Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!

Newsletter July 2011

Volume 39 - Issue #7 
10:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20
Not long ago a colleague pastor told me that her church had enjoyed a wonderful Sunday worship service. It was a time of great joy because they celebrated a baptism – and this was the first baptism they had celebrated in eight years! Contrast that with what has been happening in our church. So far this calendar year, in just six months, we have already celebrated nine baptisms. In fact, there has been a baptism for each of the past three weeks in a row! And there are two more scheduled for later this summer. 
Now, a few people in the congregation have jokingly said that I should try to round up somebody for a baptism every single week because this increases our attendance so substantially. Even though that is true, I have not been going out on the street and approaching complete strangers about being baptized. J However, I am delighted that we have had so many families coming into the church inquiring about baptism. I rejoice because these baptisms represent spiritual growth in the life of individuals and increasing vitality in the life of our congregation.
An aging congregation rarely celebrates baptisms. This is why my friend’s church had gone through such a very long dry spell without any baptisms. In our church, three of our baptisms this year have been babies and two others have been youth confirming their faith. What a blessing that we have young people growing up in our congregation! 
A static church does not celebrate baptisms either. This is because everyone has been a Christian for so many years that they were baptized long ago. Interestingly, four of our baptisms this year have been adults coming to profess their faith. This is perhaps even more exciting to me than the baptisms of our young people, because it means that individuals are choosing to serve the Lord, acknowledge their love of Him openly, and enter into His body – the church. 
Baptism is a sacrament in our church. As such, it is a means whereby we experience God’s grace in our lives. In the past I’ve always thought that meant the outpouring of God’s grace in the life of the individual being baptized, but recently I’ve come to think that it includes also the outpouring of God’s grace in the life of His gathered people – the church. Someone said to me the other day, “I think there is a spirit of new life in our church these days.” Though that person didn’t mention it specifically, perhaps her impression was formed by seeing all these many people standing in front of the congregation at the baptismal font. 
Of course, baptism alone is not enough. Baptism is a beginning point in the life of faith. Much nurture is required after baptism to help the baptized person become a full-fledged disciple of Jesus Christ. 
This is why I typically do not baptize children whose parents do not attend worship. As much as we all love to see a beautiful baby in front of the congregation, baptism is intended to be much more than a “photo op.” Parents are asked to pledge themselves to teaching their children the Christian faith and raising them within the church. 
Then too, baptism happens in the context of the faith community. We have a responsibility to support the faith of the baptized person. This is why we sing in our welcoming song called “God Claims You”: “We – your family – love you so, we vow to help your faith to grow.”
It is my prayer that faith is indeed growing in the lives of those persons who have been recently baptized. May God give them the grace they need to keep their part of the baptismal covenant: confessing Christ as Savior, trusting in His grace, serving Him as Lord in the church, and carrying out His mission against evil, injustice, and oppression throughout the world. May they continue on a lifelong journey of faith, learning more all the time about the Master’s commandments.
Further, I pray that our congregation may continue to take seriously the Great Commission Jesus gave us to baptize new disciples and to teach them His ways. By doing so, we will surely be blessed by His abundant grace. And we can know with confidence that He will be with us always, to the very end of the age.
Pastor Sherri


“When one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member is honored, we all rejoice.”I Corinthians 12:26
Please click on the praying hands to the left to be taken to our up-to-date prayer list.
Congratulations, Confirmands!
Congratulations to our youth who were confirmed on June 12:
Andrew Bellaire,
      son of Mark and Sabrina Bellaire;
Paige Barbour,
      daughter of Jon and Deb Barbour;
Laura Donner,
      daughter of Billy and Tracy Donner;
Kaitlin Goodenough,
      daughter of Craig and Kris Goodenough;
and Kyle Seifert,
      son of Kenneth and Becky Seifert.
In addition to their parents, all five of these young people had grandparents present to share in this joyous day. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue on their Christian journey
Special Sunday
On Sunday, July 3, we will have the opportunity to thank our military troops / service personnel by collecting a special Strength for Service offering. Strength for Service to God and Country is a daily devotional book that is specifically written for those in the service of others. Your gift will help to send these much needed books to the men and women overseas who protect our freedom daily. Our church will also receive books to distribute locally in our community. Check out the poster on the bulletin board for further information.



We celebrate the baptism of Helen Marie Donner on June 19. Helen is the daughter of Billy and Tracy Donner and baby sister of Laura and Nettie. May the Lord bless your family at this happy time.
Special Music Sign-Up
We are looking for persons to provide special music over the summer months. Many dates are still open. Please sign up in the narthex to share your talents with the congregation.
We congratulate Clay and Emily Frye at the birth of a son, Gunnar William Frye, on June 9. Gunnar weighed 8 lbs. 7 oz. and was 21” long. The grandparents are George and Sally Frye.
May the Lord bless your family at this time.
Thanks for listening, seeing, and understanding!
Thanks for Being a Friend!
Many thanks to the church family for all of your prayers, cards, etc. over the last two years of my battle with cancer.
God bless all of you.
Much love,
Dawn Ackerman
 Health Department News
WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children and helps pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants and children up to five years old. WIC provides supplemental food, offers professional nutrition education, promotes breastfeeding through the first year of life, and makes referrals based on health screening and assessments of need.
This service is entirely free for residents of Michigan who meet the income guidelines. For more information pick up a form in the narthex, call our local health department at 756-2008 or visit the Michigan WIC website at .
West Michigan Annual Conference 2011
“Take My Hand”

After 5 years of attending Annual Conference, I experienced a personal achievement. This is the first year I didn't get lost going to the Conference and I finally know my way around Calvin College's campus.

United Methodist Donations:
The United Methodist Churches gave 4 Million dollars to Haiti, 4 Million to Japan, and Eight Hundred Thousand to the Spring Storms. Per capita, this conference gave $25 per person. It is the highest amount in the denomination.

West Michigan Conference, in 2010, was the highest giving conference in the Jurisdictional Conference. This Jurisdictional Conference consists of 8 states including Michigan. Kudos to West Michigan. It appears we are willing givers.

Our church sent 12 containers of back packs with school supplies and medical supplies to Haiti. Thanks to everyone who donated and a big thanks to the Missions Committee, chaired by Judy Ross, for the hard work of filling the back packs themselves and filling the containers. Let’s give them a round of applause. My SUV will hold 12 containers. So next year, if there is even ONE more container, Pastor Sherri will have to be recruited to take it. Otherwise I won’t be able to take a suitcase.

Decision Items:
Items that are issues of the church that are voted on by the conference pastors and lay members.
Total itemsfor vote were 8:
1 item was referred to another committee for clarification.5 items were adopted.
2 items were not adopted.

Response Petitions: Petitions to the Decision Items, that needed to be amended, then voted on.Total items to vote for were 5:

2 items were adopted.
3 were not adopted.

All in all, it was another year of learning. For me, it's a very interesting and enjoyable time. The weather couldn't have been better and I got plenty of exercise going to and from the conference center, the dining hall and to my dorm room.Thank you for supporting me.

