Let’s Get Together
One of the hardest things about this pandemic is not seeing our friends. Notes and talking on the phone are nice, but not as nice as seeing each other’s smiling faces. For me, one of the blessings has been able to have virtual gatherings with friends and family through ZOOM. While it is not the same as seeing people in person, it does help to make that connection. Zoom is a free app that lets you visually connect with family and friends. It is used for meetings, virtual classrooms, and family and friend get togethers. On Sunday, May 17 we had our first virtual fellowship time @ 10 following the worship service. We shared laughs and checked in with each other and felt a sense of connection that we have been missing.
Here’s how ZOOM works.
You need to download the ZOOM app on your phone or tablet. It is free. Make sure you allow Zoom to access your microphone and camera. (You can do this by going to your settings, look for the ZOOM app, open it to allow access.)
On your laptop or computer, you should be able to click on the link I send you to go directly to the meeting. You just need to make sure your microphone and camera are turned on. (Again, go to settings to turn on microphone and camera.)
I will send you an invitation for the Fellowship Time on Thursdays so you can put it on your calendar. I will resend the invitation on Saturday night, so it is right there for you to access on Sunday morning. Just click on the link and it will take you to the meeting.
If you have any difficulties getting connected, please call me on my cell (517) 282-6827. I will have it next to me and can answer and help you get connected.
We look forward to getting together with everyone. Hopefully, we will see you
Sunday at 10 a.m.
September Mission Focus
Scholarship for Jonathan Tzoc Sis
As we begin the school year, we continue to see the effects of the pandemic – the economy disrupted, uncertainty around the beginning of schools and universities. The same is true in Guatemala where they are working hard to control the virus as there are no hospitals and almost no health care in the highlands. Guatemala continues to be shut down. Needless to say, it has made it difficult for the staff, students and families at Collegio Susanna Wesley where the school year began last January.
In January Susan Milligan and I got to know Jonathan as we helped build a new home for his family of eight. Jonathan and two of his brothers had just started attending Collegio Susanna Wesley, a part of Salud Y Paz. The Tzoc Sis family lives in extreme poverty. Tomas is a day laborer who until the pandemic found work just a couple days a week. Julia, Jonathan’s mother, lives in extreme pain and now has a connection with the clinic at Salud Y Paz to help alleviate her pain. Jonathan and his brothers were excited to finally be able to go to school.
Alas, on March 19 all schools in Guatemala were closed to in person attendance. The clinics were closed for emergencies. In light of all of these factors, Colegio Susanna Wesley has developed a simple distance learning curriculum using M-learning and asynchronous methods, in K’iche and Spanish, which can be accessed and responded to via WhatsApp, one of the most accessible smart phone applications in rural Guatemala. Project Salud y Paz is purchasing data for parents’ cell phones to reduce as many barriers as possible for parents to access this resource. They are also providing food staples, vitamins, toothbrushes and toothpaste to promote the continuation of nutrition and hygiene in the home, in addition to workbooks and the necessary materials for students to do their projects, so they don’t have to rely entirely on what may be available to them at home. In June they began providing individual in person tutoring for students who face barriers to distance learning because their family does not have a phone. Realizing that even with these extra steps the education is not the same for all children they are extending their school year beyond October. This will give them extra time to work with those students most in need. This will mean increase teacher salaries.
AS A CHURCH WE HAVE PROMISED TO HELP WITH JONATHAN’S EDUCATION. We are hoping to raise $900 this month. This will help cover the extra costs for school this year, extra food and vitamins for Jonathan and his family, and continued health and hygiene care. You can send your gift to the church office making a note that it is for Susanna Wesley scholarship or you can contribute online through the West Michigan account. Please see our web page or Facebook page for details. Just make a special note that it is for September mission project. Thank you for your generosity in helping keep Jonathan’s smile in place.
THANKS FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS IN GIVING
Also, I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have mailed in their tithes and offerings and directory money to the church.
It is a wonderful sign of your support and our connectedness even as we are apart. There have also been some who have taken advantage of the electronic donation on Facebook and on our web page. Statements of giving for the first half of the year will be sent out in the next couple of weeks.
MISSION AND LOVE DRIVE GENEROUS GIVING
Strong bonds of love
The Rev. Linda Farmer-Lewis serves Dimondale UMC, Mid-Michigan District. “As soon as the shut-down came on March 11,” she recalls, “our leaders, especially the Ad Council Chair, and I began to discuss the implications of the COVID crisis for our church.” Dimondale has an average attendance of 45 and is situated in a small community adjacent to Lansing. “We are an older congregation, which makes us physically vulnerable but financially stable,” Farmer-Lewis explains.
