Pastor’s Corner – July 2

This Sunday we welcome our new pastoral team to Helena. They will be celebrating communion with us at both Covenant and St. Paul’s. They will be serving as the new pastoral team in Helena covering pastoral duties at both St. Paul’s and Covenant. This new pastoral configuration will allow both congregations to get to know Pastor Patti and Pastor Sami as their spiritual and faith community leaders. Pastor Tyler will remain with us through mid-September to serve in an interim capacity and support the new team.

MEET YOUR NEW PASTORS:
Rev. Dr. Patti Agnew
Patti Agnew grew up on the beaches of southern California, in Pacific Palisades. She got her bachelors degree in Mathematics, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, always intending to be a high school math teach. But God redirected her and she got her Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained as a United Methodist elder In the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1994. In 2016 she completed her Doctor of Ministry degree, also from Fuller. She has served rural and suburban churches throughout Colorado in her 23 years as a pastor.
 
Patti is a single mom with two daughters in college, Amanda and Natalie, who will both be here the last week of July. She also has a dog, Molly. Patti loves hiking in the mountains, she already hiked up to the top of Mt. Helena last Sunday. She is a Colorado Rockies baseball fan. She loves chocolate, gymnastics, and ice cream. And she feels closest to God when she is out in nature. She is excited to begin this new chapter of life here in Helena with the great people of St. Paul’s and Covenant!
 
Rev. Sami Pack-Toner
Sami grew up in Sheridan, Montana and then moved to Great Falls for college. She was a lifeguard through high school, college, and seminary. She moved to North Carolina for seminary, and worked at churches there for 3 years. After graduation, she was appointed to Choteau and Pendroy United Methodist Churches and have served there the past 3 years. Sami was just ordained this last month by our Bishop. Sami and her husband Shane enjoy golf, swimming, snowboarding, dirt biking, fly fishing, and hiking.


Pastor’s Corner – June 25

As I write this final Pastor’s Corner, I do so filled with gratitude for the past 23 years of ministry with and to you, the friends and members of St. Paul’s and Covenant United Methodist Churches. As you know, Rick Hulbert and I both preach our final sermons today as your pastors. Tyler’s final sermon will be in early September.
 
Over the past weeks, I have had several questions about ‘what’s next?’ for me and for my involvement with our churches. First, let me share that Lyle and I have decided to put our home of 23 years up for sale and to make a move – hopefully sometime this summer or fall – to Florida. We plan to live somewhat near my parents and my sister in central Florida. We both plan to stay ‘actively retired’ which will hopefully include some travel, some relaxation, and perhaps work on a book.
 
Part (though certainly not all) of our reason for making the move so quickly has to do with the ‘ethics’ required of departing pastors. These expectations apply whether a pastor retires or moves to another appointment, remains in town or leaves the area. Departing pastors are not available for any kind of pastoral services – preaching, funerals, weddings, etc. – for at least a year. We are also expected to be absent from any involvement in the life of the church community – including attendance at worship – during that time. This allows a new pastoral team time and space to get to know a congregation and to become immersed in congregational life. Pastor Patti and Pastor Sami will bring their own unique gifts and abilities to the life of Covenant and St. Paul’s – and they need time to get to know you and you, them. Change for all of us is difficult – and pastoral changes can be particularly hard. But I trust that both St. Paul’s and Covenant will discover new possibilities for growth and new opportunities to flourish as you embrace your new leadership.
 
Lyle and I are certainly both anxious and excited about our next steps. Please know that we will remain interested in the unfolding of life at St. Paul’s and Covenant. You will be in our prayers and we will tune in to your activities through the website, Facebook postings, newsletters and livestreaming. Most of all, know that you, HUMM and both churches will be in our prayers. Please hold us in yours.
 
 
Grace and peace – and with gratitude,
Marianne


Pastor’s Corner – June 18

This is my last Sunday serving as your Associate Pastor of Young Adult Ministries.   In July, August and September I will be serving as an Associate Pastor of Transition to your new Pastoral team of Rev. Dr. Patti Agnew and Rev. Sami Pack-Toner.  This two pastor team will serve both Covenant and St. Paul’s, and you will get to know them both in July.  Over the next few months I will write a letter each month asking you to be in prayer over a specific question to share our hopes with the new pastoral team.

