Monthly Archives: November 2020

Pastor’s Message

I’m sorry to say that we most likely will not be able to return to indoor in person worship in the near future. The Claybanks United Methodist Church and the Michigan Area United Methodist Conference are being diligent in meeting the recommendations set forth by our state and county health department. It has been and will be difficult for us to not meet together in worship and participate in other activities that we as a church family Have been blessed to be able to do together.

Sunday, November 29th is the beginning of the Advent season. To prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior on Christmas we light Advent candles, read scripture and join in meditations of Advent. These practices are important to us as Christians to be ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Preparation is important and so that you might be able to prepare I would like to have you participate in Advent by making a home Advent Wreath with candles and engaging in Advent readings, meditation and prayer. To do so please make a special place in your home where you can celebrate Advent.

Find a location in your home where you can place an Advent Wreath.
Get some fresh boughs from your yard or use some from your holiday decorations. Place them in a circle. Place four tea candles or other candles in a circle within the wreath. Place one candle in the middle. If colored candles are available, three of the outside ones should be one color (purple) and the fourth (pink or rose) and the center candle white. On each Sunday of Advent light one candle for each week as we progress through Advent with the center fifth candle to be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning. For our Advent practice use these Advent readings including Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. First light one or more of the candles depending on the number of weeks into Advent. Read the Scripture provided. I would suggest maybe one scripture each day. Read the response and meditation followed by prayer for each of the Advent Sundays or days during the week and Christmas. Following with a time of quiet and reflection

Please be sure for safety to extinguish the Advent wreath candles. Know that many of our Claybanks United Methodist Church Family are joining you as we honor the Advent season.

Week One – Sunday November 29th

Isaiah 64:1 – 9, Psalm 80:1 – 7, 17 – 19, 1 Corinthians 1:3 – 9, Mark 13:24 – 38
In God there is always hope that a new reality might be created. May God’s hope for the world become our hope as well.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Two – Sunday, December 6th

Isaiah 40:1, Psalm 85:1 – 3, 8 – 13, 2 Peter 3:8 – 15, Mark 1:1 – 8
God’s vision for the world is one in which all creation is at peace. May this vision guide our lives as well.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Three – Sunday, December 13th

Isaiah 61:1 – 4, 8 – 11, Psalm 126, Luke 1:46 – 55, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 24, John 1:6 – 8, 19 – 28
We anticipate with joy God’s presence breaking into our world each day, as it did long ago.
Meditation followed by prayer

Week Four – Sunday, December 20th

2 Samuel 7:1 – 11, 16, Luke 1:46 – 55, Psalm 86:1 – 4, 19 – 26, Romans 16:25 – 27, Luke 1:26 – 38
As we journey into the last week of Advent, we prepare our hearts to receive God’s love made incarnate in the birth of Christ. Let us be inspired by the traditional words of, “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. Meditation followed by prayer.

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day December 24th – 25th
Isaiah 9:2 – 7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11 – 14, Luke 2:1 – 14, 15 – 20
Today we recognize the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we continue to express our longing, and may our reflections and prayers prepare our hearts for Christ coming. May you and your loved ones experience the fullness of Christ’s presence this Christmas season and God’s peace in your heart as you enter the New Year.

Additional Advent Activity
Cut paper strips (Colored if available) you choose the size. Print on each strip one of these Advent words: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Each day in Advent attach one of the strips to extend your chain making an Advent Chain hanging in a prominent place in your home. Maybe on each chain link, write a word that best reflect your meditation from your Advent Scripture reading of the day.

It is the prayer of Reba and myself that in this most unusual year of 2020 that we are able to recognize the blessings that God has given us and that we are able to use the blessings that God has in store for us in 2021 in our lives as we continue to make Disciples for Jesus Christ.
Be safe and stay well!
Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Covid 19 Update
The Claybanks United Methodist Church in order to keep our church family safe suspended the in-person meeting of worship and other church activities for December. Based on the continuing surge of Covid 19 infections in our community we will not be able to gather together until the alert level in our community is reduced. Your church leadership will continue to monitor and communicate with you the plans for our church family. Please keep each other in prayer. Continue to use whatever media you feel most comfortable with as you continue to stay in touch and support each other. Please also remember that your financial support is needed to continue meeting the financial obligations of the church that are ongoing.

The UMW would like to thank everyone who ordered from the RADA company during the month of October. From your orders, our ladies group made a profit of $178.00. We will try to make this an annual event. Thank You!!

Quotable Quotes

Use what talents you possess;
The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke

There is not surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved;
It is the finger of God on a man’s shoulder.
Charles Morgan

Do not worry about what people are thinking about you – for they are not thinking about you. They are wondering what you are thinking about them!

