Thursday, August 15, 2019

Midweek Moment

Greetings, my friends!

Last Sunday, we launched our new church website and we are so excited about it! This is a place that many people will make their first contact with us. With that in mind we brought over all the information from our previous website and added some new elements.

One of the first things you will see on our homepage is a place for people that are new to Community United Methodist to plan their first visit with us. Here they will find information about our worship services and their times, what those services are like, and where to park.

We are also able to easily highlight important events happening in the life of our church and let people see at a glance all we have offer and how we are plugged into this community.

For our current family members, the menu bar at the top has a heading labeled, Member Info. There you will find our calendar, the archive of our recorded 11am services, lay leadership list, and a link for our weekly bulletins and monthly newsletters that is labeled Church Publications. From the menu bar, you will also find a place to connect to our Worship Live Streams, both 11am and 9:30am. Yes, you read that right! We are excited to announce that we will have the ability to live stream our 9:30am service in the upcoming weeks!

I hope you will take a moment to check it out, share the address with new folks, and invite people to read through it and see a bit about who we are as a community.

You can find all of this great information at our new website: communityumc.church

Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This weekend Pastor CJ concludes our worship series entitled "Be Still" based off Psalm 46:10. This week we'll be examining "When the Sun Stands Still" based off of Joshua 10:12-15.

If you have a name tag, we want to encourage you to wear it to help CJ and his family put names and faces together!

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshiping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.





2. Property Purchase Update - Everything went through for the closing of the house on Fountain Street and the refinance of our church mortgage through the Florida UM Foundation.

The Board of Trustees will now begin their work on some renovations to get the new house ready to be the new location of the church's food pantry!






3. Tutoring Facilitator Needed - As we launch our 30th year with this amazing program, we are looking for a dedicated volunteer to to carry this program forward. It has been such a blessing to partner with Fruitland Park Elementary for so many years and we are looking for many more years to come! The responsibilities include, being in contact with the school, communicating with the tutors, managing schedules and assignments, and managing the safety and well-being of the students. You can find more information about this opportunity in your bulletin or you can call the church office, or email Fay Umble by clicking here with any questions or better yet, to volunteer!




4. Looking Ahead! - We have quite a few great events coming up soon:
  • Back to School for Lake County - Monday, August 12
  • New Church Website - Launches on Sunday, August 11
  • Wonderful Wednesday Resumes - Wednesday, September 4
  • GROW Night Dinner and Classes Resume - Wednesday, September 4. There will be a kickoff opening ceremony in the sanctuary at 6:15pm after dinner.
  • New Member Class - Sunday, September 8
  • Choir Retreat for Christmas Musical Production, Once Upon a Tree - September, 13-14
  • Leadership Retreat at Warren Willis Camp - Saturday, September 21


Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Midweek Moment

Greetings my friends!

I have a question for you, who is your Batman?

That may seem like an odd question, but I have heard it quite a bit lately. People use it to determine an approximation for a person's age. Depending on who you associate with playing the role of Batman, whether on TV or in the theaters, it can reveal an approximate time frame of when you grew up. For example, if you say Adam West is your Batman, people know you grew up around the 1960's; or you love re-runs. Personally, I loved the reruns and remember Adam West and Burt Ward as my Batman and Robin. And no I did not have to look those names up. For my children, they give a different name when asked that question and we have great conversations about what we each love in our Batman.

Regardless of who you think of as your Batman, one thing is always the same. You have an appreciation for comic book stories and/or the superhero genre. A love of that kind of storytelling has spanned generations and brought countless millions together, no matter the person under the mask. And today, those stories are front and center in the movie world and are bringing a whole new generation into this fold. Actors change, special effects change, but the underlying story of a person protecting others from evil and harm stays the same.

There is a challenge facing the church today. How do we take another story that has spanned generations - the love of Christ - and share it with new people? How do we bring another generation into the fold of faith so they can live in and through this amazing and perfect love? Christ's love and God's nature are unchanging. We may grow to deeper understandings of them both, but at their very nature they both remain the same. So how do we share that message and our God with folks that do not know or understand either? In a word, conversation.

