The Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church will live in God’s grace and abundance
as we lead a re-energized peaceful and compassionate movement to claim
the life-changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people.
Editor's note: Stacey King, Mountain Sky Conference UMW co-president and spouse of Rev. Waveland King, sent the following letter about Alberton United Methodist Church after the church was vandalized and set on fire Feb. 3.
To all my UMW sisters in our conference,
I am so grateful for all of the support and prayers we have received as people have learned about the fire at our little Alberton Church. It definitely helps with the grieving process knowing so many of you are holding us in prayer.
The damage to the church was substantial from both the fire and the vandalism. Although the building is still standing and intact, most of the contents are being considered a loss. This includes our pews, some artwork, the lectern bible, the oil candles, paraments, hymnals and pew bibles. The altar, pulpit, baptismal font and stained glass were all saved and will be cleaned. The fellowship hall and kitchen in the basement will be gutted. There is a lot of lost history and memorial gifts for our folks to grieve.
We are receiving a lot of inquiries about how individuals and churches can help, which truly warms our hearts to feel so much love in our time of need. I’ve decided to send out a blanket email, rather than trying to respond to each inquiry individually. As much as I would like to do that, my time is stretched pretty thin in dealing with all the loss and inventory and details following the fire. The insurance will cover most of our loss, however there are always things that fall outside of that and so financial contributions towards our fire/vandalism damage would always be a welcome gift.
On Sunday, Pastor Waveland had this to say:
"The young woman who did this is in custody, after what seems to be a major mental breakdown. She has a life-long history of mental illness, and on Thursday she was moved from jail to Warm Springs, where we hope she will get the help she needs. Because of how public the incident was, the whole town undoubtedly knows who she is, and I know many of you from Alberton know her personally. She is in her early 20’s and has a two-year-old daughter. The grandma is now caring for her little girl. So we need to keep in mind that while the destruction deeply hurt the Alberton congregation, it has also rocked the world of this family. Last week, I preached about being light to others who are hurting, lost and lonely. Well, now’s our chance! How we respond to this, for good or for ill, will reflect on the church and even how people view God. So I pray, and I’m confident, that we will continue to be a witness to God’s love - to this hurting and broken family, in a hurting and broken world. To that end we’re taking a special offering today to help the grandma and the little girl financially. While we will have months of rebuilding our church, this will impact their family for a lifetime. If you want to help but aren’t prepared to give today, you can bring your gift next week. I pray we will be generous!"
If you feel moved to participate in giving to this special offering, we will add your witness of God’s love to ours.
Besides financial help, the Alberton folks could also use notes of encouragement and love as well as continued prayers. While renovation of our worship space and building will take many months, we also celebrate that no one was hurt and that the Body of Christ in Alberton, Montana is alive and well. Thanks be to God!