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

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

Pastor’s Pen – January 22, 2020

Hello Church family,
Hope you are enjoying the cold weather today! During this time of year, I am thankful for those who serve in ministry to the homeless. Please pray for the Changing Lives outreach at our church each Saturday morning and those in our community that serve the homeless population in Boca.
I want to share an update from our Leadership Council meeting on Monday night. The main conversation at the meeting was about our next steps now that the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy (EMMA) has withdrawn their partnership offer and shared that they will no longer be a tenant of the West Campus beginning in September 2021, at the end of their lease. This development means we must make significant financial changes at FUMC in 2020 and 2021.

To determine our way forward, our leadership returned to the last vote cast by the members of FUMC. In April 2018, more than 20 months ago, we had a called church meeting regarding the sale of the West Campus. At this meeting, FUMC members voted to table the issue of whether to sell property until we evaluated and attempted to live into certain budget and ministry goals. It was during this period of evaluation that the EMMA partnership was proposed to us, unsolicited.

Now that the EMMA proposal is no longer under consideration, we will be living into our agreed response from that April 2018 meeting, specifically the statement that says, “The congregation will be asked to take action prayerfully, which includes the selling of property, so that we can live into the vision of FUMC.”

As you may recall, we previously scheduled several congregational, town hall-style meetings to discuss the EMMA proposal. We would like to continue with some of those meetings, using that time instead to share the financial realities we are facing this year. The first meeting will be held on the West Campus on Monday, February 3rd at 6:30pm. The second meeting will be held on the East Campus on Sunday, February 9th at 12:15pm. Everyone is invited to these meetings, where leadership and staff will share details and answer questions about our budget, reserves, and vision for the future. We will also discuss the continued need to realign pastors, staff, and facility expenses over the next 6-12 months.

The Leadership Council also approved to retain the previously scheduled congregational meeting led by our District Superintendent on Sunday, February 16th at 4pm. At this meeting, we will now be asking church members to approve the need to engage developers, realtors, and/or other potential partners about options for partnership, development, or sale of the West Campus property.

Before assembling to vote on February 16th, please try to attend one of the town hall meetings to get a full picture of the serious financial challenges facing our congregation. Those meetings are your opportunity to ask questions and engage with church leadership, if you so desire.

Monday’s meeting was a very important one, and our Leadership Council is a group of dedicated women and men who seek to live into the vision of FUMC. Please continue to pray for the Leadership Council, staff, and pastors of FUMC.

I am looking forward to Sunday worship when we talk about what keeps us from sharing our faith.

In  God’s Amazing Grace,
Pastor Marcus