Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 37 - Issue #2
11:00 a.m. Worship Service

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

After proclaiming the Message. . . and establishing a strong core of disciples, they [Paul and Barnabas] retraced their steps. . . . , putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy.” 
Acts 14:21 The Message
It's Easy 
Recently I was conversing with Dennis Comfort about a new addition to our website. He was describing some rather complex instructions he had received about linking material from another source. “They say it’s easy,” he told me, “but any time they have to tell you that, it’s probably not!”
His comment got me to thinking that this is true in numerous contexts. How many times have I told the choir or the congregation that a certain song was “easy” and received in return a very skeptical glance that conveyed quite clearly, “That’s easy for you to say!”
There is a danger in under-estimating the difficulty of a task before us. For instance, at the time of the presidential inauguration last month a friend said to me (only partly in jest), “Everything’s going to be fine now that the new guy is in!” 
Though most people seem genuinely pleased at how President Obama is beginning his term, it seems to me a big mistake to expect him to solve all of the world’s problems single-handedly and quickly. Fortunately, the President himself seems to realize this. He has taken every opportunity to emphasize the difficulty of the challenges we face. He’s not promising anyone a “rose garden.” Words like “sacrifice” and “responsibility” are being used repeatedly in his speeches. “Hope” is still in there, but it is not a “Pollyanna,” “pie-in-the-sky” kind of hope. It is a “roll up your sleeves” and “dig in” kind of hope. 
Jesus tells us that we are wise to “count the cost” before beginning any project (Luke 14:28-32). If we lunge willy-nilly into some action – whether a personal exercise program or a church outreach program – without proper prayer, planning, and preparation, we are not likely to succeed. Our best of intentions will go bust. And the harder the task, the more important is our effort.
Maybe you have seen the popular movie A League of Their Own about the female major-league baseball teams of the 1940’s. In a powerful scene, the star catcher of the Rockford Peaches, played by Geena Davis, threatens to quit the team. She’s tired; she’s worn out; she’s worried about her husband who has gone to war; and in a low moment, she is ready to “throw in the towel.” This star catcher, who is by far the best player in the league, complains that the game is just “too hard.”
The manager of the Rockford Peaches, played by Tom Hanks, tries to talk her out of quitting. When she says, “It’s too hard,” he replies, “Well, baseball’s supposed to be hard. . . If it weren’t hard, everybody would do it.” And then he says this: “Hard is what makes it great!” 
Think about that statement for a moment: “Hard is what makes it great!” Don’t you have a much sweeter sense of accomplishment when you attempt something difficult and manage it, than when you just skate by with the minimum effort? I know I do.
I witnessed this in my boys recently. They like to play a video game called “Guitar Hero” which comes equipped with four different settings: easy, medium, hard, and expert. A few days ago they were playing with some friends who were new to the game and so they placed the setting on “easy.” For my guys, that was not really very much fun; they are used to playing on the “hard” setting and they wanted more of a challenge.
Are you looking for a challenge? How about a spiritual challenge? One way to rise to the challenge of growing in faith this year might be to join in our current congregational study on the “Three Simple Rules.”
Don’t be fooled by the title. As I said in my sermon last week, “simple” is not the same as “easy.” Though the “Three Simple Rules” (Do No Harm, Do Good, Stay in Love with God) are easy to understand, they are difficult to live out consistently. Even so, nothing ventured – nothing gained. 
The pastor of my home church in Burlington, Iowa is often teased about his address. Where is the parsonage located? On “Easy Street” – literally. 
I wonder how many of us are living on “Easy Street” – spiritually. Are we resting on our laurels, never stretching and reaching and attempting to grow in our faith? As Bishop Rueben Job (author of the “Three Simple Rules” book) says, “The One who created us, … loves us as we are and yet always seeks to lead us to become more than we are.” 
Let me encourage you to put some effort into your spiritual life. Take the challenge, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. For after all, “hard is what makes it great.”
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)
Those who are Homebound
Dorothy Brayboy
Lloyd Gearhart
Nan Klinedinst
Rose Lee
Kathryn Renbarger
Thais Williams

Those Living with Cancer:
Donna Bose
Jerry Fage 
Carmen Foster
Chuck Fox
Becky Gardner
Mary Gregory
Carol Ann Hall
Pete Harfert
Allen Harrington
Carol Harrington
Robert Heward
Colette Jaycox
Gail Payne
Bob Reznicek
Roy Stambaugh
Norma Van DeWalle
Doralee Vickers
Linda Waaso
Mary Weed
Those with other Health Problems:
Trey Ackerman
Dr. Herb Atkinson
Thelma Avery
Kay Becvar
Scott Boehm
Jake Busick
Jeff Dimmitt
Calvin Edden
Joe Hinman
Lucy Lee
Rose Lee
Max Lijewski
Wilma Mabry
Betty Martin
Deb McCarty
Shirley McLaughlin
Jim Motycka
Patti Pomeroy 
Mack Povlock
Marjorie Prinzing
Martha Schultz
Rosalie Stout
Titus Swanson
Louise Uebler
Vi Waller
Shirley White
Laura Wilbur
Victor Will
Dan Ziebarth
Those Who Grieve
The Family and Friends of. . . 
Charles Boothby
Larry Decker
Diane Jelinek
Hattie Reitz
France Ruffin
Harold Wagner
Bill Wilson
Those Who Are Expecting Babies This Month:
Mark & Ramey Seifert

