vision tiles 2018

February 2018 Connection

vision tiles 2018
Next Steps for Church Revitalization
First, I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.  I am so thankful to be able to lead you in this new year as we become more faithful in our discipleship walk.  God has blessed us beyond measure, and I believe new and abundant blessings will be showered on us in 2018. By now many of you have read or heard about our meeting in homes to hear from you what your hopes and dreams are for your church. Questions for discussion will include, but not limited to the following: Why do we need Christ?  Why do we need the Church?  Why do we need this church, GBUMC, in particular?  Your answers will help us form a vision statement that will be a light for the future.  Please make every effort to attend one of these zone home gatherings. What you believe is the driving force behind the ultimate vision. 
The purpose of the Vision Workshop is to create a vision statement unique to GBUMC.  Once crafted, the vision statement will function as the basis of all decision-making and ministry assessment for this congregation. While at the workshop, participants will be encouraged to do the following:
    1. Pray and Listen to God about the future
    2. Dream together about what God wants this congregation to be in our community
    3. Develop the seeds of God’s vision for the church’s future
    4. Learn to understand the difference between mission and vision
    5. Identify church values
    6. Become familiar with life cycle of a congregation
The church leadership and your pastor are encouraging every person to please be a part of sculpting your church’s vision by attending these events on Saturday, February 24 and Saturday, March 24th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Patty Dennis, who trained at the Lombard Institute and has been mentored by Naomi Garcia, will lead us.  Please be prayerful from now up until the workshop times as we prepare to be involved in this visioning process.  Your spoken dreams and hopes are needed as we are lead by the Spirit to transform peoples lives. 
Faithfully and lovingly,
Your Pastor,
Julius E Del Pino, PhD
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vision january 2018

January 2018 Connection

vision january 2018
Happy New Year! 2017 is over and 2018 begins with an exciting, positive experience for our congregation.  Starting mid-January we will be conducting small group gatherings to finalize the collection of data as we move towards formalizing a vision statement for our Church.Happy New Year! 2017 is over and 2018 begins with an exciting, positive experience for our congregation.  Starting mid-January we will be conducting small group gatherings to finalize the collection of data as we move towards formalizing a vision statement for our Church.     The process started shortly after the arrival of Reverend. Del Pino when he began having one on ones with members of the congregation and collecting information based on these questions:  What do you like about your church? What would you like to see changed? What do you expect of your staff to help this congregation carry out its mission: “TO MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD?”     When our pastor meets with small home groups in 2018, he will be asking you to carefully answer the following questions. What are you willing to do to help your church fulfill its new vision? What staff do we still need to help us carry out the church vision?  Why do people need Christ? Why do people need the church? Why do people need this particular church? What are your dreams?      The data that will be gathered will be processed into a format that will be shared with the congregation.  Parts of the collected data have already been incorporated into the Sunday Services over the past year.  The effectiveness of the changes are being monitored and will be modified as necessary to provide a spirit-filled, meaningful and welcoming environment for ourselves and visiting guests.     We hosted various workshops during the year to prepare ourselves to communicate more  openly, honestly and effectively with minimal stress and hurt feelings during the process.  The workshops included:  Matthew 18, The Rule of Christ, which is the policy used by this church for issues of conflict and two additional workshops related to giving and receiving forgiveness.  The workshops were informative and well lead by Naomi Garcia and Patti Dennis.     By now you should have received letters asking that you prayerfully consider participating in the small groups as the input of each of us is important in developing an accurate, measurable, long term plan for ensuring a healthy, vibrant place of worship for future generations.  The questions we will be asking are similar to those Rev. Del Pino used in his early interviews:  What do you like about your church, what would you like to see done differently and what are you able to do to help.     We are also in the process of developing a list of people representing a cross section from the church to recommend the Vision Statement based upon the input from Rev. Del Pino’s interviews and the information gathered from the small groups.  These individuals will be in place by the time all data is organized and will start meeting in March 2018.     It has been a lengthy process getting to this point and it could not have happened without the tireless contributions of time and spiritual gifts of many of you.  Our heartfelt thanks to those people and our hope that the  small group meetings will provide positive, informative results leading to a viable Vision for the future of our church.  Carol Capell Mary Manning            Jim Scrimger                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Jim Scrimger
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personal advent December 2017

December 2017 Connection

personal advent December 2017
A Personal Advent: 2017
The season of Advent is a time for deeply personal reflection.  It is both the source of great joy, looking back on the birth of Christ, and on the great abundance of blessings bestowed upon us all during the year. In varying degrees, we all have all been blessed with abundance.  It is also a time of horrendous pain for many as we reflect on the losses and suffering, both personal and global, that have been part if of our existence in the past year. 
This time of year is one of unrealistically huge expectations – that of finding exactly the perfect gift for those we love, of throwing the best party, sending the right cards to friends and relatives.  And it’s especially difficult to find time to reflect on the true meaning of Advent.  We get so lost and obsessive about trying to care for and please others that we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we have to address our own needs as well: to find the quiet time to hear God’s still voice, to reflect on how we live our lives in response to God’s call, to nourish our own bodies, minds and spirits – and sometimes to let go and to grieve.
I am so aware of how difficult it is to do this work of God.  I know how easily we can be discouraged by the events of the world.  I know it is a struggle.  Yet, my friends, in spite of the conditions of the world, I believe with all my being God expects us to be faithful.  Is Advent a time of mercy?  A time for sparing judgment?  A time for allowing us to get it right?  A time to grow deep in faith and in obedience?   A time for preparation?   A time for renewed hope? 
Advent is about hope; hope that the wrong of this world will one day be made right.. Hope that the evil of this world will perish.  Hope that justice will finally be the order of the day. Hope that our personal plan will be less and less and less and God’s plan or God’s Will grows more and more apparent in our lives.
During this Holy season, we are reminded of our responsibility of being God’s presence in this community and world, each with our own work to do – the work of the kingdom of God – the work of witnessing to God in our daily lives, where we work and where we live.  In our grief and in our joy, Lord help us to wait in faith, to watch eagerly for the coming of the Christ child, to be our presence and relieve the fears of our hearts.  Make us people of peace, love, joy, and hope……a people of confidence…..a people unafraid to call on you… a people who proclaim the coming of a Savior who speaks for justice and love in the midst of pain and brokenness. So let it be!
Julius E. Del Pino, Ph.D.
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vision November 2017

