Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
The Parish Post
Volume #39 - Issue #12
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
“A shoot will come up
      from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots
      a Branch will bear fruit.” 
                                    Isaiah 11:1
The Ultimate Christmas Tree
Last summer our family took a vacation to northern California. We saw many beautiful and interesting sights in San Francisco and in Yosemite National Park. My favorite spot was Mariposa Grove, home of several giant sequoia trees. The oldest such tree, called Grizzly Giant, is more than thirty feet wide at its base and 210 feet tall. A single branch is seven feet in diameter. It is estimated to be 1,800 years old! One feels very small and very young standing next to this natural wonder. 
Seeing Grizzly Giant made me think of the verse above from Isaiah 11. It is a text commonly used during Advent. A word of prophecy pointing to the coming Messiah, using the language of trees.
You see, the Messiah was to come from the family of David (Jesse was David’s father). That was a very great family – well-known to Jews everywhere. However, the royal line of David had been cut off and chopped down by the Babylonian exile.
Yet, God had big plans for that stump. Isaiah prophesied that new life would spring forth from it. As great as the family of David had been, God had something even greater in store. Out of these ancient roots would come a shoot – the Messiah. Because of him, the people would once again experience life and vitality. Through him, they would bear much fruit.
Old Grizzly Giant in Mariposa Grove sprouted out of the ground just a couple of hundred years after the birth of Christ. I have no way of knowing if it will still be around in another 2,000 years. Perhaps it will be reduced to nothing more than a stump. 
One thing I know with certainty. The shoot which sprang forth from the stump of Jesse is still going strong. New life, new hope, came into the world through the birth of the Messiah. He is the ultimate Christmas tree – ever green, ever growing. 
If there are days when your life seems to resemble that of a stump, take heart. Our God specializes in miracles. Through Christ, new life may yet burst forth from those places that seem dead and without hope. 
May this Advent season be a time of growth and fruitfulness for each of you.
Pastor Sherri
Click on the praying hands to the left to be taken to our up-to-date prayer list.
Click on the nativity scene to the left to be taken to our current calendar.
We extend our sincere sympathy to Bob Tatina at the death of his brother, Ken Tatina, on October 24.
May the Lord give you comfort in your grief.
Church Conference Report
At our annual Church Conference meeting on Sunday, November 6, a presentation was made about a possible merger of the three UM congregations in our area (Three Oaks, New Buffalo, and Lakeside). If you missed the Conference you may view this Power Point at:
Following the presentation, a motion was made to form a Task Force to explore this issue more fully, with each church being represented by three members of their congregation.
Written ballots were collected and these vote totals were recorded:
            Three Oaks                                16 yes, 0 no
            Water’s Edge (New Buffalo)      31 yes, 0 no
            Lakeside                                     5 yes, 2 no
Following passage of this motion, our District Superintendent, Rev. Neil Davis, asked for volunteers to serve on such Task Force. Individuals named to serve are as follows:
            Three Oaks:      Julie Becktell
                                      Rick Cooper
                                      Ron Petro
            Water’s Edge:   Denny Fryman
                                     Jennifer Joseph
                                     Jack Kennedy
            Lakeside:          Christine Budak
                                     A.T. Smith
                                     Wendy Lindquist
At the first meeting of the Task Force on November 16, Denny Fryman was elected as chairperson and Julie Becktell was elected as secretary. Over the next few months this group will be busy collecting information in order to bring back an official recommendation for all members of each church to vote upon. Please hold the Task Force in your prayers as they do this important work.
Save the Date
Leadership Development Day & District Conference will be held Saturday, January 14, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Stevensville UMC. Guest speaker, Rev. Benton Heisler, Director of Connectional Ministries, will talk about the Vital Church Initiative. Workshops will be offered on: SPRC Basics, SPRC Advanced, Trustees, Spiritual Formation, Missional and Attractional Churches, and Discipleship.
Dear Pastor Sherri,
On behalf of the Rotary Club, I wish to thank you for extending a gracious welcome to us in providing the church’s meeting room for our weekly meetings.
As we grow and mature as a viable Rotary Club we anticipate successfully completing community projects and good works which will greatly benefit our Three Oaks Region.
Thank you and please accept this small token of our appreciation.
J. Patrick Yoder, President
Rotary Club of the Three Oaks Region
Congratulations to Ben Bartelmay who ran the Chicago Marathon on October 9 along with 45,000 other runners. He finished with a time of 4 hours and 37 minutes. There is a picture of him posted on our church bulletin board.

