November 18, 2022 E-Newsletter
This week's note from Rev. Bill

 It was a year ago that the announcement was made that Kim and I would be leaving Marco Island and moving here to Bonita Springs to serve as your pastoral family. At the time, both this church and Kim and I were facing difficulties, frustration, and uncertainty. First UMC Bonita was looking at diminished attendance, giving, and volunteerism. Kim and I were considering whether we wanted to continue in ministry. 
This year, we are still facing difficulties, frustration, and uncertainty – but it feels different! I feel as if I have a church family behind me that wants for me to succeed, and is willing to work with me. Our church is still paying attention to our financial future, but we are seeing more people volunteering and showing up! People are starting to dream again, to wonder again, to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and expect Him to speak! 
What makes the difference? Hope. Love. Trust. Trust that God is still at work in us and through us, and that there is a future that God can use to draw people to Himself. 
I want to thank you for the past year, for the healing that it has brought to me and to you. We find that, when we give of ourselves humbly to others, we find the healing that we need. By my serving you and you serving me, God has been able to start healing us all!
During Pastor Appreciation Month many of you sent cards, notes, and gifts to Kim and myself, thanking us for our service. I have been trying to write “Thank You” notes to everybody, but if I missed you, please forgive me! Some gifts came to the office; some came to our home; some of you handed me cards at church! I have tried to keep track of them all, and so if you have not received a thank you from me yet, THANK YOU FOR LOVING US!!!
I am looking forward to the future – for the ways that God is going to use us to spread His hope and healing upon this community. Through our worship, through our service, through our small groups and our dedication to prayer and reading God’s Word, through our giving – God is making a difference!
  • Rev. Bill
Message for November 20, 2022

"Don't Waste Your Breath"
Luke 23:33-43

News & Fellowship

 One of the first things Rev. Bill started doing when he arrived here 11 months ago was listening to people around the church, asking them what they felt our church needed. Debbie said that she would like for more people to help her out up in the A/V booth. 
             So we started praying. We asked that God would send the people He wanted to learn the programs, to push the buttons, to give the care needed so that our in-person and online worship experiences were smooth and seamless. 
             And God has answered! Now on our team we have:
             DEBBIE LANE
             KATHY SCHMITT
             JULIE KAMPMANN
             SUSAN ATKINSON
             BARBARA PERRINE
             Another thing Rev. Bill started doing is having Creative Worship Team meetings, where our readers/greeters/musicians/AV workers get together and look over the coming months’ services to see what we need to be doing to provide the highest quality worship experiences. Drama, music, videos, gifts at the door – how can we lead people to a meaningful time with God? 
             And now, we have another special prayer request – MUSICIANS AND AUDIO!
             While Rev. Bill and Kim love playing and singing for us, we would love to have more musicians! If you play 
             BASS GUITAR
             NOSE FLUTE
             We would love to have you join our team! We would like to form a Praise Team to play contemporary and praise music, and add to our traditional music, too!
             One other very important part of this – it is absolutely critical that we have volunteers to adjust the sound during the service. Our mixing board is not difficult to learn, and Rev. Bill will be happy to train anyone on how to best use it. The need is for someone to be able to put on headphones and listen to the sound, adjusting it for three different outputs. One for the sanctuary; one for the monitors onstage, and one for the online listening stream. Believe it or not, each one of those requires different settings!
             As we said, it’s not hard to learn, but it does take some practice. If we could have a couple of people with reasonably good hearing to take turns, we can improve things dramatically!
             Thank you for your service already, and thank you to those who will be responding to God’s nudging in the coming weeks!
Financial Report

October was a little under budget, revenue was short and expenses were
higher, hurricane preparations were part of the problem. Year to date
through October revenue is still slightly better than budget though
less than last year, while expenses are less than both budget and last
year. Our bottom line is still negative but about $10k better than
budget and $4k worse than last year.

Annual Revenue Budget for 2022 Calendar Year: $189,371
Actual Giving thru October $155,711
             Our Pilgrims are getting ready for their journey to Jesus’ homeland very soon! We will be leaving Monday, Nov. 28th from RSW at 4:00! From there we fly to Newark, then to Tel Aviv!
             We need a few things from you, if you don’t mind –
  • YOUR PRAYERS. We will have small scraps of paper in the sanctuary and at the office for you to write down your prayer requests to take with us for our visit to the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem
  • YOUR PRAYERS. For our safe journeys! 
  • YOUR REQUESTS. If there is something you would like for us to pick up while we are there (olive oil, frankincense, hand-carved nativity set), we would be happy to (weight permitting!). We always stop at the Nissan Brothers, a Christian family that lives in Bethlehem, and they have an abundance of religious and “touristy” items. (Go to to see samples, and if you order online, mention Rev. Bill’s name! You may get a discount!)
  • YOUR SUPPORT OF EACH OTHER. Steve Lane as your Lay Leader will be available for counsel and questions during Rev. Bill’s absence; Julie Kampmann will continue to oversee our Care Ministries, and we will have a pastor on call from one of our sister churches for emergencies. But you can take extra time on Sunday morning and during the week to call each other up and offer words of encouragement (and maybe sing “Happy Birthday”?)
Next year, in Jerusalem!
             There is an old Christian tradition to start out Advent called the Hanging of the Greens. This is a time when we get together as the church family and prepare our sanctuary, our Fellowship Hall, and all of our church for the season of Advent. 
             This year we are planning on having a special service on SUNDAY, NOV. 27th to join in this celebration together! The Sunday morning service will involve music, scripture, and activities to bring in the season right. Kim has developed a service that will not only have us singing the old songs, but learning WHY we do the things we do!
             Why do we have wreaths? Why do we have trees? What is the meaning behind the candles? What is the purpose of candy canes? These and more questions will be answered as we make the First Sunday in Advent memorable!
             We will need LOTS of participation in order to get this done. On Friday and Saturday we will need to get all of the big items up (large wreaths, tree, etc.). On Sunday itself we will need readers, singers, and YOU to decorate the sanctuary! If you would like to read either a scripture or one of the stories of explanation, please see Susan Atkinson. If you can help on Friday or Saturday 25th and 26th, call the church office so that we can coordinate it all. 
             You may want to bring your friends and neighbors, too – maybe they would like to learn more about the decorations of our faith!
             Chrismons (or, “CHRIST MONOGRAMS”) are a specific Christian tradition of decorating our tree. Whereas typical Christmas trees will have red, blue, green, tinsel, or even Star Trek figures on them, Chrismons have a few basic guidelines:
  • Chrismons are either gold or white 
  • White represents Jesus’ purity
  • Gold represents Jesus’ kingship
  • Chrismons are specifically religious in nature, identifying some aspect of Jesus’ ministry
  • A cross
  • A dove (baptism by the Holy Spirit)
  • A shell (baptism again!)
  • A circle (His undying nature)
  • A star (His birth)
  • Any other symbol which represents Jesus
  • Chrismons should be made by hand
Other than that, your imagination is your limit! If you would like to know more, go to our United Methodist web page -

FLT Plans Holiday Event

We, of course, know about “holiday events” but do we know who/what FLT stands for?  This is the Formational Leadership Team of our church led by Debbie Lane.  Basically, the FLT deals with planning events that promote outreach, mission, and fellowship.

  During the pandemic, we may have felt like we were hibernating.  Now we are more than ready to open our doors and our hearts to our community and congregation with events to share our love.
The team met recently to plan a Christmas event for the children of our neighborhood.  The group settled on Saturday, December 10, to hold a Christmas Celebration from 10-noon.
The guests that morning will be children and their parents from our neighborhood and Bonita Springs Elementary School, maybe New Horizon members,  or maybe we’ve met the families through Meals of Hope distributions on Wednesdays.  Cub and Boy Scouts may be participating and/or helping with the event.  The more the merrier!

After brainstorming many possible activities, the team settled on Story Time with Santa and telling the real story of who St. Nicholas was and why we still carry on the tradition of gift giving to this day.  Also, there will be the opportunity for the children to decorate sugar cookies (and eat them), to sing holiday songs, to create their own ornaments, and to leave with a stocking filled with surprises.  And balloons…what’s a party without balloons??

The team will be meeting again soon to work out details…but here’s the part where the congregation comes in.  There are opportunities to donate items (like cookie decorating stuff) or to supervise the activities or to just enjoy the fellowship of meeting and loving our neighborhood.  Contact any of the FLT members if you’d like to be a part of this activity: 
 Debbie Lane,
Steve Lane,
Sandy Eberhardt Schutte,
Julie Kampmann,
Julie Parks,
Susan Atkinson,
David Schmitt,
and Rev. Bill.

We will be collecting for Toys For Tots until December 9.  As has happened in the past these toys will be used here in Bonita.  We do this through the local fire house. Toys, books, games, stocking stuffers and stuffed animals are needed.
There is also a need for gifts for young teens - make-up cases, nail polish, hair dryers etc. for girls.  Footballs, basketballs, headphones, etc. for the boys.
Parents are actually brought to the fire house to shop for their children.  Thank you for your support.
             Our Charge Conference has been rescheduled for Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 PM. The Rev. Dr. Debbie Allen, our District Superintendent, will be with us for the meeting. All church members are invited to attend; all current elected church leaders are required to attend. We will receive our 2023 budget, incoming officers, and share our vision for the future with the DS.

The places we go and the things we see!
Today we strolled by the fountain enjoying this purr-fect day and look what we saw, to our delight! Princess turned to me and said "Meowr-what have we here? Somebody is cleaning the fountain, soon we can get a cool drink when we pass by! Thank you kind Sir!"

  First UMC Book Club
The First UMC Book Club met Nov. 2 to discuss the novel "The Tobacco Wives" by Adele Myers. The December 7 gathering will be a little different. Those attending are asked to bring a book of their own. Each person will share a brief description of their book before each will be able to select one of the other books to take home. Remember the book you bring will NOT be going home with you. The book you offer can be fiction or non-fiction.
The book club meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Royal Scoop. Come at 1 pm for lunch and /or ice cream or 1:30 pm for discussion. All are welcome. The only requirements are to love reading and discussing what you’ve read. If you have questions, see Susan Atkinson at church or text her at 239-405-9078. Happy reading!
No Bible Study November 23, 2022

Wednesday Bible Study
On Wednesday's 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!

Please come to the office at 3:00 or login online to take part.
We will be meeting on Monday, Dec. 19th at 2:30 in fellowship hall for our annual Christmas social. We will be doing an appetizer and dessert potluck. RSVP to Lu Burkell by Dec. 12th. We will also be having a gift exchange. Gifts should be $10.00 maximum and should be wrapped. Lighthearted or humorous gifts are acceptable. All women are welcome.


will be hosting a Baby Jesus Shower on Sunday, December 11th. It will be held right after church services during the time we normally have coffee hour. We invite our congregation to donate infant baby items such as clothes, bibs, hats, socks, diapers, and wipes, ect. Please bring items to the church by December 4th. These items will be donated to Verity. Verity is a pregnancy & medical resource center providing free medical, educational, and support services to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
UWF will be supplying Christmas cookies and a few finger food appetizers during the shower.
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.
Carlene & Steve
James G


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!