(406) 777-5443 steviumc@gmail.com

Open Doors for Generational Blessing

September 2021

Sept. 1, 2021
  • Kiddos opening day at SELC: Tuesday, Sept. 7.
    • Grand Opening Community Celebration is Thurs. Sept. 9, 6-8pm.
  • Cabinets & sinks find their spots.
  • Fence for the new playground installed Thurday. Sept. 2.
  • Training for new staff this week. Excitement abounds since it’s like Christmas for teachers and all their boxes of fun!
  • Sapphire Early Learning Center is hiring. Spread the word so we can spread the care to families and kiddos.
    • Looking Early Childhood Teachers & Cook.
    • See the Job Posting here.
  • All the pictures and updates can be found at SUMC Open Doors Site.

May we never take for granted the little things: a hug & a light switch, a smile & a fence latch, a gold star & a toilet plunger. May we celebrate how each little thing serves a purpose and empowers the next step, the aspiring goal to happen. May we help little ones know they matter in just the same dynamic, celebratory, engaging way.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. ‘”

~ Jeremiah 29:11
Aug. 25, 2021
  • Dedication Service for the new building this Sunday, Aug. 29. Worship at 10:30 all together followed by the dedication and goodies.
  • Flooring of carpet and laminate is finished.
  • Doors are up for each room.
  • New parking lot takes shape. The flow of the parking lot will shift with the entrance on Pine and exits on 3rd.
  • Furniture for SELC arrives this week. 80+ boxes!
  • Sapphire Early Learning Center is hiring. Spread the word so we can spread the care to families and kiddos.
    • Looking Early Childhood Teachers & Cook.
    • See the Job Posting here.
  • All the pictures and updates can be found at SUMC Open Doors Site.

May we remember the questions we asked, “Who is my neighbor?” “What is God calling us to?” May we remember our convictions, “We want to survive. We want to care for our community. We want to follow God.” May we remember our trepidation and fear. May we remember our hope and faith. May we remember God’s promise to be with us through it all. May we remember that there’s a time for every thing, including a time to celebrate.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Aug. 18, 2021
  • Sapphire Early Learning Center is hiring. Spread the word so we can spread the care to families and kiddos.
    • Looking Early Childhood Teachers & Cook.
    • See the Job Posting here.
  • Indoor Painting Complete!
    • 20 volunteers which includes our donut  guys Don Nelson and Lynn Moisher and an out-of-state pro.
    • 225 hours of labor donated
    • Net savings of $10,000.00 ($44.44/hr)
      135 gallons of paint
    • This crew painted the equivalent of two 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes with 10-ft ceilings in four 8-hour days
    • By all appearances, everyone had a lot of fun!
  • The Hallway Returns!
  • Flooring installed this week. The carpet is made of squares that can be replaced easily when needed.
  • Lighting illuminates the space.
  • New Emergency Fire Escape: to be installed at the beginning of August.
  • All the pictures and updates can be found at SUMC Open Doors Site.

May volunteers find a bit of rest and joy in a job well done. May the collaborative effort buoy your spirit. May we cheer on the teammates on their hands and knees with flooring. May we see ourselves as a great community, helping and serving each other, for this will continue to feed the ministry of SELC. May all of this shimmer and shine.

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’  ~ Matthew 25:23

Aug. 4, 2021
  • Sapphire Early Learning Center is hiring. Spread the word so we can spread the care to families and kiddos
    • Looking for Assistant Director, Early Childhood Teachers, & a Cook.
    • See the Job Posting here.
  • Painting Begins TODAY!
    • We’ll be painting Thursday 9-3:30 and possibly Saturday. Then again on Monday, 8/9 and Tuesday 8/10 from 9-3:30. Depending on what can be done, we may work in the evenings.
    • Contact John Fisher 406-552-3815 if you want to paint Saturday or the evenings.
  • New Emergency Fire Escape: to be installed at the beginning of August.
  • All the pictures and updates can be found at SUMC Open Doors Site.

May we work side by side, elbow to elbow with joy. May we see our efforts as substantial expressions of care, love, and intentional hospitality. May we work and not grow weary, for this sacrifice will be used for good. God will use even painted walls to envelop the little children, like a hen would her chicks. May we sing to the rhythm of the work, one roll of the painter at a time.

