Worship Plus Three
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.
Worship This Sunday

August 11

Sermon Series: Who Am I?
Sermon Title: A Precious Gift
Scripture: Ephesians 6:1-4 ( click to read scripture )

8:15am and 11am Traditional, Sanctuary
9:30am Contemporary, Fellowship Center
Rev. Andy Whitaker Smith will preach.

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

Click here to see Rev. Andy Whitaker Smith share scripture and questions for contemplation in preparation for August 11 worship.
Prayer & Praise
Hospitalized (as of August 5)
Gail Ross, Phyllis Sprould and Harriet Woodson
This Sunday is the Second Sunday Gathering: Join your church family for fellowship and refreshments in the Welcome Center from 9am-12:15pm.

Would you like to become involved in our Fine Arts ministries? We offer choirs and handbell ensembles for musicians of all ages and skill levels. Rehearsals for our Kids PRAISE Children's Choir, Youth Handbells and Ringers & Singers resume Wednesday, September 4. Youth Choir rehearsals resume Sunday, September 8. Click here to learn more and register participants for our Kids PRAISE Children’s Choir. Questions? Contact Karen Buie ( email here or 863-687-9856).  

United Methodist Women
All women are invited to the next meeting of the UMW Book Club in the Church Parlor on Tuesday, August 27, at 1pm. Our book is The Soul Making Room by DeeDee Risher from the Spiritual Growth category. To order the book, Kindle and other versions click here .

Our Last Summer Supper
Wednesday, August 14 we will enjoy our last Summer Supper before PHOENIX resumes. Meal service starts at 5pm. ($6/adult, $3/child under 12, $20 max/family). Join us for food, fellowship and fun!

JOY (Just Older Youth)
JOY (Just Older Youth), our 55+ group, resumes our monthly luncheons on Thursday, September 12, 11:30am-1pm. Our exciting program will be announced soon. We know you won’t want to miss it! $8/person. RSVPs are required to Alice Hazel so we can know how many to expect ( email here or 863-686-3163).

Coffee with the Pastors
If you have decided to join the church, be our guest on Sunday, August 25, from 5-6:45pm for Coffee with the Pastors. Learn about the church, our pastors and expectations regarding membership. We will gather in the Large Conference Room in the Administrative Office. To register, click here or contact Diana Russell ( email here or 863-686-3163).
We have lost touch with these members. If you have a CURRENT address for anyone listed, please contact Maggie Trask ( email here or 863-686-3163).

Mark Adamson, Judith Alcorn, Jennifer Allen, Barbara Aparo, Sheena Arnold, Karen and Stephen Artman, Werner Asanger, Ronald Averette, Erin Aycock, Susan Azzara, Joshua Baber, Christopher, Jamie and Kathy Baeten, Nancy Bailey, Charles and Shannon Barrett, Elizabeth Bass, Pamela Baxley, Laura Beard, Walt Belche, Amy Belew, Crystal Bell, Yvonne Benton, Gerald Bergeron, Cathy Bermudez, Terry Boylan, Margaret and Victor Cable, Patricia Callaway, Heidi Campbell, Michael Campbell, Billy Cantey, Denise Carpenter, Jason and Jaymie Carpenter, Jonathan and Shelly Carroll, James Carson, Stephanie Carson, Krysta Carter, William Casey, Ignacia Castillo, Lisa Chappell, Jill and Robert Cheatham, Mary and William Chirinos, Samuel Clark, Krystal and Paula and Timothy Clarke, Dianne Claussen, Richard Claypool, Barbara Clayton, Darith Colen, Whitney DePasquale, Mark Druce, Kenneth Dunbar, Ashley and Stanley Fenton, Streater Fenton, Abena Fletcher, Carolyn and Kerby Glass, Jade Hanshaw, Nancy Harville, Kelly Keller, Sara Kuhn, Lester and Pierrette LeValley, Robin Long, Gayle and Ralph Manning, Brooke Martinez, Shawn McCole, Amanda and Keith Peterson, Debra Richey, Gordy and Sandy Scherer, Eleanor Scionti, Timothy Shuman, Audra Siler-Claypool, Lori Smith, Joseph Steshyn, Jennifer Thomasson and Courtney Vinson.
Front Row: Dawson Lane 
Back Row (left to right): Nolan, David and Bernie Lane (current church members)

Dawson Lane
9:30am Service

Dawson is a college student beginning his junior year as a psychology major with aspirations to have a career in law enforcement. Baseball is his college sport. In his spare time, Dawson enjoys any outdoor activity or sport. He was introduced to this church by a friend. Even though it is a large church, Dawson finds it comfortable, friendly and inspiring. He is looking forward to growing in faith as a member here.

Karl Olexa
11am Service

Karl comes to us by way of Georgetown UMC in Jenison, Michigan. He has served on several committees and facilitated small groups. Karl enjoys traveling, walking, reading and is a Tai Chi instructor. He has a Master's Degree in Social Work and was an Addiction Counselor for 33 years before retiring. 

Karl is married to Bonnie (currently a full-time grandmother in Michigan). Karl was attracted to this church because of the programs offered and felt part of the church family right away. He has jumped right in and looks forward to becoming more involved in the ministries here.
SheGrows Ticket Flash Sale on August 11!

On Friday, September 20, our church will host the SheGrows Conference, a special event for women of all ages. $29 discount tickets are available this Sunday, August 11, only. After August 11, the price will return to $39/each for advance tickets.

SheGrows helps women grow a deeper faith. The goal of SheGrows is to show women the power of linking lives with older and younger women to grow their faith by breaking down some common misconceptions of what mentoring means. Biblical examples and personal testimonies are used to ignite a passion to connect with other women in cross-generational relationships. SheGrows is not a system or program on how to mentor, rather it’s a three-hour event to spur women to begin mentoring relationships and show them how to do it.

Learn more at the table at the Second Sunday Gathering in the Welcome Center this Sunday or click here.
PHOENIX Dinner and Class Preview
PHOENIX Wednesday evening dinners and classes return August 28. Join us on Wednesday, August 21, for food, fellowship and fun in the Fellowship Center and a preview of opportunities and classes. Meal service starts at 5pm ($6/adult, $3/child under 12, $20 max/family). Classes and programs for all ages will resume on August 28.

First United Methodist Business Leaders
The next First United Methodist Business Leaders meeting is Wednesday, August 14, at 8am in Room C-201D. The room will open at 7:30am for socializing and networking and will remain open for 30 minutes after the meeting concludes at 9am. Ashley Hearn, owner of Spa With Ashley , will be our speaker. This group is open to all who are seeking to better integrate their Christian faith and business practices as they seek to live out their calling in the world. Contact Brett Vogeler ( email here or 863-255-1613).
This Sunday is Promotion Sunday when students advance to the next grade. Sunday School drop off and pick up will be to/from their new classes. There will be volunteers available to help with locating classrooms.

Children's 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: David and Abigail from I Samuel 25:32-34
  • Fifth grade: David and Mephibosheth from 2 Samuel 9:6-7

Other Children's News:

  • This Sunday night: We look forward to seeing those who registered for our Back to School Bash at 5pm! Dinner is $3/person. Students who are entering sixth grade in the fall and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
  • The fall 2019 session of Pray & Play will begin on August 19. This playgroup’s purpose is to connect mothers and children through guided discussion and prayer. The group will meet on Mondays from 10-11:30am. Contact Ivelisse Arman with questions (email here or 863-682-1912).
  • There will be a fourth and fifth grade gathering on September 6. Save the date - more information to come soon!

Youth Bible Study on Sundays at 9:30am: Sixth-twelfth grade students are invited to join us in Room F-1 for Bible study and discussion .

Other Youth News:

  • This Sunday night: We look forward to seeing those who registered for our Back to School Bash at 5pm! Dinner is $3/person. Students who are entering sixth grade in the fall and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
  • One United Youth Ministry Preview on Sunday, August 18, from 5-7pm: All families of rising sixth through twelfth grade students are encouraged to join us as we look ahead at what One United Youth Ministry has planned for the coming school year. We are keeping some of our traditions and making some exciting new changes!
Adult Sunday School at 9:30am:
 Visitors are always welcome to attend any of our Adult Sunday School groups. If you would like more info, contact Warren Pattison ( email here or 863-682-1912).
  • The BYKOTA Class welcomes you to join them for Bible study, fellowship and friendship. Dr. Doug Hallman is teaching an original series titled "The Genesis Saga: Contemporary Lessons from Ancient Stories." Room C-207
  • The Genesis Class welcomes you as they explore faith and life together. They are exploring “Eternal Truths of Narnia: Bible Studies for the Chronicles of Narnia.” Room C-202
  • The Homebuilders Class is taught by Rev. Brian Tiffany and follows the Adult Bible Studies curriculum. The August theme is "Covenant: A Personal Perspective." Chapel
  • The Koinonia Class welcomes all who desire to grow in their love of God and neighbor. Join them for a life application Bible study on the book of Ephesians. Rev. Terry Heck leads. Room C-205
  • The Searchers Class is perfect for all who are searching for a deeper connection with God. They are studying Short Stories by Jesus, some of Jesus’ most important parables. Roy Cannon leads. Room C-206
  • The Sendero Class continues their in-depth exploration of Romans using the Genesis to Revelation series. John Curtis leads. Room C-204
  • Storyline is an intergenerational class for adults. The group explores how the stories of our lives intersect and weave together in God’s story. Adults of all ages and stages of life welcome. Room C-201C
  • The Vanguard Class invites you to join them as Rev. Charles Polstra leads on the theme of “Covenant: A Personal Perspective." Room C-203
Imaginative Fiction
Kacie Rogers will lead a study of imaginative fiction on Wednesday evenings August 28 - September 18 from 6:30-7:30pm. 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. If you would like more info, contact Warren Pattison ( email here or 863-682-1912).
Connections - A Memory Care Ministry: Connections is a respite program that supports adults and their families living with the challenges of memory loss by providing opportunities for self-expression and connecting with friends, family and faith. Connections meets Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am-1:30pm for ten weeks. The fall session runs August 19 – November 7. Please note: this is not a drop-in program and registration is required. Contact Vicky Pitner ( email here or 863-686-3163) for information.
Volunteer Training for Connections: We are looking for volunteers for Connections, our memory ministry. No experience necessary! Training will be held on Monday, August 12, in Room C-201C from 9:30am to noon. To register, contact Nina Rehberg ( email here or 863-686-3163).
Law Enforcement Appreciation
We will deliver baked goods on August 10 to the Lakeland Police/Polk County Sheriff’s Office. You may drop off baked items at the Administrative Office on Walnut Street at the church on August 9 from 9:30am-3:30pm. If you would like to bake or deliver goodies, contact Forrest White ( email here or 863-686-3163).
Our Giving Tree new
“Our Giving Tree” Bookstore and Gift Shop is having a 30% off After-Inventory Sale now through August 18. Stop by to browse and don’t forget to visit the half-price tables. Shop Sundays 9am-12:30pm; weekdays (except Wednesday) 10am-4pm and Wednesdays 10am-7pm.
Disaster Recovery
The third Saturday of each month a team works on homes damaged by Hurricane Irma.There is paperwork to complete at least one week before your first work day. Contact Forrest White ( email here or 863-686-3163) to learn more.

Kathleen UMC Lord’s Pantry
We are taking a team to serve at this food pantry from 2-6pm on the second Thursday of each month through the end of 2019. The Rev. Terry Knight, First United Methodist’s former pastor of visitation, is now the pastor at Kathleen UMC. She has been working hard to turn things around both in the life of the church and the pantry. We can take five people each time. Contact Forrest White ( email here or 863-686-3163) to sign up.

Noah’s Ark of Central Florida
Join Jeremy Hearn (11:20am Worship Leader) and several of our special needs members for a weekly UNO tournament at 9:30am each Tuesday at The Villages at Noah’s Landing. Jeremy has been working on building bridges between this community and First United Methodist over the past year. He invites you to join in the relaxed atmosphere of a card tournament and to help build deeper relationships. Please RSVP by 3:30pm Mondays to Jeremy Hearn (  email here) .