Pastor’s Pen – August 14, 2019

Dear Church family,

Last Sunday we had the privilege of praying for students, teachers, administers and staff as we begin a new school year. Each student received a tag to place on their backpacks that read:

“This backpack has been prayed over and blessed by the church that loves you…First United Methodist Church, Boca Raton.” It also had the scripture, Deuteronomy 31:8: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Please continue to pray for our students and the adults that teach and support them. We are praying for a year of learning, safety and fun.

This weekend there is a lot happening on both campuses. The worship focus this week is recovery, a reminder that we are all broken people in need of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. This is a good week to invite a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor that is struggling and needs the hope of Christ. In the afternoon we have our new membership class, Coffee with Pastors, at 3:00pm on the east campus in the office conference room. Also, there is a Pumpkin Patch  potluck/meeting at 3:30pm on our west campus in the fellowship hall. We have an amazing pumpkin patch on our west campus in October. Lastly, there is a back to school Blast Off party at 4:30pm on the east campus. There will be hamburgers and hot dogs, a BIG water slide, the splash pad, and lots of fun and fellowship to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Join us and invite your friends for these opportunities of worship, fellowship, fun, and service.

Finally, we continue to host Family Promise this week. A big thank you to everyone that has greeted, provided dinner, and/or stayed overnight. This ministry truly transforms the lives of families.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

P.S. Please also be in prayer for our FAU campus ministry, Atlantic Coast Wesley, and the new school year. Pastor Ryan and his leadership team will be making new connections starting this week!

Pastor’s Pen – June 26, 2019

This Sunday we will gather for our next Unified Worship Service. These are great opportunities for all of FUMC to come together for worship and to share a meal/conversation. Please bring your favorite covered dish with enough to share. A special thank you to our Saturday shower ministry (Home) for setting up the tables and Jan Henniger who leads the amazing Hospitality Team. This team with people from both campuses sets up and organizes the food and table decorations.

This week there are 15 children and youth participating at summer camp in Leesburg, Florida. Please keep these students and Wyatt, our Director of Family Ministries, in your prayers.

Finally, words cannot express the service and ministry of Pastor Tom Tift. Tom is a gifted communicator, an avid sports (Braves) fan, and someone who models the teachings of Jesus with his genuine love of people. Tom has been a leader in interfaith ministry and racial reconciliation ministry in Boca Raton. Pastor Tom truly has a pastor’s heart. I encourage you to share notes and cards with Tom this Sunday and generously give to the special love offering in honor of Tom and Jana Tift. The love offering will support a new gardening initiative at our school in Haiti. Please make your check payable to FUMC with “love offering” in the memo line.

See you on Sunday as we worship our amazing God!

Pastor Marcus

Dinner Church

Dinner Church is a launch of a fresh expression at Coral Sunset Elementary School. We meet on the second and fourth Sunday of the month at 5:00pm for a free meal, extra homework help, a small Bible teaching, and for a community gathering for the whole family. We want to be a place for families surrounding Coral Sunset Elementary to be able to come and not only get fed and receive homework help, but to build community relationships. If you have any questions you can reach the team at


Dinner Church Upcoming Dates: May 26, June 9, June 23, July 7, July 21


If you are a part of our First United Methodist Church community and would like to help serve at Dinner Church we would love it. There are opportunities with food prep, set-up, clean-up, greeting, child-care, and more! Please contact Pastor Rachel DeLaune for more information about serving at


Dinner Church Update – May 20, 2019

Dinner Church has found its rhythm and is building a community. We have served more than 10 families over the last 3 months. We have over a 50% return rate and each time we meet, we continue to build on the relationships of those that come. Of those families, we have fed and served over 20 children and youth and each week, God brings us someone new. The team consistently serves and provides the meals and the overall welcoming and hospitable ambiance.

Many of you have been asking for an update and so we wanted to walk you through what a typical Dinner Church day looks like. It starts early with team members hanging a banner on the school gate or placing signs on the neighboring roads near Coral Sunset Elementary School.  Then the set up begins at 4:00 pm, with Miguel, our custodian and our team setting up tables, chairs and unloading the boxes of supplies. Our faithful meal servers, Linda and Tony prepare the serving dishes and get the already prepared food hot and ready to go. Darlene and Susan prepare the tables with fresh flowers and a welcoming feel. Kernie and others pray over the chairs while others prepare the Teacher’s Lounge by turning it into a safe room for kids and babies to play in. At 4:50 pm we gather up to pray and prepare our hearts for who God might send to Dinner Church that night.

