It´s summertime and for many of us that means vacation. I like to travel and see new sights, but I love coming home even more. There´s nothing like sitting in your favorite chair and sleeping in your own bed, eating your "regular" food and doing your "regular" routine with your usual stuff in its usual place. I imagine that might sound a bit boring, but if you don´t have a place to call home, I imagine it sounds like a little bit of heaven on earth.
Did you know:
• that in Kent County almost 40% of the homeless population is families?
• it would take a full-time hourly wage of $14.77 for Michigan residents to afford a "fair market rent" apartment? *
• Michigan´s minimum wage is $7.40 per hour, and an average hourly wage for a renter is $11.62?*
• 40% of homeless children are under the age of 6?
• 6.5 million households spend over 50% of their income for housing expenses?
• 54% of preschool students in homeless families have a major development delay (16% for housed families)?
• 50% of homeless children repeat at least one grade? **
For years, Brian and I lived only a couple of paychecks away from the potential of homelessness (especially while I was in seminary!) – and we are both college-educated, hard-working, responsible-budgeting, live-beneath-your-means people! It´s not easy to build up a safety net and pretty much impossible if you make minimum wage (or even twice that!). It would not have taken much to push us over the edge and into homelessness. I can´t imagine having to tell our son Ben that we had to leave our home and that we didn´t know where we were going to sleep (one can only crash with family and friends for so long - remember the saying about visitors and fish?) I think about that when I consider the work of Family Promise and am so grateful for their work.
Did you know:
• Family Promise helps over 500 people annually move from homelessness to home?
• Family Promise is one of only two organizations that keep homeless families together?
This month, as we do three to four times every year, our congregation will be hosting Family Promise families - and you can help! It´s easy to do, simply sign up on line at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/fp, or use the one-stop-sign-up-sheet this Sunday. During the week of July 20 – 27 you can help set up bedrooms on our third floor, provide a meal, serve as a host (i.e., hang out and have fun), or help with tear-down. You can even sign up with a friend. I know you are busy, but this is important. What are you waiting for?!
Of course, if you would rather get your hands dirty (literally) in the fight against homelessness, there is still time to get in on the Grand Rapids District Habitat Build. Dates of service are July 16 and August 2. Be sure to check out the pictures of the build so far on our Facebook page and then sign up to serve.
See you on Sunday,
P.S. THANK YOU to all those helping to make Sunday worship so exciting this summer! The Spirit is on the move at First Church!!!
• 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
• July 24, 12:00 pm "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• July 25 - 27 — Technology Recycling
• July 27, 11:00 am — Church Picnic
• July 29, 12:30 pm — Youth Beach Day
• July 29, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 30, 6:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or email@example.com with questions.
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.
SAVE THE DATE All-Church Camp will be Friday, August 15 - Sunday, August 17 at Lake Michigan UM Camp. Sign up in the north lobby following the service on Sunday, July 13 and 20. Cost is $30 per night, your check reserves your spot. Special for new campers: buy one night, get one free. Call Peg Terkeurst, 451.2879, if you have any questions!
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, and we will clean up as we go along! There is play equipment for children, and bathrooms for everyone. Come and join us for a good time.
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 15, submission deadline July 10
• July 29, submission deadline July 24
• August 12, submission deadline August 7
• August 19, submission deadline August 14
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 9 am – 3 pm.This is the last week 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!
FREE ELECTRONICS RECYCLING EVENT FUMC is hosting a CompRenew free electronics drop-off event Friday, July 25 - Sunday, July 27. Acceptable items include: office and household electronics (cell phones, radios, microwaves, VCRs, TV´s etc.) computer components and 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.
THE COFFEE CAN OFFERING on Sunday, July 13 will benefit the Haiti Hot Lunch Program. This program provides hot meals three times per week to over 22,000 students. The program ensures access to nutritional meals, cooked on-site, to provide energy to learn throughout the day.
WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY The Social Concerns Committee is continuing to collect specific items needed to stock the shelves of Westminster Food Pantry. We are currently asking for donations of canned vegetables, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. 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.
RENEWAL LEAVE A reminder that I will be leaving July 12th and will be gone through August 16th on a renewal leave! I will be holding all of you in prayer, but I will not be responding to phone calls or email, nor will I be worshipping with you for these 5 weeks. If there is a pastoral care emergency or concern, please call (616) 490-1708. This number is the new pastoral care phone which will be carried and answered by one of our pastors or another staff member who is ready to help. This will also be the number you will use to reach me once I return. I appreciate your prayers and support as I take this time away to refresh and renew! Peace and joy, Marj Timmerman RN, Parish Nurse
CARE NOTES Be sure to check out the Care Notes in the rack this month! New titles include Confronting Internet Addiction, Giving Your Worries to God, Healing a Conflict with a Loved One, and Climbing Up from Depression. Take a Care Note and take heart - give a Care Note and give hope!
JULY 90+ BIRTHDAYS
• Helen Wade will be 90 on July 10
• Elaine Youngs will be 91 on July 28
ARDATH WILTSE MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP The Ardath Wiltse Music Scholarship is available for those who wish to enhance their music training by attending a summer music camp or plan to focus on a college major or minor in music. Please contact Sharon Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 451-2879, ext. 124 to obtain an application. Applications will be accepted through July 30.
DASH FOR THE DUNES 5K RUN/WALK Ever wonder what it would be like to run/walk over the dunes and along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan? Now is your chance. Lake Michigan Camp (5807 Ridge Rd. Pentwater) is hosting the run/walk on Saturday, September 20 at 10:00 am. Cost: $30 entry fee or $75 package (includes one entry fee, one t-shirt and a campsite for Friday and Saturday nights). Platform tent site (sleeps 5) or bring your RV. Register at www.active.com, search "Dash for the Dunes 5k." Proceeds and donations will go to Lake Michigan United Methodist Youth Camp scholarships.
ALL-CHURCH PICNIC You are invited to the All-Church Picnic on Sunday, July 27 following the 10:00 am worship service. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and drinks will be provided. Our Heartside neighbors are also invited so bring a generous dish to pass. Those with last names A - M should bring a dessert, N - Z bring a side dish. All food items may be dropped off in the north lobby before the worship service. (Please have food cut and ready to serve.) Helpers are needed to assist the Fellowship Committee. Please use the Sunday bulletin sign-up sheet or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
ANXIOUS AND OVERWHELMED? Contact your Church Assistance Program (CAP) and let them help you find ways to de-stress your life! Call CAP at 455-6210 to make an appointment today. By telling them you are a member of Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church, you will receive two one-hour appointments at no cost to you. Don´t wait, call CAP today!
HUNGER WALK We extend congratulations to all groups and individuals who participated in this year´s Hunger Walk. Your time and commitment made this happen! It´s a pleasure working with you in service of vulnerable people in our community and around the globe. Thank you for helping First Church finish in 2nd place with $5,612 raised.
FREE CONCERT! Tuesday, July 15 at 7:00 pm at St. Luke´s Lutheran Church (3215 Four Mile NE) the Tookula Youth Choir from Minden, Germany, composed of 60 young people ages 11-19 will present a concert of choral music in a variety of styles, from classical and folk music to sacred and gospel music. Come experience this excellent international choral music!
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Kathy Crawford
• Don Far
• Melinda Hoff
• Carole Kohns (Blodgett)
• Jeanne McCaw
• Nick Polzin
• 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 Bill and Lisa Polzin and family on the sudden death of Bill´s brother, Steve Polzin, on June 24th in Holt, Michigan.
Dear First Church Family,
Thank you for the beautiful Communion stole. It will be my honor to wear it each time I celebrate Communion and to remember the community of the faithful who allowed me to serve in their midst. Your grace and support has meant the world to me. I look forward to another year with eagerness and expectation.
In Christ, Tish
On behalf of my whole family, we would like to thank our church family for all the prayers during the past 7 months. Chemo is just about done and we will continue to pray that I will be able to stay off of it for awhile. I also want to thank those that provided meals, sent cards, made phone calls, drove me to appointments, and for your caring generosity. It was all much appreciated and I am blessed to be a member of this church. I hope to be actively back at church real soon.
Lynne Beals and family
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.
I recently read an appalling report about the use of donations by many obscure non-profits. You know who I mean…these are the people who call you at dinner time with heart-felt pleas for money to support just about everything. These are the organizations that have perfected the art of beautiful eye-catching mailings - filled with dramatic images that compel people to give to a cause they likely know very little about! What is disheartening is how little of each donation actually makes its way to the advertised beneficiaries.
What is it that compels people to lavishly fund these questionable charities? It seems folks are taken in by the eye-catching sound bites without really understanding how their gift might be used.
Here at First Church, we work hard to put as much of our generous gifts into ministry for Jesus Christ as possible! We manage expenses carefully. We pay very modest salaries to our staff - who give much more of their "unpaid" time than most of us realize. We are careful to direct gifts to their intended uses. We watch our books carefully through financial processes that are reviewed annually. We are transparent about how our gifts are used, and take deep pride in the ministries we enable.
Bottom line…when God leads you to generously support the ministries of First Church, you can be sure that we are being good stewards with your gifts.
As I have written, we are working hard to close a budget gap this year. Perhaps when the next solicitor calls, or the next flashy piece of mail arrives - you will remember that God is doing amazing things through our ministries at First Church. Your gifts are bringing the Good News to many. What better cause is there to support? We won´t be using professional fundraisers, or be pestering you at dinner with church robo-calls. Rather, we hope your growing faith through your walk with Christ compels Extravagant Generosity!
We again thank everyone for your continued awesome support for our church through your gifts and service. Your gifts are in good hands!