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Weekly Pulse - July 29, 2014 The official eNewsletter of First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids. If you are not seeing graphics in this email, click here to view it in your browser.


PastorDear Friends,

It was good to be back in worship with you this past Sunday. After four weeks away, it was good to be back, refreshed and renewed. I look forward to the weeks and months ahead. It´s hard to believe that fall (and fall programming) is just a few short weeks away. This coming Sunday will be the first Sunday in August! Summertime is quickly passing.

The five Sundays that I will be preaching (including this past Sunday) between now and September 7, will focus on Psalm texts. Considering the Psalms in the summer is most fitting because many of the texts focus on images of nature.

In 1990, when my parents were preparing for retirement, they purchased a house and property (ten lots, as I recall) on the Current River, a federally protected waterway in south central Missouri. Big Spring National Park was right across the river from my parents´ home. For 16 years, we would journey to ´the river´ every summer – for at least a week. We saw nature at work at ´the river´ in a way this ´city boy´ had never experienced before. I loved it. The day generally consisted of getting up early and having coffee out on the screened porch that overlooked the river. Reading, thinking, and praying was easy to do at ´the river.´ One could hear and watch the flow of the river. In fact, I used to explain that at the river, "I could watch something move that I didn´t have to push!"

After breakfast, I would throw the innertube in the river and float until lunch. My father would come and find me (or us – depending on who else was up for an entire day of tubing) in the boat. We would either find a place along the river to have a picnic or go back to the house for lunch. After lunch, the tube would go back in the water until supper. Then reading, watching, listening, talking, or praying … occurred until bedtime. That was the agenda – everyday! I miss going to ´the river!´ We all do. When we talk about vacations, some of our most memorable trips as a family focused on ´the river.´

When I shared last Sunday on the topic of Psalm 121, ´the river´ was the place where I could easily ´lift up my eyes to the hills,´ and a new perspective would come.

I think that is one of the roles of summertime. It is creating a different rhythm for ourselves so that we can ponder … pray … reflect … plan … rest … renew … and prepare for another year.

One of the messages that I have delivered regularly to our staff is to do that kind of creative thinking as we prepare and plan for our congregational life cycle that begins in September. I believe that 2014 – 15 will be a meaningful and fruitful year for our congregation. There will be expanded adult education opportunities … expanded outreach opportunities and ways to be involved in ministries in serving our community … children, youth and young adult programming is shaping up to be engaging and exciting … and our worship life will be inspiring and eclectic. We are going to be doing some alteration and expanding our stylistic options in worship. We are going to be offering more concerts and welcoming several guest preachers over the course of the year. The experimentation begins with Sunday Night worship for four Sundays in August, this coming Sunday evening, August 3rd.

This coming Sunday morning at 10:00 am, Psalm 51 will be our theme. Being the first Sunday of the month, we will also celebrate communion. August 10th, Psalm 34 will be our focus and on the 17th, Psalm 27. On the 24th, we will sing our way through worship with a summertime hymn sing! I invite you to read the texts and come and join us regularly in the worship of God.

Grace and peace to you as you find time and space to renew, reflect, ponder, and pray during this summer season. It is good for the soul!

Pastor Bob

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Click the following links to download a PDF.
• Current Sunday Sign-Up Sheet: Sign up online at

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• July 29, 6:30 pm   —    Love to Stay
• July 30, 6:00 pm   —    Young Adults (ages 18-30) at Well House
• August 2, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm   —   Habitat Build Day
• August 3, 6:00 pm  —    Sunday Night Worship
• August 6, 5:15 pm  —    Youth and Young Adults to Unity Music Festival
• August 7, 12:00 pm   —    "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• August 4-7, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm  —    Arts Alive Camp
• August 4-7, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm   —    Junior High Mission Camp
• August 10  —    Coffee Can Offering
• August 10, 11:30 am  —    Second Sunday Lunch Bunch
• August 10  —    Youth Beach Day
• August 10, 6:00 pm   —   Sunday Night Worship
• August 13, 7:30 pm   —   The Midwest Teen Ensemble of Village Harmony Concert
• August 15 - 17   —   All-Church Camp
• August 16, 8:30 am   —   Feeding America
• August 17, 6:00 pm  —    Sunday Night Worship
• August 19, 5:30 pm   —   Frederik Meijer Gardens Evening Family Potluck
• August 21, 12:00 pm   —    "The Christ-Centered Women" Bible Study
• August 23   —   Stephen Leader Retreat
• August 24, 6:00 pm  —    Sunday Night Worship

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EVENING WORSHIP Join us the first four Sundays in August as we explore a new style of worship! This will be a casual time of worship on our side lawn by the Barclay doors. (If it´s raining, we´ll move to the parlor.) We will begin at 6:00 pm with gathering time and community-building. Please bring a picnic dinner for yourself (and if possible, bring a little extra to share with a new friend) to eat during the gathering time and your own lawn chair or picnic blanket. We will transition from dinner and conversation into singing, a message, message reflection, and shared prayer time. Child care will be available for babies and toddlers. Our goals for this new service are to build community and create a place to invite new friends to First Church all while worshipping God and growing in faith. See you August 3!

