Claybanks United Methodist Church
August 23, 2020 10:30 a.m.
Outdoor Worship
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

Praise Song “Forward Through the Ages”
(See insert and please stay seated)


*Call to Worship
​Leader: God is with us, giving that wondrous
​healing love to each one.
​All: Blessed be God who watches over us.
​Leader: Come, let us praise God with thankful
​All: Lord, we come to you in gratitude for ​all you do for us. AMEN

*Gloria Patri

Opening Prayer

Hymn “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
(See insert and please stay seated)

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

Prayer of Dedication

Hymn “My Hope Is Built”
(See insert and please stay seated)

Sharing of the Word
​Old Testament Reading: Psalm 124
​*New Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-20

Message: Is Peter a Rock? Pastor Gary


Hymn “The Church’s One Foundation”
(See insert and please stay seated)



Calendar and Announcements
Tuesday, August 25……………………Newsletter Deadline
Sunday, August 30, 10:30am…………Worship outdoors
and Shalom Sunday if we are still collecting change for this!

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

Returning to Worship Outdoor at Claybanks United Methodist Church

We have been blessed to worship with Mears and Shelby United Methodist Churches on the radio and on the web these past few months. It is believed now is the time for all three church to once again to gather with in person worship. Weather permitting August 9th into September we will worship outdoors at Claybanks United Methodist Church.

This is an alternative to returning to worshiping in the sanctuary during the present level of Covid-19. It is felt that with caution we can meet and worship outdoors. Worship will begin at 10:30 AM.

The drive between the building and lawn on the south side of the church will be where we are placing our Cross, candles, equipment, keyboard and podium.

Face coverings will be required all the time as we gather. When we arrive please keep physical safe distance. Please sit-down using lawn chairs that you have brought with you or folding chairs from our building will be made available. Look for markings for safe distancing.

Bulletins and music will be placed on tables to be picked up by those attending and wishing to do so. We would request those doing this maintain a minimum of 6-foot physical distance from those ahead of you as you pick up bulletins and music. Hand sanitizer, wipes and extra face coverings will also be available in the bulletin table areas.

Using the green space between our parking lot and the drive that goes along next to the building we will identify areas in which groups can sit keeping a six-foot interval between groups.

We can sing during worship temporary as we remain outside and given the particle airborne danger singing creates for spreading droplets beyond 6 feet even outside, face coverings need to be worn during singing. John Wesley normally encourages us to, “Sing with good courage” but he would be amendable for us during this time to sing with softer voices.

There will be offering plates placed in the area adjacent to the parking area on tables. Also baskets for prayer concerns will be on the tables.

The double doors of church will be propped open for those needing to use the restrooms.

Parking spaces along the north edge of the parking lot will be reserved for those wanting to stay in their vehicles and for those with physical limitations. We now have a limited distance FM Radio Transmitter so you will be able to tune your car radio to listen to the worship service. A station selection will be communicated to you at worship time.

Following worship those attending are asked to wear their face coverings as they leave the area.

These items of caution that we will be following are to help us have a safer worship experience and haven been determined and selected using an abundance of caution. The steps that we take now are being done to acknowledge that we care for one another. Because of the errors that have been previously made by opening too soon or not taking the correct cautionary steps have led us to places where we have unknowingly and unwittingly allowed the Covid-19 virus to spread. We are learning and planning not to repeat them. If you have any other possible concerns or ideas for safe gathering and worship, please bring them forward so that we can evaluate and place them within our structure to worship outdoors or when we move indoors.

Please be in prayer as you consider whether to return to group worship. I am praying for all in this matter. Health concerns, comfort levels and your personal wellbeing are our concern. We will not make any judgement nor pressure anyone to return to worship until they are ready to do so. Know that we will pray for all our Claybanks Family each and every Sunday.
Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

The UMW met in July and oh what joyous time for us. We had a short typical meeting but mostly we were so happy to be together – with masks and social distancing. Abiding by the Corona virus safety guidelines was no problem because we were all so happy to figure out who was behind the mask! In fact, we were so glad to be together that we plan to gather the third Thursday in August at 1 o’clock just to see how we are faring, to have a devotion time, and offer prayer for everyone that needs it.

