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


Monday, November 30, 2015

85 Shoe Boxes on the way to Browning

From Hazel Smith:

"Les and I delivered SUMC's 85 BUMP boxes to 1st Methodist, Missoula to add to their 65 boxes. Klairaine Nichwander, their UMW President and the District UMW President and her husband will deliver them to Browning today and help set up. Thanks to all Santa's helpers!"

In His Love, 

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday!

On December 1st, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of the Advance projects and missionaries on #UMCGivingTuesday. 

Once again, every gift made online through the Advance @ www.umcmission.org/give on December 1, 2015 will be matched up to one million dollars (see www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday for details).
On Dec. 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on Dec. 1, 2015 will be matched up to $1 million.* - See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday#sthash.axiEt2BF.dpuf

This week @ Stevi UMC

Noon: UMW budget planning  
7:00 pm, Living Clean   
7:00 pm, S/PPRC 

Tuesday: UMC Giving Tuesday & World AIDS Day  (see links)
7:00 pm, Choir practice

 8:00 am, WIC  
10:00 am, Wired Word     
2:30 pm, Girl Scouts  
6:00 pm, Worship on Wednesday  
6:30 pm, Youth Group @ the Ludington's
7:00 pm, Brass Ensemble practice

9:00 am, UMW Christmas Cookie Plates
10:15 am, Drop-in Bible study @ the church (lesson #1)

Sunday: Second Sunday of Advent  
9:00 am, Advent study -"Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow"     
10:15 am, Praise singing
10:30 am, Hanging of the Greens Worship Service                     
11:30 am, Fellowship time

Advent Calendar #2

The Advent of our God

The Advent of our God
 Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on his road
With hymns of holy joy.
The everlasting Son
Incarnate soon shall be :
He will a servant's form put on,
To make His people free.
Daughter of Zion, rise
And greet thy lowly King,
And do not wickedly despise
The mercies He will bring.
As Judge, in clouds of light,
He will come down again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.
Before that dreadful day
May all our sin be gone ;
May the old man be put away,.
And the new man put on!
Praise to the Saviour Son
From all the angel Host:
Like praise be to the Father done,.
And to the Holy Ghost. 
Source: Rev. John Chandler, The Hymns of the Primitive Church 
 (London: John W. Parker, 1837), Number 36, pp. 39-40.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Sunday of Advent @ SUMC

Praise music underway while Josh and Rollie wait for their part
Hazel and Lisa pack up remaining shoe boxes
Linda and Stacy chat during fellowship time
Meanwhile at the foosball table
The first Sunday of Advent began on a rather chilly note but that didn't deter the faithful from coming to study and to worship.

This Sunday saw the first session of our Advent study, "Mary Had a Baby" which was attended by twenty-five disciples! It was an engaging hour of sharing and singing that made for a great start to our Advent journey.

During worship, Pastor Charles shared the Benedictus (Canticle of Zechariah). This reading, from Luke 1:68-79, offers a witness to God's faithfulness and to our response.

Advent Calendar for the First Sunday of Advent

Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah
Advent calendars are a popular way to mark the days until Christmas. Each day during the Season of Advent we'll "open" another hymn associated with the coming of the Messiah into the world.

Blest Be the God of Israel

Blessed be the God of Israel,
who comes to set us free;
He visits and redeems us,
He grants us liberty.
The prophets spoke of mercy,
of freedom and release;
God shall fulfill His promise
and bring His people peace.

He from the house of David
a child of grace has given;
a Savior comes among us
to raise us up to heaven.
Before Him goes his herald,
forerunner in the way,
the prophet of salvation,
the harbinger of Day.

On prisoners of darkness
the sun begins to rise,
the dawning of forgiveness
upon the sinner’s eyes.
He guides the feet of pilgrims
along the paths of peace.
O bless our God and Savior
with songs that never cease. 

by the Rev. Michael Perry, 1973

Saturday, November 28, 2015

We're ready for Advent!!!

Carol Word is busy in the balcony
Bella keeps an eye on our progress
It was happening!
Luke prepares the luminaries
Linda Kauffman and Stacy Bartlett hang some decorations

Advent begins tomorrow (November 29) and Stevensville UMC is ready!

Thanks to the following for coming together to decorate the church from top to bottom: Brian Bartlett, Stacy Bartlett, Kathy Clark, Phyllis Daniels, joey diers, Doris Hubner, (nurse) Linda Kauffman, Carole Koval, Luke Malo, Sara Malo, Lisa Menery & Bella, Carol Word, and Pastor Charles.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Advent Wreath @ SUMC

Advent wreaths, such as the one we use at Stevensville UMC, are an important feature of many congregation's worship practices during the season of Advent. But do we really know that much about this wide-spread practice? 

Visit this link and learn more about Advent wreaths from "Chuck Knows Church."

United Methodist Student Day

Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name. We’re doing it at home, but so often we’d like to do more.

  • We want to serve those in other places who are suffering.
  • We want to offer spiritual words of hope and life.
  • And we want to be well-equipped to do both!
But the reality for most of us is that our responsibilities—home, family, work—don’t allow us to engage with every need we’d like to meet.

Right now there are UMC young people—who might not have had the resources to attend a school of their choice, or, for some, any school at all—who’ve been sent by you into the world God loves because of your giving to United Methodist Student Day. When you give generously you are support these students as they prepare for a life that unites faith with knowledge.

Read more at this link.

UM Student Day is November 29th.

Advent study begins Sunday

Our four-week Advent study begins this Sunday, 9:00 - 10:00 am

The spirituals we'll be exploring are (click on the link to listen):
November 29: Mary Had a Baby

Thursday, November 26, 2015

National Family History Health Day

National Family Health History Day is celebrated on November 26, 2015.

Every year, the U.S. Surgeon General declares Thanksgiving Day to be National Family Health History Day. A family health history is a record of medical and health information about a person and his or her blood relatives. It can give clues to conditions that may run in a family and can help identify individuals who are at an increased risk of developing those conditions. The easiest way to get information about family health history is to talk with relatives about their past and current health issues. 

The Surgeon General suggests that a good time to collect this health information is when family is gathered together for the Thanksgiving holiday. During this time, multiple generations of family, who might not live near one another, can discuss health issues and answer questions. This family gathering is a valuable opportunity to collect an accurate family health history. Several resources are available to collect and record health information about family members. It is important to keep this information up-to-date and share it with a healthcare professional regularly.

Read more at this link.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

While November marks a celebration of thanksgiving in the U.S., finding time to thank God is part of our daily discipline as United Methodists. This video meditation features a shortened version of a prayer of thanksgiving. 
A Thanksgiving Prayer

God who loves us, who deserves our gratitude 
for so much that is good,
We offer our prayers of thanksgiving to you:
For the beauty of the earth — bright orange leaves mixed with green, a gentle rain, a spider’s delicate web.
For friends, for family, even acquaintances who offer us kindness, who bring us laughter, who hold us to a higher standard.
Lord of all that is good and nourishing to our well being, 
we give you thanks.
How we must try your patience with our pettiness!
All of life is a wonder. The very breath we take, the ability to rouse ourselves each new day, a single blade of grass that holds such miracles of symmetry, a tiny distant star whose real size boggles our minds.
We take our lives for granted — as if it were our right, 
and not our gift.
We take our days and our loves and our passions for granted — 
as if tomorrow will verify their importance and our present moments have other things to occupy us.
Gracious God, who lavishes goodness upon us even in some of our darkest moments, help us to see your goodness, remind us to have grateful hearts, give us receptive minds, and grant us ever-gracious ways of living in harmony with each other.
And in our gratitude, make us to be instruments of your peace.

 By the Rev. Linda McDermott, 
First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, Texas
The images in the video meditation were taken by photographers from various 
United Methodist agencies and conferences.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

UMCmarket & you

We have entered the season of Thanksgiving, and with the busyness of the season, we pause to give thanks for all God has provided. And, we thank God for the work to relaunch UMCmarket.
If you haven't yet checked out the new UMCmarket, its an innovative and simple program that offers savings for you while generating contributions for our ministry. Whether purchasing items for donation or shopping for family and friends, it's a great way to give twice, at no additional cost to you. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

Putting on dry shoes on the Island of Lesbos - Greece
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. —1 John 3:16-18

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them … There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. —1 John 4:16,18

United Methodist Women grieves the tragic loss of life due to ISIS/Daesh violence in Paris (129 people killed), Beirut (43 killed) and in a Russian plane in the Sinai (131 killed). United Methodist Women condemns these terrible acts of violence and continues to pray for victims, for their families and for those who respond. At the same time we pray for the community of nations responding to these events and commit ourselves to acting from a perspective of conviction and compassion, rather than of fear. We decry the use of these atrocities by politicians and the media to evoke fear and hatred at the moment when our Syrian sisters and brothers most need our welcome and support. They, themselves, are fleeing terror from ISIS/Daesh and the effects of bombing by the Assad government, the U.S., France, Russia, and Iranian and Saudi proxy groups. 

United Methodist Women denounces calls by some U.S. governors, candidates and members of Congress to refuse Syrian refugees, to turn away Muslim refugees, and to incite fear and hatred.

Read more at this link.

You Know You’re Ready for Young People if…

By Rebekah Simon-Peter

The number one thing I hear church leaders around the country say is: We’d like to have more young people in worship. That’s a terrific aspiration. But don’t say it if you don’t mean it. Digitals (born around 1999 and onward) and Millennials (born around 1982-1998) will bring their own set of experiences, expectations, hopes, and dreams to church. Which may or may not match yours.   How willing you are to accept them on their own terms is a sign of your true readiness.

Here’s a 10-point check list, with a bonus 11th point, to help you know if you are truly ready for young people. Or just wish you were.

You Know You’re Ready for Young People if… 

Visit this link to read more.

Thanksgiving potluck

Join the good people of Corvallis UMC on Thanksgiving Day @ 2:00 pm for their annual holiday potluck.  The turkey & ham are provided, you just bring the sides or dessert and an appetite!

UMC Giving Tuesday 2015

On Tuesday, December 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support Advance projects and missionaries on UMC Giving Tuesday. And once again, every gift made online through the Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on December 1 will be matched (up to one million dollars, see this link for details). 

This will allocate matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 1, 2015, between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. CT. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.

See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday#sthash.AQfW7zcR.dpuf

On Dec. 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on Dec. 1, 2015 will be matched up to $1 million.* - See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday#sthash.AQfW7zcR.dpuf

UMC #GivingTuesday 2015

Activate Love. Transform Lives. Change the World.

- See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday#sthash.AQfW7zcR.dpuf

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's get ready for Advent!!!

The Altar Guild is going to be decorating the church for the Advent/Christmas season this Saturday, November 28 starting at 10 am.  This isn’t particularly rigorous, and is fun!!  They hope to be done by noon – and will be if they get some help!

Scipture lesson for the First Sunday of Advent

Zechariah and the infant John (the Baptist)
Our scripture lesson for the First Sunday of Advent comes to us from Luke 1:68-79. This well-known passage is sometimes referred to as the Canticle (Song) of Zechariah or as the Benedictus.

This week @ SUMC

7:00 pm, Living Clean


7:00 pm, Choir practice

10:00 am, Wired Word      

Thursday: Thanksgiving Day
2:00 pm, Corvallis UMC potluck 

10:00 am, Drop-in Bible study @ the church (lesson #13) 

10:00 am, Preparing the sanctuary for Advent

Sunday: First Sunday of Advent
9:00 am, Advent study -"Mary Had a Baby"                                    
10:15 am, Praise singing
10:30 am, Worship                                
11:30 am, Fellowship time
11:45 am, Chime practice

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cold morning, hot church!

Thank Offering display

Christ the King Sunday @ Stevi UMC was awash in blessings! A rather brisk start to the day (14° this morning) gave way to an awesome outpouring of the the Spirit. From the church school class members focused on learning about and sharing their faith to the fellowship following worship, today was amazing!

Thanks to everyone who shared items for the Thanksgiving display around the communion table and to to Sara, Josh, and Luke Malo for arranging these gifts. 

In addition to it being Christ the King Sunday, this morning was also when we receive the Thank Offering. It was wonderful to see the children bringing forward the baskets laden with pledges of our involvement in the world. If you still wish to participate, please visit this link and then let the church office know how you want to connect to these programs.

Our choir offered two musical gifts this morning, the first during our praise singing time and the second, a beautiful anthem of thanksgiving. The brass ensemble also shared their musical gifts this morning during the offering, a medley of harvest hymns.

Our Advent study begins next week. We'll be using the book, "Mary Had a Baby" which uses African-American spirituals as a means of exploring the Christmas story. Please let Pastor Charles or the church office know by Tuesday if you would like a copy of the book we'll be using.

A prayer for Christ the King Sunday

 Lamb of God - Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano - Rome

A Song to the Lamb

Splendor and honor and kingly power
are Yours by right, O Lord our God,
For You created everything that is,
and by Your will they were created and have their being;
And Yours by right, O Lamb that was slain,
for with Your blood You have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation,
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
And so, to Him who sits upon the throne,
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor,
for ever and for evermore.

Book of Common Prayer, 1979 (Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ready for the Thank Offering

Thanks to everyone who came out on a chilly Saturday to help make the church ready for tomorrow's Thank Offering Sunday.  Thanks also to those who contributed to this effort!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Defeating evil by doing good

The first story you know well. Terrorists attacked innocent people. On Thursday, November 12, 2015, 43 people lost their lives and another 200 were wounded by suicide bombers in Beirut. Soon after the group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility. The next day in Paris, at least 129 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in coordinated terrorist attacks by ISIS.

The other story is lesser known. On Monday, November 16, The United Methodist Church announced that we have raised 90% of our goal—$68 million of a $75 million goal—to combat malaria. The results already seen through the work of the Imagine No Malaria campaign are astounding. By providing bed nets, prevention programs, health care facilities, training for health workers, and more, malaria deaths are nearly half what they had been—and we are moving toward eliminating malaria deaths completely.

These two stories appear unrelated, even conflicting, but maybe they’re not.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wintry WOW

Dean shares with the WOW gathering
The wintry weather we experienced this morning couldn't deter the faithful from going "WOW" tonight!

John Fisher and Dean Diers once again provided the amazing soup and fresh bread we enjoy each week.  Dean did double-duty this evening, providing the reflection for us this evening.

Dean based his offering on Mark 6:30-44 (the feeding of the 5,000). Discussion followed on the topic of abundance. We also shared a communal prayer before we began the table sharing:

We gather tonight in the darkness of a northern winter, as spiritual darkness holds the world in the icy grip of violence and terror.

We gather tonight in the week before Thanksgiving, knowing full well that others go to bed hungry.

Forgive us when we close our ears, ignoring the cries of a broken world. Forgive us when we harden our hearts, failing to be the people you have called us to be.

We gather tonight in the warmth of fellowship, seeking after the light of your love. Help us to seek ways to share of our abundance, bless us as we seek to bring your light and your love to our world. 

We pray this in Jesus' name.  Amen.

UMW Stories of Thanksgiving

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

In this season of Thanksgiving we give thanks for United Methodist Women members whose gifts, big and small, help make mission possible in local communities and around the world, and for mission partners whose tireless efforts improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

Read more at this link.

Harvest altar display

We're hoping people will bring food to display on the Harvest Altar on Sunday, November 22
Potatoes, apples, oranges, onions, carrots, squash – all those types of keepers, and we'd love to have some home-canned goods to work with as well.


The color of Jesus

What does your Jesus look like?

Is he white?

Pale, pale skin.
Clear of blemishes, with a translucent quality.
Pure.  Holy.

Long, blonde-brown flowing hair,
shining like the models on TV.
Soft, flowing blonde-brown beard —
straight, not curly.
White, straight teeth.

Perfect, flawless hands,
held, with feeling, over the heads of the poor children,
blessing, coming close,
but not – quite – touching –
must remain clean and white
to do the clean and white Father’s work.

When you look into Jesus’s eyes,
what do you see?

Pale blue gaze
under smooth, tidy brows –
no overgrowth here,
just clean perfection
looking out from the only example of a perfect human
to ever walk this earth.

This Jesus, he can talk compassion,
but surely he cannot live it.
There is no way a person that perfect
would be willing to get his hands dirty,
would be willing to get down in the dust and trash,
would be willing to soil his beautiful self
to save a wretch like me.

Jesus stands in front of a painting of himself —
an enormous painting,
huge, imposing, ornately framed,
attached firmly to the museum wall.

He stands, head cocked, gazing the portrait up and down.
The crowd of street urchins
who followed him into the museum
stand silently, watching him,
imitating the cock of his head,
the littlest ones clutching the hem of his tunic,
sucking their thumbs,
silent, content.

The guard looks disapprovingly at the dirty feet.
Jesus admires the boldness of the piece,
the brush strokes,
the vibrant colors,
the dedication and skill of the artist,
the years of work and perseverance
shining through.

One of the solemn children whispers, Who is that?
Jesus, brought out from thought,
looks down,
smiles at the little one,
his dark eyes twinkling,
extends his strong brown hand,
and off they all go,
the Savior and the saved,
heading for the park,
going off to play in the warm,
all -revealing

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

From the president of the UMC Council of Bishops

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.
The President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops issued the following statement about the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris: 

Jesus wept.
-John 11:35

This week, we weep for those in Paris. We weep for the senseless violence. We weep for the innocents whose lives were cut short. We weep for those who are grieving, who are frightened, who are hurting. We weep for those whose hearts are breaking, in France and all over the world. As several world leaders have stated, this is an attack on all humanity.

Even as we weep, we know that God is with us, that he sustains us with hope and that he will dry our tears. Once again, the forces of evil have tried to dominate; but, as disciples of Jesus, we must make our witness that the darkness will not overcome our light.

Let us be in prayer for Paris and the people of France. These events have impacted them in the way September 11, 2001, grieved the U.S. Also, please pray for communities around our world that will not make the news, but cringe under the threat of violence. May the Holy Spirit guide us in ways that will break this cycle of violence.

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops

"Mary Had a Baby" Advent study

Join us Sunday, November 29th (9:00 - 10:00 am) as we begin the four-week, all-church Advent study, 
"Mary Had a Baby."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Where we stand

The United Methodist Church has frequently addressed general and specific topics related to migration. The Social Principles affirm:

  1. "We commit ourselves as a Church to the achievement of a world community that is a fellowship of persons who honestly love one another. We pledge ourselves to seek the meaning of the gospel in all issues that divide people and threaten the growth of world community" (¶ 165).
  2. "In order to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, and other necessities, ways must be found to share more equitably the resources of the world"  (¶ 163E).
  3. "We advocate for the rights of all migrants and applaud their efforts toward responsibility self-organization and self-determination"(¶ 163F, 2004 Book of Resolutions).

     Read more at this link.

A timely reminder

From the 2012 Book of Discipline, the Social Principles: the Social Community - Rights of Religious Minorities.

The United Methodist Church and Peace

Longing for safety is a feeling that all human beings share with one another. . . . The way to real peace and security is reconciliation. We will not attain full reconciliation between all peoples before God's final consummation because the forces of evil and destruction are still at work in the hearts of human beings and in their relationships. But we are called to be peacemakers and ministers of reconciliation until our Lord comes. (In Search of Security, Council of Bishops Task Force on Safety and Security).

"Peace is not simply the absence of war, a nuclear stalemate or combination of uneasy cease-fires. It is that emerging dynamic reality envisioned by prophets where spears and swords give way to implements of peace (Isaiah 2:1-4); where historic antagonists dwell together in trust (Isaiah 11:4-11); and where righteousness and justice prevail. There will be no peace with justice until unselfish and informed life is structured into political processes and international arrangements" (Bishops' Call for Peace and the Self-Development of Peoples).

The mission of Jesus Christ and his church is to serve all peoples regardless of their government, ideology, place of residence, or status. Surely the welfare of humanity is more important in God's sight than the power or even the continued existence of any state. Therefore, the church is called to look beyond human boundaries of nation, race, class, sex, political ideology, or economic theory and to proclaim the demands of social righteousness essential to peace.

Read more from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012 at this link.

Scripture lesson for November 22

St. Luke's Church - Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK

The scripture lessons for Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the church year, come to us from 2 Samuel 23:1-7 and Revelation 1:4b-8.

This week @ SUMC

6:00 pm, Trustees
7:00 pm, Living Clean


7:00 pm, Choir practice

8:00 am, WIC
10:00 am, Wired Word      
2:30 pm, Girl Scouts
6:00 pm, Worship on Wednesday    
6:30 pm, Youth Group @ the Ludington's 

7:00 pm, Brass ensemble practice
7:00 pm, Ad Council 

Friday:    Newsletter deadline
10:00 am, Drop-in Bible study @ Doris T.'s (lesson #12) 


9:00 am, Church school for all ages                                          
10:15 am, Praise singing
10:30 am, Worship                                    
11:30 am, Fellowship time
11:45 am, Chime practice

Sunday, November 15, 2015

We have shoe boxes!

We've got your size
We've got a bountiful supply of shoe boxes, some forty-plus, available for anyone wishing to participate in the BUMP shoe box drive for children.

To see the suggestion list, visit this link

(As of Monday afternoon there were twelve boxes left.)

This morning @ Stevi UMC

Wired Word class underway
Carol and the children
Sharing the postlude
Fellowship, SUMC-style
What blessings were abundant this morning at Stevi UMC! 

+Both adult classes were engaged in active learning, the children were likewise active!  

+Chevy and Palmer were present for the children's message shared by Carol Gragg.

+Today's anthem was presented by the Chime Choir (led by Marilyn Murphy) who shared "Song of Joy." Today's sermon is available at this link.

+Fellowship time was a wonderful out-pouring of community, made possible through the hospitality ministry of Lisa Menery and Lisa Nicholls.