Pastor’s Corner 6/2/19

Dear Ones,
“Hope is the thing that flutters – and perches in the soul – and sings the tune without the words – and never stops at all.”
       Many times I have returned to these lines from Emily Dickenson, for like all humans, I sometimes lose my grasp on hope. This is one of the reasons we need prayer – to keep us connected with the One who sources new life, possibility & thus hope for us. This is also one of the reasons we benefit so greatly from community, for when we are losing our grip, another can pick up the slack for us, enabling us to maintain vision and momentum that otherwise might falter.
       Painting this bird last year was one of those moments that returned me to hopefulness. Listening tonight to a small church in a small community, share about their children’s ministry that has quintupled in the last year, not only fills me with hope for that congregation and their mission, but for ALL churches and OUR missions.
       Where is hope fluttering in your soul? How will you embrace its tune and allow its possibilities to guide your steps this week? May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace, bubbling over in the days to come!

Pastor’s Corner 5/26/19

A Note From Pastor Margaret Gillikin


I write this week from UMC Next, the conference hosted by Adam Hamilton at the Church of the Resurrection for United Methodists who do not affirm the Traditional Plan passed at GC2019.
We are praying, listening, talking, sharing, and creating with folks across conferences, generations, races, genders, sexual orientations, and beliefs. We are attempting to generate possibilities and to organize in the midst of chaos. We are grappling with the inevitable push-back about who was included at these tables and why not others. We are wondering how to include others more equitably at future gatherings.
We are being asked to contemplate and answer questions like “Why am I United Methodist?” “How would I describe my lens for interpreting scripture?” “What does living into our baptismal vows actually look like? Especially ‘rejecting the spiritual forces of wickedness’.” “What kind of church would my children or grandchildren be willing to invite their friends to?” 
I haven’t heard this question in Kansas City yet, but I will forewarn you here… I’ll be asking you to answer it once we begin gathering for conversation in Helena this summer: “What do you sense God calling YOUR church at this time? How is it and is it not being expressed? What needs to happen in order for God to breathe that dream fully into life?”
Now is the time, beloved, for dreaming God-sized dreams and working to fulfill them. May we rejoice in our calling!

Pastor’s Corner 5/19/19

A Note From Pastor Margaret Gillikin
Beloved in Christ,
Seminary trained clergy have generally spent three (or more) years immersed in God-talk as part of our training. That’s what theology is, after-all, talk about God. We bring theological lenses to Biblical study, education, leadership, even something like choosing paper or plastic to carry your groceries in can be a theological discussion. The thing is, churches are not just about God… they are also about PEOPLE. This has led me to multiple areas of inquiry. One I keep coming back to is Family Systems Theory. Instead of looking at individuals, this approach focuses on the dynamics of groups: nuclear families, extended families, office families, congregational families, etc. etc. and examines how they intersect with and impact each other positively and negatively. One of the things this approach delves deeply into is how anxiety grows and lessens… and what are the ways to influence a family / group in bringing greater health to it. Chief among those strategies is PLAY. Play as in some kind of fun activity… and also play as in doing something new/different.
In the weeks and months to come, you will learn more about me as the “Fun Fairy”. And some of that IS about having a good time. But I invite you to hear now (and remember later) that silliness, laughter and shenanigans are often an intentional leadership strategy on my part. For when groups play together, systemic anxiety decreases and cognition reactivates, creativity becomes possible and voila, productivity increases.
Praying for health AND joy,


Pastor’s Corner 5/12/19

You may be aware of our pastoral transition. Here is a note from our new lead pastor, who will begin July 1.

A Note From Pastor Margaret Gillikin  
Dear Friends,     
Some time ago, I was introduced to the idea that we human beings have three generalized access points to the Divine that touch, move and inspire us.        
Some folks connect through Truth, gravitating towards standards of morality, ethics and wisdom that serve as anchors to life. Other people primarily lean towards Goodness, soaking up stories of kindness and striving to shape their lives accordingly. Thirdly are those who find the Divine in Beauty of any kind, receiving blessing through creation and artistic expressions of all kinds.      It may be that you are affected by all three areas, depending on the circumstances. For instance, both Opera and 1980s pop music stir my soul. Rap? Not so much.     
I remember the first time I saw the mountains of the West instead of the Appalachians I grew up visiting. I was stunned into silence… something you’ll soon learn is difficult to do! Ever since, I have easily found the presence of God in all kinds of nature settings, but it seems like I NEED to be in sight of Western mountains in order to breathe and be connected to God as my Source.     
Whatever it is that brings you to that place of deep peace and finding that it is well with your soul, I pray you discover ways to intentionally seek that out in the days to come.     
I look forward to seeking these opportunities together and sharing them between us as a means of enriching our life in community.