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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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​Risk-Taking Mission: Meeting Blessed People...


9/23/2014 by Richard Johnson
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Have you ever wondered about certain people who are different? People who look different, act different, talk different, and have different values?

The wonderful experience of risk-taking mission and service through the outreach ministries of First Church has taught me that the more we explore and involve ourselves in the lives of others, the more...

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​Traditional vs. Contemporary


9/23/2014 by Eric Strand
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These two words often sum up the typical conversation about music in the church.  Amazingly, these words do very little to adequately describe the music, and often raise more questions than they answer.  Whose tradition?  Tradition at what point in time?  Contemporary to whom?  To what population?  Also, these words do...

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​Faith Development in Faith Travelers


9/23/2014 by Audrey Kawel
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Do your children sometimes struggle to make the best decision? Could they benefit from having time to think about their faith? 
 
Faith Travelers is a truly unique experience for children and for adults who teach and shepherd. As a teacher of Faith Travelers last year, I saw children become inspired by Jesus’ teachings and heard ...

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A Rich Tradition


9/23/2014 by Chris Hawkins
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At First Church, we have a rich tradition of actively supporting many local outreach activities. Whether by our personal involvement of time, or our generous financial gifts, over 30 local charitable organizations receive support from First Church every year.

In 2014, this tradition, enabled exclusively by our regular giving, is indeed being ...

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People come to First Church from many different places


9/23/2014 by Patsy McGillivray
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People come to First Church from many different places, looking for many different things.  What many find is an open and welcoming congregation with a passion for hospitality.  Here is one such story.
 

We joined FUMC in July 2012 after a period of church shopping in the Grand Rapids area.  What stood out about First compared
...

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​Compassionate Care and Renewal


9/23/2014 by Marj Timmerman
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As most of you know, I was able to take a 5-week renewal leave this summer and would like to share briefly with you some of what I experienced!

I spent the first week at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina at SoulFeast, a spiritual formation and retreat event put on by Upper Room Ministries. Set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, I worshipped and ...

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Pastor's Message


9/23/2014 by Dr. Bob Hundley
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The church year is off and running.  We had a wonderful Homecoming Sunday on September 7 with great energy and participation.  It has been a challenge for many months to get to 227 E Fulton St because of all the road construction.  But these first two Sundays in September, over 400 people wanted to be at First Church... or they might...

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