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.



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