First United Methodist Church

Service Times

9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

Advent Challenge

We will be accepting these donations throughout our Advent sermon series, Socks & Underwear:

  • Dec. 2 – Gift Cards (Target, Walmart, Amazon)
  • Dec. 9 – Socks
  • Dec. 16 – Underwear/diapers
  • Dec. 23 – Sweatshirts

These items will be shared with our community ministry partners, including the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Family Promise, Winter Park Christian Service Center and Killarney Elementary School.

Praying Our Way Forward at First United Methodist of Winter Park

As many of you are aware, The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, to address human sexuality in the Book of Disciplines. The purpose of the Special Session will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendation of the Council of Bishops.

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has asked that Methodists all over the world commit to a prayer and fasting initiative called Praying Our Way Forward prior to and during the Special Session.  We are being called to pray for God’s leadership to guide us effectively in fulfilling the mission of the church and to come together in unity. In prayer, we can be one in Christ.

As part of Praying the Way Forward, Gathered In His Name  (GIHN) an intercessory prayer group at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park is requesting that our church community join us in 12 weeks of prayer in solidarity with Methodists all over the world.  We will include a short suggested weekly prayer for the next twelve weeks in Thursday at Three.  We hope that each person will take time to pray.

As members of our Vibrant Family at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, we are aware of the need appreciating our brothers and sisters in Christ and listening to their stories.  We are cognizant that we have different backgrounds, experiences, opinions and beliefs but in spite of our differences we have a common core set of beliefs as United Methodists that serve to unify and bring us together through God’s love and grace.

Weekly Prayers:

Week of 12/3/18:

Precious Jesus, we pray for members of our own vibrant family at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park in order that we might hear each other’s point of view, embrace, and love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Week of 12/10/18:

As we pray for our vibrant church family, let us pray for unity.  Guide us to remember with gratitude that each of us has unique gifts and stories.  Keep us aware of our beautiful differences and show us your way, which is always the best way.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  1 Peter 3:8-9

Week of 12/17/2018:

Guide us along Your path as we interact with our brothers and sisters throughout our day.  Keep us mindful of You.  May we follow in Your footsteps and grow in our understanding of our need for unity.

“ Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

Week  of 12/24/2018:

As we pray for unity within our church family, Lord we ask for your help in remembering that we are all part of the body of Christ together and let us trust the spirit is at work in our conversations and interactions.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  Colossians 3:16

Week  of 12/31/2018:

May we feel your presence throughout our day and may we show compassion to all. Guide us as we interact with others in understanding, peace and love.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-39

Week of 1/7/2019:
Let us hear You every time You whisper in our ear. Help us pause, reflect, discern, and act on those whispers as You guide us each day. Guide our hearts in unity as we worship and serve together and keep us focused on our mission to make disciples of all people.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:34-35

Week of 1/20/2019:

God of peace and wisdom, equip and inspire us to deliver acts of love in humility and selflessness  May we become more sensitive to the voice of Your Holy Spirit, so that all we do will please You and bring You glory.   May we walk with You in trust and peace, and with our brothers and sisters in the love and unity you desire.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

Week of 1/28/2019:

Dear God of Mercy, we pray for the eight clergy delegates and nine lay delegates representing the Florida Conference of the United Methodist church. We lift them up in gratitude and ask for Divine wisdom that they may discern Your will and the Way Forward.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind Philippians 2:1-2

Week of 2/3/2019:
Dear heavenly Father, we ask for guidance for our Florida Conference delegation while attending the special called General Conference in St. Louis. May unity replace divisiveness, love replace fear, and Your will replace their will.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew7:1-2

Week of 2/11/2019:

Let us pray for our Methodist brothers and sisters around the world who are serving as delegates to the Special called General Conference. Father, help them to show grace and mercy to those struggling with these divisive issues.
“ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Week of 2/18/2019:

May the Holy Spirit be hovering over each delegate providing guidance as they gather in St. Louis to determine the Way forward for the global Methodist Church.  Pray that they may trust in the will of God and walk in love and unity in confidence of God’s path set before them.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

What Is a Connect Group?

Let’s start with the history. The Methodist “class meeting” was started in 1742 when a group of Methodists were trying to pay off a building debt in Bristol. These meetings were divided into groups of 12 people where one person in each group was designated leader and responsible for visiting each person every week in order to collect one penny in order to pay off the building debt.

As this plan was put into practice, it became apparent that many Methodists were not keeping the “General Rules”, which were: do no harm, do good, and practice the means of grace (i.e., prayer, searching the Scriptures, receiving communion). Similarly, many of the attendees happily experienced Christian fellowship for the first time.

This class meeting quickly developed into much more than a capital campaign. It became a crucial tool for enabling Methodists to watch over one another in love and support and encourage one another. In fact, John Wesley thought the oversight and support the class meeting provided was so important, it became a requirement for membership in a Methodist society.

Fast forward to today, we believe the new connect groups (and the existing ones) allow us to “watch over one another in love”. We are called to invite others into our lives so that we can grow in grace.  We still believe we need one another in order to persevere on this journey.

We hope you will make time to join us on Jan. 13 to learn more about our church’s Connect Groups.


