Pastor’s Pen – November 13, 2019

Last night as I was driving to a Mission/Outreach Team meeting, I was in awe of the towering steeple and cross on the East campus.

It was a powerful reminder of the greatness of God. We are called to reflect the love of Jesus in all the relationships in our lives. During the next 6 weeks there will be numerous opportunities for us to be a generous church. We will have opportunities to support:

Thank you in advance for making a difference in the greater Boca community and throughout the world!

This past Sunday we celebrated Commitment Sunday. I am happy to share that over 115 commitment cards for 2020 were collected. Here is a video that highlights our stewardship:

Commitment cards for 2020 are available online and can be turned in to the church office. Thank you for generously supporting the operating budget of FUMC. You help make ministry happen!

This Sunday we will celebrate 4 youth being confirmed at the 11:00 AM service on the East campus. Please join me in praying for these teenagers as they grow in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

 

 

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

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

 

Pastor’s Pen – September 11, 2019

Dear First United Methodist Church Family,

The Dinner Church Team and myself wanted to thank you for the success of our School Supply Giveaway on Sunday night, August 25th. We watched in awe at what God was doing and how we were getting to know and serve the community in a new way. Thanks to the generosity of this church through your school supply donations and prayers, 55 new people came and filled up their backpacks with the items they needed to start the school year off well! PRAISE GOD!

A special thank you to Charlie and Mary Beth Tate who braved the rain and heat to grill hamburgers and hotdogs to feed the families that came. The Dinner Church Team worked hard to decorate the Cafetorium, organize the supplies, serve the food, play with the kids and love on the parents and I am thankful to be on this journey with all of them. Thanks to the over decade long partnership with Coral Sunset through the dedicated Backpack Ministry volunteers, this school loves us and trusts us and continues to open their doors in new ways for us to meet the needs of their school community. One dad and his two sons were so excited about this event that they came two days in a row! They read the flyer wrong that was sent home in the backpacks of 850 students and came on Saturday night, only to return and enjoy themselves on Sunday night instead. As one of your pastors, I stood by the drink table handing out juice boxes and physically filling up drink cups but spiritually feeling so filled up by God’s love for God’s people and I am thankful to be a part of this new faith expression with all of you.

Coral Sunset Elementary School thanks all of us for our donations, prayers and encouraging words and we look forward to what God will continue to do through Dinner Church every 2nd and 4th Sunday night this Fall semester. God is good and God is moving!

Please watch a short video of the event made by our talented Dinner Church Team member, Ben Haire.

Pastor Rachel

Let’s Sing! – August 28, 2019

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5:18-19

Dear Church Family,

Our church is busy with new opportunities for spiritual growth and exciting ways to connect on both campuses, and as Director of Music, I would like to invite you to connect and serve with others by joining one of our choirs.

In a reflection entitled “Sing” Pastor Quinn Caldwell writes, “There are about 5,400 animal species that make complex, intentional, repeatable, musical vocalizations. That is, there are about 5,400 species that sing. The majority live in the trees, a few live in the oceans, a very few live under ground, but there is one – only one – singing species that lives on the ground: humans – US!”

Contrary to what we have been led to think through recent shows like American Idol or The Voice, singing is sorely misrepresented as something only for elite talent. In truth, God created us all with the ability to sing. Singing is an inborn response; babies sing to themselves when filled with inner peace. Like babies, we sing because we feel good and singing makes us feel even better. For some of us this natural response became blocked at an early age through lack of nurture or negative feedback at a vulnerable age. As a music educator I have heard hundreds of stories that have led up to the “I can’t sing”, but we all need to sing – it’s in our DNA. There is good news – community singing is not about “can” and “can’t”. It’s about listening and supporting and encouraging each other – good neighbor things. It’s about accepting the vulnerability of learning new things, letting go of past “hang-ups”, and allowing ourselves the privilege of belonging in a group of other listening singers.

Even more truth – God needs us to sing – it is good for us and good for our society. And we at FUMC would LOVE for you to consider singing in one of our musical ensembles. In case you need more convincing, there are many good reasons for singing in a choir – here are four important ones.

  • Singing is an aerobic activity – a wonderful work-out for our lungs and circulatory system; it improves our posture and tones our muscles.
  • Singing in a choir improves our emotional and mental health as it releases endorphins and oxytocin which reduce stress and depression, and singing enhances our cognitive brain function.
  • Singing in a choir improves our confidence as a singer, and improves the way we hear music as ensemble singing helps to draw out our innate musical abilities.

AND MY FAVORITE….

  • Singing in a choir fulfills our basic need of belonging. In our fragmented, isolating society, it is a wonderful place to find connection with others. It is unifying through its common musical goals and a positive experience of shared commitment – the more you do something with others, the more likely you will grow closer to them. If you’re looking to get to know new people who share a love of music, a choir is a great place to start. It’s a fulfilling way to serve the Church.

Almost 800 years ago St. Francis of Assisi exclaimed “All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, O praise ye! Alleluia! Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, ye lights of evening, find a voice!” My hope is that you will choose this year as the season to find your voice and share it with our church by singing in our choirs. I know that you will find it a rewarding way to serve with others in God’s ministry. Feel free to contact me for more information about becoming a part of our music program here at FUMC.

In His grace and service,

Arlene Sparks

asparks@fumcbocaraton.org