Three Oaks United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
You Are Welcome!
The Parish Post
Volume #40 - Issue #2
11:00 a.m. Worship Service
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
You hem me in – behind and before;
      You have laid your hand upon me.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
      Where can I flee
            from your presence?” 
Psalm 139:5, 7
The Best Kind of Sandwich
It’s time once again to order Super Bowl subs. You’ll find all the details inside this issue of The Parish Post. Reflecting on sub sandwiches, my mind has been taking some interesting twists and turns. 
Likely you have heard of the “sandwich generation.” That phrase is used to describe adults who find themselves “sandwiched in” between the needs of their elderly parents and their young children. Now I don’t personally know about this squeeze. Fortunately, my parents are in good health and, on the other end, my teens are requiring less and less attention. However, in some ways, I think of myself as a “sandwich pastor.” 
By this I mean that I am “sandwiched in” between the needs of various folks in the congregation. My ministry calls me to relate to individuals who are 93, as well as to those who are only 13. That is a pretty big span to cover! And often I feel as if it is only by the grace of God that I am able to develop meaningful relationships with those at each end of the spectrum. To relate to the young, I may need to learn about new technology (think Facebook) or get more current on popular culture (television programs or musicians in the news). To relate to those who are my seniors, I may need to sit quietly and listen to stories of days gone by – from the Depression and World War II to the way our church was in the 1950’s. 
Then too, I am “sandwiched in” not only by different age constituencies but also by different personalities and groups and priorities. At times this can feel overwhelming. Yet, I remind myself that – more important than anything else – I am “sandwiched in” by God. And this is a good thing. 
As the Psalmist says, “You hem me in – behind and before.” I have always loved Psalm 139 in its entirety and especially this verse. Whereas some people may feel a little nervous about God watching their every move, for me it brings a sense of comfort. I liken it to how, when Ben was a very little boy, Brad and I used to cuddle him between us in our big bed and call the arrangement a “Benny sandwich.” He would giggle and seem very happy knowing that he had both of his parents surrounding him. He was hemmed in completely and it didn’t bother him a bit. (During the teenage years, the hovering of “helicopter parents” may not have provided so much comfort!)
So, these are some of my unusual thoughts as I prepare to order those famous sub sandwiches made by our youth. When you bite into your sandwich, say a quick prayer thanking God for hemming you in with his infinite love and grace.
Enjoy the Super Bowl!
Pastor Sherri
Click on the Praying Hands to the left to be taken to our up-to-date Prayer List.
Click on the heart to the left to be taken to our up-to-date calendar.
Congratulations to Cortney Will and Tim Ferrell at the birth of a son, Joshua Carter Ferrell. Sabra Lambert is the happy Great-Grandmother.
We extend our sincere sympathy to Bill Swanson at the death of his sister, Marjorie Kroening on December 28.
We also extend our sympathy to John Foster at the death of his uncle, Tom Longfellow, on January 5.
We further extend our sympathy to Hannah Noble at the death of a son-in-law, Donald McCartney, on January 16.
May the Lord give you comfort in your grief.
Worship Committee
A big thank you to all who helped in decorating for Christmas and then again to take the decorations down. There was a nice group for each day.
We will be hosting the Ash Wednesday Soup and Service on February 22. Once again we are asking for your help in making crockpots of soup and desserts, or a cash donation for bread, punch, etc. There will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex.
For Easter we will have potted plants available for sale as we have done in the past. In March there will be an insert in the bulletin for your order.
Sharon Flick,
Worship Chairperson
Church Camp
Make plans now to attend Church Camp this summer! The schedule is available online at, click on camping. Brochures are available in the narthex.
Merger Task Force Update January 10, 2012
The Merger Task Force has completed its initial work as of  the January 11th meeting in Three Oaks. Since the last update Lakeside UMC has withdrawn from the process as they felt there would be little if any support from their congregation.
The committee met seven times between November 16, 2011 and January 11, 2012, and much has been accomplished. If we were to present a plan today we could tell you the following:
What the joint assets of the two congregations are as of 12-31-11
What the joint operating budget might look like
The level of dollars saved as a result of the merger that could be reallocated to mission or other purposes
When we would start joint worship
Where we would hold the joint worship
The remaining significant issue is where we would recommend building a church as a permanent home for the combined congregations. This initially seemed simple – somewhere on US 12 on the Three Oaks side of I-94. All committee members agreed that this is the right area but we have found the cost of real estate in that area to be overly high (at least outside of our potential budget) related to speculation for expansion of Four Winds Casino. There are other issues as well including potential environmental issues with some properties and a regulation requiring any business with a liquor license to be at least 500 feet from a church. Since the casino speculation involves properties that would likely include a liquor license no one wants to split off 4-6 acres for a church. These issues severely limit the remaining options.
We continue to investigate other options and still hope to be able to bring a final plan to both congregations prior to the end of March. Both Three Oaks and Water’s Edge will have one or more meetings to discuss any such plan with appropriate notification of any informational meetings.
Denny Fryman, Chair
Merger Task Force
Free Lenten Materials
There are many free Lenten materials available on the table in the narthex including prayer booklets on several themes. Please help yourself.
Congregational Meeting
The Merger Task Force has been hard at work since November gathering information. Representatives are now eager to discuss their progress with the congregation. To this end, we plan to hold a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, February 19, in Fellowship Hall following the worship service. After a brief presentation by Task Force members, there will be a question and answer time about their vision.
The purpose of this meeting is to provide information and begin this important discussion with a wider audience. There will not be a vote taken at this time; nor will it be a time for affirmative or negative comments about the merits of merging. If the decision is made to proceed, a vote will be scheduled at an official Church Conference to be held later in the spring. We hope you will be able to attend and share in this learning session about the potential future of our churches.
Take the PATH to Better Health
PATH (Personal Action Toward Health) is a 6-week workshop that teaches practical skills for living a healthy life with an ongoing condition. It was developed and tested by Stanford University and is designed to complement your current medical treatments. This class is free and will be offered at Help for Southwest Michigan (16170 Red Arrow Highway, Union Pier) on Tuesdays beginning January 31 and continuing through March 6, from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. To register call Julie at 269-982-7759 or Tracy at 1-800-442-2803.
Trustee News
Our Board of Trustees met last month to organize for the coming year. These persons were elected as officers: Dave Hess, chairperson; Doug Deau, vice-chairperson; and Jayne Payne, secretary. The group is planning an all-church Work Day on Saturday, March 24. If you have suggestions of things that need attention around the church, please speak to one of our Trustee officers.
Thanks to George Frye for plowing our church parking lot as needed and to Clay Frye for donating salt for our sidewalks.
Church Finances De-Mystified
In recent months, a few people have asked questions about our church financial system. So that everyone is “on the same page,” it seemed appropriate to give an update here about the processes we use and the people who are responsible for these matters.
First of all, the people who are involved: Our church treasurer is Ruth Cline. She has done this job as a volunteer for ten years and we owe her a debt of gratitude. This past year our Nominations Committee approached 14 people in our congregation asking them to take over the position. Since all of these individuals declined, Ruth has agreed to continue temporarily so as not to leave us in the lurch. However, we will need to address this situation once again in the coming year. Anyway, Ruth is the person who pays out money – salaries and bills. She prepares a monthly report and these are distributed to members of the Church Council. Sometimes extra copies of the report are placed on the table in the narthex or pinned on the bulletin board. If you would like to see one, just ask. 
Another person who has a major financial responsibility is Rhonda Hinman. She is our financial secretary, which means she takes in money for the church. As such, she is the one who records all offerings to the church and any other income from rent, fundraisers, or conference reimbursement checks. Rhonda counts this money each week along with someone else. Her usual helper is Ogden Krossovitch, though sometimes Ruth Cline or Jim Flick or someone else will serve as a substitute. 
