First United Methodist Church

Service Times

9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

A Resounding ‘Yes’!

Last Sunday, a couple hundred members filled our sanctuary to respond to Leadership Council’s call to vote regarding the adoption of the Reeves Property. For those of you who missed the church conference, here’s a quick recap. Jeff Hanniford, Chair of our Leadership Council, presented the proposal to all the attendees. Members were then invited to ask questions regarding the proposal. Here are a few of the questions asked in a paraphrased format.

  • Property NameChurch Member: What’s the new name of the Reeves Property? Pastor David: Naming the location will be a long process, involving many people.
  • Volunteers NeededChurch Member: How many volunteers are required to run the ministries at Reeves? Jeff: We will live into that as we do not know those numbers yet.
  • Amount of Property Church Member: How much property is at Reeves? Jeff: There is a lot of potential including a house, compared to South Street where we were limited in building the campus out.
  • Money SpentChurch Member: How much money has the church already invested in Reeves? Bill Legg, Chair of Trustees: $50,000 funded by FUMCWP; but in totality over $130,000 paid in part by the Marcy Trust and FL Conference reimbursement. Pastor David: The Feasibility Study was the only other funding from FUMCWP in addition to that. 

Following the time of Q&A, members were encouraged to give speeches in favor or against the proposed adoption. Denominational rules state that members are permitted to give up to 3 speeches for each of the two positions. After 3 speeches in favor and 1 in opposition, a vote was called. Our members present at the church conference gave a resounding ‘Yes’ to the adoption. 

Our Future at Reeves

As our church family moves forward expanding ministries into this property, we understand it will be a slow, strategic and prayerfully guided process. Look for more updates and opportunities regarding Reeves.

Ruth Circle Rummage Sale Success!

The Ruth Circle Rummage Sale was a huge success this year! As Christ-like servants, the Ruth Circle raised a bundle (over $6000) for local missions. Blessings to the congregation and community for your fabulous donations, help and cooperation. Julia Rowe, a Ruth Circle member, has shared with us her thoughts as she reflects on the GOOD that comes from this sale.

First, there is the inter-generational and cross-group experience in pulling this together. Everyone in the church can be involved and is involved with donating the items (and shopping for them). The youth helps us unload on Sunday night. My small Wednesday group and many other groups save their stuff for us and wish us well. In other words the sale fosters togetherness among our congregation and staff as well.

Second, we keep a gym full of stuff out of the landfill showing a stewardship to our Earth.

Third, we give medical things to Betsy’s closet of things to help those in need of it.

Fourth, we provide dignity and opportunity to people with limited funds to shop for things that they need and who might not otherwise be able to have a book, or a toy, or a lamp, or an extra pot. It felt so nice to hear a lady came back after the first day exclaiming what a happy evening she had spent entertaining herself with a 50 cent puzzle!

Fifth, we gave or sold boxes of books to school libraries who will share them with children who need to read and be read to using these materials.

Sixth, and related to the fourth, we create an opportunity for ourselves to “go out into the world” and be with those we don’t always know how to be with, but whom Jesus calls us to befriend.

Seventh, it certainly gives a time of togetherness, bonding, and laughter, and sharing among each other when I am not sure that would happen without a project to the extent it does when we are accomplishing something good together.

Eighth, the person who picks up the leftover items at the end also is benefited by helping them to make a living or further their cause so the the ripple affect keeps on going.

Ninth, of course the money we earned! We always do so much good locally with how we give it away. Deciding how it is spent helps us grow in wisdom with that responsibility and brings us happiness too.

Oh and the main thing, I got -21 lb during the time! Give it a shot, I normally order it on to be sure on the quality.

I think the ripple effects will still be going out from our efforts. I think it is a God thing that brings about a multiplying phenomenon when we give our small contribution. Thanks again to Barbara Webster for your leadership in this huge undertaking and thanks to everyone who joined in!”

Story as Medicine

by Tonya L. Tolson

As a member of the Vibrant Family pillar, the Diversity Committee is committed to embracing the diversity in all of God’s creations and loving down divisions in our church and surrounding communities by being sensitive to others; listening deeply to all points of view; developing relationships towards candor and authenticity; educating ourselves; and working towards justice, reconciliation, and Unity.

In short, in addition to prayer and devotion, we choose vulnerability and empathy by sharing our personal stories to initiate healing, reconciliation, and transformation.

Some years ago, while I was undergoing my own personal transformation out of childhood traumas and through divorce, I had the privilege to attend a lecture with the clinical psychoanalyst and author Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.  She’s a prominent story-teller who specializes in stripping down fairy tales to the bone and sharing their real meanings.  Estés highlights such stories in her two extraordinary books entitled, “Women Who Run with the Wolves” and “Untie the Strong Woman.”

Estés knows that stories are medicine, which provide us with the blueprints to heal and the tools to navigate our lives.  Estés writes, “[Stories] have such power; they do not require that we do, be, or act anything – we need only listen.  The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories.  Stories engender the excitement, sadness, questions, longings, and understandings…”

Estés’ work in story-telling does not only comes from being a writer, poet, and psychoanalyst, but from the experience of being an American, an immigrant, and from her Mexican and Hungarian lineages of family storytellers.  Estés wrote: “The healing medicine of story does not exist in a vacuum.  It cannot exist divorced from its spiritual source.  It cannot be taken on as a mix-and-match project.  There is an integrity to story that comes from a real life lived in it.”

Of the many stories Estés archived, here’s one as Christians all know:

Once long ago, a man who had been wayfaring alone with no protective guide, was attacked, beaten black and bloody, and he lay bleeding to death on the side of the road.

Various travelers passed by.  They all saw the broken soul, but hurriedly stepped over his dying body so they could keep their own appointments.

 Two priests in flowing robes from two different religious groups saw the man suffering in broad daylight, but even the anointed literally crossed to the other side of the road to avoid having to engage with or touch the poor man’s wounds.

It’s the Good Samaritan, of course, one of Jesus’ thought-provoking, heart-shifting, and soul-transforming parables.  In these timeless stories, our Lord and Master, The Wisdom Jesus is pushing each of us out of our comfort zones; calling us to drill down deep not for only the answers, but for additional questions and meaning.  Jesus challenges us, as Rob Bell points out, to come into the story “through the side door,” rewiring our minds and reaching the deepest parts of our hearts and souls.

Estés also challenges us in asking this important question: “Who will tell the stories so truths can be told, so the ways of full acknowledgment of what occurred and full mercy can be made known to all?”

As disciples of Christ, we are that important spiritual who.  We are the sisters and brothers, who are brave and vulnerable enough to share our truth and those meaningful experiences as medicine to heal, reconcile and fortify our vibrant family.

In case you missed it…

On Sunday, Pastor David led an open dialogue between services to discuss the Reeves property. During the discussion, he expressed both thankfulness and hopefulness of our continued ministry in the city. The room was filled with laity who were curious and, more importantly, encouraged about the expanded possibilities for ministry that Reeves offers. In this interactive format, key questions were asked regarding the community, diversity, and funding.
The Reeves property is uniquely positioned next to the Orlando Gifted Academy, in an up-and-coming neighborhood. With financial support from the Florida Annual Conference, we forecast minimal start-up costs. FUMCWP Leadership plans a slow expansion of ministry at Reeves as we hold tightly to our call to be stewards of our resources.
Later this month our church family will be voting to determine whether the Reeves property is a fit for our mission. If you missed the open dialogue or any of our off-site and home meetings this summer, you are in luck! This Sunday we are hosting an Open House at Reeves from 11:00am to 2:00pm. We invite all of our members to walk the property, pray for discernment, and explore some of the expanded possibilities for ministry. Then, we invite you to join us the following Sunday (September 23rd at 12:15pm) to vote at our Church Conference as we seek a decision on the adoption of Reeves.