Pastor’s Corner – Sept. 4, 2016

            A week ago, Lyle and I were in The Villages, Florida for a 90th birthday celebration for my Dad.  It was a great gathering hosted by my sisters and their spouses, and my brothers and their spouses.  Some of the grandchildren were also there.  The ‘official’ part of the birthday gathering included a family dinner on Friday night and then an open house for Dad’s friends on Sunday afternoon.  Of course, we also spent time at the pool and Lyle even got an opportunity for a round of golf.  (However, with the temps hovering at 90 degrees, coupled with 90% humidity, I think the pool was the best option!) 

            When we gathered at my sister’s home for the open house, I had an opportunity to greet several people I have come to know over my years of visiting my parents in Florida.  There was a steady stream of people who stopped by to say hi.  At one point in the afternoon, my Dad asked me to come with him to meet a couple who had just arrived.  I was surprised when the man took my hand and declared . . . “I know you! I watch you every Sunday on the livestream from your church.  I love going to church at St. Paul’s in Helena, Montana!” 

            Now, that was a first!  I knew that we had a rather large email list for sermons but I did not know that our congregation now stretches as far as Florida! 

            It has been a year and a half now since we were forced to end the longstanding radio broadcast of our 11 a.m. service.  That was a big change and one that worried many of us. Still, when the radio station more than tripled the costs, we looked for other ways to make our worship service available to those unable to be in church on a Sunday morning.  In the end, we made the decision to livestream our worship service and to make that recording available to HCTV for re-broadcast on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.  

            None of this has happened without a great deal of effort. Tyler has organized and trained our camera techs.  Thanks to all of you who have taken on that responsibility!   There are others who work to make the online logistics of the livestream experience work.  Earlier this year, when Lyle was in the hospital, I livestreamed our service and was amazed at how user-friendly it is – and how connected I felt to the St. Paul’s community.  I was even able to make a donation through our PushPay app!

            Change can be difficult and yet, because we were willing to explore new options, we have an ever growing St. Paul’s congregation – even in Florida!   

            Don’t miss our Welcome Home event next Sunday . . . See you then!

            Grace and peace, Marianne



Pastor’s Corner – August 28, 2016

Education has long been a centerpiece of the United Methodist tradition.  This goes back to John and Charles Wesley who received a strong education from their mother Susanna.  Susanna was a woman who had an incredible education background for a woman in her era.  Susanna knew several languages, knew the Bible well, and passed on her vast knowledge to her children.   In Montana, Methodists have long worked for education one great example is the founding of the college that is now Rocky Mountain College in Billings.  Due to this history we believe that people can change the world when empowered through a good education and with the support of a spirit filled community.

 

In this spirit it is important for us to continue learning as a congregation on how we can help our community to be a place that supports education.  The only way for us to do this is by learning to be missional and connecting with our schools. 

 

miss-ion-al

Adverb/Adjective

  1. Describing an act of sharing God’s love in the community.
  2. Existing as part of the above act.

 

Today, during worship we are going to be missional in several ways.  First, we are going to bless the backpacks of our students heading back to school.  We want our children to know that we care about their education and that we are supporting them as they learn.  As we bless backpacks we hope that God’s love is at work in our schools through children, educators, and staff.  Second, we will take a student offering to support students through scholarships administered by our United Methodist connection.  This shows we support people connecting with knowledge in our global community.  Finally, we will be invited to write letters to educators and staff in our schools.  Specifically, we will write messages of support to all of Central Elementary School’s staff and teachers as our neighborhood school, and then write letters to others in our school districts we want to support.  A form letter can be found at stpaulshelena.org/letters-to-educators/

Gracious God bless our teachers, staff, and students as they return to another year of learning.

Enthusiastic Peace,

 

Pastor Tyler

 



Pastor’s Corner – August 14, 2016

You have perhaps noticed the announcement of a job opening here at St. Paul’s.  We are advertising for a Finance and Facilities Coordinator.  (Check out the job description at www.stpaulshelena.org/jobs )  Let me share a bit of information about what has brought us to this point.
 

