First things first! Let me update you about the church tower. It´s clear that serious work needs to be done on our nearly 100 year old tower. In recent years, you may have seen the orange snow fence placed on the Fulton Street entrance as repairs were made. Stone was breaking off and falling to the ground below, endangering both parishioners and pedestrians. You may also have seen the scaffolding on the west side of the tower as extensive work was done on one of the pilasters. That´s when we discovered the brick with which the tower was built was turning into powder due to the freeze/thaw cycle we experience in Michigan. Need I tell you that repairs to the tower have been time-consuming and costly?
Our Trustees have meticulously examined the condition of the tower for several years. For over a year and a half, a separate Tower Committee has been at work. Engineering experts have examined the tower and building firms consulted. Several architectural firms were interviewed and one was selected to aid us in proposing solutions.
In September, the Trustees made their report to our Leadership Council. The Leadership Council decided to offer three informational sessions to the congregation explaining the condition of the tower and the options before us. Based on feedback from these sessions, the Leadership Council will make a proposal to our December 3rd Church Conference.
This week Karen Lott, Chair of our Leadership Council, is sending a letter to all First Church members. Dates and times for the informational meetings will be in that letter. The first session, led by Trustee Chair Bob Gillette, will be this Sunday immediately after each worship service in Wesley Hall. Each session should last about ½ hour.
I´d also like to tell you about new responsibilities for two of our significant staff members. Laure Mieskowski is undertaking new oversight of our local outreach and world mission programs. From our major ministry with MLK Leadership Academy to our sister church in Herradura, Cuba, our commitment to mission in our community and the world is one of the primary self-understandings of First Church. Having staff aligned with our ministries is crucial. Now, for the first time, we have one person responsible for growing the mission work of our church. Laure´s title is Director of Program and Mission and she will bring passion and great competency to this work.
Emil Jensen is another of our highly skilled staff members. He has done a stellar job caring for our facilities and overseeing building improvements. Yet Emil is a multi-talented individual who has many other gifts to offer. Among his talents are skills in personnel management honed in prior work settings. We are fortunate that Emil is willing to take on similar work here at First Church. Emil´s position title will be Director of Facilities and Human Resources. Questions related to our lay staff may now be directed to him. Emil is gifted in working with staff, volunteers, and members alike and will excel with these responsibilities.
Laure´s and Emil´s titles are long, but they are descriptive of the substantive new work they are taking on. I hope you´ll give each of them a word of encouragement and pray God´s blessing upon them and on the ministry of First Church!
– Pastor Gary
• October 28 - November 4 — Family Promise Week
• November 1, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm — Prayer Quilters
• November 4 — Fallback: Daylight Saving Time begins
• November 7, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• November 8, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• November 9 - 10 — Women of First Fall Retreat
• November 11 — Coffee Can Offering
• November 11, 6:00 pm — The Methodist Connection Celebrates
• November 13, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• November 14, 6:00 pm — Young Adult Sparks Service
• November 15, 5:30 pm — Moms´ Group: Taco and Turkey Project
• November 17, 8:30 am — Feeding America at Cesar El Chavez Elementary
• November 17, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
• November 18 — Ingathering Sunday
• November 19, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• November 19, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• November 20, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• November 22 - 24 — Thanksgiving Holiday: Offices and Church Closed
• November 25, 12:15 pm — Hanging of the Greens
• November 29, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or email@example.com with questions.
CHILDREN´S INGATHERING PROCESSIONAL Our annual Ingathering will take place on Sunday, November 18. We invite children ages older 3s through grade 6 to come to the west hallway next to Wesley Hall at 9:05 am or 10:50 am with their offering of food items. Children will process during the first hymn of both worship services. Following the "Moments with the Children," the children will be excused to their church school classes at 9:15 am. At 11:00 am younger children through second grade will be excused to their classes with older children remaining in worship with their families.
FAITH TRAVELERS SERVICE LEARNING PROJECT Thanks to the congregation for the "Warming People´s Hearts" drive. We reached our goal of 50 blankets collected.
