Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Midweek Moment

Connect with one another via Zoom Church!

Greetings Community Family,

We want to extend to you all an invitation. One of the varied means that are being offered through the church right now for connection is Zoom Church. This is a chance for you to digitally gather in small groups via the Zoom portal on your computers, smart phones, or tablets and see one another or to call in and be able to hear one another. These groups will either watch that week’s worship service together or ahead of their gathering times, and then spend time in their groups reflecting on the experience. This time together creates a space to talk about your faith, how you see God at work in your life, share about areas where you may need prayer and support, and to reflect on how it is with your soul.

We have several groups that are meeting now, and they are truly benefiting from this time and space together. In order to participate in a video call format, all you need is a free Zoom account that you can create from their website,, and a device with a camera. In order to participate in a group phone call format, we just need to provide you with the phone number, Meeting ID, and password of the group you would like to attend. Both methods will allow you to connect, hear, share, and be part of the discussion and both methods can be used in any one group.

Currently, we are offering the following days and times:
  • Sundays at 9am, and two (2) different ones at 12:30pm
  • Monday at 9am
  • Tuesday at 2pm
  • Thursday at 7:15pm

If you would like to join any of these groups, just call the church office and we will give you all of the information you need and let the host know to expect you. If these times do not work for you, and/or you want to start a group of you own, we can do that as well. Just call the church office and as long as our Zoom Account is available, we will reserve that time for your group and get you all the resources available.

We have groups and hosts ready to welcome you, share with you, and grow deeper in our faith journeys with you. Call our church office, (352) 787-1829 and we will get you connected! It is never too late to join!

This your Community, United!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Midweek Moment

We've been excited to welcome back a few folks onto campus for the Worship Watch Party on Tuesday in the Fellowship Hall. If you would like to sign up to attend one of these, please call the church office or email us at

Also, take a few minutes to listen to Pastor Debbie's devotional this week on prayer. 

Blessings to you friends! We are continuing to lift you all up in prayer. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Midweek Moment

Just wanted to share with you Pastor Debbie's Facebook devotional from this morning on lessons from the sunflowers in our new garden, in case you had not seen it.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Midweek Moment

Here's a link to Pastor Daryl's video update on Facebook for Thursday. While we are not returning for in-person worship for now, we are allowing small groups to begin meeting on the campus within certain guidelines. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Midweek Moment

Greetings Community Family,

We want to share some important information about the coming back plan for Community.

There is something special that happens when the body of Christ is physically together. There is a power, a strength, a connection that comes when disciples of Christ gather together physically. We have been missing that and we know you have been missing that as well.

However, during this Covid season, coming back together is not as simple as just sharing a date and opening the doors wide. There are new precautions that must be followed given by the medical community and specifically by our Conference Office. Those precautions include the wearing of face masks by all people when inside the buildings here at church. It includes the practicing of social distancing at all times – whether we are in our meeting spaces or traveling down the hallways or our elevator. It means we still refrain from our common greetings of handshakes and hugs and instead use words and a wave, or the traditional bow of reverence.

For us here, with a church our size, those precautions will at times encompass group sizes that number hundreds and hundreds of people. And those hundreds and hundreds of people are our family and people we love. People that have varying health situations, preferences, and degrees of vulnerability. Any plan we introduce for coming back together has to take each and every one of those aspects into consideration. We want you to be safe when you are here, and we want you to trust that all the members of your church family take these precautions seriously and will abide by them so that safety and love of one another can be felt throughout the body.

So based upon a recommendation from our Coming Back Team that includes lay leaders, representatives from all services, ministry areas, staff members, and the pastors, and with the blessing of our Connect Pillar, we have a plan to share with you. As a way to begin to claim that connection again and to make sure we are ready, we are starting small. On July 12th we will begin opening up the campus for church related in-person small groups. This will include previously established ministry groups, discipleship groups and any other small sized groups that want to form and come to campus and meet masked face to masked face. If your group wants to take advantage of this opportunity, appoint a contact person or leader and have them call the church office. We want to make sure we do not have all the groups here at the same time, we want to make sure have a room that will hold your group and allow you to socially distant during your time, so that everyone can remain safe. We will also go over the steps that will need to be followed while you are here, so we are all on the same page and safe.

For those that want that connection and are just not ready to be face to face yet, and we know that are many of you that feel that way, on July 12th we are also launching Zoom Church. Basically, instead of watching the Live Stream on your own, we will resource and train a leader to gather a group and watch the service via zoom together. The wonderful thing about Zoom is after the service you can stay connected and chat with each other about the service and how God spoke to you through it. If that is something you would like to be a part of, call a group of friends, decide on a day and time – it does not have to be Sunday Morning since all of our services are recorded – and then let the church office know. If that day and time are free then we will get you the information you need to sign on to our church Zoom account, provide any training you need, and you and your group can start meeting. The great thing about Zoom church is that it is incredibly flexible. A group can share leadership and meet whenever is convenient for the group. So if this is for you, then start calling your friends and get on the church Zoom calendar soon so you can get the date you want.

We are also working on a few other ways to help us engage in the practices we miss and see each other on campus so make sure you are signed up for our church wide email chain and stay tuned to our webpage and social media for the latest info.

Now if these small group meetings go well, we do not experience a bout of community spread of the virus, then we can move to in-person worship in a matter of weeks later versus months later. We are watching the numbers statewide climb at a record pace. We are also watching the numbers in the zip codes that surround Fruitland Park and those are climbing every day as well by double digits. This has recently resulted in the Florida Department of Health putting out an advisory that group limits not exceed 50 people. So just as small groups have precautions to follow, an in-person worship service with more people will have even more precautions. Including reserving a seat for worship to control capacity, no passing of common elements, no passing of the peace, and no congregational singing to name the big ones. With a group that size, we must be certain we are ready and we can be safe, so we will start small.

