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


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prayer for the last Sunday in August

Ruler of the everlasting kingdom,
Prince of peace, champion of the despised:
You are the king;
You make a cross your throne;
You wear a crown of thorns;
You call your subjects friends.
Help us to take up our cross,
to hunger and thirst for all that is good;
then will Your kingdom come on earth as in heaven.

(from "The New Zealand Prayer Book")

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UMW Mission projects

Our United Methodist Women's unit is participating with other UMW units across the Yellowstone Conference (YAC) in two mission projects. The Stevensville UMW would like to invite the congregation to take part in these two projects.

Western Mountains District: The Fall District meeting is on September 20th at First UMC - Great Falls.  The collection being taken for this gathering is for the BUMP (Blackfeet United Methodist Parish)  with the items being asked for fall into two areas:
School supplies: hand sanitizers, wooden pencils, erasers, notebook paper, crayons, stickers, glue sticks, etc.
Hygiene items: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brushes, hair brushes, combs, washcloths, towels, etc.

These items need to be at the church by September 18th.

YAC UMW Annual Meeting: the YAC UMW will be meeting meeting at St. Paul's UMC - Helena on October 4th.  The collection being taken is for Intermountain.

Items being requested: waterproof gloves/mittens, art supplies, new woolrich socks, bike/ski helmets (new or used in good condition).

These items need to be at the church by October 2nd.

The choir is back!

After taking a well-deserved break over the summer, the choir resumed its regular Tuesday evening practices tonight.  The choir's first musical offering will be on September 14th.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parsonage open house

Enjoying the backyard sun
Ice cream floats in the garage!
folk love seeing Pastor Charles' buttons!
Following our morning activities at SUMC we made our way across College Street to the parsonage for the second annual Open House with Belinda and Pastor Charles.  

Root beer or Coke floats were available in the garage (Belinda even vacuumed the garage in preparation) and those present were able to enjoy the new-look back yard and tour the home.  

It is a treat to be able to share our fellowship time and today was a wonderful example of how much fun we have together!

Sunny morning in Stevensville

Home-grown flowers add to our worship space
Dave Lockman warms up before worship

Clay Freeman leads the women's ensemble
We love learning @ SUMC!
Produce for Mission table is doing well this season
Today's gathering at Stevi UMC was a wonderful example of a faith community gathering in the assurance of God's love!  

Both of our adult classes this summer have seen growth in both numbers and knowledge of God's presence in our midst.  On this Sunday where we remembered our prayer focus this past week of faith formation it was wonderful to see such enthusiastic learning taking place.

The worship today was enriched by Dave Lockman leading the praise music and Hazel Smith's organ offerings.  Clay Freeman, accompanied by Hazel, led the Women's ensemble in a gospel music medley. The ensemble was comprised of Nilda Bishop, Judy Fraser, Trudy Freeman, Linda Kaufman, Donna Lewis, and Carol Ward.

The $64 question


(ponderings as I read Matthew 16:13-20)


There are those days
when my head is lowered
in the “I should haves’
or “I could haves” but “didn’ts”.
In those days, my eyes are downcast.
He is looking directly at me.
I don’t need to look his way …
I sense in his voice, disappointment.
I can hear an occasional sigh.
Yet, his eyes don’t turn away from me.
He has seen my stumbling.
He has heard words carelessly pour out of my mouth
and he has heard my deafening silence of omission.
And yet, if I would only look up
I could see his love for me
even as he shakes his head and whispers,
“So like Peter.  So, so like Peter.”

There are those days
when Jesus once more looks directly at me …
into my eyes.
He gently lifts my lowered head and asks,
“But what about you?  Who do you say that I am?”
All movement around me comes to a standstill.
The others near me freeze into place for a moment.
I can hear my own breathing
and even though I could turn my eyes away,
I don’t.

Others around me vie for his attention.
Hands shoot up as if they are children in a classroom.
“Pick me!  Oh, pick me!  I know the answer,” they shout.
Some are guesses … “A prophet!  Elijah!
John the Baptist!  Jeremiah!”
The others speak in words
that are different from my own …
words that seem memorized,
as if preparing for a test ...
pouring from the head and not from the heart.

