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

Newsletter September 2011

Volume 39 - Issue #6
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds

For Previous Month's Newsletters, CLICK HERE

“There is a time for everything,
      A season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die….
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”        Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a, 11-13 NLT
Live Your Dash
After a three-year lapse, I recently started doing yoga again. Now that I am spending so much time on the computer, I get very cramped and sore through my back, neck, and shoulder. So I find that this stretching is good for putting everything back in place. 
My favorite two poses are the easy ones. “Child” pose is a matter of kneeling and then bending your head forward onto the mat. It is a good basic position for beginners. “Corpse” pose is often used at the end of a class for relaxation. It is achieved by simply lying face up on one’s mat. Not too difficult, huh?
Of course, it is what happens between these two positions that really matters in terms of working one’s muscles. It is in the middle of class that the most challenging stretching occurs.
One recent day while lying as a “corpse” and meditating, it occurred to me that this is a lot how life is. When we are born, it is without any real effort on our part. Even throughout childhood, life is fairly easy. At the end of life, we hope that our death will be simple and peaceful.
But it’s what is in the middle that really matters. That’s where the work is involved. That’s where the stretching and growing occurs. We were put on this earth for that portion between the cradle and the grave.
Maybe you are familiar with a poem called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. 
(You can purchase a framed copy of the poem at or watch a beautifully illustrated movie of the poem at
So much is packed into that. It makes me realize that much of the time I am dashing – without any thought as to how I am living my dash. However, certain life events have a way of making me more reflective. This week was one of those times. We took our oldest son, Ben, to college yesterday. It was a big step for him and a hard time for us as his parents. 
At Ben’s graduation party in June a friend of his had commented, “Your mom has been documenting your life since the day you were born!” Well, that part of my job is now over. I won’t know about every single aspect of every single day and he won’t have the camera aimed at him every time he does anything. (I thought about having a video camera installed in his dorm room, but that seemed too extreme. Ha!) 
Now it is time for our son to live his dash. No one else can do it for him. Sometimes I wish I could, but that would not be fair or right or helpful or good.
So, best wishes to Ben and all our college students as they step out into new territory. And may all who are reading this today give some thought to how you are living your dash. 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Sherri
Click on the praying hands to the left to be taken to our up-to-date Prayer List.
 Click on the pink flower to the left to be taken to our up-to-date calendar.
Congratulations to Josh and Joy Ackerman at the birth of a daughter, Lynneah Merlyn, on August 8. Lynneah weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz. and measured 19 ½” long. She joins happy big sister, Autumn, and big brother, Trey. Grandparents are Mike and Joanie Davidson.
May God bless your family at this special time!



On August 7 we celebrated the baptism of Josephine Grace Starr, the infant daughter of William Frank Starr and Jamie Jelinek-Starr.  Grace’s sponsors in the faith were her big brothers: Brady, James Walker, and William Grant. The Starrs now make their home in Linton, Indiana.


May the Lord bless your family at this special time!





We extend our sincere sympathy to Dawn Hayes at the death of her aunt, Velma Schlieter Irwin, on August 17.
We also extend our sympathy to Rob Becvar, at the death of his mother, Kay Becvar, on August 24.
May the Lord comfort you at this time.
Help Needed
We are looking for volunteers to help run our video system on Sunday mornings. Training will be provided. If interested, please speak to Doug Hinman or Pastor Sherri.
Special Music
Thanks to the following people for providing special music during our  worship services this summer: Paige Barbour, Bob Behrle, Laura Donner, Lisa Henrich, Danielle Martin, the Martin family, Martha Spychalski, Bill Swanson, and Sherri Swanson.
If you use the church building for an event (family reunion, birthday party, etc.), we ask that you please put everything back the way you found it – including the tables and chairs in Fellowship Hall. We have been having problems with this over the summer and it takes lots of time and energy from volunteers to set things right. Also, please be sure you reserve the space in advance by contacting the secretary in the office. Thanks for your help!
Forming a Faithful Future
On Christian Education Sunday, September 11, our congregation is invited to participate in a special offering for the teaching ministry of the church. Half of the money collected will support our own Sunday School ministries and half will go to other Conference education ministries. Your gifts will be used to provide a strong foundation for the children of our church who are tomorrow’s leaders. There will be an insert in your worship bulletin on this day with more information. You may use a pew envelope for your gift. Please give generously on Christian Education Sunday.
Anne Harris will have a free concert September 7, 7:00 p.m. to tape a program for WNIT at the Acorn Theater. To reserve your free tickets, call 756-3879. More information is available at or
Thank you.... 
