Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
Volume 38 - Issue #6   
10:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 
John 20:30-31
Put It in Writing
Last month I was honored to receive an invitation from Senator Ron Jelinek to deliver an invocation at the opening of the State Senate in Lansing. It was a wonderful experience. Ron graciously showed me around his office suite, introduced me to a few other government officials, let me sit beside his desk on the senate floor and posed with me for an official photograph. Later in the day I toured the Capitol with some fourth-graders on a field trip. Representative John Proos and Governor Jennifer Grandholm spoke to our group. I learned a lot on my visit. It was an interesting and exciting day.
When Ron called to extend the invitation he explained the usual process. I was asked to put my prayer in writing and bring a copy for the Senate secretary to enter into the official minutes. Wow – that made it seem quite permanent. Not just a quick “throwaway” prayer of a few words spoken one moment and forgotten the next. Rather, that prayer is now posted online and who knows how long it will exist in cyberspace??? 
If you are interested, check online at: Senate Journal Number 37, 04/29/2010. (Or if you prefer, you may view the prayer which is posted following my article.)
I don’t mind writing down my prayers. It is not a foreign experience to me. Even though Methodists do not have the rich liturgical tradition of Catholics or Lutherans, we typically use some written prayers. Other denominations find this practice rather strange. Some even question if the Holy Spirit is present in a person’s prayer if it has to be written down. On the contrary, I’ve found that writing prayers can be a most beneficial spiritual discipline. If you’ve never tried it, I would encourage you to keep a prayer journal for a few weeks and see how this process can aid your spiritual growth.
The experience of putting my prayer for our State Senate down on paper got me to thinking about the power of the written word. Near the end of John’s gospel, we read the statement above. In these two brief sentences, John acknowledges there is much more to the gospel story than the portion which made it into his book. He couldn’t possibly write down everything Jesus said and did – that would fill several volumes. So, he had to do a bit of editing. He chose carefully the information in the twenty preceding chapters. These words were recorded for a very specific purpose – that those who read them might become believers. 
It’s important for us to realize that the first gospel (Mark) wasn’t written until approximately 40 years after the death and resurrection of our Lord. And this last gospel (John) wasn’t written until more than 50 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. During that period of time, the early church did not have a Bible to read. However, they did share the stories of Jesus. They just did so orally. They passed along the most important points through the spoken word, in preaching, teaching, and conversation among those gathered together in the community.
When it became apparent that Jesus was not coming back as soon as they originally thought he would, someone decided they better write down all this good stuff so as not to forget it! I can relate to that. Recently, I’ve noticed that I am becoming increasingly forgetful in my older age.  This is why I very much appreciate your help in writing down anything you want announced in the bulletin or the newsletter, as well as prayer requests that you want shared with others. If you just tell me something in passing (particularly on Sunday morning when I am running in a zillion different directions), it is likely to go in one ear and out the other! I’m sorry about that, but – sadly – it’s true.
How wonderful for us that the gospel story has been written down so we won’t lose track of it. Though some devout Christians have managed to memorize large portions of Scripture, most of the church members I know would be hard-pressed to quote more than a couple of verses. Just think what a treasure the Bible is for us. It has survived for nearly 2,000 years. It contains 66 different books that have been divided into nearly 1,200 chapters and more than 31,000 verses. It has been translated into more than 2,000 languages. Since the first English edition was commissioned by King James 400 years ago, there has been such an explosion of translating work completed that English-speakers now have more than 100 versions from which to choose. Why, then, are we so apathetic about reading even one of them? 
In our modern age, less and less attention is focused on the written word.
Instead of reading the news, younger people are more likely to watch the news.  This is why newspapers and magazines all around the country are struggling to stay in business. This shift in culture is likely to increase in the coming years, rather than reverse itself. Even so, I maintain that the written word is powerful.   Particularly, when it is the Word of God.
Do you remember how the first chapter of John’s gospel begins? The opening verse goes like this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then a little further down the page (verse 14), John explains more: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Jesus the Messiah is described as being the Word (the Greek word is actually Logos). From this description we might gather that words are important to God. 
Of course, our human words are often inadequate. How many times do we grasp for the right word when we are speaking to someone? (More and more as we get older, it seems.) Yet, God always knows the right word because He is the Word.
I am so thankful that God guided those early Christ-followers to “put it in writing.” Therefore, let us not neglect or take for granted this marvelous gift. As Christ’s disciples living in the twenty-first century, may we spend time regularly in the Word so that we may believe in the Son of God and have life in His name.
Pastor Sherri
From Journal No. 37, STATE OF MICHIGAN, Journal of the Senate, 95th Legislature, Regular Session of 2010, Senate Chamber, Lansing, Thursday, April 29, 2010, 10:00a.m.
Reverend Sherri Swanson of Three Oaks United Methodist Church of Three Oaks offered the following invocation:
"Almighty God, author of life and source of all goodness, we praise You for this day You have made. We rejoice in the wonders of Your creation. We give thanks especially for the beauty we experience here in our state of Michigan, the place we are blessed to call home.
As we begin this new day, prepare us for the opportunities and challenges it may hold. Show us Your ways. Teach us Your paths. Lead us in Your truth, for You are the God of our salvation, and in You we place our trust. Remind us that we rely always on Your strength. Guide us by Your wisdom. Grant us Your mercy and grace. May Your love, which is so generous and so complete, flow through us to others.
In particular, we lift up to You the members of this body and the work before them this day. May they serve as they have been called to do. May they be faithful to the tasks assigned to them. May they represent well the concerns of their constituents. May they seek the common good in all things. May they discern Your will. May they make decisions which are righteous and just.
O Lord, our ways are not Your ways, and our thoughts are not Your thoughts. Therefore, we call on You for insight and direction. You know all things, and You are in all things.
May Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, and to You be all glory and honor. Amen.
Those who serve as missionaries, especially:
Jeff & Deliegha Swanson, Charissa, Lois, and Titus in Mexico, and Dr. Elma Jocson in Liberia.
Those who are in the military, including:
Christopher Blackwell, Ryan Ehlert, Rick Martin, Scott McDonald, Jerry Peters Jr., Matthew Sneed and Justin Williford.
Those who are in care facilities:
Barney Fay, Shirley Hoadley, Tecla Kaiser and Marjorie Weller.
Those who are homebound:
Dorothy Brayboy, Lloyd Gearhart, Kathryn Renbarger and Thais Williams.
Those with health problems:
Sue Alderman, Pam Armstrong, Eldon Audiss, Sam Bartelmay, Judy Bohne, Robert Bucks, Heather Ferrell & baby, Josh Gilly, T.J. Gilly, Beverly Harrington, Daniel Harrington, Bud Hartley, Dawn Hayes, Beryl Hinman, Jan Houseworth, Donna Julian, Lucy Lee, Bob & Shirley Miller, Tom Payne, Art & Elsie Portinga, Mary Lou Ray, Lynn Reitz, Janice Rowlison, Peggy Schaffer, Peggy Schmit, Kurt Smith, Jerry & Esther Thomas, Louise Uebler, Alice Vacanti, Marge Vidal, Shirley White,
and Jim Wisner.
Those who grieve
Family and friends of Norma Drier, Dick Ford, Terry Nichols, Leo Rennhack, Ruth Roberts, Don Smith, Leroy Smith, Mervin Yeider.
Those who are seeking employment.
Ibrahim Parlak in his efforts to remain in the U.S.
William Gorzynski.
Those coping with floods in the Southeast.
Those working to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Please note: Names will be deleted from the above list after one month unless an updated request is received.
Sisters in Faith
Our next regular meeting will be Wednesday, June 16, at 7:00 p.m. Sabra Lambert and Sherri Swanson will provide refreshments. Please read chapter three “The Last Laugh – Sarah” for our Bible Study.
We are ordering polo shirts with our church’s name on them as a fundraiser. More information will be available soon. Our summer picnic is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21, 6:00 p.m. at the home of Marcia Hess.
Mother – Daughter Banquet
Seventy-five women, girls and their guests turned out for our Mother – Daughter Banquet last month. We enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal of lasagna, salad, garlic bread, ice cream and Milano cookies.    Grateful thanks to the men who served and cleaned up: Brad Bartelmay, Rick Cooper, Jim Flick, Dave Hess, Doug Hinman, Joe Hinman, Jim Ireland, Bill Payne, Ron Petro and Jim Thompson.
We enjoyed a wonderful performance by the very talented Stacey Koziel. She shared many melodies she wrote herself, including songs in honor of her mother and in memory of her grandmother. Her recently published CD “Naïve” is available in the narthex for $5.00.               
“We would like to thank everyone for sharing in the celebration of our 50th anniversary with their presence downstairs, also for the cards, gifts and best wishes.
We appreciate your thoughtfulness very much.
May God bless each of you.
Jim & Charmaine Thompson
Special Music Sign-Up
We are looking for special music over the summer months. Please sign up in the narthex to share your talents with the congregation.
