Suicide Prevention

Do Not Ignore

“I Wish I Were Dead”

“I Wish I Was Never Born”

Have you heard these words?

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US. For 5-14 year olds, it’s the 3rd leading cause of death. Yes! The 3rd leading cause of death of our children ages 5-14!!!  For adolescents (15-24 years old), it’s even worse (2nd leading cause of death). 

Why do our children feel hopeless?

Children and adolescents can experience strong feeling of stress and confusion in today’s world.  Self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty and other fears can threaten their well-being.  Divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts.  Suicide may appear to be the only solution to their problems.

The warning signs of suicide are especially noteworthy when there has been a recent death or suicide of a friend or family member, a recent break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, conflict with parents, or news reports of other suicides by young people in the same school or community.

Warning signs:

  • Change in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities.
  • Violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away.
  • Drug and alcohol use.
  • Unusual neglect of personal appearance.
  • Marked personality change.
  • Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork.
  • Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
  • Not tolerating praise or rewards or complaining of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside.
  • Gives verbal hints: “I won’t be a problem for you much longer”; “Nothing matters”; “It’s no use”; and “I won’t see you again.”
  • Puts his or her affairs in order (gives away favorite possessions, throws away important belongings).
  • Becomes suddenly cheerful after a period of depression.

With Help Comes Hope!

You can help!  Show them you care.  Ask questions:  “I’m worried about you, about how you feel”; “You mean a lot to me. I want to help”; “I am here to talk whenever you need to”; “Are you thinking about suicide?”; “Do you really want to die?”; “Do you want your problems to go away?”

Don’t hesitate to raise the subject! Talking about suicide won’t put the idea in their head.  Chances are, if you’ve observed any of the warning signs, they’re already thinking about it.  Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way.  Get the conversation started.  Seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional.


  • Take the person seriously
  • Stay with them
  • Help them remove lethal means (e.g., secure all firearms, drugs, medications).
  • Contact a mental health professional (see attachment for additional support services in the area).
  • Call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
  • Text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, available 24/7
  • Chat
  • Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room. 

If they refuse to go, contact the police and ask for a health and welfare check.  Tell them your concerns.  If they determine them to be at risk, they will admit them to a facility (e.g. hospital) for stabilization regardless of income or insurance.




The information in this article came from a variety of sources, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, American Association of Suicidology, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau-Valparaiso, IN.  The information was compiled by Suzann Klett, a member of the Westville United Methodist Church Outreach Committee which is committed to loving and serving the community.  The Westville United Methodist Church located at 154 W Main St, Westville, Indiana 46391.

Local Mental Health Services and Crisis Support Contacts  
Swanson Center 1230 West State Road 2 LaPorte, IN 46350 Regular Hours:  Mon, Tue, Wed, and Fri  8:00 am  – 5:00 pm and Thurs  8:00 am – 7:00 pm Open Access (walk-in to sign up for services):  Wednesday 9:00am – 4:00pm 219-362-2145 After Hours Crisis Line:  219-871-9975
Porter Stark 601 Wall Street Valparaiso, IN Call (219) 531-3500. Regular Hours:  Mon – Thursday: 8:00am-8:00pm and Friday 8:00am-5:00pm Crisis and referral services are available 24-hours a day at 219-531-3500.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (Free) Call anytime or day 24/7(formerly National  Suicide Prevention Lifeline) Call or Text: 988Chat HOME to 741741For Spanish Text: AYUDA to 741741 for Spanish supportFor Deaf or Hard of Hearing:For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.Chat online:
Veterans Affairs (VA) Crisis Line Free, 24/7, confidential help even if you’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care (for military service members, veterans, and family) Call: 800-273-8255 or 988 then PRESS 1Text: 838255Chat and hard of hearing  Call: 800-799-4889Homeless Veterans:  Call
Trevor Project Lifeline (confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth): Available 24-7 Call: 866-488-7386 Chat online: Text: START to 678-678
Graduate Students – The National Grad Crisis LineCall 1(877) 472-3457 Available 24/7
Youthline  (YouthLine is a free teen-to-teen crisis support and help line.  Teens are available to help daily from 4-10pm PST (adults are available by phone at all other times!) Call: 877-968-8491 Text: teen2teen to 839863 Email:
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May 2023 Words from the Pastor

Toby 1

From the Pastor – May 2023

What do you think when you are encouraged to “go and make disciples” like Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28:16-20?

If you are like most people in the church, your thoughts are a mix of That sounds hard and I don’t know how to do that. Or I don’t think I am qualified. For a variety of reasons, it seems like the people in our churches are content to leave disciple making to the “trained professionals.”

