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JUNE, 2013

It sits perched atop an unruly stack of papers on my cluttered desk. Just a Ziploc bag with the shredded pieces of a map. On the Date/Contents label is written: A World with No Borders. Not much to catch the eye. So why does it keep catching mine –interrupting my work with questions, provocations, ponderings? Am I that easily distracted? Or does the Holy Spirit use every common thing to get through my thick skull and hard heart?

So the matter is not “ borders or none?”but “ which borders”and “ how do we faithfully maintain them?”I think the worldwide Christian Church is struggling to navigate that issue. “ We’ re not one of those churches that accept a homosexual lifestyle!”“ We’ re not one of those churches that condemn so many people!”It is relatively easy to adopt a strong identity by defining who you are against and then being aggressively against them. What does it look like to have a strong identity defined by who and what we are for and being steadfastly for them?

The Messenger


A few weeks ago in iWitness worship, we imaginatively created a reverse time capsule –filled with objects from God’ s holy future and sent back to us to open now. The baggy with map shreds was offered by one of our worshippers for the capsule. I am in sync with its sentiment –that historical, man-made boundaries will one day not divide us into suspicious, jealous, competing, and violent camps called tribes and nations. But the bag won’ t let things remain there. It also reminds me that borders and boundaries are not bad in and of themselves. A human cell needs the border of a cell wall to be a life unit instead of a gob of random goo. Our bodies need the boundary of our skin. An abrasion is bad not because it hurts, but because it allows infection to invade the body. Identity and integrity require boundary.

It occurs to me that’ s the kind of strong, clear, and dangerous identity Jesus had. “ It shall not be so among you,”not because the others are hated and condemned, but because we have a clear calling to a distinct life that values service over status. “ Even the Gentiles love those who love them,”Jesus said, not to condemn Gentiles (he died for them too), but to call us to a countercultural exercise of inclusive love. Jesus had a strong identity with a clear boundary: love God, love neighbor, don’ t let anything erode that discipline. His identity had him do powerful things with great consequences: touch a leper, forgive his crucifiers. It’ s hard. Ever try to love someone who loves no one but self, considers nothing sacred, and is willing to treat everyone else as cannon fodder? What it requires seems to generate some strange phrases: fiercely gentle, inflexibly forgiving, stubbornly compassionate. Loving the neighbor without endorsing all the neighbor does –opposing some of what the neighbor does without condemning the neighbor –oh how complicated and fatiguing that can be! And holy! When our school-age children whined, “ Why can’ t we get a dollar for every “ A”like the Smith’ s?”I think I answered, “ Because we are the Obalil’ s.”I dearly hope my tone of voice was matter-of-fact, not haughty. A buck an “ A”may be OK; it’ s just not our family’ s way. Our church has adopted the identity of a Great Commandment Church: love God with everything; love neighbor as self. I dearly hope we live out that identity with humility, knowing we are never finished, and with strength, ready in courage to love those some would claim are unworthy of love. It takes a strong Christ-like identity with firm boundaries to disregard the borders that would banish some from love.

Inside this issue: Worship in June; Finance Update

Inside this issue: 2, 3, 4, 5

Third Tuesday Supper


Missions & Church in Society; Summer Hymns


Education News’ Youth Education News Celebration of Ministry

8, 9 10

Graduation Information; Graduation and Scholarship Sunday


Friendly Visitors; Coffee Hosts


Bulletin Board

13, 14

Special June Celebrations


Links to online resources


Worship in June June 2 –Holy Communion When Jesus heals the (presumably Jewish) servant of a centurion [Luke 7:1-10], there are enough surprises to make the head spin: a Roman soldier on good terms with Jews; Jewish religious leaders respectfully asking Jesus for a favor; the soldier keeping Jesus out of his house; Jesus’ over-the-top description of the soldier’ s faith—in addition to a healing. All this swirls around the centurion’ s phrase, “ a man set under authority.”Hmm. Good sermon title. We’ ll see what Pastor Bill can do with that.

