Category Archives: Announcements and Stuff

Announcements and Stuff

United Methodist Women

As I sit here in the sun on a Sunday morning, I am remembering an old hymn “Shall we Gather at the River, the Beautiful the Beautiful River”. With that lovely hymn resonating in my heart, I invite any or all the UMW to gather at 1 PM at our church on the 3rd Thursday of July the 16th. We may not be working on the Strawberry Social, but we do need to plan a joyful recognition of our graduates, Kyra, Eric, and Lance. We will have a devotion time with a bit of humor and if permitted, a treat to eat.
It is perfectly okay if you feel you cannot attend because of the Covid-19 pandemic or any other reason. God loves us and we love each other, present or apart. We will maintain social distancing with masks. Bring your own coffee and no offense if treats are declined!
Shalom my friends and sisters in Christ, Edie Bogart

Nursery Schedule

July 5​​ – Cheryl Gaultney
July 12​​ – June Freeman
July 19 ​​- Kathy Ohman
July 26 ​​- Joyce Twiss
August 2 ​​- Doris Graham
August 9 ​​- Carol Adams

Mission Related

During the past couple of years, we as a congregation have supported the Step-Up Program in Muskegon helping young adults moving out of foster care. Dr. Kamps from Step Up has notified us about an open position that they are trying to fill. We are asking if you know of someone that might fulfill the position requirement to let them know about the position.

The Program Coordinator – The Program Coordinator meets weekly with the residents of both men’s and women’s houses to set and evaluate completion of goals for each individual. Areas to be addresses include education, transportation, job seeking, managing finances and the continued development of social skills. The Program Coordinator holds the residents accountable to move forward.

Financial Position -An update on the finances of the Claybanks United Methodist Church.

The financial position of Claybanks United Methodist Church as you would expect has changed during the three-plus months of Covid-19. While many of you have faithfully continued your normal giving, we have experienced a drop in contributions during Covid-19. The month of June has continued to show a decline in giving and to meet our financial obligations we have needed to dip into some of our reserves.

On July 1st which is halfway through our financial year Cinda Moulds, our Church Treasurer, has been asked by our Finance Committee to send out half-year statements to our congregation as a reminder of your commitment to support the Claybanks United Methodist Church with your financial gifts. As we look to coming back together in worship in the near future it is a prayer, hope, and desire that our church community will look at their financial position and support the Claybanks UMC in meeting our financial obligations.

John Wesley
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
(Contemporary Version)

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven.

And Can It Be that I Should Gain
By Charles Wesley

1. And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
o Refrain:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2. ’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

3. He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

5. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Announcements and Stuff

Quarantine Exercise
Help Reba and me Find Number Sixteen!

After two days of searching we can find only fifteen. On the first Sunday when we return together from Stay At Home, we will have a special recognition for those who found all sixteen Books of The Bible (Bring Your Sheet to Church).


Quarantine Exercise: Can you find the names of sixteen (16) books of the Bible hidden in the paragraph below?

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible (merely by a fluke). It kept people looking so hard for the facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now.

There really are sixteen names of books hidden in this story!

Look For Change- COVID-19

As we prepare for re-engaging our Claybanks Church Body these are a few of the changes you will or may experience as we gather for Worship, Bible Study, Sunday School, meetings, and other activities of the church.

Please monitor your health for signs of illness (Covid-19 or other illness) remain home and seek medical attention when needed.

We will enter through the double doors between the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall (please respect safe distancing as you approach and are waiting).

Face coverings will be necessary (you are encouraged to wear your own personal covering, or one will be provided for you).

Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in the entry way and throughout the church.

Temperatures with a non-contact instrument maybe taken when necessary.

An Offering Basket will be placed by the entry of the Sanctuary for your gifts to be placed in. Also Prayer Request forms.

Ushers will seat you in the pews using safe distance guidelines (Family members from the same household may sit together).

Bulletins will be placed in the pews being used prior to the beginning of worship.

While we will have music, we will not be singing as a congregation.

Bible and Hymnals will still be in the pews but we ask that you refrain from using them (for cleaning purposes). If items are used, please leave them on the pew seat for cleaning.

Worship Leaders will remain in the front of the Sanctuary as much as possible.

The Fellowship hall will have some seating space as needed. The remaining space will be closed off (with the acceptation of entrance to restrooms).

Following worship, you will be dismissed using appropriate distancing. We ask that you exit the building immediately so that others may follow.

For time being, no Coffee or Social Time will be offered following worship.

For childcare during worship, prior arrangements will be needed.

Meetings, Bible Study and Sunday School Worship practices will be used as appropriate.
Limited number of attendees will be determined by safe physical distance and need.
After building use please clean the area space used as needed.

Please understand these and other precautions that may be established are being made because we love you as God’s children and are committed to, “Do No Harm” as Methodists following the guidance of John Wesley our founder.

A Little Bit of This and That

Shared joy is joy doubled,
Shared sorrow is sorrow halved.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart
In a garden
Then anywhere else on earth.

You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high-flying flag!
Flag Day, June 14 – Sunday

Father’s Day
June 21, 2020

That man is a success –
Who leaves the world better
than he found it;
Who has never lacked
appreciation of earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;
Who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the little girl replied.
“Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the mother said.
The little girl bowed her head and said: “Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

Greetings my dear sisters in faith.

Here it is another month with no social contact, no planning for a strawberry social, and I miss you all! Fortunately, we continue to stay in touch the best we can and with the help of all sorts of social media, by phone, or by “snail mail”. We have been able to show love in old ways made new with cards and food. We are blessed to be able to be church even without being in our beautiful building. Our prayer chain is active, and I know God is listening.

Shalom my friends and with the love of Christ to support us,

Edie Bogart

Nursery Schedule (if needed)

June 7 – Kathy Ohman
June 14 – Joyce Twiss
June 21 – Doris Graham
June 28 – Carol Adams

Claybanks United Methodist Church Midmonth Update May 2020

One of the important communication tools that we have used at Claybanks United Methodist Church is our monthly “Good News Letter” newsletter. Another communication tool we use is the announcement time prior to worship. Because of our sheltering in place that we have followed diligently to protect not only ourselves but others we have had to rely on different ways to communicate upcoming activities, events and other news. My goal in writing this is to bridge this time until our next newsletter is published at the beginning of June and we again meet in worship with announcement time.

Your Claybanks United Methodist Church leadership teams have been communicating with each other during this stay-at-home time. In the upcoming weeks we will be meeting using Zoom to plan the re-engagement/opening of the Claybanks United Methodist Church once again. The goal of these leadership meetings is to provide a safer place for our Claybanks family to gather together when we are empowered to do so. Church will be somewhat different than our previous, “Church” experiences. Please be assured as we approach the time when we can gather once again in worship we will be communicating to you the steps we will be taking to make the Claybanks United Methodist Church a safer place in which we can gather. Things will not always be the same. Some of our practices and traditions will be different, so please keep an open mind as to the changes you will experience are for the health and safety of all.

Sunday, May 31st I will be leading worship once again from the Mears United Methodist Church as we join our brothers and sisters in Christ online and on the radio. I know that for some of you online worship is not possible and you are not able to receive the radio broadcast from the Mears United Methodist Church (9:15 am 100.5 FM). I do encourage you to join other churches in worship such as White Lake United Methodist Church which broadcast at 10:00 am on station 98.5 FM.

For those who are able to join the Mears webcast I would like you to notice a very special addition to the Pentecost Sunday broadcast on the 31st. Shortly after the beginning of the year a number of the ladies from you Claybanks United Methodist Church began a project to create a new banner for our church to be hung on Pentecost Sunday. Because we will not be in church at Claybanks the banner will be hung as part of the Pentecost Celebration as I am able to lead the Mears, Shelby and Claybanks United Methodist Churches in celebrating Pentecost Sunday Worship. This will be a time when we acknowledge the special presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The new banner at present has been hanging in the sanctuary at Claybanks United Methodist Church and will remain there until just prior to May 31st. I would encourage you to stop by and see the beauty, color and artwork of the banner created by the ladies from our church. We acknowledge with love the work of Leona Twist daughter Jill from Quilted Memories who has donated materials and time so that our banner could be completed. Thank you Jill and all who made this new banner possible. We are blessed to be able to share it with all who will be watching the webcast on Sunday, May 31st.

Other forms of communication: Luanne Nienhouse continues to keep our Claybanks United Methodist Church website up-to-date. You can check our website by going to: We also have for our Claybanks family a Facebook page. You can find it by searching for, “Claybanks Methodist Church Family” on Facebook and request to join the group.

Many of you have continued to support the ongoing operations of the Claybanks United Methodist Church by sending in your weekly offerings to our PO Box. We very much appreciate your commitment and the continued support you have made in meeting the needs of our church. Because this stay-at-home time is continuing longer than most of us had anticipated we encourage you if you have not recently made a contribution (as you would do weekly if we were meeting in worship) would you please consider mailing your offering to:
Claybanks United Methodist Church
P. O. Box 104
Montague, MI 49437

It is my belief and the belief of others in the leadership of our church that we will soon be able to gather together once again. When we have a firm date in which we will be able to gather together we will be communicating that with you by email or through our US Postal System and our church call list. Our plan is to give you ample time and direction on the opening of our church.

Please continue to keep our church family along with our community and our country in your prayers during this Covid-19 pandemic.

