cayde is napping)building computers, playing video games, music, and sewing or cross-stitching.
Nice to meet you all! Shanna Morin here and I am unbelievably excited for my new journey with Helena’s United Methodist Ministries. As a mom of 5 amazing children, ages 10 to almost 2, I am looking forward to being a part of such a wonderful community of people. I am a true, blue Montanan who takes full advantage of all the activities our beautiful state has to offer. When our family is not busy in the great outdoors, I follow my truest passions of photography, music, and philanthropy in serving our nation’s and community’s finest forces, law enforcement, firefighters, active and veteran military members, EMS personnel, and their families. I look forward to serving you all.


Pastor’s Corner 9/23/2018

Every Saturday I look forward to reading Bishop Karen Oliveto’s Facebook posts. This was her post 9/15 which spoke to me and speaks to our sermons this week. Enjoy. Pastor Patti
“Praying for the clergy and laity as we prepare to come together as the Body of Christ on Sunday. I write this from a retreat center south of Denver. Following the conclusion of a weeklong cabinet meeting, I stayed on to enter into a period of silence. I recognized within my soul a hunger to be in quiet communion with God as I ponder our life together as a new conference. My time has included periods of prayer, long walks, rest and reading. As I browsed the retreat center’s library, “Wisdom Distilled From the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today” by Sister Joan Chittister seemed to literally fall into my hands. It is an exploration of St. Benedict’s Rule, formulated in 5th century Rome. Chittister beautifully breaks it down into guidelines for our present age. Chittister wisely notes: “Spirituality is more than churchgoing. It is possible to go to church and never develop a spirituality at all. Spirituality is the way in which we express a living faith in a real world. Spirituality is the sum total of the attitudes and actions that define our faith.” I have been reflecting on that paragraph ever since reading it, as I consider that across our conference, Sunday Schools, Bible Studies, Prayer Circles, and Adult Classes are getting back into gear after a summer hiatus. As Sunday School teachers pull out curriculum for our young people, what do we hope will be transmitted to them? Are we simply happy to offer some familiar Bible stories or are we helping our young connect spiritually in ways that will assist them as they grow to adulthood? What spiritual practices do we teach that can help them in their daily lives? Are our Adult Ed and Bible Study classes places where we attend mainly to socialize or have a good debate, or are we helping one another wrestle with God, seek a deeper understanding of scripture, open ourselves up to a fuller prayer life, in order to help us connect what we learn in class together to the demands of 21st century life, where there never seems to be enough time, where health problems arise, where loved ones break our hearts, where we think we hunger for more but what we really hunger for is meaning in the midst of it all? If spirituality is the way we express a living faith in the real world, are we giving one another the tools to face a challenging world? How are you expressing a living faith in the real world? Our time of worship, too, ought to be a time of individual and corporate spiritual growth (because communities share a spirituality as well). Our worship should help us not just regain a spiritual balance so we can face the demands of the new week, but should challenge us to greater connection with God and one another. It is this connection that needs constant tending if our spirituality will be mature enough to help us navigate the complexities and crushing disappointments of life. May you find your spirituality stretched in new ways tomorrow and may you bring that newfound wisdom into all you do in the coming week. With love, Bishop Karen”


Pastor’s Corner 9/16/2018

Normally, Shane and I live in the world of recorded television and on-demand shows, but sometimes, we end up having to watch commercials (what a pain!). However, I am grateful for that because I have learned about some really interesting, creative ideas that companies have designed to sell their product. My favorite one is Domino’s Pizza. One might think, how can making and delivering cheap pizza become more interesting? How can this pretty old, pretty basic business style take a step past its competition? I believe Domino’s has done just this. The first thing I noticed was a few years ago. They began advertising transparency in their business. Blind taste tests, recipe improvement, and being honest were all the main message in their advertisements. Then, a while later, they compounded on that by advertising shop remodels, making the kitchen visible from the waiting area. Customers could now see their food being made and assembled. This added to the goal of transparency within the company itself. Then, more recently, they did even more. They added delivery places in public areas like beaches, parks, parking lots, and venues. It is advertised as getting people to order delivery pizza when they are out and having fun. But, the most interesting and creative idea Domino’s Pizza has going right now is pothole fixing. Pothole fixing! You call their special number if you find a pothole on your drive back home from your local store, and they will pay to have it paved. Their reason behind it is to save spilled pizza from bumps in the road. Far-fetched ideas right? Can you imagine the conversations in those boardrooms at Domino’s headquarters? Can you imagine the trust and risk that it has taken for the company to take these steps? Is it helping the company become more vital? Only time will tell. But, I believe this type of creative, innovative, possibly risky brainstorming is what the Church may need right now. What did that first meeting look like when St. Paul’s decided to rebuild the sanctuary? What opportunities has that decision brought to the city of Helena and our community? I encourage all of you to put on your thinking caps about how to “be a church” in this day and age. What are some far-fetched ideas that might actually work? Just the activity of brainstorming ideas can bring lots of creative opportunities. Your challenge: come up with 50 different ways to use a pizza box (only one pizza box) and 5 new ways to “be a church”. Your reward: a free Domino’s Pizza from me! Email lists to spack-toner@stpaulshelena.org Good luck! Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner 9/9/2018

