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

Newsletter 8/11 August 2011

Volume 39 - Issue #8
10:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

“LORD, you are my God;
   I will exalt you and praise your name, …
You have been a refuge for the poor,
   a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
   and a shade from the heat.” 
                                    Isaiah 25:1b,4
“Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
   and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
   do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
   your mighty acts to all who are to come.” 
                                                          Psalm 71:17-18
Shade for Future Generations
Last Sunday it was rather hot and uncomfortable in our sanctuary. I heard several comments about turning on the AC – some in jest, some more serious. As we began the service, I said I’d happily crank up the air conditioning as soon as someone handed me a check to make that happen.
For those who aren’t aware of the particulars, here are the numbers. Three years ago we solicited bids on installing air conditioning and learned that the price tag would be $25,000 – and that’s just for the sanctuary. By now the cost probably would be even higher. With the age of our building (more than 100 years old), our boiler furnance (more than 50 years old), lack of duct work, and very high ceiling, this would be a big project indeed. That’s not to say that it couldn’t be done – someday.
We’ve done other big projects before – the elevator and the restoration of our stained glass windows. And on a smaller scale – the installation of a sound system and then more recently a video system.   All of these projects got rolling and began to build momentum when the church received an estate gift. Anna Hicks, Ruth Burian, Doris Adams, Tom Shook, Herb & Nan Klinedinst – these individuals and their families decided to make generous contributions to the church they loved in order to have a positive impact on its ministry long after their lives on earth were over. It could happen again.
Have you ever considered including the church in your will? We know that the demographics of our
congregation are shifting rapidly. Thirty-five percent of our church members are over the age of 70. A generation from now our congregation will look very different than it does today. Many of our dearly loved long-time members will have entered the church eternal. We will miss their presence, their prayers, their service, and yes – their financial gifts. Now is the time to plan ahead. Through intentional, planned giving, we may be able to establish needed funds: for air conditioning or for any number of other worthwhile causes. 
A young man was asked by his elderly grandfather to plant a row of small trees all along his property line. He did the work willingly, but wondered about the timing of the project. The trees were so small and he didn’t figure his grandfather would live to see them grow into their full height. When he took a break for a glass of iced tea, he ventured to ask, “Why these trees, Grandfather? And why now?”
The grandfather replied, “I know what you’re thinking. I’ll probably never live to see these trees reach their full glory. Well, they’re not for me.” 
“What do you mean?” asked the grandson. “They’re on your property.” 
“Yes, but I mean just what I said – they’re not for me. They are for those who will come after me. It gives me great pleasure to think that years from now others will enjoy shade from these trees because I had the foresight to plant them.”
That is a beautiful thought. What legacy will you leave for future generations of United Methodists in Three Oaks – trees, air conditioning, or the blessing of “shade” in some other form? I invite you to consider how your gifts today may impact tomorrow’s ministries. We have secured some Estate Planning Guides from the UM Foundation which you may find helpful in thinking about these matters. They are available on the table in the narthex. As always, if you have questions or comments about the finances of our church, feel free to speak with our Finance Chairperson, Jim Thompson, or with me.
May God bless each of us as we give of our resources generously and cheerfully and with an eye toward the needs of tomorrow.
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.
Please click on the August picture to the left to be taken to our up-to-date online calendar. 
We share our sincere sympathy with Bill Parker at the death of his brother, Jim Parker, on July 1.
We also extend our sympathy to Joanie Davidson and Bob Flick at the death of their great-aunt Helen Dreitzler on July 23.
May the Lord comfort you at this time.
Special Music Sign-Up
We are looking for persons to provide special music in August. Many dates are still open. Please sign up in the narthex to share your talents with the congregation.
Pastor Sherri will be on vacation from Monday, August 8, to Tuesday, August 16. For emergency needs, you may contact Pastor George Lawton of Lakeside UMC at 469-8468.
Save the Date
Sunday, November 6, is the date of our annual Church Conference with District Superintendent Rev. Neil Davis. This year we will be hosting Lakeside and New Buffalo at our church. Staff-Parish Relations Committee (S-PRC) will meet at 2:00 p.m. and the full Conference will convene at 3:30 p.m.  Plan now to attend.
