We have certainly entered 2014 in crisis mode, haven´t we? The weather is front and center of our attention. The extraordinary snow and cold have forced us to make some adjustments that none of us really planned for.
On New Year´s Eve, Pigeon and I headed for Springfield, Missouri, to visit my parents for a few days. Both of them have been dealing with some issues the last few months and they simply needed a visit. When we left early on New Year´s Eve, we almost turned around and returned to Grand Rapids. The roads were BAD … but we persevered. By the Indiana line, there was no snow and the sun was shining. By the time we got to St. Louis, it was 50 degrees. New Year´s Day was beautiful too. (The sun was even shining beautifully in Pasadena too!!! Go Green!) But overnight, it got cold and 3 inches of snow was on the ground. Folks in Springfield don´t do well with snow – and things slowed down considerably.
By Friday at noon, the storm warnings were emerging. We made a rather quick decision to gather our things and start for home. We were not ‘storm-chasing´ … we were ‘storm-avoiding.´ We stayed south … and then drove considerably east before heading north. We arrived home just as it began to snow. Like many of you, we have been buttoned up in our home just getting through the storm. We have paid attention to the warnings to stay off the roads, we have been cautious about skin exposure, and we have not gone anywhere that was not absolutely necessary.
Adjustments were also made on Sunday morning. Because of Tish being ill … and me being away … the staff did a superb job of making decisions. 9:15 worship and Christian Education was cancelled. The 11 a.m. service was held and our District Superintendent, Bill Haggard, was in the pulpit. Approximately 125 brave souls attended worship. Bill got in late Saturday evening from a train trip to Chicago and Eric slid in on Sunday morning from Kalamazoo. The church has been closed for both Monday and Tuesday with plans to be back to normal on Wednesday.
I think there are life lessons to be learned from storms.
• We need to be prepared for storms. Wasn´t it amazing to see all the people head to the stores and completely empty the shelves of food? There are times when storms come that we do not have several days to prepare. Are we prepared for the surprises?
• We need to heed the warnings. Once Pigeon and I were home and seeing the path of the storm, had we waited 24 hours, we would have been in the middle of it all. Both St. Louis and Indianapolis received over a foot of snow. God only knows what might have been the result had we not taken seriously the weather advisories.
• We need to make adjustments so that we can survive the storm. Typically, I am one to make a plan and then follow the plan. I have learned over the years, that it is good to have multiple plans so that adjustments can be made to what we cannot control. And who among us can control a storm?
Eventually – the storm passes. The sun comes out. The temperature rises. The snow melts. We clean up the aftermath of the storm … and we move on.
Isn´t that life? Learn something positive from the storm. Storms really have a lot to teach us.
• January 8, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• January 8, 6:00 pm — Young Adults Dream Big
• January 12 Coffee Can Offering
• January 14, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• January 15, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• January 16, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• January 18, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
• January 30, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• February 5, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• February 9 — Coffee Can Offering
• February 11, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• February 15, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Tyler Vander Maas Sax Quartet
• February 19, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• February 21 - March 5 — Celebration of the Arts
• February 21, 7:00 pm — Artists´ Reception
• February 22, 7:00 pm — Gala Concert
• February 23, 9:30 am — Celebration Gallery Walk
• February 26, 12:00 pm — Celebration Gallery Walk
• March 2, 3:00 pm — Organ Concert
• March 9 — Coffee Can Offering
SUNDAYS 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
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
WEEKLY PULSE This weeks newsletter was sent out only by email due to this weeks weather closing. Printed copies are available in the North Lobby.
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, January 8 and February 5 at 6:00 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.
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 rack.
