Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Makeovers, renovations and transformations are tremendously popular in our culture. In a sense as disciples we are all "Fixer Uppers" - called to be made over into the image of Jesus Christ. This week we will continue our series focusing on how the Holy Spirit works within us for transformation and then addressing some practical places where we often stumble in being transformed - dealing with anger, forgiveness, and love. Pastor Daryl is back safely from Cuba and is in the pulpit this week to share about "Dealing with Anger" from Ephesians 4:25-32. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, or 11am for worship!


2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.


3. Installation of New District Superintendent - You are cordially invited to attend the Service of Installation for our new District Superintendent, the Rev. June Edwards. The worship service will take place on Sunday, October 9th at 3pm in the sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church of Ocala. Not only is FUMC Ocala the site of our district offices, but it is the church that nurtured June Edwards as a member and as a candidate for ministry. It will be a wonderful service celebrating her gifts for ministry and the diversity and ministries of our own North Central District.




4. The Pumpkins are Coming! - Our annual Pumpkin Patch is right around the corner and there are many ways in which you can help support this mission and fundraising endeavor. We are looking for people to help unload the pumpkins, be storytellers, sell pumpkins in the patch, and setup and take down the patch. While this pumpkin patch does help raise funds for our youth and children's ministry, it is also a fantastic way to meet our neighbors and welcome them to our campus. You never know what seed might be planted or what prayer might be answered through our patch this year.

We want to encourage you to pray about how you might be involved and also to read through Faye's article on page 8 in the October Newsletter by clicking here, for more details about the many ways you can plug in to this opportunity and Trunk N Treat! Hope to see you out there! 


Have a great week and see you all Sunday!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Midweek Moment


At the beginning of September, Sharon Quackenbush joined our CUMC staff family as our new full-time Youth Minister. We are thrilled to have her working with the young people in grades 7-12 from our church and also from the community.

As a youth herself, Sharon had a passion for ministry and making God's love relevant and tangible to others. She grew up in North Florida and attended Florida Southern College in Lakeland where she received her degree in Elementary Education. Since then, she has worked as a Camp Counselor at the Warren Willis Camp and on staff for Family Camp Programming at the Life Enrichment Center. She has also served as the Assistant Director of Children's Ministries at FPC Gainesville, as a middle school reading teacher in Winter Haven and most recently as the Director of Youth Ministry at First UMC Eustis.  While there she studied and received additional education and certification in her field through Youth Ministry Institute. She continues to help with the ministries of Warren Willis Camp and the Life Enrichment Center in her spare time through curriculum writing, volunteering, training and more.

Sharon enjoys traveling and exploring, spending time with her husband Tom Banks, being around family and friends, volunteering, finding ways to be outside and making funny faces. If you haven't met her yet, make sure to stop by and help her feel welcome here at CUMC and of course, we ask that you would continue to keep Sharon and our youth ministry in your prayers in this time of transition together.

Blessings,



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Makeovers, renovations and transformations are tremendously popular in our culture. In a sense as disciples we are all "Fixer Uppers" - called to be made over into the image of Jesus Christ. This week we will begin a new four week series focusing on how the Holy Spirit works within us for transformation and then addressing some practical places where we often stumble in being transformed - dealing with anger, forgiveness, and love. This week we will talk about how to be "Imitators of Christ" from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, or 11am for worship!


2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.


3. Mission Trip to Cuba - Pastor Daryl left on Wednesday morning from Tampa with our own Elsa Kaye and 10 other folks from around our conference to visit the churches in Cuba. This was Pastor Daryl's request for prayer: "I humbly ask prayers for my group for an open heart, open ears and open eyes for us all to see the mighty ways the Holy Spirit is at work through our brothers and sisters there." They will return next Wednesday (9-28).







4. Bishop's Town Hall Meetings - Bishop Ken Carter is hosting a series of Town Hall Gatherings around the conference this fall. There is another one TONIGHT in Orlando at St Luke's United Methodist Church from 6-8pm and you can feel free to just attend without registering ahead of time.  The church address is: 4851 S Apopka/Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819.




