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Letter From the Pastor

Words of Life


Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at the last words of Jesus from the cross. Some people agree that more than words, they are sayings. However we come to define them, they were important enough for Jesus to use his last moments and his last breath to utter them so that those who were nearby could hear them.


I wasn’t around when my dad’s parents died or present when my mom’s dad was killed. I wish I had. My mom’s dad died when I was about 9 years old. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver. There are a few things I remember so vividly as I remember the day he died. I would be lying if I told you I remember the exact day and time, but I remember the moment. I remember hearing the news. I remember the scream of panic coming out of my mom.


My grandfather would always leave around 5am to go to work. He would walk a couple of miles to catch the bus that would take him to the Air Force Base, where he worked. To catch the bus, he would have to cross a heavily-trafficked intersection and this where it all happened. My parents spared us kids the details. The next time I saw my grandfather was at the viewing. I was heartbroken.


A few years ago, I was part of a gathering where the facilitator asked the group to imagine having your grandfather in front of you and giving you some advice. What would he say? Until that moment, I hadn’t realized I was still carrying a lot of emotions about his death. Thankfully, the exercise brought me a lot of healing. To be honest, I really don’t know what he would’ve said but I started imagining a normal Saturday morning with him, like we used to have when he was alive; standing next to him as I helped him with whatever he was doing and then, I imagined what he wished he had said. What he thought would be important for me to remember. Here is what I came up with:

- Trust God even when you don’t know when God will answer

- Love your kids no matter what

- God is in control. Have faith

- Love your family

- Don’t let your job define you

- You have more time than you think you have

- Go play

- God will catch you when you fall


I thank God for my grandfather, and I am glad that as Jesus was on the cross, he was able to share his last words with us. They were words of advice, words of encouragement, and words to help us remember what is important. As we enter into Holy Week and remember Jesus’ sacrificial love, let us also remember that even though he died, he also rose again and has given us more than words. Jesus has given us new life.


I invite you to come out and celebrate the new life of Easter at church. Plan ahead. Invite your family and friends. Be a part of the celebration that has changed the world.


Pastor René

Sermon Series: Is it True? * 

We all live by truths that help us make sense of our world and our experiences. We really don’t know if they are really true, because we have never taken the time to carefully examine them; yet we hear them all the time and often get up each morning counting on and believing that these beliefs are foundational to our faith and to life. 


Starting Sunday May 7, 2023, join us as we embark on a journey of discovery and reimagining. We will take some of these truths and examine them in the light of what we know about God and the Bible. Each Sunday, we will take one saying and hear what God really says about this. Is it true? Does God really say this? Where in the Bible is it?


1.    May 7- “Everything Happens for a Reason.” 

2.    May 14 - “God Only Helps Those Who Help Themselves” 

3.    May 21 - “It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe as Long as You’re Sincere” 

       May 28 - PENTECOST SUNDAY

4.    June 4 - “God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle” 

5.    June 11 - “When God closes a door, God opens another”

* Based on the book “half-truths” by Adam Hamilton



See what's happening this April

Children and Youth ~ Hannah Stelter

Note from Hannah:

My dear church family,

For the past three years, it has brought me so much joy to serve John Wesley as your Children & Youth Director. When I began this role in the middle of the pandemic, I had no idea what to expect. But you all welcomed me with open arms and open hearts and supported me every step of the way. Thank you for answering all my questions, for listening to my thoughts, and for encouraging my visions. I am so grateful for the love and support that you have shown me and I am so thankful to call you my friends.


And to my children, youth & your families – thank you. Thank you for filling out surveys and answering my emails. Thank you for teaching me new games and activities. Thank you for helping me grow as a leader and for helping me grow in my faith. Thank you for accepting me and welcoming me into your lives. I am so grateful for everything that you have done for me and I am grateful to God for the people you are becoming. I love all of you from the bottom of my heart and I know that God has some big and important plans for each and every one of you. 