June 9 Two of the lectionary readings - the Old Testament and the Gospel readings tell remarkable stories of the widows of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-24) and Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and how their only sons had been raised from the dead. These are remarkable witnesses and it’ s so easy to get caught up in the miracle of resuscitation, these stories also hold important glimpses into the power and nature of God to bring us new life today. Join Pastor Rob as he preaches his sermon "Not Dead Yet" and takes a look at God's mighty power at work in our midst today. Joshua Mark Byars is being baptized at the 9:00 am service.

June 16—Graduate Recognition and Scholarship Sunday (9:00) How many different kinds of “ clean”or “ pure”are there—when it comes to describing people? Which ones matter? Which do not? Which matters the most? These are the kind of questions that come to Pastor Bill’ s mind when he reads Luke 7:36-8:3—the dinner party crashed by an uninvited guest, “ a woman of the city.”Is Jesus reckless about matters of purity, or is he focused on one kind of purity above all others? At 9:00 am, graduates will be honored and scholarships awarded.

June 23—Teacher Appreciation Sunday (9:00) What rewards do we expect for being faithful to God in Christ? What consequences do we fear we may suffer? The story of prophet Elijah running from Queen Jezebel’ s wrath (1 Kings 19:1-15) provides an occasion to ponder such questions. Attention is often given to God’ s epiphany not being in the violent wind or in the earthquake but in the still small voice. Pastor Bill will focus on the question that voice asks: “ What are you doing here?” Our Christian education volunteer staff will be recognized at 9:00 am. Also at 9:00 am, Maxwell Vaughn Kirk will be baptized, and Miriam Kroc will be sent forth with prayers of blessing for a year in India.

June 30 Luke 9:51-62 - Pastor Rob's sermon "It Ain't Easy" explores the difficulties of discipleship. It doesn't seem to matter if you're a dyed-in-the-wool disciple or a novice traveler on the Way - doing the Jesus thing and living the Jesus life is tough. Some would think that the commitment of discipleship is solely a resolve of the will; but it’ s almost even more a matter of covenant relationships. Jacob, Olivia, and Jason Uhlmann will be baptized at 10:45.

Our next SERVICE OF HEALING will be held on Sunday, June 2nd, 5:00 p.m. in our Sanctuary. We hold this joint service on the first Sunday of each month, rotating between UMCG and St. Mark’ s Church in Geneva. For more information, please call Joan Peterson at 630-443-0007.

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Finance Update Operating Budget Our operating income and expenses through April 30 of 2013 are shown in the table below. (The numbers for 2012 and 2011 are shown for comparison.)

January February March April

64,711.75 57,415.54 78,828.48 60,127.13

60,825.43 61,410.61 55,560.31 60,157.57

Avg. Weekly Income 16,178 14,354 15,766 15,032





2013 Income

2013 Expenses

(2012 income)

(2012 expenses)

(2011 income)

(2011 expenses)





















UMCG’ s approved budget for 2013 is $843,319.61. To meet that goal we need to receive an average of $70,277 in monthly income (or an average of $16,218 in weekly income). Our operating reserve (savings available to meet unforeseen operating expenses) is currently at $153,642. This is about 2.19 months worth of average budgeted expenses. We strive to keep between 2 and 3 months reserve on hand. Pending Expenses Members should be aware that the 2013 expenses shown above do not reflect two major pending outlays. Our apportionment commitment: At the end of 2012 we had an operating reserve of 1.86 months. To help raise that number we decided to temporarily pay our monthly apportionment at 80%. This slowed our cash flow by $7,200 and helped bring the reserve above 2 months. To be faithful to our conference, however, we need to make every effort to pay our full apportionment as soon as we are able. Our tithe to missions: For over two decades we have chosen to spend 10% of our operating income in support of the work of our Missions and Church in Society Committees. The challenge in budgeting for this tithe is that most mission spending occurs at the end of the year when we know what our total income has been. Consequently, we often don’ t see this spending in the “ expenses”column as we go from month to month. On average it amounts to $7,025 per month. (continued on page 4)

