Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. ~ Psalm 100:4
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Do you ever get grumpy this time of year? It´s not hard to do. The snow, while beautiful as it falls and settles softly on the trees, makes it difficult to get out and about. Just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air involves layers of clothing and a strong measure of will. The days are short and the darkness often invades the day-time hours making it hard to maintain a sunny disposition.
It is in these darkest days of winter that I find it especially helpful to count my blessings. Have you ever noticed that it´s hard to stay in a bad mood when you are giving thanks? I find that when I am feeling dark and dreary, making a list of what is good and wonderful in my life makes all the difference. It might be hard to get started, but once I do, it´s not long before I am blessed with a joyful heart. Here is my list of thankfulness, perhaps it will help you get going on yours.
I am thankful for fun indoor-distractions when it´s too cold and snowy outdoors. The 40th Annual Celebration of the Arts is in full swing. I don´t know how many of us gathered for the Artist´s Reception last week Friday, but I do know that it was hot in Wesley Hall! The art was amazing, sparking animated conversation and evoking a wide range of emotions. It was especially fun to meet the artists and hear the stories of each piece. Have you taken the time to visit the gallery yet? I highly recommend it! There is quite a wide variety of art this year, from paintings, to sculptures, to fiber arts, to jewelry. There is also a wide variety of media from match sticks, to wood, to steel, to glass, to a repurposed vacuum! I am so thankful for creativity and the chance to see it all in one convenient place!
I am also thankful for music. In the dull days of mid-winter, music has a way of lifting the spirit and freeing the soul. James Croom filled our sanctuary with his beautiful voice last Saturday. If you missed it, don´t fret, another concert is on its way. This Sunday at 4:00 pm our sanctuary will host the Hildegard Singers with the Early Music Michigan. This should prove to be a truly amazing afternoon.
I am thankful for opportunities to gather with friends (old and new) to study scripture and talk about how I should live my life in light of Christ´s life. Next week we start the season of Lent and our study this year is "The World-Shattering Ministry of Jesus." Groups are forming now to discuss this book that focuses on Jesus as a revolutionary figure and change agent, both in his own context and in ours. I love looking at Jesus´ life and figuring out how I might live like him in our day and age! Be sure to sign up for a session this Sunday with the one-stop-sign-up sheet or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet. There are lots of sessions to choose from on different days and times and locations. Find the one that works best for you and invite a friend. The books for the class are available at the north lobby desk and are only $5.00. (What a bargain!)
Finally I am thankful for the friendly faces and warm greetings I encounter each week as we gather for worship. Nothing stirs my soul so much as the body of Christ gathered for worship. The songs we sing, the words we speak, the Word we experience all remind me that, even in the darkest days of winter, I am blessed – blessed with love, with community, and with hope. Stay warm, dear friends!
• February 1 - 13 — Celebration of the Arts
• 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 16, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Fred Knapp Trio
• February 24, 6:00 pm — "Trade of Innocents" movie
• March 6, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• March 24, 12:15 pm — Youth Auction
• March 28, 7:00 pm — Maunday Thursday Service
• March 29, 7:00 pm — Good Friday Service
• March 31, 9:15 and 11:00 am — Easter Sunday
FAITH TRAVELERS´ ART SCAVENGER HUNT Children in grades 1-6 are invited to join us on Sunday, February 10 for a scavenger hunt to experience the artwork in Wesley Hall. Children will meet as usual on the third floor following the Moments with Children during the 9:15 am worship service.
ATTENTION, PARENTS AND YOUTH, go to www.grandrapidsfumc.org/volunteers to sign up to serve in the Infant Nursery, Toddler Nursery, and Children & Worship classrooms! Parent volunteers are especially needed in the 9:15 Children & Worship class.
MIXING IT UP! This January, FUMC students mixed it up with St. Luke´s & First Community AME´s students. We gathered for pizza, games, and discussion at St. Luke´s then ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle. We headed over to First Community for a late-night worship followed by Sardines (a hide-n-seek-type game) in First Church and an overnight in The Vine. It was a great way to make new friends, to talk about the value of differences, and look for ways to intentionally seek out diversity: to be reminded that the body isn´t just made up of one color.
YOUNG ADULT (AGES 18-30): ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE & DINNER Would you like to connect with other young adults? Join us for dinner in The Vine on February 13 at 6:00 pm. After dinner, we´ll walk over to the sanctuary as a group for the service. 2ND BEST SALE is Saturday, April 20. Clean out that basement, declutter that kitchen, no donation is too small; but please bring clean items in good repair. Drop-off begins Sunday, April 14. Actual sale is Saturday, April 20 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Questions? Call Peg Terkeurst at church (451.2879).
THE FUMC BOOK CLUB will meet on Tuesday, February 19 at 7:30 pm in the parlor. Note date and time change from our normal schedule! We will be discussing The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby. "When an American Muslim woman befriends two other mothers, one Jewish and one Christian, they decide to educate their children about their respective religions."-- bn.com. Join us for coffee, dessert, and a lively discussion. RSVP to Marlys Davis at 735.3339 or email@example.com by Sunday, February 17.
STEPHEN MINISTRY Congratulations to our Stephen Leader and ten new Stephen Ministers who were commissioned on January 20! Our newest leader is Suzy Wood, and our new Stephen Ministers are Tim Beals, Shelly Binder, Marion DeVinney, Fae Ewalt, Anthony Gilbert, Sara Gilbert, Lois Johnson, Laurel Minser, Alana Moceri, and Jennifer VanderVeen. You can meet and greet some of our Stephen Ministry Team after both services Sunday, February 10 in the parlor.
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.
MISSION COMMISSION NEWS You´re a generous congregation! Our Christmas Mission Offering totaled $15,632 exceeding our goal of $15,000! One-hunderd percent of your gifts support ministries such as JFON, our sister church in Herradura Cuba, medical mission trips to Nicaragua, Imagine No Malaria, and local ethnic churches in Grand Rapids. Your gifts also support missionary John Gore, missionaries Marty and Hollee Graber, and the work of Dale Williams through the Koinonia Foundation.
Through your generous contributions of supplies and financial gifts, 27 hurricane/flood cleaning buckets have been filled. They will soon be taken to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Midwest Distribution Center in Chatham, Illinois.
You are invited to meet John Daniel (JD) Gore, Missionary to Wi´am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem, on Sunday, February 17 at 5:00 pm. Light supper followed by discussion featuring John´s personal experiences with the people of Palestine. The Wi´am Center engages in conflict resolution and peacekeeping in a volatile area of the Middle East. John is a native of Michigan and a member of the Plainfield United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS February 1 - 13 Join us for the 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: • Gallery Walk-through Celebration of the Arts, 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. 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.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Gracie DeJonge
• Abby Greer
• Rick Kase
• Norma Mann (Saint Mary´s)
• Nancy Parrish
• Karen Weessies (Oakwood Hospital)
• Richard Wimmer
• Laura Wright (Metro Health Hospital)
• Chuck Zimmerman
• 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 Roy Hart and Harlene Jackson and family on the death of Roy´s wife and Harlene´s mother, Dorothy Hart on Wednesday, January 30. Plans for a memorial service are pending.
The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to Richard and Paula Gibson on the death of Richard´s father, David, on Friday, February 1. A Service of Faith and Remembrance will be held this Friday, February 8.
Thank you so much for all the amazing cards, kind words, thoughts, and prayers during this difficult time of loss of our mom and grandmother.
Mark, Tami, Cameron,
and Noah PreFontaine
VALENTINE COOKIE BAKERS NEEDED We are in need of cookie bakers to meet in the kitchen of FUMC on Wednesday, February 13 at noon. Feel free to bring along some Valentine sprinkles for decorating. What a fun way to support our partnership with MLK and get together with church friends too! Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or call the Tutoring Center (819-1745) to let us know we can count on you!
MEN´S LENTEN BREAKFASTS 2013"How My Mind Has Changed" Join us Friday mornings at 7:00 am in Wesley Hall.
• February 15: Rev. Dean Prentiss,
Wesley Park UMC
• February 22: Rev. Bill Haggard,
Grand Rapids DS
• March 1: Dr. Robert Hundley,
• March 8: Rev. Sean Kidd,
• March 15: Rev. David Nellist,
• March 22: Rev. Steve Charnley,
YOUTH AUCTION: MARCH 24, 2013 Would you like to help our youth raise money for our workcamp trip this summer? If so, please consider donating items for our Youth Auction. We´d love tickets, gift cards, vacation destinations, desserts, etc. Consider having your business donate a gift basket and we´d be happy to set out business cards next to your donation. To make a donation or ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUNG ADULTS: "SHATTERED" LENTEN SERIES Are you a college student or young professional (ages 18-30) who is looking to connect with other young adults? If so, you´re invited to join us for our 5-week Lenten study, on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, beginning on February 20. We´ll be sharing in "The Life-Shattering Ministry of Jesus." To sign up, please email email@example.com. New folks encouraged to join us!
LENTEN STUDY GROUPS: "THE WORLD SHATTERING MINISTRY OF JESUS" This 6-session study focuses on Jesus as a revolutionary figure and change agent, both in his own context and in ours, and will help adults understand the radical nature of Jesus´ ministry for and among all people, including the "outcast," and how Jesus models for us a ministry that challenges and pushes the limits. Books are available in the north lobby for $5. Please sign up for one of the following classes:
• Wednesdays, 9:30 am at Clark (Game Room). Led by Dick Youells from Feb. 13-Mar. 20.
• Thursdays, 7:00 pm at Penny Schuiling´s (NW). Led by Penny Schuiling from Feb. 14-Mar. 21.
• Sundays, 9:30 am in room 3109. Led by Marlys Davis from Feb. 17-March 24.
• Sundays, 5:00 pm at the Thompsons´ (NE). Led by the Thompsons from Feb. 17-March 24.
• Mondays, 7:00 pm at the Warnocks´ (SE). Led by the Warnock from Feb. 18-March 25.
• Tuesdays, 10:00 am at the DeBonis´ (SW). Led by Jess DeBoni from Feb. 19-Mar. 26 with child care.
• Tuesdays, 5:00 pm at Jane Zwiers´ (NE). Leader TBD from Feb. 19-Mar. 26 with child care.
• Tuesdays, 7:00 pm at Tina Yalda´s (SE). Led by Tina Yalda from Feb. 19-Mar. 26.
• Wednesdays, 5:00 pm for young adults(age 18-30) in The Vine. Led by Sami Marasigan from Feb. 20-Mar. 27.
• Wednesdays, 7:00 pm at the Muszkiewiczes´ (SE/Alger Hts). Led by Pete Muszkiewicze from Feb. 20-Mar. 27.
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.