Please know that you will always be in my heart and in my prayers. I am a better person because of your love and support and I am so thankful for the ways you have helped me grow. May God continue to guide us all.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  

Philippians 1:3

Thank you, my church family,

Hannah Stelter

Upcoming Events:

Easter Egg Hunt: April 8th | 10am

Join us for our community’s most-loved Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 to 11:30 am at John Wesley United Methodist Church! We offer four different age-appropriate hunting areas for crawlers through 4th graders (Crawlers & Toddlers, Pre-K & K, 1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grade), thousands of eggs to hunt, multiple games, activities and crafts to participate in and even an Easter Bunny Photo Booth!

This year, we are going to stagger the hunts, so that parents with kids in multiple age groups will have the opportunity to be with their children the whole time. While your child is waiting for their group to be called, we have plenty of space indoors for games, crafts and activities. Children are asked to bring their own basket for hunting and open their eggs at the church so we can hide even more eggs next year!

Confirmation Sunday: April 30 | 9:30am

We hope that you will join us on Sunday, April 30th, to celebrate our Confirmation class! They have worked hard and learned a lot about the church over the past few months and we are so excited that their journey is complete.

Hannah's Goodbye Party with the Youth: April 23 | 4:00-7:00pm

All youth (5th-12th grade) are invited to a special goodbye party on April 23rd from 4:00-7:00pm. We will play plenty of games, enjoy a meal together, and hear some words of wisdom about change. We hope that your youth will join us!

Sunday School: Every Sunday at 9:30am

Sunday School for Kindergarten - 4th Graders takes place during the 9:30 service! We start in the Sanctuary until the children's moment before we go back to the Education Wing. We have one Sunday School class. This month, we are going to recap some of our past lessons and learn about how heroes relate to Lent before starting to discuss some of the Old Testament Heroes.

A fully staffed Nursery is available during the 9:30 service for children under 4.

There is NO Sunday School on April 9 (Easter) or April 30 (5th Sunday).

Youth Group: Sundays | MS: 4:00-6:00 | HS: 5:00-7:00

Youth Group is continuing in full swing! The middle schoolers (5th-8th grade) meet for their lesson from 4:00-5:00pm. This month, we are going to finish talking about superheroes before starting a new topic. At 5:00, the high schoolers (9th-12th grade) join for dinner and games! The middle schoolers head home at 6:00 when the high school lesson begins. This month, we are going to finish our Inductive Bible Study, focusing on the last 7 words of Jesus, before beginning a new topic.

If you are interested in making dinner for the youth group, please click here for the sign up for Spring 2023 or see Hannah! All youth and their friends are welcome to join us each week! 

There is NO Youth Group on April 9 (Easter). Hannah's Goodbye Party with the Youth is on April 23 and all youth are welcome to attend from 4:00-7:00pm.

John Wesley Youth Recreation Center: Tuesdays & Thursdays | 2:45-5:00pm

The JWYRC will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:45-5:00 pm and is for 5th-8th graders. This is a safe space for the middle schoolers of our community to hang out in after school. Youth are welcome to walk over from Morse Pond and Lawrence schools or they may be dropped off.

Starting next week, we will have a special featured activity each day that we meet! Click here for the calendar of events for April. We hope to see your youth then!

We had so much fun on our annual Winter Retreat! Click this link to check out the recap video.

Sunday Schoolers working on some crafts!

Our Confirmands have learned so much this year and we are so excited for Confirmation Sunday!

Worship ~ Betty Smith

Prayer Wall: You still have time to add a prayer to our Community Prayer Wall in front of the church. Water resistant tags and Sharpie pens are in the blue toolbox on the bench by the wall. Prayers will be removed on Good Friday and placed on the altar on Easter Sunday. Take a moment to stop by and add a prayer. Invite friends who don’t come to JW to leave a prayer, too.

If you have missed Soup for the Soul, you can still watch the speakers present their stories of transformation on our YouTube page. Click here to visit our YouTube page.

Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday with a joyful celebration commemorating Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. The youth will lead the procession and distribute palms. During coffee hour, Julie Immelt Whelden will run a workshop teaching us how to create a cross from our palms.

A Holy Week Walk will be set up in the sanctuary and be open from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM starting on April 3rd, Monday through Friday. The walk will include “A Journey to the Cross” with visuals and scripture references at each stop. Each stop will also include a meditation on the “Seven Words” in keeping with our focus on the “Seven Words” during Lent.