President Obama and the new administration.
Thom & Lisa Schmit, Corrie & Peter in China.
New Address:
Marjorie Weller
8000 Warren Woods Road
Lot 92
Three Oaks, MI  49128-8527
                                    Sisters in Faith
We will meet after worship on Sunday, February 8, to set up for the Valentine Tea and to prepare care packages for our college students. Thanks to Rhonda Hinman for organizing supplies.
Our next regular meeting will be Wednesday, February 18, 7:00 p.m. at the church. Julie Sittig  will share devotions; Marcia Hess and Joanie Davidson will provide refreshments. The Bible Study is “Rahab – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.  All women are welcome to join us.
                                 Soul Sisters
This month we will return to our regular meeting time on the LAST Wednesday of the month, February 25, at 2:00 p.m. Dolores Hinman will bring refreshments. Call Helen Heward at 465-6948 if you have any questions.
Baby News
Congratulations to David & Amy Vollman on the birth of a baby girl, Greta Mae, on January 7, 2009. Greta weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces   Madison is the big sister and Daniel is the big brother.
May the Lord bless your family at this happy time.
Racial Ethnic Local Church
The West Michigan Conference Racial Ethnic Local Church Committee and the Commission on Religion and Race are working together to raise awareness
and develop strategies for building relationships with our Hispanic/Latino neighbors. Your support for the Racial Ethnic Local Church offering will help to support our current Racial Ethnic congregations and equip all of our churches to build healthy relationships with our neighbors in a changing world. 
We will be observing RELC Sunday on February 1. There will be an insert in your worship bulletin explaining more about this special offering. You can contribute anytime this month by using a pew envelope for your gift. 
  Valentine Tea
The date for our seventh annual Valentine Tea is fast approaching. It will be held on Wednesday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m. 
Mary Behrle will present “Learning to Live with an Older Sweetheart”. As always, there will be lots of yummy refreshments and plenty of tea. All women of the church and their guests are invited. 
Lenten Worship Series
The River Valley Ministerial Association will sponsor community worship services during the upcoming Lenten season. The theme this year is “By His Stripes: Healing Wounded Relationships.”
Christianity is about relationships: our relationship with God and our relationship with others. Follow Christ along his Lenten way and discover how he reclaims us and all our relationships in this exciting series during Lent.
We are hosting the first service on Ash Wednesday, February 25. The evening will begin with a Soup Supper at 6:30 p.m. Sign up in the narthex to bring soup, dessert, or other needed supplies.
The services will continue every Thursday in March at 6:30 p.m., each at a different church in town. The schedule will be published at a later date.
Lenten Breakfast
First UMC of New Buffalo invites everyone in our congregation to their annual Sacrificial Breakfast on Ash Wednesday, February 25, at 10:30 a.m. Pastor Brad will give a brief message and Hollis Oselka will share special music. The light breakfast will include homemade hot cross buns and your choice of juice, coffee or tea.

