December 1, 2017

Hopes and Fears Meet in Jesus' Birth
My family and I visited my mother one Thanksgiving - about a year after my father had died.  My mother was experiencing the pain of the first anniversary of his death.  Sad and sorrowful, Mama told us that she was not going to put up a Christmas tree that year.  I received a note from her two weeks later.  She had changed her mind.  She wrote that she had just finished trimming the tree.  She could imagine Daddy sitting in his chair, telling her how pretty the tree looked the way that she had hung the lights and the ornaments.  She recalled how happy Daddy was when they decorated their first Christmas tree as a married couple 47 years earlier.
Putting up that Christmas tree brought back good memories for Mama.  It also intensified the sad reality that Daddy's chair would be empty on Christmas.  That's what Christmas does.  It magnifies sadness, and it heightens joy.
I believe this is part of what Phillips Brooks meant when he wrote concerning Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, "Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." 
In Jesus' birth, the Light of the world fulfills our greatest hopes.  His great light overcomes our worst fears.  This Christmas embrace that light for your life.  In the midst of sadness, suffering, joy or peace, receive the love of Christ in your heart.
Merry Christmas! 
Advent 2017 Sermon Series:
Expectation and Joy
This Advent sermon series emphasizes the great expectation of Messiah  coming and the tremendous joy he brings.  Like the prophet Isaiah, we have  a strong desire to witness God's glory.  Our heightened anticipation prepares us to celebrate Jesus' arrival with  great joy.
December 3 - "Come Save Us, O God!"
Holy Communion/Nativity Sunday
Isaiah 64:1-9
We yearn to see God's power and might.
December 10 - "Herald of Good News" (8:30 and 9 a.m.)
Isaiah 40:1-11 
We bring good news that the glory of the Lord will be revealed.

11 a.m. Cantata:  Gaudete, a selection of carols
December 17 - The Rev. Randy Innes will preach at all three services.
December 24 - Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve
Candlelight Family Worship at 5 p.m. in the Sanctuary
Candlelight Holy Communion at 11 p.m. in the Sanctuary
December 31 - "Redeemed and Adopted"
Luke 2:22-38
We rejoice in the gift of the infant Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer.
One service at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary.
Worship themes are prayerfully and carefully selected. 
Make regular worship a priority in your life. 
Share the Good News!
It is our privilege this month to share the Good News of Christmas in a world of uncertainty, fear and sadness.  People truly need hope and good news today.  One important way that we share the gospel is by inviting people to worship God.
80% of the people who come to church for the first time do so because they are invited by a friend, neighbor, coworker, relative or classmate.  Attractive Christmas invitation cards are available at the welcome center for you to use in inviting your friends.  They list all of the special services at our church in December.
Be praying about who you can invite to worship - and then do it!  

Coming soon, new small groups!
Minister of Next Generation Discipleship Sought
Our church has recently begun advertising for applicants for our Minister of Next Generation Discipleship.  We are searching for a forward-thinking, collaborative leader who is mature and can engage our diverse community and church in indigenous family-based discipleship.  Our vision is bold and is based on God's call as processed by considerable discernment and prayer.  Our congregation and Church Council have set Family Ministry as our church's primary goal this year.  The intergenerational excitement for this endeavor is revealed in support and volunteers.  We are growing to become a church that appeals to families with children and partners with them to grow disciples of Jesus Christ.
The primary roles of this position are leading the family ministry team, building up the existing children's ministry, partnering with parents on their children's faith journey, and overseeing the administrative and financial aspects of family ministry.
For those who are interested in applying, please send a letter of interest, resume and three references to the Rev. Jim Bell, Lead Pastor, .
Bookkeeper/Office Assistant Position Available
Resumes are now being accepted for a part-time Bookkeeper/Office Assistant position in the church office.  This is a 20-hour/week position.  This Admin. Assistant/ Bookkeeper will work alongside Wendi Beck, Llewellyn Edmondson and our office volunteers.  For more information, or to suggest possible candidates, please contact Office Administrator Wendi Beck, or Lead Pastor Jim Bell.  Candidates for the position may submit a letter of interest and resume with three references to Wendi at
Spring Cleaning in December?
Year end is a time for a lot of things.  Many people look at their investment accounts in
December to fix mistakes and to make other adjustments.  Our relationship with the
United Methodist Foundation provides a lot of services; among them is the ability to sell
stocks commission-free.
As you review your accounts this year, please consider giving appreciated stock.  FUMC
can sell the stock through the Foundation, and neither the donor nor the church will be
liable for capital gains taxes on the sale.  Frequently companies " spin off " subsidiaries to
shareholders.  Often these spin offs result in small positions that are cost prohibitive
to sell, so they just sit there.  Again, please consider giving these to one of our
endowments or to the General Fund as the church can sell the shares at no
commission.  You will " clean up " your account and help our ministries!
For more information about how to start the process, call Wendi in the church office.
Heritage District Christmas Offering to Repair Homes                   
In October of 2016 Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina with devastating effects.  Thousands of people were forced from their homes.  Many are still displaced.  The NC Conference Disaster Response Team is coordinating recovery and rebuilding efforts.
During the past year, we have hosted 800 work teams.  The goal is to rebuild 750 homes during the next four years.  The combination of financial support and volunteer work teams will help families return home, one by one, across this time of healing and good recovery.
To aid in these efforts, the Heritage District is adopting home repair projects for Ms. Nadine Hunt of Rocky Mount and Mr. Felton Patton of Tarboro.  The District Christmas Offering will provide materials for these two projects.  The estimated materials cost for the two projects is $29,800. 
You may make a check payable to First United Methodist Church and put "Heritage - Christmas Offering" on the memo line.  Thank you for participating in this effort.  Through your offering, the resources for recovery will be increased, and God's generosity will flow through us.  
Monday Morning Community Breakfast 
 Piggly Wiggly Gift Cards for Christmas

