Grand Valley United Methodist Church
July 2022 Newsletter
In this newsletter:
2. New Bible Study
3. Faith House
4. Young Families Article
5. Conference Report
6. In Remembrance
9. Event Details
10. Pastor’s Report
11. Church Reports
12. Just for Fun
Our Vacation Bible Study was a HUGE success!! We had 30 children that attended, and some amazing helpers! A great time was had by all – children and adults alike! Looking forward to next year! A BIG thank you to all who helped to make it a success.
We will be starting a new Minor Women of the Bible study on Tuesday, July 5th at 10:30. We invite all to join us. This study will be led by Penelope Olson.
We are planning to continue the study through September.
Last month we reported that the Faith House received new windows and had some lower siding replaced. The first part of June it received a new coat of paint and we went from green to gray! Prior to painting, a picture was taken of the Faith House sign so it can be repainted as well. With all of these face lift jobs, the Faith House looks great! Thank you, Trustees, for spearheading these projects!
Taping and caulking Scraped and ready for paint Painting is under way
Looking good! It now matches the church. You can even see the new valances
Now that the Faith House has been painted and the windows replaced, new blinds have been ordered and will arrive shortly.
The gremlins that caused the hallway lights to mysteriously go off and come back on in the church have been eliminated and the faulty switch replaced. Makes life easier when you can see in the hallway!
Doors for the sanctuary have been re-promised once again to July with no assurance that they will make it then.
Why bringing in young families is not a magic bullet for your congregation
Posted on May 20, 2022 by DANIEL POTTER5 Comments
By Laura Stephens-Reed
I have heard it many times in congregations experiencing stagnation or decline: If we could just bring in more young families…
This is an understandable thought. For churches with nurseries that once burst at the seams or with memories of youth choirs that went on tour in the summers, bringing in more young people seems like the obvious way to enliven a graying or shrinking church. Bringing in these families, though, is neither a simple task nor an easy solution. Here’s why:
Young families are busy. This is not to say they are too busy to spend time with God. (It’s important to refrain from judging how faithful anyone is by how much time they anchor a pew.) It is to say that demands on parents and kids are sprawling, no longer contained to certain days of the week. It is very challenging for them to push back on those pressures.
Young families don’t want to be told what to believe. The mode of church that many of us are accustomed to is a didactic one in which a pastor or Sunday School teacher holds the wisdom and imparts it to hearers. It doesn’t always leave space for or encourage discussion, questions, or creativity. Most young families – both parents and kids – are not interested in a one-way conversation.
Young families don’t want to be gawked at. They know when they are the object of spoken (or unspoken) sentimentality: “Thank you for being a first-time visitor. Would you like to become a deacon?” “It’s great that we now have people with energy to pick up what we’re too tired to do!” “Aren’t those kids so cute sitting on the platform during the children’s message?” “I’m relieved to know that because of these young people, the church will outlive me.” These are the messages of a congregation focused on survival, not on fully welcoming young families on their own terms, and they are not here for it.
Young families aren’t interested in “how we’ve always done it.” They can respect tradition and their elders without wanting to replicate old patterns. So if your church brings in young families, expect to be changed by them. They will ask why you do certain things. They will want to know how you are using your gifts to show Christ’s love to the world. They will not join in ministries for which they see no relevance.
Young families don’t have disposable income. Sometimes the stated or unstated hope is that bringing in a new demographic will not just increase attendance but also bolster the church budget. If you’re looking for a financial boost, this slice of the population does not offer it. Young adults might have student debt or be paying an outpriced mortgage because of inflation. They might be working multiple jobs (some of which might overflow into Sundays) because what they are paid and how far that amount goes are misaligned, through no fault of their own.
Not all communities have a big demographic of young families. Your community might be aging, shrinking, or both. If industry has left your town or if there is no preschool or afterschool care, it’s unlikely that there are huge numbers of young adults where you live.
These might be hard truths to receive. If you have ears to hear, however, don’t despair. In 2010 the Pew Research Center conducted a study of millennials (who would now be in roughly the 30-40 age range). Findings indicated that millennials were just as likely to believe in God as preceding generations and that they engaged in regular spiritual practices. This means that there are probably unaffiliated young adults open to a faith community. If your church is truly ready to welcome them, here are some things to keep in mind:
Young families need a place to find their center. Over-programming, which is often what we assume will bring in families, won’t accomplish that. Families are already dealing with that outside the church. Instead, young adults and kids need a container in which they can develop relationships across generations and with a God who calls them to transformation through delight and rest and community.
Young families want to participate in meaning making. They have big questions and need a place to ask them. Every generation has lived through “unprecedented times” and had to figure out where God is in all of it and how faith could help them navigate their circumstances well. Younger generations are no different.
Young families want to be seen, welcomed, and supported. They need a village. Many young families live distantly from support from extended family, and it’s tough to juggle a lot of commitments without it. They can benefit greatly from spiritual friends and family, people who invest in and show up for them when they need help.
Young families want to make a difference. Many younger people are hesitant about the church because they see it as standoffish toward, if not downright hostile to, the world around it. But if your congregation offers hands-on avenues to minister in the larger community and is open to anyone who might walk through the doors, that piques the interest of many young adults and kids.
Young families want to contribute in ways other than financially. They want to collaborate and create. They want to bring their talents and wisdom and energy to bear. So while they might not turn in a pledge card, they could be enthusiastic about other opportunities to engage.
Making space for young families involves hard, holy, self-reflective work on the part of church. What future is God inviting us to consider? What changes, not just in how we do but also in how we think and feel, will this involve? Pray for God’s wisdom and then wait on God’s unexpected but always good work in your midst.
Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach based in Alabama.
NEWS FROM THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Six hundred and thirteen clergy, laity, and guests joined together in person and online for the 2022 Annual Mountain Sky Conference held in Helena, Montana. St. Paul’s and Covenant Methodist Churches were our hosts. The theme was “At this Table.”
The Conference wants to stay whole. To do so, the people say they want the following:
• Credibility behind personal connections
• More intimacy
• More sense of belonging
• Strengthen personal connections
• Acceptance of all
• Authenticity that restores trust
• To know that we all belong, but by belonging know you will change and grow
During the laity session, we learned that the clergy wants laity to know how powerful we are. They want us to know that whatever we dream, it will happen. But it takes guts to say, “Sit down, God will provide,” when you have an idea.
The Mayor of Helena, Wilmot Collins, who is also a Methodist and came to this country from Liberia, spoke to us about how to speak to those who have not been attending church recently or have never attended church. We need to be deliberate. You need to ask yourself why you attend church and be prepared to answer that question when they ask you. Talk as ordinary people. If they say they are too busy, ask how you may help them in their busyness. If there is a problem, ask them how you can make it better. He told us church is boring; we need to turn it around to attract people.
As far as the business of the Conference, there was not a lot to be done. If you wish to know more about any of that, please see me.
The Bishop always sends us out on mission work in the community during the conference. I went to the YWCA. They have a daycare and needed help getting a room cleaned up and arranged. It was full of furniture and supplies. Another woman and I organized the craft supplies and toys. We could have spent another hour or two with them, but unfortunately, the bus came for us.
Saturday’s worship service included the commissioning of J. R. as a provisional member preparing for ordained ministry. Bishop Karen Oliveto gave a powerful sermon. She suggests that we still need to morn what we lost during Covid and that we are not, and cannot be, the same church we were before Covid.
She asked us what we are hungry for. Justice? Peace? Calm? Take that hunger and dream. Clergy needs to unleash the radical ideas of people. Dream – because too many clergy and laity have atrophied imaginations. Too many have forgotten who we are and whose we are. She implored us to discover the hunger around us.
Thank you for allowing me to represent GVUMC at this year’s meeting. I arrived in Helena a day earlier than planned due to the flooding of the Yellowstone River. Ron and I had planned a nice vacation around the meeting and ended up getting stranded in Gardiner, Montana, located at the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. We weren’t sure when we were going to be able to get out, so when a short window of opportunity appeared on Tuesday, we took it and drove to Helena. And, yes, we watched from our hotel window that brown house, which was actually a National Park Service employee housing home, fall into the Yellowstone River. I’m sure many of you have seen the video of it. Please, pray for the people of Gardiner. It is estimated that 75% or more of the businesses will close, putting so many people out of work. It is a tourism supported town. They were under a boil water order when we were there due to a water main breaking. And, there was no way in to town as the bridge over the Yellowstone on the main road was unstable and the road we took was only being allowed to be used to evacuate people. Helicopters were bringing in supplies. So, they need our prayers.
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Rev. John Foreman, Pastor at GVUMC in 1976-77. He passed away at Hope West Care Center Grand Junction on Friday, June 3 at the age of 82. There was a short Military Honors burial and committal service on June 27th at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Grand Junction.
9 – Millie Dunham
10 – Linda Thompson
11 – Linda Elliott
11 – Marietta Kovacs
14 – Bonnie Gana
15 – Sara Francis
16 – Carol Schelling
19 – Robin Troche
21 – John Zacharias
24 – Charlotte White
25 – Charli-Capri Troche
25 – Garland White
27 – Blanche Shaw
Our Seekers Class (Adult Sunday School) meets every Sunday morning at 8:30. We invite all to attend.
