First United Methodist Church

Making a Difference

Recently, we asked for a gently used tent for one of our unhoused neighbors. Stuart Bogue met Julian while distributing Street Eats bags and approached us with his need for a tent. We received one almost immediately and Stuart was able to deliver it.

“I finally saw the young gentleman last night and he was so excited to receive the tent! Julian told me that it was his 27th birthday and he felt like he was getting a present. He was all smiles when I pulled the tent from my car. I know it meant the world to him. Please let the person know who donated the tent how much he liked it, and that it was going to help him get a peaceful night’s sleep for his birthday.” ~Stuart

Thank you to Stuart, to our tent benefactor, and to those who assemble and distribute Street Eats bags. YOU are the hands and feet of Christ serving our community!

Nursery Staff Celebration

On Sunday, May 19 we celebrated 9 nursery staff member graduates! Seven of these will go off to college in the fall. We also celebrated the new staff that will be taking their place.

We are so thankful for all of the nursery staff that take care of the youngest members of our church family!

Meet Felicia Coleman!

Please welcome Felicia, our new Children’s Ministry Coordinator. Felicia is a long-time United Methodist, with a passion for children’s ministry and helping families flourish in their faith. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Religion and many years of experience as a Children’s Ministry Director.

“My goal is for children to form a solid foundation in their faith so that they can use it to continue to thrive in the church and in the world.” ~Felicia

We are blessed to have her on our Family Ministry Team and part of our church family!

Power and Privilege Workshop

On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, twenty of our leaders and advocates for diversity participated in a profound and thought-provoking workshop entitled, “Understanding Power and Privilege.”
Barbara Thompson, our trusted guide from UCF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, once again took us on journey to open our hearts and minds to the blindspots that exists in the privilege and the oppression that operates around race, gender, and sexual orientation. It was eye-opening, and a tip of the iceberg of what it means to be disciples of Christ.

Dressed to Impress!

Missions and Outreach had the joy of delivering tailored suits to the men of The Jobs Partnership of Orlando last week! Jobs Partnership is an amazing organization that provides vocational education during a 12-week cycle multiple times a year and FUMCWP is privileged to partner with them to provide interview suits for the men in the program. From fittings to delivery, the suits (including everything from ties to shoes to undershirts) are tailored to each man’s size and style – all free of charge! The men were all so grateful for their new interview clothes and we loved seeing their smiles! For more information about The Jobs Partnership of Orlando, visit jobspartnership.org.

Street Eats Bags Bring People Together

You’ve probably seen our Street Eats bags available on Sunday mornings to take to someone you encounter over the course of your week who is in need. They are full of food items, a bottle of water, and a card filled with resource information. They also have a sticker on the front that says “Know You Are Loved.” When someone is given one of the bags, we hope they understand that no matter what, they are loved.

Stuart is one of our members who gives out these bags often – so much so that his mentees in South Orange Blossom Trail recognize the bags around the neighborhood and know where they came from! He says that when he gives a bag to someone, others around him are more inclined to give instead of ignore the person in need. It also allows him to get to know the people he is helping, learn their names, their stories, and other needs they have.

If you’re interested in assembling Street Eats bags, join us for our Family Serve Night on June 21st. Check the May Monthly Newsletter for more information about the event and registration!

Connect Group Stories

Why are Connect Groups so important in our faith journey?

“Strangers who became friends and are now like family – this is how I think about the amazing people in my small group. I never knew how special and important it was to have individuals like this in my life until my husband and I joined this group and have never been more thankful God led us to them. Over the last two and a half years, we have celebrated, cried, laughed, hugged, encouraged and loved with them. We have delved into Scripture and picked it apart in ways that brought cool new light and meaning to it. God has spoken to me countless times through my friends in this group and has taught me some remarkable things in this way. I am thankful to have a group of fun, God-fearing people I can trust, count on, and disciple with. My faith is much deeper and richer because of my Connect Group.”  ~Candace Jadidian

 


“Participating in a Connect Group has been a great experience.  The open dialog and interaction of all members of the group is a great complement to the Sunday services.  Although we often don’t solve many issues of the day, we do discuss them.  But more important than the issues at hand, understanding the perspective and background of each individual participating in the small group conversation has been an advancement in the Christian discipline of simply learning loving one another. 

