Dog Days of Summer

There is a song titled Summertime and the Livin’ Is Easy composed by George Gershwin for the opera Porgy and Bess. There is also a familiar phrase describing the months of July and August as the dog days of summer. These two months are also the most popular for summer vacations and, of course, fairs similar to our own Ionia Free Fair.

A time of rest and relaxation, right? Well, not exactly, when you’re looking at the calendar for Berlin Center and LeValley Churches.

On Sunday, July 9th at 11:00am, LeValley plans to worship outdoors in the pavilion. Brant and Carol Gielow and Friends will be with us again with music and a message. Should the weather be inclement, we will meet indoors. The Berlin Center Church family is encouraged to join with LeValley even though the Gielows will worship with them at 9:00 am.

At 1:00pm that same day, our new District Superintendent, Reverend John Kasper, will be at LeValley for a town hall meeting. He will show the video, Blessing One Another, produced by the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. It is the video of the printed questions and answers pertaining to the subject of disaffiliation that I have had on the table outside the sanctuary. He will also answer any questions you may still have on the subject of disaffiliation.

July 20th through July 22nd, the Michigan Wesleyan Covenant Association is hosting The Rediscover Conference-Embracing Our Methodist Heritage at Pilgrim Church in rural St. Johns.

I have included the flyer for the event on the page following this article. I will be attending and can drive others who would like to carpool.

On Sunday, July 23rd or August 6th or 13th, new members will affirm their faith and be accepted into the congregations at both churches.

Most likely, on another date in August, agreed to in conversation with the District Superintendent, church members from each church will conduct a church conference to vote on whether or not to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church. Should 2/3 of each congregation vote to disaffiliate, a second vote will need to be taken on the same day or on a date in the near future as to whether the church wishes to remain independent or move to another Wesleyan denomination, such as Free Methodist, Wesleyan, Nazarene, or the one most theologically aligned with the Methodist Church most of us grew up in, The Global Methodist Church.

Coffee with the Pastor continues each Wednesday morning at Sozo’s from 8:00am until about 10:00am. I encourage you to come when you can and leave when you must.

The book club at LeValley will start-up again in September, but the Bible Study at LeValley is continuing to meet each Wednesday at 10:30am. We are studying the Book of Job with Reverend David Jeremiah via video. There is a printed study guide, so if you would still like to join us, you can catch up by reading each chapter.

The Book of Job reminds us that there is a "cosmic conflict" going on behind the scenes that we usually know nothing about. Often we wonder why God allows something, and we question or doubt God’s goodness, without seeing the full picture. The Book of Job teaches us to trust God under all circumstances. We must trust God, not only WHEN we do not understand, but BECAUSE we do not understand. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). If God’s ways are “perfect,” then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. This may not seem possible to us, but our minds are not God’s mind. It is true that we can’t expect to understand His mind perfectly, as He reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not.

I hope that synopsis might peak your interest. On a personal note, Greg and I will be away from July 13th to the 19th. Al MacDonald will preach on the 16th and Bobbi Lukins will be providing a kick-off for the Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Campaign.

On August 17th, Greg will officially retire after 50 years of practicing optometry in Ionia. There is a separate article with details, but there will be a retirement party for him on August 11th organized by the staff at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology-Ionia.

Have I forgotten anything? Additional announcements can be included in the weekly bulletins. I pray that you will have time to relax this summer, but I also pray that you will be able to find more time to spend with God each day.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Nancy