Open hears. Open minds. Open doors.
The people of The United Methodist Church
Changing our Hearts and Bearing Fruit

We have been through a long, cold winter. I am sure you are ready for some warmer temperatures and sunshine. I know I am. Soon the hillsides and fields will be changing from brown to green. Green buds will be pushing their way up through the soil. Trees will begin to leaf out. Gardening ideas will pop into your heads. Vegetables? Flowers? Spring is also Easter time, when we approach the most significant historic day in human history - the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We prepare our hearts for the resurrection in Lenten season and reflect about what Jesus went through on his final days as a human on this earth. We know that we have life because Jesus went to the grave with our sins. He gave life in the spirit, to all those who believe. As we think about the Easter event, I am reminded of the parable Jesus told about an unproductive fig tree in the Gospel of Luke. The farmer (God) wanted to chop it down because it hadn’t produced fruit in three years. Since its value was tied to ability to produce fruit, it was worthless to the farmer. Why would anyone beleve it might start producing again?

The master gardener (Jesus) stepped in and suggested that God not cut it down yet, but try something to bring about a change that might result in the production of figs. Maybe it would produce if the soil was improved. Like the fig tree, we too may stop producing fruit of the spirit. We drift into worldly ways. We become focused on ourselves instead of Christ. The world seeps in through TV, the Internet, and the smart phone.We lose our sense of focus on faith. And the farmer looks at us and says, “You are worthless to me.” But Jesus again, intercedes and says, perhaps some spiritual fertilizer will help you and I bear fruit again.

Let’s move toward Easter with an openness to the changes Jesus wants to make in the soil of our hearts. We can flower again and bear fruit of the spirit. But it takes an element of humility and repentance to start the process whereby God’s spiritual fertilizer can bring us back to life. We become receptive through regular prayer, morning reflection, reading of scripture, being accountable to those we love for our behavior, connecting in fellowship, and worship at church.

Grace and peace!
Pastor Robin

Family & church of Rev. Joshua M.; WillaJean W.; Donna W.; Bob R.;
Don Y., Johnny’s cousin’s son, Eric; the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.

Please let us know if you would like a name added to, or removed from,
our prayer list.

Deb H. family; Steve S.; Family of Leonard C.; Harold D.; Tim D. family;
Carol N.; Tom K.; the Larry & Barb F. family; Josh F.; Kim McB.; Lanetta
Chapman; Bill & Grace S.; our veterans; refugee families at the border,
and the Chugwater community and school.

April 2nd: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Project Patricia
April 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th: 9:30-11:30 a.m Labor of Love
April 7th: No Lenten Study Class at Wheatland - Pastor Riley is traveling
April 11th: 9:30 a.m. UMW lunch and meeting
April 14th:10:15 a.m. Chugwater Lenten Study Class
April 14th: 1:00 p.m. Lenten Study Series final class in Wheatland
April 18th: 6:00 p.m. Maundy Thursday service at Chugwater
April 19th: 1:00 p.m. Chugwater Easter Egg Hunt
April 19th: 6:00 p.m. Good Friday Service at Wheatland
th April 20th: Monthly breakfast fellowship at 8:00 a.m.:
Men-Tasty Treats; Women-Western Sky’s
April 21st: Easter Sunrise Service at Slater Hall
No regular Chugwater servie
April 21st: Easter Service at Wheatland
April 28th: Wheatland 125th Anniversary celebration & fellowship

Sponsored by the Mountain Sky Conference Board of Lay Ministry

Wheatland United Methodist Church is pleased to announce our Quiet Disciple for 2018,
Kathy W. Kathy served in the United States Air Force from1977-1981. During that time
she lived in Cheyenne and was a member of First UMC. She was Finance Committee
Chairperson, taught Sunday school, and sang in the choir. In 2006 she and Billy, her
husband of 49 years, moved to Wheatland where she has once again become an asset to her
church. She has sung in our choir, served as a liturgist and usher when needed, and
helps with the Project Patricia mission work. She has served for several years on the
Finance Committee and is now the Chairperson. Kathy has been a member of UMW since
2006 and is the president of our church’s group. She has also served at the secretary
for the WYNECO District of UMW. She is a member of the Ad Council, serving there as
secretary, as well as taking minutes at various other meetings. Currently, she is
leading the work involved with putting on our church’s 125th anniversary celebration
this April. Kathy and her husband are members of the Disabled American Veterans Group.
Kathy is an asset to our church by being among the first to greet visitors, and with her
willingness to step up, fill in, or lead as needed.

For the last four weeks we have been studying the final stages in Jesus’ ministry and life.
There won’t be a class in Wheatland on April 7th. In our fifth and final class on April 14th,
we will walk the road to Golgotha with Jesus.

The Wheatland class starts after fellowship at 1 p.m., so bring your lunch.

The Chugwater class will be right after church. Barb Fletcher will lead the study there.

Scripture selections for the class: Matthew 27:31–33, Mark 15:20–22, Luke 23:26–32 and John 19:16–18.

by Kathy W. UMW President

March has been a busy month for the Wheatland United Methodist Women (UMW).
The Project Patricia bunch met on March 5, 2019. Thanks to all the “cut-ups”,
we had plenty of cut pieces to pack. We stuffed a large box full and Barb S.
took it to the post office for us. This was box no. 73. We also tore sheets
and assembled kits for the cut-ups to work on at home. If you can help, pick
up a kit from the table just inside the Fellowship Hall. The next Project
Patricia meeting will be held on April 2, 2019, in the Fellowship Hall. We
will continue this activity until the May meeting, but will not meet for
Project Patricia during the summer, as usual.

The Wheatland UMW had to cancel our meeting scheduled for March 14, 2019,
because our area was struck by a blizzard on Wednesday that continued to rage
into Thursday, with snow drifting many roads closed or impassable. Thankfully,
most of us were able to get our driveways and roads clear enough to get out by
the weekend. On Sunday, March 17, 2019, we held our St. Patrick’s Day potato bar
supper, featuring the music of My Buddy Holly. We served 50 people that evening.
Everyone seemed to love both the food and the entertainment. As usual, My Buddy
Holly played beautifully. Most of the audience stayed throughout their performance.
Our crew was able to finish the clean-up and enjoy the music, as well. Thanks,
Holly, Johnny, and Dave. You were awesome!

The UMW performed the annual kitchen clean-up on March 19, 2019, with help from Kelvin,
Johnny, and Barb. We cleaned all the shelves in the cabinets, the storage area, and
the area with the freezer and refrigerator, including the pipes on the ceiling, thanks
to the tall people who could reach them. We also took an informal inventory of the
cabinet contents, in hopes that the new cabinets we need so desperately would be easier
to order.

On March 23, three of us drove to UMW’s 150th birthday celebration for our region at
First United Methodist Church in Cheyenne. The event was well attended, and we all
enjoyed the program that followed the luncheon. We heard Rev. Mark Marston’s talk
“An Extraordinary Call for Ordinary People”, as well as a slide show by Ken Koome,
a missionary from Angola who is visiting the Pine Bluffs Methodist Church this
weekend. He reminded us of the hardships faced by the women of Angola, who are
80% of the population, and are the main caretakers and providers for the families.
He praised their UMW’s efforts to help these struggling single mothers. A collection
for the Day of Giving to the Legacy Fund was taken. The UMW is honoring our
foremothers by giving to the Legacy Fund, to ensure that United Methodist Women
can continue serving women, children, and youth around the world for the next 150 years.

The next UMW lunch and meeting will be held on April 11, 2019, at noon. Bring your own
lunch and your contribution for the Call to Prayer and Self Denial. All ladies of the
church are invited to attend any of these events. We need all the help we can get to
carry out the activities UMW does at WUMC and in our community. If you need a ride
to any of these activities, please call Kathy W. at 322-1623.

We are always in need of volunteers to supply snacks/cookies for fellowship hour,
volunteers for Communion preparers, Liturgists, and Ushers. If you can do this
once or several times a year, please put your name on the sign-up sheet in the
Fellowship Hall.

Please remember to write down any meetings, gatherings, etc. on the calendar in
the Fellowship Hall so nothing is forgotten.

Wheatland 125th ANNIVERSARY 2019
You and your family are invited to attend the celebration of the Wheatland
United Methodist Church’s 125th anniversary. Church Service at 11:00 a.m. Cake
and coffee at 12:00 noon Sunday, April 28, 2019

“Changing hearts, shaping lives; through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Concerning our denominational predicament and my stance ~ Pastor Riley

I personally abide by the Book of Discipline (BOD), but also empathize with LGBTQ people since they are of “sacred worth” as identified in the Social Principles (see link below). I also affirm the work of the Board of Ordained Ministry, which decides who is recommended to the Clergy Session to be ministers and ordained by the Bishop, as found in the BOD (par. 300+).

I consider the section in the BOD which talks about “Our Theological Task,” to provide important guidance (Par. 105) for addressing the issue of human sexuality. It states, “Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.” These four elements are commonly referred to as the “Quadrilateral.” It provides my basis for any and all determination for positions regarding human sexuality. In this section of the BOD there is a useful discussion of each of these four sources.

I recommend that you consider reading this and the other source material provided here. We should always seek to verify and confirm our understanding of scripture through study, reflection and engagement. This material can be found at: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-sources-and-criteria

Book of Discipline 304.3 http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/homosexuality-full-book-of-discipline-statements

Social Principles http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/social-principles-social-creed

Latest from the Mountain Sky Conference & Western Jurisdiction

Below are informative news excerpts from recent Mountain Sky Conference and Western Jurisdiction emails. If you would like more detail on one these recent emails, please let me know and I will get the information to you. God bless, Kelvin L.

March 18, 2019 Excerpt
A Progress Report from the Western Jurisdiction In 2000, delegates to the Western Jurisdictional Conference adopted a statement entitled “2020: Our Emerging Vision”, the product of several years of listening and testing. If you take the time to read it, you may find yourself both inspired by the beautiful, aspirational language, and challenged that we have yet to fully realize most of its ambitious goals. A home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation: the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities, with confident, effective lay and clergy leadership who, in diverse ministry settings, form disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.

Toward the end of a day-long meeting of the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team on March 14th, 2019, members of that team and other gathered leaders unanimously affirmed the following statement.

A Statement by the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team Trusting in the Author of Life:
• who understands the blessings of diversity we fail to comprehend,
• Inspired by the nonconforming Christ who teaches us to defy oppression in all its forms, and,
• Guided by the Holy Spirit who continually leads us by grace into abundant life,
• We, laity and clergy, of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, as one body, deeply saddened and greatly harmed by the rending actions of the 2019 General Conference,
• Reaffirm our commitment to a radically hospitable church in two converging ways.

March 20, 2019 Excerpt
Task force from General Conference to investigate GC2019 voting General Conference organizers have appointed a task force to investigate possible improper voting at the recently completed special session of The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body. The multinational Commission on the General Conference held an emergency meeting by teleconference March 16, after a preliminary review found that “a very limited number” of ineligible people potentially obtained credentials to vote. The commission has not reported a precise number.

The group named 12 of its members to serve on the task force. “The task force of commission members was created to work with the secretary and business manager of the General Conference to address matters related to credentialing, voting and other systemic issues of the 2019 special session,” Kim Simpson, the commission’s secretary, announced at the meeting’s conclusion.

March 22, 2019 Excerpt A Statement From Your Mountain Sky Conference Cabinet We in the Mountain Sky Conference have a heritage of bold ministry, with a willingness to break barriers and build bridges:
• Brother William Wesley Van Orsdel literally dug up new ground to minister to the needs of those often overlooked.
• Women ably served in pastoral ministry in remote areas long before women received full ordination rights.
• In 1982, Bishop Melvin Wheatley ordained the first openly LGBTQ person (Rev. Julian Rush was appointed to a church in Denver). When challenged, Bishop Wheatley replied, “I am in the business of appointing sons and daughters of God presented by name to me by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, not by label.”

So it is fitting that our recent shared ministry has been blessed by the leadership of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian bishop in the United Methodist connection. As heirs of such a rich legacy, we reject the Traditional Plan passed at General Conference 2019 as decisively un-Methodist in both letter and spirit. There are no second-class citizens among those created as beloved children in the image of God – not in God’s kin’dom, not in the congregations of the United Methodist Church, and not in the communities in which United Methodists are called to serve.

We acknowledge and bewail the harm done in God’s name over many years to so many who have always been welcome at God’s table, but who have been so often excluded by society and the church. To our LGBTQ siblings – as well as to our siblings of every color, ability, class, theology, or region, and each and every beloved child of God who may find yourself in any way atypical and pushed to the margins: we are heartily sorry for these our misdoings and pledge to keep the table open. To our LGBTQ siblings – clergy and laity – in particular: you have long been pawns and punching bags in the middle of a shameful, if heartfelt, dispute and we are no longer willing to allow you to bear this burden alone. We see you. We stand with you.

To our siblings who lament actions and decisions seeming to fly in the face of explicit United Methodist policy and church law: we humbly offer that standing against unjust, demeaning, and hypocritical laws is a practice learned first from Jesus with, to name a few, the lame man at Bethsaida (John 5), the stooped woman in the synagogue (Luke 13), and his disciples’ failure to maintain ritual hygiene (Matthew 15). More recently, we learned from the saints of the civil rights movement on buses, bridges, and at lunch counters what biblical obedience looks like in a modern context. Actions in this tradition are far from capitulation to secular culture. Rather, we recognize them as means by which God works to critique and deconstruct the unholy witness of a church striving for perfection in love.

We reject denominational adherence to narrowly circumscribed litmus tests, such as literal and limited readings of English translations of Scripture, as inadequate and contrary to holistic theological reflection as outlined by the Wesleyan quadrilateral of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. At the same time, we do not reject those who hold these views, preferring instead to live in a healthy, dynamic, and catholic (universal) tension with all who earnestly and joyfully seek to embody and grow in the love of Christ. What we envision is not a progressive or traditionalist church, but a church home for all God’s people where all seek to learn from each other in partnership with the Holy Spirit. This church home is steeped in the acceptance and expression of God’s overflowing grace – prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying – as evidenced in creation, cross, and the beloved community of God’s kin’dom.

In anticipation of God doing a new thing among us in the coming months and years, the appointive cabinet of the Mountain Sky Conference will continue to live into the vision of the One Church Plan – which was endorsed by clear majorities of the Council of Bishops, the Commission on a Way Forward, and United States delegates to General Conference 2019. Pastors and congregations in the Mountain Sky Conference will continue to be actively and categorically supported in serving their communities as their conscience requires. Appointment making will continue to take into account the diversity of individual clergy and cultural contexts across the vast geography – physical, spiritual, and theological – of the Mountain Sky Conference.

Finally, we implore all who have called the United Methodist Church home to call forth an image that for you exemplifies our United Methodist family at its best. Rest in that image for a moment. Is it an infant, bald head still dripping, held aloft as she was introduced to her church family for the first time as a baptized child of God? Is it the weary smiles all around as the last tools were packed up at the end of a mission project? Is it the tender shared vigil as a loved one made their last journey home? Is it the church family’s voices raised heavenward as candles pierced the Christmas Eve night? These are moments that recall our best selves, our best church, and sustain us when even cherished familial relationships are strained to breaking.

We in the Mountain Sky Conference are striving to live in God’s grace and abundance as we lead a re-energized, peaceful, and compassionate movement to claim the life-changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people. There will always be an open chair at the table for you as we sing together: Be present at our table, Lord; be here and everywhere adored; thy creatures bless, and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee
Be present at our table, Lord;
be here and everywhere adored;
thy creatures bless, and grant that we
may feast in paradise with thee.