Sunday, March 15 Pastor’s Corner

A father was walking down a neighborhood street with his young daughter on his shoulders. The child greeted neighbors as they walked past: “Hello, Mrs. DeLong! Hello, Mr. Weller!” The grownups commented on how much she had grown. The puzzled child said, “I haven’t grown this big – I’m just sitting on my dad’s shoulders!”
In many ways, the amazing work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) today is a result of sitting on the shoulders of the people who have come before us, said Denise Honeycutt, UMCOR deputy general secretary. “Seventy-five years ago, the men and women of our church looked out into the world and said, ‘We’ve got to have a conscience as a church reaching out to the world.’ ” Since then, said Honeycutt, we as The United Methodist Church have expanded upon the commitment of the compassionate people who came before. “We are compelled by Christ to alleviate human suffering,” she said.
When you hear about a disaster or humanitarian crisis, and you give to UMCOR one hundred percent of the money you designate goes toward people in need.
How does UMCOR do that? Through the One Great Hour of Sharing. People who give this Sunday, March 15 provide the base of support for UMCOR’s work, explained Honeycutt.
“UMCOR is beloved by many for its ability to respond quickly to needs, whether those needs ever make the news or not,” she said. “The only reason we are able to do that is because people give to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering which provides undesignated funds for UMCOR.”
UMCOR does not receive any apportionment or World Service dollars, she added. “I love the fact that we can say to folks that, when you give to a particular, designated, named ministry, 100 percent of your money will go there because One Great Hour of Sharing covers the costs of administration and provides the foundation for UMCOR.”
I hope you will join me in supporting this special offering . . . it makes a tremendous difference to the most vulnerable people in our world.
Grace and peace, Marianne

Pastor’s Corner March 8, 2015

Today’s sermon is on Jesus’ saying “I Am the Light of the world.” We will learn in our sermon more about how this message invites us to seek God’s loving support as light to shine on our path. Life is hard and there will be challenges we will face. God’s light doesn’t solve all of our problems, but it does help us look ahead to see where we should place our foot to move forward.

As United Methodists we seek tangible ways to offer this same light in the world. One way we do this is through the United Methodist Committee on Relief(UMCOR). This wing of our church swoops in after major disasters caused by nature or humans and establishes long term support to help communities rebuild. When you donate to a specific cause through UMCOR they send 100% of your giving directly to the cause. We have seen this money come back and support our neighbors in Montana who have been victims of flooding and we see this money used internationally in the Syrian crisis and after the Tsunami in the Pacific.

UMCOR has administrative overhead like any organization, but they keep these costs very low and they never use money donated to a cause. Instead their administration relies on the One Great Hour of Sharing. This is the special offering we will take next Sunday, March 15. This donation taken at all United Methodists Churches promises that we can shine a light when great darkness happens. By giving to this special offering we are allowing UMCOR to be properly staffed to go into areas of great need and be the hands and feet of Christ. Next Sunday please give to this cause by using the offering envelope in your bulletin, or by marking One Great Hour when you give on PushPay.

Thank you for helping be the light in the world.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler

Pastor’s Corner March 1, 2015

Hospitality: the quality or disposition of
receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
Hospitality: kindness in welcoming strangers
or guests; receptiveness

Those are nice definitions. And, most of us would say they are true, right? Hospitality is how we show guests and strangers that they matter. There is now an entire industry related to hospitality . . . “The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.” Most of us don’t even blink an eye at that…we all know about the ‘hospitality industry.’ We take advantage of it any time we travel on a business trip or family vacation. We depend on – and judge the success of – the ‘hospitality industry’ by how well we feel treated when we visit out of town or out of state or, even out of the country. How many of us have told stories of how well we were treated – or how poorly – and made recommendations based on that experience? That’s precisely why the ‘hospitality industry’ makes such an effort to train employees in the art of hospitality.
As I’ve thought about these things, I can’t help but wonder why, when we think of the ‘hospitality industry’ we rarely include the church? Shouldn’t the church be at the center of any talk about hospitality? Oh, I know, we don’t like to think of ourselves as an ‘industry.’ Still, aren’t we fundamentally in the hospitality business?
The church is responsible for lots of things…for worship and education and mobilizing for mission. We work with all ages – from children to seniors. But, at the heart of it all is our responsibility to share the gracious love of God. We are meant to share the wonder and welcome of a God whose arms stretch wider and whose love is beyond anything we can imagine. At the heart of all of our doctrines and dogmas and discipline is the fact that God so loved the world that nothing could ever separate God from humanity. Perhaps that is the ultimate in hospitality . . . that in God’s eyes there are no strangers, only beloved guests.
And so the question for us is . . . how are we doing at ‘receiving and treating our guests and strangers in a warm, friendly and generous way’? It is a ministry and a responsibility for each one of us . . .from having the courtesy to wear a name tag to introducing yourselves to the people around you, to helping someone find a restroom, to . . . well, I suspect you have an idea or two.
This Lenten season, as you assess your life, take a moment to consider our fundamental call to offer hospitality to one another – not only because it’s the nice thing to do but because it is how we best share the love of God right here, right now!


Grace and peace,

Pastor’s Corner February 22, 2015

And so Lent begins. This Sunday you will notice the colors in the sanctuary have gone from stark greens to deep reflective purple. The curtains on the windows have been closed to invite us to reflect inwardly. All of this is done to help us remember it is the church season of Lent. Lent is the period of time leading up to Easter. In the ancient church Lent was used prepare Christians for their baptism. People would learn about Jesus, his teachings, God’s love, and how to practice the faith to help them listen for God’s call in their lives.

The invitation for us this lent is to take the season to reflect on our faith and to seek a re-connection with our original call from God to practice Christian faith. This year both HUMM(Helena United Methodist Ministry) churches, St. Paul’s and Covenant, will be partaking in a sermon and study series entitled The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” sayings of Jesus. Each Sunday we will explore a different “I Am” saying from Jesus and I invite you to follow along, learn more about the character of our God, Jesus, and the Spirit of our tradition. By Easter morning, our hope is that you have found at least a few moments to reconnect with God’s love and remember your call to be a disciple.

As a part of this Lenten journey I would like to invite you to participate in at least one Wednesday night Lenten service, from 6:30pm – 7:00pm. These are prayer services designed to give you time to reflect and engage with God in a hands on way. Each night begins with a short message and is followed by 15-20 minutes of time to prayerfully explore the sanctuary and partake in hands on prayer stations. Each one is designed to help you reflect on a different aspect of faith. If you want an example of one please check out the 1,500 Blessings and Counting station in the back of the sanctuary. This one is designed to help us reflect on how St. Paul’s has blessed our community and us by being a welcoming community of Faith for 150 years.

I invite us all to journey in Lent this season, to seek God, and to be renewed in resurrection.

Enthusiastic Peace,
Pastor Tyler