Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 37 - Issue #12   
11:00 a.m. Worship Service

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles he performs for people!”                          Psalm 66:5 NLT
May the Magic Continue
Twenty years ago the movie “Prancer” was released just in time for the holidays. Of course, some of you know quite well that it had been in production throughout most of 1989, with filming in Three Oaks during the month of February. I did not move to southwest Michigan until the following year, so I was oblivious to what you all were experiencing at that time. However, since coming to Three Oaks I have heard many wonderful stories about the making of this magical film.
How exciting it must have been to have film crews working on the streets of Three Oaks, including outside and inside our lovely church building. Several of our long-time members had the opportunity to appear in a major motion picture! When Steve Pearson was back in town this fall, he reminisced about those days. Though he didn’t get to make his acting debut, his pastor’s robe made the cut.  
Surely it was not all fun and games. There must have been some challenges having those many people traipsing through the building, dragging equipment and moving things around. I’ve heard that the church was awash in artificial “snow” – created by soap suds mixed with instant potato flakes. 
Still, all in all, this event became a “warm, fuzzy” memory for our community and for our congregation. There are folks who still refer to us as the “Prancer” church. It is our enduring “claim to fame.” On our website, Dennis Comfort has created a whole section detailing the production process, with clippings from newspapers at that time and an update about the young girl who was featured in the picture.  
Actors Sam Elliott and Cloris Leachman were the headliners and they both gave terrific performances. Even so, it was this child who was the real star of the show. Her innocence and sense of wonder impacted even the most hardened and cynical. With her undying belief in everything good (God and Santa), this eight-year-old managed to convince her family and an entire town that miracles still happen.
That’s a message which bears repeating over and over again. Just as the fictional characters of “Prancer” were going through hard times, so too are numerous real people going through hard times in our present day. Lots of folks are without jobs. Of those who do have employment, quite a few individuals are under-employed and/or under-paid so it’s difficult to make ends meet. It would be easy to give up and stop believing in the goodness of life.
But, I don’t believe that is what God wants for any of us. God wants to stir our hearts with a message of courage and hope. All things are possible for our great God! Miracles do still happen, and not only the kind manufactured for the silver screen. 
If you haven’t ever seen “Prancer” (is that possible?) or if you haven’t seen it for a long while, enjoy this “classic” once again on its twentieth anniversary. Be on the look-out for familiar faces. Furthermore, let this charming story remind you that the true spirit of Christmas has nothing to do with money or material things. Rather, faith and family are the things that really matter.
Whether Santa brings you everything on your Christmas list or only a lump of coal, may you be blessed during this holiday season knowing that your life is in God’s hands and there is no better place it could be.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Pastor Sherri
We share our sincere sympathy with Ron Petro and family at the death of his father, Richard Petro, on November 29. Dick was a faithful servant of the Lord who will be missed by many. He would have turned 88 on December 2, the day his funeral service was held at his home church, Grace United Methodist Church of Niles. May God comfort all of your loved ones as you grieve this loss.
Address for Cards and Visits 
From Our Webmaster
During the early part of November, our church’s Internet host, Ezekiel©, implemented a major upgrade to our website. As a result of this upgrade, several visitors to our website have been experiencing problems viewing particular graphics on several pages throughout site. (Graphics have been showing up as blank boxes with a red “X” in the upper left hand corner.) In order to correct this problem, those church members who have placed our website on their “favorites list” will have to “reload” the church’s web address to their favorite list. 

From your home page, simply place in the address line. Once you reach our homepage, resave the page on your favorites list. Remove any previously saved references to our website. If you have any further questions, please contact our webmaster, Dennis Comfort, at
Those who serve as missionaries, especially:
Jeff & Deliegha Swanson, Charissa, Lois, and Titus in Mexico. 
Dr. Elma Jocson. 

Those who are in the military, including:
Brad Bellaire, Pete Birochak, Christopher Blackwell, Ryan Ehlert, Rick Martin, Brandon McCombs, David Medlund, Jerry Peters Jr., Nathan Phillips, Dustin Smith, Matthew Sneed and Justin Williford.

Those who are in Care Facilities:
Barney Fay, Shirley Hoadley, Tecla Kaiser, Nan Klinedinst and Marjorie Weller.

Those who are homebound:
Dorothy Brayboy, Lloyd Gearhart, Kathryn Renbarger and Thais Williams.

Those with health problems:
Robert Bucks
Wayne Busick
Phyllis Cook
Susan DeJong
Annette Donner
Marcia Elders
Elaine Ferguson
Carl Franzon
Paul Friedburg
Becky Gardner
Nicole Hamilton
Peggy Harper
Allen Harrington
Beverly Harrington
Daniel Harrington
Dawn Hayes
Ed Hayes
Rosemary Heckathorn
Donna Julian
Ashley Klosterman
Kevin Klute
Geroge Lawton
Lucy Lee
Neva Marshall
Betty Martin
Estella Baca Miser
Jerry Peters
Alexis Renbarger
Jeff Ross
Janice Rowlison
David Rudolph
Faye Sittig
Caroline Spragg
Esther Thomas
Shirley Truhn
Louise Uebler
Diane Vecellio
George Vesely
Fred Williams
Those Who Grieve
    The families of:
    Tonya Early
    Anjean Parker
    Richard Petro
    Kristine Reitz
Those Recently Married
Bob Sachtleben and Judy Bendkowski
Those who are seeking employment.
Ibrahim Parlak in his efforts to remain in the U.S.
The E. J. & Tiffany Harrington Family.
Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry.
William Gorzynski awaiting his hearing.
Please note: Names will be deleted from the above list after one month unless an updated request is received.
News From the Finance Committee 
We have received 87.79% of our pledges through the first three quarters of the year. This is slightly ahead of schedule, but our expenses are 23.86% higher than the amount pledged. Thanks to the generosity of our guests and other gifts that we have received to date we were able to pay all of our expenses. We have a general fund balance of $6,355.73. This figure represents slightly more than 2½ weeks of reserve money in our general fund
3rd Quarter
3rd Quarter
3rd Quarter
% of Budget
General Fund
General Fund
3rd Quarter
3rd Quarter
3rd Quarter
Program Expense
% of Budget
Operating Expense
Pastoral Expense
Ministry Shares
“THANK YOU” to each of you for your continued support.
Jim Thompson, 
Finance Chairperson
Advent Devotions
This year we have again prepared a book of meditations written by members of our church. The books are available online at our website, or if you prefer paper, they are available in the narthex. The online edition features additional drawings made by our Sunday School children.
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 book.
Sisters in Faith,
Thank you for the Speedway gas card. It meant a lot.
Mike Becktell
Thank you all so much for the dinner that was brought to us. It was delicious and greatly appreciated.
Melissa, Jason & Austin Flick
Christmas Flowers
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 $7.50 per plant.
Order forms will be in the bulletin each Sunday until all orders are due on December 6. Please include payment with your order. You may take your plants home following our worship service on Christmas Eve. 
Sunday School Piano
It appears the saying is true: “Ask and ye shall receive.” Within 48 hours after our last Parish Post went to print, we had been offered three pianos!
Thank you to those who were so generous. We decided to take the small spinet available from the Lakeside United Methodist Church. Grateful thanks to that congregation for their kind donation.
Thank you also to those who moved the piano from one building to another: Ron Petro, Michael Petro, D.J. Petro, Bill Payne and Bill Swanson. The job was made considerably easier with the assistance of Bill Swanson’s piano dolly and Gary Martin’s trailer. Now we need to dispose of the old piano. If you have any thoughts on how to do this, please speak with Ron Petro or Pastor Sherri.
Sisters in Faith are planning their annual Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 16, a 6:30 p.m. This year it will be held at the home of Faye Sittig, 19815 Sittig 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 have one) and a wrapped gift for our adopted family.
Seven ladies enjoyed a tasty soup and sandwich luncheon at Viola’s last month. Our next meeting will be a Christmas celebration on Wednesday, December 16, at 2:00 p.m. at the church.
Thank you to. . .
. . .Ron Petro for fixing part of the sidewalk on Sycamore Street.
. . . Jerry Thomas for coordinating the cement workers who repaired the sidewalk on Sycamore Street.
. . . Jim Thompson for repairing one of the chairs in Fellowship Hall, cleaning the letters of our outdoor church sign, installing new handicapped parking spaces so we now have a total of four, and displaying weekly reflective cards in the narthex throughout our Stewardship campaign this past month.
                            Daycare Opportunity
Lisa Henrich is now licensed to provide daycare in her home on Flynn Road. She and her two-year-old daughter, Abby, are looking for playmates. If you are looking for a caregiver for your children, please call Lisa of “Abby’s Buddies Childcare” at (269) 756-3272.
St. Mary of the Lake Choir presents “The Promise of a King”, a Christmas Cantata and other carols of the season on December 12, at 7:30 p.m. and December 13 at 3:00 p.m. Reception to follow in the Church Hall. St. Mary of the Lake Church is located at 718 West Buffalo Street, New Buffalo
New Members
On Sunday, November 8, we welcomed three new members to our church: Vickie Koth and Craig & Kristine Goodenough
Vickie grew up in Three Oaks, though she now makes her home in Buchanan. She works at Sonny’s restaurant and she loves horses.
Craig & Kris are the parents of two daughters: Kaitlin (6th grade) and Haley (1st grade). The Goodenoughs are also owners/operators of Pinecrest Tree Farm. At this busy time of year, you are not likely to see them in church. But be sure to visit the farm for a tree, wreaths, or ornaments and gifts from the Season’s Shoppe.   
Please add this information to your directory: 
Vickie Koth, 2557 Madron Lake Road, Buchanan, Michigan 49107-9394 Phone: 697-4374.
Craig & Kris Goodenough, 4403 Spring Creek Road, Galien, Michigan 49113-9621. Phone: 545-3307.
Mark Your Calendars
The River Valley Ministerial Association will sponsor a Community Advent Service on Sunday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. at the Three Oaks Free Methodist Church (12 East Michigan 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 River Valley Ministerial Association fund to assist persons in need. Plan now to attend this service to worship with friends and neighbors from the community.
Cookie Walk
Our sixth annual Cookie Walk is fast approaching. It will be held on Saturday, December 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. If you will bake some cookies, please bring them to the church by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4, and mark the type of cookie they are.
Cookies will sell for $7.00 per pound. Pre-packaged homemade candy will also be available. Turtles will sell for $8.00 per pound and the following kinds will sell for just $6.00 per pound: peanut butter bars, mint crackers, white pretzels, cereal clusters, peppermint bark, toffee bark, and chocolate peanut clusters.
There will also be craft exhibitors for you to purchase a variety of lovely gifts.
Harvest Dinner Update

Thank you to all who attended the Harvest Dinner last month. It was a nice time of fellowship. We had about 80 in attendance.
Christmas Eve Service
Our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. Invite your family and friends and come to worship the Newborn King!
CROP Walk Report
Final figures from the CROP Walk held on October 4 have been received. There were 40 walkers who raised a total of $5,505.00 Of this amount, $1,376.25 will be returned to the Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry to help feed hungry people in our community.    Thanks for all your donations!
Sunday School News
Our Sunday School program will be held in the evening this year. We have set the date of Sunday, December 20, at 6:00 p.m.   There will be songs and readings to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Please put this on your calendar now and plan to invite your extended family and friends.  
After the program, we will invite the congregation to stay for refreshments. Cookies will be needed for this time of fellowship. If you would be willing to provide some, please let Pastor Sherri know. 
Special Giving
Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton invites all United Methodists to give a special offering during the Advent season to children who are in need around the world. This year he has designated a life saving mission called “Spring” near St. Petersburg, Russia, as the recipient of our Advent gifts. “Spring” is a sanctuary for children escaping households of violence, poverty, addiction and abuse. Everyday these boys and girls receive warm food, clothing and education. They also receive the daily message that God loves them and values their lives. 
We will receive our Advent offering on Christmas Eve. There will be inserts in the worship bulletin with further details.
Fall Sports Wrap-Up
Congratulations Jeff Jakeway, goalkeeper of Bridgman’s soccer team, who was named Second-Team All-State selection in Division 4. He tied the state record with 50 career shut-outs and led the Bees to a fourth straight District title.
Congratulations also to the Bartelmay boys who all ran their personal best times at Cross Country Regionals: 
            Ben (27th, 18:50.6)
            Sam (29th 18:53.8)
            Tom (42nd, 19:43.1)
At New Buffalo’s fall sports banquet Ben was named MVP of the New Buffalo boy’s cross country team and Sam received a scholastic award for his 4.0 GPA. Way to go, guys!
Giving Statements
If anyone wants a contribution statement to see where you stand before the year’s end, just let me know also, anyone who wishes to have a box of offering envelopes, they are available to you. You can either ask me or call the church office. 
Rhonda Hinman,
Financial Secretary
Check out our church website at  Our webmaster, Dennis Comfort, has posted 46 new pictures from seven recent church events. Thank you, Dennis, for all your hard work keeping our website up-to-date!
Stewardship Update
Thanks to all who have already made commitments to our 2010 church budget. To date, we have received 31 pledges for $50,660. We hope to raise this number significantly before our Stewardship Campaign wraps up at year’s end.
If you have not yet made a commitment, 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. 
Congratulations to Jeff Jakeway who was crowned "Mr. Bridgman" on November 7.    Way to go!
Congratulations also to Katharine Kersey and Jourdan Thompson who represented themselves well as contestants in the Little Miss Three Oaks River Valley and Miss Three Oaks River Valley pageant. Also, to Maggie Seifert who finished her “reign” as Little Miss Three Oaks River Valley and wowed the crowd with her upbeat dance number and heartfelt speech.
Winter Sports
Best wishes to these athletes as their winter sports season gets underway:
Ben Bartelmay       New Buffalo Varsity Basketball
Jessica Kersey       River Valley Varsity Basketball
Heather Rowlison  River Valley Varsity Cheerleading
Sam Bartelmay      New Buffalo Freshman Basketball
Tom Bartelmay      New Buffalo Freshman Basketball
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 or pick up a brochure in the narthex.
We welcome a new pastor to our town. Rev. Marchie Miyashiro Sims is serving at First Congregational Church. She and her husband are living in the church parsonage. We pray their ministry will be fruitful.
We say “goodbye” to Rev. Kendall Schaeffer of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sawyer. He and his wife, Karen, are moving to a parish in Clarkston, Michigan Michigan. May God bless their journey as they continue to serve Him.
Piano Fund
Our Church Council has decided to replace the electric piano, which no longer works, with a new Yamaha Clavinova. We are soliciting donations from the congregation to pay for this purchase. The total cost is $4,395. In the past month we have received contributions of $455. If you would like to help this fund grow, please use a pew envelope for your gift and mark it “piano”.
We will be giving Bibles to all our active Sunday School students in grades two and up on Sunday morning, December 20. 
Year-End Giving
Many worthwhile opportunities abound for year-end giving. Some you may want to consider are:
Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry building fund as they attempt to purchase a larger more usable space,
Dr. Elma Jocson, United Methodist missionary and pediatric surgeon.
New District Website
Our Kalamazoo District has a new website. It features photos of local churches and links to websites for 26 of the 70 congregations in the District, including ours. Check it out at .
Cards for Soldiers
If you go to the web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and send it to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

This is FREE and it only takes a second. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?   Please take the time to say “thank you” to our troops during this holiday season.
A petition on behalf of Ibrahim Parlak is available in the church narthex. Please print your name and address if you want to lend your support to this request that deportation proceedings be stopped and he be restored to permanent resident status.
New Hymnals
We now have four large-print copies of The United Methodist Hymnal (red book). If you would like to use one during worship, ask an usher for assistance.
H1N1 Vaccine
The Berrien County Health Department has scheduled their second H1N1 vaccination clinics. There is no charge for the vaccine but the clinics are limited to the following high risk groups: pregnant women, children and young adults aged six months through 24 years, individuals who live with or care for infants under six months, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, and adults 25 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions. There will be additional clinics to accommodate individuals not in the five target groups and for children under ten years of age who will need a second dose of the vaccine.
The clinic for our area will be Tuesday, December 8, at New Buffalo High School, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information you may call the health department at (269)756-2008 or (269)927-5650.
December Anniversaries
13 Ryan and Donnelle Flick
29 Bill & Judy Ross
December Birthdays
   1 Laura Donner
   4 Casey Snow
   6 Bob Flick
   8 Mary Klug
      Nick Hinman
   9 Autumn Ackerman
      Kyle Seifert 
 10 Sheila Swanson
 11 Lloyd Gearhart
      Robin Ireland
 15 Karen Seifert
 19 Cindy Jakeway
 21 Emma Springer
 27 Dolores Hinman
      Tyler Williams
 29 Steve Shimek
      T.J. Will
 30 Judy Ross
Sunday Services
Sermon Series: “The Promise”
December 6
Second Sunday of Advent
“A Messenger of Promise”
Malachi 3:1-4
December 13
Third Sunday of Advent
“A Song of Promise”
Zephaniah 3:14-20
December 20
Fourth Sunday of Advent”
“A Town of Promise”
Micah 5:2-5a
December 24 (6:00 p.m.)
Christmas Eve
“The Child of Promise”
Isaiah 9:2-7
December 27
Bob Behrle preaching