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