I´m sure that you know that Audrey (Kettle) Kawel (rhymes with ‘travel´) has joined our staff as the Director of Children´s Ministry. Audrey is a daughter of this congregation, having grown up attending many of the children´s ministries that she will now lead. She is the daughter of Betsy and Ed Kettle. A graduate of Albion College, Audrey has several years of experience as a public school elementary teacher. She and Tommy, (her husband) taught in Calhoun County before moving back to Grand Rapids. Most recently, both of them have been working in the East Grand Rapids School system. For several months, Audrey volunteered teaching in the Faith Travelers class on Sunday mornings prior to Annette announcing that she and Mark would be moving. Audrey is already connected… but wishes to connect even more with parents and children in building a partnership for continuing a vital and growing Children´s Ministry. Please welcome Audrey. We are fortunate to fill this important position from within our congregation. You may contact her at email@example.com.
Marj Timmerman, our Parish Nurse, will be taking a 5-week renewal leave. Marj has been on staff for eleven years and she will be taking time (beginning July 12) to get away, read, think, pray, and explore the potential expanding ministries of Pastoral Care. We have purchased a "Pastoral Care Cell Phone" that someone from the staff will be carrying at all times. Staff members will be on call during Marj´s absence. That number is 616.490.1708. Marj will return in mid-August.
Which leads me to MY schedule. I will be off for a month beginning June 23. I typically do not take a month off all at once, but I discovered over our vacation in April, just how tired I am. Now the greater context is: in 2008, I had been given a Lilly Foundation Grant for a three-month renewal leave. It was a $45,000 gift that would have allowed Pigeon and me to travel, study, think, pray, and ‘renew.´ Then – the Bishop appointed me to become a Superintendent. I lost the time off as well as the grant. Four years later, after serving as the Dean of the cabinet, I was scheduled for another 3-month renewal leave. Only to be assigned to First Church as Senior Pastor. So in five years, we have made two major moves. As grateful as I am to have served as a Superintendent, that job is a consuming one with a major focus on conflict (and hopefully, occasionally some resolution). AND, I am also grateful to be here and engaged with the significant ministries of First Church. It is a delight for us to be living in Grand Rapids and to have a ‘first year of ministry´ go as wonderfully as we have enjoyed. But I also need to pay attention to my spirit and take some time to rest, think, pray, and not only process this first year … but assess where I need to invest and lead for the second year and beyond. Pastor Tish and the staff will be doing what they always do in caring for the needs of our congregation. And thanks to the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee for working with us to make this important time possible.
Finally – I asked for prayers for our recent Annual Conference. God was gracious in that we dealt with some very important topics that in the past, has been rancorous and hurtful. On Friday evening, June 13, a historic vote was taken in support of the following motion; We encourage all United Methodists within our annual conference and beyond, lay and clergy, in accordance with our membership vows to "resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves," by supporting spiritually, emotionally and prayerfully the issue of marriage equality and the clergy and local congregation who faithfully minister to all persons, courageously risking any consequences for their living fully into the duty of performing marriages for all people.
The debate was spirited. Many people courageously shared their stories, and it was the stories that became the transparent way for us to hear and speak with grace, care, and kindness. It will take some time for United Methodists in Michigan to ponder through what the legislation means and how it will be lived out. But the position is a ‘shift´ in thinking within the United Methodist Church. The conversation continues – and I will keep you posted on the various developments.
Grace and Peace to you – and I will see you Sunday (I hope). I am grateful to be starting a second year with this congregation.
• June 17, 5:30 pm — Mom & Me Yoga
• June 18 — Detroit Tigers Road Trip
• June 18, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• June 19, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm — Habitat Build Day
• June 21, 8:30 am — Feeding America
• June 22, 11:00 am — Youth Beach Day
• June 23-27 — Office Reorganization Week
• June 24, 10:00 am — Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park Picnic
• June 24, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• June 25, 6:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• June 26, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• July 1, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 8, 10:00 am — Morning @ Kentwood Splash Pad
• July 8, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 10, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• July 10-19 — High School Workcamp to NC
• July 12, 11:00 am — Methodist Connection Picnic
• July 15, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 16, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm — Habitat Build Day
• July 16, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• July 19, 8:30 am — Feeding American
• July 20, 11:00 am — Senior High Lunch
• July 20-26 — IHN Week
• July 21, 5:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) Dinner Making for IHN
• July 22, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 24 — Marshall Road Trip
OFFICE REORGANIZATION WEEK will take place June 23 - 27. During that time the First Place office will be closed to the public; there will be a receptionist at the north lobby desk from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Tuesday.