Certain statements made by others in my group have often become phrases (quotes) that I will never forget and will use often with others and at home with my family members.  What makes these phrases most memorable and impactful is ultimately not the phrase itself but rather who said them and how well I have gotten to know that person.  It seems like the most influential people in my life are not those who are just like me, but rather those individuals who are uniquely different from me. 

My personal advice would be to join a small group and bring all your unanswered questions.  Enjoy and listen to the unique perspectives and life experiences found in others as well as maybe share your God given uniqueness with those strangers who sit right next to you each Sunday.”   ~Steve Hofman

Learn more about Connect Groups here.

Communication as Ministry – A 2019 Update

Gratitude + Growth 

Marketing & Communications for a church is a pretty interesting ministry! We embrace the vision and mission of our church to be a vibrant family that makes disciples. And, we get to use some cool tools and technologies to communicate opportunities to grow and serve within our church family.

Over the past year and a half, this ministry has been (and still is) tasked with bringing a strategic approach to communications across our faith community. Think of all the ministries our church is blessed to initiate, develop, and cultivate over time. With those 30+ ministries in mind (can you name them all?), having strategic platforms to unite all of these efforts is paramount.

Communications is important to the life of the church and the faith journey of each person. These communication tools allow for individuals to know of ways to connect, participate, and serve here. Each of us is on a unique spiritual journey that calls for an active and durable faith. And, the Communications Ministry seeks to offer information critical for your development every day – literally!

We certainly know there are areas of growth when it comes to communications, but we did want to take a moment to celebrate and share in gratitude some of our recent efforts:

  • This June we will be celebrating a year of the Monthly Newsletter. Shout-out to all our leaders who submit announcements by the 3rd Monday of every month to ensure inclusion in that communication staple. Each month after the Communications Ministry receives the submissions, we spend the next two weeks in layout/design, proofing and printing.
  • Yay for screens! We have three screens around the Winter Park campus that scroll through relevant information. (Do you know where they are located?!)
  • During Christmas 2018 and Easter 2019 we integrated a digital check-in to capture information from worshippers such as new member interest, prayer requests, newsletter subscribes and more. (Did you know we created 6 different bulletins for the Christmas Eve services and 5 bulletins for the Holy Week services?)
  • How about those emails?! Each week we offer two e-newsletter: Monday Memo and Thursday at Three. Thanks to our ministries that submit announcements, updates, and stories to share with the greater church family. (Did you know: This Lenten season a mix of lay leaders, staff, and clergy wrote devotionals that we shared over the course of 39 daily emails to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter.)
  • Social media is what the kids (and adults) are using these days and we send out roughly 60 messages of month across various platforms.

These are just a few of the cyclical tactics the Communications Ministry uses to keep our church family informed so that you can be engaged! Certainly, there are always areas of growth and we will continue to strategically embrace ways to enhance our efforts.

**Also, look for updates later in the year regarding a couple of exciting strategic projects that are currently under way.**


Welcome + Invitation

Let’s take this conversation a step further. Understanding that communications is a ministry, we see these communications efforts as tools for our members to use in their individual ministry. As we seek to invite others into this faith community and welcome those that visit this church, these communication items become a way to connect others with the life of this church. Have you suggested to visitors…

  • “Grab a Month newsletter.”
  • “Follow us on Facebook.”
  • “Subscribe to our Thursday at Three.”

We know that communications is crucial for our engagement but, also, a means to involve others in our faith family.


Serve + Strengthen

Growing an Engaged Church is a great resource that discusses church engagement and spiritual commitment in contrast to mere participation and involvement. Relying on research from Gallup and strengths-based leadership, the author notes the importance of an individual serving in their faith community by using their strengths. As one uses their God-given strengths they “get stronger, more energized, and more engaged.”

So here’s the opportunity – are you gifted and passionate about communications (whether it’s graphic design, writing, video, social media, etc.)?

If so, send me an email at [email protected] and I’d love to discuss what serving our church family in a communications capacity looks like.

Sarah Skidmore, MA
Director of Marketing and Communications, First United Methodist Church of Winter Park.