Ben’s proud mother (Pastor Sherri) intended to share this news with you last month, but due to her increasing forgetfulness since turning 50 J she forgot to include it.
Cookie Walk
Our eighth annual Cookie Walk will be held on Saturday, December 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We hope members of the congregation will share donations of homemade holiday cookies in many varieties. Please bring these to the church by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 2, and mark the type of cookie they are. Cookies will sell for $7 per pound.
We have once again prepared a book of meditations to help you celebrate the Advent season. Following the theme “Generations,” this year’s book includes reflections from grandchildren, children, parents, and siblings of our church members. Pick up your copy in the narthex. A requested donation of $2 per booklet is being received to cover the costs of printing.
Thank you to Faye Sittig for coordinating the project and for assembling the booklets. Thanks to everyone who was so gracious to write a devotion.
Pageant Update
Congratulations to Heather Rowlison who was crowned Miss Three Oaks/River Valley last month.
Congratulations also to Lexie Olson who was crowned Miss Teen Three Oaks/River Vally. Lexie is the daughter of Carlton and Meagan Olson, granddaughter of Danelle Springer and great-granddaughter of David Springer. We also congratulate her court: First Runner-Up Alexandrea Altman, granddaughter of Ruth Cline; and Second Runner-Up, Paige Barbour, daughter of Jon and Deb Barbour. 
Congratulations are also in order for Emma Springer, who was crowned Little Miss Three Oaks/River Valley. Emma is the daughter of Mike and Nikki Springer, granddaughter of Debby Springer, and great-granddaughter of Dorothy Schwark.
Congratulations as well to contestants Katharine Kersey, Ella Olson, and Madison Vollman who all looked very lovely. 
Tree Lighting
Get in the Christmas spirit by attending the tree lighting in Three Oaks! Join the community on Sunday, December 4, at 7:00 p.m. in Carver Park (the corner of Ash and Elm Streets). Following the lighting of the tree and caroling, cookies and hot chocolate will be served at the Three Oaks Fire Department, provided by our Sisters in Faith.
Historical Corner
submitted by
Eleanor Desmond
The Acorn, December, 1911
The Acorn one year subscription would be a practical Christmas gift.
The Ladies Aid Society annual bazaar will be Tuesday, December 12. Art goods direct from Japan will be available. Hand paintings on wood shavings, lacquer-ware and water colors. Priced $.15 to $.85. A chicken pie supper will be offered.
Rev. Walter McIntire, father of Mrs. Root, from Hartford, Connecticut will fill the pulpit next Sunday.
The M. E. Sunday School Christmas cantata will be Friday evening, December 22.
Sisters in Faith,
Thanks for the care package. It was very thoughtful.
Ben Bartelmay
Sisters in Faith TOUMC,
Thank you very much for my care package. The cookies were delicious and I use my writing pad all the time for grocery lists.
God Bless,
Troy Robertson

Our Youth Group is meeting every Sunday during Sunday School and on Monday, December 5, at 7:00 p.m.   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.
Help Needed
Our Trustees are looking for a reliable person to shovel the church sidewalks this winter. We are able to pay $15 per time, though we will not desire shoveling be done every day. If you or someone you know is interested in this job, please contact Trustee chairperson, Doug Hinman,at 756-7560.
Winter Address
Please make a note of Marge Vidal’s winter address:
Margaret Vidal
1610 Sonny’s Way
Hollister, California 95828
Holiday Party
First Congregational Church (108 East Ash Street) is hosting an Inter-Faith Community Holiday Party on Sunday, December 11, at 5:00 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by “Keyz & Squeeze” (A Unique Musical Ensemble) featuring Jackie Peck and Robbie Sims. There will be a Christmas carol sing-a-long, games for the entire family, and a light buffet supper with coffee and bunch. Free will donations will be accepted. Please RSVP by December 3 to 756-2011 or 269-820-2037.
Christmas Eve
Our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 24. Invite your family and friends and come to worship the newborn King!
Christmas Day
Our worship on Christmas Day will a service of Lessons and Carols incorporating the beautiful music and Scripture readings of the season.
Harvest Dinner
Seventy-five people enjoyed a wonderful meal last month at our Harvest Dinner. Recipes for the dishes prepared by our Fellowship Committee are available in the narthex.
