Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 37 - Issue #1     
11:00 a.m. Worship Service

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

“The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born. . . '"
Luke 2:10-11 (The Message)
“About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” 
Matthew 2:1-2 (New Living Translation)
We Are a Global Church 
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, famously declared, “The world is my parish.” In his lifetime, Wesley traveled to almost every village and hamlet throughout the country of England. He also journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean and made a brief foray into America. 
Even with his burning passion to “spread scriptural holiness across the land,” I think brother John would be rather surprised at the breadth of our United Methodist Church today. We have a presence in 38 countries of the world, including Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, the Philippines and many others. Of the 10 million members in our denomination, more than 20% live outside the United States. Truly, we are a global church.
Last month I experienced an “epiphany” of sorts about how the global nature of our church impacts us on a local level. This happened as our Sunday School children presented their “Christmas Around the World” program. Suddenly I realized – not only is the UMC a global church “out there”; rather the Three Oaks UMC is a global church “right here”!
While searching for information about Christmas customs in other parts of the world, our teachers discovered several excellent resource people within our own church family. Yuriko is from Japan, Yuri is from Russia, Sven is from Belgium, Sheila was a missionary in China, Faye lived in Germany, and Jill is spending this coming month in Germany. In addition, on the day of the program, Elise was in attendance from Norway. A mini United Nations right under our noses! Who would have thought we’d ever experience this amazing diversity in little ole’ Three Oaks?
 As we look ahead to a New Year, the next holiday on our calendar – Epiphany, January 6 – has a decidedly multi-cultural feel to it. This is when we commemorate the visit of the magi or “wise men” who came to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. The Scripture tells us they came from “eastern lands.” A lovely (though unsubstantiated) legend says that each one of the magi represented a different continent: Caspar – Europe, Melchior – Asia, and Balthasar – Africa. Whatever their place of origin, they came from “afar” to worship the newborn King. 
Here we have a powerful reminder that the gospel message is for all people. It is especially interesting that Matthew, the gospel writer who addresses a primarily Jewish audience, is the one who tells this story. Throughout his book he repeatedly cites the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. Yet, he opens his narrative with an account of how those on the inside – the ones who had studied the promises of God day and night – missed the arrival of the Christ child, while those who were on the outside – foreigners, Gentiles who probably couldn’t even pronounce “Emmanuel” much less tell you what it meant – showed up in the right place. 
As followers of Christ, the Savior of the whole world, we too must develop care and concern for all people
even those who are not the slightest bit like us, even those who live clear across the globe. Too often, it seems to me, we focus on just our little corner of the world. Our individual prayers tend to be intercessions for “me, myself and I.” Our corporate prayers tend to be intercessions for the health and wellbeing of those in our inner circle.
Surely God wants us to expand our vision and extend our reach. We dare not become so preoccupied with our own parochial concerns that we close ourselves off from the rest of the world. Let us use this next “season,” the days of “ordinary time” following Epiphany to consider how big our world is and to give thanks for the rich diversity of persons who fill it. May we be extra attentive to including all people as we share the love of God that transcends any human boundary. By God’s grace, may we continue to live into our call to be a global church.
Pastor Sherri
Those who Serve as Missionaries, Especially:
Jeff & Deliegha Swanson,
Charissa, Lois
, & Titus
in Mexico. 

Those who are in the Military, Including:
Brad Bellaire
Rick Martin
Brandon McCombs
Jerry Peters Jr.
Dustin Smith and his buddy, Sam

Those Who are in Nursing Homes:
Barney Fay   (West Woods) 
Tecla Kaiser  (River Ridge)
Marjorie Weller (West Woods)

Those who are Homebound:
Thelma Avery
Dorothy Brayboy
Lloyd Gearhart
Nan Klinedinst
Rose Lee
Kathryn Renbarger
Thais Williams

