First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud

August 2023 Newsletter

From the Desk of Pastor Cathy

Dear friends!

           Happy August! We have returned from our mission trip to Costa Rica. Our team consisted of Pamella Heffington-Hall, Bobby Hall, Althea Lee, Judy Rasmussen, Rich Rasmussen, Juan Santiago, Regina Smith, Barbara Watson and myself. We had an amazing time being in Costa Rica and being the hands and feet of Christ! On Sunday we worshiped with the Iglesia Metodista in San Isidro and enjoyed a delicious tamale lunch. Wil Bailey, our Costa Rica missionary shared his story about coming to Costa Rica with his church, First UMC of Rocky Mount, North Carolina when he was only 15 years old and came back every summer. When he was a Sophomore in College, he was invited to a Bible study and he realized that he wanted what the members of that Bible study had: a relationship with Jesus.

           After college, he went to California to work on a sailboat. He was hired to work on the sailboat for two years. Friends gave him some cassette tapes (remember those?!) with sermons by the Pastor in the church he had attended. While on the sailboat, listening to the tapes, he had sense of calling by God to go to Seminary and go back to Costa Rica.

           He came back to North Carolina, went on a mission trip to South Africa and there, while having Holy Communion, realized the body of Christ was global and that he was a part of the worldwide church as he shared Holy Communion with the people in South Africa. He returned to Costa Rica, met Yolanda, his future wife and graduated from Duke Seminary one year later. He moved to Costa Rica and got married immediately.

           In 2003, he started Costa Rica Mission Projects (CRMP) and began working with the Methodist Church in Costa Rica on churches and retreat centers. Today CRMP has a Retreat Center in San Isidro which houses 60 people in 3 cabins, a Child Care Center with 20 children ages 6 months to 6 years, a home for young girls who are furthering their education after high school, and a Counseling Center with 35 patients.

           We joined Morehead City UMC team and worked at Santa Marta Church, about 45 minutes away from the Retreat Center in San Isidro. What a joy it was to get to know them, to see old friends like Wil, Yolanda, Isabella, Hugo, Fanny, Hugito and others. We worshiped with them, had fellowship, prayer, service and witnessed to the people of Costa Rica! If you have never been on a mission trip (local or international) I encourage you to go. It will change your life and will change you!

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. School starts August 10th (just around the corner) and it will be fall before we know it! We are pleased to welcome our new Children’s Ministry Director, Elise Pettitt, and Caileigh Croft, our new Youth Director!

Our new August sermon series will be “The Psalms”. The Psalms are the heart cries of the people of Israel. In them, you find all the human emotions and struggles known. This is an exciting study and sermon series so I hope you will plan to be in worship (online or in person) and attend our virtual weekly Bible study as we dig deeper. We meet on Tuesday nights at 7:00PM. Please invite a friend! I am so excited about this series! Pastor Jim Kledis is working on some skits for worship for this series. If you love acting, please contact him at (816) 582-6826.

Most of all, God gives us rest and renewal for our souls. Scriptures tell us “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   Acts 1:8 (NRSV)

        Here are a couple of pictures from our visit with the kids in July.


           It is a joy to be your Pastor!

Thacker Family Dinner

Walking Around the Neighborhood

Lunch at Rockin' John's

Family Beach Day

Meet New Staff Members

Caileigh Croft and Elise Pettitt

We are very blessed to have these two young women working with our chidren and youth. They have both been doing a great job planning upcoming events at our church. Give them a huge welcome when you see them.

Meet Caileigh Croft

Caileigh is fairly new to the area. She grew up in Live Oak, Florida where she went to the First Baptist Church of Live Oak. She attended Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida and then transferred to UCF where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences in May. Currently she is working as a nursing assistant at Orlando Health. Her future plans are to continue her education and become a Physician Assistant.

Caileigh’s parents still live in Live Oak but she has a cousin who lives in Longwood. She has a twin brother named Dalton and a sixteen-year-old little brother named Kyler. JP Clement is her boyfriend who she met at Indian River State College. JP’s family attends First Church and she started coming to church with him. When the Youth Ministry position became available, she was asked if she would be interested. After prayerful consideration she accepted the job and has enjoyed getting to know the youth of our church in the short time since she was hired.

Caileigh enjoys working out at the gym, hiking and traveling. She has been involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) since she was in middle school and plans on volunteering with them locally this fall.

Meet Elise Pettitt

Elise was raised in St. Cloud, Florida. She even attended preschool at our First United Methodist Preschool. When she was young, she went to the Baptist Church but in high school she started attending F.U.M.C. of Kissimmee and sang in the choir under the direction of Scott Weyrauch, her high school music teacher.

Elise attended Valencia Community College and transferred to Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama which is a Christian college. In Birmingham her walk with God grew while she attended a non-denominational church. After graduating from Samford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Sciences she returned to St. Cloud. Her parents and grandparents still live in St. Cloud and attend FUMCSC. Scott Weyrauch continues to feature Elise as a soloist on the Worship team during the 10:00 Blended Worship Service.

Elise was on the dance team at Samford University in Birmingham and enjoys teaching and instructing at dance camps and studios. She is a freelance dance and performance artist as well as a make-up artist. 

God is using her at our church as our newest staff member. Elise has been hired to be our Children’s Ministry Leader and also help with social media at our church. She will be working on Sundays and Wednesdays. Elise minored in Journalism in college and will be using these skills by adding our church to new social network sites like Instagram and others, updating the church’s technological communication methods.

Preschool Graduation from

First United Methodist Preschool,

St. Cloud

College Graduation from Samford University in Birmingham Alabama

Safin Karim

Safin will be attending NYU working toward a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Musical Theatre. We are very proud of Safin and will miss having him at the Blended Worship Service where he has been our keyboardist and vocalist for the past several years. There will be a reception to send him off on August 20th following the Blended Worship Service.

Serving Others with

Our Mercy Ministries

Bags of Love

We have a large number of people in need who come on Tuesday 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. A hot meal-to-go is served.

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.

Donations from Conway UMC for our Bags of Love/Cold Night Program

Children, youth and adults came from Spring of Life United Methodist Church in Lake Nona to volunteer at Bags of Love.

David Daniel with another group of young volunteers

A Message From Donna Regn

Bags of love is working hard to help those in need. There are several items that are needed at this time. Men’s pants and shorts sizes 32-34. (Not dress pants, but every day wear.) Also, T-shirts, socks, and underwear for men and women are needed. Women’s clothing is usually donated but recently we are not getting much. Deodorant, bug spray, small size shampoos, conditioners and lotions are also in demand. Other churches and organizations help by donating to Bags of Love also. The Moose Lodge always provides toothpaste, toothbrushes and other toiletries. All donations are greatly appreciated! God has been faithful in providing the things we need. Thank you so much for all that you as a church do for this ministry. The people we serve are extremely grateful.

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.

Community Outreach

Seeds of Hope is an organized group of churches and non-profit organizations in the St. Cloud community. First Church is a part of this group which works together providing services in the area.

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

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 distributed to the unemployed or underemployed by a different church or local group as a to-go meal.

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

Second Sunday of month: Alternating

Boy Scout Troop #192 & 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 Youth & Adults

Elmer's Kitchen Volunteers on June 25th when

Dennis Tripp made homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Cold Night

FUMC of St Cloud houses the cold night shelter program during the winter. This is a community effort assisted by serveral local agencies. We are thankful for Flo Shrum our Cold Night Shelter Coordinator.

Mission Team News!

Our mission team went to Costa Rica during the week of July 15 - 22. The team consisted of Pamella Heffington-Hall, Bobby Hall, Althea Lee, Judy Rasmussen, Rich Rasmussen, Juan Santiago, Regina Smith, Barbara Watson and myself. The team joined Morehead City UMC team and worked in construction at Santa Marta Church.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Regina Smith Baptism

Mission Teams from FUMC St. Cloud and Morehead City UMC on the last day.


Coffee Hour on Sunday Mornings in the Welcome Center

Join us for "coffee hour" between church services from 9:15 to 10 AM located in the Welcome Center. Our Welcome Center is located in the Annex at the front of the sanctuary to the left of the alter. Beverages and baked goods are served. It is a good time to get know your church family. It has become a very popular place to gather as more people participate. This is also where new visitors can get information about First Church St. Cloud and receive a first time gift. Rhys Bibeau and Larry Dykes are your hosts each week. Donations and volunteers are welcome! Please call (407) 908-4418 if you are interested in helping.

Monthly Church-Wide Wednesday Night Dinner

Each month on the second Wednesday of the month we hold a Church-Wide Wednesday night dinner.

Our next Wednesday Night Dinner will take a break over the summer and will resume on September 13th.

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. 

