Testimony from Our Members
The fact that I have been a member of this church for about thirty-five years makes my list of stories pretty lengthy. Having shared many joys and some sorrows with this church family it is hard to “single”out a time when others reached out to me making me feel at home…so I will relate one of the most recent.
Last year when I was vacationing in Florida and fell breaking my leg, having surgery and going into rehab there for about six weeks, I received so many cards and telephone calls from members of this congregation, it was unbelievable! With all the attention I was getting the nurses thought I was some kind of celebrity! I could feel the prayers and sincere concern, making my recovery a lot easier.
After retiring, several years ago I moved from Novi and thinking I should find a church closer to my new home, I visited several churches in the area.In doing so, I came to realize that I am right where God wants me to be…among a loving and caring congregation at Novi United Methodist Church.
What Novi United Methodist Church Adds to My Life
I had a plan! Together with my wife, Gloria, my High School sweetheart, I planned that we would finish our education, start a family, buy a home, travel, and live “happily ever after”. It was a good plan. But it wasn’t what God had in mind for me.
As you all know, a series of health crises in my life have both tested and strengthened my faith. At age 23, in a startling wake-up call, I was faced with the shocking realities of cancer. I cried out to God, “Why are you bothering me with this? I have done nothing to deserve it and I’m too young!" That began the struggle. Since then a have had three different cancers requiring six surgeries, years of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and endless other medical test/procedures.
There were several times I was at a physical and mental low in my life. I questioned the value of living if life was going to be this difficult and painful. But, I heard a voice saying something along the lines – “ Your life has a purpose. You have not yet done what you came here to do. After that I wondered what purpose God had for my life.
I had divided my life into compartments: School, Work, Family, Health, Recreation, Religion, etc.. Sometimes when one part of my life (health) was not going well, I consoled myself with another part that is going well (work, perhaps). Then there are those moments when everything seems to be fine, yet there still was the nagging feeling that something is wrong. Why do I feel empty? What is missing? Could these nagging thoughts be related to my spiritual wellbeing? Is it possible that my spiritual dimension was experiencing pain?
Gloria and I decided we needed to search for a faith community and we found Novi United Methodist Church. I often wonder what motivates us to attend NUMC? I believe we attend for the most human of reasons. Family history has its place. If you were raised in a family who attended church, continuing to do so is only natural. Gloria was raised in the Methodist church. As I grew-up, church attendance was valued, but inconsistent.
Friendship brings me to NUMC, too. It's the desire for friends — good friends, caring friends, friends who share your values. I believe God means for the church to be a place to build long-term caring relationships, to be a community in every sense of that word.
Personal growth is a factor. I continue to learn about myself. As I passed through various stages and issues in my life, I find it increasingly important to include God in my personal exploration.
The need for significance is a strong motivator, too. Something inside me wants to make a difference, to do something meaningful, lasting, to be part of a cause bigger than myself. Church is a perfect context for this type of fulfillment, since, at their best, churches change communities for good —one person at a time. I am amazed how often I see individuals at NUMC who are asking, "What do I have to give here?" rather than just "What can I get?" Refreshing, isn't it!
Finally, I attend NUMC in order to come to know God, to honor him through worship and by my very presence in his house. I come to church because I am searching, and I find I can search for God in this context better than others.
That's pretty much the list. NUMC is a major part of my life because that is where I can hear the word of God explained and applied to my life, see how God works in people's lives, and experience the friendship of a loving faith community.
What attracted me to NUMC
I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior when I was 16 or 17 years old. However, at that age I really didn't completely comprehend what that really meant. I grew up in northwest Detroit and attended Ward memorial Presbyterian Church. I found out just a few years ago that Bill Smart also went to Ward.
Upon completion of active military duty in 1969, I had to find a new church home. I believe it was in the mid 1990's that Ward memorial built a new church in Livonia. So my first choice was Ward Church in Livonia which I attended for about two months or so. The size of their congregation was between 400-500 so, during church services you felt like part of a herd of cattle. After trying it for a while I realized this wasn't for me. I started shopping for a new church and my first stop was Novi UMC. I tried it, liked it and have been coming here ever since.
One of the things that attracted me was the friendliness of the people. I know it sounds corny, but they really do make you feel like family. Another reason was the music. It was a good blend of some of the old favorite hymns as well as some of the current day ones.