…Elna Rogers for sewing and hanging some new pretty curtains in our church kitchen.
…Marcia Hess for taking pictures of our newer members to be used on the video screens, the online directory, and a bulletin board display (coming soon).
…Bob Behrle for making new shelves for our church nursery.
…Jim Thompson for mowing the church lawn throughout the summer months.
…Dawn Hayes for continuing her ministry of caregiving by mailing cards to members of the church family.
P.E.T. Update
Make sure to check out the Summer 2011 issue of the newsletter from P.E.T. Penney Farms in Florida, which is posted on the bulletin board in the narthex.
Also, don’t forget to stop by and check out the nifty book and mini sample of a P.E.T. that is in the narthex.
You can also see the most recent news at these P.E.T. websites: or .
Coming Soon!
The Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Sodus is sponsoring their 32nd annual Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, October 1, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds in Berrien Springs. Admission is only $1.00 and there will be over 280 exhibitors plus food vendors and a bake sale. You can check out their website at .
It’s time to start planning for our annual Chicken Dinner on Saturday, September 24, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. (or whenever sold out). Check your mailboxes at church for your tickets. If they are not picked up, they will be mailed to you. We will be collecting money and unsold tickets after church. Or you may drop them off at the church during the week. Please pay for sold tickets or return any unsold tickets by September 22.
There are sign-up sheets in the narthex on the table by the kitchenette window with various ways you can help. We count on the church as a whole to make this fundraiser successful. We are once again serving Nelson’s Port-A-Pit Chicken, homemade potato salad, baked beans, bread and dessert.  This year we are asking for cakes made in a Bundt pan or jelly roll pan (cookie sheet) because flat slices can be packed more easily in carryout meals.
This is always a fun event. If you’ve never been involved, please consider helping in some way. If you have any questions, call Rhonda Hinman at 756-7560 or the church office at 756-2053.
After 17 years of working on the Chicken Dinner (whew!), Rhonda has decided that this will be her last year as coordinator. We thank her for her tremendous dedication and hard work – year in and year out. If we are to continue this fundraiser, we will need a person (or persons) to step up as coordinator (or co-coordinators). Rhonda has maintained detailed files and she will be glad to share all information. Now would be a good time to shadow her and see how things have been done in the past. If you are interested in working on this project, please give her a call.
G.R.A.P.E.S. Meeting
Our Youth Group will be meeting every Sunday during Sunday School. They will also meet one weeknight each month, time yet to be determined. Anyone in grades 5-9 is welcome. If you have any questions, please call Julie Becktell at 325-5162 or the church office at 756-2053.
Sisters in Faith News
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 p.m. Bev Harrington and Pat Dimmitt will bring refreshments. We will begin chapter 2 of our new Bible Study “Celebrating Friendship.” Let Pastor Sherri know if you need a book. Our fall Chili Luncheon has tentatively been set for October 23.
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: .
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.
Happy 80th Birthday to Esther Thomas on September 7.
Sunday School Mission Project
It’s time to turn in your filled cans for “God Smiles in Flowers” – our Sunday School mission project. You can turn them in to the church office anytime throughout the month of September. 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. 
CROP Hunger Walk 2011
This year some 2,000 cities and towns nationwide are joining together in interfaith CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walks around the theme “Ending hunger one step at a time.” Our annual Harbor Country CROP Walk will meet at the Church of the Mediator (14280 Red Arrow Highway) on Sunday, October 2. Registration and a light lunch will be served at 12:45 and the walk will step off at 1:30 p.m. Twenty-five percent of the funds raised here in Harbor Country will go to the Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry. The rest will support projects of Church World Service. More than $100,000 has been raised in our community over the past 25 years.
Last year there were 56 walkers. This year our goal is 75 walkers. As a recruitment incentive, a challenge grant has been issued that will provide $25 for every additional walker this year up to a total of $500. Won’t you be one of these people? Pledge forms will be available soon in the narthex.
For more information about Church World Service and CROP Walks you may check out and If you have questions about our local walk speak to Mission Chairperson, Judy Ross, or Pastor Sherri.
Food Pantry
The Mobile Food Pantry will be at St. Mary of the Assumption Church on Tuesday, August 30, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help set up at 2:00. If you are available, please tell Pastor Sherri.
Finance Update
Listed below are the figures from our treasurer’s report last month.
            Income          Expense        Ave. Monthly Need
July   $9,455.50      $14,257.20              $10,545.00         
Submitted by
Jim Thompson,
Financial Chairperson
Historical Corner
submitted by
 Eleanor Desmond
The Acorn, October, 1911
Clarence Burgdifer, humorist, appears at the M.E. Church this evening, October 5, under the auspices of the High School Seniors.