Shalom, Edie

Open Church Night
We will be continting our Open Church Night for visiting our church to meditate, pray, listen to music that Suzanne provides for our soul, and visit with the pastor and friends outdoors. The Church will be open from 5:00-7:00 pm on Wednesday July 29th and August 5th. Many visited our church on July 22nd our first night of Open Church.

Church Charge Conference
Saturday August 22nd at 1:30 pm we will participate via Zoom with our District Superintendent Margie Crawford using the Web facilities at White Lake United Methodist Church. To prepare for this conference the Administrative Council, Staff Parish Relations Committee and Nomination Committee will be working to meet the requirements of the Michigan Area Conference annual church conference.

Aug 9​ Carol Adams
Aug 16​ Cheryl Gaultney
Aug 23 June Freeman
Aug 30 Kathy Ohman

Upcoming Worship Schedule

August 2nd
(Combined Worship with Mears and Shelby UMC)
Genesis 28:10-19a / Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43*
How Can We Live Among The Weeds?

August 9th
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 / Matthew 14:22-33*
Do You Know Where the Stones Are?

August 16th
Genesis 45:1-15 / Psalm 133 / Matthew 15-28
Family Is More Important Than Money

August 23rd
Psalm 124 / Matthew 16:13-20*
Is Peter A Rock?

August 30th
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c / Romans 12:9-21*
Can We Rise To This Expectation?

Mid-Month Update and Announcements

Mid-Month Meditation
Philippians 2:3 “When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves (NCV) or (NLT) Do not be selfish; do not try to impress others. Be humble, think of others as better than yourselves (NLT).
I do not believe I am different from some of you in becoming aware of illness and death from the Covid -19 pandemic. As Covid-19 has continued on for these past months and it seems that each week I become aware of more and more people that I know, my extended family members and others in my community who have come in contact with Covid 19 and many of them have gotten ill from this disease. In talking with some of them the words that I continue to hear over and over again are that it is an illness that they do not want anyone else to have to go through and prayerfully if they do become ill that they survive this illness and escape from deadliness of this disease. So many of these people have implored that, “A face covering is essential and a responsibility that each one of us has”. And I will add that if we are true followers of Jesus Christ and we are to love each other then we will put others before ourselves.

I have been caught in a real dilemma these past few weeks as I deal with attitudes of people. It all stems from what some people believe is political and others as myself believe it is not political and that wearing a face covering is what we do because we love all of God’s people. As a United Methodist I strongly believe in the Social Principles that we as a denomination have adopted as a way of living our lives. There has been a lot said about the wearing of face coverings or not being required to wear a face covering. The Scripture I opened with from Philippians states that we are to do all we can for others even when it places a burden on ourselves. We do all we can for others because God requires this of us to love Him and all that he has created.

I firmly believe that fearful people do not sacrifice, but bold people do sacrifice. Reba and I have been bold over the past weeks in advocating for wearing face coverings as a way of protecting those we meet and yes, we know and recognize that face coverings also protect ourselves from possible exposure to Covid-19. I came across this article written by Pastor Gerald Longjohn which for me best states why I believe we should recognize physical science and how Scripture can support wearing of face coverings. This is how and why I live. Gerald Longjohns words: “Great Christian thinkers such as Brother Lawrence in the 1600s and much more recently James K. A. Smith have written about the ways in which small, seemingly ordinary interactions and habits can help us embody virtues and practices that heighten our awareness of God.

Let me tell you about how this might relate to the reality of wearing face coverings in the weeks and months ahead. I think they present us with a powerful opportunity. Here is how….. Each time I put on a face covering I am asking the Lord to remind me of Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I am asking that God will use the piece of fabric to remind me that: I have been chosen, that God loves me and that he has made me holy. What an incredible gift God has given us! Remembering me that I can recalibrate everything else that I experience and do each day.

God is cultivating compassion. The face coverings remind me of those who are hurting, grieving, or fighting illness. It gives me a moment of solidarity with healthcare workers who are on the front lines. It identifies me with those who are vulnerable.

God is cultivating kindness. This season has left me a little more prone to sarcasm and cynicism. I want the face covering to remind me to be kind, to smile with my eyes, to be particularly gracious to employees who have to enforce face covering requirements.

God is cultivating humility. This season that we are in has been humbling on so many fronts. I have to daily admit what I do not know. The face covering can remind me that humility is a good thing and that perhaps I can welcome this process.

God is cultivating gentleness. Maybe the fabric, the tug on my ears, the way I have to keep adjusting the face covering on my nose and certainly the way it muffles my voice can be reminders to engage more carefully and to listen more intently.

God is cultivating patience. I am ready to get back to “normal” but perhaps putting on the face covering, even as I am getting quicker at it, can be a moment to pause, to slow down, and to take life at a less frenzied pace. And it certainly can be a reminder to engage more patiently with others.

Of course, this is all easy to write when I am at home and without a face covering. So feel free to remember me in the days ahead and perhaps take a minute to pray for me next time you put on a face covering. I will do the same for you.”

Let Come Before God
On Wednesday evening (July 22nd, 29th and August 5th and more Wednesdays if needed) from 5-7:00 p.m., the Claybanks UMC Sanctuary will be open for everyone who would like to come and just be. Suzanne will be playing music for our souls. Come take some time to pray and meditate. Pastor Gary will be available to talk and prayer with you. We will also have a resource table for you to look over and take materials if you would like. We pray that this will be an opportunity to start re-engaging prior to our assembly in worship together in the very near future.

It is not written in stone but we are looking at resuming in person worship outdoors on Sunday August 9th at 10:30 am. We will have marked off safe distance areas for those who would like to sit on the lawn in the sunshine and we will have a FM transmitter (for your car radio to assist in listening) for those who would choose to remain in their autos. The parking spaces on the north side of our parking lot will be designated for in car worship. Stay tuned as we near August 9th for confirmation and additional details on re-engaging in worship as COVID-19 allows us to resume worship more safely and using the guidelines from the State of Michigan which will help us determine this possibility of in person worship. Our intent is to worship outdoors for a few weeks as weather permits. We will move inside to worship as safety for all and weather encourages us to move indoors and resume worship in our sanctuary.

During the first part of July our Treasurer has sent out giving statements for the first half of 2020 giving year. Please compare your statement with your planned giving as we continues to support our Claybanks Church’s ongoing expenses and missional support. If you did not receive a statement please contact Cinda.

Mega Schihl
Reba and I had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours listening to Megan and her brother Luke play music in Pentwater on the Café Greens. She is doing well and her parents are experience improving health at this time. She sends her love to all!

Personal Note
I am humbled and sincerely grateful to Anne Riegler, the Mears and Shelby United Methodist Churches for allowing me and the Claybanks UMC to be a part of worshiping with them over these past few months. We talk about how as Methodist we are connected. Being able to be a part of worship with them has been a blessing for me and many of you have expressed your thanks and appreciation for the resources that they have shared with us. The Holy Spirit has been at work these past months in keeping us engaged through radio and webcasts. We have truly connected in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

Pastor’s Ponderings

I am writing this message to you with a deep concern for the physical health of our congregation and the need to be spiritually fed. Over the past two weeks our Worship Design Committee and our Administrative Council have looked at the possibility of returning to worship once again in the Claybanks United Methodist Church Sanctuary. We were carefully looking at returning to worship in the first part of July along with other churches in our area. It has been decided during these past few days that our community is not ready for us to return to worshiping together. With the recent increase of Covid-19 cases in Oceana County and the rising trend in our country, we are not ready to gather together safely in our church building. When the time is right for us to gather together additional communications will be issued by phone, email or postal mail to confirm our re-engaging in worship. To do this we must meet the requirements set before us by the State of Michigan, follow guidelines developed for the re-engaging of churches by the Michigan Conference of United Methodist Churches and the determination to do so by our church leadership. This will not be an easy process and some practices will not be what we have done before as we worship God, in the image of Christ through the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

Please hear and understand when I say this: you must decide for yourself and possibly other family members as to how comfortable you will be in returning to worship in the future. Some of us for health reasons must refrain from gathering together because of the possible health risks Covid-19 poses to those with pre-existing health conditions and other at a greater risk. For those who are just not ready to return to worship and all who will not be with us in worship as we gather together please do not let peer pressure, the habit only of being in worship on Sunday mornings or any other possible influences that might make it uncomfortable for you to be in worship be your only deciding factor. I assure you that we will not judge anyone or place a negative value on your decision to gather in common space worship until you feel comfortable. God knows your heart and wants nothing but safety and your well-being to be his desire.

If and when you so choose to return to worship, please evaluate your health each and every day including Sunday mornings prior to attending worship. People with Covid – 19 have a wide range of symptoms and if you have any of these please stay-at-home, contact your local medical providers and evaluate your current health. Some of the Covid-19 symptoms are: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, feeling nauseous or vomiting, and diarrhea. Should you have any of these symptoms please error on the side of safety for yourself and others that you might come in contact with.

For Sunday morning worship and any time we gather at Claybanks United Methodist Church we will practice safe social and physical distancing. We have developed policies and procedures in which to meet these requirements as much as possible. Wearing of face coverings is required for all with this one exception: those who because of health reasons are not able to where a face covering. We asked that you contact Pastor Gary prior to arriving at church so that we can make accommodations to keep you safe and others safe. All are welcome but certain restrictions will be in place. The entrance and exit to our building will only be through our double door entrance into the Fellowship Hall. As you approach and enter the church building please respect and use safe distancing. The entrance being used is wide and will allow the safest entry into our building. When entering and leaving safe distances are required. Hand sanitizer, sanitized wipes and face coverings will be available at our entrance area please use them. We will have a noncontact thermometer available should it be needed. In the entryway you will find baskets in which you may place your offerings for the day. We ask you to minimize your contact or touching of surfaces within the church. As you approach and enter the church building please respect and use safe distancing. Ushers will be available to seat you in the Sanctuary or in the Fellowship Hall if you prefer and we will use Fellowship Hall as overflow when needed. Please follow the directions of ushers and sit where direct (be open to the new and different perspective from your usual sitting location). We have determined the best possible seating to maximize the number of seats available in the sanctuary keeping safe distances. Bulletins will be placed in the seating areas where the ushers will guide you to. During our worship when we use a call and response, we ask you to respond in soft voices. For the immediate future we will not be singing, Suzanne is selecting music for worship that will touch our souls. To lift up Joys and Concerns we ask you to write them out prior to attending worship or use the forms provided in the pews which the pastor will collect and offer up during our prayer time. To minimize contact our Scripture Readings will be done by our liturgist and should you want to read along we asked that you bring your own Bible to worship. The touching of Bibles and our hymnals in the pews we are asking you to keep to a minimum. At the conclusion of worship, we will dismiss those in the Fellowship Hall first and then working from the back of the church towards the front you will be directed to leave by pew using safe distancing. We asked that you leave the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall and proceed outside so that others can be directed to leave in a timely fashion.

Please be flexible and aware of the changes being made and any adjustments that will be made in the future are to protect you and the others as we gather together in community. It is our prayer that the precautions that we take will be effective in allowing us to continue to meet together in worship as the community of Christ gathers at Claybanks United Methodist Church to give glory and praise to God for the love that he has for us and our church.

We as a church have never closed, so the church does not need to be reopened only re-engaged in worship. We as a church have simply stop worshiping in our building for time to protect the health and well-being of the people in our community. The church does not require a building in order to be the church. What is required to be a church is love, compassion and the presence of God.

May the love of God and the compassion of Christ be in all that you do and say, and may the presence of the Holy Spirit be with you each and every day wherever you might be.

Pastor Gary

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.