May 19, 2023 E-Newsletter
This week's note from Rev. Bill
The Power of the Right Gear

Recently I took a chance on a new fishing reel. Several of my current reels are getting older, and it would be nice to have a backup for when they are in need of repair. 
Reels come in different sizes, speeds, and build quality. The size of the reel determines how much line it can hold; the speed is how fast you can reel it in; and the quality is how strong the materials are, leading to how durable it is. 
I have determined that there is a fourth consideration in choosing a reel. More of that in a moment.
The particular reel I chose was a STEAL at $4.58, with FREE SHIPPING!!! It looked like it had all of the features I wanted, so I decided to take a chance on it. It looked so pretty in the pictures!
Anxious weeks of waiting until it arrived – but then it came! Packed in a…crumpled cardboard box, in a plastic bag, dropped unceremoniously at my front door. I carefully opened the plastic bag, then the box, unwrapped the reel, and…
The first thing I noticed was that it was almost entirely made of plastic, and the metal parts were EXTREMELY thin and flexible! It was shiny, and it had line already on it, but I’ve had cereal box toys that were more durable!
Okay, for $4.58, what could I expect? I carefully attached it to a rod, strung it up, attached a hook and a plastic lure, and went out to fish. 
Here’s where the fourth consideration comes in – IS IT FUN?
Yes, the reel performed dutifully in casting out and reeling back in, but it fights you all the way. There isn’t much joy in it! Fishing should be fun, but this particular reel fills every cast and every retrieve with anxiety, successfully sapping every ounce of joy out of the experience! 
I managed to catch around 5 fish over two days with this reel, but it was not enjoyable. It was like driving a Mac truck without power steering, or watching TV without a remote. I have decided that cost should NOT be the main consideration!
Over the years I have learned that ministry is also like that – choosing the cheapest option is rarely the best choice! I have come to value EFFECTIVENESS over EFFICIENCY – it doesn’t matter how much money we save if it wears our people out trying to get things done!
Ministry should be a JOY. When it becomes something that we dread or another duty to perform, we need to consider if there’s another way that Jesus has for us to do things. Jesus came that we might Life, and Life abundantly! Joy is central to our faith!
I’ve marked this reel for a return – and they told me that they would refund the money, and not to worry about returning it to them. They said I can just donate it to someone else if I would like. 
Do you know anyone whom you would like to encourage to hate fishing? I have just the thing!
Keep casting –

-Rev. Bill

Service for May 21, 2023
"MODERN DAY ACTS: What Do We Do Now?"
 Acts 1:1-14
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)
Acts 2:1-21

             Delores Gaylord went to be with our Lord on Saturday, May 13th. Her spirit was good until the end, and her witness continues with us today. 
             We will hold a memorial service for her on Saturday, May 20th at 11:00 in our sanctuary. Frank and the rest of the family would also like to invite you to come and share memories of Delores at a luncheon in our Fellowship Hall immediately following the service. 
             We will miss Delores’ voice in our choir, her laughter at our fellowship activities, her smile around our community. Please come to celebrate her life and to support Frank during this time. 

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to St. Jude Hospital.
             The service will be live streamed for those who will be unable to attend in person. 
United Women of Faith 

UWF members wrapped up their current project – the collection of paper goods and cleaning supplies for distribution to clients of the Bonita Springs Assistance Office and period products for girls at Bonita Springs High School and Middle School.  Thanks to the generosity of our congregation, the van was definitely filled…twice!  Current officers Julie Kampmann and Ruthann Etzkorn delivered the donations on Monday, May 15.  
Monday was also the last regular business meeting of the group for this “season”.  UWF organizes lunches for women of the church during the summer months.  All women are welcome, whether you have been active in the group in the past or not.  This summer’s lunches were also planned for Tuesdays at noon on June 27, July 25, and August 22.  The group decided on Tuesdays rather than our normal third Monday meeting dates since some restaurants are closed on Mondays.  The first lunch will be at the Clam Bake Restaurant in South Fort Myers/San Carlos Park area.  
The other major business of the recent meeting was the election of officers for 2023-24.  They are:  President Susan Atkinson, Vice President Jaci Colombo, Secretary Jann Mier, and Treasurer Kathy Schmitt.  Regular meetings resume in September.
Annual Conference Opportunities
             This year our Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting June 7-10 in Lakeland, FL. Cleva Luebke and Rev. Bill will be representing our church.
             Starting on May 30th there will be several pre-Conference workshops that you can attend online, ranging from Financial Services to Creation Care. All of these are virtual (online) workshops, so you can attend them from your home. You will just need to register by May 23rd 
in order to participate. 
             The link is
             Here is a list of the workshops: 
  • Certified Lay Speakers, Servants, and Ministers
  • Financial Services – Conference Budget
  • The Wellness Challenge
  • Starting Creation Care Ministries
  • Trauma-informed Ministries
  • “Play” as Spiritual Disciples (Led by C.J. Hill!)
  • From Temple to Tabernacle – Discovering the Church’s Role today
  • Identifying, Preventing, and Healing Spiritual Abuse 
  • Building Beloved Community 
  • Reclaiming our Heritage - #BeUMC
  • Fresh Expressions Journeys
  • Justice through our Social Principles
  • Seeing the Church through Black Culture 
There may be more added, so please go to the website to see what’s new!

 This Sunday at 11:00 we will have a New Member Orientation for those who would like to become better connected to our church! Rev. Bill will meet with you in the Choir Room (grab your snacks from the Fellowship Hall first!). Get your questions answered, your info updated, and your heart renewed!

Current members, you are also invited to attend. You may have questions yourself that you have forgotten the answers to, and it is always good to welcome our newest people!


Thank you to those who made donations to update our security system, and especially to Ken Greenleaf for setting up the signs to indicate surveillance on our property! We have already seen a decrease in “illicit activities”, and we look for continued safety around our campus!

             Our desire is that this would be a safe place where people can come and relax, pray, play, and otherwise grow in their faith in God. The new cameras, signs, and lighting should encourage respectful behavior and help us to fulfill our mission.
We announced last week that the deadline for the lowest price for our trip to the Holy Land ($5900 per person) was last week. You can still sign up, but the cost will be going up at this time because of expediting government-issued travel visas and the like.
             The absolute LAST DATE is JUNE 25 – just a few months from now! In the meantime, please be thinking about what prayers you would like for our church people to take with them when they visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem to pray.


      Rev. Bill and Ed Luebke will be participating in the Annual Conference’s 5K run in Lakeland on June 9th, and we now know how the funds will be dispersed!
         Our Bishop Tom Berlin has asked us to focus upon two important ministries – the Rev. Geraldine McClellan Endowment at Gammon Theological Seminary, and our Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center in Leesburg.
         It was interesting a few years back when, from the floor of the Conference, the question was asked, “How many of our pastors answered the call to ministry at our Warren Willis Camp?” Almost 70% of the pastors responded that the camp was instrumental in helping them to hear God’s voice! And countless others have responded to Jesus’ call to become disciples and follow Him through full- or part-time Christian service.
         It is also important to note that most of our pastors required scholarships or grants in order to be able to attend seminary. This endowment honoring the Rev. Geraldine McClellan will also do much to promote the spreading of the Gospel.
         If you have not signed up for supporting Rev. Bill or Ed for the 5K yet, please do so either in the back of the sanctuary or in the main office. You can support either one (or both), and you can make one check out to cover your donation. Please have your funds in by June 4th so that they can take the check with them to the Annual Conference.

The places we go and the things we see!
Tom, last Sunday was Mother's Day and the ladies received pretty flowers!
Princess, I wanted to get you something purr dee. I followed all the people working and not a flower to be had! There were tree limbs, bush trimmings and grass. That's ok Tom, I do love the poem you wrote.
Pat-A-Tat-Cat, there's a cat, her name is Princess and she is that!
Book Club’s June Selection

The First UMC Book Club will be reading the popular novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson for the June 7 discussion. The book is obviously popular with book clubs as we tried to get this from the Bonita Springs Library three separate times, and it was never available. So, we’ll find out ourselves why this is such a requested book!
The novel is inspired by the true and historical, blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service. The setting is 1936 deep in the woods of Troublesome Creek, Ky. Reviewers say the book “is a powerful message about how the written word affects people – a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression…”
The group meets the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. at the Royal Scoop, 15 Eighth Street, off Vanderbilt Drive. Enjoy lunch and/or ice cream and then a discussion with fellow bibliophiles. This book is one of the book club kits from the library. Books will be distributed to interested readers before and after church starting Sunday. If you have questions, contact Susan Atkinson by text (239-405-9078). Remember, the only requirement to be a part of the First UMC Book Club is to enjoy reading a variety of books and talking about them with others. 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.
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
Come Pray
Friday at 9:30 AM
In person in the sanctuary or zoom.

Wednesday at 6:30 PM zoom only.
Please feel free to join in prayer, click 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.
Diane S
Gaylord family
Mike F
Peter C
Sharon K
Shannon G
Tom F


If you have any changes or updates please email:

 …when a lot of our northern friends have gone home, but ministry still needs to be done!
         Over the past few weeks we have had a slowdown in the number of persons volunteering with the food distribution on Wednesdays with “Meals of Hope”. We are grateful for those who have been here, but we’re going to need more!
         Do you have a couple of hours from 12:30-3 that you could give to help feed people? Our team helps set up the tent and fill the fresh produce bags that need to be done each week. Most of the food has been assembled by our sister church First United Methodist of Naples, but the fresh items need to be put together.
         We also need someone to coordinate who is going to be there, so that we don’t all show up on the same day and then have no one the following week! If you feel “nudged” to help with any of this, please call the church office so that we can make plans!
Areas in need of help!
Guitar/Violin teacher,Financial Literacy teacher, Administrative help, Driver to help
transport students, ESL teachers and Childcare help!
Let’s fill red cart for Bonita Assistance!
Our church family is encouraged to donate non- perishable food items, paper towels, toilet paper, dish liquid, or other household items to go to the Bonita Assistance office. Low income families and seniors will benefit from the generosity of our church family. Let’s fill the red cart that you’ll see when you enter the sanctuary.
If you’re a seasonal part of our church family, you might have some pantry items that won’t save until you return next season. And remember, we’re blessed when we are blessings to others. So let’s fill the cart!
Perfect attendance first half of SKC