IMAGINE NO MALARIA In 2008, The United Methodist Church launched Imagine No Malaria, an effort to end malaria in Africa through prevention, education, communication, and treatment. The United Methodist Church has been a leader in this fight and in 5 short years we have already cut the death rate in half. However, every 60 seconds someone still dies from this preventable disease. 85% of these deaths are children under 5 years of age. Under the leadership of Bishop Deborah Kiesey, the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences have invited every United Methodist Church in Michigan to save the life of one person in Africa for every member of their faith community. The Michigan Area goal is to save 150,000 lives by December 2014 by raising $1.5 million. First Church will highlight this initiative throughout 2014. We will begin by giving a portion of our Christmas offering to Imagine No Malaria. Contact Laure Mieskowski at 451-2879 or email@example.com to find out more about Imagine No Malaria or visit www.minomalaria.org.
FACEBOOK CONNECT Make sure to visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/grandrapidsfumc) for fun things to do and new activities.
CHILDREN IN GRADES K-4 "CATCH A SPARK!" On Sundays, January 12 and 19, Grades K-4 will light a fire for missions outreach when they learn about The Spark Foundation. Ali Portillo Taylor will join the K-4 Grade Faith Travelers on these two Sundays to share how solar-powered lights can change lives! Learn how to spread a little light around the world at 9:30 a.m. on these Sundays.
THANK YOU TO OUR FAITH TRAVELERS who donated baby items on Sunday, December 8th for the Birthday Party for Jesus (Grades K-4) and Baby Shower for Jesus (Grades 5-6). We were able to donate a large quantity of diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, outfits, bibs, and socks to young families through the Westminster Food Pantry. May we continue to find ways to be a blessing to our neighbors in 2014.
COLLEGE STUDENTS, did your address change this semester? If yes, please contact the church office at 616.451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your new address.
VOLUNTEERING AT THE HOPE CENTER (La Nueva Esperanza) Our high school youth group is meeting early on Sunday January 19 to prepare and deliver dinner to the Hope Center at La Nueva Esperanza. If you´re a high school student, you´re invited to join us! Please meet in the kitchen at 4:30 pm to help out. We hope to return by 7:00 pm.
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, on Saturday, January 18 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!
SHOWING IN OUR FIRST CHURCH ART GALLERY through February 11 is an exhibit by collaborating artists, K.W. Bell and Cindy Evans. Both artists, who live in the Lansing area, became acquainted with First Church through the Celebration of the Arts. Both artists endeavor to express their Christian faith through their art and poetry.
THE COFFEE CAN OFFERING this Sunday, January 12 will benefit the United Methodist Committee on Relief. 100 % of money donated to UMCOR provides humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disaster disrupt life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own. UMCOR provides affected populations temporary relief as well as long-term education, training, and support. When you give to UMCOR you join other United Methodists around the world as the hands and feet of Christ.
WOMEN´S RETREAT All the women of First United Methodist Church and friends are invited to join us for a time away for relaxation, friendship and encouragement! Date: January 24, 4:00 pm - January 25, 4:00 pm at Geneva Retreat Center, Holland, MI. The cost is $75.00 per person. Our special speaker is Christian author and speaker, Shelly Beach (shellybeachonline.com). Reserve your spot by sending a check to: Sharon Sorenson by 1/15/14.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS
FEBRUARY 21 - MARCH 5, 2014
41ST ANNUAL JURIED SPRITUAL ART COMPETION, Art Exhibit Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily through March 4 and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm March 5, Ash Wednesday. For more information visit www.theCelebrationoftheArts.com Special Events:
Artists´ Reception, Friday, February 21 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Presentation of awards, jazz, and special desserts! Open to the public.
Gallery Walk-through Celebration of the Arts, Sunday, February 23 at 9:30 am and Wednesday, February 26 at 12:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Experience this year´s show through the special insight of Nancy Clouse, artist and faculty member from Grand Rapids Community College.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Sherry Gates
• Brenda Heerdt
• Ken McCaw (Butterworth)
• Dick Mieskowski
• Robert Newell
• Mike Olman (rehab at Heartland)
• Sue Rowe
• 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 Anne Zimmerman and family on the death of husband and father, Chuck Zimmerman, on December 17th; to Lorna Smith and family on the death of her sister, Sally Waite, on December 21st; and to Dorothy Wimmer and family on the death of her husband, Richard Wimmer, on December 30th. Richard´s funeral service was held January 4th in our sanctuary.
