A bimonthly newsletter for members and friends Sep / Oct 2020 Issue #5
“Stranger in Phillips”
In the first Staff Parish Relationship meeting, I was asked, “What is the top priority (as a newly appointed pastor in Phillips UMC)?” Many thoughts came across my mind such as preparing worship service, continuing ministries, and creating online activities, etc. I told them, “I need to become a part of Phillips community as soon as possible.” It was my biggest concern because I came to Phillips as a stranger. I am one and only Korean pastor here. I don’t even know when you will be able to pronounce my original name Hyunwoong correctly. How long will it take to be part of this community?
It turned out my worries had all been for naught. You had welcomed me in this community even before I arrived. You quickly saw my needs and tried your best to fill my needs. You provided food for the first day with welcoming note. You filled parsonage with all the basic household furnishings as I have none (You can see pictures below on “Welcome Home”). Your gestures of welcome remind me Abraham who showed sojourners radical hospitality (Genesis 18).
Abraham saw strangers at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest time of the day. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them without a moment’s hesitation. It is strange to see his action. He didn’t wait to understand who they were. If we meet strangers, we keep the physical, social, and emotional distance from them until we understand who they are and become comfortable. But Abraham greeted them even though he wasn’t so sure whether or not they were good people. For him, they were just exhausted sojourners on a hot day. He welcomed them without any doubt or concern. Indeed, he treated them like Lord. He got some water so they could wash their feet. He made them rest under tree shade. And he got some food to refresh them on their way.
I am becoming part of community because of your hospitality. As I was exhausted in the radical transition from South Korea to Boston and again from Boston to Phillips, you showed me a radical hospitality. Through your welcoming gestures, I see Jesus who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I found spiritual rest in you. As I am filled with your love, I believe, I am ready to take an another journey in Phillips! I am looking forward to spiritual companionship with you in this new journey.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”( Matthew 11:28-30)
SPRC met on Tuesday, August 18th. This was our first meeting with Pastor Hyunwoong Hwang. Our first meeting was spent getting to know each other, discussing ministry strengths within our church, prioritizing things Pastor Hyunwoong may need to do, developing a plan for helping him become acquainted, and discussing the worship service. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23rd at 6:00.
Meet and Greets with Pastor Hyunwoong
The SPRC is in the planning phase of organizing meet and greets with Pastor Hyunwoong. We will be reaching out to members who hosted when Pastor Rick arrived. The meet and greets will be small group (socially distanced) and can be held at outside locations around town or at the homes of members. As another option, we will also work out times for individuals or families to meet with Pastor Hyonwoong at the parsonage or at the church. Please stay tuned for more information as we are hoping to get most of these done in September or early October.
Please let Kyrstin Gabay(715 339-6272 / email@example.com) know if you are interested in hosting or if you have any questions or concerns.
Wednesday Church School
With the uncertainty with the beginning of the school year, we will not be starting Church School in September like usual. Since school will not be in session on Wednesday’s, this changes our Church School schedule. We will revisit the possibility of starting Church School in the near future, and we will be in contact with families when we have a plan in place.
In the process of preparing for our 125th anniversary of the church, we discovered that it’s been a few years since we had a church historian. Thank you to Barb Nyberg, Prue Alm, Louise Zorn, Shirley Cress and others who have recorded our church’s history for the first 125 years. If you have any newspaper articles, photos of church events and/or parishioners, please submit them to Julie Olson. If you have an interest in updating the history books and/or taking on the role of historian, please let Julie Olson know.
Noisy Can News
Although we have only been back face-to-face worshiping since early August, we still collected $40 in June, $30 in July and $40 in August for our Special Sunday collections. Remember to save your spare change as you thank God for you many blessings, as our coins can be life-changing for others as our dollars are added to donations from around the world.
The June collection went to Native American Ministries. The July and August collections went to Peace with Justice which funds programs that advocate for peace and justice in the US and around the world. These programs empower United Methodists to speak out for removing structures and systems that harm God’s children globally – very timely.
Can You Hear ME Now?
Beginning August 1, the parsonage no longer has a land line, although the church will continue to have one. The land line was seldom called because our pastors use their cell phones all the time. Pastor Hyunwoong can be reached at 617-816-2077.
Cranberry Creation Booth
Due to present increases in coronavirus numbers, the church leadership has decided not to participate in the Fall Fest in September. We feel it would be irresponsible to encourage close contact in a community event at this time. We look forward to resuming those activities when it is once again safe.
Trash to Treasure
The second and third church garage sales were held in conjunction with Julie Olson’s sales in August. The first weekend the church made another $400 and the second weekend we brought in another $100. That $500 added to our $2305 from June equals $2805 .
Thank you to everyone for your generous donations. This money will go into the general fund with 10% set aside for benevolence. The garage sale is the second largest fundraiser, following the Christmas Bazaar. Last year our fundraisers covered 8% of our budget. This year, with the pandemic, we may not earn that much, especially if the bazaar can’t occur. We will keep you posted as we move closer to that time.
In addition to the financial benefit of our fundraisers, the community service we provide is important. There are many in our community who are able to have nicer items because of us sharing our abundance with them. We also care for the earth when we recycle and reuse our goods. At all our events we try to have quality goods at reasonable prices so that everyone can participate. Thank you all for supporting these events.
Someone inadvertently included a men’s ring with their donations. It’s around a size ten. If you think this may be yours, please contact Julie Olson, who is holding onto it.
Thank you to everyone who stepped up to share household furnishings with Pastor Hyunwoong. Because of your generosity, he had fewer things he needed to purchase to set up housekeeping. Please remember that unless you marked your items, they will go into the next church garage sale once Pastor no longer needs them. If you forgot to label your items, please let Julie know so that she can mark them.
