First United Methodist Church Grapevine
The Church at Work e-zine (electronic magazine) is designed to give
you a glimpse into the stories being lived out through the ministries of First United Methodist Church Grapevine. Lives are being touched and changed forever, and we want you to hear the story.
Meru Street Children
The Least, Overlooked, Ignored
Wrapped in Love & Prayer
The After People
Serve Over Summer
If you have feedback about the e-zine or a story to tell, please contact: Dr. Cindy Ryan email@example.com, 817-481-2559 x222 or Melissia Mason firstname.lastname@example.org, 817-481-2559 x109 The Church at Work || 3
meru street children
4 || The Church at Work
By John Mollet
uring my first trip to our Kenyan Village in 2012, I met a young boy on the streets of Meru. Meru is a busy place. It is a large town in which few have cars for transportation, so most walk. The streets are always filled with people. Our mission team had gone to the Makutano (Crossroads) area of town, listening to the evangelists we support share their witness in word and song. I was standing on the roadside with a Kenyan pastor (also named John) listening to them, when a boy of about ten came up to us. He was obviously poor. His clothes were little more than rags and he was filthy dirty. He spoke only Swahili, so Pastor John kneeled down to talk with him. As they spoke it was obvious there was something wrong with the boy. Even speaking another language I could tell he had mental challenges. And there was something else: he had a bottle filled
with an amber colored substance in it. It hung from his mouth, his lips holding on to it. He would remove it only to speak. Their conversation went on for a few minutes, and then the boy went on his way. I asked John who the boy was, what he wanted and if there was something wrong with him. John said he was one of the street children begging for food and money. His parents could no longer take care of him, so he was relegated to the streets. He was addicted to glue. That was the amber substance in the bottle. John told me many parents give it to their children so they no longer have to feel the pangs of hunger. As John continued to tell me the plight of these children, I watched a man chase this boy away, hitting him several times with a broom handle to keep him moving. As my eyes panned the street, I saw several other children with
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amber colored bottles hanging from their mouths. I asked John, “How many of these children are there in Meru?” He said, “I don’t know. There are a lot of them.” I responded, “What is the church doing to help them?” He only looked at me in confusion. “Have they just become a part of the landscape? Become invisible to society and the church?” I explained how that happens to us in the U.S. How we tend to close our eyes to the needs of those just down the street from us. John answered, “Yes, and there are just too many of them to help.”
t was at that point I knew this boy was not going to leave my heart until we were able to do something for the “glue kids” - these “Street Children.” The next day Pastor John and I spoke to Bishop William. We agreed that he would look into the needs of the children and what programs might be available for them. He would report to our next mission team that would be arriving from Grapevine a few months later, and then again when I returned in a year. Not much could be accomplished by the time our next mission team arrived in July. They visited a small program for the street kids in one of the local churches, but they were not able to see many of the glue kids during their trip. When Bishop William transferred the responsibilities of his office to Bishop Catherine, he made her aware of our 6 || The Church at Work
interest in working with the street children. Catherine then took it upon herself to scout out these children and start building a relationship with them. By the time our March mission team arrived in 2013, Bishop Catherine had discovered over 300 children, from infants to over twenty. They live in two separate groups on the streets of Meru - in Makutano and in Meru Town. Catherine introduced our group to the children and out of that meeting has sprung an exciting new ministry!
et me just pause here in the story to tell you that meeting with these children and youth was like living in the pages of William Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies. They live in an alleyway just off one of the main intersections in the city. It serves as a dump area for the businesses in the vicinity. They have no enclosures to live in, so they erect paper coverings to sleep under. The police pass through regularly to tear them down. This group of children thinks of themselves as a family. They have a “chairman” and a hierarchy under him. The chairman’s
name is Zablon. He has a list of everyone in the group with ages and notes on each. They protect and provide for ones who are unable to do so for themselves. When one of the girls in the group needed medical care, they pooled whatever money they could get their hands on to pay for her hospital bill. They were trying to help a few of the younger children to stay in school.
had all the moves and inflections of a preacher down pat. But as Mark Maness commented, we donâ€™t know if he was just mimicking the words or if he believed what he was saying. Carol Howe fell in love with Charles, the boy in the yellow cap with the sweet face. He latched on to her. We later found out he had been abused by his family.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, these are tough, street-wise kids; abandoned, neglected or abused and forced to live on the streets. But they are all hoping for a chance at a better life.
e invited the street kids to meet with us at All-Saints Methodist Church about five blocks away. We had no idea how many would take us up on our offer. At first a few children came into the sanctuary of the church; then a few more. Finally, a bustling group of 75 sat in the church pews. The kids told us about life in the streets; they even sang us a song about it. It was like their national anthem. Their needs were basic: food, shelter and education. Zablon told us the focus should be on the younger ones. They were still young enough to go to school and break the cycle of street life. The older ones needed help getting a job: interviewing skills, a place to shower and clean clothes to wear for interviews.
he better life they long for is what we, in cooperation with the Kaaga Synod, the Methodist Orphanage in Meru and government leaders, are working to provide.
A few of the children stood out. Zablon is a natural leader, intelligent and articulate.
We have already started to provide lunch for the street kids three times a week at All-Saints Methodist Church. Our church is providing the funding for the food ($500 a month) and All-Saints is doing the cooking.
While waiting to come into the church, one of the boys started to preach. He
The orphanage is beginning to evaluate the children to see if they are addicted The Church at Work || 7
to glue and willing to get off of it. They are finding out if they can or should be reunited with their families or be placed in the orphanage. They will be attempting to get the younger children into primary school and the older ones into trade school. There are plans to help the oldest teenagers with clothing and skills for job interviews. I have just received this week from the Kaaga Synod the first draft of a proposal to Rotary International for a grant to help us fund the project. The Rotary Club in Meru will be joining us in that effort. Here is what we have already learned from Kaaga Synod’s work with the children: • There are over 100 street children in Makutano, which will be our first area of focus. 8 || The Church at Work
• One boy from the streets has started school at Thuura Secondary School. We have paid for his first and second semesters. • Some 20 children have expressed the desire to go back to school. • 20 others, ages 16 and older, have said they would like to go to trade school classes. • 15 are already attending polytechnic school supported by a government SOS grant. • Two of the older children have been sent away from Kithoka Youth Polytechnic for lack of a proper uniform.
• 13 street kids already in school are in need of a place to stay at night. • The older children not in school need help starting a small business to get off the streets. Ten among them have expressed their wish for a wheelbarrow so they can ferry goods to make a living. • There are six girls in the Makutano group. One is expecting, one has two children and another has one child. These are families already living on the streets. The girls have expressed interest in going to school to become a hair stylist or a tailor. There will be many ways you can help in this new ministry and we will keep you informed of those ways as they arise.
The first way you can help is to contribute to the All-Saint lunch funding. As I said that is a monthly cost of $500. You or your family or your Sunday school class or your Bible Study group or your UMW Circle or Emmaus Reunion Group can help by contributing toward a month’s expenses. You can also provide funding for education or job support. Or you can give to help the general project as it moves forward. In whatever way you help, I guarantee it will be money well spent. « John has served as Senior Pastor of FUMC Grapevine since June of 2011. John has visited Kenya twice and is passionate about the ministries there. Read thoughts from John daily on the 10 & 10 blog. www.firstmethodistgrapevine.org/10and10
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#springbreak @costarica By Stephen Donegan
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Each Spring Break, the church takes a group of juniors and seniors to visit our Costa Rica Village of Las Juntas. This yearâ€™s trip was March 9-16. The team members were: Noah Welborn, Thomas Schultz, Kit Finau, Stephen Donegan, Lauren Maynard, Delaney White, Allison Hackney, Mariella Alvarado, Armando Alvarado, Brian Davidson and Jenny Davidson.
t doesn’t really hit you until you’re home, until everyone is talking about their vacation to whatever tropical place is popular that year or how much they partied all week at home... the first time you really come to the realization that it wasn’t just some wild dream that seemed to last for days. Whenever people inevitably ask you what you did over spring break you always get the same, “Oh, that sounds interesting,” that comes with telling people you went on a mission trip. But that really just comes with the territory because if it was something everyone was comfortable doing, then everyone would do it and maybe there wouldn’t be a need for these trips anymore. The adventure began at the ripe hour of 5:00 AM, a time that is an adventure to many teenagers, unexplored unless they have some sort of club or team obligations. You drowsily hug your parents goodbye and then board a plane bound for what some people describe as, “The best place on earth.” It’s okay to be a little skeptical because there is no way that a place that needs mission trips could be that great. Right? Wrong.
ou touch down in Costa Rica to views that you could imagine being plastered on a postcard to give the world just a glimpse of the beauty. You haven’t even done anything yet but the new environment is exciting enough to keep you turning your head in search of a new sight to soak in because you just can’t get enough.
want to belly flop onto their bed and pass out until the morning. Sunday morning, you get to experience a service at our sister church in Las Juntas. Although you might not be able to understand what’s said, it’s still moving, especially to the citizens of Las Juntas, some of whom need to sit down part way through. You finish Sunday with a service in the park where you can spend hours playing soccer with all the local kids before you settle down for worship.
onday and Tuesday are spent at the local school, where this year instead of VBS, we ended up painting a bathroom to help out with repairs being done on the school after damaging winds. But that didn’t stop us
You arrive in the village of Las Juntas after the sun has set so there isn’t much opportunity to explore just yet, but that’s okay because the day of traveling is enough to make even the most energetic person The Church at Work || 11
he next morning, after a night at a local seminary, you pack up and head for the airport, where you experience the bittersweet mix of relief at returning home and desire to stay for another week. Once you complete another day of travel, you get to once again drowsily hug loved ones and say goodbye to your “family” of the past week. from being able to play with the kids who begged their teachers to include us in their recess time. Wednesday is your free day, which after working for a few days is a welcome revelation. You board a bus and begin the journey up the mountain to go ziplining, which to some is worse and more stressful than actual work. For most, the experience of soaring over the jungle with a view of the surrounding landscape really is something that they’ll never forget. The day concludes with a trip to a restaurant on top of a mountain that features a soccer field and some of the best views you can possibly imagine.
As you return home and try to catch up on lost sleep and return to your normal routine, it’s hard to forget the new rush of memories that comes to mind, the gratitude of the local people in Costa Rica, the growth you experience in all aspects that comes from helping others, and most of all the feelings that are too complex to put into words.
o people are going to give you strange looks and other reactions that question why you would give up a week to go to a strange place and work instead of partying or relaxing on a beach. But it doesn’t really matter because you can always just return the strange looks and eye rolls when you politely reply, “Why would you choose not to?” «
Thursday brings yet another change of scenery as you return to San Jose to help work at the children’s home there. Stephen Donegan is a Junior at Grapevine High School. He is active in Youth Ministries and on the youth leadership team. He also works at Palio’s in Grapevine.
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The Least. The Overlooked. The Ignored. By Debbie Price
Matthew 25:40... ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” NIV ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me— you did it to me.” The Message 14 || The Church at Work
atthew 25:40. Whenever I think of Weekend Food, I think of that passage. It has been the guiding force and mission statement from the beginning. Our children are some of our most vulnerable citizens. They can be among the least of these and they can be overlooked. Our congregation has made a choice; a choice to not overlook, not ignore but rather to help feed hungry children in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district. Weekend Food began in November 2009 with 40 children from Timberline Elementary. Within a year we were feeding 10 campuses with over 700 children. In 2009-2010 we distributed 5,680 bags of food. By the end of this 2012-2013 school year, we will have distributed over 27,000 bags of food. God has blessed this ministry and enabled it to grow through the generous monetary donations and the hundreds of volunteer hours required to deliver 27,000 bags of food!
he numbers are impressive. But it’s the stories of lives changed that make Weekend Food a shining example of “the church at work.” We have heard time
after time from school counselors about the impact you are making in the lives of these children and their families. One of our high school counselors shares these touching stories of how her students have been helped: “We have a student who is 21 and trying to graduate while taking care of her 10 month old baby. She said she is thankful because her baby loves the apple sauce :)” “I can’t tell you how many times having a ‘stash’ of granola bars has come in handy. Often I’ll have students come into my office after having a conflict at home the night before. Many times, as I visit with them, I find out not only haven’t they had breakfast, but they missed dinner too. It is much easier to talk a student through a crisis when their basic need of hunger is addressed.”
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hat does it mean to volunteer for Weekend Food? You need to be strong and have a big vehicle to pick up the Sam’s order. To bag food, you need to be able to count or have someone who can count for you. To deliver, you need to be flexible and have a good back or be willing to ask for help. In other words, anyone can volunteer for Weekend Food. The one thing you can’t have is an expectation that you will be greeted by smiling children or told how wonderful you are every time you volunteer. Because of privacy issues within the schools, volunteers don’t see the children who receive the food. They don’t get hugs or smiles, or all of the wonderful things that we sometimes receive when serving in ministry. Often the volunteers don’t even see other volunteers. They go about their work quietly, unloading cases of food from Sam’s, loading plastic bags with food or coming during the week to pick up bins to deliver. There are many people who give financially and remain anonymous to most. There are those that donate food, a six pack of applesauce or a case of mac and cheese. They do this because they care about hungry children.
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Weekend Food runs in the background, 40 weeks a year, totally supported and funded by our congregation.
o with all the volunteering happening behind the scenes, how do we know if Weekend Food helps?
In part, we trust that God is working through each bag of food. But we also know that Weekend Food is helping each time a counselor takes a moment to send us a note. A couple of elementary school counselors have also shared their stories with us... “The mother of one of our Backpack Club students called me crying. She was so very grateful and humbled by your ministry. She was thanking me profusely for the food. She said it was literally saving her family from hunger at a very dark time in their lives. I thought you would want to know that you all truly are making a difference. Thank you again for all that you do!” “A child was alternating staying weekends with each parent. There were supervision issues at one home.
The other parent shared The only food that the weekend before when the children were at they had was the home with supervision issues, that parent had their Weekend been out late Friday night and did not wake up until Food bag, which 4:00 pm on Saturday. The the child shared children were not allowed to leave the house and with two siblings. there was no food for them to eat. The only food they had was their Weekend Food bag, which the child shared with 2 siblings. The parent that conveyed the story was so very thankful to us for providing that for them. It truly was a touching moment. Thankfully this student and the other 2 are now full time with this parent. Thank you all for making a difference in the lives of our students.”
Are we helping? Are we serving the least of these? The overlooked? The ignored? Surely, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” When I think of Weekend Food, I always see the same picture: a child, receiving a bag with open hands and seeing the face of God. «
Debbie Price and her husband Doug have been members of FUMC since 1994. Debbie is actively involved in many missions ministries, including Weekend Food, Feed Our Kids, Costa Rica Missions & Youth Mission Trips.
Want to help with Weekend Food? You may donate individual-sized food items like those seen here, or contact Debbie Price to get started on one of the Weekend Food teams. We’ll start bagging and delivering for the new year in September!
Debbie Price: email@example.com or 817-821-3858 The Church at Work || 17
Wrapped in Love & Prayer
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By Debbi Reecer
hat started as a friendship between two church members has become a loving ministry that reaches out to substance abusers who in some cases have lost all their support systems because of their addictions. The Blankets of Hope ministry provides fleece lap blankets to patients of a local substance abuse treatment facility. The center offers medically monitored detox treatment; residential, day or partial care; family and continuing care services; and also directs outpatient counseling services. Blankets of Hope grew out of a vision between FUMCG staff member Cheri Rutledge, Membership Secretary and Assistant to Caring Ministries, and church member Jan Parrett, a longtime office and ministry volunteer. Sadly, Jan passed away on March 23, but her legacy carries on.
an made fleece blankets for all of her friends, including all of us in the church office,” Cheri recalls. “We got to know each other and realized we shared a common interest for helping people suffering from substance abuse and addiction. I had been trying to think of something we could do for them, that would be affordable, and before the words were out of my mouth, Jan said, ‘Yes, we can do this.’ We put our heads together and to date, the ministry has delivered more than 1,000 blankets since 2007.” Cheri’s and Jan’s intention was to give hope and encouragement to people who, because of their
In Loving Memory... Jan Parrett All you have to do is mention Jan Parrett’s name once, and the stories start to pour out. Stories of her “blanket workshop” in her garage, her closets full of fleece fabric, her caring support … and mostly, her determination. “Jan had so much personality. Her love for the Lord drove the Blankets of Hope Ministry,” says Cheri Rutledge. “She was very committed to this and everything she did.” FUMCG member Kerbie Merrill knows the passion Jan had for caring for others. Jan was Kerbie’s Campus Angel – part of another ministry that helps us stay in contact with our college students while they are off at school. With Jan in deteriorating health, Kerbie told Jan that maybe it was she who should be supporting Jan instead. But Jan insisted on carrying out her duties – making Kerbie a University of Arkansas blanket and mailing it to her the day before she passed away. Longtime friend Rosario Palacios also fondly remembers Jan like she was part of her own family. “She was a true angel.”
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addictions and habits, may have lost all their support systems. “They’ve often burned so many bridges that by the time they get into treatment, they’re pretty much without support,“ Cheri says. Members of the ministry fill various jobs from providing fleece, to sewing, to tying and cutting the fringe. “When we learned how many people went through Valley Hope, it broke Jan’s heart that we couldn’t help them all. But we do the best we can to put a blanket on each of the 70 beds,” Cheri says.
ecently, a multi-generational group of women and girls at church, called GIFT - “Growing In Faith Together” - also contributed to the effort. On that Sunday afternoon, over 20 loving, generous women and girls gathered together in memory of their friend Jan to make blankets. One family, Rosario Palacios and her daughters, contributed nine blankets to the event. “It makes me feel good to be able to help the people,” Rosario says. “While I was cutting the fabric, I was praying for each one of them – hoping there was still hope.” When the blankets are ready, Cheri and another ministry member make the delivery. “People ask us why we do this ministry, but all you have to do is go on one delivery and see the faces of those who receive the blankets. We don’t know what happens to these residents, but I have to believe it makes a difference. We hope to provide a symbol of Christian support made with love and prayer.” « To learn more about the Blankets of Hope Ministry, contact Cheri Rutledge (firstname.lastname@example.org, 817-481-2559 x110). Debbi Reecer has been a member of FUMCG since 1997. She serves on the Campus Angels and Angel Food teams. Debbi and her husband Rich attend the Open Door Sunday School Class and worship at the 11:00 AM service. They have a son, Matt, who is a student at Texas Tech University.
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The After People By the Stephen Ministry Leader Team
Note: The relationship between a Stephen Minister and his or her care receiver is strictly confidential. As a result, names of care receivers used in this article have been changed so as not to reveal their identity.
and issues all their own. They seemed to be fatigued whenever she started to share with them. Then Cecile heard about Stephen Ministry.
ecile’s heart was heavy. The information that her doctor had just shared with her was not what she expected or had hoped for. No matter how many times she read the copy of the report her doctor had given her, or thought over the words he had shared with her, she knew she couldn’t change the results. It wasn’t good news.
ob’s wife had died of cancer, after which he made the decision to retire in order to begin focusing on his grandchildren, along with other local causes that were important to him. He began to volunteer in the community, but soon regretted his decision as he became overwhelmed at times with grief over his wife’s death.
As she shared with family and friends about her situation over the next few days, she felt restrained to share her true feelings of fear and confusion. Her family members all seemed to have concerns
In short order, Bob found it very difficult to balance his grief with setting new life goals. He would begin to feel more in control, and then he would hear the words of his wife’s favorite song on the The Church at Work || 21
radio, or see his wife’s picture on his night stand during a moment of loneliness. He wondered if he was going crazy. Then Bob heard about Stephen Ministry.
listened, I felt that she was validating my pain.” “One day,” Cecile said, “she asked me what I thought I ought to do. I surprised myself with my answer... and then it dawned on me that, as my care receiver listened to me talk every week, I had begun to work out a plan of action that I owned and could live with. As we prayed together, I knew I could face what lay ahead.”
tephen Ministry attempts to match specially-trained members of our congregation with people going through a tough time, or who feel they would benefit from sharing with a trained listener “A Stephen Minister within a confidential is someone who will conversation. FUMC Grapevine is one of 10,000+ churches nationwide, representing more than 150 Christian denominations, who offer Stephen Ministry to church members and to the community-at-large.
be there to walk with you as you deal with whatever it is you are facing, and
The formal relationship with her Stephen Minister has since ended, but the two remain very close friends.
ob shares, “I will forever be indebted in doing so will to my Stephen help you see that, Minister. He listened to me, prayed for me, and with God’s help, you When we are asked what was very good at asking will be okay.” Stephen Ministers do, questions that enabled our usual response is, me to keep talking about “A Stephen Minister is what I was truly feeling. I someone who will be there to walk with remember the day I shared with him that you as you deal with whatever it is you are I was okay after he had asked me how I facing, and in doing so will help you see was doing. Then it struck me pretty hard, that, with God’s help, you will be okay.” but in a good way, that it was the first time in several months I had truly felt like I was ecile was matched with a Stephen going to be okay!” Minister, who met with her for an hour each week for over a year. tephen Ministers are often referred Cecile shares, “My Stephen Minister would to as the “After People.” Stephen hold my hand and let me talk from my Ministers are there, prepared to offer heart. I call her my angel because she genuine and heartfelt Christian care... helped me through a tough time in my life. She never really gave me specific advice After the phone call you hope you’d never as much as she just listened to me. As she get...
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After the divorce papers are served and the bottom falls out of your life... After the funeral, when everyone has left, and the emotions you’ve held at bay come crashing down on you... After the last child leaves for college... After the nursing home director shakes your hand and says, “Welcome to your new home...” After the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever expected... After you are handed a pink slip with your final paycheck... After your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk it out...
t FUMC Grapevine, we have 17 commissioned and experienced Stephen Ministers, some of whom are currently providing for care receivers and some who stand ready today to help you. Each has over 50 hours of specialized training and each participates in additional monthly continuing education and training events. This wonderful team is led by a group of Stephen Leaders who each have had an additional 50+ hours of specialized leader training. Everyone associated with our Stephen Ministry team has partnered with our clergy team to help provide the best pastoral care we can to whomever we can. A Stephen Minister can be ready to come alongside you – or your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or relatives – and provide comfort and support for as long after as needed. «
For more information about having a Stephen Minister come alongside you as you journey through a difficult time in your life, or to learn more about becoming a Stephen Minister, please contact Rev. Rick Mang (email@example.com, 817-481-2559 x114) or ask a Stephen Minister. They are easily identified by the blue and white Stephen Ministry name badges they wear every Sunday morning.
The Stephen Ministry Leadership Team consists of Rebecca Himmelberg, Alice Steely, Nancy White, Julie Croft, Heidi Nichols, Sandra Nasr, Linda Almendarez, Wade Hiney, Katherine Hunter, Rev. Rick Mang. These and many other Stephen Ministers are trained and ready to provide comfort and support when you need them.
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What Next? By Rev. Annette Sowell
I was only five years old the first time I asked that question. I was happily skipping along on a fine spring day when “it” happened: I suddenly knew, with absolute certainty, that I was loved. My little heart was strangely warmed with an assurance that God is and God loves me. And I wanted more. I wondered, “What next?” 24 || The Church at Work
he first answer was: stay close
• An attitude of expectation and
to a community of faith. I have
readiness to receive can be achieved
learned that community is the
by sitting with eyes closed, hands in the
laboratory where we are transformed and we get to know the Christ in ever increasing newness. The human spirit cannot be shaped and molded in isolation. I have learned the value of participating.
lap, palms up and open to receive. • Silence is golden so stop talking and listen. If thoughts or concerns come, offer them to God for examination. God may have a word about them. If not, they go away. Don’t quit
Sunday School classes, Bible studies, worship services, retreats, service projects, etc. become places where, again and again, our hearts are strangely warmed and we receive assurance that God is and that God loves us. I have learned that the One who formed each of us in the womb and calls each of us by
The One who formed each of us in the womb... has a deep desire for an individual and personal relationship with us.
name has a deep desire for
because of their intrusion. • Keep a Bible, a journal and a pen within reach. • Keep a prayer list of family, church staff, church programs, and concerns. • Keep a gratitude list. • Read devotional material.
an individual and personal relationship
• Choose television programs carefully.
• Pray that our words and actions are a
I have been taught some helpful daily
blessing to others.
practices for my own participation in this
• Try to accept daily events as part
Holy Partnership. Here are some of them:
of God’s plan to warm our hearts
• Create a personal and private place of solitude that can be set aside just for the purpose of encountering God. • Music can contribute to an atmosphere of holiness and a sense of God’s Presence.
and transform our whole self: body, thoughts, feelings, relationships, spirit, vocation, hobbies, dreams, etc. • Try fasting, not only from food but from thoughts, feelings, and habits that block your communication with God. The Church at Work || 25
different practices from day to day and
from one season of our lives to another.
for more follow-up coming soon!
We can trust our God to guide our
In the meantime, we hope you will
include some of the suggestions from
• Be willing to experiment with different spiritual practices/disciplines – there is no “one size fits all.” We may need
• It is important for Pilgrims on the Way to help one another stay on the Path; a human accountability partner(s) can be helpful.
n Sunday, May 19, we had a “What’s Next” gathering to discuss our response to
the book The Great Omission. Watch
Annette’s article in your commitment to discipleship. You may also consider some of these opportunities for growth:
Serving From the Heart
t has been a long time since I was that five year old girl, asking “what next?” I still seek the answer(s). I
know that there is much, much more to learn about the spiritual journey. As the future unfolds for us as individuals and as a community of faith, I look forward to “What Next?” knowing that “what we shall be has not yet been revealed” (I John 3:2). See you on The Path. «
Dr. Cindy Ryan and Bev Campisi will lead this class from June 2-30. Are you looking for a way to discover your gifts and passions? This study will help you discover your areas of giftedness, uncover your ministry passions, and find a serving match that brings you joy and fulfillment. Please pre-register by contacting Cindy (cindyr@fumcg. org) or Bev (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A Bead and a Prayer Betsy Hayes will introduce Protestant prayer beads to those who have not
Annette Sowell is a retired United Methodist minister with 25 years experience in the Central Texas Conference. She has specialized certifications in Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction. Annette’s husband, Jesse, is a professor of Religion and Philosophy at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. They have three children and nine grandchildren. They have been at FUMC Grapevine since 2007.
had experience praying with beads. Participants will make their own prayer beads and be guided by Betsy on how to use them for guided prayer. This is a two-week class held on Sundays, June 2 and 9, at 11:00 AM in Room 2010. Please pre-register by contacting Betsy (email@example.com). «
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Practicing Ministry By Amelia Beasley
ear Sisters and Brothers,
For the past nine months, I have been your intern pastor from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. During our short time together, I have been richly blessed by your hospitality and support. Not only have you accepted me and Brandon into your church family, but you have nurtured my growth as a pastor in profound ways. As Perkins interns, we are learning how to become pastors by “practicing” ministry in a local church, while having the safety net of a mentor pastor and a forgiving congregation. I thank you for being gracious to me during my learning process! It is not an easy journey from intern to pastor, but your encouragement and affirmation has been a great comfort along the way.
his journey began last spring when Rev. Armando Alvarado gave a special presentation at Perkins about the ministry of FUMC Grapevine. He shared how this church began reaching out to its neighbors, sharing Christ’s love outside its walls. I was inspired by FUMC Grapevine’s ability not only to serve others, but to welcome them as members of its congregation. Those who once received ministry are now a vital part of the fabric of this community, participating in ministry as brothers and sisters in Christ. When Rev. Armando finished speaking, I immediately asked my advisor to inquire about an internship opportunity at FUMC Grapevine. The Spirit was working through that presentation, and I knew I wanted to be a part of the excitement!
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Not only did we go there to serve our Costa Rican sisters and brothers, but they served us. We were shown hospitality in biblical proportions through delicious, home-made meals, heart-felt conversation, and bellyaching laughter.
hen I arrived at FUMC Grapevine, I was warmly welcomed by the staff and congregation. I began participating in worship, teaching Bible studies, and visiting church members in the hospital, among other activities. While I have made many wonderful memories during my time here, I will share one in particular. In October, I was given the opportunity to travel with Rev. John Mollet, Rev. Armando, Donna Price, and Tommy Hudspeth, to visit our Costa Rica Village of Las Juntas. Together we helped with some minor construction projects around the church, visited the Methodist Seminary and Methodist Children’s Home in San José, and fellowshipped with Pastor Roberto and his family.
Being with Pastor Roberto and his family, I was reminded of the scripture verse, “Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2, CEB). Only, I felt that I was being entertained by angels. God is at work beyond the city of Grapevine, and through Costa Rica Village, FUMC assists its brothers and sisters in another part of the world to share Christ’s love with neighbors in their particular community. In Costa Rica I experienced personally FUMC Grapevine’s mission to experience and share God’s love that Rev. Armando described in his presentation at Perkins last spring. In my future ministry, I hope to emulate the Village concept at the churches I serve because it truly is a conduit for God’s grace to all involved.
lthough I shared here about my trip to Costa Rica, Sunday worship and fellowship have helped me to experience and share God’s love in a way I never would have expected. Because of my time here with you all, I have discerned that God has called me to pursue Elder’s orders in The United Methodist Church. 28 || The Church at Work
You truly have helped me understand how God has called me to further the Kingdom on earth, which for me, means ministry in the local church. Each of you has played an integral part of my development as a pastor, and I am grateful to you for sharing your many gifts and experiences with me this year. As a result, I now feel ready to be a pastor in my own rite.
n July 1, I will begin my first appointment as Associate Pastor at Coker UMC in San Antonio, where I will serve the local church and also help them to start a Hispanic ministry so that
they may share Godâ€™s love with their neighbors in a spiritual way. I know that my time here at Grapevine has prepared me well and I will allow my experience here to guide my future ministry. Know that I will take you all with me in my heart. May God continue to bless the people of Grapevine! Many thanks, ÂŤ
Clergy and lay representatives from the Central Texas Annual Conference, Texas Annual Conference, and Justice for Our Neighbors gather to discuss compassionate immigration reform with Congressional leaders (Amelia Beasley, 3rd from right).
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Summer is one of the busiest times for outreach in the life of the church. If you’re looking for a place to serve, start here!
Summer Sunday School Summer Sunday School for children runs from June 9 to August 18. We’ll need teachers/guides for the 9:45 and 11:00 hours. If you would like to teach or help with Sunday School during the summer, contact Linda McClure (firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-481-2559 x126).
Sonwest Roundup Vacation Bible School
VBS is June 24-28. We’ll need help with everything from crafts to recreation to leading kids around! If you would like to help, contact Linda McClure (lindam@ fumcg.org or 817-481-2559 x126).
Help GRACE Gardens with their busy summer of planting and tending! You can help with weekly gathering and tending, or serve on specifice planting and pruning days. Visit our website at www.firstmethodistgrapevine.org/ gracegardens for all the details! If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help, contact: Becca Clarke (817-454-0731) or Alison Shumaker (817907-6617, alison.shumaker@yahoo. com).
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We’ll need homes with swimming pools to host summer youth events, volunteers to drive the van, or help with youth retreats. If you would like to help, contact Jenny Davidson (jennyd@ fumcg.org or 817-481-2559 x116).
Feed Our Kids
Feed Our Kids Big Week is July 8-12. In addition, we will serve Feed Our Kids at the Shady Oaks site for an additional four weeks beyond our big week in order to continue to build relationships with the Grapevine Village. Those dates are: July 15-19, July 22-26, July 29-August 2, and August 5-9. To help with Feed Our Kids, contact Deb Scheiwe (email@example.com or 817-4121762).
Project Read volunteers go to the Feed Our Kids sites all summer to give books and read to kids. You do not have to work every week, just what works best for your schedule. Volunteers usually get to a site at 11:45 and stay as long/ short as they want. (See Feed Our Kids for dates.) To help, contact Janice Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-4880734).
Donâ€™t forget to focus on Mission Central! Your budget giving supports every ministry in the church, and keeps our doors open!
First United Methodist Church Grapevine Downtown Campus: 422 Church Street | Grapevine, TX 76051 | 817-481-2559 Heritage Campus: 4344 Heritage Avenue | Grapevine, TX 76051 | 817-571-1111
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