From the Pews

Easter Basket Symbols

posted Mar 28, 2017, 10:32 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Shared by Sandy May

Birthdays and Anniversaries in April

posted Mar 28, 2017, 10:26 AM by Bowmansville UMC

06 – Penny Stenzel

11 – David Niles

14 – Kylie McCarthy and Judy Martin

16 – Arika Buckley and Carol Janicki

24 - Linda King

28 - Kevin Janicki

29 - Amy MacPeek

30  Angel Stenzel

19 – Bob & Sharon Wilde

27 – Ron & Deanna Skare

Estonia Mission

posted Mar 3, 2017, 11:04 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Estonia celebrated 99th years from its birth as a country on Feb 24th 1918. Estonians smiled more than usual on Independence Day. God bless Estonia!
Greetings, friends!
How does time fly! We have so much to share with you about God’s work in Estonia. 
Acts 2 English Speaking Fellowship
Acts 2 meets at Tallinn Methodist Church twice a month. We began this work exactly a year ago. We offer Christian fellowship, study and prayer. We also provide English translation for Sunday services so our visitors can understand. It is the nature of Acts 2 ministry that people are coming and going. We are happy to meet new people at the beginning of the semester, but we are also sad to see them leave when their term is over. We find, that sometimes people are open to God during such “in between” stages of life. Pray that God would give us creative ideas for outreach.
Allow us to share a couple of testimonies from Acts 2:
First, late fall 2016 a college student from Zimbabwe joined our church. Her first question to the pastor was: “How can I serve?” She joined the choir and they performed at Christmas service. We only wish everyone would ask that question more often: “How can I serve?”
Second, around Christmas, a faithful Acts 2 participant from India renewed his baptism and become a member of Tallinn Methodist Church.  Douglas performed the ceremony and the church welcomed him. It was a great joy for all. Sadly, however, he lost his employment in Estonia and had to return to India. We pray that God would provide for him and keep him strongly in Christ.
In January Kulli attended a leadership training in Stuttgart, Germany focusing on finding more unity with and love for the neighbor. Present were missionaries working with migrants in Europe. God is clearly up to something new. There is a new wave of Christian communities sprouting up in secular Europe. Please continue to pray for God’s work in Europe!
Two friends from Zimbabwe singing in Estonian choir at Tallinn Methodist Church
Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary
Most of our work entails working in the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary where we both teach. The Seminary is preparing for an outside evaluation, important part of our accreditation. In the past the government has been happy with our academic level, but somewhat concerned about our financial strength. We ask for your prayers for the government to approve of how we operate. Additional giving to the BMTS at this time would be a great way to support Estonian ministries. Please see below how this could be done. 
 Also, BMTS is working on renewing our working relationship with Asbury Theological Seminary to offer more exciting programs at our school. Pray that God would give us the right vision and resources for this mutual cooperation.
Methodist Church started a 1-year Bible School for those who cannot do the entire 3-years of seminary. We have 24 students (Estonian and Russian). We are pleased by its success. Kulli and Douglas both are teaching for the program. Please pray that our students would be transformed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Douglas Childress teaching about John Wesley at Bible School in Jõhvi, Estonia
Personal life
We know that you are praying for us and we are grateful.  We can definitely feel it! Külli celebrated her 39th birthday recently, she is really grateful for all the prayers and good wishes she received.
Our kids have at times felt homesick for America. Dealing with culture and language change has been too much for them at times. Karl and Kalev are doing pretty well adjusting. Karl is folk dancing and singing in choir. We ask special prayers for Kristofer. He seems to have harder time adjusting. Pray that we might find a right school for his needs. We are not sure if he is ready for another big change in his life.
Douglas is studying Estonian two and sometimes three days a week now. He gave his first devotional in Estonian. Pray for endurance in study!
Our son Karl is learning Estonian culture by dancing with an Estonian folk dance group. They performed beautifully on Estonian Independence Day, Feb 24.


We are so grateful for the churhes and individual persons who supported us financially in 2016! Together we raised about 14000 dollars in 2016. Our goal is to double that in 2017. Your financial support is a material proof that you believe in God’s mission and our success. We know it takes a special effort to give. Please continue to support us! You can follow our progress from the website listed below.

Great things happen when God's people are coming together to pray for missions

Instructions how to support:
Kulli Toniste Advance # 3022133
Douglas Childress Advance #3022134
Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary Advance #15021B
Blessings to all,
Kulli and Douglas
"In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven." Colossians 1.3-5

March Birthdays

posted Feb 23, 2017, 1:18 PM by Bowmansville UMC

07 – Mary Lee Wright

18 – Ted Janicki

25 – Cullen Brown

30 – Phyllis Hoskins

Cleaning/Flood Buckets

posted Jan 10, 2017, 6:52 AM by Bowmansville UMC

To the family of Bowmansville UMC...