Hey, Good Lookin’, what ya got cookin’?
Hopefully you’ve already heard that we are putting together a church cookbook (with a little history and humor) for sale to our membership, and possibly, beyond. We would like to assemble the cookbook in September, so we need your recipes ASAP. Please submit as many recipes as you want. They will be placed into the following categories: appetizers, side dishes, salads, breads, main dishes/meats and desserts.
If you have church food-related stories, please submit those as well. If you have ideas of other things to include, let us know. We have already had a great suggestion to feature the cookie recipes for the tasty treats we offer annually in the Cookie Walk.
If you have recipes from a former member of the church, we would like those, too. Just be sure to put the names on all the recipes so the baker/chef gets credit.
Email recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to Marilyn Hamilton and Sally Nez for offering to assist with this project.
Our Phillips United Methodist church celebrated it 125th anniversary on July 26. It coincided with pastor Rick Haberland’s final worship service with us. It was a special service in spite of the limitations imposed by the pandemic. Especially exciting was the virtual participation by all six former living pastors, five with videos and one with an audio. That included Ron Johnson, Joe Mitchell, Tim Vanden Langenberg, Sandy Hamilton, Harsha Kotian and Loretta Waughtal. It was so touching to see and hear from them all. Also moving was Pastor Rick’s farewell message “God of History.” Thank you to all who helped with the service in any way, including Jodie Kadlecek’s lovely rendition of “You Say.”
It’s been 27 years since we last did a photo directory of our church family. As a result, we didn’t have photos of us to share with Pastor Hyunwoong so he could see what we all look like sans masks. We collected photographs from some of you and assembled a quick directory for him. Since the pandemic shows no sign of waning soon, you can still submit a family photo letting Pastor see your whole face! You can email them directly to Pastor at email@example.com.
Hopefully in the near future we can do an actual photo directory!
The community garden is producing like crazy this summer. It appears that people are harvesting on their own, as was intended by the founders. Thanks to Donna Lind for heading up crews to plant, weed, harvest, and deliver produce to the food pantry. This is a great project that is mainly tended by our church parishioners.
To help ensure a warm welcome as Pastor Hyunwoong moves into the parsonage, several projects were recently completed. Some of these projects include staining of the back deck, scraping and painting of the garage, painting of the front deck railings, removal of the planter boxes in the back yard, and lots of weeding. Inside, the carpets have been professionally cleaned and touch-up painting has been done. The parsonage porch has seen the biggest transformation. The old, worn carpeting has been removed and will soon be replaced. Fresh paint on the ceiling, walls and entry door give this area a brand new look. A tremendous thank you to all who contributed time and energy in
At the church, the stained glass window repairs are looking fantastic and are nearly completed and the sign in front of the church has a fresh coat of paint. Blessings from God and generous donors have contributed to approximately half of the
funds needed to construct a new garage for the parsonage. If you are feeling called to donate to this project, please consider doing so by writing Garage Fund in the memo line of your check. It can be mailed to 141 Center Avenue Phillips,
WI 54555 or we’d love to see you in person at church on Sunday. Becky Schiling
THe Inevitablility of Change
The Inevitability of Change
John C. Maxwell once said, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” Oh, how that has been the legitimate montra of the year 2020 for many of us. Pandemics and riots and elections…. oh my. What a ride it has been this year and it is not over yet.
However, I don’t always think that change is a bad thing. In fact, change is the very thing that is going to cause society to grow or be forced to choose to remain stagnant. Change can be likened to a rock. The sun, the rain, and the elements beat upon it, and although they may shift and change form or shape what a rock is composed of doesn’t ever disappear or entirely go away, it is just simply reworked into something else. Such has been life for me as well in 2020.
At the beginning of the school year here, I was asked to be the director of student outreach, as part of Ekballo Missions; however, after talking with the directors of the school, I saw that it was necessary to form strong relationships within the Kau’ community inorder to actually be directed towards the place where there is the most need. For a while, the Lord had been high-lighting the High School in Pahala as I had been subbing there on a pretty consistent basis. One of the high school basketball coaches had asked me to help out on the team with a promise of getting me a full-time teaching job at the school.
All that to say, I ended up with a full-time teaching job at the school on a long-term substitute basis and will be continuing that job this year (but all online for now). The one thing that is really interesting to me is that I now have the connections to make the outreach portion happen, but we aren’t allowed at this point to do the outreaches with the families or kids. However, I am also aware that a day will come. I have found that during the time of the pandemic, there has been so much time to pray for our nation, communities, and our families. It has been a blessing to some degree to have some things shutdown as some families were able to get their priorities straightened out; however, I am more aware of the trauma that it has caused on our little island, especially with the kids I teach. The crew I have are considered very high risk, and they are the type of kids that would rather fail during the school year so they can do summer school to avoid being at home. Pray for my kids.
As for Ekballo School, they had to readjust a lot during the pandemic. I did whatever I could to help the students stay sane. We had three campfires a week to get the students out of their virtual bubbles. Shopping during a pandemic for six apartments was an adventure in itself, especially during the toilet paper shortage. Our apartments had a pact that if anyone saw toilet paper, they had to buy it because it was that scarce on the island for a while. Now looking back on it, it is sort of funny.
Anyway, the new Ekballo School year is about to begin again and the cherries on the trees are about to go into full bloom. I have chosen this year to move away from the student apartments in order to move into a house that is closer to my teaching job. I will still be involved in Ekballo School: leading occasional worship sets, teaching some, and occasionally doing outreach stuff with them; but my primary focus for this next season will be with the kids of Kau’ and helping them to adjust to what life has been throwing at them.
Thanks for all your prayers, support, and love.