First United Methodist Church

Service Times

9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

DEI Ministry

Our Vision:

We love and embrace the diversity in all of God’s creations and the beauty of humankind. By resisting bias and revealing divisions in our church and surrounding communities, we strive to listen deeply to all points of view; to develop honest, authentic, and courageous relationships; to educate ourselves; and to work toward wholeness by centering the love of Jesus.

Our central image is a multi-threaded and multicolor ribbon that is dynamically ascending, progressing, and growing. We believe our church family is most vibrant when it is united in celebrating diversity—honoring the unique contributions of people of color, LGBTQ persons, people with cognitive differences, disabled persons, and all who joins our common work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion names our commitment to getting people from different backgrounds into rooms together (“diversity”), making sure we listen to and understand each person’s unique needs (“equity”), and empowering everyone to be present with their own voice, story, and creativity (“inclusion”). We believe that this work nurtures our curiosity, humility, and intentionality—all essential virtues for disciples who seek to be more like Christ. We all live in fractured systems, experiencing isolation and loneliness, but also kinship. We work to nurture a community of belonging for all God’s children.

Our Impact:

Since our formation in 2017, the DEI Ministry has been committed to careful study and generous dialog. Under the leadership of Tonya Tolson (Chair, 2018–2022), DEI hosted numerous, vibrant book studies, including Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. DEI collaborated with the Cinnabar Film series to host a screening of the documentary Shelter and panel discussion on youth homelessness in Orlando at the Rollins Museum of Art. Oriented to Love has been a key partner as well, as multiple Committee members have attended Oriented to Love retreats focused on Christian civil dialog about sexuality and gender. In 2022, DEI hosted a Fishbowl dialog with Oriented to Love to model the relationships that are possible across differences in theology and identity.

Past Book Studies
Shelter screening at Rollins Art Museum

While recognizing the infinite potential of DEI work, we as a ministry have chosen two primary commitments: antiracism and LGBTQ inclusion. We program book studies, formation groups, public fishbowl dialogs, and congregational initiatives in service of these commitments. Additionally, we gather around documentaries to provide an entry point to other DEI issues and we invest in contemplative workshops to center and renew ourselves for patient progress. We also seek out FUMCWP and community partners and support their needs.

Black History Month films at Reeves Center
Kaitlin Curtice at Winter Park Library

Stay In Touch:

Please reach out to join with us, or use the form below to sign up for our monthly newsletter. We are stronger together, and everyone is invited!

Questions? Contact Us!

We would love to connect with you and answer any questions you may have! Email our team at to learn more!

Our Team:

David B. Witwer, Committee Chair

Committee Members:
Lee Cross
Art Cross
Joffa Braymer
Luis Nieves-Ruiz
Ruth Rudy
Toní Barnes
David Stokes
Charon Hannink
Caroline Payne, Student Seat