It´s that time of year again. So much to do and experience; you won´t want to miss a thing. I´ve made a list and I´m checking it twice. If you haven´t made your list yet, you may certainly borrow mine.
Tish´s Very Important End-Of-Year To-Do List
1. Take up Pastor Haller´s "double dog dare you" challenge to give as much toward JFON or the Christmas Mission Offering as you spend on yourself or your family this Christmas.
2. Select an ornament or two from the MLK Giving Tree, then bring the item back and place it under the tree.
3. Don´t miss the Fellowship Breakfast this Sunday from 9:45 - 11:00 am.
4. Join the caroling this Sunday at noon! We´ll start with lunch before dividing into groups to head out to bring music and cheer to our homebound friends.
5. Put together some Casey´s Socks and bring them to church this Sunday.
6. Sign up to serve at our Breakfast with Casey at First Church. This is so much fun and a good family activity, too!
7. Pick up a few mailing labels in the north lobby to place on a card to our homebound friends.
8. Invite friends to join us at this year´s Jazz Lessons & Carols service, Saturday, December 15 at 6:00 pm.
9. Get ready for three Christmas Eve services! Invite a friend to join you by handing out a Christmas Eve Service invite card.
a. 5:00 pm – Christmas Eve Service for families with children – this is always so much fun!
b. 7:00 & 9:00 pm – Candlelight Communion – A beautiful celebration of our Savior´s birth.
10. Make an extra charitable contribution to the church before tax-rates or charitable contributions change next year in response to the "fiscal cliff"! Be sure to get your end-of-year giving into the church before December 31; it must be postmarked by this date to count for this year.
11. Remember there is only one worship service on December 30 at 10:00 am!
12. Sign up to help with our next Family Promise week, January 6-13. It doesn´t take much to make life a whole lot better for a family in need.
13. Take time to sit in a quiet spot, take several deep breaths, let the chaos slip away, and remember God is with us! Alleluia. Amen.
I don´t want to miss out on a single opportunity this season, I know you won´t. See you at church!
P.S. Don´t forget to eat healthy, sleep well, and keep your body moving – If God thought it important enough to become human, honor that by taking steps to keep healthy.
• December 12, 6:00 pm — Young Adult Dinner and Casual Worship
• December 15, 6:00 pm — Jazz Lessons and Carols: MacNaughton Blvd
• December 16, 9:45 - 11:00 am — Fellowship Breakfast
• December 16, 12:15 pm — All-Church Lunch and Caroling
• December 17, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• December 19, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• December 24, 8:00 am — Casey´s Breakfast
• December 24, 5:00 pm — Young Families Christmas Eve Service
• December 24, 7:00 and 9:00 pm — Traditional Candlelight Communion Christmas Eve Service
• December 25-26 — Church Building and Offices Closed
• December 28 - 29 — Scrapbooking/Paper Craft Marathon
• December 30, 10:00 am — One Sunday Worship Service
• December 31 - January 1 — Church Building and Offices Closed
• January 9, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayer Service
• January 13, 12:15 pm — "Which Way Home" Documentary
• January 20 — Chili Cook-Off
• January 21, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• February 1 - 13 — Celebration of the Arts
• February 6, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayer Service
• February 24, 6:00 pm — "Trade of Innocents" movie
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or email@example.com with questions.
SUNDAY MORNING CHILDREN AND YOUTH 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.**
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 — ONE SERVICE:
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-4 years Room 205
• Junior Church — 5 years-2nd grade Room 202
BABY SHOWER FOR JESUS—DECEMBER 23 To celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, Faith Travelers are invited to bring a new shower gift for Baby Jesus to place at the manger when they come forward to sing in worship on Sunday, December 23. Baby items will be donated to Westminster Food Pantry and shared with young families in need. Suggested baby shower gift items include: formula, disposable diapers, hats, socks, baby food, wipes, bottles, and baby outfits. Thank you for your generous gifts!
NATIVITY FIGURINES Children who attend the 5:00, 7:00, or 9:00 PM Christmas Eve service will receive one nativity figure. Children may take the figure home following the service. Through the years, children have enjoyed collecting different pieces until their nativity set is complete. Made in Sri Lanka, our purchase of these colorful wooden figures benefits third-world crafters. The nativity figures were purchased from A Greater Gift, a fair-trade program of SERRV International.
FAITH TRAVELERS EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD! Faith Traveler students (Grades 1-6) are celebrating the season of Advent by learning how other countries welcome and prepare for the coming of the Christ Child with our rotation unit Christmas Around the World. Children are dismissed to Faith Travelers at 9:30 a.m. following the Moments with Children during the first worship service.
During the month of December, the regular Faith Travelers class time is extended from 9:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. so that students may learn and prepare several Christmas carols to share in both worship services on Sunday, December 23. Coffee is provided for parents on the third floor on Sunday, December 16 from 10:30 - 10:50 am, courtesy of the Children´s Council.
Faith Traveler students singing for worship should meet at 9:00 a.m. in the sanctuary on December 23 to practice their songs and receive instructions. Students will sing for both the 9:15 and 11:00 am worship services and may be excused from the second service following their presentation. No Faith Travelers classes will be held on December 23 or 30. One worship service will be held at 10:00 am on December 30 with childcare provided for children aged infants through grade 2. We are excited to experience the presence of Immanuel, "God with Us," with Faith Travelers during this Advent season.
JOURNEY ALONG THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM in Junior Church (grades 1-2) on Sundays, December 16, and 23 at 11:00 am following Moments with the Children. During the Advent season, first and second graders have an opportunity to journey to Bethlehem! The 11:00 am Junior Church class will:
• Travel to Mary´s house
• Visit Joseph´s carpentry shop
• Meet Elizabeth in her home
• Participate in a shepherd´s training course
Children will engage in hands-on activities as they experience the Christmas story first hand. First and second graders are invited to journey to Bethlehem following the Moments with Children during the 11:00 am worship service.
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS GIVING Give a meaningful gift that truly is in the spirit of Christ by giving an “Alternative Christmas Gift.” For each person you designate, we will send a beautiful Christmas card acknowledging your gift and describing the cause you’ve chosen. What better way to honor Christ and to give to those you love? You may give online at: www.grandrapidsfumc.org/alternative_christmas_giving or download a form here.
FAMILY PROMISE FUMC will be hosting Family Promise the week of January 6 - 13. During this time members of our congregation provide homeless families with basic human needs - shelter, safety, and sustenance. Our church becomes a temporary "home" in which families are treated as guests of our church family. By volunteering, you can help alleviate the hurt and alienation of homelessness, and both volunteers and guests can grow and learn from each other. Please give a few hours of your time. You may volunteer by using the Sunday bulletin insert or on-line at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
WEEKLY PULSE SCHEDULE The church building will be closed on Christmas and New Year´s Day, which means there will be no Weekly Pulse December 25 or January 1. Please get your submissions in by Sunday, December 16 for the December 18 edition.
FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST Join us in Wesley Hall on Sunday, December 16 from 9:45 - 11:00 am for breakfast. Don´t miss this opportunity to be in fellowship with your First Church family.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING Share the songs of the season with our homebound, hospitalized, those recovering from surgery or an illness, and our senior members on Sunday, December 16. Join us at noon for lunch before dividing into groups to carol!
CHRISTMAS EVE INVITE CARDS are available in the north lobby and narthex. Invite a friend to one of these services!
HOLIDAY HOURS The church building and First Place office building will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 25 and 26 for Christmas and Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1 for the New Year.
60+ LUNCHEON The next 60+ Luncheon will be held on Monday, December 17 at noon. Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.
SCRAPBOOKING/PAPER CRAFT MARATHON Our next scrapbooking/crafting event will be Friday, December 28 and Saturday, December 29. We´d love to have you join us! Please contact Patsy McGillivray at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKERS NEEDED The halls of MLK are abuzz with Christmas excitement and our preK-8th graders are eagerly awaiting their holiday parties. We are in need of cookie bakers of all ages to meet in the kitchen of FUMC on Thursday, December 20. Baking and cookie decorating will start at noon and finish up about 2:00 pm. Feel free to bring along some holiday sprinkles for decorating. What a fun way to support our partnership with MLK and to get together with church friends, too! Please use the Sunday sign-up or call the Tutoring Center (819-1745) to let us know we can count on you!
CHRISTMAS EVE DANCERS Hello Young Women (sixth grade through college aged)! It´s time to meet and prepare for this year´s Christmas Eve Candlelight dance! The one rehearsal is Saturday, December 22 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm in the sanctuary. Please mark your calendar, bring your friends, and come help make this tradition happen! You and your family choose which service(s) you participate in - the 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, or both on Monday, December 24. Sign up in the bulletin or contact Britt O´Malley at 560.1472 or email@example.com to let us know your plans. Thank you for giving of your time and talent for worship on Christmas Eve!
CASEY´S CHRISTMAS EVE BREAKFAST First Church will be serving a hot and hearty holiday breakfast for our Heartside neighbors in Wesley Hall on Monday morning, December 24, 8 – 10:30 am. This annual event invites community members into our church for food and holiday fellowship. We need two kinds of helpers to make this event a success. (1) Table Host: Be a friendly host to our guests; share a cup of coffee, sit, chat, and create a welcoming environment. (2) Food Server/Worker: Serve food, bus tables, and help clean up. Sign-ups for volunteer helpers will be held on Sunday, December 16. Members of the Social Concerns Commission will be in Wesley Hall after each worship service to schedule volunteers.
CHRISTMAS EVE RECEPTION Help the Fellowship Committee serve refreshments and clean up during the Christmas Eve Services. If you´re able to help, please sign up using the Sunday bulletin sheet.
CASEY´S SOCKS FOR CHRISTMAS Each Casey´s breakfast guest receives a Christmas sock filled with practical items and goodies. Four hundred socks appropriate for adults 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 like shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and lip balm. Add a few extras like bandages, pen and paper, hard candy, nonperishable snacks, even a t-shirt. You might want to add a few safety pins on the outside and tie on a hat and warm gloves with a festive ribbon. Please avoid items that have alcohol, anything sharp, and crushable foods. Drop off your socks at the north lobby church office or bring them to worship on December 16. With your help, each of our Christmas Eve breakfast guests will leave with a warm heart and warm feet.
WHICH WAY HOME You´re invited to join us on Sunday, January 13 at 12:15 pm for lunch and "Which Way Home." "Which Way Home" is a documentary film that follows the hazardous journey of four immigrant children on the train from Central America, through Mexico to the US border, hoping to find a way across into the USA. It portrays the difficult financial and family circumstances that prompts the journey as well as the trials and dangers encountered along the way. Event sponsored by JFON and the Immigrant Welcoming Committee. Please bring a $5 donation for lunch and RSVP by January 9 to Norm Kohns at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Sunday sign-up sheet. Free childcare will be available; please RSVP for childcare, too.
CARING CONNECTION Thenext meeting is on Wednesday, December 19 at 8:00 am at New BeginningsRestaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). We welcome anyone who would like to participate in caring for our homebound with phone calls, note-writing, and visits.
BLOOD DRIVE Our next Blood Drive will be Monday, January 21 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 and caffeinated beverages are also needed! Be a part of this important mission to save lives.
READY TO GIVE UP? When you feel like you are ready to give up, call your Church Assistance Program (CAP) hotline at 455.6210. Trained personnel will set you up with a one-hour appointment to talk with a counselor or therapist about what you can do. They will listen and will help! Remember to tell them you are a member or friend of First Church and you can have 2 one-hour sessions at no charge to you! CAP is totally confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call now!
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 our 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 Gary or Pastor Tish at 451.2879.
JAZZ LESSONS AND CAROLS, featuring MacNaughton Blvd, on Saturday, December 15 at 6:00 pm, weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, January 9 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.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS Plans are in progress for the 40th Annual Celebration of the Arts juried spiritual art show which will take place from February 2 -13, 2013. If you are interested in the arts and would like to volunteer to be part of the Celebration Planning Team, please indicate your interest on the sign-up sheet or contact Deb May at 451-2879 x 133 or email@example.com.