With the page turned on 2013, it is time to look ahead to the New Year. To many, 2014 brings exciting challenges, new opportunities, and a new vigor in the approach to life itself. This best describes First Church as well! A new year has dawned…new ministries will blossom and existing ministries will be rejuvenated with new people. Even the church building has shed its "industrial look" and presents itself as a much more inviting and open place of worship. We are doing wonderful work at First Church and making a difference in the lives of many.
For others however, 2014 presents a continuation of hardship, pain, and loneliness. Right here in our midst, and indeed even within our own congregation, there are people whose only challenge is simply getting by from day to day. The resurgent economy is good news for many, but continues to leave many behind.
As a church family, we have not only the opportunity, but a Christian responsibility, to provide hope and love for those in need. We are wrapping up a year where we once again have received a very high percentage of our 2013 Estimates of Giving. However, our pledges for 2014 are down slightly from last year.
It is not too late to reassess your giving for 2014. If the joy of Christ´s coming has inspired you during the holidays to give at a higher level in your Christian Stewardship, don´t wait until fall to respond. Do it now! Simply call Sharon Sorenson at the church, or drop a note in the offering plate if you wish to increase your giving for 2014.
Stewardship is a year-round Christian faith journey…not just a fall campaign. Let us constantly be aware that we are richly blessed and need to seek God´s guidance as we are led to respond with joyful giving so that the New Year can be a blessing for everyone.
MEMBERSHIP EXPLORATION CLASS If you´re interested in learning more about First United Methodist Church, getting acquainted with the pastors, meeting new people, and having a good lunch, please join us for our Membership Exploration classes on three Sundays: January 12, 19, and 26 following the 11:00 am service. Use the sign-up sheet in the Sunday bulletin or the website to indicate your interest in attending.
CELEBRATION 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 (email@example.com), Deb May (firstname.lastname@example.org), or calling the church at 451-2879.
MEALS NEEDED In addition to our love and prayers, we would like to help Lynne Beals by providing meals for her and her two kids twice a week while she is going through chemo. They have no food allergies, but do not like lasagna! Sherry Gates is recovering from knee surgery and will find meals helpful for the next 3 weeks! Thank you so very much for your prayers and care for Lynne and Sherry! If you are able to help, please sign up at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/meals. Questions, please call Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.
SAVE A LIFE and enter to win two nights in Traverse City PLUS two $50 gift cards just by signing up to donate at our January 20 Blood Drive! Donate quickly and conveniently in Wesley Hall from 3:00 - 7:00 pm. Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or email Marj Timmerman at email@example.com so I can reserve a time for you! Let´s start 2014 off right with a great turn-out.
VALENTINE´S DAY HOE DOWN to benefit the FUMC Adoption Ministry! Wondering what to do that is fun and new for Valentine´s Day? Come to the Hoe Down in The Vine on Friday February 14th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm! Music will be provided by "Gooder n´ Grits" which is our own Julie and Glenn Warners and Bob and Shelley Hudson. You can´t dance? Our band and caller will teach you. And light refreshments will be provided! Suggested donation of $14 per person or family max of $28 (or whatever your heart feels good donating) will go into our Adoption Fund which helps orphaned children find their forever families. Come and bring your spouse, date, whole family, and friends!
NEW YEAR ADULT SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT 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 starting Sunday, January 12, 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 an 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. Some day 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 starting January 12. Use the Sunday bulletin sign-up sheet if you plan to attend.
FIRST AID STATION
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, January 14 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.
HEARTBROKEN? A divorce? Infertility issues? Loss of a beloved pet? Significant losses in life can be crippling. Call your Church Assistance Program (CAP) for help in mending your heart. Just dial 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. Confidential and safe, call CAP!