Pastor’s Corner 10/20/2019

Borrow the Sugar

                 Sarah Lazarovic says, “we don’t borrow sugar as much as we used to…this isn’t to say that pockets of sugar-sharers don’t exist, but most of us avoid asking.” With our 24-hour stores, and it just plain being more simple to buy our own, borrow we must. The fabric of community is fraying, and the habit of borrowing is a habit that knits community and connection.

                 Sarah’s article struck a chord with me because I struggle to borrow. Whether it be a strange work schedule or my introverted ways, I rarely speak to my neighbors, much less ask to borrow something. I come by it naturally, too, coming from Montana with its German Belt roots. Self-sustaining is the thread of most of our northern communities. But, that doesn’t mean borrowing things can’t be a part of the boot straps. In fact, I am sure the key to successful self-sustenance is connection.
                  Sarah continues, “the average drill is used 13 minutes in its lifetime. So, don’t go buy the drill, even if it is on sale. Go borrow your neighbor Jane’s drill. You may feel awkward doing this because asking to borrow something can feel vulnerable. It takes practice to create a culture of sharing.” 
                  Because it is more than borrowing a drill. You are borrowing the drill because you also want to get to know your neighbor Jane. It helps us feel more connected, even if it is loosely. It fights loneliness and sadness.
                  As we explore what being a prophet means, and we continue to ponder what stewardship means, I encourage you to borrow the sugar; to get to know people that society says we are supposed to know. It can be an act of rebellion.
To read Sarah’s full article, visit

Pastor’s Corner 10/13/2019

      During many of the Pastor Meet & Greets, in response to the question, “Why does church matter to you?” MANY of you said something along the lines of, “because it is the church that surrounds you with love and carries you through the hard times.”
      All I can say to this is AMEN! Even though my cancer care is only just now rounding the corner to the second phase (chemo begins Monday, October 14th), I am overwhelmed by your prayers, meals, hugs and other forms of kindness and generosity. If one can recover through love alone, I’ve got this licked already because of you!
      As I’ve been researching treatments and what to expect as a patient, I’ve been stunned to discover how many people face serious illness and other life challenges without a network of support. They have “A” person or no one at all. Clergy know that many folks in this world are “dying of loneliness” with low quality of life because of their isolation. But this is the first time I’d put 1+1 together and figured out that the social limitations that compromise emotional well-being also cause further challenges when fatigue and illness make getting to the doctor or putting a meal on the table genuinely hard.
      This makes me wonder what un-spoken needs might exist in our community? Are there those in our congregation or beyond it who need TLC like you are pouring out on me? I’d be happy to share!!! 
      If you, or someone you know could use some support for any reason, please note this on the presence form so we can respond!


Pastor’s Corner 10/6/2019

Happy Fall, Y’all!

        My favorite book growing up was Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The titular character says excitedly: “I am so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I am inclined to agree. October is my favorite month. I love the colors on the trees, the crispness in the air, and yes–I’m not ashamed to admit it–pumpkin spice EVERYTHING!
        Another great part of October is World Communion Sunday. For those who might not know, World Communion Sunday occurs on the first Sunday of every October and is shared by many Christian denominations. The aim is to promote unity and cooperation among churches, through the practice of the Eucharist.
        All around the world, churches will celebrate Communion. Some will use wine, some will use grape juice. Some use wafers and others use King’s Hawaiian bread. Some will worship in grand cathedrals, others in straw huts. In different languages, in different liturgies, and with different elements, we will all testify to God’s grace, given freely to each and every one of us. God invites ALL who hunger and thirst, ALL who need healing and reconciliation. In a world of divisions, of us and them, of haves and have nots, the Table is our common ground.
        My prayer is that when we come to the table, we will be mindful and carry the spirit of “all.” I pray that we can take this spirit with us into our daily lives, that we may let the knowledge of grace lead us out into the world to serve others, particularly those most in need of food, shelter, and love. I echo Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in John 17:20-23:
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, God, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Grace and Peace ,  

“Living Christian” by Angie Cejka

Living Christian

          When I was growing up in the forest of Michigan, my parents taught me two very valuable lessons: always be as independent and self-sufficient as possible, and when you have more than you need you should build a longer table, not a higher fence. They built our family on hard work and generosity – and even though they never took us to church, they taught us to live a Christian life. They lived it, too – my parents worked five jobs between the two of them. Our whole neighborhood was poor, and we often traded and bartered things instead of buying them For instance, we once traded taxidermy services in exchange for our neighbor’s help moving a woodstove into our basement. We rarely bought meat, choosing instead to farm, hunt, and fish; we grew a large garden and canned as much as we could. We shared our harvests with our neighbors, knowing that when we were in need, they would help us as we had helped them. I’ve always carried that message with me.   

          A little over one month ago, a gentleman came into the office here at St. Paul’s. He was a tall, thin veteran and while I could tell he was weary, I immediately sensed a level of peaceful dignity and solitude within him. He had come to us with a simple request: let him stay in the parking lot, in his van, while he got back on his feet and navigated the legal system for the next 45 days. His name is Daniel Laine, and he has been attending St. Paul’s for two years. I shook his hand and invited him to tell his story.
          Daniel, or Dal as he likes to be called, is an incredibly strong person. He has experienced so much in his 60+ years that he prefers to eschew the dramas that come with living rough. Every day, he comes into the office to fill up his water bottles and chat with the staff. Dal is a gentle, kind soul and always willing to lend a hand – on Tuesday, he helped a woman in the parking lot when her car battery was dead. He always offers his help when he sees us in need, and we are so thankful for him. 
          St. Paul’s will always be a home to those who need it. When we have the opportunity to help, our church builds that nice, long table and we invite those in need to sit and share our bounty.   
Angie Cejka
Office and Facilities Coordinator
Helena United Methodist Ministries