The Last Laugh
For the first time in 62 years, Easter fell on April Fools' Day. I read about one church that opened its Easter service with a humorous twist on the traditional empty tomb skit. A group of women, who have encountered the risen Jesus, rush into a room where the disciples are in grief and mourning. The women shout out the good news, "He's alive!" The disciples, in disbelief, say, "Yeah, yeah, April Fool!" but are soon convinced.
Easter is God's supreme joke played on that old imposter, death. Christian theologians of the fourth century, Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine, set forth the idea of the deception of the devil. Easter was a joke played on the devil. The early Church fathers used analogies of a mousetrap or a baited fishhook, in which Christ is the bait by which God tricks Satan and defeats him.
What is a joke anyhow? Isn't it something that turns the tables on the unexpected, something that hinges on the unpredictable or the unreasonable? There's nothing more unreasonable than the resurrection of Jesus. To believe in it is to be part of that huge practical joke that God plays on those who trust blindly in the sufficiency of human reason to solve all of our problems and to answer all our questions.
The joke is on those who think they can kill God's dream of what human society is supposed to be. The joke was on those civil authorities who thought they had silenced Jesus, only to find a small army of joyful followers doing and saying the same things that Jesus did.
Evil is but for a time. Good Friday was a day. Easter is forever.
Eugene O'Neill once wrote a play titled, "Lazarus Laughed." It is the story of Lazarus after Jesus brought him back from the dead. His life is very controversial now, for he laughs at everything, even at death. His home in Bethany is even called "the House of Laughter." Lazarus says at one point: "Laugh! Laugh with me at death! Death is dead! Fear is no more! There is only life! There is only laughter!"
May we recapture some of the joy of the early Christians, who believed that in Jesus Christ God had dealt a deathblow to all the powers of evil. Easter is the promise of God's ultimate victory over all evil. So let us rejoice. Let us laugh. Let us celebrate the glorious victory of our God.
New Sermon Series:
"What Is The Will of God?"
April 8-29, 2018
We trust that God, our loving heavenly Father, knows what is best for us - in good times and in challenging times. We yearn to discern this direction and guidance, this will of God for our lives.
While German planes were bombing England during World War II, British Methodist pastor Leslie Weatherhead tried to make sense of his congregation's terrible suffering in his Sunday sermons. Using Weatherhead's helpful categories of God's intentional will, God's circumstantial will, and God's ultimate will, this sermon series will examine the problem of evil. If God is all-powerful and all-good, why is there evil in the world? We will also explore how we can discern God's will for our lives.
April 8 - "God's Plan for You and Me"
God intends for all people to live good, pure and hopeful lives
experience his love through Christ.
April 15 - "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?"
God grants us the strength to endure and overcome suffering
that we do not
April 22 - "God Has the Final Word"
Nothing can happen that will ultimately defeat God's will.
April 29 - "Discerning God's Will"
We discern God's will for our lives when we grow closer to him
through spiritual disciplines.
Worship themes are prayerfully and carefully selected.
Make regular worship a priority in your life.
Office Administrator Wendi Beck marked 15 years of faithful service and devoted employment in the office of First United Methodist Church on March 31. Congratulations and thank you, Wendi! You are a great blessing to us!
Easter and Holy Week services - Thank you!
I am very appreciative and proud of soloists Caroline and Emmy and the Generations Singers who sang for Palm Sunday. They sang a Taizé setting of Hosanna and A Lenten Love Song. Appreciation is also extended to the Handbell and Chancel Choirs who participated in this service.
I wish to express thanks to the Chancel Choir and friends, instrumentalists, church staff, and support and behind-the-scenes persons who participated in and helped with our Easter Service. We are blessed to have such committed people who put in so many hours in our worship and music ministry.
Our church's mother and child group is made up of K-5th graders, their moms,
grandmothers, aunts or stand-ins. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 11, at 6 p.m.
Please contact Bill Wood if you are interested in this group.
The FUMC Missions Committee needs volunteers to help assemble Bee Boxes for the Conetoe Family Ministry. Please plan to meet in the annex at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 8. Free Pizza Dinner! Sign up in The Hub. For more information or if you have questions, c
ontact Jenny White at 266-8749 or
Ethan Everett will continue
taking orders for car wash coupons
Sunday to raise funds for his Eagle Scout project
. Ethan plans to remove and replace the fence around the church playground. The
will be $20 each and can be redeemed at Shell Rapid Lube. This $20 coupon is good for one car wash, which includes bug prep prior to entering the wash, wheel cleaner, Rip-Tide Shield (cleans, shines and protects), Rip-Tide Carnuba (wax and sh
ine), polish sealant, underbody rinse, rain repellent, and tire shine. Ethan hopes to raise $4000 for his project, so be sure to sign up in The Hub
for your car wash coupons!
Native American Ministries Sunday
A special offering will be received
American Ministries Sunday. This is one of six special Sunday offerings of the United Methodist Church. Your gifts help educate Native American seminarians,
Native American churches, and cultivate Native American outreach. Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry.
Join the FUMC Preschool/ Kindergarten classes Thursday, April 19,
6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall for "Cookie Night."
Spring 2018 Women's Retreat - April 20 & 21
We are excited about our Spring 2018 Women's Retreat entitled, Mirror Mirror on
the Wall. Our guest speaker is The Reverend Kristen Williams from Holly Springs, NC.
The event begins on Friday, April 20, 6-9 p.m. with dinner, followed by two more sessions Saturday morning. We will gather Saturday morning at 8:30 for
breakfast and the remainder of the event. We have lined up special music for this retreat as well.
Rev. Williams will lead us through scripture and self-reflection, helping us to reconsider what we see in the mirror to be what God sees. We will conclude with Holy Communion, ending by noon on Saturday.
Tickets are now on sale, just $10/each. Upon receipt of payment, we are glad to send tickets to you or hold them on-site for pick-up at the event. Checks can be made out to FUMC with Women's Retreat in the memo line.
Sign up in The Hub or
Friday, April 20, this group will meet at 7 p.m. at Ramblers at The Mill. Come, drink a brew or have a glass of wine or even soda and discuss some of today's and yesterday's finest authors. Email Pastor Matt for more information at
Lay Servant Ministry Session
Hosted by First UMC in Henderson
Saturday, April 21
(114 Church St., Henderson, NC 27536)
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.
Adv: Leading in Prayer: Jennifer Sawyer
Adv: Living Our United Methodist Beliefs: Randy Innes
Registration closes Friday, April 13, at 11 p.m.
Please call or email the District Office with any questions about registration:
email@example.com or 919-779-9435/1-888-661-4941
If you have any questions about the course, you are invited to contact Lynn Ward,
District Co-Director of Lay Servant Ministries @ 252-813-6846 or
OR Ken Ripley, District Co-Director of Lay Servant Ministries @ 252-314-5731 or
Gideon Speaker - April 22
We will welcome a representative of the Gideons International
to our worship services on Sunday, April 22. He will share a report about the significant Bible distribution ministry of the Gideons in our area and beyond. We will receive a "retiring offering" for this ministry at the conclusion of each service. The representative will stand at the door, and you will have the opportunity to make a contribution to the Gideons.
Nash County Autism Family Support Group
Sponsored by Englewood United Methodist Church
When: April 27 and May 25
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Where: Englewood United Methodist Church
(Corner of Circle Drive and Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount)
Dinner and Childcare provided!
Please join us in meeting other families who have children with Autism and/or other special needs to discuss information concerning testing, doctors, school, childcare, behavior, activities and other topics as suggested by families. At some meetings, we may have a guest speaker who will bring additional information.
To reserve a space for childcare, please contact Barbara Batts at 252-450-5000 or
to reserve a space for your child or children who will be attending so that we may have the appropriate number of childcare helpers.
Minister of Next Generation Discipleship Sought
Our church is 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,
We are grateful for the support of our congregation in Matt Seaton's
commissioning as a Stephen Leader in services on March 18. His training for this new role was provided by the Stephen Ministry organization--St. Louis, Missouri. He will be assisting in the administration and guidance of our Stephen Ministry here. We are blessed by his wisdom and insight!
We are in Zambia and have been writing
about our adventures at Agape Village!
More About Williford Elementary
Our neighbors at Williford Elementary are very appreciative of all that FUMC and other church and community partners have been doing to help them. This includes donating supplies and money for teachers' classroom needs, tutoring one-on-one, helping with PTSO activities and helping
with teacher appreciation events.
More volunteer tutors and helpers are needed to help and support these vulnerable children and their teachers. If you would like to know how to get involved, please contact Susan Johnson (210-2892) or Bridget Rogers (450-0860).
Williford Elementary School Teacher Wish List
Erasers (pink block erasers and/ snap-on pencil erasers)
Notebook paper (wide-ruled)
2-pocket folders without prongs
Ziploc bags (snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes)
For Your Information
All of our full-time program staff have a day off during the week since they are required to work on Sundays. The day off for Lead Pastor Jim Bell is Friday. Associate Pastor Matt Seaton has Thursdays off. Bill Wood, the Music Director of Traditional Worship, has Fridays off.
