Pastor’s Corner 12/2/18

This month we will be looking at the story of The Nutcracker through eyes of faith. For many seeing the Nutcracker is a treasured holiday tradition. It is a fairy tale centered on a young girl who is given an odd Christmas present, an ugly toy soldier nutcracker. She treasures the gift and at the stroke of midnight the magic begins. A battle ensues between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Clara and the Nutcracker conquer the evil Mouse King and then are transported into the Land of the Sweets through the snowflake forest. Clara and Nutcracker watch dances of sweet treats from many lands, culminating in the dance of the Sugar Plum fairy. Then suddenly we see Clara asleep under the Christmas tree with the nutcracker doll cradled in her arms. She remembers her enchanted dream and wonders if it was real. Like all good fairy tales, The Nutcracker has themes of good and evil, waiting, love, spells and magic. We will pick up these themes in worship through the characters: Drosselmeier, Mouse King, and the Nutcracker. The tale invites us to dance with steps of justice to the music of peace with God as our partner through this holiday season. We hope you can join us in worship! December Worship Schedule Our theme in worship is “The Gift of the Nutcracker”. Each week we will look at a character in the timeless fairy tale through eyes of faith.
 
Special Services
 
Winter Solstice: Join us in the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church sanctuary for our annual Winter Solstice Jazz service on Friday, December 21, at 7:00 PM. This interfaith service will move us from the darkness and into the light, reminding us of the hope we carry through this season. This year we are adding an element of dance by members of the Cohesion Dance Project. We hope you can join us for this uplifting service.
Bells of Covenant Concert: Join this festive evening of beautiful Christmas music presented by the bell choir of Covenant on Dec. 15th at 7 pm at Covenant United Methodist Church.


Pastor’s Corner 11/25/18

#GivingTuesday
 
Looking for some alternative Christmas gifts? See opportunities in the world you would like to impact?
 
Throughout the year, we United Methodists have many opportunities to support projects that advance vital ministries around the world, such as relief aid for disaster victims, scholarships for Native American seminarians, and scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist schools. For another giving option other than Black Friday, there is Giving Tuesday, which occurs this year on November 27. We have the choice to support Advance projects that matter most to us, so our gifts can make the biggest impact.
 
Some of the areas you can give to are the following: agriculture, church development, construction, disaster response and relief, diseases and viruses, education, health ministries, hunger and poverty, small business development, social justice, transportation, water sanitation, and women and children.
Visit umcmission.org/giving-tuesday to read the stories of the lives changed through your giving! Find a category that interests you, and remember, when you support one of these on Giving Tuesday, 100% of your gift reaches the project / missionary of your choice. If you don’t have a specific interest, you can instead designate your gift to the “Overall work of Global Ministries” or the “Overall work of UMCOR.” If you want to give to the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish. It is Advance #910092
Happy exploring all the ways to give in the world!
 
Pastor Sami
 
 


Pastor’s Corner 11/11/18

“Love is patient. Love is kind. … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Corinthians 13:4, 7 NRSV I reference this scripture most often for weddings. However, I saw it in a new light today reading the September/October issue of DevoZine. (A devotional magazine written by teens for teens. I highly recommend it! www.devozine.org) What if we loved ourselves with this kind of love? What if we were patient with ourselves? What if we were kind to ourselves? A meme making the round on social media says, “You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself. Be kind.” Hmmm.
Self-talk is so powerful.
Words are so powerful. How do you treat yourself with your words? These few weeks we are focusing on loving ourselves. After spending several weeks talking about how we love God with our whole selves and love our neighbors, we are wrestling with the second half of that phrase, love your neighbor as yourself. An often neglected topic. Finding that space between self- loathing and pride. That healthy space of self-love.
In that same issue of DevoZine Ashley Taylor, age 15 writes, “Each one of us is unique, and the God who created us loves and treasures us all. When we accept this truth, our lives change. We begin to see others through God’s eyes and to love ourselves as God does. Talk with God this week about how you were created so perfectly imperfect. You truly are a magnificent work of art.”
Wise words from this teen that we would do well to heed.
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 10/28/18

Loving Bodies, Loving Our Body
I therefore beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
This month, we are exploring what it means to forgive ourselves, love ourselves, and love our bodies. We spend a lot of time talking about how to love our neighbors and accept our neighbors, but we often miss the vital detail that the way we love ourselves is the measuring stick for how we love others. Our culture promotes an unhealthy relationship with our own bodies. Further, verses from the Bible are often cut, pasted, and manipulated into a message of shame and disgust about our earthen vessels.
So, where is the balance? How do we love our own bodies? The body of Christ? How can we do better? The message often shared concerning bodies is not a good reflection of God’s image or God’s love. The Bible is full of beautiful passages about loving bodies and loving our body of believers. Above, Paul lays out some thoughts concerning the need to keep the unity of the Spirit amongst the newly united Jews and Gentiles because their one body reflects the other “ones”. Not only are each of us to do our own ministry within the body of Christ, equip others in their own ministry, but to also help the body come to unity. We are called to cherish these earthen vessels we call bodies. They were made to experience this beautiful creation through emotions and our senses. Our bodies were also made to make God’s image and grace crystal clear to the world.
As each preacher shares their own stories of learning to love ourselves, I invite you to reflect on your own attitude toward your earthen vessel. How is your clay jar helping God’s power be evident? What is a message of self-love you can share with a child or youth in your life? We have much work to do, my friends, on this topic of loving our bodies and love our body of Christ. You are needed.
We are currently planning retreats for children/youth and parents on this exact topic. Please keep your eyes open for dates and details in our newsletter and our website stpaulshelena.org.
Peace,
Pastor Sami