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.

 



Pastor’s Corner – October 30, 2016

 Leading us into our future, a 9-member team made up of St. Paul’s and Covenant UMC members will be participating in the Whole Church Initiative(WCI).  The Whole Church Initiative process will help us seek the future of HUMM, of Covenant and of St. Paul’s as we work together to help share God’s love in our community.  Two years ago our Yellowstone Conference Bishop and District Superintendents greenlighted a two-year trial of the cooperative we know as Helena United Methodist Ministries(HUMM).  HUMM has borne fruit in our Bridges program, shared discipleship and spiritual education, in increasingly shared Mission work, and an incredible unification of pastoral leadership.  As we are entering the third year, with Pastor Marianne’s retirement coming in June of 2017, the Bishop and District Superintendents have asked us to more clearly discern our future through WCI.  This process will give guidance to the conference leadership about what clergy leadership will best support our new and growing ministries and help our churches chart our future of ministry.

 

This process is built on the idea that there are no easy fixes. Moving congregations to greater vitality will take dedicated and prayerful work from clergy and lay leadership working in partnership.  The WCI process was developed by a pastor from Billings, Montana, Rev. Jeremy Scott.  Pastor Jeremy serves as our Vital Congregations Developer in Yellowstone Conference and is helping to plant new churches and re-inspire existing churches to follow God’s call for their ministry.

 

The WCI is built to expose local church teams to a variety of information about church in the 21st century, its opportunities, and its challenges. In addition to information sharing, the process will guide congregations in identifying and executing ministry experiments that will help us better live into God’s calling for our church.  Over the next few months you will be hearing more from our team through newsletters, Facebook, email, and more. 

 

We invite you to hold our team in prayer.  Our team members are Ron Guse, Berma Saxton, Jim Fishburn, Darrell Vallance, Linda Ryan, Mike Faehnrich, Bill Avey, Heidi Gold, and Pastor Tyler. 

 

Enthusiastic Peace,

 

Pastor Tyler



Pastor’s Corner – Oct. 9, 2016

You are invited to learn more,

One striking dynamic about church work in the 21st century is the speed by which we have to keep up with the culture around us.  The communication we do as a church is no exception and the methods by which we are required to communicate continue to grow.  Not long ago a church with a website was light years ahead of the rest, but now we have to keep up with social media, email, texting and an app.  All of these methods are things we do and the leadership of St. Paul’s has supported the development of our communication.

The reason we need to keep up with communication is that it is one of the primary ways we can stay connected to each other, but more importantly with our community.  If our community knows we are here, they know we share a vision of the deep love of God, and that we are willing to provide life giving resources to the community.  When I think about communication in this age I remind myself that there are three groups we are trying to reach with our information:

  1. Congregation – People who are already in our faith community.
  2. People associated with our church – People who want to be connected to our faith community.
  3. Community Members (Non and nominally religious people interested in our message.) – People that want to know a committed and caring church exists and who may want to be a part of our community at some point.

On Thursday October 13 at 5:30 PM, in the Fireside Room, we will be hosting a meeting on communications of the church.  This is our regularly scheduled Church Council, and we would like to invite anyone in the church who facilitates any communication for any reason.  The meeting will focus on how we use the communication tools available at St. Paul’s to reach the groups listed above.  We will learn about best practices of communication and how to use Facebook, our Church app, worship slides, newsletter, bulletin and other methods for communication.  It is the hope of our Church Leadership to increase communication knowledge and ability of our congregation this year. 

We invite you to join us for this learning opportunity,

Pastor Tyler

 

 



Pastor’s Corner – Oct. 2, 2016

            According to Wikipedia, the tradition of celebrating a World Communion Sunday began in the 1930’s by the moderator of the Presbyterian Church as “an attempt to bring churches together in a service of Christian unity—in which everyone might receive both inspiration and information, and above all, to know how important the Church of Jesus Christ is, and how each congregation is interconnected one with another.” It was officially adopted throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1936, and subsequently spread to other denominations. In 1940, the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches of Christ) endorsed World Communion Sunday and began to promote it to Christian churches worldwide.

 

            World Communion Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday of October throughout the mainline Protestant Church.  For me, each year, it is an invitation to remember that our need for bread and community is a human one and when we gather at the table, we celebrate not only with those present but also with sisters and brothers around the world.  I was especially touched by Jan Richardson’s ‘Table Blessing’ and share it here (with permission) as a prayer for us all on this day.                                  
Grace and peace, Marianne

 

To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say, for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.
From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.
Running,
limping,
carried,
we come.
 
