Category Archives: Pastor’s Ponderings

October 8th Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
October 8, 2017 10:30am
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

Praise Song “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” Overhead

Prelude

*Processional
In this place, among these people,
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
the lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
One: Brothers and sisters, we come from many houses. Welcome​to this household, the house of God.
All: ​Here we hear words that revive. Here we experience grace that makes our heart glad.
One: God offers light to our eyes.
All: ​Christ brings wisdom to our hearts and minds.
One: God’s teachings are sweeter than honey
All: ​Even honey dripping off the honeycomb!
One: They are more precious than gold
All: ​Even tons of pure gold!
One: Sisters and brothers, welcome to the house of God!

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “Song of Promise” UMH #707

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time
After prayers – Sing the Children out “Jesus Loves Me”
Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “This is the Day” UMH #657

​SHARING THE WORD
First Reading ​ Exodus 20:1-20 ​Page 58
Second Reading Psalm 19 ​Page 433

Morning Message Pastor Gary
“NINE OUT OF TEN”

Prayer

*Hymn “How Great Thou Art” UMH #77

Benediction

​​Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com
Office email ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website http://www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​ Megan Schihl
Liturgist ​​ Bev Grumm
Nursery Bev Grumm
Ministers All People As We Live the Good News

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Pastor’s Ponderings

So who are Gary and Reba Peterson?
Continued from Pastor’s Ponderings of October 2016

We left off with the Peterson’s returning to Grand Rapids from Traverse City and locating in Southeast Grand Rapids. Shortly after arrival the Peterson’s began attending St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and very quickly transferred their membership from Central United Methodist in Traverse City.

St. Paul’s United Methodist church had been a long-established church in Grand Rapids and was going through a growth time when many families with children were being attracted to and joining the church. The church had a lot to offer not only for the Peterson children but also for Gary and Reba. Sunday school was an involved activity for the whole family. Bible studies during the week and the early Morning Prayer group strengthened the spiritual journey for Reba and Gary. Being involved in the different committees and activities of the church became a focal point for the Peterson’s. During this time many individuals of the church became involved in the spiritual retreat of the Walk To Emmaus.

Because of the spiritual strengthening for Reba, Michelle and Gary the Emmaus community became an important part of our life not only as individuals but as a family. It was following an Emmaus weekend that Gary started to consider the possibility of serving God in ministry. Reba, during this time, had taken a part-time position with St. Paul’s, working with new members and the continual involvement of existing members in their spiritual formation, programs and activities of St. Paul’s.

For Gary, looking at ministries involved what was to be a two-year exploration of God’s calling in his life. Gary did not always here what God was saying in the exploration process and it turned into three years. It was at the end of the three years when Gary had an encounter with a couple who helped him decide to take the final step and go into pastoral ministry. It took two years of study and training for Gary to become a Licensed Local Pastor. It was while driving within two blocks and in sight of Olivet United Methodist Church that Gary received a phone call from the Grand Rapids District Superintendent asking him to serve on a quarter time basis at that very church. It was the Holy Spirit speaking to us at that very time and moment. During our ministry at Olivet United Methodist Church, an inner-city church, we had the opportunity to minister to a small congregation that was deeply involved in ministry to those in the community and those living in the margins.

In the spring of 2008 after two years of quarter time ministry the Holy Spirit once again spoke to Gary and Reba and we committed ourselves to full-time ministry asking the Bishop to assign us to a full-time charge. It was only a short time later that we were assigned to the Fennville/Pearl Parish located just south of Holland.

It was a growth time for pastor Gary, who no longer would be at church doing those things that a pastor does with gifts and graces and receive a call from his business and need to leave to attend to the operation of the business. No longer would he be at the business and feel the longing in his heart to be at church or be with a church member or family attending to spiritual needs.

The eight years at Fennville/Pearl contained more blessings than we could count. Yet as time and age passed, it became necessary to return to a pastoral role that was less than full-time. A few months before our July 1st retirement date Gary was asked by the Grand Rapids District Superintendent to fulfill a quarter time pastor position at Claybanks United Methodist Church in the area in which we had wanted to move into retirement in. While Reba was not able to attend the introductory meeting between Gary and Claybanks United Methodist Church the Holy Spirit provided for us a beautiful way in which to semi-retire and yet be in ministry which we so much felt the calling to. The blessing of Claybanks United Methodist Church received in the Munson home and willingness to share with us when we could not find housing immediately in the area was a gift from God for us.

It has been a little over one year since we arrived. We have been lovingly and graciously received in the community and by the church and look forward to more years together as we together continue to make disciples for Jesus Christ and the transformation of the world. Thank you, Claybanks United Methodist Church, for allowing us to be in ministry with you today.

Pastor’s Ponderings

Pastor’s Pondering
By Pastor Gary Peterson

June, July and August are great months for pastors to slow down and take some extra Sabbath time. A couple of years ago I read a book written by a close friend and pastor that I admire greatly for her leadership, discipline and knowledge. I will be taking some retreat time in October and this book was one of the books recommended to read prior to attending the retreat, so I quickly reviewed the book during a lull in my fun reading time. The book is “Recess: Rediscovering Play and Purpose” by Lori Haller. Lori is one of the 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 district superintendent of Grand Rapids, and also when she writes a weekly blog, is how I can become a better disciple for Jesus Christ. As I ponder this and other things I come to a basic question that pastors and Disciples of Jesus Christ ask of themselves, “how can we help people get to know Jesus Christ and grow in their faith?” The gift of new life and love that Jesus Christ 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 blessed treasure, “The gift of salvation for themselves.”

Many years ago, when I was doing my exploration to become a pastor, I saw this as a possibility of one of the callings that I might have as a pastor. I’m also convinced that this is our responsibility as individuals and as a church. We have a biblical mandate and a missional responsibility to, “Go into the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” You see, as United Methodist and as Christians, we are called to make this a core part of our existence, it should be woven into our DNA.

I know we ask ourselves “how do we do this over and over again?” It is one of the toughest questions we probably ask ourselves, even to the point where we would say it is a million-dollar question, but I think we already know the answer.

All things we are to do revolves around loving God, growing together in God’s love, and serving others. This is our pathway to discipleship and we will be talking about it during this fall and into the winter on a number of Sundays, as I plan my messages for worship on Sundays to include this topic frequently.
*When we come together to worship and intentionally welcome first-time guests, longtime friends and members into the community of faith, we are loving God.
*When we give our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness day in and day out we are loving God.
*When we host a Strawberry Social, encourage the use of our church for a wedding or host a rest stop for a race we grow together with our community.
*When we participate in small study groups such as Bible study during the year or during Advent or Lent we are growing together.
*When our young people have an overnight at the church or we participate by actively encouraging and sending our youth to camp we come together in the mission of growing our children as they walk with Christ.

Disciples are being made at Claybanks United Methodist Church because you and I are taking ownership and working hard to reach people and 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, programs, and individuals of this church which is alive and well.

I end this pondering by thanking all who were part of this year’s Strawberry Social. Those who were a part of the leadership team, those who served biscuits, strawberries and ice cream, those who manned the bakery table and those who greeted our community as they entered our church. Those who just wandered the Fellowship Hall and did a wonderful job of engaging themselves with those who came to our church looking to meet friends, neighbors and others from our community. Thank you, Claybanks Congregation, for making the Strawberry Social a high priority in the life of the church, the mission of our church, and yes, outreach to our community.

Sabbath time and recess are renewal times. I have found over the many years now that we get much renewal, energy and excitement that will take us into the fall from being part of a “Strawberry Social”. It is when we engage others and see the light in their faces and the joy that is in their voices that the renewal process starts. It is my prayer that we will enjoy the fall season as much as we have enjoyed our summer.

P.S. Last August I wrote a Pondering “So Who Are Reba and Gary” and ended it “To be continued”. It has been a year now and we have gotten to know each other more. For our next newsletter, I continue from where I left off. Should you want to reread the pondering of August 2016, copies will be available on the information table in Fellowship Hall.

July 30th Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
July 30, 2017 10:30am
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

Praise Song “Seek Ye First” UMH #405

Prelude

*Processional
In this place, among these people,
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
the lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
One: ​Waiting and hoping, we gather together,
All: ​Seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise.
One: ​Waiting and hoping, we come now to worship.
All: ​Praying and listening for the Spirit’s guidance.
One: ​Waiting and hoping, we gather together,
All: ​Seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise.

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “We Sing to You, O God” SUMH #2001

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time – Shalom Sunday
After prayers – Sing the Children out “Jesus Loves Me”
Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “You Are My All in All” Insert

​SHARING THE WORD
Old Testament ​Psalm 105:1-11, 45b ​Page 484
*Gospel Reading Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52​Page 795

Morning Message Pastor Gary
“THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS…”
Prayer

*Hymn “The Spirit Sends Us Forth” SUMH #2241

Benediction

Church Life

Sunday, July 30, 2017 – Shalom Sunday
​​10:30am – Worship

Sunday, August 6, 2017 – Communion
​​10:30am – Worship

Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com​
Office email ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website http://www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​ Alisa Ross
Liturgist ​​ ​​​ Mechelle Schneider
Nursery Karen Anderson
Ministers All People As We Live the Good News

Pastor’s Ponderings

Blessings!

Reba and I have felt blessings together for our entire married life. We were blessed with a church wedding. We have been blessed our entire married life by having churches that have surrounded us with love and care. The blessings, love and care have extended all the way to Claybanks United Methodist Church.

As with most young married couples, we struggled at times yet we were blessed by God, family and friends when needs arise. Money, as with many young couples, can be an issue and when finances looked to be a problem there was a refund check from some unexpected source or a gift received (God’s blessings come in many forms and God’s timing is perfect).

Being blessed with two beautiful children a few years after marriage allowed us to surround ourselves with family and many close friends with children the age of our children. Employment for us has taken us to a number of different communities in which we have been able to experience the many blessings and resources of the communities and the churches we have attended.

While living in Traverse City, the Peterson family was blessed by Traverse City Central United Methodist Church with many activities and educational experiences for our children. Reba and I were blessed to be a part of a small parent group that was very intentional in being supportive of each other’s families.

As our children grew older and we returned to Grand Rapids we found St. Paul’s United Methodist church a growing and active community of believers with a number of programs for our children and for us as parents and adults.

Reba and I both grew in our walk with Jesus and our commitment as Christian believers through the Stephen Ministry and the Walk to Emmaus.

When I finally began to listen to God calling me into ministry, Reba and I were surrounded by a number of encouragers who prayed for us and were part of the discernment process. We had a number of friends who were United Methodist pastors, some pastoring for many years and some who had only recently gone into the ministry.

After completing the introductory pastoral training and being assigned as pastor to Olivet United Methodist Church (a small inner-city church with a quarter time appointment) we had the blessing of being surrounded by a church whose members were so loving, kind and very encouraging to us, an inexperienced pastor and spouse. They allowed us to begin our ministry and continued to encourage us with their support and prayer.

When we finally decided to enter into ministry on a full-time basis and were assigned to the Fennville Pearl Parish, a small community where the United Methodist Church was the largest worshiping congregation and only one of two churches that supported a pastor on a full-time basis, we were blessed by God. We were again surrounded by many loving church members and developed close friendships with a number of members and couples of the church and of the community, blessing our time there in so many different ways.

As we prepared for retirement and felt the calling to remain in ministry on less than a full-time mission which brought us to Claybanks United Methodist Church, a special gift was given to us in the Munson home in which we were very blessed to live in for one year. The Munson home was indeed a beautiful place for us with a yard, areas in which to plant flowers, to welcome birds to our feeders, friends and family, and yes, the Pea Barn in which to work on projects and cars. The one year in which we were able to stay in the Munson house allowed Reba and I to find a home that best fitted our needs together and where we had planned to retire, in Pentwater. The blessing of the Munson home gave us the opportunity of the extra year to find our own home. In addition, Claybanks UMC blessed us with the additional resources that added to how we prepared to retire in modest comfort.

