First of all … thank you! Thank you for your adaptation to one Sunday morning worship service for the summer season. We had over 350 participants in worship this past Sunday and the positive energy and enthusiasm among us can be felt. I appreciate Eric and the choir continuing to sing these first three Sundays of the summer season. They will be singing this Pentecost Sunday, the Barclay Brass will be playing, and we will celebrate the confirmation of a large class of confirmands. We have also welcomed many guests these first two Sundays of the summer schedule. All in all, we are off and running on a productive and growth-filled summer. Thank you for your faithfulness.
Next week is the West Michigan Annual Conference, which is held at Calvin College from Wednesday the 11th through Saturday the 14th. The ‘people called Methodist´ have gathered at least annually to review the nature and mission of the church in our communities and around the world. It is supposed to be a time of spiritual enrichment, encouraging one another and enquiring about productive ministry that is occurring within our clergy and laity. Conference was designed to be a Christian accountability event – and to assign pastors to serve in the various congregations. In a by-gone era, pastors would not know where they were going to serve until their names were read at Annual Conference. Pastors would call their families from conference and inform them that they were staying … or start packing for an immediate move. Times have changed and so has the itinerant nature of United Methodist pastoral assignments.
Lay persons are also represented significantly at Annual Conference. There is one lay person for every clergy. In our case, since two pastors are appointed to First Church, we have two lay members to the Annual Conference (Carol Youells and Nagnon Diarrassouba). And, because several First Church members are involved in District or Conference leadership positions, we have additional lay representation from our congregation.
I have a book in my library titled; The Conversation Matters: Why United Methodists Should Talk with One Another. Conversing with one another IS a fundamental principle of United Methodism. I have used the book in previous congregations to study the ‘method´ to United Methodism. When we converse about serious issues that have the potential to divide the church, we must harken back to our heritage and consider 1) what scripture teaches on the subject … 2) what our historic theological tradition teaches on the subject … 3) then we begin to test both scripture and tradition through the filters of reason (is the position in question reasonable and does it make sense) … OR 4) is the position affirmed (or not) by our experience of faith in God. We are to enter any dialogue with an open mind so that we can discover what seems just and right as we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One of the over-riding principles of Christian conferencing is to speak (and listen) with grace and kindness so that civility is our highest ethic. We want to seek God´s truth within the primary ethic of love!
Clergy … laity … local churches … and Annual Conferences have a difficult time applying our historic value for conversation. Because of our culture, we apply a win-lose ideology to conversation. In my view, one of the most destructive dynamics to holding differences of opinion in tension while valuing relationships – is the democratic process of voting. Voting sets up a win-lose ideology.
The two primary ‘hot-button´ issues that we will talk about next week are human sexuality and money! Inclusion of ALL people regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation is a civil right. Why we contend with one another over a basic human right is beyond me. And money … how we invest our resources for the common good is typically trumped by political agendas and pet projects. So we need your prayers. Pray that God will help us have an extra dose of Christian civility and converse with one another without rancor! May our love of people be our highest value.
• 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, 1:30 pm — Ordination
• June 16 — Church Building and Office Summer Hours Start
• June 16, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• June 17, 5:30 pm — Mom & Me Yoga
• June 18 — Detroit Tigers Road Trip
• June 18, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• June 19, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm — Habitat Build Day
• June 21, 8:30 am — Feeding America
• June 22, 11:00 am — Youth Beach Day
• June 23-27 — Office Reorganization Week
• June 24, 10:00 am — Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park Picnic
• June 24, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• June 25, 6:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• June 26, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• July 1, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 8, 10:00 am — Morning @ Kentwood Splash Pad
• July 8, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 10, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Study
• July 10-19 — High School Workcamp to NC
• July 12, 11:00 am — Methodist Connection Picnic
• July 15, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 16, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm — Habitat Build Day
• July 16, 9:00 am — Caring Connection
• July 19, 8:30 am — Feeding American
• July 20, 11:00 am — Senior High Lunch
• July 20-26 — IHN Week
• July 21, 5:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) Dinner Making for IHN
• July 22, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 24 — Marshall Road Trip
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 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.
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.
