Pastor’s Corner – July 30

Can We Help the Buzz?
These hot summer days have us all running inside to stay cool and dry. This abnormal weather can also help remind us of our brothers and sisters who cannot escape this heat or its struggles. Our friends in Brazil, in particularly but not exclusively, continue to fight with malaria and Zika Virus outbreaks. Women and children have been hit hardest with the outbreaks, according to Human Rights Watch. This is simply because of the work done within the home. Families are urged to avoid standing water in their houses because mosquito larvae thrive there, but most families don’t have reliable running water, and hold water in tanks. It is typically the women and girls’ job to stock pile water while the tap is running. Legitimate measurements to keep the water covered and repelled are also taken, but it isn’t enough. Most Brazilians live without adequate sewage and disposal. All of these factors are causing easy transmission of Zika, predominantly in pregnancy, and proper medical care for children born with Zika Syndrome is extensive and expensive.
Many things need to be put into place for malaria and Zika to be eradicated, many of which are government investment in infrastructure for sewer and water. But there are ways we can help prevent the spread of the virus. Imagine No Malaria, a United Methodist initiative, is continuing to work to eradicate the spread of diseases via mosquitoes across the world. Insecticide-treated bed nets and education about transmission are part of Imagine’s preventative work. More accurate diagnoses, access to medication, proper drainage systems, and training for community health workers are all part of their treatment work. Because of this continual work, malaria deaths are half what they were. This is God at work in our world.
If you would like to help this cause even more, visit for resources and ways to donate. And when you swat a mosquito on your arm this summer, say a little prayer for those whom a mosquito bite means so much more.
Pastor Sami

Pastor’s Corner – July 23

Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
Creation reflects its Creator. How do you see God in creation? How does the spirit speak to you through nature?

This morning, as I was walking across the parking lot to work, a beautiful bank of light purple flowers caught my eye. I was enjoying their beauty when I noticed a lone bright yellow flower standing out amongst the purple ones. It reminded me to let my light shine today. To be me. Flowers speak to us when we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

The next 6 weeks in worship we will be exploring what flowers can teach us about life, faith, and God. Each flower is unique in shape, size, color, beauty, aroma. Each speaks to us in its own way. Come and reflect with us on the messages flowers speak to us.

I also encourage you, as you are out in nature, whether it is on a trail, or in your garden, or in a parking lot, to open your eyes and ears to what the Spirit might be whispering to you through Creation.

Walking in the path of grace,

Pastor Patti

Pastor’s Corner – July 9

When I was in college I took a public speaking class. One of my assignments was to write a short speech on a favorite saying. I chose, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I don’t know why I remember that, but it came to mind this week as I was reflecting back on my life and the joys and challenges I have faced. I guess I have always tried to see all experiences, whether good or bad, as opportunities to grow. Otherwise bitterness, anger, and resentment can take over my heart and joy eludes me. Perhaps the biblical equivalent is Romans 8:28, “in all things God works for good.”
I’m reading an inspiring book, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, by Henri Nouwen. The title is a good summary of his theme: spiritual formation is not so much religious practices we add into our lives, but rather paying attention to how we experience the spirit of God moving in our daily lives. In the first chapter he talks about time. We typically view time as chronos, the series of events that make up our days. And we never have enough of this kind of time! He encourages us to view time as kairos, which I’ve heard defined as God’s time.
When we view time as kairos then we train ourselves to see God’s hands at work in our everyday moments and every moment becomes a potential connection to God, whether we are doing chores, spending time with someone, resting, playing, or serving another. Each moment and each activity becomes an opportunity to receive the love of God, to be transformed by the love of God, and/or to share the love of God. Our days then, become a mosaic of God’s work in our lives. This sounds all too simple, but it is challenging for me. My “To Do” list tends to control my life. But, in the moments I can focus on kairos, and increase my awareness of God’s activity in my life, life becomes lemonade!
How do you see God at work in your daily life? I would love to hear your story!
Walking in Grace,

Pastor’s Corner – July 2

This Sunday we welcome our new pastoral team to Helena. They will be celebrating communion with us at both Covenant and St. Paul’s. They will be serving as the new pastoral team in Helena covering pastoral duties at both St. Paul’s and Covenant. This new pastoral configuration will allow both congregations to get to know Pastor Patti and Pastor Sami as their spiritual and faith community leaders. Pastor Tyler will remain with us through mid-September to serve in an interim capacity and support the new team.

Rev. Dr. Patti Agnew
Patti Agnew grew up on the beaches of southern California, in Pacific Palisades. She got her bachelors degree in Mathematics, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, always intending to be a high school math teach. But God redirected her and she got her Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained as a United Methodist elder In the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1994. In 2016 she completed her Doctor of Ministry degree, also from Fuller. She has served rural and suburban churches throughout Colorado in her 23 years as a pastor.
Patti is a single mom with two daughters in college, Amanda and Natalie, who will both be here the last week of July. She also has a dog, Molly. Patti loves hiking in the mountains, she already hiked up to the top of Mt. Helena last Sunday. She is a Colorado Rockies baseball fan. She loves chocolate, gymnastics, and ice cream. And she feels closest to God when she is out in nature. She is excited to begin this new chapter of life here in Helena with the great people of St. Paul’s and Covenant!
Rev. Sami Pack-Toner
Sami grew up in Sheridan, Montana and then moved to Great Falls for college. She was a lifeguard through high school, college, and seminary. She moved to North Carolina for seminary, and worked at churches there for 3 years. After graduation, she was appointed to Choteau and Pendroy United Methodist Churches and have served there the past 3 years. Sami was just ordained this last month by our Bishop. Sami and her husband Shane enjoy golf, swimming, snowboarding, dirt biking, fly fishing, and hiking.