November 30, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Dear friends and neighbors,
On Sunday, November 19th, the Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church family met for worship with the news fresh in our minds and hearts that the Pyramid Lumber Mill will be closing in January of 2001. Such news filled our time with great concern and prayer. Our Pastor led us in a time of prayer and reflection as to what our church can do to assist our neighbors and friends in this time of change and transition. Our reflection consisted of three parts:
(1) What word of Scripture comes to mind at such a time? Here are a few that were shared:
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age Matt. 28:20b
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you 1 Peter 5:7
The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trouble, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God 2 Cor. 1:3b-4
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped Psalm 28:7
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need Acts 2:44, 45
If anyone who has goods sees a brother or sister in need and does not help, how can the love of God be in them? Dear Children, let us not love with mere words, but in action and truth 1 John 3:17, 18
(2) What needs may be present as a result of such an announcement? Again, many things came to our minds: Friendship; Counsel; The ability to shift in family roles for a season; Encouragement; Income; Positive focus; Support; Being a good neighbor; Discernment; Wisdom; Flexibility and openness to change; Family support and child care; and much more.
(3) What can we do as a faith community to be an answer to prayer? We shared that we want to be available to our friends and neighbors throughout our community. We recognized that such a transition will effect us all and so we need to come together as a town to share with each other the blessings we have received from God. Here is what we intend to do:
Support our local social services. We are in the midst of a food and fund drive for our local food bank. We are now being challenged to increase our gifts to the food bank. We would like to encourage the whole community to give to our food bank and other such local service and support organizations.
Car pools and child care: We have a few folk who regularly go to Missoula for work or school who would be willing to assist you with a ride to make a new job connection or for training. Also, we have a few folk who could help with child care during this transition time.
We have members who would be available to listen, share and pray (if desired) with you about the changes in your family and life. We have a good number of folk who have been through similar life and career changes who may be able to bring a fresh and positive perspective to your transition decisions.
We are developing a task force or committee of folk (truly a Presbyterian thing) committed to being available for the needs of our community at this time. These persons will work to coordinate the gifts of our church family for our town. Also, this group is committed to continually pray through this time of transition for our town.
We are a connected community. Let each of us consider our part in the fabric of this community and what we have to offer. We encourage simple things like shopping as much as possible in our town to strengthen our local economy. We encourage local merchants in turn to consider how they can create new jobs. We also are looking at how we can help connect and communicate temporary employment opportunities in our community.
We have many gifted persons amongst us who have great gifts for community development. Let us be open to new ideas and new ways to strengthen our community. We encourage the people of our town to come together and discuss how we can grow as a community. And we need to grow not simply economically, but in services and support for family and children and youth; we need to grow in our involvement in and support for education; and we need to grow spiritually. We would like to call for a series of community forums. If you have skills in community development and support, we ask that you contact our pastor.
We want to thank the ownership, management and workers of the mill for their many years of community involvement. Pyramid has been more than a place to buy and sell lumber. It has been more than a place of employment. The Pyramid family has graced this town with quality people and great gifts of community support for many, many years. For this and much more, we at Mountain Lakes Presbyterian thank you. We ask for God's blessing on each and every one of you. And, we know that God is ever before us leading the way.
In His grace and love, the family and friends of Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church
(Pastor Scott Anthony can be reached at 677-2994 or 677-3575)