I regret often that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.
Rev. Jesse Jackson

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.
Will Rogers

Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. And when we are right, make us easy to live with.
Rev. Peter Marshall

Adversity introduces a man to himself.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
Victor Hugo

When a man has quietly made up his mind that there is nothing he cannot endure, his fears leave him.
Grove Patterson

Never argue at the dinner table, for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the argument.

Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t do any good. I know better. The things I worry about don’t happen!
The Watchman-Examiner

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.
Gustave Flaubert

It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.
It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what.
Joni Eareckson Tada

Be kind. Remember everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
T.H. Thompson

A Gift for the Soul

Written by
Mother Teresa

People are often un-
reasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse
you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people
may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be
enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

Upcoming Worship Schedule

December 6, 2020
Communion Sunday
2nd Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-11 / Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-23
Christmas at Matthew’s House

December 13, 2020
3rd Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 / Luke 2:1-14
Christmas at Luke’s House

December 20, 2020
4th Sunday of Advent
Psalm 96 / John 1:1-5, 14
Christmas at John’s House

December 24, 2020
Luke 1:26-56, 67-80 / Luke 2:1-20
Christmas Eve
Candle Light Service

December 27, 2020
Christmas Season
Psalm 148 / Galatians 4:4-7 / Luke 2:22-40
Simeon Followed God’s Spirit

Special Message Re: Church Service and Activities

November 9, 2020

Claybanks United Methodist Fellowship,

Under the need for “Prudent Care” it has been decide by the church leadership that the Claybanks UMC will suspend worship, meetings and all unnecessary activities from Monday November 9th through
Thanksgiving or possibly even beyond depending on how we assess the conditions for Covid-19 and the safety of our church family.

During the summer beginning in July we continually made assessment to the safely of gathering as a church family to worship and meet. In August with a low risk we began to meet outdoors for worship and in very small groups inside. As the weather moved us inside for worship and the need to resume some meeting functions of the church we have safely joined together in person.

During October and moving inside our assessment of the risk moved from low to a moderate risk. In the last of October and the first week of November we recognized that we have moved to a high risk assessment for our church. Based on assessment criteria, much information from the Oceana County Health Department and out sources we felt it necessary to suspend activities in our church in an overabundance of caution for our church family and by extension their families.

In addition the church family has influenced and confirmed our assessment for our worship attendance has declined during October as many of you have made the decision to confine or limit your activates under due caution.

Our plan is to continue to monitor and assess the Covid-19 pandemic and our ability to return to safer gatherings. We will continue to communicate with you by as many ways as possible such as email, United State Postal Service, newsletter, Facebook and our church website.

We pray that you are safe during this difficult time. Please also remember that you can initiate communication with me by phone or email. I do want and need to stay in contact with you and hear from you on important matters and in general your thoughts.

Peace and Love,
Pastor Gary

November 8th Service

November 8, 2020  10:30 a.m.

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

Praise Song: “Rejoice the Lord is King” #715


Processional (Altar candles to be lighted)

*Call to Worship
Leader: Today God’s Word will be spoken to your hearts.
All: Open our ears and hearts to receive God’s Word.
Leader: Today God’s love will be poured into your life.
All: Prepare us, Lord, to receive your love.
Leader: Hallelujah!
All: Hallelujah!

*Gloria Patri

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” #405

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

Prayer of Dedication

Hymn: “Steal Away to Jesus” #704

Sharing the Word –
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 78: 1-7 (pg. 468)
*Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 1-13 (page 806)

Message: Being Prepared for Jesus’ Coming -Pastor Gary

Hymn: “Blessed Assurance” #369



After using Hymnals and Bibles, please leave them on the pew/seat for cleaning! Thank you!

Calendar and Announcements

Sundays in November……..Food Bank Mission
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 4:30pm……Worship Design
7:00pm…………Ad Council
November 29………First Sunday of Advent and
Lighting of the 1st Advent Candle

Office Telephone: 231-923-0573
Office email:

Pianist: Suzanne Bellrichard
Liturgist: Edie Bogart
Ministers: All People As We Live the Good News

Pastor’s Ponderings

November 2020

I am in awe of Bishop David Bard the Bishop for the Michigan Area United Methodist Conference. Bishop Bard has a real appreciation and concern for the Michigan churches and pastors that he shepherds. He is in touch with our needs. In the first part of October Bishop Bard sent a message to us as clergy and churches for a reminder of the rules related to political activity of congregations and pastors concerning our 501(C) (3) tax exempt status.

I along with many other pastors have struggled this fall with how we are able to express our personal political views, for we are citizens of the United States and registered voters also. Yet because I am a pastor and at times looked to for leadership, I must still live under some much-needed rules so that I do not jeopardize our exempt status as a religious organization. As outlined by our Bishop, religious organizations such as the Claybanks United Methodist Church are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidates for elective public office. Nor as an institution we are not able to contribute to political campaigns or public statements of position in favor of or opposed to any candidate for political office. Voter education activities including public forums and publishing of voter education guides done in a nonpartisan manner are permissible.

Other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get out to vote drives would not constitute prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a nonpartisan manner. Individual expression by pastors on political matters or partisan candidates is not allowed if done during religious organized activities. Speaking concerning important issues of public policy are allowed under the tax-exempt rulings.

When I express my views on election matters or candidates outside of church activities I must make it clear that I am speaking as an individual and not as a representative of our church or our denomination. I have experienced this fall a real dilemma on how I can express my views and still meet the guidelines set forth to us as pastors. I do have some strong views about our politics and what is right and wrong as we approach our election day on November 3rd . Recently, I read an article written by one of the leaders of the John Wesley Movement concerning how John Wesley approached the political happenings of his day. John Wesley promoted these ideas. 1) Vote for the person you judge most worthy. 2) Speak no evil of the person you vote against. 3) Take care your spirit is not sharpened against those that vote on the other side of you. These three rules that John Wesley brought forward reminded me of my place, helped calm my soul and placed me back into a better presence as pastor. This newsletter message comes out right on the crest of voting on November 3rd and has implications for us not just prior and during voting but also after the votes have been counted and victory given.

So may my and your heart be strangely warmed as we call on the Holy Spirit to help us remember that God created us each with a free will and gifted each of us in many different ways.

I am allowed to encourage you to pray for our election, to go out and exercise your responsibility as a citizen of our great country, and vote on November 3rd. If you have not already exercised your right and privilege of voting please do not take this responsibility lightly.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Nomination Committee
We have opening for Church Leadership positions. If you would like to be considered or would like to nominate someone (please discuss with them prior to submitting that person’s name) contact Kathy Ohman, Konnie Grant, David Grossman, Edythe Brown, Brenen Twiss or Pastor.
Positions to be filled:
Financial Chair
Outreach and Missions Chair
Director of Christian Education
Worship Design Team Member

Community Food Drive
Claybanks UMC will be collecting food goods for the Trinity Lutheran Community Food Bank on the next few Sundays in November. On Sunday November 22 just prior to Thanksgiving we will celebrate and conclude our efforts with a Sunday Worship Message entitled “We Are A Food Bank”. Please bring your canned goods and non-perishable items to church through November 22nd. You will find containers in the fellowship hall in which to place you gifts. Thank you for your support of this community mission project.


Wow! Nary a cobweb anywhere! And dust, gone. Windows sparkle on the inside. This is all compliments of the UMW because following our October meeting, we ladies cleaned! Thank you UMW!

At the meeting, we hung the picture of the painting of the Lord’s last supper on the west wall of the main church entry. We talked about having Art’s beautiful sculpture of the Last Supper placed on the wall where the clock now is outside the office door and putting the clock on the wall by the “Pass thru” window by the kitchen. It should be the only thing on that wall and the pictures on the table beneath removed and placed elsewhere. Of course this is only with the approval of the artist, Art.

We planned to meet in November to decorate for Christmas, but that date is not fitting because it is before Thanksgiving. There is a short space of time between Thanksgiving and the first Sunday of advent which is the last Sunday of November. Let’s meet Thursday, December 3rd. Cinda and I will make sure the advent wreath and candles are in place for the 1st Sunday of Advent.

On a good note, we have permission from Gary to enjoy our usual pizza party the day we decorate!

Edie B.

Nursery Schedule

Nov. 1 – Carol Adams
Nov. 8 – Cheryl Gaultney
Nov. 15 – June Freeman
Nov. 22 – Kathy Ohman
Nov. 29 – Joyce Twiss

By Mary C. Davies
If I had known what trouble you were bearing;
What griefs were in the silence of your face;
I would have been more gentle, and more caring,
And tried to give you gladness for a space.
I would have brought more warmth into the place,
If I had known.
If I had known what thoughts despairing drew you;
(Why do we never try to understand?)
I would have lent a little friendship to you,
And slipped my hand within your hand,
And made your stay more pleasant in the land,
If I had known.


Thought for today:
by Sydney Sweeney

Dear Veterans,
Those of us who have not served
will never fully understand
the sacrifices you’ve made
both in times of peace and of war.

We will never fully understand
what you were required to do
or how you were able to do it.

We will never fully understand
the depth of your scars.

But what we can offer you is this:

We see you.

We recognize your humanity.
And we send you love
that is gentle, patient, and healing.
With blessings and gratitude,
we ask that you remember you are loved.
Thank you.