First UMC Update
September 9, 2020
From the Pastor The Privilege of Worship           
September 9 - The Privilege of Worship
September 9, 2020

The psalmist proclaims, "O God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you . . .  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.  So I will bless you as long as I live."  (Psalm 63:1, 3-4)  Pastor Jim Bell shares about the privilege of worship.      
"A Squirrel Crossing a Busy Street"
September 13, 2020

The theme of our outdoor, in-person worship service in our church parking lot on Sunday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. is A Squirrel Crossing a Busy Street.  The scripture lessons are Romans 5:1-5 and Genesis 50:15-21.  In this message, we focus on the perseverance of Joseph.  We remain faithful to God in response to his love.  Please register for the service.  Wear your mask.  Bring a lawn chair.  Pray for good weather, and be blessed by the experience!

Please note that you may park in the lot of Southern Bank, the lot of the former Poyner Spruill building, the lot of the vacant building next to FUMC, and the gravel lot between the sanctuary and Bulluck's Furniture.

Watch via the church website:
Weekday Morning Prayer 
Join Pastor Matt for Morning Prayer!  Monday through Friday at 7 a.m.  Get your day started with 10 minutes of prayer and scripture readings with Pastor Matt.  Morning Prayer has now moved 100% to podcast.  Find it wherever you get your podcast.  Or click here.  You may listen to it on your phone or computer. 
You may send prayer requests to Pastor Matt and the rest of the staff by emailing
 Outdoor Worship Service - Today
The Into the Future Team of our church continues to work on a plan to help us return to 
in-person, in-sanctuary worship when it is wise and safe at a date still to be determined.  The next step in that process will be an outdoor, in-person worship service in our church parking lot today at 7:00 p.m., weather permitting.  You may park in the lot of Southern Bank, the lot of the former Poyner Spruill building, the lot of the vacant building next to FUMC, and the gravel lot between the sanctuary and Bulluck's Furniture.
The reservation is in case we need to contact you if a worshiper later tests positive for COVID-19.  Please make sure your notifications are on in case we have to cancel worship because of inclement weather. 
Consecration Sunday Is Coming
Congregations that approach financial stewardship from a biblical perspective do not view the money Christians give to their church merely as a way for the church to pay its bills.  Rather, such congregations see financial contributions as a way to help people grow spiritually in their relationship with God by supporting their church's mission and ministry with a percentage of their incomes.
Our congregation's Finance Ministry has selected the New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program as a way to teach the biblical and spiritual principles of generous giving in our stewardship education emphasis this year.
New Consecration Sunday is based on the biblical philosophy of the need of the giver to give for his or her own spiritual development, rather than on the need of the church to receive.  Instead of treating people like members of a social club who should pay dues, we will treat people like followers of Jesus Christ who want to give unselfishly as an act of discipleship.  New Consecration Sunday 
encourages people toward proportionate and systematic giving in response to the question, "What percentage of my income is God calling me to give?"  During morning worship on Consecration Sunday, October 11, we are asking our attendees and members to make their financial commitments to our church's missionary, benevolent, and educational ministries in this community and around the world.
Every attendee and member who completes an Estimate of Giving Card does so voluntarily by attending morning worship on Consecration Sunday, October 11.  We urge people to attend who feel strongly opposed to completing a card.  The procedure is done in such a way that no one feels personal embarrassment if he or she chooses not to fill out a card.
We will do no home solicitation to ask people to complete cards.  During morning worship, our guest leader will conduct a brief period of instruction and inspiration, climaxed by members making their commitments as a confidential act of worship.
We will encourage participation in Consecration Sunday events through the Consecration Sunday team and Church Council members.  Since we will make no follow-up visits to ask people to complete their cards, we will make every effort to inform, inspire, and commit everyone to attend Consecration Sunday worship.
Thanks in advance for your enthusiastic participation in Consecration Sunday events.
Powell Jenkins, Church Council Chairperson
September Sermon Theme:  
"Perseverance - We'll Get through This"

Although these unprecedented and challenging times may bring a load of uncertainty and fear that feels too heavy to bear, God gives us this promise:  you'll get through this.  As we face an unknown future dealing with the effects of the coronavirus, perseverance is crucial.  In this sermon series, we will see how people of faith faced various difficulties.  They made it - through their faith in God and their perseverance.

September 20:  "Sometimes There Are No Answers"
                       Job 2:1-10                        
God helps us persevere in faith when we have no answers.
September 27:  "The Endurance of Moses"
Exodus 10:3-20
God calls us to obey over and over again.

Worship themes are prayerfully and carefully selected. 
Make worship in whatever form a priority in your life. 
Special Offering for Relief (UMCOR) for Hurricane Laura

A Special Offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for Hurricane Laura response will be received during the next couple of weeks. Hurricane Laura devastated central Louisiana, destroying a 50-mile wide path. Early Response Teams from the NC Conference will be in Louisiana throughout the month of September.  The NC Conference is offering shower trailers and other essential equipment to our neighbors.  North Carolina repeatedly experiences the generosity of UMCOR.  100% of your gift goes directly to human need.  Administrative expenses are paid through our regular missions giving.  You may make a gift (via church app or check) to First United Methodist Church. Please designate it "Hurricane Laura response."  
Women's Bible Study - The Miracles of Jesus

It's not too late to join us for a Bible study of The Miracles of Jesus by Jessica LaGrone.  Jesus demonstrated the presence and power of God by performing miracles.  We will explore these miracles of Jesus and discover that our weakness is an invitation for God to work powerfully in our lives.  Additionally, we will realize that we need God on our best days just as much as we do on our worst.  This study, facilitated by Susan Johnson, will be offered virtually on Wednesdays, 
10 a.m.-12 noon. 

New Adult Studies Offered 

There's still time to join our virtual adult studies for this fall.  The studies are listed below:  (Information regarding books will be forthcoming.)  

Bible Study - "Prayer in the Bible"
Each week, we'll look at a different prayer or teaching on prayer present in the Bible; and we'll discuss what we can learn from it.  This includes the breadth of scripture, from the Psalms to Jesus' prayers, where we'll discover what scriptural prayer looks like and how to practice it.  This study, led by Ryan Minster, will be on Sundays, 6-7 p.m.

Financial Peace University
Dave Ramsey knows what it's like to have it all.  By age 26, he had established a four-million-dollar real estate portfolio, only to lose it by age 30.  He has since rebuilt his financial life and, through his workshops and his New York Times business best sellers, Financial Peace and More than Enough, he has helped hundreds of thousands of people to understand the forces behind their financial distress and how to set things right--financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
With practical and easy to follow methods and personal anecdotes, Financial Peace is the road map to personal control, financial security, a new, vital family dynamic, and lifetime peace.  Tim and Jill Everett will facilitate this class be on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.  Sign up here.

You'd be hard-pressed to overstate the extent to which fear, anxiety, and worry permeate our lives today.  Fear wreaks havoc on our relationships and communities.  It leads us into making bad decisions.  It holds us back from the very pursuits that promise fulfillment and joy.
Unafraid is Hamilton's insightful and impassioned response.  Drawing on recent research, inspiring real-life examples, and fresh biblical insight, Hamilton uses a mixture of facts and faith to help readers understand and counter fears related to such outsize perils as death and illness, as well as the everyday anxieties all of us encounter. 
Writing with generosity and intelligence, Hamilton shows how believer and unbeliever alike can develop sustaining spiritual practices and embrace Jesus's recurring counsel:  "Do not be afraid."  For anyone struggling with fear or wondering how families and communities can thrive in troubled times, Unafraid offers an informed and inspiring message full of practical solutions.  Pastor Matt Seaton will lead this study on Sundays, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

White Fragility 
In this "vital, necessary, and beautiful book" (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and "allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people' (Claudia Rankine).  Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence.  These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.  In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.  Pastor Jim Bell will facilitate this study on Sundays, 6-7 p.m.

Prayer Walk for Life
September 19, 2020
9-11 a.m. (floating)
Registration & Prayer Walk 
Rain or Shine
Rocky Mount Sports Complex 

Join us for Your Choice Pregnancy Resource Center's 30th annual Walk for Life.  Everyday men and women in our community come to Your Choice Pregnancy Resource Center looking for help during an unplanned pregnancy.  Our Center offers them compassion, support, free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, pregnancy options and the love of our Savior.  We could not continue to provide these free services without you!  So, Ready . . . Set . . . Pray . . . Walk!
Online Giving

Did you know that one-third of our congregation gives electronically?  And the majority of those who give electronically have chosen to maximize their impact by setting up a recurring donation which automates their gift  to give on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule.  We give thanks for your continued support and for sharing the love of Christ to others during this time of great need. 

To set-up your recurring gift, or to give a one-time gift, visit our website at; give via our New church app (see above); or by sending your check to: 
First United Methodist Church
100 S. Church Street
Rocky Mount, NC  27804
Local Missions moving forward during COVID Season

Monday Morning Community Breakfast:  We will continue a modified "drive-thru and pick-up" breakfast on Mondays, 7:30-8:00 a.m. (New Time Frame)  
Please pray for leaders of local missions as they continue to find creative ways to meet the needs of Rocky Mount and the surrounding areas.  
CDC & NCDHHS Recommendations

For essential practices you can do to reduce the impact of COVID-19, click on the links below: 

Our Church Family

Congratulations to Carson and Gina Russell on the birth of their daughter, Louisa Maeve Russell, August 21, at Hospital University of Pennsylvania.  Louisa weighed 8 lbs. 1 ounce.  Proud grandparents are Mark and Denise Russell.  

Prayer Concerns
Please lift up in prayer:
  • Roxanne Taylor, safe travel to Dallas, TX, to serve as the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Supervisor.  She will lead the Condolence Team for fatalities and people hospitalized from the two hurricanes, Laura and Marco. 
  • Steve Pernell, surgery at Duke tomorrow
  • Mark Hinson
  • J. W. Spencer
  • Bill Thomas
  • Gaye Mann
  • Bob Allen
  • All Hospital/Medical Personnel and First Responders

Text "fumcrmapp" to 1-888-364-4483 or go to
"To Know Christ and to Make Christ Known"
Contact Information
100 S. Church Street
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
252-977-0400 Office
252-977-0475 Preschool
252-977-1748 FAX

Church Office Hours: 
Due to COVID-19, the church office will be closed until further notice. 


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