Mission Moment February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

This 10 year old boy has just done something new and wonderful to him (see the joy and amazement on his face?!) He has just turned on the faucet in his grandmother’s house and marveled at the clean fresh water pouring out. Nothing like this has ever happened to him before. In the U.S. this is hard for us to imagine. But in the South West, about 40% of the Navajo American Indians have no electricity or running water or plumbing in their homes.

U.M.C.O.R, in cooperation with the St. Bonaventura Indian Catholic Mission, is funding W.A.S.H (water—sanitary—health) to provide running water and lights to 125 families in Baca, New Mexico who have never had them before. These improvements include new wells, individual home cisterns and water systems, and better water delivery routes. The improvement also includes solar power. With people from the community providing leadership, the home owners will receive training on how to maintain and operate these systems.

The January clearance sale has done well in raising money for this project and the Mission Committee thanks everyone who participated but remember, maybe you didn’t want a hat, but you can still give money to this project. We, here in Michigan, tend to assume that American Indian have the same access to basic necessities such as electricity, indoor plumbing, and clean water as everyone else, but the Indians in the Southwest are not so fortunate. Let’s at least provide them the availability of healthy water.

Mission Secretary,

   Norma Johnson 

A View from the Belfry February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

                 (Yawn!) I mean, greetings! From the belfry, that is. (Yawn!) You know, I’ve heard that bats hibernate for winter, so this winter I thought I’d try it. After all, with all the snow we’re getting, I don’t anticipate that the mosquitoes will be out until about August, and since there isn’t much food around for hungry bats, I decided to sleep for the next three or four or five months. Well, guess what!??! Just as I dozed off, this tremendous racket from the oven room scared me half to death, and ended any hope of a good long winter’s sleep! Clearly, you hard-working folks are at it again! It seems that this winter is the time a crew of the United Methodists decided to spruce up the oven room. Vic & Sharon Vanderville, Ted Burson, Gordon Barry, Jim Blanchard, BJ Ash, John Livingston, Norm Feichtenbiner, and who knows who else have been sawing, drilling, pounding, moving big pieces of paneling around, banging things here and there, and generally creating so much noise that this poor tired bat has entirely given up the idea of hibernating! Not only that, but some women are bringing in food for those guys who are making all the noise! To add to that a bunch of people are saying they’re going to paint the place as soon as the men are done with all their carousing around! What’s a poor tired bat to do?

Well, actually this poor tired bat decided to watch and find out what’s going on. What that is, I take it, is to put walls around the furnaces so we don’t have to look at them any more. Then, so I hear, they are going to put new flooring over the scuffed up and stained tiles we have now. By the time they get done, the whole place will look much better! Maybe then this poor tired bat will get some sleep, although I don’t  know about that. These Methodist folks are busy people who don’t rest on their laurels. Judging from how things go around here, they’ll find some other project to complete to keep the church in top-notch shape! I guess I really shouldn’t complain about that! After all, without all this hard work, we wouldn’t have the solid, attractive place in which to worship God that we do have. Maybe I can put up with a little noise for that. Thanks, you hard workers! We appreciate all you do for this church! (Now if only those women would bring in a spare mosquito or two for this hungry bat…)

  There’s also somebody else who deserves mention around this church. Norma Johnson is at it again! In the past she has made Christmas cards and just about everything else to raise money for UMCOR! This time it’s hats! Big ones, little ones, fancy ones, less fancy ones; they come in all different sizes, colors, and styles! They’re all cute, warm, and very well done. So far between hats, cards, and everything else she’s made, Norma has earned over $1000.00 for UMCOR. Not bad for a woman who has celebrated her 48th birthday twice and is working on her third time! Norma you amaze us! (I wish bats wore hats!)

UMW February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The next general meeting of the Manistique United Methodist Women is Tuesday, February 4, at 1 PM in Fellowship Hall of the church. In addition to the meeting agenda of reports and discussion of subjects concerning UMW/church business, there will be a devotional program and time for fellowship and refreshments. Meetings are open to all church women interested in the worldwide welfare of women and children.​

​Looking ahead: plans will soon be underway for the church Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. The date is Feb. 25. Watch the church bulletin for updates.​

​Plans are also in the works for the UMW annual Reflection Breakfast to be held on Saturday, April 4. The program is always a meaningful presentation as we enter Holy Week and prepare for the Easter celebration on Sunday, April 12. The Reflection Breakfast is open to the community,  so tell your friends.​

The 2020 UMW reading program is now underway and we encourage everyone to take part. There is an abundance of interesting reading materials in the program available on our UMW bookshelves for your enjoyment. Read and be informed. For more information on the program, check with Mary Prater. ​

The local UMW is active in the community as well.  The monthly hymn sing continues the first Monday of each month at the Medical Care Facility. We meet at 10 AM to present a brief program of familiar hymns and a seasonal message. New participants are always welcome.​

Lay Leader Lines February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Q: I know that we are raising money to replace our lift within the next few years, but after the kitchen remodeling is completed, do we have any other major projects in the works besides the lift? It seems as if we are always being asked for money for some expensive project or other. Will we ever have an end to it?