We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.
We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.
And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come
 
Prayer © Jan L. Richardson from

In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season

.


Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 25, 2016

The United Methodist book of disciplines states, “No person deserves to be stigmatized because of mental illness (Paragraph 162x, 2012). As faithful Christians we believe this to be true and, as Helena United Methodists, we walk in the NAMI WALK each year. Additionally, Thursday night we will be hosting an interfaith gathering to help our community focus on the wellbeing of Montana’s children relating to their mental and physical well-being. This relates back to our work during our 150th celebration at St. Paul’s when we partnered with Intermountain to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). This study has helped communities understand how trauma can inform how they offering support to children and adults. To learn more about ACES we invite you to watch the presentation from last year at www.goo.gl/bCeFGG

NAMI Montana is the Montana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI Montana supports, educates, and advocates for Montanans with severe mental illnesses and their families. The 2016 Montana NAMI Walk will be held on today, 12:30 at Memorial Park in Helena. This is a great opportunity to join the fight against mental illness in Montana. Join us to help “stomp out stigma” by donating, joining our team, or offering a prayer to assist in this cause. If you would like to donate to our team go to http://www.namiwalks.org/team/HUMM. If you would like to join us for the walk today meet us on the north side of the playground at Memorial Park, by the picnic benches just after noon.

On Thursday, September 29 at 7pm we will be hosting an interfaith gathering for those concerned about adversity and trauma in children’s lives. This event is designed to help our community unify around the common cause of the wellbeing of Montana’s children. Chaplain Chris Haughee of Intermountain and Kimberly Konkel, Assistant Director of Faith Based Initiatives for Trauma-Informed Congregations in Washington, D.C. will be leading the gathering. The service will focus on creating space for different traditions to express their desire to support our children.

We hope both these events provide an opportunity for our faith community to grow our faith and go in mission.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler


Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 18, 2016

loveYesterday was the installation of our new Bishop Karen Oliveto.  In an interview with the Denver Post she stated her hope for our churches was that each community would live better because one of our churches was there.  Bishop Karen’s work as a Bishop will be focused on helping our churches make an impact on our community through an expression of United Methodist grace and love.  I am personally thankful for Bishop Karen’s leadership and am excited about this dynamic vision of ministry in our area.  I encourage you to follow Bishop Karen’s letters and updates at http://www.mountainskyumc.org.

This Sunday I will be preaching on love, and our call as Christians to love our neighbors.  A few weeks ago I discovered a website called westandwithlove.org.  It is a movement starting in our country by authors, preachers, celebrities and everyday people to overcome the divisive rhetoric of this political and cultural time in our country.  The website states the following, “We are coming together to say NO to the hate rhetoric that threatens to divide us and YES to more just and generous ways of living with and loving one another.”  They do not advocate certain political views, but instead invite us to bridge the divide and listen to one another with respect.  This movement is an invitation for individuals and faith communities to step up when we hear hate and encourage rhetoric that is respectful of differing views. 

As a church it is our role to teach love to adults, youth and children.  Jesus gave us this example over and over again by telling us to love our neighbor and to love God.  Last month I shared my concern about the division in our country in a sermon and in an article for the Independent Record, Religion Page.  While my concern about our division is strong, my faith in a God who can overcome our division and bring love is stronger.  I invite us all this season to seek places to stand up for love and to follow Bishop Karen’s lead to make our community better.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Tyler Amundson



Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 11, 2016

Today we celebrate our annual ‘Welcome Home’ Sunday.  This is an event started years ago as a way to launch the new ‘ministry year.’  It is an opportunity to sign up for classes, to enroll children in Promiseland and Youth Group and to become more familiar with the wide array of activities that comprise St. Paul’s.  Even more, it is an official ‘welcome back’ from summer activities and vacations that often take us away on weekends.  Now things are more or less back to normal for many of us. Schedules are more regular and life settles down. Of course, my hope is that a ‘back to normal’ schedule will include regular involvement of some kind at St. Paul’s!

This year, Welcome Home Sunday includes a new display in the Fellowship Hall.  We have known for a while that, sometimes, people don’t know exactly how to get involved at St. Paul’s.  So, you’ll find a ‘what if’ table!  Tracie Kenyon from the Stewardship Team will be there, available to chat about interests and possibilities.  We don’t know if we’ll be able to create exactly what you might be looking for . . . but we certainly want to look at options and begin to lean into a future with new ideas.  Maybe your brainstorm is just what others are looking for too! 

As you look around today, you’ll notice a lot of gold.  We are celebrating today as our ‘golden birthday.’  Those of you with young children know that a ‘golden birthday’ is the birthday when you turn the same age as the day of your birthday.  My golden birthday was the October 22nd when I turned 22 (a few years ago now!).  It was exactly 11 years ago today, September 11, that we moved into this beautiful sanctuary.  There was a lot of excitement on that day as we worshiped here for the first time. And over the past years, we have grown into the space – gradually making improvements and getting comfortable with our church home.   Thanks to all of you who have done the hard work of weathering change and making adjustments and offering grace as we’ve made this space our home!  Happy Golden Birthday to us all . . . and, Welcome Home!  Even more, welcome to a year of new opportunities to live and grow as people of faith! 
 
Grace and peace,
Marianne


Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 4, 2016

            A week ago, Lyle and I were in The Villages, Florida for a 90th birthday celebration for my Dad.  It was a great gathering hosted by my sisters and their spouses, and my brothers and their spouses.  Some of the grandchildren were also there.  The ‘official’ part of the birthday gathering included a family dinner on Friday night and then an open house for Dad’s friends on Sunday afternoon.  Of course, we also spent time at the pool and Lyle even got an opportunity for a round of golf.  (However, with the temps hovering at 90 degrees, coupled with 90% humidity, I think the pool was the best option!) 

            When we gathered at my sister’s home for the open house, I had an opportunity to greet several people I have come to know over my years of visiting my parents in Florida.  There was a steady stream of people who stopped by to say hi.  At one point in the afternoon, my Dad asked me to come with him to meet a couple who had just arrived.  I was surprised when the man took my hand and declared . . . “I know you! I watch you every Sunday on the livestream from your church.  I love going to church at St. Paul’s in Helena, Montana!” 

            Now, that was a first!  I knew that we had a rather large email list for sermons but I did not know that our congregation now stretches as far as Florida! 

            It has been a year and a half now since we were forced to end the longstanding radio broadcast of our 11 a.m. service.  That was a big change and one that worried many of us. Still, when the radio station more than tripled the costs, we looked for other ways to make our worship service available to those unable to be in church on a Sunday morning.  In the end, we made the decision to livestream our worship service and to make that recording available to HCTV for re-broadcast on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.  

            None of this has happened without a great deal of effort. Tyler has organized and trained our camera techs.  Thanks to all of you who have taken on that responsibility!   There are others who work to make the online logistics of the livestream experience work.  Earlier this year, when Lyle was in the hospital, I livestreamed our service and was amazed at how user-friendly it is – and how connected I felt to the St. Paul’s community.  I was even able to make a donation through our PushPay app!

            Change can be difficult and yet, because we were willing to explore new options, we have an ever growing St. Paul’s congregation – even in Florida!   

            Don’t miss our Welcome Home event next Sunday . . . See you then!

            Grace and peace, Marianne



Pastor’s Corner – August 28, 2016

Education has long been a centerpiece of the United Methodist tradition.  This goes back to John and Charles Wesley who received a strong education from their mother Susanna.  Susanna was a woman who had an incredible education background for a woman in her era.  Susanna knew several languages, knew the Bible well, and passed on her vast knowledge to her children.   In Montana, Methodists have long worked for education one great example is the founding of the college that is now Rocky Mountain College in Billings.  Due to this history we believe that people can change the world when empowered through a good education and with the support of a spirit filled community.

 

In this spirit it is important for us to continue learning as a congregation on how we can help our community to be a place that supports education.  The only way for us to do this is by learning to be missional and connecting with our schools. 

 

miss-ion-al

Adverb/Adjective

  1. Describing an act of sharing God’s love in the community.
  2. Existing as part of the above act.

 

Today, during worship we are going to be missional in several ways.  First, we are going to bless the backpacks of our students heading back to school.  We want our children to know that we care about their education and that we are supporting them as they learn.  As we bless backpacks we hope that God’s love is at work in our schools through children, educators, and staff.  Second, we will take a student offering to support students through scholarships administered by our United Methodist connection.  This shows we support people connecting with knowledge in our global community.  Finally, we will be invited to write letters to educators and staff in our schools.  Specifically, we will write messages of support to all of Central Elementary School’s staff and teachers as our neighborhood school, and then write letters to others in our school districts we want to support.  A form letter can be found at stpaulshelena.org/letters-to-educators/

Gracious God bless our teachers, staff, and students as they return to another year of learning.

Enthusiastic Peace,

 

Pastor Tyler