Monthly Archives: November 2016

Pastor’s Ponderings

The holiday season is upon us with all its splendor, busyness, and time together for so many. Starting with Thanksgiving, we have the opportunity to gather with family and friends and celebrate the goodness that God has bestowed upon us and we have an opportunity to thank Him for the many blessings which we have received. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a very busy season starting with Advent and moving through to the New Year. This time of the year gives us a very special time in which we celebrate the goodness of the world around us in so many different ways.

Advent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the birthday of Christ Jesus. Advent time is intended to help us to slow things down around us and it is intended to help us focus on the reason for Christmas. I encourage you during the Advent Season to take time for God. Whether it be participating in a daily Advent Devotional, attending our church Advent Study Program, “The Redemption of Scrooge” on Thursday nights, attending special worship services or volunteering for special activities such as our outreach project Christmastime, where we will reach out to the residents at Heartland Healthcare in Whitehall. During this holiday season and, at all times of the year, we are to join together to be in and support of missions. We are to remember that Christmas is a celebration of our Christian faith and Jesus Christ our Savior and the life He gave us starting with His birth in a manger.

As busy as this season can get I want to encourage you to take the time to be with family, friends and in community with other Christian sisters and brothers as we celebrate all the goodness and love that we have for each other through Jesus Christ. Look for the opportunities to be with and to share the holiness of the season and remember it is good to give and to celebrate the receiving of love, care and concern from each other. As your pastor, I want to extend to you blessings for the season of these holidays and the special blessing that we receive knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. May the Holy Spirit lead and guide you during this special season as followers of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Snow/Bad Weather Church Cancellation Policy

Being out in the country in Michigan means you never know what the weather is going to be from one minute to the next. At times, it is necessary, for the safety of our congregants, to cancel a Sunday service. It has always been our policy to call each member to notify them of this, so stick by your phone on those crazy, snowy Sunday mornings or you may be the only person at CUMC that day.

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas is a unique year in that Christmas falls on a Sunday. That means we will be having a special Christmas Eve service on Saturday night and will be meeting again Sunday morning. We will meet Saturday night at 6:00 pm for a candlelight service of song, prayer and worship; and will be meeting again on Christmas morning at our regular time of 10:30 am. Such a special event as the birth of our Savior deserves this “double” worship, don’t you think?

Caroling at Heartland Healthcare

Set aside the afternoon of Sunday, December 11th from 2:30pm – 3:30pm to make a visit to Heartland Healthcare. We’ll be taking snacks, Christmas cards, and our voices so that we can sing and party with the residents. We have a pianist lined up (our very own Cynthia Bagley), the dining room is reserved, and the food is being readied, so come help us celebrate this sacred time of year by reaching out to the elderly.

Your Help is Appreciated

Baskets of treats/crafts/games, etc. are going to be made for each of the Sunday School kids for Christmas. We would like to invite the congregation to share in this loving gesture by donating toward the purchase of these items. Please give your donation to Kathy by  December 11th. Thank You!

Advent Program

We will be having Advent gatherings on Thursday evenings starting December 1st and continuing through December 15th from 7:00-8:30 pm. The program “The Redemption Of Scrooge” looks at Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, through the lens of faith. We will view a DVD presentation and them have discussion time. Come and bring your friends. The more people we have, the better the discussions. Hope to see you there!

Advent Candle Lighting

We are looking for individuals, families and those we can gather together to light our Advent Candles and do a brief reading during worship in our Advent Season. Please sign up on the sheet provided in the Fellowship Hall.

UMW Corner

The Claybanks United Methodist Women met on Thursday November 17th @ 1:00 pm in the fellowship hall of the church. The meeting opened with a devotion and prayer. Roll was taken, minutes from the October 20th meeting were read and the current treasurer’s report was made.

The discussions centered around the plans for decorating the church for Christmas and the plans for services during Advent. Since the first Sunday of Advent is the 27th of November and Thanksgiving falls early this year it means that we will have Christmas Day falling on a Sunday. Services will be held on Christmas Day at the regular 10:30 hour and a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be held on Saturday December 24th at 6:00pm. The discussion centered mostly around the plans Pastor Gary has for the children of the church to decorate the church on the first Sunday of Advent with the “hanging of the greens” and the decoration of their tree.

Details were to be discussed further on Sunday November 21st after the service when several members of the UMW planned to start pulling the decorations out of the storage room.

Movie Night/Potluck

We’re still having get-togethers on Monday evenings at 5:30 pm to view a movie and have a good old fashion potluck. We don’t have very many people attending, but those that do are having a blast. Everyone has to eat supper, so why not come, bring a dish to pass, and give us a try. Even if you don’t like the move, the food is always good!!

