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​One Tuesday


11/25/2014 by Marj Timmerman
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I begin Tuesday morning at 6:15 am at Meijer Heart Center with a man who is undergoing major surgery. His family joins me in holding hands and circling his stretcher while I pray. It’s going to be a very long day for all of them. From the pre-op area, I go to cardiac ICU to peek in on the grandfather of one of our members who had heart ...

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​Year-end Strategies


11/25/2014 by Sharon Sorensen
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Year-end gifts to the church keep me very busy.  Please keep in mind that year-end checks mailed to the church must be postmarked by December 31, 2014. Please indicate in the memo section of the check what the check is for: General Fund 2014, Tower Fund, pre-pay for General Fund 2015, etc.  

If you are planning a year-end stock gift, ...

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​Helping Homeless Children and Their Families


11/25/2014 by Laure Mieskowski
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The volunteers, supporters, and community leaders at First United Methodist Church have made an incredible impact for children and their families facing homelessness in Grand Rapids.   While the spiritual impact of First Church’s compassion and hospitality is priceless; the dollar value of First’s service to its urban neighbors is ...

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Finding Our Way


11/25/2014 by Rev. Letisha Bowman
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First Church has a long history of discussing and carefully working through challenging issues.  Based on the current political and religious contention that seems to exist on human sexuality, we believe it is time to study, discuss and prepare to take a stand regarding the civil rights of marriage equality as well as full inclusion of ...

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Music surrounds us at this time of year.


11/25/2014 by Eric Strand
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Music surrounds us at this time of year. The 24/7 “Christmas” music on radios and in stores bombards us. It seems to come earlier and earlier each year, often on the heels of Halloween. Forget Thanksgiving and Advent (“what’s that?); they are not part of this picture. It seems that the rhythm of “church” is ...

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​Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room


11/25/2014 by Patsy McGillivray
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When I learned that was the theme for this Advent season, my mind immediately went to two thoughts:
 
Hebrews 13:2 – “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Mother Teresa – “Everyone you meet is Jesus in disguise.”

I have talked about ...

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Can anyone believe that it is nearly December?


11/25/2014 by Dr. Bob Hundley
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Pastor's Message
Can anyone believe that it is nearly December?  We are a few weeks away from Christmas… and then, a few days later, we will be entering 2015.  It hardly seems possible to me that time is moving so swiftly.

Of course, December means lots of activities are on the schedule of First Church. Advent is the ...

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"It takes a village."


10/28/2014 by Marj Timmerman
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When I joined the church in 1998, it was the compassion our church showed in its outreach programs that attracted me most. I quickly joined the Social Concerns Committee and have been actively reaching out to others through our ministries ever since. 

Over the past two years I have been able to experience that compassion first hand. In May ...

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"Am I Extravagantly Generous?"


10/28/2014 by Chris Hawkins
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Our Annual Giving Campaign will soon be upon us once again. For most churches, this is a really uncomfortable time of year, and the whole topic of church giving is treated as a dreadful necessity. At First Church however, the Finance and Stewardship Committee truly looks forward to our annual campaign. You have probably noticed that we work hard ...

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Looking Outside of Ourselves


10/28/2014 by Audrey Kawel
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One of the beautiful and wonderful things about being part of a church family is its vast potential for diversity. Each one of us brings something unique to the body and, as in every family, we grow as we learn to appreciate and support one another.  You never know whom you might encounter on Sunday, but with an open heart you just might be a ...

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​A Different Kind of Christmas


10/28/2014 by Laure Mieskowski
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Have you ever hunted for a Christmas gift for someone who has more than they need? Do you tell yourself that you’ll cut down on the craziness of the mall frenzy only to find yourself drawn back to the shops (or the internet) one more time? Do you ever feel a bit disappointed after all the gifts are opened? You are not alone. I have struggled ...

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​"For All the Saints, Who From Their Labors Rest"


10/28/2014 by Eric Strand
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For me, this time of year brings a certain nostalgia, or remembrance.  Seasonal changes bring colorful and falling leaves, and evoke a turn inward, both physically inside to the warmth of a fire, and metaphorically, toward interior reflection on life and death.  The church as well seems to sense this pattern and celebrates three days: &...

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​Faith Developed


10/28/2014 by Sami Marasigan
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Why does First Church focus on Intentional Faith Development? 

Why does my faith need developing?  What does ‘developed’ faith look like?

I’d like to share a glimpse of what developing faith, fruitful faith, might look like:

  • Developing faith looks like students studying Jesus’ life.  Then, as a result of
...

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Congregational Life


10/28/2014 by Dr. Bob Hundley
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November is an important month in the congregational life of First Church.  Each Sunday throughout the month has a special emphasis that is important to us all.

November 2 – is All Saints Day.  
Eric’s article gives a historic perspective about ‘why’ this celebration of life is important to the community of faith....

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Pastor's Message: September 30, 2014


9/30/2014 by Dr. Bob Hundley
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Dear Friends,

When I arrived at the office on Monday morning, the 2014 West Michigan Annual Conference Journal was in my box. One of our members, Don Hiler, is the primary editor. As United Methodists, annually all pastors and congregational representatives meet for a three to four-day conference to worship, learn, discuss, debate, vote, agree and...

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