Pastor’s Pen – June 24, 2020

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Dear Friends:

Though we haven’t been together in worship for months, in today’s update I want to tell you how encouraged I am about the wonderful ways God is continuing to move us forward during this time of pandemic.

On Sunday we celebrated 4 years of fruitful ministry of Rachel and Ryan DeLaune and said fond farewells to them in a socially distanced, afternoon reception. This week our Trustees are already hard at work cleaning and preparing the parsonage for Associate Pastor Madeline Baum and her family, whom we expect to arrive this coming weekend. We are excited and look forward to welcoming Pastor Madeline, Lou, and Sara!

I continue to be humbled by the amazing generosity of the people at FUMC and the ways we are continuing to be a church in unusual times. Every day, tithes and offerings continue to be dropped by the church office and/or given online. Our leadership teams continue to meet online to move our vision forward. The staff continues to prayerfully plan and implement worship, connections, and financial responsibilities. Small groups and Bible study groups continue to meet on a weekly basis. An online prayer team is praying for pastors, staff, our community, and any request that is shared throughout the week. Outreach, service, and fellowship continue as we find new ways to interact with our world.

I know many of you have questions about the short-term and long-term future of our church. Here are some additional updates:

Reopening “Healthy Church” task force:

This team continues to meet and discuss online and in-person worship and facility use in the future.

The Florida Conference continues to actively lead on the subject of “healthy” church reopening. They have posted the following video with comprehensive information here:

https://www.flumc.org/reopening-churches-webinar-video

As for our church specifically, we are not yet in a position to give a time frame for resuming in-person worship until the city of Boca and Palm Beach County move to Phase Two of reopening. Once in Phase Two, we will intentionally begin preparing for an in-person worship experience. Even then, some of you have expressed that you will not feel safe gathering, even during Phase Two reopening. We understand this decision and affirm your desire to continue to worship online. Rest assured that we are planning to continue online worship into 2021 and perhaps beyond.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share more details about how we will proceed when a date is selected for in-person worship. Please continue to pray for the reopening team and the leadership of our church. Our number-one priority is to praise and worship God in a safe environment.

Pastoral transitions:

With the arrival of Pastor Madeline, and the end of Pastor Kernie’s contract as preaching pastor on our West Campus, we are in the process of evaluating pastoral responsibilities. I’m pleased to announce that Pastor Kernie has accepted the role of part-time Pastor of Congregational Care for the coming year. In this role he will continue to connect with people on both campuses. We are so grateful to Pastor Kernie for his year of service on the West Campus and are delighted that he is willing to continue as one of our pastors.

When new pastors arrive and begin interacting with our staff, leadership and members, it’s typical to allow time for that transition. Part of what I plan to do in the coming weeks is work with Pastor Madeline to determine the best way to use her gifts and graces in accordance with our church’s needs. Many of you have asked about the future of Dinner Church, for example, which we do intend to continue. I’ll share more details with you in the future about pastoral roles and responsibilities as decisions are made.

Wednesday race conversations in July:

Starting Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 PM we will meet online for a time of learning and sharing conversations about race. The plan is to share a conversation video on Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday and then gather online Wednesday to discuss in small groups led by facilitators. The first video will be the conversation between my colleague and friend, Rev. William Chaney, Jr.,  that was shared in worship on June 14. More details will be shared next week in the weekly Constant Contact email.

West Campus task force:

The task force has continued to meet regularly online since our Church Conference in February, exploring options for partnership and/or sale of the west campus. The Leadership Council approved listing the property with Avison Young, a commercial real estate company, to assist with locating potential partners and/or interested buyers. A full update will be shared at the next Leadership Council meeting on Monday, July 20. Please remember that any eventual partnership or sale offer that is recommended by the task force will be brought before the entire church membership for a vote.

Online prayer ministry:

The pandemic has made it clear that prayer is essential as the body of Christ. Think of a car without an engine. Prayer is the engine that allows the church to reflect Christ and expand the kingdom of God. I’m happy to announce that Min Pusey has volunteered to coordinate this important ministry. Min will be sharing more details about our online prayer ministry in the month of July.

