When I considered what I might say in this final Pulse article before our Tower Sunday, I planned to quote the Edgar Guest poem, "God Builds No Churches," Rev. Wayne Barrett shared when he spoke here in late April. That poem struck a chord with many because of its reminder that church buildings do not miraculously come from God. The responsibility for building and maintaining our houses of worship falls to women and men such as you and me. Rather:
"No spires miraculously arise;
No little mission from the skies
Falls on the bleak and barren place
To be a source of strength and grace.
The humble church demands its price
In human toil and sacrifice."
Then I received a very thoughtful email from a friend who was conflicted about the tower project. She wrote about her reasons why today she is going to support this effort. What she wrote also struck a deep chord in me. I was very impressed and here is part of my response to her:
"My Dear Friend, thank you so much for sending your reflections to me. I greatly appreciate your thoughtful responses and struggle and the time you invested in writing.
"Spending this money on the tower is definitely not what I wish to do. Building a new tower and all the effort that has gone into this effort is not what I hoped to do in my final year here at First UMC! It´s like the many repairs we´ve needed to do on our house before we sell it. It´s the responsible thing to do. But I wish there was a faithful alternative to spending our money on these things.
"Most important for me is that I´ve been a part of this process for so long and know the responsible way in which it was conducted. It wasn´t a process aimed at building a new tower. It was initially an examination of how to prevent injury from the falling stone, then of how we could most economically repair the tower, and then of having studies done that revealed to us the tremendous damage within the tower, and eventually the despair of not having alternatives to taking it down.
"Then it became a question of what would be the most responsible option: rebuild the tower as originally designed but improved ($3.8 million first estimate), then going back to the drawing board and bringing in other contractors resulting in the $2 million estimate, or designing something entirely new that still represented the church well – our current $1.2 million option.
"I support this effort because I know the integrity, the arduous process, the difficult decisions and pain of many highly responsible people who tackled something that just needed to be done. I honor and respect that process and the countless hours they´ve given to the church they love and the mission this church facility makes possible. I love the way this newly designed tower honors our past but is not enslaved by what was done by our forebears. We remain committed to ministry in the heart of the city.
"Again, thank you for wrestling with this project and for opening your heart to supporting it. I think of the six or so other building projects that the church has sacrificially undertaken over the time I´ve been here (all of them as expensive or much more). Now we take those projects for granted, but if we hadn´t tackled them, the facility would be disintegrating, it would be far less safe for our children and youth, we would be incapable of carrying on our current ministry and people wouldn´t want to be here. Such are the difficult and necessary decisions faced by ´Old Downtown First Churches´!" – Gary
My dear friends: this is work that needs to be done! It will last for well beyond the 97 years the current tower attained. I encourage your strongest possible support so that our ministry can continue undeterred. Bring your commitment card this coming Sunday, May 12th, and let´s "get ´er done"! We celebrate three baptisms this Sunday as well!
As Edgar Guest wrote: "God sends no churches from the skies.
Out of the hearts they must arise."
• May 9, 5:30 pm — Moms´ Group: Pot Painting and Pizza
• May 14, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• May 15, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• May 18, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Tyler VanderMaas Sax Quartet
• May 19 — Education Appreciation Sunday
• May 20, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• May 26, 8:30 and 10:00 am — Summer Worship Begins
• May 27 — Church and Offices Closed for Holiday
• June 2, 9:00 am — Faith Travelers Teachers/Shepherds Meeting
• June 9-15 — IHN/Family Promise Week
• June 10, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• June 11, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• June 14 -16 — Father/Child Camp
• June 15, 2:00 pm — International Trumpet Guild: Festival of Trumpets
• June 16 — Farewell Sunday for Gary Haller
• June 17 — Church Building and Office Summer Hours Start
• June 17, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• June 19 — Road Trip: Detroit Tigers
• June 19, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• June 23, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm — Childcare Staff Brunch
• June 24-28 — Office Reorganization Week
• July 4 — Church and Offices Closed for Holiday
• July 11, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• July 17, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• July 21, 11:15 am — Summer Picnic/Rev. Bob Hundley Welcome
• August 5 - 8 — Arts Alive Camp: the Global Village
• 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 (First Place Bldg)
• Senior High — 9-12th grade The Vine North (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 with the Children, they are dismissed to class. Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.)
TWO UPCOMING ROAD TRIPS Join us on Wednesday, June 19 for a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park in Detroit! Our tickets are lower baseline box seats so we can watch the Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles from a great vantage point! ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT!
Join us in Nashville, Tennessee in October! This trip includes a guided bus tour of Nashville, a lunch cruise with entertainment on the General Jackson Showboat, a back stage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, as well as a 7:00 pm performance at the Grand Ole Opry! We should see lots of beautiful fall colors, too. The dates are October 10-12. A $100 deposit is needed to confirm your reservation. All itinerary and reservation forms are in the literature rack in the north lobby or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/road-trips.
SUMMER WORSHIP HOURS BEGIN, MAY 26 Don´t forget to mark your calendar! Sunday Worship: 8:30 and 10:00 AM, no 9:30 am Church School.
ANNUAL LAKE MICHIGAN CAMP CLASSIC The Lake Michigan Camp Classic will take place on Saturday, June 15 at Cedar Chase Golf Club (7551 17 Mile Road NE, Cedar Springs). Registration begins at 7:30 am with shotgun start at 8:30 am. This is a 4-person scramble, $75 per player (includes golf, range balls, and dinner). For more information or to register, please contact Brian Michael at 616.893.2150 or Brian.Michael@kentwoodps.org. All proceeds will go to Lake Michigan United Methodist Youth Camps.
THE UMW FLOWER SALE is being held the entire month of May. Pick up coupon sheets in the narthex and north lobby. Use coupons for buying gift plants, hanging baskets, garden plants, and supplies at Romence Gardens (265 Lakeside Dr NE). UMW will receive 10% of your purchase total and that will go to mission support.
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS BEGIN, JUNE 17 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
FATHER/CHILD CAMP Attention dads (grandpas and uncles, too)! Spend Father´s Day weekend (June 14-16) at Lake Michigan United Methodist Camp in Pentwater! Picture you and your kids sitting around a campfire, enjoying the beach, hiking the many trails - all while spending time with God and some of your church family! Platform tents, as well as spots for your own tents and campers, are available. Site rental is $28 per night. Food is $20 for Dad and $15 per child with a max amount of $50 per family. Please contact Jason Smith at 262.7151 or email@example.com. Make sure to ask about the "buy one, get one night free" offer for first timers!
OFFICE REORGANIZATION WEEK will take place June 24 - 28. 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.
CARING CONNECTION Wednesday, May 15 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.
FIRST CHURCH AND FIRST PLACE will be closed Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.
60+ LUNCHEON The next 60+ Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 20 at noon. The program will be by Guiding Light Mission. Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.
FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, May 18 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 Church does not have primary responsiblity for this distribution, however, volunteers are invited to help. No sign-ups are needed.
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE August 5 – 8 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Would your child like to meet a goat? Register now for Arts Alive Camp. We will learn how children around the world are affected by the gift of a Heifer Project animal and experience other cultures through stories, art, dance, song, drumming, and play. Our week will culminate on Thursday with a field trip to Heifer Global Village at Howell Nature Center in Howell, Michigan. Camp is for children entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall of 2013. Early Bird Rate: $45 if registered by July 8; $55 after July 8. Fee includes lunch and snacks each day, t-shirt, reusable water bottle, entrance fee and transportation to Howell Nature Center. Additional costs are underwritten by First United Methodist Church. For more information or scholarship information contact Camp Registrar, Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Send registration forms to the church office or register online.
NEW NAME TAGS will be available in Wesley Hall throughout the month of June beginning on Sunday, June 2. If able, we request a $5 per name tag donation ($20 max per family), however a donation is not required to receive a new name tag. Name tag may be stored on the new name tags boards located near the north lobby, Barclay entrance, or the east narthex entrance. If there is an error on your name tag or if you do not have a name tag, please contact the church office and we will have a new name tag made for you by the Sunday following your request.
