March 2019 Connection

This and That from Dr. J…
Hibernating over this cold wintry winter? Not us!
A poem about Winter by Rumi (13th C Persian poet):
Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter
It’s quiet
But the roots are down there riotous
While we have experienced an unusually cold winter and lots of snow to remind us that we live in
the great state of Michigan, we as a congregation have not been dormant. We’ve been downright “riotous” as Rumi’s poem suggests, in spite of the cold, cold days. We have continued to grow and remain active in touching lives and responding to our own immediate needs.
Have you noticed the past few months the following activities that have sparked a new excitement and interest?
The Covenant and Renewal experience. This group of people has met over a period of five weeks to learn about the mission and ministry of our congregation. They have formed relationships with each other as they grow in grace together. From this group, two children have been baptized, and some have already identified their ministry passion. They were all joyfully welcomed into membership on February 24th. Please be sure and introduce yourself to them when you see them.
In another ministry area, a group of us travelled to the home of Dr. Luay and Ruba Alkotob in Flint for a screening of the movie, Sultan and the Saint. This showing was in honor of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony week. It is a true story about the attempt of Saint Francis of Assisi and Muslim leader, El-Karem to bring a peaceful ending to the Roman Crusades into Egypt. Members of the Bahai, Muslim and Christian faiths spent the afternoon of February 17 and were treated to a spread of Arabic food, discussing questions provided by the producer of the movie leading towards ideas of peacemaking efforts. Seven people from Grand Blanc UMC took part.
In the area of our most pressing need, a new roof, ambitious and determined individuals have formed a team to raise funds for this new roof. Even our children and youth are committed to this effort as well. How many of you bought Girl Scout cookies on February 17 in fellowship hall? Did you know that $1.00 of each box sold goes towards a new roof? Another example of a youth getting behind this cause is the selling of decorative elastic hair bands. Are you aware from this initiative alone, one thousand dollars has been raised by one child from the Grand Blanc congregation? If these young creative, faithful children can do that, what can you and I do?
God bless you for contributing above and beyond your annual pledge and tithe. A heartfelt thank you to all for implementing creative ideas to get this done. The Raise the Roof Team has more than ten ideas that are actively coming into fruition. If you have an idea, please send it on to the Raise the Roof Team.
Another example of our “riotous” activity in the depths of winter is the monthly Parents Night Out that is very well attended. I am deeply moved by the number of children who are left in our care and the number of congregation members who have “stepped up” to provide activities and loving care while parents have a night of relief from responsibilities of child rearing. Thanks again to church members who show up to support this ministry in caring for these darling children. Have you volunteered to help?
We are also very grateful that new people to this church are stepping up to assume leadership positions to support the new church vision statement. We have prayed for this time of new life…….and thanks be to God here it comes.
Bless you all in this New Year of New Life.
Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
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