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



February 15 Pastor’s Corner

Greetings Friends and Members of St. Paul’s,
 
As I shared in the Pastor’s Corner last week, my husband, Lyle, and I once again invite you to join us on a journey to the Holy Land. Over the past 20+ years, we have led journeys to the Holy Land regularly – usually every 2 or 3 years. We have always delighted in sharing this time with members and friends of our church family. For many, the Bible comes alive in a new way. Often, faith is deepened and enriched. Our trips combine well-planned itineraries with the expertise of an excellent guide (someone we have come to know over the past 20 years) and the support of a good travel company, dedicated to making travel accessible and affordable. While we have loved every journey we have made over the years, we do anticipate that this will be the last one we will lead.
 
The trip is scheduled for Jan. 18 – 29, 2016. All-inclusive pricing is $3796 from Helena or Billings. There are brochures available in the foyer of the church or at the office. If you wish to check it out online, you can find the journey this way: Go to www.EO.travel/mytrip . When asked, enter the following information: Tour=HL16; Date: 1/18/16; Code=H; ID#: 23081. This will take you to a page describing the journey and allow you to download a brochure if you like. You’ll notice that there are small discounts for early registration. We have again secured the services of our guide, Doron. He loves working with our groups and especially loves our itinerary . . . we spend more time in the Holy Land than most groups which allows us to see and experience more. We are also offering a “pre-tour” to Jordan (for an additional $1198). That portion of the journey leaves on Jan. 13 and spends 6 days in Jordan (seeing the actual Baptismal site, the Roman city of Jerash, a full day in Petra, stopping by the Jabbock River, looking over Mt. Nebo to the Promised Land – and, weather permitting, a swim in the Dead Sea). The group then crosses the border, joining those just arrived from the US in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee.
 
I invite you to consider whether this may be the time for you to take this journey. Your relatives and friends are also welcome to join us … there is pricing available from just about every city in the US (and, as you know, often that is priced less than from Helena). Since 1974, the travel company we use, Educational Opportunities, has been dedicated to providing quality Christian travel programs at an affordable price. Over the years, more than 300,000 Christians have traveled on the various faith-based tours. They monitor all situations carefully, ensuring groups are safe and have good experiences.
 
If you are interested, pick up a brochure. Call me with questions. I would love to have a robust group from St. Paul’s travel with us once again….
 
Grace and peace, Marianne


February 8 Pastor’s Corner

Greetings Friends and Members of St. Paul’s,
 
Over the past years, my husband, Lyle, and I have led journeys to the Holy Land regularly – usually every 2 or 3 years. We have always delighted in sharing this time with members and friends of our church family. For many, the Bible comes alive in a new way. Often, faith is deepened and enriched. Our trips combine well-planned itineraries with the expertise of an excellent guide (someone we have come to know over the past 20 years) and the support of a good travel company, dedicated to making travel accessible and affordable.
All of that is to introduce our plans to lead one more journey to the Holy Land. We anticipate that this will be the final time we will lead such a journey. (We may well go back in the future, but it will be simply to see friends and family.)
 
The trip is scheduled for Jan. 18 – 29, 2016. All-inclusive pricing is $3796 from Helena or Billings. There are brochures available in the foyer of the church or at the office. If you wish to check it out online, you can find the journey this way: Go to www.EO.travel/mytrip. When asked, enter the following information: Tour=HL16; Date: 1/18/16; Code=H; ID#: 23081. This will take you to a page describing the journey and allow you to download a brochure if you like. You’ll notice there are small discounts for early registration. We have again secured the services of our guide, Doron. He loves working with our groups and especially loves our itinerary . . . we spend more time in the Holy Land than most groups which allows us to see and experience more. We are also offering a “pre-tour” to Jordan (for an additional $1198). That portion of the journey leaves on Jan. 13 and spends 6 days in Jordan (seeing the actual Baptismal site, the Roman city of Jerash, a full day in Petra, stopping by the Jabbock River, looking over Mt. Nebo to the Promised Land – and, weather permitting, a swim in the Dead Sea). The group then crosses the border, joining those just arrived from the US in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee.
 
I invite you to consider whether this may be the time for you to take this journey. Your relatives and friends are also welcome to join us … there is pricing available from just about every city in the US (and, as you know, often that is priced less than from Helena). Since 1974, the travel company we use, Educational Opportunities, has been dedicated to providing quality Christian travel programs at an affordable price. Over the years, more than 300,000 Christians have traveled on the various faith-based tours. They monitor all situations carefully, ensuring groups are safe and have good experiences.
 
If you are interested, pick up a brochure. Call me with questions. I would love to have a robust group from St. Paul’s travel with us once again….
 
Grace and peace,
Marianne


Sunday, February 1 Pastor’s Corner

“So, is there an afterlife, and if so, what will it be like? I don’t have a clue. But I am confident that the one who has buoyed us up in life will also buoy us up through death. We die into God. What more that means, I do not know. But that is all I need to know.” ~Marcus J. Borg
 
As many of you know by now, one of our most popular lecturers, Dr. Marcus Borg, died unexpectedly on Wednesday morning, Jan. 21. His wife, Marianne, said he ‘rose before the sun.’ She and his son Dane and Dane’s husband, Benjamin, were with him when he died. His daughter and grandson had visited just the weekend before. Marcus had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on December 19 and died from that. It was quick and he was at peace, still filled with hope for the future.
 
Marcus’ death is certainly a loss for the church. He was a consummate scholar who was also passionate about his faith. He wanted the work of sound Biblical scholarship to be readily accessible to the local church and that was precisely the audience to whom he addressed most of his books. Many of you have benefitted from one of his books or a class or a video series that included Marcus’ work.
 
When I went to seminary 25+ years ago, Marcus was a visiting professor at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley (my seminary) while his wife, Marianne, was going to the Episcopal seminary. That was before he had written most of his books! I happened to live in the same duplex as the Borgs and, to make a long story short, we became friends. It is a friendship that has endured and though we haven’t seen them often, we have usually gotten together at least once a year and it always seemed like we could pick up where we left off! We had hoped next to take a trip to Assisi, Italy together.
 
There will be a large public celebration of life for Marcus at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, OR on March 22. Yesterday, on Saturday, Jan. 31, however, there was family celebration at the small Episcopal Church (also called Trinity) in Bend, OR. The Borgs have attended there since moving to Powell Butte in central Oregon several years ago. When I spoke with Marianne Borg last Monday, she whispered the hope that perhaps we might join the family at that service. That is a long way to tell you that that is precisely where Lyle and I are this weekend. Tyler offered to cover preaching here. Su DeBree is covering the service in Lincoln where Lyle was scheduled to be. When she knew we were making the journey, Marianne also asked me to be part of this service for Marcus, one of 3 people offering reflections.
 
My relationship with Marcus has deeply affected my life and my faith. He has been a friend and mentor and I will miss him greatly. I am so grateful he was able to come to St. Paul’s twice so that many of you have caught a glimpse of the blessing he has been – and will continue to be – for thoughtful Christians everywhere.

 

Grace and peace,
Marianne