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 – 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 5:00 PM 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 dinnerchurchboca@gmail.com.

 

Dinner Church is Held Every 2nd & 4th Sundays!

 

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 call the church office at 561-395-1244 to find out how you can help.

 

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 racheld@fumcbocaraton.org

Relay

Our group had a great time competition in the group relay competition tonight. Our of about 20 groups we came in second place. Of course our super competitive students were disappointed to not take first but we were proud and they had fun. Many students are already saying they aren’t ready to leave and are having a great time!

 

Worship Experience 

Tonight after worship and teaching we were able to participate in a more personal, individual time for God to speak and our students were receptive to God speaking. The first station they were asked to highlight a verse in Romans that stood out to them on a giant plexiglass of the entire book. The second station they were asked to circle up in small groups to pray for one another. Some of our students took time to share with one another what their friendships and this trip has meant to them. The third station they were given an opportunity to write a name of someone that needs to know God on a big wall. The final station they were able to write their struggles with the flesh (things of this world) on a board with chalk and then write what that would look like if the Holy Spirit helped them with their struggle.

We had some awesome opportunity to spend quality time sharing and praying for one another. During small group we had a great conversation about relationships and how God gave us each other to love, support, and encourage one another in life. We talked about the importance of good, quality friends and how we can experience and share God’s love with others through these friends.

There are several students who are experiencing the love of God for either the first time or first time in a long time and it has been amazing to watch. These students are brutally honest and authentic and God has been speaking to them all in individual ways. Our conversations and questions have been real and God is moving in their lives.

We are looking forward to being able to see downtown Nashville tomorrow and to continue to experience God’s love for each of us.