Congrats! You're a father!
Did you know that the celebration of Father's day began as a Catholic holiday as part of a celebration for St. Joseph Day? You remember Joseph, Jesus' surrogate father. Sometime during the middle ages, the day was set aside to celebrate Joseph because they thought it important to elevate his contribution to salvation's history. The celebration of St. Joseph's Day or Father's Day, through Catholic missions, was imported into various parts of the world. It became mainstream in America only within the 20th century. Who knew? I didn't. Thanks, Wikipedia! So let's look at Joseph's life to see what God might have us learn from him.
Joseph is a largely neglected figure in the biblical account of Jesus' life. Though not knowing much about him, we do know that Joseph was a carpenter (See Mark 6:3), he was a religious person, making yearly journeys with his family to Jerusalem from Bethlehem for religious purposes (See Luke 2:41-50), and he was a person of character, full of truth and gentleness (See Matthew 1:19). That is about all we know about Joseph. After the first few chapters of the Gospels, we do not see Joseph appear again. Scholars theorize that Joseph was a much older man than Mary and had probably died by the time of Jesus' ministry and that's why when Mary, Jesus' mother appears, Joseph isn't with her.
On a side note, Jesus knew what it was like to have an absent parent. Though truly, he relied upon his heavenly Father, a term given by Jesus to describe God Almighty. Jesus came from a single-parent family. It's important to note that because too often we can assume that Jesus had a perfect family, yet his family was all but "ideal." By assuming as much, we unnecessarily distance Jesus from our own experiences. When in actuality, Jesus has experienced in many ways what we continue to experience today including grief, an absent father, and a struggling single mother.
Returning to Joseph, the humanness of his family can be seen in Joseph's willingness to assume fatherly responsibilities of Jesus, that is to be his adoptive father. When Joseph found out about Mary's pregnancy, he had planned on quietly ending the relationship without humiliating Mary. Not many people can so easily respond to such a situation with such grace. Little did Joseph know what God was up to! Then, in a dream, an Angel told Joseph what God was up to and how Joseph was a part of that plan, a plan to raise God's son as his own. Joseph, the adoptive parent, raised and cared for a son, not his own, as his own.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, a blended family, show us that God doesn't require ideal situations to raise children. God doesn't need or require your family to resemble a 1950's TV show. Rather, God's picture of family is not one of biology but spirituality. It's through baptism that each one of us takes on a new family and role within that family. God can use you to help raise the children of the church, no matter your age, no matter your relationship status, no matter the biological relationship. So as Joseph took a surrogate role in the raising of Jesus, so we too take on a role, more limited of course, in raising and training the children who attend FUMC.
In what ways are you helping to train and raise the children of this congregation? Are you teaching Sunday School? Volunteering in the nursery? Mentoring one of the youth? Chaperoning for one of the big summer events for the youth? Whatever way you help, know that God uses you to plant seeds, to shape, to form, to mentor, and to change the lives of the kids and youth at FUMC. Thanks be to God!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Matt Seaton
Generosity in All Places
Is Theme of Annual Conference
The 142nd session of the North Carolina Annual Conference will meet on June 16-18 at the Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, NC. Approximately 1,800 clergy and lay members from over 800 local churches will vote on a variety of business matters, resolutions and constitutional amendments to The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward will preside over the conference. The theme of the conference is "Generosity in All Places." Guest speakers include Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Rev. Dr. Greg Jones, Provost of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
The proposed conference budget is $21.5 million, a 1.9% decrease from the previous year. Will Geanes, Jack Gurganus, Dave and Susan Johnson, the Rev. Jim Bell, and the Rev. Matt Seaton will attend from our church. Bishop Ward will announce the pastoral appointments for the 2017-2018 conference year on June 18.
You may view Annual Conference updates, livestream and links at: nccumc.org/ac2017. Facebook: facebook.com/nccumc. Instagram: Instagram.com/nccumc. Twitter: twitter.com/nccumc. Official Hashtag: #nccac17.
Please pray that the clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference will make wise and thoughtful decisions for the Church.
One Worship Service - July 2
There will be one service at
9 a.m. in the fellowship hall on Sunday,
July 2. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. There will be no Sunday school for children/youth. Adult classes will meet at the discretion of the leaders.
