Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 36 - Issue #12   
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. 
John 1:14 (The Message)
Welcome to My World!
Looking at the December calendar, I feel a little overwhelmed. With special events at church, family parties, and school concerts, there is certainly no shortage of holiday activities. However, there’s one particular notation that I have written on almost every single day of this month. In my shorthand, it is BB. For those who may not know, that’s basketball.
Now, I don’t dislike basketball, but I wish it didn’t overlap with Advent! I suppose I shouldn’t have such a problem with this since I come from a family that is crazy about basketball. Way back when my brother was in high school, basketball tended to dominate the life of our family. 
There were time conflicts then, also. Steve used to stay home on Thanksgiving Day (!) for basketball practice while the rest of us went out of town to visit the relatives. Still today, we cannot ever celebrate the holidays with his family because, as a coach, this is his very busiest time of the year. 
Even so, experiencing this crunch as a sister and as a mother are two different things. That was long ago and there was only one of him. Now, with three boys playing, we have 12 basketball games just in this one month. Tom & Sam play on the Middle School team; their games are generally on Mondays and Thursdays with some Wednesdays thrown in for good measure. Ben plays on the JV High School team; his games are generally on Tuesdays and Fridays with some Saturdays thrown in for good measure. Well, that pretty much covers the week, doesn’t it? 
Recently I was bemoaning this schedule to a friend with older children. Her comment back to me was, “Welcome to my world!” Meaning, now I could understand what she had been going through all these years. 
“Welcome to my world. . . ” The phrase reminds me of the text above and what we are celebrating this 
month. God came to our world. He became human; he took on flesh and blood; he entered our “neighborhood” (as The Message translation puts it) and made his home among us. 
I think it’s kind of hard for us to get our heads around this idea of the incarnation. Sometimes putting it in story form helps. Here’s a simple tale that illustrates the concept:
Long ago, there ruled a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to see how they lived. He wanted to understand their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited realized that he was their
One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. 
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king expected the poor man to ask for some gift or favor from him, but he did not. Instead he said with joy and amazement, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I eat. You have brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”
The gift of self is truly the greatest gift of all. I know many people who don’t need a single “thing” this Christmas. Yet, many of those same people are hungry for compassion, kindness, and empathy. Just to know someone understands and someone cares, is a tremendous blessing.
When our twins were newborns and Ben was a toddler, people often commented on how cute they were and told me how blessed I was. Some even complimented me for being a “super mom.” But, the most meaningful thing anyone ever said to me during that time period was something that sounded far from profound. It happened when an acquaintance remarked one day, “I bet you just wish you could have a moment to wash your hair.” 
That might strike you as a rather strange comment. You might even wonder if I felt offended by it, wondering if my hair looked greasy or unkempt! Not at all. That little statement went straight to my heart and with my whole being I responded, “Yes, that’s it.” 
You see, I didn’t really need any more baby clothes, but oh what I would have given for just a moment to wash my hair! And, this woman got it. She understood. Years before she had three young children close together and she’d never forgotten what it was like. Likewise, I’ve never forgotten that moment of understanding she shared with me.
That’s how our God is. He knows, he understands, he “gets it.” Welcome to our world, Lord! We are so glad you have chosen to live with us. 
May you enjoy a wonderful, blessed Christmas! (And be sure to think of me sitting on the bleachers at all of those basketball games!)
Pastor Sherri