Winter Sports
Best wishes to these athletes as their winter sports season gets underway:
Sam Bartelmay             NB Varsity Basketball
Tom Bartelmay             Indoor Soccer
Dana Hammons            Travel Volleyball
Paige Barbour              RV MS Basketball
Alex Becvar                  RV MS Basketball
Andrew Bellaire           RV MS Basketball
Kaitlin Goodenough     RV MS Basketball
Lexie Olson                  RV MS Basketball
Kyle Seifert                  RV MS Basketball
Annette Donner            Three Oaks Basketball
Katharine Kersey          Three Oaks Basketball 
Madison Vollman          Three Oaks Basketball
Amy Vollman                Three Oaks Basketball coach
Sisters in Faith
Sisters in Faith are planning their annual Christmas party on Tuesday, December 13, at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at the home of Dave and Marcia Hess (16193 Gardner Road, Galien). Please sign up in the narthex so we know how many to expect and what dish you will bring.
Don’t forget your Secret Sister’s gift (if you have one) and a wrapped gift for our adopted family. See Faye Sittig at the Cookie Walk to sign up for what you will bring for this family.
Mark Your Calendars
The River Valley Ministerial Association will sponsor a community Advent Service on Sunday, December 4, at 6:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church (108 East Ash Street). An offering will be received for the RVMA to assist people in need. Plan now to attend this service marking the beginning of the Advent Season with your friends and neighbors.
Christmas Flowers
The Worship Committee is once again making poinsettias available for purchase. The colors available are: red, white, pink, burgundy, marble (leans to white with pink marbling), and jingle bells (red with pink and white specks). The cost is $7.50 per plant.
Order forms will be in the bulletin each Sunday until all orders are due on December 4. Please include your payment with your order. You may take your plants home following our worship service on Christmas Eve.
Weather Closings
As winter is upon us, we are making preparations for the possibility of bad weather. Usually, we will have Sunday services if Pastor Sherri can manage the drive. However, if we should decide to close, this information will be posted on, TV channel 22; and, TV channel 16. You can go to these websites and have closing information automatically sent to your cell phone or via email. On weekdays, the church office will be closed if River Valley Schools are closed.
Please use caution when venturing out over these next several months. We want everyone to stay safe!
We are looking for volunteers to provide refreshments after our worship services. Sign up in the narthex if you will help.
Sunday School News
Our Sunday School children’s program will be held on December 18 during the morning worship service. The program will feature songs and a skit “’Twas the Night Before.”   Please put this on your calendar now and plan to invite your family and friends.
Special Giving
Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton invites all United Methodists to give a special offering during the Advent season to children who are in need around the world.    This year he has designated a life-saving mission called Spring United Methodist Center near St. Petersburg, Russia, as the recipient of our Advent gifts. The Spring Center is a sanctuary for children escaping households of violence, poverty, addiction and abuse. Everyday these boys and girls receive warm food, clothing and education. They also receive the daily message that God loves them and values their lives.
We will receive our Advent offering on Sunday, December 18.
Peppermint Parade
On Saturday, December 3, join your friends and neighbors for the Peppermint Parade downtown at 11:00 a.m., then head over to the library for a visit with Santa Claus. 
Organizers are looking for Christmas carolers during the parade. Please tell Pastor Sherri if you would like to join in the singing. 
The Friends of Three Oaks will host the 5th Annual FOTOfest beginning at 11:15 in the Acorn Theater. Kids will enjoy a free lunch, entertainment and holiday songs. Winners of the annual FOTO Art Contest will also be announced.
New Position
Congratulations to Cheryl Kersey who has been named as the new director of the Three Oaks Township Public Library. She began her duties on November 2.
We are happy that Cheryl will still be working also as our church secretary. However, there has been a change in her hours. She is now in the office primarily on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you have a job that you need Cheryl to do, please plan ahead and get materials to her early in the week. Thanks so much!
Finance Update
As of November 17, 2011, the results for our 2012 Stewardship Commitment Campaign have been tabulated. There are a total of 98 giving units in our congregation. Out of this total, 47 giving units returned a commitment card this year. This is an increase of one commitment card over last year.
  • There were 11 new commitments made this year resulting in a gain of $21,030.
  • There were 16 giving units that made commitments that were more than last year resulting in a gain of $6,428.
  • There were 17 giving units that made the same commitment as last year.
  • There were 3 giving units that made commitments that were less than last year resulting in a loss of $1,400.
  • There were 10 giving units that made a commitment last year but not this year resulting in a loss of $9,500.
  • The total amount from commitments made for 2012 is $100,874. This is an increase of $16,558 more than last year.
Thank you for your commitments and the continued support to your church. You may still turn in your commitment card to the church office if you have not yet done so.
Submitted by
Jim Thompson,
Finance Chairperson
Celebrate Christmas!
