Friends, I´m eager to say “Thank You” to several groups of people for what they´ve made possible for us here at First United Methodist. First, my thanks to the scores of people who have worked so diligently to make our ArtPrize venue a success. Eric Strand and Deb May have done a great job of contacting and negotiating with artists and attending to countless unseen details. Emil Jensen, our Director of Facilities, joined them in arranging the venues in the Barclay entrance, the parlors, and the sanctuary. Sami Marasigan and friends did remarkable work orchestrating our Lot Party. Did you know that David Bloss negotiated a contract with the artist who created the crosses on our lawn? Thanks!
Eric Strand´s striking organ composition, inspired by the Tiffany resurrection window, drew many people into the sanctuary simply to sit, listen, and enjoy the worshipfulness of that space. One person said, “Our church has contemporary music. I wish we had an organ like that! Is that actually your organist playing?”
We had almost 8,000 people visit our church during ArtPrize (almost double last year´s total – we counted!) and we heard many enthusiastic comments from those visiting our church. Here are a few remarks passed on to me:
• “Your sanctuary is just beautiful! You should have entered your sanctuary in ArtPrize!”
• “Is that a real Tiffany window?”
• “Do people worship here? We´ll come back on a Sunday.” We had people come to our next Taizé Sung Prayers after experiencing our sanctuary.
• “The banners are beautiful.”
• “We love the Creation theme - and brochure - that tied things together.”
• A lot of people commented on the many newborns on our baby board: “You´re so fortunate to have so many young people in your church!”
So many of you volunteered to be venue hosts during the day and long into the night. You were all great ambassadors for the church and I am grateful for you!
Second, I am grateful for the many people who made our Mission Fair possible last Sunday. First Church is involved in so many distinct areas of mission involvement, both in Grand Rapids and around the world, that it´s easy to lose track of all we do. So Sunday was a great reminder of our missional web.
It was great to see tables for Cuba and Nicaragua side by side. How good to see and remember our ministries through the Circle of Support, Justice for Our Neighbors, “PET” (Personal Energy Transportation), and the United Methodist Women. If you were there, perhaps you learned something about the 29ers or the Koinonia Foundation. It was an inspiration to see an impromptu conference happening between a Family Promise representative, a member of our Nominating Committee, and a prospective Family Promise Coordinator. Thank you Laure Mieskowski for bringing it together (and for the fair trade chocolate). Kudos to all of you who staffed the Mission Fair and participate in our mission outreach!
Finally, where would we be without our Fellowship Committee? We´d be out-of-sorts, for sure. The faithful core of people on “Fellowship” fed the church all morning on Homecoming Sunday. They fed over three hundred people from the community and church on the Sunday of our Lot Party. Our “Gratitude Brunch” on our stewardship Celebration Sunday (October 21st) will be graciously provided by our Fellowship team. My thanks to Susan Bloss, Pat Boyle, and Kitty Derusha for their leadership! If you´re looking for an area of involvement, please consider helping them – there´s always room for more.
I´ve discovered that the inevitable danger of saying thank you at all is that someone vital is overlooked. But it´s a risk worth taking. If you have helped advance our mission and ministry in any way, you have our thanks. And if I overlooked you, be assured that God knows all you do!
• October 9, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• October 10, 6:00 pm — Sparks Service
• October 11, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• October 14, 12:15 pm — Taste and See Class
• October 15, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• October 17, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• October 20 — Scrapbooking Marathon
• October 20, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: The Wonderland Jazz Ensemble
• October 21 — Stewardship Celebration Sunday
• October 25, 9:00 a — m Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• October 27 - 28 — Junior and Senior High Youth Halloween Overnight
• October 28 - November 4 — Family Promise Week
• November 7, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• November 8, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• November 9 - 10 — Women of First Fall Retreat
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
FAITH TRAVELERS SERVICE LEARNING PROJECT Help Spread Bubbles! As you are aware from last week, through the month of October the Faith Travelers classes are engaging in service learning projects, and they would like your assistance! The 1st and 2nd grade classes would like to collect bars of soap for a food pantry. Their goal is to collect 100 bars of soap. Help spread bubbles in our community! Next Sunday, October 14th, there will be black buckets located at the entrances to the sanctuary where you can put the soap. If you have any questions, contact Mary Judnich at email@example.com or 616-735-0155. Thank you for your support!
