Our church is too big! At least it can feel that way when you are new and trying to get to know everyone. Do you remember the first time you came to a worship service or an event at First Church? Do you remember that overwhelming feeling? The people here are so friendly and everyone probably told you their name (some maybe even twice!) but oh, how quickly the names all began to blur together. Was that tall-ish, short-ish guy named George or Mike? Did the lady with the red sweater and fun necklace say her name was Mary or Ann?
We´ve all had that internal dialog; you know the one that goes something like:
"I recognize this person coming toward me. I have sat in worship in the same pew with him for weeks. We talk about sports, and our kids, and our work and I can tell you all about those things, but for the life of me I can´t remember his name! I´m so embarrassed. I can´t just ask him his name again; he´ll think I´m such a loser!"
Juliet once queried, "What´s in a name?" and declared that "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet," and she´s right – about the rose. When it comes to people, however, names are important. When someone calls you by name it signals that you are known, you belong, you are important. Wouldn´t it be nice if there was some way to be reminded of someone´s name without having to admit that you forgot? Wouldn´t it be nice if there was some way of helping newcomers get to know us faster and feel more at home? But wait, there is! At FUMC we actually have a tool for this – it´s called a nametag.
I´m told that getting people to wear nametags in church is a tough sell. I don´t know if it´s that people don´t want to mess up their ‘look,´ or if they just want to remain anonymous, but it does seem to be an issue. The problem is, though, that it makes others feel like losers when they can´t remember someone´s name. There are, after all, nearly 1,000 of us - some worshiping at different times, involved in different groups, some present every time the doors are open, others not as often. Our church is too big! – Too big not to take hospitality seriously, and one of the ways we can do this is by wearing our nametags. Don´t have one or don´t know where it is? Just request a new one at the north lobby desk. It´s as easy as that.
Jesus knew everything about everyone (remember the woman at the well?), but we are not Jesus, and neither are our guests (or a least not that we know anyway!). Let´s make FUMC a place "where everybody knows your name." Let´s step up to the next level of radical hospitality.
See you on Sunday. I´ll be the one wearing her nametag. Will you?
P.S. May I also suggest another way of getting to know one another and of making this Advent season more meaningful? How about joining one of our Advent study groups this December? We will be using Adam Hamilton´s ‘The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem.´ The classes will meet for four weeks (the one at Clark for three) to view videos of Adam´s trip to the holy land and to discuss the lessons we can learn from Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the journey to Bethlehem and the manger. Sign up online or in the sign-up sheet on Sunday.
P.P.S. Did you know that we have copies of the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guides available? This is a great way to be in the word every single day. It´s a quick read with a good word. Look for them in the narthex and north lobby.
• November 21, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• November 22 - 24 — Thanksgiving Holiday: Offices and Church Closed
• November 25, 10:30 am and 12:15 pm — Final Tower Rebuild Meetings
• November 25, 12:15 pm — Hanging of the Greens
• November 25 — No Evening Activities
• November 29, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ‘n´ Fellowship
• November 30, 1:30 pm — United Methodist Women Dessert at Clark
• December 2, 5:00 pm — Blue Christmas Service
• December 3, 7:00 pm — Annual Church Conference
• December 5, 6:00 pm — Young Adult Christmas Party
• December 5, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• December 6, 5:30 pm — Moms´ Group Christmas Craft Night
• December 9 — Coffee Can Offering
• December 9, 6:30 pm — Annual Christmas Concert: "Service of Lessons and Carols"
• December 12, 6:00 pm — Young Adult Dinner and Casual Worship
• December 15, 6:00 pm — Jazz Lessons and Carols: MacNaughton Blvd
• December 16, 12:15pm — All-Church Lunch and Caroling
• December 24, 8:00 am — Casey´s Breakfast
• December 24, 5:00 pm — Young Families Christmas Eve Service
• December 24, 7:00 and 9:00 pm — Traditional Candlelight Communion Christmas Eve Service
• December 25-26 — Church Building and Offices Closed
• December 30, 10:00 am — One Sunday Worship Service
• December 31 - January 1 — Church Building and Offices Closed
• January 9, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayer Service
CHILDREN´S PROGRAMMING Please contact Annette Erbes, Director of Children's Ministry, at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or email@example.com with questions.
INGATHERING Thank you to everyone who donated items for our Ingathering. Your generosity will touch the lives of many in our community through the efforts of the Westminster Food Pantry this holiday season. Whether you donated food items, helped with the delivery and transportation, gave a monetary donation, or assisted with our Ingathering procession, your graciousness is appreciated.
FAITH TRAVELERS EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD! Faith Traveler students (Grades 1-6) will celebrate the season of Advent by learning how other countries welcome and prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. The Christmas Around the World rotation will begin on Sunday, November 25 with an introductory lesson. Children are dismissed to Faith Travelers at 9:30 am following Moments with the Children during the 9:15 am service. In December, the regular Faith Travelers class time will be extended from 9:30 – 10:50 am, so all students may learn and prepare several Christmas carols to share in both worship services on Sunday, December 23. Coffee will be provided for parents on the third floor on Sundays, December 2 - 16 from 10:30 - 10:50 am, courtesy of the Children’s Council. We look forward to experiencing the presence of Immanuel, “God with Us,” with Faith Travelers during this Advent season.
JOURNEY ALONG THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM Sundays, December 2 - 23 at 11:00 am, following Moments with the Children, Junior Church children (grades 1-2) will engage in hands-on activities as they experience the Christmas story first hand. Children will have an opportunity to journey to Bethlehem by:
• Traveling to Mary’s house
• Visiting Joseph’s carpentry shop
• Meeting Elizabeth in her home
• Participating in shepherd’s training
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.**
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS GIVING Give a meaningful gift that truly is in the spirit of Christ by giving an “Alternative Christmas Gift.” For each person you designate, we will send a beautiful Christmas card acknowledging your gift and describing the cause you’ve chosen. What better way to honor Christ and to give to those you love? You may give online at: www.grandrapidsfumc.org/alternative_christmas_giving or download a form here.
LEGACY BROCHURE Take a moment to download or pick up a copy of the Annual Legacy Ministry Report. Copies are available online, in the north lobby, and narthex. If you are interested in ways you might leave a legacy to First Church, contact Sharon Sorensen at 616.451.2879.
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY Wednesday, November 21, the church building and First Place will close at 2:00 pm for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be closed Thursday, November 22 through Saturday, November 24, with worship services at 9:15 and 11:00 am on Sunday, November 25. Over the Thanksgiving weekend if there is a pastoral emergency, you may call Parish Nurse Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING You´re welcome to join The Methodist Connection in Christmas caroling on Saturday, December 1. Meet in the parking lot at 3:00 pm and we´ll return to FUMC afterwards for a light supper.
CASEY´S CHRISTMAS EVE BREAKFAST First Church will be serving a hot and hearty holiday breakfast for our Heartside neighbors in Wesley Hall on Monday morning, December 24, 8 – 10:30 am. This annual event invites community members into our church for food & holiday fellowship. We need two kinds of helpers to make this event a success. (1) Table Host: Be a friendly host to our guests; share a cup of coffee, sit & chat, create a welcoming environment. (2) Food Server/Worker: Serve food, bus tables, and help clean up. Sign-ups for volunteer helpers will be held on Sunday, December 16. Members of the Social Concerns Commission will be in Wesley Hall after each worship service to schedule volunteers.
CASEY´S SOCKS FOR CHRISTMAS Each Casey´s breakfast guest receives a Christmas sock filled with practical items and goodies. Four hundred socks appropriate for adults are needed! Purchase a pair of medium-weight, warm, winter, washable socks. Stuff one sock in the toe of the other so that each recipient receives a pair of socks! Fill the sock with full-size personal care items like shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, & lip balm. Add a few extras like bandages, pen & paper, hard candy, nonperishable snacks, even a t-shirt. You might want to add a few safety pins on the outside and tie on a hat and warm gloves with a festive ribbon. (Please avoid items that have alcohol, anything sharp, and crushable foods.) Drop off your socks at the north lobby church office or bring them to worship on December 16. With your help, each of our Christmas Eve breakfast guests will leave with a warm heart and warm feet.
CASEY´S SOCKS There are just a few more weeks to donate to the Jr. High Youth Casey´s socks project! We need your donation by December 2 to help purchase items for our 200+ socks. We accept monetary donations as well as full-sized items such as: soap (bars for men & women), shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste. We´re also seeking other items such as plain t-shirts (sizes L, XL & XXL), cotton gloves, and hand lotion. Drop off your items or monetary donation to Emily Uebbing at First Place or in the education office at the church.
YOUNG ADULTS: VOLUNTEER NIGHT AT SECOM If you´re 18-30, we´d love for you to connect with First Church´s Young Adult Group! On Wednesday, November 28 at 6:00 pm we´re volunteering at SECOM, a UMC food pantry. If you´d like to carpool, meet at The Vine at 6:00 pm. Please eat dinner before you arrive and come dressed to get dirty. Friends invited!
PANHANDLING As the weather turns nicer, the number of people asking for money around the church increases. It is always best to give one of our help cards which invites them to worship with us and on the flip side has the names and phone numbers of area agencies who assist with food, shelter, and more. The cards are located in the narthex, north lobby desk, and posted on the walls by the main exits. We encourage you to be friendly and give them information instead of cash.
HANGING OF THE GREENS Join us following 11:00 am worship on Sunday, November 25 for a simple meal and decoration of the church for Advent and Christmas. If you´re able to help, please contact Mary and John Judnich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Child care available.
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS GIFTS Give a meaningful gift that truly is in the spirit of Christ by giving an "Alternative Christmas Gift." For each person you designate, we will send a beautiful Christmas card acknowledging your gift and describing the cause you´ve chosen. What better way to honor Christ and to give to those you love? You may give online at: www.grandrapidsfumc.org/alternative_christmas_giving
THE UNITED METHODIST WOMEN´S CHRISTMAS DESSERT will be held on Friday, November 30 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm in the BK Room at Clark. Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry, will be the featured speaker for this Christmas Program. All women of the church are invited to this special event. Any questions, call Carilon Carr 245.1896.
2012 CHURCH CONFERENCE Our yearly Church Conference will be held on the evening of Monday, December 3, at 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall. District Superintendent William Haggard will lead our meeting as we take care of all required business and celebrate our ministry in 2012. Confirmed members of the church are eligible to vote on the business we conduct, but all are welcome. We expect the conference to last about an hour. More information will be available as the date draws near!
JOB POSTING First Church is now accepting applications for the position of First Place Custodian. Responsibilities include daily cleaning of the First Place building, set-up of classrooms and meeting spaces as needed, and preparing the buildings for closing at the end of the shift. This is a full-time paid position and schedule work time is 2:00 - 10:00 pm on Monday thru Friday. For more information and an application visit www.grandrapidsfumc.org/employment or email email@example.com.
COLLECTIONS Do you know how many different donations we collect? We have a Donation Drop-Off Room in the north lobby full of donation bins waiting to be filled. In order to make sure your donation makes it to the correct bin, please clearly label all items dropped off in the north lobby.
SECOND BEST SALE Our annual Second Best Sale will be here before you know it! It will be held Saturday, April 20. Please start saving your gently used clothing, household goods, books, toys, small appliances, tools, etc. Remember, what you consider to be "junk" might be somebody´s treasure.
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 by December 2.
THE NEXT PRAYER QUILTING meeting will be on Thursday, December 6 in Wesley Hall from 9:00 until 12:00. We would love to have you join us for this very meaningful mission. There´s a job for everyone. If you are unable to make our meetings, you could sew strips or squares together at home. Contact Ginnie Edwardson at 616-261-2602 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations of cotton material or batting can be dropped off at the north lobby.
DID YOU KNOW the Paper Gator makes money for the church? Bring in your old phone books, newsprint, catalogs, magazines, and office/school paper. On the contrary, if you bring your cardboard items, the church has to pay to have these taken away. So please bring your paper to the church Paper Gator, but recycle your cardboard at home.
WEEKLY PULSE: Click the link to download a PDF version of the Weekly Pulse.