Finally, a BIG thank you to the volunteers, staff, and pastors that have allowed us to continue during this season of pandemic. May God continue to bless this amazing team and allow us find new ways to share the love and good news of Jesus Christ.

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

 

 

 

Pastor’s Pen – June 3, 2020

Schedule and Guidelines

from the Reopening Task Force

 Office Reopening Week of June 8th

  • Staff training on Thursday, June 4th
  • Open to the public on Wednesday, June 10th
  • Masks will be required for everyone entering the office space but not required in individual offices.
  • To control access to office space all office door codes will be reset.

PMO soft reopening week of June 21st

  • Masks required for all adults
  • Limited class size
  • Deep cleaning will happen on daily basis by PMO staff
  • Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays schedule for first few weeks

Public Worship soft reopening July 5th

  • Required masks, social distancing, and reservations
  • GP will be site of first worship gathering with limit of 50-75 inclusive of praise team, pastors, staff, ushers, and greeters (number depends on how Palm Beach county is successfully reopening)
  • Additional in-person worship services will be added through the summer as needed.
  • Online worship will continue for those not ready to attend in person. We see our online campus continuing in the future.

Outside groups

  • Up to date insurance information is required
  • A plan of use/cleaning needs to be submitted before restarting
  • Masks and social distancing are required

Team will be working on video and social media communication for the entire church about reopening process. Our desire is to re-open the buildings in the safest was possible.

Pastor’s Pen – April 29, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Happy Wednesday! Does anyone else have trouble keeping track of days during this time of disruption? I hope you and your family are safe and doing okay.

On Sunday it was announced that Pastors Rachel and Ryan will be moving to new appointments in central Florida at the beginning of July. It is hard to believe they have been with us for the last four years. We will miss Ryan, Rachel, Emmaline, and Charlie. The Staff Parish team will be working on ways for us to celebrate and thank Rachel and Ryan for their service over the last four years. Please keep the DeLaunes in your prayers as they begin to make this transition. Our hope is for Sunday, June 21st to be a celebration of their ministry in Boca.

As one chapter ends, another begins. It is with joy and excitement that we welcome Madeline Baum as our new associate pastor at the beginning of July. Here is the release shared by our District Superintendent:

Madeline Baum

Beginning July 1, 2020, Madeline Baum will be a commissioned provisional elder in the Florida Conference and will begin serving as the new Associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Boca Raton. She is currently serving as Director of Family Ministries at Ocala West UMC. Madeline will graduate from Asbury Theological Seminary in December, 2020. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Organizational Management from Indian River State College in 2015.

In Madeline’s own words she wrote the following when asked about her personal faith and the mission of the church, “My personal faith journey began in the Catholic Church where I spent my early years. There, I knew of God, but I did not know God personally. After many years of searching for something, I was ultimately led to the UMC about 12 years ago. Here I found a home -a community of faith grounded in Christ and covenantally committed to one another. It was at Trinity United Methodist Church in Jensen Beach that I answered my call to ministry. I have spent the last ten years cultivating this gift that God has given me and I am certain that I am ready to share what I have learned with a congregation as we work together to discern God’s path in or shared ministry. As we work together as the Body of Christ, we strive to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

 Madeline’s spiritual gifts are leadership and compassion/mercy. She includes preaching/teaching as one of her strengths.

Madeline and her husband, Luciano (Lou) have a daughter, Sara, who will be attending FAU beginning summer 2020.

We will have many opportunities to welcome the Baum family in July. Please keep Madeline, Lou, and Sara in your prayers as they say goodbyes and transition to Boca.

I hope you are able to go outside and enjoy some of the cool air today. Remember we are Easter people and nothing is greater than God!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

 

 

Pastor’s Pen – April 8, 2020

Happy Holy Week! We have made it to Wednesday, April 8th. In this new normal, I find myself not taking as many things for granted! Jesus’ sermon on the mount and his statement about “not worrying about tomorrow” has a new and more profound meaning.

