First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud

January 2023 Newsletter

From the Desk of Pastor Cathy

Dear friends and family of FUMC SC!


Happy New Year! I look forward to 2023 and the wonderful mission and ministries we are called to do. On Sunday, January 1st we will begin with Epiphany Sunday and celebrate the Wise Men coming to visit the Christ Child. The following Sunday, January 8th will be the message “Don’t Look Back” based on the book by Bishop Will Willimon. We will celebrate what God has done in 2022 and what God will do in 2023. We will have our 2022 Ministries PowerPoint presentation.

We have been blessed to be a part of the joys and ministries of 2022! Here are some of the highlights of our life and ministry shared together: Passionate Worship: Average worship attendance of 122 in person in two services and 189 online for a total of 311 per week; Community Easter Sunrise Service at the Pavilion at the St. Cloud lakefront; Christmas Concert with the Traditional Choir, Handbell Choir and Drama Team with 51 people; Christmas Eve services with Candle lighting and Live Nativity with 211 in worship; Children’s Church; 93 Thanksgiving meals served and 85 Christmas breakfast meals served. Radical Hospitality: 23 new members (10 baptisms; 4 Confirmands/Professions of Faith; 2 Adult Professions of Faith; and 17 transfers) Quarterly Newcomer’s Luncheons; Food Truck Party Vacation Bible School with 54 children and 38 Adult and Youth volunteers; Monthly church wide dinners with 40 people and painting classes, BUNCO games, The Grinch movie (32 children), Christmas Caroling with 10 people! Salty Service: Weekly Elmer’s Kitchen meals serving 100 meals; Weekly Bags of Love serving 150 meals; 3 people went to South Florida for Disaster Relief mission; Donations of food, clothing, to those in our community. Intentional Discipleship: Virtual adult Sunday School class and one in person Adult Sunday school class; Tuesday evening Bible study classes to deepen our understanding of the Word; New meeting night(Sunday) for Children & Youth ministries; 3 new staff members, 54 3- and 4-year-olds in our Preschool!

Extravagant Generosity:  100% ($17,667) of apportionments paid (!); Gifts to those in need in the community estimated at $1,400; Our Christmas Eve offering going to the Bags of Love ministry; Donations received of $346,000 and we have paid back all the monies borrowed from the Building Support fund.  

Our goals for 2023 are to continue to invite, grow, and give for our Lord and Savior Jesus! We will rewire the Sanctuary; put a new roof on the Sanctuary addition; Do mechanical, electrical and painting work on the Preschool exterior. We have truly been blessed this year and we 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! I believe 2023 will be the best year yet!


I am blessed to be your Pastor!


Back row: Bronson Christian, Phil Christian, Collin Christian, Bob Gray, Opal, Rusty

Front row: Karen Gray, Pastor Cathy

Staff Christmas Party

The Church Staff celebrated Christmas at the home of Dianne Schoolfield with dinner, decorating ginger bread houses, and having great fellowship.

Aimee Werauch showing her Masterpiece

Juan Santiago Decorating his Gingerbread House

Meet Hunter Michael Finch

Hunter is the grandson of Larry and Celia Finch. His parents are Michael and Nicole Finch. He was born on December 18 weighing in at 8 lbs, 4 oz and 21 inches long. This was the best Christmas gift the family could have received. We are very happy to welcome little Hunter into our family.

Christmas Eve Services

On Christmas Eve we held two services, one at 5 pm which was family friendly and the other at 7 pm which was the traditional Candlelight Service. The children portrayed the live nativity at the earlier service.

Family Friendly Service

Candlelight Service

Pastor Cathy, Althea Lee, Gloria Taylor, and Barbara Watson

Pastor Cathy with the Watson Family

Christmas Day

With Christmas falling on Sunday this year we held one Church service for everyone. We also celebrated Jesus' birthday with a birthday cake after the service. A community breakfast was also served to those less fortuanate. Your church was very fruitful in serving others with cold night and the community breakfast this Christmas.

Wanted: Sunday Morning Nursery Worker

The church is still looking for a nursery worker for Sunday mornings from 8 to 11:30 AM. This is a paid position. If you or someone you know is interested please contact the church office or Rijean Smith to learn more about the job requirements.

Our Nursery is Ready!

Wanted: Cold Night Shelter Coordinator

We are looking for a Cold Night Shelter Coordinator. This person would oversee our Cold Night Shelter, get & train volunteers, meet with government agencies like the Emergency Management Services of Osceola County, City of Kissimmee, City of St. Cloud, other churches & non-profit organizations to coordinate a unified effort to provide shelter & services for those experiencing homelessness. This is a volunteer position. If you are interested, please contact Larry Finch at

Eagle Scout Project is Complete

Ryan Malave and Troop 192 finished Ryan's Eagle Scout project. They replaced the kitchen island, installed a new electrical strip and painted the kitchen walls! It looks great; clean and fresh!

Donna Regn working at the finished counter that Ryan build for his Eagle Scout Project

Serving Others with
Our Mercy Ministries

December Photos of Our Volunteers and Guests

Bags of Love

We have a large number of people in need who come on Tueday and Thursday mornings for Bags of Love. FUMCSC always accepts food to fill the bags! You may help supply the need of 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. 

Gently used clothing are also distributed on Tuesday and Thursday when those less-fortunate come for Bags of Love.

As our numbers continue to go up we thank you for helping us serve the community! Volunteers are always needed to prepare a hot meal, fill and distribute bags, and sort clothing. There are many opportunities for those who wish to help out. Please contact the church office if you are interested.

Donation of Turkeys and Hams

Crabby Bill's Restaurant donated turkeys and hams to be distributed to those in need by the Salvation Army.

Pictured: Susie, Murph, & Michelle

Our Bicycle Ministry provides refurbished bicycles to those in need so they are able to have much needed transportation. If you know someone who has a bike they are not using please contact the church office.

David Daniel acquires and refurbishes the bikes.

Click on the image above to go to the Bags of Love Store page directly.

Elmer's Kitchen

FUMC of St Cloud serves as the host site of Elmer’s Meal Kitchen, partnering with the St. Cloud Ministerial Association. Each Sunday at 2:00 pm in the Family Life Center, a free nutritious meal is served to the unemployed or underemployed by a different church or local group.

First Sunday of month: First Presbyterian Church of St. Cloud

Second Sunday of month:

Boy Scouts & St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

Third Sunday of month: Soul City Church

Fourth Sunday of month: Jehovah Jireh Community Church

Fifth Sunday of month: FUMC of St. Cloud

Cold Night

FUMC of St Cloud is was prepared for several nights of the Cold Night program on December 23rd, 24th, and 25th. On the 23rd we housed 10 people, on the 24th there were 13, and on the 25th our numbers had grown to 20. The community is also very involved with this effort. The Osceola County Emergency Management group donated blankets for the Cold Night program last month. Recently, Mitzi Graber Wynn donationed blankets & hoodies for Cold Night. Phil from Hope Partnership brought gift packs for Cold Night participants.

We would like to thank Larry Finch and all of the other volunteers for all of their hard work on planning, setting up, and volunteering for the Cold Night Program. The most amazing part about opening our church during the cold weather is that our volunteers were able to witness to some of our Cold Night guests about Jesus Christ! At the Sunday morning Christmas Breakfast a person who came to volunteer and serve our guests said, "This is what Christmas is all about!"

Mitzi Graber Wynn with donations of blankets & hoodies for Cold Night

Joyce Perkins with Phil from Hope Partnership

The cots are ready

Flo Shrum preparing for Cold Night

Several of our Cold Night Volunteers:

Pastor Cathy, Larry Finch, & Susan Ferguson

Christmas Morning Community Breakfast

Volunteer Opportunities

There are many opportuities to volunteer at First Church St. Cloud. Donna Regn with the Mercy Ministries is always looking for help. Elmer's Kitchen can also use assistance. 

Volunteers also routinely help out with church office duties.


Coffee Hour on Sunday Mornings

Join us for "coffee hour" between church services from 9:15 to 10:15 AM located in the Annex off the Sanctuary. Rhys Bibeau and Larry Dykes are your hosts each week. This is a special time to meet your church family for coffee, donuts, cookies, and other treats. Donations and volunteers are welcome! Please call (407) 908-4418 if you are interested in helping.

On Christmas morning a Happy Birthday Jesus Cake was served

after the church service.

Monthly Church-Wide Wednesday Night Dinner

Each month on the second Wednesday of the month we hold a Church-Wide Wednesday night dinner with physical distancing followed by an activiity starting at 5:15 PM. It is a great time to get to know your church family. During the December dinner everyone enjoyed a delicious meal and sang Christmas Carols after the meal.

The next Wednesday Night Dinner will be held on January 11th. Please join us for a delicious dinner and plan to stay afterwards for a fun game of Bunco.

Fellowship Circle

The Fellowship Circle (formerly Seasoned Souls) serves God and our church by doing tasks and chores as needed or requested. They strive to get to know each other better and thus enrich their lives, support each other and have fun. They meet twice a month on the first and third Mondays of the month through May 15 taking a break during the summer months. Please contact Myrna Lee at to learn more about the Fellowship Circle.