Disciple making is serious, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. As your pastor, I know that God will hold me accountable for how I disciple people. This brings a sense of accountability—and it should! But it can also bring a sense of fear that permeates how we decide who gets to make disciples. Rather than painting a picture of disciple making that is complex and scary, I believe Jesus gave us an understanding of discipleship that is simple and approachable.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his disciples to “make disciples, . . . teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”. Jesus is saying, essentially, “Teach them what I’ve taught you” or “Pass it on.” It seems to me Jesus is telling us that in making disciples, we are only accountable for teaching what we have been taught. This means that all of us are capable of disciple making when weenter into a relationship with someone who is ready to learn the lessons of Jesus from us. Teach them what I’ve taught you. It really can be that simple.

Still, most people are scared ofdisciple making. Whether or not you’ve been taught to feel this way, it is in the culture of the church at large that only certain people know enough to be qualified. But Jesus did not call spiritual superstars to make disciples—he called and commissioned the everyday believer.  He called me…and He called YOU.

How has your relationship with Jesus changed your life?  What is different about you and your life since you made the decision to follow Jesus?  What have you learned about yourself and about life in general since you’ve started listening to Jesus?  The main way to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is to share with others the answers to these questions.

If you are interested in growing in your relationship with Jesus – if you have questions about your own discipleship pathway – please feel free to reach out to me.

Do you know that God loves you?  Do you know that I love you?  And do you understand that there is nothing you can do that will ever change that?

Now you do.

From the Pastor – April 2023

I’d be willing to bet that we all have people in our lives that, unlike us, don’t feel the need to attend church.  It’s one of the most common statements you’ll hear regarding church attendance: “I don’t need church to have a relationship with God.”

What’s at the heart of this debatable remark? While one can certainly “have a relationship” of some kind with God without attending a church, will they ever fully experience His presence here on earth without the local church body God has provided? Will they be able to glorify God as He calls without it? I would argue that the answer to both of these questions is no.

The misconception about the necessity of church may be rooted in a basic misunderstanding of the definition of what the church is meant to be. Those of us who are seasoned church goers know that the local church is simply a gathering of believers united to worship God and share life together. Unfortunately, one’s past experience with a particular kind of church group, building, or denomination may have tainted their view. Furthermore, many were never educated on the purpose of the local church, so they lack the insight to see the deeper reasons for attending.

As Christians, however, maintaining close relational and community connections with brothers and sisters is a vital part of our membership in the family of God. How do we know this is true? While the Bible doesn’t explicitly say, “Go to church,” it would be impossible to live out much of what is written there without doing that.

Scripture is the absolute guiding light for Christians.Thus, we cannot ignore the divine calls to meet together (Hebrews 10:25), confess our sins to each other (James 5:16), and devote ourselves to teaching and fellowship (Acts 2:42).

We know from the Bible that God never intended for our lives to be lived in solitude. Even God Himself was in communion within the Trinity when He created the world. He quickly created a human partner for Adam, and since then, humans have flourished best within faith communities. It is the natural order of things.

Statistically speaking, those who attend church are happier, healthier, more generous, and more satisfied with their lives. We may not have data for much of history, but it’s sensible to assume similar results impacted previous generations as well.

We were created to live and thrive with fellow believers.Thus, a faith community is a necessary tool for living out our Christian lives, strengthening our faith, and developing a deeper relationship with God. Part of this is just obedience to Scripture’s clear call to gather in worship and fellowship.

The idea of church as an obligation seems to trip many people up.But the church is so much more than that. When Christians fail to attend church, they deprive the local body of their unique spiritual gifts, attributes that God has equipped them with to serve and honor in this way. The Bible says that individual Christians are vital parts of “one body” (1 Corinthians 12:12), each one having a different “function” (Romans 12:4). We are “fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19), something that isn’t possible to live out unless we’re actually in communion with others in God’s household.

The local church simply isn’t complete or as functional without every Christian participating in it.

Attending church, however, is not just showing up on Sundays for an hour. It is an intentional commitment to a group of Christians throughout the week, whereby you meet together, pray for one another, provide for each other, and become sanctified by the Holy Spirit through those relationships.

If “going to church” is just an obligatory act of legalism, you will not experience what God intends when He calls you there. When you understand the history of the local church, the purpose of engaging in biblical community, and the responsibility you have to others as a member, going to church is no longer about you. It’s about God, others, and living out the “Garden of Eden” ideal to the best of our abilities here on earth.

Remember that God loves you – and I love you – and there is nothing you can do about it.  And if we want to be closer to God, the best place we can be is at church.

From the Pastor…                            The Word            March 2023

Time to check in on how you are doing with your faith based resolution for the year 2023.  We’ve talked about the importance of staying in communication with God through our daily prayers and devotions.  We’ve discussed the importance of staying in God’s Word by reading our Bible’s every day.  I even made some suggestions on how to go about including daily scripture into your routine.  How are you doing with that?

I know that in my experience with reading the scriptures, I find my self with lots of questions about what I have just read.  As if I am reading it for the first time…again.  Does that ever happen to you?

I recently shared in my Bible Study class that I learned something new during the class I am currently taking where we are studying the Gospels in the New Testament.  This new knowledge, if I am to be honest, shook me and had me questioning things…doubting things…to include my faith.  Don’t be alarmed.  I was able to snap out of it relatively quickly…just a couple days of intense prayer and meditation was all I needed to recover.  The class, however, is not over and there is still lots to learn as I dive even deeper into the Word of God.  Will my studies lead to more doubt?  I’ve still got questions…do you?

When we are seeking to understand something as big as God, it’s normal to have doubts along the way. We don’t typically have much choice in whether we struggle with some doubts in this process, but we do make choices in how to deal with the doubt. My claim is that doubt, when handled properly, leads to truth. Even if it turns out that we change our beliefs, we have presumably come to a more rational place as a result of the doubts. But if Christianity is true, as we lean in and find answers to our questions we grow in our knowledge and come to a place of even greater faith. Let’s talk about how to handle doubt properly.

When you doubt your faith, you often feel like you’ve been beat up. It’s not usually fun to feel like one of your beliefs might be false, especially when it’s one of your cherished beliefs. This can be a lonely place. Sometimes it feels like you have stumbled on something people either have never seen or are just ignoring. You wonder why no one else is talking about the issue you’ve found. What adds to the isolation is you might be brave enough to share your doubts with another Christian only to have that person dismiss your doubts as insignificant. Too often when it comes to doubting, pastors and well-meaning Christians are telling people to, in effect, knock it off, as if doubting is nothing more than a bad choice we are making.

Here’s a ticking time bomb: you have some questions, and these questions are causing you to doubt, but you can’t find a safe place to address those doubts. If you’ve also been told by someone that faith requires absolute certainty and anything short of that is sin, you will find yourself in what may feel like a hopeless struggle. Since no one is willing to take the time and effort to provide answers to your questions, it can feel like there are no answers.

The great shame is this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When it comes to questioning Christianity, there’s nothing new under the sun. We stand in a long tradition of Christians asking deep and difficult questions and pressing Christianity for its truth. Consequently, virtually every question we may have has been asked in one form or fashion at some point. It might feel like you’ve discovered something brand new. But chances are excellent that it’s been at least thoughtfully addressed by someone at some point.

This is not to make light of the questions you have. I, in fact, want you to take your questions very seriously. But just don’t let them have their way with you. And don’t give in to the feelings of isolation. You are not alone. There are a lot of us out there. Chances are others have wrestled with the very same questions you have, and you should have a careful look at what they say.

Allow me to conclude with this disclaimer:  I don’t have all the answers!  I am a student of God’s Word and I don’t think that I will ever stop learning.  We are all on this journey towards Christ together and if I can ever help you along the way – I feel as if that is my job.  So…what questions do you have?  Do any come to mind right now?  How about this…starting today (today=whenever you are reading this for the first time) – starting today, as questions come up in your mind relating to scripture, the church, our theology, our faith, etc..  I encourage you to write your questions down and bring them to church.  They can be completely anonymous, or you can include your name.  I will then do my best to answer your questions during the service.  As I stated earlier, your question has likely been asked before – and others in the church may have been wondering the same thing as you.

If you don’t feel like waiting, you can always text me your question or email your questions to me and I can respond quicker.  If NOBODY submits a question, I will be happy to report to the conference that MY church people already have this Christianity thing figured out and my job is complete. 😊

I’ve got 3 questions for YOU!

  1. Are you loved?
  2. By whom?
  3. Is there anything you can do about it?

Answer out loud…

February 2023 Word

From the Pastor –

Last month, I wrote about New Years Resolutions and suggested setting faith-based intentions that you could follow.  I highlighted the importance of including prayer in your daily life.  So…how’s that going?  Have you made an improvement in your prayer life?

This month, I would like to highlight the importance of reading your Bible and forming a routine of being in the Word every day.  Now if you’ve ever wanted to create the habit of reading the Bible every day but you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone!

The Bible is a huge book with lots of intimidating names and places and things we don’t understand in 2023.

But it is possible! And you can do this.

First thing you need to do to create this habit is to choose a time where you can sit down and not be disturbed.  Even if it is just 5 minutes a day at first – at least you are in the Word.  After you have chosen a time and a place, I would suggest starting small.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make when introducing a new habit into your life is trying too much at once. So, when you first start reading the Bible regularly, start small!

But where do I start?

Let me suggest that you start in the New Testament with the Gospel of Mark.  The Gospels, or the first four books of the New Testament, are great because they are all about the life and death of Jesus Christ, and Mark has a way of getting right to the point.Reading Mark will help you get a full understanding of Jesus’ life.

Next, try reading the book of Acts. That is the fifth book of the New Testament. This is all about what the church was like when it first started.

Following these suggestions is a great place to start a great new habit.  There are Bible reading plans that you could get into that you could get through your phone, tablet, or computer.  I would recommend the YouVersionBible App that you can download for FREE onto your device.  If you ever need help getting this app downloaded – please let me know and I would be happy to help you.

You will likely have questions along the way.  Trying to understand what the scriptures mean can be challenging…and I believe they are supposed to be.  But as with everything else in our faith journey – we are not called to do this alone.  I encourage you to join one of our Bible Study / Small Group classes that we offer on Sunday’s at 9:15am where we can work towards a better understanding of the Word together.  If you are not ready for that – you are always welcome to send me a question you are struggling with, and I will do my best to help you work through it.  If you’d like to remain anonymous, simply write out your question on a piece of paper and place it in the collection plate.

When starting something new like this, it is common to forget sometimes.  You’ll likely miss a day or two. You will probably forget on the weekends sometimes. It happens. Make it a goal not to miss two days in a row! And when you forget…don’t beat yourself up.  Pick up the Bible and start again.  You can do this!


From the Pastor – January 2023

Every January, people around the world set New Year’s resolutions. Lose weight. Read more. Learn a new skill. Etc., etc. While these are admirable goals, they aren’t specifically New Year’s resolutions for Christians. This year, how can you set faith-based intentions that you will actually follow?

While the bible doesn’t explicitly say anything about New Year’s resolutions, it does offer clear guidance for Christians. Consider the two greatest commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

Do you follow these commandments, every single minute of every single day?

I know that I fail daily to live up to these commandments, but I also resolve daily to do better. When I fail, I ask God for forgiveness. Then I pray that God will equip me to do better.

New Year’s resolutions for Christians are similar to this daily prayer practice, but for the entire year.

New Year’s resolutions date back to both the ancient Babylonians and the Romans, both of whom made promises to their gods.

New Year’s resolutions for Christians, however, have their own history. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, established the Covenant Renewal Service in 1755. This is an opportunity for Christians to recommit themselves to God.

While the first service was held on August 11, 1755, the Covenant Service is now typically held early in January.

Today, people make New Year’s resolutions for all sorts of reasons, religious and otherwise. While every day is a good day to form new habits, I find it easier to start something new in a season of newness. A new week, a new month–and especially a new year–encourage me to become a better version of myself.

This year, I would encourage you to make a resolution that will bring glory to God.  For example: Consider the common resolution to lose weight.

Do you struggle with the sins of gluttony and sloth? Do you want to improve your physical health in order to honor the body God gave you?

Or is your motivation based on vanity, the desire to look a certain way?

Maybe you already live an active, healthy lifestyle, but you’re tempted by the insidious lie that you must be thin to have value.

Three reasons to resolve to lose weight. The first honors God, with the intrinsic motivation to better serve God. The second still stems from intrinsic motivation, but the motivation is selfish. The third is based on external pressure.

How about simply resolving to begin and end each day with prayer…

Ask God for guidance. Ask God to reveal His will for your life. Prayerfully consider how you can better serve God in the new year.And consider praying the following…

Lord, make me what you will.
I put myself fully into your hands:
put me to doing, put me to suffering,
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart
give it all to your pleasure and disposal.

Two of the greatest commandments…that should be our goal every year and every day.

May your New Year be full of blessings and may you be a blessing to others.

God loves you, and I love you – and there is nothing you can do about it.



Pastor Toby Guill219-850-3768 (cell)


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Welcome to the Westville United Methodist Church

Service Times Sunday Morning:

Sunday School for all ages: 9am to 10am

10:am to 10:13 am Social Time

10:15 am Church Service Sanctuary, or in the parking lot

Tune into Radio Station 91.3

Office Email:

Secretary Tuesday – Thursday 9am – 1pm

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Hours & Info
Sunday School 9 am
Worship Church Service 10:15am

Church Office Hours:
Tues. - Thurs. 8am-1pm, Hours may change, please call