I hope each of you is safe and secure. Our caring callers, staff, and pastors continue to call and text people on a daily basis. If you are thinking about or missing someone, I encourage you to call or text them. During this time of social distancing, I am making an effort to connect with at least 10 people daily. Maybe this can be your goal each day for the remainder of April!

A few updates for this week:

Wyatt Robinson, our Director of Family Ministries, along with Pastors Rachel and Kernie, will be leading an online Maundy (Holy) Thursday family experience. More information is available on our website and Facebook page.

I am planning to share some scripture and/or reflection on our Facebook page this Thursday – Saturday. Even though Easter will be celebrated in a different way this year, the message of Easter is the same. Easter reminds us that God loves us so much He entered the world as Jesus and died for our sins. Three days after this sacrifice, death was defeated and the tomb was empty. We celebrate Jesus is ALIVE! Easter would not make any sense if there was not a death and a bodily resurrection. We are Easter people!

I would like to invite you to join us online this Easter Sunday. You will hear amazing music and hear words of hope as Easter people. As always, feel free to invite your family and friends.

Finally, I encourage you to listen to one of my favorite songs about Jesus’ death from the perspective of the thief:

 

 

I look forward to walking though Holy Week and Easter with you.

God bless,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – April 1, 2020

Hello Everyone,
I pray this email finds you well. The month of March 2020 is one that we will never forget! I hope you are taking the advice of local, state, and federal officials seriously and doing your part to help slow the spread of this terrible virus.

Our caring callers, staff and pastors have been reaching out to people through email, text messages and phone calls. Just yesterday I had an amazing phone call with one of our 90+ year old members. He told me how he has been in contact with family and many people from FUMC. I am thankful for everyone reaching out during this time of social distancing. If you would like to be on our call list, please email us.
Our online worship continues on Facebook each week at 10:00 AM and is also posted to our YouTube Channel. We are meeting online each Wednesday night at 7:00 PM for our weekly Lenten study and at noon on Thursday for our weekly prayer time. Anyone is invited to join us online!
This Sunday we will be celebrating Holy Communion together during our worship time. Please gather some bread and juice/drink before the live worship at 10:00 AM.
Please continue to reach out to family, neighbors and friends during the next 30-45 days. We will get through this time, but it is important for us not to be totally isolated from all people.
Finally, I wanted to share an article from an author and theologian named NT Wright. I enjoy his readings and his love of Jesus Christ. This article is a good reminder of the Biblical tradition of lament and its importance to Christians.
May God bless you and help you to find new ways to love the people around you.
In God’s Amazing Grace,
Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – March 11, 2020

Hello Church family,

Last Sunday we celebrated the amazing ministry of MECE at the 9:30 AM contemporary service. We also were awarded a certificate from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home for being a top ten congregation in 2019. Our church donated over $53,000.00!! Thank you FUMC for your generosity.

Last night I attended our monthly mission/outreach team meeting. I am thankful for this team and their heart for ministry/outreach.  I would like to share some of the amazing ways we are making a difference in our community and world.

Did you know that we supported two missionaries with $2,900.00 salary support through UMCOR? Our goal was $2,500.00 per missionary.

Did you know that we donated $13,463.50 and 1,070.5 lbs of food to CROS Ministries in 2019?

Did you know that over 25 people serve in the Family Promise ministry 4 times a year? Next week is our scheduled hosting,  and we still need a few volunteers to greet the families and provide dinner on two evenings. Click here to sign up.

Did you know we support a weekly shower ministry that serves 40-60 people each week in our Gathering Place? The ministry happens each Saturday from 9am-11am.

Did you know we support a school in Donne Haiti? We collected money in December to support students, teachers, and food needs.

Did you know we have a sister church in Cuba? We support the Pastor’s salary and assist with various needs of the congregation and parsonage. At last night’s meeting we learned that there is a current need for a refrigerator for the pastor’s house that costs $750.00.

