Focus on Fall
The seasons are changing and excitement is in the air along with a sense of beginning anew. At Pleasant Grove, we’re ready for action.
Pastor Paul Klepees is reveling in this season of transformation as he urges us to listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Are you ready to answer the invitation to be God’s hands and heart in our community? Read more on page 2.
September is No Hunger Month and Pleasant Grove is answering the call with a canned food drive. Let’s Fill The Cart with canned goods this month and help feed the hungry in our community. Details are on page 2.
The calendar is filling up as we bid goodbye to summer and plunge into our fall schedule. Check out the listings on page 5 and get up to date.
Speaking of changes, Pleasant Grove is updating it’s technology to improve communication, streamline giving options and other goodies. And, we have an app! Get the scoop on page 7.
We celebrated eight baptisms in August — all young people who have made the commitment to live their lives for Christ. The moments are preserved in photos on pages 10 and 11.NextGen Minister Kris O’Neal
has some thoughts on those baptisms, sharing his joy in the youths’ faith journey. Turn to page 13 to discover why he is so excited about this coming year for Limitless and Kids For Jesus.
We have more photo stories about our innovative Pleasant Grove youth on page 14. Find out who’s behind the Free Farm Stand and join in the prayers we offer for 35 area schools.
We have several announcements for events and programming on page 16. Check out the plans for confirmation class, Christmas cantata preparations (yes, it’s already that time!), a chicken dinner and a road trip to Branson.
Some of our young Sunday Schoolers moved up into new classes last month. Catch a glimpse of them settling in with new classmates in our Ministry Highlight. It starts on page 18.
Opportunities for outreach abound this fall. Read up on some of them on page 26.
As always, dear reader, News from the Pews is your newsletter. We love your photos, so share them with us! Send photos, news and suggestions to Kathy Casteel at email@example.com and Betsy Bell at mammabell003@gmail. com. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Kayla O’Neal firstname.lastname@example.org
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
3686 State Road E Auxvasse, MO 65231 Office: 573-387-4822
Pastor’s cell: 816-752-3635
Church services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday School 10:10 a.m. Youth Bible Study 6:30–8:30 p.m.
For prayer requests, our Prayer Tree number is 573-386-2978, email email@example.com.
For announcements or Information Tree: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Called to ServiceBy Pastor Paul Klepees
As we focus on the transition to fall, we find ourselves at the threshold of change. We become enamored with thoughts of fall activities, Chiefs football and evenings by the fire pit. Just as the seasons shift, so does the rhythm of our lives. We have entered a season of building new routines, where the embrace of crisp air and the rustle of fallen leaves beckon us to rekindle our spirits and step into the work that lies ahead.
In the heart of Pleasant Grove, this is more than just a change of seasons; it’s an invitation, a calling. We stand on the cusp of exciting possibilities as we embark on a journey of discovery and renewal together. The gentle whisper of God’s voice guides us, and we respond with open hearts.
We are thrilled to launch and relaunch programs that will allow us to delve deeper into our faith and purpose. Our youth programs — Kids For Jesus and the dynamic Limitless gatherings — offer spaces where young minds and hearts can find a sense of belonging and purpose. For couples seeking to enrich their marriages, a new program awaits, ready to nurture and strengthen relationships. And there is a treasure trove of Bible studies, each a chance to dive into the Word, unlocking truths that light our path.
But this season of calling doesn’t stop at programs; it extends to service. There are countless opportunities for you to make a difference, to extend your hand in kindness and grace to those around you. For it is in serving that we find our true selves as we mirror the
FILL THE CARTCanned Food Drive
The grocery store is an expensive place to visit these days. And prices aren’t coming down any time soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts food prices are on track to increase nearly 6% this year. Even stocking the pantry with staples is a pricey undertaking.
love of Christ to a world in need.
And here’s where your voice matters, friends. The Holy Spirit has been whispering to each of us, sparking ideas as seeds ready to be sown. What do you envision for Pleasant Grove? How do you see our mission of “knowing Jesus Christ and making him known” unfolding in our community? Your ideas, your inspirations, are part of this sacred dance of transformation.
The Scriptures remind us that we are His workmanship, created for good works. Each of us carries within us unique talents, passions and dreams, woven together in a tapestry that reflects God’s grand design.
Remember that God’s call is not merely an assignment but an invitation. An invitation to become part of a larger story, to contribute to the symphony of faith that resounds through time. Let us heed that call with joy, embracing the challenge and opportunity to be God’s hands and heart in our community.
As you feel that divine nudge, I encourage you to answer the call. Reach out to the office or visit MyPGUMC.org to explore the pathways of service and involvement. Let this season be one of growth, of learning, and of living out the love of Christ in every step we take.
