Summertime always makes me think of my childhood, when school was out and slow-paced days stretched out long and full of promise. There were hours and hours open for playing with friends, reading new books, and daydreaming. It was wonderful…until boredom set in! I learned early on that while doing nothing was an essential part of the rhythm of life, something more was needed in balance. While I didn´t necessarily want to do anything, my mother´s suggestion that I help out the woman a couple of doors down who could no longer get to her basement laundry room, or that I volunteer with the youth group, always proved to be a source of joy. Early on I learned the lesson of giving myself for others and reaching out in connection through the church.
There is nothing slow-paced about the things going on at First Church this summer (and certainly no excuse for boredom). Have you seen all the ways you can be active and involved?!
• Have you signed your children/grandchildren up for Arts Alive! Camp? It´s August 4-7 and will include music and mission. What could be a better way for kids to spend their days?
• Are you looking for a way to help with the tornado recovery effort? There are lots of ways to help – give your time and energy, donate furniture, contribute food and personal care products, or make a financial gift. While this event didn´t make national headlines, it is no less devastating for those who have lost their homes. Let´s show these people the love of God in action!
• Do you have plans for a summer get-away? Sign up for the All-Church Camp August 15-17 at Lake Michigan Camp near Pentwater. What a wonderful place to spend time with your family and make new friends from church.
• Feel like spending a little more time away on the weekend, but still want to worship? Try out our Sunday Evening Worship in August beginning on August 3. The format will be casual as we meet on the side lawn, eating picnic dinners, singing fun songs, and hearing the word. This four-week series entitled "When Life Gets Real" will cover pertinent topics for life. Bring your own lawn chair or picnic blanket.
• Are you good with tools and doing "constructiony" stuff? Sign up for our Habitat build day. There is still space for people on both dates – July 16 and August 2.
• Looking for a great opportunity to build community with fellow church members? Mark your calendar for our church picnic on Sunday July 27 at 11:00 am. Nothing beats good food and great conversation and it´s right after worship. How convenient!
• Are you interested in saving the planet? Are you interested in cleaning out that corner in your basement where old electronics go to die? Do both! July 25-27 we will host an electronics recycle trailer. What could be easier?
• Have you heard that the Moms´ Group is going to Meijer Gardens on August 19? It´s a family event complete with potluck. Fellowship, food, flowers and an evening out – sounds like fun to me!
Wow! There really is a lot going on this summer. For more information on these items (and even more), see the rest of this newsletter or pop online to our website.
• 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
• July 24, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• July 25 - 27 — Technology Recycling
• July 27, 11:00 am — Church Picnic
• July 29, 12:30 pm — Youth Beach Day
• July 29, 6:30 pm — Love to Stay
• July 30, 6:00 pm — Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• August 2, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm — Habitat Build Day
• August 3, 6:00 pm — Sunday Night Worship
• August 6, 5:15 pm — Youth and Young Adults to Unity Music Festival
• August 7, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• August 4-7, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm — Arts Alive Camp
• August 4-7, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm — Junior High Mission Camp
• August 10 — Coffee Can Offering
• August 10, 11:30 am — Second Sunday Lunch Bunch
• August 10 — Youth Beach Day
• August 10, 6:00 pm — Sunday Night Worship
• August 16, 8:30 am — Feeding America
• August 17, 6:00 pm — Sunday Night Worship
• August 19, 5:30 pm — Frederik Meijer Gardens Evening Family Potluck
• August 21, 12:00 pm — "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• August 23 — Stephen Leader Retreat
• August 24, 6:00 pm — Sunday Night Worship
PROTECT THE CHILDREN! Join Bishop Carcaño in Praying and Acting to Protect Unaccompanied Children. As the President and Congress try to deport the immigrant children let's ensure their rights are protected!Your church can pray for the protection of the children this weekend, July 18-20. The undocumented minors who have travelled hundreds of miles to escape the violence in their home countries need your prayers and support! The California-Pacific Conference has created some really valuable resources. Click here to read more things you and your congregation can do. FUMC will be holding a Q&A session with Liz Balck, Justice for Our Neighor Attorney, soon. Details and date are to be determined.
NEWSLETTER CHANGES To be better stewards of the church´s resources, beginning September 2 the Weekly Pulse newsletter will be available only online. The newsletter will be emailed on Tuesdays (listing upcoming events) and Thursdays (featuring This Weekend at First Church). If you are unable to access email, you may pick up a copy on Sundays or sign up for a printed copy that will be mailed by contacting the church office at 616.451.2879. If you already receive the Weekly Pulse online, your subscription will continue as usual. If you haven´t subscribed, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or visit www.grandrapidsfumc.org/subscribe.
EVENING WORSHIP Join us the first four Sundays in August as we explore a new style of worship! This will be a casual time of worship on our side lawn by the Barclay doors. (If it´s raining, we´ll move to the parlor.) We will begin at 6:00 pm with gathering time and community-building. Please bring a picnic dinner for yourself (and if possible, bring a little extra to share with a new friend) to eat during the gathering time and your own lawn chair or picnic blanket. We will transition from dinner and conversation into singing, a message, message reflection, and shared prayer time. Child care will be available for babies and toddlers. Our goals for this new service are to build community and create a place to invite new friends to First Church all while worshipping God and growing in faith. See you August 3!
ALL-CHURCH CAMP SIGN UP will be in the north lobby following the service on Sunday, July 20 or use the Sunday sign-up sheet. Cost is $30 per night. Special for new campers: buy one night, get one free. Camp will be Friday, August 15 to Sunday, August 17 at Lake Michigan UM Camp. Call Peg Terkeurst, 451.2879, if you have any questions!
CURRENTLY SHOWING in our First Church Art Gallery is an exhibit of works by our own church artists. Ranging from youth to seniors and encompassing many different mediums, this show celebrates the variety of artistic expression within the First Church family.
ARTS ALIVE CAMP: THE GLOBAL VILLAGE, August 4 – 7, 9 am – 3 pm. We have ample scholarship money available due to the overwhelming generosity of members of our congregation. This is a perfect time to invite children to camp who might otherwise be financially unable to attend. Contact Laure Mieskowski at 616.451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to offer this option to children that you know. Rate: $60. Fee provides lunch and snacks each day, t-shirt, reusable water bottle, entrance fee for Thursday field trip to Meijer Gardens. Register online at grandrapidsfumc.org/arts-alive-camp. Register Today!
UPCOMING ROAD TRIPS Sign up using the Sunday sign-up sheet, online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/road-trips, or use the itinerary and reservation form in the north lobby rack. More details listed online.
• PENNSYLVANIA September 18-20 – Includes: dinner cruise and historical visits.
• AMAZING GRACE AND SHOPPING IN CHICAGO Wednesday, October 22 – Includes: Amazing Grace musical and time for shopping and museums.
• A DAY IN CHICAGO Wednesday, October 22 – Includes: time for shopping and museums.
MOTHER´S DAY AND FATHER´S DAY OFFERINGS Thank you! Through the Mother´s Day and Father´s Day Honor Rolls, you have given $2,755 to benefit mission ministries supported by First Church. Your gifts support the work of United Methodist Community House, Justice for Our Neighbors, and Imagine No Malaria.
COFFEE CAN OFFERING UPDATE You have fed people around the world by generously supporting the following ministries through our May and June Coffee Can Offerings: $505.28 to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and $581 to Kenya Widow´s Garden. Thank You!
DINNER FOR EIGHT sign-ups begin next month! This is one of the best ways to meet and connect with a variety of different people from First Church. Three times a year, each participant enjoys a potluck-style dinner with seven others. Consider signing up as a participant or as a host. Hosting is an important and fun part of Dinner for Eight. Sign-ups begin in August!
TORNADO RELIEF FUMC is cooperating with other area United Methodist Churches and area agencies to provide relief to families in Kentwood and Wyoming who suffered damage and loss in the July 6 tornado. Here is how you can help:
• Non-perishable food and personal care product donations to John Knox Community Food Pantry (4150 Kalamazoo Ave SE).
• Furniture donations (especially queen size and twin size mattresses in excellent condition) to In the Image (1823 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI)
• First Church-Sponsored Feeding America food truck volunteers at Ideal Park CRC (320 56th St SW, Wyoming, MI). Tentative date: Friday, July 25, finalized date and time will be published as soon as possible.
• Financial donations may be made by sending check payable to FUMC, marked "tornado relief" on the memo line.
Please contact Laure Mieskowski, email@example.com, or 616.451.2879 for more information.
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 Saturday, August 2. We will be framing on this day. Volunteers must be age 16 or older. You may volunteer by contacting Laure Mieskowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEEK OF GIVING Are you going into 7th, 8th, or 9th grade in the fall? 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. Spots are limited. Cost for the week (including meals) will be $100. Register online at grandrapidsfumc.org/jh-week-of-giving. Scholarship assistance is available. Only available for a couple days of the week? Daily sign-up option is available for only $20/day. Please indicate which days you are available when you make your payment. Use the sign-up sheet or contact Emily Uebbing at 855-6247 or email@example.com
FAMILY PROMISE We will welcome homeless families to our church during Family Promise week, July 20 – 27. This opportunity to practice radical hospitality includes the following volunteer opportunities: room set-up, dinner preparation, evening host, overnight host, Saturday host, washing laundry. Volunteers of all ages are welcome – no experience necessary! If you have a welcoming heart and like to meet new people, talk, eat, and sleep, you have the skills necessary to volunteer! You may sign up in the Sunday bulletin, online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/fp, or email Sherry Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Laure Mieskowski at laurem@grandrapids fumc.org or 616.451.2879 with questions.
CARE NOTES Be sure to check out the Care Notes in the rack this month! New titles include Confronting Internet Addiction, Giving Your Worries to God, Healing a Conflict with a Loved One, and Climbing Up from Depression. Take a Care Note and take heart – give a Care Note and give hope!
ARDITH WILTSE MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP The Ardith 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 email@example.com or 451-2879, ext. 124 to obtain an application. Applications will be accepted through July 30.
FREE ELECTRONICS RECYCLING EVENT FUMC is hosting a CompRenew free electronics drop-off event Friday, July 25 - Sunday, July 27. Acceptable items include: office and household electronics (cell phones, radios, microwaves, VCRs, TV´s etc.) computer components and 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.
ALL-CHURCH PICNIC You are invited to the All-Church Picnic on Sunday, July 27 following the 10:00 am worship service. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and drinks will be provided. Our Heartside neighbors are also invited, so bring a generous dish to pass. Those with last names A - M should bring a dessert, N - Z bring a side dish. All food items may be dropped off in the north lobby before the worship service. (Please have food cut and ready to serve.) Helpers are needed to assist the Fellowship Committee. Please use the Sunday bulletin sign-up sheet or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
ASSERTIVENESS PROBLEMS? Do you wonder why you let some people walk all over you? Your Church Assistance Program (CAP) can help you work on improving your self-esteem! Call CAP at 455-6210 to make an appointment today. By telling them you are a member of Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church, you will receive two one-hour appointments at no cost to you. Don´t wait, call CAP today!
CHILDREN´S MINISTRY SURVEY Parents of children (6th grade or younger), please take our online survey at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/survey. As the new Director of Children´s Ministry, I am seeking your feedback on how to improve our programming. Thank you in advance for your honest feedback, and I look forward to working with you and your children. Audrey Kawel
WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY Social Concerns is currently asking for donations of canned vegetables, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. 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.
RENEWAL LEAVE A reminder that I am gone through August 16th on a renewal leave! I will be holding all of you in prayer, but I will not be responding to phone calls or email, nor will I be worshipping with you for these 5 weeks. If there is a pastoral care emergency or concern, please call (616) 490-1708. This number is the new pastoral care phone which will be carried and answered by one of our pastors or another staff member who is ready to help. This will also be the number you will use to reach me once I return. I appreciate your prayers and support as I take this time away to refresh and renew! Peace and joy, Marj Timmerman RN, Parish Nurse
IT´S INCREDIBLE BACK TO SCHOOL SAVINGS TIME AGAIN! Our Tutoring Center at Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy is ramping up for another wonderful school year. We provide over 500 students/teachers with supplies throughout the year and now is the time to stock up. Whenever you are out and spot a bargain, rest assured we can use the materials! The super deals usually have limits, so if we all team up, we can get some great deals! Donations may be left in the collection room off the north lobby. All supplies are needed: pencils, pens, inexpensive solid colored folders with pockets and tabs, spiral bound notebooks, glue and glue sticks, children´s scissors, erasers, rulers, binders, tab dividers, highlighters, Crayola brand 24 crayons or larger sized primary crayons, wide markers, thin markers, colored pencils, pencil boxes…Thank you for your continued support!
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.
Here is a summary of our financial status through the end of June…
As you can see, we are essentially right where we budgeted to be after the first half of the year. Our giving is off slightly - which is not unusual with many folks away for extended periods during the summer. We hope everyone will try to stay "caught up" so we don´t have to use our limited reserves during the summer. If you are away, please consider one of our several electronic giving options to allow you to stay current in a very care-free way!
Our staff continues to manage expenses as truly "good stewards" of your generous sharing of God´s gifts. Nearly every expense category is under budget for the year - with the only significant overage being utilities as a result of the harsh winter (-$17,000). We all should be proud of our church staff for the great job they do managing cash resources.
Our biggest challenge continues to be making up the projected $120,000 shortfall for the entire year. We are working through the summer to review reserves and endowments to see what additional funds can be directed to ministry this year.
We sincerely believe the resources to continue our inspired ministries are within our grasp. As a congregation, we estimate we give at a rate of about 4% of our collective income. Although God has led many of our church family to be tithing Christians, as a whole, we are not yet a tithing congregation.
Are you listening for God´s leading in your personal finances? Are you putting God first in your financial decisions? The poor widow gave her only coins…shouldn´t we be able to find our way to tithe? Our ministry is alive and vital at First Church! If your faith is to a point where you are ready to increase your giving, don´t wait until the fall campaign…act now!