"Through the power of Christ, we are learning to live in simplicity, thankfulness, contentment and
generosity in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana."


Monday, September 30, 2013

Scripture Lessons for World Communion Sunday (October 6)

A single mustard seed
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost/World Communion Sunday
Read the texts online at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library:

Lamentations 1:1-6This whole book is a collection of mournful poems grieving over the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. The victorious Babylonians had driven away into exile most of the civic and religious leadership of Israel.  With ethnic cleansing a political reality still, it seems a fitting time to read all five chapters to recognize how utterly despairing refugees must feel. But don't miss the faint hope for God's justice and mercy expressed in 3:19-33.

Psalm 137 (UMH 852)Here are the words of the exiles themselves. Their despair reaches the depths of advocating the murder of Babylonian children in a terrifying outburst of vengeance.

2 Timothy 1:1-14This letter reflects a period of early church history when at least three generations were included in its membership. This could have been as late as 110-120 AD.

The writer's counsel to his disciple is to remain faithful to those spiritual values his mother and grandmother believed in. Not being ashamed of one's faith in the face of persistent opposition comes from holding to the standard of sound teaching with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 17:5-10: In response to his disciples' request that he increase their faith, Jesus paints two quite different pictures from everyday life in ancient Palestine. Both carry striking spiritual truth, but neither is to be taken literally. Their underlying meaning gives some frank but essential lessons to be learned by anyone who would be a disciple of Jesus.

The transplanted mulberry tree emphasizes that implicit trust in God enables us to accomplish seemingly impossible things. The parable of the master and his servant points out that those who carry out God's commands have no reward other than knowing that they have done what was expected of them.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fifth Sunday Hymn-sing!

Our first "Fifth Sunday Hymn-sing" took place tonight, and it was wonderful!!!  Led by Clay Freeman, with Hazel Smith on the piano, it was a treat to sing the old standards and to share our faith in song!

Fellowship Time ... and "Boy Scout Popcorn-Sales SEASON-time!"

Praise Music: "Build Your Kingdom Here" (by Renn)

Last week, the choir introduced us to this wonderful praise music song!  Today, the congregation sang the song, again, together!

Click here to see/hear Renn's music video: Official Music Video.


Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we're made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power
In us

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This Earth

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Unleash Your kingdom's power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope
On Earth


Wonderful Worship Today!

Daniels’ 48th Wedding Anniversary

Tonight’s “5th Sunday Hymn Sing” at our church, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., with fellowship and refreshments afterwards.  (All area church congregations invited to participate!)

Prayers of thanksgiving for …

-       Mollie’s employer “Rocking Rudy’s” is continuing to pay her salary while she is not working and dealing with leukemia.
      -       Bridgett’s sister Hannah is with us in worship today.

-       Joys of this time of year, featuring apple harvest time.  (See announcement below.)
      -       Lynn and Gail M.’s news about one grandchild due to be born in 3 weeks and another due next April.

-       Rain in the Bitterroot Valley this last week.
-       Dean D.’s mother is feeling better after her fall.
      -       The Montana State’s football team’s (the Bobcats’) win this weekend.

Prayers for our country’s leadership as they prepare a reaction to the events in Syria.
Prayers for peace in the Middle East – and in all the “four corners” of the world. 

Prayers for our military Veterans.
Prayers for the family and friends of the seven military service members who were killed or injured in the line of duty this last week.

Prayers for those impacted by flooding in Colorado, Nebraska and Texas.
Prayers for the family and friends who are mourning the death of Hal Landon.

Prayers for the family and friends who are mourning the death of Dwayne Garfield.
Prayers for Vick whose parents died in the last couple of weeks.

Betty L. and Lorraine R.’s “94-year-old Aunt Leona” died yesterday.
Prayers for travelling mercies for those not with us today – and for those who will be travelling soon.

Prayers for Jody and others who are going through major divorce issues.
Prayers for our neighbors who are suffering and in pain.

Prayers for healing mercies for (1) Mary L., (2) two high school football players who were injured in the recent Florence versus White Hall football game, (3) “Mom’s friend” who was hit by a car while waiting for a bus, (4) Kelsey D., a high school senior at Florence High School who had brain surgery, (5) “Grandma Sue,” who does not have much longer to live, (6) Scott who suffered burns from an explosion and (7) Mollie who is dealing with leukemia.

Prayers for a bunk bed for Hannah, Bridget’s little sister who is moving in with her.
The University of Montana’s football team’s (the Griz’s) loss this weekend.

(1)  Just as we have four seasons, and we have “fire season,” we also have Boy Scouts’ Popcorn-fundraising Season.  Mitch and Sye are in their scout uniforms today and invite their church family to purchase a variety of popcorn goodies in support of their troops – during our after-church fellowship time.  (P.S.  They are expected to continue their sales next Sunday as well.)

(2)  Note:  Others clarified that while there are four seasons, “fire season” and Boy Scouts’ popcorn-fundraising season – there are also seasons of the year for fruit sales and Girl Scouts’ candy- and cookies-fundraising seasons.

(3)  Next Sunday, October 6th, after church, everyone is welcome to meet at the Gragg’s homestead for an afternoon of apple-pressing.  Folks are invited to take/give/share pint jars (for apple butter) and quart jars (for apple cider).  At 5:00 p.m., there will be an apple dessert contest!  The winner will receive a very special surprise!  And at 6:00 p.m., there will be a potluck!  So, come anytime!  Enjoy an afternoon with the church family.  And be thinking about what your entry will be for the apple dessert contest!  Oh, and a church potluck – is ALWAYS a good thing!

On a wet, blustery morning in the Bitterroot Valley there may be friends and neighbors who may not feel up to driving to church school & worship.  Consider giving them a call (and a lift)!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wrap-up to a wonderful week!

Making our church home more attractive
Come spring, this will all be green
Produce for mission keeps coming in
Putting the newsletter together for delivery
Habitat for Humanity home has a roof!

What a busy, fruitful week we've enjoyed at the Stevensville UMC!  Wonderful worship, productive meetings, engaging study groups, rich fellowship and an active presence throughout the community. 
God is good all the time - all the time, God is good! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

DoD Casualty Report for September 20 - 26

Arlington National Cemetery
The Department of Defense announced this week the death of seven service members who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

+Sgt. William D. Brown III, 44, of Franklin, N.C., died Sept. 19, in Laghman Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat incident. The soldier's death is under investigation.  Brown was assigned to the 94th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Polk, Louisiana.

+Spc. James T. Wickliffchacin, 22, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died Sept. 20 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol during combat operations in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan on Aug. 12.  He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

On Sept. 21, three soldiers died at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with small arms fire while conducting range training in Gardez, Paktia Province, Afghanistan.

Killed were:

+Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, CO, assigned to 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Watkins, Colorado.

+Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Middletown, R.I.

+Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, GA, assigned to Group Support Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

On Sept. 22, two sailors were killed as a result of an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crash while operating in the central Red Sea. Both sailors were assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California.

Killed were:

+Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc, California, and

+Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan S. Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Oregon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Faith formation on Wednesday

Both of our Wednesday study groups met today with seventeen taking part.  It is exciting to be part of a faith community that places such value on growing in faith individually and collectively!

Passing of Hal Landon

The family of Hal Landon have announced Hal's death which occurred yesterday afternoon at his home in Stevensville. 

A December memorial service is being considered, more details as we learn more.

Wesley on Wednesday

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service

What are your top spiritual gifts? Find out with Ministry Matters' exclusive Spiritual Gifts Inventory, based on Church of the Resurrection's Serving from the Heart study.

Thousands of people have taken Ministry Matters' Spiritual Gifts Inventory to discover their top spiritual gifts. Discover your gifts and find articles and resources to enhance your God-given strengths. READ MORE

Monday, September 23, 2013

Readings for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep. 29)

Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15At a time when disaster was about to fall on Judah with the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Jeremiah was given instructions from God to buy a plot of land for sale in his home town. He did so as a symbol of his faith that God still intended for the people of God to survive.

Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 (UMH 810): The psalmist expressed absolute trust in God and promised security to those who love God. Such faith in the midst of many dangerous situations cited did not deal with the more complex problem of why evil things happen to good people. The concluding segment may have been recited antiphonally by the priest when the psalm was used in worship.

1 Timothy 6:6-19To conclude this pastoral letter this church leader (probably not Paul but someone using his name at a later date) pointed out that security could be found in godliness and contentment, not in wealth. The great example for Timothy as for us was Jesus Christ. The moral obligations cited here could have been part of early Christian baptismal sermons. In a final admonition, the writer urged his disciple to practice his faith rigorously until Jesus Christ comes again.

Luke 16:19-31This parable has sparked some controversy due to its forceful attitude toward wealth and poverty. The futility of dependence on wealth to the neglect of the poor is as strongly stated here as anywhere in scripture. The story clarifies God's sense of economic values as distinct from what we might call common sense.
The description of life after death is to be taken figuratively rather than literally. Hades, a Greek idea, represented the Hebrew  word Sheol, the abode of the dead perceived a shadowy place full of misery and suffering from which no one returned. It was not like Purgatory, a place of moral discipline and improvement.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prayers and Concerns


Birthday Celebrations:  Mary C., Donna and Erin (13).
Visitors worshipping with us today:  Mary C.’s sister Jane, Ginny’s three guests, Jessalyn B. and Kathy.

Prayers of thanksgiving for all who donate produce and food to the Food Pantry in town.

Prayers of thanksgiving that Chris got good news.
Celebration that the Stevensville High School’s football team won their homecoming football game Friday night.
Celebration about last Friday’s schools’ parade down Main Street, to include the kindergarten’s class banner touting that they are the high-school-graduating-class of 2026!

Celebration for the University of Montana’s football “win” this weekend.

Prayers for our country’s leadership as they prepare a reaction to the events in Syria.

Prayers for peace in the Middle East – and in all the “four corners” of the world. 
Prayers for those injured/killed/involved in the Kenya mall shooting and the Washington Naval Shipyard shooting.

Prayers for those mourning the death of family members and friends:  (1) Danielle’s father died recently, (2) Family of Sally D., (3) Tom R.’s mother died recently, (4) Dave L’s mother, Ruth, died recently, (5) High school senior Dakota died this past Friday in a car accident in Townsend.
Prayers for our need for rain in the Bitterroot Valley.

Prayers for those impacted by flooding in Colorado, Nebraska and Texas.
Prayers for travelling mercies for those not with us today – and for those who will be travelling soon.

Prayers for healing mercies for (1) Bryan; (2) Bonita Z.’s great granddaughter Piper; (3) (4) Russalenne who was hit by a falling tree (who is doing a little better this week); (6) friend undergoing leukemia treatment; (7) Dr. Linda K.’s niece Colleen who is dealing with cancer treatments; (8) Friend Starla who is dealing with cancer, Sharon W. and Bev L., Barbara L., Colton, Josh, Irene S., Beau G.
Prayers for caregivers of loved ones:  Ed S., Ben L. and others. 
Elissa who was recently kicked in the head by a horse.  Cameron who recently ran away from home.
Prayers for a bunk bed for Hannah, Bridget’s little sister who is moving in with her.

Prayers for patience and endurance:  Selena as she awaits news of Bryan’s health condition.
Prayers for US Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of the Taliban, who starting his fifth year in captivity.

Prayers for our military Veterans.
Prayers for the family and friends of the military service members who were killed or injured in the line of duty this last week.

First Sunday in Autumn @ SUMC

Paul leads the children in singing

Praise music led by Paul L.
The anthem being sung by our choir
Pastor Charles and the children

A lively fellowship time!

Autumn Prayer

Green Mountain National Forest - Vermont
O God of Creation, you have blessed us with the changing of the seasons. 
As we embrace these autumn months,
May the earlier setting of the sun remind us to take time to rest. 
May the crunch of the leaves beneath our feet remind us of the brevity of this earthly life. 
May the steam of our breath in the cool air remind us that it is you who give us your breath of life. 
May the scurrying of the squirrels and the migration of the birds remind us that you call us to follow your will. 
We praise you for your goodness forever and ever. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lovely Time at the Senior Center

An early-morning Magpie
Ginny M. tickles the ivories

The Drop-in Bible Study, which meets at Doris T.'s home, began the fall session of studies today, looking at the first three chapters of Genesis. 

After the study, the "United Methodist table" at the Stevensville Senior Center was filled with laughter and good fellowship!  We were tickled to listen to Ginny M. providing some lively "mood music:"  Good times for one and all!

Something to ponder

Etching by Jan Luyken (1649-1712) - The Bower Bible

He steps out from the crowds of this world,
the nameless one, with small offerings.
That which was given to him,
to keep his own stomach from growling
is placed into the hands of someone else for others.

And there are murmurs.
(Such accusations)

He reaches into the pocket of his heart
and draws out a handful of words.
They have been entrusted to him,
yet he lavishly scatters them
over the fields of those
who are debtors in need
of forgiveness.

And there are murmurs.
(Such accusations)

There is one who stands to
be without wages for a week.
Those whose own hours have been cut
and salaries have been reduced,
ask, may we give a portion
of our pay to this woman?
And there are murmurs.
(Such accusations)

There is a man
who runs in a manner
that would bring dishonor
to any man of great position.
A father
s robe
covers a son in disgrace.              
A ring is placed
on a hand dirtied by life.

And there are shouts.
(Such accusations)

There is a steward
who, with a master
s ledger in hand,
forgives and forgives and forgives
as if he is in the world of his reality
yet strangely not of the world.

And there are accusations
of shrewdness, 

of dishonesty, 
and above all,
of squanderings.
(Accusations only?)

As I walk through my days,
and find placed in my hand
that which holds power
to hurt or to heal,
to feed or to starve,
to forgive or not,
I wonder if I will buckle
under accusations.

My questions are these
Will I, too, hear accusations
of squanderings
shouted about me
when I choose
what to do with that which
has been entrusted to me?

Oh God, I hope for such accusations.
And will the accusations
of squanderings
remain just accusations,
or will I be convicted
of such things?

Oh God, I pray for convictions.

(c)2010  anna murdock
Lay speaker / Broad Street UMC/ Statesville, NC

Thursday, September 19, 2013

DoD Casualty Report for September 15 - 19

Fort Logan National Cemetery - Indiana
The Department of Defense announced this week the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Randall R. Lane, 43, of Indianapolis, Indiana, died Sept. 13, in Kabul, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related illness.

He was assigned to the 190th Transportation Battalion, 38th Sustainment Brigade (Army National Guard), Franklin, Indiana.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Showers of blessings continue

A full house!
The approach of autumn has brought a bit of cooler, wetter weather with it and what a blessing it is! 

The Stevi UMC was filled with activity from early morning to late evening.  In the morning, the WIC program had a full slate of clients and the sound of happy children could be heard coming from the nursery.  Mid-morning saw the arrival of the Wednesday morning study group with five present, looking at the story of how faith groups are dealing with rites of passage for youth and adults in faith communities.

The learning and fellowship continued this evening with the middle school youth resuming their meals/fellowship at the Luddington home.  Five youth came out to kick-off the year and it is going to be a lively year to be sure! 

Also this evening was the Wesleyan Way study with nine in attendance.  Tonight we considered what God's nature was and how we relate to it.  It is wonderful to have such a vibrant study in the middle of our week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday on College Street

After the rain
Brenda B. leads the choir
It's been a Tuesday overflowing with blessings on College Street.  First and foremost was the cooler weather that was accompanied by some soft showers.  Any rainfall we get, even a little bit, is welcomed!

We were also blessed by those who came by the church during the day and by the choir practice this evening.  God is doing some wonderful things through the people called United Methodist in Stevensville!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A letter from Bishop Rosemarie Wenner

This letter received (by Bishop Stanovsky) from Bishop Rosemarie  Wenner, President of the Council of Bishops, meeting with the World Methodist Council in London.

 From: Bischoefin Wenner [mailto:Bischoefin@emk.de]
 Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 3:32 PM
 Subject: Prayers

 Dear Bishop Stanovsky, dear Bishop Matthews,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, who is our peace.
Please be assured that you are in my prayers as you are offering leadership to the people in your area in this challenging time of grieving and anxiety. The reasons that shock people are very different – the flooding in Colorado and the brutal shooting in the Navy Yard in Washington DC. In both situations we as United Methodists are called to stay in solidarity with those who mourn and to offer pastoral care as well as concrete support to all those who are victims of the natural disaster or of the brutal violence. In all that I assure you and all the people in your areas that the Methodist family across the world is lifting you up in prayers and is comitted to find ways of to assist you as you are working for recovery and healing.

We – the United Methodists and the Methodists from the British tradition as well as other Wesleyans are currently gathered in Wuppertal, Germany, at our yearly meeting of the European Methodist Council. We connect with you in our prayers.

May God bless and keep you and all those who are mourning because they left loved ones or struggle to recover from the disaster or from the brutal sceneries in Washington DC.

Grace and peace,

Rosemarie Wenner

Lectionary readings for September 22

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Jeremiah 8:18–9:1: This lament expressed Jeremiah’s distress over some calamity which had befallen Israel. Widespread suffering afflicted the nation. The prophet mourned with the people, the poor in particular. He spoke for them by asking the unanswerable question: “Is the Lord not in Zion?” Feeling deserted by God was a natural reflection of their dire straits. It still may be so for many people, but does not mean they have lost faith.

Psalm 79:1-9: Another lament for another disaster, but this time an invasion by a foreign power had caused national suffering. It not only depicts scene of great horror, but raises significant theological questions about God’s covenant with Israel: How long will the terror last? Will God’s anger persist?

1 Timothy 2:1-7 (sermon text):  The theological and historical situation implicit in this passage point to a much later date that the 50s AD when Paul carried on his ministry to the Gentiles with Timothy as a co-worker.  The Jews had a well-developed liturgical system which Paul would have known intimately, but prayers for rulers as in vs. 2 would have been unlikely. When we reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death in relation to other religious traditions, the statement of universal salvation in vs. 3 and the “one mediator” in vs. 5 seem as contemporary today as then.

Luke 16:1-13: This parable tells of an incompetent steward who is told to hand over his accounts. Because he successfully collected part of what is owed him by placing his debtors in obligation to him, the master commends him for his shrewdness. But is there anything edifying about this steward’s dishonesty? Kickbacks were as common in those times as now.

The point of the passage came in the following interpretation. Jesus made it clear that no one can serve two masters. Either we serve God faithfully and with honesty and compassion toward others or we look out for ourselves without regard for the moral issues involved.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

DoD Casualty Report for September 6 - 14

Woodawn Cemetery (Adm. Farragut's marker) - Bronx, NY
The Department of Defense announced the deaths of  two soldiers and an airman who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

+Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Bowden, 28, of Villa Rica, Georgia, died 
Aug. 31, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire while on dismounted patrol.  He was assigned to the 242nd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Fort Carson, Colorado.

+Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 22, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, died Sept. 5, 2013, from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, NY.

+Staff Sgt. Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24, of Fontana, California, died Sept. 13, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, of wounds suffered during a non-combat related incident on April 21, 2013, in Maiwand, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Fellowship & more music!

The chimes are back!
Carol G. prepares a dessert pizza
Selling the last of the Fair Trade items.

Good food and fellowship!
We celebrated music today at Stevi UMC, and was it wonderful!  In addition to the return of the choir from summer hiatus, the chime choir resumed practice following worship today.  Under the direction of Molly H. and Brenda B., the members are already sounding heavenly!

Following worship today, we enjoyed a bounty of good food and fellowship with a potluck lunch!  Thanks to everyone who shared their food and their fellowship with the faith community!