First United Methodist Church of St. Cloud

March 2023 Newsletter

From the Desk of Pastor Cathy

Dear friends and family of FUMC St. Cloud!

           Some of you have heard of the series The Chosen streaming on Angel App. Our Lenten series will be based on the series The Chosen. We will see clips from Seasons 1 and 2. I hope you will join us for these wonderful messages and videos! Our Tuesday Night Bible Study, as well as our Youth and Children’s Sunday school classes, will also be studying this series.

           February 26th - The Miraculous Catch of Fish Luke 5:1-11   

           March 5th - Jesus and the Children Matthew 19:13-15

           March 12th - The Wedding at Cana  John 2:1-11

           March 19th - Forgiveness   Matthew 18:21-22

           March 26th - The Healing at Bethsaida John 5:1-9

           Lent is the time of preparation for Easter. It is the 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays) commemorating the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert and it is marked by prayer, fasting, self-denial and penitence. We will also offer our small group study “The Daniel Plan” again this Lent. The Daniel Plan is an excellent study on Food, Fitness, Faith, Focus, and Friends! Last year we had 23 people participate and most people lost 5+ pounds! On Sundays, we walk two miles after church to the St. Cloud lakefront. Every Sunday night at 7:00 PM we will have our virtual small group where we will watch a video and have discussion to encourage one another to be healthy! Come and join us!

           The Costa Rica Mission team thanks you for all your support and presence at our First Winter Gala! Thank you to our faithful servants: Ben & Opal Thacker, Rob, Janice Morgan, Donna Regn, Al Rivera, Barbara Watson, Gloria Taylor, Ruth & Veranna Mosher, Sabrina, Bill Corcoran and more! Also, a great big thank you to our Gala Coordinator, Althea Lee for all her hard work! It was a huge success with lots of items for the silent auction, delicious prime rib dinner, terrific music by Scott Weyrauch and a Dessert Dash to die for! Over $500 was raised on the desserts alone! Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses…to the ends of the world.” Acts 1:8(NRSV)


I am blessed to be your Pastor!

Thackers and Arringtons

Eileen, Myrna, and Jerry

Enjoying a lovely evening!

Love is in the Air

Rhys and Susie Bibeau were married in our sanctuary on Valentine's Day! We! are so happy for this amazing couple! Congratulations!

2023 Confirmands

This year we have two confirmands who will be learning about becoming a Christian and a member of the United Methodist Church. Please pray for Mason Ash and Veranna Mosher.

Mason Ash

Veranna Mosher

These students will be taking confirmation classes with Pastor Cathy or Pastor Jim from February 12 through May 7 when they are Confirmed. They will go to St. Simmons Island on March 17 through 19 for their Confirmation Retreat.

Meet Tom Rotter

Tom Ritter joined FUMC of St. Cloud last year but has been attending the church for several years. Tom grew up in St. Cloud and observed how involved First Church has been in the community over the years. This is very important to Tom and one of the reasons he decided to join this church. He said that First Church has a hometown feel. He enjoys attending the services and has volunteered with the cold night program.

Tom is no stranger to volunteering. He has helped out in several areas in the community in the past and present. He has worked with adult literacy and also volunteered in the healthcare field. Tom has been employed by the Veterans Administration for the past two years. Currently, he works in surgical services in their operating room. Previously, he has worked with all of the area hospitals.

Family is very important to Tom. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Annette and their children especially on the weekend. His son, Tristan is 14 years old and his daughter, Haleigh is 10 years old. Tom and his family enjoy being involved in outdoor activities, such as fishing and gardening. On the weekend the Ritter family enjoys doing something together. Central Florida has many of fun activities in which they participate.

Urgent! Sunday Morning Nursery Worker Needed

Our church is growing and with that we have several little ones who need to be looked after durring our morning worship services on Sundays. 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 for God's Littlest One's

A new TV has been mounted on the wall so the caregivers will have the ability to watch the worship services in the Nursery.

Our children have a loving, God filled room to play in while their parents participate in worship services at FUMC.

Electrical Repairs Complete

Since the fire in the basement in December, the electricians were able to complete the work to repair the wiring.

Serving Others with

Our Mercy Ministries

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.

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.

This past month serveral bikes were given to those in need!

David Daniel acquires and refurbishes the bikes.

Community Outreach

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

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: 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

Cold Night

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

Mission Team News!

Winter Gala 2023

Our Mission Team held a very successful and fun event on February 18th. Funds raised will be used for their mission trip to Costa Rica this summer.

Bakery was donated for the dessert dash.

The Food was Prepared by Chef Ben and Opal Thacker

Althea Lee, Mission Team Leader Setting up the Tables

Scott Weyrauch was the MC.

A delicious meal of prime rib, roasted potatoes, asparagus, and salad was served.

The Food Line

Veranna and Sabrina by the Silent Auction Tables

Lighthouses donated by Dr. and Mrs. John Yocum for the auction.

