News from University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI 

April 7, 2021



To be taken directly to the article/announcement, click on the underlined text.

Feature Articles
From the Pastor: The Building May Be Closed, But the Church Is Still Open


I don’t know about you, but from where I am sitting this stuff is starting to look old! I was recently thinking back to last Easter and questions from people about whether or not we would meet for worship on Easter in 2020. Of course, similar questions were raised around Christmas time. Now, Easter 2021 has come and gone, and not only is Michigan in the national news as a COVID-19 “hot spot” but we were recently featured on the BBC news as well. With the rollout of the vaccines, I was hopeful that we might open soon. Now it appears that our Governance Board was prescient in deferring our return to the sanctuary until at least Memorial Day weekend. If we are able to worship together then, we will simply resume with our summer schedule (if you can remember back that far). Of course, social distancing and masking will very likely still be required in the future.
In the meantime, we plan to resume evening services in the parking lot for those who are interested. These will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month and will alternate between Holy Communion and hymn sings. If you come, please remember your lawn chairs and your masks.
I appreciate your patience in the midst of all this. I never dreamed that the pandemic would affect us for so long. I also appreciate the ways that so many people have adapted to things like online worship services, Zoom book studies, and Zoom church meetings. The building may be closed, but the church is still open. As an example, let me offer gratitude for your generosity with the recent Easter special offering. We received $5000 in gifts, which were forwarded to the Haven House shelter in Lansing and the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Illinois. Beyond that, another $850 was given for Easter dinners this year. (Families in need received gift cards for food purchases rather than basket deliveries again this year.) Through the Good Samaritan Fund, I have also been able to help area families and church members with things such as gas, groceries, and medical bills in the amount of $1000. Even though we may feel separated or even isolated, we are still able to connect in ways that help others as they struggle along with us during this time.
Please be assured that the Governance Board, the church staff, and the Staff-Parish Relations Committee are continually monitoring the COVID-19 numbers in our area. Our concern is always for the health and safety of others. While this does present significant and ever-changing challenges, I thank you for your patience, your understanding, and your continued support.
Rev. William C. Bills




(NOTE: The following was published in MSU Today on April 2, 2021.)

A potential new weapon against cancer is entering the first phase of clinical trials thanks to a collaboration between Spectrum Health, the Lansing-based company Niowave, and Michigan State University. MSU’s Kurt Zinn, a professor of biomedical engineering, radiology, and small animal clinical sciences, is leading the effort to validate an innovative radiotherapy as part of a safe, more effective, and potentially less costly treatment for bladder cancer. The trial is the first step toward the team’s overall goal: Developing a platform that combines radiotherapy with immunotherapy, drugs that help a patient’s own immune system fight off disease.
“First, we have to prove that this is safe and that it works,” said Zinn, who is also part of MSU’s Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering, or IQ. “Then, we think we’ll have a really good platform we can bring to patients and attack numerous cancer types.”
To read the full article, click here.


We are excited to announce that outdoor communion and hymn sings are returning! Communion services will be on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and hymn sings will be on the 4th Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the church parking lot. Rain dates will be reserved for the Wednesdays in between. Please RSVP for the first communion service on April 14 by sending an email to  or by calling 517-351-7030 and letting us know how many to expect in your party. Single-serve communion elements will be provided along with a program or hymn lyrics. **Bring your masks and a lawn chair with you.** Restrooms will be available.


The Endowment Fund Committee (EFC) is now accepting endowment fund applications until Friday, April 16. The application form is available on our website or you may request a digital copy to be sent to you by contacting the church office ( If you have any questions regarding completing the application or the grant process, please contact Endowment Fund Chair Tom Burchman ( or 517-488-5293). Preference will be given to those applications for which the EFC has not previously made grants. Determination of grant awards will be made at the EFC meeting on Monday, April 19.


Earth Day is April 22. UUMC Church and Society has provided us with a fun “Count Up to Earth Day” action check list. You can print off a free copy from the UUMC website, or you may request a pdf copy by contacting the church office ( Have fun doing good things for our world!


Rev. Bills will host a book group on Zoom, beginning Tuesday, April 27. The group will meet five times, concluding on Tuesday, May 25. The daytime session will run on Tuesdays from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The evening session will run on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. The book is Choose You This Day: The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Politics of Trumpism by Paul C. McGlasson. McGlasson received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Yale University. The book offers a concise treatment of the German State Church and the opposition Confessing Church in Nazi Germany. Similarities and differences are then treated between the rise of White Christian Nationalism in 20th century Germany and 21st century America. If you would like to receive the Zoom link for the meetings, please send an email to


Last month, the Policy Governance Board discussed the issue of returning to in-person worship. The main consideration of the board was finding a time when we could safely return to church in a way that protected the health of the congregation. The board recognizes that vaccine availability in the area is increasing and that some attendees have already been vaccinated against the virus. However, widespread vaccination of the population in mid-Michigan is still months away. Thus, the board decided to set a target date of May 30 to return to in-person worship provided that virus case levels and vaccine availability continue to move in the right direction. The board also recognized the desire of many in the congregation to gather and left it to the church staff to plan outdoor events prior to May 30, as weather permits.


University United Methodist Church, East Lansing, MI, is a progressive, inclusive congregation, seeking a band led worship service leader. The ideal candidate will be proficient on keyboards, guitar, and worship leadership, as well as Pro Presenter worship software. Must be a team player, able to rehearse a worship band, prepare media presentations, and collaborate in planning services. 12-14 hrs. per week at $15-$20 per hour depending on experience. 517-351-7030 or for information.


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! 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). It will also be included in the email sent on Sunday mornings with the links to our online worship services.


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.


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.
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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