The story is told of the mayor of a small southern Italian village who wanted to throw a party. He told all the people in the village to bring a jug of wine to be poured into a large vat, which would be shared by all.
One man in the village did not want to go to the expense of buying the wine, so he reasoned, "With several hundred people pouring their jugs of wine into the great vat, who will notice any difference with my one jug of water?" So he decided to substitute water for his wine.
The day came when the townspeople walked forward, emptied their jugs into the great vat, thanked the mayor for the great idea and began the celebration. Later, the mayor asked for the music to stop. The crowd went to the vat, lifted their glasses and drank together.
Suddenly a cry of disbelief came from the crowd. What they tasted was not wine, but water!Each guest had decided that his or her one jug of water would not spoil the great vat of good wine. Everyone reasoned that his or her gift would not be missed.
Last Sunday we were invited to walk not to a vat, but to the communion rail where we receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion. There we brought our stewardship commitments for 2013 in gratitude to God who supplies our every need. Large crowds then gathered in Wesley Hall after each service for our Gratitude Brunch. It was a great morning.
As always, however, our Celebration Sunday is just the beginning of our stewardship work. People are always out of town, or have put their card in their "pile," or are slow in returning their simple "estimate of giving." So the first Sunday is the first step on a journey for us. We pray that "no one will think their gift won´t be missed."Every single gift is important. Every gift will have lasting value for the church and for those who are starving for our message of God´s inclusive love. And every prayer by our members and friends will help us to do what needs to be done.
Stewardship at First Church is a simple act of faith. We don´t bring in special speakers or have costly promotional dinners at a banquet hall. We don´t use brass bands, cheerleaders or print glossy four-color brochures. Instead:
1. We remind everyone that every person is needed and every commitment is important. To support Christ´s church is an act of spiritual maturity, not expecting others to carry our weight.
2. As faithful disciples of Christ and his teachings, we encourage each person to strive for the tithe, or beyond. It is wonderful that so many of us now tithe.
3. Knowing that financial circumstances vary, we encourage "percentage giving" as you move upwards toward tithing. Start by designating a percentage (3, 5 or 7?) of your income to give to God and be faithful in your giving.
4. We send out a letter from the pastor and one reminder. That´s it!
5. We don´t drag out the campaign. One Sunday in November, the Finance Committee gives a reminder call to those from whom we have not heard.
Jesus did a great job of turning water into wine. Let us not turn the rich wine of God´s love into water by thinking that we are not needed. The party is not complete without you, your gift, and your prayer. We belong to one another. We are all needed here.
This coming Sunday is our annual All Saints remembrance. It´s always a touching and powerful service for me. I look forward to seeing you as we lift up those who have returned to God in the past year.
PS -- We´re only a $1000 short of our Worldwide Mission Offering goal! Your contributions can still be added!
• October 25, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• October 27 - 28 — Junior and Senior High Youth Halloween Overnight
• October 28 - November 4 — Family Promise Week
• November 1, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm — Prayer Quilters
• November 4 — Fallback: Daylight Saving Time begins
• November 7, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• November 8, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• November 9 - 10 — Women of First Fall Retreat
• November 13, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• November 14, 6:00 pm — Young Adult Sparks Service
• November 15, 5:30 pm — Moms´ Group: Taco and Turkey Project
• November 17, 8:30 am — Feeding America at Cesar El Chavez Elementary
• November 17, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
• November 18 — Ingathering Sunday
• November 19, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• November 19, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• November 20, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• November 21 - 22 — Thanksgiving Holiday: Offices and Church Closed
• November 29, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
CHILDREN´S INGATHERING PROCESSIONAL Our annual Ingathering will take place on Sunday, November 18. We invite children ages older 3s through grade 6 to come to the west hallway next to Wesley Hall at 9:05 am or 10:50 am with their offering of food items. Children will process during the first hymn of both worship services. Following the "Moments with the Children," the children will be excused to their church school classes at 9:15 am. At 11:00 am younger children through second grade will be excused to their classes with older children remaining in worship with their families.