At 5:00 pm the first families are greeted in the parking lot and shown to the Cafetorium where Dinner Church happens. We spend the next hour eating and getting to know each other around the tables and the kids run around and wander in and out of the play room for craft time. It is loud and fun and full of energy. After about 45 minutes, dessert is offered and to-go boxes are filled with the leftover food. After a worship song and a short Jesus story, Communion is offered to all who want to partake and most of the time, everyone comes up and receives. Then we gather in a circle all together and pray for any needs that are on the hearts of our guests and Team alike. We end around 6:45 pm and begin the tear down process. We are usually out the door by 7:00 pm after a short debrief with the Team. Each time we gather, we are learning something new and tweaking our flow for how we can improve for the next Dinner Church.

A few God sightings in Dinner Church have been…

  • Celebrating a cancer-free report after a nerve-wrecking health scare for one man
  • Embracing a family walking through a tough divorce and a custody battle
  • Witnessing a father returning home and working to reconcile family relationships
  • Growing closer as a Team and being strengthened by our love for God’s Kingdom in new ways


  • Continuous Dinner Church happens every 2nd and 4th Sunday nights through the Summer starting at 5pm
  • Next one is this Sunday, May 26th
  • We would love to begin a tutoring component to Dinner Church in the Fall

If you have any questions or would like to find a way to serve, please email Pastor Rachel at

Vacation Bible School

Start your summer off with a ROAR!

Join FUMC Boca Raton for our 2019 Vacation Bible School (June 10-14, 9:00am-12:00pm). Potty trained 3 year olds through rising 4th graders can attend!

Adult and Youth volunteers are needed! Youth volunteers must be rising 6th-12th grader. Youth may receive service hours! All volunteers must attend a mandatory volunteer meeting and all adults must pass a background check. Volunteer Hours 8:30 am -12:30 pm

June 10th -14th 

9:00 A.M.- 12:00 P.M.

Ages 3 years (potty-trained) – 4th Grade (2019/2020 school year)

$35 per child, registration ends May 15th… $5 per child if an Adult volunteers All 5 days of VBS.

To Register a Child and/or Volunteer please click…


Leadership Council Meeting Summary (August – November, 2018)

The summer is long gone and Christmas is just around the corner. I would like to try and summarize the activities of your Leadership Council in the past five months. This will be a year end summary as well, since no business will be conducted at the December Leadership Council meeting. Once again, I offer this disclaimer; these are a summary of my recollections, notes,  and review of the minutes from the past meetings. If an opinion is offered, it is mine alone. It is my desire to keep everyone informed about their church’s leadership activities. Everyone on leadership wants to be open about our church activities. We are all readily available to discuss any issue or concern. This will be a somewhat lengthy report.

At the August 20 meeting, concern was expressed about a Facebook public post entitled “West Boca Methodist Community Share”. Since 2008, there has been no such entity as is the “West Boca Methodist Church/Community”. There was agreement that all matters relating to the church should be posted on the FUMC Facebook site.

The staff parish committee reported considerable difficulty in finding individuals who were trained, experienced, or interested in assuming both children and youth ministry. The finance committee continued to evaluate possible solutions to our budget deficit. Fran Bertoti and I spoke with district superintendent Dr. Cynthia Weem, and both were convinced that the superintendent believed the sale of church parsonages was not in the best interest of the church and therefore would not approve any such action. That matter was closed. Pastor Marcus indicated that the Strategic Planning and Ministries Assessment Task Forces will be giving their report at the October meeting. Pastor Rachel presented her proposal for the Fresh Expressions Ministry, including the budget. After some discussion and debate, the motion to approve the  ministry and the budget expenditure($48,000) were approved.

I did not attend the September meeting which was chaired by Joe Manino. The staff parish committee made a motion to offer Wyatt Robinson the position as Director of Youth Ministry. The motion passed unanimously. The finance committee continue to express concerns about the financial shortfall of the church and to warn of the possibility of significant cuts to the 2019 budget. The trustees recommended moving funds from the previous West campus bathroom upgrade to repairing the roof on the chapel at the West campus. This motion was passed unanimously. Pastor Marcus distributed a letter from Emerging Minds Montessori Academy, the school we currently lease space on the West campus. They indicated an interest in purchasing the West campus property. They indicated that they would be willing and happy to create an arrangement in which the West Campus Ministry would continue. There was general interest by the council members about looking into this possibility further. No Action Was Proposed to Sell the West Campus.

The Leadership Council Meeting of October 15th, lasted four hours. Owners of the Emerging Minds Montessori Academy made a presentation to the Council. They indicated their desire to purchase the West campus property in order to expand the school and create equity in the enterprise. They indicated their purpose was missional in scope (and not entrepreneurial). It is their desire to educate and help children whose families are financially compromised. They intend to seek  federal funding and nonprofit status as a part of this goal. In addition, they have enjoyed the relationship with our church and want to continue that. They would continue to allow church worship at the West campus, while owning and maintaining the facilities. The Council was impressed with their sincerity, their missional goals, and their genuine interest in preserving the West campus church operations. A motion was made and unanimously carried to create a subcommittee to investigate the possibility of such an arrangement. The church nominating committee will select the committee members with final approval by the leadership Council. It is anticipated that these discussions and recommendations will take 4 to 6 months to complete. As a result, the school asked for a one-year extension on their lease and that extension was approved by the Council. The committee will report back to the Council throughout the process. No decision has been made to sell the West campus at this time. I believe this may be a wonderful opportunity to solve significant financial issues, and at the same time maintain our West campus ministry.

Pastor Marcus presented the recommendations of the Ministries Reassessment Team and Strategic Planning Team. THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE AVAILABLE from the church office . The Leadership Council endorsed all of the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Team, and all of the recommendations of the Ministries Reassessment Team, except recommendation number 4 under the category of Worship. That recommendation was referred back to the team for further consideration.

Wyatt Robinson, our new Director of Student Ministries, introduced himself and discussed his plans for the student ministry. Jill Haire, submitted a comprehensive written report on our Connections Ministry. The “Connections Fair”, held at our combined worship service on September 30 was a great success and very informative. Pastor Marcus reported that the church nominations committee would be meeting within the next week and presenting its report at the Charge Conference to be held Sunday, November 4 at Christ United Methodist Church in Fort Lauderdale.

Two motions were proposed by the Staff Parish Committee later in the month of October. Both motions were distributed and voted on using email. Staff Parish believed there was some urgency and the Council should not wait to act until the November 19 meeting. Firstly, a per diem pianist and organist was being employed Sundays on the East campus following the retirement of Craig Ames. A permanent replacement was found and will be a $3000 savings from the original budgeted salary. The motion to employ this individual was passed. Secondly, Wyatt Robinson expressed interest in the Children’s Ministry in addition to being Director of Student Ministries. Staff parish recommended a salary adjustment and the hiring of Wyatt as our Director of Family Ministry, in charge of both the children’s and youth programs. (This had been our original goal back in July.) This motion was passed.

The South East District Charge Conference Was Held on November 4th, and the FUMC Report, including programs, nominations, and clergy compensation, were all approved.

At the Council meeting of November 19th, pastor Marcus presented an update on several items. The Montessori Proposal Team should be in place by mid-December. He presented updates and implementation of the Ministries Reassessment and Strategic Planning Teams Recommendations.

The Staff Parish committee presented a detailed report in writing on their analysis of the church office staff and the church music program. I encourage you to obtain a copy of that report. It is quite enlightening. The committee interviewed all of the staff and were impressed with their loyalty and devotion to the church. None of the employees had received a pay raise in four years. One of the employees had not received a pay raise in 10 years, and as a result, that individual was given a 3% raise in 2018. Since the retirement of our music minister, Bob Sheffey, the music on the East Campus has been directed by a different person at each of the traditional and contemporary services. This has not worked out as well as expected. As a result the Staff Parish committee made a motion for Arlene Sparks to be made director of all music ministries at FUMC. A salary adjustment was recommended for the significant increase in time this position would require. The motion passed.

The finance committee gave a comprehensive report, including graphic analysis of church attendance and giving in 2018. Both are trending down. The church pledge drive for 2019 has started and the initial results are promising. 30 new people have turned in pledge cards so far. The pledge drive will continue through December. The finance committee made a motion to continue church funding through February 2019, at the same levels as 2018. Staff salaries would also continue at the 2018 level. The motion was passed. The pumpkin patch project was very successful and everyone was thanked for their hard work. The results of the financial survey are being reviewed. There was a fairly good response of 178 members. A detailed analysis will be forthcoming. Some preliminary results indicate that Youth and Children are the number one priority of church members voting. Number two is Pastoral Care and Leadership, followed closely by Music and Worship. It was my opinion that written responses expressed very diverse opinions.

The trustees committee provided a comprehensive report of their priorities for 2019. They also provided a list of recent projects completed on the east and west campuses, and on both parsonages.

I hope this summary has been helpful. We have an excellent Leadership Council, and each member is working diligently to make FUMC the ministry we believe God wants it to be. We are eager to answer any concerns you have.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Respectfully submitted,

Charlie Tate

Chair, Leadership Council, FUMC, BR

Leadership Council Meeting Summary (July 16, 2018)

Pastor Marcus open the meeting with a prayer. The minutes from the June meeting were approved.

The ad hoc committee on the leadership Council composition and policy report was given by Charlie Tate. Following discussion, the following recommendations for changes were unanimously approved:

  1. On page 2 the third paragraph now reads “The senior pastor, associate pastor, and church business administrator shall also serve as voting members of the leadership Council.”
  2. On page 2 the last sentence of the first paragraph will now read “All persons with vote shall be members of the local church.”
  3. On page 3, in the first paragraph describing the Leadership Council Chair, a second sentence was added stating “The leadership Council chair shall vote only in the case of a tie.”
  4. It was agreed that in the future there would be no appointment of an alternate voting member. Currently, Joe Rakestraw serves as an alternate member of the Council in the absence of Merv Timberlake. Joe will continue to serve in Merv’s absence through December 2018.

Sharon Saige gave the church business administrator report. Increased pledging has increased slightly from last month, now totaling about $50,000. However, we continue to experience a significant shortfall in our budget. In 2017, as of June 30, our budget deficit was $63,000. This year our budget deficit stands at $140,000 (as of June 30). Our attendance on both campuses continues to decrease when compared with 2017.

Chuck Reeder gave the staff parish report. Our Children’s Director for the past 10 years, Melissa Walls, had an exit interview with the committee and provided valuable information and recommendations for a new director of family ministry. That job description has been completed and there are currently three resumes to be considered and appointments made for interviews.

Sharon Beede gave the finance subcommittee report. A motion was made and carried that Jim Lauri will now be a signatory on the Merrill Lynch account. The music budget continues to be a concern and will be further scrutinized. Arlene Sparks, Director of our Music Ministry, will be working in consultation with pastor Marcus regarding these concerns. The continued presence of a significant budget deficit is of great concern. However, budget planning for 2019 remains limited until the reports of the Ministry Assessment and Strategic Planning Taskforces present their recommendations. Those recommendations are expected at the October Leadership Council meeting. Our yearly scheduled Charge Conference (with our District Superintendent) will occur later in the fall, at which time the budget will be finalized for 2019.

Fran Bertotti presented the trustees report. Maintenance issues are ongoing. In our efforts to look at all aspects of church finance and property, the sale of one or both of the parsonages has been mentioned. Before any additional consideration, Fran and Charlie Tate will speak with our District Superintendent regarding what is involved at the conference level and what is the general trend in South Florida Methodist churches.

Our senior pastor gave his report, including the glorious baptism of a family of four into our fellowship and the send-off of 35 of our children to summer camp in Leesburg, Florida. He concentrated however, on the preliminary discussions of the strategic planning and ministries reassessment task forces. He challenged each of the council members to consider what they believed to be “The Story” of Our Church (that is, “Who do we feel God is calling us to be”).

Pastor Rachel attended her first meeting since maternity leave. She will be providing a detailed overview of implementing our “Fresh Expressions Ministry” this fall, prior to the August Leadership Council Meeting. The Council will be voting in August about proceeding with implementation, including the funding of this new ministry from New Vision Designated Funds. Pastor Ryan did not have a report. He was in the process of returning from Leesburg where he had dropped off our summer campers.

Jill Haire was not present at the meeting but provided an excellent summary of the “Connections Program” and an update on our volunteers, greeters, and ushers.

Suzanne Reeves presented the Lay Leader Report and Mallory Albeck presented her report on our “Young Adult” meeting.

I handed out our nice new leadership Council name badges. All of our council members will be wearing their badges to enhance identification and to attempt to improve dialogue with all of our church attendees. Special thanks to Becky Clark and Sharon Saige for their efforts. I also reported that we will be moving forward with a new church directory. The Lifetouch company will again be producing the directory. Photography dates are being scheduled for mid and late January, 2019. We wanted to offer all of our families a chance to participate, including our winter residents. Lisa Coles has volunteered to head up this endeavor, and she is going to need a lot of help. Please consider volunteering to be a part of that.

We had a number of guests attend the meeting. Doris Clark reminded us of an upcoming pumpkin patch committee meeting. Pastor Rachel closed the meeting with prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Charlie Tate

Chair, Leadership Council, FUMC, BR