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Pine Tree Letters

November 2017

 We are inundated with so much negative news these days, that I thought it would be good to highlight some good things I have recently heard about.  The first is a speech I heard on MPR from Susan Marvin, Vice Chair of Marvin Companies in Warroad, Minnesota.  She spoke of how her great grandfather started a lumber mill in Warroad and then began making windows when he saw a need.  As the company grew, there was pressure to move to a larger metropolitan area.  Her grandfather resisted as did his children, and grandchildren who now run the company.  She said we have people living here who are

October 2017

 Barbara Anderson has very graciously given the Hill City United Methodist Church a gift of $102,500 to cover the church’s heating bills in memory of her parents, Lew and Mattie Berry.  $2,500 will go directly to cover the bills for 2017-18 and the remaining $100,000 will be invested.  The earnings will be used to cover future heating bills and any remaining yearly earnings may be expended as the church decides.  Mrs.

May 2017

The Church is a strange institution.  I’ve worked for it most of my life.  I’ve left it several times but keep coming back.

April 2017

 Easter is upon us.  It is an ancient ritual predating Christianity, like most of the Christian holidays.  We humans have been celebrating the promise of the sun’s warmth returning in the dark of winter solstice, it’s return at the spring equinox, and the harvest it brings at the fall equinox for time immemorial.   The earth turns around the life giving warmth of the sun with faithful regularity giving us reason to believe.Our Hebrew spiritual ancestors have shed a new light on this ancient faith in the spinning circle of time.  Beginning with Abram they heard the voice of the Creator comin

March 2017

We are coming to Lent and the earth is turning toward spring.  It seems the two run at cross purposes.  Lent takes us into the pain of the cross and the darkness of the tomb.  The shifting season carries us away from the darkness of winter toward the light of the equinox, the return of the sun.  We wouldn’t have to take that journey into the dark story of betrayal and death of the Crucifixion.  So why do it?  There’s enough pain and suffering in the world around us.  Why not just look with happy longing toward the return of spring rains, green growth, called into life by a sun that truly wa

February 2017

Vocational calling is an interesting concept.

January 2017

Thanks to the encouragement of my loving wife, as I sit in this cold and dark season thinking about the coming year, my thoughts are on the memory of the Children’s Christmas Pageant and caroling through the town on the hay wagon.  The children were so filled with song and excitement, and as I watched the faces of old people at Chappies, retired people at the Manor, and people sitting in cozy taverns, they were lit up with warm smiles.  There was something in their eyes that has stayed with me, something like hope and kindness.  My inclination in this season of short days with the sun low o

December 2016

    It is a few days to Thanksgiving and I’m thinking about all the things I’m thankful for in the Hill City United Methodist Church.  We have strong leadership.

Novmember 2016

“All journeys are  secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”  This is a quote from the Jewish theologian, Martin Buber.  I’m thinking of it today as we look forward to the coming month of November.  There will be a funeral, preparation for a children’s Christmas program, work at the Thrift Shop, plans to change our music format, and Thanksgiving.  The funeral will be for Carol and Bill Sobey.  Bill died on October 15th and Carol on June 27th.

October 2016

Paul, the apostle, writes in Romans that we are all “members one of another”.   We are connected.   Problem is some connections are not good.  Like the story of the two boys walking through the woods who came to a large sinkhole.  Wanting to see how deep it was, they threw stones into it, but the stones were swallowed by the darkness with no sound.  Looking for something bigger to throw in, they found a large log.  Throwing it in, they looked down into the bottomless pit.  Suddenly from behind them, there was a rushing sound.  A goat came bleating out of the woods, and jumped into the sink