Alex Renbarger, 
Lay Member to Annual Conference
Dear Pastor Swanson,
Thank you for including a member of the Gideons in your worship service on Sunday morning May 29, 2011. We thank you for the privilege of presenting the Gideon ministry in your church.
On behalf of the Gideons of Berrien South Camp and Gideons International, I want to express my sincere thanks to you and your congregation for your support of the Gideon work. The offering which was given in the amount of $145.00 is tangible evidence of the love your congregation has for making the Word of God available to those who otherwise may not have a copy. We can pray that many precious souls will come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of these scriptures being distributed.
Pastor Swanson, we especially appreciate your prayerful support for this ministry in it’s local, national, and international application.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
James L. Covey
Church Assignment Secretary
Berrien South Camp
Sisters in Faith
Seven of us had a great time shopping at the Shipshewana flea market last month.
This month our annual picnic will be held at the home of Marcia and Dave Hess (16193 Gardner Rd., Galien) on Wednesday, July 20, at 6:30 p.m. All the women of our church are invited. Bring a dish to pass. Sign up in the narthex so we know how many plan on coming.
Popcorn Giveaway
Thanks to Bob and Mary Behrle, Nancy Baird, Bob Tatina, and Rhonda Hinman for popping 140 bags of popcorn to hand out at the Flag Day Parade. And thanks to Marcia Hess for donating the popcorn machine. All the recipients were grateful and we hope to prepare more next year, so as to get even further down the block!
Nominations News
The Nominations/Leadership Development Committee met last month to begin its work of recruiting church leaders for 2011. We desire your help.
The church is a body of many members. We count on each using his or her gifts to make the body strong. Our Nominations 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 if 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.
Haiti News
A thank you to the church family for your response for school and medical supplies. We had enough to fill twelve shipping containers! A big thanks to those who came to fill all those 84-plus backpacks: Nancy Davis, Pat Dimmitt, Ogden and Doris Krossovitch, Sally Preece (who bought the packs and shipping containers), and Sara Williams. I’d still be packing if not for all the help in every way.
Thanks to one and all,
Judy Ross
Directory Update
Our new church directory is available in the narthex. Don’t forget to pick up your copy so you can stay in touch with other members of the church family.
Save the Date
Plan now to attend our annual church picnic on Sunday, August 7, at Watkins Park. Food will be provided by our Fellowship Committee. We will eat at 12:00, though everyone is encouraged to go over following worship and visit with church friends before the meal.
There will be a couple of organized games for the children. There will be various outdoor games set up for the adults who want to participate. Join us for an afternoon of fun and fellowship!
VBS Wrap-Up
The final numbers are in from our community Vacation Bible School last month. The biggest attendance on a single day was 100 on Friday. All the children seemed to have a great time!
Thank you to those in our congregation who brought refreshments:  Mary Behrle, Joanie Davidson, Nancy Davis, Eleanor Desmond, Sharon Flick, Marcia Hess, Rhonda Hinman, Robin Ireland, Ed MacGregor, Elna Rogers, and Judy Ross.
Geisha’s Song
Thank you so much for your contributions toward the UMEKICHI Charity Concert. Even with the hail that started before the show we had about 130 guests attend. We appreciate everyone’s support. We raised about $3,200 which we donated to Kamaishi City of Iwate prefecture when we traveled to Japan in June.
Yuriko Cooper
The Church Family,
Thank you so very much for all the wonderful prayers for the “Ken Gibson family”. They sure help!
Ken & Analinda Gibson
Ellen Sokolowski
Mobile Food Pantry
The Mobile Food Pantry is looking for volunteers for July 26, 3:00 – 5:00 in the parking lot at St. Mary of the Assumption church (28 West Ash St). If you would be available to help please tell Pastor Sherri or our Missions chairperson, Judy Ross.
New Member
On June 26 we welcomed Karen Christ as a new member of our church.
Karen and her husband, Jeremy, and children Jaren and Makena, live at 314 Sherwood St. Three Oaks, and their phone number is 269-612-0274.
Welcome! We’re glad you’re here!
Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about the Advent Booklet for Christmas! This year it will be called “Generations”. We’re asking for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. to submit a devotional. We’d love to have volunteers. If you have a loved one who will participate, please call Faye Sittig at 756-9644. Thanks!
Benefit Hog Roast
On Saturday, July 16, 4:00 – 8:00 there will be a Hog Roast Benefit for Ken Gibson at the Featherbone Restaurant. Ken is the son-in-law of Ellen Sokolowski and has been diagnosed with stage-four cancer. The dinner will cost $10 and there will be a live auction. For tickets or more information call Shannon Shawver at 269-449-1186 or Rose Gibson Lee at 269-231-1040.
Mission Trip
Eight individuals (six youth and two adults) are going to Bay City, Michigan, for a “Week of Hope” Mission Trip, July 17 – 22. Please pray for everyone as they go learn new skills and help local churches and organizations. Those going are: Paige Barbour, Julie Becktell, Laura Donner, Nettie Donner, Andrew Keller, Paul Keller, and Sara Williams.
Finance Update
Listed below is the income received for the month shown and the average amount needed each month.
                         Income           Average Needed
May                  $8,745.00               $10,545.00
Dear Sisters in Faith,
Thank you for the fleece blanket. I’ll enjoy taking it to college.
Ben Bartelmay
Dear Sisters in Faith,
Thank you very much for the blanket at graduation.
Jessica Kersey
Dear Sisters in Faith,
Thank you for the graduation blanket.
Morgan Weers
 Three Oaks Community Picnic
FOTO (Friends of Three Oaks), Rotary Club of Three Oaks Region, and Three Oaks Masonic Lodge 239 are presenting a Community Picnic in Dewey Cannon Park on Saturday, July 2, 3:00 – 6:00. There will be free picnic food, kids’ games, and prizes. Three individuals from our congregation may enter the first annual American Pie Bake-off. The person awarded first place will win funds for our church. Pick up a complete set of rules and regulations in the narthex.
Lakeside UMC Sale

Lakeside United Methodist Church is gearing up for its annual yard/rummage sale  scheduled  for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday,  July  8,  and 9 a.m.  to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.                                               