Because of your dedication, your love for your fellow man, and your sense of mission, we have filled and delivered 12 flood/cleaning buckets for UMCOR in the last few months.  that is past wonderful, and we all know, with all the natural disasters going on all over the country, that they are needed and very much appreciated!  So a big thank you - to the Sunday School kids & Darlene, and for each and everyone of you who purchased buckets, items on the list, who organized, counted and recounted, etc.  You are awesome! We are small, but mighty. Thank you all again!

Deanna & Wilma

Kiwi Korner

posted Nov 29, 2016, 6:28 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Nov 29, 2016, 6:29 PM ]

Hello again, Bowmansville. Selwyn and I have finally relocated to New Zealand, and after what seemed like a long and frustrating start, have found a wonderful new home which we hope to occupy by mid-November. You may recall I once did a series of articles about life in Australia. It's been almost a year since I've written a "KANGAROO KORNER" article, and I hope you will enjoy this mini-travelogue highlighting my new home in NZ.

First, about the title...While most of the world thinks we are called 'kiwis' here because of the world-renowned growth of kiwi fruit for export, the truth is a bit different. The kiwi fruit was actually brought here from China, where it is known as a Chinese gooseberry. Our nickname actually comes from the name of NZ's national bird, the 'kiwi'. It is, to my way of thinking, a rather 'unpretty' bird and a bit strange. At about

the size of a chicken, it has a squat brown/grey feathered body, spindly legs, can't fly, and so compensates for obtaining food by having its nasal sensors at the end of its disproportionately long beak so it can sniff along the ground. It does, however, hold the distinction of laying the largest egg, in relation to its size, of all the bird species of the world--about 6x the size of a chicken egg!

Second, the cultural makeup...From the time I moved to Australia, I have always amazed to be living in this part of the world. I dare say that those of us who grow up in the Eastern US consider this entire part of the world to be very far away, very exotic, and awash in customs, creatures and areas we will never see in our lifetime. We might imagine that we will be fortunate enough to visit one of these countries perhaps once, but the thought of these diverse cultures as 'commonplace' for trade, vacation travel and daily influence seems remote. It's far more likely that we will be entertained by tales of these places as settings in novels and movies, or as true-life adventure stories. Our frame of vacation reference is more likely to be Florida, the Carolinas, California, the Caribbean, or in our most hopeful dreams, Hawaii or Alaska.

Having lived in Australia for several years has opened me, however, to a whole new realization, as I have had to adjust to a tremendous shift in national interests (often centered around the Aboriginal history of the island), Asian cultural and trade influences (people often think of this as only China, Japan and Korea, and don't realize that it also includes India and the Southeast Asian Island string), and South Pacific Island partnership concerns. Having said that, though, I can also honestly say that in most cases, I found these shifts to be not terribly unexpected, since Australia's physical position on the globe would logically suggest these.

I have observed that thousands of people come to Australia from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas for reasons of marriage, work, education, life-style change, climate, adventure, or to simply make a new home in what they perceive to be a 'better place'. Too often, however, these migrants do not wish or attempt to assimilate into a 'one culture' lifestyle, preferring instead to set up their own little communities that preserve their foods, language, customs, etc. which they share through yearly festivals, but which exclude them from the mainstream, keeping them otherwise isolated from the overall 'Australian way of life'. The result is more 'isolationist' than truly 'multi-cultural'. Instead of being a part of the overall fabric of society, they exist largely as 'internal pockets' within that framework. Ironically, it is only the New Zealand immigrants who seem to completely adopt an Aussie way of life!

Then there is New Zealand, positioned even further southeast on the map and lying very close to Antarctica. Coming here has been the real eye-opener for me, as it has challenged some very fundamental assumptions I had made even after many years of travel here for vacations. I had always been under the assumption that NZ belonged in majority measure to the Maori's (a brown-skinned people descended from a specific, ancient Pacific Island) and the Caucasian descendants of largely European origin (the result of early exploration in this part of the world). What I only discovered very recently, and primarily as the result of the congregation in the Methodist Church of which Selwyn and I have become members, is that there are tremendous numbers of other South Pacific Islanders here, particularly from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. In fact, Selwyn assumed I knew, as did he from having grown up here, that New Zealand is actually considered to be the capital of the Pacific Islands! Who knew? Not me!

