First United Methodist Church

Devotion: Hope is Found Together

Do you remember how on Sunday I compared the journey of Advent to a laborious hike? And how we find HOPE when we continue to climb? Because Advent, just like faith, is a journey and it is sometimes hard to remember that the view at the top is worth it because our muscles hurt or we are thirsty or sunburnt, or just worn out. Well, today was one of those days. It’s the end of another long day, but there have been wonderful holy moments hidden in the chaos. I found hope in some small ways because I was looking for it and because I was watching and waiting.

Today I had the opportunity to go with Emmaline on her first field trip of this year. We rode a school bus which my children have always been obsessed with and I now have a newfound respect for the sanity of all school bus drivers. (If you are one of them, there’s a special place in heaven for you)! Emmaline and 120 of her closest first-grade friends went to the Orlando Science Center for the day. I had some really special moments with my firstborn and times that were just ours. But part of my job as a chaperone was to watch two additional children that I did not birth, and I quickly found that to be more exhausting than watching my own three children. Shout out to all the teachers out there!

We explored the Science Center, a place that our family knows and loves well, but it had special significance and was extra fun because we were doing it with all of Emmaline‘s classmates. The bus ride back to school was equally chaotic and when the field trip was over, the rest of the day continued with meetings, school pick-ups, Nutcracker dance rehearsal, and finally a wonderful respite in the middle of a busy week. If you missed the Advent Family Experience that we had tonight at the MFLC, it really was a place to experience Hope. People from the 9 AM and 11 AM services came together for a warm meal, crafts, gingerbread-making fun, and all of the beautiful chaos that comes with young church families! Pastor Leah and Pastor Jared and their teams created a beautiful atmosphere for families of all ages to learn a little bit more about this Advent season. I couldn’t be more proud of this amazing team that God has put together at this church.

The point is not that we need more programs or activities or events to experience HOPE, the point is that hope is found when we are together. When we break bread together, and we help watch each other’s children on the playground or when we offer to rock our babies, so that hungry mamas can eat. Hope it’s found when children find another child and tell them that we’re praying for them to get better or when we take a deep breath and go for a walk outside just to experience the beauty of Creation. Hope is found in a story, a laugh or a hug, or an invitation to join in or get to know. At Christmas time we probably have more opportunities to practice that hope and to model for our loved ones. Remember, hope is found more easily when we walk this journey together because we were never meant to walk this path alone. When we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and we come together with people who do the same, our hope grows so we can keep going. And even when we’re tired and frustrated and overwhelmed, hope it’s still found.

And so my encouragement to you, to me, to us all, is to keep looking for that hope. Especially when you have days like today. Don’t neglect to be with the body or become so busy that you forget how much we need each other. And what a joy it is to be together!

Thanksgiving Devotion

Office Space Available for Licensed Therapist

The 4 Pillars Counseling & Enrichment Center is seeking independent licensed therapists with personal Christian faith and specialization in the below outlined practice areas for collaboration through a lease agreement in our Colonialtown North campus counseling center.

Available office space has been remodeled specifically for counseling purposes and includes insulation/soundproofing, space for a full-size couch, additional seating for families, plus desk or another workspace for therapists.  Safety is taken very seriously, with clients entering the building only with the clinician’s assistance.

Offices are approximately 180-200 square foot and are available for lease beginning January 1, 2023.  Included in the $650 monthly rent are:

  • All utilities, including Wi-Fi, and regular janitorial service
  • Free off-street parking
  • Reception area seating and conference room space available to book

Practice areas include premarital, marital, and family counseling; trauma-focused care; child and/or play therapy; addiction and/or substance abuse; and LGBTQIA+-focused.  As part of the lease agreement, clinicians are required to provide documentation certifying the following:

  • Full licensure in the state of Florida to provide counseling.
  • Malpractice and general liability insurance that includes First United Methodist Church of Winter Park as an additional insured.
  • Successful completion of a background screening.

All prospective lessees will be fully vetted (including interviewing) prior to lease agreement; however, the Church is not otherwise involved in the therapeutic process. Therapists can counsel whom they choose, while working within legal parameters of the counseling profession. There is a preschool/daycare on campus, so onsite treatment of clients who are registered sex offenders is prohibited.

If interested, please email [email protected] for more information.

Devotion: Serving with Jobs Partnership

It comes as no surprise that followers of Jesus are called into service. The example we follow is a man who lived his whole life pouring it out for others. Ours is the religion of the upside-down Kingdom, where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Where the lost and broken amongst us are the first to receive the invitation into God’s family. And because we live in this reality where our words, thoughts, and deeds confirm that God must become greater and we must become less – service is just a part of who we are. It isn’t about a checklist of doing good to look holy but being used by God through obedience to make holy moments happen.

If you haven’t heard yet, there have been 12 weeks of holy moments happening through our church and community through the ministry of Job’s Partnership. For years, this church has financially supported the work of Job’s Partnership, but this is the first year that we have hosted a class. It took almost a year of prayer, planning fundraising and training to make this Fall Class possible. I have to especially thank Anita Williams and Dave Olsen who have been a part of this program for many years and whose passion and selfless attitude have made this ministry a transformative one.

