May 26, 2023 E-Newsletter

This week's note from Rev. Bill

Finally did 3.1 miles!
Actually, I think it ended up at 3.2 miles, so I may sleep in tomorrow. But now I know that I can complete the 5K at a steady pace!

I appreciate all you have done to support Ed and me in this endeavor – I believe that currently the donations are over $400! This will help with the McClellan scholarship and the ministry at our Leesburg camp. But more than that, it is a reminder that we can work together to accomplish more than what we would achieve individually.

I grew up without much money. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I look back I realize so many things that my parents did for us. My dad was a pastor; my mother was a substitute school teacher. Neither one of those jobs put us in the upper echelon of economic classes. With 5 children in the family and living in the parsonage, we had to double-up on rooms, bathrooms, clothes – for a time my bedroom was the hallway between the other bedrooms!

But we had a roof over our heads, my mother sewed our clothes, we went out and picked beans and peas and corn and tomatoes from our church member’s farms, we shopped at the freight depot. Like I said, I didn’t know we were poor, because we were happy.

There were some families in our church who did not have children or grandchildren. For those who were alone, our family became their surrogate family. There were some who were poorer than us, but who were always willing to lend a hand when a roof needed to be repaired or someone needed food. There were those who didn’t have fancy cars, but would cook for whomever needed it. Each of us gave what we could, and the whole became stronger together.

Not everyone can walk/run 3.1 miles – but Ed and I can. We will take pictures and bring home our trophies(?!) so that you who are supporting us can live it, too! And the beneficiaries of our labor – those who received the scholarship grants and those whose lives are touched by attending our Camp/Retreat Center – we may never know their names this side of eternity, but God will use what we give to make a difference.

Will I continue running after June 9th? I may switch to biking (easier on the knees!), but whenever a 5K for a good cause raises its head I will try to answer!

Keep doing what God has called you to do, and together things will get done!

Rev. Bill

Service for May 28, 2023
"MODERN DAY ACTS: Those Holy Nudges"
 Acts 2:1-21
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)
Matthew 28:16-20


             This Sunday we will be celebrating Pentecost at our church, so wear red to remember the “tongues of fire” that descended upon the disciples on that day! Red shoes, red hat, red t-shirt – whatever you have! (And maybe we’ll have some red scarves in the back for those who just don’t have anything of the scarlet persuasion in their inventory.)

             Let’s celebrate the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives!

             If you would like to watch our Florida Annual Conference from the comfort of your own home, the major sessions will be livestreamed. One of the easiest ways is to download the WHOVA app onto your smartphone -

             If you do not have a smartphone, you can watch the sessions online at Just click on the AC2023 tab at the top right, and you will find the sessions.

             Finally, Bishop Berlin has a video welcome to the Annual Conference that you can watch to get a feel for what will be happening. You can find it here –

             Please keep our Annual Conference in prayer as we come together to continue to work of drawing people to Jesus.
The Church Office will be closed on Monday, Memorial Day.
Please use this time to remember those who have given their lives in
service to our country.

Thank you to those who have donated to install our security cameras – since we have done so, it appears that our “unauthorized visitors” have begun curbing their activities.

             There have been a couple of instances that we have recorded and reported to the police, but mainly all we’re getting now is pictures of the cats! (They seem to like wandering from 1-3 AM!) But it’s good to know that things are quieting down. We pray it stays that way!
(By the way, those are glowing cat eyes in the bottom picture!)

May 27th Community Breakfast is tomorrow! Please come and get to know our brothers and sisters in the community!
9:00 am cook, 9:30 set up 10:00 serve and fellowship 11:00 clean up.
June 24, 2023 Mark Your Calendar

             As you know, Rev. Bill and Kim are planning a Bible Passages Cruise Holy Land this fall from Sept. 25-Oct. 7. There are still a few openings left if you would like to go with them, but the window is closing quickly for signing up!

             Since so many people have been asking, Rev. Bill and Kim are setting up two more religious pilgrimages over the next two years –

             2024 WESLEY HERITAGE TOUR – either July 9 or November 5 (9 days)

             2025 HOLY LAND – Mid-March (10 days)

             To see what is included and the prices, go to

      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.
Our celebration of the life of Delores Gaylord

The places we go and the things we see!
Tom, I love how the campus is improving every week! Yes, Princess, these folks really work hard! Princess, let's share so everyone can say Thank You!

Tom, I also heard that since its summer and things are fairly quiet, the newsletter will be every other week, starting in June. We will be looking forward to the
June 2nd and June 16th newsletter next month.
Let's plan a vacation Tom, I want to go where this guy is and I want what he is having. Purr purr
Monday May 15 was 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.
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
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