Holy Thursday Dinner Church Potluck at 6:00 PM. If you signed up, bring a dish to share and share something of yourself with others at your table. We have reached capacity since this will be held in the Narthex. We will sing a couple of short hymns and celebrate Holy Communion with our table companions. At the end of the evening, we will have the opportunity to nail something we want to be rid of (pain, anger, fear, guilt, shame, resentment, etc.) to the cross. A hammer and nails will be provided.

Our Good Friday service will be at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary this year. This service will be livestreamed. Our confirmation class will be participating in this service. (There will not be an afternoon service.)

EASTER! The Lord is risen indeed! There will be a short sunrise service at Nobska Point, 6:00 AM. The 9:30 service will feature handbells, chancel choir, and brass. Our sanctuary will be decorated with a beautiful “Garden of Flowers”. Celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!

Pastor René will be away for a meeting of the General Board of Global Ministries after Easter. Please keep him in prayer as he travels and serves. We welcome to our pulpit Rev. Ed Farrell Starbuck, a retired Methodist minister serving as a chaplain at Falmouth Hospital on April 16th, and Rev. Wanda Santos-Perez, District Superintendent of the Seacoast District, on April 23rd.

Rummage Sale - Rescheduled to July

The April rummage sale has been cancelled due to the construction in fellowship hall. We plan to hold a July rummage sale. Please continue to bring in your donations! We continue to sort and put items for sale in the little "shop" in fellowship hall.

Hospitality, Invitation & Fellowship ~ Colleen Karsner

Celebrations after church on April 30th! We have two important celebrations on April 30th following the service. Please plan to join us for a celebration of our newly- confirmed members of John Wesley, and also to celebrate Hannah Stelter, who has given us so much, grown with us so much, and is heading south to her roots. Sunday April 30 will feature a special Coffee Hour to celebrate these folks. If interested in helping, please contact Colleen Karsner or Amy Clatanoff-Brown. 

Men's Breakfast ~ Matt O'Connor

Men’s Breakfast on Saturday, April 22nd from 8:45am – 10:00 am: Men of John Wesley (both young and old), please join us for an hour of food, fellowship, and good discussion. The exact location of the breakfast is to-be-determined given the repairs going on in the Fellowship Hall, but we will be somewhere in the building. If you have questions or are interested in helping with the breakfast, please get in touch with Matt O’Connor at oconorscapecod@gmail.com

The Church Mouse

Yawn!!! I am awake from my hibernation and I am so rested. I think I heard some noise while I was asleep but I could have been dreaming. Anyway, I am sure I miss a lot while I was asleep.


Many people are attending book studies at different times during the week. I heard people say the book “Seven Words” is very good and they are learning a lot. I heard the book examines the seven last words of Christ on the cross. This is a little much for a mouse to understand.


I over heard someone talking about that blue house in the back of the church. Something about painting the walls and cleaning the rug. The other day after everyone left I investigated and the rug was clean and the walls where painted a soft gray, kind of like me. It looked so nice. I heard that someone was going to move into one of the rooms and the other rooms will be used for meetings. It sure looks nice and bright. I may visit more often.


I noticed the box in the Narthex with food in it. I overheard Bonnie talking about people making donations for food for a place called the Falmouth Service Center. I think we give a lot of food for people who cannot purchase enough food to feed their families. This sounds like a good project.


The organization called Belonging to Each Other has two rental homes to house people who are homeless. These two houses will be closed by the end of April and the people will be back on the street or some may have a home to go to. I hope they will be in a home and not back on the street again. I am so glad I have a home here at JW. 


I missed the Sunday services when I was asleep. I love the music, the praying and the sounds of people reading from scripture each Sunday. Pastor Rene’s sermons are so good. I am learning so much each Sunday. As much as a mouse can comprehend. I just learned that word – comprehend.