In the meantime, we will continue to offer on-line worship, bible studies, and devotions each and every week. We will continue to have a way for folks to call in and listen to the 11am Sunday service each week, we will continue to monitor this situation and make the best decisions we can based upon the medical advice and directives given by our Conference Office. This situation is very fluid and has and will continue to change rapidly.

We are grateful for how you have supported the church through this time, and ask that you continue to do so, so our ministries can continue, our mission can carry on, and we work towards that day when we will gather together.

Please continue to look out for each other, stay connected with the church, and know that we love you all!
Pastors Debbie, Daryl, and CJ

This is your community, United!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Midweek Moment

Last week we held a Drive-Through Goodbye Party for Pastor Charlotte before she moved to Penney Farms, outside of Jacksonville. Pastor Charlotte Lewis has been a beloved member of our CUMC family for years, serving on staff (and lately as a volunteer) in our Visitation Department and providing excellent and compassionate care for our members who are ill and shut-in and for grieving families. Pastor Charlotte has also been a very active member of the chancel choir. We are very sorry to see her go, but wish her the very best in this next chapter of her life.

Many thanks to those in our Visitation Department, the chancel choir and the members of the UMW who helped to put on last week's goodbye and make it such a wonderful celebration. Here's a few pictures of the festivities and your generosity.

Pastor Charlotte with two of her children

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Midweek Moment

Greetings Community Family,

Last week we received further communication from the Conference about relaunching in person worship and we want to share that information with you, as well as our plan for how we will live into that here at Community.

We know some are eager to return to campus and worship. We also know others are not ready quite yet, and we know many are a part of the vulnerable groups that are very susceptible to this virus. We also know each of you, your health, and your wellbeing are of the upmost importance to us. We love you and do not want to endanger anyone.

The plan they offered was not a recommendation to return to worship, but a means to address the wide contexts United Methodist churches in the Florida Conference face. Each of our over 800 United Methodist Churches in Florida are all different in size, demographic, and neighborhood setting. The plan outlined six pages of criteria that had to be met and it was then and only then, that in person worship could resume. For a congregation our size and the necessity that we meet all of the stated criteria, it is not prudent for us to reconvene at this time. We are however, watching this situation very closely and will make adjustments as they are warranted.

There is a team of lay leadership and staff that are meeting frequently to address this situation and how it affects Community, specifically. We are working on ways smaller groups can gather and connect. We want to come back together. We want to see your faces. Yet more than both of those things we want you to be healthy.

We will continue to offer online worship and we have made a few changes to hopefully make it a bit easier for all to connect. As of late, we have been experiencing technical difficulties on Sunday mornings with our streaming service company, with Zoom itself, and with our hardware. Some of you are facing technical difficulties at home. While others are having no issues at all. To address that dichotomy, we are moving to a pre-recorded worship format. What you see, will not change, it just will not be live. This way we can address all of the unforeseen issues without them interrupting the sharing of our worship to God. This should help with sound issues and connectivity issues as we remove many of the moving parts and third-party requirements. Though the worship will not be live, one of the pastors will be live in the chat room for both services each week; at 9:30am and 11am. We have found that to be a fertile field for engagement and connection and that will still happen in real time and live on Sunday mornings.

We are also moving where we host our services making both of them available on our YouTube page. To find that you can visit our webpage. Across the top you will see Worship Services in the navigation bar. Hover your mouse over the Worship Services item and when the drop-down menu appears, move your mouse to the service you want to watch. Click that item and you will be taken to the information you need. In addition to that, we will begin hosting both of our worship services on Facebook as well. That is where you will find the pastors each week, engaging in the chat with you there. You can find our webpage and Facebook page addresses below.

We also want to let you know that on June 14th we will share an incredible gift with you all. The Bishop and the Conference have prepared a pre-recorded service that we will use on that day. In recognition of how hard pastors and worship leaders have been working, they have encouraged each church to use this and provide a space of Sabbath for those tending to this work. We have chosen to use it on June 14th. We hope you will make plans to join and watch. That Sunday, the video will not be played through our typical servers. That means there will not be a chat room available for us to use. We hope you will come and join us in worship all the same.

Final bit of news to share, we are still looking to hear from folks with the names of their favorite hymns. Diane would like to use them in our 11am worship service throughout the summer. You can call the church office, or you can email them to her at We did this last year and it was a great success.

Dearest family, while this is a difficult time and this is a season that is long, we want you to know we miss you. We are praying for you. Mostly though, that you are loved. We still have many wonderful volunteers that are making calls to check in our Community Family on a recurring and regular basis. If you have not received one of these calls, please let us know in the office so we can add you to this ministry. We are also sharing frequent video messages, information, and devotionals on our website,, our Facebook page,, and through our churchwide emails. Please visit these places often and if you are not receiving our churchwide emails, please call the church office and share your email address with us so we can get you on the list. If you know of folks that are not receiving this information, please share this with them so we can connect with them as well.

While how we connect has changed, our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ has not. We invite you to continue to find ways you can make connections with those around you. We humbly ask that you keep this church and its volunteers, congregation, staff, and leadership in your prayers as we press on. May the presence of God shine within us as we lean into our faith, love our neighbors in any way we can, and seek to share the Kingdom in all the ways we can.

Please continue to look out for each other, stay connected with the church, and know that we love you all!
Pastors Debbie, Daryl, and CJ