Friday, May 19, 2017

"Reel to Real" - Summer Worship Series

This summer, our worship series bring classic films into the sanctuary, as we explore what Christian truths we might discover in popular movies. We will combine a fun look at movies, new and old, with theological examination and practical application. Each week we will move from “reel to real”.

The movies we’ll discuss in upcoming Sundays. Note: These movies were chosen by congregation members in a “vote” that was conducted through the month of March.

June 11: The Lion King; June 18: Beauty and the Beast; June 25: Toy Story; July 2: Zootopia; July 9: League of Their Own; July 16: Field of Dreams; July 23: Cinderella Man; July 30, The Blind Side: August 6: Gone with the Wind; August 20: Shawshank Redemption; August 27: Star Wars (overview); September 3: Godzilla versus King Kong.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brighton First Ministry Continually Improving

In June 2016, Brighton First's Administrative Board appointed a task forece to create the framework for a church Strategic Plan. The fully developed plan was approved by the Administrative Board in September 2016 (You can view by going to the "documents" link in this blog). We give thanks to God for the faithful leaders of our church who have worked hard to make strategic changes so that more may know the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Here are some highlights of what action items have been accomplished:

 Goal 1 – Create a Culture of Invitation and Welcome·    

  • Church website under redevelopment
  • Communications Team formed and active, improving quality of communications
  • Hospitality team increasing numbers of greeters, ushers and coffee hour hosts
  • Hospitality ministry funding in general annual budget
  • Children and Youth ministries include practice of hospitality in annual curriculum
  • Children’s Ministries located in one area (This project is currently underway)
  • Review all committees, small groups and classes for practices of hospitality (currently in progress)

Goal 2 –Create a system at Brighton First in which people of all ages have the opportunity to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.·      

  • Curriculum reflects goal to make disciples.Adult Discipleship Development Team have comprehensive plan for faith development and offer diverse classes and groups for faith growth
  • Youth Summer Intern program established 
  • Prayer ministries highlighted and strengthened
  • Brighton First Care Team established 

Goal 3-Send People Out into the World to Serve in Christ’s Name.

  • Community Outreach Team working with residents of Mill Pond Manor
  • Bridge event, connecting the church with the community, for teachers hosted in the fall of 2016 and bridge event for "First Responders" planned for Fall 2017.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Improving Communications at Brighton First

As part of the strategic plan set out by the Administrative Board of Brighton First, the Communications Team is creating policy and practices for effective communications. This includes communications within our church and with the general public.

Primary areas being discussed are website and social media presence, consistency in name and logo use, and excellence in print media. Church leaders will have guidelines for submitting news and announcements in the media sources that Brighton First uses including: bulletins, worship screen images, web site, Facebook, fliers, postcards and posters.

The Communications Team is currently discussing changes to the newsletter. This publication, which appears 9 - 10 times per years is both mailed and emailed to church members. Changes could include reducing the number of newsletter issues per year or replacing the newsletter with monthly mailed bulletins to those who cannot attend worship. The bulletins contain much of the same information found in monthly newsletters.

The biggest shift in communication practice will be a more active web site. After consulting with the communications director of the Detroit Annual Conference, Mark Doyle, the team has determined that all announcements and activities from Brighton First will be available on the web site. Best practices of dynamic churches included directing both congregation members and those seeking a new church home toward the church's web site. 

Brighton First's web site, currently being redeveloped, will eventually include sign ups and links for people to pay for events and give to mission projects on line through debit card, credit card or Pay Pal.

If you have any questions, contact Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker-Lewis.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Summer Youth Internship at Brighton First

Brighton First is, for the first time, offering a summer youth internship position. The intern will serve in July and August for a total of 30 hours. The purpose of the summer youth internship is to deepen the young person’s knowledge and experience of Christian Ministry through general ministry activities including worship leadership, pastoral care, missions, children and youth ministries, music and administration tasks. 

Our intern will experience practical ministry training, work in an atmosphere of personal and professional guidance and support, test their gifts, and develop spiritually and theologically.

The summer youth intern will participate in missions and weekly worship. He/she will help plan for children’s ministry and lead in Vacation Bible School. The intern will assist clergy with pastoral care and worship leadership. He/she will help develop church publications and, most importantly, engage in spiritual practices.

When the summer youth internship is completed, the intern will receive a stipend of $400. Applications for the internship position are due by May 30. If you would like more information contact Brighton First Youth Director Alyssa Tumolo at or go to the youth link at

This internship program is part of a strategic plan created by Brighton First Leadership to encourage a “climate of call to ministry” at Brighton First. Please be in prayer for the intern who will be in ministry this summer.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Generosity Changing Lives

Brighton First offers financial assistance and building
volunteers for the Tiny Homes project in Detroit.
I give thanks to God for the generosity of the Brighton First Congregation. We have responded to need in a way that will change lives here in Michigan and around the world.

Our Lenten offering of over $6,500 will buy 13 front doors for the 30 “tiny homes” that will eventually be built by Cass Community Social Services in Detroit. In addition, work teams from Brighton First have been hanging drywall in the homes (250 x 400 square feet) for the last month. Later this year, new residents will step through their new front doors into home ownership for the first time.

Our gift will give hope to Detroit residents and help to stabilize a neighborhood in need.

Our Easter offering was over $8,000 as of May 1. This offering will be given for missions of the United Methodist Church. Our gifts will go to support education, medical and agricultural missions around the world. The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our gifts bring the name of Jesus to those who have not heard and the mercy and compassion of Jesus to those in need.

Brighton First Embraces "Culture of Call"

In early March both Rev. Sue Pethoud and Rev. Paul Hahm were recommended for ordination. Sue, who serves at Cass Community UMC, will be ordained a deacon and Paul, who serves at Grace UMC (Lansing) will be ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in June. Paul served as an associate pastor at Brighton First and Sue is a former member. Daniel Hyer, a member of Brighton First, who is currently finishing his Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, will begin serving as pastor at LaSalle: Zion UMC and Petersburg UMC in July.

Brighton First is blessed to have a “culture of call”. We expect that God is calling people to remarkable service and we celebrate many who have become ministry leaders through their experiences with the Brighton First faith community. We have small group facilitators, teachers and mission leaders who never thought God would call them to fill those roles.

Rev. Robert Fuchs
Several of our church staff members have been called from the congregation for ministry, including Wendy Carmack, office assistant, Missy Setty, Children's Ministry Director and Lisa Guise, First Steps Preschool Director. Rev. Loretta Job and Rev. Bob Fuchs, who are appointed to serve at Brighton First, were once lay members of the congregation.

Other former Brighton First members currently serving in other ministries are Jesse Stark, Rev. Beth Titus, Rev. Bob Miller, Rev. Dan Phillips, Rev. Suzy Hutchison, and Rev. Bryan Kilpatrick. Rev. Margo Kivisto was called to serve as a pastor and has returned to Brighton First in retirement.

If you are feeling that God may be calling you to try something new in ministry, perhaps even to professional ministry, please contact Pastor Bob, Deacon Loretta or me.

New Designated Children's Area Coming this Fall

Currently, Brighton First’s Sunday School classes are held in four different areas of our main building. Our nursery is on the upper level and classrooms are scattered throughout the lower level. Many parents must travel to two or three places in the church to  locate their children after worship.

Since equipping our children and youth to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ is a priority for Brighton First, our Administrative Board has determined that  we would move all of our Sunday morning children’s ministries to one location. The Children’s Ministries Team and the Board of Trustees have developed a plan for a consolidated children’s ministry area in the lower level that is inviting, dynamic, and secure.  

It is our goal that by September 2017 we will offer a dedicated space for our children which  allows parents to SAFELY check children in and out at one location. It will allow children to meet together in the central common area for worship and joint lessons. This will encourage co-operative learning, peer mentoring, and opportunities for fellowship among children of different ages. In addition,  Sunday School teachers will be able to team teach with other teachers and classes. 

The renovation includes fresh paint in welcoming and fun colors, new flooring, age-appropriate furnishings, and a nursery bathroom.  Brighton First’s Music Ministries will move to the current nursery on the upper level, and The Prayers and Squares Quilt Ministry will continue in its current location.

We currently estimate that we will need an additional $15,000 to complete the first phase of this renovation. Please prayerfully consider contributing to this exciting project. Giving envelopes are available.

Brighton First Mission Clear, "How" and "Where" Changes

The Men with Tools group paints the new Children's Ministry
area in the lower level at Brighton First.
Brighton First’s mission is to lead people to know, love and serve God. Through worship, faith development and service, Brighton First forms disciples who are committed to being part of the body of Christ, growing in faith and serving Christ.

We give thanks to God for the saints who first met as a congregation in 1843 and built the first church on the current property in 1856. Through their faithfulness and the faith of those who followed, Brighton First has brought the Gospel to thousands of people and been a servant to the community.

How and where we carry out our mission has changed over the decades. From worship in homes to a local school house to three different sanctuaries, we have been singing God’s praises. In outreach we have sent mission teams into the local area and to foreign countries. Our support and prayers reaches out to aid God’s people around the world.

Our children have experienced Sunday school in homes on church property, divided classrooms in the lower level Fellowship Hall and throughout the current building. About 30 years ago there a Sunday School class met in the church garage. This summer we will move our children’s ministry program to one area on the lower level, creating an inviting and dynamic space for Christian education.

While our ministry is continually evolving, our commitment to making disciples for Christ stays steadfast. I invite you to join me in supporting the remodel of our lower level for our children and youth with your prayers and donations. Together, we carry on the work of hundreds who have been witnessed to the grace of Jesus Christ in Brighton for 174 years.