News from University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI 

February 17, 2021



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Feature Articles
A Lenten Message from Bishop Bard


(NOTE: To view the video version of this message, click here.)

I greet you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the peace and power of the Holy Spirit as we enter the season of Lent. 

The United Methodist Book of Worship tells us that Lent “began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians.”  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, where we are reminded of our mortality. Somber colors are encouraged, with an encouragement to remove “all shiny objects from the worship area,” and perhaps give up flowers. Individually people often give something up for Lent.

It was last year during Lent that our churches were asked to refrain from in-person worship due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hope early on was that perhaps by Easter, we would again be able to gather together for worship. It was not to be. Months later, we would also be asked to refrain from in-person worship during the Christmas season. We have given up a lot, and we are not yet through this pandemic.

Of course, some have given up even more. This past year has been a year of incredible loss. Reminders of our mortality arrive every day as we hear the running total of deaths from COVID-19, now over 400,000 here in the United States. Some of you are grieving loved ones lost, whether from COVID or not. We have lost time together with family and friends, missed marking milestones in ways we would have liked.  There have been moments where we’ve lost a measure of hope, moments such as the death of George Floyd, or when some of our cities were aflame, or when our political rhetoric burned, or when we witnessed the violent storming of the Capitol building.

Lent acknowledges loss and limits. It invites giving something up, but that never for its own sake. When we voluntarily give something up it is intended to be in the service of creating space for something new, creating more space for God’s grace, God’s love. Lent reminds us we don’t have all the time in the world, so we are invited to use our time well. Lent reminds us that life entails real loss, so we are invited to appreciate its good gifts when they come our way. Lent encourages us to be more disciplined in our use of time, in the direction of our attention, in the expenditure of our energy. Discipline – and the most important Lenten disciplines are the disciplines of love – patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, and humility. I wrote about these in my monthly blog for February, and I hope you will go back and read it.

Friends, Lent reminds us that we are fragile, mortal, and sometimes broken, that we know loss and that we lose our way. Yet we are also always loved by God, wildly and extravagantly, and in these limited mortal lives of ours, we might reflect that love of God in what we do and who we are. Disciplines of love exercised in grace help us do that. I invite you to observe a holy Lent, honing the disciplines of love, knowing that you are loved by God.

Grace and Peace,

David Alan Bard
Michigan Area Bishop




Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten period, leading up to Easter when Jesus was resurrected. The ashes symbolize both death and repentance. You are invited to view a short virtual worship service, which can be found on our Facebook page or on our YouTube channel.


Join us every Wednesday between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday (2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 3/31) for a 10-minute Lenten meditation with a Psalm reading and piano music on our Facebook page or YouTube channel. The videos will be posted at 7:00 a.m. but will be available to view any time after posting. Thank you to Connie Gamage for the readings and piano music!


First we fed them. Now, we need to maintain our care for them. The nurses, front line workers, and hospital staff still need our help. While many employees at Sparrow Hospital continue to work in their fight against COVID-19, these caregivers are facing daily life without adequate income, food, or shelter. Their spouses may have lost their jobs, child care costs are mounting, and monthly bills still need attention.
The UUMC Mission Committee has changed the name and focus of the FEED THE FIGHT account. The new fund will now be called CARE FOR THE CAREGIVERS. All monies collected in this project will be donated to The Sparrow Foundation and used as financial assistance for the health care staff on a monthly need-by-need basis.
We have received a grant from the Endowment Fund, and your donations will be matched up to $1000. We are asking you to make donations, designated for the "CAREGIVER” fund, through your mail-in offerings (UUMC, 1120 S. Harrison Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823) or through Venmo (@UUMCDonation). Thank you for your support of our “Hometown Heroes.”


Many of you know you can find our online worship service on Facebook on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. But did you know we also have a YouTube channel? You can subscribe to our channel and watch our videos there, too, if you prefer! We “premiere” our worship services on both platforms, which means it is pre-recorded but aired in “real time” so that you can interact with your friends and neighbors as it is showing for the first time. If you are subscribed to this newsletter, you will automatically receive an email on Sunday morning with direct links to the Facebook and YouTube videos.
  •  To Watch on Facebook: In the Facebook search bar, type “University United Methodist Church – MSU” to find our page. Make sure to “Like” our page so that you can easily follow us and receive reminders in the future! The direct link to the page is:
  • To Watch on YouTube: In the YouTube search bar, type “University United Methodist Church – East Lansing”. Then “Subscribe” to our channel so that you will be able to locate us quickly! The direct link to our channel is:


Rev. Bills is meeting with anyone who would like to fellowship virtually over Zoom on Sundays at 11:00 a.m., following the online worship service. Come as you are -- in the comfort of your own home! We can discuss the worship service or the sermon, share news, ask questions, ask for prayer, or just come to see some familiar faces! We miss you! If you would like to join us, you will need the Zoom link. The link will be posted in the comments during the Sunday morning worship service on Facebook (University United Methodist Church – MSU) or YouTube (University United Methodist Church – East Lansing), or you can email Rev. Bills on Sunday mornings before 11:00 a.m. at


We want to remind you that at this time the church building is STILL CLOSED to all persons with the exception of essential staff (Rev. William Bills, Rev. Jim Magee, Bruce Wheaton, Jay Weessies, Kim Depew). An appointment IS REQUIRED for all others, including any business that needs to happen inside the building or deliveries. Appointments should be made PRIOR TO ARRIVING. For an appointment, call 517-351-7030. ***MASKS ARE REQUIRED TO BE WORN INSIDE THE BUILDING.*** Your cooperation is greatly appreciated as we take necessary precautions to help ensure the health and safety of all persons during these unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


If you would like to submit a prayer concern, please send your request via email to These will be posted on our website, and Rev. Bills will read the names and lift them in prayer during our online services. If you would like to view the prayer concerns on our website, go to From the top menu, select “Make a Difference” and then “Prayer.” The password to view the prayer concerns is “Together” (please note that It is case-sensitive). If you have an urgent request, please contact Rev. Bills at 517-351-7030, ext. 207.


Thank you for your continued support of the church during this uncertain time! There are three convenient ways to make sure your donations reach us: 
  1. Mail your donation to UUMC (1120 S. Harrison Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823). Make sure to specify what the donation is for on the memo line.
  2. Give through the Venmo app to @UUMCDonation.
  3. Electronic Giving: If you would like to utilize the e-giving option, please contact our Financial Administrator, Jay Weessies, at 517-351-7030, ext. 205 or for assistance.




The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine is offering the 21st annual Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series -- "Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey." Once again in 2021, nationally acclaimed leaders will meet with the MSU community to spark discussion and interaction on issues around diversity, civil rights, and social justice. This year, lectures will be presented virtually. We are asking everyone to register for these webinars in advance. The date and registration link for the remaining presentation is:
  • Dr. Cornel West -- Thursday, February 25 at 5:00 p.m. (register here)
We hope that you’ll plan on coming to hear these dynamic speakers give their thought-provoking presentations. For more information about the presenters or the lecture series, click here.
Announcements are due on Tuesdays by 5:00 PM. If possible, please e-mail your item to Questions about Tower Alert should be directed to Diane Constan (517-393-5450).

For updated church information, be sure to check the UUMC-Wesley Foundation website at

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