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June 4, 2013

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Weekly Pulse - June 4, 2013 The official eNewsletter of First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids. If you are not seeing graphics in this email, click here to view it in your browser.


Thousands of years ago, a wise writer of Proverbs opined "As one thinketh in his heart, so he is." I think we have all seen this at work. That which we grow and cultivate within us affects every aspect of our life.

Commentator Harvey Mackey says that what you get depends on what you see. He tells of a man who pulled into a small restaurant on the outskirts of town. He remarked to his server: "I just was transferred to your town, and I"ve never been to this part of the country. What are people like here?"

"What are people like where you come from?" asked the server. "Not so nice," the man replied. "In fact, they can be quite rude." The server shook her head and said, "Well, I"m afraid you"ll find the people in this town to be the same way."

A second gentleman came in and sat at a nearby table. He called out to the server. "I"m just moving to your area. Is it nice here?" "Was it nice where you came from?" inquired the server. "Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly, and I hated to leave." "Well, you"ll find the same to be true of this town."

At hearing this, the first customer was irritated and asked his server, "So tell me, what is this town really like?" She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "It"s all a matter of perception. You"ll find things to be just the way you think they are."

Maybe that"s why I have loved First Church so much for twenty years. Maybe my own internal filters have shaped my perceptions of this congregation. Maybe. I"ve seen a loving, generous, education-loving, mission-focused, sacrificial church that cares for children, youth, and the least, the last, and the lost of our community. In part I"m sure I"ve seen what I"ve expected to see in a church.

But there is a reality base to my perceptions as well. You are a church that "walks the walk." You do house the homeless, care for the stranger and immigrant in our midst, walk beside people who are struggling, go to far corners of the world in mission, stretch yourselves in education, and provide great care for our children and youth. There"s a saying I"ve heard repeated recently. It says "Real knows real." You are the real thing. You put your love into action.

I am grateful for that. Perhaps the truth is "As a church thinketh in its heart, so that church is." Of course you grow weary – and that can shape your perceptions, too. Of course there are times when there aren"t sufficient volunteers to go around. For two thousand years I suspect that has been the case. But that has never deterred you from doing what you feel God has called you to do.

When Laurie was cleaning out her office in the church seven years ago, she came across a copy of the 1950 First Church budget, which was sent out to the congregation. The total budget was $42,140.00, but it was the saying at the top of the paper that caught her eye, "This is my church. Keep it strong in a needy world." 63 years later, I"d offer the same advice, "First Church is your church. Keep it strong in a needy world." You keep it strong by seeing the world through eyes of faith, eyes of hope, eyes of love. And whatever First Church ever becomes will depend upon what you see and what you do to keep it strong.

John McKibben reminded me this week that I"d once given him a copy of Ray Bradbury"s Dandelion Wine. He said he"d just re-read it and I could see the delight in his eyes. I was so happy that he had found joy in that slender book. And I was reminded of a prayer, a simple table grace, Bradbury wrote and slipped into one of his short stories. It goes like this: "O Lord, let us receive those gifts of love that shape and change and move our lives to perfection. May others see in us only what we see in them, perfection and beauty beyond telling. Amen."

I pray this would be true for me and for you: "May others see in us only what we see in them, perfection and beauty beyond telling."

Grace and peace to you,

– Gary

P.S. Coffee Can Hunger Offering this Sunday, June 9. Don"t forget!
My final Sunday is June 16 with one service for all at 10:00 am.

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Click the following links to download a PDF.
• "Reflections of Immortality!" Sermon Series
• Current Sunday Sign-Up Sheet: Sign up online at

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• June 6, 9:00 am  —    Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• 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, 8:30 am   —   Feeding America Distribution
• June 15, 2:30 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 20, 9:00 am  —    Fixin’ ‘n’ Fellowship
• June 23, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm   —   Child Care 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 13, 12:00 pm  —    Methodist Connection Picnic @ Johnson Park
• July 17, 8:00 am  —    Caring Connection
• July 20, 8:30 am   —   Feeding America Distribution
• July 21, 11:15 am  —    Summer Picnic/Rev. Bob Hundley Welcome
• August 5 - 8  —    Arts Alive Camp: the Global Village
• August 5 - 8   —    Junior High: Week of Giving
• August 17, 8:30 am   —   Feeding America Distribution

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8:30 AM
• Child Care — 0-Grade 2 Room 106

10:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — age 2-young 3 Room 106
• One Room Schoolhouse — age 4-Grade 2 Room 202
(Dismissed from worship following Moments with the Children.)

Please contact Annette Erbes at 451.2879 or with any questions.

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FATHER´S DAY HONOR ROLL This year, Father´s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 16. 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 locally, 50% to United Methodist Community House and 50% to Martin Luther King Leadership Academy Fitness Track Build. United Methodist Community House, based in southeast Grand Rapids, exists to increase the ability of children, youth, adults, and families to succeed in a diverse community. The new fitness track at MLK School will help create a safe environment for children and their families to develop healthy lifestyles. If you would like to pay tribute to a father, living or deceased, send donation form and check to the church office by June 10, 2013 or email information to You may also make a donation without requesting a tribute. Please make checks payable to FUMC (note Father´s Day Honor Roll on memo line). Thank you for helping the United Methodist Women care for children in Grand Rapids. Those being honored will be listed in the bulletin on Father´s Day – Sunday, June 16.

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

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 on Tuesday.

ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE August 5 – 8 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Are your grandchildren visiting this summer? Register them now for Arts Alive Camp. Children will 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 provides lunch and snacks each day, t-shirt, reusable water bottle, entrance fee and transportation to Howell Nature Center. Additional costs are underwritten by FUMC. For more information or scholarship information contact Camp Registrar, Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or Send registration forms to the church office or register at

MOMS´ GROUP: JOHN BALL ZOO ADVENTURE Join us on Thursday, June 13 at 10:00 am. Meet us inside the gate by the John Ball statue to stroll through the zoo together. We´ll plan on lunch around noon. (Either pack a lunch or purchase one from the concession stand.) Admission: Adults - $8.50, Kids - $6.50, Ages 2 & Under – Free. Please RSVP by June 12 to Marj at 451.2879 or

METHODIST CONNECTION SUMMER PICNIC Everyone is invited to attend The Methodist Connection Summer Picnic which will take place at Johnson Park on Saturday, July 13 at noon. If you haven´t experienced the Methodist Connection, put a toe in the water and come to the picnic! Meat provided, bring a dish to pass.

THE ARDATH WILTSE MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP is available for those who wish to enhance their music training by attending a summer music camp or plan to focus on a college major or minor in music. Please contact Sharon Sorensen at or 451-2879, ext. 124 to obtain an application. Applications will be accepted through June 15.

SUMMER NEWSLETTER SCHEDULE: During the summer months the Weekly Pulse will be mailed out on an alternating schedule. Please remember to submit your Weekly Pulse articles by the prior Thursday: Weekly Pulse schedule
• June 11, submission deadline June 6
• June 25, submission deadline June 20
• July 9, submission deadline July 3
• July 23, submission deadline July 18
• August 6, submission deadline August 1
• August 20, submission deadline August 15
• September 3, submission deadline August 29

DID YOU KNOW? First Church construction updates and photos are available online at

FIRST CHURCH AND FIRST PLACE will be closed Thursday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

YOUNG ADULTS: EVENING AT MILLENIUM PARK BEACH Young Adults (ages 18-30), let"s go to the beach on Wednesday, June 12!!! Pack a sack supper and join us for a relaxing evening splashing in the water at Millennium Park. Cost is $4. Meet at The Vine at 5:30 pm to carpool or at the beach at 6:00 pm. Beach address: 1415 Maynard Ave SW Walker, MI 49534. Note: If it rains, we"ll have a game night in The Vine.

FESTIVAL OF TRUMPETS Saturday, June 15 at 2:30 pm. Tickets available at the door. A final event in the International Trumpet Guild National Convention.

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 All proceeds will go to Lake Michigan UM Youth Camps.

60+ LUNCHEON is Monday, June 17 at noon. There will be an Iraq War Veteran Rehab video presentation. Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.

CARING CONNECTION The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 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.

JUNIOR HIGH: WEEK OF GIVING Are you entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade? Are you willing to give one week this summer? Join the Jr. High youth this summer for a Week of Giving August 5 - 8! YOUR RESERVATION AND $25 IS DUE BY JUNE 15TH. During Arts Alive Camp, the Jr. High youth will team up to do mission work around the city. We will be working with Westminster Food Pantry, Kids" Food Basket, and Arts Alive Camp. We will also tag along on a day trip to Heifer International in Howell, to learn more about their program. The cost for this Week of Giving is $75. For more information or to sign up visit Scholarship assistance is available. Contact Emily Uebbing at 855-6247 or with questions.

THE FUMC BOOK CLUB will meet at Pearl Street Grill (310 Pearl St. NW, inside Holiday Inn Downtown) on Wednesday, June 12 at 6:00 pm to discuss The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. "A skillful blend of literary thriller, wilderness adventure, and historical romance, Stef Penney"s panoramic novel traces the impact of a brutal murder on the lives of several settlers in Canada"s Northern Territories in the winter of 1869." --Barnes & Noble. Join us for discussion over dinner. All are welcome. Please RSVP to Marlys Davis (735-3339 or by noon on Tuesday, June 11.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ROBYN BOMHOF, artist and member of our church on winning two awards in The Muskegon Museum of Art"s 85th Regional Exhibition, the longest-established regional art exhibition in Michigan. Her oil painting entitled Portal won both the Director"s Choice Award and the West Michigan Symphony Purchase Award and will hang in their offices as a result. Artwork in many media, themes, and styles will be displayed. The Regional Exhibition at the museum will run through August 21, 2013.

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held on Wednesday at 2:00 pm on June 19 at Clark Retirement Community. A Prayer and Self Denial Program, and a video, "Hidden in Plain Sight," will be presented. All women of the church are invited.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY Each year on June 20th countless people celebrate World Refugee Day. Will you join us in this ministry of welcome by: praying for refugees and displaced people, co-sponsoring a refugee family, donating to CWS refugee assistance, volunteering with newly arrived refugee families, and advocate for immigration reform? To find out more about welcoming refugees in your community, contact Joya Colon-Berezin at or, for more information, visit

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Concerns & Prayers for:
• Donna Anton
• Lynne Beals
• Norman Bradley (Butterworth)
• Joanie Colvin
• Rev Charles Fry
• Rachel Reed

Service Personnel
• 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 Diane Hagan and sons Luke and Patrick on the death of husband and father, Michael Hagan, on June 2. Arrangements are pending.

Congratulations to Heather Abraham and Josh Brandt who were united in marriage on June 2 in Kalamazoo.

Congratulations to Aaron and Jill Kelley on the birth of a daughter, Jenna Therese Kelley, on May 24.

Thank you so much for all of the support, love, prayers, and cards you have sent our way during this time of love. Dick loved this church and poured his heart and soul into it for years. It is apparent that the church loved him, too. Our deepest appreciation.
Marion, Rick, Betty, Daniel, Joseph, and Lydia DeVinney

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 Pastor´s Message
• Weekly Pulse Downloads
• Mark Your Calendar
• Summer Sunday Children and Youth Schedule
• Pathways: Growing In Grace
• News and Events
• Worship Service
• First Church Family Concerns
• Attendance

WEEKLY PULSE: Click the link to download a PDF version of the Weekly Pulse.

Worship Services
8:30 & 10:00 am

Reflections of Immortality

Sunday, June 9
"I Will Make You Fish for People"
Rev. Gary Haller
Matthew 4:19-22
Coffee Can Offering

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BLOOD DRIVE Our next Blood Drive will be Monday, June 10 1stfrom 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or call the office to reserve a time to donate blood. If you can´t donate blood, cookies and caffeinated beverages are also needed! Be a part of this important mission to save lives.

FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, June 15 for the monthly food distribution at Cesar Chavez Elementary (1205 Grandville St. 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 use the sign-up sheet if you can help.

SR. HIGH AND ADULT HELPERS NEEDED FOR ARTS ALIVE: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE Many hands are needed to make Arts Alive Camp an enriching experience for our elementary students this summer. Assist the art teacher or help with instrument making! Engage children in the week"s activities as a group shepherd! If you are a student completing ninth grade or above or an adult and can offer to assist all week or even for half a day the week of August 5-8, we would welcome your help. See the sign-up sheet for opportunities to serve or www.grand Contact Annette Erbes at 451-2879 or with any questions.

HELP TP THE PANTRY Each week the Westminster Food Pantry serves numerous households with many different needs, including toilet paper, which cannot be purchased with food stamps. For the month of June, The Social Concerns Committee would like to invite you to help us TP the pantry. When you go to the store this week to purchase toilet paper, we ask that you pick up an extra package. Donations may be dropped off in the north lobby donation area. Thank you for helping us help our neighbors in need.


MIDWEST MISSION DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN CHATHAM, ILLINOIS First Church and Genesis UMC will participate in a joint trip to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center on August 23 – 25, 2013. We will learn more about MMDC and volunteer in the UMCOR distribution center. Cost is $50 per person. Scholarship money is available. We will stay in a dorm and prepare our own meals. Dorm space is limited. RV hookup is available if you prefer that option. This trip is open to adults and families (children must be age 11 or older). For more information, or to register for this trip, contact Laure Mieskowski, 451-2879 or You may also indicate your interest by signing up via the Sunday bulletin insert.

WOMEN OF FIRST: NAMESAKE is a six-week Bible study that explores the transformational power of God through the stories of biblical characters who met God and whose lives and names were changed forever. Join us in Wesley Hall on Tuesdays from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Books are available for pick-up in the north lobby for $10.00 each. Come to the first session with chapter one complete.
• June 11: Abraham & Sarah – Led by Pastor Tish Bowman
• June 25: Jacob – Led by Jess Deboni
• July 9: Naomi – Led by Laure Mieskowski
• July 23: Daniel – Led by Pigeon Hundley
• August 6: Peter – Led by Megan Taylor
• August 20: Unnamed – Led by Pat Hiler


INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.

FOCUS! Sometimes life can be too much and you can lose focus on what is important. Let your Church Assistance Program (CAP) help make things clearer! Call your CAP hotline at 455-6210. Tell them you are a member or friend of First Church and you will receive 2 one hour meetings with a counselor at no charge. Don"t wait, call today!

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Saturday, May 26
Worship 8:30 am........56
Church School........26
Worship 10:00 am........174

Sunday, June 2
Worship 8:30 am........53
Church School........59
Worship 10:00 am........324

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