There are those days
when I am asked THE QUESTION.
He waits for no answer other than mine.
In words that I barely recognize, I answer,
"You are the Messiah!  You are my LORD."
The words spill out from the seeking place in my heart.
Spilling out from his heart are words as well.
“Blessed are you.  These words did not come
from those who have memorized them
or from those who have borrowed words from others;
you have heard this from my Father!"

There are those days … actually each and every day,
when the implications of this answered question
cannot be ignored.
I have called him ‘Messiah’;
I have called him 'LORD';
He has called me ‘Disciple’
and placed me on a new path
paved with Solid Rock.

(c)2014 anna murdock

Conclusion of the Forty Days of Prayer

Today concludes our forty days of intentional prayer for the people and ministries of the Stevensville UMC.  It is not the end of our prayers, either those of individuals or of the community. Rather these forty days have drawn us closer to God and to each other.  May the Lord continue to bless this people of prayer.

“The man of prayer:"... his heart is ever lifted up to God, at all times and in all places. In this he is never hindered, much less interrupted, by any person or thing. In retirement [alone] or company, in leisure, business, or conversation, his heart is ever with the Lord. Whether he lie down or rise up, God is in all his thoughts; he walks with God continually, having the loving eye of his mind still fixed upon him, and everywhere 'seeing Him that is invisible.'"

John Wesley

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 40

August 24              

2 Corinthians 1:11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

"Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer."  George Whitefield

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Come to Stevi UMC tomorrow!

Tomorrow is going to be AWESOME! Two faith formation classes (Wired Word and Hebrews), worship, with special music by the women's ensemble, and then....

OPEN HOUSE at the parsonage! Come and share ice cream floats in the garage and take a whirl through the parsonage.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 39

August 23                                                                             

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

“In Fellowship; alone To God, with Faith, draw near, Approach His Courts, besiege His Throne With all the power of Prayer.”  Charles Wesley

Friday, August 22, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 38

August 22                                                                                  
Matthew 21:22   And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. Alice Walker

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 37

August 21                                                                                  
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Praise was on my tongue.

For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.   Saint Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A word about youth in the church

If you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning: Your child is following a "mutant" form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem.

Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.

Read the rest of the article at this link.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 36

Week six (August 20 - 24)                                                               
Faith Formation @ SUMC (church school, church camp/VBS, small groups, book group, etc.)                                                    
Psalm 118:25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”  Mother Teresa

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 35

August 19                                                                                    
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”   Corrie ten Boom

Monday, August 18, 2014

Next Sunday's scripture

"You are Peter" at the Basilica of St. Peter, Rome
This coming Sunday, August 24, we'll be looking at Matthew16:13-20, the confession of Peter.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 34

August 18                                                                                  
James 4:3  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

"We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power.  We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results."      R. A. Torrey

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A grace-filled Sunday

Carole, Cleo, and Bill practice before worship
Produce for Mission 
Let the worship begin...
More flowers from Gragg's garden
We love our fellowship time!
We are truly blessed at Stevi UMC with such an abundance of God's grace and love!  

This morning we continued to rejoice with our adult classes growing disciples through study; we worship God in prayer, song, and Word including a musical offering by "Sunrise" (Carole K., Cleo G., and Bill L.); and the fellowship - first following worship at the church (thanks to everyone who helps!) and then in what is turning into a weekly gathering at the Frontier Cafe`!

It is going to be a great week here at SUMC, come and share the Good News with us!

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 33

August 17                                                                                           
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18    Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

"Prayer brings to us blessings which we need, and which only God can give, and which prayer can alone convey to us...Prayer is simply asking God to do for us what he has promised us he will do if we ask him..."                           Gerhard Tersteegen (translated by John Wesley)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mission u - pt. 3

Friday evening around the piano
Pastor Charles leads the afternoon study 
Becky participates in the disability study group
Pastor Charles
Mission u was a wonderful experience for the fifty-three participants (plus leadership team) and there was a real excitement as we concluded our time together with communion this afternoon.

Last night, at the home we shared in Ronan, the six of us from Stevi UMC were joined by five others for a bonafide adult slumber party! Clay led some of the participants in a lively sing-a-long which included old gospel songs as well as some Broadway show tunes!

Please chat with any of the group that attended from our congregation about the Mission u experience and plan to attend the winter edition (February 6-7 at Grace UMC in Billings): Belinda A., Becky B., Clay & Trudy F., and Marcia P.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 32


Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

“The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer."  Leonard Ravenhill

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mission u - pt. 2

How is it with your soul group
Mission Valley UMC hospitality team
The day has ended
The participants (and leaders) were put through their paces today at Mission u and it can be safely stated that it was a great day!  The participants were divided into two groups, half taking the Disability study and half taking the "How is it with your soul?" study. Tomorrow the groups will switch which will enable everyone to get the full benefit of the materials being offered.

Mission u - pt. 1

Early morning light at Ninepipes
Welcome to Mission Valley UMC
Registration and a smile!
The community at worship
Fellowship at the table!
Mission u began this morning with a leisurely gathering at the rental home before we made the short drive south to the Mission Valley UMC.

Fifty-three made the journey to Mission u this year from every corner of the Yellowstone Conference.  Included in that number are Clay & Trudy F., Marcia P., Becky B., and Belinda A.  Pastor Charles is one of the two presenters, leading the class, "How is it with your soul?"

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 31

August 15                                                                      
Luke 6:12   One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking.    Henri Nouwen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ready for Mission u!

Clay practices in the music room
Supper at the Sonora Cafe`
The contingent from Stevi UMC are "camped" at the rental home northeast of Ronan along with two others attending Mission u. Tomorrow we'll be joined by three more.  So tonight we're enjoying a UMC slumber party in Ronan!

UMW Mission Projects (District & Conference)

Dear UMW friends,
I bet all of you have noticed that school supplies are now on sale. This is good news as we have a couple mission projects coming up that sales will be helpful.
For Western Mountains District – the fall meeting on September 20 will be collecting items for BUMP – Blackfeet United Methodist Parish:
School Supplies: hand sanitizers, wooden pencils, erasers, notebook paper, crayons, stickers, glue sticks, etc.
Hygiene Items: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brushes, hair brushes, combs, wash cloths, towels, etc.
For Yellowstone Conference UMW Annual meeting on October 4 we will be collecting items for Intermountain. When asked what was needed, the following items were requested.
            Waterproof gloves or mittens
            Art Supplies
            New Woolrich Socks
            Bike or Ski Helmets – new or used in good condition
Please ask your congregations to help. Any items will help. Doesn’t matter if it’s one or a hundred items, any amount will make a difference in a child’s life.
Also for the Annual meeting we would like to receive pictures of your church or sanctuary to use in our decorating theme. Please have someone in your UMW unit send me a picture. Please just one from each unit.  You can email me a picture and I will print it. Or you can mail me a picture, 4” x 6” size preferred, but anything close will do. Or you can bring the picture with you to the meeting, but please let me know so we can include your picture in the decorating plan.
Thank you for all your do for women, youth and children in your community, your state, your country and around the world. God bless all of you!         
Claudia Davis
UMW Western Mountains District
Communications Coordinator

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 30

August 14                                                                   
Mark 11:24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that it is granted to you, and you will get it.

"Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails."     Watchman Nee

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 29

Week five (August 13 - 19)                                                              
This week's focus: The United Methodist Men & United Methodist Women of Stevensville UMC
Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Clothes Closet Back-to-School event

The community Clothes Closet is having an open house on Saturday, 8/16 from 1 to 3 pm, refreshments served. 
During this time, they’ll also be doing their annual school supplies giveaway – come early, before supplies run out.

849 Middle Burnt Fork Rd., Stevensville, MT  59870      406-77-5694 or 406-961-4614

The UMC Social Principles and suicide

A great deal has already been said about the apparent suicide of Robin Williams.  A comment Pastor Charles saw on a relative's Facebook page moved him to refer to The United Methodist Church position on suicide as found in our Social Principles:



We believe that suicide is not the way a human life should end. Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or untreated pain and suffering. The church has an obligation to see that all persons have access to needed pastoral and medical care and therapy in those circumstances that lead to loss of self-worth, suicidal despair, and/or the desire to seek physician-assisted suicide. We encourage the church to provide education to address the biblical, theological, social, and ethical issues related to death and dying, including suicide. United Methodist theological seminary courses should also focus on issues of death and dying, including suicide.

A Christian perspective on suicide begins with an affirmation of faith that nothing, including suicide, separates us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Therefore, we deplore the condemnation of people who complete suicide, and we consider unjust the stigma that so often falls on surviving family and friends.

We encourage pastors and faith communities to address this issue through preaching and teaching. We urge pastors and faith communities to provide pastoral care to those at risk, survivors, and their families, and to those families who have lost loved ones to suicide, seeking always to remove the oppressive stigma around suicide. The Church opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Read more about the official positions of The United Methodist Church at this link.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 28

August 12 

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.

"It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer;  George Müller

Monday, August 11, 2014

Scripture lesson for August 17

Print by Sadao Watanabe
Next Sunday (August 17) we'll look at the encounter between Jesus and an unnamed Canaanite woman.  Read Matthew 15:21-28.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 27

August 11                                                                                      

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

"Is air important to you?  Prayer is like breathing.  It brings life to the church.  We cannot live without it."  Morais

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 10th at SUMC

Dave leads the praise music time
Mitch brings in the Light of Christ
Brass quartet
Fellowship time!
Lots to share during fellowship time
 A wonderful Sunday was in store for us as the faithful came for study, worship, and fellowship at Stevi UMC.  

Thanks to everyone who participated as ushers (Amy & ____), fellowship hosts (the Lonski's & Fran), reader (Linda), music (Julie, Dave L., Dave P., Mitch E., Bob E., Clay), teachers (Belinda and Clay) and video operator (Tom).

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 26

August 10                  
James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

"As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray."   Martin Luther

Saturday, August 9, 2014

UMM this month

Seven men turned out this morning at the Frontier Cafe` for a "no-host" breakfast.  As a devotional, Pastor Charles briefly shared about the need to be in prayer for the persecuted church and in particular those in Iraq. 

Next month (September 13th) we'll resume meeting at the church.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 25

August 9   
Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

A simple grateful thought turned heavenwards is the most perfect prayer. Doris Lessing  

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Busy day in Stevensville

JJ watches over the Drop-in Bible study
Clothes Closet picnic
Sam B. speaks about her mission trip 
Hazel shares the Mission Moment
It has been a busy day in the life of Stevi UMC!  We began with the Friday morning Bible study, held this week at Ginny M.'s home. We were 'chaperoned' by Ginny's dog, JJ, who did an excellent job!

Next up was the Clothes Closet volunteer's annual picnic.  Our congregation is a supporter of this community-wide program and there were at least six of our church present.

To round out the day the UMW met for their monthly program and meeting.  Sam B. presented the program, an account of her recent mission trip to Brazil.  The UMW gave a donation to help with this effort and the return was well worth it.

+The Mission Moment was presented by Hazel S. who shared with the group about the work being done by UMCOR in response to the Ebola outbreak - Advance #982450
+Proceeds from the June rummage sale (for UMW mission projects) was $1,198.
+Proceeds from the apple dumplings sales at the Creamery Picnic were nearly $3,000.  All of the remaining dumplings were sold today!!!
+Mission u is next week (Aug. 15-16). Going from Stevi UMC are Marcia P., Becky B., Clay & Trudy F., and Belinda & Pastor Charles. +The refreshments were provided by Phyllis D. and (nurse) Linda K.  
+The bazaar date is October 25th.