Children-Youth Vision Team
The vision team for children, youth and parents is hard at work to develop a long-term strategy and plan for our church's future.
Rather than rushing through the process to fill the jobs as they have been structured, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and our senior pastor have asked us to take time to "do this right" while ensuring that the needs of our children and youth are met in the interim. Jim Bell has taught us a process of discernment, to focus on what God is calling our church to do in this vital area of ministry rather than simply deciding what we think on our own. After just three meetings, it's already clear that this process will have a huge impact on First Church and the next generation for many years to come.
Our team (selected by Staff-Parish) represents a broad spectrum of our church family, with parents of preschool, elementary, middle and high school youth, two youth, and a couple of us whose (now grown) children were very active in our children and youth programs when participation was much larger just a few years ago. Members include Kevin Boudreau, Julie Carter, Sean Epps, Hadley Gross, Doug Haynes, Anne McCray Joseph, Jessie Langley, Sarah Prezioso, and Thorne Pruden.
We met with Duffy Robbins, a national expert on youth ministry, when he visited our church last month to get his thoughts. We also met to get to know each other and our expectations, and learned from Jim about how to slow down to listen to God in this process. We spent three hours in a strategic planning session led by Lee Barnes, one of our former youth pastors who served here for 8 years and now works as a consultant with the conference and individual churches. In addition, we've talked with Marty Cauley, Lynn Benson, and Greg Moore from our conference staff, collected demographic information about Rocky Mount, and will be looking at past job descriptions and attendance data for children and youth.
After our strategic planning session, it became clear to our team that the church must consider how to integrate children, youth and family strategies and programs so that they work together, rather than being separated in "silos" the way many churches tend to do. We also recommended, and Staff-Parish has approved, that the church hire Lee Barnes as a consultant to lead us through this process. Lee will work with Jim, our team, and our children and youth volunteer leadership teams for about 20 hours per month over the next six months to help us make sure programming and support is in place for the upcoming year while at the same time planning for the long term. We have money in the church budget to pay Lee because we will not have staff on payroll during this time, and it will still leave additional funds left over in the children/youth budget.
Our team will meet again with Lee on June 19 to develop a detailed plan and timeline for the summer, which will include conducting focus groups and a survey with parents and church members, creating next year's calendar, recruiting and training teachers and leaders, choosing curriculum, planning events, developing strategy, goals, expectations, and job descriptions. Our goal is to have everything in place for our children and youth to experience an outstanding year starting in August and have new strategy, programming and staff job descriptions for Staff-Parish's consideration by its early September meeting. We hope to have positions filled by January or May at the latest. Rest assured, our discernment process so far tells us God is calling us to be true to our heritage of excellence in this area of ministry, and that the entire church should be involved in shepherding the next generation in discipleship.
Please pray for this effort and give us feedback when we ask. Since we don't have staff in place, we ask the entire church family to step up and rally around our children and youth for this fall. Right now, we need to recruit teachers and additional leaders for the upcoming year. If you are interested in discussing how you might fit in, please send your contact information to this new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace and peace,
Emily Sykes Is New Preschool Director
The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is pleased to announce the employment of Emily A. Sykes as our new Preschool and Kindergarten Director. Mrs. Sykes has served as the Director of the Children's Center at Nash Central High School where she supervised six teachers and twenty high school interns. While she was the Director, she helped to obtain and maintain a five-star accreditation for the Center.
She has also served previously as the Lead Teacher for the Three-Year-Old Class at the Children's Center. Mrs. Sykes has worked as a Kindergarten teacher at New Life Christian Academy in Rocky Mount.
Mrs. Sykes has an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education through Liberty's online program.
A native of Nashville, NC, she resides there with her husband, Collins, and their five-month-old son, Hayden. She and her family are members of Englewood Baptist Church.
Please join the Staff-Parish Relations Committee in welcoming Emily Sykes to our Preschool and our church staff!
by Mickey Bailey
is the title of the sermon for
Sunday, June 18. The scripture lessons are
Matthew 7:7-8 and Isaiah 6:1-8. When God calls,
sometimes the hardest thing to do is to show up!
Come and bring a friend!
Sunday school for children and youth will continue through June. Lydia Cauley will be teaching the high school students; Jack Gurganus will combine the fifth graders with the middle school students; Cyndi Steele, Rhonda Tanner and Mary Kolesar will alternate working together in teams of two to teach the children in kindergarten through third grade; and Nancy Hall will continue to teach our preschool children.
Supper and Song/Hymn Sing - Thank You
I would like to thank everyone who helped, contributed and participated in our Supper and Song event in May. Special appreciation goes to Will Williams and Becky Wood who helped lead singing along with members of the choir. I am grateful to Emily Vann, Gaye Brinn, and all those who coordinated and helped prepare food as well as all who helped with set-up and clean-up. It was a fun evening, and we hope to have similar gatherings in the future.
MUSIC FOR SUNDAY
This Sunday, June 18, for the 11:00 worship service, the Chancel Choir will sing "O Day of Peace" from a poem by Carl Daw and set to the Scottish tune Candler.
For June 25 at 11:00, the group will sing "Gracious Spirit, dwell with me" arranged by K. Lee Scott.
Guest organist will be Douglas Blackwood.
FUMC Kindergarten and Preschool registration for the 2017-2018 school year is underway, and we are happy to say our
Kindergarten is back! FUMC Preschool and Kindergarten offers: Mother's Morning Out for babies (aged 2 months-1 year), Mother's Morning Out
for toddlers/preschoolers (aged 1-4 years), Preschool for 2- and 3-year-olds,
Pre-Kindergarten for 4-year-olds, and a state-certified, half-day Kindergarten.
Please call the preschool office at 977-0475 for
FUMC is a happy place for children!!
Summer Fun For All!
Join us Saturday,
from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a churchwide picnic at the Rocky Mount Sports
plex. We have reserved the covered area between the YMCA and the
baseball fields. The church is providing fried chicken and beverages; we are asking that church members bring sides/desserts to share. There will be games, food and fellowship, so mark your calendars. We hope to see you Saturday for a fun-filled event!
Independence Day - Tuesday, July 4
FUMC families are invited to join us at Pitstop Shoppe at Westridge Shopping Center at
0 p.m. for ice cream. From there, we will travel to Richard and
san Laney's backyard
(709 Nichole Lane) to watch the fireworks pro
by Englewood Baptist Church. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets and
enjoy the fun and fellowship!
Wednesday, August 9
FUMC goes to the Movies!
More information in the coming weeks!
Be sure to put these dates on your calendar!
for La Estrella Resplandeciente
La Estrella Resplandeciente is a United Methodist Hispanic Children's Mission Project, shared by the Heritage and Capital Districts. Every Saturday children come for a time of worship, tutoring, crafts, games, and a hot meal.
Lydia Cauley is collecting school supplies that youth at Breakaway will then put into kits to be given to each student in preparation for next school year.
Items needed include the following:
8 or 16 Pack of crayons
Supplies may be dropped off in the welcome center until
June 23. Please email Lydia Cauley at
email@example.com with questions. Thank you for your help with this important ministry.
FUMC Vacation Bible School
"Maker Fun Factory"
July 17-20, 9 a.m.-12 noon
Ages: 2 to 5th grade
If you would like to volunteer, please call the church office at 977-0400
or see Hadley Gross.
2017 "Summer" Community Worship Services
All are invited to share in the 10th Anniversary Summer Community Worship Services!
The host/preacher schedule is as
Trinity Lutheran Church,
Rev. Raymond Privott, preacher
Rev. Dr. Jody Wright, preacher
West Haven Presbyterian Church, Rev. Audrey McCarter-Hedgepeth, preacher
Morning Star Church of Christ, Rev. Richard Gurganus, preacher
All worship services begin at 6 p.m. The theme this year is
Together at the Table - Who's here? Who's not at the table?
The primary text is John 13:3-5, 12-16, 34-35. The offering has been designated to support the Hope Initiative.
Please plan to participate in this amazing worship opportunity.
Sept. 22 - Sept. 24
September 22, FUMC will go to Camp Don Lee for the weekend. Reconnecting and renewing our relationships, we will take time to share devotions together, spend time in personal prayer time, and enjoy God's good creation through various fun activities. The retreat will end on Sunday afternoon, after having enjoyed worship led by the camp and a meal that follows. Mark your calendars and be sure to register (online, Facebook, website)!
BigStuf is a summer camp for rising high school students in Panama City Beach, FL. We will be going
July 23-28, 2017.
The total cost is $450, and the last payment of $100 is due
Your Choice Resource Center
Needs Security Guards
Your Choice Resource Center has an urgent need for three security guards on Thursday nights. The guard(s) would serve once every other month on a Thursday evening from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and would be available to assist clients and volunteers entering and leaving the building. Additionally, the security guard(s) would be expected to maintain an awareness of any unusual activity on the premises and take proper action, if needed. If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested, please contact Wendy Munn by calling the Center at 252-446-2273 or email
We are seeking to expand our
volunteer list for working in the children's nursery on Sundays and need your help. If you can share your time for an hour working with the little ones about
once every three months, please let us know! It's both fun and
rewarding to serve in this important area! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Michelle Batchelor.
Nursery Workers for June and July
6/18 9:00 Melody Bell & Amy Brown
11:00 Sarah Prezioso & Ashley Ward
6/25 9:00 Susan Johnson & Beth Joseph
11:00 Katie Butler & Wendy Wilson
7/2 9:00 Sarah Collins, Kim Cross and/or Susan Laney
7/9 9:00 Susan Johnson & TBD
11:00 Beth Pearsall & Wendy Wilson
7/16 9:00 Lisa Perry & Denise Russell
11:00 Melissa Bynum & Debbie Ray
7/23 9:00 Kelley Tyndall & TBD
11:00 Wendy Hinson & Lori Stanovich
7/30 9:00 Lisa Mand & TBD
11:00 Hadley Gross & TBD
In Memory of Frances Satterfield Bourne (
Stephen Ministry) by Garnett & Bitsy Smith; Buck & Sherry Young; Bill & Marty Kincheloe; Andrew J. Gatsis, Jr.; William T. & Addie Wittman and Sally Wilson; Tom & Jan Anderson; Robert & Tina Farmer; Julia Elder; Stan & Debbie Figlewski; Julie C. Daughdrill; Stephen & Louise Coggins; Jeannie, Sandra, Ann & Dandy; Blarnie & Olivia Tanner; Ed & Betsy Jolley; Mr. & Mrs. C. J. Blanchard, Jr.; and Mac & Diane B. Havard.
In Memory of James Lynwood McCullen by Anita R. Moore; Robert D. Kornegay, Jr.; James E. & Kay D. Liestman; and (
Discretionary Fund) by William Whitehead Sunday school class.
In Memory of Edith Rhem Andrews (
Discretionary Fund) by William Whitehead Sunday school class.
In Memory of Henry Cooper Edmondson (Youth Ministry) by Beverly Thompson.
Congratulations to our graduates!
High School Graduates:
Jenna Christal Batchelor; Maxwell Till Collins; Noah Jeremy Crawford; Rachel Scott Dunn; Caroline Andrea Forrester; Taylor Morgan Luttrell; David Henry Parisher; Hannah Elizabeth Phillips; William Howard Pruden, IV; Joseph Stephen Przelomski; Jacob Charles Smith; Cameron Elizabeth Ward; and Thomas Klass White.
College and Post-Graduates:
Brennan Keith Beck; Mary Beth Cameron; Robert Dillon Crawford; Cameron Lowry Glover; Chandler Lowry Glover; William Thomas Grant; Samuel Madison Haynes, II; Hunter Braswell Perry; Joseph O'Shea Rogers; David Jacob Stanovich; Alexandra Rain Whicker; and Matthew Brian Williams.
The pastors and staff of FUMC express their sympathy to Rev. Tom and
Karen Greener and family on the sudden death of Karen's brother,
Camp Hill, PA; to Ed Jolley and his family on the passing of his wife, Betsy Rose Gehman Jolley; and to Rev. Matt Seaton and his family on the passing of his grandmother, Lillian Margaret Knapp, in Marion, Indiana.
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"To Know Christ and to Make Christ Known"