First: our appointment to the Birmingham First UMC was unexpected. Laurie and I are still adjusting to this new reality. Come June, I will leave here with more than a little sorrow as I have invested a good portion of my life in GR First Church and half expected that I would retire from here. But pastoring this great church is a joy that should be shared. The church is healthy, the staff is outstanding and the people are loving and supportive. Whoever is sent here will be in the very best of hands.
This appointment is not being "forced" upon us by any means. Laurie and I have prayerfully accepted this invitation for three reasons.
• We will have the privilege of once again working together. Our 13-year co-pastorate at GR First UMC was one of the great joys of our lives. We are grateful to Bishop Deborah Kiesey for offering us this opportunity.
• Birmingham First UMC is a remarkable church and will be a tremendous challenge. This ministry setting will cause Laurie and me to stretch and grow in new ways. This is a very good thing for us at our stage of ministry.
• I have no doubt Grand Rapids First will greatly benefit from a new pastoral leader who will bring new enthusiasm, new vision and new energy. It will be a rebirth for the mission and ministry here. First UMC will be blessed!
Second: Celebration! Yes, we are celebrating the fortieth year of our Celebration of the Arts. Celebration began in 1972 and has grown to be one of the largest juried sacred art shows in the country. It features artists from throughout the region in a variety of artistic mediums. Visit this website to see upcoming events and photo collections of past Celebrations: www.thecelebrationofthearts.com.
Don´t miss these Celebration events:
• James Croom In Concert, this Saturday, February 2, at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. James Croom´s powerful and expressive voice will, as Eric Strand described, "cause our sanctuary walls to expand!" • Gallery Walk-Through this Sunday, February 3, at 9:30 am and Wednesday, February 6 at 12:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Once again, we will enjoy the special insight of Nancy Clouse, artist and faculty member from Grand Rapids Community College. • The Hildegard Singers With Early Music Michigan on Sunday, February 10 at 4:00 pm. The Hildegard Singers celebrate the hauntingly beautiful music of Hildegard of Bingen. Early Music Michigan is dedicated to the lively and historically informed performance of music of an earlier age. Artistic Director, Eric Strand, leads the ensemble in early Spanish music of Pilgrimage.
Finally: Lent! The season of Lent will soon be here with our Men´s Lenten Breakfasts, a special study for Women of First, new study groups of "The World Shattering Ministry of Jesus," and the sermon series "Scandalous" on how Jesus rocked the religious world of his time. Watch the Pulse and the Sunday bulletin for more details.
• February 1 - 13 — Celebration of the Arts
• February 1, 7:00 pm — Artists´ Reception
• February 2, 3:00 pm — James Croom in Concert
• February 3, 9:30 am — Gallery Walk-through
• February 6, 12:00 pm — Gallery Walk-through
• February 6, 7:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayer Service
• February 10, 4:00 pm — The Hildegard Singers with Early Music Michigan
• February 13, 7:00 pm — Ash Wednesday Service
• February 24, 6:00 pm — "Trade of Innocents" movie
• March 24, 12:15 pm — Youth Auction
SOUPER BOWL On Sunday, February 3, Americans will tune into the Super Bowl football game with abundant food, fun and fellowship. At the same time, some people are worrying about staying warm and finding shelter and food. The Social Concerns Committee invites you to bring a can of soup to worship on February 3 and place it in the collection bin located in the north lobby and narthex. Help score a touchdown in our fight against hunger!
ATTENTION, PARENTS AND YOUTH Winter/spring sign-ups for serving in the children´s church school area are ready on Doodle! Parents and youth, go to www.grandrapidsfumc.org/volunteers to sign up to serve in the Infant Nursery, Toddler Nursery, and Children & Worship classrooms! Parent volunteers are especially needed in the 9:15 Children & Worship class. Thank you for supporting our church school teachers and children.
STEPHEN MINISTRY Congratulations to our Stephen Leader and ten new Stephen Ministers who were commissioned on January 20! Our newest leader is Suzy Wood, and our new Stephen Ministers are Tim Beals, Shelly Binder, Marion DeVinney, Fae Ewalt, Anthony Gilbert, Sara Gilbert, Lois Johnson, Laurel Minser, Alana Moceri, and Jennifer VanderVeen. You can meet and greet some of our Stephen Ministry Team after both services Sunday, February 10 in the parlor.
BLOOD DRIVE A special thank you to our donors who braved the bad weather to donate blood and save lives! Congratulations to Sami Marasigan who received her 3-gallon pin. Mark you calendar for our next blood drive on Monday, March, 25 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall.
MOMS´ GROUP: MOMS´ NIGHT IN Join us on Thursday, February 7 at 5:30 pm. Meet us at First Church for fondue, face masks, nail polish, and girl talk. Free child care is available. (Please feed the kids before you arrive, or pack a dinner.) Please RSVP to Sami at 451.2879.
THE FUMC BOOK CLUB will meet for coffee and dessert on Tuesday, February 19 at 7:30 pm in the parlor. This month´s book is "The Faith Club" by Ranya Idliby.
SECOND SUNDAY LUNCH BUNCH will meet Sunday, February 10 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, February 9.
YOUNG ADULT GROUP: ICE SKATING Meet at The Vine at on Wednesday, February 6 at 6:00 pm to walk over to Rosa Parks Circle as a group for ice skating. Bring $1 for skating and money to go out to dinner after our skating adventures. Open to anyone ages 18-30. Note: If the weather is terrible, we´ll have a game night instead. Sign up using the website or Sunday sign-up sheet.
THE FUMC APP has been designed with a simple and fresh look. It contains all of the information necessary to connect you with all the ministries, events, and programs going on at First Church and more. Download this new app from iTunes or Android at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/app.
CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS February 1 - 13 Join us for the 40th Annual Juried Spritual Art Competion. Art Exhibit Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily through February 12 and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm February 13, Ash Wednesday. For more information visit www.theCelebrationoftheArts.com
• Artists´ Reception, Friday, February 1 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Presentation of awards, jazz, and special desserts! Open to the public. • Celebration of the Arts Gala Opening: James Croom in Concert, Saturday, February 2 at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary. Croom´s powerful and expressive voice coupled with his abundant warmth makes for an afternoon to remember. Our own Eric Strand will accompany him at the piano. • Gallery Walk-through Celebration of the Arts, Sunday, February 3 at 9:30 am and Wednesday, February 6 at 12:00 pm in Wesley Hall. Experience this year´s show through the special insight of Nancy Clouse, artist and faculty member from Grand Rapids Community College. • The Hildegard Singers with Early Music Michigan, Sunday, February 10 at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary. The Hildegard Singers (Linn Maxwell, Barbara McCargar, Diane Penning, and Lisa Walhout) each have outstanding solo careers and have come together to celebrate the hauntingly beautiful music of Hildegard of Bingen. Early Music Michigan is dedicated to the lively and historically informed performance of music of an earlier age. Artistic Director, Eric Strand, leads the ensemble in early Spanish music of Pilgrimage.
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Dorothy Hart (Meijer Heart)
• Abby Greer
• Freda Grover
• Rick Kase
• Norma Mann (St Mary’s)
• Pat Newell
• Nancy Parrish
• Sue Rowe
• Dan Sheets
• Roland Sherman
• Karen Weessies
• Laura Wright (Metro Health)
• Chuck Zimmerman (surgery 1/17)
• 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 Ruth VanWingen, Jan and Joe Taylor, and their families on the death of Ruth’s husband and Jan’s brother, Tom VanWingen, on January 25. A memorial service for Tom will be held on Saturday, February 2 at 11:00 am here in our sanctuary with a luncheon following.
First Church Family,
Thank you for the prayers and kind cards upon the loss of our father and grandfather, Edwin Shaffer.
Love, Don & Pat Shaffer, Sami & German Marasigan, and Joe & Heather Shaffer
Blessings and many, many thanks to everyone who prayed for me, sent a card, called or visited me in St Mary’s and Mary Free Bed hospitals following my stroke. I am home now and receiving in-home therapy. I hope to be back in church soon.
VALENTINE COOKIE BAKERS NEEDED We are in need of cookie bakers to meet in the kitchen of FUMC on Wednesday, February 13 at noon. Feel free to bring along some Valentine 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 sheet or call the Tutoring Center (819-1745) to let us know we can count on you!
BEING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL IS SOMETIMES THE PITS! So many body changes occur for students in this age group and the kids at MLK do not have the resources to always present their best selves. We are in great need of travel-sized deodorant and toothbrushes for individual hygiene kits that we keep at school for students to use when they arrive each day. Additionally, we need tissues, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, baby wipes, Vaseline and lotions. Please leave in the MLK collection bins off the north lobby during the months of January and February.
YOUTH AUCTION: MARCH 24, 2013 Would you like to help our youth raise money for our workcamp trip this summer? If so, please consider donating items for our Youth Auction. We´d love tickets, gift cards, vacation destinations, desserts, etc. Consider having your business donate a gift basket and we´d be happy to set out business cards next to your donation. To make a donation or ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUNG ADULTS: SHATTERED - YOUNG ADULT LENTEN SERIES Are you a college student or young professional (ages 18-30) who is looking to connect with other young adults? If so, you´re invited to join us for our 5-week Lenten study, on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, beginning on February 20. We´ll be sharing in "The Life-Shattering Ministry of Jesus." To sign up, please email email@example.com. New folks encouraged to join us!
LENTEN STUDY GROUPS: "THE WORLD SHATTERING MINISTRY OF JESUS" This 7-session study focuses on Jesus as a revolutionary figure and change agent, both in his own context and in ours, and will help adults understand the radical nature of Jesus´ ministry for and among all people, including the "outcast," and how Jesus models for us a ministry that challenges and pushes the limits. Please sign up for one of the following classes:
• Sundays 9:30 am, room 3109
• Sundays 5:00 pm, TBD
• Mondays 7:00 pm, Warnocks´ (SE)
• Tuesdays 10:00 am, DeBonis´(SW) Childcare
• Tuesdays 5:00 pm, Zwier´s (NE) Childcare
• Tuesdays 7:00 pm, Yalda´s (SE)
• Wednesdays 10:00 am, Clark Game Room
See Sunday bulletin for more class options!
YOUNG ADULT MISSION TRIP TO WASHINGTON, DC March 2-7, 2013 Are you 18-30 and looking for a mission trip opportunity? This March, our college students and young professionals are loading up the van and driving to DC to serve in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after school programs, etc. For more info, please email Sami Marasigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFERTILITY SUPPORT GROUP All who have experienced infertility issues, including miscarriage and secondary infertility, are invited to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.