Greetings, Friends! Can you believe this summer! What a scorcher. It´s times like this that I start dreaming of cooler times; when I look for ways to be cool and stay cool.
The excitement for Arts Alive Camp is building. This year´s theme is "Under Construction." The children who participate will learn the value of "building" Christian community and participating in outreach service missions through a biblically-based program by Habitat for Humanity. I can´t wait to see how this all gets woven into music, art, and dance! What a "COOL" way to experience God. There is still time to register your child, or a neighbor´s child, for this exceptional experience. Visit www.grandrapidsfumc.org/arts-alive-camp.
All-Church Camp is also just around the corner. I´m told that there are already over 50 people signed up to go this year (including 5 new camping families!) and that there is still time to get in on the fun. Some of my fondest memories of growing up in the church are grounded in camping. I remember swimming with my church friends, telling stories around the campfire each evening, sharing meals together, and worshiping outside! (As a kid I found that especially "COOL" – who knew you could do that?) It´s never too late to start building these great memories for yourself and your family so be sure to sign up.
Summer time is also picnic time. Our Annual Church Picnic is coming up on August 12 at 11:00 am. This is a great way to get to know one another just a bit better. It will be held in our north parking lot under the (hopefully) "COOL" shade of the trees. Bring your appetite and a dish to share.
As you know, our Director of Christian Education, Kim DeLong, is preparing to follow God´s call to serve in a new way. On August 15 Kim will become the new pastor of the Turk Lake and Belding United Methodist Churches. How "COOL" is that! She will be leading these faithful communities in discovering new and exciting ways that they might come together in cooperative ministry. Please be sure to stop by Wesley Hall at 11:00 am this Sunday to thank Kim for her service here at First Church and to wish her well on this new leg of her journey.
Of course this opens up some exciting (and "COOL") opportunities for us. I´ve been part of a small team spending time envisioning new possibilities for Christian education here at First Church. I´m especially excited because in this new vision I get to take on the leadership of our Adult Education program! (Very "COOL.") I will be working closely with the Adult Council to coordinate all sorts of opportunities for spiritual growth and learning for our adults. We are already putting together classes for the fall that will help all of us on our journey along the "Pathways" of faith. (Watch for more information on this to come!)
And what about the Children´s Ministry? Don´t worry, we haven´t left them out of the plan. We are currently interviewing for a new leader for our Children´s Ministry. We will still have our "Super-COOL" Faith Travelers program this fall so be sure to make plans to attend!
With so many exciting things happening this summer (and these are only a few of the things going on!) we are sure to be "COOL" no matter what the weather. See you on Sunday, and all the "COOL" days of summer!
Peace, Pastor Tish
P.S. We are all deeply saddened by the events of July 20 in Aurora, CO. The United Methodist Church is responding with a full-page ad in the July 23 Denver Post and the July 26 Aurora Sentinel, declaring: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Aurora. Through the darkness, we come together in search of the light. The people of the United Methodist Church join with all of those affected by this recent tragedy. To understand. To heal. To find hope." You may also post a prayer for the Aurora community on a prayer wall at www.facebook.com/UnitedMethodistChurch. The ads and call to action were developed by United Methodist Communications, the denomination´s communications agency.