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,
Marianne



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