The Monthly Messenger - March 2023

A Message from Pastor Sarah

 Dear Friends, I’ll be honest. Of all the months in the year, March is the one I could do without. While the calendar says spring, the weather report says something else. The grayness of the day seeps into my spirit.  I long for Easter while walking and working through Lent.      Perhaps my guide for Lent this year will be the Psalmist who wrote, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God’. (Psalm 42:1-2). Perhaps I can accept that the longing for a deeper sense of God’s presence, for a closer walk with Christ, is the true spirit of Lent. Perhaps we can walk this way together.      I look forward to walking with you, worshipping with you, learning with you and serving with you this season. May our souls continue to thirst for the living God…Pastor Sarah


A heartfelt thanks to:  The super soup makers and cookie bakers: Barb Baker, Joyce Minnis, Debbie Knapp, Millie Ray, Cyndi Bland, Pat Lafferty, Lisa Clayton, Anne Finney, Jane Smith, Jean Shanley, Darlene Ross, Cindy Karns, Phyllis Stockton, Janet Humes and Pastor Sarah…Cyndi Bland for organizing the Jared Box project (and all who have already donated)…Valentine makers: Jay and Abby Chaffins, Rylee Bland, Miles and Ta’Niyah Shields…All who bring joy and order to worship each Sunday morning (including ushers, musicians, counters, “florists” and CYF volunteers: Leanne Venesky, Susan Lipiec, Carrie Morley, Gloria Shields, Sarah and Tyson Johnston, Charlie Royer, Nancy Frambes, Bev Barickman, Ron Snow, Debbie Knapp, Darlene and Jim Ross, Barb Baker, Millie Ray, Anne Finney, Jane Ellen Nickell, Patty Brown and Sue DeArment…Jeff Loutzenhiser and trustees for supervising the care of the building and the renovation of the lobby bathrooms…Debbie Knapp and the Staff-Parish Committee for leadership provided through this time of transition…To all who give, pray and serve…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Jared Box Mission Project

 The Jared Box Project was started in 2001 by the children of Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania, to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. He was a brave little boy who battled cancer with a courage and faith that continues to inspire. Since 2001, more than 999,000 Jared Boxes have been delivered to more than 400 hospitals across the United States. Boxes filled with the “gift of play” are given to young patients in emergency rooms, hospital rooms, surgical centers and clinics.  Each box contains small gifts, toys, games, crayons, coloring books and fun activities selected for a specific age and gender.   This year our Jared Box collection was planned to be two months (February & March), so that we may bless two different organizations with boxes. Half of the assembled boxes will be used to replenish the supply for Meadville Medical Center as they are needed throughout the year.  The other half of the boxes will go to the Erie office of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to be used as Welcome Boxes for children in refugee families.   **Please remember: NO FOOD ITEMS will be accepted, but small toys, games, coloring books and similar items are appreciated.  These boxes are intended to bring joy and entertainment to children while they are in the hospital or facing uncertain circumstances.  A list of needed items is available HERE and paper copies of the list are available to pick up in the sanctuary and lobby at Stone UMC.  If you prefer to shop from our Amazon wishlist, please click HERE. Want to learn more about the Jared Box Project?  Please click HERE.   

Please join us after worship on Sunday, March 26th in Kingsley Hall as we assemble our Jared Boxes.

New Pastoral Appointment

 The Staff Parish Relations Committee was informed by District Superintendent Dennis Swineford that the Bishop has made the pastoral appointment to Stone UMC to fill the upcoming vacancy this summer. Pastor Kendra Balliet will be coming to Stone UMC beginning July 1, 2023 after Pastor Sarah’s retirement in June.   Pastor Kendra Balliet's calling to ministry was not her first vocation.  For the first 20 years of employment, Kendra was a teacher.  She knew she would not always stay in the classroom, but she anticipated she would remain in education, probably moving to administration.  She has remained in both, just in a different context.     Kendra was an ordained elder in full connection at the 2021 annual conference.  She is a graduate of United Theological Seminary with a master of Divinity and concentration in Leadership and Revitalization.  She also graduated from Clarion University of PA with a BS in elementary education and a MS in special education.  Kendra was raised in Brockway and DuBois.   At her current appointment with the West Bedford Cooperative Parish, she brings the message to Buffalo Mills UMC, Alum Bank UMC and Point UMC weekly.  She has served the Mahaffey Area Larger Parish, the Clymer Charge, the Luthersburg Charge, the Shawnee Charge and has served as an interim supply associate pastor for Moorhead UMC and the Luthersburg Charge.   Pastor Kendra’s husband, Pastor John Balliet, who also currently serves with the West Bedford Cooperative Parish will also be coming to Crawford County. He has been appointed to the Linesville UMC and the Harmonsburg UMC. They have five adult children and two teenage grandchildren.  The Balliets enjoy doing ministry together through joint worship services, visitation and a whole host of other activities as their gifts blend well for serving.   Pastor Kendra’s first Sunday service will be July 2, 2023. There will be several events planned in July to give everyone the opportunity to meet and talk with Pastor Kendra.  

Easter Flowers

We will be adorning the chancel of the sanctuary with spring flowers on Easter morning... You may choose from Easter Lilies, Tulips or Hyacinths (6"pot) or Daffodils (8" pot). Your flowers may be taken home with you following our Easter Sunday worship service on April 9, 2023.

If you would like to order, paper order forms are available in the lobby, office and sanctuary or you may fill out the online form below and mail in or drop off your payment to the church office. 

Pricing for 2023:

Hyacinth or Tulip: $12     Easter Lily: $14     Daffodil: $16

Online Order Form

Family Worship

Join us for our second Family Worship time on Sunday, March 19th at 10 am after the regular worship service. Families with children won't want to miss this non-traditional  prayer service with lots of movement and hands-on activities for young worshippers.  We will have a sing-a-long of some of your favorite classic Sunday School songs led by Gloria Shields on guitar, an offering, a lesson and a yummy activity time making Lenten pretzels together! We hope to see you there!!

Bibles for Children

Calling all families with children ages 8 and up!  We would love to give your child a Bible if they want one. We plan to hold a special blessing for them during a worhsip service in May.  If you would like your chil to be included, please contact Cyndi Bland for more information.

WINS Needs Your Bags

If you have an extra stash of those plastic grocery bags piling up at home, the Weekend Nutrition for Students program in Crawford County would love to put them to use as they pack food bags for students.  Please drop off your extra bags to Thoburn Lobby.

Blessing of the Coats

 At a planning meeting in January, a small boy from our congregation mentioned we should collect “shirts” for people in need. To spin off of Noah’s idea of a shirt collection, we are asking folks to bring in their new and gently used coats to be given to those in need in our community. Please plan to bring your coats to be blessed on April 2nd during our Palm Sunday worship service. If you are unable to be with us at worship on that Sunday and want to bring a coat in, you may drop it off during office hours to be included in the Blessing of the Coats.     

March Worship Calendar

 STONE UMC -- 9AM In Person - 956 S. Main St., Meadville PA or Livestream broadcast on:  Armstrong Cable Channels 23/100 Facebook - Website -  

Bethany UMC -- 10:30AM In Person - 140 Wadsworth Ave, Meadville PA  

March 5th  

Second Sunday in Lent

Rev. Dennis Swineford, Guest Preacher     

March 12th

Third Sunday in Lent

Communion Sunday 

March 19th  

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Family Worship at 10am  

March 26th

Fifth Sunday in Lent