October 20, 2017

Semper Reformanda
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 marks 500 years since a young Augustinian monk named Martin Luther sent out his 95 theses to the church.  Prior to this event, there had been only two main churches, the Catholic Church, in western Europe and parts of Africa, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, found in eastern European countries.  One way to picture the church is to imagine an elegant stained glass picture.  After Luther registered his complaints, the church in the west shattered.  From those shards of broken stain glass can be found the beginnings of what would become The United Methodist Church. 
Through Luther's work, and many who joined his cause, a turbulent and at times, violent transformation came about--now called the Reformation.  Why it's called that, I'm not exactly sure.  What was reformed?  The church never united afterwards so as to represent a reformed, remade body of Christ.  In fact, as time went on, the shards of glass became more and more broken. 
You may recall from Bible trivia that Luther valued sola scriptura, sola fide, and sola 
gratia--scripture alone, faith alone, and grace alone.  What you may not know, is that a phrase has grown out of the reformation called semper reformanda.  It means the church reformed, always reforming.  It's a vital reminder that God's church is organic.  It grows and changes over time.  So at times, it does indeed feel like the church is an elaborate and intricate stained glass picture--unchanging, enduring, and magnificent.  Another way to look at it would be to picture a gigantic oak tree standing for centuries, grown out of the blood, sweat, and tears of saints and sinners, attempting to be faithful to the God who planted it and who tends it.
Branches of a tree grow out of the same trunk.  Branches of a tree receive nutrients by the same roots.  Branches of a tree feed from the same soil and water.  How silly if a branch were to say it stands apart from the other branches!  How odd it would be if a branch were to think it was the only branch that mattered!  Certainly each branch has its peculiar shape and own unique growth.  Definitely each branch provides shade for animals, a place for birds to perch, and leaves to shed for future returns on soil. 
The last 500 years seems to have been a time when the branches formed.  Perhaps in the next 500 the churches, now understood as denominations, can see that they collectively are THE church, connected to the same God, fed by the same scripture and Spirit.  Perhaps they can come to see that, though each one has had its own history of growth and change, that they too belong to the same Lord, the same Spirit, and the same God, who is over all, in all, and through all.  Churches crossing denominational boundaries working together, hand in hand, are signs of sure and certain hope that God can and does reconcile all things to God's self. 
I would like to invite you to a community celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Sunday, October 29, at 3 p.m.  It will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church.  At this worship service, representatives from several denominations will work together to lead worship and share in remembrance of the reformation and the work of reconciliation to which God has called us to.  Also, I'm preaching, so there is that.  So please come and let us remember that we, as Methodists, are merely a branch joined by other branches in God's beautiful tree. 
Grace and peace,
Rev. Matt Seaton
Debbie Ray Is New Preschool Director
The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is pleased to announce the employment of  Debbie Ray as our new Preschool and  Kindergarten Director.  Mrs. Ray has extensive experience as an exceptional children's educator, an elementary school assistant principal and principal.
She has a Master of Arts degree in Education.  A member of First United Methodist Church for the past 30 years, she has been and continues to be heavily involved in the areas of Christian education and missions.  She and her husband, Joe, have two grown daughters.
Please join the Staff-Parish Relations Committee in welcoming Debbie Ray to our Preschool and church staff!  
Church Council Endorses New Staffing Plan
Our church is moving into a new phase to hire staff to revitalize Family Ministry in our congregation!  Last week, the Church Council endorsed a new staffing plan recommended by the Vision Team and approved by the Staff-Parish Relations Committee.  The vision and planning team have had considerable input from children and youth leaders, youth and the entire congregation.  Our goal is to employ two full-time staff members for Family Ministry (up from 1.5 positions), assuming that upcoming financial pledges for 2018 and the budgeting process provide the funds.  The first of the two positions will be posted in the next few days, and the Finance Ministry Team will be working on the budget in the coming weeks.
The new vision is bold and based on God's call as discerned by considerable feedback and prayer.  The Church Council has set Family Ministry as one of the church's three most important goals for 2018.  The vision is to once again become a church that appeals to families with children.  We want to partner with parents to help their children and youth grow into disciples of Jesus, so they will love God and love others throughout life.
To learn more about the new Family Ministry vision and plan, and ask questions, come to a church-wide presentation during Sunday School on November 12 in the fellowship hall. Parents of children and youth will have their session and a meal on Sunday, November 5, from 5-7 p.m. in the fellowship hall.
Please continue to keep this important ministry in prayer as we wait patiently for the right candidates to help us make young disciples for Christ.  Thank you for your prayers and your support!
Thank You for Your Generosity!
Members and friends of our congregation have generously contributed a total of $25,759.01 thus far to the mission of the United Methodist Committee on Relief to provide hope and practical help to people who have been devastated by recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Central America and elsewhere.
Our church is deeply grateful for each of these contributions.  100% of these gifts will go to provide direct help to people in need.  The administrative expenses are funded by our regular missions giving.
Here are links to two reports of the recent work of UMCOR and the United Methodist Church in southeast Texas and Puerto Rico: 
For information about recent United Methodist Committee on Relief work, plans and grants, go to:  Read story.
Your generous gifts help people in desperate need in many ways.
Boy Scout  Spaghetti Plate Fundraiser
FUMC Portico
Lunch: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.  Dinner: 4-6 p.m.
Take-out Only!     $5.00 per plate