Pamella Heffington-Hall helping at the Silent Auction Table

Thank you to Janice Morgan for her hard work as dishwasher.

Barbara Watson processing the Silent Auction Bids.

The Very Popular Dessert Dash Table!

Rob, Janice, and Donna

Kirsten, Ray and Judi

Halls and Patinos

Jo and Jim Kledis

David and Ellen Daniel

James Wise and Bonnie Gregory

Dancing Couples

Jerry and Eileen

Sisters Amanda and Amber

Chili-Baked Potato Fundraiser

Our Mission Team has been very busy since the beginning of the year raising funds for their upcoming mission trip to Costa Rica. Their Chili-Baked Potato Lunch was well received and everyone enjoyed a delicious meal.

Mission Team Fundraiser

The Mission Team will be having another fundraiser meal on March 19. Please come and enjoy a delicious spaghetti lunch after the 8:15 AM or 10:15 AM services. Spaghetti, green salad, french bread, and bottled water will be served. All donations will go toward the Costa Rica Mission Trip.

You can support our mission team by attending events or by making a donation.

Contact the church office for more information.


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 with physical distancing followed by an activiity starting at 5:15 PM. It is a great time to get to know your church family. On February 8th we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Myrna Lee and Barbara Watson. After the meal a painting class was held. Everyone enjoyed the evening and went home with a beautiful masterpiece.

The next Wednesday Night Dinner will be held on March 8th. Please join us for a delicious dinner and plan to stay afterwards for a fun activity.

Barbara Watson

Myrna Lee

Happy Birthday to Mary Benton

Mark, Terry, Al & Myrna

Spivey's (Kristen, Ada, Vivi, & Sophie) with Friends (Olivia & McKenzie)

Pastor Jim & Jo, Ruth, Veranna & Martha

Benton and Ash Families with Kathryn S.

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. 

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.  On Sunday, February 26, they began a Lent study of Amy-Jill Levine's book, Witness at the Cross: A Beginner's Guide to Holy Friday.  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.

Lou Murray is leading 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. 


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

Worship Leader, Jessica Clement

Worship Leader, Olivia Siegel


Joelle King

Mason Ash

Worship Team and Acolytes, Charlotte and Isabelle Mogan during the Blended Worship Service on February 26th

Children and Youth Needed for Palm Sunday Celebration!

The Drama Team needs our youth to help us at the 10:15 AM worship service on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023 with a delightful Children's program which is the perfect way to celebrate Palm Sunday! With the help of two narrator's (Jr. or Sr. High Schoolers we need you!) and an easy to learn song, sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus," the children will wave their palm fronds and celebrate the arrival of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem on the back of the donkey. We can use as many children as are willing! Our Children's Coordinator, Rijean Smith, will help the children learn the song during children's church.


If your children or grandchildren are interested in participating in this program, please contact Pastor Jim ( or Jim Stamberger at - 816-564-8180 for further information. 


Drama Ministry

The Living Last Supper  

The Drama Ministry Team presents the Living Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023, at 7:30 pm. We invite you to witness the struggles of Jesus’ Disciples as they gather for their Passover Celebration with Jesus. Tension is in the air. Roman Soldiers patrol the streets. Jesus enters and transforms on old custom into a living and breathing experience that the Disciples will never forget. You become a part of this experience as The Disciples serve you Holy Communion. Live the intensity as Jesus moves towards the cross. This Holy Service is a great opportunity for you to invite others to our Church. 

The performers have already been selected, however, we also will need help with construction, gathering props, lights, sound, painting and doing costume alterations. Of course, we need prayers for this project and an audience. This would be a great outreach opportunity to invite your neighbors and friends.

If you know anyone outside the church who would be willing to help us with our production, please invite them. We will have a planning session on Sunday, March 12th from 2 to 4 PM. Please join us for fun, fellowship, some script reading and play some simple improv games.

Please contact Jim Stamberger at 816-564-8180 or Jim Kledis 407-791-1946 if you are willing to help or for further information.

The Living Last Supper Cast

*Jesus-Dylan Barnes

*Peter – Rob Winner

*John – Bill Corcoran

*James-David Cloud

*Simon – Thomas Winner

*Nathan– Jennifer Rojas

*Judas – Rich Rasmussen

James 2-Larry Finch

Andrew-Kay Smith

Matthew-Bobby Hall

Thaddaeus– Dennis Tripp

Thomas – Jerry Bergeron

Philip-Scott Giggard

Merriam-Ileen Perez

Esther -Myrna Lee 

Costumes are ready!

Rehearsal Schedule for The Living Last Supper


 Sunday, March 12 ~ 2-4 PM – Planning Session


Saturday March 25 ~ 2-5 PM

Sun March 26 ~ 3-6 PM

Monday March 27 ~ 7-9 PM

Sunday April 2 ~ 3-6 PM

Monday April 3 ~ 7-9 PM

Tuesday April 4 ~ 7-9 PM


*Thursday April 6 - Performance call at 6:30 PM

& Performance at 7:30 PM

by Lou Murray, Music Director

Heading into Lent, we are working on some special music, and will be presenting guest soloists from time to time.

Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to Joyce Perkins on the death of her brother Mike. Joyce is a valued member of our soprano section, and we look forward to having her back.

We are constantly on the lookout for fresh talent, so anyone is welcome to join us at 7:00 Wednesday evenings for choir practice.

Our online sound is improving. Plans are in the works for a more modern sound system, which will be fully compatible with streaming. However, this will not happen until rewiring of the sanctuary is completed, some months in the future.

I'm always open to comments or suggestions about the music.

Thanks for listening!

Chancel Choir - 8:15 AM Traditional Worship Service

Worship Team - 10:15 AM Blended Worship Service

Handbell Choir

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Events

March 5 - April 30 - Confirmation Classes ~ Every Sunday except Easter

March 8 - Church-wide Wednesday night dinner ~ 5:15 PM

March 17 - 19 - Confirmation Retreat at St. Simons Island

March 19 - Costa Rica Spaghetti Fundraiser ~ after church services

April 2 - Palm Sunday

April 6 - Maundy Thursday - The Living Last Supper ~ 7:30 PM

April 9 - Easter

May 7 - Confirmation Sunday

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
  • Youth Group ~ 6:00 - 7:00 PM


  • 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.


February was a busy month with Letter “P” Pajama parties, a visit from Wild Florida and our Ash Wednesday services. March will be filled with celebrations as well with Literacy week and our Dr. Seuss-a-bration. Our VPK Pre-K students will be celebrating the 100th day of school with a parade around the campus. We will be off for Spring Break March 13-16.


Enrollment is now open for the 2023-2024 school year. We offer a Preschool class for children who are age 3 by September 1st and completely potty trained. Our VPK Pre-K class is offered for children who are age 4 by September 1st and is free with the Certificate of Eligibility. Additional information regarding our programs can be found at or We currently have 20 students registered so far for next year!


Ms. Denise

Ms. Edith and Ms. Wendi's Class Preschool Pajama Day

Ms. Jan and Ms. Judi's Class on Pajama Day at the Playground

Pastor Jim at our Ash Wednesday Preschool Chapel

Pastor Cathy and Ms. Denise at our Ash Wednesday Chapel

Ash Wednesday Chapel

Animals from Wild Florida came to visit our preschool children.

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 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 Upcoming Dates for the Children

April 1 - Easter Eggstravaganza from 9 to 11 AM ~ Easter Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast (We will need already filled plastic eggs with non-chocolate candy, stickers, and trinkets. Monetary donation are also accepted to help offset the cost of the extravaganza.)

April 2 - Palm Sunday (Rijean Smith would like to know who would like to help with the Palm Sunday Celebration during worship.)

June 19 - 23 - Vacation Bible School from 9 am to 12 PM (Volunteers are needed for that week. Please contact Rijean at 407-908-4686 or

Our Youth Group meets each week on Sunday and Wednesday 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

Our youth put together Valentine bags filled with items that everyone would love and delived them to our local nursing homes for a special Valentine Treat!

Important Dates for the Youth

February 12 - April 30 - Confirmation Classes each Sunday except Easter Sunday

March 5 - Youth will now meet twice a week (Monday & Wednesday)

March 12 - March 15 ~ No Youth - Spring Break!

March 17 - 19 - Confirmation Retreat at St. Simons Island, GA

March 24 - Solar Bears Game

April 1 - Pancake Breakfast and Easter Eggstravaganza ~ 9-11 AM

April 2 - Palm Sunday

April 2 - Youth Easter Party ~ 6:00-7:30 PM

April 6 - Easter Chalk the Sidewalks ~ 5:00-6:00 PM

April 7 - Easter Sunday

April 30 - Elmer's Kitchen ~ 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

May 6 - Weikiva Retreat

May 7 - Confirmation Sunday

May 21 & May 24 - Last regular youth meetings until after summer

May 31 - End of School Party ~ 5:30-7:30 PM

June 19-23 - VBS

June 26-July 1 or July 10-15 - Warren Willis Camp

July 17-22 - Youth Week/Missions

March Birthdays

March 6 - Isabelle Morgan

March 7 – Ronald Godwin

March 13 – Kevin Sanders

March 13 – Renee Bronson

March 14 – Juan Santiago

March 20 – Patty Crisp

March 22 – Fran Hatch

March 23 – Alan Leavens

March 29 – Todd Gorman

March 31 – Yvonne Allen

March Anniversaries

Mar. 21 – Patty and Stitch Crisp

Mar. 23 – Nick and Vivian Kravitz

Mar. 28 – Scott and Anna Fritz

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 will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;

    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known

    through all generations.

I will declare that your love stands firm forever,

    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Psalm 89:1-2

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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