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

Pastor’s Pen – August 21, 2019

Hello Church Family,

I continue to be humbled and amazed by the generous servants at FUMC. We just completed another week of Family Promise ministry and had an amazing back to school Blast Off event for families. Today we had the privilege to meet with our MECE teachers and pray over the beginning of a new school year. Another important outreach for FUMC is CROS Ministries. Please read this thank you letter to our congregation:

On behalf of CROS Ministries, we would like to thank the generous congregation of First United Methodist Church, Boca Raton for your support in 2019. Since the beginning of the year, your congregation has contributed more than $10,000 in support of our hunger programs. Thanks to you, we can help parents struggling to feed their children, seniors debating on how much medication to purchase in order to have money left over to buy food, and many others finding themselves in need of food assistance. Thanks to you, we can serve hot nourishing plates of food in Delray Beach to anyone in need of a meal and deliver nutritious meals to individuals who are homebound. Thanks to you we can recover fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste from local fields and add them, with the help of our distribution partners, to the food system that feeds our county’s hungry residents. Thanks to you, we can give children from families with low income a safe summer camp experience, encouraging proper nutrition by providing lunch, a snack and breakfast as needed and promoting school readiness. FUMC is truly making a difference in the lives of thousands of people, right here in our community! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Ruth Mageria, Executive Director and Rev. Juanita Bryant Goode, Director of Engagement

 

Finally, I would like to remind everyone about our school supply collection for our new dinner church at Coral Sunset Elementary in west Boca. Please bring supplies to any worship service on Sunday.

I am thankful to be part of a church that seeks to grow in the love and grace of Jesus!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

 

Pastor’s Pen – July 31, 2019

Dear Church family,

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is August 1st. Where has the summer gone? In a few weeks, children will be back in school, college football will be back each Saturday, and the peak of hurricane season will be here. There is so much going on in life and so much noise around us!

Starting August 25th we will begin a 6 week sermon series on prayer. When Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, he gave us the powerful words we call the Lord’s prayer. Not only will these sermons focus on prayer, but during this six week period, we will have two opportunities each Wednesday to have conversation and teaching about prayer. Each Wednesday starting August 28th join us during the afternoon on the Glades (west) campus and early evening on the Mizner (east) campus. More details on this series will come soon.

Recently at a memorial service I shared that our current circumstances do not have the final word. We, as Easter people, have hope that no matter what is going on in our personal lives God is greater. Prayer is key to our connection with God. May God help us at FUMC to be more intentional and persistent in prayer.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – July 17, 2019

Dear Church family,

A good meal changes things. It is no surprise that Jesus did a lot of His ministry around a dinner table and reason too that He used metaphors about physical hunger compared to a spiritual one. At Dinner Church, I am learning a lot about the way that Jesus fills us up in more ways than one. After almost 5 months of Dinner Church, I and my Team have learned a lot. We started this journey on February 24th and will have another Dinner Church again on Sunday night, July 28th. Just like a family meal in your own home, it takes preparation, planning, hospitality and prayer.

Jesus knew this and modeled this throughout the Gospels and now we get to practice a part of this through the Dinner Church ministry of First United Methodist Church. When our Dinner Church Team fixes a meal, it isn’t one thrown together or hastily prepared; it is one that we would serve our family if they were visiting out of town or had gathered for a special occasion. Our meals are ones that have been thought about, planned out and lovingly made (or catered).  The food is hot and fills our Cafetorium with good smells when our guests enter the space. The dessert is always a hit and to-go boxes are filled at the end so our guests can continue to feast on this purposeful meal again throughout the week. And if that wasn’t enough, our Dinner Church always ends with the invitation to the greatest meal of all, The Lord’s Supper. We pray over the bread and grape juice, and children help me serve this symbolic meal to our friends. The night is holy, and loud, and unexpected and every bit different than one would picture when they think of church, but God is there with us.

We took a group picture with some of our guests because a beloved family that has been a part of Dinner Church from the beginning is moving across the country. We will miss them and we will continue to pray for them, but in the five short months that they have been coming to Dinner Church, this community has become their family and they didn’t want to forget us after they leave.

We hope you will continue to pray for us and for the people that God will be sending our way.  In addition, let me challenge you this week to use your meal time with your family, friends, co-workers or strangers alike to practice hospitality, intentional relationship building and God’s grace. Because a good meal changes things and you never know how God might fill you up in more ways than one when you come to the table.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Rachel DeLaune