Rob and Karen Schadel October 2022 Spotlight The story of how our beloved Bell Choir came to be is an interesting one! It involves volunteers who saw an opportunity, employees who went above and beyond, and people who decided that they wanted to honor their loved ones with gifts that others could also enjoy – the Bells. Our first installment in the story of our Bell Choir was written by Karen Schadel. We so appreciate her taking the time to write her story about the history of the Bells. Karen has some health issues of late, and we continue to hold her in our prayers. Karen’s story: In February of 1975 I was hired as the choir director at the United Methodist Church of Lake Orion. I was very excited about this as my family had moved from Waterford to Lake Orion the previous November. My husband was the band director at the high school and I had taught there in the 1969-1970 school year. We had added two beautiful baby boys to our family and had decided that I would take a parental leave to stay home with them. This would give me the best of both worlds – staying home with our children and continuing to work in the field of music, which I loved. When I started the position at the church there was an adult choir. I had told the committee at the interview that I would like to add a children’s choir and they were very enthused about that. I announced that a children’s choir would be starting shortly after I began the position and we had about 20 children at the first rehearsal. I posed the idea to the choir about doing an evening Christmas concert and they were very enthused about doing that. The problem was we couldn’t present a very long program with just two choirs and one rehearsal a week. So, I called a director from Rochester and asked if he would bring his handbell choir and perform in the concert. He graciously said he would and I was excited that this was something that would be new to many in the audience and I was sure that they would enjoy hearing a bell choir. After the concert there were many compliments about the concert. One of our members, Florence Foster came up to me and said that she had been holding on to memorial money from her husband who had recently passed away and was waiting for something special to do with it. She said “and I found it tonight. I would like to buy the handbells you need to start a handbell choir.” I HAD NEVER EVEN HELD A HANDBELL!! I knew this would be a great addition to our music program so I told her how wonderful that would be for our church. I figured I’d better get some help so I could be at least a step ahead of the new ringers, so Janet Canfield and I went to a handbell convention in the summer and I felt a lot more prepared to get this new venture off the ground. The following fall I announced that the handbells had been delivered and we would be starting a women’s group during the day and a high school group in the evening. The women played for a service first and were they ever nervous! They did a great job and you can see the progress that has been made since then. This memorial in memory of O. F. Foster has brought joy to so many people whether they’re playing or listening and we are forever grateful to the Foster family for their wonderful gift to our church.
Bill Stark, Kirk Ulery, Diann Orlowski and Laura Markarian
During the COVID shutdown, our church was able to stream services to all who were sheltering in place using equipment and a system that has been in place for quite some time. A decision was made long ago – and then volunteers stepped up – to make videotaping, and then livestreaming, a reality at Lake Orion United Methodist. Perhaps the original reason for the videotaping was to allow our snow birds the option to stay involved and up to date with our “snow-bound” congregation. This expanded into our COVID services, including Sunday morning services and several funerals where COVID protocol prevented in-person attendance. Let’s meet some of the volunteers that make this ministry possible. Bill Stark started working with livestreaming before it was even livestreaming! Back in 2014 he began working with the projection system, prepping for the service (so he thought). Recruited and trained by Debbie Heyboer and Kim Alhborn to work with the system, he was soon able to handle the Sunday morning services, although he remembers it feeling a bit like learning to swim by being thrown in the lake! Bill had volunteered in several capacities before: singing in the Choir, actively participating on the Administrative Board (now our Church Council), as well as the Finance and Building committees, but found that with some health issues beginning to appear, these avenues for volunteering were no longer feasible. Believing that the strength of our church depends on people doing the work of the church, he was searching for a way to volunteer that didn’t need much physical effort – and found the projection system! It allowed him to volunteer while sitting down, without taxing his breathing. He and his wife, Carol, have health issues now that prevent them from attending services as much as they would like, and they are able to continue to participate through the ministry that he helped establish. Kirk Ulery began working the projection system during COVID to help Pastors Larry and John during the service. He had some experience in college with projection and sound systems, as well as at his previous church, so he volunteered to come on Sunday mornings during COVID to help “push buttons”. While this was a tremendous help to both Pastors, Kirk worked on improvements to the system. He implemented ways to move the camera, zoom in and out, and feed the computer-generated content directly to the viewers for a much clearer sound and visual. In order to do this, he used money donated for livestreaming in the Memorial Fund. Kirk has volunteered in several areas in the 15 years that he has been a member at LOUMC. He’s currently on the Staff Parish Committee, and is in the Choir. He’s also served on the Nominating Committee and works with the United Methodist Men, has helped in the kitchen for Community Meals and led teams for Project Shalom. He feels a need to make a difference, and volunteering enables him to do that. It was surprising to find that we have such levels of need – in services and with food insecurity – this close to us here in Lake Orion. He says you get so much more out of volunteering than you put in – plus the social interaction – and you are still making a difference! Diann Orlowski began working the livestream set-up after being recruited by and learning from Bill Stark and Kim Ahlborn. Prior to COVID, Bill and Diann input all of the information, and ran the board. Diann had some experience with Audio Visual processes, had served as an usher, and worked with LOUMC LOGOS, the Link and Blessings in a Brown Bag. She first came to LOUMC in 1999 because it reminded her of her home church in North Carolina. She feels that by volunteering, she becomes one of the spokes on the wheel that enables good to happen. The memorial gift that provided funds for the livestreaming set-up has provided a way for many people to see the services on their own schedule, and in their own home. This was especially comforting during COVID, when people were able to view services and funerals anywhere in the world. As the church began opening up, Diann worked with Kirk to learn about the system updates. Diann enjoys being able to talk to people about the livestreaming set-up, enabling her to share about the church’s outreach in natural conversation. Laura Markarian was recruited by Diann to work with her and to alternate time with her. The livestream set-up operators are volunteers, and both Diann and Laura appreciate that they have each other as trained backup! Laura came to LOUMC from another Methodist Church, where she was very active, and wanted to find a way to “plug in” here, too. She has worked with Community Meals, and feels that it’s just as important, and perhaps a bit harder, to offer your time to projects as it is to support them financially. Both are important, but volunteering your time and efforts make you feel a part of the church. Her work on the livestream set-up has enabled her to connect with the sermon messages in a different way as well. LOUMC has depended on skilled and trained volunteers through the years to make our livestream ministry a reality. We are thankful that so many have donated their time and talents to this ministry!
Jack and Charlotte Brown August 2022 Spotlight Charlotte and Jack have been members of LOUMC for many years! Charlotte attended while in High School, and they were married here in 1966. They raised their daughter, Stacey, here in Lake Orion close to where Charlotte herself grew up. Family is very important to the Browns, as is LOUMC. The Browns have been volunteering for much of their time at LOUMC, although they would rather talk about all the other people they volunteer with, as opposed to talking about what they have done! Jack was the chairman of the Trustees for 9 years, served on the SPRC committee, and is now chairperson of the Ushers. He also volunteers for the Monday night Community Meals. Jack had 33 years as a construction project manager with Beaumont Hospital R.O. and as a trustee, he was a representative on the Building Committee. He was the Project Manager for the new building, a $2 million project with a 2-year timeline, which we undertook to enable us to have more space for our children and youth under one roof. Charlotte coordinated the volunteers for serving at the Baldwin Center for about 20 years, until that was shut down due to COVID. This was a wonderful service for the homeless and food insecure people in Pontiac, where they received hot meals, served restaurant style. They served over 100 people at each meal, and Charlotte’s group of 8 volunteers went on the last Wednesday of the month. She also serves as an assistant to Linda Fairchild in paying the Church bills. The Browns feel it’s important to get involved in the church. It enables them to get to know people in a way that’s just not possible simply by coming only on Sunday mornings. “You learn some surprising things about people”, they say! But getting involved – as you feel comfortable – is the best way.
Susan Montgomery July 2022 Spotlight When Susan retired, she wanted to move to a small ranch house on a lake – and found her retirement home here in Lake Orion. Very quickly she began attending Lake Orion UMC and has been here for around eight years. She attended for some time before joining, and during that time, Shirley Bommarito and Debra Schmidt asked for volunteers to help with the gardening around the church. Susan volunteered, which they appreciated – and then Shirley invited her to join the Funeral Luncheon group. Susan enjoys giving back. She states, “It brings a sense of purpose to my life, and fills my heart.” Once asked to become chairperson for the Mission Committee, Susan was concerned about over committing her time and so moved from the gardening group to this new responsibility. While at a Church Council meeting as the Mission Committee representative, she asked why there wasn’t a page for Missions on the church website. In true Methodist fashion, now she is responsible for keeping up the Church website (and Missions has a page)! Once you start volunteering, Susan says, the church becomes your community – a feeling you don’t reach with attendance on Sunday mornings alone. It becomes a bigger part of you
Ardis Pearce June 2022 Spotlight I was born and raised in the Lake Orion community and graduated from LOHS in 1963. As a high school student I was involved in Methodist Youth Fellowship along with many friends even though I did not attend this church. I was also a member of the East Orion 4 -H group. The people of those two groups overlapped a great deal. Those two groups taught me very early in life that helping others was part of life. I was raised on a small farm and knew the importance of hard work and that work was easier when you had help. After college I taught at Saint Joseph Catholic School in Lake Orion which also gave me volunteer experiences. When Jim and I were first married, we joined the Lake Orion Jaycees – another volunteer group. So between school, 4-H, MYF, teaching, Jaycees and other church experiences I have been volunteering since I was 10 years old. It is a way of life for me. Jim and I started attending LOUMC Easter Sunday of 2009. We felt like we had come full circle. For the next several Sundays, many members we had known in our life here in Lake Orion welcomed us into the church. It has become our home and we feel like we have been here forever. My best church volunteer experiences have been with United Methodist Women and the funeral luncheon program. I took over the leadership role of luncheons after June Rupert could no longer do them. I worked with her for a while and she taught me the importance of caring for others. I have been on various committees for short periods of time also. I discovered that actually doing for others in a personal way helps me more than it helps them. It makes my life complete. It lifts my spirit and makes me happy with myself. It allows me to feel that I am able to do as much as I can, whenever I can, and as often as I can. I feel complete and faithful. There are many opportunities at LOUMC for volunteers. Sunday mornings are just the beginning. This church is in the heart of a wonderful community that loves and depends on us. It takes everyone in their own way to do God’s work.