On Thursday, August 25th, while I was caring for my one-week old, dozens of volunteers, leaders and coaches gathered at the Reeves Campus to welcome and begin week one of Jobs Partnership. Now, 12 weeks later, there are 17 graduates that we will celebrate and send off this evening. These 17 graduates have persevered through two hurricanes, heavy rainstorms, weekly homework, personal challenges and in two cases, drove all the way from Ocala to participate in this class because we were the only Job’s Partnership that provided childcare for their kids.

Thanks be to God!

These 17 individuals now have the skills, confidence and connections to move out of the job that they had to settle for and into the careers that they are now passionate about. And you all helped make that happen.

It took the lifestyle of service to change the lives of 17 individuals for the better. I am so proud of our church, of our leaders and of the many individuals that gave of themselves by coaching, mentoring, providing a meal, watching children, praying for and encouraging these beloved people.  All of you, the body of Christ called First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, made this ministry possible. There are too many of you to name, but you know who you are. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ through this ministry.

When I think about being good stewards of our service, I think of Job’s Partnership and the people that made it possible. Tonight, as these 17 class participates become 17 graduates, I thank God that many of you gave up a night every week to love on, encourage, teach, pray, feed and share. All of this is an act of service. Whenever we live outside of ourselves, when we put others first, when we see in them what they can’t see in themselves; we are serving. Whenever we show someone that they are in fact beloved and made in God’s image; we are serving. And whenever we come together as one body to serve, we glimpse a part of God’s Kingdom. From a practical perspective, there are now 17 more people with enough hope and acquired knowledge to better navigate the business world today. But even more importantly, 17 people now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God created them for a purpose and for holy significance and that gives me HOPE.

Tropical Storm Nicole

Updated: November 11, 8:30am

Campus Update

Our campus is OPEN for all activities and Sunday morning services. 

Relief Efforts

Our hearts go out to those affected by recent and upcoming storms in our community. Know your church family is here for you! 
 
Please contact Victoria Vaden at [email protected] for storm-related needs or offers of assistance.
 
Click the button below to give to our Relief Fund (use the drop-down arrow in the Fund section to select “Relief Fund”).

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

UMCOR is the humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church. Please prayerfully consider donating to UMCOR’s U.S. Disaster Response, where 100% of your gift goes directly to disaster relief.

UMCOR Cleaning Kits

Help those affected by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up. Click the link below to receive step-by-step instructions on how to assemble cleaning kits.

Human Resources Update Pastor David & Erin Corbelli

Watch today’s update to hear from Pastor David and Erin Corbelli regarding our Human Resources and Health Care Insurance.

Devotion: Sharing Is Caring

“But, Emmaline, Sharing is Caring!!!” This has become a favorite phrase of Charlie over these last few months. He hears it at school and he reminds every member of his family daily of this golden rule. In the midst of our current reality, I like to agree with him but add in the caveat, “Sharing is Caring, unless it is COVID!”

And so what does it mean to share? What does it mean to be generous of heart?

On Sunday, Pastor David shared the third of the Stewardship Sermons this time on Gifts. He suggested that how we approach money is a litmus test for our discipleship. I agree, Jesus was clear about this over and over again in the Gospels and as we heard Sunday, Jesus talked more about money than any other topic in His teachings. While generosity is seen most poignantly in money, generosity is also seen in the sharing of our time and talent as well. 

How do you share your time? How do you share your talents? In this stage of my life, time is money. Time is an actual commodity for me in a season where there is not enough time in my day to do all that I need to do. But part of the way I care for God’s people and my own little tribe is giving them my time and attention. For instance, I give of my time and attention by really listening when they have a story to share, a prayer that needs to be lifted up, a question they need answered. I choose patience in the busyness by sharing my focus and attention even if I feel there is something else I should be spending my time on. I share my authentic self in my relationships even if it means I am vulnerable and left exposed. I share my heart in situations that need softening because sometimes you are the one that can bring a new perspective to a tense situation.

I say that I do these things, but not all the time and certainly not perfectly. Sharing is Caring when I am grounded in who I am in Christ and when I am present to the Spirit of God in my midst.

Which invites me to ask an important question. If Sharing is Caring, who is most cared for when we are generous?

Pastor David shared on Sunday that we are on the right path with how we approach money when it makes us more aware, not less aware of Christ’s presence with us. This generosity begets a sense of maturity when we begin to realize that we are dependent on Christ.  Because as I live out my day and try to share my attention, my talents, as well as my gifts, I am cared for and filled back up as I am poured out. As I pour myself out in the care and love of others, I meet Jesus over and over again. The care is reciprocal because this is what we were created to do. We were created to give and receive. We were created to share and be generous. When we do, we are more in touch with the belovedness we were created to live out. As we are generous with all that God has created us to be, we see more of Christ in the other person, in the situation, in the conflict, in the relationship around us. When we get outside ourselves by sharing more than our gifts, but our time and talent as well, our soul is cared for. Our relationship within God’s Kingdom widens and we begin to see ourselves as an integral part of the transformation that God is up to here on earth. We share our gifts because our whole selves need one another to be cared for and nourished.

And so, I leave you with this question.

Aside from the sharing of your financial gifts in this season of stewardship, what can you do to share more of something else? Is it your patience, or attention, or time or friendship with someone else. And how might God begin to care for your soul in the process?

AMEN

Click the link below to learn more about our Stewardship Series and to submit your online pledge.