I love the church. I have loved the church for as long as I can remember. I love worship and Sunday school and potluck suppers and mission projects. Most of all, I love the body of Christ, people striving together to be faithful disciples. It took me a long time to realize that my deep love for God´s church was God´s way of calling me into ordained ministry. After years of hearing others say, "You should be a pastor," I finally (with much fear and trepidation!) embraced the call and began what would become an unimaginable journey.
Little did I know, back in 2003…
• that it would take me seven-and-one-half years to get through the three-year Master of Divinity program (because God also called me to marriage and motherhood). I will forever cherish the summers Ben and I spent reading stories on the back porch!
• that it would mean going to two seminaries – first Western Theological Seminary in Holland (because it was only a few blocks from our home and allowed me to stay home with our 1st grader) and then Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (because you can´t be a United Methodist pastor if you graduate from a non-UM seminary). I met so many amazing people along the way!
• that for three-and-one-half of those years I would get on a train each week in Holland (please, please Lord, let me get a seat to myself so that I can study, and let it be quiet so I can concentrate!), get off in downtown Chicago, walk three rather long city blocks in heat, wind, rain, and snow dragging a suitcase and carrying my computer and books on my back to a commuter station, wait an hour (in a food court [!] because there was nowhere else to wait!), then take another 20-minute train ride to Evanston, and finally walk a mile in heat, wind, rain, and snow (still dragging and carrying) to a dorm room (! – think circa 1950´s, spartan, designed for men – ugh!). If I was fortunate, all trains ran on time and I could catch my breath before my first class. Amtrak rarely ran on time. After one or two days in classes I would reverse the process. Looking back, I can hardly believe I did it!
• that I would be called upon to serve a church only four classes into my education! – meaning that on top of being a wife, mother, and student, I also was a preacher, Sunday school teacher, and administrator. The bonus was that when my professors said, "Imagine that you are serving a church and such and such happens…" Well I was serving a church, and such and such happened regularly. Saugatuck was a great learning laboratory.
• that in order to be provisionally ordained, I would have to go before the Board of Ordained Ministry in 2010 with 1) a thirty-four page theological paper addressing twenty-two aspects of ministry covering everything from the sacraments, to the nature of God, to our Social Principles, 2) a detailed teaching plan for a book of the Bible that I was to write and teach to a group of my choosing, and 3) a videoed sermon with a manuscript. I then went before three different interview teams to defend my work. It´s an exhausting but rewarding process.
• that I would have to repeat the previous step a second time in 2013 in order to receive approval from the Board of Ordained Ministry to move on to ordination as a full Elder in the spring of 2014.
I tell you all of this, not to elicit admiration or sympathy, but to say that in spite of the struggle, I have made it to this milestone. I believe, from the very depths of my being, that God has called me to this life of service and that I have been strengthened through God´s grace along the way. On June 14 at 1:30 pm in the Fine Arts Center of Calvin College, I will kneel before the West Michigan Conference and receive the blessing of the church as a fully ordained Elder. It will be a time of great rejoicing and I hope you will join me on that long-anticipated day. Through it all I can still say that I love the church and that God is faithful and good!
• May 21, 9:00 am — Caring Connection • May 25, 10:00 am — Summer Worship Schedule Begins
• May 26 — Church and Offices Closed for Holiday
• June 1 — Teacher Appreciation Sunday
• June 4 — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• June 8 — Baptism Sunday
• June 8, 10:00 am — Confirmation Sunday
• June 8, 11:00 am — Stephen Ministry Info Gathering
• June 12, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• June 13-15 — Father/Child Camp
• June 14 — Habitat Build Day
• June 14 Ordination 1:30
• June 16 — Church Building and Office Summer Hours Start
• June 16, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• June 18 — Detroit Tigers Road Trip
• June 18, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• June 19 — Habitat Build Day
• June 21 — Feeding America
• June 22 — Youth Beach Day
• June 23-27 — Office Reorganization Week
• June 26, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• June 24, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• June 29 — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• July 16, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• July, 24 — Road Trip to Marshall
SUNDAYS 10:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 yr. olds 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.)