Janine Bishop May 2022 Volunteer Spotlight Janine has been a member of Lake Orion UMC for at least 10 years. She is very involved in the youth program, and co-facilitates the programs on Sunday nights. With the youth group, she has volunteered for Project Shalom, the Center for Creative Studies in Pontiac working with local kids, The Heritage Place residents Christmas present project, the Special Needs Prom, Food Basket delivery with the Lions Club, making cocoa for spectators of the Christmas Parade, the 30 Hour Famine and the Crop Walk! Janine believes that it’s important for all of us to recognize those who are less fortunate, and to become comfortable interacting with others in different places and different spaces. Family is very important to Janine. She was born and raised in Oxford, and is a licensed Councilor working with adults with mental illness. Her mom has been a role model for her, and she loves watching her own 3 children grow up. Volunteering, for Janine, is doing her part; it’s God’s will that she do what she can. She enjoys bringing hope and joy to others, and seeing them smile. People have untapped gifts they can give to others, and Janine likes to learn from their stories. She encourages people to carve out a small amount of time for volunteering. It’s surprising how little time and effort it takes from your life to make a big difference in the lives of others. A little bit of effort goes a long way!
Ralph Reseigh April 2022 Volunteer Spotlight Ralph has been a member of Lake Orion United Methodist Church since the early 80’s – so a long time! He is one of three Certified Lay Servants, and is a Stephen Minister. He is a member of the United Methodist Men. He is chairman of the Trustees, and has been for around 10 years. He has been a member of the Trustees for the last 20 years! Ralph and his lovely wife, Sherry, have been married for over 54 years. They have 3 kids and 5 grandkids. He has retired from more jobs than many people ever have, and has worked in the Pilot Plants for all of The Big Three automakers. He has also worked on windmills, for Harley Davidson, and on the Hydromatic transmission. Volunteering has given him an opportunity at self-actualization with his work as a Lay Servant, as well as a chance to listen to the stories from others as a Stephen Minister. Try different things till you find something that you are comfortable with, and that you can do, Ralph suggests. While he was willing to work on the Trustees, he has been surprised that it has become his passion. There is a great sense of satisfaction that he feels as he sees the updates and work he and the Trustees have done on this 150-year-old church building. It’s important to get involved because better decisions are made when more opinions are considered. Supporting the church is the key.
March 2022 Volunteer in the Spotlight: Kathy Castillo Kathy has been attending LOUMC for about 4 years now, and is involved in several different groups. She is the Blood Drive Coordinator, and has been doing that for the last 3 or so years. She delivers meals each Monday for Community Meals to her friends at Heritage Place. She cochairs the Angel Tree project with Sue Montgomery, and is on the Mission Committee. Kathy is the Lead for our Church Financials Audit this year, and serves on the Finance Committee. She is both an usher and a Communion Steward. She says that each of these diverse opportunities to serve came about because someone recognized that she was willing, and had skills for that particular job. Growing up on a farm in a small community in the Thumb, Kathy saw her neighbors and family helping each other. It was a way of life; if you were able to help, you just did. She enjoys seeing the appreciation for what she does on the faces of the people she encounters. The people who coordinate the Angel Tree project each year were so excited to see Kathy and Sue pull up in an SUV packed with gifts for their clients! The Heritage Place residents all expect to see her each week, and if she is not going to be there, she has to let them know ahead of time, or they worry about her! They say she is their ‘ray of sunshine’ each week – and who wouldn’t love being known for that! It's interesting to connect with people in the different missions that you wouldn’t necessarily see each week in church, Kathy says. There is an opportunity to engage with people you didn’t know before. There are so many ways to volunteer and participate in short-lived projects. Not all commitments are long term. She encourages people to find one in an area of interest, with a manageable time frame. Start small if you want. But don’t miss out on an opportunity to be someone’s ‘ray of sunshine’.