You might not know, but our church worships at 8:30, 9 and 11 a.m. on Sundays AND at 6:30 a.m. on Monday mornings.
Most people that come to church on Monday mornings live near the church and come for a warm breakfast and to pray, sing and listen to a devotion.
Some people you might know on Monday mornings are Spencer, Mr. Frank, Mrs. Jena, Mrs. Susan and Mr. Dave, Mrs. Benson, Mr. Berry, Martin, Mr. Nicholson, Mrs. Roxanne, Pastor Jim, Rev. Benson and Pastor Matt.  Some people you might NOT know are Miss Mary (she lives near the church and walks over), Mrs. Brenda (she works at a hotel and fixes other people's plates before she fixes hers), Mrs. Teresa (who tells us stories from the Bible), Robert, who will mow your yard, and Walter, who really likes to sing.
The Monday morning church people are probably the most thankful people at our church. When Mr. Dave or Pastor Jim asks if anyone wants to say a prayer of thanks, it takes a long time for everyone to talk.
Sometimes we worry about our Monday morning church people because they don't have a car or a house or we worry they might be cold.  But they are very thankful people and always want to sing and pray and thank God for what they have.  Just like we love our church, the Monday morning church people love our church and like to worship here.
Because the Monday Morning Church people are our family and we should take care of all our family, we are collecting donations to buy them $5 Piggly Wiggly gift cards to put in their Christmas cards.  If you want to help, you can give a donation to Spencer or our moms or put it in the offering with a note that it is for the Piggly Wiggly cards.
We hope to see you at Monday Morning Breakfast soon.
Emmy White and Reid Gross
Gaudete !   Rejoice!

Our Chancel Choir and friends will present a special Advent/Christmas service of carols and anthems 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 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 selection.  Rehearsals will be Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.  (Please note the change from the regular time.)

We are also working on some exciting music for the other Sundays of Advent and Christmas Eve.
Mother/Daughter Singing Group

A Mother/Daughter singing group is being formed and meeting most Wednesdays at 
6 p.m. (though not on December 6).  This group is for children of elementary school age and their moms, grandmothers, aunts or stand-ins.  If you are interested, please call Bill Wood for more information.  

Interested in singing for Christmas Eve?  

The Chancel Choir and other interested persons will be meeting to work on music for the 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve services two Wednesdays, December 13 and 20, at 7:00 p.m.  Middle and senior high youth are most welcome!

For more information contact Bill Wood.
Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship
The Missions Committee agreed to help Cary FUMC  with their Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship.  We will be receiving Christmas gifts Sunday, December 3 , for 77 children (36 families) in Edgecombe County and 7 children (5 families) in Nash County. 
The actual time of delivery will be determined at a later date and communicated to the congregation.  We need volunteers to take the gifts and deliver them to the 41 families.  This can be done at your convenience obviously before Christmas Day.  The gifts will be stored in the annex.  Each child has a mother, father, stepmother or a stepfather currently serving time in prison.  A sign-up sheet is in the  welcome center  with  the needed information for contact purposes.  Included will be the child's name, the caregiver's name and their phone number.  This information will aid you in contacting the  family prior to delivery.
Please note that when you pick up your gifts for a family with multiple children, they will
be in one package.  Hopefully, you will take  advantage of this great outreach opportunity to children who will spend the Christmas  holidays without a parent or step-parent due to serving prison time.  Please contact Frank  Katkaveck (252-904-4829) if you have any questions.
Stephen Ministry 

May Christ's peace in this Advent season allow each of us to face our difficulties honestly, allowing others to be in them with us, so that we might emerge stronger and more whole.
United Community Ministries Holiday Fundraiser
United Community Ministries (UCM) is trying to eradicate homelessness in Rocky Mount.  A holiday fundraiser to help their cause is available to you. "Honor Cards" will be sold for $5 each.  These cards depict a painting, by artist William Mangum, called "Rise Up."
On the inside is space to indicate to recipients of the card (friends and family of your choice) that an honorary donation has been made in their name to UCM of Rocky Mount.  To promote this cause, William Mangum donates his talent and these cards every year with assistance from Wells Fargo Bank.  All proceeds benefit United Community Ministries of Rocky Mount.
For questions or to  purchase "Honor Cards," please contact Dave Johnson (210-2892) or Bridget Rogers (450-0860).  Cards will also be available in the church office.
Nativity Sunday is December 3!
Nativity Sunday is December 3.  This year, the children will assist in placing nativity  pieces in both the 9:00 and 11:00 worship services.  Children wishing to help assemble the nativity at the 9:00 service should meet Jill Everett in the fellowship hall lobby at  8:50 a.m.  Children wishing to process with nativity pieces in the 11:00 a.m. worship service will meet in the chapel at 10:50 a.m. to select their piece for the Nativity scene.
Rocky Mount Christmas Parade and Hot Chocolate
Members from our Engage Sunday School class will be serving hot chocolate in front of the church during the Rocky Mount Christmas Parade, Sunday,  December 3 , at 3 p.m.  Enjoy some fellowship and refreshment as we usher in this Christmas season with our community.
Children's Christmas Workshop

We will have a Children's Christmas Workshop at FUMC for children preschool (3-4 years) through 5th grade Saturday, December 9.  The workshop will be from 10 a.m. until  12:15 p.m.  Children will have opportunities to make Christmas ornaments and decorations.  There will be joyful singing, telling of the Christmas story, pizza for lunch, and a birthday celebration for Jesus!  Sign-up is required!  The sign-up sheet is in The Hub.  The deadline to sign up for this wonderful event is Sunday, December 3.
Christmas Caroling -  December 10!
Come join other FUMC friends and families as we team up
to  sing Christmas carols to some of our church members Sunday,  December 10 , at 3 p.m.  We welcome EVERYONE to participate--kids and adults!  So...bring your voices and your instruments and meet us in the fellowship hall.  Be sure to sign up on the Connect Card this Sunday!
Food Bag Ministry
 "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat." ~Matthew 25:35
We will be distributing food to those in need Tuesday,  December 12
from 2:00-3:00 p.m.  You can help by picking up a bag and filling it or by donating money.  Please write "Food Bags" on your check, and the money will be used to purchase food.  Thank you for helping those less fortunate.
              College Student Christmas Brunch!!
(And High School Seniors)
Sunday, December 17
10:00 a.m. in the Annex
All College Students home for Christmas  are welcome!
High School Seniors come hang out  with old friends!!
No RSVP needed!  Come hungry!
For questions, call Lori Stanovich @ 443-6830.
Our Big Night Studies for 2018!
Our Big Night resumes Wednesday, January 10, 2018.  
It is an opportunity to gather together as a church on Wednesday evenings for fellowship and spiritual growth.  Here's what it looks like: 
5:15-6:15 p.m.  Church-wide Dinner - Fellowship Hall
6:30 p.m.  Discipleship opportunities for adults with childcare available
A variety of topic-based groups are offered!  See the following listings:
Becoming a Blessed Church
Becoming a Blessed Church will help you discern God's purpose and the path God is  calling  our congregation to walk.  This book will help you find Christ in your midst and become aware of the many ways the blessings of God's Spirit flow through our congregation.  Join Pastor Jim Bell as he leads this fascinating study.  Class will begin Wednesday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m.
Find help and healing for the hurt of separation and divorce.  DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life's most difficult experiences.  Don't go through separation or divorce alone.  Join Stephanie Ronan as she facilitates this important group.  Class will begin Wednesday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m.
Covenant Bible Study
The Covenant Bible Study takes a fresh look at the Biblical concept of  cov en ant which  speaks to an enduring commitment between God and God's people.  It's a promise to live in a loving relationship with and for each other.  The study is broken into three 8-week modules, each dealing with a different aspect of what covenant means:  CREATING, LIVING, and TRUSTING.  Each weekly video features a conversation between the hosts and a Biblical scholar around the Covenant table.
GOD ESTABLISHES THE COVENANT to be in relationship with us.  So the first eight weeks, Creating the Covenant, examines how the covenant community is created and established--highlighting several examples throughout scripture.  It discusses the story of our origins in Genesis, the Exodus narrative, the teachings of Moses, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, as well as other books from each Testament that focus on the foundation of Christian faith.  In doing so, it lays out the framework for a life lived in concert with God and others.  Join Rev. Lynn Benson as she leads this exciting study beginning at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 10.
FUMC Connect
This is a class for anyone interested in learning more about what it means to be a Christian, what United Methodists believe and practice, and how they can become involved and use their gifts in the many exciting ministries of FUMC.  Participants will become excited about joining in FUMC's mission to make disciples who know Christ and make Christ known.  Rev. Matt Seaton will lead this 4-week class, beginning Sunday, January 14, at 5-6:30 p.m.
GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongsid e yo u through one  of life's most difficult experiences.  Don't go through your grief journey alone.  Melissa Bynum will lead this wonderful class Sunday afternoons, 4-6 p.m., 
January 7-March 25.   For more information or to sign up for the class, please contact Melissa at .
Look for sign-up information on the back of the Connect Cards mid-December!
Books and Brews

Ever wanted to join a book club where you read a book per month and then gather with others to discuss what you read?  Ever wanted to do it and drink locally-crafted beer?  If so, join Books and Brews!  

This group meets the 3rd Friday of every month at 7 p.m. at the TBC Taproom West.  Come, drink a brew or have a glass of wine or even soda and discuss some of today's and yesterday's finest authors.  In the past we studied Love Wins by Rob Bell, Accident Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns, and Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. 

The next meeting will be Friday, January 19.  Email Pastor Matt for more information at
Military Prayer List
We ask God's blessings of courage and hope for our military personnel throughout this Advent season.  Our thanks to the families who keep us updated (Velda Williford at 443-3005).  This listing is maintained as a service of the Stephen Ministry.
U.S. Army :  2nd Lieutenant Brooks Parisher, Fort Hood, Texas; Master Sergeant Michael McCumbee, Special Forces, Fort Bragg, NC; Major Gene Pursifull, Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg, NC. U.S. Marines:  Lt. Col. Brian Davis, Cherry Point, NC; Sergeant Andrew W. Sammons, Training Group, Fort Story at Little Creek, VA; RCT Valery Kleinfelt, 1st RtBN Co., Parris Island, SC. U.S. Navy  Reserve:  Cliff Pulver, NETWARCOM SPACE, Suffolk, VA.
Nursery Workers for December

12/3             9:00      Kelley Tyndall, Sarah Collins Winters
                     11:00      Fran Glover, Jessie Langley
12/10           9:00      Amy Brown, Jenny White
                     11:00      Bridget Rogers, Wendy Wilson
12/17           9:00      Debra Boudreau, Kim Cross
                     11:00      Amber Hinson, Sarah Prezioso
12/24           9:00      Melody Bell, TBD
                     11:00      Gaye Brinn, Melissa Bynum
12/31         11:00      Debbie Ray, Debra West
Our Church Family

Congratulations to Stephen and Emma Pearsall on the birth of their son, Nicholas Stephen Pearsall, November 18, in Arlington, Texas.  Nicholas weighed 9 lbs. 5 ounces 
and was 21 1/2 inches long.  Big brother is John; proud grandparents are Mark and Beth Pearsall. 


The pastors and staff of FUMC express their sympathy to the family of Chris Barnes on her passing. 
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Worship Services Available

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 Facebook page.
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.

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