FROM THE HEART OF THE PASTOR Rev. Robert Lynch It is that political time of the year when by now we have been overwhelmed with phone calls, political commercials, and special interests groups advising us how to vote and who to vote for. It can almost turn one away from casting your vote! But having a 18 year old daughter voting for the first time and experiencing her excitement and interest in understanding all the issues involved in casting her vote, reminds me of the honor and privilege we have as citizens of this great country to vote! Over the years there is a biblical process I follow that has helped understand social issues especially in deciding which party and candidate to vote for. That process is called Social Analysis! Social Analysis is a term I picked up while I was living and working in Central America. I was asked to study issues not as separate and unique unto themselves, but to see issues like poverty in the Third World, World Bank issues, Liberal Capitalism, and Militarism as interrelated and linked faith issues. We were asked to look beyond the surface and see the big picture. As Christian leaders we, were committed to recognizing and understanding the issues that affected the lives of the people we worked and lived with, especially the poor and those without power. To analyze the present social reality with eyes of Faith demanded that we remove partisan political, social and economic prejudices and study issues as they affected our salvation and redemption as a people. Jesus, certainly, challenged the people of his time to look beyond the current prejudices and fears of the day. Jesus, through his ministry of healing, challenged the spiritual, political and economic leaders of his time to question the leader's condemnation and judgment of the "sinners" and the "unclean" people of the time. Jesus preached a message of love and forgiveness, welcoming all who experienced the love of God. His message affirmed the dignity of persons and always identified them as children of God. The alienated and condemned of Jesus' time - whose suffering from disease (lepers, lame, blind and the poor) -- all found acceptance in the person of Jesus and were welcomed partners in God's Kingdom. Also, Jesus denounced those who manipulated and controlled others. Jesus rejected those who proclaimed themselves self-righteous, seeing religion as a way of securing power, seeking prestige and accumulating wealth. God's Kingdom, to the contrary, belonged to the poor. John Wesley was certainly a pioneer of social analysis. Wesley challenged the people of his time to recognize the roots of poverty and sought ways of alleviating the causes of poverty in 18th Century England. Wesley tried to remove the social barriers erected by the society to the hearing and receiving of God's saving action. By developing Credit Unions, initiating work projects to create work, assisting people to find jobs, providing free health clinics, free medicines and information on home remedies, Wesley provided the needy with the means for lifting themselves out of poverty. Wesley also educated the industrialists of his day to treat workers with dignity. As England grew into an industrial society, Wesley’s influence saw that this new emerging industrial society build schools, hospitals and homes for its new working class. Wesley's most important contribution was to improve the life of the poor in England by affectingly changing attitudes toward poverty and the poor. By Wesley's critical stance toward social structures that contributed to the suffering and oppressed, Wesley changed the social conditions, attitudes, and prejudices that faced the poor in Wesley's England. In the United Kingdom today, many consider John Wesley as the founder of social democracy! Wesley’s social consciousness went hand in hand with his Evangelical message of holiness. Thus, Social Analysis examines causes, probes consequences, delineates linkage and identifies actors. It helps make sense of experience by putting them into a broader picture and drawing the connections between them. Theological reflection tries to understand the analyzed experience in the light of living faith, Scripture, church, Social Teaching and the resources of tradition. So, let us try not to be one issue voters when we discern political preferences! Please try to consider all the issues that affect our social reality and study how candidates stand on all the issues! Poverty, health, militarism, economic justice, immigration, crime, third world issues, homelessness are all important issues in our discernment process. Please remember to look at the big biblical picture that Jesus proclaimed and Wesley witnessed! Also, remember our wonderful heritage as Christians and United Methodists when we decide which candidates best reflect biblical and theological principles. Below I have included the United Methodist Church’s Social Principles and Social Creed. And please exercise your right and duty as a citizen of this great country and vote! We Act in Society Taking an active stance in society is nothing new for followers of John Wesley. He set the example for us to combine personal and social piety. Ever since predecessor churches to United Methodism flourished in the United States, we have been known as a denomination involved with people's lives, with political and social struggles, having local to international mission implications. Such involvement is an