Walk to Emmaus
The next dates for the “Walk to Emmaus” are: Men, October 6-9 and Women, October 13-16. Both of these events will be held at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. If you would like to participate in these spiritually refreshing events, please see Pastor Sherri for more information or you can check out the website at: .
Summer All Stars
Congratulations to all our youth who were on softball and baseball All Stars this summer: Paige Barbour and Kaitlin Goodenough on RVSS 12 and under; Nettie Donner, Katharine Kersey, Emma Springer, and Madison Vollman on RVSS 10 and under; Mary Becvar, Haley Goodenough, Ella Olson, and Macey Springer on RVSS 8 and under; Alex Becvar and Andrew Bellaire on TO Baseball 12 and under. Congratulations, also, to the girls’ coaches, Craig and Kris Goodenough, Ron Kersey, and Mike Springer. If we have inadvertently left anyone off this list, please call the church office so we can celebrate your accomplishments.
Way to go athletes!
Rural Life Sunday
August 28 is a special Sunday to celebrate God’s blessings and the ministries of our small town and rural churches. On this day we will receive a special offering to provide resources for ministries in the rural and small town settings of our West Michigan Conference. The funds collected will be used for seminary training and continuing education for clergy concerning the specific needs of these churches. An insert in your worship bulletin will explain more. Please give generously.
We recently received the following note and photograph to the left of a Personal Energy Transportation Device, or P.E.T.
“Readers may remember Ernesto, in Guatemala, who built a traveling snack shop on his P.E.T. and after 37 years of crawling upon the ground as a beggar, became an entrepreneur supporting his family. P.E.T. distribution partners in Ecuador saw that photo and did the same thing. Do we have a movement started?
Requests for P.E.T.s come to us in interesting ways. A woman in Oklahoma saw an article about P.E.T. and contacted us via e-mail in Columbia, MO. Her son and daughter-in-law work in Zambia, drilling wells and doing medical work. In the area where they work a man named Joshua, 20 years old, needs a P.E.T. The son had asked his mother to do research in the U.S. for a vehicle/drawings of something like P.E.T.; they just didn’t know it existed. They are about 160 miles from our P.E.T. assembly plant at Kitwe, Zambia. We sent the information, and we are sure they will find a way to get mobility to Joshua. If people care enough, there is a way.”
Mel West,
PET MO-Columbia
Make sure you check out the nifty book and mini sample of a P.E.T. that Ray Truhn recently dropped off out in the narthex. You can also see the most recent news at two P.E.T. websites:  and
The Nominations/Leadership Development Committee met last month to begin its work of recruiting church leaders for 2011. We are especially looking for persons to serve on the Steering Team.
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.
Historical Corner
submitted by
 Eleanor Desmond
The Acorn, September, 1911
Rev. H. J. Root returns to the M.E. Church for the third year. Three Oaks people feel that they may congratulate themselves upon obtaining the efficient services of Rev. H. J. Root for another year. Not only the members of the congregation, but the other churches of the village consider Mr. Root a capable man for the position.
Rev. H. H. Harris who supplied the Three Oaks Church during Rev. Root’s recent illness was appointed to Sheridan, Michigan.
Mrs. H. J. Root, J. M. Paxson, Martha White, and J. F. Lee recently attended the Methodist Conference in Kalamazoo.
Rev. and Mrs. Root have rented the home of Mrs. Aug Vetterly on Beech Street.
The Root residence was connected by telephone yesterday. The number is 73.
Our annual church picnic will be 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!
Advent Time!
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!
Finance Update
Listed below is the General Fund income received for the month shown and the average amount needed each month. Also shown is the amount received for Special Offerings for the first half of 2011.