November 2017 Connection

vision November 2017
2017 Report to the Church Conference – September 24, 2017
Just what is the state of our beloved Grand Blanc United Methodist Church? I, as the appointed pastor of this congregation, have seen and felt an indomitable spirit moving and shaping the future of this congregation. Let me highlight the ways that we have answered the call.
We continue to meet, in full, our mission and apportionment giving. This congregation always responds lovingly and generously when there is a natural disaster and human devastation here in the US or around the world. This congregation continues to support and actively pray for our missionaries in the field. We have continued our tradition of community support, through our strong commitment to FISH and the monthly Soup Kitchen ministry faithfully every third Sunday of the month. Folk here at GBUMC are busy responding to human needs whenever, and wherever they are called upon to do so.
We have continued to promote small groups for all ages. Experts tell us that a growing church must continually launch new groups. We did that by offering Covenant and Renewal classes and by supporting a major effort to start a multi- faith interfaith group. The men’s group continues to meet on Friday morning for conversation and fellowship. A new mom’s group is starting at the church this fall, much to the delight of our new young mothers who have recently joined. We have had two members answer the call to jump-start new small groups to meet a variety of identified needs and wants.
We also started a Walkin’ and Talkin’ group that meets once a week to listen to each other’s stories and build community while taking the time to care for our physical selves.
The prayer group has been newly revived and continues to meet weekly.
We reached out and took a look beyond ourselves and expanded our knowledge and understanding of other cultures. We celebrated “Native American Ministries Sunday” by inviting the Reverend Fred Shaw, Director of the Native American Course of Study of the United Methodist Church, to educate us on Native Indian traditions, heritage and customs. And that he did!  This was a new experience for us. I was told by many workshop attendees and heard from many of the congregation after worship the following day how much they learned and appreciated Fred’s native storytelling and relating of history. 
For the second year in a row, we were blessed to have a successful Vacation Bible School with an attendance of seventy children and over forty adults who volunteered their time and energy. What an amazing display of our dedication to our children and young families. 
Every week as I drive up to the church I see individuals watering the grass, planting flowers, clearing away brush and other expressions of love to maintain the beauty of the church grounds. What a blessing it has been to see these servants caring for the church they love so dearly.  
Thanks to the leadership of this awesome congregation, we arranged for Naomi Garcia from the Conference office to lead a workshop on “The Rule of Christ.”  This workshop focused on Matthew 18 and provided concrete ways on how to manage conflict in the church as well as in our personal lives.  
Two devoted long time members visited the sick and shut-ins every week and took your pastor with them on many of these visits. This is a vital ministry for cultivating relationships and connection. We are thankful for our Care ministry group which keeps us informed about who is in need of our support and prayers. We must continue to build on this ministry in 2018.
The United Methodist Women, under excellent and faithful leadership, continues doing what they do best: expanding and growing in awareness, witness and discipleship. 
The volunteers who shared their gifts in our ministry to children and youth are to be commended. A dedicated, talented and gifted group of counselors make our youth program attractive and viable for our youth and their families. They continue to nurture our youth, and teach them how to help in our communities. I thank God for them and so should you!   This is an area of ministry that will require considerable attention and resources if we are to draw families with young children, singles and the millennial generation. I will say more about this in the next section of this report. 
I had the distinct blessing to lead the Lenten Study this past year and look forward to leading it again in 2018.
These are just a few examples of where the church is moving forward. Metaphorically, we have left the dock to launch out into deep waters of promise and new life. The waters will not always be still, but with clear vision, courage and bold faith, we, in the words of that old spiritual, WE SHALL OVERCOME!  
What’s ahead of us immediately as we move towards the successful effort of developing a CHURCH VISION STATEMENT?
We will have a Healthy Congregation workshop that will give us an opportunity to learn how negative behaviors can thwart organizational, personal and spiritual growth. Building on these skills, later in the month of October we will have a Forgiveness Workshop lead by Reverend Misty Tyme. This workshop will encourage individuals to exercise the newly acquired skills learned in the Healthy Congregations workshop.
In the first week of December, consultant Naomi Garcia will return to lead us in “Neutralizing Sessions.”  These sessions will afford participants the opportunity to reconcile with individuals whom they have unresolved issues, or conflicts with.    
We will invite individuals to serve on a Vision Team to develop realistic strategies to give life to the new VISION.  We need to make sure that we not only “see” our new vision, but that we here at GBUMC are living it out too. 
 We need to be better poised for attracting younger families. A wonderful example was shown by the great number of young people who signed up to volunteer at the Habitat For Humanity house building through the Multi-Faith Humanitarian Action Group.  This is in line with our reading about the millennials – they want to feel purposeful – what’s more purposeful than helping to build a house for a needy person?
The Staff Parish Relations Committee, in consultation with the Administrative Council, will need to identify funds to staff a Director of Educational Ministries.
While we are deeply appreciative for the time and energy that the education committee has devoted to keeping the programs we already have in place, this vital ministry needs someone who is able to dedicate their energies full time. The successful candidate would be expected to continue to educate, motivate and encourage laity.  
We need to offer leadership training for new and returning leaders that will incorporate the newly learned Healthy Congregation, forgiveness and neutralizing skills.
We will continue to train and encourage worship leaders to take on leadership roles in the service. Our theme will continue to be “excellence for God”.
We will enter a period of discernment on resurrecting The Stephen’s Ministry that was so successful in the past at this church. We need to continue to reach out to those who are not able to come to us. This important ministry would be a welcome addition to our Care ministry already in place. 
To the resourceful and talented staff of this church, I say thank you for being there when I needed you the most and for making my life less chaotic and anxious. How deeply blessed I am to work alongside you, to benefit from your expertise, skill, and knowledge. I am grateful for the journey we share together. 
This report would not be complete without acknowledging the support and love that I have received from Reverend Laurie and our daughter, Athena. Both have and continue to be a source of inspiration and strength while I am at work with you in the vineyard. 
And to all of you who labor with me in the vineyard to bring hope, love, and healing to a hurting world, I sincerely thank you for your partnership in this ministry and for the extraordinary ways in which you bless my life.   
The Season of Kingdomtide, 2017
Julius Ernest Del Pino
P.S.  As your pastor, I strive to be driven by vision, always looking forward, always with the people of God at the center of my actions and decisions.  Our new vision will be strong and guided by a strategic plan grounded in faith and courage to keep growing!!
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October 2017 Connection

Is our Church On Fire? 
As many of you know our church has been in the process of discovery. What do I mean by that?  For the past year, I have encouraged, and in some instances urged members and friends of this congregation to ask big questions……relevant, life giving questions….purposeful questions  about how we can be more “on fire” in our faith.  I have encouraged all of us to dream big as we create a vision that excites and motivates people to be a source of light and love in the world. One writer put it this way:  “Neither the past nor the present gives energy and direction for the church — only a vision of the future that is big enough to match the dreams of God.”   In the very near future, your church will have a Vision Team.  This team of individuals will be working on your behalf to identify steps needed to revitalize the ministries of this church.  We will use the data that I have gathered from one-on-one conversations with you this past year. In addition, there will be zone groups established this fall as another way to hear your dreams for the future.  The new Vision Team will help us with the steps needed to create the fullness of a church on fire.  What does a church on fire look like?  It is a church that is growing and alive in discipleship, mission, worship, educational opportunities for all ages, and SPIRIT.  As you return from the summer months and prepare to embrace the goodness and beauty of church life this fall, please consider and remember the marks of a church on fire listed below:Genuine acceptance toward all. Worship that evokes praise, repentance, thanksgiving and harmony with others.Life-changing connection with Christ, nurtured by personal and corporate spiritual disciplines. Small groups for mutual encouragement, learning, and accountability.Ministry alongside the poor, the forgotten, and outcasts. Joyful and generous sharing of resources.The conviction to stand against idols and ideologies of our culture.  An intentional mentoring of children, youth and new disciples. An unwavering practice of forgiveness. The ongoing training and development of leaders who can articulate the vision and invite every individual into an ever-greater faithfulness.   (Written by John Middleton and published by The United Methodist Board of Discipleship )  I hope in the coming days and months you will read this list often and dream new dreams on how this church can more fully live out these marks of growth and discipleship.  Think about what you would add to this list as we begin a new journey together this fall.  Talk with family members at dinnertime.  Make a call to a fellow church member or friend. Attach a copy to the door of your refrigerator.  But please read it and pray over it as God leads us to dream big! 
Your Pastor,
Dr. J. 
September 19, 2017  
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youth group leader

September 2017 Connection

youth group leader
My name is Matt Anderson and recently I was called to help lead our Junior Youth Group at GBUMC, a position I have gladly accepted. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a member of the congregation for many years along with my wife, Becky, and children, Sarah, age 16 and Ryan, age 11. Years ago I taught Sunday school and for the last couple years have been an usher at the 11AM service on the 2nd Sunday of the month.  Outside of Church I am active in Scouting and was the Cubmaster of Pack 175 in Grand Blanc for 2 years and a den leader for 5 years. I recently stepped down from that position as Ryan moved on to a Boy Scout Troop where I joined as a committee member for now. I enjoy working with children and have also coached soccer and Upwards basketball in the past.  What I don’t enjoy is my daily commute to Warren where I work as a quality manager for General Motors. Recently I completed the launch of the all new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle that was engineered in Korea but is built locally at the GM Orion Assembly plant. Traveling to South Korea multiple times was a great experience and it didn’t hurt earning a ton of frequent flyer miles. I have worked for GM for almost 24 years now spending most of my career in manufacturing engineering. Prior to GM, I worked at Lever Brothers Company for a couple years making soap related products. Lever Brothers was my first full time job after graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Later on I got my MBA from Oakland University. Personal interests include coin collecting, watching movies, home automation, vacationing at Walt Disney World and spending time with my family at our cottage on Lake Huron. I am also a huge Spartan fan and love college football and basketball where I catch as many games as possible on my big screen in the basement. That is enough about me for now. I look forward working with Jennifer Lengyel and our Junior High youth to make this a great year full of fun and growth in Christ.
Thanks and God Bless.
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august 2017 connection

August 2017 Connection

august 2017 connection
This and That from Dr. J. 
Praying you are all enjoying your summer with family and friends.  I’m thankful that so many of us have a chance to take in the beauty of these warm, sometimes hot months here in Michigan and other parts of the country.Praying you are all enjoying your summer with family and friends.  I’m thankful that so many of us have a chance to take in the beauty of these warm, sometimes hot months here in Michigan and other parts of the country.
Rev. Laurie and I have been blessed to visit many family members in the U.S. and in Canada – including our North Bay, Ontario brother Jeff, our sister Debbie and her husband Bill, Toronto daughter Dimitra and Joanna the Godmother to Serena, Laurie’s youngest daughter.  Most recently we had the great joy to see our nephew Jake Jr., his wife Sica and daughter Naomi, plus granddaughters Sydney and Reese Spears in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  When we asked the girls what the highlight of our visit with them was, they said “spending time with us and eating ice cream everyday.”  Their mother and father, Tera and Hampton, also appreciated our time with the their beautiful, gifted daughters. I hope that you will have a chance to meet our family in the not too distant future, including my twin sister, Judy, and her husband Melvin who we stayed with in Burnsville, a suburb of Minneapolis. 
We are thankful to God for creating memories with family and friends. And now we have returned to create more life highlights with the people I serve. Both Reverend Laurie and I look forward to memory-making with Grand Blanc area children at VBS this year.  I look forward to the special church events noted in my personal calendar and the worship experiences that are being planned. Thank you for being faithful and supporting the life and mission of your church.  Thank you for caring for each other and the stranger. Thank you for your willingness to bring people together so that God’s love can be shared across all boundaries.  Thank you for your willingness to learn how to reach others who are not part of any faith community.  And thank you for being open-minded to learn how to be a church that reflects the changes that are taking place in Grand Blanc and in the world. 
There are individuals in our church who are currently reading a book called Reaching Millennials by David Stark.  My expectation is that we will be forging new frontiers as we reach out to younger families and individuals in our church and the surrounding area who are looking for authentic places of worship.  They are looking for genuine, and accepting places to grow in their spirituality.  I believe this is the generation that will help us share the gospel and assist in defining what the church needs to do to be relevant going forward in the future.  
I look forward to seeing you later this month as we continue to gear up for the Fall. Bless you and your family as we welcome and celebrate the blessings of God.                            
Julius E. Del Pino
Lead Pastor
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dr j first year

July 2017 Connection

dr j first year
This and That From Dr. J.
This section contained a photo collage of Dr. J’s first year here at Grand Blanc United Methodist Church.  If you are interested in viewing the photos, please contact the church office for a hard copy. 
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The Miracle of Encouragement

June 2017 Connection

The Miracle of Encouragement
This and That from Dr. J
On Sunday, May 14 of this year, my sermon title was The Miracle of Encouragement. This was the Sunday we commonly refer to as The Festival of The Christian Home – Mothers Day. In the sermon for that day, I listed ten reminders to help us enjoy the gift of life and each other. Upon request from a number of people I have decided to share them again in this June edition of the Connection. I hope you find them informative. If you would like a full copy of this sermon, let Cathy know and she will have a copy for you in the office.
10. Remember that it’s best to not travel alone.
9. Remember that a sense of humor is not bad.
8. Remember that the bible is your best road map for living, so read it often.
7. Remember, prayer means staying in touch with God.
6. Remember that no matter what obstacle may come your way…with steadfast faith in God, you will not be defeated.
5. Remember, to stop and take time to breath and take in the beauty of God’s world. We are not here forever.
4. Remember as you encounter the hard knocks, you always have a choice; you can give in or you fight for what God wants you to have.
3. Remember, as you move on down the road….to love in a wholly holy way, to forgive unreservedly, and to serve unselfishly.
2. Remember, to keep the battery plugged into the right power source…..that source being the gospel….the way of Christ.
1. Remember to be very careful on life’s journey because you are important to God and God Loves you beyond measure….you are of value…because God gave us the most precious gift of all.
Faithfully, Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
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common grace may 2017

May 2017 Connection

common grace may 2017
The 2016/2017 choral year is coming to a close.  All of us in Common Grace would like to say “thank you” for your continued support and encouragement!
Once again this year, we have focused on contemporary, classic and original music…that we hope you have found meaningful, enjoyable….and yes….at times fun!!  
I would like to personally thank the singers for their continued dedication, hard work and total effort for Common Grace and the music leadership they provide at the 9:00 service!  They are a wonderful group of people!
So…thank you to…..Andrew Dick, Rev. Laurie Del Pino, Joni Donaldson, Melinda Elmore-Hajek, Cathy Mitchinson, David Russell and Stacey Tyckoski….for another year of hard work!!
Also, on May 21st…Common Grace will be presenting their second annual ‘Top Ten concert!  The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. and features the top 10 songs of the past year….selected by the singers!  There will be a free-will offering with all of the proceeds benefit FISH of Grand Blanc. We hope you will come out and be with us for this fun program!
Gary Brandt
Director of Common Grace & 9:00 AM Service Music Leader
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