News from University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI 

September 8, 2021



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Feature Articles
From the Pastor: Thank You for Volunteering...and We Need Your Help


Two weeks ago I appealed for help in a melodramatic way. Several people responded in generous and gracious ways by committing their time and skills to leadership and other volunteer opportunities. Thank you. You are a great congregation!

It is still the case that we are rebuilding our volunteer infrastructure after the long layoff. Covid uncertainties abound. I understand reluctance to be with too many people in one place. Nonetheless, ushers, greeters, and coffee hosts are still needed for Sundays. We also need people to run the slide presentation on Sundays. It is really easy. You have to know where the back arrow, the forward arrow, and the space bar are on a keyboard. Then you just have to push them. That part is simple. The hard part is maintaining a laser-like focus for one hour during church. A handful of volunteers would make it possible to set up a rotating schedule so that people can run the show once every several weeks. If you can maintain a laser-like focus for an hour and can push a button, call me. In addition, I would like to have liturgists for the 9:30 a.m. service. This entails making the announcements, leading the opening prayer and call to worship, and reading the scripture for the day. These may seem like small things, but they are important for a meaningful worship service.

Here is a way that you can help with worship without being at worship: You can stay home and watch the livestream on YouTube and text us feedback on the production in real time. It is challenging to mix sound for the sanctuary and the internet broadcast. They are different listening audiences. Those not ready to come back to live services can help from home. If something doesn’t sound right on your TV or computer, you can text that information right to the sound technician. If you can help with real time feedback, give me a call.

Finally, I am going to ask you to consider one more thing. This is a big ask, and I personally have my own reservations about this one. We have had a concession stand at Spartan Stadium for 40 years. It takes 12 people to run the stand during home football games. Many people are reluctant to work for a long time in a small space. Fans on the concourse are also a concern, especially when they come for half-time concessions. If you are vaccinated and are considering this, it might help you to know that all workers will be wearing masks. All fans on the concourse will also be required to wear masks.

I had really hoped that Covid would disappear during the warm summer months, but that hope has faded. I want everyone to be safe and comfortable. I respect your decisions about what to do, when, and with whom. On the other hand, if you are vaccinated and can help, your help will be appreciated. We are not requiring masks in worship, but that could change. We need to be vigilant and compassionate. I encourage you to mask up for worship. Thank you for your prayers and support. It is going to get better. It may take some time, but it will get better.

Rev. William C. Bills




Well… where did the summer go?! With the beginning of this week, we kick off our fall office hours schedule. It will look much the same to you as our summer office hours, due to current COVID-19 restrictions. Office hours for business purposes will remain on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. We are asking that you still call ahead before arriving. The main doors will be locked on Tuesdays and Fridays, with the exception of pre-arranged meetings. Staff WILL be available Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to answer phones. In our efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, we appreciate your cooperation and understanding.


This Sunday, September 12, we return to our fall worship schedule of offering two services every Sunday. Our Traditional worship will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the Band-Led worship service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend either service! Both services will also be livestreamed to our YouTube channel  First Sundays of the month will offer Holy Communion with individually packaged communion elements. Both of our worship services follow the same order of worship, but each has its own unique style. Below is a short description of what to expect at each service.
Traditional Worship Service:  9:30 a.m.
A more traditional form of worship, this service includes preaching, prayer, hymns sung with our organ and piano, and special music from the Chancel Choir, soloists, and instrumentalists. The Bell Choir performs the second Sunday of the month. The Chancel Choir will begin later in the fall. Special music and solos will be performed by various musicians as well as our choral scholarship students. Cole Harvey and Hailey Cunningham return again this year, and we welcome two new students, Claire Kaiser and Thomas Pettinato.
REACH Worship Service: 11:00 a.m.
This is a casual, band-led service, perfect for those with young families. You’ll hear a wide variety of worship songs, contemporary and hymns alike, with guitars, keyboard, drums, and even saxophone! Some songs you might not have heard at a worship service before from artists like The Beatles, Hank Williams, and Norman Greenbaum – to name a few! Everyone is welcome to join us.
We encourage you to visit our website for more information, or feel free to contact the church office if you have any questions (517-351-7030 or


We are in need of 3-5 people to greet and offer directions for COVID safety protocols each Sunday. We are also looking for individuals who can help prepare coffee and juice for fellowship hour. The prep is very straightforward and easy. If you are able to help, please contact Janel Horrocks-Boehmer at or 517-449-7345 with dates that work for you.


The Children & Youth Ministry department is busy planning opportunities to gather and learn for the fall. Due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19, and in consideration of unvaccinated community members, plans can change as cases surge. To make sure you're in the know, please make sure that Sara Cardinal has you on her email list by sending a request to and/or by following our University U.M.C. Children and University U.M.C. Youth Facebook groups.


