January 17 2016 Pastor’s Corner

As United Methodists one of the incredible gifts of connected ministry is being able to collaborate through pooling our resources to support ministries in diverse places. This is the Sunday that United Methodist Churches recognize Human Relations Sunday. On this Sunday we all collect a special offering to benefit ministries in the United States and Puerto Rico that encourage Social Justice and works with at-risk youth. The gifts we share help to build community across all races and people and help to embody Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a beloved community.

Human Relations Sunday offering is distributed in 3 areas:

“Fifty-seven percent of the offering goes toward the Community Developers program, related to the General Board of Global Ministries. These persons work in racial- and ethnic-minority communities in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Another Global Ministries-affiliated effort benefiting from the Human Relations Day offering is the United Methodist Voluntary Services Program—UMVS, for short—which gets 33 percent of the offering. Essential to this program are grassroots organizations that work through youth and young adult volunteers to challenge oppression and injustice.

Also benefiting from the Human Relations Day offering is the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. Related to the General Board of Church and Society, it receives 10 percent of the offering.” (umcgiving.org)

So on this human relations Sunday I invite us to be seek ways to share in this offering and in our own lives to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied to a single garment of destiny.” King’s dream is modeled directly on the words of Christ and is at the heart of St. Paul’s mission of good.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler



January 10 – From Our Parish Administrator

As we begin the New Year, I am excited to introduce you to our newest staff member, Renata Strauss. Renata became a member our team on January 3 and is quickly acclimating to St. Paul’s and her role as Administrative Assistant.

A conventional “first day” for a new employee at St. Paul’s might include an introductory brunch with staff, a tour of our buildings, an overview of our various programs and ministries and perhaps a chance to settle into the workspace. However, as we all know, St. Paul’s is not exactly conventional. Consequently, let me describe Renata’s first day at St. Paul’s. She arrived at 9 AM to an office bustling with activity. Two volunteers were hard at work assisting with office functions and the pastors were meeting with coordinators of ministry and worship to plan for upcoming services. Staff were bouncing from phones to computers trying to address immediate needs and schedule events. All the while, Renata was patiently observing, asking relevant questions and greeting new faces. At some point she did receive a tour and an overview, however the best part of her orientation came from you…the St. Paul’s community. It was exciting for me to watch Renata experience the vibrant energy of St. Paul’s in action. Our office was abuzz with people dropping by to sign up for classes, deliver donations, and provide assistance in preparation for committee meetings and so much more. Renata was blessed with an opportunity to meet our remarkable Christian community in action…FULL THROTTLE!

No employee handbook can begin to describe the activity and culture of St. Paul’s. It must be experienced. The past few months have been especially challenging for staff as we have struggled through busy times and learning new tasks. It has been all of you who have made the work of St. Paul’s possible through this transition and who continue to make St. Paul’s an extraordinary missional community. We have selfless volunteers assisting us at every juncture and as a result are able to weather change and provide continuous service and ministry. My heartfelt thanks to all of you.

I invite you to stop by the church office and introduce yourself to Renata (she works 9 AM – 1 PM). Share your name, but more importantly, share with her your involvement with St. Paul’s. You are the living, breathing handbook for those new to St. Paul’s. Please join me in welcoming Renata, her husband Eric, son Mack (age 5) and daughter Ada (age 6) to our community.

Forever grateful –

Sue McNicol – Parish Administrator


January 3 2016 Pastor’s Corner

Greetings to you this Christmas Season,

Youth are an incredibly important part of our mission here at St. Paul’s. As a Christian community we value creating ways for young people to build community and explore their spiritual lives. At the core of this belief is our commitment to having a Youth Ministry Coordinator as an integral part of our church staff.

Over the past 9 years, Meg White has served in this capacity with an incredible amount of grace and love. Meg has helped us explore the issues facing youth, helped the youth build safe community to grow in their faith, and pulled together an incredible cohort of adult leaders to support the youth of St. Paul’s. Meg’s work has been a testament to our hope that we can be a loving faith community for all ages. Thank you Meg! We look forward to honoring you in a celebration later this winter.

With Meg’s resignation we must now explore how we continue this legacy of ministry with young people. This means we want to take adequate time to search for our next full-time Youth Coordinator. In the interim, we have asked Meladie Brandle to serve as an Interim Youth Program Manager. Meladie has been the adult serving our Youth Leadership Team this year. She is also a dedicated member of St. Paul’s. Meladie’s primary responsibility will be organizing and maintaining our Wednesday evening and Sunday morning youth programs. We are thrilled to have Meladie’s help with these vital parts of youth ministry.

Over the next few months the Staff Parish Relations Committee will put together information and materials for an extensive Youth Ministry Coordinator search. We hope to complete this interview process sometime later in the spring. In the meantime we can use your help. First, please support Meladie by your prayers as she continues the Sunday and Wednesday programs. Please offer to help her, if you are able. Contact Pastor Tyler if you are interested in helping to coordinate an extra program for youth – such as campfires, a day at the lake, organizing rides to Convo or Junior High Retreats, or some other creative activity. We are able to offer a few of these kind of activities for youth, but we need your help to do so.

We are thankful for the ministry of Meg, and hopeful for a strong continuation of our youth program.

Blessings,

Pastor Marianne and Pastor Tyler


December 27 Pastor’s Corner

May the blessings of Christmas be yours in abundance!
 
I don’t know about you but I immensely enjoy the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It always seems to be a more restful time, especially after the frenzy of preparation for Christmas. I hope you get some of that restful, playful, enjoyable time in the week to come.
 
For Lyle and me, this year’s Advent preparation was even busier than normal. Just before Thanksgiving, a health concern was raised during Lyle’s annual physical. He has spent the weeks of Advent undergoing various tests. As many of you know from experience, medical tests often involve a lot of waiting and hoping and wondering – all of which is very much in keeping with the spirit of Advent! From very early in this process, we knew that his diagnosis included cancer so we have been working with the Cancer Center at St. Peter’s. We both want to affirm the excellent care we have received. We are incredibly blessed to have such a high quality of medical care here in Helena.
 
On December 18, we received the diagnosis that Lyle’s tumor is an unusual and rare cancer and is found on his bladder. The recommendation for treatment is surgery as soon as possible. This kind of surgery cannot be done here in Helena so this past week, in the midst of Christmas Eve preparations, we have been to Missoula for a consultation. We hope surgery will be there in the near future. When we have more information, we will be glad to pass it along but, until then, we both simply ask for your prayers and support.
 
The St. Paul’s staff has been so helpful as they have covered things I could not get to. Many thanks to them and to all of you who have offered help. I’m sure we will take you up on your offers in the future but, for now, we simply ask for your understanding if calls are not returned immediately or if we are unable to respond to requests.
 
As you know, we are both the leaders of the group which leaves for the Holy Land in mid-January. Lyle will not be able to go but we are hoping that I will indeed be accompanying the group. Again, we are still awaiting further word.
 
Again, thanks for your prayers! Lyle and I consider ourselves richly blessed to be part of a community like St. Paul’s. Though there is much we do not know about what the future holds, we do indeed trust in the One who holds the future!
May 2016 bring an abundance of blessings to us all!
 
Grace and peace,
Marianne