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If you combine the apportionment balance ($7,200) and 4 months of average mission spending ($28,100), our actual and anticipated expenses to date are approximately $35,300 higher than the table shows through the end of April. Pledges for 2013 One of the brightest spots on our financial horizon is the rebound in pledging this year. At the end of 1st quarter the pledge total was $644,643, representing pledges from 237 households. (By contrast, 2012 pledging totaled $481,584 from 172 households.) We are encouraged by this wonderful response to the Stewardship appeals. The Summer Challenge As vacation time arrives, the summer months present this annual challenge: a slump in income, but no let-up in expenses. As we get engrossed in our summer activities and travel, the Finance Committee asks everyone to avoid putting our support of UMCG on vacation. Thankfully, in this electronic age the summer slump can be eased. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to do one of the following: (1) Visit the Online Giving page of our website at and sign up for recurring online contributions, or (2) visit your bank’ s webpage and automate your monthly contribution to UMCG. UMCG engages us all in a wide array of opportunities for spiritual development, congregational care, and Christian service. We thank you for your continued help in keeping these ministries strong. The Finance Committee, Chairperson: Gail Fritz Members: Keith Eakins, Bill Knott, Rolland Lang, Steve Lillie, Tim Nelson, Karen Neuhalfen, Christine Rodgers, Bob Van Nest

Stay current with your pledge. Set up a recurring electronic payment today. Click here to log into ConneX and set up your online contribution. Click here to make a one time donation without logging in.

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Men’ s Club Swedish Days: Big Changes and It’ s Almost Here!! Tuesday, June 18 thru Sunday, June 23 Swedish Days is right around the corner. And this year we are making some big changes which we hope will raise more money to help support the various charities and missions of our church. First Change: The Menu: This year the menu will feature Swedish Themed foods!! (No more competing with the rest of the brat peddlers.) Our church still carries a reputation in the community for the wonderful Swedish Buffet it put together for many years. Some of the people who participated in that Buffet have said they would be willing to help with making some of those popular items for the booth. We dabbled with Swedish Ham and Swedish Meatballs last year, and they did well, so this year we are going to a total Swedish bill of fare. We had a food committee look at what items we could offer, did some taste testing, and have come up with a totally new menu. Swedish Meatballs (Kottbullar) Ribbon Cookies (Hindbaerkager) Swedish Ham with dill sauce Pineapple Cake (Ananas Tarta) Swedish Sausage (Korv) Dilly Bars (there must be a Swedish name for this) Swedish Hot Dogs (Varmkorv) (OK, we kept this one for the kids, just in case!!) Cucumber Salad Second Change: The Location: We will have a new location, right in the middle of things on the SE corner of James St. and Fourth St. This location (next to the amusement rides) should really get us a lot of traffic. Third Change : The participants: While the responsibility for getting the event set up still falls under the venue of the Men’ s Club, the food preparation and the staffing of the booth is more of a church-wide event. For years the food was stuff

men would cook (ok, burn) on the grill as if it was a weekend cook-out, and for the most part, it was the men doing the cooking during the week. But it was all the families and other members of the church who supported us by staffing the booth during the days and evenings, while mostly the men charred the brats, chicken and hot dogs. This year, with both the location and the menu changing, we expect to see a LOT more activity in the booth sales. We will be preparing food in the church kitchen for several days in the weeks before the event to keep a continuous supply line of great food to the booth on a daily basis. So we will be asking for LOTS of helpers, both taking turns in the booth and helping prepare the food in the church kitchen. All this promises to be exciting (especially with Third Tuesday Supper on Tuesday June 18th!) Visit to get a look at our new location and review the opportunities to be part of making this a success. Sign up online here or on the Men’ s Ministries bulletin board for the booth duty (cashiers and food handlers, preparing the customers orders, and for the daily set-up and close down of the booth). As well as sign-up sheets for the Meatball Workshop. And finally, we will be asking the bakers and cooks of the church to help prepare those delicious Ribbon Cookies and Pineapple cakes. We will be providing two “ Kits”consisting of the cake pan and the recipe for the pineapple cake, and the parchment, aluminum trays and the recipe for the ribbon cookies, starting at the May 26th worship services. Please help us by making these sweets for sale at the booth !! Thank you! George Graham, President of UMCG Men’ s Club

