Ponderings from your Pastor... - First United Methodist Church

In 2007, we began a new branding process. We had surveys
and conversations that resulted
in our “new” logo and naming
our core values: welcoming,
inspiring, acting, supporting,
challenging. For several years
thereafter, we spent time in
getting our “brand” into the
community and watching our congregation renew.
In 2011, we began renovations and partnership with Soul
Dr. Jane Florence
Desires in birthing our downtown ministry, Urban Abbey.
For these last four years, we have done ministry through
our Old Market site and created a Sunday evening worshipping community
there. This summer, Urban Abbey will launch as a new church in the Great Plains
Annual Conference.
In 2012, we began our Shine Forth Capital Campaign to give new life to the
1960s Cary Hall. In 2013, we completed the design phase, and in October 2014
our newly renovated Commons and east entrance was complete. The space
now welcomes even more into ministries of compassion, justice and fellowship.
Now what? It’s time to imagine,
dream, research, pray and discern
once more. What is God calling us
to do next? Where is the greatest
need in our community? How can
we respond to it? What will be our
hallenging next God-sized ministry? These
are the questions we are asking
ourselves and those beyond our doors as we discern our goal for the next five
years. Yes, surprising as it may sound, the year 2020 is only five years away.
Sunday school classes, small groups, fellowship meals, Church Council meetings, one-on-ones will generate many ideas. We welcome all voices into these
questions. What do we need to do to become more Christ-like ourselves?
What do we need to do to help others as well? I hope you will be a part of a
conversation that contributes to this visioning process. Join in the conversations taking place and start some yourself. Talk to people you know outside the
church to get their ideas also. Share your findings with me.
After several months of listening, we will begin a prayer and discernment process to identify our next congregation-wide ministry. That will be followed by
developing action plans and working out the details. Keep eyes and ears and
hearts wide open, and listen with me, for God’s voice leading us in our journey
of faith and service.
Connected in Christ,
Church Council Meeting
Tuesday, March 31, 6:00 p.m., room 112
7020 Cass Street • Omaha, Nebraska 68132 • 402.556.6262
p o r ti n g
in g
in g
Ponderings from your Pastor...
S up
March 2015
Worship Schedule
8:30 & 10:50 am, Sanctuary
5:30 pm, Urban Abbey
Taize Worship
Saturday, March 7
5:00 pm, Mead Chapel
Jane Florence
Debra McKnight
Church Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 8:30 am-4:00 pm
Friday & Sunday 8:30 am-12:00 noon
Closed Saturday
Urban Abbey Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:00 am-9:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am-8:00 pm
Closed Sunday 5:00-6:30 for worship
“We are a United Methodist congregation of all sexual orientations and
gender identities making disciples of
Jesus Christ for the transformation of
the world. We stand in solidarity with
Reconciling Ministry Network working
against injustice and discrimination
through peace and justice.”
Dear Church Family,
I feel called to the life and ministry that nurtures the seed of inclusivity
you have helped plant in Omaha’s Old Market through the Urban Abbey.
I am ever grateful for all of the support you, Pastor Jane, the church staff
and many board members have offered to make this vision an emerging
possibility. We are at a place of real possibilities with a strong foundation.
Thank you for building that foundation.
As the Urban Abbey transitions into life as a full-fledged new church start
it has become clear that the work of this transition calls for more of my
time and energy. To be fair to the resources and ministries of both FUMC
and Urban Abbey, I have discerned through prayer and conversation with
Jane and our District Superintendent, that it is time for me to move into
this ministry effective March 1st rather than May 1st.
Rev. Debra McKnight,
Our ministries will always share the roots of God’s all-loving grace and the
Mike & Lila
intention towards a visible and active expression of generous hospitality.
Even as the Abbey enters a new phase, you have a stake in the future of the Urban Abbey as the planting church. Please keep the Abbey in your prayers. I hope a beautiful partnership will unfold in the days,
months and years ahead as we work together in our special settings with our unique gifts to be able to
reach more people and grow our impact in the world together. Please have coffee and bring your friends
for tea. Please feel proud of the financial gifts we share with local non-profits in Omaha through our sales
and the events we share with each partner.
Words cannot express my gratitude for all you have taught me about what it means to be a pastor. You
have been a vital part of nurturing me into ministry from the very start of my career. I came to you a single
seminarian and you have loved me through every new step. You made my ordination a reality, you celebrated my marriage to Mike, you cared for me during my pregnancy and have watched Lila wander up for
children’s time on Sunday morning. I am eternally grateful for the honor of serving in ministry with you and
to you. I have been blessed.
In Gratitude,
Buy One, Give One!
We are giving “BOGO” a new meaning with this hospitality campaign! As a thank you for worshipping with
us, we like to gift first-time guests with a special FUMC bag and Compassion mug. When you buy a mug
or bag for yourself, you will also be giving a mug or bag to a new friend of FUMC! Whenever you sip from
your Compassion mug or pull a book from your FUMC bag, you can be mindful of the positive impact you
had in welcoming and hospitality. These great items will be for sale in the Gathering Place March 8, 15 and
22 and by request to [email protected]
Thank you for your support in this vital ministry!
What: Choral Concert celebrating
Mugs - $10 front: Compassion;
back: “Love God. Love Each Other.”
Bags - $5 available in yellow & purple
Attendance for February 2015
Total Attendance 1st Time Visitors
2/1/15...................... 73..**
2/8......................... 441............................ 8
2/15....................... 355............................ 2
2/22....................... 608............................ 1
**Extreme winter weather closed most Omaha churches, but we held church for those who came even
though 8” of snow had fallen the previous evening.
Where: First United Methodist Church
When: Sunday May 3rd, 2015
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM Concert
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Social
Celebrate and remember our first 40 years!
Thank You for your years of service and commitment!
First United Methodist, Temple Israel, St. Pius X,
Countryside Community Church, St. Luke United Methodist,
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, St. Paul United Methodist,
Hanscom Park United Methodist, Faith Westwood, and The
Water’s Edge.
Help our non-profit coffee shop make a difference
@ 1026 Jackson Street in the Old Market
Our community partner for March is United Methodist
Table Grace Music Night – March 6, 6:30 p.m.
Join us for the heart songs of professional musicians and Christians that feed
people body, mind and soul.
UMM Down and Dirty with Wiggly Worms –
March 7, 10:00 a.m.
Join the Big Garden for a fun family event where you’ll learn about soil, composting, worms, and cover crops. This event, geared for children and adults,
will teach about soils & how to care for garden soil, with hands-on activities for the entire family. You’ll even get a
plant to take home!
UMM Big Garden Seed Share – March 28, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
Bring any seeds you have to share, take home seeds for your garden, enjoy a demonstration on starting seeds
indoors, and learn about saving your own seed this growing season. No experience or knowledge required, and all
ages are welcome!
Envisioning a Future Without Gun Violence
featuring The Rev. James Atwood
Painting at Camp Fontanelle – February 16, 2105
Mercy & Justice Collection for March
We are collecting your favorite pasta and sauce for Pearl Pantry.
Put those in the toy box in the Gathering Place or take to Urban Abbey.
Mercy & Justice
The Rev. James Atwood has been working to prevent gun violence for 40 years
– since that awful afternoon in 1975 when he rushed to the bedside of a member
of his congregation, who lay dying. The man had been shot by a teenager who
picked up a gun from his buddy at a bowling alley, then went in search of money.
A gun owner and deer hunter for more than 55 years, as well as a member of
the National Rifle Association, the Rev. Atwood nevertheless is convinced that
Americans must address this public health crisis. Devoted gun owners will often
say guns don’t kill; but 30,000 death certificates every year state otherwise.
Author of America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé, Atwood believes there
are profound spiritual implications that outweigh the political ones regarding the
prevalence of guns and violence in our communities, and that the faith commuRev. Atwood
nity has a responsibility to strategize and find ways to curb violence.
During the week of National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, March 15-22, Rev. Atwood will be visiting
faith communities in Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas and in Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island, Nebraska. In his calling, while serving churches as a Presbyterian pastor, he also served two years as chairperson
of the Greater Washington D.C. chapter of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement that encourages
gun shops to adopt a code of conduct aimed at deterring illegal purchases and trafficking of handguns.
Atwood will speak on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. in The Commons. All are welcome. Enter through
door 4 or 6. This is a Great Plains Conference-sponsored event in response to a 2014 Resolution: “Christians Respond to Gun Violence”, presented in partnership with Nebraskans for Peace.
Please remember in prayer these members of Our Church Family
For Continued Healing: Kay Bain, Dean Barnett, Doris Boruff-Peterson, Phyllis Burroughs, Pat Cluck, Michael Dantzler, Connie Davis, Milton Davison, Betty Dorr, Julie Eggen, John Farmer, Ella Gerber, Ross Kaiser, Nan Knicely, Von Lorenzen, Deborah Mabry-Strong, Mildred Mattson, Norm Miller, Bonnie Morehead,
Ella Muntz, Helen Nipper, Carole Patrick, Dorothy Pennington, Audrey Porter, Virginia Rosenthal, Eleanor
Ruge, Nancy Simpson, Fred Zydek.