FALL 2012 SUNDAY MORNING CHILDREN´S CLASS SCHEDULE 9:15 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months — Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — age 2-young 3 — Room 205
• Children & Worship — older 3s (potty trained) – K — Room 204/201
• Faith Travelers — 1-6th grade — 3rd floor Church bldg (Faith Travelers begin in worship with their parents. Following Moments with the Children, they are dismissed to class. Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.) 9:30 AM
• Junior High — 7-8th grade — The Vine South (1st floor of First Place bldg.)
• Senior High — 9-12th grade — The Vine North (1st floor of First Place bldg.) 10:25 AM
• Faith Travelers´ Choir — 1-6th grade 3rd floor Church bldg 11:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months — Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — age 2-young 3 — Room 205
• Children & Worship — older 3s (potty trained) – K — Room 204/201
• Junior Church — 1-2nd grade — Room 202 (Children in Junior Church begin in worship with their parents. Following Moments withthe Children, they are dismissed to class. Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.)
**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.**
• A DISCIPLE´S PATH — Everyone is invited to take this 7 week class! Combining a Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God´s love and grace with the time-tested practices of spiritual discipline as expressed in the membership vows to uphold the church with our presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness, you will discover the difference it makes to live out your commitment to Christ through membership in the United Methodist Church. You will learn that being a disciple means loving God and loving others, and you will be equipped to do that by discovering your unique gifts and becoming engaged in ministry that also brings transformation in your own heart and life through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Books are available from the north lobby receptionist: Workbook (required) $6.50, Companion Reader (optional) $7.00. Register online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
• Begins Sunday, October 21 at 12:15 pm in the Parlor(includes lunch). Led by Patsy McGillivray.
DON´T FORGET to fall back Sunday, November 4. Set your clocks back one hour for daylight saving time.
IHN TRAINING Have you thought about volunteering to be a host for our IHN guests, but were not sure what you were getting yourself into? Join us on Tuesday, October 16 at 6:00 pm in Wesley Hall as we conduct a training session put on by Barb Zylstra, Assistant Director to Family Promise of Grand Rapids. Come and learn how simple, easy, fun and rewarding it is to host our IHN guests. We will provide dinner and we will have you out by 7:15 pm at the latest. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet or use the Sunday bulletin. If you have a simple craft idea for kids, you too, can be a fun evening host for IHN.
PHOTOS To be included in our new “online” photo directory join us on Sunday, October 21, before and after the 11:00 am services in the parlor for pictures. They will be used in our online directory and/or the “New Member Board.” If you have any questions, contact Patsy at 451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
60+ LUNCHEON will be Monday, October 15 at noon. The program will be “Autumn via the Agawa Canyon Train.” Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.
TASTE AND SEE CLASS If you are interested in learning more about First Church, please plan on attending our “Taste and See” on Sunday, October 14 at 12:15 pm in the parlor. Email Patsy at email@example.com if you have questions or plan to attend. Child care will be available.
SCRAPBOOKING Our next scrapbooking event will be Saturday, October 20 from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Have a work space table all to yourself. Great place for scrapbook wannabes! If you´re not a “scrapper,” you can enjoy other paper crafts like card-making or quilling. We´d love to have you join us! If you are a scrapbooker, please email Patsy McGillivray at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included on the scrapbook emailings.
REDUCE RISK OF DIABETES TODAY Many people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes first had a condition called “prediabetes” - higher than normal blood glucose levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Research shows that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and ciculatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes. Attend the free Diabetes Prevention course at the Kent County Health Department starting in the fall. Taught by a registered dietitian and a public health educatior, this multi-session course offers practical actions that you can take to have a brighter, healthier future, free from diabetes. To sign up, call 632.7290.
YOUNG ADULTS PAINTING PROJECT Are you 18-30 and like to paint? Then please join us on Wednesday, October 17 for an indoor painting project. We´ll be working together to get a home ready for move in! Please meet us at: 1555 Boston St SE, Grand Rapids at 5:30 pm (or as early as you can make it). Dinner and painting supplies will be provided, just come ready to paint!
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, October 14 after the 11:00 am service for lunch at New Beginnings Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). Because we reserve space there, please let us know if you are planning to join us by calling Sherry Gates at 942.8527 by Saturday, October 13.
WOMEN OF FIRST - FALL RETREAT Join us November 9, 6:00 pm – November 10, 4:00 pm at Gull Lake Retreat Center (Hickory Corners, MI). Cost $120. Relax, Worship, Learn and Grow! Workshops Include: God´s Amazing Pharmacy!, Revive, Refresh, Renew, and Living Prayer. RSVP to the church office at 616.451.2879 by October 26. Send payment to Sharon Sorensen (payment guarantees reservation).
HALF-N-HALF HALLOWEEN OVERNIGHT Senior High Youth are invited to join us Saturday, October 27, 10:00 am - Sunday, October 28, 10:30 am. First Half: Making a Difference! We´re working with GRASP (Grand Rapids Area Service Project) to repair homes for low-income families (similar to workcamp). Second Half: Bonfire! After volunteering, we´re having a bonfire, spending the night at The Vine (games, sardines, movies, midnight worship, sleep optional). Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 24 to Sami at email@example.com or 616.485.6203. Cost: $25 (scholarships available). Open to anyone in grades 9-12. Friends invited!
FIXIN´ ´N´ FELLOWSHIP Thursday, October 25 at 9:00 am - meet in room 105. We will start the day with fellowship over coffee and baked goods, then tackle minor repairs needed throughout the church buildings.
ADVENT DEVOTIONALS The season of Advent is approaching quickly and we need your help. As in past years, we are planning to provide a booklet of Advent devotionals, written by members of our First Church family. We need 24 devotionals for Advent. Submissions for Advent are due by November 5. Our Advent theme is The Journey. Topics might include spiritual journeys illustrated by: the transformation from child to adult, genealogy/family, hometowns, the journeys we don´t want to take, unplanned blessings, and travel. If you are interested in writing a devotional, or would like more information, please contact Laure Mieskowski (451-2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also sign up using the Sunday bulletin insert.
“BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE CHURCH” WORKSHOP Everyone is welcome to this excellent 3-day workshop. Begins Thursday, October 25, 1:00 pm - supper onsite (included in conference fee), Friday, October 26, 9:00 am - supper offsite (everyone pays their own way), and Sunday, October 27, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Location: Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church (514 Eastern Ave SE). If welcoming gay Christians and their families is on your heart and you would like to learn how to nurture that conversation, this three-day workshop is for you. It will be led by staff from the Institute for Welcoming Resources (a national organization sponsored by members of several Christian denominations) and Room for All (a national organization for members of the Reformed Church in America). Participants will gain skills in engaging gracefully with those who believe differently about the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Christian community. Cost is $25 and includes the training, materials, and two meals (Thursday supper and Friday lunch). Registration deadline is Thursday, October 11. Register online at www.welcomingresources.org/communityorg.htm.
THE METHODIST CONNECTION What is The Methodist Connection? It´s an association of First Community AME, First United Methodist Church, Hilliard Chapel AME, and St. Luke AME Zion, which meet together for yearly events as a way to further racial reconciliation and to widen the circle of friends and those for whom we care and pray. Here is how you can become involved this fall:
• JOINT WORSHIP SERVICE on Sunday, November 11 at 6:00 pm in First Church sanctuary followed by a pie social in Wesley Hall. All are welcome! Contact Skip Moseley at email@example.com or 949.8938 to learn more about book clubs.
ALZHEIMER´S STORIES Join The Chamber Choir of Grand Rapids and The Grand Rapids Women´s Chorus for a benefit for the Alzheimer´s Association on Sunday, October 28 at 3:00 pm. Enjoy a work by Robert Cohen for choir, orchestra and soloists in three movements at the East Grand Rapids Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults/$15 for seniors and available at www.grwc.org or www.chamberchoirgr.org.
2012 YEAR OF INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING Join us for a conference on “Living with God in a Time of Suffering - Jewish/Christian/Muslim Interfaith Dialogue” at the Grand Valley Eberhard Center on Tuesday, October 30. For more information, visit www.2012gr.org or call 616.331.5702.
FLU SHOT CLINIC Spectrum Health Visiting Nurses will be here on Sunday, October 14 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in the parlor to administer flu shots. Bring your Medicare or Priority Health insurance cards and Spectrum will bill them directly for you. Otherwise the $30 payments can be made by check or cash. Check with your physician to see if a flu shot is appropriate for you.
CONGREGATIONAL CARE We often hear about and celebrate the wonderful outreach ministries in which our church is involved. You may be less familiar with the Pastoral Care and Health Ministries available to you at First Church. This week I would like to highlight our Caring Connection. If you enjoy sending cards and notes of cheer, this ministry is for you! We meet the third Wednesday of each month at 8:00 am at New Beginnings on Michigan St. Either Pastor Tish or Marj will provide you with a short list of people to whom you can be a reminder of Christ´s love by sending them a note. Join us next Wednesday, October 17 for breakfast and fellowship!
CARE NOTES The Care Notes rack has been relocated to the west side of the art gallery hallway between the name tag holders and the dumbwaiter. Be sure to check out the new titles as well as the new location!
BABY BLUES After giving birth to a beautiful, healthy baby, I don´t feel like a new mother should feel. Call your Church Assistance Program (CAP) at 455.6210. They will answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will set you up to meet with a trained counselor. The first two one-hour sessions will be at no charge to you by telling them you are a member or friend of First Church!
MUSIC WITH A MISSION SERIES Each concert will benefit a mission supported by First Church. Events are free (except as noted), open to the public, and have unreserved seating. A tithe of the free will offering collected will help those in need both locally and around the world! We look forward to having you with us at our next concert!
• Concert Choir of Grand Rapids Community College Join us Sunday, November 11 at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. This vibrant ensemble performs an eclectic program of choral gems. Dr. Stephen Barton directs this highly select group that is the premier ensemble at the college.
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring The Wonderland Jazz Ensemble, on Saturday, October 20at 6:00 pm weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, November 7 at 7:00 pm. Taizé is a meditative service of choruses, accompanied by instruments and vocal solos. Communion, prayers for healing, and the lighting of candles are also offered. It´s a wonderful way to connect with God in the midst of a busy week.
FIRST CHURCH FAMILY CONCERNS Concerns & Prayers for:
• Judy Beals (surgery 10/11)
• Lynne Beals
• Betsy Buist
• Weldon Hodges
• Jane Killman (outpatient surgery 10/10)
• Sue Reinhard
• Betty Rosendall
• Cat Wescott
• Richard Wimmer
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Stephan Mathos
• Jacob Mol
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Dawn and Sam Bush and family on the death of their son, Randy, on October 7th. His service will be held on Wednesday in Evansville, IN.
Congratulations to Karen and Kevin Wisner on the birth of a daughter, Gennavieve Kipalee, on October 5th. Gennavieve´s siblings are MaryLee, Hannah and Leo and proud grandparents are Rose and Steve Hayes!
Congratulations to Martha Ruttman and Luke Bakker who were united in marriage on October 6th in our sanctuary.