Children in Grades 3 and up are welcome in worship this summer! In order for middle and older elementary children to be engaged in worship, they will find… • worship bulletins created just for them each week with the theme/scripture of the day (located at each entrance into the sanctuary) • worship bags filled with books, activity sheets, worship bulletins, & colored pencils (available in the back of the sanctuary on a wooden cart). Bags hanging up are ready for use; then simply return your used bag in the basket on the cart to be filled for the next week.
We would also welcome children as worship participants this summer. Would you like to play your instrument or share a song or reading? Please talk to Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry, or Pastor Tish as we would welcome your participation.
JOIN US for an after-church reception on Sunday, June 8, in honor of Pastor Tish´s ordination as Elder and to honor the confirmation class.
Father's Day Honor Roll This year, Father´s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 15. Please join the United Methodist Women as we honor fathers by supporting the annual Father´s Day Honor Roll. 100% of donated monies will be given to United Methodist Community House, JFON of West Michigan, and Imagine No Malaria.
SUMMER WORSHIP HOURS BEGIN MAY 25 Don´t forget to mark your calendar! Sunday Worship: 10:00 AM SERVICE ONLY, no 9:30 am Church School
FIRST CHURCH AND FIRST PLACE will be closed Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS BEGIN, JUNE 16 Don´t forget to mark your calendar! Church Building Hours
• Monday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Tuesday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
• Wednesday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Thursday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Friday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm First Place Hours
• Monday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Tuesday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Wednesday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
• Friday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
OFFICE REORGANIZATION WEEK will take place June 23 - 27. During that time the First Place office will be closed to the public; there will be a receptionist at the north lobby desk from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Tuesday.
SAVE THE DATE! Sunday, June 1 is Education Appreciation Sunday! The Children´s and Adult Councils invite you to Wesley Hall following the 10:00 am worship service to greet and thank those who regularly serve in our children´s, youth, and adult ministries for being a vital piece of our Christian education experience this year. Join us for a piece of pie as we share in fellowship and celebration together.
DETROIT TIGER FANS Please note we were able to change our tickets to Sections 112 and 113, the same area we were in last year! So be sure to join us for the game on June 18 and cheer the Tigers on to another win! Get your reservation form online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/road-trips, in the north lobby, or contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.
WE NEED TO GET "SOCIAL" on our Facebook page! Our Facebook page is what our community and the world see of First Church and is a way they can connect and get to know First Church. One of the ways this happens is YOU! If you have yet to "Like" our fan page, and share it on your timeline, would you consider doing that this week and tell someone you know about your church? "Like" us at www.facebook.com/grandrapidsfumc.
ADIRONDACK ADVENTURE CAMP Christian hiking camp for adults in the beautiful mountains of New York (you thought church camp was just for kids, didn´t you?) This summer´s sessions are July 27 - August 2, 2014 and August 3 - 9, 2014, you pick the one that´s best for you. Cost is only $300/person. Check our facebook page - Adirondack Adventure Camp or contact the deans, Ken & Barb Jeltema for more info. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 363-6480. Orientation is at Northlawn UMC in Grand Rapids on Sunday, June 8, 2014, You´re invited to attend and register for camp there.
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 9 am – 3 pm. Is every surface in your house a drum? Does your child love a good beat? Register now for Arts Alive Camp. Camp is for children entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall of 2014. Early Bird Rate: $45 if registered by July 3; $60 after July 3. Fee provides lunch and snacks each day, t-shirt, reusable water bottle, entrance fee for Thursday field trip to Meijer Gardens. Additional costs are underwritten by First United Methodist Church. For more information or scholarship information contact Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or laurem@grandrapids fumc.org. Register online at grandrapidsfumc.org/arts-alive-camp Celebration fund.
ARE YOU GOING INTO 7TH, 8TH, OR 9TH GRADE IN THE FALL? You are invited to join us for our "Week of Giving," August 4-8, as we work with local organizations donating our time and doing our part to help our neighbors. We will also do special projects with Arts Alive Camp. Spots are limited so don´t delay. Sign up by June 20 and save. Cost for the week (including meals) will be $100, but if you register early, you only pay $75. Scholarship assistance is available. Contact Emily Uebbing for more information at 855-6247 or email@example.com.
COFFEE CAN OFFERING UPDATE In 2014 you have fed people around the world by generously supporting the following ministries through our monthly coffee can offering: January: $482.51 to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR); February: $473.20 to Haiti Hot Lunch Program; March: $459.78 to Heifer Project International Living Gift; April: $589.76 to Kenya Widow´s Garden. Thank you! Celebration fund.
EASTER MISSION OFFERING UPDATE Thank you! To date you have given $13,072.25, just $127.75 shy of our $13,200 goal to benefit mission ministries supported by First Church. Your gifts support West Michigan Conference mission and camping ministries, racial ethnic and Native American worshiping congregations, and peace with justice initiatives. Your extravagant generosity will provide Personal Energy Transportation (PET) vehicles to those in developing countries who are unable to walk. Your gifts travel with our risk taking mission teams to Cuba, Kenya, and Nicaragua. You provide radical hospitality to immigrants through Justice For Our Neighbors. Any gifts exceeding our offering goal will benefit Imagine No Malaria. Thank you! Celebration fund.
ART GALLERY Showing through June 30 is an exhibit by Nancy Clouse, Grand Rapids Community College art professor emeritus and long-time Celebration of the Arts "Art Walk" speaker. In support of our Celebration art ministry, Nancy will be donating 25% of the sales from this exhibit to the Celebration fund.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Mary Kay Gooder (outpatient surgery 5/20)
• Rose Hayes (outpatient surgery 5/20)
• Jenna Kelley
• Leighton Muir
• Laurie VanHouten
• Janet Wood (outpatient surgery 5/19)
• Liz and Henry Kingma who leave for Hong Kong 5/13 to bring their son, Raymond, home
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Xavier Kenmoe
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
• Peter Taylor, Jr
Congratulations to Jen and Scott Foley on the birth of a daughter, Kendall Jane, on May 13th!
Thank you so much for celebrating my 10+ years as your Parish Nurse! I enjoyed the wonderful reception, cake (raspberry filling is my favorite!), and the thoughtful gift. The Willow Tree angel is in my office and I used the gift card to add two flowering perennials to my backyard garden. It is truly a joy to be your Parish Nurse and to be a partner with all of you in ministry.
Blessings and love,
Discussion about church giving is a very sensitive topic. Most of us are completely uncomfortable even talking about our giving to God, much less be challenged to consider the call to be a tithing giver.
A few years ago, when preparing for a District Stewardship training event, I came across this quote from a pastor who was discussing the sensitivity of discussing church giving habits with church members…
"While discussing this question with a leader at my church… I commented to them that as the pastor I know many dark secrets about people´s lives. I know who has committed adultery, who has a drinking problem, who had an abortion in the past, who is on drugs, who is seriously in debt, who has tried to commit suicide, and much, much more. Their response amazed me - - ‘but this is different - - we´re talking about MONEY!´"
Isn´t it interesting that we view the church as the place to seek comfort and strength for dealing with life´s most challenging issues, but when it comes to discussing how we show our gratitude for God for this refuge and comfort - well, we´d rather not talk about it!
Why is this so? Is it because we feel a little guilty about our giving? Is it because we are worried about being judged? Is it because we haven´t experienced the joy that comes from surrendering fear to God such that Extravagant Generosity is a natural response?
Rest assured, you need not feel guilty about your giving, and nobody at First Church will ever judge you on the basis of your financial support. What matters most is that you seek a relationship with God where you become eager and willing to be Extravagantly Generous (monetarily and otherwise) toward the ministry of First Church. Hopefully, some day we will all be tithing back to God, but in the meantime let us work hard on the journey toward greater faith that leads to greater glory to God through our giving.
I am thankful that First Church is a place where God can lead us each, individually, on our faith journey without feelings of guilt or judgment. Let´s enjoy the journey to the tithe together!
MEALS ARE NEEDED for a family with a new baby who live on the NE side of Grand Rapids. If you are able to help, please sign up by using www.grandrapidsfumc.org/meals or by contacting Marj at 901-9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A great way to practice compassionate care!
WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION Social Concerns is currently asking for donations of laundry detergent, dish soap and pasta sauce. Your donation may be dropped off in the collection bin located in the north lobby. Thank you for continuing to help keep the pantry shelves stocked.
FATHER´S DAY WEEKEND - HABITAT BUILD Looking for a way to celebrate your dad for Father´s Day? Join us in our Habitat build day, honoring dads. Invite your dad to come build with you or do a day of service in honor of your dad. We´ll be working on the UMC´s build on June 14, 8:30am-4pm. Please sign up early, at grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet, we anticipate work spots filling up. Open to ages 16+.
PRAYER PARTNERS This summer, students will be packing their bags to head away to camp. Some will go to one of our many United Methodist Camps. Others will go on our high school workcamp trip to repair homes in North Carolina. These camps have the potential to make a huge difference in the spiritual lives of our students. Would you consider signing up to pray for one or two of our students for one week of the summer and send them a note to know you´re praying for them? If so, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or email SamiM@GrandRapidsFUMC.org to be partnered with a student or two and to receive prayer suggestions for the week. Sign up online.
VOLUNTEERING AT KIDS´ FOOD BASKET Young Adults (age 18-30), you´re invited to help us fight hunger in GR on Wednesday, May 28. Please meet at The Vine at 5:30 pm for a quick bite and to carpool over to Kids´ Food Basket.
HELLO YOUNG ADULTS (ages 18-30), join us in building relationships with our neighbor, Well House, on Wednesday, June 4 at 6:00 pm. This is an amazing organization that is moving people who are homeless into housing. Our Well House nights will include dinner and could include small projects. Details will be posted on Facebook as the date approaches, or email SamiM@grandrapidsfumc.org.
STEPHEN MINISTRY So what is Stephen Ministry really all about? Do you have what it takes to join the Stephen Ministry Team? Are you looking for a Christ-like way to care for another during a difficult time in their life? Find the answers to these and other questions on Sunday, June 8 when you can meet with the Stephen Ministry Team in the parlor at 11:00 am for refreshments and a short video. We will be holding a Stephen Minister training class this fall. Are you ready?
ADULT EDUCATION SUMMER CLASS In Adam Hamilton´s book, "Love to Stay," class members will explore how, with God´s help, we can make love last. He uses surveys from singles and couples, interviews with marriage and relationship therapists, the latest research, and wisdom from the Bible to look at what it takes to create and sustain a healthy, meaningful romantic relationship across the course of a lifetime. Classes will run on Tuesdays from June 24 - July 29, from 6:30-8:00 pm and will meet in the parlor. Led by Amy and Adam Hinman and Laure and Dick Mieskowski. Books will be available for $10 in the north lobby starting June 15. Or you may purchase your copy of an eBook online. Child care provided. Sign up online.
WOMEN AT FIRST Join us for a summer lunch series. Using "The Christ-Centered Woman," by Kimberly Dunnam Reisman, we will find balance for every age and stage of life with Christ at the center. Women at First will explore what the Bible teaches about Christ-centered living using Ephesians 3 as a guide. We will meet every other week from Thursday, June 12 - August 21 at 12:00 - 1:30 pm in Wesley Hall. Lunch may be purchased (a soup/salad) or you may bring your own. Workbooks will be available for $10 in the north lobby beginning June 1. Sign up online.
FIRST AID STATION
HOSPITALIZATIONS Are you or a family member hospitalized or having surgery? Due to strict hospital privacy rules, we won´t know unless you tell us! Each day of the week, pastoral care is covered by our parish nurse or one of our pastors who is happy to visit and pray with you before your surgery or during your hospital stay. If you don´t want your name mentioned in the Weekly Pulse or in Sunday services, please let us know. However, we would still like to visit and support you, even if it´s an outpatient procedure. Please contact Parish Nurse Marj Timmerman, Pastor Bob or Pastor Tish at 451.2879.