But September is No Hunger Month and Pleasant Grove is joining the battle to fight hunger in Callaway County. We want to Fill The Cart with canned goods this month to replenish the shelves of our mobile food pantry site at the church. Excess donations will go to SERVE, Callaway County’s local voluntary action agency.
Through our partnership with SERVE, Pleasant Grove distributes food boxes and other essentials on the third Thursday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone in Callaway County who needs help filling their pantries may sign up to participate.
Come, share the harvest.pictured left to right front: spencer, paul, gibson back: margie, ezra, and maverick klepees
FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS FOR GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND, THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.
SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED.PRACTICE HOSPITALITY.
IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!
Our new software platform strengthens connections among the Pleasant Grove family.
The tech wizards at Pleasant Grove have joined forces with Shelby Systems to bring us new and improved ways of connecting and engaging with our church family.
Launched in late August, the ShelbyNext software provides a membership and financial platform to improve communication, coordinate group activities and simplify giving. It’s an exciting opportunity to bring new resources to Pleasant Grove and streamline many of our processes.
Last month the church sent credentials to everyone with an email address in our records. If you did not receive your credentials from noreply@shelbynextchms. com, check your email spam folder. If not there, please email either the church office at admin@mypgumc. org or Pastor Paul Klepees at email@example.com and we will get you set up.
The credentials email contains a link to Pleasant Grove’s portal at MyPGUMC.ShelbyNextChMS.com.
Once you are in the software, using your login credentials, please verify your contact information under “My Info.” If you need to update anything, you can do so using the pencil icon. Peruse the groups (Sunday School classes, Bible Studies, etc.) and join any group you like. Note that the prayer tree and announcement tree are also listed, so join them too.
The directory contains current individual contact
information for all Pleasant Grove folks in the ShelbyNext database. Add a photo to your listing and check your family’s entries as well. It’s never been easier to contact others in the Pleasant Grove community! The calendar is an easy online resource for Pleasant Grove events. The “My Giving” page reflects gifts after July 2023. Records of all giving before that date are in the church’s old system.
ShelbyNext meshes seamlessly with Pleasant Grove’s very own new app, Church by MinistryOne. The Church app offers the amenities of the ShelbyNext website and so much more, all in the convenience of your mobile phone or tablet. Once installed, your ShelbyNext information will populate the app. You can explore the 11 functions of the app that cover giving options, the calendar, upcoming events to register for, the directory, groups, a sermon archive and a messaging function. Your profile in the app will match the “My Info” section of the ShelbyNext site.
Download the free Church by MinistryOne app from Google Play or the App Store. A link is also available on the Pleasant Grove website, MyPGUMC.org.
If you need help with the ShelbyNext site or the Church app, please contact the church office at admin@ mypgumc.org. Additionally, Paul Klepees, Kayla O’Neal and Suzie Baldwin are happy to answer any questions.
FOR MORE HELP
Eight young people took the plunge and were baptized at Pleasant Grove in August. Welcome to the Body of Christ!
BAPTIZED AUGUST 13
BAPTIZED AUGUST 20
IN THOSE DAYS JOHN THE BAPTIST CAME, PREACHING IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDEA AND SAYING … “I BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER FOR REPENTANCE. BUT AFTER ME COMES ONE WHO IS MORE POWERFUL THAN I, WHOSE SANDALS I AM NOT WORTHY TO CARRY. HE WILL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE.”
Starting September 6
Bible Study Every Sunday 6:30–8:30 PM
Questions? Contact Kris O’Neal 417-718-4772
N EXT G EN NOTES
The Best Is Yet to Comeby NextGen Minister Kris O’Neal
What an amazing summer it has been! We wrapped up our youth camp in July, and the kids are so inspired and living their best life heading into a new school year. In August, we baptized eight kids! Isn’t that amazing?!
After each baptism, I gathered the group of kids and discussed what this means to them. I heard several different answers, but the one that resonates the most is, “I am committed to living my life for Jesus.” I am always rejuvenated seeing kids dedicate their life to service of our Lord. There is something special in seeing them moved by the spirit, and recognizing the commitment they are making. I am excited to see where their journey takes them.
Currently we are working on a new curriculum for confirmation class at Pleasant Grove. More details will be coming soon. I look forward to signing up all who are interested and ready for this next step. This is shaping up to be the best year yet for Limitless youth, and we are so excited to watch it grow — not only in numbers, but especially in faith and in God’s work!
We are kicking off another great season with both Limitless and Kids For Jesus, and it is going to be a great one! I want to thank all of the leaders and volunteers that make this possible, and our church congregation that helps support these programs with donations of money, food and time! The children are our future, and our future is bright!