In Concert
A piano concert by Oregon recording artist John Nilsen is being planned for Thursday, June 17, at our church. 
John is a lifelong Methodist, the son of a pastor. He has performed in all 213 churches of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and he comes highly recommended by Bishop Robert Hoshibata. 
John’s 17 CDs have sold nearly a million copies worldwide. The latest, “Places I Go,” weaves together elements of folk, jazz and classical music. Of the eleven tracks on this newest album, nine are original compositions. For further information, visit his website at or look for him on You Tube.
With 200 performances annually, Nilson has toured Great Britain, Japan, and much of the United States. Though he has performed in 40 states, this will be his first trip to Michigan. The hour long concert will feature folk, jazz and classical compositions, as well as Nilson’s arrangements of traditional hymns. In addition, he will share some stories of his life, family and faith – particularly about growing up as a Methodist “preacher’s kid”.
There is no charge for the concert, though a free will offering will be received.  Also, Nilson’s many CDs will be available for sale. Please help us spread the word and invite your friends.
Camp Update
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:
June 20-22
Kevin Seifert
Steven Seifert
Crystal Springs Camp
33774 Crystal Springs Road
Dowagiac, MI 49047-9389
Please Note
Our Summer Worship schedule will begin on June 6. Services will be held at 10:00 for June, July, and August with Children’s Church at 10:15. Our adult Sunday morning Bible Study will take a break for the summer months. However, an evening study is begin offered on Thursdays. See other article for details.
New Member
We welcomed new member, Bill Parker during our worship service on May 2. Please add his information to your church directory.
Bill Parker
305 West Locust Street
Apartment #39
Three Oaks, MI 49128-1239
(269) 655-7684
Thank you to. . .
. . . Jim Thompson for mowing and edging the church lawn.
. . . Ron Petro for replacing outdoor light bulbs along the roof.
. . . Marcia Hess for making labels for our kitchen cabinets.
. . . Doug Hinman for painting a radiator cover.
. . . Doug Hinman and Jim Thompson for replacing a downspout that was plugged and broken.
. . . Sisters in Faith for providing gifts for our graduates, for donating money for camp scholarships, for purchasing new tablecloths for Fellowship Hall and new pans and utensils for our kitchen.
Doors to Justice
Your offering on Peace with Justice Sunday helps the children of God everywhere to live lovingly and peacefully. Half of the offering supports peace with justice ministries globally through the General Board of Church and Society, and half assists annual conference-related work such as the West Michigan Conference Peace Network.

“Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you,” wrote the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. Help to bring peace and justice to a hurting world. We will receive this offering on June 6. There will be inserts in your worship bulletin with more information. Make checks out to TOUMC with “Peace with Justice” in the memo line. Please give generously on Peace with Justice Sunday, your gift makes a world of difference!
Sunday School Volunteers
Thank you to the individuals who have led our children’s Sunday School during the 2009-2010 school year. They are: Julie Becktell, Mary Behrle, Gayle Martin, Rhonda Petro, and Aimee Seifert
Sunday School is now taking a break until September. Mary Behrle will be leading Children’s Church each week during the summer. If you would like to volunteer as a helper, please speak to Mary or call the church office.
Soul Sisters
Eight ladies enjoyed a nice lunch at Viola’s together last month. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, June 30, at 2:00 p.m. at the church.
Get ready to sail the high seas! This year’s community Vacation Bible School theme is “High Seas Expedition – Exploring the Mighty Love of God”. Each day you and your crew mates will experience the deep, rolling waters of God’s love as we splash our way through rousing songs, play “Ship Rec” games, and enjoy snacks from the galley. Our favorite chipmunk, Chadder, will be starring in “Sail Away Cinema”.
VBS will be held at the Free Methodist Church (12 East Michigan Street) on June 28 – July 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. All children ages four through those completing 6th grade are invited. Please fill out a pre-registration form in the narthex for your child or children.
Lots of help will be needed, especially as Crew Leaders. If you would like to volunteer please speak with Pastor Sherri or call Tammy Hauch at (269) 756-9736. We ask the whole congregation to get involved by contributing supplies for refreshments and crafts. Check the sign-up lists located in the narthex.
Plan now to join us on a fantastic voyage and find out whether Chadder and his crew are lost at sea!
Lay Speaking Class
The Kalamazoo District is offering a  Basic Lay Speaking Class on June 19, 26, and July 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with the Commitment Service to be held on July 11 at 3:00 p.m. at Northwest United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo.  Saturday classes will meet at the Wesley Foundation on the campus of Western Michigan University, with no class over the July 4th weekend. To register, contact Sheila Baker at or (269) 628-4882 by June 12.
It’s a Girl!
Congratulations to Shawn & Jennifer Gedert at the birth of their daughter, Isabella Lin, on May 21.   She weighed 6 lbs.  and measured 19 inches long. Grandparents are Bob & Linda Flick and Dick & Pat Gedert. Great-grandparents are Don & Louise Uebler and Jim & Merlyn Wisner. May God bless your family at this precious time!
Join Us!
A new study called “Christianity’s Family Tree: What Other Christians Believe and Why” will be offered during the summer months on Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Adam Hamilton is the author of this study. Many enjoyed his earlier study “Confronting the Controversies” which we shared last summer.
Comparing the Christian family to our own extended families, Hamilton contends that each denomination has a unique, valuable perspective to offer on the Christian faith. For each tradition participants will study a brief history, review the major beliefs, and learn how that tradition may strengthen our own Christian faith.
The eight sessions are:
Orthodoxy: Mystery, Liturgy, and Tradition
Catholicism: Sacrament and Mass
Lutheranism: Word and Faith
Presbyterianism: The Sovereignty of God
Anglicanism: Common Prayer
Baptist: Baptism, Conversion, and Scripture
Pentecostalism: The Power of the Spirit
Methodist: People of the Extreme Center
Those who would like to take part in this study are asked to sign up in the narthex. The book costs $12.00. Please pay when the class begins.
Hardings e-scrip is a great easy way for us to earn funds for our church! All you need to do is pick up a Hardings card from the table in the narthex and call the 1-800 toll free number to activate your card. Then present your card to the cashier each time you shop and our church will receive up to 4% of your purchase. You can pay for your groceries any way you like – cash, check, debit cards or credit card. 
Yard Sale
Our youth group will be sponsoring a yard sale July 16 and 17. They would be grateful for your donations of any saleable items. You may start bringing contributions to church this month. Place them in the far southwest corner of Fellowship Hall.
Proceeds will be used for the youth mission trip scheduled for the summer of 2011.
Volunteers Needed
Harbor Harvest Urban Ministries (H.H.U.M.), a United Methodist mission program in Benton Harbor, is looking for ten to twelve volunteers from our church on Tuesday, July 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We are needed to help at the Summer Exploration Program at H.H.U.M.
If you are available to help please speak to Judy Ross or Pastor Sherri.
Shipshewana Trip
We will be taking our annual shopping excursion to the Auction & Flea Market at Shipshewana on Tuesday, June 15. We will leave the church at 7:00 a.m. and return at approximately 7:00 p.m. Everyone in the congregation is invited. Please sign up in the narthex so we will know how many vehicles are needed. If you sign up and then are not able to make it, please call someone else who is planning to attend so the group will not need to wait on you.
Memorial Service
A Memorial Service for Ed Hayes will be held on June 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the River Park pavilion in Benton Harbor. Ed’s family will be sprinkling his ashes into the St. Joseph River at the boat launch near his favorite fishing spot. Everyone is invited to share light refreshments, memories and fishing stories. 
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
‘Tis the season to see a lot of great games at the ball field. Many of the boys and girls from our church are busy playing baseball and softball at this time of the year. Those in River Valley Sunshine Softball include: 12U – Paige Barbour & Kaitlin Goodenough, 10U – Katharine Kersey & Maggie Seifert, and 8U – Haley Goodenough, Emma Springer, Macey Springer, & Madison Vollman. Craig Goodenough is a coach; Kris Goodenough is on the board. 
Over at Watkins Park, you’ll find all of the Seifert boys playing baseball (Kyle, Cameron, Kevin & Steven). In New Buffalo, you’ll see Michael Flick in action and spot his dad, Jamie, as a coach. Coach Susan Seifert is wrapping up a productive season with the New Buffalo High School softball team. A little later in the summer, Coach George Frye will once again take up managing the Post 204 American Legion team. So, hurry on out to catch a ballgame today. What better way to celebrate the arrival of summer!
Dear Sisters in Faith,
Thank you for the card and plaque!
With God’s Love,
Jeff Jakeway
We really appreciate your thoughtfulness for all three of our children when they graduated!!
Mike & Cindy Jakeway
Peace Candle
During worship on Sunday, June 6, we will be introducing a Peace Candle, donated by Dennis & Nancy Comfort. The history of this candle is printed below.
The Story of the Peace Candle
In 1986, a group of American Christians attended a service in a Russian Orthodox Church. After the service, an elderly Russian woman pressed three rubles into the hand of the minister leading the travel group. She asked him to buy a candle and light it in his church as a prayer for and symbol of peace. The minister bought a candle and placed it on the communion table in The First Presbyterian Church, York, Pennsylvania. That candle is lit at every worship service.
The First Presbyterian Church in York decided to buy more candles, inviting members to send or take them to other churches. Two members of the congregation sent a candle to their former church in England and from there more than 199 candles were passed on to churches throughout England and Scotland.
From a Baptist Church in Scotland, a candle was sent to Westworth United Church in Winnipeg, Canada, who then sent one to Saudi Arabia, Quebec, New Brunswick, and White Rock, British Columbia.
From White Rock, a candle went to Bermuda and visitors there brought a candle back from Bracebridge United Church in Bracebridge, Ontario. On Christmas Eve, a candle was taken from Bracebridge to Munster, Ontario, and from there, one was taken to Ottawa, from Ottawa to Picton, from Picton to Westminster United, Whitby, and so on. A candle made its way to the First United Methodist in Titusville, Florida, who passed it onto the Parma Christian Church in Parma, Ohio, who, in turn, passed it onto Three Oaks United Methodist Church.  (Nancy Comfort's sister, Marge Carey, is the choir director at the Parma church.) 
Thus, candles like these are circling the world, reminders to people to pray for peace. Today, they burn in all provinces in Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Africa, Zambia, and the United States.
As the light of Christ has traveled far, so will the light of this candle and with it the message of peace. As the chain spreads further, so may that elderly woman’s hope for peace spread far and wide in churches and worshipping communities around the world. We receive this candle as a reminder to work for peace and pray for peace. May we have peace in our hearts and peace in our lives.
The Universal Prayer for Peace
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe. Let us dream together, pray together, work together, to build one world, for peace and justice for all. Amen.
Summer Sermon Series
This summer Pastor Sherri is preparing a sermon series about Jesus’ twelve disciples. Beginning with the “big three” (Peter, James and John) in June and continuing with some of the more obscure apostles during the months of July and August, we will examine together what we know about these individuals from the biblical account – as well as from church tradition.
To prepare for the series, Pastor Sherri is reading “The Master’s Men” by William Barclay, “The Thirteen Apostles” by J. Ellsworth Kalas, and “Twelve Ordinary Men” by John MacArthur, in addition to numerous other articles and commentaries. If you’d like to follow along by reading one of these books, let her know and we can order you a copy.
Jesus put a lot of faith in these men. They were quite ordinary and yet they accomplished extraordinary things in his name. Though they were fallible and failed many times, still they became a force that forever changed the world. As Kalas notes, “Jesus left his mission and message in the care of these persons; today their spiritual descendants fill the world.”
So, plan to come to church over the next three months to learn more about this “Dynamic Dozen” chosen by Christ for the work of building his kingdom.
June Anniversaries
  2 Art & Elsie Portinga  (70th!)
  4 Ogden & Doris Krossovitch
12 Lonnie & Chris Zebell
22 Jack & Alexis Renbarger
  June Birthdays   
  1 Katherine Kersey
  1 Ed Rogers
  2 Jamie Flick
  2 Thais Williams
  3 Nettie Donner
  3 Dick Zabel
  4 Tim Vantilburg
  5 Bill Donner
  5 Kathryn Renbarger (90th!)
  6 Albert Brayboy
   9 Betty Swanson
 10 Tony Kozel
 14 Jeff Jakeway
 14 Marge Vidal
 22 Jacob Musick  
 22 Mike Springer
 24 Abigail Prim
 26 Jeanie Hauch
 26 Julie Becktell
 27 Michael Davidson
 30 Yuri Vanzine
Sunday Services
June 6
Peace with Justice Sunday
Peace Candle Introduction
Sermon: “The Things that Make for Peace
Scripture:   Luke 19:41-44 (sermon);
Colossians 3:12-15
Switch to brown hymnals.
Begin summer sermon series: “A Dynamic Dozen”
June 13
Sermon: “Rocky Road” (Peter)
Scripture: Matthew 16:13-23 (sermon);
1 Peter 2:4-10
June 20
Father’s Day
Sermon: “Passion Transformed” (John)
Scripture:   Luke 9:51-56 (sermon);
1 John 4:7-21
June 27
Sermon: “Power Grab” (James)
Scripture: Mark 10:35-45 (sermon);
Acts 12:1-2