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View from the Belfry August 2018

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

 

Howdy from the belfry! Yep! It’s Benny again! You United Methodists amaze me! You also tire me out just watching all the work you do! In late June a whole bunch of you baked almost 500 pasties when it wasn’t even pasty time! You also froze them, so that in July you could unfreeze them, bake them again, and sell them at FolkFest! As soon as you finished that, you turned around and baked pasties again for the regular monthly pasty sale! A tremendous thanks to everybody who helped with these efforts (and I think almost everybody helped in one way or another). An even more tremendous thanks to Vic and Sharon Vanderville, who headed up the whole FolkFest project, and who worked about a gazillion hours on it themselves. It was great to earn the money you earned, because it is needed and will come in handy. However, the fun people had working together and community spirit which such endeavors produce were priceless. While that was going on, a small crew consisting of Bette Jahn, Sara Blanchard, and Amy Sundling decided to spruce up the parsonage and painted everything they could get paint on over there! It looks fantastic! Other people are also preventing moss from growing on their backs this summer. We’ve had Candace Haskell keeping the flowers and shrubbery around the church looking great. Jim Blanchard drew up a list of opportunities to serve the church in a variety of ways, from sanding and finishing the sanctuary floor, to touching up paint in the church, to building a bat house for your resident bat …(ok, so that one wasn’t on the list, but it could have been). Many people have already started tackling the chores on that list! If you haven’t seen the list or signed up to help, it’s on the bulletin board in the social hall, and there’s still time to get in on the fun. In addition to all that, Rev. Don, Mary Prater, Tooter Barton, and Janet Helmbold (who badgered everybody into doing this) made a special trip to Sault Ste. Marie to hold a memorial service for the husband of a resident of an adult foster care facility there. The resident has no family anywhere, and her husband’s family chose not to have any service. These willing workers for Christ went to the Sault, where Rev. Don gave a moving message, Mary played the piano (on a piano which hadn’t been tuned since the Middle Ages and sounded like it), Tooter (a friend of the resident whose husband died) made some appropriate comments for her friend, and Janet basically sat around and also ran into Mary’s car while trying to back around it. (Well, I guess even willing workers have their bad days.) All of this was done without compensation for a person in need who has no money to pay for such services. A huge thank-you goes to Mary, Rev. Don, and Tooter. (A pay attention to what you’re doing goes to Janet!) We really do have a great bunch of people in this church!


From the Pastor’s Desk – August 2018

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

We are like explorers who set out searching for one thing only to find something else. As Christians or those seeking Christ we have ideas of who Christ is and what it means to follow Christ. Often, we compose our own set of standards or beliefs based upon our comfort zones and levels of justification in order to feel ok with God. But then something or somethings happen to turn our beliefs upside down throwing us into a spiritual turmoil so much so that we find ourselves unsure of who we are. In Mark 10:17-27 we read the following: 17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ’You must not murder. You must not commit adultery, You must not steal, You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother’ 20 “Teacher.” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 in fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, ”Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” The young man was searching for peace of mind, eternal life. What he encountered instead was unexpected. We are in the same boat. We come to Jesus searching for something. What we find is not what we were looking for. Our world is upended and we find ourselves having to rethink the reality of which we were so assured. Some of us may shake our heads like the young man and turn back, or at least turn aside. But others will say yes and follow Jesus’ call. I pray that as you continue in your faith development and walk with the Lord, that you will listen to teachings of the Holy Spirit and wait on the Lord in those moments of spiritual conflict.


Lay Leader Lines July 2018

Monday, June 25th, 2018


This edition of Lay Leader Lines will be devoted to the 2018 Michigan Area Annual Conference, held, as it was last year (and will be next year) at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Michigan. Much of the business we conducted this year was a continuation of business we addressed last year, especially that dealing with the formation of one annual conference out of two. We are still legally two separate entities, and will be until next year, but this year we functioned much more as one body. Most of the voting items this year were voted on by both conferences together, although a few still required separate votes. These usually pertained to issues dealing with pensions and health benefits for clergy, which are still in the process of being consolidated and redesigned. The new district boundaries have been established, and new names have been chosen for each of them. We are now part of the Northern Skies District rather than the Marquette District. The only change in the boundaries of this district was the addition of the Emmet County United Methodist Church, located in Levering.
In addition to the need to rework the pension and health benefits packages for clergy, the apportionments and mission giving programs will have a new look. The Detroit Annual Conference had a Spotlight Church program, with churches earning recognition as a Spotlight Church if they contributed to a specified set of mission projects. The Western Michigan Conference has a different mission giving program. Beginning next year, instead of Ministry Jubilee and Spotlight Church, we will be participating in Engagemi. As in the Spotlight Church program, there are various Mission projects to which we will be encouraged to contribute, including many of our favorites such as Cass Community, Hati and Liberia partnerships, God’s Country Cooperative Parish, Red Bird Mission, Henderson Settlement, and the like. Many others have been added which are not familiar to us but which have been supported by the West Michigan Conference. In addition to contributing to a variety of mission programs, the church will be required to submit a written report at the end of the year describing how much was given and to which missions, as well as telling more about ourselves, how we chose the projects we did, etc. It will probably require more work for the missions coordinator and the church treasurer working together than we have done before, but it should not be an insurmountable barrier.
As has been true for the past many, many years, we dealt with the sticky issues pertaining to ordaining homosexual/lesbian clergy, marrying same sex couples, and the like. The issues were discussed at the General Conference when it met during the past year. This is the body that has responsibility for determining church policy, revising the Book of Discipline when necessary, and in effect, making the rules by which the United Methodist Church world-wide is governed.

That body did not make any firm decisions regarding the issues, but instead came up with a program called The Way Forward, which in effect asked church members to fast one day a week and devote a few minutes, from 2:23 pm to 2:26 pm every afternoon, to praying about the issue. (Members unable to fast for medical reasons are not asked to participate in that program.) We had surprisingly few resolutions presented to us dealing with the issues, perhaps because so little was done at General Conference which we could really address. However, Bishop Bard devoted one evening after the official work of the day was done to discuss the issues. It was a voluntary session, but a surprisingly large group attended, necessitating a change of venue from a relatively small room to the very large general conference session room. We met from about 11:20 pm to 12:20 am to hear what he had to say, and to obtain answers to the many questions we had.
According to Bishop Bard, there are basically three main possibilities for dealing with the issues of ordination of gay ministers and performing weddings of same-sex couples. The most traditional approach would be to leave the Book of Discipline as it is and to adhere to its regulations and principals. The Book of Discipline currently states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian beliefs, and we cannot ordain homosexual ministers who are openly practicing this sexual orientation. We also cannot perform same-sex marriages. Another position is that all passages in the Book of Discipline pertaining to incompatibility between Christian beliefs and homosexual practices be removed, homosexual individuals may be ordained, and same-sex marriages are permitted. The third position leaves the decisions regarding such ordination and marriage issues up to each local congregation to decide. This would also require some amendments to the Book of Discipline. There have also been may other proposals, and nobody really knows how it will all play out. Bishop Bard felt there will probably be some sort of split in the United Methodist denomination, but just what it will look like and how damaging it will be is uncertain. Even if there is a split, efforts are underway to insure that all factions continue work together regarding such issues as health benefits and insurance for clergy.
In other respects, the 2018 Annual Conference was similar to those of past years. We had a memorial service for clergy and clergy spouses who have passed away since last year, ordained several new elders and deacons, recognized a much larger number of retiring pastors, and the like. We also listened to several TOM talks (Transformational Outreach and Ministry) which focused on the theme of engagement between local churches and the broader communities in which they exist. We had good music, although for those old fogeys among us who are much more drawn to favorite older hymns than to contemporary Christian rock music, overall the music seemed to lack something. Finally, although the Grand Traverse Resort is lovely and makes a real effort to meet the needs of such a large group, those of us who are accustomed to Adrian College, with its beautiful chapel and the ability to transform Dawson Auditorium into a real worship space, miss the feeling of a worship experience we had in those settings. For those from very large churches which are designed like a conglomerate between an auditorium and a gymnasium, this may not have been a problem. For me, while I know one can worship God anywhere and at any time, something still seems a little lacking in the resort setting. It was not, however, the presence of the Holy Spirit, even though some of us may not have been as aware of that Presence as we are in other settings.


Stewardship Giving

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Plans are being finalized for the annual United Methodist Women’s summer picnic. This year the theme will be a Hawaiian luau; so shake out your favorite muumuu. put on your leis and plan to attend. The event will be Tuesday, August 7, at noon at the church. Janet Helmbold is in charge of securing the speaker and the meal, being planned by Lynn LaRose and her crew, will feature pulled pork sandwiches – yumm! There will be no July UMW meeting so the picnic will be a welcome addition to summer activities. Come join us.​
​ We at Manistique FUMC are still feeling the loss of the passing of long-time member Darlene Pruess. In her memory, her portrait  has been hung in the church Fellowship Hall as a reminder of all the “fellowship” programs she initiated at our church. It has also been decided that a memorial gift from her family will be sent to Camp Michigamme to be used in the construction of a craft building as she was so fond of craft projects.​
​ Mark you calendar now and plan to attend the upcoming Pie Auction set for Sunday, August 26. The fund-raiser will take place following the worship service at the end of our Fellowship hour. This is sure to be a fun event and a tasty way to treat yourself to some of our cooks’ specialties.​
​ Looking ahead: The annual Marquette District UMW meeting/celebration will be held Tuesday, October 2, at Zeba UMC in L’Anse, MI. Those who have completed the Reading Program will be recognized at that time, so those of you who are taking part in the program are reminded to complete your goal soon and get your list to Mary Prater by early September. More information on the District Meeting and registration forms will be available soon.​

We are asking everyone to prayerfully consider a few concepts on giving and we pray that you can find a way to see one or more of these ideas that just might work for you.

1.     Frequency of giving: You might give each week, each month, or maybe annually. Would it be possible to think of giving that amount every week, even if you cannot attend some Sundays? This is important because our bills are still due regardless of our attendance, and when people give consistently, this helps make sure we have a level stream of contributions to cover those expenses. There is also a method of direct deposit that some members choose to use where they have their donations automatically deducted from their checking or savings account on a set schedule. This is convenient for both the member and the church as it’s one less thing to have to remember to do and ensures that your donation is received on your terms instead of dependent upon memory or the weather.  We’ve included an Authorization Form in today’s handout for you to consider if this is right for you.
2.     Amount of giving: 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 reminds us that each one should give as you have decided in your heart. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give.  When people give slightly more each week, the compound effect is significant. Each year our insurances, utilities, maintenance and supply costs increase and just a few more dollars helps us cover those increasing costs. Every little bit helps—no single additional dollar is insignificant.
3.     Amount of people giving: We don’t count on contributions from visitors, but when people do visit they generally give. We hope that our beautiful church and message inspires those visitors to come back again and our ultimate goal is to increase our membership. If you have a friend, neighbor or relative that you think would enjoy our message, we encourage you to take a moment to reach out to them and invite them to come with you some Sunday. We have a wonderful hospitality area with delicious treats and refreshments you can share with them and allow us to warmly welcome them and thank them for visiting with us.
4.     Special fundraisers: We enjoy the comradery of making delicious pasties we can sell to raise money for our church. These are great gifts and a smart meal plan for when company drops in. If you have room in your freezer, we hope you take a couple home with you when they are available. You might also have an idea about how we can raise money for our various missions and we would like to hear from you. In the pew there is a pad of paper that you can write down your idea and share it with us by putting it in the attendance book at the end of the isle.
Talking about money is not the easiest part of a church, but it is necessary to keep our members informed about our finances. We do not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and we trust that you will do whatever you can to help our church bring more people to God.

Finally, as Matthew 10:8 says, “We have freely received, so we must also freely give.”  In this passage, Jesus commissions his disciples to go out with minimal possessions to proclaim the good news and perform miracles in his name. Good stewards are givers, because they were first receivers. They trust that God will provide for them, through the community where they have been sent, so we, as being first receivers of His grace, we must now give back of our talents and gifts as we as we feel so moved to do so. May it be so, we ask this in the name of Him who gave to us first.  Amen.


United Methodist Women July 2018

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Plans are being finalized for the annual United Methodist Women’s summer picnic. This year the theme will be a Hawaiian luau; so shake out your favorite muumuu. put on your leis and plan to attend. The event will be Tuesday, August 7, at noon at the church. Janet Helmbold is in charge of securing the speaker and the meal, being planned by Lynn LaRose and her crew, will feature pulled pork sandwiches – yumm! There will be no July UMW meeting so the picnic will be a welcome addition to summer activities. Come join us.​
​ We at Manistique FUMC are still feeling the loss of the passing of long-time member Darlene Pruess. In her memory, her portrait  has been hung in the church Fellowship Hall as a reminder of all the “fellowship” programs she initiated at our church. It has also been decided that a memorial gift from her family will be sent to Camp Michigamme to be used in the construction of a craft building as she was so fond of craft projects.​
​ Mark you calendar now and plan to attend the upcoming Pie Auction set for Sunday, August 26. The fund-raiser will take place following the worship service at the end of our Fellowship hour. This is sure to be a fun event and a tasty way to treat yourself to some of our cooks’ specialties.​
​ Looking ahead: The annual Marquette District UMW meeting/celebration will be held Tuesday, October 2, at Zeba UMC in L’Anse, MI. Those who have completed the Reading Program will be recognized at that time, so those of you who are taking part in the program are reminded to complete your goal soon and get your list to Mary Prater by early September. More information on the District Meeting and registration forms will be available soon.​


A View from the Belfry July 2018

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Greetings from Benny, your very own FUMC bat! Spring is pretty well gone and summer is here! Somehow that reminds me that life goes on, too, and sometimes things go by so fast that they’re gone before I wake up to that fact. In June the high school seniors graduated , and we had a graduate from this church, which isn’t always the case! Congratulations, Phillip Hagenson, on achieving that milestone! Phillip had a very nice graduation party here in the church, with lots of yummy food. I guess, anyway. Nobody invited me. Somehow bats aren’t considered very welcome party guests. I’ve always wondered why… Well that’s all right because there weren’t any mosquito dishes on the menu anyway. As long as we’re considering our youth congratulations to Rylie Lawrence, who earns phenomenal grades in school, has been the student of the month at Big Bay de Noc School, is an athlete at her school, supervises the children’s nursery and Sunday school class at this church, and could probably knit booties for bat babies out of dandelion fuzz if she had any desire to do it. You know, our youth sometimes don’t receive the much appreciation from adults today. I hear that they are considered lazy, self centered, incapable of understanding how to work hard, unappreciative of all they have, addicted to electronic devices, etc. etc. etc. That really isn’t the impression I get of the youth in this church. Phillip helped Pastor Don load some heavy cars and car parts onto a truck at the Renton place. Rylie is in church regularly to provide a service to the Sunday school kids, which in turn helps both the kids and the adults who don’t have to do the job as a result. Our youth are wonderful! Maybe our older members might think back to when they were kids, and recall how their parents and grandparents felt about them. When you were a kid, did your grandmother sigh in exasperation because you didn’t know how to churn butter or make soap like she had to do when she was a kid? The truth was, you probably no longer had to do those things because you could buy the butter and the soap, something your grandmother may not have had available to her or she would have bought them, too. If your grandchild has no idea how to change the film in a Brownie Hawkeye box camera, does it matter? Who has one anymore anyway? While we older folks may not understand why kids today need thumbs to communicate with their peers, apparently our young people do, and can communicate very effectively that way. Yes, the world changes, and always has and always will. Appreciate the world in which you grew up, but don’t cling to it as if no other would could be as wonderful. The youth of today will likely have great memories of this world some day. Remember, God is still in charge of things! That doesn’t change, never has, and never will! Enjoy summer!


From the Pastor’s Desk July 2018

Monday, June 25th, 2018

You have a lot to read in this issue so I will be brief. My message is that God Loves you and there is nothing you can do about it. Tell it to your neighbors, your family and yes even to strangers.

I want to thank all who assisted with setting up, sorting and working the sale at Ed Renton’s home, it was a busy time and the church received over $3100, from the sale. When I talked to Edwin and told him about how we made out, he was thrilled. Ed has some medical problems and it is difficult for him to talk long on the phone, Ed and I talk several times a week and he and Joe Kolder also talk on the phone. He so enjoys the cards so please send him cards of thanks, hope and joy.