Those Living with Cancer:
Nancy Allen
Dennis Beckman
Donna Bose
Jerry Fage 
Carmen Foster
Chuck Fox
Becky Gardner
Mary Gregory
Carol Ann Hall
Pete Harfert
Allen Harrington
Carol Harrington
Colette Jaycox
Gail Payne
Bob Reznicek
Doralee Vickers
Linda Waaso
Mary Weed
Those with other Health Problems:
Dr. Herb Atkinson
Kay Becvar
Scott Boehm
Zimmah Fox
Dawn Hayes
Joe Hinman
Sabra Lambert
Lucy Lee
Wilma Mabry
Deb McCarty
Jim Motycka
Lavern Noble
Patti Pomeroy 
Mack Povlock
Alex Renbarger
France Ruffin
Brittany Sokolowski
Titus Swanson
Louise Uebler
Vi Waller
Victor Will
Dan Ziebarth
Those Who Grieve
The Family and Friends of. . . 
Laura Gearhart
Francis Lintner
Don Kain
Katie Killips 
Linda Mount
Donald Schwartz 
Ruth Shermak
Eugene Wosny
Those Who Are Expecting Babies This Month:
David & Amy Vollman
Those Seeking Employment:
Doug Couchman
Those suffering from violence in the Gaza Strip.
The Slavens Family recovering from a house fire on Thanksgiving Day.
Address for cards & visits:
Nan Klinedinst
Woodland Terrace
8850 Red Arrow Highway
Bridgman, MI  49106-9524
                                               Sisters in Faith
What a great time we had at our year-end Christmas bash! Twenty women came and no one wanted to leave. The Petros’ home is always so warm and inviting with their eight to ten Christmas trees and gracious hospitality. The meal was an absolute feast, complete with twelve different desserts!!!
Thanks to Joanie Davidson for organizing the gifts for our adopted family and to Rhonda Hinman for purchasing the needed gift cards, as well as baking individual loaves of bread for all of those who were not in the gift exchange. Some beautiful presents were shared and most of the recipients managed to hold onto theirs, despite numerous attempts to swipe them.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, January 21, 7:00 p.m. at the church. Marcia Hess will share devotions; Robin Ireland and Rhonda Hinman will provide refreshments. The Bible Study is “Sapphira: Generous to a Fault.” All women are welcome to join us as we start a new year!
                                        Soul Sisters
Though the weather was not very nice on the day of our Christmas Party, nine ladies were able to attend and enjoy one another’s company. Thanks to Doris & Ogden Krossovitch for setting up and taking down tables and chairs and to Helen Heward for providing delicious refreshments. This month we will return to our regular meeting time on the LAST Wednesday of the month, January 28, at 2:00 p.m. Dolores Hinman will bring refreshments. 
Baby News
Congratulations to Tim & Kandace VanTilburg on the birth of a baby boy, Jude Gregory, on November 28. Jude weighed 9 lbs. 15 oz. and was 22¾” long. After spending his first week in the NICU due to respiratory problems he now seems very healthy. 
Grandparents are Chuck & Julie Sittig and great-grandparents are Lucy Lee and Les Lee; the big brother is Jonah VanTilburg. 
Congratulations also go to Ruth Cline on the birth of a great-grandson. Clayton Daniel Burk was born on November 15 to Joe & Cassy Burk. 

May the Lord bless your families at this wonderful time. 
Financial News
Thanks to those who have made commitments to our 2009 church budget. At year-end we had received 49 pledges for a total of $77,980. This is 62% of the financial support which will be needed to meet our projected expenses.
If you have not yet made a pledge, would you please consider doing so? Extra forms 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 would like 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 2008 giving.
  Save the Date
Our seventh annual Valentine Tea will be held on Wednesday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m. All women of the church and their guests are invited. 
On Stage

New Buffalo Middle School is presenting the play “Mulan” Friday and Saturday, January 23 and 24 at 7:00 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, January 25, at 3:00 p.m. Cast members include: Sam Bartelmay as Captain Shang, Tom Bartelmay as Mushu (the dragon), and Nicole Pappa as the lead ancestor. 

Christmas Decorations
Our church always looks so lovely at the holidays. Of course, what goes up must come down. The Worship Committee will be putting the decorations away on Monday, January 5, at 9:00 a.m. They would welcome help from anyone who is available that morning.


