News from University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, MI 

January 6, 2021



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Feature Articles
From the Pastor: We Can Do Better Than Normal
A Message from Bishop Bard: Statement on the Violence in Washington, D.C.


2021 is supposed to be a new year. You know, out with the old, in with the new… turn the page… fresh start; all that stuff. Today is January 6, 2021. Election season is finally winding down, but there is that familiar refrain of “too close to call” in Georgia. There is unrest in Washington inside and outside the capital building. The 2021 COVID news doesn’t sound much better than 2020. 2020 brought us the vaccine. Who knew it would be hard to distribute?
We turned the page, at least on the calendar. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it may be months before we get back to normal. Of course, some people are prone to ask, “What is normal, anyway?” If normal is gone long enough, we may forget it. That could be a good thing, though. If memory serves, normal wasn’t always good.
Politics and pandemics have shown us that our great nation, strong as we are outwardly, is more fragile than perhaps we thought. It’s like that old Pogo comic strip: we have met the enemy and it is us. We haven’t been doing so well at getting along in America. Since the turn of the century, the word for American politics has been “divisive.” If that is normal, let’s not go back to that. We can do better.
Politics and pandemics have also shown that the people deemed essential in our economy are some of the lowest paid. Grocery store clerks need to work, and we need them to work. Food service, cleaning, and maintenance workers in hospitals are essential, too. If they are essential, why aren’t they paid like it? I hope we can do better for essential workers in the future.
2020 demonstrated that we have failed on racism in America. Many of us thought we took care of that already. We got that one wrong. The effects of the pandemic on black, indigenous, and other people of color are not just. White people don’t like to hear it, but we have a long way to go on race in America. Normal has never been right on race. We have to do a lot better than normal in 2021.
Someone said if 2020 was a scented candle, the fragrance would be called “Burning Outhouse.” That may be true, but 2020 didn’t happen in a vacuum. We have been slipping down a slippery slope since the turn of the century. Maybe longer. Does that mean 2021 is without hope? By no means! But let’s think twice about getting back to normal. We can do better than normal. I hope 2021 is better than normal.

Rev. William C. Bills



Dear Friends in Christ in the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church,

Like many of you, I have been watching in shock, disbelief, heartbreak, disappointment, and, yes, anger, the scenes coming from our nation’s capital. I am setting the anger aside. There is already an ample surplus, and it is not needed now. Never in my most disturbing nightmares would I have imagined an unruly mob breaking into the United States Capitol Building, sending legislators and staff into a protective shelter and interrupting the work of the Congress, work integral to the peaceful transfer of power, which is an essential dimension of political democracy.

Like many of you, I have thoughts about who bears a measure of responsibility beyond those trespassing, threatening others, or breaking windows. There will be time for analysis and thoughtful debate about this later.

Right now, what is required is calm and a lowering of emotional temperature. What is needed is prayer. Prayer for those in danger. Prayer for those seeking to restore order to our capital, and prayer for peace, justice, and kindness. What is required of all of us is a deepening of our commitment to the common good.

I know you join me in prayer. God grant us grace in our praying and in our work for the common good. On this Day of Epiphany, may we reflect light and love in all we do.
Grace and Peace,
David Alan Bard, Michigan Area Bishop



The UUMC Mission Committee extends their appreciation for your support of our 2020 Virtual Mitten Tree project. While we were not able to hang our mittens, hats, and scarves on the traditional Mitten Tree in the Gathering Space this season, we will still be able to provide winter clothing items for local families. The congregation generously donated over $300 that will be used to purchase hats, caps, mittens, and gloves for needy children in the Lansing area. We will work closely with the staff of the Love Clothing Center to make sure that the cold weather clothing items are purchased and delivered. Thank you for caring! Thank you for sharing!


Today is Epiphany! It’s not just an “Aha!” moment. Learn more about Epiphany from Ask the UMC:


Connecting with our church family through goodie bag deliveries and little chats has been a blessing during Advent! We'd like to continue in the New Year and even bring good cheer to more families in our community. To do this, we need more volunteers who can make quick phone calls and deliver bags to share love with our neighbors (staying socially-distant, of course). Please contact Janel Horrocks ( or 517-449-7345) if you can help!


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 to the health care staff on a monthly need-by-need basis. A $200 check was sent in December, and we are hopeful that we can send monthly checks in the future.
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.”


The next Methodist Men meeting will be held on Thursday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Dr. Raza Haque will join us for a conversation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Dr, Haque is an Associate Professor of Human Medicine at MSU. Women and all who are interested are invited to join the meeting. If you are not receiving emails about the Methodist Men meetings and would like to receive one about this meeting or future meetings, please send your email address to Jim Pocock ( so he can send you the Zoom link for the meetings.


Church offering envelopes for the upcoming year are now available. If you would like to pick up your envelopes, please call ahead to make arrangements (517-351-7030).


Some of you have subscribed to the Upper Room Daily Devotionals booklets for 2021. For those who did not, you can still view their daily devotions on the Upper Room website ( or their Facebook page -- Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide. Also, you can listen to the daily devotional by calling 1-877-600-7218.


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.
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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