Lay Leader Lines – June 2018

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Q: A couple of months ago you mentioned having Vacation Bible School for children and also for adults during the summer. Are we really going to do that?
A: Yes! We are working with the Zion Lutheran Church on the Vacation Bible School for the children. It will be held during the mornings of June 18 through June 21 at the Zion Lutheran Church, from 9:30 am until 12:00 noon. We need volunteers to work with the children, provide snacks, and the like. We have some volunteers already, but can always use more. If you are willing, able, and available, please contact Kali Lewis or Rev. Don. We are also still planning to hold an Adult Vacation Bible School, but the time and place have not yet been arranged. Again, we will need volunteers to help with this endeavor. For more information , please contact Rev. Don.


UMW – June 2018

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Summer is finally here and it’s time for parties and picnics. The highlight of the summer, as far as the United Methodist Women goes, is our annual summer picnic. This year the theme will be a Hawaiian luau; so shake out your favorite muumuu, put on your leis and plan to attend. The event will be Tuesday, August 7, at noon at the church. Mark the date now on your calendars. More information to follow so watch the church bulletin and next month’s newsletter.​
The next local UMW General Meeting will be June 5 at 1 PM in our church Fellowship Hall.  United Methodist Women’s meetings are open to all interested. Come join us. Note: there will be no meeting in July.​​
The monthly Hymn Sing at the Schoolcraft Medical Facility will be Monday, June 4, at 10 AM. Our members lead the residents in singing familiar hymns and present a brief meditation and program.  The Hymn Sing is open to newcomers. Come, join us. You’ll be glad you did.​
​A new offering in the UMW library is On Pluto, by Greg O’Brien. The author, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. gives an in-depth account of his daily struggles as he tries to cope with the debilitating disease. This book holds no punches for the reader as O’Brien at times gives humorous mistakes as well as frightening encounters brought on by the mind twisting illness. This book is in the Nurturing for Community category.​

There is still time to participate in the UMW Reading Program. See Mary Prater for details and check out the many interesting books on the church library shelves.​


A View from the Belfry – June 2018

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Howdy from the belfry! I am happy to report that spring has really arrived! While you humans still need jackets on some days, the snow is actually GONE, lawns are in need of mowing, and bugs are starting to return, which means we bats will soon be feasting on mosquitos again!
You know, I was actually humbled and a bit astonished to know that every so often somebody pays attention to a bat such as myself! In the last newsletter I mentioned that he chandeliers in the sanctuary needed dusting, and guess what??!! B.J. Ash actually dusted something up near the ceiling. He did the fans rather than the chandeliers, but that’s all right; he can do the chandeliers another time. The fans look a lot better from up here! Not only that, Lynn LaRose assembled a crew of diligent , hard-working workers, and together they scrubbed and polished the pew cushions, pews, and about everything else in the sanctuary. It smelled like Pine-Sol in here for a few days, which was actually not a bad thing, and the place really sparkled by the time they finished. Lynn’s willing workers were (in addition to Lynn herself) Sara Blanchard, Candace Haskell, Connie Meade, Linda Moon, and Sharon Vanderville. In addition of all of that, Candace Haskell also weeded and spruced up the flower beds outside the church! We know look great, inside and out! You know, when we all work together it’s amazing what we can accomplish! This church isn’t really large by most standards, and our senior citizens continue to outnumber younger members, but we still have a lot of life and energy left when we decide we need to get a job done. As I understand it, we may some day need to put all of that life and energy to work sprucing up the parsonage like we did the church. Rev. Don and Polly keep it clean and straightened, but there are a few places where a little paint, some minor repairs such as tightening the loose railing around the stairs, and a bit of other work could put that house in top-notch shape. You’ll probably hear more about that in the near future. Meanwhile, there’s an estate sale coming up at the Renton homestead, pasties to bake for Folkfest, pies to bake for a pie auction (sometime later on), volunteer opportunities for Vacation Bible School, a possible Adult Vacation Bible School to plan and attend… the work of the church continues on (and sometimes on and on and on). Well, a busy Christian is a happy Christian, right? I think it’s going to be a very happy summer indeed at FUMC!!