Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 6, 2016

On Wednesday night, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years!  One of my friends posted a video of Chicago after the victory and all you could hear was cheering and applause.  People in Chicago were celebrating an amazing victory after 2 lifetimes of ups and downs before a 7th game of equally powerful ups and downs. 

Every Sunday as a part of our worship we applaud the offering.  This is a practice that I miss deeply when I am at other churches that don’t applaud the offering.  Not having this practice as a part of worship makes the offering feel like obligation, instead of opportunity.  We started this spiritual practice of applause during a season of stewardship several years ago and it continues during this year’s stewardship season, titled “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.” 

Stewardship season at St. Paul’s becomes an annual time for members and friends of St. Paul’s to seek in their hearts how to use their resources to do God’s work in the world.  We encourage you to take time during this season to find spiritual practices that help you to recognize where God has given you blessings in your life, and then to imagine with God how you might share these blessings with others.  Stewardship is about financial blessings, and it also is about other gifts we have to offer.  Perhaps you have felt a spiritual nudge to serve the church or community in a different way with a gift you have been given.  Blessings come in all different sizes and shapes, and stewardship becomes about sharing them all to make our community a better place, a more God-filled place.

This week I invite you to use applause as spiritual practice to remind you what you are thankful for in your life.  We applaud when we appreciate and want to celebrate with gratefulness for a blessing someone has shared.  May it also be a reminder in this season of stewardship that through the ups and downs of life, God does provide blessings of love for us to share with our community.  Perhaps someday we can share this practice with other churches; so on Sunday’s people will hear cheering like Wednesday night in Chicago. 

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler
 


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

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