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


Pastor’s Corner – May 14

            It was the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart who said If the only prayer you ever said was ‘thank you’ it would suffice.  And while that may well be a good principle of the spiritual life, those words don’t seem quite sufficient when it comes to expressing my gratitude to all of you for the retirement celebrations and notes and gifts you have shared with me over the past 2 weeks!  But, whether it is enough or not, expressing a hearty thank you is precisely where I am going to begin. Thanks for your welcome of my family and friends on April 30. They loved being here for worship that Sunday and attending the party later that afternoon at the Intermountain Community Services Center. In so many big and little ways, you helped each one of them feel comfortable.  For me, personally, it was such a blessing to have my parents, siblings and spouses and my cousin and spouse here to share the fun.  It was also a treat to have Marianne Borg with us.  And, of course, there were others . . . too numerous to list.   I especially enjoyed having time to spend with them all last week. 
 

            Thanks too for the beautiful pendant and ring I received.  I know many of you contributed to make that gift possible – thanks!  Your generosity – to the ministry of the church and to our wider mission has always been a blessing. This personal gift to me will always remind me of the special people who make up St. Paul’s.  I am truly humbled by your expressions of affection and support. 

            As you read this, I am on my way to Oslo, Norway for a meeting of the Connectional Table of the UMC. Created at the 2004 General Conference, the Connectional Table was formed to serve as both the visioning body of the church and the steward of resources to carry out the vision of the denomination worldwide.” The membership of the CT consists of Bishops, General Agency leaders, and representatives of the various caucuses and Jurisdictions of the church. I was nominated and elected to represent the Western Jurisdiction.  I confess that it is difficult for me to be away when I have such limited time remaining to be with you. However, the meeting is an important one and the responsibility to attend out-weighed my reluctance!  Lyle is going with me.  Since his cancer diagnosis and re-occurrence, we have resolved that we would not miss an opportunity to travel together. I will return at the end of May, will be in worship on May 28 and will preach again June 4.
 

            In the meantime, please know how grateful I am for your generosity and for the recent celebrations. Although I know the focus has been around my retirement, in reality we are celebrating all we have done together over the past 23 years!

            Gratefully, Marianne



Pastor’s Corner – April 30

Today we get to celebrate 23 years of Pastoral ministry that Rev. Marianne Niesen has shared with our congregation and our community. Marianne will officially retire June 30 of this year, but as good Methodists, we methodically figured more people would be around in the spring to celebrate Marianne’s years of service.
 
 
Over her tenure, Marianne has been an amazing witness to faith in the public sphere. She has led us faithfully from our old building into this new and incredible space. Marianne’s leadership brought us dynamic speakers on faith from Marcus Borg, to John Domnic Crossan, to Amy Jill Levine, and Bishop John Shelby Spong.
 
 
I personally will always remember Marianne as my pastor and one of my greatest colleagues. She is the first pastor I saw use a video illustration for her sermon when she showed a clip from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Just like that movie, Marianne has also broken down a barrier for us as the first woman to serve as our Senior Pastor. She has led us with grace and integrity for the past two decades.
 
 
I hope you will join us today at noon in the Fellowship Hall or this afternoon from 4-6 PM at the Intermountain facility at 3240 Dredge Drive to celebrate Marianne’s ministry.
 
Join us in the celebration,
Pastor Tyler