Time has always been an interesting commodity for me. Time seems to travel slower when anticipating something I am looking forward too. And yet, times seems to fly away when I am not watching. It’s hard to believe I have just finished my ninth year as the pastor of the Federated Community Church. I had promised to serve at least four years before retiring. Starting our tenth year together causes me to think. I have loved the journey. Together we have had good times, sad times, interesting developments, and more.
Friends and members have come and gone. Some have gone to live elsewhere. Others have gone home to be the Lord. We did add a lift for those who are limited in their mobility. We have added an awesome hall, which has helped us to do better youth ministry, and a wide variety of other things. God has gifted us with a wide range of talented people to serve as youth leaders, musicians, and lay leaders. We have so many generous givers of time, talent, and resources.
We have had a long and exciting history from being the first church in Thermopolis to joining hands between the Methodist and Presbyterians. In 1955 we built beautiful new sanctuary. We have built a Community Hall. We have done a wide range of ministries both within our church buildings, and outside them. Our members have been active in almost every worthwhile non-profit in town. We see these involvements as part of what it means to be a faithful Christian. All of this and more is a response to our call to be a “living sacrifice” to please God, which St. Paul teaches we are called to do in Romans 12.
As we approach the New Year let us use the gift of new days pleasing God with our love, and carrying out God’s purpose for our lives and for our church.
Final Thought! Sharon and I would like to express our thanks to all the kind thoughts, and gifts you as a congregation gave to us this Christmas. Your words of encouragement humble us. We will work hard to try and live up to those words in the coming year. God bless all of you. May 2018 be an awesome year for you and yours.
Sharon and Pastor Chuck Cooper
As the darkest, shortest days of the year approach and the stress of the upcoming holidays makes us anxious, worried and sometimes downright cranky it’s good to step back and remember how we are truly blessed in our church life.
We have a lovely new Hall that has been years in the planning, construction and completion. A total church project that is already living up to it’s hoped-for promise in being a place for relaxation, fellowship and worship! Thank you to Veva who took a lot of it on her back to see it through to completion. Thank you to Ryan, Tess, Kati and all the folks helping with the new PTL service. Thank you too, to Thermopolis Hardware and the volunteers who helped seal the floor to create a long lasting finish. And, to Ross for his efforts in scheduling—a task that we all hope grows!
Remember, too that as the days grow shorter the people who keep the church humming along smoothly—Terri D., Veva, the custodial staff, the musicians, and of course Chuck and Ross who will be putting in overtime with all the activities at the church. Not only are the days shorter, the holidays more numerous and eventful, but the end of the fiscal year looms New Years Eve. When you see these folks tell them “Thank You” from the bottom of your heart. They do so many things—often thankless things—to make the church a church home everySunday. Things that we all take for granted but are done willingly and well day in and day out.
In today’s culture that seems to be progressively polarizing and “blame finding” we need to remember that we are all here because of His Grace and rejoice in it. Be Joyous and Thankful and supportive of and for your church “family” and for the people who keep it running, especially during this wonderful season. Let us be resolved to carry this joy and “Thanks” all through 2018!!
Happy Thanksgiving!! Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year!
The word “Advent” is a church word for the time before Christmas. It is designed to encourage the congregation to prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Each year we pause to get our hearts ready. The theme for our church this advent season is “Unwrapping Christmas.” Each week we will unwrap a new part of the story.
December 3 – Zechariah and Elizabeth
December 10 – Mary
December 17 – Joseph
December 24 – Innkeeper [morning services at 8:00 and 10:30 AM]
December 24 – Christmas Eve – Jesus
We will wrap and unwrap many gifts this Christmas. Will one of them be our faith in Christ Jesus, or will Jesus go unwrapped in our hearts? We can help! Come and join us bringing a friend or family alone. Let’s get in line to see Jesus.
I want to take this opportunity to unwrap my appreciation for a wonderful congregation with many people who are striving to be faithful to Christ Jesus, and to loyal to the Federated Community Church. It is because of you that this ministry and mission continues in so many great ways. You are awesome!!
Yes, we have more work to do. Yes, we are not perfect. The truth still holds you are a true and faithful servants of an even more awesome God.
Located in this newsletter is an article I found the board of global ministries sent out. It is about what the united Methodist church is doing through "The Advance." The advance is a worldwide program of hope and
healing to a world in need. I included the article because I thought you might like to know about it. You can also go the Wyoming presbytery website for similar opportunities.
What caught my attention was the theme, "connect your passion with god's mission." I firmly believe Jesus is calling us into mission, here, there, and everywhere we can, but i also believe our greatest mission field is right here in Hot Springs County.
But first, let me thank you for your generosity, and willing to share what you can for our church. I do not have a more recent report, but the financial report at the end of July was positive. Thank you! My prayer is that we are working together for the glory of god. Paul wrote, "As it is, there are many parts, but one body." -I Corinthians 12:20 each member of the body of Christ is important to the work of the body. No one should diminish what they have to contribute in prayers, presence, gifts, and service.
We will have our annual congregational meeting on November 5 after the 10:30 am service to vote on many important issues. It is a "celebration of ministry." These issues include the compensation package for the pastor, leadership on the administrative board/session, and a review of the budget/or 2017. This meeting is often seen as "busy" work. What it reflects is background scene of the body of Christ at work.
It is encouraging to think of all the people who contribute in so many ways to this congregation. You are awesome! We do need to help others feel welcome in sharing their talents, but this congregation is healthy and doing some amazing things.
This is the truth! We must not rest on what we have done, or on what we are presently doing. Paul wrote, "Do you not know that in a race the runners all compOete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that we may win it." -I Corinthians 9:24 Winning, however, in God's Kingdom is different than in the world. Winning is focusing on doing God's will for us as individuals and as members of the Body of Christ. Please, pray that you answer the call to do what God wants you to do in your life, and in this congregation.
Church is important! To Me! Worshiping God in many different ways is what I want to do. The worship in the Spirit of Christ is important! To Me! Praying in a hundred different ways in thousands of different places is important! To Me! Providing ways to study God’s word for God’s children are important! To Me! Are these things important to me because of my chosen calling or are these things important because of an inner calling instilled in each one of us? In the book of Jeremiah God expresses his desire for us to come back to him, “I will give them a heart to know me, for I am the Lord; and they are my people, for they will return to me with their whole heart.” – Jeremiah 24:7 What about these things? Are they important to you? Do you desire them as much as you desire most other things in your life? Do you desire to be part of church that provides them? Church is NOT important in and of itself. No one is saved by going to church, or denied salvation by not going. The church family, the body of Christ, however, is God’s tool on earth to bring us closer to the Kingdom. How do we do church in a changing world is the basic concern. I sense a lack of enthusiasm in our congregation. Is it time for a change in pastoral leadership? Or do we need to consider what we might do to serve God at this time, and in this place? It occurred to me we need to gather all of our leaders and anyone else who cares to consider what our present and future mission and ministries should be. How do we reach people who are not yet here? How do we reach those who want to be here, but are frankly are uninspired by how we do things? Do we need additional styles of worship? How about new and exciting Bible studies? What are we going to offer the children, youth, and young adults that will help them grow closer to God? A church moves in only two directions. It is either growing or it is dying. I assure you I love this congregation and those who attend. I also pray for those we do not reach. I promise you I will do whatever I can to help revive this church. Are you willing to help? If you have a comment in any way, please, send a message to me, sc_c@hotmail, or call me at 307- 921-9863.Pastor Chuck
Pastoral Thoughts by Pastor Chuck:
Easter Sunday was a great celebration of the resurrection. I want to thank all of those who made
it possible. The Easter story is central to our faith. St. Paul believed if there was no resurrection we
who call ourselves Christians are the greatest of fools. In fact, he went as far as saying if you believe
Jesus was crucified, and raised from the dead, you will be saved. Celebrating the resurrection is central
to our faith.
If you have doubts about the resurrection you are still welcome in our church, but I would classify you
as a seeker not as a believer. We welcome and, in fact, encourage seekers. We all need to pray and
Over the past few weeks we have been teaching our children and youth the stories that led up to the
crucifixion, and resurrection. Many of them do not know or have forgotten the story. It is our
responsibility as a Christian faith community to teach such basics to our faith.
Next fall I plan to teach a confirmation class. This class will be designed for the middle school
students who have not yet taken it, but often, adults join the class who feel they need such a class, or
would like a refresher. We will start the class in September. If you have a student you want in the class,
or you would like to join the class, please, contact me at 921-9863.
Discipling or helping each other grow in our understanding of the faith is an important duty of the
church. We do it through worship, Bible study, confirmation, and in a variety of other ways. We
disciple each other as we witness the faith through missions, witnessing, and how we live on a daily
basis. It is not an overstatement to say that people outside the church are watching. Are we too
judgmental to be hospitable to all?
One of the best things you can do for your church is to invite someone to “come and see.” Most people
outside the church come because of an invitation. Do you know someone not currently attending any
church? You should invite them. If they do not come that’s their business. Our business is the
One final thought. I pray you have the best summer ever.
AN OPEN INVITATION: The Federated Community Church invites you to join them in the
Sunday 6:32 PM service this Sunday for a Spirit-filled “Laugh-in.” We will sing fun camp and
children’s songs, tell humerus stories and jokes [only those we can tell in the sanctuary] followed by a
pot-luck desert. Come and join us, bring a story or two, and a desert to share. No joke! You are
In the Hymn of Promise there is this line, “In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be.” How true! Often, in the middle of the winter spring seems too far away, but new life will come. Plants will sprout. All kinds of new life will be seen on the farm, ranch, hillside, and forest. For me spring energizes me, and renews me. I pray the coming of spring will do the same for you.
Coming this spring will be the opening of our “Community Hall.” My prayer is that it will create new life and new opportunity for our congregation as well the community. Our only limit will be our imagination, and our willingness to put that imagination to work. Like our current building, the new building will not fulfill God’s will for our mission and ministry unless we are willing to take the action.
The construction work is progressing on time. The plan is to have the hall open by the end of April, if all goes well. Please, keep this project and our entire ministry in your prayers. Opening the hall will only be a beginning. Many of you have gone to a great deal of work and expense to help support this project. You deserve a huge thank you. More will need to be done, but much has already been done. Again, thank you!!!
Our congregation has been called to do much, and much many of you do. You have shown your willingness to do the ministry and mission God calls us to do through music, education, and through a variety of local and worldwide ministries. We have a unique ministry of grace in this community. We truly have open doors, open minds and open hearts. Why shouldn’t we?
Let us pray we will continue to pray for guidance for the days and years to come. Until the day comes we are called to serve. We will not always do everything but we must strive to do all we can.
God help us.