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 17, submission deadline June 12
• July 1, submission deadline June 26
• July 15, submission deadline July 10
• July 29, submission deadline July 24
• August 12, submission deadline August 7
• August 19, submission deadline August 14
ORDINATION SERVICE AT ANNUAL CONFERENCE Congratulations to Pastor Letisha Bowman, who will be ordained as an Elder of the United Methodist Church at this year´s West Michigan Annual Conference. The path to ordination is a long and arduous journey and represents full membership in the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. Please join us for a reception to honor Pastor Tish on Sunday, June 8, immediately after the 10:00 service. The ordination service will be held Saturday, June 14, at 1:30 pm in Calvin College´s Covenant Fine Arts Center in Grand Rapids and you are invited and encouraged to attend in support of Pastor Tish. Those who have previously witnessed an ordination service know how beautiful and meaningful it can be.
FATHER/CHILD CAMP Spend Father´s Day weekend (June 13-15) at Lake Michigan UM 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 $30 per night. Five meals are provided for $20 per adult and $15 per child with a maximum 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!
WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION In order to help keep the shelves at Westminster Food Pantry stocked, the Social Concerns Committee will be collecting donations of canned fruit and toothpaste during the month of June. Your donation may be dropped off in the collection bin located in the north lobby. Thank you for continuing to help keep the pantry shelved stocked.
60+ LUNCHEON will be held on Monday, June 16 at noon. The program will be the DVD, "God´s Hotel: A Doctors Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine," from the Calvin College January series. Contact Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 for reservations.
MOMS´ GROUP: MOM & ME YOGA Hello moms of babies and little ones! Would you like to connect with other moms on Tuesday, June 17 at 5:30 pm over dinner and an evening of yoga? Gina Clark is leading yoga that we can do with our little ones! We´ll have the dinner; just bring a yoga mat or towel/blanket. Friends invited!
MOMS´ GROUP: A DAY AT BOULDER RIDGE WILD ANIMAL PARK PICNIC Celebrate summer with us on Tuesday, June 24 at 10:00 am at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park Picnic in Alto. Pack a lunch and meet us there for a day of fun! Cost is $10/adults and $8/kids (ages 2 & under are free). Information and directions at: www.boulderridgewap.com. Dads and grandparents invited!
FREE ELECTRONICS RECYCLING EVENT In cooperation with Michigan electronics recycler Comprenew, FUMC is hosting a free electronics drop-off event on Friday July 25 - Sunday July 27. Acceptable items include: office & household electronics (cell phones, radios, microwaves, VCRs, TV´s etc.) computer components & accessories (laptops, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, speakers, power cords, etc.) Almost anything with a cord or battery will be accepted. Comprenew will wipe or destroy all computer hard drives. No big box appliances, air conditioners or refrigerators. WHY RECYCLE? Electronic waste is a growing concern to our environment. When put in landfills, e-waste can leak harmful toxins into our soil and water. Please take advantage of this opportunity to properly dispose of obsolete or non-working electronic items. WHO? Comprenew is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit electronics recycler. Comprenew does not ship e-waste overseas, and the zero-landfill policy requires that all e-waste received is recycled, refurbished or reused. A portion of the proceeds from the recycling event will go to First United Methodist Church. WHEN? Please look for the Comprenew e-Drop Trailer in the church parking lot. The trailer will be open the following hours: Friday, July 25: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm; Saturday, July 26 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday, July 27: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.
UNITED METHODISM 101 This online course is designed for new United Methodists and anyone wanting to know more about the denomination. Are you a lifelong or long-term Methodist? You may be surprised at what you can learn about our denomination. The course includes 4 modules that contain many interactive features. Each module takes about 1 hour to complete. You can move through the modules at your own pace. Course dates: June 18 - July 30. Tuition: $9.99. Start the course when it best fits your schedule and move at your own pace. The course includes six weeks of instruction. Visit: umctraining.org/course/53
BLOOD DRIVE FOLLOW-UP Thank you to all the donors and cookie bakers who helped make our May 19 Blood Drive so successful! Special congratulations to Elaine Youngs who earned her 12-gallon pin, Pam Carrier, 3-gallons; Emil Jensen, 2-gallons; and Ashlee Wright, 1-gallon. Each one of you helped save lives!
BOX TOPS FOR EDUCATION Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Academy recently received a check from Box Tops for Education in the amount of $239.40. Thanks to all who are clipping Box Tops, which provide money that can be used at the discretion of the Academy. This makes a total of $689.50 received during 2014. Keep up the clipping! The dimes add up.
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+.
"THE ART OF JAZZ" Benefit for United Methodist Community House, at City Flats Hotel on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00 pm, features award winning vocalist, Edye Evans Hyde and more. Come hear the smooth sounds of today´s best live jazz performances accompanied by one-of-a-kind custom art pieces available for purchase through silent auction. Delectable hors d´oeuvres and beverages included. Tickets are only $30 per person or $50 per couple. Visit: umchgr.eventbrite.com
CALLING ALL FIRST CHURCH FINE ARTISTS, AGE SIXTEEN (16) AND OLDER… We are looking to have an All-Church Art Exhibit beginning July 1 with intake on Friday, June 27 and Sunday, June 29. Do you have an original painting, artistic photograph, textile art, jewelry or sculpture that you might share in our hallway gallery? Sign up on the bulletin sign-up sheet. An entry form with more information is available in the north lobby or at www.grandrapidsfumc.org or contact Carol McNally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE All-Church Camp will be Friday, August 15 - Sunday, August 17 at Lake Michigan UM Camp. Sign up following services on Sunday, August 3 and 10. Special for new campers, buy one night, get one free. Call Peg Terkeurst, 451.2879, if you have any questions!
FAITH TRAVELERS IN MISSION This year our K-4 Faith Travelers and Grade 5-6 Mission in Action Faith Travelers have learned about and supported several missions through missions offerings. The K-4 Faith Travelers selected Family Promise of Grand Rapids as their spring mission focus and have donated $143.18 toward the purchase of new toys for our young Family Promise guests. The Mission in Action Faith Travelers have chosen Imagine No Malaria as their mission emphasis; $132.99 has been donated by this class as the elementary aged children look forward to learning more about INM during the upcoming Arts Alive Camp this summer. Our children are learning how to live out the Great Commandment to love their neighbor. Watch for more news of our children´s adventures in missions during Arts Alive Camp this summer!
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 9 am – 3 pm. Invite the children in your neighborhood to register now for Arts Alive Camp. They will learn how children in Africa are affected by the Imagine No Malaria campaign and experience African culture through stories, art, dance, song, drumming, and play. Our week will culminate on Thursday with a field trip to Meijer Gardens. 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. Additional costs are underwritten by FUMC. 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
FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, June 21 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 responsibility for this distribution. However, volunteers are invited to help. No sign-ups are needed.
CARING CONNECTION The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 18 at 9:00 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.
ARE YOU GOING INTO 7TH, 8TH, OR 9TH GRADE IN THE FALL? If so, 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 at grandrapidsfumc.org/jh-week-of-giving by June 20 and save. Cost for the week (including meals) will be $100, but if you register early, you pay only $75. Scholarship assistance is available. Contact Emily Uebbing for more information at 855-6247 or email@example.com.
RISK-TAKING MISSION First Church is joining other UM Churches in the "Grand Rapids District Habitat Build." This is a wonderful opportunity to join with Habitat Kent County in a project that will forever change the life of a hard-working, low-income family in need of affordable housing. We invite you to pray for the project and the family who will live in this home at 934 Caulfield Ave SW. Consider being part of a First Church building team on one or more of the following days: Saturday, June 14; Thursday, June 19; Wednesday, July 16; and Saturday, August 2. We will be framing on each of these days. Volunteers must be age 16 or older. You may volunteer by contacting Laure Mieskowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPCOMING ROAD TRIPS For all road trips, use the Sunday sign-up sheet, sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/road-trips, look for the itinerary and reservation form in the north lobby rack or contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224.
• MARSHALL Join us on July 24 for a road trip to Marshall! We will enjoy a bus tour of Marshall, lunch at Schuler´s, and then the musical "Guys and Dolls" at the historic Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater.
• PENNSYLVANIA Join us September 18-20 for a memorable road the trip include a dinner cruise, visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial, Quecreek Mine rescue site, Frank Lloyd Wright´s Duncan House, and Heinz Memorial Chapel.
• AMAZING GRACE AND SHOPPING IN CHICAGO The musical Amazing Grace is coming to Chicago for less than a month this fall and we are planning a road trip to see it on Wednesday, October 22! You will have the choice of shopping the Magnificent Mile or visiting the Field Museum for about 3-1/2 hours Wednesday morning before the 2:00 pm showing of Amazing Grace. The musical is the story of John Newton, who was a slave trader before becoming a Christian and writing perhaps the world´s most beloved hymn.
• A DAY IN CHICAGO For those who love to shop or visit museums and don´t want to see Amazing Grace, you now have the option of traveling with us on the bus to Chicago on October 22 for $68. That includes coffee and donuts on the way down, transportation, and gratuity for the bus driver. Lunch (in Chicago) and dinner (in Stevensville) will be at your own expense.
THE COFFEE CAN OFFERING on Sunday, June 8 will benefit the United Methodist Committee on Relief. 100 % of money donated to UMCOR provides humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disaster disrupt life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own. UMCOR provides affected populations temporary relief as well as long-term education, training, and support. When you give to UMCOR, you join other United Methodists around the world as the hands and feet of Christ.
STEPHEN MINISTRY INFORMATION MEETING Join us this Sunday, June 8 at 11am in the parlor for some refreshments and to learn what Stephen Ministry is all about! We will be starting a training class this fall. If you have the gifts of mercy and care, see if Stephen Ministry might be right for you! If you are unable to attend, contact Marj Timmerman at 901-9224 for more information.
MEALS NEEDED for the Kingma family (NE GR) and the McKnight family (SE GR). If you can provide a meal, please sign up on our website www.grandrapidsfumc.org/meals or by contacting Marj Timmerman at 901-9224. Thank you!
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 let them 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.
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.
WOMEN AT FIRST Child care now available! 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.
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 Pastor Tish as we would welcome your participation.
As I write this to you, I have been graced with a lovely farewell luncheon by the church staff and look forward to my last Sunday with you. Much has happened during my two years here with you, and although I still have many hopes and dreams for children´s ministry here at FUMC, God´s call has come at a different time than expected for me and my husband Mark. I ask for your prayers as Mark and I soon become "faith travelers" to be in ministry at the Holt UMC.
First Church is truly an exceptional place! You are a congregation of exceptional gifts, resources, hospitality, passion for ministry, and staff. God has indeed blessed you to become a blessing to others. With this blessing comes an expectation, however. Upon the baptism of a child, as a congregation we vow to nurture, love, pray for, and share the good news with children as they grow in Christ. Is God calling you to share your gifts in our children´s ministry area? I encourage you to prayerfully consider the ways that you might bless our children. Please share your thoughts with the members of our Children´s Council and with Audrey Kawel, the new Director of Children´s Ministry. I can assure you that sharing your gifts with our children will richly bless you as well.
Thank you for the opportunity to be in ministry with you these past two years. You have blessed me beyond measure and will always be a place that I call home.
Summer is upon us! The days are long, the temperatures are finally warming, and there are actually leaves appearing on the trees! This is the time when many thoughts turn to summer vacation, and other activities that can take us away from church for a few weeks.
Of course, we all know that the ministries at First Church don´t observe much of a summer vacation. Local mission and outreach activities continue, children´s activities take place, the staff is readying for the fall program year kickoff, and our church building continues to need regular maintenance and upkeep.
It´s not unusual for giving to drop off a little in the summer and catch-up again in the fall. But, the cash needs of our church and its ministries do not drop off.
If you have not taken advantage of the many options we provide for electronic giving, now is a good time to consider this. With automatic electronic giving, you can go on vacation, and your giving continues while you are away. You avoid the burden of "catching up" later, and First Church enjoys the steady cash flow that is critical to our ministry all year long.
Many of our church families have come to appreciate this method of giving. It can easily be set up to any individual preference (weekly or monthly, credit card or ACH). Sharon Sorensen can help you establish your personal method of electronic contribution.
God has big plans for us at First Church, and these plans call for year-round ministry. Poverty, illness, unemployment, marginalization do not take a summer vacation. We are making a difference - all year long!
Finally, as we finalize our summer vacation plans, let´s first consider the ministry needs at First Church. With just a little imagination and initiative, leisure and relaxation can be very inexpensive. Many of those we minister to in Grand Rapids and around the world have never been more than a few miles from where they were born. While we contemplate excursions to beautiful places away from Grand Rapids, these are the folks we need to remember with continuing generosity.
Enjoy the summer, and please continue to support the wonderful ministries of First Church…365/24/7.