Pastor’s Corner – October 8

Our Call to End Gun Violence – We are called as United Methodists to eradicate the many forms of violence that destroy the integrity of individuals, families, communities, and nations. The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church contains our official positions on many issues, including gun violence. The 2016 version includes some of the ways in which to prevent gun violence. As we sit in the rubble of yet another mass shooting, I invite you to meditate on these practices and how we as a community can do more:

1.) For congregations to make preventing gun violence a regular part of our conversations and prayer times.

2.) For congregations to assist those affected by gun violence through prayer, pastoral care, creating space, and encouraging survivors to share their stories, financial assistance, and identifying resources for victims and families.

3.) For individuals who own guns as hunters or collectors to safely and securely store their guns and to teach the importance of practicing gun safety.

4.) For congregations that haven’t experienced gun violence to form partnerships with faith communities to have experienced gun violence in order to support them and learn from their experiences.

5.) For congregations to lead or join gatherings for public prayer at sites where gun violence has occurred and partner with law enforcement to help prevent gun violence.

6.) For congregations to partner with local law enforcement agencies and community groups to identify gun retailers that engage in retail practices designed to circumvent laws on gun sales and ownership, encourage full legal compliance, and to work with groups that organize faith-based campaigns to encourage gun retails to gain full legal compliance with appropriate standards and laws.

7.) For congregations to display signs that prohibit carrying guns onto church property.

8.) For congregations to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.

If you would like to read more about the United Methodist Church’s stance on violence, particularly gun violence, explore the www.umc.org website. This website provides helpful information, prayers, statistics and articles!
 
 

Blessings,

Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner — October 1

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. … A time to hold on and a time to let go.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6

The seasons demonstrate for us that the world, God’s beautiful creation, is constantly transitioning from what was, to what is, and eventually to what will be. Sept. 22nd was the autumn equinox. It is officially fall. A season of transition from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. The days are getting shorter. The leaves are turning color and soon will fall off. As this happens, may it be a que for us in our spiritual lives. May we use this season of fall as a time to let go.

It is our natural human tendency to hold on, to want things to remain the same, and to resist change. But truly, the only thing that we can count on is change. 

An important life skill is learning what to hold on to as if our life depends on it and what to let go of. In general, we should hold on to that which gives us life and let go of that which negatively impacts us. So, what are you holding on to that is bearing on you negatively? It may be guilt and regret. It may be anger, resentment, bitterness. It may be unrealistic expectations for yourself or others. It may be that you are too busy and need to let go of some activities or commitments. It might be time to let go of some stuff. This is difficult work. It can take more courage to let go than to hold on. But it is also life giving work. If it helps, write down the things you want to let go of on a piece of paper and dispose of it in some way. Sometimes a physical act can help us feel the spiritual work that is going on. What is holding you back? 

As you observe the leaves falling off the trees this fall, ask God to help you identify and let go of those things that are hindering you. For letting go makes room for new life.
 
 

Walking on the path of grace,

Pastor Patti



Pastor’s Corner — Sept 24

The Power of Wonder Woman
 
When I lived in Choteau, a group of my friends and I would compete in a charity golf tournament each summer. It was to raise money for breast cancer research. My team chose the Wonder Woman logo for our shirts, and we wore pink capes. The capes didn’t fare well in the winds of the Rocky Mountain Front, nor for golfing. However, the shirts stuck, and they became a sort of power for all of us. Outside of the annual golf tournament, our shirts were worn regularly. My friends and I would see the shirt, and we would talk about the memories from golfing or working out or how much we loved wearing the shirt. When I am having a particularly stressful time, I have sometimes deliberately worn my Wonder Woman shirt for a little boost.
 
Wonder Woman, the character first appearing in 1941, stands for so much more than a superhero. Just like our simple black t-shirts stand for so much more than a Saturday spent together. Designed in the eye of the hurricane
 
that was WWII, the Wonder Woman character defeated the trope “damsel in distress” by being extraordinarily skilled in combat and technology from the Amazon. She was an ambassador and fought for justice. In fact, the writers drew from feminists of that time to build her character and story. For a short time in 2016, Wonder Woman was an honorary member of the United Nations as an ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.
 
This character is, at the same time, unique and universal. Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) is all of the girls and women out there: full of potential and power, bundled up with the stories of all those before us. May we all remember the power of togetherness and the strength of unity. And may we always be symbols of justice.
 
 

Peace,

Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner – Sept 17

The infant Kal-El was put into a space ship and rocketed from the doomed planet Krypton to planet earth. His scientist father believed that the rays of earth’s yellow sun would grow miraculous power in his son. And it did. Kal-El was raised by a couple in Kansas. He became Clark Kent. As he matured and grew, empowered by the sun’s rays, he gained powers beyond the average man. His kryptonian cells served as living solar batteries that fueled his super powers. Clark Kent became “faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound … He became Superman!”

I love that concept that the rays of the sun created super powers in Clark Kent. I believe we all have super powers too, fueled by the Holy Spirit. Each person is created in the image of God. God is awesome, so each person must be too! Each of us is gifted and special. Yes, we are flawed, have struggles and shortcomings AND we are beautiful, amazing, and awesome. The qualities that make each of us unique are our super powers. What is your super power? How can you use your super power to fight crime? To bring peace? To make this world a better place? To do good? Like Superman, we have kryptonian cells which serve as solar batteries fueling our super powers…our receptor cells for the Holy Spirit. You and the Holy Spirit together make a dynamic duo! It is easy to feel inadequate in our society today. When you feel inadequate or unworthy, remember you have the power of the Holy Spirit available to you. Claim your position as one half of a dynamic duo. Turn to the Holy Spirit to empower you.

The apostle Paul understood this. He knew that he was an ordinary man, but when filled with the Holy Spirit, he could do amazing things. You might say he knew the Holy Spirit fueled his super powers. He also knew this power was available to everyone. So, he prayed people would be filled with power. One example is his prayer for the believers in Ephesus. It goes like this, “I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” -Ephesians 3:16-20 NIV

Next time you feel powerless or inadequate, remember you are half of a dynamic duo! You are a uniquely awesome creation of God. The power of the Holy Spirit is available to you and will work in and through you to do more than you could ever imagine. Let’s partner with the Holy Spirit and exercise our super powers to change the world for good. Up, up and away!
 
 

Pastor Patti