October 2018 Connection

State of the Church
Radical hospitality was expressed and shown through the members of GBUMC on Sunday, September 23.  As Zone 4 churches met to undertake the required and important task of reading booklets and voting on items, District Superintendent John Hice led us in a spirit filled worship reminding us of the reason we are all gathered: the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. Below you will read the state of the church report from your pastor.  Please take the time to read it thoroughly.  Questions? Make an appointment to see me.
Have any of you had the experience of weaving or knitting? Well, being a pastor of any church, large or small, is often like holding on to a skein of yard that is lovingly attached to people and programs. Sometimes the yarn is pulled and other times it is released. While at other times, there are strands to untangle and place in the hand of another in the church family. And as we all know, there are times when the strands seem hopelessly knotted beyond one’s power to unravel them. Thanks to the dedicated and faithful leadership of GBUMC, I believe I have found a “steadying strand” and know that through prayer and faith, and action, that God ultimately is holding the other end. I pray that through His power, I may channel His will for this body of believers. Please continue to pray for this to be so.
The reports in this Church Conference booklet are also a skein of yarn that many individuals have held and woven into ministries that have brought hope to empower this congregation to strategically be in ministry. Now that we have a powerful and relevant vision statement, each piece of yarn will need to be attached to the statement, or reworked, or left behind.
State of the Church? In summary it is “vibrant and slowly growing.” Below are the actions and ministries that lead me to this conclusion.
Annual ministry shares to the conference (formerly apportionments) are paid up to date.
FISH continues to serve the community. Currently in the works the Interfaith group of Grand Blanc has          applied for 501C status and they have included GBUMC in this group of faith organizations – this will benefit groups already established at GBUMC, such as FISH and the Multi-faith group, as they come under the umbrella of the Grand Blanc Interfaith group – they benefit by more people participating in each project – together we will touch more lives – GBUMC will also benefit financially from donations, contributions and government grants going to this organization.
Effective and successful VBS that reached into our community (over 80 children in attendance). Because of this ministry, more young families have attended Sunday worship. Bless you, Jessica Smith, for your leadership.
Worship in the Park – was very successful – new families started attending GBUMC as a result of this. Bless Common Grace under the leadership of Gary Brandt.
Musical Ministry – bless you Dr. Lee Pelton and Nancy Petrie for continuing to enrich our traditional service. A recent addition to this ministry is Katie Zahrt who has agreed to become a worship song leader for hymns every second Sunday of the month at the 11:00 service.
Seminary intern Eric Carlson and his family will be with us until May, 2019. Eric will assume ministry as a teacher and provide sacred encouragement to the sick and shut-in. He will also be teaching a class starting Sept. 19th. We all look forward to Eric’s Christ-like influence upon our congregation.
Think Tank – key people have volunteered to work with the pastor to identify creative and innovative ways    to share the story of GBUMC that will generate giving. Remember the fans? Bless you Shelly and Brian          Rice for your creative thinking and artistry empowering this initiative.
Our New Vision statement has been written and launched on Rally Sunday after 4 workshops:
Rule of Christ (led by Naomi Garcia)
Healthy Congregation (led by Naomi Garcia)
Forgiveness Workshop (Rev. Missy Young)
Neutralizing Sessions (led by Patty Dennis)
Elements of forming a vision statement (Patty Dennis)
Small groups in homes to collect data for vision
The Vision team worked diligently and faithfully to create a vision statement to revitalize this                congregation to be more of an effective, vibrant and relevant witness inside and outside of our            walls.
Our Statement gives a focus to which ministries are relevant.
Any ministry currently running and any ministries to be launched will be asked to align their                    objectives to the vision.
Worship Life – Susie and Julie continue to lead strongly in creating vibrant, dynamic, and spirit-filled worship services – must continue to build the worship life for all.
      Kris Ivan has assumed the responsibility for preparing the sacred space/altar area to inspire parishioners upon walking into the sanctuary.
Prayer Group – an integral backbone of this church, these members continue to provide prayer for the          pastor, his family and members of this church.
Finance – under the new leadership of Kevin Cook, the committee on finance is addressing immediate concerns relative to budget challenges, with greater commitment and understanding of how ministry needs to cohere with the vision. This congregation will and must keep pace with ministry needs supported by funds. I will be asking the administrative council and finance committee to read “Not your Parents Offering Plate” by Dec. 31, 2018. This is a must read.
Technology Ministry – Chad Ivan provides leadership in improving our tech ministries in order to fully utilize the equipment for expressing the word. He continues to identify and make improvements – such as a new TV screen in the back so those at the front can follow along.                                                                                      The yearly Multi-faith Pot-luck Gathering continues to draw a large group (this year 80) from the community from various faith groups interacting, rejoicing, entertaining, sharing and building relationships.
Education – thanks to Chair, Pam Eklund, for continuing to faithfully lead us in this ministry and to all those who volunteer to teach and provide leadership / assistance, love and care at Junior Church, and in classrooms on Sunday morning. We still have hope that funds will be identified to bring on staff a Director of Educational Ministries to give guidance and leadership to further enhance the quality of the current programs. We are also grateful for all those who teach and minister to our youth.
Trustees – under the leadership of Virginia Sullivan, we have continued to bring to our attention improvements that need to be included in immediate and future planning. For example: the church needs a new roof and soon. They orchestrated replacement of the boiler, and they did significant work on the parsonage, including replacing the furnace.
Outreach Team – continue to do what they do best – respond to needs locally, nationally and globally.
Care Team has been strengthened because of Carol Cerny’s leadership and the numerous people who provide visitation to those who are unable to attend worship. I’m thankful to Marilyn Horton’s weekly commitment to go with your pastor to visit. I will continue to visit any member who is unable to be in worship because of health issues.
Youth of the church continue to minister via the ASP trip every other year, fall and spring cleanup, and growing in their discipleship.
As you can see, it has been quite a year….threads have been woven into a beautiful and intricate mosaic of ministries that continue meeting needs in a significant way. Through it all, I believe we have accepted the call to follow Jesus….to grow in our witness, and our giving, as we remain open to new blessings, and keep moving forward touching the lives of those calling out for a Jesus touch. With the grace of God, we will continue to be a vital and dynamic congregation that reaches all who are without a home or family. We will also reach out as we care for those who are within. Let’s continue to be prayerful of our weaving as we grow in harmony with God’s will and purpose
Bless you all!
Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
The Season of Kingdomtide, 2018
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