A: As you mentioned, we are in the middle of refurbishing the kitchen and are raising money toward replacing the lift. We are also directing major funds toward keeping the parking lot and driveway plowed, since the heavy snows we are having result in result large piles of the stuff which need to be hauled away. We simply do not have enough room in the parking lot to store it and still have room for the cars. As for other remodeling or repair projects, there are none on the horizon within the next few months. However, we have an old church building, which means that problems could arise at any time. It is far better to anticipate problems than to wait until they occur and then try to find the means to deal with them. We also have other causes toward which we need to direct our time and energy (as well as funds), such as deciding what to do with the parsonage, initiating new programs in the church to better serve this community, and the like. I guess the answer to your question about whether or not asking for money will ever end, the answer is that it will end when all the needs are met, all problems are solved, all people are served, nobody has any more unmet challenges, there are no more wars, diseases, floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or other natural manmade disasters, and all our church properties maintain the status quo without leaks, broken pipes, deteriorating roofs, etc. Until then, we will probably continue to need your steady contributions.   

Goal Setting 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Goal Setting

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, we held a brief meeting in the hospitality room and discussed some ideas for our future. The backdrop for the meeting was threefold: 1) what can we do better at what we currently do, 2) what can we do that we are not doing now that would potentially increase our membership, and 3) our state of the state with the parsonage, lift and projects.

The level of participation in the conversation was high. Specific concerns discussed included age mix, impact on our community, our financial trajectory, our brand “the pasty church”, communication gaps, technology gaps, youth programs and the strength / participation level of current programs. This conversation could have been held in any church in America today.

At the conclusion of the meeting we agreed that we would continue to put forth improvement ideas by dropping a note off at the office or by emailing Pastor Don, Kali or Jim Blanchard.

The ideas can be generally summarized into six main thought groups: Meetings & Fellowships, Communications and Marketing, Events and Activities, Benevolence, Community Involvement, and Technology Improvements.

We all agreed that God is in charge and that we need to pray for His guidance and wisdom. For us to further His word, we have to be viable. Doing the same thing will likely bring the same results. And of course, we are on a rigid budget and our decisions must be economically feasible.

Please continue to brainstorm and submit ideas and we will continue to refine the ideas into workable goals for the congregation to decide if it is in our best interest to peruse.

Letter from Polly

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

To Our Church Family,

As we spend the next five months with you, know that this is a bittersweet time for us, as we have grown in faith with you these past years and have truly realized what the words “church family” mean.  Our week in Florida gave us time to reflect on the past sixteen years, remembering friends that have passed on, the baptisms which are so special, and the many other special moments in the life of the church.  We also talked about being retired and staying active by golfing on the warm days, visiting grandchildren before they grow up as many have, and planning to spend at least some of the winter where it is warm.  Perhaps being retired will not be so bad after all.  It is with humble thanks that we have received your generous and thoughtful Christmas gift.  May God bless you and keep you safe, healthy, and warm.

In Christ’s love,                                                                                                       

Pastor Don & Polly

From the Pastor’s Desk February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

I have been asked about the changes that were adopted at the called General Conference held last year.  The Traditional Plan was passed and I will try to explain the changes for which the plan calls. But wait! This may all change again at the General Conference that will be held in                  Minneapolis in May. As of now this is the plan.

              On January 1st of this year we began to operate under the rules adopted at the Called General Conference of 2019. Those rules addressed the manner in which the church would deal with the issue of serving LGBTQ persons. I will try to summarize these changes here. First, persons who are LGBTQ are still welcome in our churches. That part of the Book of Discipline has not changed. If a person who is LGBTQ, or any person for that matter, wants to become a professing member of a United Methodist congregation, they must first meet with the pastor of the church. It is the pastor who determines where their heart is, and if they are ready to profess their faith. In the United Methodist Church, entry into membership is not based on a church vote.

Concerning the definition of homosexuality, the definition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual” was expanded to include “a person living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union, or is a person who states he or she is a practicing homosexual.” Under the new rules, bishops are now prohibited from ordaining any person as an elder or deacon if the Board of Ordained Ministry has found them to be a homosexual, even if that board recommends that they be ordained. This gives bishops less latitude in dealing with this issue. Another provision concerns penalties for performing same-sex weddings or unions. Any clergy found guilty in a church trial of performing a same sex wedding or union will be suspended without pay for one year. Loss of credential will occur after that period if the clergy continues to perform same-sex weddings or unions. However, the bishops have opted to suspend this portion until after this coming conference.

The General Conference added a provision which allows churches to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church without having to purchase the property. Financial procedures were added which could be prohibitive for some churches. Disaffiliation must be related to the issue of homosexuality.

Churches have until 2023 to disaffiliate without being subject to property purchase. The vote on this particular issue was found to involve votes which would nullify this decision; however, the Judicial Council has delayed hearing this case until May of 2020. That means churches may assume that the rule on which they voted applies for now. All of these changes are now in effect. There are proposals to the 2020 General Conference to change these new rules. Because of this, many groups, churches and individuals within the United Methodist Church are planning what they will do after General Conference. Some are planning to leave now regardless of the outcome. Some have vowed to stay and fight. Some have said they are tired of fighting and plan to leave.

What should we do? Pray for our local church and the United Methodist Church. Changes may come that are more restrictive or less restrictive. We should still plan to be a welcoming church that loves all people. If one cannot abide with the new changes or subsequent changes, then one can make a decision about one’s church future. Until that  happens, look upon each person you meet with love and respect. No one has approached me about leaving as a church. Some have expressed their opinions relative to the issue of homosexuality and the church. My hope is that we at Manistique First United Methodist Church will continue to make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world. That is our goal regardless of the outcome of the conference to come.

Pastor Don

United Methodist Women January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

A View from the Belfry January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Lay Leader Lines January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020