Snapshots of Vitality

CENTRAL BAY DISTRICT … July 1 was a day of celebration for Sanford United Methodist Church and their pastor. The Rev. Lisa Cook began her 22nd year in ministry with a baptism in Sanford Lake. See more on Facebook/ Sanford MI UMC.

See Christ in the faces of Michigan United Methodists who share their faith on the pages of Facebook.

This MIconnect features showcases congregations who are using Facebook effectively. Is your church using Social Media to enhance your nurture and outreach? United Methodist Communications has lots of resources to help you get started or to do better. Click here for more. MIconnect checks Facebook for signs of vitality but we can’t find them all. Do you have a photo to feature in Snapshots of Vitality? Send it, along with a brief caption, to News Editor Kay DeMoss. Thank you!

GREATER SOUTHWEST DISTRICT … Kid’s Adventure Program at Kalamazoo First UMC. Parachute & Bible Study time with two Mission Interns, Jake and Janea. Reported by Paul Perez.

NORTHERN WATERS DISTRICT … VBS fun at Epworth UMC in Brethren, MI. “Beach Bash theme was a blast!” See more at Epworth UMC.

NORTHERN SKIES DISTRICT … On the road with Jesus. Lilliana Bowling driving accompanied by her sister Raina Bowling and friend Alaina Mahler. Representing Skandia Campus of Marquette: Hope United Methodist Church in Skandia Days Parade.

EAST WINDS DISTRICT … Again this summer Flint: Bethel United Methodist Church is hosting a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School. July 23rd was Social Action Day. Young scholars and interns spent the morning talking to participants of Bethel’s Community Resource Center about voter registration. Reported on Facebook by Paul Perez.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … Cass Community Social Services gave a solar presentation at the Assumption School in St. Clair Shores. These two students turned on the lights! See more at Cass Community Social Services.

HERITAGE DISTRICT … Hanging out with Ronald. Dexter UMC Home groups like to study/pray together, do-life together and SERVE together. The Pinckney Area Home group recently served meals to the folks at the Ronald McDonald House.

GREATER SOUTHWEST DISTRICT … Not every Volunteer in Mission Team has super heroes in the kitchen. Vicksburg United Methodist Church does. The team is in Parksley, Virginia painting, serving meals, studying the Bible, learning about social issues and sharing faith with new friends. See much more at Vicksburg UMC.

HERITAGE DISTRICT … Rev. Tom Zimmerman and staff at Saline First United Methodist Church accepting the Wayne C. Barrett Stewardship Leader Award. See more at United Methodist Foundation of Michigan.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … Detroit: Metropolitan UMC takes it to the streets to spread the gospel outside the church’s walls. In response to a summer sermon series, Andrea Apel, Choir Director, took Metropolitan’s music to Eastern Market. Jeanette Harris reports: “Shoppers scrambling to get the best price on organic fruits and vegetables, flowers and fresh bakery goods, had their spirits lifted by music. Strains of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ and Leonard Cohen’s, ‘Hallelujah,’ rose above the din of Detroit’s busiest farmers’ market. There were no bucket tips. Instead shoppers were given tips on the ministries offered at Metropolitan. As they slowed down to listen, shoppers were reminded that Metropolitan’s doors are open and there’s a place for them.” Left-right: Matt Miller, Denzel Donald, Ciera Williams, and Andrea Apel. See more at Metropolitan United Methodist Church.

NORTHERN WATERS DISTRICT … Combined effort of Lake City United Methodist Church and St. John Lutheran Church delivered 185 cases of water to Flint. Rev. Jean Smith pastors both congregations.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … Summers are a busy time at NOAH project in Detroit. Birmingham First’s 4th-5th grade youth group serves at the Bag Lunch Program. See more at NOAH Project Detroit.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … Detroit: Conant Avenue UMC took a trip to Petersburg, Kentucky to visit the Noah’s Ark and Creation Museum June 13-15.
NORTHERN WATERS DISTRICT … Three up-north congregations — Mancelona, Alba and Northport — came together on June 24 to “celebrate our diversity and our alikeness.” Hosted at Mancelona, the congregation welcomed Pastor Terry Wildman and his wife Darlene from Northport Indian UMC. Together they shared a duet, Rain Song. “A wonderful sermon and soulful songs filled the sanctuary as together we worshiped our God.” See more at Mancelona United Methodist Church.

MIDWEST DISTRICT … A royal appearance at Wolf Lake United Methodist Church Bible School. See more scenes from Babylon at Wolf Lake UMCNORTHERN SKIES DISTRICT … Grab your kerchief and mosey to Vacation Bible School. It’s a Barnyard RoundUp at Gwinn United Methodist Church. See more at Gwinn UMC.

GREATER SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT … Youth from Otsego United Methodist Church travelled to New York City to be in ministry at A House on Beekman. “We were able to experience a small part of the Lord’s work in rejuvenating the South Bronx and reach a hand across to our brothers and sisters in Christ in NYC!” See more at Otsego UMC.

CENTRAL BAY DISTRICT … Disciples from Mt. Pleasant First UMC are in Illinois serving at Midwest Mission Distribution Center. Packing kits, making desks, and loving Jesus. See more at First United Methodist Church of Mt. Pleasant.NORTHERN WATERS DISTRICT … Northport Indian Mission UMC participates in the Cherry Festival Powwow in Traverse City. See more at Northport Indian Mission UMC.
GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … The Rev. Jon Reynolds and family serve Communion at Cass Community United Methodist Church where he now serves as the Associate Pastor. See more at Cass Community UMC.

NORTHERN WATERS DISTRICT … 1740: John Wesley announces “Free Grace” … 2018: Kate Hitts announces “Free Popsicles” during Harbor Springs 4th of July festivities. “Both are a blessing!” says Pastor Susan Thorpe Hitts.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … A young musician at Centro Familiar Cristiano UMC in Detroit is a living example of Proverbs 22:6 … “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” See more at CFCUMC Detroit.

MIDWEST DISTRICT … Montague United Methodist Church had a float in the 4th of July Parade inviting neighbors to get S’more of Jesus! See more at Montague Methodist.

GREATER DETROIT DISTRICT … The Rev. Dirk Elliott, Michigan Conference Director of Congregational Vibrancy, reports: “Blessed to be in worship this evening (July 8) at the Vietnamese UM Fellowship in Detroit with Pastor Nhan Duc Nguyen.

CENTRAL BAY DISTRICT … Essexville UMC travels back in time to Rome for Vacation Bible School. Apostle Eric Stone enacts a scene from “Paul and the Underground Church.” See more at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church of Essexville.

NORTHERN SKIES DISTRICT …  Marquette Hope members, young and old, enjoyed Teddy Bear Camp at Camp Michigamme. Pastors Chris and Kristi share communion in the great outdoors. See more at Marquette Hope and Camp Michigamme.

MICHIGAN MINISTRIES … The Rev. Wayne Barrett, on behalf of the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan, presented a $10,000 scholarship to Susan Thorpe Hitts, pastor of Alanson and Harbor Springs, during worship at Harbor Springs UMC on July 1. “I am ever so grateful to the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan for this amazing blessing!” Hitts said.

EAST WINDS DISTRICT … ARM 2018 (Adult Righteous Mission) was held the week of June 18th at Clarkston UMC. ARM had projects at both CUMC and Hope Warming Center in Pontiac. See more at Clarkston UMC.

HERITAGE DISTRICT … Jackson First UMC Youth travels to the Northern Skies District to share Christ’s love at God’s Country Cooperative Parish. See more at God’s Country Cooperative Parish.MICHIGAN UM CAMPING … Zorb Night at Crystal Springs Camp Near Dowagiac. New knocker balls used for a game of musical rings. See this and more fun times at Crystal Springs.