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Third Tuesday Supper Many Thanks to the Third Tuesday Community The Third Tuesday Suppers community is a growing body of people who serve and care about each other--and we thank YOU for being part of that. We can NEVER say thank you enough to our caring UMCG community who has embraced the suppers with such gusto--and has taken to heart our Love of God and Love of Neighbor. June is a busy month in Geneva--but we hope you will join us for our "Early Summer Picnic Supper" on June 18 featuring Gayle's Delish Italian Beef Sandwiches (better than YouKnow-Who restaurant that starts with the letter "P"), homemade potato salad, fresh coleslaw, and our Legendary Once A Year Strawberry Shortcake Buffet. The dinner on June 18 falls in festival week in Geneva--but we have never seen a fall-off in crowd due to the festival or the weather. Dear UMCG--remember that Third Tuesday needs you all summer long. It may be vacation time for many--but Third Tuesday never goes on vacation. Each month we need workers, desserts and donations to continue our vitality. Join us for delicious suppers each month--remember-no reservations, no cost, "Just Show Up!" Beth Kucera/Gayle Taylor

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Missions AND Church in Society Below are important dates of service to those in need within our communities: Hesed House, Monday, June 10th Lazarus House, Tuesday, June 4th and June 18th Northern Illinois Food Bank, Thursday, June 20th Please sign up at the carousel in Fellowship Hall. For more information, call the church office at 630-232-7120.

Summer Hymn Requests To empower the soft spoken, we will be taking requests for favorite hymns to be sung as our prelude to worship each Sunday during the summer by: 1. Submitting the name and number at the Sign Up Center on our website 2. Writing the name and number on paper and putting it in the hymn request box located on the window sill in Fellowship Hall. We will use the results to select different hymns for each Sunday during the summer.

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Education Committee BOOK CLUB NEWS We typically meet the fourth Friday each month in the church library at 9:30 AM. We choose a variety of books available in paperback, e-readers or our local libraries. Upcoming selections are: June 21: Please note change of date due to VBS. June: Book 2 of the "Brides of the West 1872 series" - Lori Copeland. June leaves her Michigan home to embrace her future as a mailorder bride. But nothing works out as June expects..." July 26: On Folly Beach - Karen S. White. Folly Beach, SC has survived despite hurricanes and war. But it's the personal battles of Folly Beach's residents that have left the most scars, and why a young widow has been beckoned there to heal her own..." August 23: What is the What? - Dave Eggers. "In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Eggers illuminates the history of the Civil War in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life as he's driven from his home..." We welcome new members. Come join us for interesting discussions and fellowship. Any questions, call Joan Hansen at (630) 365-9217.

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Youth Education News Wow! It’ s June already! How did that happen? We are winding down our weekly youth education opportunities for the 2012 –2013 school year and plodding (and plotting!) ahead with 2013 –2014. A word of very deeply felt thanks goes out to those who so faithfully led our youth in Praxis/confirmation preparation and Senior High Sunday School. Praxis was led by Frank Gondorchin, Catherine Huntley, Jean Larson, and Chris McKeehan. Senior High was led by Paul Darrow, Darlene Kilmer, and occasionally Eric Reniva. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you did and meant to the youth! June Youth Education Opportunities Our remaining Sunday morning dates are June 2, 9, and 16. Praxis (7th and 8th grade) confirmation preparation meets in the Youth Room from 9:00 –10:15 am. Lessons will focus on the image of God and living in God’ s presence. Senior High Sunday School (9th –12th) grade meets in the Parlor from 9:00 –10:00 am. Lessons will focus on issues pertaining to youth and culture and our response to these issues as Christians. Praxis Students Please check the door of the Youth Room for a list of reflections which have been turned in. There are very few students who are completely finished! Worship and Service reflections will be accepted through September 1. I will continue to send out e-mails that highlight service opportunities. Remember, you can request a meeting with me to discuss reflections in lieu of writing them down. High School Graduate Luncheon The senior high graduate celebration luncheon is Sunday, June 9, from 12:30 –1:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. Invitations were mailed on May 23 and families should RSVP with the number of those who will attend to Staci Lockman by June 5. Youth, Grades 7 –12 Please watch your e-mail for more information about summer education opportunities, such as a Youth and Theology dinner featuring Dr. Who, and a book club. Blessings to you and your families as we enter this new season. I look forward to worshipping with you! Staci Lockman

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Aurora District Celebration of Song and Fellowship Come help us celebrate the Ministry and recognize the Retirement of

Rev. Diana M. Facemyer, District Superintendent and the Welcome of

Rev. Dick Wisdom, New District Superintendent Date: Sunday, June 2, 2013 Downers Grove: First UMC 1032 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove 3 – 5:30 PM Singing, Fellowship and Light Refreshment

In honor of Diana’s retirement, we will be collecting funds for JFON (Justice for our Neighbors). We appreciate your generosity.

Childcare available upon request to Regional Office #847-931-0710, x11 by May 28. RSVP plans to attend, please, to the Regional Office #847-931-0710, x11 by May 28. Parking in church lot, on nearby streets, or in free public lot about 3 blocks from church.

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Graduation Information Needed We would like to recognize all UMCG members and those who attend here regularly who have graduated from high school, college, trade school, etc. since June of 2012. Please call the church office at 630-232-7120, email Debbie Sampiller at, or fill out the blue card found in the pews to share your information with us. Please let us know the name of the person graduating and from what school. If you are a high school senior and will be continuing your education, please let us know what school you plan to attend. If you are a college graduate, please let us know what you majored in. We will share this information with our congregation in the July Messenger. Please submit your information by June 17th.

Graduate and Scholarship Sunday During the 9:00 a.m. worship services on Sunday, June 16th, we will recognize those who have recently graduated from high school, trade school, college or grad school. We will also be awarding scholarships. Scholarship recipients will be receiving information in the mail. Please complete the form that is enclosed and return it to the church office as soon as possible. If you have any questions, contact Debbie Sampiller in the church office at 630-232-7120.

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Friendly Visitor Meeting

Please join us on Sunday, June 2nd at 10:15 am, (after the second service) in the Adult Library, for a Friendly Visitor "Check In" Meeting. It will be no longer than 30 minutes. This gathering is for those that are presently serving on this committee as a Friendly Visitor, AND for anyone who would be interested in learning more about this group. We are in need of people who are interested in visiting members of our congregation in their place of residence; home, nursing/care facility, or retirement center. It's vital that we remember the members of our church who are not able to attend church activities, or worship with us anymore. This verse from Matthew 18:20 reminds us: " For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (KJV) If you have any questions, please contact Linda Benstein @ 630-365-5467 or Christine Donovan @ 630-232-0116.

Coffee Fellowship Hosts COFFEE HOSTS NEEDED FOR SUNDAY MORNING FELLOWSHIP THANK YOU to everyone who has signed up to make sure our Fellowship Time on Sunday mornings is all ready to go! Many dates have been spoken for, but we still have a few more Sunday’ s to fill. Please consider volunteering for this very appreciated ministry. Keith Johnson, Hospitality Coordinator, is able to show you just how this works. To sign up for one of the open dates, please contact Keith at, or by phone at 331-643-6191. June 23

June 30

August 18

August 25

October 6

October 20

October 27

November 17

November 24

December 1

December 29

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Bulletin Board

Pastor Rob, Meghan and Lily (big sister) are pleased to announce the birth of their second child, Ella Grace Hamilton, born May 15, 2013; 9lbs 1oz. The family is doing well and wants to extend their appreciation for the greetings, prayers and support of the congregation. Thank you!

AFS Open Your Door to the World Something extraordinary happens when you share your home and family with a high school student from another country. You can help build bridges of intercultural understanding and enrich your life in many ways by sharing your home and daily life with an AFS high school exchange student. Expose your family to the cultures of places like Oman, Senegal, Gaza, Israel, Qatar as well as European or South American countries. Founded by ambulance drivers after World War II, AFS has led high school student exchange for 63 years. Family life, eating meals together, going to the movies, and playing sports makes all the difference for a young visitor studying in the United States. Families of all kinds are needed to host high school students from around the world. AFS Volunteers support families and students during their stay. Host families provide a bed, meals, and guidance. There's no place like your home. Contact Robbin Lang, 630-879-3851, today or to learn more about becoming an AFS Host Family or Volunteer.

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Bulletin Board

Corrections to the May newsletter: Chad & Carolyn Minear were listed as celebrating their 25th anniversary May 23. It should have said it was their 15th anniversary. Dale & Stephanie Goodrich were listed as celebrating their 15th anniversary May 14. It should have said it was their 25th anniversary. Please accept our apologies.

Altar Flowers There are many open dates to provide flowers for our worship services in honor or memory of someone or a special occasion. Please sign up at the carousel in Fellowship Hall, or contact Lorie Montanye in the church office to sign up or for more information.

Thank you for ALL the prayers, love, concern, rides to treatments, beautiful cards, telephone calls, visits, and especially for caring about me. So thankful I have such a wonderful church family who cares about so many. Your kindness will remain in my heart every day. In Christian Love,

Dear Friends, Thank you so much for your prayers, cards, and words of encouragement during Wayne’ s recent heart attack. We are so blessed to have such a caring church family. Love, Wayne and Marie Peterson

Marjorie Behnke

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Special June Celebrations Best wishes to our members who will be celebrating birthdays in their 80’ s in the month of June: Marge Mennerick, Margo Tucker,

Congratulations to our members celebrating special anniversaries in June!

Eleanor Schaub,

70 years

Ken Vondrak,

John & Thelma Jarvis

Mary Bullock,

51 years

Dick Kroc,

Wayne & Marie Peterson

Millie Cave,

35 years Jules & Marilyn Heinemann

Visit us out online at: UMCG Online Calendar UMCG Website UMCG Bulletin Announcements Sign Me Up for the UMCG E-Newsletter.

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Non-Profit Organ


U.S. Postage PAID

211 Hamilton Street Geneva, IL 60134

St. Charles, IL Permit No. 667

Phone: 630-232-7120


The deadline for articles for the JULY newsletter is June 17th.

Church Staff Bill Obalil Rob Hamilton Scott Stevenson Michael Popplewell Carol Szabo Jodi Borger Staci Lockman Eric Reniva Jami Johnson Debbie Sampiller Lorie Montanye Kathy Kein

Senior Pastor Associate Pastor Director of Music Ministries Director of Choral Ministries Director of Christian Education Director of Children’ s Education Director of Youth Education Director of Youth Activities Director of Communications Director of Administrative Ministries Administrative Assistant Nursery Coordinator

Mission Statement To make and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ who serve the community and the world.

Church Council Steve Lillie Chair Lucinda Dittmer Vice Chair Betsy Sitch Recording Secretary Dan Edwards, Bob Van Nest, and Nancy Weckler Annual Conference Lay Members Carolyn Sprawka, Gary Dittmer Church in Society Co-Chairs Sharon Reed Discipleship Council Chair Gail Fritz Finance Committee Chair George Graham Men’ s Club President Jim Manos Missions Committee Chair Colleen Fasbender and Mike Worthington Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Jen Unger Kroc Staff Parish Relations Chair Will Elyea Stewardship Committee Chair Rolland Lang Treasurer Keith Eakins Trustees Chair Kathleen Dytrych Women’ s Ministries Representative Judy Burgess Worship Committee Chair Bill Obalil Senior Pastor, without vote Rob Hamilton Assoc. Pastor, without vote

June 2013 messenger  
June 2013 messenger  

UMCG Monthly Newsletter