From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in live, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4:16

July 25, 2021 
  • Official Opening Day for SELC- Sept. 7.
    • Current enrollment: 21 students, infant room is full.
  • Insulation blew in. Friday, July 16, the outer walls took on regulating value when the crew pumped in the insulation between studs.
  • Blessings imbedded. During worship service on July 18, people wrote blessings on the studs of the new building, infusing prayer, hope, vision, and support into the structure that will surround all who enter.
  • Sheetrock, mudding and texturing begin July 26.
  • Painting Begins Monday, Aug.2 at 9am.
    • We’ll be painting all day and in the evenings: Tues 8/3 & Thurs. 8/5.
    • Come any of the times. No supplies necessary unless you have a roller extender.
    • Be prepared for hot/cool temps as there is no AC 🙂

May we find a right rhythm with God. When we feel frantic and see moving pieces and work speeding ahead, may we breath deeply into the great efforts. When we experience pauses, waiting, and impatience, may we find a steady pace to move in a sustainable and intentional way. May we never underestimate the power of partnering with God’s vision for in it we find energy and rest in God’s timing, good purpose, and our unique and valuable roles.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8

July 14, 2021
  • Shingles are fully installed.
  • Plumbing and electricity has been run and will finish this week.
  • Drywall goes up this week & next.
  • Painting Next Week!
    • Tentative schedule, finalized by 7/21. Come any of the time.
      • Fri. 7/23, 1-4pm: Classrooms with rollers
      • Sat. 7/24, 9-1pm: Classrooms & bathrooms with rollers
      • Mon. 7/26, 9-12pm & 1-4pm: Finish rollers and spray ceiling/walls of Fellowship Hall
    • One color and no prep will make the work go fast.
    • Be prepared for hot/cool temps as there is no AC 🙂

May we celebrate the many skills and strengths that hold us up, bind us together, and honor our “just rightness.”

See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! ~ 1 John 3:1

July 7, 2021

May the dryland around us evoke awareness, gratitude, and recognition of God’s provision. May the dryland of a covered building protect us in the storm. May the dryland of insulated walls remind us of God’s provision for all God’s good works to be lived out in this new space. May the dryalnd of the grass remind us of all those who help the grounds look beautiful with whatever resources are available. May the dryland created with doors and windows remind us that we still can have the living water of community, spirit and hospitality to flood in and nourish.

He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot;
There let us rejoice in Him! ~ Psalm 66:6

June 30, 2021

May we pause to take a deep breath.
May that breath remind us of the internal workings of our body, the miraculous systems that work together to give the whole life. May we hold gratitude for the “piping” of a building and what it enables us to bring in a flush out. May we hold thanksgiving for the circuitry that winds its way through the skeleton of lumber, allowing power, connection and communication. May we see ourselves as conduits of a message, power, and life giving nourishment even as a building and body can be.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
~ Revelation 22:1-2

June 23, 2021
  • Windows in! Come see the sunny fellowship hall 🙂
  • Roof shingles go up next week!
  • Plumbers and Electricians are running pipe & wire under the subfloor. This work will continue for the next week.

May we look out with delight at the world around us. May we look in to see what still gets to be shaped, formed, refined, and shined. May these perspectives happen with a building as much as our own lives, recognizing yet another opportunity for growth and light to shine.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ John 1:5

June 16, 2021
  • Summer Concert Series: The 2nd Friday concerts this summer support the building project and SELC. See the video for June’s performance. Next concert is July 9 at 7pm on the lawn.
  • Crews expanding: Plumbers are starting a rough in and Electricians begin running cable by the end of this week.
  • Saving $20,000- A crew from SUMC will paint the outside of the new building, removing costs of materials & labor in the overall project.
  • Mark Calendars- Paint the Walls: SUMC people get to paint the interior of the new building to save $20,000. Please consider helping the week of July 22. Even an hour or two makes a big difference.

May we tune our hearts to the fine melodies of gifts, talents, pure intentions, great efforts, and day by day engagement. May these melodies invite us to sing along, adding harmonies and descant that enrich the whole. May we sing with gratitude and curiosity of the mystery that brings it altogether. May even the rests, pauses, in action, be valued aspect of the whole song.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! ~ Psalm 150

June 9, 2021
  • Lumber work finished. Over the course of 2 months the carpenters have been busy with form walls, trusses, and sheeting. Great job!
  • Drying in: Beginning Thurs. June 10, the crew hopes to start drying in the structure. This means all the bones and protective elements will be in place to start the fast and furious process of focusing on the “insides.”

