Pastor’s Corner – August 14, 2016

You have perhaps noticed the announcement of a job opening here at St. Paul’s.  We are advertising for a Finance and Facilities Coordinator.  (Check out the job description at )  Let me share a bit of information about what has brought us to this point.

As you know, over the past year we have had some staff changes in our office – and, of course, with my retirement next year, we anticipate more changes as well.  Personnel changes often provide an opportunity for an organization to review job requirements and needs.  They also provide an opportunity to look at ‘how we’ve always done things’ in new ways.  Over the past year – and particularly over this summer – we have been doing exactly that. In the process, some of us have taken on added responsibilities. Others have expressed an interest in new opportunities. Our Staff Parish Relations Committee has helped us assess skills and needs and develop appropriate job descriptions.  All of that has resulted in the current job opening.

The position for which we are advertising has not existed here before in exactly this form.  Let me assure you that Sue McNicol will continue as our Parish Administrator but some of her current duties will shift to the new position and she will assume some program responsibilities, especially in the area of Adult Ministry.  Tyler will assume other program responsibilities.  In particular, Tyler will be working with a team of people in a process called the ‘Whole Church Initiative’ which is designed to help us assess where we are and how God may be calling us as we move into a new and exciting future.   The responsibility for communications (i.e. bulletin, newsletter, social media, website) is shared by Sue, Tyler and Renata. 

As we move into the ministry year, Lynn will be continuing her amazing work as our Coordinator of Children’s Ministries as well as overseeing our Caring Ministries and the Wednesday Night Dinner program. Mel Brandle will be continuing as our Interim Youth Coordinator.

Overall, the desire in our assessing and planning and reorganizing in the office has been to be good stewards of our resources – and creative in looking at possibilities. We all know that this year will bring changes . . . it already has!  But, change, though difficult sometimes, also brings opportunity for growth and new life.  And, I trust that is exactly what is in store for the amazing community of St. Paul’s and the larger community we call HUMM (Helena United Methodist Ministries).

So, if you are interested, do check out the job description and consider whether you are being called to be part of our ministry at this exciting time! 

            Grace and peace, 


Pastor’s Corner – August 7, 2016

            As you well know by now, Tyler, in his role as our clergy delegate to General Conference has provided wonderful leadership to our denomination.  At our Jurisdictional Conference in July, he was part of electing the woman who will be our new bishop in just a month. She is incredibly qualified and gifted for leadership and I look forward to meeting her.  Besides electing bishops, however, the Jurisdictional Conference also nominates clergy and lay people to serve on General Boards and Agencies in our denomination.  To do this a ‘jurisdictional nominating committee’ is convened and meets for the better part of a day leading into Jurisdictional Conference.

            Our Western Jurisdiction, though large in geography, is relatively small in numbers – especially compared to the African church or to the South East and South Central Jurisdictions of the United States.  As a result, our representation on various committees and agencies is proportionally smaller.  Still, the nominating committee does its work, nominating lay and clergy leaders to represent us. 

            I was more than a little surprised when Rev. Jeremy Scott, our clergy delegate serving on the nominating committee, called to tell me that I had been nominated (and subsequently elected) to serve on the Connectional Table 
of the United Methodist Church for the 2016-2020 quadrennium. We were only allotted one delegate from the entire Western Jurisdiction and I am honored to have been given this responsibility! 
            The Connectional Table was created by the 2004 General Conference “to serve as both the visioning body of the church and the steward of resources to carry out the vision of the denomination worldwide.  The purpose of the Connectional Table is to discern and articulate the vision for the church and the stewardship of the mission, ministries, and resources of The United Methodist Church as determined by General Conference and in consultation with the Council of Bishops.

The 2004 General Conference made clear that ‘the Connectional Table is to be motivated by faithfulness to the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ; global in scope and holistic in understanding; inclusive in nature and collaborative in style; and while being efficient in the stewardship of resources, be transparent, accessible, and accountable in all relationships.’”