We always have two people counting the offerings. Rhonda enters the giving totals for each family on the church computer. This is why you will sometimes see her working in the church office, though she does so as a volunteer. Rhonda has her own password for the computer system. The pastor and the church secretary have nothing to do with recording offerings – though because not all church members seem to understand this, people do occasionally hand them money and ask them to get it to the right place. Rhonda prepares year-end statements for all who give offerings to the church, and sometimes she prepares them quarterly as well. At any time, if you are wondering how much you have contributed in a given year, you can ask her and she will look it up.   Rhonda also distributes offering envelopes to all who desire them. Because we have to order 100 sets of these, we always have extras available for your use. Just ask. It makes it easier for our counters if you do have a number assigned to you. Rhonda has held this position for 13 years and she, too, does a great job.
Overseeing all financial operations is the chair of our Finance Committee, Jim Thompson. He has held this position for 2 ½ years since the passing of LaVern Noble. Jim reviews the monthly reports made by Ruth and Rhonda. He makes sure all the figures add up, asking questions as needed. He keeps an eye on our cash flow, noting when items go over budget and when our income is not keeping pace. He reports such matters to the congregation through The Parish Post newsletter (monthly), to the Church Council (bi-monthly), and to the Church Conference (annually). He also arranges for an annual audit to be completed of the church’s financial records.
Each year the Finance Committee draws up a proposed budget, taking into consideration salary recommendations made by the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and requests made by any other committees of the church. Such numbers usually need to be submitted to the Finance Chair by August or September of the previous year. The full budget is then voted on by the Church Council. Our 2012 budget will be voted on at the next meeting scheduled for January 25 and then made available to the whole congregation. The figures which are being proposed are posted currently on our church bulletin board. Our anticipated total budget for 2012 is $128,473. This is an increase of one and a half percent over the previous year. There are several large line items in the budget over which we have no control. In particular, the cost of health insurance ($10,556) and our Ministry Shares (formerly called apportionments) which are sent to the conference. Our Ministry Shares for this year are set at $17,516. In 2011, we paid just 75% of our Ministry Shares. With the start of a New Year we are hoping to do better. Furthermore, the conference sets a minimum salary that we must pay our pastor and we have remained at this minimum level with only a modest increase of $205 for the coming year. We are not allowed to pay our pastor any less than this – unless we choose to receive a non-seminary trained, non-ordained pastor or we share a pastor with another church or churches.
Hopefully, the description provided here will shed light on the subject of church finances for those members who have not previously been involved in leadership. If you have questions or concerns, please ask. We strive for complete transparency in this area and we desire that all members have confidence in how financial matters are handled.
We are looking for volunteers to provide refreshments after our worship services. Sign up in the narthex if you will help.
Marriage Encounter Weekend
Enjoy a mid-winter getaway – a Marriage Encounter weekend! You and your spouse can rekindle your relationship at a United Methodist Marriage Encounter on February 24 – 26 in Romulus, Michigan. For more information, visit
Sub Sale
The G.R.A.P.E.S. youth are currently taking orders for sub sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday, February 5.
Subs can be ordered in either 6" for $6.00, or 12" for $9.00 (best value). You can choose from the following ingredients: turkey, salami, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. Pre-payment is not necessary.
If you would like to order a sub, please see any youth member, Julie Becktell or Rhonda Petro.
All proceeds will be used for the youth mission trip in 2013.
Sisters in Faith
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 15, at 7:00 p.m. Our Bible Study will be led by Rhonda Hinman. Please read lesson 3 of “Celebrating Friendship.” If you would like to help with refreshments, please contact Robin Ireland.
Historical Corner
submitted by
Eleanor Desmond
Acorn, February 1912
District Superintendent M. L. Fox of Niles was present at the farewell sermon of Rev. H. J. Root Sunday evening. A good sized delegation of the Three Oaks friends were at the train station Monday morning to bid Mr. and Mrs. Root and son, Donald, farewell.
Sunday is Anti-Saloon Day.
Rev. Floyd Maynard is the new Methodist minister. He is not married and will board with Mrs. Martha White.
The Methodist Sunday School has 79 male members and 95 female members.