NEWSLETTER CHANGES To be better stewards of the church´s resources, beginning September 2, the Weekly Pulse newsletter will be available only online. The newsletter will be emailed on Tuesdays (listing upcoming events) and Thursdays (featuring prayer concerns, sermon title, Sunday events). If you are unable to access email, you may pick up a copy on Sundays (preferred method), or sign up for a mailed copy by contacting the church office at 616.451.2879. If you already receive the Weekly Pulse online, your subscription will continue as usual. If you haven´t subscribed for the online Weekly Pulse, please use the Sunday sign-up sheet or visit The monthly First Pulse newsletter still will be printed and mailed the last Tuesday of each month.

IT´S INCREDIBLE BACK TO SCHOOL SAVINGS TIME AGAIN! Our Tutoring Center at Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy is ramping up for another wonderful school year. We provide over 500 students/teachers with supplies throughout the year and now is the time to stock up. Whenever you are out and spot a bargain, rest assured we can use the materials! The super deals usually have limits, so if we all team up, we can get some great deals! Donations may be left in the collection room off the north lobby. All supplies are needed: pencils, pens, inexpensive solid colored folders with pockets and tabs, spiral bound notebooks, glue and glue sticks, children´s scissors, erasers, rulers, binders, tab dividers, highlighters, Crayola brand 24 crayons or larger sized primary crayons, wide markers, thin markers, colored pencils, pencil boxes…Thank you for your continued support!

DINNER FOR EIGHT sign-ups begin next month! This is one of the best ways to meet and connect with a variety of different people from First Church. Three times a year, each participant enjoys a potluck-style dinner with seven others. Consider signing up as a participant or as a host. Hosting is an important and fun part of Dinner for Eight. Sign-ups begin in August!

CARE NOTES Be sure to check out the Care Notes in the rack this month! New titles include Confronting Internet Addiction, Giving Your Worries to God, Healing a Conflict with a Loved One, and Climbing Up from Depression. Take a Care Note and take heart – give a Care Note and give hope!

UPCOMING ROAD TRIPS Sign up using the Sunday sign-up sheet, online at, or use the itinerary and reservation form in the north lobby rack. More details listed online.
• PENNSYLVANIA September 18-20 – Includes: dinner cruise and historical visits.
• AMAZING GRACE AND SHOPPING IN CHICAGO Wednesday, October 22 – Includes: Amazing Grace musical and time for shopping or museums.
• A DAY IN CHICAGO Wednesday, October 22 – Includes: time for shopping and museums.

LONELY? Do you wish you knew how to make a few new friends? Your Church Assistance Program (CAP) can help you with ideas! Call CAP at 455-6210 to make an appointment today. By telling them you are a member of Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church, you will receive two one-hour appointments at no cost to you. Don´t wait, call CAP today!

WESTMINSTER FOOD PANTRY Social Concerns is currently asking for donations of canned vegetables, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. Your donation may be dropped off in the collection bin located in the north lobby. Thank you for continuing to help keep the pantry shelves stocked.

THE COFFEE CAN OFFERING on Sunday, August 10 will benefit Heifer International. Heifer International´s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. By giving families animals, Heifer empowers them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, Heifer helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.

IMMIGRATION Q & A Do you have questions about the recent surge of unaccompanied minors crossing our southern border and our nation´s response? If you do, please join Justice for Our Neighbors´ staff attorney, Liz Balck, on Sunday, August 3 in Wesley Hall following worship for a thoughtful, prayerful and compassionate Q & A on the topic.

VISIT OUR FACEBOOK page ( for photos, upcoming events, and new activities.

FEEDING AMERICA Join us Saturday, August 16 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 use the sign-up sheet if you can help.

MISSIONS UPDATE Thanks to members of First Church who have helped provide relief to families in Kentwood and Wyoming who suffered damage and loss in the July 6 tornadoes:
• 5 people cooperated with St. Paul´s UMC, Wyoming Park UMC, & Cornerstone UMC to help with debris removal
• 20 people helped at the Feeding America food truck on Friday, July 25, distributing food to 154 families in one hour. The food was paid for using funds that have been contributed by members for local hunger relief.
• $2,309.45 contributed through the July Coffee Can Offering & additional gifts.
• Others in the congregation contributed beds to In the Image and food to local food banks.
• The GR District has adopted one family whose home suffered severe damage. Work teams are currently tearing down the roof in preparation for replacement. We received a $10,000 grant from UMCOR for tornado relief. Our district superintendent, Rev. Bill Haggard, has urged local churches to match this grant so that work can continue. Additional gifts are being accepted through the church office. Please note that your gift is for tornado relief. Please contact Laure Mieskowski,, or 616.451.2879 for more information.