The regular meeting of the Mizpah Class met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hellenga with 18 members present. Games were played and light refreshments served.
On Monday, October 9, Pastor Root and his wife were at home to members of the official board and their husbands and wives.
Trustees of the M.E. Church sold the house, Lot 139, 203 East Sycamore Street, Three Oaks, to Emma Gauss for $800.  
Good Luck!
Our church has many college students. Most of them have already begun their fall studies. We pray they will all have a great year ahead. If there are any corrections to the following list please inform the church office.
College Students Fall 2011
Ben Bartelmay              GVSU
Mike Becktell                WMU
                                                  Jeff Jakeway                 LMC
                                                  Kelsey Jakeway            GVSU
                                                 Jessica Kersey LMC
                                                  Steve Petro                  CMU
                                                  Nick Reitz                     GVSU
                                                  Troy Robertson            WMU
                                                  Morgan Weers              WMU
Open Hearts, Open Minds,
Open Doors
The West Michigan Conference Board of Church and Society will present the seminar “Being Faithful in the Midst of Conflict” in South Haven on Saturday, September 17, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is part of the “Whole Gospel for a Whole People Initiative”. Participants will seek to engage one another in civil discourse on diverse viewpoints. The cost of the day is $10 (lunch included). To register, or for more information, email Rev. John Fisher at .
Please note that we will “fall back” to our regular Sunday morning schedule on September 4. Our worship service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Sunday School will begin the following week, September 11, at 11:15 a.m.
 Dear Sisters in Faith,
Thank you for the beautiful cut flowers. So pretty. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I’m so glad this surgery is over and I actually do feel lots better. Hopefully in the next week I can be without all the pain.
Thanks to all of you,
Chris Zebell.
Dear friend of American Armed Services,
Thank you for your contribution of $110 to the Strength for Service Fund.
Your gift has enabled chaplains around the world to hand out copies of “Strength for Service to God and Country” so the Word of God can enter the hearts of service men and women.
Thank you on behalf of these courageous young men and women who fight to keep our nation safe and strong.
In name and spirit of Jesus Christ,
Larry W. Coppock, director
Strength for Service Publication Fund
Dear Rev. Swanson,
Enclosed is my donation to the Three Oaks UMC in honor and the memory of my husband, Ormand W. Frierdich. I hope this donation can be used for the maintenance and repairs needs for the church.
I also want to thank the congregation for the many cards and notes of sympathy I received.
Gertrude L. Frierdich
7805 NW 28th Pl, M-102
Gainesville, FL 32606
Sunday School
It’s time for a new year of Sunday School! Rally Day will be September 11. Our theme this year is: “All Creatures Great and Small.” Fun games, crafts, music and refreshments are being planned by our teachers.
There will again be two classes this year – one for grades Kindergarten through fourth and the other for grades fifth through ninth.
Invitations will be sent to all children on our church roster. Please feel free to invite any children in your life – relatives or neighbors, and/or give the address to Pastor Sherri so we can be in contact with them.
Thank you to our teachers for working hard on these plans. They are: Julie Becktell, Mary Behrle, Nancy Caid, Dana Hammons, Cheryl Kersey, Gayle Martin, and Rhonda Petro.
Dear Pastor and Congregation,
The Berrien County Association of Churches acknowledges and greatly appreciates your very generous donation of $85 you recently sent us.
Thank you for your support of our missions and, through your kindness, concern and consideration, we can continue the successful venture of helping ALL of God’s children.
God Bless You,
Mary Ann Hinz,
Berrien County Association of Churches
Elma’s e- musing August 2011
At 7:30 GMT, BBC Network Africa comes on my short wave radio. It features, as part of its program structure, Wise Word of the Day, which iscontributed to by listeners from all over the airwaves. At the Ganta Hospital Operating Room, I’ve heard of some “wise words” that were both funny at that moment and insightful in a bigger sense.
I was called to do an emergency Caesarean section on a woman who had prolonged labor. The baby just wasn't able to pass normally through the birth canal. It was a natural, expected and welcome sound to hear the first cry of the baby. But this baby wasn't just crying, he was bawling! The nurse-anesthetist, Saye Waylaun, said aloud, "Welcome to the world, brother. You have joined the struggle." After the operation I went to check on the baby who was continuously bawling. "Hey, what’s wrong baby?” I said. The midwife who was doing the umbilical cord care chimed in and started reassuring the newborn babe. "Don’t cry so, it’s going to be all right. You can make it. It’s not hard. Life is not hard. You will make it. Don’t cry." It’s wonderful to witness demonstrations of kindness.
Wednesday Chapel service is when people give their testimonies. It’s very common to hear Liberians thanking God for being “able to see this day” or “to be counted among the living.” After years of civil conflict and the ever present threat of diseases, Liberians are often heard to say, "It’s not easy-oh!" It is true, life here is not easy.
One Friday evening I got a call from another doctor informing me that there’s a one-day-old girl, born without an anus, and asked if I can operate. Tricky! I would love to do it; I was trained to make holes. But the procedure itself is not the most important thing. It is the pre-operative preparation, anesthesia management and post-operative care. I argued with myself - if we don’t operate the baby dies. If we operate, at least we give her a chance at life. This hospital has not managed a neonatal operation before. In fact, this will be the second case since I came here. We explained the risks to the family and they agreed. Saturday morning we brought her to the OR.
The operation took less than an hour; the defect was simple so I was able to make a hole in the appropriate place. Rev. Kathy and Dr. Daniel Dickriede, UMVIM missionaries from the East Ohio conference, were visiting at that time and were present inside the OR giving me prayer and moral support. Rev. Kathy also took pictures (photo to the left) and video of the operation which I hope to upload if I know how. For now I can only send one picture. We were rejoicing when we saw the rushing poop. But our rejoicing was short lived; the baby died that same night. Should we stop trying and just be resigned to the fact that this country cannot handle the simplest neonatal surgery? Should I start pointing fingers? Rev. Kathy asked me how I deal with my loss(es). That Sunday I sat in church alone in the midst of worshippers, away from them who know me personally, and I cry to God. I thank God for sending these two friends to help me process grief.
I am reading a book written by a pediatrician turned psychologist (Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen). She talks about us doctors being trained to deal with loss “with strength.” We are to show that we are in control of the situation and not show tears - tears being a sign of weakness. It is true - it’s not a formal training but I sort of learned it. Maybe not well enough because I still cry. But another unofficial motto is “on to the next.” You can’t dwell on one patient because there are others waiting. So on to the next we shall go.
I have a 13-year-old boy who came with a big wound behind his right knee. It was bleeding so profusely that his blood pressure was dropping. I was just starting a big case so this boy had to wait while the bleeding area was controlled by surgical clamps. Finally, I was able to assess him. I alerted the OR staff that it was a possible vessel injury. (Popliteal artery and vein running behind the knee.) The story was that he fell onto a blade and sustained the cut. Months before a covenant supporter from Folks Run, VA, sent her father's left-over medicine here hoping it might be of help. It was Heparin, a blood thinner to prevent clotting. It is not available in the whole of Liberia. Although Heparin has lots of uses in surgery, I never thought I could actually use it! Indeed, both artery and vein were completely cut and we had to join it back together (anastomosis) and the big nerves were damaged, too. Prayers goes to this boy because if the anastomosis doesn’t work, or our timing was late, then the muscle damage setting in, he is going to lose his leg. After the operation, his right leg remained colder than the left leg and I can’t feel a pulse….waiting and more prayers: For two days now, the leg is showing signs of surviving; it is warm, pink and not swelling up. Saye the anesthetist told me that he prays God will bless me and the boy. The real story was that the stepfather of the boy threw a just-sharpened blade while trying to get hold of the boy. The blade hit the boy’s leg causing the cut. Life is not easy! There is no law on domestic abuse here, no family court or social service. The police don’t interfere with domestic disputes, and there’s not even a complaint from the mother.
Now I'm not saying that you should send your unused medicine here. What I am saying is that we need to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do and then to obey. In this week’s Lectionary Old Testament reading (Exodus 1), the two Egyptian midwives weren’t asked to become something that they weren’t in order to make a difference. Shiprah and Puah have encouraged me today to just carry on with what God wants me to do. Death or life, God will grant that and it’s not for me to decide. I can cry all I need, for He loves me enough to record it and keep it in a bottle (Psalms 56:8 KJV). And don't you go worrying about me. God is giving me more than enough reason to laugh. I was seriously planning to have my hair plaid like the African braid. You know how my hair gets the brunt of my distress. But the braiders don’t want to do it and my friend strongly opposed it. So I will just color-streak my hair red. It’s the only color available here anyway. Something to look forward to!
Thank you for standing behind me and kneeling for me. I really appreciate your partnership.
       Please pray for the boy, that he might keep his leg and that he will not suffer more from the stepfather.
