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December 3, 2013

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Weekly Pulse - December 3, 2013 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.


Pastor Dear Friends,

If you have been to my office, you no doubt have seen the emphasis around the room of Salvation Army paraphernalia that is nearly as prominent as MSU ´stuff.´ Some folks have wondered … why. My Grandmother Hundley grew up a ´Salvationist´ in Toronto. Grandma never played in the Salvation Army Brass Band … but she was part of the ´tambourine corps´ that marched with the band. She was part of the ´Songsters´ … (the Salvation Army Chancel Choir) … and rang the bell at kettle locations around Toronto at Christmas time. Her brothers were active bandsmen. One of Grandma´s brothers became the Bandmaster of the London, Ontario Corps in the early 1950´s. When I met his widow in the mid 1970´s … she was so excited that I played the ´cornet´ and conducted! She said, “IF you will become a Salvationist, I will buy you your baton and cap and help you get a band of your own!” Needless to say – I passed on her invitation!

Yet, as a result of family heritage, my father exposed me to the musical traditions of the Salvation Army. Dad loved to hear the Flint Salvation Army Band. He had many friends in the band and they were very good. Can you imagine a congregation supporting an adult band of more than 35 instrumentalists, of all brass and percussion – that played every Sunday for worship? Their instrumental skills were extraordinary. The spiritual commitment that each member made was just as vital as their musical offering. Attending Salvation Army Band concerts was a significant part of my life.

Consequently - I cannot easily walk by a kettle at the doorway of a store without contributing. And each time I see a kettle, my memories go back to the myriad of Christmases when friends who played in the Salvation Army Band invited me to join them in ´caroling´ (on instruments, of course) at the Genesee Valley Mall.

When the Byers Doll Company came out with the ´Salvation Army Collection,´ I began purchasing one doll per year, and giving the doll as a Christmas gift to my grandmother. She loved them … and when she died, she gave the entire collection back to me! That is why they are in my office … and always will be.

We all know that our Wesleyan heritage intersects significantly with our sisters and brothers in the Salvation Army. General Booth left the Methodist movement in England to birth the Salvation Army because he wanted to be on the ´front line´ of meeting the human and spiritual needs of street people in London. It´s too bad that schism between our traditions emerged. Imagine what we might have done had we stayed together.

The world needs those who will love it enough to change it … with what we have … with what we are willing to give … right where we are. We need to … ´find a need and meet it … or find a hurt and heal it.´ It is a great definition of ministry! There are a myriad of ways to be in ministry … particularly during December. As you read through the ministry opportunities through our congregation, clearly there is no shortage of ways to be involved. The ´giving´ spirit seems to sweep over our culture during the Christmas season.

See what walking by a kettle at the doorway of a store does to me. It sends me down memory lane.

As one of your spiritual disciplines during Advent … I hope and pray that you, too, will get involved in giving or serving in ministry. And … may it be a discipline that is practiced as preparation for your ministry engagement in 2014.

May God´s grace and peace be with you.

Pastor Bob

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TODAY, December 3, is UMC #GivingTuesday

Give today and double your impact! All United Methodist donations given to mission through The Advance TODAY, will be matched. You may give to missionaries and mission projects such as HAPI (recently featured at our A Different Kind of Christmas Fair), social justice ministries such as Justice For Our Neighbors, disaster relief in the Philippines, Imagine No Malaria, or hundreds of other mission ministries around the world. Every gift goes to the intended ministry; no administrative costs are taken from donations. Go to

Today only, gifts made online through The Advance will be matched dollar for dollar*. Give through The Advance, the designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church, and extend your generosity through this matching opportunity. Visit to search the more than 850 missions and ministries that are supported through The Advance. As always, 100 percent of your gift will reach the project you designate.

*Global Ministries will allocate the "matching funds" dollar for dollar up to the first $500,000 in gifts to Advance projects received online on December 3, 2013, between 12:00 am EST and 11:59 pm EST. A maximum of $10,000 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $50,000 in matching funds.

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Click the following links to download a PDF.
•  Sermon Series: "Advent Is..."
• 2013 Advent Calendar
• Current Sunday Sign-Up Sheet: Sign up online at

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• December 2-12   —   MLK Gift of Giving
• December 3, 7:00 pm   —   Church Conference
• December 4, 6:00 pm   —   Taizé Sung Prayers
• December 5, 9:00 am   —   Prayer Quilters
• December 6, 6:00 pm   —   Young Families´ Christmas Craft Night
• December 7, 3:00 pm   —   Methodist Connection Caroling
• December 15, 12:15 pm   —   All-Church Caroling to Homebound
• December 21, 10:00 am   —   Christmas Eve Dance rehearsal
• December 21, 6:00 pm   —   Jazz Vespers: MacNaughton Blvd
• December 22, 10:00 am   —   One Worship Service Only
• December 24, 8:00 am   —   Casey´s Breakfast
• December 24, 5:00 pm   —   Family-Friendly Christmas Eve Service
• December 24, 7:00 and 9:00 pm   —   Traditional Candlelight and Communion Christmas Eve Service
• December 25   —   Christmas Day Church and Offices closed
• December 26   —   Church and Offices closed
• December 29, 10:00 am   —   One Worship Service Only
• December 31/January 1  —    Church and Offices closed
• January 5   —    Wesley Covenant Sunday
• January 5-12   —    Family Promise
• January 8, 6:00 pm   —    Taizé Sung Prayers

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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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•  Monday-Friday daytime – if GRPS is closed, all activities will be cancelled
• Monday-Saturday activities after 6:00 pm (including Taizé and Jazz Vespers) – decision will be made no later than 3:00 pm
• Services and Sunday school – decision made no later than 7:00 am
• Sunday evenings – A decision will be made no later than 3:00 pm. In all instances when weather is threatening, church members should:
1. Call church first
2. Check Channel 8 or 13
3. Check with staff person in charge of your activity
4. Check website
Most important: if you feel unsafe driving, stay home!

AFTER-CHURCH COFFEE will be in the parlor during Advent. Mulled cider will be offered in the north lobby and the narthex.

ADVENT DEVOTIONALS Advent began on Sunday, December 1. Plan to pick up an Advent Devotional book when you come to church this Sunday. You can also download it at

1stCELEBRATION OF THE ARTS 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 (, Deb May (, or calling the church at 451-2879.

CLARK CAROL SING Clark friends, please join Pastors Bob and Tish, Marj Timmerman, and Eric Strand for a carol sing on Wednesday, December 11 at 1:30 pm in the chapel at Clark. We´ll also enjoy refreshments and fellowship in the Victorian Parlor after we sing.

YOUNG ADULT CHRISTMAS PARTY For all those who are 18-30, you´re invited to a Christmas party at Iain´s house on Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00 pm. Email Sami Marasigan at for the address/directions, and to sign up for a dish to share. Friends are always invited!

ONE WORSHIP SERVICE on Sunday, December 22 and December 29 at 10:00 am.

WOMEN´S RETREAT Save the date! Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25.

INKJET CARTRIDGE RECYCLING FUNDRAISER Drop off your used inkjet cartridges for recycling and help support the Senior High Youth. Cartridges can be deposited in the collection bin located in the north lobby drop-off room. Simply place your old cartridge in a plastic sandwich bag and deposit it in the bin.

COLLECTIONS Do you know how many different donations we collect? We have a donation drop-off room in the north lobby full of donation bins waiting to be filled. In order to make sure your donation makes it to the correct bin, please clearly label all items dropped off in the north lobby.

CHRISTMAS EVE DANCERS Hello, Young Women (sixth grade through college age)! It´s time to meet and prepare for this year´s Christmas Eve Candlelight dance! The one rehearsal is Saturday, December 21 from 10:00 am to noon in the sanctuary. Please mark your calendar, bring your friends, andcome help make this tradition continue! You and your family choose in which service(s) on Wednesday, December 24 you participate, the 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, or both. Sign up using the Sunday bulletin insert or contact Britt O´Malley at 560-1472 or to let us know your plan. Thank you for giving of your time and talent for worship on Christmas Eve!

GOOD STEWARDS If you leave by any of the narthex doors, look for a bin for recycling your bulletin following the worship service. The bin is tucked under the desk in the center of the narthex. Please use it on your way out of church! A recycling bin is also available next to the north lobby reception desk for your use. Thank you for helping us recycle.

FAIR TRADE COFFEE is available for sale at our north lobby desk. Fair trade coffee is certified coffee that gives guarantees that farmers in third world countries receives a fair price for coffee production.

1stMATHIAS ALTEN PRINTS AVAILABLE! The Mathias Alten limited edition prints are on sale again. They would make a great Christmas gift showing the tower in its original form! (The Alten print of our church was on display in our gallery last month.) The cost of the print is $35, and can be purchased at the front desk in the north lobby, or call Peg at 451-2879. There are only 9 prints left, so get yours 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 the 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 Hundley, or Pastor Tish Bowman at 451-2879.

JAZZ VESPERS, featuring MacNaughton Blvd, on Saturday, December 21 at 6:00 pm weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God. Please join us!

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Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lee Andrews
• Lynne Beals
• Shirley Etcher
• Brenda Heerdt
• Norma Mann
• Robert Newell
• Alan Norton
• Pam Rowe (Blodgett)
• Shannon Smith
• Jim Weaver
• Laura Wright (Metro Health)

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

The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Cynthia Arnold and Phil Whitten on the death of Cynthia´s mother, NaOma Arnold, on November 27. A time of visitation will be held Saturday, December 7 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm in the church parlor.

The love and prayers of the congregation are extended also to Melinda Hoff and Bob and Elaine Hoff and families on the death of Melinda and Bob´s father, Albert Hoff, on November 28. A memorial service will be held in the spring.

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Sunday, December 1
Worship 9:15 am........163
Church School........113
Worship 11:00 am........228
Blue Christmas Service........46
Evening Activities........13

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 Pastor´s Message
• Weekly Pulse Downloads
• Mark Your Calendar
• Sunday Schedule: Children and Youth
• 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 & 11:00 am

Advent Is...!

Sunday, December 8
Rev. Letisha Bowman
Matthew 3:1-12
Coffee Can Offering

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1stFAITH TRAVELERS´ ADVENT-URES — MOO NEWS: K- Grade 4 students have raised $34 for Heifer Project International! We have now raised over 1/2 of our $50 goal toward a heifer cow share to assist a family in need in the world! Donations are optional and are taken each Sunday during Faith Travelers.
•  Sunday, December 8: Birthday Party for Jesus!
Students in Grades K-4 are invited to a Birthday Party for Jesus! Students will be dismissed from worship and go to Wesley Hall where our senior high youth will lead Christmas crafts, nativity photo booth, birthday cupcake decorating, and more! We will also recognize K-4 student December birthdays, take a Heifer project offering, and practice the anthem for worship on December 22. If students choose, they may bring a baby gift in honor of Jesus´ birthday to donate to a non-profit organization.
•  Baby Shower for Jesus!
Grades 5-6 Faith Travelers in Mission class are invited to a baby shower! Have you ever been to a baby shower? Please bring a baby gift for Jesus´ birth. We will celebrate with games and goodies!
•  Sunday, December 15: Lessons & Preparation for December 22 Worship Faith Travelers will share in rotation model lessons while also preparing to share in worship on December 22. To allow time to learn and rehearse the song “The Lion and the Lamb,” K-4 Faith Travelers will be extended from 9:30 to 10:45 am. Grades 5-6 Faith Travelers in Mission will learn a hand chime accompaniment to share in worship as well. They will rehearse during their regular classs time.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKERS NEEDED FUMC traditionally provides decorated cookies for each MLK class. We are in need of cookie bakers of all ages to meet in the kitchen of FUMC on Thursday, December 19. Baking and cookie decorating will start at 12:30 pm and finish up about 2:00 pm. Feel free to bring along some holiday sprinkles for decorating. Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or call the Tutoring Center (819-1745) to let us know we can count on you!

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. Please leave these gifts in the north lobby collection room clearly marked "MLK Mom Gifts." They are needed by Sunday, December 8.

CHRISTMAS EVE FELLOWSHIP HELP The Fellowship Committee is looking for help in serving refreshments between worship services on Christmas Eve. The shifts are 6:00 to 7:00 and 8:00 to 9:00 pm. Please use Sunday´s bulletin sign-up sheet, the church website, or call the church office (451-2879) to indicate your availability to help. Thank you!

