First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud
January 2022 Newsletter
Happy New Year!
May the Lord bless you during this new year.
From the Desk of Pastor Cathy
Dear friends and family of FUMC SC!
 
Happy New Year! I look forward to 2022 and all that God has planned for us! On Sunday, January 2nd we will begin with the message “The New Church”. We will celebrate what God has done in 2021 and hear what God will do in 2022. We will have our 2021 Ministries Powerpoint. Then our new sermon series will be called “Renovation!” and will start on Sunday, January 23rd. This is the time for New Year’s Resolutions so we will resolve to allow God to do the Renovation work in our lives, families, finances and other areas so we can be better followers of Jesus Christ!
 
In January we will also kick off our “Love All” ministries to raise the level of awareness of racial discrimination and inequalities in our midst. We will have our Church-wide Wednesday night dinner of chili, baked potato, salad and desserts on Wednesday, January 12th and then watch the movie “Best of Enemies” based on the true story of events in Durham, North Carolina in 1971. Our Love All Team will share plans for more events and opportunities to bless all people in our community! 
 
We have been blessed to be a part of the joys and ministries of 2021! Here are some of the highlights of our life and ministry shared together: Passionate Worship: Average worship attendance of 110 in person in two services and 246 online for a total of 356 per week; Community Easter Sunrise Service at the Pavilion at the St. Cloud lakefront; Christmas Concert with the Traditional Choir, Handbell Choir and Praise Team all performing; Christmas Eve services with Candlelighting and Live Nativity; Children’s Church; 93 Thanksgiving meals served and 130 Christmas meals served. We were able to give 40 Publix gift cards in the amount of $50 each to families thanks to the generous gift from the St. Cloud Food Pantry! Radical Hospitality: 45 new members (5 baptisms; 7 Confirmation Professions of Faith; 1 Adult Profession of Faith; and 37 transfers) Quarterly Newcomer’s Luncheons; 12 Youth on our rolls; Discovery Island Vacation Bible School with 32 children and 25 Adult and Youth volunteers; Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for the community; Fourth of July picnic with 84 people; Monthly church wide dinners with 40 people and BUNCO games, The Polar Express movie (30 children), Christmas Caroling with 35 people! Salty Service: Volunteering at the St. Cloud Food Pantry; Weekly Elmer’s Kitchen meals serving 90 meals; Weekly Bags of Love serving 40 hot breakfasts to go and 35 non-perishable lunch bags; 6 people went on mission trip to Fairhope, Alabama to do repairs on a home damaged by Hurricane Sally; Donations of food, clothing, to those in our community. Intentional Discipleship: Virtual adult Sunday School classes; Tuesday evening Bible study classes to deepen our understanding of the Word; New GROW Curriculum for the Children & Youth ministries; Wednesday night Children & Youth Programs; New Beth Moore study on Thursdays with 17 ladies; 5 new staff members, 54 3 and 4 year olds in our Preschool!
 
Extravagant Generosity:  100% ($16,831) of apportionments paid!; Gifts to needy families in the community estimated at $800; Our Christmas Eve offering going to the Osceola Council on Aging for the new Food Pantry in St. Cloud! Donations received of $210,000 and we have paid back $50,000 of the monies borrowed from the Building Support fund.  

Our goals for 2022 are to reach more, grow more, and give more for Jesus! We have truly been blessed to achieve so much for the Lord this year! Thank you so much! We have an excellent staff and I am so blessed and grateful for them! We thank you all for your generous gifts to us for Christmas! God is continuing to work in our church and our community! Let’s make 2022 the best year ever!
 
I am blessed to be your Pastor!
Happy New Year to you!