                             Income           Average Needed
June                 $9,426.70               $10,545.00
SpecialOfferings 2011
Human Relations          January 30, 2011           $52.00
Racial Ethnic Sunday    February 6, 2011           $23.00
UMCOR Japan                  March 13, 2011          $760.00
One Great Hour of             April 10, 2011          $127.00
Golden Cross                        May 8, 2011            $10.00
Native American                 May 22, 2011           $22.00
Gideons                               May 29, 2011         $145.00
Peace with Justice            June 19, 2011           $15.00
P.E.T.                                       ongoing              $100.00
Helping Hand                          ongoing                $60.00
Mission Jar                            when full             $359.42
Camp Scholarship                March–May          $714.00  
Nursery Makeover         January–March          $616.00             
Parking Lot                              May 2011          $225.00
Congratulations to Kerri Becktell who passed her medical board exams last month. She appreciates all of you who were praying for her as she studied.
Youth Group
Our G.R.A.P.E.S. Youth Group meets on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Anyone in grades 5-9 is welcome. If you have any questions, please call our youth leader, Julie Becktell, at 269-325-5162.
 What a wonderful time everyone had at our annual summer picnic last month. Thank you to our super hosts, Dave and Marcia Hess.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, August 17, at 7:00 p.m. We are still looking for volunteers to provide refreshments.
 Pie Bake-off
Congratulations to Rhonda Hinman who won the first annual American Pie Bake-off with a beautifully decorated red, white, and blue entry. We were sorry there weren’t more contributors this year and hope for a big bunch next time so she can showcase her talents once again.
Anyone who enjoys singing is invited to join us at our first choir practice of the year on Thursday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. Practice lasts about one hour.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass Counties is readying its program for the 2011-2012 school year and welcomes volunteers interested in participating as mentors to children 6-12 years of age. They are especially looking for volunteers for the Lunch Buddy program at both RV elementary schools: Three Oaks campus and Chikaming campus. These volunteers will spend one lunch hour per week with the same child when school is in session. For more information you may check the BBBS website at or call 1-877-367-2244 ext3#.
Hosts Needed
Academic Year in America (AYA), a not-for-profit organization, is seeking families in our area to host exchange students. AYA was founded in 1981 and has placed hundreds of international high school exchange students with American families. As a show of gratitude, AYA will donate $500 to our church for each host family. For more information or to apply, call 1-800-322-4678 or check out their website at .
New Member
On July 24 we welcomed Robert Becvar as a new member of our church. Rob lives in Galien with his children, Alex and Mary. Please extend a warm welcome to the Becvar family!
Sunday School Mission Project
Keep filling those cans for “God Smiles in Flowers” our Sunday School mission project. You can turn them in to the church office anytime this month or next month. We will be sending the money to children in Japan who suffered the terrible tsunami to purchase flowers and seeds so God can smile with them in their gardens.
Vacation Bible School
Water’s Edge United Methodist Church in New Buffalo will have “Noah’s Ark: Wet and Wild” Vacation Bible School on August 1-4, noon to 3:00 p.m. There will be exciting outdoor games, crafts and yummy snacks. For more information, or to register, check out their website at or call 469-1250.
Worship News
What a blessing to have so many people share their musical talents this summer, from instrumental to vocal. Thanks to all of you! There are still some openings left in August and the beginning of September.
With August rolling in, it is time to think of choir. Practice will begin on Thursday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. We welcome anyone who wishes to join us.
Sharon Flick,
Worship Chairperson
Dear church family,
We have such awesome youth. I am learning so much from them. I am tired but the week is going well. Could use some cool air if you want to send some our way. J
Julie Becktell
Dear my loving church,
Thank you for letting us have this epic adventure to Bay City. We are painting Mrs. Betty Seaton’s house! Also, we had a blast at the beach! J I have a tiger print from the paint.
See you soon!
Paige Barbour
Thank you for letting us come. We had a great time.
Sara Williams
You Rock! Thank you for your support. And your help.
With lots of love,
Nettie Donner
Dear wonderful church,
Thank you for letting us have fun at the mission trip.
Laura Donner
Guest Speaker
On Sunday, August 14, George Swanson will be our guest speaker. George is a member of Harbert Community Church. He is also the interim president of the Berrien County Association of Churches.