We are looking for more bell ringers! Rehearsals are Thursday evenings from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the instrumental music room from September - May. Bell choir plays in worship one Sunday each month; currently this is the second Sunday of the month. You must be able to read music, but prior ringing experience is not necessary. This choir is open to youth and adults. For more information, contact Bell Choir Director Connie Gamage at


For more than 30 years, UUMC has staffed a concessions booth at MSU home football games. We are planning to do so again this fall. We need 12 – 14 volunteers, aged 14 or older, to staff the booth for each game. All volunteers are required to authorize a background check, which can be done by clicking here. (NOTE: When completing the authorization for a background check, be aware that the form is very particular about the format of the home phone number. It needs to be in the format of +1 555-123-1234 -- make sure to include the +1 and the dashes). If you have questions, please contact Karen Marvin ( or 622-5008) or Sarah Musson ( or 256-8688).

The schedule for this year's home games are:
  • Saturday, September 11, 12:00 noon (Youngstown State) -- Volunteers are still needed! Please contact Karen or Sarah ASAP!
  • Saturday, September 25, TBA (Nebraska)
  • Saturday, October 2, 7:30 p.m. (Western Kentucky -- Homecoming)
  • Saturday, October 30, TBA (Michigan)
  • Saturday, November 13, TBA (Maryland)
  • Saturday, November 27, TBA (Penn State)


We have been tying quilts and donating them to organizations that assist the homeless for many years. Please consider joining this very important ministry -- the more hands involved, the more quilts we can make and donate to those who really need them. No experience is necessary. We will meet again on Monday, September 13 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and then on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. All are welcome, but we ask that you please wear a mask if you have not been vaccinated. If you have any questions, please contact Virginia Dymond (517-775-7691) or Patty Puckett (517-285-9424).


The Endowment Fund Committee (EFC) is now accepting endowment fund applications until Friday, September 17. 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, September 21.


The Michigan Conference of United Methodist Men is inviting men from across the state to a one-day rebuild event on Saturday, September 18 in Lansing. The Michigan Conference of UM Men is working with Rebuilding Together Tri-County. Rebuilding Together brings volunteers to work to rebuild the homes and the lives of low-income homeowners, including veterans and the disabled. Rebuilding Together provides the repair materials and supervision with UM Men providing the volunteers for the one-day rebuild. Whether you are a skilled craftsman or simple laborer, churchgoer or not, your help is needed. Register your interest in the event by emailing Gordon Schleicher at You can read more about Rebuilding Together at


The Greater Lansing CROP Hunger Walk is going virtual! The UUMC Community Outreach Committee invites everyone to help make this virtual Walk the best participation we have ever had. We will not risk your health and the health of your families with potential exposure to COVID-19 so we ask that you make a donation through UUMC, noting that your donation is for the CROP Walk.
Donations can be placed in the offering baskets on Sunday mornings or mailed to the church at UUMC, 1120 S. Harrison Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823. Please submit your donations by Sunday, October 10 and note that it is for the CROP Walk. 
The Walk may be virtual, but the need couldn’t be more real! Please take care and be safe. Thank you!


For those who aren't ready for in-person worship, we will be livestreaming our services to our YouTube channel (University United Methodist Church - East Lansing). The videos will also be available to view any time after the conclusion of the livestream. (NOTE: if you are attending live worship and prefer not to appear in the livestream, choosing a seat at the back of the sanctuary, in designated areas of the Gathering Space, or in the balcony would be good choices!)


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 services. Prayer concerns will remain on the lists for 3 weeks unless updated with Rev. Bills or the church office. 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! 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 tragic end of the Afghanistan war provides ample evidence of the futility and wastes of war. Continuing to pour billions into military solutions instead of real human development and planetary health must be challenged. The four-part virtual series, "Divest from War, Invest in Peace," offers alternatives and actions we can take to redirect our common wealth for the health and prosperity of people and the planet. The series is part of PeaceQuest, a month-long celebration of the UN-designated International Day of Peace. UUMC is proud to co-sponsor this virtual event and encourages you to attend!
The first presentation of the series, “The Moral Dimensions of Militarism,” will take place Thursday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Our presenter will be Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the National Poor Peoples Campaign and Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice. There are numerous issues of moral concern with militarism. They go beyond the debate about ‘just wars’, or even how wars are prosecuted, to include the treatment of civilians, the destruction and poisoning of the environment, and others. But there are also issues involved with simply preparing for war. Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, will introduce us to thinking more deeply about these concerns and how we might move away from war and build true peace and security. To attend the presentation, you can join us on Zoom ( The talk will also be livestreamed to the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing’s Facebook page.

To learn more about this presentation series, click here. To see the full list of PeaceQuest 2021 events, go to
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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