Category Archives: Pastor’s Page

Back to School, Back to Church

Back-to-school vibe is on! Can you feel it? There are mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety, happiness and loneliness, curiosity and fear, feeling of new beginnings yet missing the old and more. We hear different stories about first day of school. Some are hilarious while others are tear-jerking.

Funny though, even those who no longer go to school could still feel the vibes when the school opens or even just passing by the back-to-school section of the grocery store. Why is that so? Dr. Jeffery M. Schwartz, a research psychiatrist who is an expert of neuroscience of habits, explains that repetitive behaviors become habits. These habits can become deeply embedded in our minds and are not readily revised. Going to school every day for more than 15 years formed habits and memories that are so wired in our brain. A relevant stimulus like passing by the back-to-school section of a grocery store can trigger your back-to-school memories together with its feelings and emotions, as if it just yesterday. <!–split–>

Back-to-school is also like the New Year. It sets new beginnings, new experiments to try, new problems to solve, new people to meet too. It brings new opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. And so, we give high value to back-to-school and set high priority to education.

What about back-to-church vibes? Would it not be great if we have similar enthusiasm for church activities like Sunday school, small group meetings, prayer fellowship and alike? Faith growth is in fact life-long learning. In Micah 4:2 it says: “People from many nations will go there. They will say, “Come, let us go up to the Lord’s Mountain. Let’s go to the temple of Jacob’s God. He will teach us how we should live. Then we will live the way he wants us to. The law of the Lord will be taught at Zion. His message will go out from Jerusalem.” The church is the modern time Lord’s Mountain and Temple of Jacob’s God. Through the church, we receive God’s teaching and understand how to live our lives according to God’s will. This is a life-long process, not a one semester deal or a seasonal course.

We went to school and keep sending children to school with the belief that education is an essential part of life. We trust the school, the teachers, and its books to teach us life skills and made us better, successful people. The church is our School, Jesus Christ is our Great Rabbi (Teacher) and the Bible with 66 books is our textbook. The school teaches us to be a better person, but through the church we learn to be the best person God wills us to be. After 2 years of lockdown due to Covid Pandemic, we are now Back-to-Church! We went back to face-to-face worship and some church activities. Do you remember how it feels to be back to church? The door of the church is wide open for more meaningful and enriching ministries this year. On September 18, we will have our Back-to-Church Program. We would like to have programs and ministries with the hope that it will all wired to our brains and soul! Everyone is invited to participate in and share your “bright ideas”. We will start with Potluck Lunch right after the worship service. Bring out your lunch bag and fill it with food to share to your church mates. Just like in school recess. Let us come together, create new things, with excitement and joy! Our Great Teacher is waiting for us. Haven’t you heard Jesus already rang the bell? Let’s go!

Bright and Beautiful Beings

Funny, adorable, cute, energy booster, loyal, and sweet. These are just some of the words to describe our pets or animal companions. I believe that these words are limited with what our pets really are.

I grew up with dogs and cats at home. And in some period took care of pigeons, turtles, fresh-water aquarium fishes, and hedgehog. Each has its own unique character and beauty. Each brings special happiness and energy to us. One of my treasured memories with Jedai, my Siamese cat, was his “meowing” before he jumps on my bed or my lap or table. He will wait for my tapping of hands first. I find him super sweet and cuddly. Another sweet has entered my life when I came to Moline. He is Sweetheart, a 3-month-old black kitten. His is a real energy booster! And soon, we will have Honey, another Siamese kitty! I got the special privilege to play with Kelsey and Boomer! Oh! what a sheer happiness these wonderful beings bring! I remember the hymn/poem my Mama taught us, “All Things Bright And Beautiful.” There refrain goes:

 “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”


This is a hymn of praise to our Creator, who makes all things wonderful. This is also a declaration that we as humans are no better than all other creatures. In Genesis 1:28b God said: “I’m putting you in charged of the fish, birds and all the wild animals.” Our task is to be in charge, to be good steward, good caretaker, good manager of God’s creation. We are just stewards, not Owner. Being in charge of these creatures is God’s gift to humanity. It is a privilege and a blessing at the same time.

I met Kathy Ybarra. We shared our fur-friends’ stories. She had Wilson, a stray kitten found by her students, which grew as a therapy cat for her school. Wilson helped her troubled students be calm, responsible, and caring. She said that we humans can learn so much from our dogs and cats about unconditional love and loyalty.