May we smile as we notice the bones of the building are made up of the most elementary configurations- triangles and squares. And from these building blocks, the structure will hold magnificent opportunities. May the little ones within these bones, stacking their own square blocks and making triangle drawings, know that they too are magnificent and will do wondrous things. May we find joy and value in the basics of everyday.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
          the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
          human beings that you care for them?
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” ~ Psalm 8

June 2, 2021
  • Roof Sheeting: Just like the floor joists, the roof needs a cover. This will continue throughout the first week of June with shingles to follow. In this heat, we’re ever thankful for our capenters. Lemonade is welcome!
  • Missing a door?! In a recent tour of the building with UMW, there was confusion about a door from the kitchen. YES!! That was an early add from suggestions from the UMW members along with a pass through window. Less than 10 feet from the kitchen (past a pantry and break/prep room) is the entrance to the Fellowship Hall. (see picture below)

May the cover and shade made real in the roof sheets assure us of God’s protection and rest no matter the storm or sun. May we lift each other up, one small act of care at a time. And when we go astray, may we have each other to guide us through an open door with grace.

How good is your loving mercy, O God! the children of men take cover under the shade of your wings.” ~ Psalm 36: 7

June 2021

June 30, 2021

May we pause to take a deep breath.
May that breath remind us of the internal workings of our body, the miraculous systems that work together to give the whole life. May we hold gratitude for the “piping” of a building and what it enables us to bring in a flush out. May we hold thanksgiving for the circuitry that winds its way through the skeleton of lumber, allowing power, connection and communication. May we see ourselves as conduits of a message, power, and life giving nourishment even as a building and body can be.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
~ Revelation 22:1-2

June 23, 2021
  • Windows in! Come see the sunny fellowship hall 🙂
  • Roof shingles go up next week!
  • Plumbers and Electricians are running pipe & wire under the subfloor. This work will continue for the next week.

May we look out with delight at the world around us. May we look in to see what still gets to be shaped, formed, refined, and shined. May these perspectives happen with a building as much as our own lives, recognizing yet another opportunity for growth and light to shine.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ John 1:5

June 16, 2021
  • Summer Concert Series: The 2nd Friday concerts this summer support the building project and SELC. See the video for June’s performance. Next concert is July 9 at 7pm on the lawn.
  • Crews expanding: Plumbers are starting a rough in and Electricians begin running cable by the end of this week.
  • Saving $20,000- A crew from SUMC will paint the outside of the new building, removing costs of materials & labor in the overall project.
  • Mark Calendars- Paint the Walls: SUMC people get to paint the interior of the new building to save $20,000. Please consider helping the week of July 22. Even an hour or two makes a big difference.

May we tune our hearts to the fine melodies of gifts, talents, pure intentions, great efforts, and day by day engagement. May these melodies invite us to sing along, adding harmonies and descant that enrich the whole. May we sing with gratitude and curiosity of the mystery that brings it altogether. May even the rests, pauses, in action, be valued aspect of the whole song.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! ~ Psalm 150

June 9, 2021
  • Lumber work finished. Over the course of 2 months the carpenters have been busy with form walls, trusses, and sheeting. Great job!
  • Drying in: Beginning Thurs. June 10, the crew hopes to start drying in the structure. This means all the bones and protective elements will be in place to start the fast and furious process of focusing on the “insides.”

May we smile as we notice the bones of the building are made up of the most elementary configurations- triangles and squares. And from these building blocks, the structure will hold magnificent opportunities. May the little ones within these bones, stacking their own square blocks and making triangle drawings, know that they too are magnificent and will do wondrous things. May we find joy and value in the basics of everyday.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
          the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
          human beings that you care for them?
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” ~ Psalm 8

June 2, 2021
  • Roof Sheeting: Just like the floor joists, the roof needs a cover. This will continue throughout the first week of June with shingles to follow. In this heat, we’re ever thankful for our capenters. Lemonade is welcome!
  • Missing a door?! In a recent tour of the building with UMW, there was confusion about a door from the kitchen. YES!! That was an early add from suggestions from the UMW members along with a pass through window. Less than 10 feet from the kitchen (past a pantry and break/prep room) is the entrance to the Fellowship Hall. (see picture below)

May the cover and shade made real in the roof sheets assure us of God’s protection and rest no matter the storm or sun. May we lift each other up, one small act of care at a time. And when we go astray, may we have each other to guide us through an open door with grace.

