This Sunday,
April 7, 2019
Rev. Bud Reeves
Offertory “Wondrous Love”
Dr. Ryan Fox, Guest Organist
Rev. Bud Reeves
Offertory  “Behold the Lamb of God”
Communion Anthem  “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
Chancel Choir
Louann Dooly, Asst. Choir Director
Dr. Ryan Fox, Guest Organist
Rev. Dane Womack
“Boundless Love”
“Your Love Never Fails”
“Death Was Arrested”
“Build My Life”
“Your Love is Extravagant”
SLOGGING THROUGH LENT
The date of Easter varies because it is based, like the Jewish Passover, on the cycles of the moon. Easter and Passover happen around the first full moon after the spring equinox, which happens on March 19-21 (March 20 this year). The Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. This year, the moon was full on the spring equinox, and the next full moon is on April 19. So Easter is on April 21, the first Sunday after the full moon. This means that Easter this year is almost as late as it could be.

Which means that we still have three more weeks of Lent before Easter. But the daffodils, forsythia, japonica, and dogwood don’t know that. They are already in full bloom. The signs of new life are everywhere--and most welcome. Still, we are slogging through Lent, trudging toward the cross, journeying with Jesus through his last days in Jerusalem.

In worship we have been asking “The Questions of the Cross.” This has been a challenging time for me spiritually and Biblically as I have struggled with these texts and tried to come up with helpful sermons. But it has been great discipline, and I have learned and grown in the process.

This is what Lent is all about. We struggle with deeper messages and more challenging Scriptures during Lent on purpose. It’s not that we just get depressed by winter and want to drag the congregation into it! Thinking deeper, praying harder, and serving more intently prepare us to experience the joy of Easter in a more profound way.

In the Gospel of John, as Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for his crucifixion the next day, he said, “ Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.   When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.   So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:20-22)

Obviously, I have never experienced childbirth; neither had Jesus. I have been present for the birth of my two sons. It seems unlikely that any woman would ever forget that experience. But I have seen many mothers holding their newborn babies. There is no way to describe the joy on their faces when their new baby is in their arms.

That is what Easter is all about. The pain and anguish of Good Friday give way to the joy and celebration of Easter. The arduous journey toward the cross brings us to the destination beside the empty tomb. This joy, re-enacted every year and every week, is what gives us life. Despite our struggles and pains and anxieties, we will know the joy of Jesus. And like the song says, “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy!”

Hang in there; Easter is coming. Hallelujah!
Rev. Bud Reeves
Senior Pastor
breeves@fsfumc.org
NEW BABY!
Our custodian Maria and husband David Edwards welcomed a baby boy, David Alexander Edwards on March 26, 2019.
Maria expresses her deepest gratitude to everyone for the prayers, flowers and gifts.
WELCOME JUSTIN
Welcome Justin DeWitt as our new full-time Maintenance Superintendent/Facilities Maintenance Manager. He is sure to be a great asset to the church staff.
FROM LENT TO EASTER
Most of you know as I have shared publicly and he has been on the prayer list, my dad recently had cardiac-bypass surgery. I am happy to report he is recovering well and is expected to live a full and healthy life moving forward.

His diagnosis came as a great shock. My dad is thin and active. He eats healthy and is fit by most anyone’s standards. From his initial health screening to the heart catherization and eventual consultation with his cardiothoracic surgeon, the whole thing seemed bizarre. None of us, including certainly my dad, could reconcile this new reality - he had heart disease and needed serious surgery. Even now, a few weeks after the fact, the whole thing seems surreal.

Of course, we are very thankful for the good work of the doctors who saved Dad from a major heart attack. I am also mindful of the numerous folks within and beyond our church who shared with me your positive experiences with surgeries like this. Modern medicine really is incredible, miraculous even.

Confession: this has not been a very productive Lent for me. While juggling the schedule around Dad’s operation and the news of my upcoming change in pastoral appointment, life has been more chaotic than usual. I have failed to take on any radical new prayer practices nor have I given up any bad habits. Frankly, I have given little attention to the Ash Wednesday charge to practice a holy Lent through intentional disciplines.

And yet, I find myself looking forward to Easter as much as ever. We are called to intentionally seek out the disciplines of faith in Lent so that we might be reminded of our human frailty and learn again our propensity towards sin and death. And the season of introspection might properly prepare our hearts to celebrate the Good News that is Easter. Perhaps sometimes though, and many of you know this better than I, the lessons of Lent find us. Seemingly out of nowhere we are reminded that we cannot save ourselves. We are forced to admit we cannot do it all, do not know it all, and despite our usual high view of ourselves, we are largely powerless over the things that matter most.  

And it is the poor and powerless who rightly know the joy of the resurrection. Come, let us worship the Risen Lord. I look forward to seeing you as we celebrate Easter together. 
Rev. Dane Womack
Executive Associate Pastor
dwomack@fsfumc.org
NEW APPOINTMENT
Many of you already know that beginning July 1, Rev. Dane Womack will receive a new appointment as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Paragould, Arkansas and that our new Executive Associate Pastor will be Rev. Roy Beth Kelley from Atkins and Bell’s Chapel United Methodist Churches. Later this month Rev. Roy Beth will begin orientation. Please keep these pastors and churches in your prayers and look forward to the blessings God has yet to show us all.
Rev. Roy Beth Kelley
Podcast
Did you know that the church has a podcast? We do! Along with being able to watch the sermons, you can listen to the sermons on the go! So how do you find our podcasts? On your smartphone or tablet, you can find sermons using ITunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. Just search Fsfumc Sermon Podcasts and you should see our Church’s logo. There you can listen to our latest podcast when you want and save for later. You can also find them on the web using our website’s homepage,  https://fsfumc.org/ , or going to  http://fsfumcpodcast.buzzsprout.com/ to see our full list of podcasts. 
IN OUR PRAYERS
In the Hospital:
·  Jennifer Newton (Mercy)
·  Denise Jones (Baptist Health)

We mourn with:
Nancy Rhees, Amy Doville, and Melissa Thigpen in the loss of their mother Dorothy Doville.
WEEKLY CALENDAR
Sunday, April 7
8:30 am Roebuck Chapel Worship
8:45 am Holy Grounds, Narthex
9:30 am Prayer Ministry, Prayer Room
9:30 am Last Supper Sunday School, Children’s area
9:45 am Sunday School
11:00 am Sanctuary Worship
11:00 am Connexion Worship, Great Hall
4:00 pm Confirmation Class, M301
5:00 pm First Youth, Loft
5:00 pm SHARE Team Meeting, Conference Room
 
Monday, April 8
12:15 pm Downtown Lenten Service, St. John’s Episcopal
2:00 pm Staff Meeting, Conference Room
6:00 pm Women’s Bible Study, Fireside Room
6:30 pm Scouts, Room 300
 
Tuesday, April 9
10:00 am UMW Circles Meet, Various locations
 
Wednesday, April 10
9:15 am Women’s Bible Study
10:00 am Prayer Group, Prayer Room, 2nd Floor
10:00 am Ladybells Practice
3:30 pm Children’s Choir
5:30 pm Holy Communion, Roebuck Chapel
7:00 pm Chancel Choir Rehearsal
 
Thursday, April 11
7:00 am Youth Breakfast Club, Chick Fil-A
10:00 am Knitters & Knotters, Fireside Room
 
Friday, April 12
10:30 am Linda Cravens Memorial Service, Sanctuary
UMW Unit Meeting
April 16 at 10:00 am the UMW Circles will have a unit meeting in the Fireside Room. Our speaker will be from Court Appointed Special Advocate Program.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Elsa Peregrino joined by transfer in the Connexion Service on Sunday March 3, 2019. She is pictured here with her daughter Alicia (age 10). Please help welcome them to FUMC!
FIRST KIDS HAPPENINGS
·  April 7th will be a LAST SUPPER Sunday School. Children will have a Last Supper experience and end class with a craft project. Kids WON’T want to miss out on this meaningful and interactive time.
·  April 14th is Palm Sunday and there will be a processional of children waving palm branches in both the Sanctuary and Connexion Services.
·  April 21st is EASTER! Children will meet for Sunday School in the classroom to decorate an Easter Bag (no baskets from home needed) then have an Easter Egg hunt on the WDS playground (in the event of rain, in the Narthex).
FIRST YOUTH
Last month our FIRST YOUTH students took a trip to Panama City Beach during their spring break. Our trip wasn’t all white sand and seafood; rather, we set out on a mission to restore hope after Hurricane Michael. We took a small army of 40 students and volunteers with a trailer full of tools and God as our guide!

The progress after the devastation of Hurricane Michael is slow-going in the Florida panhandle. The locals are at odds with insurance agencies, fraudulent construction contractors, and a host of other issues. As you can imagine, many of those caught in the disaster were questioning why this would happen to them and why God would allow destruction at that magnitude. We might not have the answers to those questions, but our students worked to show God’s goodness and favor through their service.

We had a great variety of work while we were in Panama City. We picked up debris, repaired fences, fixed plumbing issues, and painted interiors that had undergone flood damage. Our work was not in vain as we completed our jobs and received wonderfully positive responses from those we served. Several people witnessed to us about how our actions helped restore their faith. Maybe the greatest work we did was to share a smile and the sense of joy that comes through God’s caring provision!

Our FIRST YOUTH students did AMAZING work. I feel like an overly proud dad after seeing these students put their faith into action. I also HIGHLY commend all of those volunteers who took a week off of their work to come and work more with us! These are the true heroes!

If you felt your heart moved as you were reading this, maybe it’s time for you to exercise your faith and take up God’s mission to love and serve. Take a minute to consider where God might have you to be in ministry. If you’re interested in joining us on a mission trip in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a conversation. The coffee’s on me!

Thank you for all of your prayers, your encouraging words, and your financial support. Without all of these, we wouldn’t have been able to restore hope in Panama City.
FAITH MOMENTS
On Thursdays during March (except for March 21), our church has been hosting college students for lunch who have been helping build two Habitat for Humanity houses on Pryor Street here in Fort Smith. These students are using their Spring Break to serve in mission here.

Debbie Hicks, our Food Services Manager, has provided wonderful warm lunches (including her famous chicken spaghetti as well as her equally wonderful tacos) to the students. I have had the pleasure to have lunch with the students and learn more about them and also about Habitat.

The students are from all over the country. The first group was from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and the second group was from Dallas Baptist College in Dallas, Texas. On March 28, we hosted a mission group from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for lunch here at our church.  It was neat hearing their stories about their schools, their lives, and about their mission week here in Fort Smith.

What’s so neat about this program is that each college group takes over the building of a house from where the other college group leaves off. It is like progressive house building.

As the students’ ministry has been to help build two new houses this month, it has been our ministry to be of one of the churches that help feed them. I am so proud of all the ministries that our church does to serve the Fort Smith Community.

Feeding Ministries provide physical nourishment which can lead to spiritual nourishment.
RECENT MEMORIALS
In Memory of:
 
·  J.C. Calvert by Lori Hardin & Michael Willis, FSM Hunting & Fishing Club
·   Ted Goodman by Aaron & Nell Barling, Jane Kline, Nancy Baker
·  Margaret Hawkins by Jim & Wanda Foster
·  Charles L. Holder by Phylis A. Buck
·  Dr. A. D. Jenkins, III by Robert & Mary Young, Rod & Kathy Coleman, Jim & Kay Birch, Robert & Judy Dawson, Lady Jane Cohen, Dr. Larry & Sue Grace, Dr. James & Janet Ellis, Joe Byars, Jr., Ryan & Kristen Gehrid, Rev. Aaron & Nell Barling, Mardell McClurkin, James & Wanda Foster, Bob & Janice Powell, Jack & Louanna Green, Christopher & Holly Greer, Kelly & Marilyn Newton, Dr. Charles & Nancy Gibson, Ronald & Rebecca Yates, Larry & Sandra Clark, Charles & Karen Still, David & Lorraine Cravens, John & Harriett Beasley, Joel & Sandy Parker
·  Don Jones by Rev. Aaron & Nell Barling, Susan Chaney, Mardell McClurkin
·  Bob Lucy by Myrna Sue Lough, Sue Vines, Uplifters Class, Rev. Aaron & Nell Barling, Bill & Anita Riddles, Jack & Louanna Green, Margaret Swann
·  John Panach by David & Karen Hutcheson
·  Rebecca Phillips by Mr. & Mrs. James Kell, Toka Beall, Dell & Carolyn Nelson, Randall & Janie Goins, FUMC Rebekah Circle, Jane Hartfield, Mont & Ann Echols, Sue Vines, Holland Weaver, Jim & Dixie Spears, Lori Hardin & Michael Willis, Carl & Dottie Lindsey, Mike & Jane Rappeport, Bob & Judy Dawson, Madaline W. Baker, Jane C. Williams, Elaine Watson, Thomas & Whitney Head, Robert & Mary Young III, Dr. James & Meredith Long, Ted & Virginia Taylor II, Jerry & Jane Hartfield
·  Goldia Shoffey by Dale & Katherine Shaw, Gloria William Tran, Robert & Salme Southard, Jack & Louanna Green, Rev. Aaron & Nell Barling
·  Theodore (Ted) Skokos by Dan C. Young
·  Mary Thompson by Richard & Ann Appleton, Myrna Sue Lough, Fran Bateman, Mont & Ann Echols, Jr., Hardscrabble Women’s Golf Assn., Rick & Jan Beauchamp, The MacKenzie Family, Mary Lee Kulin, Susanne O. Sullivan, Susan Chaney, Nancy Baker, Dick & Sue Litzinger
 
In Honor of:
 
·  Sal & Marcie Salamone by Jill Meta Ladd
·  Keith & Laura Blythe by Jill Meta Ladd
·  Kyle & Renee Parker by Jill Meta Ladd
·  Mardell McClurkin by Marvin & Linda Mumme
·  Ben & Karen Baker by Lori Hardin & Michael Willis
·  George & Carole Beattie by McKee Cox
·  Patrick & Sara Bayles-Charlton by Lori Hardin & Michael Willis
·  Chancel Choir by Charles & Sherrie Bayles
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
200 N. 15TH ST.  FORT SMITH, AR 72901
(479)782-5068 | FSFUMC.ORG
Pastor on Call (479)459-5060
Email: fsfumc@fsfumc.org
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 
8:30AM-12:30PM & 1:30PM-4:30PM
 
SUNDAY SERVICES
  • 8:30 AM Roebuck Chapel
  • 9:45 AM Sunday School for all ages
  • 11:00 AM Sanctuary (Radio broadcast on 96.7 FM)
  • 11:00 AM Connexion, Family Life Center-Great Hall
 
WEDNESDAY SERVICE
  • 5:30 PM Holy Communion, Roebuck Chapel
 
Nursery is provided during worship services for birth thru Kindergarten age.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST NEWS published weekly except the last week of the year by First United Methodist Church 200 North 15th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901. 

Contact Diane Wing about newsletter information and submissions: dwing@fsfumc.org