News from University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI 

July 29, 2020



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Feature Articles
From the Pastor: Upcoming Outdoor Services
Update on Pentwater Family & Fellowship Camp
To Slow the Spread, Spread the Word: Avoid Close Contact


Thank you for your patience and your support during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has gone on a lot longer than I anticipated, and it looks like it could go even longer. I know that the situation in Michigan isn’t nearly as bad as it is in places like Florida, California, and Texas. We have learned from those states that opening too quickly can have detrimental effects on communities. I know that the first few games of the NCAA football season have been canceled, and some conferences have canceled their seasons altogether. The MSU team has been struggling with COVID cases. Major League Baseball is having issues with their opening, which have resulted in games being postponed. I know that some churches have opened, but a lot of the information we have seen indicates that sitting in one spot for an hour in a room with fifty or more people can pose significant risk, especially if there is congregational singing.
Some of you have heard by now that our Governance Board will not be entertaining reopening until the end of September at the earliest. They have also voted to suspend all choirs at the church until after Christmas. Because of this, we will be offering more regular outdoor worship experiences, beginning next month.
On Thursday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m., we will share in a hymn sing and prayer service in the UUMC parking lot. We have been receiving hymn suggestions on the church Facebook page and will take the top ten hymns. Laurie Sommers will also provide special music. Bring a lawn chair (and your masks!). We will give you a song sheet when you arrive. Please take it home for recycling after the hymn sing is over. The rain date for this event will be the following Thursday, August 13.
On Thursday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m., we will have a service of Holy Communion in the parking lot. You can bring a lawn chair for this one, too. Individually packaged communion elements have been ordered for this service. The service will last about thirty minutes. Everyone is welcome to attend and receive communion. The rain date for this service will be Thursday, August 27.
This means that beginning on August 6 we will have a hymn sing on the first Thursday of each month and then a communion service on the third Thursday of each month. The second and fourth Thursdays will be kept open for rain dates. We have decided to do these services during the week in the evenings to accommodate those who may be at work during the day. We also don’t want to compete with our recorded services being broadcast on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube. I will also be organizing a regular Zoom meeting for prayer and conversation soon.

I look forward to seeing you at church on Thursday, August 6!

~Rev. William C. Bills



I hope this finds everyone safe and healthy in this uncertain time. I wanted to update everyone on the status of our annual Pentwater Family and Fellowship Camp. With all that has transpired this last month in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel strongly that having a group activity, even one outdoor camping, is not in our best interest as a church. I have come to this decision after much inner thought and conversations with Pastor Bills and members of the Policy Governance Board. 
That being said, if individuals would like to still camp at Lake Michigan Camp and Retreat Center this year, please do so! Those who have been before should know that the craft hall walk-in refrigerator is not available. For anyone who hasn't been there, it is a beautiful place to relax and take in Michigan's natural beauty. You need only call the Center (231-869-5627) and make a reservation. There are sites for personal tents/campers, plus canvas platform tents and cabins to rent. 
Lastly, UUMC Family and Fellowship Camp 2021 will be August 20-22, 2021. I know it is early, but making reservations is going to be different. RESERVATIONS NEED TO BE MADE BY JANUARY 2021 to guarantee a site!! This is to help the camp with their planning. All you need to do is contact Lake Michigan Camp (231-869-5627, to make your reservation.
After almost 20 consecutive years attending this tradition with my own family, I understand everyone's sadness to not have our annual Pentwater trip. However, I would feel far worse if our actions caused more cases or worse. 
As always, please email or call me if you have questions. I would be more than happy to answer any you have. 
~Mike Scholes, UUMC Pentwater Camp coordinator



Over the next several weeks, we'll be posting helpful graphics and information to keep you informed as to what safety measures and protocols will be in place when we are able to return to gathering again in person.
  • Social distance 2 meters (6 feet) from others in the building.
  • Wearing a mask is required.
  • Wash hands or use sanitizer often.
  • The UUMC building is locked. Make an appointment if you NEED to enter. 
  • If you enter, go directly to your destination, then exit.
  • Do not enter closed rooms or areas of the building. Those areas will be clearly marked.



If you have been missing singing hymns in person with your church family, this event is for you! We will have an outdoor Hymn Sing on Thursday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the UUMC parking lot. Special music will also be provided. We'll be singing your top 10 favorite hymns and will provide the lyrics for you. Make sure to look for the "What's Your Favorite Hymn?" post on our Facebook page and vote! We have limited space so please confirm your attendance on the Facebook event (click here and select "RESERVE A SPOT") or RSVP via email ( Bring your lawn chair(s) and your face masks with you. Restrooms will be available at the Wesley entrance. This event will be postponed to Thursday, August 13 if we experience inclement weather; any postponement will be posted on our Facebook page and website in advance.


Since opening in 2000, the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) has provided relief kits, resources, and supplies that aid human needs around the world and around the corner. The MMDC is part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) network. For many years, UUMC has participated in this mission through financial gifts, work teams, and donations of needed supplies. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volunteer team from UUMC that was scheduled to work at the MMDC in August have postponed their trip until next year. But, the challenges continue. The UUMC Mission Committee is asking that you become a VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER by donating to the MMDC. You can donate in several ways:
  • Make a financial donation to UUMC. Be sure to list Midwest Mission Distribution Center on the check memo line.
  • Go to the MMDC website ( and make a direct donation.
  • Go to the MMDC website and purchase supplies in bulk and have them delivered directly to the Center. To get information on bulk purchases, go to “Donate” at the top of the main page and select “Current Needs” in the drop down menu.
  • Purchase and donate items from the “Needed Supply List” (click here for the list) and bring them to the UUMC parking lot “drop-off site” on the following dates: Monday, July 27 between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, August 5 between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.; Thursday, August 13 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. All items must be NEW. Once all the supplies are collected they will be delivered to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center.
Let us partner together to help those in need.


The University UMC Youth Group is hosting "Flocks for Floods!" Send a flock of lawn flamingos to friends and neighbors to give them a good laugh! Don't want to be caught with a yard full of plastic flamingos? You can also buy "flamingo insurance." All proceeds will go to UMCOR Flood Relief in Midland, Michigan. Click here for all the details.


We are working on including more people in the online church service, and YOU can be part of it! If you would take a picture of your family, or just yourself, and send it to, we will forward your photos to our videographer Adam Zipple so they can be included in photo montages included in the online service. Suggested themes include family activities, fellowship opportunities, service projects, family prayer time, etc. If you have any photos of your family participating in previous church activities, that would would also be great. Please remember that these photos will be on Facebook so be cautious about what you send.


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 LOVE Clothing Center is in immediate need of volunteers on Saturdays in August and September. Volunteers must be adults or high school students. (For every high school student, there needs to be one adult.) What will you be doing?
  • Helping parents find appropriate clothing for each child
  • Bagging up clothing choices
  • Sorting and hanging clothing
  • Assisting with the greatest need at the moment
If you are able to assist, please contact the coordinator, Deb Dawsey (517-285-3528), or the Judson Church office (517-882-5961 or
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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