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November 17, 2023 E-Newsletter

This week's note from Rev. Bill



     If you want to know about a person, ask them this: 


    “What did you GIVE for Christmas?”


    I started asking children this question years ago, and I love to hear them answer! “For my daddy, I got him a new hammer and some peanuts. For my mommy, I got her a pot holder that I made myself!”


    You can learn a lot about a person by finding out what (and to whom) they give. 


    You hear who is important to them. You find out what their priorities are. You can see joy in their faces as they describe what they chose to give to the people they love. 


     Over the years Kim and I have found that we don’t need any more STUFF. We have enough STUFF already. We have chosen to give the people we love EXPERIENCES. 


    We give them season passes to the science museum – or Sea World – or a family trip. We would LOVE to take our entire family on a cruise somewhere that we can experience together – but that’s going to take a bit more financial planning!


    There are very few “things” I remember receiving for Christmas or my birthday, but I remember the experiences. The few gifts I do remember receiving meant something more because of who gave it, or what we did together with it. It is the relationship that made the gift important. 


    What does Jesus want for His birthday? He really doesn’t need a “thing”! God owns it all, anyway!


    What I can give Jesus for His birthday is the same thing He gave to us – time. Relationship. A listening ear. Love. The scriptures tell us stories of Jesus stopping to listen to a man who was born blind. He looked around and saw Zaccheus up in a tree. He spent time with a woman in Samaria that no on else would give the time of day. 


    Jesus’ death on the cross should have been of no surprise to those who knew Him best. Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to let someone know that He cared about them. He took time to connect with people one-on-one. 


    Give Jesus a gift this year. Look around for someone whom everyone else ignores, and spend time with them. Look them in the eye. Listen to their story. Let them know that they matter. 


     Merry Christmas – 


    Rev. Bill

Click to Give

Service for November 19, 2023

" Bearing True Witness"


Exodus 20:16; Mathew 12:33-37

Link For November 19, 2023 Live Service

On Wednesday Rev. Bill will be

at the church office to guide our scripture study that we use to get a "sneak peek" at the

sermon message for Sunday!

November 22, 2023

No Bible Study

Link for Wednesday Bible Study at 3:00pm

Upcoming Events



    Several of you have already taken our online survey about Sunday School, and we hope to get more! Right now most people prefer an 11:00 meeting, with a shared leadership (so that one person is not responsible for leading it all of the time!)


    We still expect some more responses, and there may be enough to have an 8:00 AND an 11:00 group! Please fill out the survey, or call the church office with your response!

Click for Survey 


             Several persons have come to me, asking to join the church. We are setting up a New Member Orientation group that will meet Sunday, Dec. 3 at 11:00 AM in the Sunday School room. This is in informal class that everyone can join – just because you attend doesn’t mean that you HAVE to join!

             The purpose of this group is to get to know each other and to fill out the basic paperwork that we need in order to have accurate records. As a reminder, we offer three levels of membership:

  • AFFILIATE: If you live here LESS than 6 months out of the year and are a United Methodist at your home church, you would become an Affiliate Member.

  • ASSOCIATE: If you live here LESS than 6 months out of the year and are another denomination up north, you would become and Associate Member.

  • FULL: If you live here MORE than 6 months out of the year, you should become a Full Member.

Everyone is welcome to worship and serve here, but to become a Member means that you believe this is where Jesus is calling you to dedicate your time and energy in His service. There are no real “perks” to membership, other than you are fully connected to and committed to our Bonita Springs family!

Sermon Topic Suggestion Box

Rev. Bill presents great sermons, but maybe you have wondered why your personal favorite scripture hasn’t been a sermon topic.  Now is your chance!!!  A suggestion ballot box will be placed in the back of the sanctuary where you can put in your favorite scripture (you might want to write it out in case a specific translation is important). Most importantly, though, is that you provide an explanation of why that scripture is especially meaningful to you.  There’s no guarantee that your scripture will be picked (after all, there’s no guarantee you will win the lottery either…but some people keep trying).  Some of the submitted scriptures will be picked as the basis for sermons in 2024.  Your odds of “winning” are probably better than the lottery!  

Rummage Sale a huge success!

Over $1000 was raised by the huge rummage sale held November 11 in Fellowship Hall and music room. The event was possible because of  the leadership of Ruthann Etzkorn and numerous volunteers, who donated items; sorted and  set-up displays the day before; helped customers or served as cashiers for the actual sale; or packed up unsold items.  These items are being donated to Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, which is in the process of opening a thrift shop.

Organizers were pleasantly surprised by the amount and variety of donated items.  The goal of the planners was not just about money; it was also a way to help and serve our community.  There was no point in putting unaffordable prices on items if our customers were not able or willing to pay these. The event was as much about serving others as it was about making money. But we were still delighted to raise this money as a kick-off for the Summer Reserve Fund.

And it seems there is always a bonus to activities sponsored by First UMC of Bonita Springs.  The spirit of camaraderie among volunteers, despite most being hot and tired, was a bonus blessing!

November 25 Community Breakfast needs YOU

After a wonderful and chaotic October breakfast that included many fun Halloween activities for the children, we are looking ahead to the November 25 event.  And, no, we are not serving leftover turkey and stuffing!

We know, though, that we will need lots of volunteers.  Many of our faithful regulars will be away from Bonita Springs for the Thanksgiving holiday visiting family.  In fact, our head chef team of Russ and RuthAnne Baird are among those who are traveling, and there are others.  This event is one of our favorite outreach events.  How can you go wrong with a nutritious breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, and fruit…and usually some balloons and other surprises for the kids?  You don’t have to go to culinary school to volunteer.  

Everyone has a skill that is needed:  can you flip pancakes, can you fry sausage, can you crack eggs, can you make white milk chocolate, can you fill plates?  Those wanting to cook need to be at church by 9 a.m.  Serving starts at 10 a.m. and runs till 11:30 a.m.  Maybe you would rather help with cleanup? Or maybe, you would like to be a friendly face and interact with our guests– sit at their tables, get to know our neighbors, help them with trays.  There is something for everyone at this event.  If you have any questions, contact Susan Atkinson (temporary chef) or Debbie Lane (FLT leader).  You will be blessed whatever you do!

And be sure to check your calendars for our December breakfast.  It has been moved up from our regular last Saturday of the month to December 23.  You see, we will have a special guest – Mr. Santa Claus himself.  He needs to talk to the children before Christmas – he’ll be exhausted after the big day!

Decorating for Christmas

Our sanctuary will be decorated for Advent and the 12 days of Christmas on Friday, December 1, at 10:30 a.m.  If you get there early, you can join the prayer group.  This will be another opportunity for fellowship, and maybe you can work off some of the turkey and stuffing from Thanksgiving dinner!

We hope to have Chrismons a part of our tree this year.  At the very least, we will have only white and gold ornaments on the tree since Chrismons are traditionally colored white and gold. White is the liturgical (or Church) color for Christmas and symbolizes that Jesus was pure and perfect.  Gold symbolizes His Majesty and Glory.  Chrismons can be made from nearly anything and represent Christian symbols such as the Cross (several varieties), the Fish, various Stars, The Shepherd’s Crook or Staff, Hands in Prayer, The Dove. The Lamp and The Candle, The Shell, The Angel, The Butterfly, and more.  If there are crafty individuals who would like to make Chrismons for their own trees or for the church tree, please go to the following website: <> After the descriptions, you will find a link for patterns.  

Poinsettias for Christmas

Among the seasonal beautiful living things that we enjoy are poinsettia plants.  If you are interested in purchasing a plant for display during Christmas season in honor of or in memory of a loved one, we will be obtaining them through Publix (we do know a favorite employee…thanks Kim Fisackerly).  The price is not known until we learn the number of plants needed.  Please let the church office know or put a note in the offering plate soon.

Need a ride, provide a ride?

Christmas Eve will not only be celebrated during 10 a.m. worship service Sunday, December 24, but it will also be celebrated with a candlelight service at 5 p.m. that evening.  And we all know how early dark arrives after the November time change!  Some in our congregation family might not be comfortable driving at night.  So, we would like to gather a list of names, addresses/phone numbers of those who might need a ride and those who might be able to provide a ride to someone. You can either put a note in the offering plate or call the church office, 239-992-1312, Monday-Thursday from 10am-1pm and speak to Office Manager Juanita or one of the volunteers.



             Several years ago a church I served had an “alternative Christmas gift” fair, where people could either buy authentic items from underprivileged countries or make donations in someone’s name to missions. Some of the most popular were our own United Methodist Children’s Home, the Heifer Project, UMCOR, and Habitat for Humanity. 


             Would you like to see something like this again? If you’re like me, you already have enough STUFF to last several lifetimes! Maybe you could encourage your friends and family to make donations to organizations you believe in, rather than buy you something else to gather dust in the back room!


             There are so many organizations that we already have here at our church who could use some financial support. Let’s see what we can do to truly honor Jesus on His birthday!



The places we go and the things we see!

Tom, why are you being so lazy today? Princess, between Rev. Debbie Allen's message and Rev. Bill's sign, they purr-suaded me to take a meow-ment to rest!

Princess did you see all the purr-ty ladies Sunday? Yes, Tom, it was very special. Rev. Dr. Debbie Allen, Nancy Metz, Elizabeth Gadd and our very own Jann Mier! Of course Rev. Bill was feline fur-tunate!

United Women in Faith

The United Women in Faith (UWF) will meet at 3 p.m. on Monday, November 20, in Fellowship Hall.  All women are invited to join us as we spend time in fellowship and discuss mission outreach in our community.  Both fellowship and mission outreach are major parts of our purpose.  All women are welcome.

One traditional mission we will be discussing is our annual Baby Jesus Shower.  It will be held December 3 in Fellowship Hall during our coffee time after worship.  This event, the first Sunday in December, is an opportunity to provide baby clothing and essentials to women in need.  Clothing items, baby wipes, diapers, lotions, etc. will be displayed that day and then donated to an organization supporting moms and their babies.  All are invited to donate items, which can be brought to church next week or the day of the event.

Book Club’s December Selection

The First UMC book club tries to read a wide variety of books from historical fiction to non-fiction to current best sellers and everything in between.  After  reading and discussing an older book, Peace Like a River (first published in 2001) in November, the group will read a more current book, The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller for the December 6 session.

The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Royal Scoop, 15 Eighth Street off Vanderbilt Drive.  Members gather at 1:15 for lunch and/or ice cream and discussion.  Those participating in Rev. Bill’s Bible Study on Wednesday afternoons will be able to attend both.

This book, another book club kit from the Bonita Springs Library, will be available to interested readers at church.  The book is described as “a story of summer, secrets, love, and lies in the course of a singular day on Cape Cod…”. Main character Elle must decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love. A New York Times best selling author describes this novel as “a magnificent page-turner”.  The book was picked as the July 2021 pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

The only requirement to be in the First UMC Book Club is to enjoy reading a variety of literature and discussing it with fellow readers.  For the library kits, the books must be returned the day of the discussion  so we can pick up another selection (only one kit may be checked out at a time). If you have any questions or want a copy of the book, please contact Susan Atkinson by text (239-405-9078) or see her at church.  Happy reading!

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.

Click here for Daily Devotional

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 [email protected].

Please help us keep the prayer list current. Names will remain 8 weeks, please update and resubmit. Prayer Request cards are on the rack at the back of the Sanctuary.

Prayer list for Worship needs of our church





Come Pray

Friday at 9:30 AM

Zoom and in the sanctuary


Click here to join via Zoom
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.

Lori's family


Cleva L.























If you have any changes or updates please email:


New Horizons Website

Click to see Yesukan Impact
A visit to the library
Summer Fun 2023 at Olive Garden
YESUKAN website
Meals of Hope Website
Click for Bonita Assistance  Website
First United Methodist Church of Bonita Springs
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday, 10 AM - 1 PM

27690 Shriver Avenue, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Office: 239.992.1312

Rev. Bill Fisackerly, Pastor
(941) 681-0557