I like the direction our church is going and hopefully this will continue. One recent addition that I like is the "peace vigil". It gives the community an idea of some of the things we do and is also a possible way to attract new members.
Paul E. Root
What the church has meant to me
The Methodist church (in several different congregations over the years) has been a source for spiritual and emotional growth. I am basically a shy person, and it has always been a place that helps get me "out of my shell
In a number of cases, I (often with Kaye) have stepped out and done things that I would never have considered without the church’s “umbrella”. From starting a “food store” to sell items for donation to the local food bank (in Durham NC), to simple things like “clean up Saturday”, the Men’s yard sale, etc, it has given me the challenge and opportunity to step beyond my own needs.
In a quiet way, it has also challenged my preconceptions and attitudes towards people different from me, whether the poor, people of other sexual preferences, or just different cultures. Seeing people in worship, or at Cass luncheons, had turned an abstract image of “those people” into faces, and often names.
I think I’m a better person for my association with the Methodist Church …and God isn’t done with me yet!
What NUMC Has Meant to Me
For the last 45 years this church has meant many things to me. It was a place to bring my children to learn more about Jesus and for me to teach Sunday school. As teenagers they had youth group and I had many good friends that shared my values. My daughter Sue was married in the original E.U.B. Sanctuary and Don was married in what is now Fellowship hall. Such wonderful memories.
Then came the midlife crisis. My life became so busy and I attended so infrequently that Paul Root would greet me and ask if I was a first time visitor. My church had become the Crystal Cathedral on Sunday morning TV. When our aging parents had passed on and I retired from my accounts receivable job something was missing in my life. That something was the Novi United Methodist Church
Pastor Louise was the minister and I signed up for her disciple class. It was wonderful to be studying the Bible and meeting all the young women in the class. And then there was Rotary luncheons where I became acquainted with church members closer to my age. No longer was there a void in my life. I had returned home.
Greetings From Your Daughter
To my Novi UMC family
Everyone has heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” In my case, however, it wasn’t a village that raised me, but rather the congregation of a modest church located on 10 Mile between Novi and Meadowbrook Roads. I grew up at Novi United Methodist Church, and this place is my home.
As cliché as it sounds, I can honestly say that I cannot imagine how my life would be without Novi UMC. I have been attending services here since – literally – before I could remember. When my parents first moved to Novi, they towed me along as a 6-month-old baby to several different churches in the area while searching for a place to worship. They have often told me the story about how they felt immediately welcomed by the NUMC congregation and how members, who were complete strangers at the time, offered to hold me so that my parents could take communion. Since that time, this church family has always nurtured and embraced me.
Throughout the years, my spiritual development has been strengthened and expanded by this congregation. It was here that I learned “the basics” of Christianity in Sunday School and Junior Church, that I served on numerous eye-opening mission trips with the Youth Group, that I was encouraged to become a part of the Detroit Annual Conference Council on Youth Ministries, and that I have been honored to attend Annual Conference twice as a representative of this church.
This past summer, I was offered the opportunity to take an internship with a conference program called the Young Leaders Initiative. For eight weeks, I lived in an intentional Christian Community with 11 other college-aged interns, and we were all assigned to work at different non-profit social service agencies throughout the city of Detroit. Through this program, I learned about the many problems that are facing Detroit and cities similar to it, and I became passionate about working with those in need and fighting for social justice.
Currently, I am a student at Central Michigan University and am pursuing a double major in both Spanish and Family Studies. After graduation, my hope is to continue working with ministries in inner-city settings, and perhaps to attend graduate school to pursue a Masters of Social Work degree. As for the near future, I am looking forward to studying abroad in Chile in the fall to complete requirements for my Spanish major.
Although I know that I may become homesick while living on the flip-side of the world, I am so blessed to know that I will always have the support of my Novi United Methodist Church family. I am beyond thankful for all of the encouragement and opportunities that this congregation has given me. Every time that I return home from school, I continue to see the ways in which the spirit of Christ is working through the members of this church. Even in times of trouble, this congregation continues to love, support, encourage, and challenge one another in the very same way that I have felt loved, supported, encouraged and challenged for the past 20 years.
I pray that God will always continue to bless this place with His presence.
Thank you, Novi UMC, for everything.
Your sister in Christ,