One day I heard a lot of banging coming from the big hall, so I investigated. Men were banging on the floor and removing pieces of the wood flooring. I heard they were replacing some of the boards. Then I heard a commotion about something they found under the floor boards. They were not happy and many people came into the room and were looking at the floor. I decided to leave and come back later. I overheard that the floor had termites and I could tell that was not good. More banging and more floor boards were removed. Now there is a big hole in the middle of the floor. I think this is a big problem. I think I will stay clear of the big hall.


I heard that Hannah and her husband Oz are moving to a place called Florida. Not sure where that is. She is leaving the end of April and Oz is leaving after school is over. I heard he is a teacher. I will miss Hannah’s children’s talk on Sunday.    

 I noticed each Sunday that the candles around the wreath are lit before the service and during the service one candle is extinguished (another word I just learned). I learned that this is the season called Lent and the candles represent a six-week period before Easter. Again, I am not sure what this all means, but I will learn by the time Easter is here, I hope.


Happy Easter

The Church Mouse

Spiritual Growth ~ Jennifer Linton

Wednesday Prayer group: 11 am weekly we meet in the Chapel. We pray for our church, for others as well as our country and world situations. Please join us. Take some time from your week to be with God and share your prayers.

Monday Morning Crafters

The Monday Morning Crafters meet at 10:00 in the Fitzgerald Room. We would love to have some new people join us along with new ideas. We are a small group but a mighty one, as we make and sell our wares at the Holiday Fair in November.

Do you knit, crochet, sew, quilt, Cross stitch, needlepoint, woodworking, etc., we would love to have you stop by some Monday. You do not have to join us every Monday. You can work at home and if you need some supplies, we just might have what you are looking for in our stash.

If you have any questions about our group, please see the following ladies: Marge Dean, Sally Tracy, Eileen Burt, Cynthia Smith or Linda Duane.

Music Ministry ~ Paula King

A little history of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”

Charles and John Wesley, two of the historic founders of The United Methodist Church, published the beloved hymn in their first hymnal, Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. A section toward the back of the hymnal includes songs for special days where “Hymn for Christmas-Day,” which we know as “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” is just a few pages away from “Hymn for Easter-Day” that we sing as “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”

For those who know our United Methodist Hymnal well, reading the words Wesley penned can feel incomplete. The alleluias we are used to singing at the end of each line aren’t there. A later editor added them to make the lyrics fit the tune and to give added opportunities for praise.

Entering the story

Wesley writes about the Resurrection in the present tense, inviting us into the biblical narrative. As we sing, we easily picture ourselves standing among the witnesses of the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.

“Christ the Lord is ris’n today,”

Sons of men and angels say,

Raise your joys and triumphs high,

Sing ye heav’ns, and earth reply.

Outreach/Missions ~ Bonnie Valade

Changing our World -There are white envelopes in the pews marked "Changing our World". These are for donations of bills in place of change if you would like. April donations will go to the "World Central Kitchen" for the people of Ukraine.

World Kitchen Website

Falmouth Service Center - we will continue to collect selected items for the center - each month the items in most demand will be posted, and the collection box is in the narthex. Items requested for the month of April - apple juice (64oz), corn or bran flakes, canned corn, spaghetti, ketchup, peanut butter, pancake mix. There is a collection bin in the Narthex.

Habitat Build - We will prepare snacks and fruit for Habitat volunteers this month. The construction is nearly finished so this may be the last chance for us to celebrate with food and prayer with the volunteers.  If you would like to contribute, please have the snacks and/or fruit in the kitchen by 3pm on Friday the 14th We deliver every month and is always delivered the third Saturday of the month. The next date of delivery is April 15th. It is very helpful if you slice breads or cakes. Thank you all for this outreach. The volunteers are very grateful.

If your desire is to help people in your community or abroad - join our great team.

Bonnie Valade - bvaladecc@comcast.com

From the Archives ~ Ken Peal

From the Archives #16

The Christmas Antique Show

[March 2023. The recent passing of Fern Eldridge reminded some of us at John Wesley of the Christmas Antique Show we ran at the church back in the 1980s. Fern was a local business woman who with her husband, Stan, ran The Grain Mill, a much-loved feed and grain store in Falmouth. She was also active in the wider antique scene on Cape Cod. After the Grain Mill closed she moved to New Hampshire and ran a large antique market in an old barn in Northwood, NH called Fern Eldridge and Friends Antiques. We remember her because during her time in Falmouth she organized the Christmas Antique Show here at the church. We thought this might be a good time to revisit the story about the show, told in a “From the Archives” article in the October 2018 church newsletter, below.]