Prayer List for December 
Rex Bean                       Nan Klinedinst
Scott Boehm                  LaVern Noble
Gage Dinges                  Art & Elsie Portinga
Barney Fay                     Mack Povlock
Chuck Fox                      France Ruffen
Laura Gearhart              Donald Schwartz
Pete Harfert                  Vi Waller
Allen Harrington            Mary Weed
Don Kain                        Victor Will 
Family of Nikki Allen
California Wildfire Victims
Those who have lost their jobs
                                 Baby News
Congratulations to Brett & Tammi Williams on the birth of a baby boy, Aidan John (A.J.), on November 11. He was welcomed by big brother TylerChuck & Marlyn Williams are the happy grandparents.     
Also, congratulations to Casey & Heather Caid on the birth of a baby boy, Eli Matthew, on November 19. The happy grandparents are Matt & Nancy Caid. 
May the Lord bless your families at this special time.
                                                              Sisters in Faith
Sisters in Faith are planning their annual Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 17, at 6:30 p.m. This year it will be held at the home of Rhonda Petro, 16928 Three Oaks Road. Please sign up in the narthex so we know how many to expect and what dish you will bring.
Don’t forget your Secret Sister’s gift. If you are unable to attend, but want to be included in the drawing for next year, please give your information to Rhonda or Pastor Sherri.
                                                                Soul Sisters
Thirteen ladies of the church enjoyed a nice soup and salad lunch at Viola’s for our activity together last month. Again this month our meeting will be moved to the third Wednesday, so as not to conflict with the holiday. Therefore, we will gather in the parlor at 2:00 p.m. on December 17. Participants are asked to bring a $5 gift for a Christmas exchange.
                                            Christmas Eve
Our traditional Candlelight Service will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24. Invite your family and friends and come to worship the Newborn King!
                                         Candles For Sale
Sisters in Faith are selling candles as a fundraiser during the holidays. These are the same candles that the mission team sold in past years. The scents available are Apple & Spice, Cotton Fields, Cranberry Patch, Granny’s Kitchen, Gingerbread, Just Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, and Sage & Citrus. The cost is $10 for the 10 ounce size or $16 for the 26 ounce size. You may purchase your candles on Sunday mornings in the narthex or at the Cookie Walk on December 6. They make great Christmas gifts! 
The Worship Committee is once again making poinsettias available for purchase.  The colors available are: red, white, pink, burgundy, marble (leans to white with pink marbling), and jingle bells (red with pink and white specks.) The cost is $7 per plant.
Order forms will be in the bulletin each Sunday, and are also available on the Home Page of the church website. All orders are due on or before December 7. Please include payment with your order. The poinsettias will arrive at the church on December 20. You may take them home following our worship service on Christmas Eve
                       Sunday School News
Our children’s Sunday School program will be Sunday, December 21 during the 11:00 worship service. The theme this year is “Christmas Around the World”. Practices will be during Sunday School starting at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings. 



                Community Advent Service

The River Valley Ministerial Association will again sponsor a Community Advent Service on Sunday, December 7, at 6:00 p.m. at First Reformed Church (301 North Elm Street). This will be a service of Lessons and Carols incorporating the beautiful music and Scripture readings of the season. An offering will be taken to benefit the RVMA fund to assist persons in need. Plan now to attend this service to worship with friends and neighbors from the community.

                                                     CROP Walk Report
The updated final figure from the CROP Walk held on October 5 in Lakeside has gone up from what we reported last month. There were 55 walkers from seven churches and they raised a total of $5,413. Three Oaks UMC alone brought in $1,192! Wow!   Our sister congregation, First UMC in New Buffalo, brought in $1,451.   Way to go, walkers!


                                                Christmas Eve Offering
Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton invites all United Methodists to give a special offering during the Advent season to those who are in need around the world. This year he has designated the “Children’s Center Spring” near St. Petersburg, Russia, as the recipient of our Advent gifts. This project serves children in the Primorsky District. This area has the highest crime rate and the largest population of children and youth in that region. Children’s Center Spring breaks the cycle of violence and poverty by offering spiritual love and light. You may learn more by visiting their website at
We will receive our Advent offering on Christmas Eve.   There will be inserts in the worship bulletin and you may use a pew envelope marked “Bishop’s Offering”. 


Our own Maggie Seifert was crowned Little Miss River Valley on November 22.   Maggie is a fourth grader at New Buffalo Elementary and the daughter of Steve & Aimee Seifert and granddaughter of Ken & Karen Seifert. 
On the same day Heather Rowlison, daughter of our church custodian, Janice Rowlison, was crowned First Runner-Up to Miss Teen River Valley. 
Both girls looked radiant. Congratulations to both of you!
                                              Advent Devotions
Advent is a time of looking forward. . . to Christmas! This year we have again prepared a book of meditations and devotions written by members of our church.
Thanks to Faye Sittig for again coordinating the project and thanks to all those in the congregation who were so gracious to write a message for the collection.
The books are available online at our website,, or if you prefer paper, they are available in the narthex. 