SHARE BLESSINGS First Church is providing opportunities for you and your family to share the blessings of Christmas! You are invited to choose one or more of the following suggestions....
•  Casey´s Socks for Christmas — Each Casey´s breakfast guest receives a Christmas sock filled with practical items and goodies. 400 socks appropriate for an adult are needed! Purchase a pair of medium-weight, warm, winter, washable socks. Stuff one sock in the toe of the other so that each recipient receives a pair of socks! Fill the sock with full-size personal care items, nonperishable snacks, warm hat, gloves, or even a t-shirt. (Please avoid items that have alcohol, anything sharp, and crushable foods.) Drop off socks at the north lobby church office or bring them to worship on December 15. With your help, each of our Christmas Eve breakfast guests will leave with a warm heart and warm feet.
•  The Giving Tree - You are invited to take one of the ornaments off the Giving Tree located in the north lobby. Each ornament contains a suggested item requested by Martin Luther King Academy staff for their classrooms and children. Please limit your gifts to the suggested items on the tree. Unwrapped gifts may be left under the Christmas tree for delivery to MLK.
•  Alternative Christmas Gifts — Did you miss the Different Kind of Christmas Fair? You may still honor a friend or loved one by giving an alternative Christmas gift. For each gift you will receive a Christmas card that acknowledges your gift. You can send the card to the person of your choice. You may give online at:
•  The Christmas Offering — You will soon receive a special letter from our pastors inviting you to care for our brothers and sisters around the world through our annual Christmas offering. Whether your gift is small or large, let the love of Christ flow through you this Christmas to people in desperate need. Our goal this year is $15,500.
•  Family Promise – Consider giving the gift of your time this holiday season. Several homeless families will be our overnight guests during the week of January 5. Volunteers will be needed to act as evening hosts, overnight hosts, and dinner preparers. Watch for sign-up opportunities in the worship bulletin.
•  Have Extra Christmas Cards? – Pick up some address labels from the north lobby desk and use those cards to spread some cheer to our senior and homebound members. Your cards will help brighten their day while reminding them their church family is thinking of them this Christmastime.
•  All-Church Christmas Caroling – Help us spread some holiday cheer to our homebound, seniors, and those hospitalized and recovering from surgery! Meet in Wesley Hall after the 11:00 am service on Sunday, December 15 for a light lunch before dividing up into caroling groups. If you know Silent Night, Joy to the World, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, we need you! Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or contact Marj Timmerman at or 901-9224. Help make someone´s Christmas merry by joining us!
•  Coffee Can Offering, Sunday December 8 — It´s a small thing, but your loose change can make wonderful things happen for those who are in need and hungry. Our December offering will benefit the Nicaragua Feeding Program. Our medical mission partner, Dr. Mir, feeds children who are in need from her own home. Children are fed on Tuesdays and Thursdays; milk is provided on Sundays. $10 feeds one child for a month. 40 children are currently being fed with available funds. Additional funds will allow Dr. Mir to expand to include other children.

Please contact Laure Mieskowski at 451-2879 or if you would like more information about any of the above opportunities.



• A Gift of Love is a study based on the classic collection of sixteen sermons preached and compiled by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collectively they present King´s fusion of Christian teachings and social consciousness, and promote his prescient vision of love as a social and political force for change. Being held at 9:30 am in room 3107 from Sunday, January 5 through February 16, the leader is Deanna Mitchell. Books will be available in the classroom. You can indicate your interest by using the sign-up sheet in Sunday´s bulletin.
•  Have a New Kid By Friday Want a kid without the attitude? Without the behavior that makes you want to slink away in the grocery store and pretend you´re not the parent? Anyone can do it. All it takes is you deciding to stand up and take charge. Want a great kid? Want to be a great parent? Then take the 5-day challenge. Someday your kid will thank you for it. Led by Paula and Richard Gibson and Ivy Quaye and Gabriel Aquah on Sundays at 9:30 am in room 3109 January 5 through February 16. Use the Sunday bulletin sign-up sheet if you plan to attend.


ANXIETY? You don´t have to live with it. Call CAP at 455-2610 any time, day or night. You can get two one-hour sessions with a counselor at no charge if you mention you´re a member or friend of First Church.

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