FAITH TRAVELERS SERVICE LEARNING PROJECT Thanks to all who have given so generously for the Faith Travelers Service Learning Projects these past weeks. With your help, we met our goals - providing smiles, bubbles, and warm hearts to our community!
SUNDAY MORNING CHILDREN AND YOUTH CLASS SCHEDULE 9:15 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
• 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 (1st floor of First Place bldg.)
• Senior High — 9-12th grade — The Vine North (1st floor of 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 withthe Children, they are dismissed to class. Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.)
**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.**
NOVEMBER OFFERINGS Adult Council is excited to announce a four week, drop-in series for the month of November featuring Rob Bell´s Nooma videos. The class will be video and discussion based and meet during the 9:30 am Sunday school hour. Watch for topics and details to come!
A DISCIPLE´S PATH — Everyone is invited to take this 7 week class! Combining a Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God´s love and grace with the time-tested practices of spiritual discipline as expressed in the membership vows to uphold the church with our presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness, you will discover the difference it makes to live out your commitment to Christ through membership in the United Methodist Church. You will learn that being a disciple means loving God and loving others, and you will be equipped to do that by discovering your unique gifts and becoming engaged in ministry that also brings transformation in your own heart and life through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Books are available from the north lobby receptionist: Workbook (required) $6.50, Companion Reader (optional) $7.00. Register online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
• Begins Sunday, October 21 at 12:15 pm in the Parlor(includes lunch). Led by Patsy McGillivray.
RESCHEDULING The November class Standing on Our Principles: An exploration of our UMC Social Principles has been rescheduled for January.
THE METHODIST CONNECTION What is The Methodist Connection? It´s an association of First Community AME, First United Methodist Church, Hilliard Chapel AME, and St. Luke AME Zion, which meet together for yearly events as a way to further racial reconciliation and to widen the circle of friends and those for whom we care and pray. Join us for our JOINT WORSHIP SERVICE on Sunday, November 11 at 6:00 pm in the First Church sanctuary followed by a pie social in Wesley Hall. All are welcome! Contact Skip Moseley at email@example.com or 949.8938 to learn more.
FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, November 17 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 sign up online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, November 11 after the 11:00 am service for lunch at New Beginning´s 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 Saturday, November 10.
MOMS´ GROUP: TACOS & TURKEY PROJECT You´re invited to the tacos and turkey project on Thursday, November 15 at 5:30 pm. Join us for tacos and turkey card making (we´ll make one to take home and an extra for our homebound friends). Please sign up to bring a taco topping. To RSVP or if you have a question, contact Sami at 451.2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRAYER QUILTS Thursday, November 1 will be the next Prayer Quilting Bee. We meet in Wesley Hall from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. All are welcome to join us. You can learn about quilting, meet new people, and be a part of this meaningful mission. If you have any cotton material or batting you would like to donate, please mark it "for prayer quilts" and drop off at the north lobby desk. For more information, contact Ginnie Edwardson at 261.2602 or email@example.com.
DON´T FORGET to fall back Sunday, November 4. Set your clocks back one hour for daylight saving time.
WOMEN OF FIRST - FALL RETREAT Join us November 9, 6:00 pm – November 10, 4:00 pm at Gull Lake Retreat Center (Hickory Corners, MI). Cost $120. Relax, Worship, Learn and Grow! Workshops Include: God´s Amazing Pharmacy!, Revive, Refresh, Renew, and Living Prayer. RSVP to the church office at 616.451.2879 by October 26. Send payment to Sharon Sorensen (payment guarantees reservation).
INGATHERING On Sunday, November 18, we will receive an offering of nonperishable foods to support the Westminster Food Pantry. Adults may bring food items to the sanctuary prior to the start of both worship services. Paper bags with suggested food lists attached will be distributed after the worship services on November 11th. If you prefer, you may also consider a financial (deductible) gift. The Westminster Food Pantry can often purchase food for as little as $.16/lb. The pantry must use financial resources to purchase meat, personal care items, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, eggs, dairy, and other items on a weekly basis. Checks should be made payable to FUMC with "Westminster Food Pantry" written on the memo line. Envelopes will be available in the narthex and at the reception desk during the month of November. The need is great for both food and financial support. Please plan on giving a generous gift at this time of thanksgiving.
INKJET CARTRIDGE RECYCLING FUNDRAISER Drop off your used inkjet cartridges for recycling and help support the Senior High Youth. Cartridges can be deposited in the collection bin located in the north lobby drop-off room. Simply place your old cartridge in a plastic sandwich bag and deposit it in the bin.
MARTIN LUTHER KING MOTHER GIFTS Sadly, we have discovered the parents who participate in our Christmas Gift of Giving program rarely receive Christmas gifts themselves. For the past few years we have collected donations of new items such as holiday decorations, jewelry, scarves, fleece blankets, candles, perfumes or other special treats/trinkets. These are left unwrapped and the mothers are able to select something they would really enjoy off our gift table. Sometimes volunteers then wrap the gift so mom will have something to unwrap on Christmas. Please be on the lookout for some nice surprises and leave them in the collection room off the north lobby clearly marked "MLK Mom Gifts." Gifts are needed no later than December 2.
FIXIN´ ‘N´ FELLOWSHIP Thursday, November 8 at 9:00 am - meet in room 105. We will start the day with fellowship over coffee and baked goods, then tackle minor repairs needed throughout the church buildings.
HALF-N-HALF HALLOWEEN OVERNIGHT Senior High Youth are invited to join us Saturday, October 27, 10:00 am - Sunday, October 28, 10:30 am. First Half: Making a Difference! We´re working with GRASP (Grand Rapids Area Service Project) to repair homes for low-income families (similar to workcamp). Second Half: Bonfire! After volunteering, we´re having a bonfire, spending the night at The Vine (games, sardines, movies, midnight worship, sleep optional). Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 24 to Sami at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.485.6203. Cost: $25 (scholarships available). Open to anyone in grades 9-12. Friends invited!
EASY FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT OUR TUTORING CENTER AT MLK Shop D&W Fresh Market Stores and Family Fare Stores on: • October 21-27
• November 18-24
The Cash for Class fundraisers for the MLK Academy at D&W and Family Fare now have a very easy format. To support our Tutoring Center you must first be registered for the Spartan/D&W/Family Fare YES card, then during specific promotional periods, when your YES card is swiped, MLK automatically benefits. Now is the time to get registered! Their promotions are starting soon and we want to be ready! The catch is, everyone must register anew for this school year! This is how it´s done:
1. Already a YES cardholder? Go to www.myyesrewards.com, log into your account by entering your email address and password under "Returning Members," go to "My Profile" page and link our school CODE 89389.
2. Already a YES cardholder, but don´t have an on-line account set up? Go to www.myyesrewards.com click "First-Time to Site" and follow the steps to complete account registration. Then complete part 1 as written above. CODE 89389.
3. Not a YES member yet? Go to www.myyesrewards.com and click "Join Us," fill out the registration form and link our school code to your card 89389! You can pick up your YES card at your store´s Customer Service desk. CODE 89389.
4. If all else fails, go to the Customer Service desk in any store and they can help you get a card and link your card to the FUMC – MLK Cash for Class number 89389.
Thank you for planning ahead to help us raise funds for the FUMC Tutoring Center!
BOO-TIFUL COOKIES NEEDED Halloween Party time is approaching quickly at MLK Academy. We are in need of cookie bakers of all ages to meet in the kitchen of FUMC on Tuesday, October 30. Baking, cookie decorating, and boxing will start at noon and finish up about 2:00 pm. Feel free to bring along some autumn sprinkles for decorating. What a fun way to support our partnership with MLK and get together with church friends too! Please use the Sunday sign-up or call the Tutoring Center at 819.1745 to let us know we can count on you!
MARTIN LUTHER KING ~ FUMC GIFT OF GIVING CHRISTMAS PROGRAM Each year our church embraces the families of MLK at Christmas in a wonderful way.
