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!)

Updated Campus COVID-19 Policy

The CDC’s updated COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated people have changed, and following guidance from the Florida Conference, we are adapting our campus policies accordingly. Those who are fully vaccinated will now have the option of not wearing masks or maintaining physical distancing in most outdoor and indoor settings, including Bible studies, small groups, and attending worship. There will be no temperature checks and registrations for worship will no longer be required.

The church will not ask for proof of vaccination, but will expect that individuals will be responsible for understanding what fully vaccinated means and take precautions if they are not fully vaccinated.

People who are unvaccinated should continue to wear face masks. There are many in our congregation who will also wear masks – immunocompromised people, children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, and other people who choose to wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status.   One of our core values at FUMC is welcoming all. We will maintain our long-standing tradition of doing no harm and honoring those who choose or need to wear masks.

Remember that we all have different levels of comfort after a year of pandemic living. Even the most enthusiastic fans of hugging pre-pandemic may have discovered they aren’t ready yet! Please wait to be invited into each other’s personal space, even as we are able to gather with fewer restrictions.  

Things to Remember:

  • If you believe you or a household member may have been exposed to the virus, we ask you not to attend worship services and instead worship with us via the live stream.
  • Masks should be worn by all unvaccinated adults and children age 5 and over.
  • Seating will be self-selected, but please respect distance from other parties already seated.
  • We will not be using offering plates.
  • We will not serve coffee and other food until further notice.

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!

Pastor’s Pen – March 10, 2021

As we move through March, there is some much needed good news to share. Each day, more and more people are getting the COVID vaccine. This Sunday we are celebrating an infant baptism at our outdoor worship service on the East Campus, and at the end of the month a couple in our church is getting married! The best news is that we are preparing to celebrate our biggest Sunday, Easter. On April 4th we will be having an outdoor sunrise service at 7:00am on our West Campus, an outdoor 9:30am service on our East Campus, and an online Easter celebration at 10:30am. As Easter people, we are reminded that God is bigger than any of our circumstances! Please invite your family and friends to join us online or in person on Easter Sunday.

As we continue through 2021, we are in need of a few additional people to serve on our church leadership council. We are in need of an additional trustee, an additional finance team member, and a recording secretary. The trustees are responsible for our facilities and work closely with our Business Administrator to make sure our facilities are safe and secure. This will be extremely important as we begin to do more and more inside in May and June. The finance team creates and oversees our annual church budget. This team reviews our monthly financial picture and makes recommendations to our leadership council. Finally, our recording secretary takes minutes of our leadership council meetings and is a non voting member of our leadership council. These are three opportunities to serve at FUMC in 2021. Please prayerfully consider these leadership positions and contact me if interested.

Finally, thank you for your continued support of FUMC. Your tithes, offering, time and talents are appreciated and valued on a daily basis. May God continue to guide us as we share God’s love and grace in the greater Boca community.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – January 27, 2021

Happy Wednesday! I hope each of you is having a good week and continues to stay safe during the pandemic. Today I would like to begin to examine our initiatives for 2021. In case you missed this a few weeks ago:

“Last month, a team met to discuss the opportunities and challenges before us in 2021. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine, we feel called to move forward in some specific areas.

Our five areas of focus for 2021 are:

  • Digital worship and engagement
  • Fresh Expressions of faith (Dinner Church)
  • Growing daily in Christ’s love
  • Children in our community
  • Opportunities to worship at home with neighbors”

Today I would like to focus on growing daily in Christ’s love. As followers of Jesus, we are reminded over and over in the Gospels that loving God and people is not optional or a nice goal. It is what we are called to do every day of our lives as we seek to become the persons God created us to be.

In pre-COVID times, we would gather in small groups or Sunday school classes. In today’s world, and most likely moving forward, there needs to be a digital component to everything we do as the church of Jesus Christ. We have been in conversation with a company that provides access to online, video based Christian studies, devotions, and other digital resources. Please take a look at this website:


We hope to get everything set up for our church next month. Individuals can access Bible studies and devotions, small groups can access topical studies and book studies, and there is even content for children, youth, and families. We will be able to share these resources with our MECE Preschool and Fresh Expressions, like Dinner Church!

In the past, a pastor would lead a weekly study at church or a teacher would lead a Sunday school class on Sunday morning. These digital resources will allow us the flexibility to gather online via Zoom, Go To Meeting, and Facebook, as well as grant us access to digital content with our smart phones and tablets when meeting in person.

The whole purpose of this technology is for us to have new resources to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ in a daily basis. Sometimes our growth is individual and sometimes our growth is through a small group.

One of the greatest blessings in my life is a small group of men that I gather with in-person and online. I have been part of this group for over 25 years, and I can’t imagine doing life without the support of this group. Maybe you feel alone during the pandemic or desire to connect with a group? Our hope is that we become a church of small groups. Not simply a church that has a few small groups, but a church where people connect and grow in their relationship with God and people through small groups. If you would like to find a group, please email me and we will create a list of interested persons.

More information about this new digital offering will be available in February. I am excited that this will provide more individuals and small groups with digital resources to grow in the love of Jesus Christ.

In God’s Amazing Grace,


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.

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.

Pastor’s Pen – October 28, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Thank you to everyone that participated in the called church conference on Monday night. At the meeting the church approved the sale of the west campus property. Though we grieve this decision to sell some of our property, it is with hope and anticipation that we move forward with a desire to reach new people in new spaces.

So what are the next steps? A strategic planning team will be meeting over the next few months to work on initiatives and goals for the next 3-5 years. They’ll also he working on a time frame to transition west campus worship and ministries in the late spring or early summer of 2021. If you are interested in being part of this team, please email me.

We also will be working with our real estate company on creating a contract and navigating the due diligence period. The estimated time frame for the transaction to close is in May-June of 2021.

Please continue to pray for the church leadership, strategic planning team, staff, and pastors as we work through our church’s next steps and continue in a year that has been difficult in so many ways for so many people.

In times like this I like to remember one of my favorite gospel texts, a powerful reminder of the peace that is possible through Jesus Christ.

Mark 4:35-41 NIV: 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I can’t believe this is the last week of October. We were just blessed by the MECE costume parade.  During a very challenging year this beautiful parade gives me great joy and hope for the future!!

Finally, I would like to invite you to join us for online worship on Sunday as we celebrate All Saints Sunday and Holy Communion.

As we are reminded by the great cloud of witnesses, may we remain in the faith and live for Jesus.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus