March 17, 2023 E-Newsletter

This week's note from Rev. Bill

It’s halfway through Lent – are you like Jesus yet?
             We United Methodists have a tradition, given to us by John Wesley, that makes us unique. It’s the doctrine of SANCTIFICATION – becoming more like Jesus each day. 
             Some denominations put a lot of emphasis upon SALVATION – getting your heart right with Christ. We believe in this too, but a doctrine of salvation all by itself is too small. If all you focus on is salvation, what about the rest of your life? 
             Think of it as a baseball team – the scouts go out and recruit rookies to come and play on their team. This is what John Wesley would call PREVENIENT GRACE – the grace of God that comes searching for us, getting our attention and calling us to God’s self. 
             There comes a time when the player has to sign on the dotted line – being committed to the team. That’s JUSTIFYING GRACE, or what many call SALVATION. You are now known by that name – Christian (or Brave, or Astro, or whatever!)
             But what next? Can you just sign up for the team and never practice, or never play? No – what comes next is SANCTIFYING GRACE – becoming the player the coach knows you can be!
             United Methodists believe that there is a period before we are aware of God where God is at work in our lives – through parents, through friends, maybe a pastor or a relative or even a stranger that God uses to get your attention. You find out that there is a God who cares, and you want to learn more about Who this God is. 
             At some point you make a decision – “I will follow Christ.” You repent (turn away) from your old ways, and tell Jesus that you belong to Him. 
             And then – the journey continues. Each day we re-commit ourselves to following Jesus. It’s not a one-time decision, just like a good marriage is not a one-time statement at the altar. You converse with God; you go through good times and bad; you learn more and fall in love all over again. 
             During Lent we are focusing on deepening our relationship with Jesus. Through prayer, through service, through Bible reading, through giving, through encouraging fellowship with other believers. We help each other to become more like Jesus every day. 
             Halfway through Lent – how are you becoming more like Jesus? 
  • Rev. Bill

Service for March 19, 2023

"Walking With God"

Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV)

On Wednesdays Rev. Bill will be at the church to guide our scripture study that we use to get a "sneak peek" at the sermon message for Sunday!

(THIS WEEK) Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)

             We are pleased to announce that Juanita Palomino has joined the ministry here at First UMC Bonita!
             Juanita has lived in Bonita Springs all of her life, and comes to us after serving for the past eight years at Ave Maria Law School. She has an MBA from FGCU. She and her husband Bernado have two daughters, Arely and Yaretzi. 
             Juanita’s main responsibilities will be KEEPING REV. BILL ON TASK, along with organizing our office volunteers and facilities usage. If you need to reserve a room at the church, order supplies, or want to volunteer your services, Juanita will be here for you!
Omelette Brunch

It was Egg-CEPTIONAL!!!

We served over 10 dozen omelettes. The total response was over easy. The Summer Reserve is going to flip! Be ready to be egg- CITED, when they announce the total in church on Sunday.

A big thank you to Russ, RuthAnne, and Bill for all their hard work! Thank you to all who came and supported this wonderful fellowship! It was eggs - TREMELY successful!
             Every Wednesday in Lent we will have a simple worship experience at noon in the sanctuary (and online) to help us walk together through this time. It will be a time of prayer, devotion, singing, and reflection. Please come a little bit early so that you can reflect on the scripture passage for the day, and possibly walk our Prayer Path beforehand! 
WALKING WITH GOD – A Prayer Path Meditation
             We have set up a Prayer Path around our church property for you to experience during Lent so that you may have a different type of meditation. There are 6 stations set up (with benches!) with a prayer focus at each one so that you can take a guided journey in the midst of your busy day. 
             Maps are available just outside the red Sanctuary doors – there is a YELLOW path that goes all the way around our property, and a BLUE path that tries to stay to the paved areas and is a bit shorter. 
             The entire path takes 20 minutes or so, depending upon how long you choose to stay for prayer at each station. It starts at the fountain in front of the Sanctuary, goes back behind the office building, next to the basketball court, over by the old chapel, next to the school, and ending up at the sanctuary doors. We are also attempting to set up a “virtual” path for our friends online and up north, so they can experience it, too. 
             Come walk the path with us – and let’s pray God’s Spirit leads us to new understandings of His direction!
Save the date: April 7th,
invite your friends! Come for dinner 4:30pm-6pm
Good Friday Service at 6:30
Donations go to our
Summer Reserve Fund
Good Friday April 7th at 6:30 pm
             Kim Fisackerly has written a one-woman dramatic presentation that looks at the birth, life, and death of Jesus through the eyes of His mother, Mary. Holding her new baby in her arms, losing Him in the crowd at the Temple, listening to Him teach, watching Him die on the cross – these are moments that any mother will feel with a deeper passion and understanding!
            Through music, monologue, and drama, Kim has led thousands of people to appreciate the passion of our Lord in a new way. Please invite your friends to come and experience this special performance.

We have a new link for our Bible Land Passages signup!
Rev. Bill and Kim have been busily answering questions and getting things set up for our trip, so if you haven’t signed up yet the deadline is coming close! 
June 25 is the last date to sign up, to give Education Opportunities (our tour company) time to get all of the travel visas/arrangements made. We will be leaving from Ft. Myers Airport (RSW), but if you are up north at that time then you can leave from whichever airport is closest to you and we will meet up either in New York or Athens!
Some of you have expressed an interest last time we travelled about helping others – you were not able to go yourselves, but wanted to know if there were congregation members who were interested but not able to afford it on their own. If you are interested in helping to cover the costs for others, please talk to Rev. Bill and he can discretely help with the arrangements. 
Click on the link below to find out more information and to SIGN UP! (Remember to put Rev. Bill Fisackerly as your Tour Host, and his number of 19032!)