                                                Cookie Walk
Our fifth annual Cookie Walk will be held on Saturday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. All donations of cookies will be greatly appreciated! Please bring cookies to the church by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 5, and mark the type of cookies they are.
Cookies will sell for $7 per pound – a dollar less than last year’s prices. Pre-packaged homemade candy will also be available. Turtles will sell for $8 per pound and the following kinds will sell for just $6 per pound: peanut butter bars, mint crackers, white pretzels, cereal clusters, peppermint bark, toffee bark, and chocolate peanut clusters. 
                                    2009 Stewardship Campaign

Thanks to all those who have already made commitments to our 2009 church budget. In the first two Sundays of our stewardship campaign we received 45 pledges for $72,730.
If you have not yet made a pledge, please consider doing so. Extra pledge cards are available on the table in the narthex. They may be placed in the offering plate or returned to the church office.   
Offering envelopes have been placed in the narthex mailboxes. Please see Rhonda Hinman if you still need a set. As financial secretary, Rhonda is also the person who prints our year-end statements. Speak to her if you have questions about your giving for 2008. 

                                               Laity Gathering
There will be a Laity Gathering on Saturday, December 6, 10:00 a.m. to noon, at Paw Paw United Methodist Church. The theme is “Survival to Revival: Celebration of a New Day”. Light refreshments will be served. 
This is a great opportunity to get better acquainted with our new District Superintendent, Rev. Neil Davis, who will lead worship and conversation with those who attend. For more information, please contact Wendy Wheeler at (269) 327-6761 ext. 18 or
                                        P.E.T. Project Thanks
Dear Three Oaks United Methodist Church,
Thank you for letting me present the Personal Energy Transportation program to your church last month. And thank you very much for the special offering of $140 to this ministry. The money will go towards the shipping costs for the 30 child size front ends I am making for children PETs going to Honduras. They will be distributed next March to 30 children who have already been identified as needing them. The work of building them is going on now. I send my parts to the Luling, Texas, PET shop where they build the trailer part of them. A mission group from Kansas will help with the distribution at a site they are working from in Honduras.
God Bless,
Ray Truhn, Olive Branch UMC