How good is your loving mercy, O God! the children of men take cover under the shade of your wings.” ~ Psalm 36: 7

MAY 2021

May 26, 2021
  • Trusses Amaze: For three days, the crew and crane assembled the trusses for the new building. Some pieces weighed up to 3300 lbs!
  • Next Week: Roof Sheeting: While open beam concept is trending, we’ll make sure that any more spring rain stays outside. Sheeting on the trusses will be added the first week of June.
  • Mark Calendars- Paint the Walls: SUMC people get to paint the interior of the new building to save $20,000. Please consider helping the week of July 22.
  • Questions: If you would like a tour through the site on the weekends or you have ANY questions, PLEASE ASK! The building team has been attentive to every need requested thus far. If you’re not sure about something or need help imaging what will be, we want to work together!
    • John Fisher is the project manager. Paul Ludington is the Unified Board chair. Both are a wealth of knowledge and time to listen.

May we never lose sight of who we raise our eyes to. May we breathe with assurance that all shall be well when things get big, awesome, overwhelming, or beyond our imaginations. May we take to heart in Jesus’ words, “With a bit of faith, you can move mountains,” for such monumental change (internally or externally) can unfold with God’s goodness and grace.

“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” ~ Matthew 17:20 (The Message)

May 19, 2021
  • Cranes & Trusses: Look up this Monday, May 24. Mighty machinery will be putting the “top” on the new building.
  • Updates from SELC Board of Directors who met May 17
    • The SELC Board provides oversight and insures the program lives out its mission. Four members are a part SUMC: John Fisher, Julie Ludington, Judie Fisher, and Pastor Sarah Merchant. Two members are from the community including Jessica Shourd, the K-3 principal at Stevi Primary School. One member will be a parent of an enrolled child, TBD.
    • Survey: As people emerge from pandemic realities, the board is seeking info about What is the type of child care most needed?  Please share this survey with parents of kids, ages 0-12.
    • Hiring will begin in earnest in June. The organization will provide competitive wages and great training and long-term education.
    • Enrollment is underway. Many families are interested and at least 15 children are ready to start in Aug. 2021.
    • Looking for a community board member. If you or someone you know seeks to help nurture a new, vital program, advocate for childhood learning, and empower families in the Bitterroot Valley, contact director@sapphireearlylearningcenter.com.

May we seek and encourage the wellness of the internal support systems as much as any piece of lumber, pipe or circuit wired. May the teachers, staff, volunteers, community members, board of directors be gifted with intentional placement, training, connecting curriculum, and firm foundation. May the humans of this endeavor be more than resources- may they be held in dignity and appreciation.

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out.
~ Hebrews 10:24-25

May 12, 2021
  • Framing will conclude on Monday, May 17. We’ll be able to walk through the spaces.
  • Trusses soon! The trusses for our new building are 70 ft. in length. It will be a sight to see when those begin going in place.

May the walls we put up serve all from the outside and inside. May they provide shelter and safety. May they offer stability and belonging. May they showcase beauty and creativity. May they never exclude but simply extend the invitation, “There’s room for you, too.” May the walls we all have function with strength but also graciousness.

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
 ~ Isaiah 58:12
May 5, 2021
  • Framing started this week and will continue for the next couple of weeks.
  • Trusses soon! The contract has scheduled a crane for May 24th to begin setting trusses.  The trusses for our new building are 70 ft. In length. It will be a sight to see when those begin going in place.
  • “Festival on the Floor” May 1- What fun! So much space so between the waltz taught by Gretchen, upbeat disco, and funky soundtracks, we covered it. Plus we left some notes and pictures of encouragement. If you couldn’t make it for this progress party, there will be plenty more. Check out the videos, pictures, and finished sub-floor in the picture gallary. Thanks, Mitch, for capturing the moment so well!
  • Countertops & Carpet: Thank you all who participated in selecting the carpet and countertops for the new building. Coming out with strong approval is “Encryption” carpet & “Pebble Piazza” countertops alongside light laminate flooring.
    • Cool thing about carpet: it comes in squares so if one portion gets really stained or ruined, that squared can be replaced easily.
    • Carpet winner received 27 votes, 2nd receive 8 votes
    • Countertop winner received 21 votes, 2nd receive 14 votes

May the ground below us support growth, energy, care, new experiences, celebration, lament, prayer, and thanksgiving. May the consistent efforts continue to build on each other. May we learn to delight in little (or big) successes along the way. May we remember where we came from and where we are to guide us, one step at a time, into what’s next.

“And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:15

APRIL 2021

April 28, 2021
  • “Festival of the Floor” May 1, 4-6pm
    • The first progress party to celebrate the work accomplished in the new building. Come dance, write an encouraging note on the wood, and maybe even spill the first cups of lemonade on the floor 🙂 We will share Cookies and Lemonade and lots of Sunshine. Come and Be Merry!

May we catch the flow of energy moving around us from the prayers, the wind, the sun, the consistent maintenance of the grounds, and the newness before us. May that flow be one with God, honoring the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and calling. May that flow empower each of us to make a mark on the day, on a person’s heart, on the world.

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in me.'” – John 7: 37-38

April 21, 2021
  • Make your vote: Everyone has a chance to give input on the carpet and counter top options for the new building. Come see the samples to make your vote!
What’s up with the roof? A Town Hall Update
During the April 18th Town Hall conversation, we discussed the next steps for the roof on both the new and historic building. We discussed the importance of the historic registration, the type of roof that would “look” good, the costs, and the sustainability. We looked at the roof, materials, and cost and historic registry.

Attendees of the Town Hall recommended:

  • Keep the historic registry.
  • Roof the historic building with composite cedar shakes.
  • Roof the new building with asphalt shingles
  • Re-roof the historic building in the fall of 2021
  • These recommendations include the desire to maintain the integrity and asthetics of the whole facility while saving over $30,000.

For a full report, see the April 2021 Glad Tider

May we find wonder in the stars that cover us. May we find nourishment in the rain that covers the earth. May we find energy in the sun that lights our path. May we find hope in all the gifts that cover us each day, knowing that no matter what is over our heads, God can work with it all.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield. ~ Psalm 5:12

April 15, 2021
  • New indoor bathroom: Thanks to Lenny, Ben, Paul, John, and Bob for constructing a new indoor bathroom off of the library.
May the little things wow us with a sense of triumph and thanks giving. May we never forget how our unique gifts encourage others and galvanize everyone. May we consider each step important and valuable.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ~ Philippians 4:8

April 7, 2021
  • Refilled: In case you forgot, Montana “soil” is rock solid! The foundational walls are fully supported and enclosed in with the rest of the fill dirt. Even the inside of the pit received it’s fair share of dirt and rocks.

May the dirt and rocks settle again, finding their space and purpose in this place of hope, learning, and growth. May we never take for granted the land that surrounds us and lifts us up for it is the very gift entrusted to all creatures great and small. Just as the pit was refilled, may we be refilled in spirit and hope for the next right stage. May the souls who will be nourished and filled in this place find their way, even be carried, to know the Spirit of Grace here.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

MARCH 2021

March 31, 2021
  • Walls: It might freeze, but our resolves burns with fire. After the frosty Monday, the cement crew poured walls on Tuesday, March 30.
  • Hopping April: After the Easter bunny, the crew will be hopping to frame.  Floor framing is scheduled to begin April 14 and the roof trusses will be set the week of May 13. Floor to ceiling in 30 days. (As always, things are subject to change. The contractor’s supplier has told him, as of right now they don’t see a problem with delivery.  Hopefully we don’t have a container ship go sideways in the canal!)
  • New Nursery Door: The upstairs nursery room has a new, secure emergency door. It’s a repurposed door from the former kitchen. It will feed our hearts with safety and care. Thanks, Ben, for your handiwork.