While leaders worried that finances might tumble, that did not happen. “The reality is,” says the pastor, “we have a tremendously loyal church who love each other and the Lord and value being United Methodist.” They were able to act on that loyalty thanks to an offer from the Treasurer’s Office of the Michigan Conference to jump-start online giving with two free months.
“A few leaders front-loaded their offerings for the year in a lump sum to stabilize our revenue while we figured out the next steps.” Then something unexpected happened. “What surprised us was that despite the front-end loading, our rank and file membership not only continued to give at their normal level but upped it!” Added to that finance step, two other actions “might have enhanced our story,” Farmer-Lewis reflects.
On Day One of the shut-down, the Ad Council chair immediately put together a buddy calling system. Those in the congregation without internet were assigned weekly callers. “And we just finished a new pictorial directory,” the pastor adds. “We mailed it to each member.” While they were no longer worshiping in the building, they had each other’s portraits in hand. Worship, broadcast from the pastor’s home on Facebook, showed an increase in attendance online, averaging 12o views per week. “Of those new hits,” Farmer-Lewis says, “we have not seen new money, but we are getting favorable comments that provide the opportunity to reach out and connect.”
Rev. Linda Farmer-Lewis, pastor of Dimondale UMC, has led worship from home during the weeks of no in-person gathering. Dimondale quickly embraced the PayPal option offered by The Michigan Conference. ~ Facebook/Dimondale UMC
Like pastors Charnley and Alghali, Linda Farmer-Lewis credits missional outlook as a significant factor in generous stewardship. “We desire to be of service to the community and the world and are active in that mission. This small congregation gives away around $1,500 a month in money and Pantry donations. It is what they do and who they are.” She concludes on a Wesleyan note. “They have kept steady in this crisis because they do all the good they can, all the time they can, for so ever long as they can. Praise God!”
Annual Conference in May at Traverse City is postponed until further notice
General Conference, our Worldwide United Methodist meeting has been postponed until 2021
What is Colegio Susanna Wesley?
Colegio Susanna Wesley is an essential part of Project Salud y Paz. Our Colegio Susanna Wesley school educates and prepares indigenous Mayan children to enter and excel in the Spanish-speaking public school system. Inspired and informed by Salud y Paz’s nutrition and hygiene program which began in 2007 to combat chronic child malnutrition among vulnerable indigenous Mayan children, Colegio Susanna Wesley has been offering a comprehensive early childhood education program to the children of Camanchaj since 2009. In an effort to not only meet the very present need of vulnerable children for good nutrition during the critical childhood development years, but to also offer hope for a better future, the school was formed to ignite their passion for learning and to offer them the tools that can create pathways leading out of poverty.
Our comprehensive pre-kindergarten to first-grade program seeks to address the whole child through a focus on three core areas: Language and Education, Nutrition and Hygiene, and Medical and Dental Care. Through our Language and Education component, the school teaches indigenous Mayan children who speak the K’iche language at home to speak, read, and write Spanish—preparing them to enter and excel in the Spanish-speaking public school system. Each school day students receive two nutritional meals and a healthy snack which represents more than 70% of a child’s weekly nutrition requirements as well as hygiene training and supplies that reinforce healthy habits through our Nutrition and Hygiene component. Also, the Salud y Paz clinic provides the Medical and Dental Care component that offers our children regular medical, dental, and vision screenings; doctor visits; labs; and medication at no charge to their families.
The school is able to offer compassionate care and exceptional education through its approach to early childhood development as a partnership with parents and a service to the community. Operated by a bi-lingual Guatemalan staff who speak both K’iche and Spanish, the school has an average annual enrollment of about 50 students and an average class size of 15-18 students. Staff members include three full-time teachers, one part-time physical education teacher, one full-time school director, one full-time cook, two kitchen apprentices, one maintenance staff person, and two teaching interns. Staff members, however, recognize the important role that parents play in their child’s education and development, and the school has been intentional about creating and empowering a very active and engaged parent organization. In addition to their presence and participation in meetings, trainings, and event planning, parents of about 78% of our children who have some means, pay a tuition of 50 Quetzales per month, which is a little less than $7. The remaining 22% of our students come from very poor families and are on scholarship; their parents contribute by volunteering at the school each month.
The life-changing impact of a Colegio Susanna Wesley education is not limited to the individual student but touches their families, reaches into their communities, and is made possible by generous sponsors who partner with us to provide education, nutrition, and healthcare to some of the most vulnerable children. When a child is educated at Colegio Susanna Wesley, the student develops a proficiency in Spanish that gives them an advantage when they enter the public school system to start the second grade. They also share what they learn with their families, which in some instances has resulted in students teaching or enhancing their parents’ command of the Spanish language. The community is also impacted because with a firm CSW foundation, our students have a much better chance of going way beyond the usual two years of schooling that their parents attained (on average).
