Open hears. Open minds. Open doors.
The people of The United Methodist Church
Dear friends,

As we enter the New Year, let us desire to know God better this year. We turn to the wilderness journey of the Hebrew people to get hints of the process of knowing.

Moses in the land of the wilderness journey has an idea upon the mountain! He implores God for the people, and he uses language that reconnects them to their God: "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?".

He reminds God of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants -- the people camped at the foot of the mountain. And in the end, God relents and does not bring his wrath down on the people. Instead, Moses heads down to clean up the mess

Well, how does that exchange between Moses and God help us in our quest to know God?

On one level, it seems to present God as one who is as changeable as we are. Perhaps what we are reading is simply how Moses characterized his meeting with God, anthropomorphizing the Lord.

But whatever the case, Moses is one who met with God on a level that few others have ever done, and what he recounts is that God, whose first inclination was to punish a disobedient people, ends up not sending his wrath down on the people of Israel.

About God's casting aside his plan to destroy the people, commentator Frank Anthony Spina says, "This startling behavior on God's part was not a function of divine weakness, but of divine grace.

This is part of a biblical pattern: Judgment is never God's final word."

So in our quest to know God, it is important to view grace as his primary characteristic.

This is not to suggest that there were no consequences to Israel for their great disobedience.

Read the rest of the chapter and see that Moses dealt harshly with those who would not repent; he even had some of the people put to death.

Still, God stays his hand, and by his grace, the people of Israel eventually arrive at and enter the land he has promised to them.

Grace is rightly defined as unmerited favor. It is the startling act of God working on behalf of the very ones who have violated his covenant and substituted gods of their own making for him.

Grace can be understood by contrasting it to mercy, which is another divine attribute. Mercy is God's withholding punishment we deserve; grace is God's giving us blessings we don't deserve.

How important is it when we have failed to live up to our promises to him, that God still live up to his promises to us?

Yes, there's consequences of disobedience. Yes, there's accountability. But there's also grace, and any image of God that leaves that out is no more than a calf of gold!

Writer Kathleen Norris tells of being at an airport departure gate one day where she noticed a young couple with an infant. The baby was staring intently at other people, and as soon as he recognized a human face, no matter if it were young or old, pretty or ugly, bored or happy or worried-looking, he would respond with absolute delight. Norris writes:

It was beautiful to see. Our drab departure gate had become the gate of heaven. And as I watched that baby play with any adult who would allow it, I ... realized that this is how God looks as us, staring into our faces in order to be delighted, to see the creature he made and called good, along with the rest of creation.

And, as Psalm 139 puts it, darkness is as nothing to God, who can look right through whatever evil we've done in our lives to the creature made in the divine image.

Possibly "only God and well-loved infants can see this way," Norris says, but it means that God can look right through our guilt trips, our failures and our agonies, our phoniness, our invented deities and our sins, and see someone he loves.

Call that divine ability the grace of God. And that's a really good idea. And one that will last.

Grace and peace be ours in the coming year as we make our life journey into an uncertain future.

Rev Tom

Johnny Y.'s cousin, Eric, and his cousins friend Ruth & her husband who were in a
serious car accident; Mary Lou M.’s, great-granddaughter needs prayers; Bronwyn B.;
Larry & Barb F.; Darlene B.'s friend as she moves to hospice, her foster grandson Jason,
medical issues, her granddaughter, Bethany, serving in Kuwait; Julie D’s family and the
Philippines as they face typhoons, earthquakes and flooding; Bill & Kathy W., as they
were able to speak with Bill’s Mother and other family members; Mandy M.; Ann C.,
on her move to Greeley; Julie M.'s grandson as he travels to India to work; Joan, Pastor
Tom’s fiancé, whose non-profit fed 140+ at the Niwot Inn on Christmas; Karen T.’s
aunt and uncle who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary; Bill and Kathy W.,
as they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary; Pastor Tom; our church members;
our community; the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.

Darlene T.; Clay F., Chris S.; Larry & Barb F.; Bill S. family; Jason P.; the family
of Virgil Jackson; our church; our community; and our veterans.

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

Don’t forget, we have Safeway cards. You can get them after church during
Fellowship Hour. They come in $20, $50, and $100 denominations. They
are good at our Safeway here in Wheatland as well as other Safeway stores
and Albertsons throughout the region. A portion of the cost comes back to
the church. This is a great way to support our church.

NEEDED: Communion Helpers, Ushers/Greeters, Liturgists, and Fellowship
Hostesses. For our churches to run efficiently we all need to help! The sign-up
sheet is in the Fellowship Hall.

The Wheatland Food Pantry is in need of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holiday season.
They need: peanut butter; ketchup, mustard, canned tuna, spam, pasta, canned ravioli etc., canned
carrots, potatoes, cereal, Ramen Noodles, soups – not tomato or chicken noodle, Progresso soup,
crackers of any type, cake mixes, small bags of sugar & flour, noodles – spaghetti, dry beans –
pinto & navy, rice, boxed potatoes, Capri Sun drinks, oatmeal, chili, tomato sauce, cheese, pickles,
olives, turkeys, hams, sausage, laundry soap, or monetary donations.

A big thank you goes out to all who helped un-decorate the church. Thank you!

The Methodist church organized a “Cookie and Calendar” campaign where many of our church
shut-ins were visited and given a plate of cookies and a God’s Creation Calendar. Thank you
to everyone who donated money for calendars and supplied cookies. Merry Christmas, God
loves a cheerful giver! 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Thank you for remembering with the goodies, I sure miss you all. One of these
days I will get ride straightened out and back in my pew.
Merry Christmas and God Bless you one and all
Christene Amundson

Jan. 1 - Happy New Year
Jan. 7 - 9:30 a.m. - Project Patricia
Jan. 8 - 9:30 a.m. - L.O.L.
Jan. 9 - noon - UMW meeting & carry-in lunch
Jan. 11 - 10:00 a.m. SPR
Jan. 11 - 1:00 p.m. - Church Council
Jan. 12 - after worship - celebration for Bill & Kathy W. 50th Anniversary
Jan. 12 - 5:30 p.m. - Community Dinner, Chugwater HS
Jan. 18 - 8:00 a.m. Monthly Breakfasts
Men’s – Tasty Treats
Women’s – Western Sky’s
Jan. 22 - 9:30 a.m. - L.O.L
Jan. 29 - 9:30 a.m. - L.O.L.

Jan. 1 - Happy New Year, Clinton D.
Jan. 5 - Daichi C.
Jan. 7 - Dave B.
Jan. 8 - Hannah W.
Jan. 9 - Billy W, Carolyn F.
Jan. 10 - Ann C.
Jan. 12 - Bill & Kathy W.-50th Anniversary
Jan. 15 - Doris L., Kelley S.
Jan. 17 - Dan S.
Jan. 20 - Jeri B.
Jan. 22 - Ellie O.
Jan. 28 - Rowann S.
Jan. 30 - Kathy H.

The United Methodist Women met on December 12, 2019, for a carry-in Christmas lunch, followed by the end-of-
year business meeting. The group heard reports from various chairwomen. The Project Patricia group sent box no.
81 to the Kansas church. We need more help with the monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of each month, when
we pack the cut pieces for shipping to the Project Patricia folks, and assemble more kits for volunteers to take
home, cut out, and return to the church. If you can assist, please join us next month at 9:30 on January 7, 2020.
We always appreciate those who cut out pieces in between the meetings, because we prefer to send full boxes to
Kansas. If you have old towels or terry cloth items, flannel, or all-cotton sheets, we welcome donations of the
fabrics for us to cut. We decided that we will continue with Project Patricia if we have fabrics to cut and helping
hands to cut pieces out and put together our boxes of supplies.

The Salvation Army sends their thanks to those from our church who served as bell ringers for this local charity.
As you may already know, the money they collect each year stays in our community. Many of you have
contributed to the Food Bank, have been Angel Tree donors, and have done much to help others enjoy the
holidays. Thank you!

We held an election of officers. The UMW officers for 2020 will be:
President, Kathy W.; Secretary, Karyl W.; Treasurer, Myrna K.; Nurture, and Outreach Chairwoman, Rowann
S.; and >Funeral Dinner/Kitchen Chairwoman, Carolyn F. We also discussed distribution of our end-of-year
surplus funds at the December meeting as a group. We decided to donate money from our two potato bar
suppers, coffee and chocolate sales, and member pledges to the national UMW Legacy 150 endowment fund,
the Food Bank at UCC church, the Ministerial Coop, UMCOR-Salt Lake City, and Project Patricia. Our
thanks to all of you who have supported us in our fund-raising activities. You helped make this possible.

A new schedule for 2020 was discussed and will be posted on the UMW bulletin board, will be sent by
e-mail, or is available for those of you who don’t get electronic notices. See Kathy W. for a copy of the
latest minutes and the revised schedule.

Any ladies who attend this church are invited to attend UMW meetings on the second Thursday of each
month. The next lunch and meeting will be held on January 9, 2020, at noon. Bring your own lunch. We
usually eat first, then begin the meeting between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. You’re welcome to join us. If you
need a ride, call Kathy Wilson.

To reaffirm what was explained during our church service on Nov. 24, we would like to inform
every one that our church Ad Council is being reorganized into a One-Board Ad Council. As you
know with our church getting smaller, it was almost impossible to find enough people to form
committees for each area of the church that we are required to uphold. Therefore, the people
on the One-Board Council will discuss and make decisions about any church business that needs
addressing. This does not, however, include the Staff-Parish Relations committee. That is still
required to be a separate committee in itself (along with members from the Chugwater church)
since we are considered to be one unit; with “l-o-n-g pews”.
The following is a list of the people who graciously agreed to head up each area:
Pastor- Tom P.
Ad Council Chair – Crystal A.
Secretary for this Board – Kathy W.
Treasurer- Karen T.
Financial Secretary – Rodene M.
Finance – Kathy W.
SPR (with Chugwater members) – Holly J.
Trustee – Hannah W.
Worship – Carolyn F.
Membership – Barb S.
Mission – Rodene M.
UMW – Kathy W.
Lay Leader – Johnny Y.
Office Coordinator – Hannah W.
If anyone has a desire or calling to assist in any of these areas, please contact
the person in charge.


To the Chugwater Ladies Aid who met December 13th to put together
plates of homemade cookies for several folks in our community. They
have done this outreach project for several years and it is always well received.

The Santa’s Workshop was attended by approximately 20 children who
came to our Fellowship Hall December 13th to make gifts for their families.
A fun time was had by everyone.

Christmas Food baskets were delivered to several in our community.
Our church pantry food was added to the Wheatland Lions Club food
baskets to make this happen. This year the students at the Chugwater
High School also added food to this project.

Facilitators: Jerah N., & Dana C. Everyone is welcome to join us
for an evening of games, volleyball, billiards and free supper. Whether you
want to come for the community, the fun, or just the food we’d love to have
you! Contact Dana C. with questions or RSVP’s. This fun is from
5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Chugwater High School. A free will donation will be appreciated.