Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 38 - Issue #1   
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Santa brought me an iPod for Christmas. I am really enjoying it, even though it has taken several lessons from our children and also the church secretary to teach me how to use it! The boys are a bit envious because my new iPod does more things than the “old” iPods they received a couple of years ago. These improved capabilities (memory space, video) mean nothing to me and I will probably never use them. Even so, in order to be sure this new equipment doesn’t wander off into the hands of another family member, I requested it in bright pink. 
Slowly, slowly, I am moving into the twenty-first century. Like the rest of you, I will probably never catch up with the technological know-how of my children. One of them recently told me that I am now the biggest “dinosaur” in the whole extended family, because even Grandma is on Facebook!
We are in the midst of a major cultural shift. For those in of us who are middle-aged (and older), these many changes can feel overwhelming at times. However, for those in the younger Millennial Generation (people born between the mid 1970's to the late 1990's), change is exciting. . . exhilarating even. Persons of this age eagerly look forward to change and embrace it when it arrives. They cannot wait for the “next” cell phone, computer, or other electronic gizmo.
Standing on the cusp of a new year and a new decade, we may wonder about what is in store for us in the days ahead. Though we have no way of seeing clearly into the future, we can be sure of one thing – there will be changes. Many of them we will have no control over. However, we can control our attitude about change. 
A neighboring church makes this value statement: “We are committed to a proactive attitude toward change, and to keeping our ministries culturally relevant.” It is my hope that such would be the attitude among our congregation. From time to time, we need to question why we do what we do and consider if there is some other way to do it. 
The United Methodist Church is engaged currently in a welcoming and advertising campaign called Rethink Church. This is the next phase of “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” Quite a bit of information is available on our denominational website. Let me share a few excerpts here:
“Across the centuries God has called upon leaders to rethink what it means to be the church in ministry with the changing world around us. Martin Luther boldly asked his generation to rethink church, as did John and Charles Wesley in the 18th century. In a variety of different ways with different levels of influence, preachers like William Sloane Coffin in the 1970's and Bill Hybels in the 1980's offered their own versions of how we might rethink church to reach those outside the walls of the church. 
The early followers of Jesus spoke of themselves as the people of ‘the way.’ In too many places, we have lost that sense of being a movement and have convinced ourselves it was enough to gather in our buildings and wait for people to come and find us. Jesus sent the disciples, and sends us, out to meet the world.
The call to make disciples challenges the church in the 21st century nowhere more profoundly than in our inability to attract and welcome young adults into the life and ministry of local congregations. Jesus was, by our present definition, a young adult; all of his ministry years he fit into the age range of the 18-34 year old target audience. His disciples, many scholars agree, may have been even younger. 
Jesus taught in stories, a popular medium of his day and culture, and his listeners heard the message and because the medium was accessible, they followed. Rethink Church calls us to explore new ways to reach seekers (especially young adult seekers) through media relevant to their day and culture.” (
As Bob Dylan memorably sang 45 years ago (before the latest generation was born), “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” I guess the question for us is, will we be a part of those changes or will we ignore them in favor of the status quo? If we do not carefully and prayerfully consider what changes the Lord wants us to make, our church will not be here 45 years from now. 
So, I propose we Rethink Church in 2010. Let’s consider, in particular, ways that we might reach a new, younger audience accustomed to living in a digital, on demand world. We’ve taken some significant steps in recent years – launching a website, upgrading our communications, learning some new songs. If you have thoughts about the next steps that are needed, please come speak with me. 
In this effort of being open to change, I may need to nudge you and you may need to nudge me. No, I’m not in the Millennial Generation; I do not readily embrace change; I’m often more focused on the “last” thing than the “latest” thing. Even so, I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is active today in reaching people in new and exciting ways. That Spirit cannot be predicted or controlled; as the wind, it blows where it will. (John 3:8)
Led by the Spirit, let us begin this New Year with openness and eagerness! May God bless you with health and happiness in 2010.
Pastor Sherri 
We share our sincere sympathy with Dawn Hayes and family at the death of Ed Hayes on December 22. A memorial service was  held at our church on Saturday, January 2, at 11:00 a.m. May God comfort you and your loved ones in this time of grief.
Caregiver Needed 
Sally Frye is caring for her elderly father, Eldon Audiss, in her home. She is looking for someone to help provide occasional respite care for $10.00 an hour. If interested, please call Sally at 695-1855.
Christmas Greetings!
Make sure to check your narthex mailbox for Christmas Cards from your church family.
Congratulations to Kyra Heit, crowned as Miss New Buffalo last month. Kyra is the granddaughter of Tom and Martha Spychalski.
Save the Date
Our eighth annual Valentine Tea will be held on Wednesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m. All the women of the church and their guests are invited.
Leader Installation
We will install our 2010 Church Leaders during worship on January 10.
On Stage
Congratulations to Heather Rowlison who was a dancer in last month’s performance of “Give My Regards to Broadway” at River Valley High School. Heather is the daughter of our custodian, Janice Rowlison.
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 Saturday, January 9, at 9:00 a.m. They would welcome help from anyone who is available that morning. 
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:
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:
Ben Bartelmay
Robert Bucks
Wayne Busick
Amanda Clark
Phyllis Cook
Susan DeJong
Elaine Ferguson
Bob Fox
Carl Franzon
Paul Friedburg
Becky Gardner
Peggy Harper
Allen Harrington
Beverly Harrington
Daniel Harrington
Dawn Hayes
Rosemary Heckathorn
Lee Heward
Donna Julian
Ashley Klosterman
Kevin Klute
Lucy Lee
Neva Marshall
Betty Martin
Estella Baca Miser
Jerry Peters
Art Portinga
Alexis Renbarger
Janice Rowlison
Kim Rubeck
David Rudolph
Keiko Shimizu
Masaaki Shimizu
Leroy Smith
Shirley Truhn
Louise Uebler
Diane Vecellio
George Vesely
Fred Williams
Those Who Grieve
    The families of:
    Jim Edgecomb
    Ed Hayes
    Dorothy Schwark
    Lawrence "Skip" Sobecki, Jr.
    Ernest Swank
Those who are seeking employment.
Ibrahim Parlak in his efforts to remain in the U.S.
Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry.
William Gorzynski awaiting his hearing.
The E. J. & Tiffany Harrington Family.
Please note: Names will be deleted from the above list after one month unless an updated request is received.
Notes of Thanks
Thank you so much for the many warm Christmas greetings shared with our family, as well as the delicious baked goods and other gifts. Thank you especially for the contributions made in my honor to Dr. Elma Jocson who is serving in the mission field. We collected $265 to support her important work. (See an additional article below for further information.)
Our holidays were very joyous and we wish each of you a Happy New Year!
Pastor Sherri
Dear friends,
Thank you for the Christmas gift. This is such a great church family to be a part of!
Martha Spychalski
Three Oaks UMC family,
Thank you very much for the gift at Christmas and the other items I received. I feel very blessed to be able to work with such a great family of believers.
Cheryl Kersey
Thank you all very much for the Christmas gift. I really enjoy working here with all the children.
Morgan Weers
Church Sign
Thanks to Cheryl Thomas who has posted uplifting messages on the sign in front of our church for nearly ten years. Your service is appreciated!
In the New Year this volunteer job will be assumed by Nancy Davis and Sue Rubeck. If you have any suggestions for sayings that might be displayed, please speak to one of these individuals.
Sixteen women enjoyed a wonderful Christmas party at Faye Sittig’s home last month. There was plenty of good food and lots of laughter. We collected the gifts we had purchased for our two adopted families.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, January 20, 7:00 p.m. at the church. Joanie Davidson and Sharon Flick will provide refreshments and we will work on plans for our Valentine Tea.
If weather permits, we will meet at the home of Helen Heward on Wednesday, January 27, at 2:00 p.m.
Special Sunday Offering
Human Relations Day is January 17. We share this offering in mid-January because this marks the birthday of The 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 the 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 multiracial network of grassroots social justice organizations related to United Methodist Voluntary Service provides vital outreach. Christ-centered Youth Offender Rehabilitation projects give teenagers a change 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!
Piano Fund
Thank you for your contributions to our new electric piano. To date we have raised $3,548.00 ($2,500.00 memorial fund, $193.00 music fund, and $855.00 donations) leaving a balance of just $847.00. If you would like to contribute to this purchase, please use a pew envelope and mark it “PIANO”.
Retirement News
Transformations Spirituality Center, in conjunction with the First UMC of Kalamazoo is offering “Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement” on Saturday January 23, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This program is a day-long exploration of the personal potential contained in preparing for and living into retirement. Registration is $65,00 per person by January 8 or $75.00 after that date. For more information or to register online visit or call (269)381-6290 extension 310.
The Board of Trustees will have an organizational meeting on Wednesday, January 6, 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. 
If you have any suggestions for maintenance needs around the church, please speak to a Trustee member or Pastor Sherri.
Report on Newsletter Progress
During 2009 we made significant progress in reducing our postage costs. Our newsletter mailing list went from 216 to 40. All the rest are going out by e-mail or else being picked up at the church. If we could deliver your next Parish Post by either of these methods, please inform the church office. Thanks for your help!
Sunday School News
Thanks to the children of our church for a wonderful program on Sunday, December 20. 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 the other teachers --- Mary Behrle, Sally Frye, Gayle Martin, and Aimee Siefert --- for working with the children.
The children will have an opportunity to view a video of their program on January 3 during Sunday School. Join us for Sunday School in the New Year. We have lots of fun!
Meet Our Missionary
Dr. Elma Jocson is a United Methodist Missionary originally from the Philippines. Most recently she served for six years at a hospital in rural Nepal. Her duties included general surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, some orthopedics and supervision of the burn unit. While there, Elma discovered she needed more training and so she has been on study leave for the past couple of years specializing in pediatric surgery.
In early 2010, Dr. Jocson will return to the mission field. This time she is being assigned to Ganta Hospital in Liberia. During the Christmas season our church collected $265 for her important ministry there. Check the bulletin board for Elma’s biographical information. Further details about her work will be available once she gets settled in her new home.
News From Your Finance Committee
The year 2009 has come to an end and we, as the Finance Committee, will be starting to concentrate on the year 2010.
In an effort to trim the 2010 budget, salaries for Pastor Sherri, the secretary, the organist, the custodian and the nursery attendant have been frozen at the 2009 level. Also, the utility budget and the Ministry Shares budget have been reduced to come up with a proposed budget of $121,413.00.
Recently we had our Stewardship Commitment Campaign for 2010. Out of approximately 95 giving units, 52 commitments for 2010 were received, totaling $81,467.00 This will cover only 67% of our proposed budget. We will need $39,946.00 to come in as extra donations to meet our 2010 proposed budget.
Jim Thompson,
Finance Chairperson
Vote Today!
Help decide our new Kalamazoo District logo! Vote for your favorite among three choices in an online poll at the district website: .
Greeter Schedule
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 mornings in 2009:
Albert Brayboy, Dennis & Nancy Comfort, Pat Dimmitt, Bob & Linda Flick, George & Sally Frye, Allen & Beverly Harrington, Ed & Dawn Hayes, George & Vivian Koebel, Ellie Rogers, Bill & Judy Ross, Alvin & Shirley Schroeter, Betty Swanson, Jim & Charmaine Thompson and Dick & Elsie Zabel.
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! 
Congratulations to these children in our Sunday School who were presented with Bibles on December 20:
Sixth grade:
Paige Barbour
Laura Donner
Kaitlin Goodenough
Fifth grade:
Kyle Seifert
Maggie Seifert
Fourth grade:
Nettie Donner
Katharine Kersey
Third grade:
Cameron Seifert
Madison Vollman
Second grade:
Kevin Seifert
Steven Seifert
We hope you will enjoy studying the word of God for many years to come! 
Start the Year Right!
The LaPorte Christian Women’s Club invites all women to their first luncheon of the new year on Tuesday, January 5, from 12 Noon to 1:30 p.m. (LaPorte time) at the Portofino Restaurant, 3233 North State Road 39 in LaPorte). The cost is $10.00 and seating starts at 11:15 a.m. For more information check the bulletin board in the narthex. 
District Conference

Our Kalamazoo District Conference will be held Saturday, February 6, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kalamazoo First UMC. The topic is how to revitalize a church using the book “Vital Signs: A Pathway to Congregational Wholeness” by Rev. Dan Dick. Registration is $10.00 per person. For more information see Pastor Sherri or the district website:


H1N1 Vaccine 
The Berrien County Health Department has begun offering the H1N1 influenza vaccine in their offices by appointment only. Vaccine restrictions have been lifted and anyone who wishes to be vaccinated can do so. Appointment are available in the Three Oaks office every Tuesday in January; call 756-2088 Tuesday through Thursday to schedule an appointment. Appointments will also be available in Benton Harbor (269)927-5636 and Niles (269)684-2800 extension 5636 each Friday throughout January.
January Anniversary
22 David & Amy Vollman
January Birthdays
Dana Lee
Eryka Kettring
Linda Reitz
Jacob Seifert
Jack Renbarger
Greta Vollman      

Faye Sittig
Vicki Koth
Ben Bartlemay
Abby Henrich
Maggie Seifert
Davis Hess
Ramey Seifert
Don Uebler
Nancy Davis
Jim Flick
Lucy Lee
Virginia Feather
Elna Rogers
Troy Zebell
Sunday Services
January 3
Epiphany Sunday
Holy Communion
Sermon: "The Promise of Sight"
Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6

January 10
Baptism of the Lord
Installation of Leaders
Sermon: "The Promise of Baptism"
Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-7
Sermon Series: “The Light”
January 17
Human Relations Day
Sermon: “Light for Beauty”
Isaiah 62:1-5
January 24
Sermon: “Light from the Word”
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
January 31
Sermon: “The Lightest Touch”
Jeremiah 1:4-10