Pastor’s Corner – Jan. 15

This week I am struck by courage. I am struck by the courage of members in our faith community: Those facing disease and injury who continue to demonstrate courage in the midst of their hardship. Those fearful, anxious and disheartened by an increasingly divisive political reality who instead of being paralyzed are moved to courageous action. Those who face personal challenge that many of us know nothing about, but instead of stepping back, step forward in courageous faith.
 
This coming week will take courage for many of us to face. We do not run this race alone. We run it with giants of faith and history who have reminded us again and again that the dream of a world full of God’s love is worth every ounce of life in our bones. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we celebrate this Monday, reminded us of the courage we need from the steps of the Lincoln memorial more than 53 years ago. From those steps he called us to be a nation who fought for the ideals of Jesus, ideals built on courage, and ideals built on equal rights and justice for all people.
 
Perhaps as people who study, pray, and work to embody the life of Jesus, we should call ourselves “people of good courage” or even “people of good couraging.” This week I invite us to find ways to courage. Perhaps it is in your personal life, by taking a deliberate step toward healing and wholeness. Perhaps it is in your prayer life, by taking intensive time to find where God is calling you to courage in your life situation. Perhaps it is in our community life, by taking part in efforts like the “Women’s March on Montana” to demonstrate that our communities and state can come together to be a place where all people are respected, represented and have a voice (www.womensmarchmontana.com/).
 
I invite you to join me in “couraging” this week as a way to live your faith.
 
Enthusiastic Couraging and Peace,
Pastor Tyler


Pastor’s Corner – Jan. 8, 2017

St. Paul’s is blessed with amazing staff who support our many ministries, missions, and the spiritual life we grow here at St. Paul’s.  Over the last 8 months we have been working to develop that team and to bring on a new staff member to be a part of our team.  The goal for our changing staff team is to bring on people willing to serve and empower the members of our church in continuing to share God’s love in Helena and work for good. 

At the end of December, we invited Hailey Cole to join the staff team as the Facility and Finance Coordinator.  She will be helping us manage the church buildings, do the in house financial work, and be support for our Trustees and Finance Team.  Sue McNicol our Parish Administrator will be training Hailey and then shifting to provide leadership for the Discipleship, Education, and Communications functions in our office.  I want to share a special thank you with Sue and Renata Strauss, our Administrative Assistant, as well as other staff who have provided coverage during this transition.  We are truly honored to have passionate people employed to support our congregation and ministry, and are glad to welcome Hailey to this group. 

We are excited to have Hailey joining our team.  She comes highly recommended and is bringing some incredible skills and knowledge to us.  I invite you to welcome her as you see her on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.  Be sure to share your name with her and know there are a lot of us, so introduce yourself multiple times. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at St. Paul’s.  I really enjoy working with both the financial and facility pieces of organizations.  After working for Helena Parks and Recreation for a number of years, first as a lifeguard and then as the Administrative Assistant supporting finances and building rentals, this is a welcome opportunity.

In my spare time I love traveling abroad, baking gluten free cupcakes, walking downtown, and getting lost in a good book.” – Hailey Cole

 

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler



Pastor’s Corner – Dec. 18, 2016

This week, in the midst of our Christmas preparations and activity, we observe the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.  There is also, of course, a summer solstice – a longest day – but it doesn’t seem to have the impact that the winter solstice has.  The longest night seems to beckon us to reflection and prayer.

              

One of my favorite ‘winter solstice’ poems was written in 1923 by Robert Frost. Perhaps you too remember reading or even memorizing these haunting words:

 

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

 

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Though I knew the poem, I didn’t know the story. Frost himself shared it with a young man named N. Arthur Bleau, who after a poetry reading asked Frost that standard and unanswerable question – Which poem is your favorite? At first, Frost replied that he liked them all equally. But after the reading, Frost invited Bleau up to the stage and told him that really his favorite was “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
 
Then, he shared the poem’s back story.

It was on a winter solstice when Frost and his wife knew they were poor enough that they probably wouldn’t be able to buy Christmas presents for their children. Frost was a farmer, but not a very successful one. He took whatever produce he had and took it into town with horse and wagon to see if he could sell enough to buy some gifts.

He didn’t sell anything. He didn’t buy any presents. He headed home as evening came and it began to snow. The coldness of the journey reflected his inner pain. He had failed as a farmer, but right then he had failed in some way as a father and as a provider. Frost told Bleau that he “bawled like a baby.”

Maybe his horse sensed his mood or inattention because it stopped in the middle of a wood that wasn’t near home. They were still. The snow continued to fall. They were in woods owned by someone who lived in town and might have been a wealthy landowner.  Then the horse shook and jingled its bells. A reminder of Christmas and a reminder to go on and get home to his family.”

The winter solstice often reminds us of such times in our own lives.  That’s why we celebrate an evening of interfaith reflection and prayer this week.  Join us this Wednesday at 7 p.m. for our Solstice Celebration:  Leaning Toward the Light.  Wilbur Rehmann and Friends will share Jazz, the young fiddler Brigid Reedy and her brother Johnny will share some tunes, Sarah Elkins and our choir director Jillian Newton will sing.  And we will light candles and share prayer with the members of Jewish community of Helena.  Together we will ‘lean toward the light’ on the longest night of the year.

 

               Grace and peace, Marianne



Pastor’s Corner – Dec. 11, 2016

This letter is from Sally McConnell the Yellowstone Annual Conference Missions Coordinator.  One of our primary missions as a conference is supporting pastors in East Angola through our United Methodist connection. I invite us to learn a little more about this amazing program that members of our church continue to support.

Pastor Tyler

Friends of Yellowstone Conference,

The pastors we support in East Angola are doing essential ministry and changing the lives of people in need. Pastor Serrote has been a pastor for four years. You may wonder why he has just finished high school. For almost 40 years Angola suffered through wars— first of independence, then a civil war. Whole generations missed out on an education. Angola was on a path of rebuilding, until the drop in oil severely impacted their economy.

Rev. Andre Cassule visited Yellowstone Conference this past spring. He traveled all across our conference sharing his story of faith and ministry, and the impact that YAC is having half-way around the world in small villages and towns in Angola. His ministry is not only on weekends where he enriches people’s lives in faith, but he has also started an agricultural project for the people in his village where they raise food together to benefit the individuals and the church.

You can watch a short video of him by going to

The United Methodist Church in the U.S.A. faces struggles and uncertainties right now. But what IS certain is this: The pastors we support in East Angola are doing essential ministry, and changing lives. WE have the opportunity to offer hope. Your continued support of pastors is needed. $50 a month makes a difference. As Rev. Cassule said:

“My family and I need you in order to serve Jesus.”

You can give through your church using Advance

# 3021453 (Angola pastor support), or by going to www.umcmission.org/give-to-mission and use the above Advance #. Learn more by going to yacumc.org/eastangolapastorsupport.

Sally McConnell

Yellowstone Conference Missions Coordinator

“I want to thank Yellowstone Conference for their support with
supplement salary for the pastors in UMC East Angola, because it is
the only income most of us and our families survive on. I have particularly benefited a lot from this support because I managed to pay
school fees for my education at Quessua High School, where I graduated at the 12th grade last year. I also enrolled for a Bible course at
the Faculty of Theology, where the savings from your support has
enabled me to buy writing materials for my studies. I am also supporting my two siblings with school fees with the same stipend.”

– Pastor Famoloso Domingoes Serrote, 24