Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 38 - Issue #2   
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in
the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble
with its tumult. . .
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.   
                                                          Psalm 46:1-3, 11
When the Earth Moves
On January 12 at 4:53 p.m. the earth moved in Haiti. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake (the largest ever recorded in that country), toppled thousands of buildings and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Even before this event, Haiti was the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Now, the devastation is unimaginable.
Every person left in Haiti has lost someone they love. Many children are orphaned. At least 150,000 people have died and that figure may well climb to 200,000. Due to health concerns, a majority of those dead bodies will never be identified or given a proper burial.
Up to one million people need shelter. The majority of these individuals are living outdoors. A few of the more “fortunate” ones are living in tents. When the rainy season arrives, their plight will become much worse. In the meantime, these homeless people are hungry. They need food and water. Some also need medical attention which is in short supply. Numerous aftershocks have rocked the area, causing increasing terror. 
As Christian people, we are called to help our brothers and sisters through this crisis. What can we do? At least three things:
1. Give money.
Every single one of us has exponentially more than the suffering people of Haiti. Please give of your resources to help the recovery. Make sure you are giving to a reputable organization so the money gets to where it is needed. I suggest UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) – you can do this through our church. Other worthy organizations include: Church World Service (the CROP Walk people) and the Red Cross. 
2. Give prayer.
Our hearts ache for the many people in desperate need. Let us pray for them each and every day, asking God to give courage and comfort. When the survivors of this tragedy cling to the Rock of Ages, may they receive strength. Let our tears and touch, our care and concern, communicate to those who suffer that they are not alone.
3. Give service.
We are preparing health kits to send. In addition, there is a need for medicine and dry food products. You will find all of the details inside this newsletter. You may bring items to the church throughout this month.
Whenever the earth moves under folks – either literally or figuratively, Christ’s followers must stand ready to help people get back on their feet. That’s what it means to be part of the body of Christ. To lift those who have fallen; to offer hope to those who are hopeless.
As I shared with you last month, the United Methodist Church is currently involved in an outreach program called Rethink Church. The question repeatedly raised in this campaign is, “What if church was a verb?” That is, church is not someplace you go; rather it is something you do.
Here is our chance to be church. Pastor Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio puts it well when he says,
We’re the only bank account that God has to meet the needs of people. . . We’re the only hands and feet that Jesus has to go to the least and the lost. . . The church is not there to serve us, but to help us grow in our commitment to Christ and then to reach out with Christ’s resources to help meet the needs of the world.” 
We are blessed to be a blessing to others. Share your gifts. . . of money, of prayer, of service, so that others may know the God of refuge who is a very present help in times of trouble such as this. 
Let me close with these words of prayer by Taylor Burton-Edwards of the General Board of Discipleship:
Again the ground shakes,
Earth heaves, buildings rumble
and more fall.
How long, O Lord?

The dead unnamed, uncounted,
some yet living; still not rescued,
and now more traps are sprung.
How long, O Lord? How long?
Help scrambles in,
soldiers, doctors, food, water, dogs, money,
supplies of every kind from every nation,
and more will surely come.
Your mercy is on all your creatures, O God.
Let this be but beginning,
not of rescue only, but deliverance,
not simply to restore, nor to rebuild,
but build anew.
Lord, have mercy.
These are our sisters, brothers,
not projects for a time,
but family for our lifetimes.
When others leave, call us to stay.
Christ, have mercy.
And keep our hearts stirred,
not satisfied until these
and all our family, in every place,
can live with joy and dwell in peace.
Lord, have mercy.
With all who live and die in Port-au-Prince,
in the name of Jesus, Prince de la Paix,
we continually pray.
Amen, and amen. 
Pastor Sherri
We share our sincere sympathy with Jeff & Dianne Sittig, Jeffrey and Jordan, at the death of a son and brother, Billy Gardner on January 14.   May God comfort you and your loved ones in this time of grief.
It's a Girl!
Congratulations to Dave & Marcia Hess at the birth of a granddaughter, Paige Madalyn Hess, on January 18. The happy parents are Chad & Amanda Hess. May God bless your family at this joyful time! 
Those who serve as missionaries, especially:
Jeff & Deliegha Swanson, Charissa, Lois, and Titus in Mexico. 
