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


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saturday morning UMW at work

The Saturday morning UMW circle is supporting the WIC program with the purchase of supplies for the WIC clients. 

The Saturday morning circle meets on the third Saturday of each month at 9:00 am for fellowship and business at 9:30 am.

Methodist history: Controversy, Communion, & Welch’s Grape Juice

You are probably familiar with Welch’s Grape Juice, but you may not know it has ties to the history of The United Methodist Church.

In the 1800s, churches faced a dilemma. To combat the epidemic of alcoholism, the temperance movement advocated total abstinence from all alcohol. In celebration of the Lord’s Supper though, the church filled the communion chalice with wine.

Substituting grape juice seems an obvious solution. “For us today it is such common practice. We don’t know any different,” explains Adrienne Possenti, church historian at First United Methodist Church of Vineland, New Jersey.

In the 1800s, however, that was no easy task. Raw grape juice stored at room temperature—home refrigerators were not available until 1913—naturally ferments into wine. This caused a problem for congregations not wanting to use anything containing alcohol.

Read more at this link.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bishop Ough issues statement on Trump immigration order

United Methodist Council of Bishops
January 30, 2017

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement regarding President Trump’s executive order on immigration at a press conference sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Churches. The event, held at Hennepin United Methodist Church, gathered faith leaders to discuss the topic of immigration. Bishop Ough participated in today’s event in his role as resident bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church. The statement  maintains The United Methodist Church’s unity in standing with other faith traditions to denounce the order, as well as calling all to remember Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:40: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

“I call upon the people of The United Methodist Church to see the face of Christ in the refugee,” Bishop Ough said. “Say ‘no’ to the walling off of our country and our hearts and say ‘yes’ to their hope – our hope – for new life. Let us unite and work together to bring the soul of this country to a living birth!”

The full text of Bishop Ough’s statement follows:
Today, I stand with colleagues representing several faith traditions to strongly denounce President Trump’s widespread attack on immigrants and refugees. President Trump’s reckless, ill-conceived executive orders will divide families, impose a religious test for Muslims facing forced migration, penalize communities providing sanctuary and wall off the United States from our neighbors. These actions are expensive, unnecessary and profoundly antithetical to our values of compassion, dignity and justice for all individuals regardless of nationality, religious affiliation or legal status.

The biblical witness is clear and unambiguous. Walls are unbiblical. Hospitality is biblical. Denying one’s neighbor is unbiblical. Welcoming the stranger is biblical. It is not surprising that Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach the reign of God as a banquet to which all peoples are invited. We are to welcome the sojourner, love our neighbor and stand with the most vulnerable among us. These very values from our sacred texts and faith traditions are currently reflected in the mandate of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and must not be usurped by any executive order. Orders, legislation or administrative actions that would have the U.S. State Department disqualify refugees from protection and resettlement based on their nationality or religion are a denial of the very principles this nation was built upon, contradict the legacy of leadership our country has offered the world, and dishonor our shared humanity.

Jesus was explicit in his teachings. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40).

Refugees and immigrants arrive among us, not only with their needs, but also bearing gifts of energy, resourcefulness, love of liberty and hope. These gifts have always contributed to the renewal of our society and the church.

Above all, these strangers bring to us the Christ. When we welcome a stranger we welcome Jesus, and when we welcome Jesus we welcome our creator. Refugees, immigrants, those yearning to be free—these are the ones whom Jesus spoke about when he said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35).

Repeatedly Jesus tells his disciples: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

The original Greek language is far more poetic, powerful and prophetic. In finer translations of the Greek language, we hear Jesus saying: “Whoever seeks to build a wall around their soul shall destroy it; whoever tears down the wall (around their soul) shall bring their soul to a living birth.”

The very soul of our country is at stake. When we abandon strangers who are at risk of bigotry, xenophobia and violence we not only destroy their hope, we destroy our own souls. When we fail to assist the refugees fleeing danger, we not only place them in harm’s way, we do harm to our own souls. When we build walls of concrete, or walls of divisive rhetoric, or walls of fear, or walls of immoral immigration policies, we build a wall around our own souls.

Christ calls us to tear down the walls around our souls that we might live fully and abundantly. Thus, I call on the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress to rescind the harmful executive orders and save the soul of our country. I call upon the people of The United Methodist Church to see the face of Christ in the refugee. Say “no” to the walling off of our country and our hearts and say “yes” to their hope – our hope – for new life. Let us unite and work together to bring the soul of this country to a living birth!

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President
Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
January 30, 2017

Scripture lessons for February 5

Assisi, Umbria, Italy
This week's scripture lessons come from I Corinthians 2:1-12  and Matthew 5:13-20.

This week at Stevi UMC

7:00 pm, Living Clean
7:00 pm, Choir 

8:00 am, WIC
10:00 am, Methodism study: the early American Methodists
6:00 pm, Worship on Wednesday/youth

6:30 pm, SPPRC

10:00 am, Drop-in Bible Study (lesson 10)
9:00 am, Church school  
9:00 am, Methodism study: Basic beliefs
10:15 am, Praise singing
10:30 am, Worship
11:30 am, Fellowship
11:45 am, Chimes

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The UMC Book of Resolutions: Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.

The Historical Context

From the dawn of creation human beings have migrated across the earth. The history of the United States is a migration narrative of families and individuals seeking safety, economic betterment, and freedom of religious and cultural expression. The reasons for those who immigrated willingly are numerous and varied depending on the context, but what all immigrants share is the promise of what they believe lies in another land other than their own. Migrants today continue to travel to North America because of the effects of globalization, dislocation, economic scarcity, persecution, and other reasons.

The arrival of migrants to the United States from so many parts of the world has also meant that there is a diversity of cultures and worldviews. The diversity of cultures, worldviews, and languages has placed an enormous strain upon migrants. To effectively deal with this trauma and ease the process of acculturation, migrants should be encouraged to preserve strong cultural and familial ties to their culture of origin.

The arrival of new cultures has also felt threatening to US citizens, and this has too often resulted in conflict and even violence. Throughout the history of the United States, the most recently arrived group of migrants has often been a target of racism, marginalization, and violence. We regret any and all violence committed against migrants in the past and we resolve, as followers of Jesus, to work to eliminate racism and violence directed towards newly arriving migrants to the United States.

Read the full text at this link.

January is nearly done at Stevi UMC

Our acolytes are wonderful!
Bev was our liturgist in Janaury
Children love church!
Our choir adds to the worship service
Fellowship time is all that and more!
January is drawing to a close but before we turn the page of the calendar there was the joy of coming together as a church family.

Church school this morning had an energetic group of children and adults on the second floor and the study, "Methodism & you: From our roots to our future" looked at early Methodists in America.

The choir offered to God the spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." Pastor Charles' sermon came from Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes. 

Thanks this morning goes to: Belinda Alkula, Liz Goddard, Cathy Hackett, and Robin Johnston for teaching the children; Ava and Katie Rose (with help from Mitch Edgar) for serving as acolytes; Paul Goddard, Mary Costello, & Sharon Wheeler for serving as greeters/ushers; Bev Schneider for being the liturgist this month; Carol Gragg shared the children's message; Cammie Edgar provided the overhead support; Mitch Edgar operated the video camera; music today came from Hazel Smith, organ, Paul Ludington, praise music, Julie Ludington, piano, and Brenda Bolton, choir; Fran Jackson, Linda Kauffman, and Carole Koval for taking care of fellowship time.

The Beatitudes for today

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Biblical References to Immigrants and Refugees

Note: The following is from the United Church of Christ (UCC): 

The following passages from the Bible refer to immigrants and refugees.  All quotations are from the NRSV.

Genesis 3:22-24 – Adam and Eve are forced out of the Garden.
Genesis 7 and 8 – Noah builds an ark and takes refuge from the flood.
Genesis 12:1 – The call of Abram:  “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
Genesis 12:10 – “Now there was a famine in the land.  So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.”
Genesis 19 – Lot takes his family and flees Sodom.
Genesis 23 – Abraham is a stranger and an alien in the land of Canaan.
Genesis 46:1-7 – Jacob moves his family to Egypt to escape the famine and reunite with Joseph.
Genesis 47: 1-6 – Joseph brings his brothers to Pharaoh and they are welcomed and given jobs.
Exodus 1:8-14 – Joseph’s generation is gone, and the Egyptians oppress the Israelites.  “Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor.”
Exodus 1:15-2:10 – Pharaoh orders all the Hebrew boy babies to be killed, but Moses is hidden and is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter.
Exodus 12:37-39 – The Israelites were driven out of Egypt so fast they had no time to make provisions and had to bake unleavened cakes of bread. 
Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22 – “There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.”
Exodus 22:21 – Moses gives God’s law:  “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
Leviticus 19:9-10 and 23:22 – Moses gives God’s law:  “You shall not strip your vineyards bare…leave them for the poor and the alien.”
Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 24:23 – Moses receives God’s law:  “With me you are but aliens and tenants.”
Numbers 9:14 and 15:15-16 – “…you shall have one statute for both the resident alien and the native.”
Numbers 35 and Joshua 20 – The Lord instructs Moses to give cities of refuge to the Levites so that when the Israelites must flee into Canaan they may have cities of refuge given to them.
Deuteronomy 1:16 – “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien.”
Deuteronomy 6:10-13 – The people of Israel are made aware that the land had come to them as a gift from God and they were to remember that they were once aliens.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – “For the Lord your God...loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-13 – Tithing was begun, in part, for resident aliens.
Deuteronomy 24:14   – “You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land...”
Deuteronomy 24:17-18 – “You shall not deprive a resident alien...of justice.”
Deuteronomy 24:19-22 – Leave sheaf, olives, grapes for the alien.
Deuteronomy 26:5 – A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…
Deuteronomy 27:19 – “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien…of justice.”
I Chronicles 22:1-2 – Aliens were important in building the temple.
I Chronicles 29:14-15 – David praises God:  “We are aliens and transients before you…”
II Chronicles 2:17-18 – Solomon took a census of all the aliens and assigned them work.
Psalm 105 – Remembering their sojourn:  “When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,...”
Psalm 137:1-6 – “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept…How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”
Psalm 146:9 – “The Lord watches over the strangers…”
Ecclesiastes 4:1 – “Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”
Isaiah 16:4 – Be a refuge to the outcasts of Moab.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 – “If you do not oppress the alien…then I will dwell with you in this place…”
Jeremiah 22:3-5 – Do no wrong or violence to the alien.
Ezekiel 47:21-22 – The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.
Zechariah 7:8-10 – Do no oppress the alien.
Malachi 3:5 – The messenger will bear witness against those who thrust aside the alien. 

Matthew 2:13-15 – Jesus and parents flee Herod’s search for the child.
Matthew 5:10-11 –“Blessed are those who are persecuted.”
Matthew 25:31-46 – “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Luke 3:11 – “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none…”
Luke 4:16-21 – “…Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind...let the oppressed go free.”
Romans 12:13 – “Mark of the true Christian: “…Extend hospitality to strangers…”
II Corinthians 8:13-15 – “It is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need…”
Ephesians 2:11-22 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”
Hebrews 11 – “By faith Abraham…set out for a place…not knowing where he was going.”
Hebrews 13:1-2 – “…show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels…”
James 2:5 – “Has not God chosen the poor in the world…”
James 2:14-17 – “What good is it…if you say you have faith but do not have works?”
I John 3:18 – “…Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
I John 4:7-21 – “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God…”  We love because God first loved us.”

Ministry with Migrants and Refugees

Ministry with migrants and refugees is one of the oldest expressions of Methodist mission. The earliest Methodist missionaries from England to America were, themselves immigrants, often working among migrants. Our predecessors in the United States and today’s international United Methodist Church have welcomed generation after generation of migrants from many nations, including refugees of different faiths to the United States. We were active in the settlement house movement during the great waves of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We have worked with sojourning and displaced people around the world. We have initiated humanitarian services with both the documented and undocumented people in many places across the earth. Many of our congregations around the globe include migrants and refugees as members and volunteer workers, as well as service recipients.

Read more at this link.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Group takes on church unity from multiple fronts


By Heather HahnJan. 27, 2017 | UMN

The United Methodist group charged with bridging divisions around homosexuality spent its first meeting mainly getting to know and trust each other but also took first steps toward possible outcomes.

The Commission on a Way Forward, which includes 32 United Methodists from nine countries, formed six working groups that will examine the question of how to do church together from multiple directions. These groups will do “homework” between meetings ─ speaking to experts, doing research and engaging in conversation.

Read more at this link.

International Holocaust Memorial Day

Even in the darkest times, there are heroes—though sometimes they may be the people we least expect.

That’s the message a global nonprofit group hopes to spread Friday on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when it displays a small exhibit in a New York synagogue highlighting the little-known stories of Muslims who risked their lives to rescue Jewish people from persecution during World War II. Though the two religious groups are often presented in opposition, this exhibit is a reminder that they have also shared an important history of cooperation and mutual assistance.

Read the rest of the story at this link.

Dropping in with the Drop-in Bible study

Each Friday morning an energetic group gathers for the "drop-in Bible study," typically at the home of Doris Taylor.

This morning saw eight on hand at Ginny Mellgren's for a lively discussion of Psalm 148

Join us next Friday morning at 10:00 am (at Doris') as we continue to grow in faith and in fellowship. We'll be exploring Galatians 3:26 - 4:7.

United Methodist Women CEO Joins Interfaith Opposition to Refugee Ban Based on Religion, Nationality

Press Release

Harriett J. Olson, United Methodist Women chief executive of the national office, joined with interfaith leaders to oppose a proposed U.S. ban on refugees and immigrants based on their national origin or religion. Ms. Olson's January 25 statement against the ban is part of an effort initiated by Church World Service, Interfaith Immigration Coalition, The United Methodist Church's Immigration Task Force and the General Board of Church and Society.

Ms. Olson stated:

"United Methodist Women takes to heart Jesus' commandment to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Throughout our 150-year history we have carried this out by extending God's love to women, men, youth and children around the world, including immigrants and refugees. Our foremothers met boats at Ellis Island to support young women, and created Gum Moon, a national mission institution in San Francisco to safeguard Chinese immigrant women.  We have been active in receiving refugee families in our communities and welcoming immigrants to our churches. Working with immigrant organizations and The United Methodist Church, we advocate for just immigration reform at state and national levels in the United States and globally.

"Today, we affirm this history by calling on the United States to protect men, women and children fleeing war, famine, drought or persecution. We denounce calls to refuse refugees based on national origin and to turn away Muslim refugees. Our nation has a moral obligation to welcome refugees in numbers commensurate with the need, rather than excluding persons in need due to fear or xenophobia.  The U.S. review process for refugees is  already stringent and extensive.

"United Methodist Women joins ecumenical and interfaith partners in affirming our support of refugee resettlement.  We oppose any new U.S. policy that would cut the number of refugees we have agreed to welcome, and any policy that would prevent refugees from selected countries being resettled or exclude religious groups." 

United Methodist Women is the women's mission organization within The United Methodist Church in the United States, focusing on the needs of women, children and youth since 1869. Its programs promote spiritual growth, leadership development, formative education, and service and advocacy.
Posted or updated: 1/25/2017 12:00:00 AM

Gerry Paulus in the news!

Text by Polly Kolstad and Photography by Jesse Martinez

At the golden age of 102, Geraldine Paulus still has something to give back to life.

“I don’t know why I’m so special. It’s just that all of my life I’ve been involved with people and traveled a lot,” says Geraldine (Gerry) Paulus, a sprightly silver haired lady, quietly engaging conversation.

Born on a homestead out of Collins, Montana, over 100 years ago, Geraldine (Gerry) Paulus  remembers when there was no electricity, no running water, and no telephones.

“I’m from Choteau, born on a homestead out of Collins, 102 plus years ago.”

Paulus lived for a short time in Nebraska. Then, the family came back to Montana when her grandfather passed away and her father took over the farm near Choteau so she and her brother could go to high school. She attended Western Montana College for two years and became a school teacher out of Power.
“I had a large rural school, first grade and all the grades in between,” she explains. Then, she became a fourth grade teacher and at the time if you had a husband, you couldn’t teach.

All young men were being conscripted for the service. Women became “Rosie the Riveters,” so she had to stop teaching for five years. She married Willard, a farmer in July of 1937 when that rule went into effect. In her telling, “I took over the harvest feeding men.”

Read more at this link.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Commission on a Way Forward holds organizational meeting


January 26, 2017 

Atlanta, Ga.: The Commission on a Way Forward held its first meeting in Atlanta, Georgia January 23-26, 2017, with 32 members from nine countries in attendance.

Led by commission moderators Bishop David Yemba, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and Bishop Ken Carter, members worked and worshipped together and began the foundational work integral to their charge of developing consensus about how to move forward amid different theological understandings of LGBTQ identity.

“We need to diagnose what is happening in our churches, in our denomination and in our world,” said Bishop Ken Carter. “We sometimes pre-arrive at a diagnosis. Let us be careful and deliberate and thoughtful and take the time we need to diagnose what is going on in our church.” The moderators are not members of the Commission, but help to facilitate the conversation.

Read more at this link.

Women’s edition of Bible offers new light

By Sam Hodges
Jan. 24, 2017 | UMNS

Beth Bingham began to see Hagar of the Old Testament in a new way after studying The CEB Women’s Bible.

Suddenly she wasn’t just the servant who bore Abraham a child when his wife Sarah couldn’t. She was, essentially, the Bible’s first single mom one who had to leave the house because tensions were so high.

Bingham, a student at Virginia Theological Seminary, couldn’t wait to bring The CEB (Common English Bible) Women’s Bible and share her Hagar insight with the female inmates she studies Scripture with twice a month.

They were all over it.

Read more at this link.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Corky and Lisa are happy with tonight's supper offerings!
Lois shares tonight's reflection
Lois shares a thought while Corky listens attentively
The Supper after the supper
What a wonderful WOW we had tonight! Fifteen turned out on this beautiful winter night for supper, a chance to reflect, and communion.

Tonight's meal was provided by Dean Diers and Bill Gragg. Lois Hansen shared the reflection, "WYSIWYG" (What you see is what you get). Everyone got a container of M&Ms and we were asked to pour it on the table and say what we saw. Everyone of course only saw M&Ms, but Lois pointed out that we could read those same letters as "W," "E," or even as a "3."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Fins and Feathers" Dinner @ Corvallis UMC

Corvallis UMC is hosting a "Fins & Feathers" wild game dinner this coming Friday, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm (a free-will offering will be accepted).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Scripture lessons for January 29

Camp on the Boulder
The lesson for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany comes to us from Matthew 5:1-12.

This week @ Stevi UMC

7:00 pm, Living Clean

7:00 pm, Choir

8:00 am, WIC
10:00 am, Methodism study: Georgia & the Moravians
6:00 pm, Worship on Wednesday/youth

10:00 am, Drop-in Bible Study (lesson 9)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Homeless Population Survey
5:00 pm-7:00 pm. "Fins & Feathers" wild game dinner @ Corvallis UMC 

9:00 am, Church school
9:00 am, Methodism study: Coke, Asbury & the early American Methodists
10:15 am, Praise singing
10:30 am, Worship
11:30 am, Fellowship
11:45 am, Chimes