Leader Installation
We will install our 2009 Church Leaders during worship on January 11. 
Christmas Cards
Make sure to check your mailbox in the narthex for Christmas greetings from your church family.
Christmas Greetings
Christmas cards received in the office are posted on the bulletin board in the narthex.
"Thanks for all the love and support! You all make us feel a part of the UMC even in Louisiana! Keep all military and families in your hearts, thoughts and prayers! It means so much!
With Love,
Ricky & Becky Martin"
"Sisters in Faith,
Warm wishes for a joyful holiday.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Amanda Ireland"
"To the congregation of Three Oaks UMC,
May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with joy and love.
In your honor, I have made a donation to UMCOR, to help fight hunger in Haiti.
Love to all,
Sally Preece
"Church family,
Heard you all had some SNOW! Not us, but some cold nights, winter has yet to come to south Texas. Warm day in the 70’s, 40’s in p.m. but we’re 'coping' – Ha! Our best to the church family and weather the winter well. Have connected with the United Methodist Church down here, nice group of people. Lots of winter Texans to fill the seats and adds to the choir.
Happy Holidays! See you in the spring,
Bill & Judy Ross and the boys (Smokey and Troubles)"
"Merry Christmas! We are great. Florida is cooler than usual, but better than you have. Perry and two friends remodeled the Florida room. Fridge went out so need to get working.
Your friends,
Perry & Bonnie Pickens"
The church received a nice letter from Greg & Ann Marie BuchnerJamie is now 10 and Matthew is 8½. The letter is posted on the bulletin board in the narthex. Be sure to check it out for the details of their life in Ovid, Michigan.
Special Sunday Offering
Human Relations Day is January 18. We share this offering in mid-January because this marks the birthday of  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the work he did to transform our nation and the world in the area of healing relationships in the human community. The offering supports community development programs that improve living conditions, build relationships, and testify to the love of God through the ministry of presence.
More than 30 church-based community developers work in racial-and ethnic-minority communities in the United States and Puerto Rico. A multi-racial network of grassroots social justice organizations related to United Methodist Voluntary Service provides vital outreach. Christ-centered Youth Offender Rehabilitation projects give teenagers a chance to succeed.

God calls us to lead others to Christ. Please give generously on Human Relations Day, the Sunday before the birthday observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Your gift makes a world of difference!
"Thank you for all the prayers, cards and calls for my hip replacement surgery. It is much appreciated.
Joe Hinman"
"We would like to thank our church family for all the thoughts and prayers we have received over the past year and a half. We love you all.
Since Allen’s scan results last month were clear, he will not need any more chemo and we have left to spend the winter in Florida. See you in the spring!
Allen & Beverly Harrington"
"Thank you for all the prayers, cards, calls and “sage advice” (about standing on ladders) that I have received. I am happy to have the cast off and will continue now with therapy throughout the coming month.
LaVern Noble"
"Thanks to all for your prayers, calls, cards, etc. . .
Elsie Portinga"
Sunday School Volunteers
Thank you to the individuals who have led our Sunday School in 2008. They are Julie Becktell, Mary Behrle, Gayle Martin, Rhonda Petro, and Aimee Seifert.  
Thank you also to the helpers during Children’s Church and Sunday School. They are: Mike Becktell, Nancy Caid, Joanie Davidson, Tracy Donner, Melissa Flick, John Foster, Sally Frye, Marcia Hess, Dolores Hinman, Vivian Koebel, Doris Krossovitch, Sue Peterson, Sally Preece, Alex Renbarger, Judy Ross, Sue Rubeck, Julie Sittig, Ellen Sokolowski, Cheryl Thomas, Marlyn Williams, Amy Vollman.
Without these dedicated volunteers we wouldn’t have such a wonderful program. If you would like to volunteer to be a teacher or a helper, please see Mary Behrle or Julie Becktell.
Cookie Walk Report
Thanks to everyone who baked cookies for our fifth annual Cookie Walk and to all who purchased cookies and candy. We realized a profit of over $1,612.
Many dishes were left at the church after this event. Please pick yours up from the kitchen.
                                                            Christian ABC’s
          (submitted by Cheryl Thomas)
               Act instead of Argue.
               Build instead of Brag.
            Climb instead of Criticize.
         Develop instead of Depreciate.
           Encourage instead of Envy.
               Fight instead of Faint.
             Give instead of Grumble.
               Help instead of Harm.
             Invite instead of Ignore.
                Join instead of Jeer.
               Kneel instead of Kick.
            Love instead of Lampoon.
                                                      Move instead of Molder.
                                                     Nurture instead of Neglect.
                                                       Obey instead of Object.
                                                         Pray instead of Pout.
                                                       Quicken instead of Quit.
                                                     Rescue instead of Ridicule.
                                                       Stand instead of Shrink.
                                                       Try instead of Tremble.
                                                 Undergird instead of Undermine.
                                                     Vindicate instead of Vilify.
                                                        Will instead of Wish.
                                                   Xterminate instead of Xcuse.
                                                        Yield instead of Yank.
                                                    Zip ahead instead of Zigzag.
Recording News
We have recently discontinued taping our weekly services after noticing that no one made use of these for several months. However, we do still have the capability to record worship services on audiotapes (and may consider investing in CD technology in the future). If you would like to listen to worship tapes at home please notify Pastor Sherri or head usher, Jim Flick.
Thank You!
"Three Oaks UMC family,
Thank you very much for the gift of money and all the other items I received at Christmas. They were all greatly appreciated! I feel very fortunate to work for all of you.
Cheryl Kersey"
"Thank you very much for the gift of money at Christmas. I enjoy working here with all the children.
Morgan Weers"
"Three Oaks UMC Family,
Thank you for the wonderful gift and for the job of cleaning your beautiful church! Sometimes I just stand in awe, admiring all the beautiful gifts God has given you. It is also so awesome how you take such wonderful care of His house of worship. You are amazing servants of the Lord. I am truly blessed to work here.
I have been looking for another study Bible and the gift of money is perfect!
Janice Rowlison"
Thank you for your kind remembrance at Christmas. This is a wonderful church family.
Martha Spychalski"
"Dear friends at TOUMC,
Thank you so much for all the lovely gifts I received at Christmas, including the presentation made after worship on December 21. I enjoyed the “fishing expedition” which brought forth a wonderful box of candy and a wreath loaded with green stuff. You are so very generous and I feel enormously blessed to be your pastor. Happy New Year to each and every one!
Pastor Sherri"
"P.S. In the spirit of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' I just got around to composing our family Christmas letter last week. It is posted on the church bulletin board, along with a picture of the boys, if you’d like to know what we’ve all been up to in recent months."
Wedding News
Congratulations to Nathan Will and Hillary Frey, who were married on December 17 in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Nathan is the son of Victor & Kim Will.
Best wishes for a happy life together!
Thanks to our Gretters
A big thank you to George & Vivian Koebel for arranging the greeter schedule every month. Also, a big thank you to the following people who served as greeters on Sunday morning in 2008:
Dennis & Nancy Comfort, George & Sally Frye, Allen & Beverly Harrington, Doug & Rhonda Hinman, Jim & Robin Ireland, Bill & Judy Ross, Bill & Betty Swanson, Jim & Charmaine Thompson, Don & Louise Uebler, Dick & Elsie Zabel, and Chuck & Marlyn Williams.
These folks were here early on Sundays so they could greet everyone at the door with a smile and a handshake. Thanks so much for your willing service!
The Board of Trustees will have an organizational meeting on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:00 p.m. to elect officers and prioritize projects for the coming year. We hope all committee members will be able to attend.
One project currently in process is to increase the number of handicapped parking spaces in our lot and also on Sycamore Street. Until the new signs arrive and are erected, please leave spaces closest to the building open for those who need them the most.
Many thanks to. . . 
. . . Rhonda Petro for locating a
