Services in-person & online at 8:30 and 11:00am at Florida's Oldest United Methodist Church

We invite you to pick at least one event this month to attend and explore what we have to offer at First Church!

“Celebrate Sunday” Church-Wide Class
August 15 | 9:30 -10:30am | Gym
Join us during the Sunday School hour for a special church-wide class with Rev. Jenny Medley, Chair of Christian Education. She will share in a time featuring Christian Education at First Church, with special focus on Sunday Morning Classes that are available. This time will not only be informative, but a time of fellowship, prayer, and growing together as the Body of Christ.

“Take it to the Week”
August 22 | 9:00 – 10:45am | The Wright Place
Visit the Wright Place to learn more about individual studies, practices, resources, and classes available to you during the week. Click HERE to view suggested Books, Studies, devotionals, & Prayer Guides by our Christian Education Team 

“Get Connected” Community Group Launch
August 29 | 9:00 – 10:45am | The Wright Place
Visit the Wright Place to find out more about our open Community Groups and how to get connected this year!

by Rev. Jenny Medley, Chair of Christian Education 

I can hardly believe that it’s almost time for school to start back, for football season to begin, and for our return to Wednesday Nights, and all that is a part of Fall. I’m certainly looking forward to cooler weather, whenever that makes its way to us. This will be my first time to serve as the Chair of Christian Education Committee during our Celebration of Christian Education later this month, and I’m so very excited for the opportunity to continue in this ministry after getting my feet wet as a member of the committee, and more recently as the chair, planning mostly online classes for Advent, Winter, Lent, Spring, and Summer.

It’s an exciting time at First Church, as we celebrate being able to come back together in worship, fellowship, and study. After more than a year of connecting mostly through online platforms, many feel a sense of relief in being able to safely return to in-person events. We’ve certainly learned a great deal as we all have navigated the past year and a half. So, where do we go from here? We have seen value in online access for classes, and want to continue to support an online option for our traveling church family, and any connections who may have a passion for the subject, wherever they may be, while supporting and engaging in meaningful ministry through welcoming groups and classes back together in our church buildings.

As we look to the fall, our Christian Education Sunday will look a little different. In fact, it has multiplied! I’m looking forward to sharing during a Special Church-Wide Sunday Morning Class on August 15th at 9:30am, as we “Celebrate Sunday.”  The following Sunday, August August 22, we will “Take It to the Week,” with opportunities to learn about resources to help us continue to grow in our faith in our daily lives, beyond Sunday. The final Sunday of August, we will “Get Connected” with Community Groups. If you aren’t already connected with a Community Group, this is a wonderful opportunity to see what’s available, and to let us know what you would like to see to help you connect with others with a similar interest, hobby, or desire for a group study, and to support your spiritual life through mutual accountability.

Wednesday Nights will be kicking off again this fall with opportunities for connection, discussion, Bible study, and of course, food. We will kick-off with a FREE Spaghetti Dinner on August 18th. Weekly dinners, Children’s Choir and programming, as well as classes for adults will start August 25th. Wesley will be leading a class on The Bible and the Apostles’ Creed starting September 15th. The Christian Education Committee is also excited to be planning special events to take place during certain weeks as part of our Wednesday Night activities. These will feature speakers who will cover an array of special topics. Look for more information on the Wednesday Night schedule and on any of the events I’ve mentioned here in the Witness.

This Summer it was a joy to be able to share leadership of the study Five Marks of a Methodist with Brandon Bures, Rick Branch, Henry Roberts (all clergy) and Donell Seager (one of First Church’s Spiritual Directors). We had a good group gathered each week via Zoom, and shared in rich discussion each week. The group even included more than one participant who does not live locally, and would not have been able to attend had we not offered the course via Zoom. With all the traveling many do during the summer, no doubt many were unable to nail down the hour each Monday evening for the 5-6 week duration. That being said, look for Five Marks of a Methodist to be offered this fall, during Sunday School. I’m excited to see how the conversations go for round two, and look forward to seeing you there!

John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism, called himself “a man of one book and a student of many.” Bible study is one pillar of Christian Education here at First Church. The other pillars are Faith Formation, Christian Living, and Social Justice. Our faith is an active faith, and we are constantly seeking to grow, to live out our faith at home, at work, in our families, and in the world. We do this through worship, Bible study, acts of service, Community Groups, practical application classes, and the list goes on. We are not lacking in ways to grow. I invite you to come this month, and Celebrate Sunday, Take It to the Week, and Get Connected. I commend this prayer of John Wesley to you as a parting greeting, along with the invitation to join us for the Christian Education opportunities this Fall as we “daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (from John Wesley’s sermon “The New Birth.”)