From all the time I've spent here, I thought of NZ more as a magnificent landscape filled with every type of natural wonder, complete with never-ending beauty, four seasons (just like WNY), and a proportionately very small population that provides a very gentle, far more quiet, peaceful lifestyle than might be imagined in this modern world. Only a few cities are more densely populated, leaving the rest of the country to be, in my thoughts, much more manageable, particularly for us 'oldies'. In fact, sometimes it seems that the modern world has forgotten to leave its stamp...

I'd like to share something that happened in our Methodist Church here last Sunday that beautifully illustrates the unique environment into which Selwyn and I have found ourselves plunged. In fact, Selwyn was really keen to have me tell you about this, because it moved us so deeply and highlighted how

intensely immersed in this 'other world' we have been invited to become through observation and participation:

This congregation is made up of an older group consisting of Pacific Islanders and Caucasians, and a host of young families, predominantly of Samoan heritage. Our Minister, too, is an Islander, Samoan I believe, and so it is not uncommon to see traditional formal Island clothing on Sunday. I am particularly taken with the bark-cloth, black design-painted waist-wrap worn by men and women over their suits and long dresses. Bare or thinly sandaled feet are the norm, and if shoes are worn at all, they are done so without socks or stockings. Normally, the Service begins with the Men's Choir, all but one of whom are Samoan, and their rich, deeply resonant voices, coupled with their attire, make it clear that we are "not in Kansas anymore"! Last Sunday, however, marked the yearly celebration among the Samoans known as "White Sunday"--a Sunday dedicated to children, wherein the service is completely conducted by the various age groups of the children from our congregation and the nearby school choir, which is directed by our Pastor, himself a wonderful musician. Certainly the little skits and readings are prepared and coached with the assistance of several adults, and the program is fashioned by the Minister, but all of the prayers and hymns are sung and/or led by the youth, and life lessons are delivered in skit, story, and song and dance by the children. Everyone dresses in white beneath their body wraps, and the effect is magical. The children and adults work for weeks to prepare, and I can honestly say that Selwyn and I had tears in our eyes from the beginning of the Service to almost the very end. It was undeniably clear that this is a time held very close to the families' hearts, and a celebration deeply embraced by the children.

The festivities do not end there, however. Following the Service, a huge luncheon feast is prepared and shared with everyone. We had all been encouraged to bring a dish to pass, which most, including Sel and myself, did. Little did we know, though, that the main focus of the meal would be an actual Island 'hungi' (hung-ee). This centers on a pig, roasted in a pit and covered with fragrant leaves as it cooks for many hours. This is accompanied by salads, fruits, and vegetables, some of which are only found in or prepared according to traditions in this part of the world. Desserts were rich and glorious--a passionfruit cheesecake, a richly decadent chocolate pudding cake iced in dark chocolate, and rich vanilla ice cream. I must tell you that there were at least 100-150 people in attendance, and the food never seemed to run out--I felt as though I was taking part in a modern-day loaves and fishes experience! The adults and older youth must have worked for days on the meal--and they seemed gloriously happy to be doing the serving and clean-up!!!

One of the things that was made clear to us through this event, as well as in discussions with some of the congregants and one of the Samoan leaders, is how intensely family-oriented these Islanders are. Children and family life are at the core of their understanding of the practice of their Christian Faith. They continue to live and worship in a manner so sadly forgotten and so often ignored in our American culture. But Selwyn and I have found the same spirit of devotion, love of hymn singing, essence of community caring, and love of coffee-hours and sharing meals together to which we were first introduced in the Bowmansville United Methodist Church. Add to that the facts that I am now doing many of the Children's Moments (and in the near future, Lay Speaking duties) and Selwyn is soon to take up the mantle of organist, we feel that in every important way we are back 'home' with you.

If you have any specific questions, I trust Sandy or Wilma would be happy to send them to me for a response.

I pray you every blessing for a joy-filled Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, and ask that you never cease your prayers for the children of the world...

Always, Mary Lee

Estonia Mission

posted Nov 13, 2016, 12:41 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Mar 3, 2017, 11:05 AM ]


New School Year


     On November 1, we had our first snow fall in Tallinn, Estonia. Karl, Kristofer and Kalev have built a remarkable snow fortress in the yard and the Baltic Seminary glass roof is covered with snow. It makes Tallinn look festive and, since it is cold outside, people like to gather inside warm rooms.

     It has been a while since our last newsletter. We had a busy end of the summer with church summer conference as one of the ministry highlights. Both Kulli and Doug did some teaching there on how to read the Bible for spiritual growth. 