5. Installation of New District Superintendent - You are cordially invited to attend the Service of Installation for our new District Superintendent, the Rev. June Edwards. The worship service will take place on Sunday, October 9th at 3pm in the sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church of Ocala. Not only is FUMC Ocala the site of our district offices, but it is the church that nurtured June Edwards as a member and as a candidate for ministry. It will be a wonderful service celebrating her gifts for ministry and the diversity and ministries of our own North Central District.



Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Midweek Moment

Last night I had the privilege to attend one of Bishop Carter's Town Hall gatherings that he is hosting around the conference. He took the time to address questions submitted from clergy and laity on a number of issues regarding our life together within the Florida Annual Conference and our life together across the broader United Methodist Church. He has been selected as one of the three conveners of The Way Forward process and spoke just briefly about that work.  This process was instituted at our last General Conference to deal with the issues surrounding human sexuality will more than likely culminate in a special called General Conference at some point in 2018 to address proposals.

But he spend a large portion of our time together outlining his vision for our Annual Conference in the next four years of his leadership. Bishop Carter has a heart for churches to serve as bridges to populations that are not engaged in faith communities. He shared some interesting statistics. In the age bracket of 18-39 year olds, only 1 in 20 participates in any kind of church. That's a huge opportunity for building bridges and making connections in the world around us. But they likely will not come to us. And so we must build bridges into the world around us. The bridge metaphor is especially noteworthy in Florida, as there are so many bridges that help facilitate our travel around the state. We drive over one tiny one almost every day as we travel back and forth to Warren Willis Camp to pick up the boys from After School Adventures.


Bishop Carter outlined really three initiatives that he sees as ways of "building bridges" to unreached populations. One is the idea of Fresh Expressions. Rev. Michael Beck at Wildwood UMC is one of the conference coordinators for this effort. He leads a "Bibles and Burritos" group that meets weekly in Moe's on Sunday nights and also has led worship in tattoo parlors. Another is the idea of church and school partnerships and every church is being encouraged to partner with a neighborhood school in a way that is meaningful. We have a long history of that already here at Community UMC with our involvement at Fruitland Park Elementary School. In fact, our Children's Director Faye Umble and one of our laypeople (and former staff) Sandi Moore recently led a workshop for other children's directors and youth directors at a training event on how to partner with schools. The conference steering committee organizing this effort will be looking at our efforts and other churches with effective partnerships to see how other churches might engage with their neighborhood schools. Finally, is the Nehemiah project, named for Nehemiah in the Bible who helped lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem after exile. This project is designed for small declining churches to discern their options for future ministry and possibly help birth new opportunities for ministry across the conference.

I am incredibly thankful for Bishop Carter's leadership in our conference over the last four years. Above all else he is thoughtful and pastoral and committed to our Wesleyan values and heritage. His image of building bridges and going out into the world mimics the mindset of John Wesley. Wesley was chastised as an Anglican priest for not staying in his parish but going out to where the people were, in the fields and the coal-mines and the market squares. And John Wesley's response was "The world is my parish." And indeed the world is our parish too. Join me in prayer for the next quadrennium of ministry in the Florida Conference and for these initiatives as we Methodists continue to build bridges.

Blessings



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will conclude our series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Daryl will look to the burdens of doubt, and homesickness focusing upon Matthew 11:25-30. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.



2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.



3. Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! - Our Wednesday programming is back in full swing!

  • Wonderful Wednesday - You can still sign up your children or grandchildren from Fruitland Park Elementary for Wonderful Wednesdays! Forms are available in the church office
  • Wednesday Night Dinner - Don't forget to make your Wednesday night dinner reservations on the registration pad - marking the number of adult and child meals needed. If for some reason you need to cancel, please do so before noon on Mondays when we turn our meal count in or we pay for your meal.
  • Grow Night - We've got 7 classes for adults, plus groups for kids of all ages. Pastors Daryl, Debbie and Loida are all teaching in addition to other classes. Come out and join a group for the fall!