As you know, over the past year we have had some staff changes in our office – and, of course, with my retirement next year, we anticipate more changes as well.  Personnel changes often provide an opportunity for an organization to review job requirements and needs.  They also provide an opportunity to look at ‘how we’ve always done things’ in new ways.  Over the past year – and particularly over this summer – we have been doing exactly that. In the process, some of us have taken on added responsibilities. Others have expressed an interest in new opportunities. Our Staff Parish Relations Committee has helped us assess skills and needs and develop appropriate job descriptions.  All of that has resulted in the current job opening.

The position for which we are advertising has not existed here before in exactly this form.  Let me assure you that Sue McNicol will continue as our Parish Administrator but some of her current duties will shift to the new position and she will assume some program responsibilities, especially in the area of Adult Ministry.  Tyler will assume other program responsibilities.  In particular, Tyler will be working with a team of people in a process called the ‘Whole Church Initiative’ which is designed to help us assess where we are and how God may be calling us as we move into a new and exciting future.   The responsibility for communications (i.e. bulletin, newsletter, social media, website) is shared by Sue, Tyler and Renata. 

As we move into the ministry year, Lynn will be continuing her amazing work as our Coordinator of Children’s Ministries as well as overseeing our Caring Ministries and the Wednesday Night Dinner program. Mel Brandle will be continuing as our Interim Youth Coordinator.

Overall, the desire in our assessing and planning and reorganizing in the office has been to be good stewards of our resources – and creative in looking at possibilities. We all know that this year will bring changes . . . it already has!  But, change, though difficult sometimes, also brings opportunity for growth and new life.  And, I trust that is exactly what is in store for the amazing community of St. Paul’s and the larger community we call HUMM (Helena United Methodist Ministries).

So, if you are interested, do check out the job description and consider whether you are being called to be part of our ministry at this exciting time! 

            Grace and peace, 

            Marianne



Pastor’s Corner – August 7, 2016

            As you well know by now, Tyler, in his role as our clergy delegate to General Conference has provided wonderful leadership to our denomination.  At our Jurisdictional Conference in July, he was part of electing the woman who will be our new bishop in just a month. She is incredibly qualified and gifted for leadership and I look forward to meeting her.  Besides electing bishops, however, the Jurisdictional Conference also nominates clergy and lay people to serve on General Boards and Agencies in our denomination.  To do this a ‘jurisdictional nominating committee’ is convened and meets for the better part of a day leading into Jurisdictional Conference.

            Our Western Jurisdiction, though large in geography, is relatively small in numbers – especially compared to the African church or to the South East and South Central Jurisdictions of the United States.  As a result, our representation on various committees and agencies is proportionally smaller.  Still, the nominating committee does its work, nominating lay and clergy leaders to represent us. 

            I was more than a little surprised when Rev. Jeremy Scott, our clergy delegate serving on the nominating committee, called to tell me that I had been nominated (and subsequently elected) to serve on the Connectional Table 
 
of the United Methodist Church for the 2016-2020 quadrennium. We were only allotted one delegate from the entire Western Jurisdiction and I am honored to have been given this responsibility! 
 
            The Connectional Table was created by the 2004 General Conference “to serve as both the visioning body of the church and the steward of resources to carry out the vision of the denomination worldwide.  The purpose of the Connectional Table is to discern and articulate the vision for the church and the stewardship of the mission, ministries, and resources of The United Methodist Church as determined by General Conference and in consultation with the Council of Bishops.

The 2004 General Conference made clear that ‘the Connectional Table is to be motivated by faithfulness to the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ; global in scope and holistic in understanding; inclusive in nature and collaborative in style; and while being efficient in the stewardship of resources, be transparent, accessible, and accountable in all relationships.’”

The Council of Bishops both leads and collaborates with the Connectional Table. In fact, our first meeting, the organizational meeting, in early November is in conjunction with the fall meeting of the Council of Bishops. Besides the Jurisdictional representatives, the CT includes members from the agencies of the Church, each of the ethnic caucuses and many other groups involved in leadership in the UMC. I’m still learning about it all myself . . . I’ll know more when things get started!

I am quite aware that it will be an interesting and important time to be serving on the Connectional Table.  I’ll work hard to represent us in the Western Jurisdiction well – and I’ll keep you informed as we deal with the issues facing us as a denomination in the months to come.

Grace and peace,

Marianne