Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 37 - Issue #7   
10:00 a.m. Worship Service

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:1-6
The Greatest Love of All
At Annual Conference last month I heard a very disturbing story. A pastor friend of ours was told by her congregation that her two preschool age children were not welcome at the church. These supposedly Christian folks actually said she should not to bring the kids back again, unless she arranged for someone to stay with them in the nursery and she personally paid for that childcare. The church did not have any other children, nor did they want any. How tragic.
I tried to lift her spirits and encourage her that the next congregation was likely to be more welcoming. I shared my own experience of congregations surrounding our children with love. Though I was hesitant initially to share the news of my first pregnancy with the folks at Galien and Olive Branch, it soon became apparent to me that the majority of people in those congregations were more excited than I was! Time and time again, I was greeted with the response “How wonderful! We can’t wait.” 
Then, when I showed up at Lakeside with three children under the age of three in tow, again I wondered how this was going to work out. After all, this little church certainly had no paid nursery attendant. I had no need to worry, for the folks in that congregation actually fought over who would get to hold the babies. And, when the time rolled around for the twins’ first birthday, they threw them a big party after worship. I used to tell people that the boys were treated like little “princes” in that congregation. They were spoiled there much worse than they ever were at home. The neat thing was that they had lots of adopted “grandparents.” Our whole family has been so blessed by the love of parishioners in many settings.
Now that our own kids have moved on to their teenage years, I am really enjoying the little ones in our Three Oaks congregation. Do you realize that several churches in our area don’t have any children? How sad that would make me. Every week I wonder what the boys and girls will come up with next. Let me highlight a couple of the child-like qualities that I find especially appealing.
First of all, kids are far more interactive than adults. In our adult Bible Study class, I may ask a question and it will just hang out there in the middle of the room with no response. Not so in children’s sermons! There is never a dull moment – or a quiet pause. Usually, I’m given many more answers than I can handle. Still, I think it is wonderful they are so engaged.
Second, kids are naturally evangelistic. Have you noticed how many children have been bringing friends to church lately? Paige brought Vanessa, Jacob brought Josh, Kaitlin brought Maddie, Madison brought Tatum, and so on. Some adults attend church for decades on end without ever inviting a friend! Watch the kids for a great example in how to share the good news.
Most kids seem to love coming to our church. Why? Probably because they have FUN. Come on now, be honest, which of you has not had at least a passing thought like “I wish I could go downstairs and make those neat things.”   
Mary Behrle continues to come up with amazing creations in Children’s Church. Consider some of their recent projects. . . On Father’s Day the kids made decorated hot plates especially for their dads’ coffee cups. On Flag Day, they turned graham crackers into little flags using red, white, and blue frosting. This yummy treat was a big hit! Look for photos soon on our website. 
Well, I can’t go downstairs during the sermon (!), but this next week I am focusing on the children in Vacation Bible School. For me, VBS is nothing short of an “adventure!” It is time-consuming to prepare lessons, set up supplies, and clean up, in addition to the hours spent face-to-face with the children. I’ve given part of every day this past week to reviewing material, hauling loads from our house and our church to the Free Methodist Church, cutting out pieces of this and that, and making sample craft items. By the middle of VBS week, I’m usually ready for the “funny farm.”
Still, I think it’s worth it. This is my one big chance to interact directly with the children, not only of our congregation but also of the community. I hope my attention is a blessing to them. I know they always bless me. 
Jesus said that when we welcome a child into our midst we are welcoming him. Children are not “problems” for us deal with; they are “blessings” to rejoice over! Jesus also said they are the “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven. 
Reading that verse made me recall the hit song by Whitney Houston from some years ago titled “Greatest Love of All.” It begins with these words:

I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be.  
It is my earnest prayer that no one should ever walk into our church and feel that their children aren’t welcome. Let’s not only welcome them… let’s seek to be like them – full of life and eager to share our friendship. During VBS, please pray for the children (and their teachers). When it is over, take the time to ask the children what they did and what they learned. I can almost guarantee they will be happy to tell you. 
Pastor Sherri

We extend our sincere sympathy to Dan Becktell at the death of his aunt, Iris Miller, on June 9. Please remember her husband, Jim Miller, in your prayers, also. The Millers were good friends of many in our congregation. 
We also extend our sympathy to Nancy Comfort at the death of her uncle, Roy Stambaugh on June 14.
We further extend our sympathy to Betty Swanson on the death of her nephew, Tom Conklin, on June 20.
May the Lord comfort you at this time.
Those who Serve as Missionaries, especially:
Jeff & Deliegha Swanson, Charissa, Lois, and Titus in Mexico.
Those who are in the Military, including:
Brad Bellaire, Pete Birochak, Rick Martin, Brandon McCombs, Jerry Peters Jr., Nathan Phillips and Dustin Smith.

Those who are in Nursing Homes:
Barney Fay and Tecla Kaiser.
Those who are Homebound:
Dorothy Brayboy, Lloyd Gearhart, Nan Klinedinst, Rose Lee, Kathryn Renbarger, Marjorie Weller and Thais Williams.
Those with Health Problems:
Trey Ackerman, Eldon Audiss, Duane Below, Robert Bucks, Shirley Busick, Diana Coleman, Donna Friedburg, Klaus Friedburg, Becky Gardner, Faith Hapner, Pete Harfert, Allen Harrington, Dawn Hayes, Ed Hayes, Bob Heward, Shirley Hoadley, Barb Kain, Ogden Krossovitch, Lucy Lee, Betty Martin, Stella Baca Miser, LaVern Noble, Bill Payne, Gail Payne, Perry Pickens, Lynn Reitz, Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jeff Ross, Jacque Rowlinson, "Papa" Schmizu, Roger Simpson, Ellen Sokolowski, Louise Uebler, Greta Vollman, Neva Marshall Walls, and Adam Williams.

Those who are seeking employment.
Those who are in the process of adopting a baby.
Co-Pastors Kyle & Lindsay Small beginning at Harbert Community Church.
Please note: Names will be deleted from the above list after one month unless an updated request is received.
Address for Cards and Visits:

Summer Bible Study
The Bible Study “Confronting the Controversies: Biblical Perspectives on Tough Issues” just started. It’s not too late to join us! We are meeting on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the church. We will cover chapter 1 on July 9. See Pastor Sherri if you need more information.
We have two young people going to camp this month. How nice it would be for them to receive mail from friends in the congregation. Drop a note to the following address:
July 12-18
Katie Kozel
Kristen Kozel
Crystal Springs Camp
33774 Crystal Springs Street
Dowagiac, MI 49047
There is a nice collection of greeting cards for sale in the narthex.  The cost is $6.00 per box. Please make your checks payable to the Sister in Faith.
Sisters in Faith
Seven of us had a great time shopping in Shipshewana. Then, at our monthly meeting, we finished the “Bad Girls of the Bible” study. If you’d like to borrow the DVD, see Pastor Sherri.
This month our annual picnic will be held at the home of Marcia & Dave Hess (16193 Gardner Road, Galien) on Wednesday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. All women of the church are invited. Everyone is asked to bring a dish to pass. Sign up in the narthex so we know how many plan on coming
Soul Sisters
Six of us traveled to visit our friend Shirley Hoadley at The Willows on June 24.   Our next meeting will be Wednesday, July 29, at 2:00 p.m. at the church, unless announced differently.
Dear Church Family,
I wanted to thank you all for your love all these years! I was literally overwhelmed by the positive encouragement and support from everyone I talked to last week! While graduating from college may be an accomplishment, I know I have many challenges ahead. . . but seeing so many familiar, friendly faces at church reminds me I’m not going ahead alone! Not only do I know God is going to work through me, but he’s blessed me with your support too! Please know that I will be thinking of you all as I search for a church in Milwaukee. Please keep me in your prayers too as I journey into Milwaukee’s Public Schools to teach some incredible children.
With love,
Jill Hauch
Wedding Bells Are Ringing
Congratulations to these recently married couples. . .
. . . Heather Comfort and Nathan Ferrell on June 7 in Orangeville, Michigan. Heather is the daughter of Dennis & Nancy Comfort. Our own Bob Behrle officiated at the ceremony.
. . . Julie Cantin and Brian Terry on June 13 at our church. Brian is the son of George & Sally Frye.
. . . Jennifer Flick and Shawn Gedert on June 20 at our church. Jennifer is the daughter of Bob & Linda Flick, granddaughter of Don & Louise Uebler and Jim & Merlyn Wisner.
We pray for God’s blessings as you begin your new life as husband and wife.
Congratulations to Sue Rubeck upon her retirement from River Valley Schools last month after driving a school bus for nearly 40 years!
Congratulations, Graduate!
Congratulations to another graduate: Jacqueline Rowlison, the daughter of Tim & Janice Rowlison (our custodian), who graduated from River Valley High School on May 29.
Committee News
The Lay Leadership (Nominations) Committee will meet July 7 to begin its work of recruiting church leaders for 2010. We desire your help.
The church is a body of many members. We count on each one using his or her gifts to make the body strong. Our Lay Leadership Committee seeks to discern where people will be most effective in their service. We also want to involve as many different persons as possible – young and old, men and women, new members and long-time members.
If you are contacted by someone on our committee, please consider prayerfully if God would use you in this way. If you would like to volunteer for a particular position, please contact Pastor Sherri or someone else on the committee and we will take this under advisement.
Our goal is not to fill up committees with names on a page, but rather to enable active ministries to take place. If you see something our church is not doing currently and you are willing to put some time into this, please let us know. Working together, we pray we will glorify Christ so that His love will flow through us.