                                         Many thanks to. . .
. . . Jim Thompson and George Koebel who spent two long days working outside the church last month. They replaced tile and filled the large hole in the ground by the gallery, cut eaves troughs and replaced downspouts. We appreciate your hard work on these projects! 
. . . Dennis & Nancy Comfort for donating a Pack 'n' Play for young children in our nursery. It is already being put to good use!
. . . Jim & Sharon Flick for discovering a sale on overhead projectors, Chuck & Marlyn Williams for donating toward the cost of these and Pastor Sherri for picking them up. We have received many positive comments from the congregation about seeing the words more clearly in several parts of the sanctuary. Unfortunately, one of the three used machines has a faulty on/off switch so we are still in the market for another if someone notices a good deal. 
                           Report on Newsletter Progress
We now have 85 e-mail addresses to use for sending out our monthly newsletter. If you have not yet given us yours, please send a quick note to the church office at This method of communication provides a significant financial savings to the church.
Those who do not have e-mail are asked to pick up the newsletter from their narthex mailboxes. Last month 27 copies were picked up in this way. The rest (85) were mailed. Though some of these families are out-of-town (or even out-of-state) at least 20 could have been picked up by people attending worship. So please check your mailbox!
                               Our Sincere Sympathy
We offer our sincere sympathy to Sally Frye on the death of her mother, Norma Audiss. May the Lord comfort you at this time.
                                        River Valley News
River Valley Elementary School fifth graders will perform the play “Aesop’s Fables” at the Acorn Theater on Saturday, December 6, at 1:00 p.m. Paige Barbour and Kaitlin Goodenough are in the cast. Come out to be entertained and support our students!
                                  Sports Update
Congratulations to Jeff Jakeway, the Brigman soccer goalie, who was named to First Team Lakeland Conference, First Team All-District, First Team All-Regional, and Second Team All-State. Way to go!
Best wishes to these athletes as their winter sports season gets underway:
Troy Robertson             New Buffalo Basketball
Ben Bartelmay              New Buffalo JV Basketball
Jessica Kersey              River Valley JV Basketball
Sam Bartelmay             New Buffalo MS Basketball
Tom Bartelmay             New Buffalo MS Basketball
                                    Praise Band
Thanks to our praise band: Mary Klug, Julie Becktell, Bill Swanson, Sharon Flick, and Ron Petro, who have been leading our opening songs for the past six weeks. The music has been wonderful in quality and it has added much joy to our services. Though the “band” will be taking a brief break during Advent while we sing Christmas carols, we do plan to re-assemble in the new year. Be sure to express your appreciation to these individuals for sharing their time and talents with us.
                          2009 Leadership Directory
A directory of our elected leaders for 2009 is now available to be picked up in the church narthex. There are still some openings on the Evangelism, Lay Leadership, and Missions Committees. Please let Pastor Sherri know if you would like to serve in any of these ways.
                                 Psychological Services
Andrews Community Counseling Center offers counseling for a wide range of issues to individuals, families, couples and groups. This service is provided entirely free of charge. You will be seen by a professionally trained graduate student working under faculty supervision. Please call to make a confidential appointment and experience the joy of positive change at (269) 471-6238.
                                          Congratulations to. . .
. . . Yuri Vanzine, who became a U.S. citizen on November 14th after nine years in this country.
. . . Bryan & Carol Volstorf, who were joined in marriage on November 1.
                                                              Historical Corner
Submitted by Eleanor Desmond
(From The Acorn, March,1909)
Written by Acorn reporter Grace E. Bradley
Mr. & Mrs. Ebeneezer McGee donated the land on which the Methodist church is built. Mrs. McGee in failing health worked in every way possible to furnish the church. The last night of her life it was my (Grace’s) privilege to watch beside her with Mrs. Little. The rag carpet for the lecture room had been finished that day. She had it spread out so we could see it. Times being hard the ladies of the church denied themselves in many ways for the making of a rag carpet. Mrs. McGee seemed better when we left but died that evening. She was a woman who believed and led a Christian life.”
Additional information:
Ebeneezer McGee born April 4, 1804, died May 30, 1879.
Deidema McGee born December 6, 1807, died December 24, 1878.
They are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Block 9, Lot 13, the other name on stone is William Levey & Wife.
A red oak forty-two inches, making 4 eleven foot cut stood where the Methodist Church is located today.
                                                       News From Our Website
From Dennis Comfort, TOUMC Webmaster
The Christmas season every year brings back memories of a very unique and wonderful experience that occurred within our church walls nearly twenty years ago.  In early March of 1989, the filming of the holiday movie classic, Prancer took place, in part within the village of Three Oaks, with some scenes taken just outside and within our church building.
Recently, we were able to track down the child star of that movie, Rebecca Harrell.  Rebecca, now 28 years old, is engaged to be married to a fellow filmmaker sometime next year.   She is co-producer of a brand new film that premiered in October.  The documentary film namedFuel” deals with the energy crisis and attempts to educate Americans as to what part they can play in dealing with this worldwide problem.
In addition to co-producing, Rebecca is in charge of the film’s publicity, as well as webmaster for the film’s website.  It was through that website that we were able to contact her via e-mail.  We asked her if she had any recollections of her time spent at our church.  This was her response after receiving our e-mail and visiting our church’s website, and in particular the webpage dedicated to the making of Prancer. . .
“I just finally saw the content of the e-mail that you sent!  Our new website isn't properly forwarding the content of these e-mails. . . .yikes!
I'm so honored that you tracked me down and sent me to your site.  Wow!  What a trip down memory lane! Of course I remember your church, the wonderful community, and the all-nighter that we all pulled.”
   Rebecca in 1989     Rebecca Today
If you would like to read more about Rebecca’s activities, check out their website at
In conjunction with Prancer’s 20th anniversary, we will continue to try to contact others who were part of that film-making project.  Any successes will be shared with you in future newsletters as well as postings to our Church’s website, .

                                                      December Anniversaries
Ryan & Donnelle Flick
Bill & Judy Ross 
                                                        December Birthdays
Laura Donner
Bob Flick     
Nick Hinman      
Mary Klug 
Autumn Ackerman
Kyle Seifert
Sheila Swanson
Lloyd Gearhart
Robin Ireland
Emma Springer
Karen Seifert
Cindy Jakeway
Nancy Turner
Dolores Hinman
Tyler Williams
Steve Shimek
Judy Ross