PASTORAL CARE Call (616) 490-1708 if there is a pastoral care emergency or concern. This is the new pastoral care phone number which will be carried and answered by one of our pastors or another staff member who is ready to help.

THE MIDWEST TEEN ENSEMBLE OF VILLAGE HARMONY performs music from South Africa, Georgia, the Mediterranean, America, and early music from Italy and France. Join us for this free concert on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm. The ensemble is led by Mollie Stone, Emily Miller, and Gideon Crevoshay.


ALL-CHURCH CAMP Sign up for All-Church Camping weekend at Lake Michigan in Pentwater on August 15-17. For questions or to sign up, call Peg Terkeurst at 451-2879. Saturday evening and Sunday brunch meals are offered for a nominal fee with arts and crafts for the children and an outdoor campfire Sunday service. Bring your own tent, trailer or motor home or rent a platform tent with six beds. Cost is $30.00 per night. If you have never camped at Lake Michigan Camp, we are offering a "buy one, get one night free." Come join the fun!

Table of Contents



 Pastor´s Message
• Weekly Pulse Downloads
• Mark Your Calendar
• Sunday Schedule: Children and Youth
• Finance Update
• News and Events
• Worship Service
• First Church Family Concerns
• Attendance

WEEKLY PULSE: Click the link to download a PDF version of the Weekly Pulse.

Worship Services
10:00 am

Psalms to Live By

Sunday, August 3
"Compose Yourself"
Psalm 51
Dr. Bob Hundley

Sunday, August 10
"Developing an Attitude of Praise in Spite of Circumstances"
Psalm 34
Dr. Bob Hundley

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Concerns & Prayers for:
• Dave Berles
• Don Chisnall
• Melinda Hoff
• Janet Gillespie
• Ken McCaw (Blodgett Hospital)
• Marilyn Moore
• Camme Sheets

Service Personnel
• Chris Bolhouse
• Scott Grifhorst
• Xavier Kenmoe
• Stephan Mathos
• Jesse Mounts
• Trevor Norton
• Shawn Seher
• Peter Taylor, Jr

BabyThe love and prayers of the congregation are extended to the family of Treavor Samuel, a 20-year old who was killed in an automobile accident in Greenville this past week. His funeral will be at First Church on Wednesday, July 30 at 11:00 am. His grandparents, Bob and Barb Macksam, are members of this congregation.

Matthias Jacob DeBoni was born July 19, 2014 to Jess Rozga-DeBoni and Jake DeBoni. Big sisters are Yael and Avah!

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Sunday Schedule: Children & Youth

10:00 AM
• Infant Nursery — 0-23 months Room 107
• Toddler Nursery — 2-3 yr. olds 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.)

Children in Grades 3 and up are welcome in worship this summer! In order for middle and older elementary children to be engaged in worship, they will find…
• worship bulletins created just for them each week with the theme/scripture of the day (located at each entrance into the sanctuary)
• worship bags filled with books, activity sheets, worship bulletins, & colored pencils (available in the back of the sanctuary on a wooden cart). Bags hanging up are ready for use; then simply return your used bag in the basket on the cart to be filled for the next week.

We would also welcome children as worship participants this summer. Would you like to play your instrument or share a song or reading? Please talk to Pastor Tish as we would welcome your participation.

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Sir John Templeton was one of the most well-known Wall Street investment minds of the 20th century. In addition to his financial prowess, Templeton was also known for his spirituality and philanthropy. The Templeton Prize is given annually to living innovators in spiritual action and thought.

I find this quote by Templeton to be most inspiring, and indeed relevant to our discussion about Extravagant Generosity that we are having this year at First Church…

"I have observed 100,000 families over my years of investment counseling. I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn´t."

Templeton has indeed hit the nail on the head when it comes to tithing. There are many who view the subject of tithing, and discussions about generosity as some kind of painful duty. These will not be joyful givers - let alone tithers! But, many have found happiness and purpose in doing God´s work - and in giving back out of their abundance. To these, tithing is not only a natural response, but also a joyful response.

We see this at First Church as well. Many in our church joyfully tithe at least one-tenth of their income back to God. Many of them are the quiet servants you would never suspect. Their faith journey has led them to a place where giving extravagantly is not done out of a sense of obligation, but is inspired by a contented happiness based on faith.

If you were sitting with John Templeton discussing your investments, would you strike him as being in the "happy tither" category? If you have not yet discovered the joy that comes from being extravagantly generous, I hope you can find a way to nurture your faith, to talk with God - and more importantly listen for God´s leading so that you too can become a cheerful giver to First Church.

Chris Hawkins, Finance Committee

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Sunday, July 20
Worship 10:00 am ........264

Sunday, July 27
Worship 10:00 am ........274

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Weekly Pulse is published by First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids. To subscribe to this newsletter, click on this link: subscribe.

Table of Contents
First Pulse: Click the link to download a PDF version of the First Pulse.
Mark Your Calendar: Click the link to download a PDF version of the calendar.