Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are back to worshipping in our regular times and places and we are continuing our new preaching series on the Methodist Way. The Methodist Way represents five core values of life in our church that we aim to exemplify in all we do. This  week Pastor Debbie will be looking at the idea of expressing Extravagant Generosity. We'll be recognizing the UMW at all three services and taking in new members at the 9:30am service!  Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!

Parking Reminder - We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street, as renters will move in there soon. Thank you for your help in this!


2. UMCOR help - Our original plan was to send our UMCOR flood buckets to Texas. But we have been asked to keep them here for distribution in Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma. We are still collecting flood buckets through this weekend. We are looking forward to being able to help our brothers and sisters across the state recover from this devastating hurricane.

Many thanks for your generosity in providing monetary donations to UMCOR as well. We collected over $10,000 for UMCOR after Hurricane Harvey and we will be collecting now for Hurricane Irma relief. Simply mark your donation, "UMCOR - Florida" and we will make sure it gets delivered. If paying by check, please make it out to CUMC and we will send one check to them. Since UMCOR is sponsored by special givings from all United Methodist churches, 100% of all donations received go to the people in need.



3. Thank You - A very special thank you to all those who came out and volunteered with our First Responder Lunch this Tuesday! We hosted all of the City of Fruitland Park employees, including our city manager Gary LaVenia, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, public works officers, parks and recreation employees and more. Many thanks to Robbie Milam for organizing the meal and to the 20 plus volunteers from the church who turned out to decorate, greet, serve and clean up!! It was a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to so many people who have worked hard for our city in the wake of Hurricane Irma.



Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Worship This Sunday!

Greetings Community Family!

I know many of us are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I know many of us are still waiting for power to be restored, picking up debris in our yards, and dealing with the plethora of emotions this situation has given us.

As you continue your path to recovery, I wanted to let you all know that we will have our standard opportunities for worship this Sunday, September 15th; 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. This week we will begin a new series on the Methodist Way. The Methodist Way refers to the five practices found in healthy, vibrant congregations and our focus will center on the practice of Radical Hospitality.

For years each September, Pastor Debbie and I, would plan out our sermon series for the upcoming year. We would develop every title, pick every Scripture passage, and create a brief synopsis for every message. We have kept that discipline here at Community. Last year we incorporated Pastor Loida into the planning. I am grateful for the influence of the Holy Spirit into that practice, as I cannot think of a better topic for us to focus on than the Radical Hospitality we can offer to the people of this community in Irma’s aftermath.

We want to encourage you to come, to bring your neighbor, or anyone else you know that may benefit from our time together. There will be opportunities to pray at the altar rail in the Sanctuary or at our prayer station in the Family Life Center at every service.

There are several things we want to encourage you to bring with you this Sunday. One, please bring any flood buckets you have prepared to drop off. Due to Irma those are now going to be kept here in Florida for the people in our state that need them. Two, you can also continue to donate to UMCOR for the people of Texas. There is also the ability to donate to the Florida Disaster Response through our Conference Office. While UMCOR will absolutely direct resources to Florida as we recover from Irma, we have the ability through the Florida Disaster Response to act a bit faster as well as cover other items UMCOR cannot. Third, since we did not gather for worship last week, we want to encourage you to bring any offerings from last week as well.

This Sunday will be a time of prayer, of thanksgiving and gratitude, of celebration, and offering hope and love to one another. We are excited to be with you all again and will continue to lift you all up in prayer.

Blessings,

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are back to worshipping in our regular times and places and we are beginning a new preaching series on the Methodist Way. The Methodist Way represents five core values of life in our church that we aim to exemplify in all we do. This  week Pastor Daryl will begin by looking at the idea of Offering Radical Hospitality to those around us. Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!



Parking Reminder - We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street, as renters will move in there soon. Thank you for your help in this!


2. UMCOR help - Our original plan was to send our UMCOR flood buckets to Texas. But we have been asked to keep them here for distribution in Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma. We are still collecting flood buckets until Sunday September 14th. If you have not picked one up we have some left you can grab this Sunday. We are looking forward to being able to help our brothers and sisters across the state recover from this devastating hurricane.

Many thanks for your generosity in providing monetary donations to UMCOR as well. We collected over $10,000 for UMCOR after Hurricane Harvey and we will be collecting now for Hurricane Irma relief. Simply mark your donation, "UMCOR - Florida" and we will make sure it gets delivered. If paying by check, please make it out to CUMC and we will send one check to them. Since UMCOR is sponsored by special givings from all United Methodist churches, 100% of all donations received go to the people in need.


3. Wonderful Wednesdays - School will be back in session next week starting on Tuesday and we will kickoff Wonderful Wednesday on Wednesday September 20th!!!!! This is an amazing mission and outreach to our community with the kids from Fruitland Park Elementary school and from this neighborhood. Consider how you might volunteer with this important ministry and call the church office if you would like to help.





4. GROW Night - Wednesday night dinners and classes will resume this week as well, Wednesday September 20th!!! Dinner is served from 4-5:45pm in the Family Life Center and classes begin at 6:15pm. We have classes for every age group - 0 to 100! We hope to see you there!



5. Thank You - A very special thank you to those who came out and served as hospitality greeters this week in the Family Life Center as we welcomed people without power and water for a bit of respite - offering cold AC, bottled water, hot coffee, hot showers and a place to charge their phones. And we are thankful for those who came out and helped clear the property of tree debris on Thursday morning and get it all ready for Sunday worship. Many of our youth and other members are also volunteering out at the Warren Willis Camp and the Life Enrichment Center this week helping remove their tree debris - they had over 40 trees come down during the storm. And we have heard countless other stories of how folks have provided for their neighbors and been a help and blessing in this time of need. Thank you for being Community to our community and showing the love of Jesus.


Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Midweek Moment - After Irma

Greetings dear friends, 

The power at church has been restored!!!! We are so thankful to all of the linemen who are working long and hard around this area to help restore power. We know there are many still without power in Leesburg, Fruitland Park, Wildwood, Lady Lake and the historic section of the Villages. And we are mindful of our friends in south Florida that will not have power restored for weeks yet as grids get rebuilt. To try and help some in that respect, we have opened the Family Life Center this afternoon from 2-5pm and will open it again tomorrow Thursday September 14th from 9am-4:30pm. This will give folks a chance to sit in some air conditioning, charge their phones and other devices, and even take a hot shower! Plus we will have cold water and hot coffee available for folks throughout the day. 


We are thankful that with the power restored, the Food Pantry will also be open tomorrow Thursday September 14th for its normal hours of operation. We know that many in our area who depend on the pantry will be in need of assistance after the storm. 

Since we were not able to worship in person last week, Pastor Daryl put together a Facebook live event last Sunday morning, sharing some of his thoughts about the approaching storm and reflecting on Psalm 46. To date, over 2,600 people have watched that video. If you haven't seen it yet, you can access it by clicking here. 

Power being restored also means that we will be able to hold our regularly scheduled worship services this weekend for Sunday September 17th: 8am and 11am in the sanctuary and 9:30am in the Family Life Center. I hope you will be able to join us as we gather together and give thanks to God and pray for others affected by Hurricane Irma. 

Many of you have been calling in and asking how you can help with Hurricane relief efforts. Here's a few ideas: 

1) Church Cleanup - There will be a church cleanup time on Thursday morning September 14th from 8:30-11:30am. Please bring any rakes, work gloves and wheelbarrows you might have. We're going to clean up debris from our main parking lot as well as the Rose Avenue lot. And we need to get the playground equipment moved back outside as well. 

2) Camp Cleanup - Warren Willis Camp and the Life Enrichment Center have little building damage but a LOT of tree debris. Over 35 trees came down on the properties during the storm. If you would like to help with camp cleanup efforts, please call their volunteer line at 352-360-3549. 

3) Donate to the food pantry - Did you stock up on non-perishable food before the hurricane? Returns to the grocery store generally end up being thrown away and not restocked. Consider donating to our food pantry. 

4) Fill up a flood bucket - We're still collecting flood buckets for UMCOR relief efforts. We're extending our deadline to Sunday, September 24th. While our original destination was Houston, we will deploying our buckets to flooded parts of the Florida Conference (the Keys, Miami, Jacksonville, etc). There are still some empty buckets with supply lists that are available at the church to be picked up and filled. 

4) Make a donation to UMCOR - Thanks to your generosity, we collected over $10,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief through UMCOR. You can donate to Hurricane Irma relief now. Make your check payable to the church and put UMCOR on the memo line. 

We will be in touch with other ways to help in our community in the days ahead. Please keep an eye out on our Church website, Facebook page, and your email account. 

Pastor Daryl
Pastor Debbie
Pastor Loida

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma Update - Tuesday, September 12th

Greetings my friends!

We have heard from many of you after Hurricane Irma and everyone we have talked with made it through fairly well. While most people have down trees and debris, and most are still without power, no one we have spoken with has experienced major house damage. We have also surveyed the church and while there is a bit of debris, a downed section of fence by our retention pond, and some minor exterior damage, there is no water leaks, water damage, or structural damage. For all of this and more, we can be thankful and grateful!

Pastors Debbie, Loida and Daryl have been on the phone this morning with city officials and it looks like restored power to our community will not be happening soon. We were given a 5-7 day estimate. This covers many of our church family, as well as the Warren Willis Camp. Our prayer now is that power will come back much sooner than that. However, that is what we have to operate on at this time.

Without power, we have to cancel all events at the church, till it is restored. Therefore, we will not be having Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday Night Dinner, GROW Night, Handbell Practice, all other Music Ministry activities or Choir Rehearsal, this Wednesday. We will also not have Thursday morning Bible Study.

We spoke with camp this morning, and with a loss of power, they cannot prepare the dinner at the camp or at the church, and with no power to keep the food at the proper temperature to serve, the dinner is just not possible.

As we get more information, or when power is restored at the church, we will let you know. We are also working on coordinating an outdoor clean-up day at the church for this week and invite anyone to come out this Thursday, September 14th, at 8:30am. There is cleanup to be done on the main campus and our remote parking lot. Please bring your gloves and any tools or wheelbarrows that you have to help. We greatly appreciate all the help we can get.

We are also working out a contingency plan for worship this week, if power is not restored to our campus by then. Please keep an eye out on our Church website, Facebook page, and your email account.

Please continue to clean up at your house, as needed, and actively let others in our church know so we can spread this new information. We also invite you to continue reaching out to your neighbors to help them as you can. In the midst of the uncertainty, this is our chance to reflect the love of Christ to those around us and bring a sense of hope to all we meet.

Be safe and we will be in contact!
Pastor Daryl
Pastor Debbie
Pastor Loida

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Irma Update - Worship Cancelled 9-10-17

Greetings brothers and sisters!

We wanted to give you an update on the upcoming weekend activities. The pastoral team and members of the lay leadership have been closely monitoring Hurricane Irma. The state of Florida is now under a Hurricane Watch and evacuations in South Florida have already been ordered. By all accounts, Hurricane Irma will be massive and brings the potential for severe and lasting damage.

One of the primary things we do as a church is worship. It is the opportunity we have each week to praise God, fellowship with one another, and find renewal for our lives as disciples. Worship is part and parcel of who we are as Disciples of Christ. Specifically for this upcoming weekend, as the leadership of the church, we also need to take into consideration the safety of our people. After much discussion internally and externally, looking and tracking many sources, we have determined that we need to alter our regular weekend schedule.

Therefore, we are cancelling all worship services, Sunday activities, and Monday activities as well, on September 10th and 11th. We will reopen the office, situation permitting, on Tuesday morning, September 12th.

My friends, this decision was not taken lightly or made hastily. Pastor Daryl went and spoke with the Fruitland Park Police Department on Thursday and they were on a call with the State of Florida Emergency Operations Center. They recommended that we keep the roads as clear as possible.

We realize that as soon as we make this decision, Sunday morning could be a respite of clear skies and bright sun, but the gamble is simply too great. Your safety and the safety of others is too important to risk. Many state officials are advising all residents to find their safe space by 5pm Saturday night, and stay there. We are following their advice and encourage you to do the same. We want to encourage all of you to follow any evacuations orders that are issued, make sure you are stocked up on supplies, and to take care of yourselves.

As Sunday morning rolls around, as we are in prayer for you, I invite you to be in prayer for all those in Irma’s path. During your prayer time, I invite you to read Psalm 46. It is a wonderful reminder that God is our refuge and strength, in all times. It is a tremendous passage that provides for us the understanding that in our stillness and faith, God will be there. This Sunday, Pastor Daryl was going to share with you the importance of loving God with all that we are and loving others in the same manner. We will all have the chance to show that love after Irma leaves.

On Tuesday morning, I want to invite you to go and visit your neighbors, check in on them, and offer to help them in any way you can. You can help them clean inside, pick up debris outside, or just listen as they share how they are feeling. This will be our chance to be the church to our community and make an impact in the name of Christ.

Please be safe and we will see you all soon!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Midweek Moment

Greetings my dear friends,

We thank you for your generosity in taking flood buckets home over last weekend to help our friends in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. About 250 of the 300 buckets were picked up. You can turn in your completed flood bucket to the church office during the week or at worship on Sundays through September 17th.

Buckets that were already stored at Sager Brown in Louisiana have already been deployed to Houston. At this time we will be holding onto the buckets in Florida to see if they are needed for help with the approaching Hurricane Irma.

Please take care to prepare yourself for the upcoming weather. Hurricanes are not new to Florida, many of us have been dealing with them for years. But for all us, seasoned Hurricane folks as well as the newbies, please be ready. Hurricane Irma is a very strong storm and as we have seen over the last couple of days, the models and predictions change every few hours.

Please take all the necessary precautions, have gas in your cars, bottled water on hand, non-perishable food in your pantry, extra batteries to power flashlights and radios, extra food for pets, fill your bathtubs with water, and secure all outside objects and furniture, just to name a few. I also want to invite you to follow a link to the National Hurricane Center for a more exhaustive list and further preparedness tips by clicking here. We are fortunate to be far enough inland that we do not need to be worried about storm surge, just wind and rain. If you live in a mobile home or in a place that experiences flooding, please make arrangements to stay with someone else during this storm or go to one of the local shelters that will be set up. Our FLC is not approved as an evacuation center because our building do not meet the specific codes for riding a storm in safety. You can find a list of Lake County shelters by clicking here, as well as Sumter County shelters by clicking here.

At this time, we are planning to hold all of our regularly scheduled weekend activities, including worship. If there is a need to alter scheduled activities due to the storm, we will post that information on our Facebook page (click here for that link) and our church webpage (click here for that link).

Be safe, let us pray for one another and for all our dear friends in the islands, fellow Floridians and all that will be impacted by Hurricane Irma.

See you soon,