4. Bishop's Town Hall Meetings - Bishop Ken Carter is hosting a series of Town Hall Gatherings around the conference this fall and the one closest to us will be at Trinity UMC in Gainesville on Tuesday, September 20 at 6pm. You can register by clicking the link here. Bishop Carter is one of the bishops selected to lead the special commission on "A Way Forward" and will share a bit about that process. He is offering this as a time for connection, a time to answer questions from people across the conference and to share some new initiatives for his second quadrennium of service as our bishop.







Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Midweek Moment

The Bucket Brigade Update........

We had such a tremendous response from our congregation with the flood buckets for Louisiana!!!! So many people brought back their filled flood buckets to all three of the worship services!!! Pastor Daryl dedicated our flood buckets in worship with a beautiful prayer written just for the occasion by two our young clergy in the conference. All the buckets from every church were to be sent off with this prayer!

Then about 35 folks stayed after the 11am service to pack 80 more buckets and a smaller crew stayed to inventory EVERY BUCKET to ensure they all had the needed supplies. Pastor Loida and her husband Jim took 119 buckets up to Gainesville on Sunday evening!! Following one last run for supplies on Sunday afternoon, we had a final packing party on Monday morning and on Sunday evening Pastor Daryl and our Lay Leader Mike Hanna (plus Parker and Wesley) ran the rest of the buckets up to Trinity UMC in Gainesville and unloaded them there. What a whirlwind of activity!!!

Originally the semi-trailer from the conference was going to pickup buckets in Miami, then Lakeland, Gainesville and Tallahassee on Tuesday. BUT - the conference wide response was so great that the truck was full after stopping in Lakeland!!! They managed to squeeze on 2,016 buckets for that trip. And a second semi-trailer today is starting in Lakeland and making its way north. Gainesville will add 818 buckets (including all of ours!) to that second trailer when it arrives today!

This has been a major God-movement from the very beginning, here in our church and across the conference. We're so blessed by the tremendous generosity of our CUMC family - from buying supplies for bucket, packing buckets after worship, inventorying buckets and driving them around. Wonderful job!!!!!

These buckets will give hope, spark strength, and provide the love of God to our brothers and sisters in Florida and Louisiana. What a wonderfully graceful and loving God we serve. Thank you for being a part of this challenge and for loving people you have never met, simply because you responded to God's call. 

Blessings,

Buckets in the narthex after worship!
Youth group helping us get set up to pack buckets on Sunday after church



Part of our group of folks who inventoried buckets! 
The first load of buckets headed out on Sunday. 

The Monday crew of bucket helpers who finished packing!
Second load of buckets going up on Monday night. 

Buckets waiting to be loaded in Gainesville

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will continue our series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Loida will look to the burdens of shame, disappointment and envy focusing upon John 21:1-14. We'll also be taking in a few new members into the family this weekend as well and dedicating our flood buckets! We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.






2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.






3. Louisiana Relief - You've been incredibly generous so far in your response to the need for flood relief in Louisiana through UMCOR. We've collected over $2,000 in donations and last weekend we distributed over 200 flood buckets in worship to be filled!! We'll be shopping for supplies for the remaining buckets this week and getting those assembled so that we take them to the pickup point in Gainesville next weekend. We've even received some additional buckets from another local UMC and a local missions groups putting our total buckets for transport to 387! Make sure to bring your flood buckets back this Sunday September 11!!!






4. Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! - Our Wednesday programming is back in full swing!

  • Wonderful Wednesday - You can still sign up your children or grandchildren from Fruitland Park Elementary for Wonderful Wednesdays! Forms are available in the church office
  • Wednesday Night Dinner - Don't forget to make your Wednesday night dinner reservations on the registration pad - marking the number of adult and child meals needed. If for some reason you need to cancel, please do so before noon on Mondays when we turn our meal count in or we pay for your meal.
  • Grow Night - We've got 7 classes for adults, plus groups for kids of all ages. Pastors Daryl, Debbie and Loida are all teaching in addition to other classes. Come out and join a group for the fall!






5. Bishop's Town Hall Meetings - Bishop Ken Carter is hosting a series of Town Hall Gatherings around the conference this fall and the one closest to us will be at Trinity UMC in Gainesville on Tuesday, September 20 at 6pm. You can register by clicking the link here. Bishop Carter is one of the bishops selected to lead the special commission on "A Way Forward" and will share a bit about that process. He is offering this as a time for connection, a time to answer questions from people across the conference and to share some new initiatives for his second quadrennium of service as our bishop.








6. Trip to Madison Youth Ranch - Lynda Ryker is our Children's Home Representative and there is an opportunity for an Open House on Saturday September 17 to the newest campus of the Children's Home - the Madison Youth Ranch!!! Call the church office to signup for this excursion.





Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Midweek Moment

Over the last couple of months we have had the opportunity to gather just about once a week in the homes of UMW members for Coffee with the Pastors. These events were designed as a way to welcome Pastor Loida to our Community UMC family and to introduce her to members of the congregation in smaller groups.


We're so thankful for all of the folks who have opened their homes for these events and for their radical hospitality!!! We've had eight gatherings now and have one more next week. This is only part of the group from last night at the home of Barb and Bill Guenther in Fruitland Park. It was our biggest group yet with 26 people!! All of the gatherings have been a wonderful time of fellowship and sharing.

As we go around the circle, each family represented is asked to share how long they've been attending Community UMC, what service they go to and what is "one" thing that keeps them coming back to our CUMC family. One of the biggest take-aways for Pastor Daryl and I has been the consistent themes that people have shared. The #1 overall sense is that Community UMC lives up to its name and that people experience incredible hospitality, friendliness, relationships and a genuine sense that "this is home" when they walk into the doors of the Sanctuary or the Family Life Center for worship. Other themes that come up over and over again is the fact that the congregation is intergenerational, combining children, youth, families and adults, the options and choices that people have for activities within the life of CUMC and the commitment that the church has to outreach and missions especially in terms of working with Fruitland Park Elementary School and events like Winterfest.

These are the core of what bring people back time and time again - and at the top of the list is people and relationships. What a tragedy it would be if people walked up to a church called "Community" and we didn't live up to that name! So every encounter you have on the property during the week and especially on Sunday mornings is important in helping us to uphold our name and our welcoming culture. Let's make sure to keep that in mind with all of our greetings and our conversations.

It's been a tremendous blessing to be part of these events over the last two months. Daryl and I are thankful for the last fourteen months among you and are looking forward with great anticipation for what we can accomplish together for the Kingdom of God in the future!

Blessings

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will continue our series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Daryl will look to the burdens of grief, fear and loneliness, focusing on Philippians 4:4-7. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.


2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.


3. Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! - Our Wednesday programming is getting ready to kick off again, beginning on NEXT WEEK September 7th. Wonderful Wednesdays, Tutoring, Wednesday Night Dinners, and GROW Night will all launch. In your bulletin this week will be fliers and announcements that have information about these events, including volunteers that are still needed. Please take a moment to look this information over so you can plug in and become involved. This a wonderful time for us to deepen not only our fellowship but our faith as well. Hope to see all of you around on Wednesdays and we GROW together!


4. Louisiana Relief - Many of you have heard about, or have family members affected by, the devastation taking place in Louisiana with all of the flooding. One of the best things we can do at this moment is pray for all involved. However, if you feel led to do more we want to invite you to donate funds to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. This is a United Methodist organization dedicated to providing tangible relief to people, the world over, affected by disaster. If you would like to donate to UMCOR, you can drop your donation in the plate on Sunday mornings. Simply mark your donation, "UMCOR - Louisiana" and we will make sure it gets delivered. Since UMCOR is sponsored by special givings from all UMC churches, 100% of all donations received go to the people in need. Don't forget to pickup your flood bucket either this week - we'll have some available at all 3 services this weekend! Flood buckets can be filled and should be brought back by Sunday September 11. 


Have a great week and see you all Sunday!