March Newsletter 2023
February results, excluding Summer Reserve, were better than we expected. Actual revenue was $18k versus a budget of $17k. Expenses for the month were $20k which is under our budget of $21k even after maintenance expense being a little high due to some annual landscaping expense as well as some onetime supply expenses. Bottom line, February was better than budgeted. Added to the above are $24k in Summer Reserve offerings through the end of February.
Have loose change in your pocket? How many of you have a jar at home where you drop your loose change at the end of the day? Have you ever tried to take that jar to the bank and get them to count it? Problem solved! At the back of the church is a change jar, just drop your loose change there.

  The assembly line is in full swing….40 more baskets with “invites” to our Holy Week programs were completed and are in place on the railing!

   Tuesday, March 21  10:00 – noon  Church Office   Assembly of baskets to distribute at FREE BREAKFAST.
   Thursday, March 23  10:00 – noon  Church Office   Assembly of baskets to distribute to YesUKan, New Horizons, and Imperial Nursing Home.

    Saturday, March 25  10:00 – noon  Fellowship Hall  Hand out Easter baskets at FREE BREAKFAST.

Come on, Tom, lets join prayer time!
Look at this circle of Love, Care and Prayer!
You are really missing out Tom!
Listening to the beautiful prayers is so relaxing!

The places we go and the things we see!
This week I checked out the Friday Morning Prayer group! Every Friday we see people marching into the sanctuary at 9:30 am and we wait outside for a hour. They come out almost purring, so peaceful!
What goes on in there???
Well this week the door was open. So this was my chance! Tom, let's go in!! I am definitely more curious than Tom, so in I went!
I felt the love as soon as I entered.They formed a circle and greeted each other, including me! Lit a candle and prayed! They love this church and I just wanted to share that. Now that you know the door is open, you should join them too!
I left there purring and so can you!
Book Club
First UMC Book Club Nears 2-Year Anniversary
The club gathered in May 2021 for the first discussion session of The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel.  The group has read historical fiction, non-fiction, essays, and even a youth book about Florida alligators. The group has grown in numbers since that first meeting. The idea for the group came about as a fellowship opportunity post-pandemic.  
On March 1, the group discussed the book Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.  This is one of the book kits from the Bonita Springs Library.  And the selection for April 5 will be another library book kit The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe’.
The book is described as a “riveting novel (that) takes you inside the scandalous courtship and catastrophic honeymoon aboard the Titanic.”  John Jacob Astor and Madeleine Force, a woman 29 years younger than “Jack” Astor, were the most famous couple of their time.    After a honeymoon in Egypt, the newlyweds plan to return home in the spring of 1912 aboard the new ocean liner, the state-of-the-art RMS Titanic. Four months later, the widowed Madeleine gives birth to their son.  After the disaster, the press has elevated her to the status of “virtuous, tragic heroine”.  She must decide whether to accept that role or not. Reviewers say: “…this novel of sweeping historical fiction will stay with readers long after turning the last page”.
  The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Royal Scoop, 15 Eighth Street off Vanderbilt Drive, at 1:30.  Members can enjoy lunch and/or ice cream and a great discussion.  All are welcome to be a part of the group.  The only requirement is to enjoy reading and discussing what you have read.  See Susan Atkinson at church or text her at 239-405-9078 if you have questions.
We will be meeting on Monday, March 20, at 2:30 PM in Fellowship Hall. All women are welcome!
What is a labyrinth?
Are there any near our church? How can it help me? 

Come join our United Women in Faith meeting on Monday, March 20 at 2:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. You will learn that a labyrinth is a geometric design used over centuries for meditative, prayerful and contemplative walking. It has one path that leads into and out of the center. It is not a maze. There is no right or wrong way to walk it, except in silence. 

After a short program, we will drive to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Bonita Beach Road. You may choose to walk their outdoor labyrinth or sit quietly and observe. 

You may drive yourself or carpool with others. While there are a few benches, you may want to bring a lawn chair. Contact Connie Eldridge, 217-552-8170, for more information. 
Our church is participating with others in the area to help those who have fallen through the cracks since October. If you need some repairs done, or if you are able to help coordinate others in doing repairs, we need you! Please contact the church office to find out more!
The Upper Room

The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.
All information and last names will be kept confidential. Our list is updated weekly. If you need us to keep someone on the list, please send their name to
Please help us keep the prayer list current. Names will remain 8 weeks, please update and resubmit.
Come Pray
Wednesday at 6:30 PM
(Zoom only)

Friday at 9:30 AM
In person in the sanctuary and Zoom

Please feel free to join in prayer, click on the link below!
Altar Flowers

If you would like to honor family, friends, or loved ones for an anniversary, birthday, or memorial, contact the church office for details.
Libby's family
Dave G
Tom F


If you have any changes or updates please email:
         On Wednesdays from noon ‘til 4 we host the Meals of Hope food distribution program. This past week we needed some last minute help, because many of the regular volunteers were away!
         If you can come to the church at noon on Wednesdays, we could use the help in getting the bags of food prepared to give to the clients who need them. It is not hard work, but come prepared to get warm! (It is outside, after all! But you will be under a tent!)
         We could also use more help with the Prayer Team that talks with the people who are coming through – just to let them know that we see them as beloved children of God, and that they are welcome here. If you are able to help with either of these tasks, please call the church office to let us know!

Perfect attendance first half of SKC