Scrapbook Party
If you are interested in scrapbooking, card making or any paper craft, bring your supplies to Fellowship Hall on Saturday, February 25. We will be working from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you would like to join the fun, be sure to sign up in the narthex. You may also contact Rhonda Petro or Rhonda Hinman.
R.E.L.C. Sunday
The Mission Highway is not a one-way street. It’s a multi-cultural, multi-colorful path that brings people together in community and in ministry. There are 17 racial-ethnic local churches in West Michigan. The West Michigan Conference Racial Ethnic Local Church Committee and the Commission on Religion and Race are working together to raise awareness and develop strategies for building relationship with our Hispanic/Latino neighbors. Your support for Racial Ethnic Local Church offering will help support our current Racial Ethnic congregations and equip all of our churches to build healthy relationships with our neighbors in a changing world.
We will be observing RELC Sunday on February 5. There will be an insert in your worship bulletin explaining more about this special offering. You can contribute anytime this month by using a pew envelope for your gift.
Chilly Night Chili Night
Always a great social event for the River Valley School Community, Chilly Night Chili Night will be held at River Valley Middle High School’s cafeteria on Thursday, February 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!
Bishop’s Day
Our Kalamazoo District presents Bishop’s Day 2012 on Saturday, March 3, 9:30 a.m. – noon, at Chapel Hill UMC in Portage, Michigan. Mark your calendar today!
Global Health will be the day’s focus. More details will be available soon.
Voice of the Martyrs – Blankets for Sudan
Thank you for all your donations of new and gently used blankets. These will be sent next week to refugees in Sudan, many of whom have been persecuted for their Christian faith.
Join Us!
A new Bible Study will be held during the season of Lent beginning on Sunday, February 26, from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in the pastor’s office. We will use the book “24 Hours that Changed the World” by Adam Hamilton. Books cost $12.
No single event in human history has received more attention than the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. In this book, Adam Hamilton guides us through the last twenty-four hours of Jesus' life. Each chapter is designed to help the reader experience and understand the significance of Jesus' suffering and death in a way you have never done before. Whether readers are long-time Christians or simply curious about the story of Christ's crucifixion, they are invited to join the author in retracing the last 24 hours of Jesus' life.
Please sign up in the narthex.
Finance Update
Listed below are the figures from our November and December  Treasurer’s reports.
                        Income           Expenses             Average Monthly Need
November      $9,741.25        $7,582.17               $10,545.00
December     $11,428.29       $10,506.52              $10,545.00
                         Income         Expenses                Shortfall
2011 Totals   $112,356.87    $118,460.31           $6,103.44
General Fund Balance as of December 31, 2011 is $10,999.11.
Submitted by
Jim Thompson,
Finance Chairperson
Meetings & Rock-A-Thon
There were 23 youth at the Rock-a-thon, Friday January 13. They collected pledges to stay up all night and rock in chairs. They played games, watched movies and completed challenges all while remaining in their rocking chairs. Participants were: Paige Barbour, Alex Becvar, Andrew Bellaire, Laura Donner, Annette Donner, Grant Fadden (NB), Kaitlin Goodenough, Braxton Habel, Miles Haskins (NB), Sara Jurak, Rose Keefer, Andrew Keller (NB), Emily Keller (NB), Katharine Kersey, Rylee Lonske (NB), Sotiri Margaritis (NB), Lexie Olson, Cameron Seifert, Kyle Seifert, Samantha Sokolowski, Sophia Trent, Amber Weers, and Madison Whitlow,
A big thank you to all who loaned rocking chairs, and/or sponsored a youth member. So far the youth have collected $346.00. Pledges are still coming in. If you would like to donate, please see Julie Becktell or Rhonda Petro. All proceeds will be used for the youth mission trip in 2013.
Our Youth Group is meeting every Sunday during Sunday School and on Monday, February 13, at 7:00 p.m. 

Special Offering
On Christmas Eve we collected $449.50 for missions. This offering was evenly divided between Dr. Elma Jocson, United Methodist missionary doctor in Liberia, and the Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry right here in Three Oaks. Thanks for sharing the love of Christmas with others!
Emmaus Walks
The dates for the next “Walk to Emmaus” are: Men, April 19 – 22; and Women, April 26 – 29. Both of these events will be held at Three Rivers United Methodist Church. If you would like to participate in these spiritually refreshing events, please see Pastor Sherri for more information or an application or check out
Personal Energy Transportation News (PET)
December 2011
Dear members of the Three Oaks United Methodist Church,
      Thank you for your very timely donation to our work supplying various PET Affiliates with metal parts. Sometimes I think you have an elf hidden in the shop to notify you when we are in desperate need of funds. Our PET fund was bankrupt. The end of this year has turned into a frenzy of P.E.T. shops in need. To cap this off, we are again making parts for a special order for Zambia, Africa. The Zambia project, of which we are one of the suppliers, will consist of all the metal and purchased parts such as wheels, chain, bearings, etc. that will enable them to build 500 PETs at the New Life Center near Kitwe, Zambia, Africa. The New Life Center is operated by United Methodist missionaries Delbert and Sandy Groves. They will make the wood bodies for the PETs at the New Life Center and using the metal and purchased parts we send, assemble and distribute the 500 PETs at a rate of about 50 a month. These PETs will be distributed mostly in Zambia and D. R. Congo, some may find their way into other neighboring countries. There is an endless need in this part of the world and most PETs are spoken for before they are finished with assembly. Many of the requests for PETs are in a year ahead.
      It’s been a busy year and the requests for parts keep coming. We are losing the discount we have been able to use off and on over the past several years in shipping PET parts to various places in the United States. As of right now, we don’t have another to help fill that void and shipping costs will rise. Steel costs are constantly rising.
      Among other places in the U.S., I think it’s rather interesting to note that we ship parts to PET shops in three of the four corners of the country. In the northeast, we send parts to a PET Affiliate in Maine run by a local Lions club. In the southeast, we send to two places in Florida, Jacksonville and Keystone Heights. Both church backed. Jacksonville is a full PET affiliate and Keystone Heights is somewhat of a freestanding satellite of Penney Farms and sends the child PETS they make to the Penney Farms, Florida PET Affiliate for boxing and shipment. Our shipments to these two places happen monthly. In the northwest is Spokane, Washington.  We have been supplying the Spokane affiliate with several various metal parts since they became PET Affiliate #8 in 2005. This is a church-sponsored affiliate and the director has an extensive Missions background and has traveled, worked and taught in several countries including Central Asia. They put out a multi-colored PET they call the Rainbow PET. Several different colors are used in painting the PET parts and even the body has color changes in it. They use colored solid tires. The PETS actually look neat and once you have seen one, you will be able to spot one of their PETs if you ever see one in the field. They are a very dedicated group of volunteers and have built over 1,000 PETS.
      Again, a very sincere Thank You for your continued support. It is very much needed and appreciated. Every dollar went to buy steel for PETS that will not only end up in Zambia but in several other countries as well.
May God continue to bless you all,
Ray Truhn, Galien
For more information about PETs go to: or
Lenten Worship Series
The River Valley Ministerial Association will sponsor community worship services during the upcoming Lenten season. The theme this year is “The Trials of Jesus: Voices of the Prosecution.” This special series will take the form of a courtroom drama as witnesses come forward to give testimony about their experiences with the accused – Jesus Christ.  Through their accounts we will come to know the truth: Jesus came to take our place in the defendant’s chair.
“The Voice of Satan” is the first service which will be held on Ash Wednesday, February 22, at our church with a soup supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by worship at 7:15 p.m. This same schedule will be followed for the next six Thursday evenings at these locations: March 1, “The Voice of Judas” at Three Oaks Free Methodist Church (12 E. Michigan St., Three Oaks); March 8, “The Voice of Annas” at The Gathering, RCA (301 N. Elm St., Three Oaks); March 15, “The Voice of Caiaphas” at First Congregational Church (108 E. Ash St., Three Oaks); March 22, “The Voice of Peter” at Sawyer Christian United Church of Christ (corner of Sawyer Rd. and Flynn Rd., Sawyer); March 29, “The Voice of Herod” at St. John Congregation of Three Oaks (12 W. Ash St., Three Oaks); and April 5, Maundy Thursday, “The Voice of Pilate” at Lakeside United Methodist Church (corner of Red Arrow Highway and Lakeside Road, Lakeside).