Dear Church Family,
Thank Heaven for you! We can’t say “Thank You” enough, for all the phone calls, cards, and love and support that everyone has shown us!
God does answer prayers!
Ed & Dawn Hayes
District News
After 142 years of faithful service to the community of Benton Harbor, the congregation of Peace Temple UMC (275 Pipestone Street) held their final worship service on June 28.
The Harbor Harvest Urban Ministries, which was founded out of the insight of Peace Temple 13 years ago, will continue to use the church buildings as a base for their programs providing a variety of community directed ministries and maintaining the presence of the United Methodist Church in the Benton Harbor area. We thank God for this church’s rich history and long faith journey.
A Tip of the Hat to. . .
Doug Hinman and Jim Thompson for replacing a broken window downstairs.
Jim Thompson for painting the large cross and flame symbol on the education building by the Sycamore Street door, as well as the smaller one on the brick sign along Elm Street. Also, for edging the church lawn. 
Congratulations to Ben Bartelmay who was installed in National Honor Society on June 2. Way to go!
Field Trip
Harbor Harvest Urban Ministries (H.H.U.M.), a United Methodist mission program in Benton Harbor, is looking for volunteers from our church to supervise a field trip to a Baroda goat farm and provide lunch for 20-25 elementary age children on Friday, July 10.    If you are available to help please speak to Judy Ross or Pastor Sherri.
Mission News
Our congregation is invited to Lakeside UMC on July 29 to meet Rev. Robert Amundsen and family from Thousandsticks United Methodist Church in the Red Bird Missionary Conference. The evening will begin with a potluck supper at 6:00 followed by Robert sharing about this mission. Join our neighbors for this informative program and an enjoyable time of fellowship. 
Thank You!
Thanks to all those who brought VBS supplies: Julie Becktell, Pat Dimmitt, Sharon Flick, Zimmah Fox, Dawn Hayes, Rhonda Hinman, Robin Ireland, Doris Krossovitch, Sabra Lambert, Rhonda Petro, Judy Ross, Sue Rubeck, and Marlyn Williams. 
 We are looking for people to provide Coffee Treats for our Fellowship Time after worship on Sundays. If you can help, please sign the sheet in the narthex.
Haiti News
The totals are in! Here is what our church sent last month to Haiti: eight 18-gallon tubs, 72 backpacks, 243 notebooks, 781 pencils, 109 erasers, 75 scissors, 86 rulers, 132 pencil sharpeners, 78 boxes of crayons, 70 colored pencils, 10 mechanical pencils, 44 pens, 6 bottles of glue, 3 sets of flash cards, 3 sets of shoe laces, plus lots of construction paper and colored paper, and $200.00 for shipping.   The total value was more than $1,020.00 Wow! 
The children at the Methodist Schools of Haiti thank you. Alex says she still has a little room left in her car for next year. That sounds like a challenge!
Thanks to Doris Krossovitch, Bonnie Pickens, Sally Preece, Alex Renbarger and Judy Ross for packing it all up! 
Love Links Update
“Thank you to everyone who contributed to Love Links at Annual Conference. The Kalamazoo District raised $2,459.00 and staved off a last minute attempt by the Heartland District ($2,023.00) to win the Love Link Challenge. Overall $6,423.00 was collected and set a new record for Youth Service Funds at Annual Conference. Our district raised the bar not only in contributions made, but also in how donations are collected and how information is shared reagarding the Youth Service Fund. Three Oaks UMC was one of 21 district churches that made a special donation, contributing $100.00 of the total. Thanks again for your help.”
Pastor John Messner,
District Youth Coordinator
News From Annual Conference
"West Michigan Seeks "Vital Signs of Hope"
By Ann Whiting, Editor, Michigan Christian Advocate
The West Michigan Annual Conference convened June  4-7  at Calvin College in Grand  Rapids. The theme – "Vital  Signs of Hope" – was  highlighted by six video  presentations on vital local churches: Concord UMC, Grand Rapids: First UMC; Harrison: The Gathering; Lansing: Korean UMC; Indian River UMC; and Plainwell UMC.

In two presentations, Dan Dick addressed the theme and pointed to several of the churches as examples of vital, sustainable congregations. A key characteristic of vital congregations is a "strong sense of identity and purpose." Dick is a consultant in conference and congregational planning based in Nashville,Tenn.

The conference celebrated another new church start, the Valley Church in Allendale. The Rev. Brad Kalajainen, pastor of Cornerstone Church south of Grand Rapids, introduced the pastor of the new church, the Rev. Matt Bistayi. As the pastor of an earlier new church start, Kalajainen noted West Michigan’s strong history of new church starts, but said "one thing about West Michigan culture ... has to change." Every church, he said, needs to support new churches. "In the past, most nearby churches have been supportive, others lukewarm, and some even hostile.”
After conferencing for at least a decade in the Fine Arts Center at Calvin College, members convened this year in a new arena at the college, allowing members to sit at tables for legislative work. But the fourth resolution adopted was a call for the program committee to "explore and prayerfully consider moving the location of the West Michigan Annual Conference back to Albion College as soon as possible."

Conference members voted to rename the Central District the Heartland District. Members also voted to adopt the common title, "Director of Connectional Ministries," in place of the current "Conference Director."

The Abuse Prevention Team was instructed to "design a plan for situations in which an adult convicted and/or registered as a child sexual offender is involved or seeks involvement in the conference, its activities or facilities." The report plan is to come to the 2010 annual conference.
Other legislation included:
 adoption of a Master Group Plan for insuring all churches and property that will provide competitive bids and premium savings; 474 yes, 260 no. Later legislation to reimburse churches who could find lower premiums than in the group plan was referred to CFA.
 authorization for the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits to implement a self-funded medical benefits plan with "stop loss" insurance, effective not later than October 1, 2009; additional legislation amended the Conference Policy for Health Insurance to help implement the new self-funded medical benefits plan.
 retained the Minimum Salary schedule for 2009 into 2010, voting down a proposed 1.1 percent increase to demonstrate solidarity with church members challenged by the current Michigan economy.
 referred a petition and response petition on the conference’s Flexible Housing Policy to a task force to be created. Among the issues the task force will consider is provision of a parsonage or housing allowance for pastors.
 Conference members approved Amendment #1 to the Constitution of the United Methodist Church to state that "all" persons are eligible to become members of the church. If adopted by a 2/3 vote of all conferences, this will amend the section on "Inclusiveness of the Church." The vote in West Michigan was 70.3 percent yes, 29.7 no. Some other amendments were approved by significant margins but none of the amendments related to the Worldwide Nature of the Church received the needed 2/3 vote.
 Amended the proposed 2010 conference budget to restore Equitable Compensation line item to 2009 level, adding approximately $7,500. Budget adopted for 2010: $6,209,076.
 The Rev. Benton Heisler, Director of Connectional Ministries, announced the names of award recipients.
* West Michigan received an award for the highest percentage of churches participating in The Advance in the North Central Jurisdiction.
* The Bob Smith Hunger Award went to the Snow UMC for its exceptional giving to hunger at $104 per member.
* The Helen Smith Hunger Awards were presented to Nottowa UMC – Small church category; Ionia First UMC – Mid-Size Church; and Kalamazoo First UMC – Large Church.
* Peace Maker of the Year – Penny Zago, Director of the Shalom Center and member of Lansing: Central UMC.
* Peace Sermon of the Year: Dale Hotelling, pastor of Muskegon: Crestwood UMC
How to get the most out of YOUR Website
From Our Webmaster,
Dennis Comfort
As we are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of our church’s website, I thought that an article was long overdue to explain some of the features of our website of which you may not be familiar.
Are you aware that many of the graphics that appear within the website often take you to other places on the Internet? For example, the United Methodist logo appears not only on our homepage but throughout our website. By clicking on the Cross and Flame logo, regardless of the page on which it appears, you will be taken to the main website for the United Methodist Church.
Likewise, any graphics that appear along the right or left panels of the homepage have their own unique destination webpage. You’ve probably already discovered that by clicking on the “Our Prayer Concerns” logo, it will take you to a separate webpage that lists the members and friends of TOUMC that are currently on our prayer lists. The Upper Room logo takes you to the Daily Devotional for that particular day. However, there are other logos that appear along the right hand border on a short term basis. For example, the clip art that currently appears, wishing you to have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend, actually has a link that goes to the U.S. Government’s website that is dedicated to this year’s celebration. 
Did you know that you can retrieve all Parish Posts going back to August of last year? Also, all bulletins are available back to September 7, 2008. We intend to keep these archives maintained so that you can always go back for one year to look at the newsletter or bulletin of your choice. The oldest newsletters and bulletins will begin dropping off in September. To retrieve older newsletters just click on the “Newsletter” tab on the top menu, then click on “For Previous Month’s Newsletters CLICK HERE” found on the top of each month’s newsletter. For previous week’s bulletins, click on the “Worship Bulletins” tab on the main menu, then click on either the Bulletin Cover or date that you wish to review.
Next Month: How you can help.
Historical Corner
submitted by
Eleanor Desmond
Acorn, 1924
Subscription $1.00 per year
Minister John Linn
M.E. Methodist Church provides suitable classes for all. Queen Esther Class for ages 13-19.
Dorothy Jones, missionary to West China will speak at Women’s Missionary Society.
District Superintendent Dr. John C. Willits will speak Sunday on 1 Corinthians 3:18: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”
Former members Hiriam W. Bays and Mary Brockway passed away.
In memoriam of Arlo B. Chatterson who died two years ago.
July Anniversaries 
 2 Ed & Dawn Hayes
 8 Tony & Lori Kozel

Bill & Tracy Donner
12 Josh & Joy Ackerman
14 Gary & Gail Martin 

John & Eleanor Desmond

19 Joe & Helen Heward

Erwin & Mary Klug

David & Marcia Hess

July Birthdays 
  1 Pat Dimmitt
     Dorothy Shook
  3 Sue Peterson
     Becky Seifert
  4 Edward Jansky

Melissa Flick
  7 Julie Sittig
  8 Victor Will

  9 Tim Cline
     Tom Spychalski

Amy Ireland
 11 Aimee Seifert

Zimmah Fox

LaVern Noble

Kristen Kozel

Brad Bartelmay

Andrew Flick

Vivian Koebel

 23 Ogden Krossovitch

 24 Hannah Noble

Sally Frye

Debbie Robertson

Paul Sittig

      Steve Terry

Bruce Hauch
      Brittany Jakeway
Sunday Services

July 5
Pastor Sherri in Ohio
Mary Behrle will be Preaching
Sermon: "If I Only knew. . . "
July 12
Sermon: Confronting the Controversies ~
"The Separation of Church and State”
Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16
July 19
Sermon: Confronting the Controversies ~
Scripture: John 10:7-15
July 26
Sermon: Confronting the Controversies ~
"The Death Penalty”
Scripture: Matthew 5:21-24