(Donations also accepted.)
2017 Charge Conference Is October 22
The 2017 Charge Conference is scheduled for Sunday, October 22, at 4:00 p.m. in the fellowship hall.  Members of our church will join with representatives of 20 other nearby United Methodist Churches in this annual event.  The Rev. Randy Innes, Heritage District Superintendent, will preside over the Charge Conference.
A worship service, including the Sacrament of Holy Communion, will begin the Charge Conference.  An offering, designated for the Mission Endowment of the NC Conference, will be received.  We will elect 2018 church officers and approve 2018 compensation for our appointed pastors.  All Church Council members are voting members of the Charge Conference.  All church members are welcome to attend.  
2018 Missionary Support FAITH PROMISE

The 2018 Missionary Support FAITH PROMISE is our way of financially supporting Wil and Yolanda Bailey and their family (Costa Rica) and Brian and Ellyn Dubberly and their family (El Salvador).  Each year FUMC sends work teams to Costa Rica and El Salvador to be a part of these ministries.  If you have been fortunate enough to go on one of these trips, you know the impact these ministries are having on the lives of the people of Costa Rica and El Salvador.

If you have not completed the Faith Promise Commitment Card, please pick one up in The Hub or contact Wendi Beck at 977-0400  to make a financial commitment for 2018 to support the ministry of Wil, Yolanda, Brian and Ellyn.  Please help us show our appreciation for the work of four of God's faithful servants. 
peration Christmas Child Shoeboxes
Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes will be collected at FUMC from now until Sunday, November 12 Empty boxes, as well as packing information, are available in the fellowship hall.  You can return filled boxes to the welcome center.  ( No toothpaste or candy! This is such a fun and simple way to send God's love to children all over the world!
Heritage District
Lay Servant Ministry Session

Saturday, October 28, 2017
Hosted by St. Paul UMC
1217 Bethlehem Road, Rocky Mount, NC  27803

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
(Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.)

Registration fee of $20 does NOT include the required text 
which should be purchased and read prior to class time. 

Courses Offered:
Basic Course:   Dr. Christine Harman, Director of Christian Formation
Adv:  You Can Preach:  Ken Ripley, Co-Director of Heritage District Lay Servant Class
Adv:  Life Together in the United Methodist Connection:
 Marty Cauley, Director of Content & Coaching for New Faith Communities

Registration closes tomorrow, Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 11 p.m. 

Please call or email the District Office with any questions about registration:
districts@nccumc.org or 919-779-9435/1-888-661-4941

Please contact Lynn Ward with any questions about the course or the materials:
Apple Dumpling Pickup
Pre-ordered Apple Dumplings will be available for pickup on two Sundays, October 29 and  November 5 , in The Hub following each worship service.  If you are unable to  pick up your order by November 5, please contact Lisa Mand at 904-8076 or Jena Katkaveck at  451-2547.  Apple Dumplings that are left after November 5 will be re-sold with no refunds! 
Community Reformation Worship Service
You are invited to share in a Community Reformation Worship Service on Sunday, October 29, hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church, 433 S. Winstead Ave, Rocky Mount.  Worship will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will include Holy Communion, along with shared leadership from local clergy.   Rev. Matt Seaton will be preaching.  The theme for this event is Reconciliation - The Love of Christ Compels Us.
Reformation Sunday Orchestra
On October 29 for the 11:00 service, an instrumental ensemble of members and  friends of FUMC will present selections of inspirational hymn arrangements.  They will also accompany the congregational singing.  Included will be a setting of Martin Luther's powerful hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" to the glory of God and in recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 
If you play an instrument and are interested in participating in ensembles, please contact Bill Wood or Pam Cameron.
Come and Sing for Christmas!  Gaudete !  Rejoice!
Our Chancel Choir and friends will present a service of carols on Sunday, December 10, during the 11:00 service.
We will be celebrating the joy of Christ's Advent and Nativity with music that will include selections from Gaudete, a collection of carols in modern arrangements by the Swedish composer Anders Ă–hrwall.
An ensemble of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion will be accompanying and playing selections as well.  We are also working on some exciting music for the Sundays 
of Advent.

