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May 6, 2014

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Weekly Pulse - May 6, 2014 The official eNewsletter of First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids. If you are not seeing graphics in this email, click here to view it in your browser.


PastorDear friends,

It´s Monday, May 5 - the first day back in the office after a two-week vacation. Pigeon and I spent a week with some good friends visiting Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is a beautiful city that works hard to be welcoming to it´s guests. People were genuinely friendly, helpful, and gracious. We had a wonderful time seeing interesting places, visiting historic sites, and eating in some of the great restaurants that served excellent food as well as being picturesque. There is a lot of Methodist history in Savannah as well - being the only place in America where John and Charles Wesley were in ministry for approximately 18 months. I am so glad we had a break, spent time together, and enjoyed such a marvellous city. We look forward to going back sometime. The only down side to our trip was that I developed an abscess tooth that demanded a root canal as soon as we got home. I was in constant contact with our dentist who prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication until I could get home. It is still uncomfortable - but hopefully will be okay in a couple of days.

One of the things that I missed was the ten-year anniversary celebration for three staff persons: Marj Timmerman, Jer Hon-Hawkins, and John Warnock. Marj has served in developing and expanding the ministry of the Parish Nurse. Her partnership in the ministry of Pastoral Care is a gift to this congregation as well as our staff. Jer has served admirably in one of our outreach ministries with the students and staff of the Martin Luther King Academy. Her ministry within that special community is not only a gift to the children, families and staff, but an extension of ministry from our congregation. John has served in a part-time capacity caring for our information technology. It is a challenge to keep our computers, printers, online functions, etc., working at capacity and John has served well in that arena. Please take the time to express your appreciation to them for their faithful ministry.

I also extend a ‘Thank You´ to everyone who participated in our Lenten discussion groups of the "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations." There are about 30 pages of feedback that we are cultivating that will be the focus of conversation, prayer and planning for the staff and lay leadership. We also received approximately 100 cards indicating a desire to be involved in some form of ministry. Again, we are working to cultivate that information and create a plan for follow-up. Cards are still available and you may turn yours in anytime.

Over the next few weeks, there are lots of special recognitions that will be included in worship: the sacrament of baptism of four this coming Sunday ... graduation recognition and welcoming of new members ... the recognition of teachers and staff of our Christian Education program and our farewell to Annette Erbes ... our confirmation celebration and the celebration of Pastor Tish´s ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. Also, mark your calendar that on Sunday, May 25, we are moving to one Sunday morning worship service at 10:00 am for the summer season.

Thank you for your continued support and involvement at First Church, and I look forward to seeing you in worship this coming Sunday.

Pastor Bob

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Click the following links to download a PDF.
• 2014 Mother's Honor Roll Form
• Current Sunday Sign-Up Sheet: Sign up online at

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• May 7, 6:00 pm   —   Taizé Sung Prayer Service
• May 11   —   Coffee Can Offering: Nicaragua Feeding
• May 13, 5:30 pm   —   Moms´ Group: Mom and Me Yoga May 17, 9:00 am  —    Feeding America Distribution at Cesar Chavez Elementary School
• May 17, 5:00 pm - 10:30 am  —    5-6 Faith Travelers End-of-Year Overnight Celebration
• May 17, 6:00 pm   —    Jazz Vespers: The Randy Marsh Group
• May 18  —    Graduation Recognition
• May 18   —   Fellowship Brunch
• May 19, 12:00 pm  —    60+ Luncheon
• May 19, 3:00 - 7:00 pm   —   Blood Drive
• May 21, 9:00 am   —   Caring Connection
• May 25, 10:00 am  —    Summer Worship Schedule Begins May 26   —   Church and Offices Closed for Holiday
• June 1   —   Teacher Appreciation Sunday
• June 8   —   Baptism Sunday
• June 8, 10:00 am  —    Confirmation Sunday
• June 13-15  —    Father/Child Camp
• June 14   —   Habitat Build Day
• June 16   —   Church Building and Office Summer Hours Start
• June 16, 12:00 pm   —   60+ Luncheon
• June 18, 9:00 am  —    Caring Connection
• June 19   —   Habitat Build Day
• June 23-27  —    Office Reorganization Week
• July 16, 9:00 am   —   Caring Connection

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Sunday Schedule: Children & Youth

9:15 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2 yr. olds - young 3´s Room 106
• Children & Worship (toilet trained) — Older 3´s – Pre K Room 204/201

9:15 AM: Faith Travelers, Junior High, and Senior High begin in worship with their families and are then dismissed to their classes. (Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.)

• Faith Travelers — K-6th grade Church 3rd Floor
• Junior High — 7-8th grade The Vine South
• Senior High — 9-12th grade The Vine North

11:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 years 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.)

**Worship bags and Children´s Pages are available in the narthex with activities that allow for children to participate in worship at their own level.**

Please contact Annette Erbes at 451.2879 or with any questions.

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60+ LUNCHEON The next 60+ Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 19 at noon. Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.

CARING CONNECTION Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 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.

SUMMER WORSHIP HOURS BEGIN MAY 25 Don´t forget to mark your calendar! Sunday Worship: 10:00 AM SERVICE ONLY, no 9:30 am Church School

FIRST CHURCH AND FIRST PLACE will be closed Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.

SUMMER OFFICE HOURS BEGIN, JUNE 16 Don´t forget to mark your calendar!
Church Building Hours
• Monday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Tuesday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
• Wednesday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Thursday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Friday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
First Place Hours
• Monday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Tuesday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Wednesday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Friday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

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.

K-6 FAITH TRAVELERS will be learning a song to share in worship! Music practice with Mr. Pete is Sunday, May 11 from 10:30 - 10:45 am in Room 303. K-6 Faith Travelers will then sing for worship at the 9:15 am worship on May 18. Plan to join us!

FAITH TRAVELERS MISSION OFFERING The K-4 church school classes (Faith Travelers) have selected Family Promise of Grand Rapids as their spring mission offering focus! With help from members of the congregation, we have now met our goal and have raised over $130 for new toys for our Family Promise guests!!! Monetary offerings are still being accepted through May 18 and can be given to Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry, or brought to any Faith Travelers class; all donations are optional. Thank you so much for sharing God´s love with our Family Promise guests!

SAVE THE DATE! Sunday, June 1 is Education Appreciation Sunday! The Children´s and Adult Councils invite you to join them in Wesley Hall following the 10:00 am worship service to greet and thank those who regularly serve in our children´s, youth, and adult ministries for being a vital piece of our Christian education experience this year. Join us for a piece of pie as we share in fellowship and celebration together.

ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 2014, 9 am – 3pm. Have you heard the buzz? Register now for Arts Alive Camp. We will learn how mosquito nets are saving children´s lives! Campers will experience African culture through stories, art, dance, song, drumming, and play. Our week will culminate on Thursday with a field trip to Meijer Gardens. Camp is for children entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall of 2014. 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 our Thursday field trip. Additional costs are underwritten by First United Methodist Church. For more information or scholarship information contact Camp Registrar, Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or laurem@grandrapids Sign up online.

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 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. The tickets are very limited and we need to have a commitment quickly! Use the Sunday sign-up sheet, sign up at, or look for the itinerary and reservation form in the north lobby rack. We need your $49 deposit by May 15. Please join us!

DETROIT TIGER FANS Please note we were able to change our tickets to Sections 112 and 113, the same area we were in last year! So be sure to join us for the game on June 18 and cheer the Tigers on to another win! Get your reservation form online at, in the north lobby, or contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.

JAZZ VESPERS, featuring The Randy Marsh Group, on Saturday, May 17 at 6:00 pm weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.

FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST Join the Fellowship Committee in Wesley Hall on Sunday, May 18 from 9:45 - 11:00 am for breakfast. Don´t miss this opportunity to be in fellowship with your First Church family.

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

YOUNG ADULTS: HABITAT BUILD DAY College Students & Young Adults, are you home for summer break or looking to take a day off of work to make a difference? If so, you´re invited to join us Tuesday, May 13 from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm for a day of construction with Habitat for Humanity! Hope you can join us! I´ll provide lunch. Come dressed to work. To sign up email Sami at

NOW THAT THE WEATHER IS GETTING WARMER ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT GOING CAMPING? Did you know that our United Methodist camps have campgrounds for campers, tents, RV´s and Fifth Wheels? If you want to try a new, safe, Christ-centered campground, why not give one of the following camps a call or check them out online.
• Lakeview Campground: 855-352-6896 or
• Lake Michigan Camp and Retreat Center: 231-869-5317 or
• Albright Park Camp: 231-832-9094 or

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Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Martha Beals
• Ruth Chisnall (outpatient surgery 5/8)
• Mary Kay Gooder
• Pat Hiler
• Pat Newell
• Julie Obrecht
• Mike Obrecht
• Lane Taylor (outpatient surgery 5/8)

Service Personnel
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Xavier Kenmoe
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
• Peter Taylor, Jr

The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Dan and Marlene Terpstra and Jen Terpstra on the death of Dan´s father, Gerry Terpstra, on May 4th. His service will be held on Thursday, May 8 at 10:00 am at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home on Lake Michigan Dr NW with visitation on Wednesday night from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Dear First Church,
Thank you for volunteering to help with the 2nd Best Sale, for donating merchandise, and shopping the sale. In addition to donating the proceeds to FUMC youth mission trips, MLK, and Imagine No Malaria, many local people benefited during the "free items time" and a variety of non-profits received goods for other uses: eye glasses, rags, prayer quilt materials to mention a few. The new sign holders designed and produced by Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship and the new very sturdy finely-crafted book cases donated by Bob & Rachel Reed were much appreciated. Once again, thank you to our dedicated volunteers who made this annual sale a huge success!!
2nd Best Sale Committee

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 Pastor´s Message
• Weekly Pulse Downloads
• Mark Your Calendar
• Sunday Schedule: Children and Youth
• Finance Update
• Pathways: Growing In Grace
• News and Events
• Worship Service
• First Church Family Concerns
• Attendance

WEEKLY PULSE: Click the link to download a PDF version of the Weekly Pulse.

Worship Services
9:15 and 11:00 am


Sunday, May 11
"A Call to Leadership"
Dr. Bob Hundley
Mother´s Day
Coffee Can Offering

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What would our church ministry look like if we set aside God´s gifts FIRST when making our financial decisions?

A few years back, in our fall campaign, we stressed the notion of giving our First Fruits to God. The idea is that when we decide how to allocate our resources, the first thing we do is set God´s gifts aside - rather than giving God the leftovers after all other budget decisions have been made.

Think of it this way: if nine of us were at dinner, with the tenth person running late, and we had a delicious cherry pie for dessert…how would we serve the pie? If we divided the pie into nine slices, the missing person would only get the crumbs! But, if we first set aside the missing person´s slice of pie, and then divided the rest, the missing person would get a yummy full slice when they arrived, and guess what - the rest of us would be just as fulfilled with our slightly smaller piece!

So it is with remembering God with our giving. If we think of God first, and set aside an ample share for God...we STILL can live just fine in the remainder. After all, everything we have is a gift from God, and by setting aside our FIRST FRUITS for God, we show our gratitude for the bounty God has provided to us.

And when we think of God first, amazing ministry can happen at First Church. If we all set aside our first tenth (a tithe) for God, our church budget would easily surpass $4,000,000 per year…over double its current amount. Just think of the ways we could make a difference if that were the case!

As we all seek a closer relationship with God, let us begin by truly putting God first in our giving. Truly, if we set aside our first fruits for God, we surely will be just fine with the generous remainder that God has provided!

"He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the first fruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me." Deuteronomy 26:9-10

Chris Hawkins, Finance Committee

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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: Saturday, June 14, Thursday, June 19, 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 or Sami Marasigan at Sign up online.

BLOOD DRIVE Our next blood drive will be held on Monday, May 19 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Attempt to donate and you could win four 4th row infield tickets to the Detroit Tigers vs Minnesota Twins game at Comerica Park on June 14! Sign up for a time slot by using the Sunday sign-up sheet or by emailing Marj Timmerman at Be somebody extraordinary - save a life! Sign up online.

RADICAL HOSPITALITY Two common comments we´ve heard recently are: (1) your returning and joining First Church was a result of our bread outreach. (2) appreciation from our newer members for their First Friend when they joined. Bread Ministry – The Bread Ministry is one of our most successful hospitality programs. We heard this throughout the 5 Practices classes and Bob´s Meet and Greets. All that´s required is a quick stop each Sunday in the north lobby following worship to see if there were any visitors in your neighborhood. Grab your neighborhood bread bag and deliver it. Just drop it off. You do not stay for a long discussion in the doorway; you hand them the bread and say thank you for visiting. First Friends – A number of years ago we had First Friends who walked with new members to help them connect and meet people during the first couple of months of membership. Some of these First Friends and members formed long term friendships. We would like to restart this ministry and need your help. This requires you sit with the new member a couple of Sundays, introduce them to others, and talk to them about the many opportunities offered at First Church. You could even go out for lunch after church, invite them to your home, or anything to be hospitable in a way that works best for you. If you were impacted by either of these programs or are looking for a Radical Hospitality activity, please sign up using the Sunday sign-up sheet.


STEPHEN MINISTRY So what is Stephen Ministry really all about? Do you have what it takes to join the Stephen Ministry Team? Are you looking for a Christ-like way to care for another during a difficult time in their life? Find the answers to these and other questions on Sunday, June 8 when you can meet with the Stephen Ministry Team in the parlor at 11:00 am for refreshments and a short video. We will be holding a Stephen Minister training class this fall. Are you ready?

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 First Place room 3109. Books will be available for $10 in the north lobby starting June 15. Or you may purchase your copy of an eBook online. Sign up online.

WOMEN AT FIRST Join us for a summer lunch series. Using "The Christ-Centered Woman," by Kimberly Dunnam Reisman, we will find balance for every age and stage of life with Christ at the center. Women at First will explore what the Bible teaches about Christ-centered living using Ephesians 3 as a guide. Starting Thursday, June 12, we will meet every other week from 12:00 - 1:30 pm through August 21. Lunch may be purchased (a soup/salad) or you may bring your own. Workbooks will be available for $10 in the north lobby beginning June 1.
Sign up online.


STRESS Do you feel more stress than you think you can handle? Is it affecting your quality of life? Call your CAP (Church Assistance Program) Hotline at 455-6210. By saying you are a member of First Church, you will be able to receive two confidential one-hour visits with a social worker at no charge. Don´t wait, call CAP today!

HOSPITALIZATIONS Are you or a family member hospitalized or having surgery? Due to strict hospital privacy rules, we won´t know unless you tell us! Each day of the week, pastoral care is covered by our parish nurse or one of our pastors who is happy to visit and pray with you before your surgery or during your hospital stay. If you don´t want your name mentioned in the Weekly Pulse or in Sunday services, please let us know. However, we would still like to visit and support you, even if it´s an outpatient procedure. Please contact Parish Nurse Marj Timmerman, Pastor Bob or Pastor Tish at 451.2879.

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Sunday, May 4
Worship 9:15 am ........153
Worship 11:00 am ........229
Church School ........102
Evening Activities ........14

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Weekly Pulse is published by First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids. To subscribe to this newsletter, click on this link: subscribe.