Circle of Light

Another group of women who meet at the church is the Circle of Light led by Renda Collins. They meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Their primary goal is to mail out cards to the homebound (shut-ins) of our congregation. They are looking for other ways to serve our church. You may contact Renda at to learn more about this group. 

Ladies Brunch

The women of Smooth Stones Bible Study and Fellowship Circle joined together and had a Ladies Christmas Brunch. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed lots of good food.

Studying God's Word

Here at First Church St. Cloud there are several opportunities to study God's word.

Smooth Stone Bible Study is studying the book of Hebrews. They are so pleased to have some new members and are looking forward to learning more from the Bible and from each other. Smooth Stones Bible Study meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. Vivian Kravitz leads this group and can be reached by email at

Every Tuesday evening Pastor Cathy leads an in-depth study of the Sermon series which will be preached on the following Sunday. This study involves much discussion about the topic at hand. Please join her and others from your computer, tablet or smartphone at 7:00 PM.

Passcode 623978

On Sunday mornings the Serendipity Sunday School Class meets at 9:00 AM in the classroom attached to the Sanctuary as a hybred format; some in person and others over the phone led by Kevin Knox.  For more information contact the church office.

The Genesis Sunday School Classs also meets on Sunday morning at 9:15 AM in the FLC. Currently they are studying from the book, More Parables from the Backside by J Ellsworth Kalas. Larry Finch leads this study and can be reached by email at

The Power Hour Prayer Group meets each Monday morning at 8:30 AM for prayer and to lift up the prayer requests from the congregation. You are invited to join this lively group of prayer warriors each week. If you are interested you may contact the church office.

New to the Power Hour Prayer Group: Lou Murray is going to start a Healing Prayers time during the Power Hour Prayer time on Mondays 8:30-10:00 for those who are interested in prayers, anointing, and healing. 


The Sanctuary was beautifully decorated for the Advent Season. This could not have happened without the help of some amazing volunteers. Thank you for taking the time to help at your church.

Amy & Joe Allison

Judy Schmidt

Ruth Nye

Ellen & Dave Daniel

Darlene McCland

Donna Regn

Al Rivera

Myran Lee

Vivian Kravitz

Barbara Watson

Bonnie Gregory

2022 Average Church Attendance

Our average attendance during the year was:

In person -

  • 47 - 8:15 AM Traditional Service
  • 75 -10:15 AM Blended Service

Online -189

For a Total of - 311

by Lou Murray, Music Director

Sing unto him a new song” Psalm 33:3

As we move into a new year, the choir will be looking at new ways to present traditional hymns and favorite gospel songs. We're always open to welcoming guest singers and instrumentalists. We're hoping to add a few new singers to the group. Choir practice is at 7pm on Wednesday evenings. If you'd like to join us, just show up. I welcome your comments and suggestions

about the music. Thanks for listening!

Christmas Musical

Handbell Choir

Pastor Jim as Mastor of Ceremonies

Bailey Rojas played the violin.

Lou Murray on keyboard,

Dennis Tripp playing the drum

Jennifer Rojas

Joyce Perkins

Lucy Knowles

Renda Collins

Our Drama Ministry also performed at the concert

Enjoying Refreshments after the Concert

Our Praise Band Celebrated Christmas at Crabby Bill's

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Events

January 9 - Trustees meeting virtually on Microsoft Teams ~ 7:00 PM

January 11 - Church-Wide dinner & BUNCO Night! ~ 5:15 PM

January 12 - SPRC meeting ~ 7 PM

January 14 - Boy Scouts Spaghetti Dinner 

January 15 - Newcomers Luncheon following 10:15 AM service

January 19 - Finance Committee meeting ~ 7:00 PM

January 22 - Costa Rica Baked Potato Lunch following 10:15 AM service

January 26 - Church Council meeting ~ 7:00 PM

Regular Meetings


  • Traditional Worship Service ~ 8:15 - 9:15 AM
  • Hybred Serendipity Sunday School Class ~ 9:00 - 10:00 AM
  • Genesis Sunday School Class ~ 9:15 - 10:00 AM (FLC)
  • Coffee Hour (Annex off the Sanctuary) ~ 9:15 - 10:00 AM
  • Blended Worship Service ~ 10:15 - 11:15 AM
  • Newcomer's Luncheon ~ 3rd Sunday Quarterly, 11:30 AM
  • Elmer's Kitchen ~ 2:00 - 3:00 PM (FUMCSC - 5th Sunday)
  • Children's program ~ 6:00 - 7:00 PM - (New Day)
  • Youth Group ~ 6:00 - 7:00 PM - (New Day)