Dr. Elma Jocson in Liberia

Those who are in the military, including:
Pete Birochak, Christopher Blackwell, Ryan Ehlert, Rick Martin, Jerry Peters Jr., 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:
Dolores Bassett
Linda Boyer
Robert Bucks
Wayne Busick
Amanda Clark
Virginia Feather
Becky Finn
Bob Fox
Carl Franzon
Paul Friedburg
Becky Gardner
Peggy Harper
Allen Harrington
Beverly Harrington
Daniel Harrington
Dawn Hayes
Rosemary Heckathorn
Lee Heward
Minette Himes
Shirley Hoadley
Donna Julian
Kevin Klute
Lucy Lee
Paul Lozmack
Neva Marshall
Betty Martin
Bill Parker
Jerry Peters
Art Portinga
Elsie Portinga
Dr. Matthew Reck
Alexis Renbarger
Bill Ross
Judy Ross
Janice Rowlison
Keiko Shimizu
Masaaki Shimizu
Leroy Smith
Louise Uebler
Those Who Grieve
    The families of:
    Jeff Demko
    Ed Francis
    Bill Gardner 
    Ed Hayes
    Ruth Martell 
    Frankie Pipkins
    Kim Rubeck
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.
Victims of the earthquakes in Haiti
Please note: Names will be deleted from the above list after one month unless an updated request is received.
This special evening includes great food, great company, and free admission to the Girls Basketball Games vs. Grace Christian!
River Valley Elementary Schools will be holding its annual CHILLY NIGHT CHILI NIGHT on Monday, February 8, 2010 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at our River Valley Campus.     All patrons are guaranteed a “chilly night” with great food.  The menu will feature all-you-can-eat chili, a hot dog, a fresh salad bar and our famous dinner rolls.   Free drink refills and one dessert are included.  A bake sale may take place at 7:00 p.m. if the desserts are abundant at that time.
Meal tickets will be available at the door.  Prices are:  Adults:  $5.00, Students in grades K- 5:  $3.00, and children age 0 to preschool will be admitted free.  Carryouts are available.  Leave the cooking and dishes to us on Monday, February 8. 
A SPECIAL BONUS. . . All diners at this event will be given a ticket for admission to that evening’s basketball games featuring the Lady Mustangs vs. the Grace Christian Patriots.  Tipoff for the JV game is 6:00 p.m., with the varsity action beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Mark your calendars now!   See you there! 
Sisters in Faith
Our next regular meeting will be Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. Marcia Hess and Rhonda Hinman will provide refreshments. All women are welcome to join us.
Marriage Encounter Weekend
Experience a great Valentine with your spouse at 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 February 12 through 14 in Romulus, Michigan. For more information or to register call (866)633-3862 or on the web at
No Finish Line in Sight
Bishop’s Day for Evangelism 2010 is Saturday, March 13, 9:00 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. at the Cornerstone Church (1675 84th Street, SE) in Caledonia. This event is sponsored by the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Districts and the inspirational speaker will be runner Scott Rigsby. Twenty-one workshops will be offered. Registration costs $12.00 per person, includes a boxed lunch, and is due by March 5. For more information call the Grand Rapids District office at (616)549-4503 or check their website at 
District Conference
Our Kalamazoo District Conference will be held Saturday, February 6, 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church. The topic is how to revitalize a church using the book “Vital Signs: A Pathway to Congregational Wholeness” by Rev. Dan Dick. You will take home experiences, simple tools, ideas and support to become the vital congregations God calls us all to be! Registration is $10.00 per person and includes your lunch and materials. For more information see Pastor Sherri or the district website: 
Notes of Thanks 
Three Oaks United Methodist Church Family,
Thank you so much for the generous Christmas gift. I purchased a Life Application Study Bible and I can hardly put it down. I am learning so much more about God and His beautiful plan for us.
I love you so much and can’t wait to get back to work. I start therapy on Friday and will know more on Tuesday. . . Please pray.
Janice Rowlison
Dear Friends,
There will never be enough “Thank Yous”, for all this church family has done for us. To name everyone, individually, I couldn’t, for fear of leaving someone out. But each of you has touched our hearts in one way or another, through your love, your caring, the hugs and words of comfort. The meal you provided after Ed’s memorial service was nothing less than a feast!! Thank you all, so very much!!
Dawn Hayes,
Mike Hayes and family
Becky Glidden and Jacob
Nicole & Roy Dale Hamilton and family
Our Church Family,
Thank you one and all for your prayers and cards. We appreciate it. We think of our church family often. We take each day as it comes. Shingles are simmering down – amazing how many people have them. And some good advice being garnered as well. Will also see into the shot as well – can do so after the outbreak – it’s something to think about. With the cold and rainy weather it’s hard to get some projects done outside. But we do more putzing than anything. Lots of friends to do things with. Bill’s breathing isn’t any better, he does all he can with machines and oxygen. 
Thanks for caring,
Bill & Judy Ross
Dear Church Friends,
Fifty families within the River Valley school district were turned in to me for help at Christmas time. Of these, one-fourth were helped by members of our church!
I just want to let our congregation know how much I appreciate what you did, and I’m sure I speak for those families as well.
Thank you for sharing love at Christmas and always.

Faye Sittig
New Superintendent
Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton has announced the appointment of Rev. David F. Hills as the Superintendent of the Heartland District in the West Michigan Conference, effective July 1, 2010. Rev. Hills is currently serving as Pastor of the Delton Faith United Methodist Church in the Albion District.
Regarding his decision to appoint Rev. Hills to this position, Bishop Keaton stated “Pastor Hills is well equipped for the superintending ministry of the church. In his previous lay and ordained ministry David has demonstrated the spiritual leadership, personal integrity, administrative acumen, commitment to connectional responsibilities and a love for God’s people that will serve the District and Conference well.”
Previously, Rev. Hills had been appointed as Pastor at Third Avenue, Paris and Rodney churches in Big Rapids, 1992; Scotts and Climax, 1994; Coloma and Watervliet, 1999; and Faith United Methodist Church in Delton, 2007. Hills will succeed current Heartland District Superintendent Rev. Williams Dobbs. Dobbs will become the Clergy Assistant to the Bishop on July 1, 2010, following the retirement of Rev. Terry Euper. 
Sub Sale
Our Middle School Youth Group will be selling sub sandwiches for Super Bowl on Sunday, February 7. Please place your orders in the narthex after church or call Rhonda Petro at 756-9847. A six inch sub costs just $6.00 and a foot long sub costs $8.00. There are a variety of meats and cheeses to choose from. 
Lenten Soup Supper
Lenten soup supper and services will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17, and our church will be hosting the program on Ash Wednesday. There will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex for those who want to prepare a crockpot of soup or a dessert.
Sharon Flick,
Worship Chairperson
ALSO: Inserts will be in the Sunday bulletin, in the future, for Easter plants.
Lenten Worship Series
The River Valley Ministerial Association will again sponsor community worship services during the upcoming Lenten season. The theme this year is “The Sign of Jonah”. This special series explores the meaning of “The Sign of Jonah” as we follow Jonah on his journey. . . and Jesus on his way to the cross.
We are hosting the first service, “God Is Calling”, on Ash Wednesday, February 17. The evening will begin with a Soup Supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by worship at 7:15 p.m. Sign up in the narthex to bring soup, dessert, or other needed supplies.
This same schedule will be followed for the next five Thursday evenings at these locations: February 25, “Saved in the Storm” at Three Oaks Free Methodist Church (12 East Michigan Street, Three Oaks); March 4, “Our Providing God” at Sawyer Christian United Church of Christ (corner of Sawyer Road and Flynn Road, Sawyer); March 11, “Praying in the Belly of the Great Big Fish” at The Gathering, {Reformed Church in America} (301 North Elm Street, Three Oaks); March 18, “The God of the Second Chance” at First Congregational Church (108 East Ash Street, Three Oaks); and March 25, “About Face!” at St. John of Three Oaks (12 West Ash Street, Three Oaks).
Two additional Holy Week services will round out the series. These will not include meals and will be held as follows: April 1, Maundy Thursday, at Lakeside United Methodist Church (corner of Red Arrow Highway and Lakeside Road), 7:00 p.m.; April 2, Good Friday, at Harbert Community Church (corner of Three Oaks Road and Harbert Road), 7:00 p.m. Plan now to worship with your friends and neighbors.
Soul Sisters
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 24, 2:00 p.m. at the church.
Lenten Breakfast

First United Methodist Church of New Buffalo invites everyone in our congregation to their annual Sacrificial Breakfast on Ash Wednesday, February 17, at 10:30 a.m. The light breakfast will include delicious Hot Cross Buns baked by Beverly Lawton. Hollis Oselka will provide special music. 
Haiti Update
Our Missions Committee is preparing Health Kits for Haiti. All items should be NEW. You may bring the following items and place them in the box in the narthex.
 1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”. NO kitchen towels)
 1 washcloth
 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (NO emery boards or toenail clippers)
 1 bath-sized bar of soap (3 ounce and up)
 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, no child-sized brushes)
We are also collecting food and medicine. You may bring the following items and place them in the box in the narthex.
Food: dried beans, rice, powered milk, canned milk, and peanut butter.
Over the counter medicines and medical supplies:  antibiotic cream; aspirin (child and adult strengths); Tylenol (child and adult); ibuprofen (child and adult); gauze; medical tape; and Ace bandages. 
All medicines, food and supplies must be in their original wrapper and all expiration dates must be at least SIX MONTHS from the present.
To date we have collected $670.00 for emergency assistance by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in Haiti. If you would like to contribute, use a pew envelope and mark it “Haiti”. Make checks payable to Three Oaks UMC with UMCOR in the memo line.
Valentine Tea
The date for our eighth annual Valentine Tea is fast approaching. It will be held on Wednesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m.
