As I write this article, I am sitting outside on the deck on a beautiful fall afternoon. There is not a cloud in the sky. The sun is warm – but there is just a hint of coolness in the air. It is gorgeous. But the squirrels are busy preparing for the winter by burying nuts and seeds. There is lots of work to be done for me, too … as I have bushes and flowers to trim back, outdoor furniture to put away, and make sure windows are caulked and weather stripping is in place. There are always more things to do than there are hours to accomplish them all. It is true at home – just as it is true in my work at the church.
As I reflect on September, I am so appreciative of the way that we have worked together to kick off the fall season so positively. So many ministries are off and running and the staff is to be commended for their excellent planning and then carrying out the plan. Attendance has been good – and I am sure that it will increase. It is great to have the choir singing each Sunday … and the general spirit of worship at both Sunday morning services has been terrific. The 9:15 service has taken on some new energy with the intergenerational focus of the first 15 minutes. Again, the staff has been great in preparing and planning for the energetic participation. I encourage you to invite a friend to join you in worship. We have lots to offer through the various ministries of our congregation … so extend an invitation to someone to join in the journey.
October will be a full and exciting month, too! I will continue the sermon focus on ‘Lord, Teach Us to Pray.´ World Communion Sunday (October 6) will be one of four intergenerational worship experiences that are planned this year. We are encouraging families to worship together – particularly on this internationally focused Sunday. Our ministry focus for October will be ‘Stewardship.´ On both the 13th and the 20th … the Finance Committee will be sharing how our giving makes a difference in our world. Together, we are engaged in mission and outreach ministries … nurture and spiritual formation … and worship … for all ages and stages. October 27th will be our Consecration Sunday … when we offer ourselves and our estimate of giving commitment for 2014. There will be a celebration meal on the 27th as well. All of the details will be forthcoming from the Finance Committee.
PLUS – we will be receiving new members on the 27th as well. Membership exploration classes will be held on three Sunday evenings – October 6, 13 and 20 … from 5 to 7 p.m. Approximately 60 invitations will be sent to people who have been attending First Church with some regularity. If you would like to learn more about the history and ministry of First Church as well as learning about some of the connectional ministries of the United Methodist Church, please join us in the Exploration Class sessions. Everyone is welcome – but it would be helpful if you made a reservation. Thank you in advance for your response and participation.
At the recent Leadership Council meeting, I expressed that our transition to First Church has been the smoothest of any of the ten moves that I have made in my pastoral career. You have been welcoming and affirming, and we appreciate it very much. Pigeon and I are grateful to be among you. Thank you for your kind and gracious embrace that has been extended to us.
Grace and peace to you – and I hope to welcome you in worship.
• October 2, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• October 3, 9:00 am — Prayer Quilters
• October 6, 9:15 & 11:00 am — World Wide Communion Sunday
• October 8, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• October 9, 2:00 pm — Pastoral Care at Clark
• October 10, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• October 11, 6:00 pm — Moms´ Group at Orchard Hill Farm
• October 13, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm — Flu Shot Clinic
• October 13, 12:15 pm — Second Sunday Lunch Bunch
• October 16, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• October 17, 2:00 pm — Pastoral Care at Porter Hills
• October 19, 8:30 am — Feeding America Distribution
• October 19, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Fred Knapp Trio
• October 20, 4:00 pm — James Croom Opera Singer in Concert
• October 21, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• October 27 — Consecration Sunday
• October 27, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm — Fellowship Brunch
• November 5, 5:30 pm — Moms´ Group: Tacos & Turkey Project
• November 6, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• November 7, 9:00 am — Prayer Quilters
• November 12, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• November 16, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Wonderland Jazz Ensemble
• November 17, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm — A Different Kind of Christmas Fair
• November 18, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• November 20, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 9:15 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2 yr. olds - young 3´s Room 106
• Children & Worship (toilet trained) — Older 3´s – Pre K Room 204/201
9:15 AM: Faith Travelers, Junior High, and Senior High will worship with their families this Sunday, October 6 to celebrate World Wide Communion Sunday.
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 years 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.)
**Worship bags and Children´s Pages are available in the narthex with activities that allow for children to participate in worship at their own level.**
Please contact Annette Erbes at 451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, October 13 after the 11:00 am service for lunch at New Beginnings Restaurant (1455 Michigan St NE). Because we reserve space there, please let us know you are planning to join us by calling Sherry Gates at 942.8527 by Friday, October 11.
FLU SHOT CLINIC Mark your calendar! Spectrum Health Visiting Nurses will provide flu shots from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 13 in the parlor. Medicare and many insurances billed directly for you. No reservations needed!
BLOOD DRIVE FOLLOW-UP A big thank-you to all the donors and cookie bakers who helped make our September Blood Drive a success! Congratulations to Tim Beals who earned his 7-gallon pin and Mary Molhoek who earned her 2-gallon pin, and special thanks to first time donor Ray Radwanski. Our last blood drive of 2013 will be held on November 18th. Hope to see you there!
LIBRARY In conjunction with Pastor Bob´s sermon series this fall, we have a "library" set up in the narthex. Books on prayer are available for church members to check out.
90+ OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS
• Don Merrill will be 93 on Oct 6
• Kathryn Olson will be 91 on Oct 22
• Leola Hathaway will be 94 on Oct 26
If we have missed listing your 90+ birthday, please call the church office at 451.2879 with your name and birthdate and we´ll list it!
SUBSCRIBE! Missed church? Never go sermon-less again. Our pastors´ sermons are now available on YouTube. Simply search for GRFUMC and click the subscribe button. Printed copies are also available in the north lobby rack.
COLORADO FLOODING Prayers and funds are needed in Colorado. United Methodists in Colorado are asking for prayers and monetary donations in the wake of ongoing floods that have ripped up roads, cut off communities, and taken lives. Volunteers are not needed during this early response to the flooding. Offer your prayers and send your dollars through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Checks can be made to First Church with UMCOR Domestic Disaster Response in the memo line or donate online at www.umcor.org.
DON´T FORGET YOUR SWEATER Outdoor temperatures are fluctuating like mad! How are we supposed to dress? The outdoor temperature has a direct effect on how the church building feels inside. When the temperature is going back and forth, church can be very warm or very cool. During this time of temperature uncertainty, please wear layers. In this huge building, it´s difficult to get the temperature favorable for all, so please come to church prepared!
MIGRATING VIGIL FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM On Saturday, October 5, be part of a migrating prayer vigil, moving from church to church downtown, in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. They are planning 7 to 8 sites in the downtown area which will feature a short prayer from local pastors or church leaders. First UMC will be one of the stops. We will gather in front of First Place sometime between 3:00 - 3:30 pm. Those who want to move with the group may continue on to the Catholic Diocese Offices for the next prayer. For a complete map visit us at www.facebook.com/JusticeforOurNeighbors. Please help us make a good Methodist showing!
PHOTOGRAPHS During the course of the year, photographs of children are taken during children´s ministry activities. These photos may be used occasionally for church publicity. If you prefer that your child´s photos not be used publicly, please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry at email@example.com or Monday through Wednesday at 451.2879. Thank you!
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH Children and youth in kindergarten and above are invited to attend worship with their families as we celebrate Worldwide Communion Sunday together. We will welcome drummer Carolyn Koebel from Arts Alive Camp to our worship on this Sunday. Children and youth in grades 3 and up are invited to participate with First Singers and Carolyn Koebel at 8:30 am that morning to be part of the drumming circle and sing for worship at 9:15 am! Faith Travelers, youth, and adult classes will NOT be held on this special Sunday so that families may worship together. Please note that the Infant and Toddler Nurseries (9:15 and 11:00 am), Children and Worship (9:15 am), and One-Room Schoolhouse (11:00 am) classes will be held as usual.
STEPHEN MINISTRY MEET AND GREET Meet and greet your Stephen Ministers after both worship services on Sunday, October 13 in Wesley Hall. Learn about Stephen Ministry, what the ministry is, whom we care for, and how you might become one! Look for the people in the blue shirts.
ADOPTION MINISTRY Join us on Sunday, October 6 at 5:00 pm! We will discuss our upcoming Ministry Focus, Christmas Ministry Fair, and more. Everyone who is passionate about adoption is welcome and encouraged to attend! If you have questions, please contact Marj Timmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.9224.
NICARAGUA FEEDING PROGRAM The Coffee Can offering on Sunday, October 13 will benefit the Nicaragua Feeding Program. Our medical mission partner, Dr. Mir, feeds children who are in need from her own home. Children are fed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, milk is provided on Sundays. $10 feeds one child for a month. 40 children are currently being fed with available funds. Additional funds will allow Dr. Mir to expand to include other children. The need is great!
SHOWING IN OUR FIRST CHURCH ART GALLERY is an exhibit by FUMC member Barbara Groat. A native of Grand Haven, Barb holds art and design degrees from MSU and Aquinas. She has served on our Celebration of the Arts Committee as well as winning 4th Place in our 2012 show. Barbara shares that through her work she "celebrates life." Let´s take this opportunity to celebrate with her as we enjoy her art.
GIVE TO JFON THROUGH THE UNITED WAY JFON has been registered as a Donor Choice Agency of Heart of West Michigan, since 2008 and can accept donations through this program. This is particularly timely as United Way pledges are being collected in the fall. Donors can elect to choose Justice for Our Neighbors to receive their funds. Please consider JFON when you pledge, and spread the word with family and friends!
CLARK FRIENDS Plan to join us on Wednesday, October 9 at 2:00 pm for our Pastoral Care gathering! We will meet in the Games Room at Clark for fellowship time and snacks. We hope to see you there! – Pastor Tish, Pastor Bob and Parish Nurse Marj
PORTER HILLS FRIENDS Please mark your calendar to meet with your Pastoral Care team on Thursday, October 17 at Porter Hills. We will meet in the 2nd floor library area at 2:00 pm for fellowship and snacks. Please join us! – Pastor Bob, Pastor Tish and Parish Nurse Marj
THE FUMC BOOK CLUB will meet at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Pietro´s Italian Restaurant (2780 Birchcrest Dr SE) to discuss The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. "Tom Sherbourne is a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a half day´s boat journey from the coast of Western Australia. When a baby washes up in a rowboat, he and his young wife Isabel decide to raise the child as their own. The baby seems like a gift from God, and the couple´s reasoning for keeping her seduces the reader into entering the waters of treacherous morality even as Tom--whose moral code withstood the horrors of World War I--begins to waver." (--Amazon.com) All are welcome. Please RSVP to Marlys Davis (email@example.com or 735-3339) by Monday, Oct. 7 if you wish to join us for dinner and discussion.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Lee Andrews
• Donna Anton (Trillium Woods)
• Jim Hoff
• Lois Moseley
• Alan Norton
• Robert Newell (St Mary´s)
• Rachel Reed (outpatient surgery 9/30)
• Lea Tobar (outpatient surgery 10/2)
• Helen Williams (outpatient surgery 10/4)
• 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 Judy, Annie, Brian and Martha Beals and family on the death of Art Beals on September 25th. A memorial service for Art will be held on Friday, October 4th, at 11am in our sanctuary. Visitation will be Thursday night from 6 to 8pm and an hour before the service on Friday in the parlor.
Our love and prayers are also extended to Carol Ryan and family on the death of Carol´s mother, Louise Ryan, on September 26th; to John and Jan Muir and family on the death of John´s brother, Kenneth Muir, on September 28th; and to Jeff Henrickson and family on the death of Jeff´s father, Harold Henrickson, on September 28th.