May the walls we erect make us good neighbors as we recognize each other’s uniqueness as well as our common ground. May the walls we pour, set and rely on hold steadfast in the midst of storms- internal and external. May we be diligent to place & use windows and doors especially for the walls of exclusion we develop overtime in our hearts. And may the walls we erect in this special place hold pictures of sweet faces, artwork of creative people, inspiration of generational wisdom, and expressions of love, care, peace, and generosity.

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
 ~ Joel 2:28

March 24, 2021

  • Footings placed & poured into on March 17 & 18.
  • Walls & Concrete: Walls will be formed starting Thursday, Mar. 25 and concrete placed Monday the 29th.
  • Lumber for Framing: The contractor has ordered the lumber for framing, but given the current construction environment has not been given a firm delivery date.
  • Schedules and Patience: The completion day has slipped due to the delay in getting the structural/footing revisions done. The new estimate is mid-Aug. All construction schedules are subject to change, especially early on.  This is not unusual. We will no doubt see more changes between now and the end of the project.  As we move forward the changes will become fewer, not as dramatic and hopefully we will be able to make some of these lost days up.

May we place one foot at a time, taking care to offer gratitude for the solid ground below, the agility of the foot, and the path calling us forward. May the very footings of the building provide that springboard for the future leaders of our community. May the precision and care poured into each form match that investment that we pour into each other, today as we stay present to what’s before us and the tomorrows when we celebrate and invite more people to the path.

He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud. He placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing. ~ Psalm 40:2

March 17, 2021
  • New Ramp to Front Doors
    • The old floor of the fellowship hall now serves as a ramp into the historic building.
    • The door threshold will also be fixed for full accessibility.
  • The Hole: Day 35-37 Mar. 15-17 Excavation nearly completed.
  • Foundation Next form setting for the foundation and walls, then concrete

May we dig trenches to be filled with that which brings life-giving and sustaining aspects to the surrounding ecosystem. May what we dig up find a new place, a grounded and settled place. May all the efforts rise us to greet us with a pat on the back and cheer, “Carry on, faithful ones.”

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. -Hosea 10:12
March 10, 2021
  • Temporary power is restored to the historic building as of Fri. March 5. Once the building is framed in, the electricians can insert a permanent circuit box for the historic and new building.
May we understand the gift of power in all its forms in order to use it for what is good, and right, and pure. May this understanding illuminate the places where power and light need to be shared with those who don’t have it or can’t access it. May we offer gratitude for the little things, like street lamps and bells, that we can take for granted until they’re gone.

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. ~Psalm 18:28

 

March 3, 2021

  • The foundation built in 1906 for an addition to the school paused the excavation to ask an important question: can we use this?! See the pictures in the picture gallery.
  • Beginning next week, excavators will dig trenches to bury gas/electric lines and form spaces for the foundation.

May we give thanks for all the behind the scenes (and under-ground) work that allows something beautiful to emerge. May we be mindful of the riches me may take for granted. May we look to the ground outside that even now holds and cultivates just what is needed for life anew whether it be plant or project or people gathering.

Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. -Matthew 6:27-29

FEBRUARY 2021

February 24, 2021
  • The debri has been removed from the pit.
  • The foundation of the original school building as well as an addition still support the remaining historic structure.
  • The Building Team applied for a grant this week through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help refurbish, paint and reroof the historic building.
  • Dates for heat and power back on are still TBD.

May we find delight and thanksgiving in the foundations that have held us throughout the journey. May we honor and remember the people and values that became the bedrock of the community- as a school, church, and civic center. May we have the courage to face the rocks in life in such as way that instead of seeing them as obstacles, they might become that which we can climb on- lifted up and with new perspective.

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18

February 17, 2021

  • Waiting for the snow to melt a bit to dig trenches for foundation, gas, and electricity lines.

May the snow replenish the ground sources, nourish the living things, and illuminate the beauty in the quiet, slow and serene. May the snow also remind us that with each season comes a purpose that can serve the next. Thank you for all that is alive, even in preparation now for more life to come.

Psalm 27:14  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

February 10, 2021

  • Fellowship Hall space down, building secured, ramp for front in the works. Excavation to start soon.

May the materials bent and broken, wood saved and recycled, space opened and exposed, work applied in care all be held up to God as gifts to be used for good. In our distress, fill us again with hope, Holy Spirit. In our excitement, let us offer thanksgiving for God’s trust in this Body of Christ, the church.

