The first line of the Holy Bible begins with this familiar phrase; "In the beginning … God created!"
It is traditional for Christians to learn and rehearse the basic characteristics of God. We learn that God is love … nurturing … compassionate … gracious … righteous … just … merciful … and so forth. Yet, one of the most overlooked characteristics of God is: that God is creative.
Theologically, Christians believe that we are made in ‘the image of God´ (the ‘Imago Dei´ – is the Latin theological terminology). Certainly that concept is rooted in the Genesis creation story, but the practicality of the theology has been debated for centuries. Theologically, we believe that there are qualities within humanity that allow God to be made manifest in and through human beings. In other words, there is something in the human person that is God-like. I believe that imagination and creativity are two of the most fundamental God-like characteristics that have been entrusted to humankind as a wondrous gift from God.
For many centuries, the church was the center of the community and functioned as the champion of the arts, music, literature, education, as well as the spiritual center where people learned and grew in their faith. But unfortunately, in the development of our society and the emergence of public education, the church began abdicating its role as champion of the arts. In the church´s historic evolution, the church ceased to be the community center for music, art, literature and drama.
Yet, still today, some churches work hard in an attempt to balance artistic values WITH spiritual values because they believe and teach that creativity is a vital part of the ‘Image of God´ that needs to be developed in all people. That is why I applaud the 41 year value that has developed within this congregation for the Celebration of the Arts. First Church has acquired a remarkable collection of art. Artwork is on display all around our facility. We also own an extraordinary pipe organ with an incredibly gifted organist who leads our congregation in our musical worship of God. We are blessed to have a dedicated, faithful and excellent choir, handbell ensemble, and other musicians who share their gifts with us regularly. There are authors, wood-workers, culinary artists, textile artists, etc., who are part of our creative ministries. As a congregation, we are invested in the creative arts as being one way to enrich our faith and expand our understanding of God. The Celebration of Arts is a way to be invitational as well by welcoming neighbors, friends and family to experience God through the arts.
Lots of people work long and hard to put together a two week experience that is phenomenal. From February 21 through March 5, we are celebrating creativity … a God characteristic that exists in some form within us all. But there are particularly gifted people who have developed their skills of artistry whose art is submitted, reviewed, selected by a juror on our behalf, and displayed … as a form of worship.
Information is available regarding ‘Celebration´ from the flyers around the church … online on our website … or by calling for information. The action begins this coming weekend. The art will be submitted and selected on the 16th … displays will be completed in time for the opening reception on Friday evening the 21st.
Come and celebrate the arts with us at First Church – and invite a friend.
This Sunday is also Youth Sunday … and our youth group will be leading all aspects of worship in both services. Hope to see you then.
• February 12, 6:00 pm — Young Adults: Communion and Conversation
• February 13, 12:30 pm — Valentine Cookie Bakers
• February 14, 6:30 pm — Adoption Hoe Down
• February 15, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Tyler Vander Maas Sax Quartet
• February 19, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• February 21 - March 5 — Celebration of the Arts
• February 21, 7:00 pm — Artists´ Reception
• February 22, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm — Art Gallery Opening Day
• February 23, 9:30 am — Celebration Gallery Walk
• February 23, 4:00 pm — Early Music Michigan Concert
• February 26, 12:00 pm — Celebration Gallery Walk
• March 2, 11:00 am — Celebration Sunday
• March 5, 6:00 pm — Ash Wednesday Service
• March 9 — Coffee Can Offering
• March 9, 12:15 pm — All-Church Birthday Dinner
• March 15, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: The Jim Cooper Quartet
• March 19, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• March 28-29 — Women´s Retreat
Children´s Church School Classes: Offered Sunday, February 16: 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
• 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.
FAITH TRAVELERS MISSION OFFERING The K-4 Faith Travelers church school classes have selected Family Promise of Grand Rapids as their mission offering focus for February through May! The goal is to raise $100 for new toys for our Family Promise guests. Monetary offerings can be brought to any Faith Travelers class. Any questions? Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry, at 616.451.2879. Did you know that…1,800 children have been supported by Family Promise and that 90% of families have found a new home?!
WOMEN´S RETREAT Inviting Mary into our Martha Lives - Seeking Attentiveness Even in Chaos March 28, 4:00 pm – March 29, 4:00 pm at Geneva Retreat Center (Holland, MI). Cost $75.00 per person. Martha is worried and distracted by many things. Jesus reminds her there is need of only one thing and that Mary has chosen this better part. Is it possible for Martha to know what Mary knows? Join us as we discover the gift of attentiveness while seeking to live faithful lives. Reserve your spot by sending a check to Sharon Sorenson by March 19. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
YOUTH SERVICE Join us this Sunday, February 16, for our youth-led worship services at 9:15 and 11:00 am! Invite your family and friends! Also, if you´d like to help support our summer mission trip, envelopes will be available on Sunday morning to make donations. This summer, we are working with Reach Workcamps to repair homes for low-income families in North Carolina.
