CONNECTION

 
Bells

April 2017 Connection

Bells
Greetings, Salutations, and Tintinnabulations from the Celebration Ringers and their new director, Nancy Petrie! It’s been quite an intense start to Nancy’s tenure as director with lots of new music, new rules, new directing styles, new friends. Nancy comes to the program with a degree in music education from CMU and many years of choral teaching experience. Nancy is also an experienced bell director, ringer, and a published composer of bell music (she earned a whopping $28 from her piece!).  
 
The Celebration Ringers of GBUMC have been ringing once a month on the second Sunday of the month. We will be finishing our season by ringing on March 12, April 16, and May 14 at the 11:00 o’clock service. We also rang for the FISH Musicale in February.  
We are also ringing at the annual Peggy Van Vlack Memorial Handbell Festival, this year with Russell Van Vlack conducting, on April 22 at Faith Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc. There will be posters out about this one! It should be a grand time!
 
Members of the Celebration Ringers will join with Ringspiration from Goodrich UMC to ring at the Handbell Musicians of America Area V Ring in Lansing on April 28-29. This event brings together many handbell ringers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia in a two-day conference which culminates in a concert of everyone ringing.
 
We are always looking for new ringers. We could use two experienced ringers right away…our folks work very hard but are “short-handed.” If you can’t commit to a weekly rehearsal, then consider becoming a substitute ringer for those mornings when things happen outside our control.
 
Plans for the future: These plans include building a children’s bell choir, starting a low-key beginning bell choir for adults, and welcoming anyone who loves the ethereal sound of bells to listen to our anthems and programs. We encourage anyone with ringing experience who wants to get better to try solo ringing or small ensemble ringing. We have experience with both and can help you!
 
Lastly, thank you for your continuing support for the handbell program at GBUMC. There is so much love and faith in this group. It is truly a blessing!
 
I’m stealing and paraphrasing the following from a former president of the Handbell Musicians of America, Jacques Kearns: While the casting of the bell is beautiful bronze and shiny and unique, without the handle and the clapper inside, it is just a piece of metal. Our lives are much like that—without the inner workings and the structure we cannot make the beautiful sounds. I believe that we are the inner workings and that God is the handle of the bell, the support, the structure which makes the bell able to sound. Without God, nothing happens. With God, the music is glorious.
 
Yours in love,
 
Nancy Petrie
 
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Wooden Post in the Field Worship 2

March 2017 Connection

Wooden Post in the Field Worship 2
This and That from Dr. J
 
One of the fundamental challenges in life is the ability to relate authentically to another person’s culture and religious traditions.  We are often able to live closely to other people, without really entering into their lives, without developing sensitivity to their needs, wishes and hopes that will foster friendship rather than indifference. I have learned over the years that it takes hard work, courage, persistence, commitment and insight to develop true appreciation of who another person is and how that person has come to see the world. 
 
I am happy to say that Reverend Laurie and I have been intentional in reaching out to faith communities differing from our own. After having visited over fourteen houses of worship in the Grand Blanc and Flint areas, I am convinced that building bridges and learning to understand and appreciate the history and culture of these religious systems will broaden our understanding of the human condition, and increase our faith and trust to embrace the spirit of unity amidst diversity. As Reverend Laurie shared in her Interfaith class, reaching out to other faith groups is written into both the United Methodist Book of Discipline and Resolutions. It is part of our mandate and polity as United Methodists. Remember the words of Jesus, “I was a stranger and you took me in.” Valuing other faith groups does not mean you are abandoning your core faith or neglecting your religious traditions. I believe what you are doing is respecting and honoring other unique pathways to God as we grasp the true broad embrace of Christ-like inclusion. In His time Samarians, Romans, and Gentiles were all “other faith groups”. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi or teacher.
 
What I have also learned on this pilgrimage is that we don’t need to be strangers to each other. Given the current state of our country, I am glad we can learn from each other by celebrating our uniqueness and the beauty of our traditions. Let’s keep the dialogue alive as we grow in Christian faith that teaches us to love and care for all of God’s creation.
 
Plan on attending the Multi-faith Pot Luck gathering here at GBUMC on Tuesday, February 28 at 6:30pm. Bring a favorite dish to share and come ready to eat, listen to understand and to learn.
 
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Greetings from the Music Department

February 2017 Connection

Greetings from the Music Department

 

Greetings from the Music Department,
 
Currently, we have the Common Grace group at our 9:00am worship service, the Chancel Choir at our 11:00am worship service and Celebration Ringers, the handbell ensemble that plays seven times throughout the fall and winter months. A children’s handbell ensemble has recently been established and a children’s singing group is involved in special children’s programs.
 
Membership in each of these groups is small. As church membership increases, hopefully, these groups will become more stable and develop a larger amount of music available for Sunday services.
 
There is a great need for the reestablishment of a children’s choir and a youth choir.
 
We are also hoping to start a liturgical dance group this spring comprised of youth.
 
We currently have many members in the congregation who have abilities to play instruments. Many are gifted to speak foreign languages. We need to encourage these gifted individuals to share their talents in worship.
 
Our worship experience will become more dynamic and meaningful when we work together to build our music program.
 
Religious music education, Bible Study, and religious education at all levels will help our community of worshippers expand as new members join the church.
 
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Colossians 3:16 
 
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January 2017 Connection

By the time you receive this copy of the Connection, we will be in a new year. The year 2016 is now behind us. For 2017, there will be new opportunities for spiritual growth and formation. New groups will be formed to cultivate new relationships. And we will continue to support existing groups as the need arises. I believe in supernatural prayer. So, I am praying God will give each of us eyes of faith to see that Christ is present in everything we do and say. I believe in my heart that the spirit of this congregation is open and ready to support a fresh vision for helping this church to recognize stewardship as an ongoing journey to respond to God’s claim and call on our lives. Are you ready for the journey?   
 
A very faithful and loving member/leader shared the following with me and with the Administrative Council. It inspired me to share it with you! I think it says lots about where much of our energy and  focus needs to go in 2017 and beyond. I hope this story broadens your understanding and gives you more hope for the future of your church. 
 

“She…has given everything she had.” Mark 12:44 NLT

God doesn’t want your generosity to be restricted by fear. Either you’ll trust Him financially and experience the joy of participating in His purposes on earth, or trust your own earning ability and live with anxiety. The danger of not moving to a higher level of giving is that you can miss out on something great that God wants to do for you-and through you. Count on it; at some point He’ll challenge you to give more than you’ve ever given before. And at that moment your faith will cause you to say yes, or your fear will cause you to dismiss it as impractical. That’s a pivotal point in your life, because your response to God’s challenge will determine your future. Some levels of giving are effortless, while others make us uneasy. Sooner or later we all hit a wall called fear, and unless you recognize it you’ll never be able to break through it. As a result you’ll live with less than God intends you to enjoy. What’s the solution? Change your concept of ownership! Adolphe Monod said, “There’s no portion of money that is our money and the rest God’s…It’s all His; He made it all, gives it all, and has entrusted it to us for His service.” If you believe that, there’s no reason not to give. However, getting God involved in your finances means surrendering control of your money to Him. And that can be scary. Jesus’ model for generosity was a widow who gave her last penny, without having anything to fall back on except God’s promise to meet her needs. When you reach that point, you’re on the threshold of the miraculous.

 

Grace and Peace to you all,

Julius E. Del Pino
 
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Sermon Take Aways – All Saints Sunday

Matthew 5:13-16

Sermon take-aways: We belong to eternity; we belong to God, We will die, but do not “pass away”—the world passes away; we must be courageous to live and love eternally as children of God.

 
As human beings we seem to be time-bound creatures who live within a limited time-frame. Yet we also sense that there is more; that this is not all we are. We also belong to eternity. If we let ourselves surrender to the beauty of God’s claim on us, we can sense a realm beyond time and above time, the realm of the divine.
 