The annual event has been part of the summer activities in Lakeside for over 60 years. Merchandise will be received on July 5, 6 and 7 until 4 p.m. Proceeds from the sale are used for missions (one third) and operations (two thirds). For further information, call (269) 469-8468.
Summer Study
Our Sunday morning Bible Study is taking a break until fall. For the past several years, we have offered an evening study during the summer months. If there is sufficient interest this year we will do so once again, but since the summer is already well underway it will need to be a shorter study and will need to begin soon. 
Pastor Sherri has identified two possibilities:
“Why? Making Sense of God’s Will” by Adam Hamilton, a four-week study or
“Embracing Forgiveness” by Traci Mullins, a six-week study.
Each of these books are approximately 100 pages long and cost around $7-$8. 
If you are interested in either or if you have another suggestion, please speak with Pastor Sherri ASAP so arrangements can be made before the summer is over! 
Membership Class
We will be receiving some more new members later this summer. If you are interested in joining the church at this time, please speak with Pastor Sherri and she will schedule the membership orientation session around what works for you.
Dok Elma’s e-musing May-June 2011
Doctors make the worst patients. And I am no exception. I thought of myself as being quick and decisive. But I was wrong. (Again!) My insides are hurting, my muscles are sore and I'm feeling really tired. At the beginning I had dismissed these as just stress-related. But the pain is real and persistent. You think I would go straight to the lab for some tests? I self-medicated with an antibiotic. When it wasn’t working, I was convinced I should go for a malaria test. I almost went. But I was afraid to find out if I have malaria- not when I’m taking prophylaxis tablets. I don’t want to be proven wrong. Dumb, really!
It’s always been busy here. May passed by so quickly and significantly. My sister came for a very short visit, basically to bring our mother back to the Philippines. Thankfully, my good friend visited at a very opportune time. As always, babies are steadily being delivered, not so many sets of twins as March though. There also had been a series of bereavements. In one funeral service, it took me awhile to adjust to the different way of going about the service. There was a person acting like she is off her senses, talking about the dead at the top of her voice. True or made up stories - people were laughing. And at the same time there's blaring music and dancing. What went on in that funeral is a bit confusing to me.
During the course of all these comings and goings, there were 59 operated cases performed. Too many! As was the situation in Nepal, we do what we can when we feel confident to do it (or we feel we can help). There was a 3-day-old boy who was born with his urinary bladder exposed in his abdominal wall. Risk over benefit, with the parents' consent we went ahead. Successful operation, dead patient!  Makes the surgeon very weak!
You know I’m also the so-so bone doctor here. The usual practice here is to bring the closed fractures (broken bones without open wound) to the bush doctor. If there’s a wound the patient [comes to our hospital and] gets several doses of antibiotic after debridement (removing dirt & dead tissues), then will go home against [our] advice to go to the bush. In times when the bush doctor fails, Dr. Elma returns. Ta-dah!  Amputation time.....I’m not kidding. You can smell them a mile away!  Last December I brought with me two pieces of [medical] gigli saw wires for amputation. Both have been broken since April. I said no more amputation until I get my new wires. That can’t be because there’s sure to be one or two [surgeries] every month. I could have insisted I’d only use gigli wire - it’s easier and cleaner to use.  I finish much quicker with less strength required. But we had to use what is available. See the picture for yourself!’  I hope you can see the (sterile) rust. This patient has gone home. I thought it’s a wood saw but John Veazey, [my e-musings helper,] identified it as a common hacksaw, used to cut metal bolts, tubing, etc.  Among surgeons, we sort of joke about the Orthopedic surgeons' work as like carpentry. Naturally, I didn’t want to actually be a 'carpenter-surgeon', but there’s no escaping it. First the Black & Decker drill, now a hacksaw! What’s next????
Back to my malaria saga! I finally went to the lab. I tested negative and was disappointed. What is wrong???  After consulting a Liberian MD (therefore an expert in Malaria), I was advised to start treatment anyway. He says its sub clinical malaria. The tablet taste awful and it’s giving me gastritis!  I’m being a baby - a baby with no mother, huhuhuhu. I'll get over this, and I, myself, will be wiser. Now I can really suffer with my patients! Thank you very much. I am confident that you pray for us. God bless you more!
Dok Elma,
Ganta United Methodist Hospital
Nimba County, Liberia (West Africa)
Please Note
Please turn in all submissions for next month’s Parish Post newsletter by July 20.
Please click on the "check your calendar" icon to the left to be taken to our up-to-date July calendar.
Sunday Service Schedule
July 3
“I Pledge Allegiance”
Romans 7:15-25a  
July 10
“Sowing Seed Is Never a Waste of Time”
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
July 17
“The Three R’s of a Spiritual Life”
Romans 8:1-17
July 24
“When the Going Gets Tough”
Romans 8:18-27
July 31
“If God Is For Us”
Romans 8:28-39
 July Anniversaries:
10 Dave and Alice Schlundt
11 Billy and Tracy Donner
12 Josh and Joy Ackerman
14 Gary and Gayle Martin
17 Steve and Theresa Terry
19 Joe and Helen Heward
28 Erwin and Mary Klug
31 Dave and Marcia Hess
July Birthdays:
Pat Dimmit
Dorothy Shook
Becky Seifert
Sue Peterson
Melissa Flick
Julie Sittig
Tim Cline
Cameron Ferrell
Tom Spychalski
10 Amy Ireland
11 Aimee Seifert
15 Zimmah Fox
18 Kristen Kozel
20 Brad Bartelmay
22 Andrew Flick
22 Vivian Koebel
23 Ogden Krossovitch (85!)
24 Hannah Noble
27 Sally Frye
30 Paul Sittig
30 Steve Terry
31 Bruce Hauch
31 Brittany Jakeway