One of my favorite composers is John Rutter. Mr. Rutter is a prolific English composer known best for his anthems and extended choral works that have been sung in nearly every church and on every choral concert stage. He has the gift of taking a meaningful text and setting it to a singable melody that is pleasant and memorable for both performer and listener.
Several years ago, Mr. Rutter wrote a musical based on the classic children story; "The Wind in the Willows." The most well-known song from the musical is titled; "Home is a Special Kind of Feeling." The text is;
Home is a special kind of feeling, The feeling of a place where you belong. A feeling that the world is left behind you, Like a shelter from your cares that seems to want you to be there.
Home is that special kind of feeling, The feeling that you´ve made it all your own. Somewhere which you know is really your place, A place for living, your special place, your home.
Home has a quiet kind of feeling, An island when you need to be alone. A haven for the times you spend together, There´s nowhere better, no other place like home.
Over the years, my understanding of home has shifted from being a place to being a feeling. I´m sure that the shift in thinking has been seeded by the number of times that we have physically moved from one place to another. On careful examination … that feeling of being ´home´ is much more than place. The feeling is connected with significant relationships that are developed with special people.
My wife and I recently attended a family gathering where other friends were invited to attend. I met some folks that I had never met before. One of the questions that comes up when I meet someone that I have never met is; "What do you do?" OR … "What brings you to Grand Rapids?" When I tell them that I am the new pastor of First United Methodist Church in downtown Grand Rapids … the conversation that follows is rather interesting. Some folks reflect on ´the reputation of the church.´ Other folks reflect on their attendance at a wedding, a funeral or a concert that was held at First Church. Still others go a bit deeper and reflect on how they are no longer involved in a church because they didn´t feel ´at home in the church anymore.´ I heard that story just a few days ago. Someone told me a story of how they grew up in a United Methodist Church and that their parents were still active lay leaders in that congregation. But since moving to Grand Rapids years ago, they never found a church that felt like ´home.´
This week is ´Home-coming´ Sunday. What kind of ´special feeling´ do we (as participants at First Church) have for our church home that is discernible to others? What kind of ´special feeling´ do we create for those around us when we are at church – particularly for guests?
As I have observed and participated in conversations among the people of First Church … I think there is a ´special kind of feeling´ among us. It is that kind of ´home-feeling´ that we need to create and further develop as part of the character of our congregation. The feeling will make a big difference as we extend an invitation to those who haven´t been here in a while. The feeling will also make a huge difference in the way guests are welcomed when they test how our congregation ´feels´ when they come to worship. It is most likely the ´feeling´ that will compel them to return.
So … how about it? Let´s capitalize on creating that ´home-like-feeling´ and let´s ´go home´ to First Church on this ´Home Coming´ Sunday.
I look forward to welcoming you in worship this Sunday.
• September 4, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• September 5, 9:00 am — Prayer Quilters
• September 7 — Habitat Build Day
• September 8, 9:15 & 11:00 am — Homecoming Sunday: Fall Worship Hours
• September 10, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• September 12, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• September 16, 12:00 pm — 60+ Luncheon
• September 18, 8:00 am — Caring Connection
• September 21, 8:30 am — Feeding America Distribution
• September 21, 6:00 pm — Jazz Vespers: Max Colley III Quartet
• September 23, 3:00 - 7:00 pm — Blood Drive
• September 26, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• September 28, 10:30 am - 7:30 pm — Lot Party
• September 29, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm — Lot Party
• October 2, 6:00 pm — Taizé Sung Prayers
• October 3, 9:00 am — Prayer Quilters
• October 8, 7:00 pm — Infertility Support Group
• October 10, 9:00 am — Fixin´ ´n´ Fellowship
• October 20, 4:00 pm — James Croom Opera Singer in Concert
Beginning September 8:
• 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 begin in worship with their families and are then dismissed to their classes. (Children of all ages are welcome to remain in worship if their families so desire.)
• Faith Travelers — K-6th grade Church 3rd Floor
• Junior High — 7-8th grade The Vine South
• Senior High — 9-12th grade The Vine North
• 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.
HABITAT BUILD DAY: Saturday, September 7
Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Habitat for Humanity of West Michigan & Homecoming Weekend by volunteering for a day of service from 8:30, lunch preparation, prayer support. Sign-up by using the Sunday bulletin insert or on line at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/sign-up-sheet.
HOMECOMING: Sunday, September 8
Come home to First Church following summer travels and vacations. If you haven´t yet met Pastor Bob & his wife Pigeon, welcome them to their new church home. Invite your friends and neighbors to make First Church their home too!
9:15 & 11:00 am Homecoming Brunch
10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Church School • 9:15 am Church School for all ages
Infant (0-2 years), Toddler (2-3 years), Children & Worship (3 years – K), Faith Travelers (K-6th), Junior High Youth (7th-8th), and Senior High Youth (9th- 12th), Adults • 11:00 am Church School Infant - 2nd grade
Infant (0-2 years), Toddler (2-3 years), One Room Schoolhouse (Age 4 - 2nd grade) • 5:00 pm Youth Groups
Kids´ Club (3rd – 6th), Junior High Youth (7th -8th), Senior High Youth (9th – 12th)
CHILDREN´S, YOUTH, AND YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMMING FOR THIS FALL:
• Infant Nursery (Rm 107) at 9:15 & 11:00 am
This fall our experienced nursery staff of Sherry Gates and Joyce Bland will care for all infants, birth – 23 months. The nursery is open from 9 am – 12:00 noon every Sunday. Adults may volunteer in the Infant Nursery for the 9:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. worship hours while senior high students may volunteer in the Infant Nursery for the 11:00 am worship service. Please sign up to serve three or more Sundays in the fall.
• Toddler Nursery (Rm 106) at 9:15 & 11:00 am
Emily Mol and Renee Willey staff our Toddler Nursery for children aged 2 years - young 3 years. (Please note the room location remains on the first floor.) Adults may assist as helpers during either worship hour. Junior or senior high teens are needed to serve as helpers during the 11:00 am service. Please sign up to serve three or more Sundays in the fall.
• Children & Worship (Rm 204 /201) at 9:15 am
Children who are older 3 year olds and toilet trained – Pre-K are eligible for this class. Traci Beals, Holly Cook, and Michele Vander Berg will return as the teachers at 9:15 am (Please note Children & Worship will only be offered at the 9:15 am hour this year.) Parent helpers are needed for each Sunday at 9:15 am. Please sign up to serve three Sundays during the fall months.
• Faith Travelers (3rd Floor) at 9:15 am
Faith Travelers is our rotation model church school class for Kindergarten-6th grade. Children begin in worship with their families at 9:15 am and then are excused to their Faith Travelers classes. This year our students in fifth and sixth grades will be involved in a new experience called Faith Travelers in Mission. They will dig deeper into what it means to act on faith, putting God´s word into action that will have an impact on others. Contact Annette if you would like to learn more about Faith Travelers and Faith Travelers in Mission!
• Junior High Confirmation (The Vine) at 9:15 am for 7th - 8th graders.
You´re invited to join us for confirmation this fall. Meet us in the sanctuary at 9:15am on Sunday mornings to kick-start our time together, then we´ll move over to The Vine.
• Senior High Church School (The Vine) at 9:15 am for 9th-12th graders
You´re invited to join us in "Becoming a Good Samaritan" this fall. Meet us in the sanctuary at 9:15am on Sunday mornings to kick-start our time together, then we´ll move over to The Vine. After Church School, you´re invited to practice with our youth choir. All invited!
• One-Room Schoolhouse (Rm 202) at 11:00 am
4 year olds through 2nd graders attend worship with their families at 11:00 am and then are excused to the One-Room Schoolhouse following the Moments with Children. Linnae Smalley and Katie Wezeman will be leading children in the One-Room Schoolhouse with Bible stories, activities, and learning.
• Kids´ Club (Wesley Hall) 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Hello 3rd - 6th Graders! Come on down to First Church on Sunday nights to hangout with friends, grow in faith, and have a bunch of fun! Bring $2 for dinner and always dress for indoor/outdoor adventures! The Kids´ Club Director is Emily Mol, assisted by Ken Mol. Parents are encouraged to help on a rotating basis.
• Junior High Youth Group (The Vine) 5:00 – 7:00 pm
7th - 8th graders are invited to "Start" the year off right. Join us as we play games, make new friends, and have fun! We meet Sunday evenings in The Vine. Friends and new faces are always invited!
• Senior High Youth Group (The Vine) 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Are you a high school student who´s looking to make new friends while making a difference in our community and growing in your faith? Then, you´re invited to hang out with our Senior High Youth Group! We typically meet on Sunday evenings in The Vine. Friends and new faces are always invited! Never miss an adventure, find us on facebook or check out www.grandrapidsfumc.org/youth
• College Students & Young Adults (ages 18-30)
Are you 20ish, but there is more to you than just your age? Are you looking to be a part of a community where you can make a difference? We´d love for you to connect with the Young Adults @ First. Some of us are single. Some are married. Some are still in school. Others have found a dream job. Some of us feel like we´ve got it together. Many of us feel like we have no clue what´s next. And...that´s ok. What we have in common is that we´re on a faith journey together. We want to know God better and make a difference. We typically gather on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm in The Vine. Some weeks we´re out in the community volunteering, sharing in a meal, having a worship service, doing a study, playing games, or hanging out. Friends and new folks always invited! We hope you´ll join us! Email: email@example.com to see what´s coming up.
60+ LUNCHEON will be held on Monday, September 16 at noon. The featured presentation will be "Lighthouses" with Tom Buettner. Please call Elaine Youngs at 735.5506 or Luci Baer at 457.7797 if you would like to make a reservation.
DINNER FOR EIGHT Are you an adult wanting to get to know others in the church or to make better connections? Dinner for Eight is one of the best ways we know of to help you out! Have a potluck dinner with seven other singles or couples in someone´s home. If you have questions, contact Janet Wood at 447.1667 or Suzy Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 891.9069. Please use the sign-up sheet if you plan to participate and let us know if you can host.
UPCOMING BAPTISM DATES are available: September 15, November 24, and January 12. Please call Mary Molhoek at 451.2879 to schedule a baptism.
CHILDREN´S PHOTOS 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.
YOUNG ADULTS: COMMUNION AND CONVERSATION Are you a young adult who is looking for a time to reconnect with God while talking about faith with friends? Join us on Wednesdays, September 11, October 9, and November 13 at 6:00 pm in The Vine for dinner followed by Communion and Conversation. We love new friends to join us! Don´t be shy, stop on by! Do you need directions or have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIRD GRADE BIBLES Parents, do you have a third grade child this year? If so, we want to make you aware that Bibles will be presented to third graders on Sunday, September 22nd during both worship hours. If you would like your third grader to receive a Bible, please notify Annette Erbes, Director of Children´s Ministry, at annettee@grand rapidsfumc.org or 616.451.2879, as to which worship service your child will be attending that day and the preferred listing of your child´s name for the nameplate. We look forward with your child to this opportunity for faith learning and growth!
CALLING ALL 5TH AND 6TH GRADERS: Come join the new Faith Travelers program created specifically for you, "Mission in Action Faith Travelers." Do you like to share your faith by helping others? Do you want to learn about organizations that are changing the world? Would you like to join your friends and be part of making a positive change? We will explore the Bible and God´s teachings by learning ways to be involved with mission work that our church supports! The best part is every couple weeks we´ll have a new mission focus and you will help decide what we do. Mission in Action is unique because we can build a team that shows our faith through our actions! Come join us Homecoming Sunday to learn more and to start building our team of Mission in Action Faith Travelers.
MOMS´ GROUP FALL KICKOFF PARTY Join us Thursday, September 12 at 5:30 pm in Wesley Hall for an evening of connecting and reconnecting with other moms of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Dads invited, too! We´ll have the hotdogs; you bring the sides. Please RSVP to Marj or Sami at 451.2879 or email@example.com.
STUDENTS, YOU ARE INVITED TO BE A PART OF ARTPRIZE! All students, 3rd-12th grade, are invited to join us for our Luminary Creations Workshop on Sunday, September 15 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. We´ll gather in Wesley Hall to eat and create. Friends invited!
90+ SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS Ginny Groat (91, Sept 12), Corinne Terkeurst (91, Sept 20), Albert Hoff (93, Sept 21), Barb Sirrine (92, Sept 23), and Weldon Hodges (94, Sept 25).
Concerns & Prayers for:
• Donna Anton (Trillium Woods)
• Jim Hoff
• Vicki Jensen
• Mildred Kirchenbauer
• Robert Newell
• Alan Norton
• Lea Tobar (outpatient surgery 9/4)
• Thora White
• Richard Wimmer
• 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 the family and friends of Irene Leemhuis who died on August 29th; to Alan and Sue Norton and family on the death of Alan´s brother, Bob Norton, on August 29th in North Carolina; and to Debbie and Rick Schuitema and family on the death of Debbie´s grandmother, Lorraine Hoffman, on August 30th.
SOAP SUNDAYS IN SEPTEMBER Throughout the month of September the Social Concerns Committee will be collecting laundry detergent and dish soap for the Westminister Food Pantry. These items are frequently needed and are provided to clients when they are in stock. Donations may be dropped off in the collection room located in the north lobby.
FALL ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES
• Get Off Your Donkey Led by Jess DeBoni. Jesus had little patience with institutional religion that cared for its own needs while neglecting the plight of ordinary people. In one of his most famous parables, he sets up as a model of Christian behavior a man who, unlike some religious folks, actually gets down off his donkey and helps a person in dire need. Join this class as we discuss what Jesus taught about helping others in need. Meets Sunday mornings 9:30 - 10:30 am) in room 3109. Held from Sept 8 - Oct 13. Books are $10.
• Mere Christianity Led by Pete Muszkiewicz. In 1941 England, when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, C. S. Lewis was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. More than half a century later, these talks continue to retain their poignancy. First heard as informal radio broadcasts on the BBC, the lectures were published as three books and subsequently combined as Mere Christianity. Join this class discussion based on the book. Meet Sunday evenings (5:00 - 6:30 pm) in 3107. It will meet from Sept 8 - Oct 13. Books are $10.
• A Disciple´s Path Leader TBD. 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 in room 3109. It will meet from Oct 27 - Dec 1. Books are $10.
• Coming Soon: Immigration & 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 Oct 27 - Nov 17. Books are $7.
• Coming Soon: If Christians Were Really Christian Led by Dr. Bob Hundley. Meet Sunday evenings Nov 3 - 24.
WORK PROGRAM The FUMC Work Program creates short-term hourly employment in the central city area. Clients work two hours at one of the agencies in the Heartside neighborhood and earn $15 cash. If you would like to try volunteering once just to see what happens with the Work Program, contact Richard Johnson at richardj@ grandrapidsfumc.org.
MANY VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED THIS FALL in the Infant Nursery, Toddler Nursery, and Children & Worship rooms. We have created a simple way for you to schedule your volunteer time online at www.grandrapidsfumc.org/
volunteers through Doodle.com. Thank you for supporting our children´s ministry by serving as a volunteer! If you have questions, please contact Annette Erbes at 451.2879 (Monday-Wednesday) or firstname.lastname@example.org. All volunteers must be cleared through our child protection policy procedures.
DISCIPLE I Have you ever wanted to take Disciple I but couldn´t commit to 34 weeks? Or have you taken it but would like to revisit a portion of the study? This fall we would like to offer Disciple I in a new format. We will divide the year up into 6 sections ranging in length from 5-7 weeks each and invite students to participate as much or as little as able. The schedule will be as follows: Session 1 Sept 11 - Oct 23: In the Beginning: Torah, Session 2 Oct 30 – Nov 27: History: Judges and Prophets, Session 3 Dec 4 – Jan 15: Poetry, Session 4 Jan 22 – Feb 26: The Gospel, Session 5 Mar 12 – Apr 9: The Church and The Epistles, Session 6 Apr 16 – May 24: Order & A Future.
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, September 10 at 7:00 pm in The Vine. Please RSVP by using the bulletin sign-up sheet or by calling Marj Timmerman at 901.9224.