District Conference
Save the date of our District Conference: Saturday, March 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at South Haven United Methodist Church.
The theme is “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations”. We hope to take a group from our church.
Marriage Encounter Weekend
HOW’S THE “STATE OF YOUR UNION?” Experience a great Valentine with your spouse, a Marriage Encounter Weekend.   Open, sincere and honest communication can restore the spark and romance in your relationship. Find out how on a United Methodist Marriage Encounter weekend! From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon married couples can get away from jobs, kids, computer, TV and phones - and totally focus on each other.  The next Marriage Encounter is scheduled on Valentine weekend, February 13,14 &15 at Youth Haven Ranch between Lansing and Jackson.  Contact Registration Couple, Chuck & Dalice Yost at (313) 937-1051 or  For more information see .
News from the Worship Committee
January with its cold and snow is over and I’m sure all of you feel like I do. Enough already.
Worship attendance has been good even with the inclimate weather. Let’s keep it up.
Christmas is behind us and the Lenten and Easter seasons are approaching. We will be hosting the Ash Wednesday soup and service on February 25. There will be a sign up sheet soon for those wishing to make a crockpot of soup or bring dessert bars.
Sharon Flick,
Worship Chairperson
Below is a letter we received recently from our District Superintendent, Rev. Neil Davis.
Dear Rev. Swanson,
The year 2008 was a year of unprecedented financial strains as significant businesses closed or folded, news of jobs lost, high energy costs and with struggles in the housing and stock market. In the midst of all the ups and downs of the year your congregation responded in a meaningful and determined way by paying 100% of your Ministry Shares!
Most people are able to give, but to be able to give during such unsure times is a clear sign of determination to fulfill the commitment made to participate in a larger ministry. Please remember all the people who are blessed by your commitment and the words of Jesus that reminds us that what we do to the least of these we do to Him.
Thank you for your leadership, commitment and vision to see the needs within and beyond our local settings.
In His Service,
Rev. Neil Davis
Trustees News
Our Board of Trustees met last month to organize for the coming year. These persons were elected as officers: Ron Petro, chairperson; Doug Hinman, vice-chairperson; and Chris Zebell, secretary. 
We have contracted with Ken Dawson to shovel our church sidewalks for the remainder of this winter season. Thanks to Jerry Thomas for ordering handicapped signs and Jim Thompson for installing the first of these in our parking lot.
The Trustees have set Saturday, April 18, as our Spring Work Day (Rain Date: April 25). If you have ideas for projects that need to be completed around the church please speak with one of our officers.
The next meeting is Wednesday, March 11, at 7:00 p.m.
Bible Study
The study on “Three Simple Rules” continues this month. It is not too late to join a study group. The morning group has only completed two out of six chapters and the afternoon group has just completed the first chapter.
Everyone in the congregation is invited to read along. Extra copies of “Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living” are available in the narthex for $5.00 each. There are also free bookmarks.
The next study offered on Sunday mornings during Lent will be “Too Busy Not to Pray”. This will begin March 1 and the book will cost $12.00. Sign up in the narthex by February 22.
Free Lenten Materials
There are many free Lenten materials available on the table in the narthex including prayer booklets on several themes.   Pick up one today!
Kudos to Sam Bartelmay, Tom Bartelmay, Maggie Seifert, Samantha Looney (Don & Louise Uebler’s granddaughter) and Nicole Pappa (Nan Klinedinst’s great-granddaughter) for their performance in New Buffalo Middle School’s “Mulan” last month. Way to go!
Make plans now to attend
Church Camp this summer!
Brochures will be available
in the narthex soon!
New Directory
Our new pictorial directories have arrived! Those who were photographed at the church as well as those who submitted a photo for the book, will find their free copies arranged alphabetically in the narthex. A limited number of extra directories are available for $5.00 each. See Pastor Sherri if you would like to purchase one.
Though care was taken to proofread the roster in the back of the directory, you may find errors when reviewing your own family profile. Furthermore, since it was compiled in October, some information may have changed over the past three months. Please report any corrections or additions to the church office and we will publish these in next month’s Parish Post
Take a close look at the “Body of Christ” artwork on the cover. The little squares within it are all the photos of our congregation in miniature. What a wonderful witness that together we make up Christ’s body! See if you can find your own family photo (even if it takes a magnifying glass). We also have a large poster of this same artwork that will be hung in our Fellowship Hall.
In addition to the directories and the poster, we purchased color brochures from the same company to publicize the ministries of our church. Several are located on the table in the narthex for your use. Take one and share it with a friend or family member. If you have an idea for another way we might distribute this tool, please speak with Pastor Sherri or our Evangelism
Committee chairperson, Alex Renbarger.

Children’s Ministry
Last month the children of our church presented their attendance tally from the past year. Throughout 2008, each boy or girl who came to Sunday School or Children’s Church decorated a small box to show they were present. From these, they constructed a marvelous church. It is still standing on a table in the corner of our sanctuary for those who haven’t yet taken a look.
When unveiling the church, Mary Behrle told us that a lot of persistence was required in building it. The structure fell down not once or twice, but three times! Finally, (with the assistance of Bob Behrle) that church stood tall. 
Immediately after the children’s presentation, our liturgist read these verses from the Epistle Lesson for that day. Clearly God’s hand was evident in tying these things together (in a way not planned by any of us) and God’s voice spoke through the following words: “You are … members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Isn’t that awesome? God joins us together with the mortar of his love and from our individual building blocks creates something beautiful and useful for the salvation of the world.
Yet, there’s more. Before assembling all of those pieces into a church, the children counted them. Drumroll, please…. The total announced in worship was 294. A pretty impressive number, surpassing our record from the previous year. Then, the following week, Mary approached me (Pastor Sherri) and made this surprising statement: “Oh, four more children rolled out from under my car seat!” It took me a minute to catch on, but her meaning was that there were actually 298 children involved in our weekly ministries over the year.

For 2009, they are aiming to top 300. Let’s all help them by getting the kids and grandkids and neighborhood kids to church each week to hear and experience important lessons about Jesus Christ, the cornerstone. And thanks so much to our dedicated teaching staff: 
Julie Becktell, Mary Behrle, Gayle Martin, Rhonda Petro & Aimee Seifert.  

February Anniversaries
Ken & Thais Williams
Mike & Joan Davidson 
 LaVern & Hannah Noble
February Birthdays

Linda Flick
Dianne Hollenbeck

Mary Behrle
Barb Peters
Ayame Cooper

Ryan Flick
John Desmond
Jan James
Kerri Becktell
Matt Caid
Mark Seifert
Donelle Flick 
Gayle Martin
Jon Barbour
Nick Reitz
Alexis Renbarger
Koryn Flick

Febuary 1
“Do No Harm”
Matthew 5: 38-48
February 8
“Do Good”
Matthew 25: 34-40
February 15
Stay In Love With God
John 21: 15-19
February 22
Transfiguration Sunday
Mark 9: 2-9