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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Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 25, 2016

The United Methodist book of disciplines states, “No person deserves to be stigmatized because of mental illness (Paragraph 162x, 2012). As faithful Christians we believe this to be true and, as Helena United Methodists, we walk in the NAMI WALK each year. Additionally, Thursday night we will be hosting an interfaith gathering to help our community focus on the wellbeing of Montana’s children relating to their mental and physical well-being. This relates back to our work during our 150th celebration at St. Paul’s when we partnered with Intermountain to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). This study has helped communities understand how trauma can inform how they offering support to children and adults. To learn more about ACES we invite you to watch the presentation from last year at www.goo.gl/bCeFGG

NAMI Montana is the Montana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI Montana supports, educates, and advocates for Montanans with severe mental illnesses and their families. The 2016 Montana NAMI Walk will be held on today, 12:30 at Memorial Park in Helena. This is a great opportunity to join the fight against mental illness in Montana. Join us to help “stomp out stigma” by donating, joining our team, or offering a prayer to assist in this cause. If you would like to donate to our team go to http://www.namiwalks.org/team/HUMM. If you would like to join us for the walk today meet us on the north side of the playground at Memorial Park, by the picnic benches just after noon.

On Thursday, September 29 at 7pm we will be hosting an interfaith gathering for those concerned about adversity and trauma in children’s lives. This event is designed to help our community unify around the common cause of the wellbeing of Montana’s children. Chaplain Chris Haughee of Intermountain and Kimberly Konkel, Assistant Director of Faith Based Initiatives for Trauma-Informed Congregations in Washington, D.C. will be leading the gathering. The service will focus on creating space for different traditions to express their desire to support our children.

We hope both these events provide an opportunity for our faith community to grow our faith and go in mission.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler


Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 18, 2016

loveYesterday was the installation of our new Bishop Karen Oliveto.  In an interview with the Denver Post she stated her hope for our churches was that each community would live better because one of our churches was there.  Bishop Karen’s work as a Bishop will be focused on helping our churches make an impact on our community through an expression of United Methodist grace and love.  I am personally thankful for Bishop Karen’s leadership and am excited about this dynamic vision of ministry in our area.  I encourage you to follow Bishop Karen’s letters and updates at http://www.mountainskyumc.org.

This Sunday I will be preaching on love, and our call as Christians to love our neighbors.  A few weeks ago I discovered a website called westandwithlove.org.  It is a movement starting in our country by authors, preachers, celebrities and everyday people to overcome the divisive rhetoric of this political and cultural time in our country.  The website states the following, “We are coming together to say NO to the hate rhetoric that threatens to divide us and YES to more just and generous ways of living with and loving one another.”  They do not advocate certain political views, but instead invite us to bridge the divide and listen to one another with respect.  This movement is an invitation for individuals and faith communities to step up when we hear hate and encourage rhetoric that is respectful of differing views. 

As a church it is our role to teach love to adults, youth and children.  Jesus gave us this example over and over again by telling us to love our neighbor and to love God.  Last month I shared my concern about the division in our country in a sermon and in an article for the Independent Record, Religion Page.  While my concern about our division is strong, my faith in a God who can overcome our division and bring love is stronger.  I invite us all this season to seek places to stand up for love and to follow Bishop Karen’s lead to make our community better.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Tyler Amundson



Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 11, 2016

Today we celebrate our annual ‘Welcome Home’ Sunday.  This is an event started years ago as a way to launch the new ‘ministry year.’  It is an opportunity to sign up for classes, to enroll children in Promiseland and Youth Group and to become more familiar with the wide array of activities that comprise St. Paul’s.  Even more, it is an official ‘welcome back’ from summer activities and vacations that often take us away on weekends.  Now things are more or less back to normal for many of us. Schedules are more regular and life settles down. Of course, my hope is that a ‘back to normal’ schedule will include regular involvement of some kind at St. Paul’s!

This year, Welcome Home Sunday includes a new display in the Fellowship Hall.  We have known for a while that, sometimes, people don’t know exactly how to get involved at St. Paul’s.  So, you’ll find a ‘what if’ table!  Tracie Kenyon from the Stewardship Team will be there, available to chat about interests and possibilities.  We don’t know if we’ll be able to create exactly what you might be looking for . . . but we certainly want to look at options and begin to lean into a future with new ideas.  Maybe your brainstorm is just what others are looking for too! 

As you look around today, you’ll notice a lot of gold.  We are celebrating today as our ‘golden birthday.’  Those of you with young children know that a ‘golden birthday’ is the birthday when you turn the same age as the day of your birthday.  My golden birthday was the October 22nd when I turned 22 (a few years ago now!).  It was exactly 11 years ago today, September 11, that we moved into this beautiful sanctuary.  There was a lot of excitement on that day as we worshiped here for the first time. And over the past years, we have grown into the space – gradually making improvements and getting comfortable with our church home.   Thanks to all of you who have done the hard work of weathering change and making adjustments and offering grace as we’ve made this space our home!  Happy Golden Birthday to us all . . . and, Welcome Home!  Even more, welcome to a year of new opportunities to live and grow as people of faith! 
 
Grace and peace,
Marianne