For our program this year, the “Mad Scrapper” (aka Rhonda Petro) will teach us to make a couple of lovely homemade greeting cards for a sweetheart or a good friend. There will also be music provided by Jeff Comfort and a special performance by our own Sisters in Faith. All the women of the church and their guests are invited. We hope you will be able to join us for this evening of entertainment and friendship with other women!
News From Your Finance Committee
As of January 18, 2010, the results for the 2010 Stewardship Commitment Campaign have been tabulated. There are a total of 97 giving units in our congregation. Out of this total, 53 units returned a commitment card this year
 There were eight new commitments made this year for a gain of $8,868.00.
 There were 28 giving units that made commitments that were more than last year for a gain of $9,480.00.
 There were nine giving units that made the same commitment as last year for a total of $12,820.99.
  There were eight giving units that made commitments that were less than last year for a loss of $5,500.00.
  Three giving units made a commitment last year but not this year for a loss of $6,080.00.
   The total of commitments made for 2010 is $91,827.00. This is an increase of $6,768.00 over last year.
Thank you for these commitments and your continued support of your church; it is greatly appreciated!
The year 2009 ended with all bills paid in the General Fund and a balance of $3,363.71.
 The General Fund income for 2009 was $117,115.13, and with a balance from last year of $6,879.16 the General Fund total was $123,994.29 for the year.
  The General Fund expenses were $120,630.58 leaving a balance of $3,363.71 at the end of 2009.
  The Designated Fund income for 2009 was $9,674.32, and with a balance from last year of $4,489.65 the Designated Fund total was $14,163.97 for the year.
  The Designated Fund disbursements for the year were $10,977.26 leaving a balance of $3,186.71 at the end of 2009.
Jim Thompson,
Finance Chairperson 
Praise Band
After a well-deserved break during the Advent season, our praise band re-assembled this past month. Our band has been working together for a little over a year now, often coming early on Sunday mornings to practice the songs before worship. Please take a moment to express appreciation for the musical leadership of these individuals:      
            Piano – Martha Spychalski
            Guitar – Julie Becktell and Bill Swanson
            Singers – Sharon Flick and Ron Petro
If anyone would like to join the praise band, please speak with Pastor Sherri. We could use additional guitar players and singers; perhaps also a bass player or drummer. Make a joyful noise to the Lord! 
Your Library
Have you checked out our church library in the parlor? Many new titles have been added to the collection.
The library works on an honor system. Just check in and check out materials on your own, writing your name on the clipboard.
Book 4 from the series “The Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister” by Michael Phillips has gone missing. The title of that volume is “A Place in the Sun”. If you have it at home, please return it as soon as possible so another reader may enjoy it. Thanks! 
Leadership Directory
Our Leadership Directory for 2010 has been updated since it was first published in November. The updated copy can be obtained in the narthex or can be found on the website at
This document is also posted on the church bulletin board. As the new year gets underway, please take note of what committee(s) you are on!
There are plenty of opportunities to serve within our church through these groups or in other ways. If you have interest in a particular area of ministry, please speak with Pastor Sherri. 
Emmaus Walks
The next dates for the “Walk to Emmaus” are: Men, April 8 through 11, and Women, April 15 through 18. Both of these events will be held in South Haven. If you would like to participate in these spiritually refreshing events, please see Pastor Sherri for more information or an application. You may also want to talk to these individuals who have been on a Walk to Emmaus: Rhonda Petro, Alex Renbarger, and Craig Goodenough. 
H1N1 Vaccine
The Berrien County Health Department is offering the H1N1 influenza vaccine in their offices free of charge and by appointment only. Vaccine restrictions have been lifted and anyone who wishes to be vaccinated can do so. Appointments are available in the Three Oaks office every Tuesday; call 756-2088 Tuesday through Thursday to schedule an appointment. Appointments will also be available in Benton Harbor (927-5636) and Niles (684-2800, extension 5636) each Friday.
February Anniversaries
12 Ken & Thais Williams (69 Years!)
21 Michael & Joanie Davidson
25 Joe & Nancy Turner (50 Years!)
February Birthdays
  1 Linda Flick
  2 Dianna Hollenbeck
  3 Mary Behrle
  4 Barbara Peters
  7 Ayame Cooper
 10 John Desmond
 17 Emma Seifert
 17 Kerri Becktell
 19 Matt Caid
 20 Mark Seifert
 25 Gayle Martin
Alexis Renbarger
 26 Jon Barbour
 26 Nick Reitz
Sunday Services
February 7
Holy Communion
RELC Offering
“Light to Serve”
Isaiah 6:1-8
February 14
Transfiguration of the Lord
“Keeping the Glow On”
Exodus 34:29-35
February 21
First Sunday in Lent
“Passing the Test”
Luke 4:1-13
February 28
Second Sunday in Lent
“The Longing of the Lord"
Luke 13:31-35