Open hears. Open minds. Open doors.
The people of The United Methodist Church
Flying In Formation

We are chugging along through another Wyoming winter, together as a church family. Really, we are a team connected to one another by our common cause, the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ. While our cause is pretty straightforward, our work is often complicated and full of challenges. We struggle in many areas with issues both big and small. Some issues even feel insurmountable. I have felt discouraged at times in building up our congregations in their work and fellowship of faith. This sadness drives me to prayer and help from God, who always brings light and insight to the struggle.

The other day I was taking a walk and I heard the distant sound of Canadian Geese flying overhead. About three dozen of them were flying across the sky toward the west. As I watched the graceful birds disappear in the distance I wondered where they were headed. They were so agile as they moved across the sky in a V-formation. As I thought about the geese, it seemed that maybe the Methodist church is like a flock of geese, heading toward its destination together, as part of a community.

The goose metaphor can be applied in many ways actually and as I sat thinking about our church and the geese, many comparisons came to mind. I did a Google search about the birds and thought about how a community of geese takes care of itself, manages challenges, and overcomes barriers.

Wildlife scientists have conducted extensive studies of geese and their unique characteristics (Weimerskirch, 2001). Geese fly in a V formation and as a result can fly about 70% farther with the same amount of energy than if each goose flew alone. Canadian geese do everything together as a flock. When the flight leader gets tired or fatigued, s/he will drop back, and another will move into the lead.

We in the church stay together because we know that, as individuals, our influence and impact is only a fraction of what we can produce together. Like the geese, we use less energy and go farther when we work together because we are lifted by the energy and enthusiasm of one another. When geese drop out of formation they quickly discover how much more effort is required to fly. Sometimes people will drop out of the church and try to accomplish goals on their own. However, like the geese, they usually discover that they miss the synergy and energy that comes when they are an active part of a cohesive team moving toward their destination and often return to the group.

As geese fly in formation each one down the line is positioned slightly above the bird ahead to allow lift as they fly. The formation also provides sight lines for the birds to maintain visual contact with each other. They honk as a kind of signaling of where they are in relation to each another. When they approach a landing, the honking becomes more pronounced as they coordinate their touchdown.

We as a church strive to maintain constant communication with other team members to insure our inclusion and connection. If the communication stops, the community can become disoriented or fall apart. Open dialogue is very important for healthy church life. Tough issues call for open discussion and dialogue for bringing fears and concerns to the community. The best way for us to renew our collective identity is to tell one another how we feel. By doing so we renew our trust in one another and move forward in shared faith.

In their studies of Geese, scientists have also discovered that when one goose becomes ill, is shot or injured, and drops out of the formation, two other geese will fall out of formation and remain with the weakened goose. They will stay and protect the injured goose from predators until it is able to fly again or dies. We too notice when one of our own falls out of formation. We remember our duty to care for them until they are ready to rejoin the flock or move on to their eternal home.

Our most powerful work in this regard is prayer. We are all aware of those who have stopped coming to church for whatever reason. When you remember one of them, send up a prayer for their protection and care. Ask God how you can be a comfort or support to the person. In doing so you and I are calling on the most powerful force available, God’s love. Our understanding falls short, but the one who steers the flock leads us forward on our path to glory. When you become discouraged or feel alone, remember you are part of the flock where people love one another. They are ready to love you in your time of need.

Honk, Honk!

Pastor Riley

In our prayers at Wheatland: Helen A.; Rowann S. (recovery from surgery); Mike B. (future employment);
Bob R. (recent heart surgery); Barb S.; Johnny’s cousin’s son, Eric; the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.
Please let us know if you would like someone added to, or removed from, this prayer list.

Patrick Y.; Crystal A.; Steve S.; Harold D.; Steve N. & family; family of Larry & Barb F.; Bill & Grace S.;
Elmer B.; Milt and Maryanne G.; Jason P.; Johnny’s cousin’s son Eric; our church; our community and
our veterans.

The elementary kids are in need of snack donations. If you would like to donate, they will gladly be accepted!


This past year we supported the local food pantry by supplying about 120 items and with $340 in
monetary donations. Helping the hungry in our community is an important mission. We also collecte
Box Tops for Education that are then sent on to the Red Bird Mission School in Beverly, Kentucky. This
efffort resulted in $39.20 for them. While this does not seem like a significant amount, when it is added
to the many others across the United States that also save and send in their labels, it is a help to their
budget. Our card making group, LOL, also sends their profits to the Red Bird Mission and they raised
almost $500 by selling their recycled greeting cards. From money that was already in our Missions fund,
the Ad Council voted to support the Food 4 Weekends program. This program sends home a backpack
full of food items with school children that otherwise may go hungry over the weekend. There are
currently 51 backpacks being sent home each week. The first $1,000 was given in December, with
another $1,000 to be donated this spring. Many in our congregation are involved in volunteer efforts
throughout our community without any expectation of recognition. Although our congregation is small,
we are making an effort to do God’s work and for that, know that you are appreciated!
Kathy L.

United Methodist Women

The Wheatland United Methodist Women (UMW) assembled in the Fellowship Hall at noon on January
10, 2019, for a bring-your-own lunch and business meeting. The committee chairpersons reported to the
group on, their activities. Project Patricia met on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The group packed up box # 71, set
up multiple kits for the “cut-ups” to take home, and inventoried supplies. The next Project Patricia
meeting will be on Feb. 5, 2019. All are welcome to come and help. We are slowly whittling down the
small mountain of fabrics in the back room. The project organizers appreciate the boxes we send, but
if you can’t participate by being a “cut-up”, they also need money for shipping and girls’ and women’s
panties. For sizes needed, see Rowann S.

The group discussed several issues concerning the upcoming 125th anniversary of the WUMC. Kathy W.
submitted an invitation for review, and will present it at the next Administrative Council meeting. We
still have the picture of our church painted by Barb S. and donated by Tina C., the profits from which
are intended for UMW mission money. The group is still debating whether to hold a silent auction or
another type of fund-raiser. The 2019 pledge forms were provided, which those present completed and
returned. It was decided to renew the Response Magazine subscription for 2 years, because it will save
us $3.00. It was decided that we will have a St. Patrick’s Day potato bar supper on March 17, 2019, as
well as one next fall. The list of activities and membership roster were both updated. We will provide
an ice cream social to celebrate Father’s Day in June. Darlene B. reminded us of the 5th Sunday
sign-along event that will be held on March 31 at the First Christian Church at 6:30 p.m.

The next UMW lunch and meeting will be held on Feb. 14, 2019. Bring your own lunch. 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.

Calendar of Activities
Feb. 5th - Project Patricia at 9:30 - 11:30
Feb. 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th - L.O.L at 9:30-11:30
Feb. 14th - Pastor Riley's Seventh Week (off)
Feb. 14th - UMW Lunch and meeting (brown bag)
Feb. 14th - Velnetine's Day! A chance to share your love for others
Feb. 16th - Women’s Breakfast 8 a.m.
Feb. 16th - Men’s breakfast at 8 a.m.
Feb. 17th - Barb Fletcher will bring the message to both churches
Feb. 23-26th - Special General Conference in St. Louis, MO
Feb 24th - Join Irene J. & her family after church to celeberate her 95th birthday
March 3rd - Wheatland Ad Council meeting

Wheatland United Methodist Church

Worship - 11:00 a.m.
Fellowship – 12:00 p.m.
Facebook: WheatlandUMC

Chugwater United Methodist Church

Worship – 9:00 a.m.
Fellowship – 10:00 a.m.
Facebook: ChugwaterUMC

Wheatland Church Office

No office hours are currently scheduled
Phone: (307) 322-3899
Email:wheatlandwyomingumc@ gmail.com


Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.

Giving History for 2018
If you would like a copy of your total 2018
Giving History, please contact Rodene. Thank You.

Wyoming Wanderings
By Rev. Jeff Rainwater, Wyoming district Superintendent

Happy New Year, Church! Yes, I know it’s now 26 days in as I write this to you, but if the Gospel-life following Jesus has taught me anything, it’s that we can always claim a new beginning. We certainly need some new beginnings right now. As we approach February and General Conference 2019, some may see it as an end; I am praying that whatever is decided by the over 800 delegates gathering in St. Louis can be claimed as a new beginning for all the people called Methodists across the globe. In some sense, we are already in the midst of a new beginning. It’s now about 6 months since we had a new beginning as the Mountain Sky Conference. We are still writing the first chapter of what that means. We are in the midst of some new beginnings for our District as well.

This month we welcome Rev. Laura Rainwater as the new Congregational Resource Minister for the Wyoming District. Rev. Laura is here to help your church and circuit find some new beginnings for vital ministry. She is here to listen to your needs, and connect you with people, events, or resources to help you address those needs. Much of this work will be done through the circuits. Late this past Fall, we said good-bye to Jenita Rhodes who had served as our District Administrator. Very soon we will be ready to announce our new District Administrator and the new Wyoming District office in Casper, Wyoming, thanks to the generosity of Christ Church Casper, for letting us use some of their space.

What new beginnings in this new year have you seen in the life of your church? Some may find it difficult to point here or there and say, “Yes, here’s a new beginning.” May I offer some advice? When I’m having a hard time seeing the work of God it’s because I haven’t practiced being grateful enough. When I start counting my blessings of the past and present, then many doors open up to ways God is acting or about to act. So I want to offer you a chance to think on the Christian practice of gratitude by inviting you to come hear our District Gathering keynote speaker, Diana Butler Bass, speak on her new book, “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.”

District Gathering will be on March 30th, from 9:30 to 3 pm. Location for our District will be announced very soon. Like last year, this will be a conference-wide gathering in different locations across the conference. Also, like last year, we will have a time to hear our speaker, conduct some district business, and worship together. This year this gathering takes on newfound significance as this will be the first gathering of this magnitude for us to process as a community what transpired at General Conference and the implications of any decisions made for our common life together as the United Methodists of the Mountain Sky Conference.

I hope you will mark March 30 on your calendars and plan to gather with us. I hope to see you there and I pray that God may open all manner of blessed new beginnings in your life and congregations as, together, we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Yours in Christ,
Jeff Rainwater
Wyoming District Superintendent

We hope you will browse through the selection of wonderful Valentine's day cardsin
the Wheatland Fellowship Hall and buy a few!

The 2019 General Conference: Central Conferences 101

The United Methodist Church is organized into annual conferences on a world-wide basis. In the US, the annual conferences are grouped together into 5 jurisdictions. Outside of the US, the annual conferences are grouped together into 7 central conferences with an 8th in formation in mainland Asia. The map above (there is no map picture) shows the most recent membership of the UMC by jurisdiction and central conference. Because United Methodism is growing in Africa and the Philippines, the UMC is seeing a shift in its membership to outside the US. The number of delegates to the 2019 special session of the General Conference from a particular area is determined by a number of factors with a very strong emphasis on membership. The 864 delegates are divided as follows: • 58% (504 delegates) from the US • 30% (260 delegates) from the 3 Sub-Saharan African Central Conferences • 6% (50 delegates) from the Philippines Annual Conference • 5% (40 delegates) from the 3 European Central Conferences • 1% (10 delegates) from Concordant Churches (other Methodist Churches around the world)