Pastor’s Corner May 10

Prayer for Mothers on Mother’s Day
~ written by John Ballenger, pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD.
Found in Mother’s Day Resources on
This day, our God, as we gather, we pray for mothers.
We give thanks for mothers who love and care for their children
and are loved and cared for right back.

But we also pray for women who have longed for children
and don’t and can’t have them.
And we pray for women who had children who shouldn’t have—
for children who grew up without the love and care they deserved and needed.

We pray for grandmothers—
for those for whom that turned out to be what they dreamed it would be
and for those for whom it didn’t.

We pray for mothers with sick children and children with sick mothers.
We pray for mothers with lost children
and dead children—
children with lost mothers and dead mothers—
for those who grieve what they had
and those who grieve what they never had.
We pray for women who are afraid.

We pray for all the dilemmas and doubts
and fears, frustrations and heartaches
and richness and wonder and sleeplessness of parenting.

We pray for mothers who parent by themselves.
We pray for women who carefully negotiate life with step children,
and for women trying to adopt,
and women hoping fertility treatments
will renew disappointed hope.

We pray for mothers whose children have grown up and moved out
and those whose children have grown up and
not moved out.

We pray for women who mother the children of others,
and we pray for women who give birth in every
conceivable way—
to ideas and art and possibility and wonder and joy—
to new life in job contexts and in relational ones.

This complicated day, our God,
we’re reminded again of just how much will not fit on a Hallmark card.
but does fit into Your full awareness of all that is—
that does fit into Your investment in love and grace
in and through all circumstances.

We pray for mothers in all the fullness of what it can mean—
informed by what we know of all those we know—
gratefully trusting You
to know so much more than we do or can—
gratefully trusting You
with the hearts of those we love—
gratefully trusting You
with all the deep pain and joy of this day,

in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pastor’s Corner May 3

Save the date!
You are invited!
Invite your friends!

By now, I hope you have all heard that we are in the midst of celebrating our Jubilee Year. The church we know as St. Paul’s began when a young preacher gathered a small congregation, preached the word and began a ministry. Helena was just a mining camp in those early days. But, as it grew to become the Capitol City of Montana, so did St. Paul’s grow into a thriving, active, progressive community, welcoming all people into the full life and membership of the congregation.
We officially began our Jubilee year on Easter. Our next big event will be on May 31 when Dave Buness and our Chancel Choir present “Songs that Built Our Faith”. Dave spent quite a bit of time reading the history and looking in our archives as he compiled a wonderful potpourri of music and commentary. Come to worship at 8:30 or 11:00 that day and prepare to be inspired!
The central celebration of our Jubilee year will take place at the 11:00 service on June 21. Following immediately after the meeting of our Yellowstone Annual Conference (which we host this year), we are planning a grand worship celebration. Our Bishop will be with us and will preach. We will commission our Guatemala Youth Mission Team. Our Choir will sing and we will all raise a joyful noise in thanks to God for the blessings of the past 150 years. Following worship that day, we will have a Jubilee party with food, fun and dancing in the streets!! (Seriously, we are planning to have a band that day … we’ll provide the music but you’ll need to provide the dancing!)
We have more ideas for celebrations that will continue into the fall, through the Christmas season, with it all culminating next Easter. More on that to come.
For now, though, do mark your calendars . . . May 31 is a special Choir Sunday at both services. And, June 21 is our Jubilee worship celebration at the 11:00 service. (We will also have our regular 8:30 worship that day, with time for reflection, prayer and communion.)
Grace and peace,

A Message from Your Youth Coordinator

I thought I’d take this opportunity to say thank you once again for your on going support in fundraising for our Guatemala Team these past 8 months.

Our original goal of $13,000 has been met! HOORAY! We’ve been raising some extra money to afford exit fees and immunizations for youth. Our latest bump in the road is that our airfare is $280 more than the initial estimated cost per person. (Our contact hadn’t flown groups from MT before) This means we are raising another unexpected $4,760. All proceeds brought in between now and June 26 will go toward our airfare.

We did sell the scooter that was advertised last weekend, we are serving a delicious breakfast down stairs this morning, and we have M&M canisters still coming in, so all of that will help. If there has been one thing that God has done for me during this time, it has been to put my trust and belief (sometimes unbelief) in His hands. We went from needing to raise $13,000 to $16,000 and now to $20,000. That’s a lot of money. When I look at that alone, I get overwhelmed and think there is no way. When I look at it together, with all of you and God by my side, I have no doubt that some how it will all come together. Thank you for being part of that.

On a more personal level, as my family grieves the unexpected loss of a loved one, we walk through our days experiencing highs and lows. If we had to face this alone, we would not do that very well. But we are not alone. You continue to love, support, hug and pray for us. We treasure our church family here at St. Paul’s! Thank you for all the ways you support our family, the Guatemala Mission Team and the youth here at St. Paul’s!