digital camera to keep in the church
office and use for church events. 
Money for this purchase was provided
by our Memorial Fund.
Report on Newsletter Progress
The process continues of whittling down our newsletter mailing list. In October we mailed 216 copies; just three months later we are mailing only 79 copies and hope to keep reducing this number. All the rest are going out by e-mail or else being picked up in the narthex. Thanks so much for your help in reducing our postage costs.
From the Chairperson
This year is quickly coming to the end. They seem to go by faster, or maybe I am slowing down.
A big thank you to the worship committee for “Hanging the Greens”. Forty poinsettias were ordered this year to beautify our sanctuary at Christmas. Please pick up yours by the end of this month or they will be given to our shut-ins.
Many members took part in the Advent Candle readings last month. Thank you to Nancy Caid; Faye Sittig; Rick, Yuriko, & Ayame Cooper; Craig, Kaitlin & Haley Goodenough; and Ogden & Doris Krossovitch.
Joining the choir for a special Sunday were Kaitlin Goodenough, Laura Donner and Paige Barbour. I appreciated their help with the anthem. Instruments of Faith will be our special music on December 28 and Butch Koth will be singing on January 4. We look forward to listening to both as the choir takes a short break.
I look forward to a great 2009.
Sharon Flick,
Worship chairperson
Sunday School News
Thanks to the children of our church for a wonderful program on Sunday, December 21. All of the readers, actors, and singers did such a fine job. Special thanks to Julie Becktell for organizing the program, to Rhonda Petro for providing costumes and props and to Yuriko Cooper for teaching us all a little Japanese.
Start the New Year out right – come to Sunday School. We have lots of fun!
A New Bible Study for a New Year
What will be your resolutions for the New Year ahead? How about giving some attention to your spiritual life? A new study will be offered at our church called “Three Simple Rules for Christian Living.
At least two study groups will be offered. One will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings beginning January 11. Another will meet from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Sunday afternoons beginning January 18. Childcare will be available for elementary age kids during this second group; we hope some of our young parents will be able to attend.
If there is sufficient interest, a third group will be offered on a weekday. Registration forms are available in Sunday’s bulletin and extras are in the narthex. Place these in the offering plate or bring them to the church office.
The study will last seven weeks – through the end of February. We will make use of two small books. The combined cost for these is $11.00.
Pastor Sherri will begin a sermon series later in the month on these same “Three Simple Rules” which are: Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God. Many copies of Bishop Rueben Job’s book “Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living” are available for everyone in the congregation. It is our hope that, even if you are not part of a study group, you might read along as our whole church considers this material together. The book is small (just 4” x 6” and 75 pages); it costs only $5.00. Pick up your copy in the narthex.
We express our love and sympathy to the family of Laura Gearhart who died on December 27 at Lakeland Continuing Care Center in St. Joseph. She was a faithful member of our church who will be remembered for her warm smile and dedicated service. For many years she took great care in posting weekly messages on our church sign along Elm Street.
Please be in prayer for Lloyd, her husband of 61 years, Harold and Jim, their two sons; and all of their family. May God comfort you in this time of loss.
We also share our condolences with Nikki Springer and her family at the death of her father, Don Kain, on December 28 following three long weeks of hospitalization in the critical care unit. Please lift up in prayer Nikki, her mother Barb, and all of their extended family.  
We celebrated the baptism of Ayame Louise Cooper on December 24, 2008, at our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. She is the daughter of Richard & Yuriko Cooper. 
During the service greetings were shared from the Shimizu Family in Japan who were praying for Ayame and all of our congregation on this happy occasion. Their letter is posted on the church bulletin board.
This Christmas was certainly very different than last for the Cooper Family. We thank God that their family was finally reunited this fall after nine months of being apart and we wish them great blessings in 2009!
Historical Corner,
submitted by
Eleanor Desmond
The minister in 1924 was John Linn. Choir rehearsal was Friday evening at 7 o’clock.
Let’s move back to “The Acorn”, (March,1906).
“Some modest person recently donated a dozen new chairs for the use of the M.E. Church choir, whose members are very grateful for the fine gift, which is known to have cost a considerable amount of money.”
Choir directors over the years were:
            Marie Kraft
            Marjorie Hellenga
            Marge Korbel
            Donna Friedburg
            Priscilla Lee Hellenga
            Mary Klug
            Sharon Flick
Can you add to this list?
New Member Class
Two or three times a year Pastor Sherri offers a class for those who are interested in becoming new members of our church.  The next one will be held on Tuesday, January 20, at 7:00 p.m.  Anyone who has been attending our church for awhile is welcome, even if you aren't sure that you are ready to officially join at this time.  Material presented will cover the history, beliefs, and organization of the United Methodist denomination, as well as information about our own congregation.  Most importantly, we will try to answer any questions you may have.  Please speak with Pastor Sherri if you desire to know more. 
Wish List
Though we already have two high chairs at the church, it appears we could use another. At the Harvest Dinner this fall, it was noticed that we had five children present under the age of two. With the recent “baby boom” our congregation is experiencing, this need is likely to continue. Please speak with Pastor Sherri if you have a chair to donate.
                                                          January Anniversary  

David & Amy Vollman
January Birthdays
Dana Lee
Eryka Kettring
Lynn Reitz
Jacob Seifert
Jack Renbarger      
Faye Sittig
Ben Bartlemay
Abby Henrich
Maggie Seifert
Ramey Seifert
Don Uebler
Nancy Davis
Jim Flick
Lucy Lee
Virginia Feather
Elna Rogers
Troy Zebell

January 4
Epiphany Sunday
Looking Farther Than You Can See
Matthew 2:1-12
January 11
Baptism of the Lord
Installation of Leaders
Getting All Wet for Jesus
Mark 1:4-11
January 18
Human Relations Sunday
“Knocking Down the Walls”
Ephesians 2:11-22
January 25
“Three Simple Rules”
Mark 12:28-31