Nursery Schedule
12/4 – Joyce Twiss
12/11 -Doris Graham
12/18 – Karen Anderson
12/25 – Edith Bogart

 

 

Upcoming Worship Schedule

December 4 – Isaiah 11:1-10 / Matthew 4:18-23
Remembrance of Christmas Past

December 11 – James 5:7-10 / Luke 2:8-20
The Greatest Gift

December 18 -Isaiah 7:10-16 / Luke 4:16-21
Accepting Christ’s Invitation

December 24 -Isaiah 9:2-7 / Luke 2:1-20

Christmas Eve Service – 6:00pm -December 25 -Isaiah 52:7-10 / Psalm 98
Merry Christmas!

Pastor’s Ponderings

June, July and August are great months for pastors to slow down, and take some extra Sabbath time. That was not the case for me this past summer with our new appointment and moving to the Claybanks community. As the summer progressed I realized that I needed to make some adjustments to my spiritual life in my semi-retirement. So I got out a book from my library and reread the book written by a close friend and a pastor that I admire greatly for her leadership, discipline, knowledge and who recently was elected a Bishop in our denomination. The book is Recess: Rediscovering Play and Purpose by Laurie Haller. Laurie is one of those people who always gets me to think beyond the words and pages in so many different areas even beyond what she is writing about. One of the things that she has gotten me to ponder on several occasions, both when she was a district superintendent and also when she writes a weekly blog, was how I can become a better disciple for Jesus Christ. As I ponder this and other things I come to one of the basic questions that a pastor will ask of themselves. One of the things I’ve spent some time thinking about late this summer is how to help people get to know Jesus Christ and grow in their faith. The gift of new life and love that Jesus offers us is amazing and unlike anything else we have ever known and I want everyone to experience God’s miraculous, saving, and transforming power. When the time is right and the Holy Spirit is moving, I want to make myself available to helping all people – adults, children and anyone within my reach. I want to help them choose to receive the treasure, “The gift of salvation for themselves”. Many years ago when I was doing my exploration to become a pastor I saw this as possibly one of the callings that I might have as a pastor. I am also convinced that this is our job as a church. We have a biblical mandate and missionary responsibilities to, “Go into all the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the trans-formation of the world.” You see as United Methodists, we are called to make this a core part of our existence. It should be woven into our very DNA.

I know we ask ourselves how do we do this over and over again?!?! It’s one of the toughest questions we probably ask ourselves even to the point where we would say it’s a million-dollar question, but I think we already know the answer. Everything we do revolves around loving God, growing together, and serving others. This is our pathway to discipleship and we will continue talking about it during this fall and into the winter on a number of occasions. I have planned my messages for Sundays to seek an answer to the “million dollar” question.

• When we come together to worship and intentionally welcome first-time guests and lifelong members into the community of faith, we are loving God.
• When we give our prayers, presents, gifts, service, and witness day in and day out, we are loving God.
• When we host community activities in our church or on church grounds for our community, we are growing together.
• When we participate in small Bible Study groups during the year, during Advent or during Lent, we are growing spiritually.
• When our members volunteer to be a part of Family Promise or other local mission projects with hands on experiences, we serve God’s children.
• When we welcome and teach young people about Jesus, the love of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we share the, “Good News”.
Disciples are being made at Claybanks UMC because you and I are taking ownership and are working hard to reach new people and new places with the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us keep up the good work and learn how to take the next step. Thanks be to God for the ways in which the Holy Spirit is moving in the ministries and programs of Claybanks UMC, keeping it alive and well.

Sabbath time and recess are renewal times. I have found over many years now that we get much renewal, energy and excitement when we experience the power of the Holy Spirit in what we do for and with others in the name of Christ. May we continue to seek ways in which to make disciples for the transformation of the world in Jesus’ name!

Announcements and Stuff

Summer Camp Fundraiser

Please join us once again for the “Oh So Good” annual Pancake breakfast fundraiser for our kids to attend church camp in the summer of 2017. We will serve Mrs. Twiss’ famous homemade pancakes and sausage after service on November 13th. Please join us for food and fellowship, all are welcome, so invite a friend. There is such a supportive and giving nature present in our church family and it is so appreciated by our kids for your generosity of love. Thank you for investing in their growth in the Lord!!

“In him you too are being built to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit” Ephesians 2:22

Nursery Schedule
11/6 – Karen Anderson
11/13 -Edith Bogart
11/20 -Carol Adams
11/27 -Kathy Ohman

Mission News

The Missions Committee would like to have a church-wide food pantry collection. We will give the food for Thanksgiving to the Trinity Lutheran Church pantry in Stony Lake for them to load into Thanksgiving baskets. There will be a table set up in the “Missions Corner” of the Fellowship Hall. We will be collecting October 15 – November 15. Thank you in advance for your generous contribution to help the needy at a time when we all have so much to be thankful for.

This year, for an Outreach project at Christmastime, we would like to reach out to the residents at Heartland Healthcare in Whitehall. The Missions Committee has arranged for us, as a group, hopefully a large group, to spread some holiday cheer with the residents. More information will be coming as the particulars are worked out. For now, mark your calendars for December 11th from 2:30 – 3:30 to join us in spreading the holiday cheer and the love that our Baby Jesus has brought into the world.

UMW Corner

Claybanks UMW met on Thursday October 20th @ 1pm. Opened with a devotional, prayer, minutes of the last meeting and the treasurer’s report. The treasurer brought up that it’s that time of year to send our donations to various charities supported by Claybanks UMW. Our charities each year are: International Aid, Community House of Grand Rapids, Rescue Mission, Child Evangelism and Oceana Medical Facility. Upcoming plans for the holidays were discussed as they will be on us before we realize it. Planning for the 1st Sunday in Advent (Nov 27th) and decorating the church on Thursday Dec. 1st were discussed. The next meeting is Thursday November 17th and all women are invited to join us. Prayers for our church members that are sick and suffering from various issues.

Christmas Eve Service

This Christmas is a unique year in that Christmas falls on a Sunday. That means we will be having a special Christmas Eve service on Saturday night and will be meeting again Sunday morning. We will meet Saturday night at 6:00pm for a candlelight service of song, prayer and worship; and will be meeting again on Christmas morning at our regular time of 10:30am. Such a special event as the birth of our Savior deserves this “double” worship, don’t you think?

Bible Study

We began a Bible Study Class on the Old Testament Book Proverbs on October 20th at 7:00 pm and will be meeting for five weeks concluding on Thursday November 17th’. Our study includes readings and discussion from “The Teachers Instruction (1:1-9:18), “The Wise Men’s Proverbs (10:31-31:31) and Wisdom In Various Settings found throughout Proverbs. Join us for any of the classes during the study weeks. The more the merrier.

Hanging of the Greens

Sunday, November 27th we will be having a Hanging of the Greens during our church service. The children will be helping to decorate our church as well as a few adults. Come be a part of preparing our church to receive the King of Kings.

Snow/Bad Weather Church Cancellation Policy

Being out in the country in Michigan means you never know what the weather is going to be from one minute to the next. At times it is necessary, for the safety of our congregants, to cancel a Sunday service. It has always been our policy to call each member to notify them of this, so stick by your phone on those crazy, snowy Sunday mornings or you may be the only person at CUMC that day.

Advent Program

We will be having Advent gatherings on Thursday evenings starting December 1st and continuing through December 15th from 7:00-8:30 pm. The program “The Redemption Of Scrooge” looks at Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, through the lens of faith. We will view a DVD presentation and them have discussion time. Come and bring your friends. The more people we have, the better the discussions. Hope to see you there!

Church Conference

The Church Conference will be held Sunday, November 13th. We will be having a regular church service followed by the pancake breakfast fundraiser for the kid’s summer camp. Following the breakfast, our SPRC will be meeting at 1:30pm with the Conference being held at 2:30pm. Please come to church that morning with the intentions of staying afterwards to support our youth and staying a little longer for our Church Conference. We all have a voice in our church business. Let’s use it!

Veteran’s Day

Because Veteran’s Day falls on Friday this year, we will be recognizing the veterans of our church as well as those from the general population and those that have passed away in a special ceremony on Sunday, November 13th. We encourage veterans from all branches of the service to please be in attendance that day so that we may give you the recognition you deserve.

A Few things to ponder this month:

“You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer your list, the smaller your God.”

“I thank God for protecting me from what I thought I wanted and blessing me with what I didn’t know I needed”

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

Upcoming Worship Schedule

November 6 – Psalm 145:1-5 – Luke 20:27-38 – Message: Tricks of Religious Leaders

November 13th – Isaiah 65:17-25 – Thessalonians 3:6-13 – Message: Partners With Christ – Veterans Honored During Service

Church Conference 2:30pm – November 20th

Colossians 1:11-20 – Luke 23:33-43 – Message: The King Made It Possible

November 27th – The 1st Sunday of Advent – Psalm 122 – Romans 13:11-14 Message: Opening Our Selves