FEBRUARY 16TH IS YOUTH SUNDAY! In order for families to enjoy this worship service together, no Faith Travelers (elementary age) classes will be held this Sunday. Infant and toddler nurseries will be available at both services. Children & Worship (Older 3 Yr. Olds-Pre-K) class will be held at 9:15 a.m. The One Room Schoolhouse will be held for ages 4 Yrs. – Grade 2 at 11:00 a.m. Children´s bulletins will be available at each entrance and children´s worship bags will be available in the back of the sanctuary.
2ND BEST SALE is on Saturday, May 3! With Spring just around the corner, it´s not too early to start cleaning closets or the garage with the 2nd Best Sale in mind. Gently used clothing, books, and household goods are all in high demand by our faithful shoppers. Mark your calendar to donate, volunteer and shop our bargains. Sunday, April 27 is when you may start to drop off items. Please multiply your faith by contributing your gently used items, time and energy to help make this annual fund raising event a success.
IPADS FOR MLK – A CHALLENGE FROM THE LEGACY MINISTRY A request came to Legacy Ministry for the purchase of 15 iPads, one for each tutoring station at the Martin Luther King Leadership Academy - FUMC Tutoring Center. The request includes the purchase of educational apps, and equipment that will appropriately provide security against theft. According to Jer Hon-Hawkins, iPads would "expose our students to current technology so they will be competitive learners in the future." The estimated cost for this project is $9,500. Legacy does not have the full amount available for this request, therefore, they would like to challenge the congregation. Legacy Ministry will match up to $5,000. If you are willing to help with this project, please specify iPads for MLK on your giving envelope. Thank you for all you do to help with the vital ministries of our church!
USHERS NEEDED! USHERS CRUCIAL! USHERS ESSENTIAL! Have you ever wanted to serve, but didn´t know where to begin? Being an usher gives you an opportunity to share your gifts of hospitality and service in a tangible way. Ushers work as a team and are guided by a team leader. Sign up using the Sunday bulletin for this low-commitment opportunity for one Sunday a month for either the 9:15 or 11:00 am service. We are in great need of ushers for the third Sunday of the month, for the 9:15 am service. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring the Tyler Vander Maas Sax Quartet, on Saturday, February 15 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!
CARING CONNECTION The next meeting is on Wednesday, February 19 at 8:00 am at New Beginnings Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). We welcome anyone who would like to participate in caring for our homebound with phone calls, note-writing, and visits.
ALL-CHURCH BIRTHDAY DINNER Join us Sunday, March 9 as we celebrate everyone who has a birthday, which includes you! Following the 11:00 am worship service, we will gather and get to know others with the same birthday month. We are looking for table hosts. A table host is responsible for decorating the table and hosting the table for the meal. Please sign up using the Sunday bulletin insert. If you have any questions please contact Emil at email@example.com. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
HOLY LAND TRIP Lynn and Kay DeMoss, will lead a trip to the Holy Land and Jordan from September 15 - October 1. While all the usual holy sites will be visited, the focus of the trip is meeting people - Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Experiences unique to this trip will include a meal with a Christian family, following the Palm Sunday path, exploring ancient Megiddo, meeting with religious leaders of all three faiths and visiting Christian ministries. Brochures giving full details can be found in the North Lobby.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS
FEBRUARY 21 - MARCH 5, 2014
41ST ANNUAL JURIED SPIRITUAL ART COMPETION, Art Exhibit Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily through March 4 and 10:00 am to 1:00 pm; March 5, Ash Wednesday. For more information visit www.theCelebrationoftheArts.com
Special Guest Exhibit: The Spectrum Health Expressive Arts Program Under the direction of professional staff, the residents and patients in this therapeutic program express themselves as individuals, gaining independence and the motivation to be artistically creative. Visit our main floor gallery to view this inspiring exhibit.
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. • Early Music Michigan, Sunday, February 23 at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary. Early Music Michigan is devoted to the lively interpretation of music from earlier eras. • Celebration Sunday, Sunday, March 2 at 11:00 am in the sanctuary. A festive morning service on the last Sunday before Lent, featuring a Dixieland band, led by Bob Nixon. • Ash Wednesday Service, Wednesday, March 5, 6:00 pm in the sanctuary. The service features music of Taizé in a reflective and solemn setting.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• David Crawford
• Dale Ewalt
• Don Far
• Ken McCaw
• Robert Newell
• 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 Katie and Jeff Flermoen and family on the death of Katie´s grandfather, Del Rector, on February 5th.
Dear Friends at FUMC,
Pat and I wish to extend to you our deep gratitude for remembering our son Robert in your prayers and the cards you´ve sent to him. He says to also extend his heartfelt thanks. Prayer is powerful medicine that is a crucial part of his treatment as well as the wonderful care he is receiving at Lacks cancer center. As he continues his medical treatment, please continue your prayerful treatment on Robert´s behalf. We have so much to be thankful for.
In Christian Love, Pat and Jim Newell
Dear FUMC Friends,
Thanks so much for the prayer quilt! I think warm thoughts of you all each time I use it.
With my love and appreciation, Don Far
Many thanks to all my FUMC family for all the cards, prayers, and meals I received during my knee replacement. You certainly made me feel loved and cared for. I am so blessed to have so many loving friends.
This has been a grueling winter by all accounts! There have been few like it in recent years. Each new day brings the next new storm and the next white-knuckle commute. We´ve learned about polar vortexes and have experienced minus double digit temperatures. How many of us have consoled ourselves with the thought that it is now February and this simply won´t last much longer?
I know that as bad is it is, the days are getting longer, the sun is getting higher, and the temperatures are inching (albeit slowly) in the right direction. And next week we experience that most hopeful day when… "Pitchers and Catchers Report"!
As we latch on to these signs that the season is changing for the better, remember that there are many in our midst who experience a new storm in their lives every day- with little hope of an improving forecast. The storms of sickness, unemployment, loneliness, and poverty roll in on them every day. They feel about as much in control of these situations as we do the weather- but they can´t take comfort in the notion that "spring is just around the corner".
At First Church, our mission is to bring sunshine and the hope of a balmier future to those among us who feel helpless and hopeless. Our giving and our personal participation in ministry make a tremendous difference. Every dollar we give and every minute we serve brings a little ray of sunshine for someone.
So, as we think fondly of the coming spring as a way of getting through the treacherous winter we are enduring, let us give thanks to God for the opportunity to be hopeful. And let us show our gratitude by committing ourselves fully to discipleship and stewardship. A joyous and grateful servant responds with generous abandon so that others can have hope for a warm and sunny future.
Thanks to all at First Church for continuing to find new ways to give and serve in the name of Jesus Christ. Think Spring!
YOUNG ADULTS: ICE CREAM SOCIAL WITH OUR HEARTSIDE NEIGHBORS Young Adults (age 18-30) are invited to join us for an Ice Cream Social with our Heartside neighbors. Meet at The Vine on Wednesday, February 26 at 6:00 pm to carpool (or walk together). Please eat dinner before you arrive. If you´re able, sign up to bring a topping (message firstname.lastname@example.org).
TRANSPORTATION NEED We have two people who would like a ride from Porter Hills (3600 East Fulton St) to the 11:00 am worship services on Sunday mornings and then back home. If you are able to help with this transportation need, please contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224 or email@example.com. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
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 14 from 6:30 - 9:30 pm! Music will be provided by "Gooder n´ Grits." You can´t dance? Our band and caller will teach you. Light refreshments will be provided! Suggested donation of $14 per person. There will be a silent auction and all proceeds will go to the Adoption Fund. Come and bring your spouse, date, whole family, and friends, and help us bring Raymond home from Hong Kong.
VALENTINE 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 FUMC kitchen on Thursday, February 13. Baking and cookie-decorating will start at 12:30 pm and will 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 at MLK (819.1745) to let us know we can count on you! Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
ADULT SUNDAY CLASS: NOOMA A two- week drop-in series featuring Rob Bell´s Nooma videos. The class will be video- and discussion-based. Classes are Sunday, February 23 and March 2 at 9:30 am in the parlor. Led by Kurt and Randy Kimball.
ADULT SUNDAY CLASS: CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM A four-week class featuring speakers and videos. Classes are Sundays, March 2 - 23 at 9:30 am in room 3107. Our first speaker will be Linda Zeller. Led by Ruth Chisnall. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
LENTEN STUDYFive Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Bishop Robert Schnase. You are invited to embark on a journey this Lent. The church has entered a new era. People are seeking spirituality, but not necessarily organized religion. How will the church respond? What will speak to the people of today? Robert Schnase tells us that people are searching for a church shaped and sustained by Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. Let´s get talking about how we might use these practices to make disciples for Jesus today and into the future. Sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet
• Wednesday AM – March 5-April 9, 10:00-11:30 at Clark, with Dick Youells
• Thursday PM – March 6-April 10, 5:30-7:00 pm Church, with TBD
• Thursday PM – March 6-April 10, 7:00-8:30 pm at Kurt & Randy Kimball´s
• Sunday AM – March 9-April 13, 9:30-10:30 am at Church, with TBD
• Sunday PM – March 9-April 13, 5:00-6:30 pm at Church, with Pastor Bob
• Sunday PM – March 9-April 13, 6:00-7:30 pm at Dave & Peggy Thompson´s
• Monday PM – March 10-April 14, 7:00-8:30 pm John & Marianne Warnock´s
• Tuesday PM – March 11-April 15, 7:00-8:20 pm at Allyson Cave´s Home
• Wednesday PM – March 12-April 9 (or 16), 6:30-8:00 pm at Church, with Laure Mieskowski
FIRST AID STATION
CHURCH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Substance abuse and addiction affect the entire family. If you need help, we are here for you. Call the CAP Hotline at 455.6210. They will answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will set you up to meet with a trained counselor. The first two, one-hour sessions will be at no charge to you by telling them you are a member or friend of First Church! So don´t wait any longer – call today!