WE NEED TO GET "SOCIAL" on our Facebook page! Our Facebook page is what our community and the world see of First Church and is a way they can connect and get to know First Church. One of the ways this happens is YOU! If you have yet to "Like" our fan page, and share it on your timeline, would you consider doing that this week and tell someone you know about your church? "Like" us at www.facebook.com/grandrapidsfumc.
SUMMER NEWSLETTER SCHEDULE: During the summer months the Weekly Pulse will be mailed out on an alternating schedule. Please remember to submit your Weekly Pulse articles by the prior Thursday: Weekly Pulse schedule
• July 1, submission deadline June 26
• July 15, submission deadline July 10
• July 29, submission deadline July 24
• August 12, submission deadline August 7
• August 19, submission deadline August 14
MOMS´ GROUP: A DAY AT BOULDER RIDGE WILD ANIMAL PARK PICNIC Celebrate summer with us on Tuesday, June 24 at 10:00 am at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park Picnic in Alto. Pack a lunch and meet us there for a day of fun! Cost is $10/adults and $8/kids (ages 2 & under are free). Information and directions at: www.boulderridgewap.com. Dads and grandparents invited!
FREE ELECTRONICS RECYCLING EVENT In cooperation with Michigan electronics recycler Comprenew, FUMC is hosting a free electronics drop-off event on Friday July 25 - Sunday July 27. Acceptable items include: office & household electronics (cell phones, radios, microwaves, VCRs, TV´s etc.) computer components & accessories (laptops, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, speakers, power cords, etc.) Almost anything with a cord or battery will be accepted. Comprenew will wipe or destroy all computer hard drives. No big box appliances, air conditioners or refrigerators. WHY RECYCLE? Electronic waste is a growing concern to our environment. When put in landfills, e-waste can leak harmful toxins into our soil and water. Please take advantage of this opportunity to properly dispose of obsolete or non-working electronic items. WHO? Comprenew is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit electronics recycler. Comprenew does not ship e-waste overseas, and the zero-landfill policy requires that all e-waste received is recycled, refurbished or reused. A portion of the proceeds from the recycling event will go to First United Methodist Church. WHEN? Please look for the Comprenew e-Drop Trailer in the church parking lot. The trailer will be open the following hours: Friday, July 25: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm; Saturday, July 26 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday, July 27: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.
CALLING ALL FIRST CHURCH FINE ARTISTS, AGE SIXTEEN (16) AND OLDER… We are looking to have an All-Church Art Exhibit beginning July 1 with intake on Friday, June 27 and Sunday, June 29. Do you have an original painting, artistic photograph, textile art, jewelry or sculpture that you might share in our hallway gallery? Sign up on the bulletin sign-up sheet. An entry form with more information is available in the north lobby or at www.grandrapidsfumc.org or contact Carol McNally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE All-Church Camp will be Friday, August 15 - Sunday, August 17 at Lake Michigan UM Camp. Sign up following services on Sunday, August 3 and 10. Special for new campers: buy one night, get one free. Call Peg Terkeurst, 451.2879, if you have any questions!
CARING CONNECTION The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 18 at 9:00 am at New Beginnings Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). We welcome anyone who would like to participate in caring for our homebound with phone calls, note-writing, and visits.
UPCOMING ROAD TRIPS For all road trips, use the Sunday sign-up sheet, sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/road-trips, look for the itinerary and reservation form in the north lobby rack or contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.
• MARSHALL ROAD TRIP Join us on July 24 for a road trip to Marshall! We will enjoy a bus tour of historic Marshall, lunch at Schuler´s, and then the musical "Guys and Dolls" at the historic Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater. DEADLINE is July 9th to sign up for this fun day!
• PENNSYLVANIA Join us September 18-20 for a memorable road trip including a dinner cruise, visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial, Quecreek Mine rescue site, Frank Lloyd Wright´s Duncan House, and Heinz Memorial Chapel.
• AMAZING GRACE AND SHOPPING IN CHICAGO The musical Amazing Grace is coming to Chicago for less than a month this fall and we are planning a road trip to see it on Wednesday, October 22! You will have the choice of shopping the Magnificent Mile or visiting the Field Museum for about 3-1/2 hours Wednesday morning before the 2:00 pm showing of Amazing Grace. The musical is the story of John Newton, who was a slave trader before becoming a Christian and writing perhaps the world´s most beloved hymn.
• A DAY IN CHICAGO For those who love to shop or visit museums and don´t want to see Amazing Grace, you now have the option of traveling with us on the bus to Chicago on October 22 for $68. That includes coffee and donuts on the way down, transportation, and gratuity for the bus driver. Lunch (in Chicago) and dinner (in Stevensville) will be at your own expense.
ADULT EDUCATION SUMMER CLASS In Adam Hamilton´s book, "Love to Stay," class members will explore how, with God´s help, we can make love last. He uses surveys from singles and couples, interviews with marriage and relationship therapists, the latest research, and wisdom from the Bible to look at what it takes to create and sustain a healthy, meaningful romantic relationship across the course of a lifetime. Classes will run on Tuesdays from June 24 - July 29, from 6:30-8:00 pm and will meet in the parlor. Led by Amy and Adam Hinman and Laure and Dick Mieskowski. Books will be available for $10 in the north lobby starting June 15. Or you may purchase your copy of an eBook online. Child care provided.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, July 13 after the 10:00 am service for lunch at New Beginnings Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). Because we reserve space there, please let us know you are planning to join us by calling Sherry Gates at 942.8527 by Friday, July 11.
GRAND RAPIDS RUN AGAINST HUNGER will take place July 12 on the campus of Cornerstone University. Races will include a 5k run/walk for anyone over the age of 10, and a 1/2 mile run for kids 10 and under. 100% of all registration costs and food donations will be donated to NECM. Register online at www.cornerstone.edu/grrah.
RISK-TAKING MISSION First Church is joining other UM churches in the "Grand Rapids District Habitat Build." This is a wonderful opportunity to join with Habitat Kent County in a project that will forever change the life of a hard-working, low-income family in need of affordable housing. We invite you to pray for the project and the family who will live in this home at 934 Caulfield Ave SW. Consider being part of a First Church building team on one or more of the following days: Wednesday, July 16; and Saturday, August 2. We will be framing on each of these days. Volunteers must be age 16 or older. You may volunteer by contacting Laure Mieskowski at email@example.com.
THE METHODIST CONNECTION will be having a summer study together, using the study guide, Invitation to the Gospels. The classes will be at St. Luke AME Zion Church beginning July 7, 8, and 9, and then continuing for the next 5 Tuesdays at 6:00 pm, for a total of 8 classes. You are invited to join us as we study together. Skip Moseley will have some of the books available for purchase. Contact him at 949.8938 to participate.
THE METHODIST CONNECTION ANNUAL PICNIC is Saturday, July 12 at 11:00 am at the open pavilion in Johnson Park. Everyone is welcome to join us in food and fellowship. We ask that you bring a side dish or dessert to share. The meat and drinks will be provided. If you would like to help set up, you may come at 10:00 am. We clean up as we go along! There is play equipment for children, and bathrooms for everyone. Come and join us for a good time.
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 9 am – 3 pm. Register Now to Receive Our Early Bird Discount! Early Bird Rate: $45 if registered by July 3; $60 after July 3. Fee provides lunch and snacks each day, t-shirt, reusable water bottle, entrance fee for Thursday field trip to Meijer Gardens. For more information or scholarship information contact Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or laurem@grandrapids fumc.org. Register online at grandrapidsfumc.org/arts-alive-camp. Space is Limited. Register Today!
ARE YOU GOING INTO 7TH, 8TH, OR 9TH GRADE IN THE FALL? If so, you are invited to join us for our "Week of Giving," August 4-8, as we work with local organizations donating our time and doing our part to help our neighbors. Spots are limited. Cost for the week (including meals) will be $100. Scholarship assistance is available. Only available for a couple days of the week? Daily sign-up option is available for only $20/day. Please indicate which days you are available when you make your payment. Early bird rate has been extended! Sign up before July 3 and pay only $75. Sign up at grandrapidsfumc.org/jh-week-of-giving, use the sign-up sheet today, or contact Emily Uebbing at 855-6247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FAMILY PROMISE We will welcome homeless families to our church during Family Promise week, July 20 – 27. This opportunity to practice radical hospitality includes the following volunteer opportunities: room set-up, dinner preparation, evening host, overnight host, Saturday host, washing laundry. Volunteers of all ages are welcome – no experience necessary! If you have a welcoming heart and like to meet new people, talk, eat, and sleep, you have the skills necessary to volunteer! You may sign up in the Sunday bulletin, online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/fp, or email Christian Miles at email@example.com. Contact Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION In order to help keep the shelves at Westminster Food Pantry stocked, the Social Concerns Committee will be collecting donations of canned fruit and toothpaste during the month of June. Your donation may be dropped off in the collection bin located in the north lobby. Thank you for continuing to help keep the pantry shelves stocked.
BOX TOPS FOR EDUCATION Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Academy recently received a check from Box Tops for Education in the amount of $239.40. Thanks to all who are clipping box tops, which provide money that can be used at the discretion of the Academy. This makes a total of $689.50 received during 2014. Keep up the clipping!
LAKE MICHIGAN CAMP AND CRYSTAL SPRINGS CAMP are in desperate need of volunteers for a few of their camps this summer. The weeks below are when this help is needed. Lake Michigan Camp: July 13-19 (If interested, please call 231-301-1763). Crystal Springs: July 6-12 and July 13-19 (If interested, please call 269-591-1905). There is a need for both male and female counselors for these camps.
PRAYER PARTNERS This summer, students will be packing their bags to head to camp. Some will go to our many United Methodist camps. Others will go on our high school workcamp trip to repair homes in North Carolina. These camps have the potential to make a huge difference in the spiritual lives of our students. Would you consider signing up to pray for one or two of our students for one week of the summer and send them a note to let them know you´re praying for them? If so, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or email SamiM@GrandRapidsFUMC.org to be partnered with a student or two and to receive prayer suggestions for the week.
CHILDREN´S MINISTRY SURVEY Parents of children going into 6th grade or younger, please take our fun and exciting online survey at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/survey. As the new Director of Children´s Ministry, I am seeking your feedback this summer on how to improve our programming for the coming year. Thank you in advance for your honest feedback, and I look forward to working with you and your child(ren). Audrey Kawel
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN´S "MISSION U" Join us July 17-19 at CMU in Mt. Pleasant for "Learning Together for the Transformation of the World." Join us for Drive In Day on August 9 at Holton UMC. Topics include "How is it With Your Soul" and "The Church and People with Disabilities." See the bulletin board for registration forms, topics and details.
SUNDAYS 10:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 yr. olds Room 106
• One Room Schoolhouse — 4 years-Grade 2 Room 202 (One Room Schoolhouse children begin in worship with their parents. Following the Children´s Moments, they are dismissed to class.)
Children in Grades 3 and up are welcome in worship this summer! In order for middle and older elementary children to be engaged in worship, they will find… • worship bulletins created just for them each week with the theme/scripture of the day (located at each entrance into the sanctuary) • worship bags filled with books, activity sheets, worship bulletins, & colored pencils (available in the back of the sanctuary on a wooden cart). Bags hanging up are ready for use; then simply return your used bag in the basket on the cart to be filled for the next week.
We would also welcome children as worship participants this summer. Would you like to play your instrument or share a song or reading? Please talk to Pastor Tish as we would welcome your participation.
Here is a quick snapshot of our financial status through the end of May:
Although we have received $35,139 less revenue than planned, the largest reason for that is that we have not received the budgeted contribution from the church Legacy Fund. We will do this during the summer, and the revenue picture will come closer to budget.
The fantastic news about our revenue is that our giving is only off by $21,677, meaning we have received 96% of our planned gifts through May. I believe this is a wonderful testament to the faithfulness of our church family. We do indeed live up to our promises. This speaks to faithful stewardship that is alive and well at First Church. It is this faithful support that drives our many ministries - and for that we should praise God!
Our expenses are just slightly over budget. The one main reason for this is the impact that the ferocious winter had on our utility expenses. Nearly all other areas are spending under budget for the year.
We still face a challenging year. We are projecting to end up the year in a deficit situation. We will try to cover the miss with our small reserve fund and with targeted use of some of our Legacy Funds to support ministries according to donor wishes.
You can help us minimize this deficit! If God has guided you to a point in your faith journey where you can joyfully proclaim, "YES!- I really can give more!"then contact Sharon Sorensen in the church office today to revise your 2014 Estimate of Giving. Together we are making a difference in the name of Jesus Christ! We are working every day to witness to the least and the lost, the hopeless and the helpless! When we compare our personal situation to some of those impacted by our ministries, we see that God really has provided us with great abundance. Let us gratefully respond out of that abundance.