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.**
GENESIS CLASS will meet at 4:30 pm on Sunday, November 11.
NOOMA SERIES: 9:30 am in the parlor — a four week, drop-in series featuring Rob Bell´s Nooma videos. The class will include video and discussion.
• Sunday, November 4: Corner: Why do we often feel empty even when we get what we want? — We work so hard to succeed, but our lives just end up becoming more about us. Can success turn on us? Can we get caught up in a smaller world where our lives are all about the things that we want? Or is there another way to live? Where life is about more than just us. Where we see people in need and we do something about it. Where our world is expanding because we are sharing our success. • Sunday, November 11: Rhythm: Are our lives in tune with God´s plan for the world? — What does it mean to have a relationship with God? What does it look like? For a lot of us it´s a hard thing to fully understand. If God is an infinite spirit with no shape or form, how can we possibly relate to that? And what about Jesus? He said he came to give everyone life in its fullest. He came to show us how to live. Maybe it´s through trusting Jesus and living the kind of life he taught us to live—a life of truth, love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, and sacrifice—that we have a relationship with God. Maybe the way we live every day, every single choice we make, determines how in tune with God we are. • Sunday, November 18: Luggage: Why is it sometimes so hard to forgive? — Maybe a friend turned his back on you. Maybe someone you loved betrayed you. We all have wounds and we end up carrying around these things that people have done to us for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. It isn´t always easy to forgive these people and after a while these hurts can get really heavy. So the only way to feel better seems to be somehow getting back at the people that hurt us, to get revenge. But does revenge ever truly satisfy? Maybe forgiving isn´t something you do for someone else to let them off the hook. Maybe forgiveness is about you. • Sunday, November 25: Bullhorn: Can we really love God without loving others? — God loves everyone, so a Christian should, too. In fact, Jesus said that the most important thing in life is to love God with everything we have and love others the same way. But it´s not always easy to love everyone around us, is it? Sometimes we strongly disagree with other people´s political views, religious beliefs, behaviors, or something else, and it makes it hard to love them when we feel like we´re right and they´re very wrong. But Jesus doesn´t separate loving God and loving others.
WALKING THROUGH THE MEDICARE MAZE Join us on Sunday, November 11 from 9:30 – 10:45 am in room 3109. Medicare A, Medicare B, Medicare D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement. What are they and how are they different from one another? How do I choose? When do I choose? If you´ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you aren´t alone. It´s complicated! If you´d like to learn more about these plans and feel a little more comfortable as you try to decide what to do, please come hear an unbiased overview. No specific insurance plans or carriers will be highlighted, and no one will try to sell you anything. This is an informational gathering sponsored by your LegacyMinistry.
HANGING OF THE GREENS Join us following 11:00 am worship on Sunday, November 25 for a simple meal and decoration of the church for Advent and Christmas. If you´re able to help, please use the Sunday bulletin sign-up sheet or contact Mary and John Judnich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Child care available.
THE METHODIST CONNECTION What is The Methodist Connection? It´s an association of First Community AME, First United Methodist Church, Hilliard Chapel AME, and St. Luke AME Zion, which meet together for yearly events as a way to further racial reconciliation and to widen the circle of friends and those for whom we care and pray. Join us for our JOINT WORSHIP SERVICE on Sunday, November 11 at 6:00 pm in the First Church sanctuary followed by a pie social in Wesley Hall. All are welcome! Contact Skip Moseley at email@example.com or 949.8938 to learn more.
FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, November 17 for the monthly food distribution at Cesar Chavez Elementary (1205 Grandville Ave SW 49503). The truck arrives at 8:30 am for set-up, and the distribution begins at 9:00 am. First UMC is responsible for this month, so we need volunteers to help unload the truck and to assist clients in selecting food. Please sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, November 11 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, November 10.
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY Wednesday, November 21, the church building and First Place will close at 2:00 pm for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be closed Thursday, November 22 through Saturday, November 24, with worship services at 9:15 and 11:00 am on Sunday, November 25. Over the Thanksgiving weekend if there is a pastoral emergency, you may call Parish Nurse Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.
CASEY´S SOCKS It´s hard to believe that it´s time to start thinking about Casey´s Socks! The Junior High Youth are asking you to provide FULL-SIZED items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes so that the items last longer for those in need. We´re also seeking other items such as plain t-shirts (sizes L, XL & XXL), cotton gloves, and hand lotion. Drop off your items or monetary donation to Emily Uebbing at First Place or in the drop-off room at the church.
THE FUMC BOOK CLUB will meet at 6 :00 pm on Wednesday, November 14 at Osta´s Lebanese Cuisine (2228 Wealthy Street SE, East Grand Rapids) to discuss The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. "Only two women and five children of more than 900 people survived the Roman siege of Masada in the year 73 C.E. after the suicide pact of the Jewish rebels there, according to the historian Josephus. In this well-researched novel, Hoffman vividly brings this tragedy to life, as four women who take care of the dovecote at the fortress tell their stories." (Library Journal) Join us for good food and discussion. Please contact Marlys Davis at 735.3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
MOMS´ GROUP: TACOS & TURKEY PROJECT You´re invited to the tacos and turkey project on Thursday, November 15 at 5:30 pm. Join us for tacos and Thanksgiving card making (we´ll make one to take home and an extra for our homebound friends). Please sign up to bring a taco topping. To RSVP or if you have a question, contact Sami at 451.2879 or email@example.com. DON´T FORGET to fall back Sunday, November 4. Set your clocks back one hour for the time change.
INGATHERING On Sunday, November 18, we will receive an offering of nonperishable foods to support the Westminster Food Pantry. Adults may bring food items to the sanctuary prior to the start of both worship services. Paper bags with suggested food lists attached will be distributed after the worship services on November 11th. If you prefer, you may also consider a financial (deductible) gift. The Westminster Food Pantry can often purchase food for as little as $.16/lb. The pantry must use financial resources to purchase meat, personal care items, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, eggs, dairy, and other items on a weekly basis. Checks should be made payable to FUMC with "Westminster Food Pantry" written on the memo line. Envelopes will be available in the narthex and at the reception desk during the month of November. The need is great for both food and financial support. Please plan on giving a generous gift at this time of thanksgiving.
INKJET CARTRIDGE RECYCLING FUNDRAISER Drop off your used inkjet cartridges for recycling and help support the Senior High Youth. Cartridges can be deposited in the collection bin located in the north lobby drop-off room. Simply place your old cartridge in a plastic sandwich bag and deposit it in the bin.
WEATHER CANCELLATION POLICY Take note of the policy in place for the church in relation to inclement weather:
• Monday - Friday Daytime: if GRPS is closed, all activities will be canceled.
• Sunday Morning: 11:00 am worship will never be canceled, however if the weather is severe, volunteers for various ministries need not report. For 9:15 am service and Sunday school, a decision will be made by the Senior Pastor no later than 7:00 am. In all instances, when weather is threatening, church members may:
1. Call church
2. Check Channel 8 or 13
3. Check with staff person in charge of your activity
4. Check website
MOST IMPORTANT, IF YOU FEEL UNSAFE DRIVING, STAY HOME!
MARTIN LUTHER KING MOTHER GIFTS Sadly, we have discovered the parents who participate in our Christmas Gift of Giving program rarely receive Christmas gifts themselves. For the past few years we have collected donations of new items such as holiday decorations, jewelry, scarves, fleece blankets, candles, perfumes or other special treats/trinkets. These are left unwrapped and the mothers are able to select something they would really enjoy off our gift table. Sometimes volunteers then wrap the gift so mom will have something to unwrap on Christmas. Please be on the lookout for some nice surprises and leave them in the collection room off the north lobby clearly marked "MLK Mom Gifts." Gifts are needed no later than December 2.
MARTIN LUTHER KING ~ FUMC GIFT OF GIVING CHRISTMAS PROGRAM Each year our church embraces the families of MLK at Christmas in a wonderful way.
• MLK parents sign up at fall registration and immediately begin doing volunteer work at the school or outside agencies to "earn" the gifts provided for their children.
• They provide us with a wish list of presents for each of their children, which may be aged birth to 12. The lists tell us the gender, age and sizes, as well as clothing needs and desired toys or games. Teens aged 13-18 will have a choice of 2 stores and donors simply purchase a gift card, as they are difficult to buy for.
• We solicit donors who pledge to spend AT LEAST $40 for each child they request. The wish lists are passed out on Sunday, November 4 at church or mailed Monday, November 5.
• Donors shop from Monday, November 5 - Sunday, December 2.
• Unwrapped gifts are brought to our collection area on the third floor of First Place Wednesday, November 28 or Sunday, December 2.
• MLK parents wrap the gifts Wednesday and Thursday, December 5 and 6. What are this year´s needs? They are great! 98.8% of MLK families live below the national poverty level. We anticipate needing to provide gifts for approximately 200-250 children this year. Please indicate your interest in sponsoring by filling out the Sunday sign-up sheet or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet. To date we still need 27 children sponsored.
90+ NOVEMBER BIRTHDAYS
• Paul Lovell will be 103 on Nov 9th
• Opal Smith will be 97 on Nov 20
If we have missed listing your 90+ birthday, please call the church office at 451.2879 with your name and birthdate and we´ll list it!
THE TV MONITOR IN THE WINDOW AT FIRST PLACE Have you noticed the television monitor in the window as you walked past First Place and wondered what it is? It is part of the Heartside-Downtown Electronic Communication System, or H-DECS, which is the answer to two separate but related needs in the neighborhood. Many people who require assistance do not know all the resources currently available in the neighborhood. In addition, many people visiting or working in the neighborhood do not know where to refer people for assistance.
The H-DECS system features scrolling announcements of daily services available in Heartside. It is updated daily and runs 24 hours day, informing people in need where to find available resources, and provides a place to refer individuals who are in need of assistance. The announcements are written in both English and Spanish, to accommodate most readers.
The system is operated and maintained by the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project, whose mission is to increase collaboration in the Heartside Neighborhood in order to maximize resources, minimize service duplication, and help neighbors to move from dependency on charity to independence and productivity to whatever extent that is possible for each individual.
There are currently ten H-DECS monitors at various locations in Heartside.
WEEKLY PULSE: Click the link to download a PDF version of the Weekly Pulse.
9:15 & 11:00 am
Four From Philippians
Sunday, November 4 "I Need to Get a Few Things Off My Chest!"
Rev. Gary Haller, preaching
Philippians 1:12-14, 20-26
Daylight Saving Time ends
Tower Presentation after each worship service
BLOOD DRIVE The last blood drive of 2012 is coming up on Monday, November 19 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. If you are eligible and available to donate blood, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a time which works for you. Cookies are also needed. Please help save a life and sign up today!
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced any type of infertility issues, including the inability to get pregnant, miscarriage, infertility treatments, and secondary infertility are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Our guest speaker will be Sue DeJonge who will share her journey through miscarriages to Grace. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 451-2879 x 115.
ALZHEIMER´S "My mother is having difficulty remembering the little things and performing simple tasks." If you´re concerned about Alzheimer´s call your Church Assistance Program (CAP) at 455.6210. They will answer 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!
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, November 7 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.
MUSIC WITH A MISSION SERIES Each concert will benefit a mission supported by First Church. Events are free (except as noted), open to the public, and have unreserved seating. A tithe of the free will offering collected will help those in need both locally and around the world! We look forward to having you with us at our next concert!
• Concert Choir of Grand Rapids Community College Join us Sunday, November 11 at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. This vibrant ensemble performs an eclectic program of choral gems. Dr. Stephen Barton directs this highly select group that is the premier ensemble at the college.
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, on Saturday, November 17 at 6:00 pm weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.
FIRST CHURCH FAMILY CONCERNS Concerns & Prayers for:
• Donna Anton
• Judy Beals
• Rick Kase
• Betty Rosendall (hospice care)
• Mary TerMeer (outpatient surgery 10/29)
• Robyn Bomhof (Volunteers In Mission team in Haiti)
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
• Peter Taylor, Jr