OnLine Enews - Nov 23 - Nov 30, 2022
Rev. Tom Willetts
Saturday Worship restarts
Nov 26th 4:45pm-Sanctuary
Sunday Worship 10am in the Sanctuary
Friday, Nov 25 at 9am Hanging of the Greens
Friday, Nov 25th at 10am Alzheimer's Caregivers

Office closes Wed at NOON this week - reopens Monday, Nov 28th

Monday, Nov 28th at 1pm - Finance
Monday, Nov 28at 1pm - Prayer Warriors
Tuesday, Nov 29th at 10am - Leadership

Starting Saturday, Nov 26th at 4:45pm
the first weekend of Advent 1- we will return to Saturday services.

Thanksgiving Prayer for Families by Rev. Lia Icaza-Willetts

Our Loving God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, we your people praise you.
As we gather on this Thanksgiving Day we give you all honor and praise,
We thank you for your love and mercy and for the blessing of family and friends. 
We give thanks for our table of bounty, and we ask for your blessings
upon the food and this precious time together.
 We pray that you would bless us and fill our hearts with love and forgiveness for one another. 
On this Thanksgiving Day, we remember the poor and those in need of love and hope. 
 Lord, lead us to reach out to those in need and to share our loving hearts and
helping hands with people in our community. 
We pray for the healing of all the nations of the world.   
Lord, please help us to praise you in our happy moments,
to worship you in our quiet moments, 
to trust you in our painful moments and thank you every moment of our lives, 
All of these we ask in the name of Jesus, and all the people of God say: Amen!

Blessings Pastor Lia Willetts


Jesus Christ is our HOPE.

This weekend marks the beginning of the Christian New Year. Not because of Thanksgiving, but because of ADVENT and the coming celebration of CHRISTMAS, the birth of Jesus. We have 4 weeks to prepare for the coming celebration of the birth of Jesus. Lots of us are worried about preparing for the family celebrations on Dec 24th and 25th. Let’s make sure we are awake to behold the coming of Jesus. Let’s read this weekend’s scripture lesson.

Romans 13:9-14

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Paul is writing to Christians in Rome. These believers were a mix of Gentile and Jewish converts to Christianity. The 13th chapter begins with Paul reframing ethics and righteousness in terms of the love of Jesus. Both the gentile and Jewish believers had ethical standards, but both were based in laws and ritual standards (Greco/Roman Law – the Law of Moses). Paul is seeking to awaken them from their darkness of these failed understandings to the light of Jesus Christ which has given us a new standard.

The new dawn that is coming is the light and love of Jesus Christ. Just as 2000 years ago we are in the early dawn moments of the full daylight of Christ. Be assured that daylight is coming – the darkness is past. Therefore, we should act as if it were full daylight. We can clothe ourselves with the light of Christ from our baptism as we put on the armor of light. In baptism we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ – not our own rules and regulations. We receive Jesus’ gift of grace. Because of this gift we have a different ethic and behave differently.

Verse 13 lists the vices that were prohibited in both Roman Law and Jewish Law. However, these vices were commonly practiced in Roman society. Paul is not giving more laws or reinforcing the old ones. Paul calls these new Christians to exceed the old laws and live by the law of love of Christ - “and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:9b-10.

To love oneself was a well-known standard in Rome. Everyone was looking out for their own best interests. The competition was keen and cutthroat. To excel was the goal. There was no thought or concern of how one person’s actions would affect others – to be the best was the only goal. Paul is instructing the Roman Christians to refocus their love towards their neighbors. They are to be in relationship with them in a loving way. Just as they have loved themselves and sought their own benefit, now they are to seek the benefit of others.

Love dawns into the darkness of the world with Advent. We see it rise in Christmas and we behold the full radiance of day in the Resurrection of Jesus. The source of that love and light is Jesus. The twinkling lights and jolly tunes will gratify the desires of the flesh for a festive season with family and friends. But as Christian folk we have more to celebrate – the dawning of a new day in Jesus Christ. As disciples we are called to wake up – no more sleep walking through life. Get dressed and put of the armor of love and move into the world boldly to defeat darkness and reflect the love of Christ into the lives of everyone around us.

WAKE UP and prepare for the new dawn of the light and love of Jesus to come into the world. It is not by our own efforts or righteousness that the world is made a better place. Only by the love of Christ lived out in the world through his disciples does the world witness Jesus. Jesus Christ is the HOPE of the World as the light sent from God shines into the darkness to show us all the way of salvation.

Pastor Tom
Financial Update
                               Additional Apportionments Giving         + $4,000.00
                               October INCOME                                   $33,282.00
                               October EXPENSES                              $32,550.00
                                                                                               + $ 732.00

Thank you, Good Shepherd UMC, for responding to our request to increase giving to pay additional funds for Apportionments and to bring our Operating Funds into better balance.

We have received additional gifts of over $4,000 which will be paid to our Apportionments goal from the Conference. Our goal remains to raise an additional $16,000 by the close of 2022.
Our monthly income in October was better than 2021. October income was $33,282.00. October expenses were steady at $32,550. October has been a low-income month in the past, but due to increased gifts we met all expenses.

November income has been greatly hampered by Hurricane Ian and other financial headwinds. Thus far we have not received our usual “bump” in seasonal giving and are facing a monthly shortfall of income compared to expenses.

Our Year to Date INCOME to EXPENSE also shows continued weakness.
               Year To Date INCOME                   $329.673.00
               Year To Date EXPENSES              $345,048.00
              ($ 15,375.00)
Our expenses have remained steady throughout the year. Our expenses are higher than last year due to the impacts of the full mortgage amount on the Ministry Center and higher Staff costs since the staff is back working full hours and providing full services. We have offset increased utility costs by raising thermostats and careful stewardship of the buildings. Our hurricane repair costs will be covered by our CATASTROPHY Fund from our reserves. We did not suffer enough damage to receive any payments from our insurance.

We do have cash reserves which can cover our monthly shortfalls, but we cannot continue to spend more than we receive for many months. We carefully manage our expenses and have cut back in many ways.

We invite everyone in the church to pray for our financial wellbeing and to consider how we can best regain our balance and health and meet our ministry goals and fulfill our mission. We invite you to be as generous as possible in the coming weeks so we can regain our balance and thrive in 2023.


The Finance Team of Good Shepherd UMC
ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTERS AND ADVENT READERS NEEDED...... it takes two at each service.

Please ask a friend and sign up to help with the Advent Candle Lighting.

SIGN UP ON CLIPBOARD in the entryway (Narthex)
We need helpers who can decorate the poinsettia tree and front of church on Dec 9th & 16th.

We also need someone to volunteer to pick up the poinsettias at Publix on Dec 9th and
Dec 16th at 9am.
They will need a truck or SUV.

Please call Helen to volunteer to pick up flowers. Also, there is a signup sheet in the Narthex you can signup to help with the decorating on those two mornings.

Come explore the true meaning of Advent and Christmas with the ADVENT CHRISTMAS STUDY lead by Pastor Lia Willetts.

Please sign up in the Narthex to attend or
call the church office at 239-543-2686.


Please contact Audrey Martin at
write it on your yellow
LET'S CONNECT CARD or call the office at 239-543-2686.

We will have our next
Dec 17th and 18th.
JOIN US - Online - Sunday Morning on Facebook & YouTube.
Find us at:
OR on YouTube: Good Shepherd UMC NFM.
Sunday Worship at 10AM Sunday School at 9am

If at any time you wish to unsubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter
please call us at 239/543-2686.
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church | 239/543-2686
2951 Trail Dairy Circle, North Fort Myers, FL 33917