For a few weeks now, I have been writing about ‘stewardship’ … and how we are stewards of our time … talents … and treasures that God has invested in us. This is part III …
Having just weathered the ‘moving’ process, I found lots of ‘treasures’ that I didn’t remember having. I tend to keep ‘stuff’ that I think I will need - some- day. For example: I still have all of the files of all the classes that I took in music school, seminary, and my doctoral studies. Have I ever gone back to consult those files? NO! So why do I keep them? For some reason, I could not get rid of them … but after several speeches to myself, they will be leaving my file cabinets soon!
On the other hand, I also found a box of about $30 worth of solid silver quarters that I had kept from when I was a paper boy back in high school. It was at a time when copper was being introduced as a partner with the silver to make the quarter. Somebody told me that the solid silver quarters might be worth some money some- day. So I kept them. I found the box again in the recent move. The research that I have done indicates that the $30 dollars worth of silver is now worth about $750.
We all have heard stories about folks who got rid of a ‘treasure’ that they did not realize they had. I recall a ‘treasure’ sale at one of the churches that I served where a widow decided to sell her husband’s baseball memorabilia. Her husband had been dead for several years and she was ready to ‘clean house.’ She brought all of his ‘stuff’ to the church and put it in the rummage sale. When I arrived, a man was buying her boxes full of ‘baseball collectables’ … including autographs of Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle. He was from New York and was an avid collector of New York Yankee items. His wife had no idea of the value of her husband’s collection. The buyer should have been ashamed of himself, because he got the entire box for $25. He no doubt made hundreds if not thousands on her ‘treasures’ that she did not know she had.
The old adage is true … ‘one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.’
We all have precious possessions. We have things that are sentimental to us. Some- times our most important treasures are not worth much in monetary value. On the other hand, there are things that we have accumulated that are valuable.
We probably all can quote the phrase that Jesus used in teaching the disciples; “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
It seems to me that we need to identify ‘where our heart is.’ What are the ‘trea- sures’ in our lives? Then the follow-up question is: how can we be faithful in our stewardship in giving to God a portion of what is valuable to us? After all, God is the giver of all gifts.
Our ‘estimate of giving cards’ are producing fruit. Thank you! If you have not yet turned in your goals of giving for 2014, please send it in or place it in the offering plate this coming Sunday. Together - we are doing great ministry through the ministry of First Church! Thank you for your faithfulness - and I hope to see you on Sunday.
• Children & Worship (toilet trained) — Older 3´s – Pre K
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
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 years
• One Room Schoolhouse — 4 years-Grade 2
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
COFFEE CAN OFFERING On Sunday, November 10, the coffee can offering 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. Please come to church with your change and quiet money, too!
STEPHEN MINISTRY MEET AND GREET Meet and greet your Stephen Ministers after both worship services on Sunday, November 10 in Wesley Hall. Learn about Stephen Ministry, what the ministry is, whom we care for, and how you might become one! Look for the people in the blue shirts.
SUBSCRIBE! Missed church? Never go sermon-less again! Our pastors’ sermons are now available on YouTube. Simply search for GRFUMC and click the subscribe button. Printed copies are also available in the north lobby literature rack.
CHILDREN’S WORSHIP BAGS Parents and kids: after using a Children’s Worship Bag, please place it in the basket below the rack so it can be refilled for next week. If you hang it up again, there will be elements missing for the subsequent Sundays.
ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE is a traditional church school class offered at 11:00 am for children ages 4 through grade 2. The children attend the beginning of 11:00 am worship with their families, and are dismissed to Room 202 following Moments with the Children. The children experience and learn Bible stories through adaptable lesson plans which incorporate drama, puzzles, games, storytelling, music, and activities for readers and non-readers alike. This class is led by Linnae Smalley and Katie Wezeman, and all children ages 4 through grade 2 are welcome!
FAITH TRAVELERS’ MISSION OFFERING FOR HEIFER PROJECT INTERNATIONAL: Our Faith Travelers program will be taking a voluntary offering each Sunday morning during their 9:30 am church school classes. Our goal is to purchase a share of a heifer cow ($50) from Heifer Project International. Children are encouraged to do chores or read at home to raise their offering money. (If each Faith Travelers child were to bring in just $1, we would meet our goal!) Our purpose is to teach children that by working together, they can make a difference in the life of another child. Thank you for supporting families around the world that they might have regular meals, a stable income, and likewise pass on this gift to their neighbors. Please contact Annette Erbes at email@example.com with any questions you might have.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN The annual Christmas meeting of the UMW will be held on Wednesday, December 4 at 2:00 pm in the Games Room of Clark Retirement Community. The program will be a Christmas sing-a-long with Nancy Berger followed by a visit to the Chatterbox for refreshments. Everyone is welcome!
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS FAIR Many major box stores are already “decking the halls” and setting up their seasonal Christmas displays. You may think it is a bit early but we invite you to think differently about gift shopping this year. Consider giving alternative mission gifts to your loved ones. Save the date and some of your gift budget for A Different Kind of Christmas Fair scheduled for Sunday, November 17, 2013 in Wesley Hall.
60+ LUNCHEON Being held on Monday, November 18 at noon, please make your reservation by Friday, November 15 with Luci Baer (457-7797) or Elaine Youngs (735-5506). The entertainment will be Magical Musical Story Glory. The Story Glory Team share fine arts from the heart, including folk tales, original works, seasonal favorites, and all-time favorites enjoyed by all. Please join us!
UNITED METHODIST COMMUNITY HOUSE BENEFIT CONCERT All are invited to support The United Methodist Community House by attending “Night on the Town Cirque de Noel,” a partnership with the Grand Rapids Symphony on Wednesday, December 18. Tickets are $45 per person, which entitles the ticket-holder to the preevent reception, live jazz by Sylvia Taylor, hors d’oeuvres, parking, silent auction, and symphony ticket. For more information, call 452-3226 or go to umch.eventbrite.com.
GIVE TO JFON THROUGH THE UNITED WAY JFON has been registered as a Donor Choice Agency of Heart of West Michigan, since 2008 and can accept donations through this program. This is particularly timely as United Way pledges are being collected in the fall. Donors can elect to choose Justice for Our Neighbors to receive their funds. Please consider JFON when you pledge, and spread the word with family and friends!
YOUNG ADULT COOKING CLASS During the holidays, do you fear taking a dish to share? Are you looking to step up from cheese and crackers? Then join us for an evening of cooking, tasting, and fellowship! Young adults (18-30) are welcome to join in the church kitchen (not The Vine) at 6:00 pm on November 6 and 20. Please use the sign-up sheet in Sunday’s bulletin if you plan to attend.
YOUNG ADULTS COMMUNION & CONVERSATION Are you a young adult (18-30) who is looking for a time to reconnect with God while talking about faith with friends? Join us in The Vine for dinner followed by Communion & Conversation. We love to have new friends join us, don’t be shy, stop on by! If you need directions or have questions about the event on Wednesday, November 13, please email Sami Marasigan at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Sunday sign-up sheet
SOCK IT TO US! The Junior High youth are collecting items for Casey’s Socks. We accept donations of full-size toiletries such as deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.) as well as monetary donations. The Jr. Highers will be stuffing up to 170 socks on November 24. We need your donations! Please drop them off in the north lobby, labled for “Jr. High” by November 22.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS Was ArtPrize a favorite activity for you this year? Do you enjoy viewing and supporting the fine arts? Consider using your love of art in support of First Church’s own art exhibit, the 41st annual Celebration of the Arts, by becoming a participant in the Celebration Committee. We need people with various talents, from reception planning to construction of the gallery. Sign up today for Celebration 2014 by using the Sunday sign-up sheet, or by contacting Eric Strand (erics@grandrapidsfumc. org ), Deb May (deborah. email@example.com), or calling the church at 451-2879.
EASY FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT OUR TUTORING CENTER AT MLK Shop D &W Fresh Market Stores and Family Fare Stores November 17-23. The CASH for CLASS fundraisers for the MLK Academy at D&W and Family Fare now have a very easy format. To support our Tutoring Center you must first be registered for the Spartan/D&W/ Family Fare YES card, then during specific promotional periods, when your YES card is swiped MLK automatically benefits. Now is the time to get registered! The catch is, everyone must register anew for this school year! This is how it’s done….
Already a YES cardholder? Go to www. myyesrewards.com, log into your account by entering your email address and password under “Returning Members,” go to “My Profile” page and link our school CODE 89389
Already a YES cardholder, but don’t have an online account set up? Go to www. myyesrewards.com click “First-Time to Site” and follow the steps to complete account registration. Then complete part 1 as written above. CODE 89389
Not a YES member yet? Go to www. myyesrewards.com and click “Join Us”, fill out the registration form and link our school code to your card 89389! You can pick up your YES card at your store’s Customer Service desk. CODE 89389
If all else fails, go to the Customer Service desk in any store and they can help you get a card and link your card to the FUMC – MLK Cash for Class number 89389.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Arnold Babcock (hospice care)
• Jim Carr (outpatient surgery 11-14)
• Tom Conquest
• Albert Hoff
• Jim Hoff
• Robert Newell
• Janet Nichols (surgery 11-5)
• Ken Peirce (10-18)
• Carol Ryan
• Peggy Child Smith)
• Nancy and Bob Gillette
(to Nicaragua November 7-17)
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Shawn Seher
• Peter Taylor, Jr
The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to the family and friends of the Rev. Don Merrill, who died on October 29. A memorial service will be held Sunday, November 17 at 3:00 pm in our sanctuary.
The love and prayers of the congregation are also extended to Tami and Mark PreFontaine and family on the death of Mark’s father, Ron PreFontaine, on November 2. Arrangements are pending.
ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES
• For those who are over 65 and need to enroll for 2014, join us November 10. Classes will be led by Bob Callery, the Regional Coordinator with the Area Agency on Aging in West Michigan. Meets Sunday at 9:30 - 10:30 am in room 3107.
• Our next Blood Drive will be held Monday, November 18 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or call the office to reserve a time to donate blood. If you can’t donate blood, cookies are also needed! Be a part of this important mission to save lives.
• On Sunday, November 24, we will receive an offering of nonperishable foods to support the Westminster Food Pantry. Adults may bring food items to the sanctuary prior to the start of both worship services. Paper bags with suggested food lists attached will be distributed after the worship services on November 17. If you prefer, you may also consider a financial (taxdeductible) gift. Checks should be made out to FUMC, with “Westminster Food Pantry” in the memo line. The Westminster Food Pantry can often purchase food for as little as $.16/lb. The pantry must use financial resources to purchase meat, personal care items, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, eggs, dairy, and other items on a weekly basis. Envelopes are available in the narthex and at the reception desk during the month of November. The need is great for both food and financial support. Please plan on giving a generous gift at this time of thanksgiving.
• Our annual Ingathering will take place on Sunday, November 24. We invite children ages Older 3 Yrs through Grade 6 to come to the west hallway next to Wesley Hall at 9:05 am or 10:50 am with their offering of food items. Children will process during the first hymn of both worship services. At 9:15 am worship, the children will be excused to their church school classes. At 11:00 am, children ages Older 3s through Grade 2 will be excused to their classes with children Grades 3 and up remaining in worship with their families.
MLK GIFT OF GIVING
• Now we have our gift donors, and the fun begins! Help is needed with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Academy Gift of Giving implementation. We need help with setting up the workshop on December 2 (9:00 to 11:00 am); with checking in donations on December 4 (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) and 8 (8:30 to 10:45 am and 10:45 to 1:00 pm); passing out gifts, wrapping, and carrying gifts downstairs on December 11 (12:00 to 3:00 pm, 3:00 to 6:00 pm, and 6:00 to 8:00 pm) and 12 (9:00 am to noon), as well as closing down the workshop on December 12 (11:30 am to 1:00 pm). Wednesday, January 8, we need help with sorting and packing the Giving Tree gifts for the MLK classrooms. There are many ways to contribute to making the program run smoothly. Check out the website (www.grandrapidsfumc.org) or the Sunday sign-up sheet to indicate your ability to help.
MLK MOTHER GIFTS We have discovered that the parents who participate in our Christmas Gift of Giving program rarely receive Christmas gifts themselves. For the past few years, we have collected donations of new items, such as holiday decorations, jewelry, scarves, fleece blankets, candles, household items, perfumes, or other special treats/trinkets. These are left unwrapped and the mothers are able to select something they would really enjoy off our gift table. Sometimes volunteers then wrap the gift so Mom will have something to unwrap on Christmas. Please be on the lookout for some nice surprises and leave them in the north lobby collection room clearly marked “MLK Mom Gifts.” They are needed by Sunday, December 8. Thank you!
THE METHODIST CONNECTION
• Are you moved by great preaching? Do you love good hymn singing? Are you hungry for a fantastic piece (or two) of pie? Come to the Annual Methodist Connection Celebrates! Worship Service and Pie Social on Sunday, November 10 at 5:00 pm in the First Church sanctuary. Please bring a pie to share and invite a friend!
FIRST AID STATION
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP
• The next Infertility Support Group will be held on Tuesday, November 12 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend. Please RSVP to Parish Nurse Marj Timmerman at 901-9224 or use the Sunday sign-up sheet.
BLUE CHRISTMAS SERVICE
• Those who have experienced job loss, health concerns, the death of a loved one, depression, financial concerns, or similar losses may find this holiday season a little less joyful. Our Blue Christmas service on Sunday, December 1 at 5:00 pm is a service of candles, prayer, silence, scripture, and encouragement. If you are finding the coming season tough, join us in the chapel. Or think of those you know who are struggling and invite them. All are welcome!.
ANXIOUS? Have you ever felt an overwhelming feeling of demise with shortness of breath? Don’t let panic attacks and anxiety devastate you. For more information, call your Church Assistance Program (CAP). Dial 616.455.6210 and make a CAP appointment today. As a member or friend of First Church, you will receive 2 one-hour sessions with a counselor at no charge to you.
CUBA MISSION Our partnership with our sister church in Herradura, Cuba has been strong for sixteen years! Wendy Taylor will lead a mission trip to Herradura Methodist Church over spring break 2014. Our focus is to bring resources to the church and to continue to create bonds of fellowship with our Cuban brothers and sisters. Tentative dates are April 4 - 12. Dates may vary a day or two depending on airfare rates. Five adults and five high school youth are eligible for this trip. Younger children may attend if accompanied by a parent. Our team needs to be confirmed by late October. All interested persons are encouraged to contact Wendy Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up via the Sunday bulletin or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.