Page 1

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

March 2013

Come one; come all to the first annual St. Paul’s “Luck o’ the Irish” Louisiana Style Gumbo Contest! You can either enter the gumbo contest or simply show up to enjoy the fun and sample the submissions. SEE INSIDE FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE CONTEST AND EVENT

The Woman of the Year Award is given for consistent and outstanding service. The recipient is nominated by her peers in UMW and selected by secret ballot. The name of the recipient is kept secret until the award is presented on UMW Sunday. Our 2012 Outstanding Woman is a longtime member of St. Paul’s and of the United Methodist Women. She has unselfishly given countless hours of service to her church and to the UMW. This gracious lady grew up in a small town in northeastern LA and earned a degree at Northeast Louisiana University, now known as ULM. She has been married to the same lucky man for over 40 years and takes great pleasure in spending time with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoys spending time in nature and reading.

Mrs. Debbie Cuthbert and Dr. Tim Neustifter

Although quiet and unassuming, she has served her church in a number of ways. She loves Bible studies and has been involved in numerous studies at St. Paul’s, both as a student and teacher. Our Woman of the Year has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth counselor, and cooked an untold number of chickens for the annual UMW fundraiser. In addition, she has written two plays that have been performed several times and enjoyed by St. Paul’s members and others in the community. Over ten years ago she worked with the associate pastor to help create a contemporary service for St. Paul’s and worked as a volunteer leader for the New Song service under five different associate pastors. She eventually became a member of the church staff, producing the Epistle and other graphic design projects until her retirement in September, 2012. She is an active member of UMW, currently serving as circle leader and occasional teacher for Joy Circle. She is also a faithful Prayer Warrior. Our 2012 UMW Outstanding Woman Award was presented to Mrs. Debbie Cuthbert. Congratulations Debbie! Mrs. Debbie Cuthbert and Mrs. Martha Jordan (last year’s recipient)

Dear Friends, I love the long season of Lent. During Lent there are things about myself I want to examine. There are obstacles to overcome, habits to stop, habits to start, and tending to the means of grace. It’s like doing spring cleaning with my life of faith. And, oh, how I love cleaning out and weeding out! However, every year I quickly become overwhelmed with all the things I need to do, and, before I know it, Easter is here. And I’m not ready! As I write this, we are just concluding our congregational study of Christian to the Core. For eight weeks we have studied and focused on eight core values of a Christian: intimacy with God, passion for the harvest, the power of vision, culturally relevant evangelism, multiplication of disciples, family priority, faithful stewardship, and integrity. As I look over this list I find that with some of these values I am spot on, and on others, not so much. I still have much disciple making to do on my faith journey. This year during Lent I am focusing on two of these eight core values. As I do my spiritual spring cleaning, I am strengthening one of those values that I am already doing well. My goal is to make the good even better. And I am also focusing on one of those values that I have yet to develop and am making it a priority in my life. How will I do that? I will focus on that core value, research it, find a mentor who is already doing well in that area, pray, worship, read scripture, take action, and be ready for God to act in my life. This year I intend to be ready when Easter arrives. I am making myself into the disciple God intends for me to be. Will I have arrived by Easter? Not at all, but I will be further along in my faith journey. Won’t you join me in this journey this Lenten season? Let’s all arrive at Easter being closer to being Christians to the core! Peace, my friends… Tim

We will need 240, 16 oz. clear plastic water bottles (with the lid) for Vacation Bible School this summer. Please drop clean, empty, water bottles to the church office for Jill Mouk any time between now and June 1.

Thank you!

UMW March Meetings Harmony Circle

- Harmony Circle will meet March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the church's Parlor. A light meal will be served followed by the continuing study of the book, "Calm My Anxious Heart." We welcome all interested members to come join our happy group!

Joy Circle—Our circle raised $70 for missions at our February event.

Good job ladies! This month, we will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 6:00pm in the Parlor. Our hostesses are Sandy Casteel and Libby Anders. Linda Beth Neustifter will lead the program.

Circle of Friends Circle - Circle of Friends meets the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the Parlor at 5:00 p.m. These young ladies continue with their outreaching plans at St. Paul's and the community.

Mary Henry Circle

- Mary Henry Circle will meet March 26 at 9:30 a.m. in the church's Parlor. We will continue the study of "Immigration and the Bible." We will also coordinate the delivery of Easter baskets to our homebound members.

“ Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” Women of St. Paul’s are invited on Monday, March 18, to have lunch at the Warehouse #1 Restaurant from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM and enjoy a virtual tour of downtown Monroe presented by Larry Foreman of the Ouachita Parish Library. We will go as a group from St. Paul’s. The cost is $15 and you may sign up in the Narthex or in the Fellowship area. Space is limited, and payment is due in the office as soon as possible to hold reservation. Make checks payable to Downtown Monroe Alliance. The virtual tour will include Fort Miro, Ouachita High School, Garrett’s Law Office, the Ouachita Parish Courthouse, Hotel Monroe, Hotel Francis, St. Matthews Church, First Baptist Church, Merchants and Farmers Bank, Ouachita National Bank, The Palace, Virginia Hotel, DAR Chapter House, Castle Hall, Miller Roy Building and others. This event is sponsored by the Downtown Economic Development District, Downtown Monroe Alliance and the Ouachita Parish Library.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, April 20, 2013

Monroe District Spiritual Growth Retreat The retreat is to be hosted by the First United Methodist Church, West Monroe, LA, “Ladies of Grace.” The speaker is Rev. Jo Ann Cooper of Noel UMC in Shreveport. She is “Spirit filled” and a gifted teacher. You will not want to miss this special time to grow in grace. Registration is at 9:30 AM and the retreat is from 10 AM – 2 PM. Bring a sack lunch. Drinks and dessert will be provided.

Our UMM cooked and served around 125 servings of food to the people at the DeSiard Street Mission in February with the aid of some of the young ladies from the

St. Paul’s Confirmation Class. Won’t you help this month?

Thursday, March 21 DeSiard Street Mission St. Paul’s UMM and Confirmation’s young women

The United Methodist Women of St. Paul's held their general meeting February 5 in the Parlor. This meeting, Call to Prayer and Self-Denial, is held annually. Led and hosted by Christy Stidham and the Circle of Friends, members opened the meeting with a prayer followed by a program in which the objective is that United Methodist women will gain a deeper understanding of their financial responsibilities as they explore scripture and the words of John Wesley. Broth and crackers were served and monies were collected and will be given to Wellspring. Others who would like to contribute may do so by contacting any UMW member.

Confirmation Class News! Confirmation Girls Serve at DeSiard Street Shelter St. Paul’s sixth grade Confirmation class visited the DeSiard St. Shelter on Thursday, February 21, and served the meal prepared by the United Methodist Men. This local mission trip is planned as a part of the Confirmation year to teach the young people about local mission, homelessness in the Monroe area, and serving Christ through serving others in need. The boys in the class went in January. The group had a great time! Pictured here are members from the class: Molly Aydelott, Olivia Boardman, Elise Burch, Sally Grace Cagle, Olivia Cuthbert, Sara Kate Gregory, Madison Hoover, Amanda Shelby, Auburn Morgan, Casey Phillips, Olive Nolan, and Reagan Read.

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. God gave us strength to wake up early and leave St. Paul’s at 4:45am. He gave us strength to sit on the bus for 13 hours. He gave us strength when we were stranded at a Mexican 7-11 when the van broke down. He gave us strength when the work days seemed long and the nights short. He gave us strength when it was time to leave our friends south of the border and come home. He gave us strength when we had to leave our team members and return to our families. He gave us strength. The St. Paul’s Mexico mission team departed Monroe in the predawn hours of February 13 with a team that might have been smaller than usual but one that had a lot of heart, spirit, and determination. Though our fearless leader, Mama Duck (Kathy Wells) was not with us, we pushed on with an expanded mission time, adding one more day to the mission schedule. The team was tasked with two projects – 1) paint and repair the dorm next to Willie Berman’s home, thus paving the way for other teams from the U.S. to stay in comfort, and 2) perform maintenance on a preschool/daycare facility. In addition to our work schedule we delivered wool blankets to the Immigration Center and toured those facilities. As a special treat and experience we were invited into the homes of two of our Mexican friends (met on previous missions) for birthday celebrations. These celebrations reinforced the importance of the relationships we form while on mission when too often we focus on the number of people the medical team treats and the number of walls the construction team paints. The team included Adam Bricker, Don Arrington, Mitch Brown, Samantha Hano, Jessica Johnston, Ryan Rachal, and John Mulhern. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2) Consider joining the next mission team in August, and if you have doubts, don’t worry because God will give you strength.

St. Paul’s “Luck o’ the Irish” Louisiana Style Gumbo Contest Sunday, March 17, 2013 from 5:00 – 7:00pm


1) Name your gumbo and be prepared to tell why it is so named.

2) Decorate and create a table display. There will be an award for the most creative table display, so decorate your table area as elaborately as you would like.

3) Arrive to the church by 4:30 to set up your table and be ready to serve hot gumbo at 5:00.

4) Bring an extension cord if you bring your gumbo in a crock pot. 5) List the ingredients - especially seafood items, as some folks have strong allergies.

Casual observers:

1) Come ready to sample several fantastic gumbos. 2) Bring a salad such as pasta, potato, green, or fruit to share. The Family Life Committee will supply the bowls, napkins, spoons, cups, rice, drinks, garlic bread and cupcakes for dessert

Gumbo Contest Entry Forms are available in the church office at any time, and in the church bulletins on Sunday, March 3rd, 10th, and 17th.

St. Paul’s Day school got to experience music from Mr. Hill Lytle. To introduce the children to this musical experience, he played the violin and harmonica for them. Mr. Lytle also brought instruments that he personally handmade and let the children participate with him. This was such a wonderful experience! Thank you to Mr. Lytle and Mrs. “Music Martha” Henry for this special treat.

Milan Fellows Arpino, daughter of Dr. Judy Fellows and Tony Arpino, has just been named “Monroe City Schools Junior High Student of the Year!” Congratulations Milan!

April Book Club Delve into the book Before You Knew Kindness by Chris Bohjalian before our next meeting on April 17. We will have our discussion in the Conference Room after Vespers.

June 19-23 The total cost - $325 per person $100 nonrefundable deposit due March 31st. Write “2013 Beach Retreat” in the memo line of your check.

Please call Jill at 322-4454 to join the list NOW!


St. Paul’s UMC Meet on Lexington side of church under the Pergola.

Children toddler age – 4th grade.

Grace is an amazing thing. We sing about it, talk about it and live inside of it every day. Grace is the basic essence of the Christian life. As New Song journeys through Lent in March, we will follow Gospel stories of grace. We will look at stories filled with the gracious acts of God towards a people He deeply loves and cares for. Grace acts out despite our transgressions and moves us closer to God. The love and grace of God truly never fails us. Grace is truly greater than all our sins.

– MANDARIN ages 4 to 10 – DINNER all ages – NURSERY for AGES 0-3

MUSIC MAKERS 3yrs – 1st grade

BIBLE 101 2nd – 4th grade

CLUB 56 5th – 6th grade

YOUTH 7th – 12th grade


Experiencing the Body of Christ Dear friends I hail from a land which is in serious trouble. A place in the world where people are scared to travel. I mean the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Both of my children are here in Monroe. The reason I have chosen St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is that I belonged to a Diocese of Church of Pakistan that had a Methodist back ground. I am comfortable with the same church life and culture. Therefore I feel happy to join you all. Like all newcomers to an organization, I too had handicaps in many ways, especially being an Asian on American soil. But I tell you that God was with me in joining His people. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the spirit.” Therefore, I have joined brothers and sisters who are part of the Body of Christ to celebrate the union together. I have been warmly welcomed by Dr. Tim, Rev. Chad and Rev. Joseph. Brothers and sisters are prepared to help me overcome my obstacles and are ready to listen to my personal issues, and I am sure all those will be addressed gradually. Unless the different limbs of the Body of Christ work together, we cannot have a living church. Diversity is nature that is abundantly reflected in the Body of Christ. The American life is full of diversity and so are the pews of St. Paul’s UMC Monroe. People belonging to different nations have joined together in Christ to praise and pray. Let God be praised. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Colossians 3:15) I have served God in different capacities in the Church in Pakistan and I hope God will use me here as He may choose. Beulah Shakir

The Spanish Club of Neville High School collected vitamins to send to Mexico with St. Paul’s Mexico Mission team. The Spanish teacher and club sponsor, Mrs. Laura McLeland, is encouraging her students to reach out to others in need and to share their blessings. The Spanish Club collected over 280 bottles of vitamins! The delivery to St. Paul’s was coordinated by Mrs. Diane Martin. Thank you Mrs. McLeland, Mrs. Martin, and students! The picture shows Adam Bricker and John Mulhern loading the vitamins for the mission.

A big thank you goes out to our St. Paul’s friends who helped cook and serve a great meal to 175 people at Grace Place Friday, February 8th. Listed here are the volunteers that made this effort such a success: Ellen Breed, Claudia Woods, Jill Mouk, Gifford Clary, Dianne Cage, Ken Jackson, Glenn Jordan, Kay Morgan and Carolyn Trawick. We really appreciate all of your help! Along with their meal, the guests were also given a card from the people of St. Paul’s with an encouraging Bible verse meant to give them strength in times of need. This month the verse was Psalm 18:2 which says, “ The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I will trust.” If anyone would like to put their name in the pot to help us cook or serve on March 8, please call us, Babs and Ray Clary, at 322-0731, or at 503-2699

St. Paul’s Financial Report Year End 2012 YTD Jan. 2013

Operating Fund Income $802,358.35 Operating Fund Expense $723,254.36 Operating Fund Income $ 75,415.62 Operating Fund Expense $ 65,228.48

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church 1901 Lexington Ave. Monroe, LA 71201 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED


To be an advertiser and support the Epistle, it is as simple as a phone call! Just call Pat @322-4454 to sort out the details.

Epistle Editor: Julie Blakeman

Epistle Proof Readers: Linda Beth Neustifter, Betty Ann Nolan

March Epistle 2013  

The epistle for march 2013

March Epistle 2013  

The epistle for march 2013