The Council of Bishops both leads and collaborates with the Connectional Table. In fact, our first meeting, the organizational meeting, in early November is in conjunction with the fall meeting of the Council of Bishops. Besides the Jurisdictional representatives, the CT includes members from the agencies of the Church, each of the ethnic caucuses and many other groups involved in leadership in the UMC. I’m still learning about it all myself . . . I’ll know more when things get started!

I am quite aware that it will be an interesting and important time to be serving on the Connectional Table.  I’ll work hard to represent us in the Western Jurisdiction well – and I’ll keep you informed as we deal with the issues facing us as a denomination in the months to come.

Grace and peace,


Pastor’s Corner – July 31

As I have been in prayer and at work this week, it has been clear that the common theme this coming year in our ministry together will be transition.  Transition can be a good thing because it helps us to imagine with God new ways of sharing love in our community.  Jesus turned to prayer when transition was happening in his ministry, and I would encourage us to do likewise.  Jesus prayed because transition also brings with it challenge: someone who used to take care of that beloved thing is no longer there, a new experiment in ministry might not work out, or leadership might make a mistake while learning their way into uncharted territory.  As we enter this coming year of ministry, I invite you to be prayerful as we transition together.
We will be forming the new Mission Team this year.  This small group of individuals will work to help focus our mission, to look at the breadth of the mission we do now, to see how we can connect new people to the work, and also study more deeply the systemic causes of poverty in our community and world.
A group from our church will participate with Covenant UMC in the Whole Church Initiative.  This process will help us look at the Helena United Methodist Ministries (HUMM) work we have done for the past 2 years and to see what our future together might look like.  This team of leaders will be studying, praying, and sharing with our entire congregation the possibilities for how we might better be Church to the people of Helena.
We will be continuing to explore our Adult, Youth, and Young Adult education and our understanding of what it is to form disciples who are transformed people that go to transform the world.  Our education programs will begin to focus on creating disciples and helping develop our opportunities for people to grow in faith. 
The most dynamic transition will be Pastor Marianne’s retirement in June of 2017.  Marianne has been an incredible leader and pastor for St. Paul’s.  She is our first female pastor and, personally speaking, she continues to be a great mentor in ministry.  There are a lot of questions about what our leadership at St. Paul’s will look like next year. 
Throughout the year we will be providing several information sessions and opportunities for people to understand the Methodist process of appointing new pastors to churches.  This will help us prepare to receive new pastoral leadership in July of 2017.
The future is full of new and exciting things, but with all of this will come change.    I invite you to join me in following Jesus’ example and to pray as we transition together. 
Enthusiastic Peace,
Pastor Tyler

July 24, 2016 Pastor’s Corner

July 13-16 in Scottsdale, Arizona I led our delegation from Yellowstone Conference at the Western Jurisdictional Conference.  At the conference we set the direction for the United Methodist Church in the western United States.  The primary task at our conference was electing our new Bishop.  Bishops serve in the jurisdiction they are elected and are appointed by a committee to serve the different areas in our jurisdiction.  If you have more questions about this process I invite you to watch a series of videos by Rev. Brad Laurvick online at

I am pleased to announce that Bishop Karen Oliveto was elected by the Western Jurisdiction and that she will be serving our area, the Mountain Sky Area that covers Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Annual Conferences.  As you have no doubt read in the headlines Bishop Oliveto is in a committed same sex relationship with her incredible wife, Robin.  We elected Bishop Oliveto on her credentials and our deep belief that she has the skills to lead our church.  Her appointment to our area is a blessing because of the administrative and pastoral skills she will bring to her work. 

My invitation to us as a reconciling congregation is that we help by supporting other churches in our area that may be struggling with how to welcome Bishop Oliveto’s leadership.  We will be holding a reconciling ministries meeting Sunday, July 31 at 9:45 AM in the Library to talk about this. 

We will keep everyone informed about how we can help welcome Bishop Oliveto and her wife Robin to our area.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler