The Gift of Your Presence
As a kid raised in a non-Christian home, I thought Christmas was mainly about Santa and presents and tasty treats; getting into consumer mode and hitting the
stores as if we were on a mission from God. Christmas is after all, the holiday that keeps retail America afloat. I loved it and couldn’t wait for the holidays to
come, along with the tree, the wrapped gifts, the stockings and mom’s cinnamon rolls! I remember when I was eight-years-old, I got into a fistfight with my best
friend after he told me there was no Santa Claus. I couldn’t take it and punched him in the nose! “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was my family’s sacred story.
The truth is, I always felt a little empty after all the presents had been opened. There was such a buildup to that moment of excitement and discovery that, once
it had come and gone, I felt let down. That’s why I came to dislike Santa and secular Xmas. They make empty promises. What I really needed at Christmas was for my
parents to be sober and for them to be able to embrace the baby Jesus as their savior. For them to be people of faith would have made all the difference in the world.
Oh well, parents can only give what they have to give.
It is sad for anyone to only believe in the material part of Christmas, but there are plenty of folks out there that don’t have much more. It’s my hope for the
children and adults of this community, that God will bring them a touch of magic in the baby Jesus - a touch that might warm each heart with a flicker of new hope.
More than anything else, children need to be told and shown that they are loved; they need to know that there is hope in their future. God came in the form of a
human baby to show that there is hope for each one of us. For an adult to share this message requires some degree of belief that God will deliver each of us.
Unlike treasures on earth, redemptive love sustains us and helps us become the best of who we can become.
In the age when we constantly have to compete for attention with smart phones (TV, football, videogames, and other technological distractions), it can be a real
challenge just to listen to others who might need our attention! In the culture of distraction, it is a great gift just to be present for someone else. Perhaps
challenge yourself to shut off your technology, go offline so you can experience quality time together. To be present to someone is to allow yourself to be known,
and to be known to another is to experience real intimacy (intome-see). This Christmas I invite you to offer others, especially those who may need it from you, the
gift of your presence. It will make all the difference in the world.
A sincere Merry Christmas to you!
IN OUR THOUGHTS AND IN OUR PRAYERS:
Myrna K. & blended families; Kelvin & Kathy L & extended families; Virginia L.; Richard B.;
George & Joan B.; Helen A.; Ann C.; Nora S.; Shawn R. (Pastor Robin's brother); Marian C.;
Jim W.; Diane S.; Maxine S.; Gene & Rowann S.; Leslie D.; Irene J.; Diane N.; Bronwyn B.;
Jerry O.; Wayne W.; Tom K.; Mike H.; Dennis B.; Deb H.; and Harold D. of Chugwater,
the Red Bird Mission in
The family of Colter S.; Tom K.; Kim McB.; Lanetta C.; Will C.; Deb H.; Deb H.'s Mom and Dad;
Barb F.’s Mom and Dad; Jeremy F.; Dennis B.; Wayne W.; Jim & Nancy C.; Bill & Grace S.; Mike H.;
our veterans; and the Chugwater community and school.
WE LOVE VOLUNTEERS
We are always in need of persons to supply snacks and cookies and volunteers to serve as monthly
liturgist, ushers, felloswhip coordinators and communion stewards. If you can 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.
9:30-11:30 a.m. Labor of Love
December 3: 1st Sunday of Advent
December 5: 9:30 -11:30 am Project Patricia
December 6, 13, 20, 27:
December 8: 6:00 pm Finance Committe
December 14: 12:00 p.m. UMW lunch meeting
December 15: 8:30 am Coffee with the Pastor @ Tasty Treats
December 16: Breakfast Meetings - 8:00 a.m.:
Men meet at Tasty Treats
Women meet at Western Skies
December 16: 5:30 pm God and Games!
5:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
December 24: Christmas Eve Services
4:00 pm Chugwater
6:00 pm Wheatland
December 25: Merry Christmas!
December 26: NEWSLETTER DEADLINE
December 31: New Year's Eve
***EQUAL EXHANGE, FAIRLY TRADED COFFEE
The United Methodist Women are now selling Equal Exchange, Fairly Traded Coffee. This is the
same coffee as they are providing during our fellowship time. It is $9.00 for a full, one
pound bag of ground, caffeinated, Fellowship Blend coffee. It will be for sale after church
in the Fellowship Hall. Thanks for your support!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Women with a heart for service
by Kathy W., UMW President
The United Methodist Women met on November 9, 2017. Cherie L., the Salvation Army representative,
addressed the group about ringing bells this year. She collected names and telephone numbers from
those interested in helping collect donations for the Salvation Army, and will call us later to
schedule specific times we can help out. After everyone finished their lunch, Rowann S.
read from the prayer calendar, pointing out the work many of the missionaries and evangelists are
doing. The meeting was called to order, and the usual reports were submitted. The group decided
we would rather make a contribution to the Heifer Project, instead of holding a Christmas Tea this
year. We will put a basket at the back of the church until Dec. 10, to collect donations, if anyone
else wishes to contribute. After the meeting adjourned, Rowann S. presented the annual program for
the United Thank Offering.
We will hold our regularly scheduled meeting at noon on December 14, but ask that each member bring
finger foods to share, instead of a lunch. We will sing Christmas carols, enjoy our festivities, and
distribute our mission funds at the meeting.
The Project Patricia “cut-ups” met on November 7 to pack the cut pieces that have been prepared since
the last meeting and to make up new kits to take home. The group has sent boxes no. 51, 52, and 53
since the October meeting. Our thanks to the snippers who keep taking a kit, cutting out the shapes,
and returning everything to our box. If you can help fill kits and boxes, we will meet on Tuesday,
December 5, at 9:30 a.m.
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
events, please call Kathy Wilson at 322-1623.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU
To those who upheld us in prayer and words of caring during the time of Bob's illness and
death, we want to thank you. For the words of sympathy, the cards and phone calls, gifts
of food and donations- all mean so much. You have been a large and important part of our
lives over the years and we are constantly thankful for you. God has been good to us.
Myrna K. and the Kragel-Buecker Family
WELCOME TO OUR CHURCH
November 19th we welcomed Jason, Leslie and their two children, Avery and Lane into our church
family. We also enjoyed the opportunity to baptize one-year-old Lane during the service. We look
forward to getting to know them and working with them as we continue our ministry here.
DECEMBER LITURGISTS, USHERS & OTHERS
- Liturgist: Karen T.
- Ushers: Barb S. & Hannah W.
- Fellowship: Carolyn F.
- Communion: WillaJean W.
- Liturgist – Jim M.
- Ushers – Barb S. & Hannah W.
- Fellowship – Rodene
- Liturgist – Jim M.
- Ushers – Allen. & Hannah W.
- Fellowship – Cookie Monster
- Liturgist – Jim M.
- Ushers – Ken & Patty S.
- Fellowship – No Fellowship
- Liturgist – Kathy W.
- Ushers – TBA
- Fellowship – TBA
PASTOR RILEY'S SCHEDULED TIME-OFF
Vacation: December 25-31
Out of My Comfort Zone
A Testimonial by Kelvin L.
One very memorable encounter for me happened in 2014, on a mission trip to the Tree
of Life Ministry in Mission, South Dakota. Located on the Pine Ridge Reservation,
we were going to work with the Native Americans. First let me say that I grew up
about 30 miles from Mission and spent my summers on my Grandpa’s farm, which bordered
the Reservation. Having observed these people my entire adolescence, I had some very
strong prejudices, so I was apprehensive from the onset. When I was first asked to go
in place of another adult who couldn’t go, I did not say yes. I wrestled with this and
realized this was a test from God. Knowing that God does not give us more than we can
handle, I agreed to go.
Four of us, two adults and two youth, headed out on a Sunday for our 5 days of mission work.
After arriving Sunday evening we tried to use the oven to cook a pizza. The oven didn’t work,
so we used the barbeque grill. Other than the burnt spots, it wasn’t too bad. I thought to
myself, wow we are not off to a great start here. Monday morning, I informed the maintenance
people about the oven. They sent someone out to take care of it, but never fixed it. I wound
up fixing it a couple days later. Every morning we started out the day with a short worship,
some general instructions, and a short lesson on some of their cultural history. Learning some
of their cultural background had a profound effect on me. There were also some events set up
so we could experience their culture and traditions. We had a lesson on teepees, and
participated in setting up a tee-pee. There is more to it than a bunch of poles and canvas,
there is actually a specific process. We were able to experience a sweat lodge. When I
reflected on these experiences, I discovered my biases had absolutely no background or foundation.
I felt guilty and ashamed of my ignorance for all these years. It taught me that I was only
seeing from the outside and making judgments. As a people, their pride and honor was stripped
from them. Their traditional family roles no longer existed, so their spirit was lost.
God opened my eyes so I could see this.
As for the mission project, Monday morning at our initial gathering we had a short time of
worship and some general instructions. Then they began to ask for volunteers for projects.
Our little group of four, agreed to do some painting on a house. So we were all set to go,
or so I thought. One of the projects involved plumbing. A gentleman volunteered for the
project, and they asked for another person to help. Nobody else volunteered to join him.
From the time they asked for a second person, I had a voice in the back of my head. A
voice, not my voice, insistently kept telling me, don’t let him do it alone. Now for me,
plumbing is at the absolute bottom of the list of things I like to work on. Where was
this voice coming from? Finally, I gave in and told my team, I cannot let this man take
on this job by himself. I went over and introduced myself and told him I was there to
When we arrived at the home, we met the family of six that was living there. The children
were less than 10 years old. After a short time the family left. The Father stayed for a
while to help remove debris from the demolition. Well this project was not your average
little water leak. The water lines had frozen and were leaking. Because of the leak,
the bathroom floor had given way, allowing the toilet to drop down a couple of inches,
snapping the drain line. We removed the rotted bathroom floor, floor joists and wall
sheeting. I am not totally sure, but what we were removing most likely contained black
We repaired the drain lines and installed new sister joists. We had to block them on one
end as the wood we had to attach them to would not have held the entire weight. New floor
sheeting was installed over the joists and sheetrock on the walls. Then we installed floor
tiles and reinstalled the fixtures.
Towards the end of the project, my partner told me “I am sure glad you volunteered to help.”
He said, “You know a whole lot more about this than I do.” At the time it was not obvious
to me, but I know without a doubt that God is the one who spoke to me that Monday morning.
God pushes us out of our comfort zones and if we are receptive, our eyes and hearts are opened.