Thank you for all the get well wishes, cards, phone calls and prayers during my recent hospitalizations, it truly was appreciated. The visits from Rev. Hundley, Rev. Bowman, and Marj were "just what the doctor ordered." I had a couple of very rough days but God saw me through. Thank you again for your love and prayers.
MEMBERSHIP EXPLORATION CLASS We will be offering a Membership Exploration Class on Sunday evenings, October 6, 13 and 20 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. These classes will be held in the parlor and child care will be provided. We will share a light meal and then learn about the history, ministry and vision of First Church as well as the United Methodist Church and the vows of membership. To sign up, contact Patsy McGillivray at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.451.2879.
ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES
• A Disciple´s Path You are invited to take this six-week class based on the Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God´s love and grace. Learn the practices of spiritual disciplines outlined in our membership vows to uphold the church with our presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness. Meet Sunday evenings (5:00 - 6:30 pm) in room 3109. It will meet from October 27 - December 1. Books are $10 and can be picked up at the north lobby reception desk.
ACCESS COUNTY-WIDE FOOD DRIVE Remember to bring your ACCESS Food Drive grocery bag filled with food and personal care items to the church on Sunday, October 6. Please leave all donations in the north lobby of the church building. All First Church donations will go to Westminster Food Pantry, our neighborhood distribution pantry.
LEARN ABOUT THE WORK PROGRAM, an outreach ministry of FUMC that works in collaboration with several Heartside Neighborhood agencies to provide temporary employment for people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty. Striving to be an agent of Christ´s love, we are committed to helping the needy achieve hope, pride, dignity, and grace, and learn to become self-sufficient. Each Tuesday morning at 7:00 am, volunteers greet participants and help them select two-hour jobs for the week. The Work Program volunteers welcome anyone who would like to have a better understanding of the program operation to come and observe. You´ll be glad you did. RSVP to Richard Johnson at 451.2879 or richardj@ grandrapidsfumc.org.
ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES • Navigating the Medicare Maze If you are new to Medicare (at or near age 65), please join us November 3 for details, answers to your questions, and other useful information. For those who are over 65 and need to enroll for 2014, join us November 10. Classes will be led by Bob Callery, the Regional Coordinator with the Area Agency on Aging in West Michigan. Meets Sunday 9:30 - 10:30 am in room 3107.
ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES
• Coming Soon: Immigration and the Bible Led by Laura Rampersad. The Bible was written by, for, and about migrants, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. It gives directions for responding to sisters and brothers from around the world who come to a land seeking safety, sanctuary and sustenance. Join this class to learn what the Bible teaches us about immigration. Meet Sunday mornings (9:30 - 10:30 am) in room 3109. It will meet from October 27 - November 17. Books are $7.
• Coming Soon: If Christians Were Really Christian Led by Dr. Bob Hundley. In the world today churches and church members are often diverted from their central mission of loving others and interpreting life through the vision of Jesus Christ. If Christians Were Really Christian shows that with the message we have been given and the spirit of God to lead us we should have led everyone to the kingdom of God. Meet Sunday evenings November 3 - 24 in room 3107. Child care provided. Books are available for $10 in the north lobby (there are only twenty copies, pick up yours today) or purchase your ebook online.
JFON VOLUNTEER TRAINING JFON will be hosting a volunteer training "refresher" on Thursday, October 10 at 5:00 pm in room 3107 for those who have been away. This is also good for new volunteers who completed online training. Training will be followed by a open house to welcome back Liz Balck, JFON attorney. Contact Laura Rampersad at email@example.com with questions.
FIRST AID STATION
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.
ALZHEIMER‘S My mother is having difficulty remembering the little things and performing simple tasks. For information about Alzheimer´s, call your Church Assistance Program (CAP). Just dial 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.