MICHIGAN MISSION & MINISTRY … US-2 Isaac Dunn finishes two years of service at NOAH Project Detroit. NOAH Executive Director Amy Brown wishes him well in the next chapter of his ife and ministry. Isaac is moving to Denver, CO to pursue a Master’s of Divinity. See more at NOAH Project Detroit.
GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … L-r: Ransom Leppink, Board Chair of the Michigan United Methodist Foundation, presenting the Wayne C. Barrett Steward Leader Award at Valley Church (Allendale). Accepting the award are Zach McNees,Student Ministries, and Matt Bistayi, Lead Pastor. HERITAGE DISTRICT … Members of South Lyon UMC are being accompanied by Flat Prophet Amos this summer. Flat Prophet just crossed the Mighty Mackinac Bridge. He is now a Yooper! Follow Flat Prophet’s travels on Facebook at South Lyon First United Methodist Church.

SAGINAW BAY DISTRICT …   “One Day One Street” is underway in Saginaw. “One Street is a local mission project which serves the Saginaw community by improving the quality of life for the residents through neighborhood revitalization efforts. We believe the church is commanded to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves’ and called to demonstrate God’s love in our communities.” See much more at OWOS.

MARQUETTE DISTRICT … Beneath the cross of Jesus under a heavenly blue sky at God’s Country Cooperative Parish. The cross was erected at GCCP’s new building, a refurbished school on the south side of Newberry. See more at God’s Country Cooperative Parish.

GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … On the sea with Jesus at Grand Rapids: Trinity Vacation Bible School, “Shipwrecked.” “No matter what, Jesus rescues!”

MICHIGAN CONFERENCE … Kirby just moved from Battle Creek to New Baltimore. He expresses the state of every parsonage family caught in the middle of changing appointments. Says Dog Dad, Brian Steele, “We’re all moved in. All is well. This is how we’re feeling.

GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … The Youth Group at Byron Center United Methodist Church planned, organized, and implemented this steer for the Byron Center Chamber of Commerce’s annual campaign Steer In To Byron Center Event. Creative and colorful community witness.


DETROIT RENAISSANCE DISTRICT … The Rev. Paul Perez was present at Detroit: Metropolitan UMC on June 10 to announce the 2018 recipients of the Centennial Scholarship Fund. Himself a previous recipient, the Michigan Conference Associate Director for Mission and Ministry reminded scholars that they must relate their heads to their hearts. Rev. Perez went on to say that today’s issues demand this relationship to create the empathy that is necessary to emulate the heart of Christ. The scholarship fund was created in 1985 and $1.2 million have been awarded to Methodist students around the globe since then. The fund is endowed by members and friends of Metropolitan UMC. On October 1, 2018, scholarship applications for 2019 will be on Metropolitan’s website:  www.metroumc.org. “Education is a Methodist obsession,” said the late Rev. Dr. William K. Quick upon launching the effort.

GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … Michigan welcomes the Rev. Steve Manskar to Grand Rapids: Trinity United Methodist Church. A clergyman from Minnesota, he comes to The Michigan Conference from the staff of Discipleship Ministries. Wesley had his horse. Steve has his bike. “Do all the good you can … pedaling as fast as ever you can!?”
GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … On May 20 over 35 couples from Valley Church got together to say “We Still Do” at the Little Red Barn in Nunica! Delicious dinner, fun dancing, some games, and cake were enjoyed as well as a powerful message on working continuously on our marriages from Pastor Matt Bistayi. See more at Valley Church Allendale.

ANN ARBOR DISTRICT … Ten families from Novi United Methodist Church pitched their tents in the churchyard last week for the First Annual Family Campout. A great time was had by all. See much more at Novi United Methodist Church.
SAGINAW BAY DISTRICT … Ranger Scott Sherrill, pastor of Vassar: First UMC, has his VBS hat on getting ready for Sonrise National Park Vacation Bible School. See more at Vassar First UMC.

GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … Grand Haven: Church of the Dunes asked for 80 VBS sponsors and got 160. See more at United Methodist Church of the Dunes.

SAGINAW BAY DISTRICT … Pastor Tony Tomasino welcomes six new members to God’s Kingdom and Caro United Methodist Church. See more at Caro UMC.

GRAND TRAVERSE DISTRICT … Pastor Melanie Young is ready to labor in the Garden of the Lord. Pentwater Centenary UMC says goodbye as she moves to Ovid United Church. See more at Centenary UMC.

SAGINAW BAY DISTRICT … The Bavarian Fest Kinder Parade was a little soggy on June 10, but Super Hero kids and grown-ups from Frankenmuth United Methodist Church, picked up their sign and braved the elements to witness for God in their hometown. See more at Frankenmuth UMC.CROSSROADS DISTRICT … Surprise volunteer at the Help Center. Niko Goodrum from the Detroit Tigers helped pass out water at Flint: Bethel United Methodist Church on June 11. See more at Flint Water Crisis: United Methodist Response.
KALAMAZOO DISTRICT … You can’t get a good Christian woman down. This brave soul made it to her seat in the pew at Otsego United Methodist Church on June 10. Jesus loves you! See more at Otsego UMC.

DETROIT RENAISSANCE DISTRICT … “Take Out Church” starts with a pizza box. Nardin Park UMC explains: “Summer is almost here… and if you are traveling then why not take some church with you? “Take Out Church” is a 10″ pizza box with activities for your family to use at home or traveling. Each piece inside the box helps deepen our spirituality and offers guidance in the practice of our faith, in times of quite, in times of laughter and fun! Even when we are outside the walls of the church, we are still members of the family of God.” See more at Nardin Park UMC.

CROSSROADS DISTRICT … a student made some new friends during Clean and Green Day at the community garden. See more at Flint: Asbury UMC.

GRAND RAPIDS DISTRICT … Grand Rapids First takes the sacrament to the sidewalk.  Rev. Tim Tuthill shares Communion and Community. See more at First UMC Grand Rapids.

CONGREGATIONAL VIBRANCY … Rev. Dirk Elliott (left) and Bishop David Bard (right) bless those leaders involved in starting new churches around the new Michigan Conference. L-r: Rev. Lindsey Hall, Associate pastor Birmingham: First UMC and spouse of the Rev. Jon Reynolds, Associate Cass Community UMC/Midtown Detroit; Rev. Banza Mukalay, Grand Rapids: Restoration UMC; and Revs John K. Ilunga Ngoi and Gertrude M. Mukalay, Detroit: Africa Diaspora UMC.
SAGINAW BAY … Rev. Carl Gladstone, staff for Discipleship Ministries Young People’s Ministries, and Bridget Nelson, Coordinator of Youth Ministry Development for the Michigan Conference, introduce Izzy Nowak. Active at Pinconning UMC, Izzy will be attending the Global Young People’s Convocation in Johannesburg, South Africa July 18-22, 2018.MICHIGAN DISTRICTS …Nine Superintendents of new Michigan Conference districts pick up the baton and are ready to race. L-r: Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue (Greater Detroit); Rev. Elizabeth Hill (Heritage); Rev. Dwayne Bagley (Greater Southwest); Rev. John Hice (East Winds); Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine (Mid-Michigan); Rev. Margie Crawford (Midwest); Rev. David Kim (Central Bay); Rev. Anita Hahn (Northern Waters); and Rev. Scott Harmon (Northern Skies).
CROSSROADS DISTRICT … A congregation supports their pastor. The bus from Flint to Traverse City was on the road June 3. Passengers prayed for those worshiping at Court Street while they travelled to attend worship at Annual Conference  to celebrate the ordination of the Rev. Christy Miller Black. See more at Court Street UMC.

GRAND TRAVERSE DISTRICT … Native American congregations welcomed Annual Conference goers for dinner on Friday evening. Those who traveled to Charlevoix enjoyed drumming and dancing at Greensky Hill Indian United Methodist Church.


MICHIGAN MINISTRIES … Outgoing Board of Ordained Ministry Chair, the Rev. Sherri Swanson, is congratulated by the Rev. John Boley (left) and Bishop David Bard. Sherri received the Lynn Grimes Spirit Award on Saturday during a Celebration of the Journey of Ministry.


LANSING DISTRICT … During his introduction as Lansing (soon to be Mid-Michigan) District Superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Jerome DeVine helped conference members re-enact a gospel story on the Sea of Galilee. The “vintage oar” was then given to Bishop Bard.MICHIGAN UM CAMPING … Members of Annual Conference gather at the “firebowl” at Saturday evening’s Camp Ministries Dinner. Diners learned that United Methodist sites hosted 22,000 participants in 2017.

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