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.pictured left to right front: kourtney, kierstyn back: kayla, kris o’neal
The Free Farm Stand has graced the east parking lot of Pleasant Grove most of the summer, offering free garden produce to all. Sawyer, Korban and Oaklyn Gilliam came up with the idea as a summer service project, part of Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson’s Community Service Challenge. The trio retrieved an old stand stored at Hatton Hall that had previously been used at Shryock’s Red Barn, cleaned it up and put it into service in early July.
“It has been so cool to see how much it is being used!” says their mother, Stephanie. “Lots of people are sharing produce and taking what they need. Some people have even left monetary donations, even though we said it was not necessary. The kids have donated the money that is left at the stand to the Baby Grace ministry at Pleasant Grove.”
A Note for the Teacher
Pleasant Grove lifts up every local school in prayer. Each week, we focus prayer on one of 35 area schools. We wanted to let those educators know we support them and appreciate what they do. So, we sent out 35 super-size thank-you notes, signed by those who attended services in August. The schools on our prayer list include:
Hatton-McCredie Elementary School
Williamsburg Elementary School
T-Bird Learning Center
North Callaway Middle School
North Callaway High School
North Callaway Alternative School
Bartley Elementary School
Bush Elementary School
McIntire Elementary School
Fulton Middle School
Fulton High School
New Bloomfield Elementary School
New Bloomfield High School
Eugene Field Elementary School
Hawthorne Elementary School
McMillan Early Learning Center
Mexico Middle School
Mexico High School
Mexico Alternative School
Davis H. Hart Career Center
Chance Elementary School
Centralia Intermediate School
Chester Boren Middle School
Centralia High School
Hallsville Primary School
Hallsville Middle School
Callaway Hills Elementary School
North Elementary School
Summit Christian Academy
Kingdom Christian Academy
St. Brendan School
St. Peter School
Missouri School for the Deaf
Missouri Military AcademyLeft to right: Sawyer, Oaklyn and Korban Gilliam
Confirmation Class Forming
Pleasant Grove will soon be offering a confirmation class for youth in fifth grade and older. If you would like your children to participate, contact Administrative Assistant Kayla O’Neal in the church office at 573-387-4822 or email admin@ mypgumc.org.
Youth Programs Resume
Kids For Jesus and Limitless youth group kick off the 2023-2024 year on Sept. 6. Kids For Jesus, open to children 3 years old through fifth grade, meets every Wednesday (except the second Wednesday of the month) from 6 to 8 p.m. Dinner is provided. For more information, contact Stephanie Fohey at 573-253-0705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to help provide food on KFJ nights, sign up online at SignUpGenius.com/go/
Limitless, open to those in grades 6 to 12, meets every Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. On the second Wednesday of the month, the group gets together outside of church. This month, the Sept. 13 Limitless gathering will take place at North Callaway Middle School, 650 E. Harrison St. in Auxvasse, where the group will cheer on the NCMS volleyball team playing against Wright City. Game starts at 5 p.m. Find out more from NextGen Minister Kris O’Neal at email@example.com.
Celebrate with Sisters in Faith
Sisters in Faith will meet on Sept. 11 at the home of Cindy Feutz, 16807 Audrain Road 953, near Mexico. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m.; the program, “Celebration,” follows at 6:30. This month’s meeting is a week later than usual, due to the Labor Day holiday. For more information, contact Margie Klepees at 816-465-0396 or email klepeesm@ gmail.com.
Christmas Cantata Plans
The songbirds of Pleasant Grove are thinking about Christmas already (it’s never too soon!) and preparing for this year’s cantata under the direction of Tammy Irovic. All singers are invited to meet Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the sanctuary to preview the cantata music and enjoy some Christmas cheer. All ages and skill levels are welcome. For details, contact Tammy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The On The Road Again group is off to the Ozarks for a weekend trip to Branson Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. Those with reservations are due to pay the remaining balance of the trip’s cost by Sunday, Sept. 3. For more information, contact Jan Hankinson at 573-999-2139 or email janhankinson@ gmail.com.
Fried Chicken and So Much More
Women’s Ministries will serve up a scrumptious chicken dinner at Pleasant Grove on Sunday, Sept. 17. Fried chicken with all the trimmings plus homemade desserts are on the menu with two serving times: 10:45 a.m. and noon. To-go boxes are available.
This annual fundraiser benefits Bethlehem Store, Pleasant Grove’s outreach mission to families with young children, providing Christmas gifts to about 50 children and nurturing relationships with the families year-round. A client from the first Bethlehem Store in 2017 recalls how “the people from the church have made us part of a great family.” Another calls the store “a true blessing.” Yet another marvels at the love she felt: “You guys are amazing. You are there if we need anything, you pray for us. You are there for us. I have never had people like that. Church is wonderful.”