Join us for Bible Study every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. or at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
We will be starting a new series on Wednesday, July 7 based on Grace Gone Wild! by Robert Jeffress. Do we really understand grace? This study will consider a biblical understanding of grace and the true freedom of living in God’s good grace. Everyone is welcome and we hope you can join us!
Choir and Bells are on summer hiatus. They will start up again in September, after Labor Day. Choir and Bells practice on Wednesday afternoons. We are always looking for participants, so if you would like to join either of these wonderful musical groups, please contact the office at (970)285-9892 or by email: email@example.com
Please see below in the Church Reports section for information on an upcoming Rummage Sale.
Prayer Partners meet the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 10:00. If you have anyone that you would like to add to the Prayer Partner list, please contact either Bert Botkin at (970)216-8682, the church office at (970)285-9892 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. J.R. Atkins
Grand Valley United Methodist Church
June 2022 Pastor’s Report
1. Women’s Bible Study Continues – The next series of the women’s Bible study is called “Minor Women of the Bible and is led by Penelope Olson. It will begin Tuesday, July 5th at 10:30 and continue for 4 weeks.
2. A Table for All – The group forming to pursue “ A Table for All ” initiative continues to meet and add people to their ranks. This was promoted heavily at the Annual Conference, to encourage churches to participate and folks to contribute funds. The goal is to raise $1,000,000 and so far over $800,000 has been raised. This money will be used to support 20 or so churches, over a 3 to 5-year term with up to $50,000 for each church. In addition to funding, coaching and other means of support will be provided to the selected churches. 2 people have volunteered to work as Co-Leaders, Michelle Foster, and Sonia Brinkerhoff (from the Friday night Common Table Group). If you are interested in this program, please let me know so you can be included in the meetings. You can find more information on the conference website at https://www.mtnskyumc.org/a-table-for-all-ac22
3. Annual Conference – The Mt. Sky Annual Conference took place June 16-18 in Helena, Mt. Penelope Olson was our lay representative and has a report in the church newsletter. After not meeting in person for 2 years, the event was filled with meeting and greeting new and old friends. During the Clergy Session, I was voted to be commissioned as a provisional elder. In the final session, I was Commissioned with the Bishop laying hands upon me and praying for my formation and service as a minister. Over the next 2 years, I will continue my studies, attend 4 workshops, develop, and deliver a “fruitfulness” project and meet with my fellow provisional Elders and our study groups. After the provisional period, I will again go before the clergy and Bishop for approval and if approved, ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church.
4. New Branding Campaign – A new branding campaign was revealed at the Annual Conference called “Belong” emphasizing that there is a place for all in the Mt Sky conference and we are made up of people with diverse backgrounds and views, just the way God made us. Check out the Belong video at https://vimeo.com/722608575
5. Pastoral Transition – As of this writing, it has been confirmed that I will be reappointed to a new church in our conference effective August 1. The primary reason for my reappointment is to fulfill requirements as a Commissioned Provisional Elder, I need to be a full-time pastor. This means Grand Valley UMC will be getting a new pastor. The Bishop and the Cabinet have been working diligently during this appointment season. There are still quite a few appointment openings, and they are working hard to fill all of the openings as soon as they can. This is not a fast or easy process. Each appointment takes into consideration the needs of the church, the gifts of a pastor, and much prayer and discernment. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for all that are touched by this process.
Peace be with you,
Pastor J.R. Atkins.
UWF, in partnership with the Pentecostal Church, will be holding a Rummage Sale on Saturday, July 23 in the Fellowship Hall and on the front parking lot. Please save all your “good stuff” until then. Proceeds from the sale will be shared jointly and will benefit UWF’s mission program and the Pentecostal Youth Scholarship.
Details on when and what to bring will follow in the weekly bulletins.
Church Council Report
There was no Council Meeting in June.
Mission & Outreach
The garden is doing very well – Mother Nature has helped us out a bit!
August is “Shoe Month” – we will start collecting money for shoes for kids in July. We always appreciate everyone’s help in supporting this cause. Look for information in the August newsletter for when the distribution will be. Remember….we can always use your help with shopping for the shoes as well as on distribution day!
If the person who named Walkie Talkies named everything….
Stamp = Lickie Stickie
Defibrillator = Hearty Starty
Bumble bees = Fuzzy Buzzy
Pregnancy test = Maybe Baby
Fork = Stabby Grabby
Socks = Feetie Heatie
Hippo = Floatie Bloatie
Nightmare = Screamy Dreamy
Church Contact Information
PO Box 125
Parachute CO 81635
Wednesday – Friday
9:00 – noon