Dear First Church Friends, We never know what a new year will bring. All we know is that God is always making all things new. We ring out the old and ring in the new, and God is with us through both. God is with us! This is God´s promise and it is one of the Christian faith´s "grand certainties." Indeed, when John Wesley passed away at 88 years of age, his last words, spoken twice with great fervor, were "The best of all is, God is with us!"
God´s presence is good to remember when the days are short and the darkness long. I´ve confessed before that my least-favorite Christmas song is "In The Bleak Midwinter." It harkens back to divinity school when a family group sang it so slowly during a program that it was interminable. They were flat, too. The other reason, of course is that I love winter. I love the cold and the snow and getting bundled up and braving the harsh elements. What can I say? I´m a true Michiganian!
This is a vibrant time here at First Church. I love it and here are some of the reasons why:
1. Our Jazz Vespers worship continues every third Saturday. Pastor Tish leads the service this Saturday, January 19 at 6:00 pm. Her sermon in "The Games We Play" series is called Jenga: When it All Falls Apart. The popular Jim Cooper Quartet will play. It´s going to get hot in the sanctuary! 2. The mid-winter Chili Cook-Off is this Sunday, January 20 at noon in Wesley Hall. Many church groups have bravely entered into the ´competition.´ Plan to purchase some tickets and cast them as votes for your favorite. Proceeds will be divided between the ´winner´ and other entries. 3. Members will also drop off donations and assemble Cleaning Buckets for UMCOR on Sunday, January 20 in the parlor from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. These are essential for clean-up after Hurricane Sandy. 4. Monday, January 21 is our next Blood Drive from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Call the church office (451-2879) or use Sunday´s sign-up sheet to designate a time. Or be a walk-in – they´re always welcome. You can save someone´s life by donating, so don´t hesitate if you can help. 5. There´s a special gift to us in our Church Gallery leading from the north lobby to the sanctuary. One of my favorite artists, Julie Moore, is exhibiting her work there January 2 - 28 and February 14 - 31. Take time to linger and enjoy her beautiful creations. 6. Celebration of the Arts begins in a few short weeks. I encourage you to volunteer to help make this 40th Celebration one of the very best! The Gala Opening is on Saturday, February 2 with a concert by powerful tenor James Croom, followed by two weeks of the best spiritual art exhibit in the mid-west. The popular Gallery Walk-Through is Sunday, February 3 at 9:30 am and Wednesday, February 6 at 12:00 pm. I´m eager to hear the Hildegard Singers with Early Music Michigan in concert, Sunday, February 10!
Now, if you are feeling "bleak" this mid-winter, let me say it´s understandable. Remember that we are a member of the Church Assistance Program (CAP). Offered through Pine Rest Mental Health Services, you can receive free professional care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 455.6210. You can also receive two free counseling sessions. It is completely anonymous – names are never divulged to us. Anxiety and depression are the most frequent reason why people use CAP. And we know that 100% of people who use CAP would recommend it to a friend.
Please, don´t be blue. God is making all things new! Rejoice!
• January 16, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• January 19, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: The Jim Cooper Quartet
• January 20, 12:15 pm — Chili Cook-Off
• January 21, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• January 28, 6:30 pm — Children´s Council Meeting
• February 1 - 13 — Celebration of the Arts
• February 1, 7:00 pm — Artists´ Reception
• February 2, 3:00 pm — James Croom in Concert
• February 3, 9:30 am — Gallery Walk-through
• February 6, 12:00 pm — Gallery Walk-through
• February 6, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayer Service
• February 10, 4:00 pm — The Hildegard Singers with Early Music Michigan
• February 13, 7:00 pm — Ash Wednesday Service
• February 24, 6:00 pm — "Trade of Innocents" movie
THE NEW JIM CROW: SUNDAYS 9:30 AM – through February 24 The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is a New York Times bestseller from 2010 that addresses the fact that the prison population has gone from 300,000 in the 1970´s to over 2 million today, in no small part through our declared War on Drugs, and how this has had the effect of "decimating communities of color." Called "devastating" by Forbes Magazine, and "The bible of a social movement" by the San Francisco Chronicle, this book is a "must-read for all people of conscience" and a "call to action." The class will study this book with the help of a study guide that incorporates references to African American history and culture, biblical reference, and faithful action. Led by Gary Rich.
A DISCIPLE´S PATH: SUNDAYS 5:00 PM – through February 10 from 5:00-6:30 pm. Drop-ins Welcome! If you missed one of the following classes, please drop in to make it up. Upcoming sessions are listed below:
January 20: Presence - Corporate Worship and Small-group Community
January 27: Gifts - Financial Generosity
February 3: Service - Spiritual Gifts and Gifts-based Service
February 10: Witness - Invitational Evangelism
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or email@example.com with questions.
ATTENTION, PARENTS AND YOUTH Winter/spring sign-ups for serving in the children´s church school area are ready on Doodle! Parents and youth, please go to www.grandrapidsfumc.org/volunteers to sign up to serve in the Infant Nursery, Toddler Nursery, and Children & Worship classrooms! Thank you for supporting our church school teachers and children.
FAITH TRAVELERS During January our rotation classes will "travel" to the province of Samaria to hear the story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Even back in Jesus´ time people were sometimes seen and treated as "insiders" or "outsiders" in their communities. Jesus meets the woman at the well, offers her a drink of "living water," and the Samaritan woman is never the same again! Children in grades 1-6 are invited to join us to: meet a disciple and create a "bag within a bag" in "Turning Inside Out," make Mardi Gras masks in "Now You See Me, Now You Don´t," and create/videotape a newscast in "Lights, Camera, Love in Action." See you on the third floor on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am!
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.**
TWO EVENTS TO SUPPORT JUSTICE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS Join us Tuesday, January 22 at 12:00 pm (St. Francis de Sales - Holland) or 6:30 pm (Keystone Community Church - Ada) for a screening of Jasmine´s Story, a documentary short film produced by United Methodist´s Communication for ReThink Church campaign. The story based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, explores the path of a congregation´s rally to support 17-year old Jasmine after witnessing ICE enter her family home and deport her Guatemalan parents and leaving her alone in the US to support herself and younger sister. This story personalizes an often-dehumanized issue and the need for people of faith to respond. Click here to download the event flyer. RSVP or find more information online at www.jfonwestmichigan.org.
NEW FREE FUMC APP First Church is excited to announce the release of our new app. The FUMC app has been designed with a simple and fresh look. It contains all of the information necessary to connect you with all the ministries, events, and programs going on at First Church and more. It is our hope that the new app will assist in creating online opportunities for people to connect and access information necessary to live out our mission. The app also offers the opportunity to donate, submit photos, sign up to volunteer, or sign up to receive the online Weekly Pulse newsletter. Download this new app from iTunes or Android at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/app.
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.
IT´S TIME TO PREPARE FOR LENT! While we have just completed Advent, the season of Lent is approaching quickly and we need your help. As in past years, we are planning to provide a booklet of Lenten devotionals, written by members of our First Church family. We need a devotional for every day of Lent (47 in all!). We especially encourage writers to share their personal walks with Christ and experiences of being called to service and ministry in unexpected and surprising ways. Entries are due by January 27. Each entry is limited to 450 words. If you are interested in writing a devotional, or would like more information, please contact Steve Walker by phone at 453-4486 or by e-mail at email@example.com. You may also sign up by using the Sunday bulletin insert or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
SIX ALARM CHILI COOKOFF Join us Sunday, January 20 at 12:15 pm for a cookoff to find the best chili at First Church. Cost is $5.00 and will be donated to the ministry groups that prepare the chili. Don´t miss your chance to sample and vote for the Best FUMC Chili.
FIXIN´ ´N´ FELLOWSHIP Thursday, January 17 and 31 at 9:00 am in room 105. We will start the day with fellowship over coffee and baked goods, then tackle minor repairs needed throughout the church buildings.
CLEANING BUCKETS FOR HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF More than 16,000 UMCOR cleaning buckets have been distributed to sites in five states from Maryland to New York in response to super-storm Sandy. UMCOR´s supply of cleaning buckets is depleted. First Church will assemble cleaning buckets for UMCOR from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on Sunday, January 20. Please commit to bring your items to the parlor on this day or leave them in the north lobby drop-off room before January 20. Each bucket contains: 5 scouring pads (not steel wool), 7 sponges (foam, not cellulose due to mold problem), 18 reusable cleaning wipe towels (like handi-wipe brand), liquid laundry detergent (two 25 oz or one 50 oz bottle), household cleaner (12 - 16 oz bottle that can be mixed in water/no spray bottles), dish soap (16 - 28 oz bottle), clothes line (two 50 ft or one 100 ft), 5 disposable dust masks (sealed in a bag), 2 pair disposable waterproof gloves (rubber or latex), 1 pair leather palm work gloves, 24-bag roll heavy-duty trash bags (33 – 45 gal), insect repellent spray (6 - 14 oz aerosol or pump spray), can air freshener (aerosol or pump), and 50 clothes pins ($55 value). ALL items must be new. All cleaning agents must be liquid and in plastic bottles. No powders. All donations are welcome, no prior sign-up required. Volunteers are also needed to help pack buckets and transport buckets to the distribution center in Chatham, Illinois. Contact Laure Mieskowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.451.2879 with questions.
YOUNG ADULT MISSION TRIP TO WASHINGTON, DC March 2-7, 2013 Are you 18-30 and looking for a mission trip opportunity? This March, our college students and young professionals are loading up the van and driving out to DC to serve in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after school programs, etc. For more info, please email Sami Marasigan at email@example.com.
SCRAPBOOKING will be Saturday, January 19 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It´s a great way to get some projects done and be in fellowship at the same time. Glean ideas from each other and share supplies. 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.
