First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
The purpose of First United Methodist is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We strive to accomplish this by being a worship plus three church.

Worship plus three is how we define our ministries. We believe worship is of prime importance and is our foundation. In addition, we are to invite others into a relationship with God, grow in our own relationship with God and our neighbor and serve others as a continued sign of God’s work in our lives.

Church Offices will be closed on Monday, September 2. They will reopen Tuesday, September 3.
Sunday, September 1

New Sermon Series: Our Turn
Sermon Title: Where to Go
Scripture: Deuteronomy 34:1-9 (click here to read)
Joshua 1:1-9 (click here to read)

8:15am Traditional, Sanctuary
11am Traditional, Sanctuary
9:30am Contemporary, Fellowship Center
Rev. David McEntire to preach.

11:20am Contemporary, Fellowship Center
Rev. Melissa Stump to preach.

Click here to see Rev. David McEntire share scripture and questions for contemplation in preparation for September 1 worship.
Hospitalized (as of August 26)
Bertha Sands and Richard Sproule

Fine Arts for Children and Youth
We offer choirs and handbell ensembles for all ages and skill levels. Rehearsals for Kids PRAISE Children's Choir, Youth Handbells and Ringers & Singers resume Wednesday, September 4. Youth Choir rehearsals resume Sunday, September 8. Learn more and register children for Kids PRAISE here . Questions? Contact Karen Buie ( email here or 863-687-9856).

Sundae Funday
Sixth through twelfth graders interested in Youth Choir are invited to "Sundae Funday" on September 8 from 10:30-11am in Room E-3. We will preview the youth choir music for the year while making ice cream sundaes. All are welcome!

Free Hollingsworth Trio Concert
You’re invited to a concert by the Hollingsworth Trio on Sunday, September 8, at 4pm in the Sanctuary. Violinist Mark Thielen, cellist Michael Sedloff and pianist Matthew Corl will perform beautiful music by Schubert, Debussy and Dvorak. 

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me
Because the faith of a child is such a wonderful adventure, we are going to look through the imagination of a child. Join us for an original presentation from Genesis entitled “Faith Like a Child” on Thursday, September 12, at 7pm in the Sanctuary. This multi-media presentation will feature drama, instrumentalists, Chancel Choir, dance, visuals and the story of God’s glorious creation. The event is presented by our Music and Fine Arts Department.

Chrismon Workshop
Join us on Friday, September 6, from noon - 3pm and/or Saturday, September 7, from 10am - noon in Room E-20 to make new ornaments for our Chrismon Trees. We have purchased ornament kits and Emily Corl will conduct the workshop. Feel free to join us for any or all of the two-day workshop. Contact Diana Russell with questions ( email here or 863-686-3163).

JOY (Just Older Youth, 55+)
JOY (Just Older Youth), our 55+ group, resumes monthly luncheons on Thursday, September 12, from 11:30am-1pm. Dwight Grimes will share his testimony and his work on the Saturn V rocket as part of the Apollo program. This is an especially exciting presentation as we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. We know you won’t want to miss it! $8/person. Reservations are required to Alice Hazel ( email here or 863-686-3163).

United Methodist Women's General Meeting
All women are invited to the September 9 meeting in the Fellowship Center at 10:30am. A Chaplain from the Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service will share "Reflections on Life." Please make lunch reservations ($4/person) by September 4 ( email here).
United Methodist Women September Circle Meetings

#17: September 7, 9am, "Our Giving Tree" Bookstore and Gift Shop Cafe
Contact Marcia Kehler, 863-644-3778

WinGS Circle: September 9, 6pm at a local restaurant
Contact Cindy Caldwell, 863-644-1497

#5: September 24, 9:45am in the Church Parlor
Contact Ann Harkey, 863-646-0013

#18: September 27, 9:30am in the Church Parlor
Contact Bonnie Siefert, 847-668-4828

Sunday School at 9:30am:

Nursery through PK4 check in on the ground floor of the C Building. Kindergarten through fifth grades check in on the first floor of the C Building.
  • Nursery 2 through fourth grade: This Sunday the children will learn "We Are One" using scripture from I Corinthians 12:12-14.
  • Fifth grade: Our fifth graders will worship at the 9:30 Contemporary Worship Service with their families.

Sunday evening:   Children PK3 (fully toilet trained) through fifth grade are invited to join us as we continue Mission Possible where we will explore “Afraid? NOT!” Programming is 5-7pm, dinner is $3/person.

Wednesday evening: Children PK3 (fully toilet trained) through fifth grade are invited to join us for classes 6:30-7:30pm about Practical Bible Exploration with hands-on activities.

Friday, September 6: Fourth and fifth grade gathering from 6-8pm. $5/person includes dinner, fellowship, team building activities and more. Sign up by Wednesday, September 4 here . Please note we must have a current medical release form on file.

Bible Sunday : On September 29 our Third Graders will receive their very own Bible during the 9:30am worship service. Please make reservations here by September 4.
Sunday morning: In-depth Bible Study and discussion at 9:30am in Room F-1.

This Sunday, September 1: We're having a Labor Day Picnic in the Park. Meet in the F Building at 5pm. We will walk to Barnett Park. All youth in attendance MUST have a notarized medical release form on file. Click here to let us know what snack you'll bring!

Wednesday Night ReCharge: 6-7:30pm in the Youth Game room. Come hang out in a relaxed space for a mid-week break. We will have snacks!

Youth Canoe Trip on Saturday, September 21: Online registration is open until September 13 here . We will depart the church at 9:30am and return around 4:30pm. Make sure to bring your lunch! Trip cost: $20/person.

PHOENIX Wednesday evening dinner and classes Meal service begins at 5pm. Tickets are $6/adult, $3/child under 12 and $20 max per family. Classes and groups follow at 6:30. More info is available here .

Wednesday Evening Adult Classes through September 18: Classes meet 6:30-7:30pm . Register here or call 863-686-3163.
  • Truth in Imaginative Fiction: Kacie Rogers leads an exploration of imaginative fiction and the truths we can discover in it. Literature set in another world can invoke our imaginations to think deeply about truth. Stories in the imaginary realm allow us to remove the film of familiarity and enter in with fresh eyes. Come explore an introduction to some best loved authors, including Lewis and Tolkien. No book or prior reading is required; just a curious mind. More information, registration and info on childcare is available here.
  • Holy Love: Rev. Andy Whitaker Smith leads this conversation group around Steve Harper’s book Holy Love: A Biblical Theology for Human Sexuality. Harper offers a wise, compassionate and deeply Wesleyan perspective on biblical interpretation and LGBTQ inclusion in the life and ministry of the church. All are invited to join in this important conversation. More information, registration and info on childcare is available here.
  • The Jesus Challenge: Janet Earls leads this engaging study that will encourage you to move from spiritual distraction to spiritual alignment as you seek to better love God and love your neighbor. The Jesus Challenge: 21 Days of Loving God and Neighbor is a journey to help you become more attentive to your relationship with God. This book invites you to move from forgetfulness to remembering, from distraction to intentionality, and from self-sufficiency to God-reliance so that you can live a life centered on loving God and loving others as ourselves. More information, registration and info on childcare is available here.
New Sermon Series September 22: On The Road
A new sermon series will begin on September 22. We will embark on a new sermon series and original community group study called On the Road , written and produced by our pastoral and program staff. We’ll look at stories that help us remember many of the walks Jesus took in his ministry – intentionally journeying through communities, encountering strangers, experiencing rejection and showing us how to love one another.

We’ll be starting new Community Groups for this study, gathering in homes or local businesses to share life together through scripture study, prayer and friendship. We’re asking you to host a Community Group during this series. It’s really simple. We’ll provide you with an easy-to-use, high-quality video resource. Your commitment is to gather a few friends, neighbors and co-workers from the community and meet together weekly in a small group setting. You don’t need to be a Bible expert or a teacher – the videos we provide will do the teaching. You provide a safe and comfortable setting with a place to watch the video and have a conversation. We’ll give you some questions to start the discussion, and the Holy Spirit will guide you as you grow together in love. We encourage you to pray about hosting a group . Sign up Sunday at the table in the Welcome Center. For more information on hosting or connecting with a Community Group, click here . Contact Warren Pattison ( email here or 863-686-3163) with questions.
Join us for a Monthly Pastors’ Bible Study on September 3 at 6:30pm: The Women’s Study with Melissa Stump is in Room C-204 and the Men’s Study with David McEntire is in Room C-203.
The SheGrows Conference is coming Friday, September 20. Next Sunday, September 8, take advantage of a one-day sale and get two tickets for $65 (normally $39/each). This is great opportunity to get a ticket for you and a friend, your daughter, or another special woman in your family. Come be inspired to grow in faith through intentional cross-generational relationships. Women of all ages are encouraged to come. Some scholarships are available. Click here for a registration link or call 863-686-3163.

Social Principles Book Club
This multi-week study of The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church utilizes real-life illustrations of contemporary issues. The format is discussion-based and collaborative. Christi Wright will lead the conversations on topics including immigration, poverty and more using the books Enrique’s Journey and Evicted. The class will meet on Sundays from 5:15-6:45pm in Room C-204 September 8 through November 24. Books will be available in ' "Our Giving Tree Bookstore and Gift Shop. " More information, registration and info on childcare is available here.

Combining a close reading of Biblical texts with searching, imaginative questions, Bibliodrama offers people of all ages and levels of knowledge an opportunity to experience a method of creative study that will change the way you read the Bible. Pastor Ian Campbell will lead a workshop on Bibliodrama on Saturday, September 28, 9am – 1pm. Lunch will be provided. The workshop is free due to a generous grant but registration is required. Sunday School teachers, small group leaders and parents are particularly encouraged to attend. More info and registration is available here or contact Warren Pattison ( email here or 863-686-3163).

Share God’s love through American Sign Language
Our free classes in Beginner’s American Sign Language (ASL) resume on Monday, September 9. 6:30-7:30pm for Basic and 7:30-8:30 for Songs in Sign. Contact Becky Petrie ( email here or 863-944-5404) or complete the form here .

Adult Sunday School
Visitors are always welcome to attend any of our Adult Sunday School groups. If you would like more information, contact Warren Pattison ( email here or 863-682-1912).

  • BYKOTA Class, Room C-207: The class welcomes you to join them for Bible study, fellowship and friendship. Following their exploration of Genesis, Dr. Doug Hallman is teaching an original series on Exodus titled "Go Down Moses."
  • Genesis Class, Room C-202: The class welcomes you as they explore faith and life together. Sunday they will look at some of the Parables of Jesus.
  • The Homebuilders Class, Chapel: The class started in 1945 and is taught by Rev. Brian Tiffany. August’s theme is “God the Creator."
  • The Koinonia Class, Room C-205: The class welcomes all who desire to grow in their love of God and neighbor. You are invited to join them in a life application Bible study on the book of Ephesians, led by Rev. Terry Heck.
  • The Searchers Class, Room C-206: This class is perfect for all who are searching for a deeper connection with God in Christ. They are continuing a study of Amy Jill Levine’s book Short Stories by Jesus, exploring some of Jesus’ most important parables. Roy Cannon leads.
  •  The Sendero Class, Room C-204. This class continues their exploration of Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Rev. Wesley Crist leads.
  • Storyline, Room C-201C. This is an intentionally intergenerational class for young adults and other adults. The group desires to explore how the stories of our lives intersect and weave together in God’s story. Adults of all ages and stages of life are welcome. They are currently looking at Will Willimon’s book Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love. Michael Pippen leads.
  • The Vanguard Class, Room C-203. This class invites you to join them as as Bishop Bob Fannin teaches on the theme of “God the Creator.”

kidsPACK –  The latest statistics reveal that there are more than 4,500 children registered as homeless in Polk County Public Schools, with nearly 760 of them in Lakeland. Our mission is to assist these children with food on the weekend and give them hope. For the 2019-2020 school year we will continue with our first Wednesday of the month packing schedule starting September 4. Setup begins at 9am each packing day. At 4pm we pack and wrap the weekend food cells for weekly delivery.

Occasionally we need substitute drivers to assist the current volunteers who regularly deliver to our assigned schools. If you can assist in that effort or have questions, please contact Nelson Kimball ( email Nelson here ) or Skip Stevenson ( email Skip here ). We look forward to seeing you on September 4 in the Welcome Center.
September is the Ryan's Case for Smiles Miles for Smiles National Pillowcase Challenge for kids with cancer.  Last year our goal was 100 pillowcases and we donated 121. Lakeland Regional Health is one of 10 hospitals in the Tampa Bay Area that receives these pillowcases. We have set a September goal of 150 cases. Kits will be available in E-20 on Wednesday evenings September 11 and 18 from 6-7pm. Join us for fellowship and to learn how to make these much needed and loved pillowcases. For further information, contact Sherry Harter (863-446-3866) or Cindy Doer (863-944-4955).
Children's Clothes Closet
The CCC needs servants to help with this ministry that supplies clothing to infants, children and youth in need. Serve Mondays and/or Wednesdays throughout the year. Contact Pat Bradford for more information ( email here or call 863-683-2086).
Silent Auction
Artist Ron Bell regularly adds to the 11:20 worship service by expressing and interpreting the message through his artwork. In conjunction with "Our Giving Tree" Bookstore and Gift Shop, Ron’s Easter artwork will be available for purchase through a silent auction Sunday, September 8 through Sunday, September 22. Winners will be notified after September 22. Ron shared that during the lowest time in his life and after decades of alcoholism and his mother’s death, the Salvation Army gave him a second chance at life; helping him see his self-worth, and also helped and encouraged him to develop his relationship with Christ. He has asked that proceeds from the sale be shared with the Salvation Army.