• MLK parents sign up at fall registration and immediately begin doing volunteer work at the school or outside agencies to "earn" the gifts provided for their children.
• They provide us with a wish list of presents for each of their children, which may be aged birth to 12. The lists tell us the gender, age and sizes, as well as clothing needs and desired toys or games. Teens aged 13-18 will have a choice of 2 stores and donors simply purchase a gift card, as they are difficult to buy for.
• We solicit donors who pledge to spend AT LEAST $40 for each child they request. The wish lists are passed out on Sunday, November 4 at church or mailed Monday, November 5.
• Donors shop from Monday, November 5 - Sunday, December 2.
• Unwrapped gifts are brought to our collection area on the third floor of First Place Wednesday, November 28 or Sunday, December 2.
• MLK parents wrap the gifts Wednesday and Thursday, December 5 and 6. What Are This Year´s Needs? They Are Great! 98.8% of MLK families live below the national poverty level. We anticipate needing to gift approximately 200-250 children this year. Please indicate your interest in sponsoring today by filling out the Sunday sign-up sheet or online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet. To date we still need 129 children sponsored.
FLU SEASON is approaching quickly! Remember to wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home if you are ill. Check with your doctor if you haven´t gotten a flu shot. Let´s help make this a mild flu season!
CONGREGATIONAL CARE We often hear about and celebrate the wonderful outreach ministries in which our church is involved. You may be less familiar with the Pastoral Care and Health Ministries available to you at First Church. This week we would like to highlight our Infertility Support Group. The second Tuesday of each month, a group of women meet to support each other down this path that no one wants to take. Speakers and topics include miscarriages, infertility treatments, secondary infertility, fetal loss, and keeping a marriage strong. Pass the word that our next meeting is Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 pm in The Vine.
BLOOD DRIVE The last blood drive of 2012 is coming up on Monday, November 19 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. If you are eligible and available to donate blood, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or email me at email@example.com with a time which works for you. Cookies are also needed. Please help save a life and sign up today!
GRIEVING "I lost somebody close to me recently, and I just cannot get my life back on track without them." We can help you with you grief. Call your Church Assistance Program (CAP) at 455.6210. They will answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will set you up to meet with a trained counselor. The first two one-hour sessions will be at no charge to you by telling them you are a member or friend of First Church!
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, November 7 at 7:00 pm. Taizé is a meditative service of choruses, accompanied by instruments and vocal solos. Communion, prayers for healing, and the lighting of candles are also offered. It´s a wonderful way to connect with God in the midst of a busy week.
NEW GALLERY EXHIBIT Now showing watercolor works by Wilma Knoll through Wednesday, October 31. Hours are 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Friday, and 8:30 am - 11:00 am Sunday.
MUSIC WITH A MISSION SERIES Each concert will benefit a mission supported by First Church. Events are free (except as noted), open to the public, and have unreserved seating. A tithe of the free will offering collected will help those in need both locally and around the world! We look forward to having you with us at our next concert!
• Concert Choir of Grand Rapids Community College Join us Sunday, November 11 at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. This vibrant ensemble performs an eclectic program of choral gems. Dr. Stephen Barton directs this highly select group that is the premier ensemble at the college.
JAZZ VESPERS, featuring The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, on Saturday, November 17 at 6:00 pm weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.
FIRST CHURCH FAMILY CONCERNS Concerns & Prayers for:
• Donna Anton
• Judy Beals
• Betsy Buist
• Kathie Fahrner-Jones
• Jean Graham (outpatient surgery 10/23)
• Rick Kase (St Mary´s)
• Betty Rosendall (hospice care)
• Lorna Smith
• Cat Wescott
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
The love and prayers of the congregation are extended to the family and friends of Jeanette "Jay" Youngman who died on October 14th. A memorial service for Jay will be held on November 10th at Porter Hills.
Congratulations to Katty Godoy and Damien Sanchez who were united in marriage October 20th in our sanctuary!