View Screen-Reader Accessible Site

April 8, 2014

Link to Facebook Page

Weekly Pulse - April 8, 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,


An interesting phrase, isn´t it. We all know what it means because it has a cultural definition. We learn early on that a week ‘off´ from school is highly desirable. This year, even though there may be a ‘break´ - there isn´t much ‘spring´ to it ... at least, not yet. I have been amazed at how different the traffic pattern has been around town the last few days. It reminds me of living near the campus of Michigan State, and how different it was when the students were on ‘break.´

The truth is ‘breaks´ are important. It is a way to alter the rhythm of life. Most of us are creatures of habit. We get in to a routine - and periodically, the routine (or rhythm) needs to be interrupted. That is the function of ‘days off´ ... weekends ... or ... vacations. Change needs to occur occasionally. It is important to our spiritual and emotional health. Spiritually, the ‘break´ is called Sabbath. It is a biblical mandate that if practiced as a spiritual discipline, provides opportunity for us to rest, renew and restore in order for us to be prepared to face the challenges that we must face.

By way of confession, I am not very good at taking ‘time off.´ I have always struggled with taking days off OR taking all of my vacation time. I know I need to do it ... but it is hard for me to turn off my mind and really be ‘away´ - even when I am away. For me, I need to put it in the context of intentionally changing the rhythm of work and life. Doing yard work, playing golf, taking time to read, or to travel - are all ways for me to change my rhythm.

It took me over a year to figure out the ‘rhythm´ of superintendency. I expect it will take me about that long to figure out the ‘rhythm´ of this congregation as well. What I am working toward is balance. Being disciplined enough to take appropriate ‘breaks´ is important for me ... and I believe it is important for us all. (The next ‘break´ that my wife and I are looking forward to comes AFTER Easter!)

So - take a ‘break´ - and may it bring a sense of rest and renewal for you.

I hope to see you Sunday!

Pastor Bob

Table of Contents


• Services will be held Sunday, April 13 at 9:15 and 11:00 am.
• You are invited to join us after both worship services for pancakes, eggs, sausage, and fruit in Wesley Hall for our annual Palm Sunday Pancake Brunch, hosted by our youth. Suggested donation: $5/person or $20/family. All proceeds raised go towards our 2014 Workcamp trip to NC to repair homes for low-income families.
• We will celebrate this special Sunday with a palm procession at the 9:15 am worship service! Parents are asked to bring their children aged older 3 year olds – 6th grade to the corridor on the west side of Wesley Hall at 9:05 a.m. to prepare for the procession. Children will then be dismissed to their classes from worship. We hope you can join us! Children´s Holy Week Devotional Booklets (complete with "props"!) will be available on Palm Sunday! Please pick one up for your elementary aged child in the back of the sanctuary or at the receptionist´s desk.

MAUNDY THURSDAY COMMUNION SERVICE All are welcome to this "Family Meal" on Thursday, April 17. Join us at 6:15 pm for a soup and bread meal followed by worship and communion at 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. We would like to know how many people to prepare for, so please use the Sunday sign-up sheet if you plan to attend the service. Child care provided, beginning at 6:30 pm.

COMMUNITY GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE You´re invited to the Community Good Friday Service on Friday, April 18 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm at Central Reformed Church (10 College Ave NE). Bob will preach on the Fourth Word.

FIRST CHURCH GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE Join us Friday, April 18 at 7:00 pm for "Music and Readings on the Passion of Christ." Child care provided.

IDENTICAL EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES will be held in the celebration of Easter on Sunday, April 20 at 9:15 and 11:00 am. Join us for a continental breakfast in Wesley Hall from 10:00 - 11:00 am. Children are encouraged to worship with their families. 9:30 Faith Travelers, Youth, and Adult Classes will NOT be held. Children´s Nurseries and Classes Available on Easter are as follows:
9:15 am
• Childcare for Infants and Toddlers
• Children & Worship Class for Older 3´s-PreK
•  No Faith Travelers this morning; elementary aged students are invited to worship with their families
11:00 am
• Childcare for Infants and Toddlers
• One Room Schoolhouse for 4 Yrs – Grade 2 (Children will be dismissed from worship)


Click the following links to download a PDF.
• Lent Worship: Fruitful Sermon Series
• 2014 Easter Memorial Flowers Order Form
• Current Sunday Sign-Up Sheet: Sign up online at

Table of Contents


• April 11, 7:00 am  —    Men´s Lenten Breakfast
• April 13, 9:15 am ONLY   —    Palm Sunday Processional
• April 13,10:15 am and 12:00 pm   —    Palm Sunday Brunch
• April 16, 9:00 am   —    Caring Connection
• April 17, 6:15 pm   —    Maundy Thursday Communion Service
• April 18, 7:00 am  —    Men´s Lenten Breakfast
• April 18, 9:00 - 6:00 pm  —    Church Building and First Place Closed
• April 18, 7:00 pm  —    Good Friday Service
• April 19, 9:00 am  —    Feeding America Distribution at Cesar Chavez Elementary School
• April 20, 9:15 and 11:00 am   —    Easter Sunday
• April 21   —    Church Building and First Place Closed
• April 21  —    CANCELLED: 60+ Luncheon
• April 22, 5:30 pm  —    Moms´ Group: Mingling Moms´ Night
• April 27   —    2nd Best Sale Drop-Off Begins
• April 27, 5:00 - 6:30 pm   —    Membership Exploration
• April 28, 7:00 pm  —    Leadership Council Meeting
• May 1, 9:00 am   —    Prayer Quilts
• May 3, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm   —    2nd Best Sale - Saturday
• May 4, 1:00 pm   —    Access Hunger Walk
• May 4, 5:00 - 6:30 pm  —    Membership Exploration
• May 6, 10:00 am   —    Moms´ Group: John Ball Zoo Field Trip
• May 7  —    Jackson Road Trip

Table of Contents

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.

Table of Contents


FATHER/CHILD CAMP Attention dads (grandpas and uncles, too)! Spend Father´s Day weekend (June 13-15) at Lake Michigan United Methodist Camp in Pentwater! Picture you and your kids sitting around a campfire, enjoying the beach, hiking the many trails - all while spending time with God and some of your church family! Platform tents, as well as spots for your own tents and campers, are available. Site rental is $30 per night. Five meals are provided for $20 per adult and $15 per child with a maximum amount of $50 per family. Please contact Jason Smith at 262.7151 or Make sure to ask about the "buy one, get one night free" offer for first timers!

HUNGER WALK is SUNDAY, May 4 starting at Park Church at 1:30 pm. We are still looking for participants to fight hunger! Come to the parlor on Sunday to sign up to walk, sponsor, or volunteer. Monies raised support 75 local food pantries, 15 local and 3 international agencies. All walkers are invited to a luncheon in Wesley Hall at 12:15 pm the day of the walk.

DON´T FORGET YOUR SWEATER Outdoor temperatures are fluctuating like mad! How are we supposed to dress? The outdoor temperature has a direct effect on how the church building feels inside. When the temperature is going back and forth, church can be very warm or very cool. During this time of temperature uncertainty, please wear layers. In this huge building, it´s difficult to get the temperature favorable for all, so please come to church prepared!

MOMS OF BABIES, TODDLERS, & PRESCHOOLERS You´re invited to join us for our Moms´ Group: Mingling Moms´ Night on Tuesday, April 22 from 5:30 - 7:00 pm. Have you ever wanted to check out the great products or services that others in our group are selling without that awkward pressure to buy? Well, we´re going to try that out over dinner. If you sell Pampered Chef, Avon, ThirtyOne, etc., bring your brochures or samples. The deal is, no one is expected to buy anything, but if you want to, that´s ok, too. We´ll order pizza for dinner ($5/family) and have someone come in to help play with the kids while we chat. Friends invited! RSVP to

ROAD TRIP TO JACKSON Join us on Tuesday, May 6 for a day trip to Jackson! We will visit the historic Michigan Theatre where we will learn about the history of Jackson State Prison through live storytelling, film clips, archival photos and more. We will then enjoy lunch at Steve´s Ranch before heading to the old prison which is now Armory Arts Village. After experiencing the historic facility, we will have time to browse and enjoy the arts and crafts in the Grand Gallery. Get your reservation form online at, in the north lobby, or contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.

DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN´S MINISTRY POSITION First Church is accepting applications for the position of Director of Children´s Ministry. Responsibilities include oversight of all Sunday morning children´s education classes; recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteer teachers; planning and oversight of additional children´s activities. This is a part-time paid position. A bachelor´s degree is required. Experience working with children in a church setting is desirable. A complete job description and application are available online at Application deadline is April 23. For additional information, contact Emil Jensen at 451.2879 or

IMAGINE NO MALARIA Thank you to everyone who attended the Mary & Martha screening. Over $1,000 was donated to Imagine No Malaria. 100 lives of children and pregnant women will be saved through your generous giving! Additional donations are welcome. Checks should be written to FUMC with Imagine No Malaria in the memo line. Mary & Martha is available to borrow. Contact Laure Mieskowski at to borrow the movie or to learn more. You may also visit

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? explores how art can become a bridge "to our neighbor," and a creative catalyst for social change and spiritual renewal. The conference and art exhibit features 2 days (April 25 & 26) of seminars and workshops and an 11-artist/300-piece exhibit held in the 8 hosting churches. Visit for more information and to register.

SAMPLE SIZED TOILETRIES During June, the children at MLK attend Camp O´Malley. Many arrive at camp without needed hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Hotel sized toiletries are perfect, so if you are traveling this spring, please bring us any of those items you won´t be using for yourself. Please drop off your donation in the MLK collection bins in the north lobby office.

SOFTBALL Join the FUMC Co-Ed Softball team! Practices are Sundays at 3:00 pm at the north Richmond Park fields, and the first game is Wednesday, May 7. You must be 13 to be eligible to play. Sign up using the Sunday bulletin.

MEMBERSHIP EXPLORATION classes will be held on Sunday, April 27 and May 4 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. If you would like to know more about First Church, please join us! Sign up by using the Sunday bulletin or online.

GOOD FRIDAY HOURS The church building and First Place will be closed Friday, April 18 for Good Friday. The church building will open at 6:00 pm for the annual Good Friday Service at 7:00 pm.

CUBA MISSION UPDATE Please pray for our Cuba Mission team who are traveling to Herradura Cuba, April 7 - 12. Wendy Taylor (team leader), Heather Abraham, Max Beals, Josh Brandt, Alicia Geene, Leona Huston, Holly McGillivray, Amanda Moser, Barb Moser, and Erin Taylor make up the current team. Team members will take gifts and supplies to Pastor Juan and our brothers and sisters of the Herradura United Methodist Church. They will worship together, share Christian fellowship, continue old friendships, and create new relationships.

Table of Contents


Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Roy Hart
• Julie and Mike Obrecht
• Fran Sherman
• Cuba Mission Team (April 7-12)

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 Karin DeHaan and family on the death of Karin´s father, Edwin Edlund, on April 1st. His service was held April 5th in Muskegon.

The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Peggy and Dave Thompson and family on the death of Peggy´s mother, Margaret (Ranny) Riecker, on April 7th. Visitation will be at the Ware Smith Woolever Funeral Home on Sunday, April 13th from 2-4pm and 6-8 pm, and her service will be held at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland on Monday, April 14th at 11am.

1stCongratulations to Brittney Kyle and Christopher DeDinas who were united in marriage on April 5th by Pastor Bob in our sanctuary!

Table of Contents


 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, April 13
"Becoming Passionate People So That…"
Rev. Letisha Bowman
Matthew 21:1-11
Coffee Can Offering
Ministry Focus – Easter Mission Offering

Table of Contents


Even though there is still plenty of evidence remaining of the crazy winter we just went through, spring is definitely in the air. For many in our congregation, it is time for Spring Break! When we moved to Grand Rapids in 1997, we were surprised how the spring break week was such a huge part of so many family annual vacation plans. It seems almost everyone has a vacation or some other recreation around this week.

As we plan how we are going to spend our leisure time, both this week and throughout the year, we need to remember those around us who don´t have much to look forward to at spring break time. In fact, when schools are closed, many kids in Grand Rapids are forced to spend the day alone at home while parents work - and deprived of school meals that are such an important part of the daily routine.

It´s amazing how many in our community have never seen Lake Michigan, never been out of Kent County, and have not enjoyed even the simplest of pleasures such as a Whitecaps game or a visit to the zoo.

While we plan our vacations, let us remember these folks who struggle from day to day. First Church is in ministry every single day to bring hope and even some simple pleasures to those in need. When we spend our leisure time and our discretionary dollars, are we striking the right balance between our own pleasures and Christ´s call to serve the least and the lost?

If God is calling you to re-evaluate your spending priorities, please consider the ministries of First Church. Every day - even during spring break - we are making a difference for Christ. We still are projecting a budget deficit for 2014…so hopefully we can all pray about how we might still increase our financial support for God´s work.

Remember, the simplest pleasures are indeed free…a hike in the woods, a good book, the pleasure of serving others. The Finance Committee hopes you are finding inspiration to be radically generous. And enjoy your spring break and the coming summer season!

Chris Hawkins, Finance Committee

Table of Contents


TOILET PAPER AND TUNA During the month of April, Social Concerns will be collecting toilet paper and canned tuna for Westminster Food Pantry. Our goal is to collect 110 packages of toilet paper and 110 cans of tuna. Please drop off your donation in the collection bins in the north lobby office.

BLOOD DRIVE FOLLOW-UP Congratulations to Dave Terkeurst who received his 4-gallon pin and to Wendy Taylor who received her 1-gallon pin at our March Blood Drive! Thanks to all the donors and cookie bakers for making the drive successful in helping to save lives. Our next blood drive is May 19.

FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, April 19 for the monthly food distribution at Cesar Chavez Elementary (1205 Grandville St. SW 49503). The truck arrives at 8:30 am for set-up, and the distribution begins at 9:00 am. First Church does not have primary responsiblity for this distribution, however, volunteers are invited to help. No sign-ups are needed.

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

MEALS NEEDED We still need three meals for Lynne Beals and her two kids in May. If you are able to help, please sign up at or contact Marj at 901.9224 or A way to practice a form of extravagant care!


STEPHEN MINISTRY Do you know what a Stephen Minister does? Do you know that it takes 50 hours of training before you are commissioned to be a Stephen Minister? Are you looking for a Christ-like way to care for another person 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?


INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.

CHURCH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Are financial concerns causing a strain on your relationships? Let your Church Assistance Program help you! Call CAP at 455-6210. By telling them you are a member of First Church, you will have 2 one-hour confidential appointments with a social worker at no charge to you. Don´t struggle alone - call CAP today!

Table of Contents


Sunday, March 30
Worship 9:15 am ........136
Worship 11:00 am ........226
Church School ........115
Mary & Martha Movie ........83

Wednesday, April 2
Taizé Sung Prayers........17

Sunday, April 6
Worship 9:15 am ........118
Worship 11:00 am ........228
Church School ........91
Evening Activities ........30

Table of Contents

Link to Facebook Page

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