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February 23, 2024 E-Newsletter

This week's note from Rev. Bill



               There was some debate recently about a post I put on Facebook, referencing the “He Gets Us” ads that were shown during the Superbowl. These ads feature people washing another person’s feet – usually divergent social groups or classes. Transgender, someone at an abortion clinic, minorities, homeless, police officers, migrants – each scene shows someone taking a step to give an act of love and service to another. 


               I had posted that I appreciated these commercials, and the attempts made to represent Jesus as spreading love, not hate. 


               Yet there were various persons who objected to my lifting up these commercials – according to some, they believe that the group behind these ads is a “bait and switch” company that is trying to promote religious groups that do NOT welcome minorities, gays, or people of different nationalities. And I have also found out that there are conservative Christian groups who also object to these ads – because they represent people that they are against!


               So where does that leave me? I believe the message is right – Jesus understands life; Jesus gets us; Jesus practiced a radical hospitality that goes beyond the surface. This is a message worth sharing with broken and hurting people worldwide. This is a message of truth.


               But what if the group sharing this message also shares things I disagree with? Truthfully, I have not been able to find credible evidence that they deliberately support “hate” groups – but what if they do? 


               That’s a serious allegation. I don’t want to be a part of anyone who is spreading lies about Jesus. That’s why I have to look at myself and see what my motivations are. 


               Here’s the rub – I HAVE BEEN WRONG IN THE PAST. There was a time when I spoke strongly against gays, women’s rights, welcoming migrants. AND I WAS WRONG. I am grateful for people who had patience with me in my ignorance. It took time, and there were many people whom I offended over the years. 


               But Jesus didn’t give up on me. Jesus has taught me that I can grow. The truth is, I’m still not perfect even yet! I still have attitudes and habits that do not honor Him. So I pray that Jesus would continue to send people into my life who will help me to become more like Him.


               If it’s true that some groups who are supporting this “He Gets Us” message are doing so out of impure motives, they will have to answer to God for that. But I also believe that, if they keep spreading the message of love and service, the Holy Spirit will convict them. They will either have to stop spreading the message of love, or start to live it out!


               I believe that because it happened to me. The more I proclaimed Jesus as loving and accepting of everyone, the more the Holy Spirit convicted me in the areas where I was living a different message. 


               I’m still growing. I have been wrong. But I'm trying to let Jesus mold me into what He needs to bring hope and healing to this world. 



  • Rev. Bill

Service for February 25, 2024

"Predestined - For What?"

Roman 8:22-24,28-36

Link For February 25, 2024 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!

March 3, 2024

Matthew 24:36-46

Link for Wednesday Bible Study at 3:00pm



This year we are once again offering our “Mid-week Lift” – a simple, short service at noon on Wednesdays to come for focus and replenishment during the week. 


The sanctuary will be open around 11:45 AM for prayer and silence, and the message will be at noon. It will last (at most) 20 minutes, but you are welcome to stay for silence and prayer afterwards. 


This will run from Feb. 21st through March 20th, and we will also have it online if you are not able to come in person. 


Click for Mid-week lift Wednesdays at noon



Our Creative Worship Team has set up the Prayer Path around our church with six benches/stations where you can stop and reflect on the hard questions of faith. The six stations will be: 


  • In front of the Sanctuary at the fountain
  • Behind the church office
  • Next to the basketball/soccer court
  • In front of the Chapel
  • Back by the storage sheds, in view of Bonita Elementary School
  • At the Sanctuary entrance


There will be a signpost with scripture and focus questions at each station, based upon the questions you have been asking. You are encouraged to come day or night to journey the path and reflect upon your faith. There are two pathways (one long, one short), and we have done our best to stay on paved areas as much as possible Both of them make use of the same prayer stations/benches. 


Please feel free to invite your friends and neighbors to walk this path and pray for God’s will in our community, and that we would draw others closer to Jesus.

Click for Prayer Walk Video

The Mission Field of My Mind – Jacinta Colombo


I like the 1st United Methodist Church of Bonita Springs. It is a comfortable fit for me. We pray and sing to worship a God whom I have known all my life. 

This church in my neighborhood is reaching beyond its boundaries and taking me with it. We are active in local ministries - YesUKan, Saturday Breakfast, New Horizons, Meals of Hope, and more. Pastor Bill is working on getting us to look and think beyond ourselves. I stay busy every day with work, but somehow involvement in these things is changing me. The mission work we can do here in the community is changing us.

Lately I have been interested in the work of UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Our District Lay Leader, Nancy Metz, showed us that UMCOR is still here in the Ft. Myers area helping people recover from Hurricane IAN. I did a bit of research and found that UMCOR’s Florida branch is in fact still here. I presented information to our United Women in Faith group in January, and they authorized a gift to the work and decided that some of us would like to do a mission day. 

Jill Hockin is the Conference Volunteer Coordinator for the Florida United Methodist Conference Recovery Ministry. She has provided application forms for people who would like to volunteer. There is also information about how to get security clearance. I can share this information with those, not just the ladies, who are interested in joining us. Jill says the dates are filled up until August. I requested that we get a date in November. She says they will still be working in the Fort Myers area. It seems like the work is rehabbing homes of people who did not have homeowners’ insurance. Skills in carpentry work would be necessary. I would like to have a packet of your filled out applications to send to Jill by the end of March.

I can be reached cell #315-708-8718 or email, [email protected]

One more thing, last Saturday Sam, my husband, and I were invited to a meeting in Immokalee at the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers). The presentation about how this group is changing the lives of migrant workers was eye-opening for me. Modern day slavery is still happening in our midst. The CIW has succeeded in getting fair wages and treatment for many tomato pickers. The following link is a recent article that can tell you more.

Hablas Espanol?

Classes are on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in the church office.

United Women in Faith

A dozen women gathered February 19 in Fellowship Hall to discuss mission projects and activities.  Among those were plans to visit ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers, a UMCOR work project next November, collection of seeds for Redbird Mission in Kentucky, and other potential projects.

The ECHO tour will be scheduled for Tuesday, March 12.  The plan is to be at the facility for a 10 a.m. tour.  The tour should last a couple of hours; the tour cost will be $12.50 plus tax for each person.  The tour is not limited to UWF members; others in our congregation who would like to attend are welcome – spouses included.  The plan will be to carpool to ECHO, tentatively leaving at 9 a.m. that day.

Another future mission project, a UMCOR work project dealing with Hurricane Ian continuing repairs in the Ft. Myers area was proposed for November 2024.  Those interested in the project, women and men, should contact Jaci Columbo for necessary documents.

Already a large box of vegetable seeds has been collected for Redbird Mission. The group will continue collecting seeds through the next business meeting, March 18 at 3 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.  All women of the congregation are invited to join the group.  You not only have the joy of mission projects, but it is also a wonderful way to get to know other women in the congregation.  Plus, the women’s group coordinates coffee hours after worship and other fellowship events and volunteers are always needed.  A kitchen clean-up/organization day will be planned after Easter.  See any officer if you have questions:  Susan Atkinson, Jaci Colombo, Jann Mier, or Kathy Schmitt.

Book Club

Over a dozen First UMC Book Club members were at the Royal Scoop on February 7 to discuss the book West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. The next book for the group, another book club kit from the Bonita Springs Library,  is the novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. The next meeting will be March 6.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the book was described by the Los Angeles Times as “a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer whose sentences never fail to thrill.” The novel tells the story of 12-year-old Marie-Laure Leblanc who lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History where he works. When the Nazis occupy Paris, the father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo.They carry with them the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. Marie-Laure connects with Werner, an orphan from a German mining town.The two young people from warring countries come together in Saint Malo. The author “illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.”

Book club members meet the first Wednesday of each month, 1:15 p.m. (or earlier if you are really hungry) at the Royal Scoop, where members enjoy lunch and/or ice cream before discussion. Books will be distributed at church, or you may contact Susan Atkinson by text (239-405-9078) with questions or to request a book.  The only requirement to be in the club is to enjoy reading and discussing what you have read with others.  All are welcome!


Need Volunteers at 9am

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

TO: South West District Clergy, Church Council Chairs, Mission Chairs and Lay Leaders

CC: SW District Local Church Administrative Assistants and Business Managers

We are excited to announce that the South West District will be partnering with Zoe Empowers over the next three years to sponsor an orphan empowerment group in Kenya. 

What is Zoe Empowers?

  • Zoe Empowers is a group that helps empower orphaned youth. They equip vulnerable children and youth-led families with solutions to overcome extreme poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. 
  • Zoe Empowers has empowered 150,000+ young people since 2007.
  • Our three-year holistic empowerment model provides lifelong impact.

See more on their Website!

Zoe Empowers equips vulnerable children and youth-led families with solutions to overcome extreme poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. You can learn more about Zoe from this 2-minute video

We have already been matched with a group and they have begun meeting. We will have the name of the empowerment group, their first photo and the names and ages of all the youth in the empowerment group in March of 2024. Right now these youth have been located and invited to participate in an empowerment group. There will be 20-25 different youth-led families with a total of 80-100 children in our empowerment group and together they will be moving forward through life during the next three years, receiving approximately 8 inputs in each of the three years of the program. It is a holistic program, as to escape extreme poverty they will need access to a number of resources. If your church decides to help, you will be providing the following resources to these desperate children: 

  • For children to become safe and healthy: secure food and housing, hygiene training and access to health insurance, and child rights initiatives.
  • For children to become skilled for long term success: access to education, business development/grants and financial fluency lessons, and vocational training.
  • For children to become wrapped in layers of community:  reintegration into their community, reintegration of their shattered families, and spiritual strength.


How can your church get involved? 

A full Zoe Empowers project is a commitment of $9,000 a year for 3 years. If every church in the district were to participate, that would be a financial commitment of $225 per church, per year, over the next three years. We are asking each church leadership group to talk about what they might be able to pledge towards the district Zoe Empowers project.

We realize that not all churches may not be able to make that financial commitment and others might be able to give more. But together we can WORK TOGETHER TO DO SOMETHING BIG in missions!


Trinity UMC Sarasota has already made our first pledge - $400 per year for the next three years! We are grateful to them for this step of faith and for leading the way. 


Diane McCoy on staff at Harvest UMC in Lakewood Ranch is serving as our district coordinator. Please let her know your church’s pledge by Easter at [email protected].


You can make your contribution the same way you pay your apportionments, whether by mailed check or online through Vanco. Using this form, you would list under Conference Apportionments – Other – “SW 113019 Zoe Empowers – South West District” 

What resources are available to explain this mission to my church?  

We have resources to help bring this mission alive in your church!

Ann Eppinger, Zoe Empowers Florida Volunteer Advocate ([email protected]), and Molly McEntire, Missional Engagement Team Lead at the Florida Annual Conference ([email protected]), are available to speak to your congregation.


Here is an annual report to download and physical copies are available by emailing Ann Eppinger at the email address immediately above.  2022AnnualReview_WebSpread.pdf  The 2023 Report will be available by late March and this site will be updated. Please contact Molly McEntire for details (see email address above). More on this trip option to come!!

Later this year, our South West District will be traveling VIRTUALLY to meet these children. This is so fun! And church partners from our conference will be invited to participate via Zoom.


Zoe Empowers has VBS, Lenten and Advent resources to download for free from their website!


Molly McEntire will be leading a Kenya trip in June of 2024, a trip in February of 2025 and a trip in July of 2025 to meet these children! Please contact her if you are interested and we will be updating this site with details in the coming weeks.


We are so excited to move forward together in missions. Together we can change a whole lot of lives forever!


Rev. Dr. Deborah L. Allen

District Superintendent

South West District

Office Phone: 941-371-6511 Fax: 941-371-6997

[email protected]


Celebrating Sam

Sam Humphrey, our dear friend and longtime member of our church family, will celebrate his 103rd birthday on March 18. We are joining other friends of his in this community by making a “card can” for Sam.  If you would like to join in this happy celebration, please bring a birthday card for Sam to church this Sunday!


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].

Come Pray

Fridays at 9:30 am

Zoom and in the sanctuary


Click here to join via ZOOM

Rose M.


Robert H

Sandy H





Tom G












Prayer Request cards are on the rack at the back of the Sanctuary.

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.

New Horizons Website
YESUKAN website
Meals of Hope Website

The Assistance Office is always in need of the following (please check expiration dates): 


  • Cereals
  • Beans (canned and bagged)
  • Rice
  • Soup
  • Syrup (for pancakes)
  • Personal items
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Shampoo
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Kleenex/tissues
  • Baby wipes
  • Size 6 Diapers


Remember that many of the families served have pets, so dog and cat food is always welcome! Thank you!

Click for Bonita Assistance Website

First United Methodist Church of Bonita Springs

Office Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

27690 Shriver Avenue, Bonita Springs, FL 34135

Office: 239.992.1312

[email protected]

Rev. Bill Fisackerly, Pastor

[email protected]

(941) 681-0557