               In 1978 antique dealer Fern Eldridge approached our church to help stage an antique show for the Christmas season. She envisaged dealers setting up booths throughout the church. Displays would include furniture, tools, toys, art, machinery, signs, crafts, pottery, clocks, models, nautical items and jewelry all presented with period Christmas decorations. The vision was the whole building transformed to portray the Christmas spirit and to evoke memories of childhood Christmases.

The show would be organized by Fern including professional advertising and all arrangements with the dealers. John Wesley’s responsibility would be to clear out all the spaces used by the dealers and to provide porters that would help the dealers and customers. The church also sold refreshments and collected entry fees from the public. The show would run on a Friday and Saturday in early December with the church returned to normal for Sunday services. 

The church decided to proceed and experienced considerable interest from the start (1979). For those who may remember, this was while Carl Daley was pastor. It was generally agreed that the overall effect of the many antique booths was unexpected and beautiful. The whole church was truly transformed to a Christmas showpiece.

A history of the show can be deduced from the Financial Secretary’s entries in the Charge Conference reports for the period 1979 to 1988. The first year showed less than $200 “refreshments for the Antique Show”. But from then on the proceeds were typically between $1200 and $2800 every year amounting to more than $18,000 over the ten years that the show ran (perhaps $40,000 in 2018 dollars).

Reviewing other parts of the Charge Conference reports for the period, we see that the initial skepticism towards the show changed to enthusiasm. The yearly Ways and Means Committee reports used phrases like “our beautiful Antique Show and Sale” and “our annual 2 day Antique Show and Sale”. It became a staple of fundraising with specific plans to make use of the proceeds. In 1988 the trustees minutes include examples: “Antique Show proceeds to bathroom handicap access” and “one half the proceeds from the Antique Show be used for the kitchen floor”.

Although the yearly sums of money seem small by present standards the show was consistently the largest fund raiser reported by the Financial Secretary. So why then did it not continue? There are no entries for it after the 1988 report. We are left to deduce what happened from other evidence. In 1987 a letter was sent to Fern Eldridge asking that no wall fastenings be used by dealers during the sale. In trustees minutes in 1988 we read that the show was “approved for 1 year” apparently after some discussion. Then at the 1992 Charge Conference a motion “to reinstate the Antique Show” was passed by a slim margin: Yes - 15, No - 14, Abstentions - 9. But it never returned.

Possible explanations for its demise are the amount of effort required to move every stick of church furniture (including pianos!) twice in one week and also the demands placed on the porters. Or concern that the show could be viewed as inappropriate for a church or even not allowed under our nonprofit status. Also relevant is a statement back in the 1985 Annual Report that the Ways and Means Committee was disbanding. The suggestion was that individual fundraising events could continue and new ones should be initiated as needed to meet the church’s goals. This could well have been the start of a movement encouraged by Jeanette Burton, our Pastor at the time, away from simply commercial fundraisers towards events with more emphasis on fellowship and service to the community.

               In the 1980s the Christmas Antique Show and Sale was successful and exciting and it filled a fundraising need in the church for many years. Following this lead we now offer our Christmas Fair to the community in November every year.                                                                         

K. Peal, Oct 2018


Cupola of the Steeple

A gentle wash was what it took to make our steeple nice and clean. Thanks to the workers from JLB Painting the green moss and other accumulated debris was gently removed from the aluminum cupola. Take a look when you come by!

The same crew painted the interior of the former parsonage a beautiful soft shade of gray. Now with clean carpets and fresh paint the building we are calling the John Wesley House will be ready to provide a lovely space for an office and meeting space for JWUMC.

Sharing a visit with Allison ~ On April 16 after the 9:30 service Lisa Asendorf will give a presentation about her November visit with Allison. We will learn more about the place where Allison is living and the people in her life. There will be a time of prayer. Please join us.