Security Update

We are all too painfully aware of how individuals with malicious intent have perpetrated acts of violence at places of worship and schools both within our nation and around the world.  While these senseless acts cannot be completely eliminated, we as a community need to be prepared to respond during times of trouble.

Our Emergency Preparedness Task Team has been meeting and will be implementing some additional security measures around our church and school campus.

While we desire to have an open, welcoming environment, it is also very important to help safeguard the safety and security of our staff, our congregation, students, preschoolers, visitors, etc.

Installation of Phase One of our new security system has been initially implemented as of the end of November.   Phase One is based around the school and the Wesleyan building.  We have installed new security cameras, upgraded security locks, keycard readers and intercoms.

Daily operations for the school will be very similar to present operations with improved security and smoother locking and access to the playground gates.  During school hours the only access to the school will be via intercom and remote door access on the walkway between the Matthias Family Life Center and the School.

Operations for administrative and ministry staff will change with the new system.  Access to the church office will be via intercom and remote door access at the two primary Wesleyan doors.  Staff and Lay leadership access will be via keycard.

Additional phases will include the Sanctuary and the Matthias Family Life Center.

Speaking of security, with rolling back time and the Christmas shopping season upon us, please be sure to lock your cars in the parking lot and when parking around the church.

Thank you for your patience as we transition to our new system and fine tune the process.  We look forward to implementing this new level of security with you.


Bishop’s Regional Gatherings 2018

Bishop Carter held regional gatherings in September of 2018 in four locations across the state. Over 1000 people attended and were invited to submit questions in writing. This video is a compilation of the various questions and answers from the four sites, plus Bishop Carter’s presentation on On Mission Together.
Click here to view video.

Giving Thanks with Pie!

This past September, our students helped Ruth Circle unload Rummage Sale items at their annual sale. To say thanks, Ruth Circle will be donating pumpkin and apple pies to the Thanksgiving Senior Adult Luncheon on Nov. 18th.
This event is hosted by our Elevate students and is a wonderful opportunity for an intergenerational time of fellowship and community. If you are interested in joining, be sure to register so we know you are coming!

Looking forward to the next 89 days!

For my 89 days (who’s counting?!) that I have been a part of family ministry, I am so fortunate to work with exceptional staff and volunteers in children’s and student ministries. These amazing people serve, vision and plan to make our church truly a vibrant family. Our mission is to be a multigenerational ministry that provides opportunities and support to our student and family programs from birth to adulthood. There are no spectators. Everyone grows and evolves through the spiritual gifts of our whole vibrant family. We are celebrating the past and looking towards an amazing future. I can’t wait to see what God does for my next 89 days!
Rick Jones, Director of Family Ministry

Veterans’ Day

This past Sunday, we celebrated Veterans’ Day at our church. To honor those who served, a team from the new Military Ministry handed out red, white, and blue ribbons to be worn by our military veterans. They also passed out yellow ribbons to be worn by family members of veterans.
At the 11:00am service we honored a special veteran, Jack Morrison, a retired Colonel in the US Marines Corp. He was also celebrating his 102nd birthday that day!

Stewardship Sunday Speech – Ray Sandhagen

I am here today to talk to you about our Stewardship Initiative and to ask for your commitment to help us achieve our giving goal for 2019. Many of you have already submitted your pledge cards with your financial commitment for our new calendar year and we are extremely grateful for your support. We need everyone’s help, financially and spiritually.

As you know, the theme of our Stewardship Initiative this year is:   I Trust. I Give. We pray that our church family will grow in its trust of God and the more we trust God the more we will experience the joy of sharing our lives and resources with others for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Our revenue budget this year is $4.5 million.  That is modestly lower than our revenue budget for 2018. The change we made in 2018 and will continue in future years is to prepare a combined budget that includes all ministries and our General Fund.  That is why this budget number may seem higher than some of you might remember from previous years.

We have 4 Pillars supporting 28 Ministries in our Church such as worship services, our children and youth programs, our missions and outreach initiatives and 118 employees. We are financially strong and we want to continue to grow the Kingdom of God in every way we can, spreading our ministry locally and abroad. We have two outstanding preschools and we are excited about having a new Director of Family Ministries with us now.  Also, we look forward to expanding some of our ministries, specifically to the Reeves Community to welcome many new neighbors.

We have also been able to make substantial improvements to our campus this year and we want to continue with that program. This has been an outstanding year and we have accomplished a great deal.

One of our goals for 2019 is to have 300 giving units who have made a financial commitment.  This year we had 260 giving units so we want to increase that by 15% or 40 more giving units.  A giving unit is a family or an individual.  If we can do that, it will be a big day in the life of our Church!

So, next Sunday, November 11, is Commitment Sunday, when we hope to collect the final pledge cards and close out the Stewardship Initiative for 2019. Now that does not mean you can’t turn in your pledge card before next Sunday. We have a number of ways to give. Use the pledge card and drop it in the offering plate, go through Realm, text Vibrant Family or go on our website. We have also received offerings of securities. The ushers here today have blank cards if you need one.

So, please prayerfully consider your gift for 2019.  We are indeed grateful for your generosity this year and our upcoming year.

Ray L. Sandhagen
Chairman, Finance Committee