We are scheduling part of Wednesday night rehearsals for work on the Christmas  music. 
Singers are welcome to join in for just that segment of rehearsals to practice the Advent/
Christmas selections.  Rehearsals are at 7:30 p.m. with some sectional rehearsals starting at 7:00 (TBA).


Again this year, we will be putting together a group of instrumentalists for the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service.  Rehearsal will be just before the service.  Watch for details or contact Bill Wood at  bwood@fumcrm.org  or call the church at 252-977-0400.

TayAndra Allen will sing the spiritual "Give Me Jesus" for the 11:00 service.  The Chancel Choir will sing a setting of Psalm 150 by the English composer John Harper. 
Consecration Sunday
  Planned for November 5
Consecration Sunday, our annual stewardship emphasis, will be celebrated in all worship services on November 5.  Worshippers will have the opportunity to make financial commitments to support our church's ministry in 2018 as a spiritual act of worship. 
The Rev. Lynn Benson is our guest leader and will be the preacher for this Sunday.  An ordained deacon in the North Carolina Conference, Rev. Benson is the Director of Legacy Giving at the United Methodist Foundation in Garner.  She and her husband, Marty, are active participants in our congregation.  
A Celebration Luncheon to celebrate what our stewardship commitments will do, will be held in the fellowship hall following the 11 a.m. worship service on November 5.  Cards to reserve your place at the catered luncheon will be distributed during worship this Sunday. 
All Church Council members and Extravagant Generosity Team members will gather for a supper meeting on October 29, at 6:00 p.m. at the Booker T. Theater on East Thomas Street.  Rev. Benson will speak at that occasion as well.  
All Saints Sunday - November 5

The Christian Church has recognized All Saints Day on November 1st for centuries.  At First United Methodist Church we will celebrate the lives of church members who have entered the Church Triumphant during the past year on All Saints Sunday, November 5.
We will read the names of those we are remembering at the 9 and 11 a.m. worship services.  Candles will mark each of those who have died, and family representatives will be invited to come forward and light a candle of remembrance. 
Persons who we will remember on November 5 include:  Thomas Earl Williams; Martha Joyner Adkins; Gregory Hunter Stokes; Barbara McCausland; John Marcus Beard; Evelyn Dillon Coleman; Marie Layton Chadwick; Lewis Garland Thompson, Jr.; Josephine Huckabee Fish; Betty Brame McCullen; Edith Rhem Andrews; Frances Satterfield Bourne; James Lynwood McCullen; Betsy Gehman Jolley; Margaret Allen Parrott; Donald Earl Ball; and Barbara Corbett Craft.
This special service is a time for us to remember and give thanks for all the saints who surround and encourage us.  

40th Anniversary Celebration
United Community Ministries of Rocky Mount
Sunday, November 5, 2017 
2-4 p.m.
(brief presentation at 2:30 pm)

The Bassett Center
916 Branch Street
Hosted by Friends of UCM

Light refreshments will be served and tours of the facility will be offered.
3rd Annual Cup of Warmth Luncheon
A fundraiser for  United Community Ministries of Rocky Mount
When:   Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 11:30-2:00 p.m.
Where:   Lakeside Baptist Church
Cost:   $15
Menu:   Your choice of favorite soups from area restaurants along with homemade bread, beverage, and pie (Remaining soup will be sold for $10/quart.)

All proceeds benefit our local soup kitchen and homeless shelters.

The program  will be presented by artist Bill Mangum who designs the Honor Card each year.  Mr. Mangum will share his story and the inspiration behind the 2017 Honor Card.

Contact Bridget Rogers (bridget.rogers@suddenlink,net) for tickets or purchase at the door.
FUMC supports United Community Ministries (UCM), a non-profit organization, as it addresses the needs of the homeless and nearly homeless in our area.  UCM has served more than 1,000,000 hot meals, provided shelter to more than 11,000 individuals and families, and provided food and financial assistance to more than 18,000 households.
FUMC Preschool Spaghetti Supper & Silent Auction
Wednesday, November 8
Lunch take-out    11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dinner take-out     5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Dinner eat-in*        5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
(*in conjunction with Our Big Night)
Tickets are $7 per plate and will be on sale from the Preschool or church office.   (*Note:  Church members taking part in  Our Big Night  meal will have spaghetti also and must sign up in the welcome center as usual.  Cost of the meal will be $7 for adults and children; checks should  be made payable to FUMC Preschool.)   Join us for a night of good food and fun!  
Our Silent Auction will be open from Monday, November 6 , at 9 a.m. until Wednesday, November 8 at 6:45 p.m.  Church members wishing to donate items for the Silent Auction need to contact Debbie Ray at 977-0475.
Pilgrimage - November 10-12

Pilgrimage has been bringing 5000+ youth (6th-12th grades) and leaders to the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC, for 24 years.  Sponsored by the NC United Methodist Conference, this event is for students and student leaders of all denominations.  This life-changing weekend is filled with amazing artists, thought-provoking speakers and lead by youth.    We will be leaving the church parking lot at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 10, and returning to the church on Sunday, November 12, around 2:30 p.m.   The cost is $90 
plus 2 meals while traveling.  Scholarships are available if needed. 

For more information, check out the link http://www.nccpilgrimage.org/ or call Laura Haynes at 252-903-7905 or email at  laura.haynes703@gmail.com

Nursery Workers for October and November

10/22           9:00     Mary Lew Benson & Katie Harrison 
                     11:00     Amber Hinson & Debra West
10/29           9:00     Amy Luttrell & Lisa Mand
                     11:00     Hadley Gross & Wendy Hinson
11/5             9:00      Katie Harrison & Kinnie Pruden 
                     11:00     Debbie Bonner & Jeannie Kerr
11/12           9:00     Dinah Davenport & Beth Joseph
                     11:00     Susan Chambless & Beth Pearsall
11/19           9:00     Debbie Ray & Kim Sieracki
                     11:00     Jill Everett & Kitty Norsworthy
11/26           9:00     Rhonda Tanner & Lindy Williams
                     11:00     Heather Freeman & Ashley Ward

Our Church Family


In Memory of Donald Earl Ball by The Bible Class of Garner UMC and (Monday Morning Community Breakfast) by Dr. and Mrs. Lucas Martinez.

In Memory of Barbara Corbett Craft by Chuck Floyd, Mars-Wrigley-Advantage Solution; Charles F. & Brenda S. Phillips; and ( Backpack Buddies Program) by FUMC Langill Watson Sunday School Class.

In Memory of Margaret Allen Parrott by Milton & Lea Fields.     


Congratulations to Antonio and Helen Nester on the birth of their daughter, Annabel Emmalee Nester, October 13, in Chapel Hill, NC.  Annabel weighed 7 lbs. 7 ounces and was 19 inches long.  Big sister is Vivian, and proud grandparents are Bob and Margaret Mitchell. 

Congratulations to Stephanie Lynn Ray and Brian Michael Gillespie who were married Friday, October 13, at Barclay Villa in Angier, NC.  Stephanie is the daughter of Joe and Debbie Ray and the granddaughter of Phyllis Ray.
Attention Amazon Shoppers

Here's an easy way for your dollars to benefit First United Methodist Church and our ministries. When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to our church. 

Simply bookmark the following link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/56-0597085 and support us every time you shop! 

Online Giving
Give anytime, anywhere! We welcome your online donation, where you can schedule your recurring donation or your one-time gift. It's fast and easy. Click here to get started or visit our website, fumcrm.org .
Sermon Podcasts

Please be reminded that if you miss a worship service, you still have the opportunity to listen to any of the FUMC sermons via our website.
Every Day Grace TV
"To Know Christ and to Make Christ Known"
Contact Information
100 S. Church Street
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
252-977-0400 Office
252-977-0475 Preschool
252-977-1748 FAX
C hurch
Office Hours:  
Mondays-Thursdays: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Fridays: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

View on Instagram    Follow us on Twitter    Like us on Facebook