9:15 & 11:00 am
Four From Philippians
Sunday, November 25 "Listen! Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
Rev. Gary Haller
Sacrament of Baptism
after each worship service
Hanging of the Greens at 12:15 pm 9:15 am
First Singers 11:00 am
Sunday, December 2 "Mary: Favored of God"
Rev. Gary Haller
Blue Christmas Service 5:00 pm 9:15 am
First Singers 11:00 am
NOOMA SERIES: 9:30 am in the parlor — a four week, drop-in series featuring Rob Bell´s Nooma videos. The class will include video and discussion. • Sunday, November 25: Bullhorn: Can we really love God without loving others? — God loves everyone, so a Christian should, too. In fact, Jesus said that the most important thing in life is to love God with everything we have and love others the same way. But it´s not always easy to love everyone around us, is it? Sometimes we strongly disagree with other people´s political views, religious beliefs, behaviors, or something else, and it makes it hard to love them when we feel like we´re right and they´re very wrong. But Jesus doesn´t separate loving God and loving others.
WALKING THROUGH THE MEDICARE MAZE: CLASS 2 Join us on Sunday, December 2 from 9:15 – 10:45 am in room 3107. Medicare A, Medicare B, Medicare D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement. What are they and how are they different from one another? How do I choose? When do I choose? If you´ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you aren´t alone. It´s complicated! If you´d like to learn more about these plans and feel a little more comfortable as you try to decide what to do, please come hear an unbiased overview. No specific insurance plans or carriers will be highlighted, and no one will try to sell you anything. This is an informational gathering sponsored by your Legacy Ministry.
THE JOURNEY Join us this Advent Season on The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem by Rev. Adam Hamilton. Journey with Hamilton on the page and on video as he travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in this unique new look at the birth of Jesus Christ. Using historical information, archaeological data, video excursions in the Holy Land, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history becomes more real and heartfelt as readers walk along that same road. Books are available in the north lobby drop-off room, cost is $11.00.
• T.B.D. — 9:30-10:30 am - Sunday, December 2-23 at First Place
• Rev. Tish Bowman — 5:00-6:30 pm - Sunday, December 2-23 at First Place
• Skip Moseley— 10:00-11:30 am - Tuesday, November 27 and December 4, 11, and 18 at Clark Retirement Community
BLUE CHRISTMAS SERVICE Those who have experienced job loss, health concerns, the death of a loved one, depression, financial concerns or similar losses may find this holiday season a little less joyful. Our Blue Christmas service on Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 pm is a service of candles, prayer, silence, scripture, and encouragement. If you are finding the coming season tough, join us. Or think of those you know who are struggling and invite them. All are welcome!
ADDICTION "After surgery, I needed pain medication. Now I look for anything to take the edge off." 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!
NOW SHOWING in the First Church gallery through December is an exhibit of oil paintings from local artist, Emily Merrill. Drawing inspiration from rural America, its simplistic beauty and solitude, Emily seeks to show natural spaces that exist without human altercation. Emily was one of 2012 Art Prize artists at First Church.
TAIZÉ SERVICE Wednesday, December 5 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.
"SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS" Join us on Sunday, December 9 at 6:30 pm in this Christmas tradition based on the scriptures and songs of Advent. The voices of children, youth, and adults combine with handbells and liturgical dancers to make this a reflective and meaningful event. Of course, there is the opportunity for the audience to join in this festive time through the singing of carols, led by the mighty sounds of the pipe organ. Plan to join us for Christmas 2012.
JAZZ LESSONS AND CAROLS, featuring MacNaughton Blvd, on Saturday, December 15 at 6:00 pm, weaves scripture, a pastoral message and prayer into a celebration of faith, hope, and the love of God.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS Plans are in progress for the 40th Annual Celebration of the Arts juried spiritual art show which will take place from February 2 -13, 2013. If you are interested in the arts and would like to volunteer to be part of the Celebration Planning Team, please indicate your interest on the sign-up sheet or contact Deb May at 451-2879 x 133 or email@example.com.
FIRST CHURCH FAMILY CONCERNS Concerns & Prayers for:
• Donna Anton
• Lynne Beals
• Rick Kase
• Jeanne McCaw
• Jan Muir (surgery 11/27)
• Jack Terkeurst (Clark Rehab)
• Margaret Thomas
• Cat Wescott
• 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 Allison Kaufman and Alana Moceri and family on the death of Allison´s father on November 12th.
I am thankful to each of you who have visited, sent cards, prayed for me and my family, and for the beautiful prayer quilt. I am humbled by your caring while I heal physically and mentally. I will keep each of you in mind.
Love, Rick Kase