LaPorte Christian Women’s Club is sponsoring a Christmas luncheon at Portofino Restaurant (3233 North State Road 39, LaPorte) on Tuesday, December 6, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Donna Sembar of Sanville, IL, will speak on “How To Have Peace of Mind in a Difficult Time.” Cost is $11 for lunch and the program. Nursery is available. Reservations must be made by Friday, December 2. Email or call Jeanene at 219-362-6867 or Gay at 269-469-3959.
Study Plans
A Bible study will be offered in the New Year on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. beginning January 15. The study is called “Developing Your SHAPE to Serve Others.” SHAPE is used here as an acronym which stands for: Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience. This small-group resource is a part of the Purpose-Driven series developed by Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is the pastor.
If you are interested in participating in the study please sign up in the narthex this month. If Sunday morning is not a good time for you, please list other times when you are available and we’ll see if we have enough people to form a second group. The first eight people who sign up will receive a free copy of the study book (because these were donated by another church). For those who sign up later, the cost of the book will be $8.
Christmas Cookie Walk
Hinchman United Methodist Church (8154 Church Street, Berrien Springs) will have a Christmas Cookie Walk on Saturday, December 10, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. There will be cookies, candy, baked goods, and tasty treats all for sale. Proceeds will benefit mission projects. For more information call 471-5492 or email
It’s a Boy!
Congratulations to Brandon and Corine Stewart at the birth of a son, Jackson Earl Stewart on November 17. He weighed 10 lbs. 1 oz. and measured 23”. The happy grandparents are Erv and Mary Klug.
P.E.T. News
Below are some notes received from Ray Truhn about a recent meeting he attended.
We arrived home last night from the annual PET International meeting in Kansas. Among the highlights of the meeting was having two missionaries attend and give an account of how the PETs have made such a difference in lives of the people they have given them to. One served in Chad for 9 years, the other the Ivory Coast. Then Saturday evening they were able to get a SKYPE connection to medical missionaries Harry and Echo Vanderwall in Swaziland. They talked to us about the PETs they have given away - about 300 PETs and how the PET helps them get the peoples trust so they can set up their clinics. They have had PETs out for over three years and some of the people drive them 15 to 20 miles a day. They are starting to replace some of the oldest PETs with the most miles on them.
During the missionaries’ talks to us, there were a lot of wet eyes in the group. Especially from the person from Chad who had worked with Med Share (a long time PET distribution partner who have distributed more than 500 PETs) and now works with 10-40 Initiative . He had many really heart grabbing stories. They both did. The one from Ivory Coast told of them taking PETs deep into the unreached areas - where he said they were so deep that they were about 400 miles beyond "the Great Commission". One of their observations is "the heart cannot taste what the eyes have not seen". They both related many heart- warming stories involving the use of PET.
Our Operations Manager, who worked for Mercy Ships for 13 or 14 years before coming to work with PET, spent a week in Swaziland this summer working with the Vanderwalls, medical missionaries of the Luke Commission, and told of the pace these doctors keep during the dry season. They need to get as many clinics in as possible before the rainy season. They start driving at 2 or 3 in the morning to try to be set up shortly after daylight and work all day long with the people and then drive back after dark, reaching their home usually after midnight. They do this at least a couple times a week plus serving the local clinics. Besides giving out over 300 PETs, they get to see first-hand how wonderful they are working in people’s lives and wanted to tell us about it. Testimonials like these were like rocket fuel to all those who heard them.
God Bless,
Ray Truhn
Galien P.E.T. parts shop
Please Note
Please turn in all submissions for next month’s Parish Post newsletter by December 18.
Sermon Series: “Open Up the Gifts of Christmas”
December 4      2nd Sunday of Advent
                         “Open Up the Gift of … Acceptance”
                         Matthew 1:18-25
December 11    3rd Sunday of Advent
                         “Open Up the Gift of … Family”
                          Luke 2:8-20
December 18    4th Sunday of Advent
                         Sunday School Christmas Program    
December 24    Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
                         “Open Up the Gift of … Yourself”
                         Luke 2:1-7
December 25    Christmas Day
                          Service of Lessons and Carols
December Anniversary:
29     Bill and Judy Ross
December Birthdays:
1       Laura Donner
2       Brooklyn Henderson
6       Bob Flick
8       Nick Hinman
8       Mary Klug
9       Autumn Ackerman
9       Kyle Seifert
10     Sheila Swanson
11     Lloyd Gearhard
11     Robin Ireland
12     Emma Springer
15     Karen Seifert
19     Cindy Jakeway
23     Ed MacGregor
27     Dolores Hinman
29     Steve Shimek
30     Judy Ross