With Gratitude,

Meg White
Youth Coordinator

A Message from Your Chancel Choir Director

It doesn’t seem like forty one years since George Harper and Annie Wix called on Fay and me as we were unloading our U-Haul, having newly moved to Helena from Missoula. Annie was the organist at the time and she and George asked us if we would consider accepting the positions of choir director and organist at St. Paul’s. We were delighted to accept as we had been doing tP1010212hat same work at the Methodist church in Missoula before moving to Helena. That was in 1973, and with very mixed feelings I have decided that it’s time for me to join the bass section of the “Best Church Choir in Helena” and let someone else do the leading. St. Paul’s UMC has been, and will continue to be our church home. Fay and I truly appreciate your wonderful support and friendship. Fay will continue to play piano and organ and I will continue to coordinate the music program.

It’s been an enriching 41 years as we have been involved in the building of a new church building, served under eight fine ministers and had the pleasure of raising our family in a very healthy and inspiring church community. As we enter this new phase in our involvement at St. Paul’s nothing will really change, except that you will see me from the front on Sunday mornings as I sit in the bass section of the choir, rather than from behind as the choir director. I am confident you will find a fine replacement for me with some fresh musical ideas.

Thank you for being wonderful friends, and there is no reason that warm relationship can’t continue as it always has been.

Dave Buness

Pastor’s Corner April 12

Welcome to Holy Humor Sunday at St. Paul’s! This is our day of joy and of being silly as we recognize the ultimate last laugh Jesus had over death when he was resurrected. This tradition comes from the early church as a Sunday of jokes and laughs to remind people of the joy of God in their lives. We hope you can make time to engage your humorous side because that is a side that gives us hope and relief from the difficult parts of life. Part of being Christian is recognizing that God in Christ learned to appreciate a good belly laugh to help deal with stressful times, just like we do.

Holy Humor Sunday is about the resurrection of Jesus and resurrections in our own lives that take us by surprise, lead us to new life, and help us to laugh. Marianne and I were chatting with a group of youth last year and a question was raised, “What if someone faked the resurrection?” To which Marianne replied, “It worked didn’t it.” Here we are today celebrating resurrection because it worked. It invited a group of people into a new life of sharing God’s love with everyone they encountered.

One active way United Methodists continue to celebrate the resurrection is by giving back to our community. Easter Sunday marked the beginning of the 2015 Church Challenge from April 5-May 5. This event is a food drive to raise 10,000 lbs. of food to benefit Helena Food Share. Helena area churches are invited to participate. Please share our website with friends and neighbors( or

St. Paul’s has adopted the audacious goal of raising 2,000 lbs. of food during this time. That is an average of 7 pounds per person in worship. Last year we raised over 9,000 lbs. of food with other churches, and over 3,000 lbs. of that came from St. Paul’s. The incredible fact is Helena Food Share distributes about 5,000 lbs. of food in one day. Let’s see if we can help bring resurrection to the lives of families in our community, by helping Helena Food Share complete two full days of service.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the resurrection in worship today and in any way God calls you to be Christ’s hands and feet.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler

Pastor’s Corner Easter Sunday, April 5

Happy Easter! Please notice that, once again, the curtains are open! That can only mean one thing . . . Lent has ended and the Easter season has dawned. One of the Easter traditions we have had at St. Paul’s is an Easter music offering and this year is no exception. Once again Dave and Fay Buness and our Chancel Choir are sharing an Easter Cantata: Praise the God of Resurrection. We warmly welcome all visitors, regular attenders and members to our worship today. It is good to have you with us.
Today is also the kickoff for the celebration of our 150th Jubilee. From George Harper’s So Many Beginnings: The Story of the Methodist Church in Helena, 1865-1900, we read:
The town was spreading out of the Gulch toward the east. A pile of logs lay near the intersection of what was to be Joliet and Cutler Streets. On March 26, 1865, a sunny Sunday morning, a young Methodist preacher, E.T. McLaughlin, stood on them to preach the first sermon in Helena. By July, those logs had been converted into the first church building of the new town. . . the first Sunday school had been organized on April 16 and by summer one baptism was recorded.


That was the beginning of the church that would become known as St. Paul’s. Regarding that Sunday school . . . it is interesting to note that April 16 that year was Easter. Since there were only eight men who signed on as charter members of the new church, the preacher was probably counting on good attendance on Easter to get the Sunday school started! And, that one baptism? It was actually for a vigilante road agent who requested baptism just before he was hanged. Rev. McLaughlin was the acting chaplain for the Vigilantes. So, St. Paul’s has been involved in community outreach for a long time!

On the welcome screens today, notice the buildings we have called home over the years. We began – as most things begin – small. I cannot imagine that Rev. McLaughlin had any idea when he preached that first sermon and baptized that road agent and started that Sunday school that the ministry that would emerge would become a thriving congregation known for its social witness, youth and children’s programs, music and outreach. But he did what he could in his time and trusted God and . . . look what happened!
We have inherited a wonderful vision and the possibilities before us are amazing. We have much to celebrate and we will do much of that throughout the next year. But, the real question for us all during this Jubilee year is . . . what is next? To what is God calling us now? Of one thing I am absolutely sure. We stand on the shoulders of giants – men and women with vision and tenacity and hope – but we cannot rest there. The best is yet to come and who knows what is next?
Happy Easter!

Pastor’s Corner March 29

Greetings on this beautiful Palm Sunday!
We are entering the week called “Holy” in the Christian calendar. Christians have honored this week longer than any other . . . all the other Christian ‘holy-days’ came later (yes, even Christmas). But from the earliest moments of the Christian movement, believers gathered to remember a triumphant entry on the ‘Palm Sunday road,’ a last Supper, a painful death – and an experience of new life despite all evidence to the contrary.
Though this is also ‘spring break’ week and so a time of vacation and family fun (which is also ‘holy!’), I hope you will take at least some time to participate in the week as a journey with Jesus. The service on Thursday will recall the Last Supper, the service on Friday will be a reflective time to consider the power of self-sacrifice that was Jesus’ way of life that led ultimately to his death. And, of course, Easter Sunday will pull it all together! So, Happy Holy Week!
I can’t enter this week without reflecting on the many times I have walked the Palm Sunday road to the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem or walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or visited the Garden Tomb. As we come to this week, I want to again extend an invitation for you to consider whether you might like to join us on our Holy Land pilgrimage next year. The trip is scheduled for Jan. 18 – 29, 2016. There is information in the brochure which is available in the foyer – or, of course, you can give me a call at the church office.
All-inclusive pricing is $3796 from Helena or Billings. If you wish to check it out for yourselves online, you can find the journey this way: Go to . When asked, enter the following information: Tour=HL16; Date: 1/18/16; Code=H; ID#: 23081. This will take you to a page describing the journey and allow you to download your very own brochure if you like! You’ll notice that there are small discounts for early registration. We have again secured the services of our guide, Doron. He loves working with our groups and especially loves our itinerary . . . we spend more time in the Holy Land than most groups which allows us to see and experience more.
I invite you to consider whether this may be the time for you to take this journey. Your relatives and friends are also welcome to join us … there is pricing available from just about every city in the US (and, as you know, often that is priced less than from Helena). Since 1974, the travel company we use, Educational Opportunities, has been dedicated to providing quality Christian travel programs at an affordable price. Over the years, more than 300,000 Christians have traveled on the various faith-based tours. They monitor all situations carefully, ensuring groups are safe and have good experiences.
Grace and peace, Marianne

Pastor’s Corner March 22

Good morning St. Paul’s,

For over 30 years we have been sharing a message of God’s love on the radio. We are going to be ending our radio ministry at the end of March due to an extreme increase in cost. In preparation for this change, Church Council unanimously decided to move our resources to make worship available through live internet streaming and Helena Civic Television(HCTV). This is a great example of how St. Paul’s continues to find new methods of service to meet the needs of the world around us.

Beginning today, the 11 AM service will be live on and our service will begin airing on HCTV(Channel 11 on cable) at 7 PM on Wednesday evenings. Our hope is that we can continue to bring our message and ministry to people who are unable to be with us on Sunday mornings. We recognize that both of these options are significantly different than our traditional radio broadcasts, so if you or someone you know will need assistance connecting to these new broadcasts please let us know by emailing or calling the office 442-5643.

With new adventures in ministry come new opportunities to serve the church. We need to recruit about six to eight people who would be willing to run the camera during the 11:00 service. No technical skill is required and training will be provided. If you think you could serve in this role one Sunday every six weeks then please email Pastor Tyler at

We will continue to have sponsors for our broadcasts and if you are interested in helping to sponsor a Sunday you can do so by contacting the church office. Thank you for your continued faithfulness to our ministry and helping us ensure we will continue sharing a message ‘for good’ in Helena, MT.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler

Sunday, March 15 Pastor’s Corner

A father was walking down a neighborhood street with his young daughter on his shoulders. The child greeted neighbors as they walked past: “Hello, Mrs. DeLong! Hello, Mr. Weller!” The grownups commented on how much she had grown. The puzzled child said, “I haven’t grown this big – I’m just sitting on my dad’s shoulders!”
In many ways, the amazing work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) today is a result of sitting on the shoulders of the people who have come before us, said Denise Honeycutt, UMCOR deputy general secretary. “Seventy-five years ago, the men and women of our church looked out into the world and said, ‘We’ve got to have a conscience as a church reaching out to the world.’ ” Since then, said Honeycutt, we as The United Methodist Church have expanded upon the commitment of the compassionate people who came before. “We are compelled by Christ to alleviate human suffering,” she said.
When you hear about a disaster or humanitarian crisis, and you give to UMCOR one hundred percent of the money you designate goes toward people in need.
How does UMCOR do that? Through the One Great Hour of Sharing. People who give this Sunday, March 15 provide the base of support for UMCOR’s work, explained Honeycutt.
“UMCOR is beloved by many for its ability to respond quickly to needs, whether those needs ever make the news or not,” she said. “The only reason we are able to do that is because people give to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering which provides undesignated funds for UMCOR.”
UMCOR does not receive any apportionment or World Service dollars, she added. “I love the fact that we can say to folks that, when you give to a particular, designated, named ministry, 100 percent of your money will go there because One Great Hour of Sharing covers the costs of administration and provides the foundation for UMCOR.”
I hope you will join me in supporting this special offering . . . it makes a tremendous difference to the most vulnerable people in our world.
Grace and peace, Marianne