  • Power Hour Prayer Group ~ 8:30 AM
  • Fellowship Circle (Formerly Seasoned Souls) ~ 1st & 3rd Monday, 10:00 AM (Resumes October 17)
  • Smooth Stones Bible Study ~ 2nd & 4th Monday, 10:00 AM 
  • Boy Scouts ~ 7:00 PM)


  • 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. use passcode: 623978
  • Cub Scouts ~ 7:00 PM


  • Circle of Light - Women's Group - 2nd Wedesday of each month 10:00 AM
  • Wednesday Night Church-Wide Dinner - 2nd Wednesday ~ starting at 5:15 PM
  • Adult Choir Rehearsal ~ 7:00 - 8:00 PM


  • Bags of Love ~ 9:00 - 11:00 AM
  • Handbell Rehearsal ~ 6:00 - 7:00 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.

Check Out Our Website!

Office Administrator, James Wise has been working hard to update the church website Past newsletters are available by clicking on the Resources Tab. Our weekly schedule and monthly overview calendar can also be found by clicking the About tab and then the Weekly Schedule line or by clicking this link.


HAPPY NEW YEAR! 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 and teachers 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 our Christmas program! They worked extremely hard, and I am proud of all of them. Our hearts were full of everything Christ’s birth brings—Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope. Our Basket Bingo raised $1215.00! Santa Claus came to visit for some milk and muffins! You may recognize him… 😊

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 2023-2024 school year with an Open House on January 19th.

Follow us on Facebook to see day to day activities and happenings around the school.


Ms. Denise

Preschool Christmas Store

The children enjoyed shopping for gifts for their families at our very own Christmas Store.

The children of First Church meet on Sunday mornings during the 10:00 AM Blended Worship Service after the Children's Moment and also on Sunday evenings from 6 to 7 PM.


The Children's Ministries led by Rijean Smith recently changed the day of the week when they meet. Instead of meeting on Wednesdays they now meet on Sunday evenings. The Children's Sunday evening program is called the B.E.A.C.H. Club (Be Excited About Celebrating Him.) Each week from 6:00 until 7:00 PM they enjoy learning about Jesus, making crafts, learning about each other, playing games, and having a delicious snack. If you know of a child who would enjoy our children's program, please contact Rijean Smith at

Important Dates for Children

Jan. 1 - New Year's Day - NO Kids Program

Jan. 8 - Kid's Program Resumes

Children's Christmas Party

Our Youth Group meets each week on Sunday evenings from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. 

The youth at our church, led by Amber Smith (assisted by Monica Scarlett) are very active with many of the events that we host. They also are involved with the Children's Ministry and help out where needed. About once a month they have fun activities outside of the regular meeting. If you know of a teen who would like to get involved in our church's youth program, please contact Amber Smith at

Important Dates for the Youth

Jan. 1 - New Year's Day - NO Youth Group

Jan. 8 - Youth Group Resumes

Youth Christmas Party

Our youth went Christmas Caroling at local nursing homes on December 21st

January 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 10 – Dorothy McIntosh

January 13 – Karen Roper

January 15 – Mackenzie Stott

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

January Anniversaries

Jan. 3 – Bob and Ruth Nye

Jan. 12 - Richard and Carol Fortner

Jan. 19 – Rob and Janice Mogan

Note: We are working hard to keep our information accurate and regret if we have missed your birthday or anniversary. 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

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:1-2

Your safety is our No. 1 concern!

Practice self evaluation and hygene

for your safety and others.

We are now able to lift most of the Covid restrictions.

Please continue to deposit your Let's Connect Attendance Card and offering in the box or basket at the back of the church when you leave.

Please dispose of your bulletin as you leave or take it with you to reference upcoming events.

The Sanctuary is sanitized regularly.

Staff Members & Email Addresses

Pastor: Cathy C. Thacker -

Assistant Pastor: Jim Kledis -

Office: Joyce Perkins -

Admin. Asst.: James Wise -

Accountant: Chuck McLendon -

Youth Leader: Amber Smith -

Children's Ministry Director: Rijean Smith -

Preschool Director: Denise Dunn -

Sound Technician: Emma Mavell

Music Director: Lou Murray -

Blended Serv. Worship Leader: Scott Weyrauch

Mercy Ministries Coordinator: Donna Regn

Custodian: Al Rivera -

Security: Juan Santiago

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