Did you know we support UMCOR in the month of March? This support helps cover administrative costs so that UMCOR can collect donation for crisis situations (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc) and 100% of donations can be used for aid. Please be generous with your March special offering for UMCOR administrative support.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE –

Like all of you, your pastors and staff are monitoring the updates from the Center for Disease Control on the coronavirus. Clearly, this is a very real threat to the health and well-being of our country. Please be in prayer for those who have become sick as well as governmental officials and health leaders as they navigate this medical crisis.

We have done two things to help ease concerns. First, we will have hand sanitizer on each campus. As you have already heard, thorough handwashing is essential to combat the virus. Second, we are encouraging people to resist hugging and hand shaking at church. I know this sounds odd for the people of God who deeply love one another to resist appropriate physical contact, but these are not ordinary times.

If you or anyone in your family is sick, please stay home. That’s right. Your pastors are encouraging you to stay home from church services if you are feeling sick. We are working through a process to stream our 9:30am east service on Facebook live and encourage you to click here to use our online giving.

See you on Sunday! (Unless you are not feeling well) 😀

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – March 4, 2020

Hello Church family,
At worship this Sunday we will be focusing on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Please reflect on this devotional thought from Henri Nouwen.

“Everything we know about Jesus indicates that he was concerned with only one thing: to do the will of his Father. Nothing in the Gospels is as impressive as Jesus’ single-minded obedience to his Father. From his first recorded words in the Temple, “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” (Luke 2:49), to his last words on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46), Jesus’ only concern was to do the will of his Father. He says, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). .

..Jesus is the obedient one. The center of his life is this obedient relationship with the Father. This may be hard for us to understand because the word obedience has so many negative connotations in our society. It makes us think of authority figures who impose their wills against our desires. It makes us remember unhappy childhood events or hard tasks performed under threats of punishment. But none of this applies to Jesus’ obedience. His obedience means a total, fearless listening to his loving Father. Between the Father and the Son there is only love”. – Henri Nouwen

See you on Sunday at worship!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Pastor’s Pen – February 26, 2020

Hello Church family,
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. With ashes we mark our repentance of sin and remember our mortality. The ashes point to Lent’s climax: Christ’s death for our sins and His resurrection conquering death. Today ashes are being shared at MECE, at Florida Atlantic University, and on our West Campus. Tonight at 7:00 PM, we will gather in the East Campus Sanctuary for a traditional Ash Wednesday service with Holy Communion.

Church Conference Update

As a result of the church conference where a strong majority (77%) voted to explore a partnership, redevelopment, or sale of the West Campus property, we are putting together a task force to begin this work. This team will meet over the next few months and present recommendation(s) to our leadership council. Updates will be shared at our monthly leadership council meeting. Keep this new team in your prayers.

Lenten Congregational Study

Starting March 4th, we will gather each Wednesday to study the book, The Walk by Rev. Adam Hamilton. We will meet in the West Campus Chapel from 12pm-1pm and in the East Campus LEC, second floor, from 7pm-8pm. Everyone is invited to participate.

Upcoming Events:

March 8th

Spring forward time change

MECE Sunday at 9:30 am service (East)

Florida UM Children’s Home presentation at 9:30 am and 11:0 0am (East)

March 29th

Unified Worship Service 10:00 am (East)

April 4th

Children’s Easter Egg Hunt 10:00 am (West)

 

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

Staff Parish Relations News – February 19, 2020

On behalf of Staff Parish Relations Committee, one of my jobs is to announce changes to our staff. It’s with some sadness today that I share the news that our Director of Connections, Jill Haire, has announced her resignation. Jill has been at FUMC for longer than most of us. She is a true child of the church and grew up in the neighborhood around the East Campus. She attended our services, Sunday School, and eventually our youth group, forming deep bonds with our pastors, staff, and members.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University she felt a call to ministry and eventually returned to FUMC as our youth leader. In that position, Jill brought a unique enthusiasm and energy to the position by sharing a love of this congregation and the good news of Jesus Christ with hundreds of young people that passed through our programs over the years. Three years ago we created our Director of Connections position, and Jill’s extensive connections with our membership, coupled with her outgoing nature and infectious smile, made her the perfect person to step into and evolve the role. Under Jill’s watch, our C3 ministry began, connecting worshipers between services on the East Campus; she’s connected ushers and systems on both campuses, organized the Caring Callers ministry which utilizes more than  20 volunteers to reach out to our members on a regular basis, and so much more. As a “MECE Mom” she also represents the church at MECE events and has been a wonderful ambassador for the church in so many capacities. Jill has been part of the staff of FUMC for the last 14 years, and we are better for it.

For the last 18 months or so, Jill has been in prayer and conversation about the feeling of need for a Sabbatical. She has a husband and two precious young sons, as well as a growing home business, and feels God is calling her to a season of rest from church work. While I’m sad to see Jill go, and I know that our pastors, leadership, membership, and especially our staff will miss her terribly, I’m excited about the path Jill has before her—the rejuvenation that can come from a Sabbatical, the opportunity to grow a promising new business, and joyfully increased free time to dedicate to her family. Jill says she leaves with great love for FUMC and has promised to keep us in her prayers as we move into our future.

I hope you all will join me in thanking Jill for her many years of service and wishing her God’s blessings on the new adventures that await her. Her last Sunday with us will be on March 8th, which is MECE Sunday. Therefore, we’ll be celebrating her on the Sunday prior to that, March 1st. Please mark your calendars to join us during the East Campus C3 connection time in the Gathering Place at 10:30 am on Sunday, March 1st.

Claire Vande Polder, Chair

Staff Parish Relations Committee

Pastor’s Pen – February 12, 2020

Hello Church family,
I would like to begin this article by saying a big thank you to Claire Vande Polder, Bruce Wetmore, Chuck Reeder, and Sharon Saige. These four servant leaders have been leading our town hall gatherings and drafting/editing the documents that have been shared with the congregation. We are blessed at FUMC with an amazing team of leaders and staff.
Click to read the financial reality handout, the questions and answers document 1 (town hall west)  and the questions and answers document 2 (town hall east). These documents are important to read before the upcoming church meeting and vote this Sunday at 4:00 pm in the East Campus Sanctuary.

The main question people have been asking over the last few days is “What happens if we vote ‘no’ on selling/partnering the West Campus?”

Voting “no” on this proposal is certainly an option and it would mean returning to the drawing board with the same information before us. Our budget shortfall for 2019 was $115,000.  Our leadership council has been responsibly diligent about the need to balance our budget. Without alleviating our property expenses and with the information that our property insurance will likely increase by 20 percent this year, we would need to remove staff, services, and programs to balance our budget. We know the effects of such radical changes would be felt in all areas—children’s and youth programming, congregational care, worship services, music, etc. Cuts of this nature would also impact our ability to connect with people at a time when those efforts are more important than ever. We would all agree that our buildings do not make us a church: our people and programs do. However, choosing to keep two physical campuses in operation is a decision to value property over people. Church leadership believes that reducing our facilities’ costs is our best hope for long-term budget relief that will allow us as a church to realign and refocus on the well-documented challenges facing the American church.

The called church conference will begin promptly at 4:00 pm this Sunday in the East Campus Sanctuary. Registration for FUMC members to get a ballot begins at 3:15 pm. Childcare will be available. The meeting will be led by our District Superintendent Rev. Cynthia Weems.

Lenten Congregational Study

Each Wednesday in Lent, beginning March 4th, there will be a weekly study. The book is “The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life” by Adam Hamilton. The hope is that every participant will deepen his or her walk with Christ as we explore the five essential practices of worship, study, serving, giving, and bearing witness to our faith. Pastor Kernie will be leading the study each Wednesday from 12-1pm in the West Campus Chapel. Pastor Marcus will be leading the study each Wednesday night from 7-8pm in the East Campus Life Enrichment Center (LEC) on the second floor. Everyone is invited to join us for one of these studies. Books will be available to purchase for $11.00 each.

Have a blessed week!

In God’s Amazing Grace,

Pastor Marcus

P.S. Join us on Ash Wednesday (February 26th) for a special time of worship at 7:00 pm in the East Campus Sanctuary. This is a time to reflect, share our thanks, and remember the greatest sacrifice. We look forward to being in worship with you.