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


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

VBS 2016

June 27 thru July 1 - 9 am to 2 pm daily

+Ages: Five to11-year-olds

+A nutritious lunch & two snacks provided each day.

Register at this link or call (406) 777-5443
for more information.

Loving God and loving others sounds simple, but living it out gets more complicated.   People of faith have often been called to do difficult things—to pack up and go when called, to speak difficult truths in challenging situations, to believe in God’s promises, and to love even our enemies.  Campers will learn about their calling to love God and others from people of the Old Testament who struggled to do the same.
  • Monday: God’s covenant with Abraham
  • Tuesday: Water in the Wilderness
  • Wednesday: Ruth & Naomi
  • Thursday: Jonah & God
  • Friday:  Jeremiah’s Call

30 Days of Listening

From the good people at Rethink Church:

The summer months are very much a time of transition. Moving up a grade; perhaps a promotion or relocation. Even the change in temperature signals to us that the seasons are changing.

Sometimes it is in this season of transition where we most need to learn to listen. We invite you, beginning tomorrow, to join us in an exercise to train ourselves to listen more deeply in these next 30 days.

In a world with lots of chatter, we often find it hard to make room to listen to other voices, ideas, nudges. Follow along daily as we post a new practice or idea to consider, while practicing our ability to listen deeply to the people and the world around us.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Sermon Series

This coming Sunday (June 5) begins our "prophet-able" summer sermon series. Our exploration of the Twelve Minor Prophets begins with a look at Hosea. 

Due to the brevity of each prophetic book (in relation to the size of Isaiah for example), please plan on reading the entire book for each week.

June 5 - Hosea
June 19 - Joel
June 26 - Amos
July 3 - Obadiah
July 10 - Jonah
July 17 - Micah
July 24 - Nahum
July 31 - Habakkuk
Aug. 7 - Zephaniah
Aug. 14 - Haggai
Aug. 21 - Zechariah
Aug. 28 - Malachi

Memorial Day

Day is done...
Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...
Safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light....
Dims the sight
And a star....
Gems the sky....
Gleaming bright
From afar....
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.

 - Major General Daniel Butterfield

This week @ Stevi UMC

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

8:00, Bitterroot Valley Education Co-op
7:00 pm, SPPRC
10:00-Noon, UMM rummage sale donation collection
9:00 am, Church school 
10:15 am, Praise singing  
10:30 am, Worship service  
11:30 am, Fellowship

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Last Sunday in May

A sunny start to our Sunday
Finishing the Revelation study
Pastor Charles shares about GC 2016
Lighting the way
Fellowship time this morning
We enjoyed a delightful morning as May draws to a close. With the adult classes continuing and visitors sharing the morning with us, we are blessed in so many ways!

The class working its way through the Book of Revelation completed that study today. Next week the class takes up its next challenge: Isaiah. Both of the adult classes (Isaiah and the Wired Word) will continue to meet during the summer.

Pastor Charles' sermon, "A faith unlike any other," may be found on our YouTube channel.

Pastor Charles' Reflection on General Conference

Note: this is the Pastor Charles' reflection on General Conference in the June Glad Tider (the newsletter of the Stevensville [MT] UMC):

I’m writing this right on the heels of my experience at General Conference (GC) in Portland. With the theme, “Therefore, Go!” the church gathered for its quadrennial (once every four years) meeting. To paraphrase the opening line in “A Tale of Two Cities” – It was everything I hoped it would be and everything I was afraid it would be.

The Good: Seeing 865 delegates from 133 Annual Conferences representing more than 12 million members and 45,434 local churches with another estimated 4,000 others present during the course of the ten days (volunteers, vendors, General Church workers, etc.) was wonderful! Twenty-nine missionaries (from eleven countries serving in sixteen countries) and twenty-five Deaconesses and Home Missioners were commissioned – WOW!

Each morning the day began with worship, and oh, what worship it was! Choirs, ensembles, and soloists shared an incredible variety of music. My favorite was the ukulele choir from Grace Avenue UMC (Frisco, Texas). There were participants representing the rainbow/tapestry of a global church and prayers that went deep into the heart of the church. Then there were the bishops chosen ahead of time to bring the word for the day. Each one spoke powerful, prophetic words to a deeply conflicted church body, urging us to follow Christ in service and love.

Then there was the large room set aside for prayer as well as a UMW prayer tent and a prayer station outside one entrance to the plenary hall. The main prayer room included five interactive prayer stations, two large labyrinths, and much more. Each day bishops would take turns in a prayer vigil. Each delegate was given a set of prayer beads and the UMW distributed labyrinth hand-made quilt squares.

The General Boards, Agencies, and Commissions shared what the church does best – connecting with people where they are and to address the needs of all of God’s children. Imagine No Malaria, Africa University, and other efforts are touching lives and the Stevensville UMC is a part of that effort. The exhibit hall also contained dozens of displays showing the diversity of ministries being done by individuals and organizations in every corner of the world. We celebrated milestones and anniversaries including 60th anniversary of the ordination of women, 200th anniversary of the AME Church, and 250 years since the founding of John St. UMC (in New York City). We took corporate responsibility for our part in the Sand Creek Massacre.

The bad: It was during the afternoon plenary on the next to last day when a sobering moment occurred. I was seated in the bleachers, listening to an acrimonious debate on the proposal from the Council of Bishops on “the way forward” (to consider the topic of human sexuality in a special General Conference). As I took in this scene, the thought came to me: “Am I witnessing the birth of a new church or the death of an old one?”

Focusing on the institutional side of Portland alone is enough to cause me to weep over the future of our denomination. There were times during the proceedings that it seemed to me that some delegates were more interested in proving their mastery of Robert’s Rules of Order and winning votes than in “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.” It seemed at times that I was witnessing the end of the church as I had known it.

And yet. As John Wesley is quoted as having said as he lay dying, “The best of all, God is with us.” To that belief in the continuing presence of God in The UMC, I would offer: 

+I believe that we United Methodists must find a way to see in our brothers and sisters the image of the Living God before all else is said or done.

+I believe that the Spirit of God is able to do a new thing in The UMC or it will do a new thing in a church that rises from the ashes of the current denomination.

+I believe that the church that we have received from the Wesleys has a vital role to play in the world. But we live in a different time than the early Methodists and cannot cling to some mythical golden age as the norm for our life today.

+I believe that the so-called “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” (understanding our faith through Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience) is a valid way for us to approach our life together.

+I believe that as long as we claim to be United Methodists or actively participate in the ministries of the Stevensville UMC that we must continue to grow as disciples.

+I believe that if you are a member of this congregation that the vows you took upon joining this church and The United Methodist Church (you joined both in case you’ve forgotten) need to be written in bold letters on your heart. Supporting the church through your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness are not just pretty words – they are the marks of who we are as United Methodists.

+I believe that the work of the church is not limited to the physical building at 216 College Street or to The UMC. To put it another way, “Imagine how different the church would be if it understood the church is not about the church” (ReThink Church – Brad Brisco).

From my perspective, the most Spirit-filled moment during GC 2016 was during one particularly unpleasant debate when the young adults rose up to read the Statement of Unity from the United Methodist Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly held in Manila, Philippines:

“There has been increasing talk of schism of the United Methodist Church in recent months. Many say that the issue of homosexuality is so contentious that it will inevitably split our Church. We, as the young people of The United Methodist Church, would like to say that we do not desire a divided Church. “The Church that we have taken our places in is called to a ministry that includes so much more than this one issue. There are genuine, passionate perspectives on all sides of the issue and though we disagree, we have committed ourselves to loving, faithful discussion on this subject. Part of the beauty of our Church is that there has always been room at the table for a wide range of theological diversity within our connectional church family. As [John] Wesley said, ‘May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?’ 

We urge everyone to seek solutions that promote our global unity as The United Methodist Church of Jesus Christ, rather than focus only on the issues that divide us, so that we may faithfully live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

So, was spending the resources of time, energy, and money to be present at GC worthwhile? I believe it was. The Council of Bishops concluded its pastoral letter at the conclusion of GC with these words: 

“Most importantly, we affirmed our commitment to stay united. We proved that we are more than debates and divisions, more than rules and resolutions. We stood together as the body of Christ. As we reflect on our time in Portland, our prayer is for unity in the church for the advancement of our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Every blessing,

Pastor Charles

Sunday thought

How are you living intentionally?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rummage sale is approaching

joey, Don, & Dean at the ready
Don Nelson is happy to help
In preparation for the 3rd annual rummage sale, the UMM are hosting donation delivery/pick-ups on the Saturdays leading up to the June 18th sale day.

Thanks to joey & Dean Diers and Don Nelson for their servant ministry this week.

Items for the rummage/yard sale may be dropped off at the church from 10:00 am - noon the next two Saturdays (June 4 & 11). The UMM will also come and pick-up larger items.

The sale will be June 18th, the Saturday of Western Heritage Days in Stevensville.  All proceeds are split between the UMM and UMW for mission projects.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May's Movie Night

Great time tonight at Movie Night! Lois Hansen & Corky provided a delicious meal, Minnesota-style. Tonight's movie was "Joy."

Monday, May 23, 2016

A letter from the Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church
Office of Public Information


May 23, 2016

Washington, D.C.: Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent this letter today to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20. The letter reads as follows:

“To the people of The United Methodist Church:

The Council of Bishops brings you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has called us to be servant leaders of the church. In 1812, Bishop Francis Asbury, Bishop William McKendree and General Conference Secretary Daniel Hitt sent the first letter to churches following General Conference. This letter seeks to revive that tradition. Many bishops will also be communicating individually with their own areas.

Hundreds of lay and clergy delegates from around the world gathered in Portland, Oregon, along with bishops and pastors, church members and staff, volunteers and visitors, to engage in Christian conferencing, to make decisions for our church’s future, to affirm our global connection, to worship and to celebrate God’s faithfulness.

We celebrated the success of our Imagine No Malaria initiative, which seeks to raise $75 million in the fight against malaria, a disease that takes the life of a child in Africa every two minutes. 

We celebrated our ecumenical partnerships as we move in to full Communion with the Uniting Church in Sweden and toward full Communion with the Moravian church. We celebrated our heritage: the 250th anniversary of our oldest church, John Street United Methodist Church, the 200th anniversary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women, the 25th anniversary of Africa University and others.

We continued in our acts of repentance with a presentation from the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes about the Methodist involvement in the 1864 Sand Creek massacre. We shared in the consecration of deaconesses and home missioners and the commissioning of missionaries. We moved toward a global Book of Discipline and global Social Principles. We voted to add five new bishops in Africa after 2020, and approved a church wide study on our ecclesiology.

The Episcopal address set the tone for the event, focusing on humility and lifting up our accomplishments. We heard from our laity an invitation to members to be more involved in making disciples and getting involved in ministries to bring the love of Christ to others. We heard our young people say they “are engaged in Christ’s journey with energy and love.” We also heard them say clearly that they do not want a divided church and urged us to "be in unity even if we do not have unanimity." They give us hope for our future.

The body had difficult and challenging work before it as we acknowledged our differences over human sexuality. Amidst those differences, the delegates affirmed they want their bishops to lead and we found ourselves with an opportunity for a holy moment. We spoke candidly about what divides us and what our church might look like in the future if we dared to consider new possibilities. We offered a way forward, postponing decisions about sexuality matters and committing to having a different kind of global conversation that allows all voices to be heard.

Our differences do not keep us from being the body of Christ. They do not keep us from doing good in the world. They do not keep us from making a difference – and so we set forth bold new goals: to make a million new disciples of Jesus Christ; to engage 3 million new people to make a difference in the world; to transform 400 communities for vital abundant living; to reach a million children with lifesaving health interventions; and to double the number of vital congregations.

Most importantly, we affirmed our commitment to stay united. We proved that we are more than debates and divisions, more than rules and resolutions. We stood together as the body of Christ. As we reflect on our time in Portland, our prayer is for unity in the church for the advancement of our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As John Wesley reminded us, “Best of all, God is with us.”

Signed on behalf of the Council of Bishops,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, 

president of the Council”

About the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12.3 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. The Council of Bishops is made up of all active and retired bishops of The United Methodist Church, and comprises 45 active bishops in the United States; 20 active bishops in Europe, Asia and Africa; plus 87 retired bishops worldwide.

Scripture lesson for May 29th

This week @ Stevi UMC

6:00 pm, Lectionary study
7:00 pm, Living Clean 

Tuesday: Aldersgate Day
7:00 pm, Choir practice 


8:00 am, WIC
10:00 am, Wired Word
2:30 pm, Girl Scouts
6:00 pm, Movie Night 

7:00 pm, Ad Council 

10:00 am, Drop-in Bible study @ Doris T.'s (lesson #13)

9:00 am, Church school 
10:15 am, Praise singing  
10:30 am, Worship service  
11:30 am, Fellowship

Sunday, May 22, 2016

UMW Sunday

Bev  Schneider
Marcia Prather
Nilda Bishop
Connie Rakeicki
Liz Goddard
Today's Trinity Sunday worship service was led by members of our United Methodist Women (UMW) who shared from their experiences of faith as lived through the ministries of the UMW.

Today's speakers may be viewed on the UMW's page on our YouTube channel.

Thanks to everyone who took part: Belinda Alkula, Nilda Bishop, Liz Goddard, Carol Gragg, Linda K. Kauffman, Julie Ludington, Marcia Prather, Connie Rakiecki, and Bev Schneider.  

Clay Freeman led the UMW chorus in "Never Alone," and "Time with You, Lord."

Prayer for Trinity Sunday

O triune God, what an exciting mystery we celebrate today, that You, our God, are three persons in one being. Your essence is so awesome, it is beyond our understanding. 

O Father, You adopted us as Your children through the death and resurrection of Your Son. 

O Holy Spirit, You gave us faith in Jesus through explosive power of the gospel. You testify that we are God’s children, and You guarantee our inheritance of eternal glory with Jesus. 

O holy Trinity, Your saving love overwhelms us. Keep us as Your own, and each day move us to declare: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty! We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy spirit, one God, through all eternity.  Amen.

— written by Arnold Ruddat, www.arnold.theruddats.com 

Prayer for UMW Sunday

Eternal God, we have gathered here in Your sanctuary this morning, as members of Your family, to worship You as our Living God. Community- making God, You have called us to be in community with each other.

Enable us to center ourselves for renewal in Your presence, commitment to Your mission, and ministry with the least of these, here and around the world.  

Equip us with Your Holy Spirit to witness to Your love and power, healing and reconciliation, nurturance and new life.  

Inspire us once again to be the tellers of the old, old story, in ever new contexts, that Jesus has come so that all may have life, in fact, more than life, Life in its Fullness, through Jesus the Christ. Amen

 Glory E. Dharmaraj, Director of Spiritual Formation and Mission Theology ...adapted by Wisconsin (UMC) Conference Mission Coordinators

Saturday, May 21, 2016

GC 2016 wrap-up and more

Musicians during the May 12 morning worship
GC 2016 Wrap-up:  
Believe it or not, General Conference 2016 spent more than twice as much time debating a Rule of Order than the hot topic of human sexuality. After almost three days of considering an alternative method for discussing legislation, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body referred its most difficult subject – sexuality — to a study commission and moved on to other matters.

A move to adjourn at 6:30 every night meant no late-night sessions and hopefully healthier, less stressed attendees. During 10 days in Portland, delegates passed an increased budget, celebrated a number of church milestones and voted to create a new version of the hymnal.

Read more here.

UMNS Digest:
This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 14-20 (read more here). It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at umc.org/news.

Friday, May 20, 2016

GC 2016: Day 10 - afternoon (May 20)

Peace cranes
Silent witness for inclusion
Bishop Ough shares a final message with GC
Singing our way home
With dozens of petitions and more to get through in the afternoon sessions it was hoped that the need to give attention to the business would spur the delegates to avoid needless trip to the microphone. Sadly, this was not to be.

Petitions from the UMW (responsible parenthood), Social Justice (divestment from Israeli occupation businesses), and Natural Community (divestment from fossil fuels) all were bogged down in procedural business and ultimately fail to pass a contentious GC.

By the end of the day's business session there were still more than sixty pieces of business still untouched. 
Read the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) for the daily update.

CG 2016: Day 10 - morning (May 20)

Bishop Stanovsky brings the message this morning
Cherokee (OK) blind choir in the display area
Ukulele choir (Grace UMC - Frisco, TX)
Church choir (from a church in Oregon)
The final day of GC 2016 began with another inspirational worship service. Our bishop, Elaine Stanovsky, was this morning's preacher. Her sermon, "Leave the tomb quickly" was, as were all the sermons from the bishops, quite moving!

With a full day's agenda to wade through (including more than seventy petitions or amendments), it was important to get to the business before us.

The major accomplishment of the morning was the eventual approval of a $605 million dollar budget for the coming quadrenium (four years).

 Read the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) for the daily update.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

GC 2016: Day 9 afternoon (May 19)

Pastor Charles at the prayer support booth
Press coverage in action
Free hugs during the afternoon break
Bishop Minerva Garza CarcaƱo in the chair this afternoon
Memorial time during the afternoon worship
Read the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) for the daily update.

GC 2016: Day 9 morning (May 19)

Cherokee (OK) choir
Bishop John Yambasu (Sierra Leone)

Commissioning of 29 missionaries
Recognition of retiring bishops
The next-to-last day began with worship and an inspiring sermon by Bishop John Yambasu (Sierra Leone) and a choir from the Cherokee Nation (OK). Twenty-nine missionaries from eleven countries (serving 16 countries) were commissioned and sent into the mission field.

Read the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) for the daily update.

Congratulations, Sylke!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

GC 2016: Day 8 - afternoon (May 18)

Prayer on the floor of GC
Young People's response
Afternoon business
Sand Creek Massacre report

Bishop Stanovsky comments on the Sand Creek report
Following the lunch break GC resumed with a heightened sense of anxiety filling every corner of the convention center. An appeal for unity from the young people's representatives, more parliamentary maneuvering, and reports of un-Christ-like behavior on the GC floor and elsewhere brought the GC to the point of being able to accept the original motion from the bishops.

When the GC eventually was able to move to other business the atmosphere of the convention center seemed to be lifted in a small, but appreciated manner.

Our bishop introduced the report of the Sand Creek Massacre commission which included the historian who was the principle author of the study and descendants of the massacre survivors.

 Read the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) for the daily update.