Pastor’s Pen – October 30, 2019

Hello Church Family,

Thank you for all the cards and notes for Pastor’s Appreciation Month. It is a blessing to serve God at First United Methodist Church. I am thankful to be one of your pastors.

EMMA Proposal

On Monday night at our Leadership Council meeting, a report from the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy (EMMA) task force was shared. As you may recall, the EMMA task force was approved by Leadership Council in the spring. Its role is to evaluate EMMA’s offer to purchase our West Campus with conditions that would allow the church to continue operations.

An outline of proposed deal terms was agreed to last Friday. On Monday morning, however, EMMA requested changes to those terms. The request made it impossible for the Leadership Council to vote as anticipated on Monday night. As a result, a special called Leadership Council meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, November 10th, at 7:00pm on the west campus. The only topic for the night will be to receive final recommendations from the task force and to vote on whether or not to move this proposal to a congregational vote.

There are only a few remaining areas of concern in the current draft of terms, and the task force is already working on the next steps. This includes discussing some options with legal counsel and having a meeting with the leadership of EMMA. This partnership has good potential, and the task force is working hard to ensure that FUMC is legally covered for the term of the proposal.

A few people have asked, “What can we do?” I am encouraging everyone to pray about this long-term partnership with EMMA. Pray specifically that God will help us discern his will for this relationship. Please also pray for our EMMA task force, the Leadership Council, the church staff, and your pastors.

We are reminded in Ephesians 4:29 ESV “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Please pray for this attitude in our church as we seek to expand the kingdom of God.

Annual Charge Conference:

Our annual Charge Conference is scheduled for Sunday, November 3rd, at 2pm at Christ UMC in Ft. Lauderdale. Our annual Charge Conference approves the leadership slate and pastors’ compensation for the upcoming year.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

High School Youth Mission Trip 2020

Before you plan your summer calendar we would like to invite your student to be a part of our YouthWorks Mission Trip to Nashville, TN! This trip will be open to all rising high school freshmen through graduated seniors.

How to Signup

To reserve your student’s spot on the 2020 Mission Trip, a parent/guardian must fill out this online registration form along with the non-refundable $100 deposit by no later than January 5. We have approximately 12 student spots available on this trip, so deposits need to be submitted ASAP, as it is first come, first reserved.

Click Here to Sign Up!

 About the Trip

YouthWorks has provided Christ-centered, all-inclusive mission trips for more than 20,000 teenagers and adult leaders in over 45 communities across the U.S. and beyond for more than 20 years. YouthWorks intentionally operates as a multi-denominational organization. Our group will provide children’s programming and support local organizations serving overlooked areas of the city. Students may serve all or part of the week at a food shelf, clothing distribution center, soup kitchen, children’s program or elder care facility. In the evenings, we will have the chance to explore downtown Nashville and spend time at Centennial Park, taking pictures at the Parthenon, playing ultimate Frisbee or relaxing on the lawn. We will also encounter many community friends who have shared their community with YouthWorks staff, students and adult leaders for years. YouthWorks has partnered with this community since 2010. YouthWorks’ Mission Team is comprised of college-aged young adults from around the country who are background checked and trained as local subject-matter experts and will serve as our guides throughout the week.

Trip Itinerary

Our 2019 Mission Trip will be July 5-10. We will be leaving in a bus from the East Campus and flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Nashville on the morning of Sunday, July 5 and then renting vehicles for the week on the ground in Nashville. We will go from the airport directly to our mission site on Sunday night and serve throughout the city on July 6-9 serving with YouthWorks in Nashville. We will leave our mission site on the morning of Friday, July 10 and spend the day sight-seeing in the Nashville area before flying back into Ft. Lauderdale the evening of July 10 and returning on a bus to the East Campus. Departure/arrival times and more in depth trip details will be given out to families in the month leading up to the trip.

For more information regarding trip fees, fundraising, or scholarships please contact Wyatt Robinson, Director of Family Ministry.

Pastor’s Pen – October 23, 2019

Dear First United Methodist Church Family,

Two weeks ago I shared a quote from a 2008 book, Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Robert A. Emmons, who spent years studying gratitude, wrote that:

The parable of the ten lepers (Luke 17) reminds us that grateful people are thankful people. This is lived out by acknowledging the greatest gift in the entire world, a relationship with Christ. This relationship calls us to intentionally love God and love all people.  As we begin talking about stewardship and giving God our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, may we seek to be grateful followers of Christ. Let’s strive to be a church that’s not defined by human labels but is defined by our gratitude toward God and all people!