Pastor Cathy
The Thacker Family
(Back) Mark Reiter. Ben Thacker. Rusty
(Middle) Sadie Reiter, Sara, Me, Opal Thacker
(Front) Caleb Reiter
Thank You!
Pastor Cathy and Rusty thank you for the generous gift you gave Pastor Cathy for Christmas! It was greatly appreciated and they have enjoyed your gift as well as their time away in the mountains in Georgia!
Introducing Chuck McLendon
Chuck McLendon is one of our very talented singers in the Praise Team, which leads the music at the Blended Service. Music is what brought Chuck to First Church St. Cloud. He enjoys singing contemporary Christian songs so when Scott Weyrauch asked him if he would like to join the Praise Team he said, “yes.” He is a great addition to the team.

Chuck and his wife, Kellie have been married for twenty-two years and live in St. Cloud. Chuck has lived around Central Florida for many years. He moved to St. Cloud from Altamonte Springs but has also lived in the Tampa area. He was born in North Carolina and still has extended family living there. With the help of his brother, Chuck has learned about his ancestry and knows the story of how his people came from Scotland and settled in North Carolina. Chuck’s son, David lives in Atlanta with his only grandson, Dylan. He also has a daughter who lives in Washington DC named Heather. He enjoys spending time with them when possible.

Chuck enjoys musical performances and plays. He is on the board of directors at Osceola Arts where he has been cast in numerous plays, especially musicals. He has also worked backstage in several of their performances.

He is a retired accountant who worked for Lanco Paints of Orlando for eleven years and with Robert Half International most recently. Chuck is an avid movie watcher so now that he is retired has more time to view his favorite movies and go to plays and musicals. He is also looking forward to doing a little traveling. 
Serving Others with Our Mercy Ministries
Bags of Love Store
Bags of Love is expanding as we distribute bicycles, food, and clothing to the less fortunate in our community. We continue to need items for the Bags of Love lunches, but now you can also show your love for those in our community that have needs they cannot meet on their own by purchasing needed clothing items using our online Bags of Love Store. This is a new way that you can show a bit of kindness. There is a new tab on our website, www.firstchurchstcloud.org titled Bags of Love Store. Just click on the link and you will be given instructions on how to access the customized shopping tool. You can also receive a donation receipt for you tax purposes.

You may still help supply the need through the Bags of Love lunches by bringing any of these items to the FUMC office; Vienna sausages, canned tuna or chicken, Beanie-Weanies, bags of chips, cookies, peanut butter or cheese crackers, fruit cups, pudding snacks, applesauce, bottled waters. As our numbers continue to go up we thank you for helping us serve the community!
Bags of Love Volunteers
Marie, Ann Leavens, Denise Perkovich, Donna Regn,
Judy Schmidt, & Juan Santiago
Elmer's Kitchen
Another opportunity for you to volunteer will be on January 30 starting at 12:30 PM until 3 PM when our church hosts and serves a meals-to-go for the unemployed and underemployed of our community in the Family Life Center for Elmer's Kitchen. Each week local churches and organizations take turns providing this service at our church. If you are interested please arrive early to help cook and prepare to serve.
Christmas Day Community Lunch
Once again FUMCSC hosted an amazing Christmas Day Lunch for the people in our community with food insecurity. We served 130 meals to go to the less fortunate. We are thankful for the volunteers who helped to make this a festive occasion.
Food Pantry Donation
Tammy Madison, director of the St. Cloud Pantry delived a generous surprise of Publix gift cards to be distributed to those in need of our community. This will help the recipients while the Food Pantry is closed through mid-January. These gift cards were distributed to the participants of the Christmas Day Community Lunch who are mostly the folks who come to Elmer's Kitchen regularly. In October the the St. Cloud Food Pantry voted to close. Seven local churches have been taking turns volunteering at the Food Pantry and we were one of the churches. The Osceola Council on Aging is taking over and the reopen date is scheduled for the middle of January. Our Christmas Eve offerings will go to the Osceola Council on Aging St. Cloud to purchase equipment for the new pantry. 
Dennis Tripp (Board of Directors), Tammi Madison (St. Cloud Food Pantry), and Pastor Cathy
Love All Mission

We are happy to announce the birth of a new missions team called the “Love All" Team, which will begin in January 2022. The team will be meeting soon. Several people of our congregation have already shown interest in being on this team and plans are being made to get started. If you are interested please contact the church office. This team will work together as an extension of the UMC Florida Conference. The conference of the United Methodist Church has put forth a call to move congregations toward dismantling racism. The Love All Team will facilitate our congregation’s response through a series of events beginning on January 12th at our monthly Church-Wide Dinner where we will be showing the movie, Best of Enemies. We hope to see you there. 
Today's Prayer
We hold our breath this night, God of promise and presence, as we wait to see what will be born. In the midst of all the manufactured busyness of this season and this night, may we pause long enough to hear the flap of an angel’s wing. May we find a still place inside of us to imagine a new world being born to us, in us, through us, from your Spirit.
A new world where differences bring joy and possibility. A new world not divided by color but enriched and enhanced as a tapestry of beauty and wonder. A new world not separated by language but united in the music of speech and song. A new world promised by the one who was laid in a manger, walked on this precious earth, hung on a cross, and was raised to glory. In his name, we pray, Amen.
Derek C. Weber, December 2021P

Please click on this link to find the Prayer of the Day, like the one above from the UMC Discipleship Ministries. https://mailchi.mp/umcdiscipleship/praying-for-change-daily-prayers-for-anti-racism-2869376?e=d4cced2200
Food, Fellowship, & Fun
Each month we hold a Church-Wide Wednesday night dinner followed by an activiity. It is a great time to get to know your church family. Please plan on joining us for the next dinner on January 12 at 5:15 PM., Immediately following dinner the movie, Best of Enemies will be shown which will kick off our new mission, "Love All."

In February you won't want to miss another game of Bunco so get ready to play and win.

Following our December dinner everyone enjoyed singing their favorite Christmas songs and a lively gift exchange game. The youth and children watched The Polar Express in an outdoor movie theater on the lawn.
Joyce, Barbara, and Rusty
Twins! Pastor Cathy and Joyce
Ruth, Eileen, Jerry, Bob
Olivia, Mackenzie, Sophia, Bree, and Kathryn
Myrna, Jaynee, John, and Pat
Michelle, Pat, and Joyce
Smith and McConnell Family
Layla, Kelley, Lou, and Mackenzie
Jo, Julie, Caleb, and Jim
Lou Murray played the piano while Ruth Nye lead the singing.
Small Groups
Serendipity Bible Study Group
This adult Sunday School Class meets every Sunday morning from 9:00 – 10:00 AM. The class is led by Kevin Knox and is a blended meeting in that it is in person and virtual with audio only. Each class is self-contained, so you can join at any time. They meet in the classroom next to the library.
Smooth Stones Bible Study
This is an ongoing group which studies the Word of God. They meet at 10:00 AM on the 2nd & 4th Monday of every month in the church library. They are currently studying the Disciples. This study is led by Vivian Kravitz. The group pauses for the summer from May through August. 
Virtual Bible Study with Pastor Cathy
You are invited to join Pastor Cathy and others on Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM. This study is an in depth study of the weekly sermons. The theme changes with each series Pastor Cathy presents on Sunday morning. Meet the others online using your computer, tablet or smartphone.
To join use https://us04web.zoom.us/j/4346020464 with passcode: 62397.
Beth Moore Bible Study Group
The Beth Moore Bible Study Children on the Day continues at FUMC of St. Cloud on Thursday afternoons starting at 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM meeting weekly through February 10th. This is a nine-week study on 1st & 2nd Thessalonians. This video-based study is presented by Beth Moore and led at our church by Jaynee Yocum.
Sixteen women are participating in this study.
Jaynee Yocum, Rosemary Logan, Dianne Schoolfield, Ann Leavens, Ruth Nye, Judy Schmidt, Karen Roper, Jan Linville, Barbara Watson, Mary Ruth Rogers, Julie Johnston, and Myrna Lee. Pat Rudd is not seen behind Myrna and not pictured are Diana Walls, Cyndi Bronson and Pastor Cathy.
Power Hour Prayer Group
Prayer cannot be overestimated. Prayer moves the hand of God. FUMC of St Cloud is a body of believers dependent upon prayer, and committed to God’s sovereignty. Every Monday morning at 8:30 AM our team of prayer warriors gathers in the church library to pray for their pastor, a list of church members, any special requests, and missionary prayer needs. If you have a prayer need, feel free to send us a request or join us on Monday morning.
Seasoned Souls
This is a group of caring individuals at FUMC of St. Cloud who meet on the 1st and 3rd Monday at 10 AM. The purpose of this group is to work on projects around the church. There are several things that they do behind the scene. They also enjoy fellowship with each other. You are invited to join this active group which is organized by Myrna Lee.
Mark Your Calendar
Upcoming Events

January 6 - Beth Moore Bible Study ~ 1:00 - 3:00 PM
January 6 - Trustees meeting ~ 7:00 PM (Virtual)
January 6 - Love All Team meeting - 7:00 PM
January 12 - Church-Wide Dinner ~ 5:15 PM
January 12 - Best of Enemies Movie ~ 6 PM
January 13 - Beth Moore Bible Study ~ 1:00 - 3:00 PM
January 13 - SPRC Meeting ~ 7:00 PM (Virtual)
January 16 - Newcomer's Luncheon
January 20 - Beth Moore Bible Study ~ 1:00 - 3:00 PM
January 20 - Finance Meeting - 7:00 PM
January 27 - Beth Moore Bible Study ~ 1:00 - 3:00 PM
January 27 - Church Council Meeting ~ 7:00 PM (Virtual)
January 30 - FUMCSC hosts Elmer's Kitchen ~ 2:00 PM
January 29 - Youth go to Rock the Universe
February 10-13 - Youth Confirmation Retreat

Regular Meetings
Sunday
  • Traditional Worship Service ~ 8:30 AM
  • Serendipity Sunday School Class ~ 9:00 AM
  • Blended Worship Service ~ 10:00 AM
  • Newcomer's Luncheon ~ 3rd Sunday Quarterly, 11:00 AM
  • Elmer's Kitchen ~ 2:00 - 3:00 PM (FUMCSC - 5th Sunday)
Monday
  • Power Hour Prayer Group ~ 8:30 AM
  • Seasoned Souls ~ 1st & 3rd Monday, 10:00 AM
  • Smooth Stones Bible Study ~ 2nd & 4th Monday, 10:00 AM
  • Boy Scouts ~ 7:00 PM
Tuesday
  • Bags of Love ~ 9 - 11 AM (Hot Breakfast to Go)
  • Online Bible Study with Pastor Cathy - 7:00 PM; Please join using your computer, tablet or smartphone. https://us04web.zoom.us/j/4346020464 use passcode: 62397
  • Cub Scouts ~ 7:00 PM
Wednesday
  • Church-wide dinner FLC (2nd Wednesday) ~ starting at 5:15 PM
  • Youth Group ~ 6:00 - 7:30 PM
  • Children's program ~ 6:00 - 7:30 PM
  • Adult Choir Rehearsal ~ 7:00 - 8 PM
Thursday 
  • Bags of Love ~ 9 - 11 AM
  • Beth Moore Video Bible Study (9 Week Study) ~ 1 - 3 PM

Please Note: Our Church Services can be viewed on
FACEBOOK LIVE on our FB page or later on our YouTube
Channel. Click on the links at the bottom of this newsletter to
find these videos.
 