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. -2 Cor. 5:1

February 3, 2021

  • Friday, Feb. 5 the gas, electricity, and water will be shut off.
  • The cost of time & money to reroute the power sources temporarily helped the Building Team decide to cut the power instead.
  • Saturday, Feb. 6: Workers will seal the wall between the library and new construction.
  • Monday, Feb. 8: Excavator begins taking apart the building.

December 2020

  • Contractors: The Team will choose a contractor on Thanksgiving Week. Look for timelines,
    costs, and an video from the contractor in your email this December.
  • Moving Out: During the week of Dec. 7, a storage container will arrive in the parking
    lot. All the items from the Fellowship Hall and Kitchen need to be packed.
    Volunteer packers are greatly appreciated.
  • Goal: packed and stored by Dec. 15

November 2020

October was full of behind the scenes work from the Building Team. The honoring
service and symbolic groundbreaking held on October 4th was well
attended and covered by the Bitterroot Star.

E-Learning & After School Programming is still happening on a
consistent basis. We currently have 2 kids coming Tuesday-Thursday
and an after school child each day. We are also building our capacity to
be ready for any wave of increase due to school closure or scheduled
days off

October 2020

On Sunday, October 4 at 9:45, the whole
congregation was invited to a service to celebrate and remember the ministry lived out in the beautiful Fellowship Hall.

We honor the space, remember the good times, acknowledge the current changes and anxiety, and pray for the transition during construction of a new building. We also got to be the first ones to put a shovel in the ground, ushering in the next phase.

We will gather stories, offer up prayers, and share in communion together as a community invested in each other and ministry with God.

September 2020

It is hard to believe that it’s time for another update as we watch August and with it, summer fade into the rear view mirror. On August 18th the District Committee on Buildings and Locations, (the conference oversight committee for churches with large building projects) officially approved SUMC’s building project plans. The committee asked good questions about the mission behind the project, business structure, tax implications, and funding. They gave an overwhelming blessing with unanimous approval, congratulating the congregation on its leap of faith and creativity to connect with the community.

Blessings, Leaps of Faith and Creativity will be our beacons as we move forward with plans to offer a distance learning space for the school aged children and families of our community. Uncertain times call for leaps of faith. With the commitment and creativity of our committee and the blessings of our congregation, we have outlined what SELC can look like in the near term. Our construction time-line in the midst of a pandemic has inspired what I’ll call, a “flexible response”. The traditional, in-person model of public education will not be taking place in Stevensville this fall. Apart from that, there are many uncertainties. SELC’s response to that uncertainty is to offer the following:

  • Care for Distance Learners
    • Offering space & supervision for school aged children, ages 5-12, to engage in Stevensville Elementary School provided distance learning
    • Monday – Friday, 8 am – 6 pm, $35 per day
  • After School Programming
    • Monday – Friday, 4 pm – 6 pm, $10 per day
  • Best Beginnings Scholarship applicable for either program

 

July 2020

Since given approval to move forward with the Sapphire Early Learning Center project the building team has met twice. Here is a recap of what has been done to date:

  • The Mountain Sky Foundation has requested a bit more information from us regarding the project. That info will be submitted before July 1st. The foundation committee meets on July 15th and we are anticipating loan approval at that time.
  • The City of Stevensville has set the date for the public hearing for the SELC variance request. The meeting will be July 2nd at the library.
  • The building team met with Angela Stringham and began the design process. We discussed storage and some ideas on making the space more efficient including a door from the kitchen to the fellowship hall, rest room accessibility, and security issues. We will wait until after the meeting with Stevensville Town Council to go further.
  • Sara Malo and Gretchen Speiss have started putting together a marketing and capital campaign program. They will be working closely with Stewardship/Finance committee in regards to the capital campaign.
  • The SELC website will be up soon. We are looking at ways to share updates on the project with all of you and the community via the website, Facebook, emails, etc. Stay tuned.
  • Kendra Ruff has drafted a job description for an office admin person to fill the role of SUMC office admin and to help the SELC construction project administrative tasks. Along with SPR, we will begin a formal search for a candidate
  • We have submitted application for three grants to date totaling $11,000.
  • The building team is still anticipating ground breaking in early Sept. and opening the center in May 2021.