expression of the personal change we experience in our baptism and conversion. The United Methodist Church believes God's love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people's lives to risk interpreting God's love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other "mind-makers-up" that exist in our society. Excerpt from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission. To help guide our thinking and acting about how we live in and are in engaged in ministry in the world, The United Methodist Church has created statements to guide the church in its efforts to create a world of justice. "Our Social Creed" is a basic statement of our convictions about the fundamental relationships between God, God's creation and humanity. This basic statement is expanded in a more lengthy statement called the "Social Principles." This statement explains more fully how United Methodists are called to live in the world. Part of our Book of Discipline, the "Social Principles" serve as a guide to official church action and our individual witness. • • Preface The Social Principles are a prayerful and thoughtful effort on the part of the General Conference to speak to the human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation as historically demonstrated in United Methodist traditions. • • Preamble We, the people called United Methodists, affirm our faith in God our Creator and Father, in Jesus Christ our Savior, and in the Holy Spirit, our Guide and Guard. The Natural World We affirm that we're responsible for the way we use the Lord's creation. We support social policies that promote the wise use of water, air, soil, minerals, and plants. We support the conservation of energy and oppose energy-using technologies that threaten human health. We're concerned for the humane treatment of animals and the respectful use of space. The Nurturing Community We affirm the family and work to strengthen its relationships. We affirm the sanctity of marriage and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We recognize divorce as regrettable and intend to minister to the members of divorced families. We affirm the integrity of single persons. We recognize that sexuality is a good gift of God and that sex between a man and woman is only to be clearly affirmed in the marriage bond. We • • • • • • • • • • • • • recognize the tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion and urge prayerful consideration by all parties involved. We assert the right of every person to die with dignity. The Social Community We affirm all persons as equally valuable in God's sight. We reject racism and assert the rights of racial minorities to equal opportunities in employment, education, voting, housing, and leadership. We urge social practices that will uphold the rights of religious minorities, of children, youth, young adults, and the aging, of women, and of disabled persons. We affirm our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs, and we support the rehabilitation of drug-dependent persons. The Economic Community All economic systems are under the judgment of God. We believe the private ownership of property is a trusteeship under God and must be responsibly managed. We support the right of employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining. We affirm the right of safe and meaningful work and creative leisure. We support efforts to ensure truth in pricing, packaging, lending, and advertising; and we urge people to evaluate their consumption of goods in the light of the quality of life. We call on Christians to abstain from gambling and to be in ministry with persons who are the victims of this societal menace. The Political Community We hold governments responsible for the protection of people's basic freedoms. We believe that neither church nor state should attempt to dominate the other. We call for freedom of information and quality education. We defend the right of individuals to practice conscientious, non-violent civil disobedience. We support government measures to reduce crimes consistent with the basic freedoms of persons; and we urge the creation of new systems of rehabilitation. The World Community God's world is one world. We hold nations accountable for unjust treatment of their citizens. We affirm the right of people in developing nations to shape their own destiny; and we applaud efforts to establish a more just international economic order. We believe war is incompatible with the teachings of Christ, and we claim that it is the primary moral duty of every nation to resolve disputes peacefully. We endorse the United Nations and commend all who pursue world peace through law. Our Social Creed United Methodist Social Creed We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends. We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind. We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family. We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress. We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world. We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen. (It is recommended that this statement of Social Principles be continually available to United Methodist Christians and that it be emphasized regularly in every congregation. It is further recommended that "Our Social Creed" be frequently used in Sunday worship.) Allegan UMC Synergy: The power of togetherness When two or more people come together in the pursuit of a common goal, end or purpose, a synergy results! The common expression says that the “sum of the parts are greater than the whole.” Life is energy. We are energy systems who get our energy from just three sources: food, fresh air and each other. Energy only knows two states: on or off- Growth or decay! When we make positive ongoing face-to-face connections we grow with the energy and feedback we share with each other. This is quite literally the power of togetherness. Our fall and winter themes will focus on the power of togetherness as we, as a church, continue to feel the common energy of being precious children of God and called together to be God’s church. November November 04, 2012 Get Up and Go Ruth 1:1-18 We're a country of go-getters. Yet, recent studies show that getting and going anywhere is becoming a thing of the past. All Saints: remembering members who have died November 11, 2012 The Value of Tragedy Hebrews 9:24-28 We don't want to go through a tragedy ourselves, but we delight in watching other people's crises on TV or in the movies. How come? Honoring WWII and Korean Veterans and Annual Church Conference Sunday after fellowship time November 18, 2012 Falling Stones Mark 13:1-8 The Washington Monument and the Temple of Herod. What do these two structures have in common? November 25, 2012 How to Write Your Memoirs 2 Samuel 23:1-7 Presidents do it. So do writers, actors and business leaders. They write memoirs. What would be in your story? Thanksgiving Sunday! NEWS FROM THE PEWS BIBLE STUDY This group meets every week on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Come join us! READERS GROUP THOSE WHO SERVE IN NOVEMBER SOUND 4 - Hanford Brink 11 - Jon Brink 18 - Ed Garvin ACOLYTES 4 - Alli Dangremond Aaron Salisbury 11 - Bailey Weaver Hunter Weeks 18 - Tara LeMaire Nathan Parrish 25 - Eleanor Nielsen We meet in Fellowship Hall on Thursday, November 8th at 11:30. Donna 673-7355. NOTE FROM THE OFFICE If you are going to south/west for the winter, please notify the office with your address. Thanks! FELLOWSHIP TIME Mary Martha THANK YOU Thank you to our church family for your prayers, concern, patience, funeral luncheon, food brought to our home, cards & visits. This summer our family had four family members pass on in three weeks. Bill, his sister who was buried less than twenty hours before he passed, a cousin and our niece, Heather Bullen, 35 years old and she died from cancer. She left her twenty month old son and husband. Your support has helped us through this very difficult time. Ginny Borgman & Family 25 - Kara Dangremond Kalyn Salisbury PIANISTS NURSERY 4 - Samatha Wood 11 - Sara Thomsen 18 - Heather Weeks 25 - Beth Ann DeLaet GREETERS 4 - Matt and Kristy Milbocker Family Sue Chappell Sara Ramaker 11 - Paul and Lyn McQuaid Family Jeff and Diane McElwee 18 - Dave and Irene Waanders Dan and Lori Barber Family 25 - Nancy Peabody Sari Hammon Ed and Mary Jane Garvin USHERS 4 - Ed Garvin Joan Rininger 11 - Sue Chappell Tina Thiel 18 - Jon and Joyce Brink 25 - Ginny Borgman Tim Borgman 411 18 25 - Wende Wood Amanda Wood Patty Anderson Morgan Sturman LITURGIST 4 - Kim Leslie 11 - Kim Leslie 18 - Lyn McQuaid 25 - Lyn McQuaid JUNIOR CHURCH Leader: Joy Masek Helpers: 11 - Barb Brewster 18 - Chris Jurkas 25 - Kristy Milbocker COMMUNION SERVERS 4 - Kevin DeLaet Beth Ann DeLaet Tom Giles Lois Giles GLASS BABY FOOD JARS Beth Ann DeLaet is collecting glass baby food jars for a project at her children’s school. Please place them in bags by the coat rack. Thanks! DISCOVERY CLASS This class is an Adult Sunday School Class. It meets in the Senior High Classroom starting Sunday, October 28. We will be viewing the “Promise Land” by Joy VanderLaan. Discussion will follow by Kevin DeLaet. Joy VanderLaan is a teacher, writer, speaker and guides tours to Bibical lands. This is something you don’t want to miss. All are invited. See Donna Skoglund673-7355 for more information. Thank you for the many books that have been donated to our library. During the month of November, new features (many seasonal) will be on display in Fellowship Hall for you to take home and enjoy. Parents and grandparents, too, please read “Thriving Family” a magazine from Focus on the Family. PICTURE SIGNUP – Signup in Fellowship Hall for the pictures for the picture board. They will be scheduling on Sunday afternoons. David Stewart 673-3240 UMW – HELP WANTED –We are looking for a co-chair for the Dec. 1st Bazaar. The president and treasurer position are also open for 2013. Contact the office or Cindy if you are interested. WALKING GROUP – This group ended for the season but remember there are other opportunities such as the high school for walking. YOUTH GROUP Sunday, Nov. 4 Noon to 2 – Sardines, Board Games Sunday, Nov. 18, Noon to 2 – Bazaar Crafts As a fundraiser, the youth will provide babysitting services on Black Friday. Contact JoAnne Giles 673-5966 for more information. AUMC Family Night Travelogue Presenting: Croatia – the new Pearl of the Adriatic Featuring: 15th century hilltop villages, seaside fortress cities, alluring islands, World Heritage sites, mountain vistas, national parks … even a cable car ride! Saturday evening, Nov. 17 Potluck at 6pm – bring a dish to pass Travelogue at 6:45pm (by Jeff and Diane McElwee) Program Complete by 8pm Join us for a fun evening!! Hanging of the Greens Saturday, November 24th at 3:00 p.m. Come join in the fun as we make the Church ready for the Christmas season! We need families, couples, singles to help decorate. Treats and music will be provided to help celebrate this festive event! Sunday, November 25th everyone in the congregation is invited to bring one special ornament for decorating one of the Christmas trees in the sanctuary. Your ornament will be returned at the end of the Holiday season. On a recent visit to Briarwood to sing with the residents, I looked around at those gathered there and thought someday this is going to be me. I watched the faces, some smiling, some lost, and some with almost an angered look. Which one will I be? Hopefully I will remember the songs and the hymns that have been a part of me since childhood. I watched Marguerite sit in her chair and move her hands as if leading the singing. I observed Kathryn smiling and being happy that she was there. One resident slumped over in her chair and there was one on the couch that had a good voice and really sang out. Sometimes it’s as if the songs bring out memories of long ago. A love song may be a reminder of a young love that warms the heart. A hymn might bring back early Sunday School days or a spiritual step taken towards a faith-filled life. Patriotic songs seem to bring out strong singing; perhaps they served our country or had a loved one who did. Will dementia or Alzheimer’s disease rob me of being able to sing the songs that have been such an important part of my life? My favorite brother-in-law has Parkinson’s and his thoughts and actions have been slowed significantly. In September, at our grandson’s wedding, the D.J. slowly cleared the dance floor until one couple stood. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law, married 57 years, were that couple! As she led him off the dance floor the crowd cheered and many had tears in their eyes. This month he walked his granddaughter down the isle with some apprehension but he did it well! None of us knows what is ahead for us. Will it be physical limitations or memory issues that will rob us of who we once were? Dear God, if only we could see in the mirror of life and view a picture of what lies ahead for us. But do we really want to know? You know the plans You have for us and we know whatever happens You Will Be there! How marvelous is our faith and believe that God has a plan for each of us and we must trust Him to see us through whatever comes our way. Trust and obey for there is no other way. What a wondrous promise. Judy MISSION CORNER for NOVEMBER OUR OWN LOCAL CHURCH FOOD PANTRY WILL BE THE PROJECT OF THE MONTH AND OUR COMMUNION OFFERING RECIPIENT FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER Some statistics that have prompted us to choose this month to boost the bank of the food pantry: • Since May nearly $2000, has been expended to purchase necessary items that are not available from the warehouse. • The numbers of families using the pantry had doubled just between the months from January - July 2012. • A family can utilize this food pantry once every six weeks. • One day, 18 families came through the door seeking food. • Each week in the bulletin, a list of needed food is seen. It’s the month for Thanks Giving, let’s count our blessings and put our shoulders to the wheel and support our local program with our offerings. ***** Special Sunday Offering- November 25th UNITED METHODIST STUDENT DAY AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS AND LOANS TO PEOPLE ACROSS THE UNITED STATES – MAYBE EVEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW. Like many things, college costs continue to rise. Thanks to United Methodist Student Day, people in your annual conference – perhaps even members of your family—have a chance to attain higher education. Students attending United Methodist and other accredited colleges and universities receive scholarships and loans. Participating annual conferences receive 10 percent of the offering for merit-scholarship awards to students of their choosing. A RICH HISTORY OF EDUCATING UNITED METHODISTS had its beginnings in 1866 Our pennies and loose change continue to go into the Christmas Basket Fund. Watch for your Advent Folders- make it a Family project to slip that change and/or bills into the slots. 2012 Report It has been at the Allegan UMC Food Pantry. Here are the months with visits: Month People January 221 February 133 March 247 April 178 May 254 2011 Visits No. of People 2012 Visits 34 122 61 18 49 39 24 64 No. of 66 22 78 49 17 47 72 June 230 July 365 August 280 September 234 October 127 YTD TOTALS 2,269 21 72 62 31 91 92 36 125 73 40 132 60 48 173 291 953 (As of Oct. 19) Number of Households Add to this for 2012 32 606 226 4 utility assistance 1 home assistance 1 gasoline Thank you very much for your support. Your gifts of food and money have helped to keep people from being hungry in the Allegan area. Mission Committee We need the following food items: Hamburger helper, peanut butter, jelly, BBQ sauce, Kraft tangy spaghetti dinner. We DESPERATELY need the following: Mustard, ketchup, scalloped and mashed potatoes, side noodles, cereal, dish soap. Contributions of cash will help purchase items not received. Cross Fire A Gathering November Theme: Blessings in Our Lives NOTE: Change of DAY!! THURSDAY, Nov. 15, starting at 6pm Where your bib overalls, too, for the HOOT OWLS String Gospel Band will provide the music for the evening! Join us for fun, food and a message!!