2ND BEST SALE Thank you to all our generous donors and volunteers who helped make the annual FUMC 2nd Best Sale a huge success once again this year. We raised $4,000+ to support the United Methodist Community House, MLK Fitness Track Build and our Jr. High Youth scholarships for mission trips. The annual sale is a tremendous amount of work that we could never do without our dedicated volunteers. It´s a win-win situation where we are helping people recycle no-longer-needed items to someone else who can benefit from them. After the "Free Hour," open to our friends from MLK and the Heartside Community, the remaining goods were picked up by a charity. We can be very proud knowing that they will be recycled further and kept out of the landfill. Thanks to everyone who helped with this event.
THE FITNESS PATH that is to be constructed at Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy, one of our church´s major missions, is nearly in sight! We need to raise $12,000 more to have all the up front money needed for the GRPS school board approval to begin construction of Phase 1. If you have been thinking about making a donation of any size, please consider doing so now. This will allow construction with heavy equipment and muddy mess to occur during the summer months when school is not in session. Checks may be made out to FUMC (MLK Fitness Track in the memo line) or give online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/go/giving-online (check Other Designated Fund and note MLK Fitness Track in the memo line). Thank you for blessing the students at MLK.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lynne Beals
• Shirley Dunder
• Don Far
• 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 Helen and James Williams and family on the death of Helen´s brother, John, on May 1st.
Congratulations to Amy and Adam Hinman on the birth of a daughter, Amaura Elizabeth Jean Hinman, on May 2nd. Proud big brother is Wesley!
Many thanks for your cards, calls, visits, concern, and prayers received during my recent illness. You are the best! Kudos also to Pastor Gary and Marj for their visits, love and concern. Thank you!
On behalf of the entire Powers family, thank you for your thoughts and prayers on the recent death of Alice Powers. Thank you especially to Pastor Gary for his wonderful call and the sympathy card from the staff. You are true blessings.
With love, Destry Powers.
YOUNG ADULTS: BINGO NIGHT @ DÉGAGÉ You´re invited to join our Young Adult Group (ages 18-30) for Bingo Night on Wednesday, May 15! Meet at The Vine at 6:00 pm for a light dinner, then we´ll walk over to Dégagé (a hangout for many of our Heartside neighbors) to lead Bingo. Friends invited!
FOOD PANTRY NEEDS Did you know that Westminster Food Pantry stocks more than just food items? Yes, the clients who frequent the pantry also need household items. During the month of May the Social Concerns Committee will be collecting dish soap and laundry detergent to help fill the pantry shelves. Items may be dropped off in the north lobby collection area.
FIXIN´ ´N´ FELLOWSHIP Thursday, May 9 and 23 at 9:00 am - meet at the church in room 105. We will start the day with fellowship over coffee and baked goods, then tackle minor repairs needed throughout the church buildings.
EDUCATION APPRECIATION SUNDAY is coming on May 19. We are blooming with appreciation for those who share their gifts in our education ministry! The Children´s Council and Adult Council invite workers in education (for children, youth, and adults) and the congregation to a reception in Wesley Hall from 10:15-11:00 am. Members of the congregation are invited to greet and thank our education volunteers. Education workers are invited to pick up special recognition items in the narthex prior to worship and to be our guest at the morning´s Fellowship Breakfast. We look forward to seeing everyone on May 19th!
ADULT SUNDAY CLASS: NOOMA A drop-in series featuring Rob Bell´s Nooma videos. The class will be video- and discussion-based. Classes are Sunday, May 12 at 9:30 am in the parlor. Led by Jess Rozga DeBoni.
FIRST AID STATION
DO YOU WORRY? Does life feel like a bad movie that just keeps on going and going and going? Your Church Assistance Program (CAP) can help you work through your worries and anxiety. Call 455-6210 and make a CAP appointment today. As a member or friend of First Church, you will receive 2 one-hour sessions with a counselor at no charge to you. Confidential and safe, call CAP!
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, May 14 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.