April 6, 2018
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"
Genesis 1:26-31
God intends for all people to live good, pure and hopeful lives 
and to  experience his love through Christ.

April 15 - "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?"
Romans 11:33-36
God grants us the strength to endure and overcome suffering 
that we do not  understand.

April 22 - "God Has the Final Word"
Genesis 50:15-21
Nothing can happen that will ultimately defeat God's will. 

April 29 - "Discerning God's Will"
Acts 15:22-29
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. 
Thank You, Wendi!
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.

Generations Singers  

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.
Volunteers Needed

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 jwhite0225@gmail.com .

Eagle Scout Project
Ethan Everett will continue  taking orders for car wash coupons this Sunday to raise funds for his Eagle Scout project .  Ethan plans to remove and replace the fence around the church playground.  The  coupons
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!

All seats are reserved.  Lower Level - $35 & Upper Level - $25 
The show begins at 7:00 pm.  Doors open at 6:00 pm.

Native American Ministries Sunday  
April 15
A special offering will be received  Sunday,  April 15,  for Native  American Ministries Sunday.  This is one of six special Sunday offerings of the United Methodist Church.  Your gifts help educate Native American seminarians, 
plant  Native American churches, and cultivate Native American outreach.  Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry.
Cookie Night

Join the FUMC Preschool/ Kindergarten classes Thursday, April 19,
6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall for "Cookie Night."

Book Fair
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 
Books and Brews
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  mseaton@fumcrm.org .
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. 

Courses offered:
Basic Course:   Wayne Lamm
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:
districts@nccumc.org 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 bbatts2910@aol.com 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, jbell@fumcrm.org .
Stephen Ministry

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! 
Hosanna from Zambia

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

Hand Sanitizer
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.
Our Thanks!
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.  
Altar Flowers

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.
Physical Activity  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 
and you  MUST read prior to class time.

Courses Offered:
  · 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.

Summer Camps

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 May 20 . Please make checks out to FUMC with Gatekeepers on the memo line.
Adults 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.
Military Prayer List
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.
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 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
Our Church Family

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. 

New Address

Johnny and Lucy Massie
106 Daffodil Court
Nicholasville, KY  40356

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 .
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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