The main ministry of BCAC is the Benton Harbor Street Ministry founded in 1991. The Ministry concentrates on helping drop outs get their GED, feeds children after school as for many this will be their last food for the day, and works to link tutors and mentors with younger children in an effort to keep them in school. BCAC also maintains a website at which conveys current information on special events, including submissions by member churches; and participates on the Berrien County Health Alliance Board, interfacing with 20 organizations and departments.
We will be receiving a special offering for B.C.A.C. on this morning.
For Sale
Eleanor Desmond is having a Trash and Treasures Sale from Tuesday, August 9, through Saturday, August 13, 10 – 7 each day. Stop by her house at 201 East Sycamore Street to check it out.
Play Ball!
Congratulations to Duane Below who has been pulled up to the major leagues as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. He made his big league debut on July 20, one of the hottest days of the summer, with a contingent of Three Oaks fans present. Duane is the long-time boyfriend of Amanda Ireland. He has worshipped at our church several times, especially during the holidays. Check out a great article about him on our church bulletin board.
Thank you to our volunteers who helped at the Mobile Food Pantry on July 26: Pat Dimmitt, Dana Hammons, Doreen Hammons, Judy Ross, Jenny Williams, and Pastor Sherri. Working with others from the Gathering, Real Life Community Church, St. Mary of the Assumption Church, and the Rotary Club, set up went very quickly. Thanks for your time!
Dok Elma’s e-musing
July 2011
Did I tell you I was born with a minor visual defect? It’s astigmatism – a defect in the lens of the eye which results in distorted images. Mine is mild. An ophthalmologist said I have adjusted so I don’t need to wear corrective lenses. But added years also bring about presbyopia (long-sightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye). I noticed this when I became aware that I prefer my OR table to be much lower than usual…. I now use a +1.5 reading glass. Then came the transition spectacles where I can have lenses for astigmatism on top and presbyopic lens at the bottom. But as my ophthalmologist said, it will take time to adjust to using. Major headaches prevented me from using it, so I just use my reading glass for both operations and reading. Then two weeks ago I thought of trying out my transition specs again. I couldn’t believe how everything seems so clear! My surroundings looked so clean and clear, like just after a good rain!
Ten months now since I started serving here in Ganta Hospital, Liberia. After having served in Nepal for 6 years, I know about culture shock and period of adjustment to a new work environment. It took me a year before I adjusted to Nepali culture. It was the loneliness, different food and a new language that were the major hurdles there. Here in Liberia I find a more difficult challenge. English is widely spoken but somehow miscommunication happens more than usual. There are only three MDs managing this 150-bed hospital. All three of us work as generalists managing adults and children, pregnant and barren women, and medical and surgical patients. Thank God for the fourth MD, an eye doctor, who is gracious enough to take night calls and so gives us some relief.
What I find very trying though is the CONSTANT lack of basic needs – like gauze, alcohol, soap, disinfectant liquid, gloves and cotton. Of course there’s no oxygen here. There’s only one supplier for medical oxygen in Monrovia; somehow the hospital has functioned without it for a long time. Maybe’ it’s not really that important! It really irritates me when people call me ‘Acting Chief Medical Officer’ because I know it means they have a complaint or we need supplies that are not available. Once I was called to assess a patient in the emergency room. After examining the patient I wanted to wash my hands. Thankfully there was stored water. But there was no soap! Maybe I should carry personal soap, too. And then there was a day when I didn’t bring my stethoscope during rounds in the pediatric ward. I asked for the ward stethoscope…they don’t have one because the maternity ward borrowed it! Thankfully the occasion where I stood in complete darkness while the patient’s belly was open hasn’t happened again. I am whining, aren’t I?
So aside from thinking about patients, I am burdened by ensuring that I have what I will need on hand. I am grateful that many of you have given, are sending, or are devising plans to help. One thing is sure – your help is reaching the desired recipients. God bless you more! I persist, striving when what I desire is to thrive.
I sit in the outpatient clinic twice a week. There would be succession of women wanting to get pregnant. I don’t know what to do! Then a woman walked in with visible small sores all over her body. She is very distressed because the sores were weeping, itchy, painful and smelly. In her distress she can’t sleep. Her name is Kou Bleh and she worries that she is dying. What she had was infected sores from chicken pox. I gave her some medicine and assured her that it wasn’t serious, that her skin will recover. After three weeks she came back all smiles and thankful. So thankful that she told me “I’m her friend.” She wanted to take me to her garden (field for planting crops). While I would rather rest on my spare time, I finally agreed because she was persistent. Plus, she wanted to show her gratitude. We set out one Saturday afternoon, walking into the interior bush for almost an hour. Her garden was bordering Guinea, and she has maize, eggplant, pepper and cassava. On our way to the garden, Liberians along the way were expressing their surprise that a ‘white woman’ should be going into the bush. Kou proudly would say that I am a doctor and that I am her friend. One couple even came over to shake my hand and thank me for coming to the bush and for making Kou better. Kou harvested some produce for me to take home. On our walk back to my house, in the middle of bush land, it became clear. It was like I have put on my transition specs – it became clearer! With all those trying days, this one afternoon has readjusted my focus. God has called me here to minister to one woman – help restore her to health and some happiness. (I had a picture of Kou but my mobile phone quit on me before I was able to download the picture.)
Then there was another woman I met at the clinic, she had skin irritation under her breast. She was told she had cancer. She is understandably distraught; cancer is an instant death sentence here. There is no chemo or radiation therapy available in the whole of Liberia. There’s not even a laboratory facility to process tissue samples for biopsy specimens. I assured her that it wasn’t cancer and that it’s just allergic contact dermatitis due to wearing under–wire brassieres. After two weeks of medication, she came back much improved. She was asking for my phone number because her brother wanted to talk with me. “Sorry, I don’t give out my number – only for emergencies.” The following day the hospital administrator called me aside to tell me he had a visitor who is thankful for the ‘white doctor’ who made her feel better even before she had any medicine. It turned out that the brother who wanted to talk with me is an Associate Justice of The Supreme Court of Liberia. There went my chance to speak to an important person!
This morning in church I struggled to hear what we were singing. The keyboard plays a tune, the drums gives a different beat and the worship leader is barely audible. Everyone was clapping and singing something. I couldn’t figure out if it was English or some other language. I can’t see any order; it’s all confusion for me. Then I remembered the Psalms telling us to ‘make a “joyful noise unto the LORD.” It didn’t say make beautiful music. Surely worship is for Him and I am there to worship and not to be entertained. I couldn’t say the rest of the service got better, but I had my message then and there. Worship is all about God and not me!
Just like using my transition specs that gives me a headache. I need to get used to using it, pushing it up my nose often because it slides down and I’m out of focus. My striving to thrive in Liberia has to be purposeful and deliberate. There’s a song that talks about having the Father’s eyes. I believe I need to acquire my Father’s eyes by wearing Kingdom Spectacles. Thank you for all your love and support. I am comforted and assured that God is near. Please keep on praying for me.
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 August 20.
Sunday Service Schedule for August, 2011
August 7
“Finding Plenty in the Midst of Scarcity”
Matthew 14:13-21
August 14
“Jesus and the Methodist Woman”
Matthew 15:10-28
"Don’t Look Down”
Matthew 14:22-33
August 28
Rural Life Sunday
“Dare to DV8”
Romans 12:1-8
August Anniversaries:
10 Rick & Bekah Martin
16 Steve Shimek & Lil Lewis
19 Dan & Lisa Henrich
20 Ken & Karen Seifert
28 Ed & Elna Rogers
30 Mark & Sue Peterson
 August Birthdays:
4 Tracy Donner
7 Rose Covert
7 Chuck Sittig
8 Jason Flick
8 Cheryl Thomas
10 Jessica Kersey
10 Kevin Seifert
11 Jennifer Gedert
11 Daniel Vollman
12 William Beer
12 Kenneth Seifert, Sr.
12 Amanda Shriber-Green
15 Rebekah Martin
18 Amy Vollman
20 Julie Flick
22 Dana Hammons
24 Angela Hauch
24 Betty Smith
27 Williw Logan
27 Susan Seifert
28 Barney Fay
29 Paige Barbour
29 Sue Rubeck
30 Debby Springer
30 Jack Vanzine
31 Doris Krossovitch