 

This month I ask you to pray over the question: “What is your prayer for St. Paul’s and Covenant?”

 

When I ask that we pray daily over these questions, please don’t feel guilty the day you forget to pray.  Instead take this story to heart:

 

When I was young, each night before bed my mother would have me pray for each of my family and my friends.  I would add certain friends at points in my life, and forget certain people at other times.  It became disconcerting for my 5-year-old self to think that at times I was forgetting people.  So, at the beginning of my prayers I began to say, “I pray for these family and friends, and everyone even if I forget them tonight.” 

 

Sometimes we feel like we are trying to pray harder and better as adults, and we forget it is designed to be a playful and grace-filled conversation with God.  When I as a pastor ask you to pray daily over this question, I don’t ask you to feel guilty when you forget.  Instead I ask you to playfully and gracefully put this question where you will see it daily.  Then when you see it, take a deep breath and simply offer the question up to God to see where God directs your mind. 

 

As you find answers or nudges in prayer I ask you to write them down and share them with me.  Please share your prayers with me by emailing me at tamundson@stpaulshelena.org.  I will share these prayers with the new pastoral team and the leadership of both churches as we chart the next phase of our journey.    

 

My prayer for St. Paul’s and Covenant is that you become a deeply spiritual people, learning from the ways of Christ, and dreaming with God how to make our community a place where all people know the love of God.

 

In prayer,

 

Pastor Tyler



Pastor’s Corner – May 28

This June, two of our staff will be stepping away from their roles at St. Paul’s.  Meladie Brandle, our interim youth coordinator and Renata Strauss, our Administrative Specialist.  This week and last week’s Pastor’s corners have highlighted the amazing ministry they have done for St. Paul’s.  We are accepting applications for open positions at St. Paul’s through stpaulshelena.org/jobs.
 
Meladie Brandle began serving us a youth coordinator in January of 2016.  We were in need of mid-year support and Mel stepped right up.  She has taken leadership in providing safe and fun space for our middle and high school youth.  Mel has continued through her work to come up with creative ways to help our youth engage their faith, to explore who God is, to ask questions about their world, and to grow in knowledge and experience. 
 
One the most inspiring aspects of Meladie has been her desire to learn more about scripture and her own faith in the process.  She developed games, activities and programs that made learning about the Bible and Christianity interesting and inspiring.  One example is the time Meladie had youth hand in their cell phones, and then the kids made apps for their prayer phones, paper phones with little paper apps on them.  These apps were things like being thankful for friends, prayers for health in the family, hope for fun the next day, and prayers for mom. Meladie will be finalizing her service as staff to St. Paul’s person mid-June.  We are so thankful for her service and for giving us time to set up for our next person to fill this role. 
 
Renata Strauss began her service to St. Paul’s a year and half ago.  We were in need of support to cover the front desk, help us with publications, and to provide a welcoming atmosphere in the office.  Renata quickly stepped beyond these basic rolls to offer new ideas and insights, and provide quick answers to challenging situations.  The front desk job at St. Paul’s has you greeting the entire community of God from members and friends of St. Paul’s to the everyday traveler who stops in asking for assistance.  Renata has handled every aspect of her job with skill and quick thinking.
 
One of the skills we will miss most is Renata’s extensive experience with graphic design.  She has created many of the advertising screens you see in worship, the logos we use for different ministries, and has inspired many of us in the office to think more creatively.  Renata not only designs well, but she incorporates feedback quickly.  Her willingness to work as a part of the team and her skill to help us share our ministry creatively will be greatly missed. Renata will be finishing up her ministry with us at St. Paul’s on Thursday, June 1.  We are so thankful for her service and creativity. 
 
There will be a celebration of Meladie and Renata’s service on June 4th in worship and a reception after the eleven o’clock service.  Please join us in recognizing their faithful service to St. Paul’s.
 
With thankfulness,
Pastor Tyler