Bible/Book Study: “Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White” a book by Rev. Adam Hamilton. Study begins Wednesday, September 16 at 10:30 a.m. Capacity limited to 10 and masks required. Please make a reservation by contacting pastor Linda (517) 581-5595. Books are available.
Fellowship Opportunities: Our next lunch at Lyons Park will be Thursday, September 10 at noon. Bring your brown bag lunch and your mask and catch up with each other and toast the end of summer and the coming of fall!
New Stained-Glass Windows installed!
Our thanks to the Memorial Committee who provided the funds to replace the two broken stained-glass windows in the sanctuary.
Dave Wiskirchen and his assistant Nick Nowskowski of Widkirchen Studios from Sylvania, Ohio installed the new stained-glass panels at the church on Saturday, August 29.
The motif in red reflects Christ as the center of our life together and the circle of love that is all embracing and eternal!
The cross design was provided to us as a gift from the artist. It was approved by the Memorial Committee and will be a welcome sight on our return to in person worship! Thanks also to our Trustee Committee for initiating the repair.
DUMC Mission Projects for 2020
January Food Pantry Competition
February Blanket and Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner
March Personal Needs Pantry
May Conference Project
June Methodist Children Home, Detroit
July School Supplies
August School Supplies
September Guatemala School
October Hats, Gloves, Socks, and Trick or Treat Candy
November Thanksgiving Baskets
December Christmas Joy
Core Values and Bed-Rock Beliefs
Our Church Council is continuing the work of refining and consolidating our work as a congregation in defining our Core Values and Bed-Rock Beliefs. We will be bringing this work before the congregation again to get as much response as possible before we formally adopt them. Once adopted they will be included in all our publications and on our website and Facebook communications in order to help people looking for a church understand who we are. They will also be used as a measurement we will use to keep ourselves on track with matching our values to our programing and decisions. Thank you to all of you who have offered your thoughts, we hope you will see them reflected in the work Council has done with them. It is important work that will have long lasting impact in our future. Thank you!
Prayer Fellowship Mondays at 5 P.M.
Prayer Fellowship is a small group ministry that meets once a week to write prayer cards to our shut-ins and to those who have been lifted up in prayer. It is also a time of fellowship. We are a fairly flexible group and would love to have others join us in this prayer ministry. If you would like a vital way to connect with the church, please come. If you have questions, please contact Judy Entenman (517-282-6827).
In February we expanded our ministry to our shut-ins by taking them communion monthly. We spend time visiting with them, making important connections with the church and then sharing with them the grace and love received through Holy Communion. Thanks to our nine volunteers who have made this possible: Connie Bliss, Jean Creyts, Judy Entenman, Doris Krepps, Tonie Lokker, Carol Moore, Sherrie Teesdale, and Sandy Winchell.
If you would like to share in this important ministry, please let Judy Entenman know at (517) 646-0265. There are other shut-ins who we would like to visit. If you know of a shut-in who we should include in this ministry, please let Judy know.
Thank you for all the support for our Personal Needs Pantry. We serve on average 23 very appreciative local families each month. We could not do this without your help.
Every Monday at 5pm, Dimondale United Methodist Church members gather in prayer, lifting up the joys and concerns of people in our congregation, our families, our communities and around the world. In addition to praying for them, we send a personal prayer note to each person who desires one. If you or someone you know is in need of prayer, you can call the church office (517) 646-0641 to relay a prayer request. If you would like us to send a personal prayer note for someone, please include the person’s name and address. People enjoy the cards that the group sends out and they need your help. If you have some time please come and join them. To make a prayer request, click on the Prayer Request tab on this website and share your prayers. If you have questions, please contact Judy Entenman (517-282-6827).
The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Join Us At Prayer Fellowship
10. We have lots of Fun.
9. You get the latest news about our church family.
8. Many hands and prayers make light work.
7. It is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship with lots of laughter.
6. So Judy and Tonie don’t get writer’s cramp.
5. An opportunity to fuel your faith.
4. There is strength in numbers – especially in prayer.
3. To do one of the things the New Testament asks us to do: “Pray without ceasing.”
2. To make a difference in people’s lives.
1. To become a part of a significant ministry of this church.
WE NEED YOU!
Prayer Fellowship meets every Monday at 5:00pm.
United Methodist Men
Dimondale/Grovenburg/Mt. Hope United Methodist Church Men’s Fellowship Group. Breakfast meeting every third Saturday, 8:00am at MorningLory in Dimondale. All men in the community are invited.