Lay Leader Lines – March 2020

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Q: Is it true that we’re having two annual conferences this year? Why?

A: We are not exactly having two annual conference this year. The 2020 Annual Conference will be held at the end of May in Acme. It is the regular Annual Conference, and will last four days as usual. However, Bishop Bard has also called a special meeting as a continuation of the 2019 Annual Conference to deal with some of the issues presented at that Conference. This special Conference will last a half day, and it will be at Albion College. Those clergy and lay representatives who attended the 2019 Annual Conference are asked to attend this special meeting if at all possible. Bishop Bard is hoping that we can come to a consensus on where to support the traditional or progressive stance by the Michigan Conference as a whole, so when the General Conference meets later this spring a decisive vote will be cast by our delegates to the General Conference. The issue under consideration will be the position which is taken on changing the Book of Discipline to allow full clergy rights and the ability to marry LBGTQ couples within the United Methodist Church. We shall have to wait to see what the outcome is and how it may impact the future of this and all other United Methodist Churches.


A View from the Belfry

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Howdy from the belfry! Last month I commented on the work crew making all that noise in the oven room of the kitchen. This month, you’d never know it was the same place! The noise is gone, the floor and all the painting and hammering and sawing and remodeling are done, and it is beautiful! Thanks again to all you talented workers who helped with it! I understand that if all the work had been done by hired carpenters, the job would have cost a great deal more, and our own church members provided all the labor for nothing! What is more, they knew what they were doing and it looks great!

Of course, United Methodists never seem to rest on their laurels. Lent is approaching, and with it the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and all the Lenten soup and bread suppers will make their annual appearance. Again, you Methodists provide all the food and labor yourselves, and from what I hear and smell, the food is always great! Have any of you super chefs ever tried mosquito bisque or gnat dumpling broth? I haven’t, but they both sound delicious to me. Are there any volunteers out there who will make some? I’ll gladly share it with you! Well, in case nobody steps up to the crockpot for either of those, maybe somebody will volunteer to provide more soups more interesting to the human member of this church. If you’re willing, I suspect there are, or soon will be, sign up sheets where you can indicate which Wednesday evening you can help. Speaking of sign-up sheets, there are always opportunities to help in other capacities as well, such as by providing altar flowers, serving as ushers and greeters, hosting the social time after church, acting as liturgists, helping with programs at the Medical Care Facility, joining the pasty crew, dusting the chandeliers in the sanctuary… and I bet you could all think of other ways in which you can serve God and this church. If you see something which needs doing or have an idea for outreach, please let Pastor Don or one of the lay leaders (Mary Prater and Janet Helmbold) know. We welcome suggestions!


United Methodist Women March 2020

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The next general meeting of the Manistique United Methodist Women is Tuesday, March 2, at 1 PM in Fellowship Hall of the church. In addition to the meeting agenda of reports and discussion of subjects concerning UMW/church business, there will be a devotional program and time for fellowship and refreshments. Meetings are open to all church women interested in the worldwide welfare of women and children.​

Plans are also in the works for the UMW annual Reflection Breakfast to be held on Saturday, April 4. The program is always a meaningful presentation as we enter Holy Week and prepare for the Easter Celebration on Sunday, April 12. The Reflection Breakfast is open to the community,  so tell your friends. The local UMW is active in the community as well.  The monthly Hymn Sing continues the first Monday of each month at the Medical Care Facility. We meet at 10 AM to present a brief program of familiar hymns and a seasonal message. New participants are always welcome.​

Looking ahead, the annual UMW District Spiritual Growth Retreat will be held Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2 in Manistique. Keep this date in mind as registration forms will be available soon.​

Well, here we are into March already. Does anyone have Cabin Fever? If so, a possible cure is to curl up with a good book and there are many to choose from in the UMW Reading Program. To get you started, may I suggest Not Worth Saving, by Ann L Joyner. This book, in the “Nurturing  for Community” category, is a real-life account of the Joyner family struggles and victories in living with a severely handicapped child. Told by their physician when the child was still in vitro, that he would not survive, the parents decided to let the Lord take control of the situation. Through many challengers and triumphs the child thrived and lived until age 21, and positively touched many lives.​

This book will have you smiling and even cheering through the tears as you realize God’s way is not always our way.​

This book is available in the UMW section of the church library. See Mary Prater for more information on the Reading Program. ​


From the Pastor’s Desk March 2020

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

In Philippians 2:3-4 we read the following: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” This scripture provides encouragement to stay the course in our Christian walk. We are called to love one another unconditionally. We are called to not count the cost. We are called to give what we have to strangers.

Reflecting on this scripture for this month’s message led me to a website which lists special days of each month. There are so many “Special Days” in March. There is “Namesake Day,” my favorite “Peanut Butter Lovers Day” “Old Stuff Day”, “Multiple Personality Day”, “Be Nasty Day”, “World Day of Prayer” this is the first Friday of March and of course “St. Patrick’s Day”. One of those days which struck me was Caregiver Appreciation Day. According holidayinsights.com, March 3rd is Caregiver Appreciation Day, a day for recognizing “tens of millions of Americans, who selflessly give their time to care for those who are ill, disabled, or elderly.” It is meant to honor those who are paid and unpaid. This sight further indicates that “29% of the U.S. population, some 65 million Americans are care givers in some way, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 34 million Americans, age 15 or older, provide unpaid care to the elderly alone. Holidayinsights.com suggests several ways to celebrate this day as we recognize caregivers for what they do: 1.Give a simple thank you to everyone you know who is a caregiver in any capacity. 2.Send a thank you card by mail or email. 3. Give them a day off. Take over the role of caring.

Most of the people I know who provide care for someone who has difficulty caring for themselves, whether paid or unpaid, do so with love in their hearts. Some provide tireless care for years at home and in care facilities. We all know someone who is a family care giver. Each time I have visited these folks, I see a spark of God’s love in the eyes of the one being cared for and the one doing the caregiving. I pray for the caregiver that God will give them strength, courage, and patience for those who sit by bedsides or provide comfort for someone each day. As a church made up of a majority of older people, we certainly can empathize with those who are tirelessly providing home care and   support in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Let us keep the caregivers in our prayers and  perhaps a word of encouragement or a card to the caregivers. 

Pastor Don


Mission Moment February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

This 10 year old boy has just done something new and wonderful to him (see the joy and amazement on his face?!) He has just turned on the faucet in his grandmother’s house and marveled at the clean fresh water pouring out. Nothing like this has ever happened to him before. In the U.S. this is hard for us to imagine. But in the South West, about 40% of the Navajo American Indians have no electricity or running water or plumbing in their homes.

U.M.C.O.R, in cooperation with the St. Bonaventura Indian Catholic Mission, is funding W.A.S.H (water—sanitary—health) to provide running water and lights to 125 families in Baca, New Mexico who have never had them before. These improvements include new wells, individual home cisterns and water systems, and better water delivery routes. The improvement also includes solar power. With people from the community providing leadership, the home owners will receive training on how to maintain and operate these systems.

The January clearance sale has done well in raising money for this project and the Mission Committee thanks everyone who participated but remember, maybe you didn’t want a hat, but you can still give money to this project. We, here in Michigan, tend to assume that American Indian have the same access to basic necessities such as electricity, indoor plumbing, and clean water as everyone else, but the Indians in the Southwest are not so fortunate. Let’s at least provide them the availability of healthy water.

Mission Secretary,

   Norma Johnson 


A View from the Belfry February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

                 (Yawn!) I mean, greetings! From the belfry, that is. (Yawn!) You know, I’ve heard that bats hibernate for winter, so this winter I thought I’d try it. After all, with all the snow we’re getting, I don’t anticipate that the mosquitoes will be out until about August, and since there isn’t much food around for hungry bats, I decided to sleep for the next three or four or five months. Well, guess what!??! Just as I dozed off, this tremendous racket from the oven room scared me half to death, and ended any hope of a good long winter’s sleep! Clearly, you hard-working folks are at it again! It seems that this winter is the time a crew of the United Methodists decided to spruce up the oven room. Vic & Sharon Vanderville, Ted Burson, Gordon Barry, Jim Blanchard, BJ Ash, John Livingston, Norm Feichtenbiner, and who knows who else have been sawing, drilling, pounding, moving big pieces of paneling around, banging things here and there, and generally creating so much noise that this poor tired bat has entirely given up the idea of hibernating! Not only that, but some women are bringing in food for those guys who are making all the noise! To add to that a bunch of people are saying they’re going to paint the place as soon as the men are done with all their carousing around! What’s a poor tired bat to do?

Well, actually this poor tired bat decided to watch and find out what’s going on. What that is, I take it, is to put walls around the furnaces so we don’t have to look at them any more. Then, so I hear, they are going to put new flooring over the scuffed up and stained tiles we have now. By the time they get done, the whole place will look much better! Maybe then this poor tired bat will get some sleep, although I don’t  know about that. These Methodist folks are busy people who don’t rest on their laurels. Judging from how things go around here, they’ll find some other project to complete to keep the church in top-notch shape! I guess I really shouldn’t complain about that! After all, without all this hard work, we wouldn’t have the solid, attractive place in which to worship God that we do have. Maybe I can put up with a little noise for that. Thanks, you hard workers! We appreciate all you do for this church! (Now if only those women would bring in a spare mosquito or two for this hungry bat…)

  There’s also somebody else who deserves mention around this church. Norma Johnson is at it again! In the past she has made Christmas cards and just about everything else to raise money for UMCOR! This time it’s hats! Big ones, little ones, fancy ones, less fancy ones; they come in all different sizes, colors, and styles! They’re all cute, warm, and very well done. So far between hats, cards, and everything else she’s made, Norma has earned over $1000.00 for UMCOR. Not bad for a woman who has celebrated her 48th birthday twice and is working on her third time! Norma you amaze us! (I wish bats wore hats!)


UMW February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The next general meeting of the Manistique United Methodist Women is Tuesday, February 4, at 1 PM in Fellowship Hall of the church. In addition to the meeting agenda of reports and discussion of subjects concerning UMW/church business, there will be a devotional program and time for fellowship and refreshments. Meetings are open to all church women interested in the worldwide welfare of women and children.​

​Looking ahead: plans will soon be underway for the church Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. The date is Feb. 25. Watch the church bulletin for updates.​

​Plans are also in the works for the UMW annual Reflection Breakfast to be held on Saturday, April 4. The program is always a meaningful presentation as we enter Holy Week and prepare for the Easter celebration on Sunday, April 12. The Reflection Breakfast is open to the community,  so tell your friends.​

The 2020 UMW reading program is now underway and we encourage everyone to take part. There is an abundance of interesting reading materials in the program available on our UMW bookshelves for your enjoyment. Read and be informed. For more information on the program, check with Mary Prater. ​

The local UMW is active in the community as well.  The monthly hymn sing continues the first Monday of each month at the Medical Care Facility. We meet at 10 AM to present a brief program of familiar hymns and a seasonal message. New participants are always welcome.​


Lay Leader Lines February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Q: I know that we are raising money to replace our lift within the next few years, but after the kitchen remodeling is completed, do we have any other major projects in the works besides the lift? It seems as if we are always being asked for money for some expensive project or other. Will we ever have an end to it?

A: As you mentioned, we are in the middle of refurbishing the kitchen and are raising money toward replacing the lift. We are also directing major funds toward keeping the parking lot and driveway plowed, since the heavy snows we are having result in result large piles of the stuff which need to be hauled away. We simply do not have enough room in the parking lot to store it and still have room for the cars. As for other remodeling or repair projects, there are none on the horizon within the next few months. However, we have an old church building, which means that problems could arise at any time. It is far better to anticipate problems than to wait until they occur and then try to find the means to deal with them. We also have other causes toward which we need to direct our time and energy (as well as funds), such as deciding what to do with the parsonage, initiating new programs in the church to better serve this community, and the like. I guess the answer to your question about whether or not asking for money will ever end, the answer is that it will end when all the needs are met, all problems are solved, all people are served, nobody has any more unmet challenges, there are no more wars, diseases, floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or other natural manmade disasters, and all our church properties maintain the status quo without leaks, broken pipes, deteriorating roofs, etc. Until then, we will probably continue to need your steady contributions.   


Goal Setting 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Goal Setting

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, we held a brief meeting in the hospitality room and discussed some ideas for our future. The backdrop for the meeting was threefold: 1) what can we do better at what we currently do, 2) what can we do that we are not doing now that would potentially increase our membership, and 3) our state of the state with the parsonage, lift and projects.

The level of participation in the conversation was high. Specific concerns discussed included age mix, impact on our community, our financial trajectory, our brand “the pasty church”, communication gaps, technology gaps, youth programs and the strength / participation level of current programs. This conversation could have been held in any church in America today.

At the conclusion of the meeting we agreed that we would continue to put forth improvement ideas by dropping a note off at the office or by emailing Pastor Don, Kali or Jim Blanchard.

The ideas can be generally summarized into six main thought groups: Meetings & Fellowships, Communications and Marketing, Events and Activities, Benevolence, Community Involvement, and Technology Improvements.

We all agreed that God is in charge and that we need to pray for His guidance and wisdom. For us to further His word, we have to be viable. Doing the same thing will likely bring the same results. And of course, we are on a rigid budget and our decisions must be economically feasible.

Please continue to brainstorm and submit ideas and we will continue to refine the ideas into workable goals for the congregation to decide if it is in our best interest to peruse.


Letter from Polly

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

To Our Church Family,

As we spend the next five months with you, know that this is a bittersweet time for us, as we have grown in faith with you these past years and have truly realized what the words “church family” mean.  Our week in Florida gave us time to reflect on the past sixteen years, remembering friends that have passed on, the baptisms which are so special, and the many other special moments in the life of the church.  We also talked about being retired and staying active by golfing on the warm days, visiting grandchildren before they grow up as many have, and planning to spend at least some of the winter where it is warm.  Perhaps being retired will not be so bad after all.  It is with humble thanks that we have received your generous and thoughtful Christmas gift.  May God bless you and keep you safe, healthy, and warm.

In Christ’s love,                                                                                                       

Pastor Don & Polly