I would like to close with this Scripture and thought, from Isaiah 43:1 – 3 “But now, says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, the one who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched and flames will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior”. These times for us in our country and the world have been rough, difficult and our souls hurt. We have changed the way we live, we have lost many lives in our country and possibly lives of those close to us. Our economy is in a difficult time and many have lost their employment and income. We look into the future and see a different way of life. Isaiah says in Scripture that we are not to fear for the Lord knows each one of us by name and claims each one of us as one of his children and when difficulties sweep over us he is still God and through the love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us we know that we are not alone. In the power of the Holy Spirit we have the assurance that God will be with us and give us strength for what lies ahead. I offered this prayer, “Lord, thank you for standing beside me, for knowing my name, and for calling me your own. Help me trust you when the floods and fires come. Help me to remember that you are always with me and to trust in your unfailing love. Amen”.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Online Communication

Submitted by Cinda Moulds

We now have 2 online connections available to help keep us in touch with each other and to be aware of church news and events. One is our church website which can be found at:

The other is our private group on Facebook. If you do a Facebook search for Claybanks Methodist Church Family, you will see a place to request to join the group. Please take a minute to read through the suggestions of use for this group.

Hopefully, you will utilize these ‘new-fangled’ ways of communication, but just as important, don’t forget to keep in touch with our members who don’t use the internet.

Needs and General Updates

From Pastor Gary

Communications – if you have email and we do not have it listed in our 2020 Directory it would help us in our communications to you if you would email pastor Gary at:

We will need to do some planning for the first few Sundays when we are able to come back together. We will need liturgists and additional greeters to help George Brown. Please email Pastor Gary if you will assist:

Devotional – If you are unable to get to church and pick up your Upper Room Devotional for May-June you can visit: for an online copy or Pastor Gary can mail one to you. Give him a call at 231-869-3373.

Michigan Annual Conference scheduled for the end of May has been postponed and no date has been selected.

The General Conference for the United Methodist Church (Meeting of all the Methodist Churches for the world) scheduled for May in Minneapolis has been rescheduled for the beginning of September 2021.

I encourage you to visit these websites to see what is happening:
Claybanks UMC –
Mid-Michigan UMC District –
Michigan Conference

Nursery Schedule (when we meet again)

May 3 Joyce Twiss
May 10 Doris Graham
May 17 Carol Adams
May 24 Cheryl Gaultney
May 31 June Freeman


Submitted by June Freeman, Missions

COVID-19 presents challenges to every person and community, but some are less prepared than others. As restrictions limiting employment, economic activity, and physical gathering have spread around the world, communities which live at subsistence levels have no safety net and their governments have little capacity to respond to the challenges.

In recent weeks, the UMC and Wesleyan Covenant Association has received desperate requests for assistance for pastors serving in Africa and the Philippines whose churches, like so many around the world, have not met for several weeks. These churches likely will not be meeting for a season. These pastors as well as their people, because of the financial impact of quarantines, are immediately dealing with food insecurity.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has established the COVID-19 response fund for the purpose of responding to the challenges presented by this pandemic. This fund will equip partners around the world to assist the most vulnerable populations. Grants from the fund will be disbursed quickly and efficiently to address health concerns, food insecurity, water and hygiene limitations, and other pressing needs.

The UMC and WCA encourages you and your churches to respond to meet these pressing needs by making a gift to the UMCOR COVID-19 response fund. Your gift will be a tangible expression of the love Christ has for the most vulnerable who do not have a safety net and need compassion and care as a result of the pandemic.

Other news

Jack Townsend*
Jacks’ son Joel informed us that Jack passed away on March 29, 2020.
We send our heartfelt condolences to the Townsend family.

​Please note in your church directory that Pat Bagley now resides in Apt. 303 instead of Apt 208. Everything else in her address is correct.

A Public Health Moment

Help stop the spread of any virus:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Eat and sleep separately from your family members
• Use different utensils and dishes
• Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
• If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
• Follow social distancing (6 ft)

Lower your risk:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Happy Mother’s Day
May 10

The Watcher
by Margaret Widdener (1884-1978)

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.
And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.
Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.
Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.

Bishop Bard Easter Service and Holy Week Video Links

Claybanks UMC Family Members,

With us not being able to meet together the Michigan Conference has worship services for us on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter for us to participant online in. This is the communication I received with the needed information for you to participate. Reba and I will be worshiping through these and other worships experiences to make our Holy Week a special, unique and holy time. Mears and Pastor Anne will also have on the web Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services.

Blessings, stay home and safe,


Easter Service with Bishop Bard
Videos for use by your church during Holy Week or beyond

Online Holy Week Worship Services

Dear Clergy and Local Church Leaders:
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Per our email to you on Monday, we are pleased to make available to you three videos produced for Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday Service 2020 – 36 Minutes –

Rev. Lisa Batten of the Michigan Conference and her family guide us through Maundy Thursday. Through beautiful music, reflection, and meditation, we prepare ourselves for the journey to the cross and celebration of the resurrection. As you gather with those in your home, consider having these elements available to participate:
– Candle and lighter
– Pitcher of water, bowl, and towel(s) for foot or hand washing
– Food to share in a symbolic meal (bread, crackers, or fruit)

Good Friday Prayer Walk – 23 Minutes

Take a virtual walk this Good Friday with the members of Court Street UMC in Flint MI and their pastor, Rev. Jeremy Peters. Take a deep breath and journey with Pastor Jeremy as he walks through the City of Flint and shares the Gospel of John. Remember, with him, and recall the darkest day in our Lord’s life.

Christ Has Risen! An Easter Worship Service with Bishop David Bard – 45 minutes

NEWS ALERT: Worldwide Virtual Choir Sings Easter Hymn During COVID-19 Pandemic

Claybanks United Methodist Family,

Miss singing United Methodist hymns? This can help us fill that void.

Pastor Gary


Worldwide Virtual Choir Sings Easter Hymn During COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of Christians from across the globe, including the United States, Africa, the Philippines and Eastern Europe, are joining together virtually to sing a celebration hymn for Easter Sunday. The Virtual Easter Choir Project will sing Christ The Lord is Risen Today, written by John Wesley in 1739.

The United Methodist Church (UMC) produced the piece as a gift to the world, allowing all people to hear this hymn and celebrate Easter in their homes during this pandemic.

“For more than 2,000 years, Christians have celebrated Easter together. While COVID-19 has prevented us from worshipping physically together in our houses of worship, we wanted everyone to still hear this familiar hymn and sing along and experience the risen Christ,” said the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, the UMC agency that organized the choir.

United Methodists from among the denomination’s 11 million members worldwide were invited to submit a video to be included in the project, and hundreds did – all ages, individuals and families, some singing in their pajamas and others dressed in their Easter best.

The full Virtual Easter Choir video performance will be available Friday, April 10th here:

An invitation to Holy Week from Bishop David Bard

Claybanks United Methodist Family,

This message came today from Bishop Bard. It is my prayer that it brings us into Holy Week closer as United Methodists and Claybanks UMC.

Peace and stay safe,


The Power of Love

An invitation to a reflective Holy Week.

Dear Friends in Christ:

Here we stand at the beginning of Holy Week, that deeply important and profoundly significant week in the Christian calendar that takes us from the raucousness of Palm Sunday with its shouts of “Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,” to the sheer silence of the Saturday before Easter.

Typically, this is a time when the church gathers together frequently. We gather to remember and re-enact the tender moments of a Thursday foot-washing and a shared meal, after which bread and wine were offered as a way to continue to remember Jesus and to welcome his on-going presence with us. We gather to remember the wrenching events of a Friday where there is betrayal, injustice and brutality.

With the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be gathering together this week in person. We are doing our part to contribute to public health and the common good. While we are pleased to help, there is also tremendous grief and sadness that Holy Week will be so different, that we will not be together with water and bread and wine, that we will not hear together the final words uttered on the cross. The darkness associated with Good Friday – “when it was noon, darkness came over the whole land” (Mark 15:33) – that darkness seems to loom over us as we think about Holy Week this year, but let’s think about it together for a few moments.

Holy Week is a remarkable pallet of emotions, from the joy of Palm Sunday with Jesus’ exuberant entry into Jerusalem, to the tenderness and poignancy of Thursday with its foot-washing and meal-sharing and anguished prayers in the Garden, to the grief, sorrow and disbelief that come with the grim death of Jesus on Friday. What an emotional roller-coaster! We may be riding that kind of roller coaster ourselves. In the midst of this pandemic we may know moments of joy and tenderness when we share time with family, when we telephone loved ones or share some time electronically, when we find some simple pleasure that we may have forgotten, when we witness acts of courage by health care workers or acts of kindness from many. In the midst of the pandemic we certainly know moments of grief, sadness, confusion and fear.

As we walk this Holy Week together, walk with all these emotions. It is o.k. to feel what you are feeling. By the grace of God we can take the full pallet of our feelings and create something beautiful, allowing each feeling its place, but not more than its place. Let God’s grace walk with you this week as well. Feel the warm waters of God’s grace caress your roughest edges. Taste the bread and wine of God’s grace, let their saltiness and sweetness be a delight for your soul. Remember, too, that it was this week Jesus taught that what was most important is love, love of God and love of neighbor. Know you are loved, loved by God, loved as someone’s neighbor.

Then will come Easter, which will have something to say about the power of love.

Grace and Peace,

David Alan Bard
Michigan Area Bishop