Leadership Council Meeting:

Our next Leadership Council meeting is this Monday, October 28th, at 6:30pm in the West Campus Fellowship Hall. We will receive an update and report from the Montessori task force about a potential long-term partnership on our West Campus with the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy. Everyone is invited to join us for this meeting. I am very thankful for the time, prayer, and leadership of the Montessori task force.

 FUMC Prayer Partners:

At our last unified worship, we asked people to sign up as prayer partners for our church. A prayer partner agrees to pray regularly over the next 3 months for these four things:

  1. The pastors and staff
  2. The ministries and mission/outreach opportunities
  3. The vision and core values of FUMC
  4. Our local community

Over 30 people committed to regularly pray for the church and our community! If you are interested in being part of this team please email Pastor Rachel.

 Annual Charge Conference:

Our annual Charge Conference is scheduled for Sunday, November 3rd, at 2pm at Christ UMC in Ft. Lauderdale. Our annual Charge Conference approves the leadership slate and pastors’ compensation for the upcoming year.

I am thankful to be one of your pastors.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – October 9, 2019

Dear First United Methodist Church Family,

Today we are meeting with representatives from our partner church in Cuba. We are spending time with Rev. Yordani Jimenez Breffe, the District Superintendent of Pinar del Rio in Cuba, as he travels the SE District connecting with partner churches. We have been a partner church for many years and provide pastoral salary assistance through our mission’s team.

We are excited to hear about the growth of the Church in Cuba.  There are over 100 missions in his District, with 44 established churches.

We give thanks for his leadership and pray that God might continue to deepen the ties that bind us, through this partnership across the ocean’s divide.

Annual Charge Conference:

Our annual Charge Conference is scheduled for Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 pm at Christ UMC in Ft. Lauderdale. This conference approves the leadership slate and pastors’ compensation for the upcoming year.

Pumpkin Patch:

There is a great opportunity to serve by helping unload pumpkins this Saturday at 9:00 am on our West (Glades) Campus. Over 1000 elementary and preschool children visit the patch every year. Hope to see you on Saturday at 9:00 am!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – October 2, 2019

Dear First United Methodist Church Family,

What an amazing day of worship and sharing this past Sunday. If you were not able to attend, please click here to see the insert shared about the outreach and mission over the last year at FUMC. God is doing great things through His Church.

FUMC Prayer Partners:

This past Sunday we asked people to sign up as prayer partners for our church. A prayer partner agrees to pray regularly over the next 3 months for these four things:

  1. The Pastors and Staff
  2. The ministries and mission/outreach opportunities
  3. The vision and core values of FUMC
  4. Our local community

Last Sunday over 30 people signed up to be prayer partners. If you are interested in being part of this team please email Pastor Rachel.

Montessori Partnership Update:

As we have previously announced, FUMC received a letter in September 2018 from the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy (EMMA) expressing an interest in a long term partnership in which they would purchase the West Campus facilities to expand their school and FUMC would continue to worship and use the West Campus in much the same way as we have during their 12 year tenure as a tenant. As you can imagine, evaluating this offer is a complex process, and I want to give you an update on where we are and where we are headed.
In October 2018 the Leadership Council agreed to form a task force to explore a potential partnership. The task force is made up of FUMC members from both campuses, and their objective is to evaluate the general terms and implications of the offer so that Leadership Council and the congregation can fully understand it.
As a result of the task force’s efforts with EMMA, a little over three weeks ago we received an official offer. There are lots of details still to be discussed, but in essence, the proposal is for FUMC to sell the church property to the Montessori school and enter into an agreement that allows us to continue to worship weekly and have activities at the West Campus for the next 15 to 20 years. The task force is working with EMMA to establish a workable framework for this partnership, and an update will be shared with the Leadership Council at the October 21st meeting. Just to be clear, even if a sale/partnership is approved by the Leadership Council, the FUMC membership will have the final say whether we move forward or not. The Leadership Council will also organize multiple opportunities for in-depth meetings and conversations with the congregation. We know you have questions, and we want to hear from you.
For clarity, note that UMC rules require a congregational vote to sell church property. Neither your pastors nor the Leadership Council has the power to sell our West Campus: this decision will be made by the membership of FUMC.
Please pray for discernment about our future and how this partnership might help advance our church’s mission.

Annual Charge Conference:

Our annual Charge Conference is scheduled for Sunday, November 3rd at 2pm at Christ UMC in Ft. Lauderdale. Our annual charge conference approves the leadership slate and pastor’s compensation for the upcoming year.

I am thankful to be one of your pastors.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus