First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud November 2021 Newsletter
From the Desk of Pastor Cathy

Dear friends!

One of my favorite hymns is “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart”. The words say, “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ his Son. And now let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ Let the poor say, ‘I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us.’ Give thanks.” Scripture says, “Let us be thankful…” Hebrews 12:28(NIV) Honestly, I do not give thanks enough. We have so much to be grateful for and the concerns and problems of the world lately can push out our thanksgiving. That’s why I love the Thanksgiving holiday. One day we can stop and focus on our blessings and gifts from God and give thanks! This year I am going to focus on being a thankful person.  

I am thankful to be serving in this wonderful congregation of God’s people! We are young and old, rich and poor, black and white, and each one has gifts and graces to offer to others and for the glory of God! Thank goodness that we are not all the same, uniform, cookie-cutter people but unique, diverse and different! We may not always agree but we always love! This is the body of Christ at its best!

Our Charge Conference this year will be held on Sunday, November 7th at 4:00 PM at First UMC in Orlando and it will be in person. This is the Annual Business meeting of the church. To date we have received 30 new members (7 Confirmands, 1 Adult Profession of Faith) for a total of 250 members. We have had 5 baptisms! We have had 3 deaths (Charles Justice, Wayne Schoolfield and Steven Pelli). We have paid 75% of our apportionments, or $12,623 and have paid back the $40,000 loan borrowed in 2020 from the Building Support Fund. Thank you for your faithfulness to the work of Jesus Christ!

Our Stewardship series is called “The Treasure Principle”. We will learn the key to faithful living is generous giving! Sunday, November 14th is our Commitment Sunday when we will make our promises and pledges to support the mission and ministries for 2022. I promise you will receive a treasure gift! Please be in prayer for faithfulness and God’s vision! We have accomplished much (even during a Pandemic) but God is calling us to reach more people for Jesus Christ in 2022!

So, I give thanks for all of you, for the joy it is to serve with wonderful followers of Jesus Christ, the blessing of our talented and hard-working staff, my husband, family and friends. Friends, you are amazing and God is good! It is good to pause and give thanks to God from whom all blessings flow! I hope and pray that your Thanksgiving this year is filled with joy, lots of yummy food and family time! This year, we will be traveling to the eastern shore of Virginia to celebrate Thanksgiving with our daughter, Sara, and her family. 
It is a joy to be your Pastor!

Pastor Cathy

P.S. (The photo above is me holding the Pastor Appreciation Gift Basket that was presented by Joyce Perkins on Sunday, October 17 recognizing Pastor Appreciation Month. Thank You!)
Mark, Sara, me, Caleb, Opal, Sadie and Rusty
Happy Thanksgiving from the Thackers and the Reiters!
New Members who Joined the Church
on October 24, 2021
Mitch, Monica, Wyatt, & Blake Scarlett
Rosemary Logan
Ted Miller & Pat Hardin
Sheran Rasmus
Sabrina Brooks
Karla Loper
Fred & Joann Cumbie
Celia Thacker Dorn
Introducing Larry Finch
Larry Finch and his wife, Celia are new to First Church of St. Cloud. They have been attending since November 2020. When asked what brought him to this church, Larry says that they came partly because of Pastor Cathy who they have known since the 1990’s but mostly because of what First Church is doing to reach out to the community with programs such as Feeding the Homeless especially during the Holidays, Cold Nights, Missions, and the Food Pantry. Since arriving he has participated in all of these programs.  These are things that he said his previous church was no longer doing and he feels these are important ministries. He is able to share the Word of God while participating in helping the community.

Larry’s passion is working on missions. He started working in the mission field in 2000 with is first mission trip to the Red Bird Mission in Beverly, Kentucky. He has gone on at least one mission trip, sometimes two or three almost every year since then. He has worked on mission trips in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and even Ohio helping the teams in first response after hurricanes and floods. Some of these trips, like the one that he and several others from FUMC of St. Cloud just completed at the beginning of October, involved rebuilding or finishing homes and businesses. The only trip that he participated in that was not on US soil was in 2017 when he went on a mission trip in Belmopan, Belize where the team renovated a High School.

Larry and Celia have been living in Kissimmee since September 1979 when he was hired to work on construction of the Orlando International Airport. Before retiring in January 2020 Larry worked in the steel fabrication business owning his own company since 2004. Larry said, “The Lord has truly blessed me because I have been able to have a career in something that I loved.”

Larry and his wife are also blessed in their marriage as they will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary on February 26. They have two children. Their daughter, Stephanie is married with a daughter and a son. Their son, Michael is also married and has a daughter. They enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren: Maddie is 7 years old, Arya is 22 months old, and Noah is 4 months old.

Larry enjoys fishing in his spare time and is a pretty good fisherman too.
On October 3, 2021, Pastor Cathy, Althea Lee, Barbara Watson, Bill Mueller, Phil Christian and myself drove to the Fairhope UMC where we stayed until the morning of October 8, 2021. Fairhope UMC is a beautiful campus on the eastside of Mobile Bay. We were treated royally by our hosts. Their campus is only a couple of blocks from the Mobile Bay. From Monday through Thursday, we worked on the home of Gwendolyn Jones Williams in Mobile, Alabama approximately 45 minutes from Fair Hope. Gwendolyn is a recovering cancer patient. Her home suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sally including the loss of her roof in September 2020. Each day we worked on removing damaged the ceiling and walls, installing new framing around new windows, closing existing openings in walls and installing new drywall on the ceilings and walls, including taping and spackling drywall. The existing wiring was an electrician’s nightmare. There appeared to be no logic to which outlet was on which breaker. The switch to the ceiling was somehow tied into the 220 V dryer in the back room. The smile on Gwendolyn’s face, each day, made it all worthwhile.

Larry Finch, Mission Team Member
The Team Arrived at
Fairhope UMC
Phil Christian, Bill Mueller, Pastor Cathy, Barbara Watson, and Althea Lee
Althea Lee, Bud Mitchell, the Alabama West Florida Disaster Relief Coordinator and Barbara Watson
Dedication to
Bill Schmidt
The Mission Team
Bill Mueller
Barbara Watson
Larry Finch
Pastor Cathy Thacker
Althea Lee
Bud Mitchell
A Time to Work
A Time to Rest
Before and After
Althea and Gwendolyn before the work was completed.
Gwendolyn sent this photo after she painted and put in the light fixture.
Bags of Love Items Needed
We need items for the Bags of Love lunches. Our numbers continue to go up! You can help supply the need by bringing any of these items to the Church office; Vienna sausages, canned tuna or chicken, Beanie-Weanies, bags of chips, cookies, peanut butter and cheese crackers, fruit cups, pudding snacks, applesauce, bottled waters. Thank you for helping us serve the community!
Wednesday Night Dinner
October 13, 2021
Each month we are having a church-wide Wednesday night dinner. It is a great time to get to know your church family. Please plan on joining us for the next dinner, November 10 at 5:15 PM.
Serving the plates
Jim and Jo Kledis
Mackenzie, Sophie, and Olivia
Lou Murray, Jan Linville, Barbara (guest), Mary Ellen Cross
and Becky (guest)
Caring for Others
Denise, a Bags of Love volunteer received a much needed bicycle from our Bicycle Program
Pastor Cathy and Barbara Watson visited Barbara Kessler
Mark Your Calendar
Upcoming Events

  • November 7 - Annual Charge Conference at FUMC of Orlando
4 PM - Everyone is invited to attend!
  • November 10 - Church-wide dinner ~ 5:15 PM
  • November 25 - Thanksgiving Day ~ Church office Closed
  • November 25 - Thanksgiving Community Dinner ~ TBA

Regular Meetings
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Bags of Love ~ 9 to 11 AM (Hot Breakfast to Go)
  • Online Bible Study with Pastor Cathy - 7:00 PM; Please join using your computer, tablet or smartphone. Access Code: 712-997-989 or dial in using your phone. United States: +1 (224) 501- 3412
  • Cub Scouts ~ 7:00 PM
  • Church-wide dinner served outdoors (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 PM
Thursday: Bags of Love ~ 9 to 11 AM (Hot Burritos to Go)

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.
by Lou Murray, Music Director

Plans are underway for a Christmas concert on December 19, the Sunday before Christmas, beginning at 4:00 p.m. The choir, with guest instrumentalists, will present religious and secular Christmas favorites. We hope to have a hand-bell number as well.
Scott Weyrauch will lead the praise band in more contemporary selections. I look forward to hearing from any vocal or instrumental soloists who might like to perform. We practice in the sanctuary at 7:00 on Wednesday evenings.

Also we will soon start practicing for the Christmas Eve candlelight service.

Thanks for listening!

October was a busy month! In support of Fire Safety month, the Saint Cloud Fire Department visited our school. They showed the children the fire truck and the tools they use. The firefighter dressed in full gear to show the children that they do not need to be afraid. They gave each child their own firefighter helmet to take home. The highlight of the event was when they turned on their lights and sirens as they were leaving!

Each child was given a bag full of treats for Halloween donated by Jim and Eileen Zetwo. The Zetwo’s have adopted our school children and they provide special treats for them for every holiday. We love Jim and Eileen and are very thankful for their donations and love.

Our school participated in the Trunk-or-Treat event on 10/27. The staff dressed up as Sesame Street Characters and had a blast handing out treats to the children. It was great to see current students as well as previous alumni.

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


Ms. Denise

St. Cloud Fire Department Visit
Halloween Treats Donated by Jim and Eileen Zetwo
Our Preschool Staff at Trunk-or-Treat
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.
with an average of five children each week.
They are using the Grow Curriculum.
Ping Pong at the Wednesday night B.E.A.C.H. club
Crafts during Wednesday Night Children's Program
Trunk-or-Treat was held on Wednesday, October 27. Everyone had a great time going from car to car and receiving candy.
Rijean Smith
Smith Family Trunk
Spivey Family Trunk
Pastor Cathy's Trunk
More amazing Trunk-or-Treat photos can be found on the church's Facebook page. Click the Facebook icon (f) at the bottom of this newsletter for the link.

The youth helped with Trunk-or-Treat on October 27th.
They all had a lot of fun. 

Youth Dinner
Jessica, Olivia, Sophie, and
Amber Smith
Opal and Ben Thacker
Layla and Mackenzie
Pastor Cathy with Hudson McConnell (Chris and Amanda's youngest child)
Thank you all for allowing me this opportunity to shepherd our youth. 
Amber Smith
Nov. 2 - Sonny Dorsey
Nov. 2 - Pastor Cathy Thacker
Nov. 3 - Steven Kirsch
Nov. 8 - Vincent Kirsch
Nov. 9 - Audrey Fisk
Nov. 9 - Sabrina Brooks
Nov. 12 - Ted Miller
Nov. 15 - Carol Teyssier
Nov. 19 - Ace Morgan
Nov. 20 - Bob Dixon
Nov. 22 - Betty Driskell
Nov. 23 - Chuck Perkins
Nov. 26 - Megan Phelps

None known

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
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
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 maintain at least six feet of social distance. Family units may sit together.
  • Masks or cloth face coverings are required at all times. 
  • Monitor your symptoms - Stay home if you feel sick.
  • Every other pew will be closed.
  • No congregational singing.
  • No passing of the offering.
  • There will be no meet and greet.
  • Ushers will seat and dismiss you.
  • Deposit your attendance sheet and offering in the basket by the door when you leave.
  • 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 -
Music Director: Lou Murray -
Office: Joyce Perkins -
Admin. Asst.: James Wise -
Youth Leader: Amber Smith -
Children's Ministry Director: Rijean Smith -
Preschool Director: Denise Dunn -
Lay Leader & Sound Engineer: Bob Nye
Blended Serv. Worship Leader: Scott Weyrauch

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