This ministry is supported entirely by fundraisers and donations from our generous church family.
Sunday Schoolers Move Up
Pleasant Grove’s Sunday School classes welcomed newly promoted students to new digs on August 27. After a brief promotion ceremony, everyone settled in with their new classmates for an exciting year of learning. Kudos to the students who moved up to the next level.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE LEARNED TO ACCLAIM YOU, WHO WALK IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR PRESENCE, LORD.
NURSERY TO PRE-K/K
FROM PRE-K/K TO 1ST/2ND GRADE
FROM 1ST/2ND GRADE TO 3RD/4TH/5TH GRADE
FROM 3RD/4TH/5TH GRADE TO JUNIOR HIGH
FROM JUNIOR HIGH TO HIGH SCHOOL
FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO ADULT CLASSES
SHOW ME YOUR WAYS, LORD, TEACH ME YOUR PATHS. PSALM
night SUNDAY LIVE!
July August September
3rd Romans Chapter 11
4th Romans Chapter 12
5th Romans Chapter 13
6th Romans Chapter 14
7th Romans Chapter 15
10th Romans Chapter 16 11th Daniel Chapter 1
12th Daniel Chapter 2
13th Daniel Chapter 3
14th Daniel Chapter 4
17th Daniel Chapter 5
13th Daniel Chapter 6
19th Daniel Chapter 7
20th Daniel Chapter 8
1st Micah Chapter 7
4th Joel Chapter 1
5th Joel Chapter 2
6th Joel Chapter 3
7th James Chapter 1 gth James Chapter 2
11th James Chapter 3
12th James Chapter 4
13th James Chapter 5
14th 2n d Corinthians Chapter 1
15th 2nd Corinthians Chapter 2
18th 2nd Corinthians Chapter 3
19th 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4
20th 2nd Corinthians Chapter S
21st 2nd Corinthians Chapter 6
22nd 2nd Corinthians Chapter 7
26th 2n d Corinthians Chapter 9
JOIN US THIS FALL FOR TWO NEW SERMON SERIES
Youth Gather for 5th Quarter
5th Quarter at Pleasant Grove, a post-game
Limitless get-together after North Callaway home football games, commences this month. All youth are invited to hang out at Pleasant Grove after the games on Sept. 8 and Sept. 22 for food, fun and fellowship. Find out more from NextGen Minister Kris O’Neal at 417-718-4772 or email nextgen@ mypgumc.org.
Video Bible Study Launches
The Tuesday morning women’s Bible study resumes Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m. Pat Hardesty will lead a weekly video study ofGideon:YourWeakness; God’sStrength by Priscilla Shirer. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, inexperienced or insufficient, all you need to do is look at Gideon’s story. It’s more than a wet fleece and a miraculous battle — Gideon’s real struggle was with his own weakness until God transformed it! Bring your Bible; no special books are required. The seven-week study runs through Oct. 24. For more information, contact Pat Hardesty at 573-819-2066 or email email@example.com.
Pitch In for Disaster Relief Efforts
The Missouri Conference has scheduled two Saturday sessions for Early Response Team training:
•Sept. 23 at Macon United Methodist Church
•Nov. 11 at Wentzville United Methodist Church
Early Response Teams are not a firstresponse group of emergency workers, nor are they recovery, rebuild or repair teams. Teams fill a specific need in the days after a disaster to clean out flood-damaged homes, remove debris, place tarps on homes and otherwise help to prevent further damage, while providing a caring Christian presence.
Disaster relief efforts continue in Hawaii for fire-stricken Maui and in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding with support. Get the latest updates on UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response at Facebook.com/UMCOR. In Hawaii, the Lehaina United Methodist Church is rebuilding its church destroyed in the Maui fire and providing fire relief resources for the community. Find out how to help at LUMCMaui.org.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.MICAH 3:10
Join us in our mission to know Jesus Christ and make Him known. Your generosity enables us to help more and more people experience a life-changing relationship with Him. We are truly grateful for your donations and hope the convenience and simplicity of our ways of giving are helpful to you.
1.Try scanning our QR code.
2.To use mobile giving, download the “Church By Ministry One” app to your mobile device. Search for Pleasant Grove by entering the zip code 65231.
3.Online giving can be found at www.mypgumc.org/donate.
4.Text “GIVE” to 573-312-2909.
5.Cash and checks can be placed in the offering plates during worship services or mailed to the church office at 3686 State Road E, Auxvasse, MO 65231.
Consider becoming a recurring giver. Church statistics show that churches with high numbers of recurring givers experience the most growth.
If you need assistance or have questions about our digital giving methods, please reach out to Kayla O’Neal in the church office Monday through Thursday, by phone at 573-387-4822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.