This morning. As we mourn the loss of our loved ones, we also come to say thank you God? It takes courage to live believing that what we do with our life matters beyond this lifetime. It takes courage to risk the possibility that
we are loved eternally and that we are to have the courage to love
eternally… to love even when we cannot comprehend the mystery of life and death.
 
We and our loved ones, belong to eternity. We will die, but we do not pass away. The world passes away. We are all destined to let go of this world, and surrender to eternity. Do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
 
Listen up! Take heart – we will meet our loved ones again in eternity.

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Sermon Take Aways – Turning our Defeats into Victories

Philippians 1:12-14

Sermon take-aways: We can break down and feel sorry for ourselves, we can break out with resentment, or we can break through with trust.

 
When life hurts and hearts have been broken, we have three choices:
 
First, we can break down with self-pity. Self-pity distorts reality. It gets in the way of receiving and giving love. Self-pity makes us self-centered and blocks what God is doing in our lives.
 
Second, we can choose to break out with resentment. Those who do this become bitter and hostile. They live with no hope and sense of God’s goodness. They live in the valley of resentment and give up embracing the promises of God. There is always a choice; another way. In the words of FDR, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
 
Third, if we truly make every effort to live in the spirit of Oneness with God, we will break through with trust that God is reliable and can be trusted.
 
We must continue trusting, living and working to remain open to the presence of Christ so we can face each day with the assurance that God will give us exactly what we need when we need it. We must remain faithful and hopeful!

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Sermon Take Aways – A Love That Refreshes

John 4:7-15

Sermon take-aways: Jesus offers living water that continually refreshes, and which we can’t contain, but must share first-hand, with others.

 

We will never be thirsty again when we drink from the well of refreshing water that Jesus offers each of us.

The move from second-hand religion to first-hand religion issues the mandate to tell someone else about our faith experience. When we have something so good and so life-giving, we just can’t keep it to ourselves. As with the Samaritan woman at the well, we WILL find ways to tell others about the One who dwells within us as a stream of refreshing love.


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Sermon Take Aways – Ready, Willing, and Able

Luke 15:11-32

Sermon take-aways:  God’s love is recklessly extravagant (prodigal). He is ready, willing and able to love and accept us back into new life.

 

The definition of the word “Prodigal” is “being recklessly extravagant.“ This parable points not so much to the younger son being prodigal in living, as it does to the father being prodigal in loving.

This parable says God is recklessly extravagant when it comes to loving us! We can do nothing to earn nor are there any limitations or restrictions to God’s love.

This parable affirms the uniqueness and beauty of Christianity in that God never gives up on anyone.

This parable reminds us that no matter how far away from home you are…how broken you are… God is always ready, willing and able to accept you and heal you into wholeness!

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Sermon Take Aways – The Bread of Life

Matthew 26:26-29

World Wide Holy Communion

Sermon take-aways:

In scripture, bread is the symbol of Forgiveness; of Compassion; of Revelation

 
In scripture, bread is the symbol of forgiveness. In New Testament time, when people were at odds with one another and then reconciled, the joy of coming together was celebrated and sealed by the breaking of bread together.
 
In scripture, bread is the symbol of compassion. The compassion of Jesus makes it possible for us to face the nature of our sin. It helps us to really understand the sacrifice He made for us. Our brokenness is able to transform from despair to hope.
 
In scripture, bread is the symbol of revelation. Revelation means to make clear, or to make known. In Luke 24:13-35, the risen Jesus comes upon two disciples walking the Emmaus road in great despair. As He walks along with them they do not recognize Him. It is not until they ask Him to share a meal, and He breaks the bread, that they finally realize its Jesus. He is made known to them in the breaking of bread. It was a symbol of forgiveness, compassion and revelation!
 
When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus feeds us with his grace and forgiveness. We enter into communion with him and with one another.

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