People that have experience and a deep appreciation of a life lived in faith, can be tremendous ambassadors to answering these questions. They know what it is like to share their faith, to bring people into the fold, to find ways to bridge generations and preferences and share this powerful story. I love to watch people with this kind of experience interact with my children. I love to watch them share stories of their childhood, what it was like when they grew up, and the new things they have witnessed and experienced. I love it when a relationship forms and my boys discover a new "grandma" or "grandpa" or "aunt" or "uncle". My heart swells, their knowledge deepens, and our family tree is enlarged. And the best part is that we all can be a part of that experience - through sharing and listening.

I want to encourage each of you to be on the look out for that moment when you can share your faith with another. That moment when a person is ready to hear the story that has spanned generations, that is unchanging, and that brings a new life to those that hear it. Regardless of when we grew up, of when we came to the faith, of how far we are down our path of discipleship, or who the person was that first shared this amazing story with us - we can all witness to our faith.

All of us can play a role in sharing this story that is love incarnate, love at its best, love that is perfection in every sense.

Always remember, you are important, you are valued, and you are loved!


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday Thoughts


1. Sunday Morning Worship - This weekend Pastor Daryl continues our worship series entitled "Be Still" based off Psalm 46:10. This week we'll be examining "Dealing with Distractions" based off of I Kings 19:9-13.

If you have a nametag, we want to encourage you to wear it to help CJ and his family put names and faces together!

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.


2. Property Purchase Update - Everything went through last week for the closing of the house on Fountain Street and the refinance of our church mortgage through the Florida UM Foundation. The Board of Trustees will now begin their work on some renovations to get the new house ready to be the new location of the church's food pantry!


3. City of Fruitland Park - The new city library grand opened on July 12. There were a lot of church members present that day and Pastor Debbie got to give the blessing prayer over the new building. Our own Methodist women were instrumental along with women from two other area churches in the 1930s in establishing the city's library!




4. Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar! 

* Back to School for Lake County - Monday August 12
* Wonderful Wednesday resumes! - Wednesday September 4
* GROW Night dinner and classes return - Wednesday September 4! There will be a kickoff opening ceremony in the sanctuary at 6:15pm after dinner.
* New Member Class - Sunday September 8
* Choir Retreat for Christmas Musical Production, Once Upon a Tree - September 13-14
* Leadership Retreat at Warren Willis Camp, Saturday September 21
* World Communion Sunday Celebration - with lunch afterwards - Sunday October 6


Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Thursday Thoughts


1. Sunday Morning Worship - This weekend Pastor Daryl kicks off our new worship series entitled "Be Still" with a look at Psalm 46: 1-7, 10-11. If you have a nametag, we want to encourage you to wear it to help CJ and his family put names and faces together!

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.


2. Welcoming the Hill Family - There will be a church-wide welcome celebration for the Hill Family on Sunday July 21st after worship. You can get your dessert FIRST that day, with a fun ice cream social in the Family Life Center! If you haven't seen it yet, here's the introduction video the family made that we showed in worship a few weekends ago.



3. Property Purchase Update - Our Leadership Council chair, Dave Withers, gave an important update in worship at the end of June. Our closing date for the "yellow" house on Fountain Street is set for July 16th. In the process, we have refinanced our current church building debt with the United Methodist Foundation out of Lakeland for a lower percentage rate! But no interest is better than low interest as Dave said! So, if you'd like to make a special gift towards the debt, just mark it "Building Fund Principal" and you'll help save the church some interest. Thank you!


4. Prayer Concerns
  • For all of our youth and children who will be attending church camp at Warren Willis next week from Monday through Saturday. 
  • For Matt and Sarah Bruzzi, their Life at the Intersection Ministry in the 9th Ward, and all the residents of New Orleans who live near the levees - some parts of New Orleans are already under an evacuation order because of high water and the approaching storm Barry. If you are interested in hosting a family known to the Bruzzis that is evacuating, please contact the church office. 

Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This weekend our new Associate Pastor of Discipleship, the Rev. CJ Hill, will be preaching. He'll be sharing a bit about his personal testimony and calling in his sermon, "It Takes A Village" from Deuteronomy 6:1-12. We will also be celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion as we gather together.

If you have a nametag, we want to encourage you to wear it to help CJ and his family put names and faces together!

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.


2. Welcoming the Hill Family - There will be a church-wide welcome celebration for the Hill Family on Sunday July 21st after worship. You can get your dessert FIRST that day, with a fun ice cream social in the Family Life Center! If you haven't seen it yet, here's the introduction video the family made that we showed in worship a few weekends ago.



3. Property Purchase Update - Our Leadership Council chair, Dave Withers, gave an important update in worship last weekend. Our closing date for the "yellow" house on Fountain Street is set for July 16th. In the process, we have refinanced our current church building debt with the United Methodist Foundation out of Lakeland for a lower percentage rate! But no interest is better than low interest as Dave said! So, if you'd like to make a special gift towards the debt, just mark it "Building Fund Principal" and you'll help save the church some interest. Thank you!


4. Warren Willis Camp - Recently our conference camp in Fruitland Park changed its name to reflect the merger of the Camp and Life Enrichment Center. It is now the Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center. We were privileged to welcome the Summer Leadership Team in worship last weekend - all the college students who are serving as counselors for the campers this season! One of the bands even played for worship in the 9Thirty service! Please keep the counselors and staff in your prayers for the rest of July as they minister to kids from all around our conference.




Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!
 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Midweek Moment

Dear Friends,

Last week, the youth group traveled to Atlanta on a mission trip. This is the second year in a row that our youth group has done missions work in inner cities; last year as you remember they went to the 9th ward of New Orleans.

Ten youth went this time and worked with M25, a mission group through Mt. Bethel UMC. They were hosted at two local Atlanta churches and spent time working with different missions addressing homelessness throughout Atlanta. They sorted food at the Atlanta Food Bank, they served meals in a homeless shelter, they packaged food and took it out to homeless people in parks and living by overpasses. In between there were times of discussion and learning, worship and fellowship time. On their last day, the group got to spend some free time at the Georgia Aquarium.

We are incredibly thankful for the leadership of our youth volunteers John and Mona Oliver on this mission trip who made it possible when our youth director Bree Jimenez needed to remain home caring for her ill mother.

Thank you for your support of the youth group through your budget giving as well as through your car wash donations in support of this trip!

Blessings












Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week Pastor Daryl will be concluding our preaching series Freed to Lead in worship as he focuses upon "Corporate Leadership" from Joshua 24:14-15.


Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.



2. Vacation Bible School - Thank you SO much for all of your prayers and support!!!! Vacation Bible School went very well this year. Hopefully you had the chance to view at least the sanctuary decorations over the last few weeks! We had 110 kids at VBS this year and 130 volunteers who helped make all of that happen! What a blessing and a privilege to serve in a church that places such an investment into children. And the children also made their own investment - they raised over $500 in a mission project during the week to help mothers and babies in Zambia!




3. Welcoming the Hill Family - The Rev. CJ Hill and his family will be moving to Fruitland Park and into the College Avenue parsonage next week. Pastor CJ will be in preaching in worship on Sunday July 7th and there will be a church-wide welcome celebration for the Hill Family on Sunday July 21st after worship. This past weekend, we showed an introduction video made by the Hills and we wanted to share it with you here as well.



Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Midweek Moment

Dear Friends, 
We shared this post on the church's Facebook page this week. This was written by our Bishop Ken Carter in anticipation of all the pastors who will be moving next week and the churches that will be receiving their leadership. We share this as a reminder for us all as we prepare to welcome the Rev. C. J. Hill and his family to our Community family next week. 
Blessings, 



===============================================================================
This week a number of men and women have left a community and a congregation and have traveled to begin a new ministry. This process is physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging.
The appointive cabinet’s role in reflecting on the gifts of clergy and sending them to assignments began in December and continued through the middle of April. Our work included prayer, consultation with laity and clergy and listening. In the end, the appointments were affirmed at the Florida Annual Conference, meeting in Orlando earlier this month.
And now, in many congregations, a new season of life and ministry is beginning.
It is important to say first that a change in clergy leadership is disruptive. The appointive cabinet does this work in response to retirements, requests from local churches and clergy, and the presence of decline or status quo or conflict. We are quite clear that this is not about change for the sake of change.
And yet, in a context of status quo, decline or conflict, disruption can be constructive. It can be God’s new creation (2 Corinthians 5. 17). A few elements of this change are essential if the new season is to be generative.
1. The pastor and the congregation will each need to make peace with their own pasts. At times the congregation will want to project their feelings about their former leader onto the new pastor. And at times the pastor will have unresolved issues from the last ministry that have not been fully addressed. Making peace with the past will allow each to see the other with new eyes and even a new heart.
2. The congregation will be asking about their new leader, “Will he or she love us, as we are?” “Will he or she come to know us and our community?” “Will he or she be a good shepherd?” See my 2016 Ordination Sermon, “The Odor of the Sheep.” These questions are related to wisdom of one of my mentors, Ken Callahan, who noted that people experience us first as a shepherd, then as a preacher and finally as a leader.
3. How is this done in practice? It is important, in the first weeks, to have scheduled and structured times to 1) share meals and 2) tell stories. How will the pastor begin to know the stories of the congregation and community? How will congregational leaders begin to know the story of the pastor’s life, his or her conversion to Christ and call to ministry?
4. The relationship of clergy and congregation is over time about much more than whether either likes or is happy with the other. Over time, the more important question is that we engage the mission field, which is the community surrounding us. In the Florida Conference, we are attempting to see the children at risk in schools or new to our schools as “our kids.” This is one simple way the leadership of a church can begin to see the mission field.
5. Lastly, in a time of deep change (which is surely the first week of a new pastor’s life and ministry in a new congregation), it is essential that we rely upon God and the disciplines God uses to restore, renew and equip. This is reading scripture, interceding for the people, having a conversation with a mentor, friend or district superintendent, taking a Sabbath day (even in the midst of unfinished work) and planning some family ritual (where appropriate) that acknowledges the family’s experience of transition.
I will be praying, by name this week for the clergy who are entering into new places of leadership. I pray that you will experience the prevenient grace of God that has gone before you. I pray that you will announce the good news of Jesus Christ to the people on your first Sunday. And I pray that God will supply your every need.
I will also be praying, by name this week for the congregations who are receiving new pastors. I pray that you will receive a pastor who will come to love you and to lead you. I pray that together you will see the mission field that surrounds you. And I pray that you experience in this new season a revival and a renewed sense of the nearness of God.
None of this happens by accident. It calls for intentionality, planning and walking together. May God bless you and be with you in this first week of ministry together.
- Bishop Ken Carter

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week Pastor Daryl will be continuing our preaching series Freed to Lead in worship as he focuses upon "Self Leadership" from Jeremiah 29:11.

It's also Father's Day and we will be marking that in all of our worship services this weekend. Don't forget that we will be donating $1 for every man present in worship to Open Arms Village in Ocala, a ministry of re-entry for homeless men.

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.



2. Vacation Bible School - It's almost here! It starts next Monday night, June 17th! Pre-registration is open on the church website through tomorrow. After that, it will still be possible to sign up by coming a little bit early to register on Monday night.

VBS Times run from 5:30-8:30pm every night next week. Please keep this important ministry in your prayers - for all of the children, their families and all of our volunteers as well!





3. Pastor Loida's Celebration - We are so grateful to Dreama Stroud and her wonderful team of volunteers who made it possible to celebrate Pastor Loida last weekend after worship. It was truly a beautiful celebration to honor her ordination and her time among us at Community UMC. Pastor Loida will be in worship this weekend before beginning her family leave.




Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Midweek Moment

Dear Friends,

Last week at Annual Conference you were well represented! In addition to Pastor Loida, Pastor Daryl and myself, Community sent seven lay representatives (three representing the congregation and four representing our district) - Hunter Gnann, Glenn and Elsa Kaye, Giselle Lawn, Riley Standifer, Mike and Pat Weer. We saw other Community folks on stage throughout the week as well - Mike Standifer brought a message on behalf of Conference Camps and Retreat Centers and Joey Landstedt was there as part of the design team for the Conference's new Institute of Modern Worship to train and resource worship leaders throughout Florida.

Throughout the week there was a lot of meetings and special worship celebrations and voting. Here's some of the highlights:

  • Worshiped in 5 languages with a diverse group of people 
  • Chartered a church, Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee  
  • Raised over $37,000 in the Bishop's offering to help launch a church in Lowell Correctional Facility (largest women's prison in the country) and go towards the building fund of the relaunched Wesley Foundation at FAMU in Tallahassee 
  • Celebrated that we are up to 301 Fresh Expressions of ministry throughout our conference now
  • 14 new churches - including Community - are involved in ZOE since last year and over 1000 children are benefiting from the conference's involvement.
  • The percentage given in apportionments from local churches increased and we reduced our 2020 Budget for the Conference to return more resources to the local church
  • We approved a new ministry plan for Lation/Latina ministries. 
  • We engaged in dialogue about our church's social teachings and public witness
  • We approved funding for scholarships for seminary students over the next five years.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we also elected 46 persons (23 laity and 23 clergy) to represent Florida at next year's gatherings - General Conference (May in Minneapolis) and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (July in Lake Junaluska, NC). The Jurisdictional Conference is mainly charged with the election of bishops and we have five bishops in our jurisdiction who are retiring. I was elected as clergy for the Jurisdictional Conference and our own Riley Standifer was elected to Jurisdictional Conference as a layperson. Riley will also serve as a seated alternate for General Conference. 

And finally on Saturday morning, we concluded Annual Conference by licensing, commissioning and ordaining a total of 52 persons for ministry, including Pastor Loida, as she was ordained an elder!!! It was beautiful to see the large group of people from Community who came to share this special moment with her.

As you can see there is much to celebrate across our connection and now we are back to live this out our mission of making disciples in our own local communities. 

Blessings, 



PreConference worship in Buckner Theatre on Tuesday night 

Mike Standifer representing Conference Camps
Joey Landstedt with the rest of the design team for the Institute of Modern Worship
Hunter Gnann with Bishop Carter and his wife Pam and some other conference youth
Riley Standifer addressing conference during one of the resolution discussions.
I wrote a devotional for this book last year, at Cokesbury had them for sale in their display!  

Ordination is a very long journey. So very happy to mark this milestone with Loida!
Riley Standifer and I after the delegation meeting on Saturday afternoon

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Midweek Moment

Good afternoon my friends!

This week your lay delegates and pastors have been attending the 2019 Florida Annual Conference. It has been a tremendous time of hard work, amazing stories, and hope-filled testimonies. We have heard of new ministries and people being reached for Christ. We have had opportunities to engage in conversations with people from different life experiences. We have felt a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

We have an opportunity to continue this celebration this week in worship. This Sunday is Pentecost, a day set aside to honor and focus on the Holy Spirit. To help in this time, we are asking everyone to wear red to worship as a sign of this time.

This Sunday, we would love to see you in worship. We would love to see you in red. We would simply love to see you!

Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will have a guest preacher in worship - the Rev. Dr. Clarke Campbell Evans from the Conference Office. Clarke is the Conference Director for Missional Engagement. He will be preaching about "The Models of Mission that Jesus Admires" from Luke 10:3, 21, 31-34, and 41-42.

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.



2. Charge Conference Results - The members of the church who attended Tuesday night's special called Charge Conference voted to approve the purchase of the "yellow house" located at 404 W. Fountain Street. The resolution authorized the chair of Trustees George Clive to negotiate the purchase on behalf of the church and the chair of Finance Mike Weer to work on the payment details, as we add this to a refinancing of our current building loan. Please keep the process in prayer as it moves forward.



3. Looking Ahead - Vacation Bible School Mark these dates on your calendar, June 17-21. That's when we will be celebrating ROAR! VBS at Community!!!! Beginning in May, Faye will be at the VBS table after each service to sign up children, volunteers, and answer questions. If you would like to register your children or grandchildren, or if you would like to signup to volunteer, you can do so online or by stopping at the church office to pick up a form. In the bulletin this week will also be a list of supplies and decorations that are still needed. If you are able to donate, or let us borrow, we would be grateful. This is an exciting time and a great opportunity for us to love on this community and the families that call it home! Have a great weekend and we will see you on Sunday!

4. Prayers for Pastor Loida's Family - Pastor Loida left for Honduras on Wednesday after her mother had another stroke this week. Please keep her and her mother Francisca in your prayers.


Have a great weekend and we know you will enjoy worship this Sunday!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Midweek Moment

It was beautiful last weekend to be part of the Rise Against Hunger meal packing event in our Family Life Center! This is a picture of what it means to be the church, all On Mission Together! We had about 80 people gathered to pack 20,000 meals - folks from all three different services and some people were friends of folks in the church that you brought with you. A big thank you to everyone who came out to make this event possible - and provide food AND hope to kids around the world.




























Blessings,