FEEDING AMERICA FOOD DISTRIBUTION event will be Saturday, January 19 at Cesar Chavez Elementary (1205 Grandville St SW 49503). FUMC is sponsoring this distribution and FUMC volunteers are needed and welcome. Future dates are February 23 and March 16. The truck arrives at 8:30 am for set-up. Distribution begins at 9:00 am. This is a great service event for the entire family. For more information or to volunteer contact Darren McKnight at email@example.com or sign up using the Sunday bulletin or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, February 10 after the 11:00 am service for lunch at New Beginning´s Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). Because we reserve space there, please let us know you are planning to join us by calling Sherry Gates at 942.8527 by Saturday, February 9.
MOMS´ GROUP: MOMS´ NIGHT IN Join us on Thursday, February 7 at 5:30 pm. This is like a slumber party, except you get to sleep in your own bed! Meet us at First Church for fondue, face masks, nail polish, and girl talk. Free child care available. (Please feed the kids before you arrive, or pack a dinner.) Please RSVP to Sami or Marj at 451.2879.
IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER REINSTATED The IRA Charitable Rollover provision was reinstated for 2012 and 2013 in the tax deal Congress passed at the end of 2012. The IRA Rollover provision has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations. It permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000, but had expired at the end of 2011. Under the bill passed at the end of 2012:
• The IRA Rollover is reinstated retroactively for 2012, and is available through 2013.
• IRA Rollover gifts made through January 31, 2013 will count as 2012 contributions.
• Qualifying personal IRA distributions taken in the month of December 2012 can be counted as a "charitable rollover" if contributed to a charity as cash by December 31, 2013.
If you are considering whether or not this would be a benefit to you, please talk with your tax advisor.
BEING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL IS SOMETIMES THE PITS! So many body changes occur for students in this age group and the kids at MLK do not have the resources to always present their best selves. We are in great need of travel-sized deodorant and toothbrushes for individual hygiene kits that we keep at school for students to use when they arrive each day. Additionally we need tissues, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, baby wipes, Vaseline and lotions. Please leave in the MLK collection bins off the north lobby during the months of January and February. Many thanks.
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.
NOW SHOWING in our First Church Art Gallery from January 2 - 28 and February 14 - 31 is an exhibit by local pastel artist, Julie Moore. Daughter of First Church member, Marilyn Moore, Julie is especially interested in landscape art, both realistic and traditional.
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring The Jim Cooper Quartet, on Saturday, January 19 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, February 6 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 40TH ANNUAL JURIED SPRITUAL ART COMPETION, Art Exhibit Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily through February 12 and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm February 13, Ash Wednesday. For more information visit www.theCelebrationoftheArts.com
Special Events: Artists´ Reception, Friday, February 1 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Presentation of awards, jazz, and special desserts! Open to the public.
Celebration of the Arts Gala Opening: James Croom in Concert, Saturday, February 2 at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. Join us for an afternoon of song with tenor, James Croom. Croom´s powerful and expressive voice coupled with his abundant warmth makes for an afternoon to remember. Our own Eric Strand will accompany him at the piano.
Gallery Walk-through Celebration of the Arts, Sunday, February 3 at 9:30 am and Wednesday, February 6 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.
The Hildegard Singers with Early Music Michigan, Sunday, February 10 at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Hildegard Singers, Linn Maxwell, Barbara McCargar, Diane Penning, and Lisa Walhout, each have outstanding solo careers and have come together to celebrate the hauntingly beautiful music of Hildegard of Bingen. Early Music Michigan is dedicated to the lively and historically informed performance of music of an earlier age. Artistic Director, Eric Strand, leads the ensemble in early Spanish music of Pilgrimage.
FIRST CHURCH FAMILY CONCERNS Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lee Andrews
• Abby Greer
• Rick Kase
• Norma Mann
• Frances Nixon (Blodgett Hospital)
• Nancy Parrish (Mary Free Bed)
• Dan Sheets (surgery 1/15)
• Roland Sherman (surgery 1/17)
• 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 the family and friends of Hermina Graham who died on January 8th. Hermina´s service was held Jan 12th; the love and prayers of the congregation are also extended to Don and Pat Shaffer, Sami and German Marasigan, and Joe and Heather Shaffer on the death of Don´s father and Sami and Joe´s grandfather, Edwin Shaffer, on January 9th; and the love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Tami and Mark PreFontaine and family on the death of Tami´s mother, Betty Swikowski, on January 14th.
Congratulations to Marian Shannon and Gary Jaarda who were united in marriage on January 12th in our chapel!
Dear Church Friends,
Thank you so much for all your prayers and cards following my recent broken ankle and subsequent surgery. The mail has truly been a bright spot in my stay-at-home days. I am anxious to be mobile again and be back to church soon. I am so blessed to have such a caring "church family."
Gratefully, Pat Boyle
We would like to thank our church family for all your thoughts, prayers and cards sent. Thank you also to Gary, Tish and Marj for all their loving support during Jack´s illness and passing. May God bless you all.
The Terkeurst family