     This fall, Estonia elected its first woman president. Right now our government is being changed also. There is definitely a lot of change happening in Estonia and in the world. Please do continue to pray for Estonia’s freedom and for our people. Pray that our hearts would turn to God.

     August 31 a new school year began at Baltic Methodist Seminary.  we have 17 new students in the first year class and 64 students enrolled total.   There are students from Ukraine, Russia, and, of course, Estonia.

     While in the past, our school has taught in Estonian, Russian, and English, this year a fourth language has been added.  Sign language.  Two students are deaf.  It is an important people group in Estonia.  We have been told that only 5% of deaf people in the world are Christian.  However, there has been significant outreach to this group in Estonia and approximately 30% of the population with little or no hearing profess Christ.

     Kulli is teaching Systematic theology, independent study in Greek, mentoring students spiritually and academically, translating and preaching in chapel.

     Doug is teaching Church History: Reformation to Today, and is co-teaching worship class.  Part of his job is to take students to worship services of various traditions (Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Pentecostal) to experience how different groups of Christians worship God.

     Another aspect of Doug’s work at the seminary is to organize chapel.  There are two chapels and six prayer times per month which have to be organized for multilingual settings.  We have been blessed to have various faculty, local pastors, and the District Superintendent preach and lead these times of worship.
     Doug would like to thank Midland UMC, Schwarz Creek UMC, Lexington First UMC, for allowing me speak with members of their congregations regarding the work Kulli and Doug did in Estonia.

     Kulli would like to thank Chapelwood UMC for allowing her to share with them as well.  

Giving Tuesday
     We would like to remind you that November 29 is Giving Tuesday.  Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving where people may support their favorite charities as they begin the Christmas shopping season.  It is a great time of year to support missionaries like us!  If you would like to support us as you begin your holiday shopping, please see directions below.  

In Christ,
Kulli and Doug


A Perspective of a Devotional from the Upper Room - Cathy Stewart (Tennessee, USA)

posted Oct 1, 2016, 3:12 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 1, 2016, 3:15 PM ]

A few years ago, I worked with a friend to create decorative window treatments for the stained-glass windows of a church sanctuary. Since each stained-glass panel depicted a different scripture, we chose to create a unique treatment for each window. Our limited budget often required in-store redesign of original ideas. Back at the workshop, we cut and sewed, throwing scraps in the trash as we went. 
Most of the time, the design flowed as planned. However, a few designs caused a struggle. 
Either something seemed to be missing or the design needed something that we hadn’t foreseen. Having no funds left, we would rummage through our trash discards. Amazingly, without fail, we would discover the “perfect” final detail.

When our lives do not go as we planned, God gives us the opportunity to reach within ourselves and find the hidden “something” to rise above that difficulty — perhaps an insight God has already provided from a past experience. 

Each time we come through a trial with a greater understanding of our Lord, we are adding another perfect detail in God’s unique plan for our lives. God truly has supplied all we need to face anything that life brings our way.

Thought for the Day:  God can use our “discards” to make our lives beautiful.


posted Oct 1, 2016, 3:05 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 1, 2016, 3:14 PM ]

A Upper Room Devotional thought.....Diana C. Derringer (Kentucky, USA)
Someone in my seventh-grade Sunday school class remarked that Jesus experienced all the same temptations and trials that we face today.  Then one girl’s head shot up; and with a questioning look in her eyes, she said, “You mean Jesus went through puberty?”

Although the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus was tempted as we are, we still tend to overlook his humanity. 
Somehow we think he was above all the nitty gritty of daily life.

Jesus came as a helpless baby, needing someone to supply his every need.  He grew up in the home of a carpenter, so he probably endured his fair share of childhood cuts, bumps, and bruises along with daily dust and dirt. And he also braved puberty with all its ups and downs. Although Jesus experienced life in a different time and culture, the risen Christ understands and identifies with our daily dilemmas.

Whenever we feel alone and wonder who will understand or how we can continue, we can remember that Jesus has already been there.  He hears our cries and stands ready to walk with us through whatever difficulties we face.  He holds us up in our lowest moments.  He offers hope when life seems hopeless and celebrates with us when our hardships cease.

Thought for the Day:    Jesus knows. Jesus cares.

Church School

posted Sep 25, 2016, 1:17 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 1, 2016, 2:55 PM ]

Sunday school classes have resumed.  Classes are held during the church service following the Children's Moment. There are no classes on Communion Sundays.  Teachers are needed for the 3 and 4 year old children, as well as someone for the teens.  Please contact Darlene Stoos if you have an interest in this rewarding program.  We would like to see the the program grow in numbers as the children grow in Christ.

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