A special thank you goes to everyone involved in Our Big Night meals, Bible studies, and children's activities. To those individuals who taught and worked with our children, we extend our
sincere appreciation. Additionally, we have all enjoyed the delicious dinners prepared and served by the following individuals/teams: Susan Chambless, Gaye Brinn, Susan Johnson, Spencer Batchelor, Henry Hinson, and the Intentional Faith Development Committee. Our thanks goes to the greeters and "money collectors," kitchen crews, set-up team, and clean-up workers
for all their hard work. Our Big Night
committee members created a welcoming environment for all the
participants. Kudos to that team for their vision and dedication as well.
If you are interested in placing flowers in the chapel, fellowship hall, or sanctuary on
September 2, 30 or November 25, please call the church office to request a date. Please note the following increase in the cost of the arrangements: chapel - $40; fellowship hall - $40; and sanctuary - $75. Rosebuds (to celebrate births) are $10.
Circles support Christian education
'Women in Mission' offers $1,000 scholarship
Women in Mission (WIM) is pleased to offer a scholarship opportunity for the 2018-2019 school year. The $1,000 scholarship is part of the WIM's commitment to support youth and other students as they pursue undergraduate and graduate studies at select schools.
Applicants must be members of FUMC and must be enrolled in a degree program at an accredited Methodist college or university. Other criteria include academic performance and "faithfulness" to the church through "prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness." Traditional-aged and non-traditional-aged students may apply.
Complete information, including eligibility, instructions for application, and forms, is included in Guidelines for Women in Mission Scholarship Program. Packets are available from WIM by contacting Jena Katkaveck at 903-7598.
Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m., May 4.
in North Carolina
Researchers in the Department of Exercise Science at North Carolina Wesleyan College are interested in your feedback about barriers to physical activity in the Nash-Edgecombe region of North Carolina.
If you live in Nash or Edgecombe counties, please complete a brief, anonymous online survey about physical activity.
Or scan this code using your smart phone:
North Carolina General Conference Lay Servant Academy will be held PRIOR to
Annual Conference in the Greenville Convention Center.
Wednesday, June 13th (1:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and
Thursday, June 14th (8:00 am to 11:00 am).
To receive credit for the class you must attend both days.
A registration fee of $25 includes snacks but
NOT the required texts, which should be purchased
read prior to class time.
· Advancing Leadership thru Basic Lay Servant Ministries
Led by Rev. Mamie Alley, this foundational class helps to understand
Lay Servant Ministries, discover spiritual gifts and examine spiritual practices
to exercise servant leadership
· Living in God's Household - Adv: Accountable Discipleship
Led by Dr. Christine Harman, this advanced class will explore the importance of class
or small group leaders, focus on the concept of the household of God,
Scripture as divine revelation and the Wesleyan understanding of grace.
Registration closes Wednesday, May 31, 2018 at 11:00 p.m.
This deadline allows time to order and pre-read books.
Camps Don Lee, Rockfish, and Chestnut Ridge offer many wonderful summer camps for children and youth and also have retreat centers for families. If you have any questions or would like to get a group together to attend one of these camps/retreats, please check out the links below:
Gatekeepers - July 8-13, 2018
Gatekeepers is a local mission led by Lakeside Baptist Church in partnership with FUMC and six other local churches. Our 18 youth spots have been filled, but a "waiting list" is being
compiled. The cost/FUMC youth is $65, which is due
. Please make checks out to FUMC with Gatekeepers on the memo line.
are also needed for Gatekeepers (the more the better)...to either help on a work crew (no skills required, but are welcomed) or to help with lunch duty (which is held at Church of the Good Shepherd).
Adults can participate for FREE!
For more information or if you have questions, please contact Bridget Rogers (450-0860).
It's that time again! BigStuf is a summer camp for rising high school students in Panama City Beach, FL. We will be going
July 22-27, 2018! There are 30 spots available. The total cost is $450, and the payment plan is as follows:
$150 due 4/9/18
$ 90 due 6/10/18
Please do not let cost keep you from attending. We may have funds available! If you have any questions, please see Kevin Boudreau.
Pray especially this month for military veterans who are returning to civilian life . . . for grace and mercy in the transition of renewing relationships with their families. 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.
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 April
4/8 9:00 Mary Lew Benson, Kim Sieracki
11:00 Sarah Prezioso, Ashley Ward
4/15 9:00 Melody Bell, Jenny White
11:00 Amber Hinson, Kitty Norsworthy
4/22 9:00 Rhonda Tanner, Lindy Williams
11:00 Gaye Brinn, Jill Everett
4/29 9:00 Kinnie Pruden, Debbie Ray
11:00 Katie Butler, Sarah Winters
The pastors and staff of FUMC express their sympathy to Wynne Ellis and her family on the passing of her father,
Robert E. Williams, Sr., at his home in Charlotte.
Johnny and Lucy Massie
106 Daffodil Court
Nicholasville, KY 40356
Attention Amazon Shoppers
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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.
"To Know Christ and to Make Christ Known"