Fellowship Circle will be taking a break for the summer months.

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. We welcome new members. They will continue to meet over the summer.

You may contact Renda at to learn more about this group. 

Studying God's Word

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

Smooth Stones Bible Study will be taking a break from their study for the summer months. However, we are excited to announce that another Bible Study led by Vicki Mauro will be meeting during the Smooth Stones time slot on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 10:00 AM. They will be studying the book of Revelation.

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. This class is 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.

The Genesis Sunday School Class will be not be meeting during the summer months but they will resume in September!

The Genesis Sunday School class will resume their studies on September 10th by studying six selected characters from Max Lucado's book titled, They Walked with God. This six-week study will start on September 10th at 9:15 am - 11:00 am in the FLC. Larry Finch leads this study and can be reached by email at

Six Week Study on Christianity and World Religions

This class will run through August 6 We will meet in the Family Life Center at 9:15 until 10:00 am on Sundays between worship services. There is only one more week left of this study. It has been well received as seen by the photos below.

Youth Sunday School led by Caileigh Croft will be held on Sunday mornings from 9:15 - 10 AM (Between Worship Services) in the youth room upstairs of the FLC.

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.

Fresh Expressions Workshop

Are you interested in bringing unchurched people into God's Kingdom? This workshop will provide our church with creative ways to reach the lost. It is designed to meet people where they are and then bring them towards a fully developed worship experience. Does this interest you? The workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 30th at 5:00 PM in the Family Life Center. Karla Gusching is in charge. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Jim to reserve your spot. We will be having Pizza. We will need to your RSVP by Sunday, August 27th. 

Pastor Jim's contact informations is 

or 407-979-3012

(Please leave a message if Pastor Jim is not in the office.)


Each Sunday FUMC of St. Cloud has two Worship Services. The Traditional Worship Service begins at 8:15 AM and the Blended Worship Service starts at 10:15 AM.

Mason Ash, Acolyte

Drama Ministry

First Church has an active Drama Ministry that performs during the Worship Services and special occasions.

Healing Service Coming Soon

The month of August will see the return, after many years, of a healing service here at First UMC. After the 10:15 AM service on August 27, beginning at 11:20 AM, we invite anyone who desires physical or emotional healing to come forward for prayer and anointing.

Our Healing Team is preparing for this ministry. If you are interested in being part of the team, training and orientation sessions will be held at 11:30 AM on July 30, August 6, and August 13 in the sanctuary annex.

by Lou Murray, Choir Director

First, thanks to Dennis Tripp for hosting a hymn singing gettogether July 29 with singers from other congregations. It's always great to share the joy. We're taking the show on the road this month, as we prepare to perform for various groups. We expect Joyce Perkins to be back singing with us, and we're glad to have Chuck McLendon for the occasional solo. Remember, we practice in the sanctuary Wednesday evenings at 7. If you are a singer or instrumentalist who would like to join our merry crew, just show up. I'm always open to comments or suggestions regarding the music.

Thanks for listening!

Chancel Choir - 8:15 AM Traditional Worship Service

Directed by Lou Murray

Worship Team - 10:15 AM Blended Worship Service

Directed by Scott Weyrauch

Handbell Choir

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Events

July 30 - August 6 - Bible Study - Christianty and Word Religions ~

9:15 - 10:00 AM

July 30 - Elmer's Kitchen FUMCSC Youth ~ 2:00 PM

July 30, August 6, August 13 - Healing Team Training ~ 11:30 AM

August 6 - Backpack Dedication during our church services

August 10 - First day of public school in Osceola County

August 13 - Back to School Bash ~ 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

August 14 - Parent Orientation for our Preschool ~ 7:00 PM

August 15 - Student Open House for Preschool ~ 8:30 AM

August 16 - First Day of Preschool

August 16 - Annual Boo Hoo/Yahoo Beakfast for Preschool parents ~ 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

August 20 - Children's Ministry resumes with Kick-Off

August 20 - Reception for Safin Kamir leaving for college ~ Following 10:15 AM Blended Worship Service

August 27 - Healing Service ~ 11:20 AM - 12:00 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) (Summer Break - Resume September 10th)
  • Bible Study - Christianity and World Religions ~ 9:15 - 10:00 AM
  • Youth Sunday School ~ 9:15 - 10:00 AM
  • 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)


  • Power Hour Prayer Group ~ 8:30 AM
  • Fellowship Circle (On Vacation-Resumes October 17th)
  • Smooth Stones Bible Study ~ (On Vacation-Resumes in the fall)
  • Revelation Bible Study taking over Smooth Stones time slot on 2nd & 4th Monday of month at 10:00 AM
  • Trustees - 1st Monday of month - 7 PM
  • 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


  • Circle of Light - Women's Group - 2nd Wedesday of each month 10:00 AM
  • Coffee with Jesus for Youth ~ 2:15 PM @ Starbucks
  • Youth Fellowship
  • Wednesday Night Church-Wide Dinner - Resume September 13
  • 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.


Back to school is here! This summer has certainly flown by quickly! We have been busy making improvements to our Joy Building classroom and to our campus. New flooring and bathroom fixtures have been installed. A new window air conditioner was also installed. Work will commence shortly on new roofing for the Joy Building and Prescott Hall. Our playground equipment will receive a new platform. There’s always something to be done! The first day of classes will be August 16. We will welcome parents and children on campus on August 14 and August 15 for Parent Orientation and Student Open House. Please keep our program in your prayers <3!

We still have just a few openings left in our VPK Pre-K class which is offered for children who are age 4 by September 1st. This class is free with the VPK Certificate of Eligibility. Additional information regarding our programs can be found on our website at For more pictures, visit our Facebook page at


Ms. Denise

Our Youth and Children's Ministries will have a Back to School Bash on August 13th following the Blended Worship Service from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM. There will be lots of food, fun and games. A bouncy slide and Kona Ice truck will be available. All children and youth are invited!

The children of FUMC of St. Cloud meet on Sunday mornings during the 10:15 AM Blended Worship Service after the Children's Moment for Children's Church.

Elise Pettitt, Our New Children's Ministry Director Leading the Children's Moment at the Blended Worship Service


The children's ministry weekly program will resume on Sunday, August 20 beginning at 5:00 PM.

Our Youth Group meets each week on Wednesday afternoon at 2:15 PM at Starbuck's for Coffee with Jesus.

The Youth Fellowship will soon begin again on Wednesday evening.

Upcoming Events

July 30 - Serving at Elmer's Kitchen ~ 2:00 PM

August 6 - Backpack Dedication

August 13 - Back to School Bash ~ 11:15 AM

Wednesdays - Coffee with Jesus and Youth Fellowship

Youth Week and Service With Dwight Oaks

Our youth had a fun-filled week July 17th - 21st. On Thursday they went to a church member's home to clean up the yard, scrape and paint. Afterwards they cooled down enjoyed a pool party at the home of Kim Richardson.

Monday, July 17 ~ Messy Games at the church

Tuesday, July 18 ~ Aquatica Water Park

Wednesday, July 19 - Service Project at a member's home

Thursday, July 20 ~ Coast to Coast - They started at Cocoa Beach with a Sunrise Bible Study then drove all the way across the state to Clearwater Beach to see the sunset.

Friday, July 21 ~ Bowling at AMF Lanes in Kissimme then off to Disney Springs.

Day 1 - Messy Games

Day 2 - Aquatica Water Park

Day 3 - Service Project & Pool Party

Day 4 - Coast to Coast (Cocoa Beach and Clearwater Beach in One Day)

Day 5 - Bowling & Disney Springs

August Birthdays

August 1 - Reece Allison

August 7 - Sawyer McConnell

August 8 - Olivia Siegel

August 11 – William McIntosh

August 14 - Bill Corcoran

August 18 – Russell Emmett Dorn

August 19 - Jaynee Yocum

August 19 - Rose Todd

August 21 - Jackson Sherman

August 21 - Logan Smith

August 24 – Hudson McConnell

August 25 - Diane Sutton

August 26 - Vivien Kravitz

August 29 - Pat Rudd

August Anniversaries

August 7 - Rose Todd & Mike S.

August 10 - Denise & Eddie Davis

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 have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day...

2 Timothy 4:7-8

Staff Members & Email Addresses

Pastor: Cathy C. Thacker -

Assistant Pastor: Jim Kledis -

Office: Joyce Perkins -

Admin. Asst.: James Wise -

Accountant: Chuck McLendon -

Children's Ministry Director: Elise Pettitt -

Youth Ministry Director: Caileigh Croft -

Preschool Director: Denise Dunn -

Sound Technician: Emma Manvell

Choir Director: Lou Murray -

Worship/Music Director: 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
Visit Our Church Website
Facebook  Youtube