        Pray that we will be able to help newborn babies with simple birth defects. May we become better equipped to care for them.
         Pray for our plan to renovate the Operating Room after the rainy season. The roof is leaking and the ceiling is termite infested (also by rats & birds). Pray about how you can help us bring this about.
       Pray for peace in Liberia. There will be a Referendum on August 24, and a national election in either October or November.
Thank you for all your love and prayers.
Dok Elma T. Jocson, M.D.
Ganta United Methodist Hospital
Nimba County, Liberia (West Africa)
Here are some web sites you may find interesting:
Past emusings from Dr. Jocson thanks to the Virginia UMC Conference:
Ganta United Methodist Hospital as presented by UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
Hands of Hope
Kalamazoo District Mission Day will be held on Saturday, September 17, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Crystal Springs UM Camp (33774 Crystal Springs Street, Dowagiac). Registration begins in the Tabernacle at 9:30 a.m. The guest speaker, Rev. Mona Joslyn of Gull Lake UMC, will present “Missions as a Means of Grace”. Free lunch will be provided.

Choir practice will begin on September 1 at 6:30. I would be so excited to see some new faces along with our regular members. Practice lasts about one hour.
Thank you to George Swanson for filling in for Pastor Sherri while she and her family enjoyed vacation.
Take note – beginning September 4th church service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Let’s start the fall season with the hope of seeing a full congregation.
Sharon Flick,
Worship Chairperson
 Evangelism Event
The Kalamazoo District Evangelism Team presents: “It’s a God Thing” Evangelism Event on September 9 and 10.
Friday will be at The Old Rugged Cross Church (60041 Vermont Street, Pokagon, MI) 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The guest speaker, Cinde Lucas, an Associate Evangelist with the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists from Nashville, TN, will share her love for the Lord and gospel recording artist Sharie Conrad will inspire with gifted singing. No registration is required and a free-will offering will be taken for Sharie.
Cinde Lucas will lead a Women’s Retreat on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Crystal Springs UM Camp in Dowagiac. Free-will offerings will be received for breakfast and lunch. Lodging is available at Crystal Springs Camp for a special rate of only $15 for Friday night.  You may register for this event, and for lodging, by calling the Kalamazoo District Office at 1-800-596-0739 or email at
Lay Speaking
Our Kalamazoo District is offering two upcoming Lay Speaking Classes at Northwest UMC in Kalamazoo. The classes are free but there is a charge for books.
Basic Lay Speaking will cover both the Methodist heritage and the basics of the Lay Speaking Ministry. This class will meet 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays: September 24, October 1, and 8.
The Advanced Course, “Lay Speakers Are Accountable,” is designed for those who have already taken the basic class, but it is open to anyone who is interested. This is a study of pastoral leadership in the Wesleyan tradition.
To register, or if you have any questions, you may call Cyndi Trobeck, Director of Lay Speaking Ministries, at 269-694-5365 or email her at
Please Note:\
Beginning August 23 our secretary’s hours have changed to 1:30 – 4:30 Monday through Friday.
In Remembrance
The River Valley Ministerial Association is sponsoring an ecumenical Remembrance Service on Sunday, September 11, at 4:00 p.m. in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. It will be held at Church of the Mediator (14280 Red Arrow Highway, Harbert).
The service will follow the Taize style of worship with songs, readings and quiet times for meditation. Everyone in invited to share in this time of prayer for our nation and the world.
September Anniversaries:
6       Daniel & Doreen Hammons
11      Dennis & Nancy Comfort (40th!)
12       Doug & Rhonda Petro (30th!)
15     Dan & Julie Becktell
17     Bob & Linda Flick
19     Kenneth & Becky Seifert
22     Jim & Sharon Flick
22     Paul & Faye Sittig     
                                        28     Doug & Vera Deau
                                        28     Craig & Kris Goodenough (20th!)
September Birthdays:
2     Steven Ireland
3     Joe Heward (93!)
3     Jack Seifert
7     Esther Thomas (80!)
8     Joshua Seifert
10     Jaren Christ
 10     Ron Kersey
10     Lori Kozel
10     Steve Seifert     
                                        10     Charmaine Thompson (70!)
11     Yuriko Cooper
15     Jill Hauch
22     Austin Flick
22     Bev Harrington
22     Shirley Hoadley
23     Trey Ackerman
24     Lisa Henrich
26     Ruth Cline
27     Ellie Ferrell
27     Doug Hinman
28     Gary Brayboy
28     Bob Reitz
28     Bill Swanson
28     Kristy Vanzine
28     Madison Vollman
29     Joe Hinman
30     Eric Lee