We are an Easter People and I am thankful for the many ways God shows us the power of the Resurrection in our midst. God is at work in our lives, in the places we find death and decay in ourselves, to restore us. Grace abounds, and some of us experience this more as we fully engage the conversation with God.
The past couple months have given me a broader perspective about how this Resurrection story is playing out right here in Columbia Falls United Methodist Church, as we respond in love and faith with our siblings of the Blackfeet Nation.
Iím so impressed with our communities and the generosity of people within and beyond Northwest Montana. I know weíve processed over 85 volunteers in Columbia Falls alone. I hope that some day, we will be able to put our figures together to highlight our massive mass-care response. Iíve witnessed trailers and personal vehicles packed tight for the trip over Marias Pass in all kinds of weather. Many volunteers have made a second/third trip.
We have made a multitude of ecumenical partners from all theological perspectives, including interfaith friends, as well as secular partners. Some have deployed as UM volunteers for a day or more, others have taken food and firewood to Browning, others are seeking ways to offer financial support for our efforts. Together, we can do more.
I am humbled by the outpouring of support. And, I am thankful for the United Methodist Connection and UMCOR. If I could share with the Council of Bishops, I would say, this is the way forward. There is room for hope, room for reconciliation in the way we encounter one another. My congregation has gone through many changes in the past year, and Iím delighted by those who have stepped up and given full-time hours to this work as volunteers ó all while smiling. They do so with a belief that we can love one another. Bishop Karenís preaching last summer is embodied in their steadfast acts of faith.
As we welcome newcomers and returners alike, Iím recognizing an energetic Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Itís catching on! Our theology of love is alive and well in Northwest Montana!
May you be encouraged in the word of God, embraced by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and in the redeeming love of Christ this Eastertide.
Sending love and light,
Pastor, Columbia Falls United Methodist Church
Yellowstone Annual Conference Disaster Response Coordinator