The Lighting of the Advent Candles
During each service of Advent one of our families was asked to read the message and light the candles.
Candle of Hope
On the first Sunday of Advent, November 28 one of the purple candles was lit representing hope.
Bob and Ruth Nye during the Traditional Service
Monica and Wyatt Scarlett during the Blended Service
Candle of Love
The second purple candle was lit on the second Sunday of Advent, December 5 representing love.
Andrew and Jessaca Lawrence during the Traditional Service
Sheran Rasmus and Kathryn Walther
Sheran Rasmus and Kathryn Walther during the Blended Service
Candle of Joy
On the third Sunday in Advent, December 12 the pink candle was lit representing joy.
Jennifer and Bailey Rojas during Traditional Service
Robin and Jessica Clement during the Blended Service
Candle of Peace
On the fourth Sunday in Advent, December 19 the final purple candle was lit representing peace.
Steve and Nadine Peacock during the Traditional Service
Wyatt, Blake and Monica Scarlett during the Blended Service
Christ Candle
On Christmas Eve the white center candle (the Christ Candle) was lit representing Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Rijean Smith and her granddaughter, Brylee lighting Advent candles during the Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service.
Pastor Cathy and Rusty Thacker at the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.
A Gift of Poinsettias
The church was gifted poinsettia plants to decorate the alter during our Christmas services by several of the local funeral homes. We'd like to thank Osceola Memory Gardens Cemetery, Funeral Home and Crematory, Fisk Funeral Home and Crematory, Porta Coeli Funeraria y Crematorio, and Fumeraria Borinquen for their generous donation.
Music Ministry
Lou playing
Lou Murray, instrumental solo
Soloist Kathryn Walther
Bell Choir
A Note from Lou

By the time you read this, we will have performed our December 19 Christmas concert, which brought together our choir, praise band, and handbell choir for musical selections of the Christmas season. We enjoyed singing Christmas carols at the monthly church supper December 8. Children's choir is discontinued till further notice, but we'll have opportunities for some of our talented youngsters to perform with the regular choir from time to time. Looking ahead to 2022, we are happy with recent additions to the choir, and hope to continue blessing you with old and new songs for worship.

Thanks for listening.

Lou Murray, Music Director
Christmas Concert
December is a time when we enjoy beautiful Christmas music. On the afternoon of Sunday, December 19 our choirs combined to perform a beautiful Christmas Concert.
Dennis Tripp
Lou Murray
Renda Collins
Joyce Perkins
Ruth Nye
Our Chancel Choir Performed several traditional Christmas songs
featuring a few solist.
Our bell choir played beautifully.
Chuck McLendon
Safin Karim
The Praise Team was small but mighty as several members were not able to attend due to illness.
After the concert everyone enjoyed good fellowship and delicious cookies.
Christmas Caroling in the Neighborhood
On Wednesday, December 22nd several adults, youth, and children strolled through the neighborhood around the church and downtown St. Cloud singing Christmas carols. Before leaving the group enjoyed a meal of subs, chips, cupcakes, and drinks. When they returned to the church they were treated to hot chocolate and cookies.
The carolers visited James Wise.
Ruth and Bob Nye also received a visit from the carolers.
Christmas Eve Family Friendly Service
The children performed a live nativity scene at the Family Friendly service.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Elise Pettit sang
What Child is This?
Scott Weyrauch sang
O Holy Night.
Ruth Nye sang
There's a Song in the Air.
Candles were lit around the sanctuary and the Light of Christ was carried out into the world while everyone sang Silent Night, Holy Night.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! It astounds me to think that there are only four months left of school! This school year is moving too quickly!! December brought bright lights, glitter, handmade gifts, and tons of singing and laughter to our classrooms! The children were blessed with goodies and gifts from Jim and Eileen Zetwo. We are so very thankful for them.

I am so proud of the tremendous job the children did singing at the virtual Christmas program! They worked extremely hard, and I am proud of all of them. If you would like to peek at our Christmas program you can view it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51gnLPkAKMw. Our hearts were full of everything Christ’s birth brings—Love, Joy, Peace and Hope.

This month, the children will be learning about Winter and Polar Animals. The Bible story is Joseph and His Colorful Coat. Our Bible verse is Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the Highest.” We will begin Open Registration for the 2022-2023 school year on January 18th.

Follow us on Facebook to see day to day activities and happenings around the school. Www.facebook.com/firstumcpreschoolstcloud.


Smiles,

Ms. Denise
Christmas Chapel
Christmas Angels
Goodie Bags from
Jim and Eileen Zetwos
The children of First Church meet on Sunday mornings during the Blended Service after the Children's moment and on Wednesday night for their "B.E.A.C.H. Club" program from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. They are using the Grow Curriculum.
Our Youth Group also meets each week on Wednesday evenings
from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.
After the December Church Wide Dinner our children and youth enjoyed the movie, The Polar Express. A movie screen was set up on the lawn between the Sancturary and the Family Life Center. Pajamas were worn and popcorn was served. Everyone had a great evening!


The McConnell Sisters
Celebrating the Birth of Jesus
Our children and youth celebrated Christmas on December 15. The children had their party at the church in the children's room and the youth were hosted to a party at the Clement home.
Children's Celebration
Everyone had a great time exchanging gifts, making gingerbread houses, and eating them afterwards.
Youth's Celebration
Our youth were blessed to have their Christmas party at the home of Jessica Clement with food, gift exchanging, and fun! Jessica's mom, Robin was a gracious host and their home was decorated beatifully.
With the new year beginning, our youth and children will be planning many fun activities. The first will be on Saturday, January 29 when the youth attend Universal Studios' Rock the Universe concerts.
Then they will be traveling to St. Simons Island for their next confirmation retreat on February 10th through 13th.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
It is our pleasure to be able to work with these
amazing children and youth.

Rijean Smith, Children's Ministry Director
Amber Smith, Youth Leader
Birthdays
January 1 - Annalise Olson
January 3 - Cole Allison
January 3 – Katie Dixon
January 3 – Donna Regn
January 7 – Ron Walls
January 9 – Bob Nye
January 10 – Christopher Donis
January 10 – Carol Dorsey
January 10 – Judith Schmidt
January 13 – Karen Roper
January 17 – Brianna Lovejoy
January 18 – Chuck McLendon
January 20 – Joe Alison
January 20 – James Dunn
January 21 – Nancy Tarrer
January 21 – Drew Smith
January 21 – Melissa Sherman
January 21 – Nancy Tarrer
January 25 – Gillian Biggers
January 26 – Caleb Miller
January 27 – Lou Murray
January 29 – David Ochs
January 31 – Rijean Smith
Anniversaries
January 3 – Bob and Ruth Nye
January 12 - Richard and Carol Fortner
Note: If you know of someone whom we have missed in this birthday or anniversary list please notify the Church Office.

The Word of Our Lord
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:1-3
Your safety is our No. 1 concern!
We will continue to monitor the latest guidance from the CDC and new COVID cases. We will re-evaluate in-person worship should anything change. For now, we ask that you continue to practice these essential guidelines:
  • Please monitor your symptoms and if you feel sick, stay home if you feel sick.
  • Masks or cloth face coverings are optional indoors and outside. 
  • Every other pew will be closed.
  • Please maintain at least six feet of social distance.
  • Family units may sit together.
  • No congregational singing.
  • No passing of the offering.
  • Deposit your attendance card and offering in the box at the back of the church when you leave.
  • There will be no meet and greet.
  • Ushers will seat and dismiss you.
  • Please dispose of your bulletin as you leave or take it with you to reference upcoming events.
  • The Sanctuary is sanitized after every worship service.
Staff Members & Email Addresses

Pastor: Cathy C. Thacker - cathycthacker@gmail.com
Music Director: Lou Murray - musicalou@inbox.com
Office: Joyce Perkins - treasurer@firstchurchstcloud.org
Admin. Asst.: James Wise - admin@firstchurchstcloud.org
Youth Leader: Amber Smith - amber.10golf@gmail.com
Children's Ministry Director: Rijean Smith - rijeansmith@yahoo.com
Preschool Director: Denise Dunn - director.firstumcpreschool@gmail.com
Lay Leader & Sound Engineer: Bob Nye 44robt@gmail.com
Blended Serv. Worship Leader: Scott Weyrauch sweyrauch@mac.com

First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud
1000 Ohio Ave., St. Cloud, FL 34769
407.892.3128