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 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.)

Pastor’s Corner April 1, 2018 Easter

Each week, when I pray over our offering, I include these words, “we offer ourselves with our gifts.” I think it is important to remind ourselves that God doesn’t just want our money, God wants all of us. Each one of us is unique and has something special to offer this world. From time to time we receive a unique gift in the offering plate. Not monetary, but words. Words of hope. Words of life. Words of The Anonymous Poet of St. Paul’s II. May these words lift up your spirit.

Human he was, as we are,
I’m sure he had a bad day some.
Anxious he may have been
Knowing what was to come.
It may have felt unfair at time,
he may have cried out, “why me”?
As he anticipated his knowing death
there on Calvary.

Despite knowing what was to come
he persevered on,
feeding the hungry, loving the different,
forgiving his neighbors wrong.

Hope must have remained deep in his heart
as he knew what was beyond,
that he would indeed rise again
and the suffering would be gone.

Not only his own but ours too
as he came to save us here,
extending compassion, teaching what’s good,
and lessen that which we fear.

We celebrate now in the love of God
and the love of those around us,
May the spirit of Jesus fill our hearts
and that which is good surround us.

Let us take that hope for we have it too,
in our times that we feel depleted,
knowing that we are never alone
and therefore, never defeated.

For He Has Risen.

May the new life of Easter fill your heart with hope!

Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti

Pastor’s Corner – February 4, 2018

We Welcome a new member to our team!
Here at Helena United Methodist Ministries, we are excited to introduce to you our new Administrative Assistant, Matt Hankins!
Matt and his wife Emily have been a part of the St. Paul’s community for a decade. They moved to Helena twelve years ago to begin a family, which includes Turner (age 8) and Nia (age 4).

In his life, Matt has lived in many places including Texas, Hawaii, and Washington but has been in Helena, MT for nearly thirteen years. He loves the mountains and the small town atmosphere. Matt has traveled abroad but says his favorite destinations are always where his family joins him.

“I love music, and through music, I feel like I share ministry,” Matt says.

He is active with the St. Paul’s children’s choir, has joined the Walk to Emmaus music team, and plays music around western Montana with his two bands, Across the Divide and Blackbird Reverb.

“I am proud to be the newest member of the St. Paul’s and Covenant office staff. I hope to see and work with you soon,” says Matt.

When you get a chance, swing by the office and greet Matt! We are excited for the possibilities that Matt brings to our team!

Shoeboxes for BUMP – Christmas 2017


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.

Pastor’s Corner — November 12

Life is a roller coaster. We experience ups, downs, loop-de-loops, and extreme curves. Often we can’t predict them and brace ourselves. This is true for us. It was true for the early believers. They were living under foreign rule, God seemed distant, life was hard. Then Jesus appeared on the scene and they had hope! He healed people. He taught with great insight and truth. He stood up to the religious authorities. He offered life! Then it all came to a shocking halt when Jesus was crucified. But he came back and appeared to the believers. Offering hope, direction, new purpose. I suspect those early believers felt like they had gone through the wringer the past couple of years. How did they handle it? How did they stay grounded? What did they hold on to? Acts 2:42 tells us “the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers.” They held on to their faith and to one another. God’s grace sustained and empowered them in this way. God’s grace will do the same for us.
Both congregations, Covenant and St. Paul’s, have experienced a wild roller coaster ride lately. Wonderful celebration alongside shocking grief. What are we to do? How do we find God in the midst of it? Let’s pattern ourselves after those early church people:
• Let’s devote ourselves to teaching, both in scripture and in contemporary spiritual authors. Those can be words of life for us, nourishing our souls.
• Let’s be devoted to the community, our church family. For God’s grace is living in and among the people. As we connect with one another, we will discover the presence of God.
• Let’s share meals together. Eating together nourishes our bodies and our souls. Connect with your friends. Share life together. Laugh and cry together, for in that we will be healed and sustained.
• And finally, let’s be devoted to prayer. Our tendency is to keep busy in seasons of grief, and there is value in that. But we also need to remember to pause, to breathe, to connect with the very presence and power of God who created us and loves us more than we can imagine.
Grief is a difficult journey. Grief is the pain we feel after a loss. And the more we loved the person, the more pain we feel. There is no way around the pain. To avoid or deny it only leaves us wounded and stuck. We need to find a way to embrace the pain and walk through it. This takes time. So be patient and gentle with yourself and one another. As we walk with one another, our goal is not to “get over it.” Our goal is to integrate our loss into our life. As we do, we will grow into a new reality and find meaning and joy again.
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti

Pastor’s Corner – July 9

When I was in college I took a public speaking class. One of my assignments was to write a short speech on a favorite saying. I chose, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I don’t know why I remember that, but it came to mind this week as I was reflecting back on my life and the joys and challenges I have faced. I guess I have always tried to see all experiences, whether good or bad, as opportunities to grow. Otherwise bitterness, anger, and resentment can take over my heart and joy eludes me. Perhaps the biblical equivalent is Romans 8:28, “in all things God works for good.”
I’m reading an inspiring book, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, by Henri Nouwen. The title is a good summary of his theme: spiritual formation is not so much religious practices we add into our lives, but rather paying attention to how we experience the spirit of God moving in our daily lives. In the first chapter he talks about time. We typically view time as chronos, the series of events that make up our days. And we never have enough of this kind of time! He encourages us to view time as kairos, which I’ve heard defined as God’s time.
When we view time as kairos then we train ourselves to see God’s hands at work in our everyday moments and every moment becomes a potential connection to God, whether we are doing chores, spending time with someone, resting, playing, or serving another. Each moment and each activity becomes an opportunity to receive the love of God, to be transformed by the love of God, and/or to share the love of God. Our days then, become a mosaic of God’s work in our lives. This sounds all too simple, but it is challenging for me. My “To Do” list tends to control my life. But, in the moments I can focus on kairos, and increase my awareness of God’s activity in my life, life becomes lemonade!
How do you see God at work in your daily life? I would love to hear your story!
Walking in Grace,

Pastor’s Corner – June 11

The Pianos of St. Paul’s UMC (a short history)

Because our pastors are involved with the Yellowstone Conference this week, thy have asked me to tell you about an exciting new development.
When Fay and I moved to Helena in 1973 and were hired as organist/pianist and choir director, the pianos in the old church were older upright pianos which were in pretty bad shape. Through negotiations with Dick Dightman, our previous choir director, and Ernest Neath, the organist at the early service (and also owner of “Neath Music”), St. Paul’s purchased a small “studio upright” Young Chang piano which became the main piano in the sanctuary of our old church.
When we moved into our new church in 2005 it became obvious that this small Young Chang piano would not fill our new sanctuary space. In April of 1999, Bill and Bonnie Toliaferro had pledged $25,000.00 for the purchase of a new grand piano, so Fay and I went shopping. We located a Yamaha grand piano in Spokane, Washington which we really liked, so in June of 2005 we purchased our present 6 ft. 11 inch grand piano which has been in our sanctuary ever since.
The Young Chang piano, which had been our “best” piano was moved to the choir room of our new church. Here again we felt the Young Chang piano was too small for that space, so we moved our personal 5 ft. 10 inch grand piano built by Kawai into the choir room to be used for rehearsals and performances.
We have promised our grand piano to our daughter, Megan, who teaches music at Denver Community College. She and her husband have recently done a remodel of their home in Denver, and they are ready for the piano We have been given permission to “take back” our piano and replace it with a nearly identical Kawai grand piano owned by Ron and Roberta Nelson who have offered their piano to the church for a very reasonable price. Fay has played this piano and feels very confident it is a fine instrument. The money to pay for this piano will come from the choir annuity which has sufficient funds to cover the cost, and the choir will then give this new piano to St. Paul’s on a permanent basis so that all pianos located at St. Paul’s UMC will belong to the church. The moving of pianos will take place later this month.


Dave Buness, Music and Arts Coordinator, St. Paul’s UMC

Pastor’s Corner – June 4

As many of you know, I returned just last week from spending almost two weeks in Norway.  Most of my time there was spent attending a meeting of the Connectional Table of the UMC which was held in Oslo.  The actual work of the Connectional Table is a bit difficult to describe but the over-arching goal is to bring together representatives from all over the denomination to identify and address the challenges of, and opportunities for, working together as a worldwide church.  In a sense, the Connectional Table is a kind of ‘church council’ on a large scale.
When the meeting ended, Lyle and I spent an additional 3 days exploring Oslo and then traveling into the fjords of Norway. We visited the mountain village of Flom, rode a ferry through the Sognefjord and stayed the night in Bergen before riding the scenic train back to Oslo for our flight home.  To say the least, it was magnificent scenery – and we had long days during which to enjoy it all. Currently, sunrise in Norway is at 4:07 a.m.  and sunset is at 10:22 p.m.!
We flew in and out of Edmonton, Canada so upon our return, we took advantage of our trip to spend a night at the peace park in Waterton before heading home.  As you might imagine, we were a bit tired but as we sat in the lobby of the Prince of Wales hotel, watching the sun set and the shadows deepen on the lake, I was struck with the fact that the beauty before us bore a striking resemblance to the beauty of the fjords we had just left.  My point?  Beauty abounds everywhere!  Or, to borrow from the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins  . . . The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It is for us to notice and appreciate the gifts that surround us. 


And, isn’t that the invitation of summer?  As school ends and as the days lengthen, be sure to find time to enjoy the beauty around you!  Though visits to Norway or countless other places are tremendous opportunities, the reality is that we don’t need to travel far to see the treasures of the natural world.  We are surrounded by them.  May you take time this summer to appreciate the blessings that beckon all around.
Grace and peace, Marianne

Pastor’s Corner – March 5

“Follow Jesus, and expect the unexpected”
These are the words shared at our Ash Wednesday service last week as people received Ashes on their foreheads. Ash Wednesday began our season of Lent, the season we share in each year as Christians to help us prepare for Easter. In the ancient church, this season was used to prepare new Christians for the baptism on Easter, a ritual that invited them into the church. It also served as a way for Christians to recommit to the faith each year by re-learning the practices of faith alongside those who were new.
Ritual is a practice that opens us and our senses to the environment around us. Christian ritual invites us to be aware of what Jesus calls us to be and what God is doing in the world around us. When we take a moment to pray in tense situation, we feel God’s calm that gives us the peace to move ahead. When we stop our lives for an hour of reflection in worship, it opens us to see new opportunity to make our world better. When we relax into a practice of focused meditation, it develops the discipline of our minds to handle more complex problems. Taking time for ritual is like exercise, the more we do it, the deeper we can go with God in our lives.
To expect the unexpected is about allowing ritual to open us to receiving what God is doing in our lives. It may help us notice problems that need our community’s assistance, it may invite us to spend more time with someone who needs our company, or we may need theirs. If we open ourselves to God this season, and listen to the lessons of Jesus, what might happen?
As you enter this season I invite you to take part in one of our many practices: Sue McNicol is teaching a class on receiving God through photography. Join the God Hunger prayer group that meets Wednesdays at noon in the balcony. I will be teaching a class on discovering God and faith through full emotional living. Listen to each sermon this season as Marianne, Rick and I unfold the stories of Jesus the give un-expected lessons. Take part in the challenge to daily offer some resources to Intermountain found at
Pick at least one ritual and use your church as a resource to open yourself to God’s unexpected love this season.
Enthusiastic Peace,
Pastor Tyler