Passed into God's Glory

Priscilla M. (Boyden) "Patsie" Tsarides, 90, died at her home in Buzzards Bay, on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, V. Peter Tsarides in June of 2021.Relatives and friends are invited to a calling hour between 10:00-11:00 am, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am, Friday, April 21, at Chapman Funerals and Cremations, 74 Algonquin Ave (RTE 151), Mashpee, MA 02649.

Rev. D. S. Dharmapalan “DHARMA”, 87, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2023. Rev. Dharma and his wife Kamala attended John Wesley for several years. Dharma was a guest preacher at John Wesley.  A memorial service was held Saturday March 25, 2023, at the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church where he has most recently been attending..

It is with sadness that we share that Barbara Swenson passed away Wednesday morning March 22nd. A memorial service was held March 30th. Barbara was a native of Falmouth and a well known realtor in town and a long time member of John Wesley.

We also sadly share that Charles Berkley, husband of Sandra Berkley, passed away March 18th. A memorial service is planned for May 19th here at John Wesley. There will be a reception at the church following the service. 

With great sadness, the family of Arthur Hampton March 22nd.Visitation will take place on Thursday, April 6, 2023 from 4 – 7 PM at Chapman Funerals, 475 Main Street, Falmouth. A Celebration and Remembrance Service will take place on Friday, April 7, 2023 at 11 AM here at John Wesley United Arthur was very active long time member (1952!) here at John Wesley and a well known woodworker and builder in town.

April Meetings and Events at JWUMC

Weekly Meetings:

Monday ~ Crafters 10:00am

Tuesday ~ Bible Study Group with Tim Cline & Ted Burt 10 am

Wednesday ~ Prayer Meeting 11 am in the Chapel

Wednesday ~ Handbell rehearsal 5:45 pm & Chancel Choir at 7 pm as scheduled

April Meetings:

Thursday April 13th ~ TLT 6:30 pm

Wednesday 19th ~ Outreach/Missions 6 pm

Tuesday April 18th ~Stewardship Committee 11 am

Saturday 22nd~ Men's Breakfast Discussion 8:45am

Thursday April 27th - SPRMT Meeting ~ 5 pm

Saturday April 29th - Confirmation Banquet ~12 noon

Tuesday 25th ~ Trustees 5 pm

Birthday Wishes for APRIL: 

Let us celebrate life among our church family. 2nd ~ Tamica DeGrace, 4th ~ Wendy Blomberg & Frances Shibata ~ 5th ~ Betty Smith, 10th ~ Marilyn McFarland, Gary Bernhardt & Carmen Espinosa, 11th ~ Pearl Jurentkuff, 13th~ Karen Camp,

15th~ Charles Bresnahan, 16th ~ Jennifer Orne & Cyndy Jones, 21st ~ Steve Adams, 25th ~ Noreen Byrne. It's a great thing to have a birthday, a gift from God. Please give your birthday information by recording it on the calendar on the Fellowship bulletin board.

John Wesley United Methodist Church, 270 Gifford Street, Falmouth, MA 02540

(508) 548-3050 


John Loewen, Sexton

George Cary, Treasurer

Ruth Moulton, Church Administrator

Paula King, Director of Music Ministries

Myles Lowery, Audio Visual

Hannah Stelter, Director of Children & Youth Ministries

Rev. René A. Perez, Pastor

April, 2022

The storms of winter have now passed.

April showers nourish the earth,

Combined with sunshine to assure

An awakening and new birth.

The red-winged blackbirds have arrived…

Harbingers of spring are now here.

Cormorants are migrating north;

In Great Bay they will soon appear.

Spring bulbs are poking through the ground;

Singing of songbirds fills the air.

All of Nature is budding forth.

Such signs of spring are everywhere.

Harsh cold March winds have disappeared;

Soft, gentle breezes herald spring.

The earth is alive with newness.

Such pleasures does this season bring!

We celebrate Easter this month,

A special time for us each year,

By worshiping the risen Christ,

Knowing that He is always near.

Thank You, God, for Nature’s bounty

May our souls be renewed within.

Just as April brings forth new life,

May we be absolved of all sin.

Joy Stosz

April, 2022

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