Pastor’s Pen – March 11, 2020

Hello Church family,

Last Sunday we celebrated the amazing ministry of MECE at the 9:30 AM contemporary service. We also were awarded a certificate from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home for being a top ten congregation in 2019. Our church donated over $53,000.00!! Thank you FUMC for your generosity.

Last night I attended our monthly mission/outreach team meeting. I am thankful for this team and their heart for ministry/outreach.  I would like to share some of the amazing ways we are making a difference in our community and world.

Did you know that we supported two missionaries with $2,900.00 salary support through UMCOR? Our goal was $2,500.00 per missionary.

Did you know that we donated $13,463.50 and 1,070.5 lbs of food to CROS Ministries in 2019?

Did you know that over 25 people serve in the Family Promise ministry 4 times a year? Next week is our scheduled hosting,  and we still need a few volunteers to greet the families and provide dinner on two evenings. Click here to sign up.

Did you know we support a weekly shower ministry that serves 40-60 people each week in our Gathering Place? The ministry happens each Saturday from 9am-11am.

Did you know we support a school in Donne Haiti? We collected money in December to support students, teachers, and food needs.

Did you know we have a sister church in Cuba? We support the Pastor’s salary and assist with various needs of the congregation and parsonage. At last night’s meeting we learned that there is a current need for a refrigerator for the pastor’s house that costs $750.00.

Did you know we support UMCOR in the month of March? This support helps cover administrative costs so that UMCOR can collect donation for crisis situations (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc) and 100% of donations can be used for aid. Please be generous with your March special offering for UMCOR administrative support.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE –

Like all of you, your pastors and staff are monitoring the updates from the Center for Disease Control on the coronavirus. Clearly, this is a very real threat to the health and well-being of our country. Please be in prayer for those who have become sick as well as governmental officials and health leaders as they navigate this medical crisis.

We have done two things to help ease concerns. First, we will have hand sanitizer on each campus. As you have already heard, thorough handwashing is essential to combat the virus. Second, we are encouraging people to resist hugging and hand shaking at church. I know this sounds odd for the people of God who deeply love one another to resist appropriate physical contact, but these are not ordinary times.

If you or anyone in your family is sick, please stay home. That’s right. Your pastors are encouraging you to stay home from church services if you are feeling sick. We are working through a process to stream our 9:30am east service on Facebook live and encourage you to click here to use our online giving.

See you on Sunday! (Unless you are not feeling well) 😀

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – March 4, 2020

Hello Church family,
At worship this Sunday we will be focusing on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Please reflect on this devotional thought from Henri Nouwen.

“Everything we know about Jesus indicates that he was concerned with only one thing: to do the will of his Father. Nothing in the Gospels is as impressive as Jesus’ single-minded obedience to his Father. From his first recorded words in the Temple, “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” (Luke 2:49), to his last words on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46), Jesus’ only concern was to do the will of his Father. He says, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). .

..Jesus is the obedient one. The center of his life is this obedient relationship with the Father. This may be hard for us to understand because the word obedience has so many negative connotations in our society. It makes us think of authority figures who impose their wills against our desires. It makes us remember unhappy childhood events or hard tasks performed under threats of punishment. But none of this applies to Jesus’ obedience. His obedience means a total, fearless listening to his loving Father. Between the Father and the Son there is only love”. – Henri Nouwen

See you on Sunday at worship!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Vacation Bible School

Anchored Weekend Vacation Bible School

Here at First UMC Boca Raton, we are all about following the leading of God’s Spirit and meeting the needs of the families in our community. We have heard from many families that the traditional half-day, weeklong Vacation Bible School  program is no longer meeting their needs, as many parents are now opting for a full-day summer camp that meets the demands of their work schedule. We believe the spirit and our community is leading us to a new vision of how we can offer a Vacation Bible School program to best accommodate to everyone’s availability and engage your entire family in the VBS fun.

With this in mind, we’ve crafted an exciting new Vacation Bible School curriculum that is sure to better fit your schedule and be a hit with the whole family: a 3-day, weekEND Vacation Bible School program! This year, First UMC Boca Raton will be hosting Anchored: Deepening Faith in God, a weekend Vacation Bible School program for children 3 years old through 5th grade. At Anchored VBS, kids will embark on an undersea adventure, diving deeper in their faith and discovering the unwavering love of God.

Click here to register your child, your youth volunteer, or yourself as an adult volunteer for our Anchored Weekend VBS!

What is a Weekend VBS?

At Anchored this year, we hope to offer a unique take on Vacation Bible School and give your whole family the opportunity to participate in the fun of VBS in a new and exciting way that is also more convenient for your schedule and needs. We can’t wait for your family to join us for this exciting new way in which God is calling our church to meet the needs of our community and show each child the love and grace of Jesus Christ through our Vacation Bible School program!

Weekend VBS Schedule:

  • Friday, June 12, 5:00pm – 7:00pm: VBS Family Kick-Off Dinner

The whole family is invited to this event where there will be a free meal, an opening ceremony to sing and dance together, and a chance to learn about what the weekend holds at Anchored. This will also be a great opportunity for the kids to meet their group leaders before the weekend begins and for parents to complete all of the registration material so that sign-in on Saturday is quick and easy.

  • Saturday, June 13, 11:00am – 2:00pm: Vacation Bible School

You can drop your kids off for all of the fun that you would expect in a weeklong Vacation Bible School program packed into 3 hours each day from 11am-2pm (so don’t worry about waking up early on the weekend). There will be the traditional singing, dancing, Bible lessons, and games that you would expect during VBS. In addition to the tried-and-true VBS activities, kids will also be served lunch each day and participate in a community service project to help those in need while we’re having fun.

  • Sunday, June 14, 9:30am – 10:30am: VBS Worship Service (optional)

Your whole family is invited to join us in our 9:30am Contemporary Worship Service where our whole church family will celebrate our weekend at Anchored and incorporate the VBS songs and dances into our worship service that morning. If you attend this worship service you can sign your kids into VBS a half-hour early and we will watch them until the start of VBS at 11:00am.

  • Sunday, June 14, 11:00am – 2:00pm: Vacation Bible School

Join us for one last fun-filled day at Anchored VBS! Our schedule will be filled with Bible adventures, awesome games, a great lunch, and community service, just like Saturday. We will conclude our action-packed weekend at VBS the same way we started it: singing, dancing, and praising the unwavering love of God!

  • Sunday, June 14, 2:00pm – 3:30pm: VBS Family Block Party

As soon as we finish our closing ceremony all families are welcome to join in our VBS Block Party. Everyone who wants to join in the fun will want to bring their swimsuit, as there will be a giant water slide and aquatic games, playground and splash pad time, and even more excitement to celebrate all the fun we had and friends we made over the weekend at Anchored!

Volunteer Information:

Youth volunteers must be rising 8th-12th grader. Youth can receive up to 20 service hours!

All volunteers must attend a mandatory volunteer meeting and all adults must pass a background check.

Volunteer Hours: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

Click here to register your child, your youth volunteer, or yourself as an adult volunteer for our Anchored Weekend VBS!

 

Pastor’s Pen – February 26, 2020

Hello Church family,
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. With ashes we mark our repentance of sin and remember our mortality. The ashes point to Lent’s climax: Christ’s death for our sins and His resurrection conquering death. Today ashes are being shared at MECE, at Florida Atlantic University, and on our West Campus. Tonight at 7:00 PM, we will gather in the East Campus Sanctuary for a traditional Ash Wednesday service with Holy Communion.

Church Conference Update

As a result of the church conference where a strong majority (77%) voted to explore a partnership, redevelopment, or sale of the West Campus property, we are putting together a task force to begin this work. This team will meet over the next few months and present recommendation(s) to our leadership council. Updates will be shared at our monthly leadership council meeting. Keep this new team in your prayers.

Lenten Congregational Study

Starting March 4th, we will gather each Wednesday to study the book, The Walk by Rev. Adam Hamilton. We will meet in the West Campus Chapel from 12pm-1pm and in the East Campus LEC, second floor, from 7pm-8pm. Everyone is invited to participate.

Upcoming Events:

March 8th

Spring forward time change

MECE Sunday at 9:30 am service (East)

Florida UM Children’s Home presentation at 9:30 am and 11:0 0am (East)

March 29th

Unified Worship Service 10:00 am (East)

April 4th

Children’s Easter Egg Hunt 10:00 am (West)

 

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Staff Parish Relations News – February 19, 2020

On behalf of Staff Parish Relations Committee, one of my jobs is to announce changes to our staff. It’s with some sadness today that I share the news that our Director of Connections, Jill Haire, has announced her resignation. Jill has been at FUMC for longer than most of us. She is a true child of the church and grew up in the neighborhood around the East Campus. She attended our services, Sunday School, and eventually our youth group, forming deep bonds with our pastors, staff, and members.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University she felt a call to ministry and eventually returned to FUMC as our youth leader. In that position, Jill brought a unique enthusiasm and energy to the position by sharing a love of this congregation and the good news of Jesus Christ with hundreds of young people that passed through our programs over the years. Three years ago we created our Director of Connections position, and Jill’s extensive connections with our membership, coupled with her outgoing nature and infectious smile, made her the perfect person to step into and evolve the role. Under Jill’s watch, our C3 ministry began, connecting worshipers between services on the East Campus; she’s connected ushers and systems on both campuses, organized the Caring Callers ministry which utilizes more than  20 volunteers to reach out to our members on a regular basis, and so much more. As a “MECE Mom” she also represents the church at MECE events and has been a wonderful ambassador for the church in so many capacities. Jill has been part of the staff of FUMC for the last 14 years, and we are better for it.

For the last 18 months or so, Jill has been in prayer and conversation about the feeling of need for a Sabbatical. She has a husband and two precious young sons, as well as a growing home business, and feels God is calling her to a season of rest from church work. While I’m sad to see Jill go, and I know that our pastors, leadership, membership, and especially our staff will miss her terribly, I’m excited about the path Jill has before her—the rejuvenation that can come from a Sabbatical, the opportunity to grow a promising new business, and joyfully increased free time to dedicate to her family. Jill says she leaves with great love for FUMC and has promised to keep us in her prayers as we move into our future.

I hope you all will join me in thanking Jill for her many years of service and wishing her God’s blessings on the new adventures that await her. Her last Sunday with us will be on March 8th, which is MECE Sunday. Therefore, we’ll be celebrating her on the Sunday prior to that, March 1st. Please mark your calendars to join us during the East Campus C3 connection time in the Gathering Place at 10:30 am on Sunday, March 1st.

Claire Vande Polder, Chair

Staff Parish Relations Committee

Pastor’s Pen – February 12, 2020

Hello Church family,
I would like to begin this article by saying a big thank you to Claire Vande Polder, Bruce Wetmore, Chuck Reeder, and Sharon Saige. These four servant leaders have been leading our town hall gatherings and drafting/editing the documents that have been shared with the congregation. We are blessed at FUMC with an amazing team of leaders and staff.
Click to read the financial reality handout, the questions and answers document 1 (town hall west)  and the questions and answers document 2 (town hall east). These documents are important to read before the upcoming church meeting and vote this Sunday at 4:00 pm in the East Campus Sanctuary.

The main question people have been asking over the last few days is “What happens if we vote ‘no’ on selling/partnering the West Campus?”

Voting “no” on this proposal is certainly an option and it would mean returning to the drawing board with the same information before us. Our budget shortfall for 2019 was $115,000.  Our leadership council has been responsibly diligent about the need to balance our budget. Without alleviating our property expenses and with the information that our property insurance will likely increase by 20 percent this year, we would need to remove staff, services, and programs to balance our budget. We know the effects of such radical changes would be felt in all areas—children’s and youth programming, congregational care, worship services, music, etc. Cuts of this nature would also impact our ability to connect with people at a time when those efforts are more important than ever. We would all agree that our buildings do not make us a church: our people and programs do. However, choosing to keep two physical campuses in operation is a decision to value property over people. Church leadership believes that reducing our facilities’ costs is our best hope for long-term budget relief that will allow us as a church to realign and refocus on the well-documented challenges facing the American church.

The called church conference will begin promptly at 4:00 pm this Sunday in the East Campus Sanctuary. Registration for FUMC members to get a ballot begins at 3:15 pm. Childcare will be available. The meeting will be led by our District Superintendent Rev. Cynthia Weems.

Lenten Congregational Study

Each Wednesday in Lent, beginning March 4th, there will be a weekly study. The book is “The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life” by Adam Hamilton. The hope is that every participant will deepen his or her walk with Christ as we explore the five essential practices of worship, study, serving, giving, and bearing witness to our faith. Pastor Kernie will be leading the study each Wednesday from 12-1pm in the West Campus Chapel. Pastor Marcus will be leading the study each Wednesday night from 7-8pm in the East Campus Life Enrichment Center (LEC) on the second floor. Everyone is invited to join us for one of these studies. Books will be available to purchase for $11.00 each.

Have a blessed week!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

P.S. Join us on Ash Wednesday (February 26th) for a special time of worship at 7:00 pm in the East Campus Sanctuary. This is a time to reflect, share our thanks, and remember the greatest sacrifice. We look forward to being in worship with you.

Pastor’s Pen – January 29, 2020

Hello Church family,
Happy Super Bowl week! Just a reminder that we will be collecting canned goods this Sunday at all worship services.

Our sermon series on faith sharing is off to a great start. For this week’s Pastor’s Pen, I invite you to read this article in preparing for worship this Sunday.

I am looking forward to worship on Sunday!

In  God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus