A Huge “Thank You”

This week we are sending out a huge thank you to Debbie Woolsey, Jan Hennigar, Janie McMillan and other UMW members for cleaning and organizing the children/youth ministry storage areas in the LEC and the youth room. They put in weeks of hard work and even created an inventory so we know what supplies we have available as we re-launch and re-invent our family ministry programs! You are all truly a blessing to this church! (I wish I had “before” pictures so you could see the huge difference!)

One Day Bible Bash

On Friday July 9 from 9:00am – 3:00pm FUMC Boca Raton will host a full day of Bible fun called Raindrops to Rainbows! This Bible Bash will be open to all children in grades K-5 and there will be opportunities to serve for youth in middle school and high school. Our time together will include Bible Stories, music crafts, games, snacks and lunch! The best part is that everything is free!


A Note from Our Staff Parish Relations Committee: April 28, 2021

by Cathy Herschelman, Chairperson

Last Sunday was announcement Sunday when all of the Methodist Churches find out about Pastoral transitions. I have some good news, some sad news, and some more good news so please hang in there with me.
The first is that Pastor Madeline will be remaining with us. I know that many of you are just getting to know her in real life but I have had the honor to work beside her with dinner church, and other projects. Considering that she joined us during a difficult time in our society when we couldn’t gather in our traditional ways, Pastor Madeline has shown creativity, strength and a real faith that I hope each of you can get to know.
Next is the sad news. If you have been in a Methodist church before you may know that Pastors don’t usually remain at a church for much more than 5 years. We had Pastor Ken here for a very long time so you may not be aware of that. In the Methodist Church when you are called to serve another community, Pastors have to trust in God’s plan and respond to the call. Pastor Marcus has been called to serve on the west coast of Florida beginning July 1. He will be taking over at a church where the pastor is retiring. Pastor Marcus has walked this church through some very challenging times. He did this by listening and caring about individuals. He may have helped your family through some difficult times as well by coming alongside you and your family. He may have even been part of a celebration moment such as a baptism or wedding. I know he’ll carry these memories with him as he serves a new church. I firmly believe that we are the church, we the congregation. Last year you might have thought that the church was a building and now we know that’s not true. You may have had moments when you thought the pastor was your church but it’s our job to build up the pastor as much as it’s his job to support us. We will find a way to celebrate and honor Pastor Marcus before he leaves and we’ll keep you posted on that.
craig nelson and janiceI want to let you know that this church will continue. We are the church and I am excited to tell you a little bit about our new pastor. First, I want to let you know that our District Superintendent, Dr. Cynthia Weems set up a meeting with SPRC and asked us what our church needed in our new pastor. We got to make a wish list if you will of the qualities that would best serve our church at this time. We were very pleased when sometime later Dr. Weems told us about Pastor Craig Nelson (shown in the picture with his wife, Janice). He is coming to us from his recent post in St Pete. He has a very diverse background. Pastor Craig crew up in Costa Rica as his parent were missionaries. He has lived in many different areas but has lived and worked in South Florida before and is happy to return to this area. He even has some family in Boca Raton. Pastor Craig worked as a District Superintendent in the south east district previously. Pastor Craig will transition to our area this summer and I hope you will all give him a warm welcome. Please click here to read Pastor Craig’s brief biography!

Poinsettia List 2020

Thank you for purchasing the following poinsettias “in memory of or in honor of”:

In Memory of:

John Fish given by Carol Dolcemascolo

Christel Horsch given by the Herschelman family

Edith Herschelman given by the Herschelman family

Mabel Pike given by the Herschelman family

Jackson Families by Richard Thornton and Nigel

Thornton Families by Richard Thornton and Nigel

Nigel III Thornton by Richard Thornton

Philomena and Lawrence French by Jack and Brenda Failla

Marie and Salvatore Failla by Jack and Brenda Failla

John F. Welsh by Doris Welsh

My mother, Therese by Janice Davis

My father, Joseph by Janice Davis

My sister, Patsy by Janice Davis

Madison Quinten Hinesley by Bette Hinesley

Robert Bruce Stevens by Bette Hinesley

Myra Kibbe by Bette Hinesley

William & Eleanore Freytag by Lynn & Glenn Freytag

Friends & loved ones by Lynn & Glenn Freytag

In Honor of:

Pandemic Essential Medical Care Personnel and Volunteers by Richard Thornton

Our Children by Dru and Sharon Saige

Thornton Families by Richard Thornton and Nigel

Lay Leader’s Reflection 11-18-2020

On Friday, the United Methodist Women invited the women of the church to gather outside the Sanctuary, around the gazebo, with masks and socially distancing, to introduce the books for the Reading Program 2021. Each woman was able to review the books and plot her reading schedule for the year. These books have been chosen to allow the reader to grow spiritually and mentally. During this time of separation and, for some isolation, reading could be a wonderful past-time. Any woman who wants a book can contact Ardyth Stone.

Last Sunday our church celebrated the first in-person worship since March. It was a joyous celebration for those who came together. Yes, we were masked and were socially distanced, but we were together. This is not for everyone. There are many who need to take extra care and stay physically away from others, for those we produce an online worship service. Sunday afternoon the Praise band from the West Campus celebrated with a music concert for over 30 people who spent the afternoon enjoying a physical presence while masked and socially distanced.  The joy of music is always heartwarming. It is the hope of the leadership that as time progresses we will increase the attendance at these worship services and increase the opportunities for gathering in physical community.

This has been a very busy week for your church leadership and it is only Wednesday. On Monday the Leadership Council met to review the paperwork for the Charge Conference. This work included reviewing the nominations committee report, setting the pastors’ salaries and benefits and reviewing the published list of members who cannot be contacted in the third year. These items will all officially be submitted and voted at Charge Conference.

The Leadership Council also received the report from the trustees on the disposition of the West Campus property. The church conference voted to enter into a contract for the sale of the property.  The Leadership Council authorized the trustees to work with Avison Young to complete a contract and develop a timeline for the sale. The council also heard from Pastor Marcus about the work of a strategic planning committee to envision the future of the church including our presence in west Boca. Pastor Marcus invites anyone who would be interested in serving on this committee to contact him.

Sharon Saige, our Business Administrator presented our financial picture.  While it was not as difficult as it might be, it was not as bright as we would like it.  The last few Sundays have been below expectations and with a projection that many of our northern visitors will not join us this year we are looking for our members to redouble efforts in giving. While some expenses are not the same as in the past, there are still expenses. In fact, due to COVID, the demands for social ministries have increased considerably.  Our staff costs have been pared with the loss of Wyatt, but demands on the staff have grown. It is not easy to provide pastoral care in this time of COVID and separation. But our staff continues to rise to the demands. We do not have the same costs for air conditioning, but to protect the electrical and music equipment we must still run air conditioning. The ministries of the church continue, frequently in new dimensions, but they continue to accrue cost. The Leadership Council urges all members to continue giving and when possible increase giving if you can to meet new and continuing needs.

Last night, Tuesday, our church Charge Conference was held with Rev. Vidalis Lopez, an elder from Coral Springs, presiding. The nominations committee reported new nominations for Staff Parish Relations. Michelle Shaw will come on the class of 2023. Debbie Woolsey will come on Nominations on the class of 2023.  There are still two positions on Finance that can hopefully be filled by the next Leadership Council meeting December 14.

The pastoral compensation will stay the same as the last year. Chuck Reeder expressed his hope that next year we can increase the compensation in recognition of the good work done in the midst of this time of separation.  The new needs have increased the responsibility of the pastoral staff, requiring the preparation of additional worship services and additional community building programs. Even with these new demands the pastoral staff has continued to engage in all organizations of the church and they continue to exclude the joy of the Christian life, even in this time of change.

The last item was the acceptance of the names of those members we have lost contact with over the   last three years. Even with due diligence we were unable to make contact with these individuals, so they will be removed from the church rolls even as they remain in our hearts and in our prayers.

Rev. Lopez took time to recognize the effective ministries of fresh expressions we engage in to spread the Love of Jesus. Even in this time of COVID and separation we continue to call the community of Dinner Church together in ways that meet the needs of those who seek to experience the Word of God in community and the breaking of bread. While we are not now gathering in person, we are providing a meal for the body and devotions and crafts of the children that feed the soul.  Dinner Church, housed at Coral Sunset Elementary School now gathers in car lines for distribution, but some day we will again gather as the Body of Christ. Until that day the Love of our church will continue to rain down on those who seek to be fed physically and spiritually.

Rev. Lopez also recognized the Pub Theology fresh expression ministry, which in the best of times meets in secular locations to provide an arena for discussion of things sacred and meaningful. It has been difficult to meet in meaningful ways that makes the ministry available to those beyond the local church, but recently has met outdoors at Barrel of Monks for a time of discussion and community.  The participants wore masks and were socially distanced.

It was good to have a review of what the church is doing.  In seeing what can be done, even in the midst of this pandemic we recognize that we have many more opportunities as we learn to accommodate the current reality. If we keep our eyes open and our thoughts on possibilities we will find many new ways to communicate God’s Love through our actions in the coming months and years.

Next week is Thanksgiving week. For many, it will be very different than any Thanksgiving we have ever had. Some may not be able to gather with family. Some may not be able to travel. But we still have much to be grateful for. Even if seeing the grandchildren is on Zoom or Duo or Facetime we can be grateful for family and future. Our Dinner Church is grateful for the members of this church that have supported them and each of us can be grateful that we have enough. We can be grateful that the  church continues to be our spiritual center. While we focus on the difficulty we have so much in life and community to be grateful for.

We have so much to look forward to in this future we have been given. We are learning that there are many ways to communicate and to gather in the presence of God. We are planning a dynamic Advent time that will bless your soul. And, although, Christmas will be much different this year we will still celebrate God’s coming into the world to experience life with us.  Whether it is online or in person we will experience Hope, Joy, Love and Peace, and most of all new beginnings.

Summer Programs for Children


Warren Willis Camp in Leesburg FL has announced that they are moving forward with plans for overnight camp during the summer of 2021. They have assured us they will be following CDC and America Camp Association guidelines regarding COVID-19 in order to provide a safe week for the campers and a safe summer for the staff. At this point, refunds will also be available if they are unable to safely host camp this summer. 
We will be attending the week of July 26-31, 2021. Transportation will be provided. Students entering 4th grade in the fall through high school seniors graduating in 2021 are eligible to attend. 
The cost per camper is $430 for the week and includes lodging, meals and all activities. Camp Scholarships are available and we will be fundraising to further reduce the cost. 
If you think your student might be interested please plan on attending a Zoom information session with your student(s) on Thursday February 18 at 7:00pm. Here is the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 960 3999 1446
Passcode: 734203
** We will of course be monitoring the pandemic situation and will cancel or adjust our trip to camp if needed. 

Online Worship Needs YOU!

Dear FUMC family,

Since launching our first Facebook Live Service on March 15 we greatly appreciate your flexibility, your prayers for our Worship Team, and ALL of the positive feedback we have received regarding the sermons, reflections, prayers, and musical offerings. We were especially blessed on October 18 when we honored our church’s faithful servants on Laity Sunday with presentations by Cathy Herschelman, Sean Kelley, Min Pusey, and Danny Davis; thank you to Jane Hill for decorating our altar for the fall season. We also appreciate the MANY people who sent in pictures for us to use in our efforts to connect virtually with our congregation during our services. We hope that seeing all the smiling faces as part of our service benediction brings you joy!!

Thank you also to Avry and Anna Parker, Debbie and Mike Woolsey, Jacob Saige, Juanita Goode, Vincent Kelley, Jane Dent, and Cyndy Briggs for being part of our Online Services as Scripture Readers these past two months, as well as the many people who served this past summer. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

There are many opportunities to continue to help out in our Online Worship Ministry. Advent is fast approaching, so we will be looking for Advent message reader/candle lighters, as well as weekly Scripture Readers. We still welcome additions to our Service Benediction closer if you would like to submit a picture. If you would like to be a reader or submit a picture, please let me know.

Thank you for your continued support of the Worship experience here at FUMC.

Arlene Sparks, Director of Music

Lay Leader’s Reflection

by Danny Davis

Grace to you, and Peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Christ.  I bring you greetings and a word of reflection for this moment in our church.

There are many tender feelings in the church today.  This time it is over the decision  made Monday evening to sell the church property on Glades and begin a new era for our worshipping community in west Boca. Biologists define life with 7 traits.  One of those traits is growth and change. How does a church grow?  Too frequently, we define that growth by the number of people we bring in as members or the increased number of giving units we have acquired over last year at this time.  This is an organizational approach to growth.  This is the secular definition of  growth.  It is about increasing the power base of the church and its apparent presence in the community.  But is this really biblical growth?

In his three or so years of ministry Jesus never increased his called disciples beyond the twelve, yet he kept calling for the growth of the Kingdom.  It is apparent to me that the growth Jesus sought was the growth outside the organization.  Jesus was teaching his disciples and those hangers-on following him, that the real growth was not in the number of people in the organization, but in the presence of the organization through service in the community.  In other words, using Wesleyan terms, all of our personal holiness will get us nowhere in the Kingdom of God without social holiness.  Our decision to follow Christ and become disciples is a discipline of life called sanctification.  But this discipline has little meaning without the social holiness, the good works that become a part of our personality from our relationship with God.

Social holiness is not about how we have a presence in the community to attract new members.  Social holiness is about finding ways to meet the needs of the community around us.  It is about identifying the hurts, the habits, the hang-ups that cause division in the lives of people and help remove those barriers.  It is about giving food to the hungry, cool water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and comfort to the oppressed and marginalized.  It is about taking the candles off the altar and carrying them into a dark world where the people can see the light.  Social holiness is serving God’s creation through the teachings of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The world is changing!  The church is changing!  We are changing!  But remember, change is not a sign of death, it is a definition of Life.  For many years, indeed, for some, many decades, we have been nurtured by our pastors, our teachers, our mentors, our friends and our significant Christian relationships inside the walls of the church.  We have grown in our personal holiness.  We have learned to live by “not my will, but your will God.”  We have sought to reach beyond our own desires to do the will of the Kingdom in our midst.  We work on the regulation of our emotions to highlight the attitudes: love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, that serve God and the Kingdom.  Each day, as we walk closer to God, we change.  We become more Christ-like.  We see, not what we want, but what must be done to bring the Kingdom of God into our midst.

This change is always scary.  It can be stressful.  But, if we are following God, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to support us.  If we are living in the Kingdom we have each other to support us.  We can walk into the newness of a life with God each day.  I commend to you the opportunity to change, not just your life, but the life of your community in the power of God.  Change is life.

Congregational Letter

Dear friends:

As you know, we are preparing for a virtual Town Hall meeting on Monday, October 12th. This will be followed by a virtual Congregational Meeting on October 26th at 7:00 pm, at which time we’ll vote on the offer we have received from MetroGroup Development to purchase our West Campus property.

If the congregation votes to sell the West Campus, I also want to acknowledge that I know that it will be hard on some of our members. Our church buildings are special to us. We celebrate births, grieve the loss of loved ones, laugh and cry and grow together within their walls. I hope we can all be sensitive to this fact in the weeks and months to come. Let’s be kind to each other.

We have tried to anticipate as many questions as possible in order to have an efficient meeting in a few weeks. In this message I want to share the details and decision-making that got us here.

Who is making this recommendation?

In February 2020, our church voted to convene a special task force to receive purchase offers for the West Campus on behalf of the church. Task force members include Leadership Council Chairman Chuck Reeder, Trustee Bruce Wetmore, Trustee George Liebel, and Lay Leader Danny Davis. Sharon Saige and I served on the task force as ex-officio members.

The task force was given the following mandate:

To receive offers for the West Campus church property for market value (at least), with preference given to buyers open to a partnership allowing FUMC to continue its presence on the property.

What is the appraised value of the West Campus property?

The appraised value as of 6/20/19 was $3,555,000. The appraisal report is available to view here.

What are the terms of the offer being presented?

A letter of intent from the potential buyer, MetroGroup Development, is available by calling the church office.

What process did the task force use?

The task force decided to use the firm of Avison Young to assist with marketing to, and vetting of, potential buyers. Avison Young is a global commercial real estate firm with an office in Boca Raton at Lynn Financial Center. Additionally, we received legal advice from John Cappeller of Cappeller Law in Boca Raton.

Click here for a detailed timeline on the task force’s activities outlining actions, offers received, and the committee’s final recommendation.

How did the task force decide to move ahead with the offer before us now, and what offers were rejected?

In total we received 10 offers: 3 from churches and 7 from real estate investors and businesses.

We decided to reject offers with unfavorable or undesirable terms. We also felt it important to find a buyer able to work quickly through the due diligence period. (Due diligence in this context means a standard period in a real estate transaction allowing the buyer to check out all assets and requirements of the property in order to understand repairs, environmental concerns, zoning laws, insurance requirements, and other matters before the transaction is completed. If substantial concerns arise during the due diligence period, the potential buyer has the right to terminate their offer.) Finally, we decided to reject offers below market value.

Seven (7) offers received were below market value. Unfortunately, all offers that could have allowed a continuing partnership with FUMC were significantly under market value and included unworkable requests. One church, for example, wanted to require those that attend the West Campus to merge with their church. Another church requested a 10-year, interest-free balloon payment without any details as to security or source of fund for the original deposit, which we don’t have the means to support.

Three (3) offers were above market value (including the one we selected).

The highest offer we received was not selected because the buyer requested a due diligence period of 18-24 months without significant at-risk deposits.

We decided to accept MetroGroup’s offer for several reasons. They are an established developer with a good reputation. They submitted an above-market offer noncontingent on full governmental approvals, and they requested a 120-day due diligence period that indicates a willingness to work quickly. The due diligence period starts after the approval of the sale by both FUMC and our district, and a fully executed purchase and sale agreement.

If the sale goes through, what does MetroGroup plan do with the property?

This has not yet been announced, though we do know it will likely be a retail project. Whatever the property becomes, it must conform to the existing zoning and preserve the existing wetlands. MetroGroup’s past and present clients include national and regional retailers such as Tractor Supply Co, Cumberland Farms, Chase, CVS, WaWa and others.

If we vote to sell the property, then how long will we be able to continue church operations on the property?

If all goes as planned, we predict the deal will close in March/April of next year. We would need to transition away from the property by approximately June 2021.

After the property is sold, what will happen to those that attend the West Campus who aren’t able to come east?

Five years ago we created a vision statement for our church that has been our North Star in terms of direction. That document expires at the end of 2020, so we recently convened a strategic planning task force to work with our pastors to pray, strategize, and discern goals for our next five years.

Members of the task force come from both the east and west campuses. The survey we distributed a few weeks ago is part of that process, and we’ll continue to seek the input of church members in the months to come.

One aspect of the task force’s mandate is also to provide direction about how FUMC looks after our anticipated transition from two physical campuses to one. We are considering several options, including the possibility of renting a space on Sunday mornings to allow worship out west to continue. Though we have yet to formulate specifics, we are committed to maintaining a presence in West Boca.

Our mission as the church of Jesus Christ is certainly to take care of each other in our own congregation during this transition. Our overall mission is to continue to share God’s love with our entire Boca Raton community.

Note that our financial realities are still very much a concern. FUMC has spent more than we have taken in for more than a decade now, and our reserves are lower than they should be. All planning for the future assumes that we will operate within budget, which should be more manageable with one campus. (Note that according to the Book of Discipline, we cannot use the money from the sale of property for our operating budget. We will, however, be able to use the interest accrued from that money to fund operations.)

Since our current vision statement runs out at the end of this year, the task force will be working quickly to provide recommendations, which will be shared with leadership for approval, by December 2020.

Still have questions?

In order for us to hear from as many people as possible, we will be taking questions before the meeting. Not everyone is comfortable raising a hand and speaking up in front of a crowd: this method gives everyone a chance to be heard.

Please email questions by October 24th to Questions@FUMCBocaRaton.org.


I would like to say a big THANK YOU to the task force team for the many hours of meetings and emails, especially with COVID precautions, as it was even more work than anticipated. Also, I would like to thank Claire, Sharon, Becky, and Michele for sharing their time and talents.

So why do I believe this is the best decision for the future of FUMC? In short, the last six months have made it clearer than ever to me what is truly important as the church of Jesus Christ: the future of the church is within people, not within walls.

Since we went into quarantine in March, we’ve operated as a church with NO physical campus! And yet we have loved and prayed for each other from a distance. We’ve been meeting online and in small groups for worship, study, connection and community.

We join many other congregations, from a variety of denominations, who are realizing that the future of the American church is in finding ways to connect to and interact with people in our local communities, not in maintaining physical structures. The future of the church is in seeking opportunities to engage new people in new places, not in convincing people to come to our property on Sunday mornings. By supporting this recommendation that has been approved unanimously by our Leadership Council, we will be moving into a future that can be more focused on reaching new people.

This is an exciting time to be the church of Jesus Christ!

Please be in prayer about our upcoming church meeting on Monday, October 26th. Pray specifically that God challenges us to not simply maintain the status quo but instead for FUMC to thrive at sharing the love of Jesus Christ in new spaces.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus, Senior Pastor