And so, the next time you feel down, anxious or lonesome or if you just need an ounce of energy

booster, take some time to with one of these bright and beautiful beings. You will have 100% pure love guaranteed!

– Pastor Jan

Welcome Pastor Jan!

Consider The Lilies

I love flowers! I was happy to see varieties of them around the church premises, especially the gorgeous lilies at the back of the parsonage. So, when Karen asked me to pose for a photo shoot with the lilies, I gladly and willingly flash my widest smile! <!–split–>

Those lovely lilies reminded me of the hymn, “Consider the Lilies How Stately They Grow” written by Alice Brotherton (1905) with these verses:

     Consider the lilies how stately they grow,

     They toil not, they spin not, No seed do they sow.

     Yet they bloom all the summer, so shining and tall.

     The Father, who loves them, takes thot for them all.

      Consider the lilies, consider the lilies, consider the lilies,

     Yet they bloom all the summer, so shining and tall.

     The Father, who loves them, takes thot for them all.

This hymn resonates one of Jesus’ messages in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:28-34) about God’s providential grace. He used the lilies to tell the people of God’s caring and nurturing character.

Lilies are delightful reminder of God’s presence and a call for complete trust in God.

At this time of COVID-19 Pandemic, worldwide economic turmoil, political, religious, and social conflicts, as well as personal problems remind us of Jesus’ call for stronger faith in the Lord Almighty. All my life, I am a recipient of God’s providential grace. A very recent blessing I got was through the friendship of our very own Mary Ann Harvey and Phyllis Self. Through Mary Ann’s recommendation Phyllis gave me “bedroom showcase” that are more than enough to fill our parsonage. Thank you, Mary and Phyllis! It is a “consider the lilies” kind of faith story. I believe, you also have your own “consider the lilies” faith story to tell.

     And so, every time we see the lilies, let us be grateful and be assured of      God’s loving grace.

     When we are in the worry-zone, consider the lilies how stately they               grow.

     When we are over-burdened, consider the lilies, they toil not, no seed           do they sow.

     When we are in heated situations, consider the lilies, they bloom all              the summer, so shining and tall.

     When all other fails us, consider the lilies, The Father, who loves them,          takes thot for them all!

 – Pastor Jan

I Choose To Love

Some years ago I began a journey that involved sharing and spreading love. It was a decision that I’ve never regretted. While I have gone through a lot, personally and professionally, I have attempted to practice what I preach: a message of love, a message of hope, and a message anchored by faith. If it wasn’t for my faith and abiding trust in God, I don’t believe I would have made it.

Thanks to the members at Bethel Wesley for your love and continued support as I start my new chapter of retirement.

-Pastor Stan Evans

Things You Might Want to Know about The United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church’s governing structure has three branches: Executive, Judicial and Legislative.

The legislative branch is General Conference which meets every four years to set denominational policy, revise church law, approve budgets for church-wide programs, and adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy, and economic issues. General Conference is where additions and changes are made to The Book of Discipline (the book of laws) and The Book of Resolutions (the book of social policies). These books govern the church from the local to the global level. General Conference is also where official teachings and official documents like The United Methodist Hymnal and The United Methodist Book of Worship are approved. <!–split–>

Equal numbers of laity and clergy are elected as delegates to General Conference by their annual conferences. (To see our delegates, go to  General Conference is the only body authorized to speak for The United Methodist Church.)

The Council of Bishops is the Executive Branch and is comprised of 151 elected active and retired bishops. Fifty-four active bishops administer 128 conferences around the world. Illinois Great Rivers Conference’s current bishop is The Reverend Doctor Frank J. Beard.

The judicial branch is the Judicial Council which is made up of elected laity and clergy. Its responsibility is to ensure actions of the church bodies adhere to The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. (Excerpts and information gleaned from the January/February issue of response – the magazine of women in mission.)

FYI – The last General Conference was a specially called conference in 2019. It was called to discuss and rule on one topic – human sexuality. The 2020 General Conference has not been held due to COVID -19. It is scheduled to be convened in Minneapolis this August/Sept. Stay tuned!

Welcome 2022!

Pastor Stan has announced that he will retire next June after 5 years at Bethel Wesley and 43 years of active ministry. We want to keep him in our prayers as he prepares for this life-changing event. The Bishop of Illinois Great Rivers Conference will be meeting to review pastoral assignments with the cabinet (all the District Superintendents) starting in March, and Bethel Wesley will be informed of their recommendations, probably in late April. The new Pastor will begin serving the church July 1st.  <!–split–>

Methodists have what are called itinerant pastors, pastors assigned and re-assigned by the Bishop and the cabinet. The duration of a pastor’s assignment to a congregation is usually 5 years.

We look forward to our last 6 months of Pastor Stan’s leadership, and hope to increase activities after 2 years of pandemic. While the pandemic is still not behind us, we need to increase our efforts to make disciples for Christ for the transformation of the world. We also need to pray for the Bishop and cabinet to find us a new pastor who will continue to help us in our mission.

–Staff Parish Committee

From the desk of Pastor Stan ……


You are invited to join with the entire Bethel Wesley congregation on a Christmas Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This Advent season, each family will receive a book and share a daily devotion. In The Journey, A Season of Reflections, Adam Hamilton takes a fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the history will become come more real and heartfelt as you walk along this road. You will find short, reflective devotions combined with Scripture readings and prayers. Each daily devotional is designed to draw you into a closer fellowship with God as you reflect and respond to this Christmas season. Pick up your book at the worship service before December 1. Phone the office if you are homebound and need a book delivered to you.


From the Desk of Pastor Stan …..

Bethel Wesley United Methodist Church is pleased to announce its Annual Stewardship Month, October 1 through October 31.  SHARING GOD’S GOODNESS.

Please join us as we celebrate this momentous occasion.

During the month of October we will be providing messages and photos of our members “Sharing God’s Goodness”. In mid-October be on the lookout in your mail for your Stewardship Letter and Pledge Card.

Please prayerfully consider how you will help Bethel Wesley share God’s goodness in 2022.

Honoring Bishop Frank J. Beard (A Prayer Guide): Week of September 19th

Two weeks ago, we prayed for the physical needs of Our Kids, last week we focused on the soul, and this week, our focus is on the spiritual well-being of the children and their families. Through one of the chaplains or spiritual life programs, they can be embraced by the love of God and connect with Christ. <!–split–>

For Bishop Beard—Lord, we know that Jesus saw willing spirits in even the tired bodies of the disciples. As we support Bishop Beard in prayer today, we lift his willing spirit into Your holy presence. We pray for his spirit to be held near to Your own and for that nearness to be a joy and a delight for him and for You both.

Prayer for Us—Lord, we lift our hearts to You in gratitude that we are known by You, that someone brought us to the place where we could be found by You. Let our hearts break for those who have never felt Your love or experienced Your grace.

Prayer for Our Kids—Lord, we want to pass on Your gift of salvation to others. We want every child to know they are accepted by You, loved by You, guided by You. God, we pray for the children and families who are seeking peace, and do not know that You are the Prince of Peace. Make us true disciples who support these ministries that introduce Jesus to the children.

Honoring Bishop Frank J. Beard (A Prayer Guide): Week of September 12th

Last week we prayed for the physical needs of Our Conference Our Kids. This week we will focus on the soul, and next week, the spiritual well-being of the children and their families. We all have soul needs to be met. Whether we are praying for our Bishop, Our Kids, or ourselves, we must include the wellness of the mind and heart.  <!–split–>

For Bishop Beard—Lord, we give You thanks and praise for Bishop Beard’s dedication to You and to living out his call in the United Methodist Church. Today we pray that rest comes to his heart and mind. May this season bring Bishop Beard renewal in his heart and mind as both have borne the weight of the work among us he has so faithfully engaged through denominational upheaval and a pandemic besides.

Prayer for Us—Lord, we lift our hearts to You and express our gratitude for the healthy relationship that we enjoy and the comfort of family and friends. Thank You that we feel safe in our homes and places of business. We are grateful for the supports we have that allow us to have the opportunity to make sound decisions and to plan for the future.

Prayer for Our Kids—Lord, we lift our hearts to You and pray for those who live with chronic stress due to poverty, loneliness, fear, and trauma. Living like that makes it so hard to think beyond current needs. Thank you for the ministries that show them how to stabilize and develop the ability to make wise decisions for their families and their future.