First United Methodist Church

Embracing the Vision: 7 Packed SUV’s

7 packed SUVs

One of the ways we encourage multi-generational service in our community is through Sharing Christmas. This initiative is one of those unique opportunities for the entire family to join together in service. For instance, parents have the opportunity take their children to the store to pick out gifts for other kids! Whether they select toys for kids their same age, or a different age, it allows our young ones to actively patriciate in being Christ-like servants to those in need. Our missions team collects all the gifts our families collect to ensure the toys make their way to the Christmas mall! This year we collected 7 vehicle loads full of toys for families in need.

Historically as a church family we collected toys and held a Christmas mall at our South Street location. This store offered an opportunity for those in need to purchase gifts at a discounted rate so that they could purchase toys with dignity for their kids. This year, we shifted from hosting a mall at our South Street location to partnering with Women of Hope and UP Orlando. These two organizations host a Christmas mall with the same intent as our mall downtown Orlando each year.

2,500+ Toys

Because of your generous contributions, FUMCWP took part in the 117 bicycles, 2,500 toys, and $15,000+ in donations to support this effort during the holiday season. This is just one example of the many ways we reach out and make an impact in our local community.

Embracing the Vision: Steeped in Tradition

Steeped in Tradition  

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us: authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6, NRSV 

During the Advent season, there is activity, movement, and dynamic experiences within our vibrant family here at FUMCWP. These experiences are tools to help guide our focus during this time of anticipation and preparation for the birth of Christ. These events also build community and allow us to grow in discipleship together. Over the years, Festival Gloria – a special Christmas concert that our Music Ministry hosts – is one of those experiences that has become a Christmas tradition for many in our congregation and the local community.  

Michael Roberts, our Director of Music Ministries, conducted the concert early in December to kick-off the Advent season. One of the interesting elements of this event is that we not only use the talent within our own congregation but we reach out to the community to expand those in the orchestra and choir.  

Festival Gloria is not just a musical presentation, but those who joined with us that Sunday morning where truly blessed with this annual celebration, pointing our focus to the arrival of Christ. Unique to Festival Gloria is the audience’s opportunity to sing with the Festival Choir and Festival Orchestra as Michael turned from the front to encourage the congregation to join in song.  

Embracing the Vision: Extending Hospitality

During the Advent season, we host several events across our campus. These events range from our upcoming Longest Night Service and Candlelight services to the recent Women’s Advent Celebration and even the Breakfast with Santa Event. Whether it’s celebrating the joy of the season or realizing that some of us are weary, overwhelmed and in need of rest – we create environments to reach all with God’s grace.

The complete list of Advent services and times can be found here.

Our Vibrant Family, A Saturday Morning, and A Breakfast Fit for A King

A unique aspect of our Vibrant Family is the preschool ministry. We benefit from both the Methodist School for Early Education (MSEE) and the Trinity Christian Academy (TCA). These schools support the discipleship process of our children and provide safe environments for them to learn. MSEE hosts a Breakfast with Santa Event every year where families come for a time of fellowship while enjoying some of the typical holiday festivities such as writing letters to Santa, crafts, and photo-ops. Another neat component to this event is that a group of volunteers serve and organize the event. Our Hospitality Ministry works in conjunction with the group to ensure the food logistics go off without a hitch, but it is a very lay driven event to encourage the excitement of the little ones during the holiday season.

Food by Numbers

Have you ever wondered about all the food preparation for an event like this one? We serve breakfast to over 500 guests, teachers, and volunteers in two shifts all within a matter of hours. The MSEE volunteers and our Hospitality Ministry worked together to expand the menu to include scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, Munster cheese biscuits in addition to the traditional staples.

In addition to the months of planning and prep-work, here are some stats on the food preparation:

  • 1200+ prepared eggs
  • 500 servings of hot chocolate
  • 400+ foil wrapped biscuits
  • 60+ lbs of strawberries
  • 15 cases of yogurt
  • 3 cases of bagels

If you’re interested in serving on the hospitality team and supporting events such as the Breakfast with Santa Event, reach out to Randy Parsons, our Director of Hospitality, at [email protected].

Embracing the Vision: Spirit and Soul and Body

Spirit and Soul and Body

Thessalonica was one of the harbor cities where Paul led the development of the Early Church during his missionary travels. Timothy, one of Paul’s devoted mentees, later visited the church in the busy city to provide an update to Paul. From Timothy’s report, Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians as a letter to the believers in that context. Paul wrote of themes including Christian hope, Jesus’ coming, responsibility – and lives of comprehensive holiness. Paul closes the letter with instruction and exhortation to the Thessalonians.

“May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do this” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NRSV).

Paul brings awareness of the human existence and how our entire lives are part of the sanctification process. With this in mind, our Health and Wholeness Ministry strives to help people achieve wholeness to live and serve fully as intended by God. Betsy McKeeby is our Parish Nurse – actually, our one and only – who has directed this ministry since 2003. This ministry started in partnership with several other health ministries in the Orlando community as “Our Whole Community.” Nearly 15 years later, our Health and Wholeness Ministry thrives while caring for our congregation through education, information, preventative measures, assistance, and spiritual support.

  • Whether you participated in the fall Move60 Challenge – or would like to participate in the next Move60 Challenge this March.
  • Whether you attend – or would like to start attending – our Monday, Wednesday, or Friday yoga sessions held here on campus.
  • Whether you attended the Mindful Living session on Gratitude this November – or would like to attend a Wellness Initiative about Knee Health on December 14th.

These are only a few of the countless initiatives our Health and Wholeness Ministry uses to live into our vision of a vibrant family built on God’s grace. “We use education and prevention to be proactive when it comes to our health. We don’t just respond to emergencies, but we provide healthy communities to encourage healing” says Betsy. “Our goal is to have folks well – we want you well!”

Move60 Challenge

The Move60 Challenge is a program we participate in through Healthy Central Florida. It’s a MOVEment to encourage activity as we strive to become healthier communities. Our Health and Wholeness Ministry gets a team together as a part of the faith community segment of program. “Nov. 29 was the end of this particular challenge and we are excited to see how we end up ranking. We’ve won the past 2 times and with the prize money we were able to update the AED’s across our church campus” says Betsy. Check out this feature on our team from Healthy Central Florida.

The Move60 Challenge is based on being physically active 60 days and being sure activity is recorded weekly. Whether it is walking, running, biking, etc. – participants are encouraged to start moving and stick to it! Look for more information on joining our team in 2018 for the March edition.

Yoga at Church

Did you know we offer yoga at the church? Meeting people where they are at, we offer a Gentle Yoga program as well as a Multi-Level class throughout the week. Whether you are interested in getting a yoga session in after you drop your little one off at MSEE for the morning and are in need of some orthopedic prevention, we have a class for you. Click here for the current schedule.

Embracing Gratitude During Advent

Our Mindful Living Initiative hosted a night session focused on Gratitude just before Thanksgiving. It was a great reminder to set our hearts towards a focus on gratitude and thankfulness as we enter the season of Advent where we prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ. This Gratitude session is just one in a series of sessions that allow us to focus on mindfulness, meditation, activity, and reflection.

I had a hard 2 days in a row; it was unreal and 100%. I bought 15 pills of Viagra at the best price. It was enough for me.

Interested in joining the Health & Wholeness Ministry

Move60, yoga, and the Gratitude night barely touch the surface of all the activities of this ministry. We understand that part of the faith journey is serving the Lord with the gifts and graces He has blessed each of us with. Whether you want to learn about maintaining your heart or preventing your health problems. Let Betsy know – [email protected]

Embracing the Vision: Call of Intentionality 

“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” 

The Diversity Ministry is a relatively new ministry to our church family and born out of the recent home meetings with Pastor David. At every home meeting, a church member raised the request to intentionally increase our church’s diversity. We heard this request and formed a lay team to support this ministry. Under the guidance of Pastor David, Annette Snedaker leads this ministry and how we can passionately seek Matthew 25:31-46. This call from the Gospel according to Matthew is heavy on the hearts of this ministry team.  

The Diversity Ministry meets monthly to strategize how to broaden the reach of our vibrant family and further grow into serving in the image of Jesus the Christ.  

 In November, Forum – one of our adult Sunday school classes – asked Annette to share with the class updates from this ministry. This is just one more example of how we are strengthening our connections and engaging one another across ministries as one vibrant family. At the heart of this Sunday morning discussion was a time of acceptance and curiosity: 

  • Honest storytelling 
  • Overview of the Diversity Ministry 
  • Vibrant dialogue  

Drawing from Steven Covey’s book, “The Speed of Trust,” one of the first objectives the diversity ministry emphasizes is to always build trust – build trust between those engaged in the movement. Before we bridge into any unchartered territory – geographically, economically, or culturally – we must first build bridges between one another.  

Call of Intentionality 

Let’s join the Diversity Ministry in investigating what this call of intentionality and inclusive perspective means in our daily lives.  

Matthew 25:31-46 – New Revised Standard Version

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”