One additional Holy Week service will round out the series. This will not include a meal and will be held April 6, Good Friday, 7:00 p.m. at Sawyer Highlands Church (13100 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer).
The community is invited to attend these services. 
The United Methodist Women of Water’s Edge United Methodist Church invite the members and friends of our congregation to their annual Ash Wednesday Breakfast on February 22, at 10:30 a.m. Pastor Brad Bartelmay will give a presentation to all in attendance and a light meal of homemade hot cross buns, juice and coffee or tea will be provided. Come and observe the beginning of the Lenten season by worshipping together. The church is located at 24 South Whittaker Street.
Pictorial Directory
Plans are underway for a new pictorial directory of our congregation. It has been four years since we have done this and we have many new members to include. We are planning to take photos in May and we are looking presently for volunteers to serve on the organizing committee. Please inform Pastor Sherri if you would be willing to devote some time and energy to this project.
 The Wizard of Oz
New Buffalo High School will perform “The Wizard of Oz” this month. Tom Bartelmay has the role of the scarecrow. Show times are: Thursday, February 16, at 7:00 p.m.; Friday, February 17, at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, February 19, at 3:00 p.m. There is no cost for the performance and all are welcome.
Valentine Tea
Our tenth annual Valentine Tea will be held on Wednesday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. In case of inclement weather, our “snow date” will be the following Wednesday, February 15. Cancellation notice will be aired on WNDU (channel 16) and WSBT (channel 22) television.
All the ladies of our church and their guests are invited. We hope you will be able to join us for this evening of refreshments and fellowship!
Making Room
Have you had a hard time locating your church mailbox lately? If so, it is because almost all of the boxes have been moved to make room for new families in our congregation. How wonderful that our church family is expanding! As we make room for these newcomers in our hearts, we are also making room for them in our building and in our organization.
So, hunt a little longer and you will probably find your box. In the meantime, notice the new names and see if you can identify them with a face. If you do not yet have a mailbox and would like one, just tell Pastor Sherri or Cheryl in the church office.
Dear Church Family,
Thank you for your remembrance at Christmastime. It is always a pleasure to be in this church where everyone is always so warm and friendly.
You are all great!
Martha Spychalski
Thank you to everyone in the congregation for the gracious gift of money that was presented to me at Christmas time and for the many other gifts and expressions of love shared with our family throughout the season. I am blessed to be in such a kind and caring church family.
Pastor Sherri
Dear Church Family,
Thank you so much for the gifts and kind words at Christmas (and all year)! I’m very blessed to work here!
Cheryl Kersey
Please Note
Please turn in all submissions for next month’s Parish Post newsletter by February 19.
 Worship Schedule for February
Sermon Series:    “Developing Your SHAPE to Serve Others”
February 5        Communion
                        “Developing Your SHAPE … Personality”
                        Jeremiah 1:4-8
February 12      “Developing Your SHAPE …Experience”
                        Genesis 50:15-21
February 19      Transfiguration of the Lord
Sermon Series:    “24 Hours That Changed the World”
February 26      “The Last Supper”
February Anniversaries:
12  Ron & Dee Jelinek
12  Ken & Thais Williams
21  Mike & Joan Davidson
February Birthdays:
1   Linda Flick
2   Dee Jelinek
3   Mary Behrle
4   Barb Peters
6   Mark Bellaire
7   Ayame Cooper
17 Kerri Becktell
17 Emma Seifert
19 Matt Caid
20 Mark Seifert
25 Gayle Martin
26 Jon Barbour
26 Nick Reitz
26 Alexis Renbarger