We cannot tell you and thank you enough for what you provided us by surrounding us with your love, care, friendship and sharing the beautiful resource of the Munson house. As we have now completed our move to Pentwater, we want to share with you our gratitude and thanks for God has blessed Claybanks UMC with the Munson home and you blessed Reba and I as you shared what God has given you in such a loving way. We shall continue to look to be together in ministry with you for a number of years.

Praise God who is always there for all of us!
Reba and Pastor Gary

Pastor’s Ponderings

All Things Bright And Beautiful.

Genesis 1:31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 he has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he put a sense of past and future into their minds.

Matthew 6:28 ….. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,

All things bright and beautiful,
All things great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Spring has come for us here in the Claybanks Community. The days are getting much longer, the coldness of winter has moderated to warming of the days. The grass has turned green, leaves have come out, flowers begin blooming, and the animals of God have made their presence more abundant, all under God’s plan for the beauty of the earth.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings:
God made their glowing colors,
God made their tiny wings.

For Reba and I, summer is our favorite season of the year and our summer begins with Memorial Day Weekend. This change of seasons gives us an opportunity to reflect on the sense of the past and look into the future, to what the summer will bring, as Ecclesiastes in chapter three tells us.

As I was reading Scripture the other day and becoming distracted with my roaming thoughts, something hit me. When I went back to Scripture it became apparent about how significant the world around us is, that our Almighty God has created it for us, and how he wanted so much for us to enjoy what he had created. Sometimes it is the beauty of the earth, sometimes it is the warmth of the sun, sometimes it is the relationships that the current season provides us opportunities to be in.

The purple – headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

At Fennville/Pearl UMC Memorial Day was a day that we celebrated in community. Fennville had a Memorial Day Parade that went by the Fennville United Methodist Church and ended up at the cemetery just down the street where, annually, I was part of a Memorial Day Service where we recognize those who had made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have the freedoms that we so closely cherish today. Following the service the community was invited back to the Fennville United Methodist Church for an ice cream social and hundreds of people gathered together and shared conversation around a bowl of ice cream with smiles and laughter. Following that day, I knew that summer would quickly be on its way into our lives. For Reba and I that meant attending the Annual Conference of the West Michigan United Methodist Church; this year to be held in Traverse City. Edie Bogart, Reba and I will be a part of the process as we continue to work to bring together the Detroit Conference and the West Michigan Conference into one Michigan Area Conference.

Now June is a special month in which Reba and I have birthdays, hers being before mine (which means if I do not do well then I do not do well) and as we count the years together in August we will also be able to celebrate our anniversary. These times help us reflect on not just the past times together but also give us opportunity to plan for future times together. Summer also gives us an opportunity every other year to have our grandchildren come to visit us along with their parents. And we look forward to sharing the beauty and the many different activities that we can avail ourselves of in Northern West Michigan this summer.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruit in the garden,
God made them everyone.

Being close to Lake Michigan is a blessing for sailing during the day and sunsets at night as Reba and I are able to quickly get to the shores of Lake Michigan and take in many of God’s blessings as we sit by the shore and absorb the warm breezes and observe the passing of another day together as the sun sets over our beautiful Lake Michigan.

My list for summer can go on and on. Sunday drives in the afternoon in our sports car, cutting of grass, gardening, washing of cars, attending music concerts in parks throughout the different communities surrounding Claybanks. Visiting with family and friends, cookouts in the backyard or picnics in the park, tubing the many different beautiful rivers in our area, extended visits of family and friends are all of the many different glories that God has created for us.

For Claybanks United Methodist Church we have the opportunity to be invitational when many of the visitors to our shores come to worship with us. We are able to bless them with our church, our friendliness, our worship together and yes, our Strawberry Social when we invite those who live in and visit the Claybanks area to come and be together in community.

It is my prayer for you and for me, that we all take time during this summer to slow down and appreciate the beauty that God has created for us, and the relationships that God has given to his children as we come together.

God gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well.

Text information:
All Things Bright And Beautiful
Page 147 – The United Methodist Hymnal

Pastor Gary