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


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Renovations underway

Ben gets the work underway
Something for everyone

The much-anticipated bath renovations have begun with prep-work taking place this week.  There is still more to be done before the big jobs begin on Monday (April 4). We anticipate the work being completed by the 12th.

Lights - Camera - Jesus!

Gospel passages about Jesus' Passion paint strong visual images of his suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection. In other words, they would be important scenes in a film about Jesus’ life.
Filmmakers have made dozens of movies about Jesus since the invention of the motion picture camera; one of the earliest was “The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ” in 1903.

These projects are not just pieces of art telling the story of who Jesus was. “Rather,” writes the Rev. Matt Rawle, “for good or ill, these films become religious statements about what having faith in Jesus means.” Rawle is the pastor at The Well United Methodist Church near New Orleans, Louisiana. In his book, Hollywood Jesus, he contends that these films can tell us a lot about today’s culture.

“Movies offer us a snapshot of how Jesus was understood in a particular time and place,” notes Rawle. “In other words, films offer us the Jesus of ‘now’—whenever ‘now’ might be. ‘Ben-Hur’ offers a picture of the 1950s; ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is a slice of the ‘70s; and ‘Son of God’ presents a 2010 view of the Messiah. ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’…doesn’t so much show us a picture of the late ‘80s as it offers a curious question—‘What if?’”

You can watch Jesus films like those listed here in theaters or through video-on-demand (VOD) platforms like Netflix, iTunes, etc. These have not been evaluated in regards to Wesleyan principles, so you might talk to a pastor or check other sources if you have questions about the content.

Read more at this link.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An Easter week WOW

Plenty of good food and great fellowship to go around!
Dusty leads the group through the discussion

Tonight's WOW was a blessing for everyone who came out on a beautiful spring evening.

Dusty Schrock led tonight's discussion, using JJ Heller's "Loved" and Casting Crowns' "Just be Held" as the talking points on trust.

Thanks to Carol Gragg for preparing two delicious soups and Lois Hansen for the tasty dessert .

Who we are...

A 18th century lithograph of "the Holy Club"
Holy Club. Bible Moths. Methodists.

These are just a few of the names people called Charles and John Wesley and those gathered around them before anyone called their group a movement, let alone a church. Charles and John Wesley are considered founders of the Methodist movement that led to what is now The United Methodist Church.

It all began around 1728 with a few men at Oxford University, where Charles was finishing his studies. Charles Wesley had not always been very good at focusing on his studies or his faith. His first year at school was full of diversions like playing cards and enjoying music, theater and dancing. Nevertheless, by his final year, he was ready to devote himself to a more focused method of engaging study and faith.

Charles knew he could not do this on his own. He gathered with others in a small group, a practice common at Oxford in those days.

Read more at this link.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lectionary lessons for April 3

Holy Fool by Dain Gore
 Acts 5:27-32 
Psalm 150 
Revelation 1:4-8 
John 20:19-31

This week @ Stevi UMC

11:00 am, Funeral reception
6:00 pm, Lectionary study
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  

Friday:  April Fool's Day
10:00 am, Drop-in Bible study @ Doris T.'s (lesson #4)  
3:30 pm, Daisy & Brownie Troops

9:00 am, UMW kitchen/storage cleaning day

Sunday: Holy Humor Sunday
9:00 am, Lenten study   
10:15 am, Praise singing    
10:30 am, Worship service    
11:30 am, Fellowship - April birthdays!
11:45 am, Chime practice

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday (pt.4) - Worship

Paul leads the joyful sound to start the gathering
Bev calls the community to gather
Kyla leads the choir in, "I Will Rise"
Gretchen and Carol with the children
Bunnies galore!

The culmination of our Easter Sunday was the Festival Service of Easter.

Pastor Charles' message was based on a reading from Acts 10:34-43.

A lot of people had a hand in this morning's worship (see this link). 

Thanks to:
+Paul Ludington for leading the praise singing.
+Hannah S. and Josh M. for serving as acolytes today.
+the chimes for the "a-pealing" start of the worship service.
+Julie Ludington (piano) and Hazel Smith (organ).
+Kyla Morton for serving as guest choir leader today.
+Bev Schneider (liturgist) and Patty Murray and Ed Spencer (greeters) for their service this month.
+Carol Gragg (Jelly bean story) and Gretchen Spiess (Easter grass and bunnies) for welcoming our youngest disciples.
+the choir for offering, "I Will Rise" and for leading the "Hallelujah Chorus" to conclude the worship.

Easter (pt.3) - Easter Egg Hunt

The scene is set
That's a lot of eggs!
The egg "hiders" at work
Baskets filled to overflowing
Palmer's first egg!

There was something for everyone this morning at Stevi UMC! Following breakfast, the children gathered on the front lawn for the annual Easter egg hunt!

Thanks to: Sara, Josh, and Luke Malo, Kalie Anderson, and Belinda Alkula for "hiding" the vast number of eggs for the ten children who came for this year's hunt.

Easter (pt.2) - Breakfast

Dean (L) and Lynn (R) busy themselves in the kitchen
A bountiful feast
Paul Ludington joins the table fellowship
Smiles all around!
Palmer's first Easter breakfast!

Following worship at the Kauffman's, the community assembled at the church for a fabulous Easter tradition: Breakfast, hosted by the United Methodist Men!

Thanks to Dean Diers, Clay Freeman, Lynn Moshier, and Don Nelson for leading the effort that prepared such a terrific meal for the many hungry folk!

Easter (pt.1) - Sunrise service

"Morning has broken"
A much-appreciated fire
Communion on Easter morning
A wonderful sharing in the story

Easter arrived in the Bitterroot Valley with the first rays of morning peeking over the Sapphire Mountains. Nineteen gathered around the fire pit at the home of Dr. Linda & Steve Kauffman to welcome the festive day that is Easter. 

We were blessed with the songs of robins and Sand Hill Cranes and the dazzling Bitterroot Mountains as the morning light caught the peaks.

Thanks to:
+Dr. Linda for coordinating this morning's worship. 
+Dave Lockman for leading the singing
+Becky Boykin for leading a reading from John 20
+Pastor Charles for leading in communion including a sharing of a creed and communion liturgy written by Ann Weems.

Prayer for Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead, the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are His forever and ever.
St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Many hands make light work

Josh readies the eggs for tomorrow's hunt!
Gail and Sara enjoy the morning's activity
Gail, Carol, and Gretchen at work on the flowers
Many hands make light work
The sanctuary awaits
Thanks to Gail Fisher, Carol Gragg, Josh Malo, Sara Malo, and Gretchen Spiess for making the preparation for Easter Sunday at Stevi UMC go so well this morning!

Easter Festival Invitation

It's Holy Saturday, "In stillness the earth awaits the resurrection."

Please join us tomorrow morning for the celebration that is the remembrance of our Lord's triumph over death and our inclusion into that new life.

7:00 am - Sunrise service at Dr. Linda & Steve Kauffman (661 S. Burnt Fork Road, Stevensville

8:00 - 9:00 am - Easter breakfast (hosted by the United Methodist Men)

9:30 am - Easter Egg hunt on the front lawn (College St. side) - we have LOTS of eggs, we need LOTS of children to gather them!

10:15 am - Praise singing

10:30 am - Festival Worship Service

If you can't make it tomorrow, please visit our Youtube channel where we'll have the anthems and sermon posted later in the day. 

Easter Vigil

The Great Vigil of Easter, when observed, is the first service of Easter. It is celebrated at a convenient time between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Morning.

To help prepare us for the celebration that is Easter, the scripture lessons from the Easter Vigil liturgy are provided here:

Old Testament Readings and Psalms
New Testament Reading and Psalm

Prayer for Holy Satuday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  
Grant that, as the crucified body of Your dear Son 
was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, 
so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, 
and rise with Him to newness of life;
who now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, 

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2016

It is a Good Friday

We are ready to receive
The choir prepares to offer "Manger, Cross, and Tomb"
Lisa Menery reads from Psalm 22
The Passion Narrative
It was a moving worship tonight on Good Friday to follow on yesterday's Maundy Thursday service.

Thanks to:
+Rev. Lois Hansen for leading tonight's service.
+The choir for offering "Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley" and "Manger, Cross, and Tomb"
+Lisa Menery for reading the scripture lesson, Psalm22 :1-5, 20-28
+Bev Schneider for serving as liturgist.
+Dean & joey Diers for their assistance during the Passion narration.

Visit our Youtube channel to see more from the service.

It is finished

"Look unto Jesus. Behold, how He loveth thee! What could He have done more for thee which He hath not done?" 

- John Wesley, "The Righteousness of Faith"

Prayer for Good Friday

 My Lord,
Your son has suffered so much, shed so much blood.
I was born with so many faults
and my nature is so full of weakness,
and yet Your son Jesus has died on the cross.
For me.
I know Your grace has the power
to cleanse me of my many sins
and to make me more like Your Son.
Thank You for your goodness and love for me.
I ask You, Father, to watch over me - always.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maundy Thursday Worship

Lois Hansen offers her service as liturgist
The Lord's Supper is remembered anew
Dr. Angela Haugo offers "Why?"
The faithful gathered tonight as we remembered the institution of the Lord's Supper through word and song.

Thanks to the following for serving the Lord tonight: 
+Rev. Lois Hansen for stepping into the role of liturgist. 
+Hazel Smith (organ), Julie Ludington (piano), and Dr. Angela Haugo (solo) for adding to the emotion of the worship through their musical gifts. 
+Sara Malo, Belinda Alkula, and Lisa Menery for adding (or rather subtracting) to the visual elements through the stripping of the chancel.

Visit this link to see videos from tonight's worship.

Prayer for Holy Thursday

St Mary's Church, South Walsham, Norfolk, UK

Loving Provider,
You gather me in this upper room with Your Son,
to be fed by Y
our love.
At that supper, Jesus told us to "love one another"
and I know that is the heart of His gift,
His sacrifice for me.
I ask that I might find the source of my own heart,
the meaning for my own life,
in that Eucharist.
Guide me to the fullness of Your love and life.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

UMW Day of Giving

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer ..."
―Proverbs 11:24 

Prayer for Wednesday in Holy Week

My savior,
do You invite me to share
in the glory of the resurrection?
Please stay with me
as I struggle to see
how accepting the crosses of my life
will free me from the power
of the one who wants only
to destroy my love and trust in You.
Help me to be humble and accepting
like Your son, Jesus.
I want to turn to You
with the same trust he had in Your love.
Save me, Lord. Only You can save me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prayer for Tuesday in Holy Week

God of such unwavering love,
how do I "celebrate"
the passion and death of Jesus?
I often want to look the other way
and not watch,
not stay with Jesus in his suffering.
Give me the strength
to see His love with honesty and compassion
and to feel deeply
Your own forgiveness and mercy for me.
Help me to understand
how to "celebrate" this week.
I want be able to bring
my weaknesses and imperfections with me
as I journey with Jesus this week,
so aware of His love.