First United Methodist Church

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9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

News & Devotions

Singing, Serving, and BBQ!

From June 8th-11th, our Impact Singers embarked on their annual Sing & Serve Mission Trip to Memphis, Tennessee. Here’s a glimpse into their transformative week, shared by our Traditional Worship Director, Alex Glover.

Day 1: We started our day with an early morning flight, meeting at the airport at 3:00am and enjoying a sunrise over Charlotte, NC before reaching Memphis. After lunch at Elwood’s Shack (known for its delicious house-made BBQ and generous portions) we settled into our lodging, stocked up on groceries, and prepared for our first service project.

At Calvary Rescue Mission, dedicated to helping homeless men in Memphis, we met Executive Director “Chief” Dennis Rutledge, toured their century-old facility, and learned about their deep-rooted mission centered on Christian values. It was beautiful to see how much God was at the center of their work here. They even shared that the building was built on Christ because there is a bible cemented in the foundation. We assisted in serving dinner to nearly 60 men, each with a unique journey and story. It was inspiring to witness their gratitude and join them in worship, singing our choral music and hearing a beautiful sermon on the unconditional love of Jesus. Our evening concluded with a reflective devotional focused on walking in someone else’s shoes, resonating deeply with our experience at the mission.

Day 2: We started early at Memphis Animal Services for their first-ever dog walk/run event, joining nearly 100 volunteers to socialize, walk, and run with over 200 shelter dogs! It was a heartwarming morning spent helping these animals find potential forever homes. After a relaxing lunch at the lodge, we explored the Memphis Botanic Garden, a must-see destination in the city with its serene beauty.

Later, we soaked in the atmosphere of historic Beale Street, indulging in delicious Memphis BBQ at Pig on Beale before heading back. Our evening devotional centered on commitment, prompting reflections on our personal pledges and aspirations.

Day 3: We started our day at St. John’s United Methodist Church, joining their welcoming worship service where Pastor Lora Jean Gowan preached on love and inclusion. This beautiful, open, and loving community exudes Christ’s love from every corner. The Impact Singers performed beautifully in the historic sanctuary, and we enjoyed a quick lunch with the congregation. Afterward, we took a Mojo Bus Tour downtown, learning about Memphis’s musical history through Elvis, Johnny Cash, and more.

Later, we visited the Memphis Pyramid for its scenic lookout and stumbled upon the Memphis Chess Club, housed in a historic building linked to Elvis Presley. We returned home to eat and do our daily devotions which had us all focused on Joy and Laughter! We reflected on how we experienced joy throughout the day and where we saw God. On to our final day in Memphis before we head back to Orlando tomorrow.

Day 4: Our final day was incredibly impactful! We began at the National Civil Rights Museum, a recommendation from our Pastor David. It was a chilling monument to American history, with messages that still resonate today. I am grateful our students had the chance to learn and grow here.

After a picnic lunch, we visited the Memphis Chess Club for coffee and then enjoyed the Memphis Zoo. Later, we served at Room In The Inn, helping with dinner and cleaning their kitchen. It was rewarding to see how our efforts made a difference in their transitional housing for women and families. We ended the day with dinner at Huey’s and a final devotional on Joy. I can say I found it in watching these eight kids share God’s love through the last four days. The future is bright!