Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 20, 2016


This past week has been challenging for our community and nation. We continue to see increasing division, and across our nation we have seen an increase in the reported incidents of hate crimes. Last Sunday in worship we saw a higher than average attendance and I have spoken to several of the people who joined us. Many have stated they sought out worship to seek answers for their sense loss and concern. Over the past two weeks St. Paul’s has been refuge to people hurting from loss and a place where people have come to seek hope for their lives.

As your pastor I have personally been in prayer and deep conversation to understand how we, people of faith, need to be present to those hurting in our community. This past week I have been with people who are scared for the future and unsure how to talk to their friends, family and neighbors who disagree with them. I have met with people in our community who have shared a gut-wrenching fear for their own well-being in this conflicted climate. Fear is pervasive in our culture right now. This brings me to deep concern because throughout history we have seen fear breed the worst kinds of behaviors.

In prayer I came across this passage of scripture. It seemed to fit this challenging time of deep division, concern for the future, and most certainly this climate of fear.

Romans 12:9-18 (Common English Bible)
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.

The quote you see attached to this letter is from Susan Henry-Crowe, she is the director of General Board of Church and Society. I invite you to use the quote and the scripture from Romans as a prayer tool. This week I invite us all into a time of prayer as we gather with family and friends. I would ask that we pray for those who voted a way we chose not to vote, to pray for those who are hurting and in pain, to pray we have the strength to help stop hate in our community, and to pray ultimately for hope in our own lives and in those that are struggling.

Please join me in prayer,

Pastor Tyler

A Message from Bishop Karen Oliveto

November 9, 2016
Dear brothers and sisters of the Mountain Sky Area,
At the conclusion of a contentious election process, we are left with a country that is more divided than ever before. As we look at the challenges facing us as a nation, the deep divisions that are fracturing us, I call on the clergy and laity of the Mountain Sky Area to be in prayer together, as we seek the healing of our nation. We who follow Jesus are called to offer our neighbors the love of God in all we do. In our words and actions, we need to offer hope to those who feel despair and healing for those who feel broken.
Yet, Jesus calls us to do much more. The love we are to share as disciples of Christ is transformative, changing individuals, families, communities, and yes, even the entire world.
I believe in the power of love. And whether today we are lamenting or celebrating the election, here is what I know to be true: the love we as Christians are called to live out cannot be legislated. It is not controlled by politics. It is to be lived out, not talked about or debated. This love is realized when we stand with the poor and marginalized. It is embodied when we seek justice for the oppressed.
This love is the heartbeat of humanity that cannot be stopped by hatred or fear. It is the recognition of our brother and sister in those whose names we don’t know, whose dignity we will honor and respect.
This is the love God calls us to, which always and forever moves us all towards Beloved Community.
So, today and in the days to come, may we get on our knees to pray for our nation and the world’s peoples. And then, let us rise from our knees to love our brothers and sisters, the leaders of the world, including President-elect Donald Trump, the earth, and all living beings. As followers of Jesus, we can do no other.
Blessings and peace,
Bishop Karen P. Oliveto

Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 13, 2016

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.
This fall our Stewardship program is based on the book The Gratitude Path by Kent Millard.  “When we live a life of gratefulness for all the blessings God has given us, we experience great fullness in our lives”.

This month Stewardship challenged everyone to celebrate November, simply by writing down something that you are thankful for every day.  How’s it going?  Been a little busy?  Forgetful?  Starting a new practice can be challenging…perhaps putting a note in a conspicuous place will help remind you.

I started a gratitude journal too.  Sometimes I wrote down items that many of us are grateful for, such as Yellowstone National Park, the beauty of crashing ocean waves, living in Montana, fresh air, the St. Paul’s staff, or a friend.  Sometimes the items were more identifiable with my own personal feelings of a wonderful family including a patient, humorous husband, and three delightful adult sons.  Sometimes the items were little things such as sticky notes or ice cream.  Other times I wrote down items that many of us have, but many are without.  Such as housing, food, clothing and a good environment.  What does this mean to me? 

God has blessed me greatly and for that I am grateful.  I need to remind myself by counting these blessings.  I am thankful and wish to share my resources, time, prayers and thoughts with others, especially those in need.  I want to share myself with St. Paul’s as opportunities arise.  Maybe it’s pulling weeds.  Do you realize how much reflecting can be done while doing a simple act of weeding?  Maybe it’s writing an article.  Writing makes me think…hopefully.  Through God providing me with abundant blessings, I can joyfully give to others.

I encourage you to continue or start writing in your gratitude journal.  Reflect upon your blessings, and feel the warmth of gratitude welling up in your soul. 

Please remember to attend the Gratitude Celebration Dinner this Wednesday, November 16, at 5:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall.  Come enjoy a fried chicken and salad meal.  Following the meal will be WhatsNext, a presentation by Pastors Marianne and Tyler in which they share some thoughts on where we’ve been and where God might be calling us to go.  Everyone is invited.

We would appreciate an RSVP.  You can still signup by calling the Church office, or marking today’s insert.  Even if you forget to respond, please come.

Celebrate the Gratitude Month with your friends at the Gratitude Celebration Dinner!

At St. Paul’s we truly are…

Grateful.  Thankful.  Blessed. 

Peace and blessings,

Ralene Glenn

Stewardship Chair

Church 360 Survey

Our church is asking some important questions this week. We value your answers. We want you in the conversation! We are seeking to discover our people’s opinions and experiences in a variety of areas, so that we can determine our readiness as a group to step out into signi cant new mission endeavors. To take the Readiness 360 survey go to:

Enter our survey code: 7461613698

It will take less than 20 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by midnight, Monday, November 21. Members of the Whole Church Initiative Team will be available after service to help you take the survey.