When I was in 5th grade, we had confirmation class at my church. Over twenty squirmy 5th graders met weekly with the pastors eating dinner, playing games, and learning about the Christian faith together. At the conclusion of the class we had the opportunity to join the church. My friend decided not to join the church because she didn’t believe in Jesus. Which got me thinking. What did I believe? I pondered that for a few days and decided that I did believe in Jesus, so I joined the church. Little did I know how that would impact my life! How has following Jesus impacted your life? Jesus summed up all the commandments in these two: Love God with your whole self and Love your neighbor as yourself. We love God and neighbor in our personal lives and as a faith community. See the graphic. – Worship: Connecting with God in community through weekly worship, singing, sharing communion… – Devotion: Connecting with God personally through prayer, devotion, walking, singing… – Mercy: Loving others through acts of compassion. – Justice: Loving others by confronting injustice and engaging in ministry with those on the margins. Which area of discipleship comes most easily to you? Which is a growing edge?
Let’s grow in faith together as we continue on this adventure of discipleship!
Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 9/2/2018

There have been many predictions throughout history about how fast technology would develop, thus changing our work week. In 1882, the first Labor Day celebration was observed in New York City. It was to honor workers who made contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. As time went on, economists predicted technological advancements would soon lead to a 15-hour work week by the 1930s. Then, by the 1960s, congressional leaders predicted a two-day work week by the year 2000. Yet, here we are almost 20 years past the prediction, and we see people overworked and underpaid, unemployment, and battles for safe and fair work environments. Working more hours simply hasn’t translated to greater production or higher levels of satisfaction. And, unlike how the predictions of our past had hoped, less work and more rest just aren’t realities for today’s laborers. In my personal experience, we ignore our mental, emotional, and spiritual need for rest. The phrase “let your soul catch up” has spoken to me lately. We can often work so dutifully and fast that our poor soul can’t catch up. And then, we are surprised when we are exhausted, irritable, and have developed unhealthy habits. This weekend, I invite you to meditate on the idea of letting your soul catch up. What does that mean to you and your family? What does “catching up” look like? I also invite you to remember why we have Labor Day: to acknowledge the social and economic successes of American workers. And, a part of that is acknowledging that not everyone gets Labor Day as a day off, and the fight for fair monetary compensation is still being fought. Let your soul catch up and be re-energized for labor. Your labor, in whatever form it exists, is important.   Happy Labor Day,   Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner 8/26/2018

 

Going to School Hungry

More than 13 million kids in this country go to school hungry. One in five children in the United States live in food insecure households. According to the No Kid Hungry campaign, “food insecurity is a family that has enough money to buy groceries three out of four weeks; it’s a mom skipping dinner; it’s having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.”

What experts are now, finally, realizing, that hunger has an enormous impact on a student’s ability to learn, pay attention, and socialize. Hungry kids are more likely to miss school because of illness, and more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and develop behavioral problems. There is a lot of potential being squandered because kids are going to school hungry.

A creative idea that has blossomed in our country is the idea of sending food home with kids for the weekend and evenings. In New Hampshire, it was discovered when Clair Bloom, a resident, went to her local school to “throw some money” at the hunger problem, and the school told her they didn’t need money. They needed a program to pack food and send home with kids on Fridays. Bloom took on the project, arranging volunteers, crunching numbers for affordable meals for hundreds.

This problem, as you can see from the statistics, is here in our community as well. We all probably  know a child who goes without the basic necessities on a regular basis. Helena Food Share actively tackles food insecurity from many angles, one of which is through Kid Packs. It is entering its 10th year and costs around $125,000 annually to run. However, Helena Food Share sends 1,100 children home with meals each week. Plus, there is story after story of children attending school more often, sick less often, in trouble less, and improved grades…all because of having enough to eat through programs like Kid Packs.

Are you able to help? Are you able to build a little person through this?

 

The Kid Pack Food Drive is on September 8 from 10am to 4pm at Van’s Thriftway (306 Euclid Ave.)