Births: Julian Stewart Morton, was born February 6 to Elle & Josh Morton and big sisters Olive & Penny.
Sympathies to: The family of Jo Bell, who died February 9; the family of Milo Cowdery, who died February
7; Charlie Gould, on the death of his mother, Phyllis Gould, January 25.
Please let the church office know if you are hospitalized or if there has been a family loss.
Submit your prayer requests to:
Marylin Stewart at [email protected] or call the church office at 402-556-6262 x1001.
Please follow these brief guidelines when submitting a request for the Prayer Chain:
• Use names without describing the need. Give the first or full name and relationship – friend, brother/
sister, spouse/partner, parent, child, etc.
• Give a brief statement of need – illness, grief, crisis
• Get permission from the person to be listed on the Prayer Chain before contacting Marylin
or the church.
Dear Church Family,
Thank you for the calls, cards, gifts and other ways you have shown your love and comfort to our family since
John’s death. For Ranita Lilyhorn from Stephen Ministries and others who visited John in the home this past
year and to Jane Florence & Debra McKnight for their around-the-clock support in those last hours – you
have been a blessing. To Mark Kurtz and Becky Jones for the beautiful music at the service and to all of you
who attended the service or were with us in thoughts and prayers – we are grateful. Mostly, thank you for
being our friends and for being a part of John’s life story. Emogene Whitten & Family
Together thanks us for our monthly donation. For more information on Together, visit
their website at www.TogetherOmaha.org.
HELP Adult Services thanks us for our donation of 661 Snickers candy bars and $20 to
help support HELP Adult Services Christmas
Stockings for the Incarcerated Program. For
more information, visit their website at: www.
Heifer International thanks us for putting
together a Living Gift Market from donations
through our Alternative Christmas Mall.
Mardi Gras 2015
Faith [email protected] First in February 2015
Please join us. (All classes meet on Sunday morning at 9:35 unless otherwise noted.) All are welcome to any
class. ??? Contact Mary Spurgeon @402-556-6262 x1004 or email at [email protected])
Boomers +/- – meet on Sunday mornings to enjoy one another’s care and company, and to reflect on
one of the many topics under the theme, “Progressive Christian Living”, as well as responding to today’s challenges and appreciating what others have done before. You will find this community in room 112.
Centering Prayer – Not a class, but an experience, this time of soul work begins with 10 minutes of fellowship, followed by a 20 minute sit-in-silence, closing with The Lord’s Prayer. This sacred time is set aside for
you to be present in each moment, and to willingly consent for the Divine to work within you, in community
with others who are doing the same. It is a contemporary form of an ancient spiritual practice. All are welcome in Mead Chapel at 9:35 on Sunday. A more extended Centering Prayer time, which includes a short
discussion of a related writing, is offered on the second and fourth Thursdays monthly at 6:15 p.m., also in
Mead Chapel.
Connections – These Gen-Xers find the Animate series engaging. They will likely begin another this
month, after taking in the Preparation for Action on LGTB Rights on the 1st. They also share support for the
challenging task of raising children in this 21st Century. They convene in room 203.
Explorers – These mild-mannered revolutionaries continue their study of The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Ways of Jesus by Robin Meyers. Join them in the Adult Education Library.
Faithlinks – The class’ weekly study guide invites Christians to consider the United Methodist Church’s
stance on important contemporary and developing issues; to consider them in the thoughtful light of their
personal experience; and then encourages action on the basis of their beliefs. This class requires no advance
preparation. Come to room 111.
Considering Saints – “Do We DARE to Follow Jesus?” is the question posed by Dr. Florence during
A Preparation for Action on LGBT Rights – In Part 2 of this series, on Sunday, March 1,
with Sex and the City of God: A Faithful Response to Changing Public Policy, the Rev. Dr. Jane Florence
will remind us from whence comes our authority to be agents of change. Come be empowered to have your
voice and actions aid in the great task of bringing about the grace-filled Kin-dom of God on the Earth. Join
us in The Commons.
Sophia’s Path – Sophia’s Path is a group who meet weekly to connect, learn, reflect, and grow together.
They meet on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:30 in room 111. All are welcome! Childcare is provided
upon request. Please contact [email protected] to reserve a spot. ??? Contact Elle Morton at
[email protected]
Knitting Into the Mystery – These people with an affection for yarn meet on Sundays, 3:00-4:00
p.m. at the Tea Smith (345 North 78th Street). All ages and skill levels are welcome. ?? Call 402 391-8750.
Urban Abbey – The Gospel of Mark Study with the Rev. Mark Kemling meets Mondays from
4:00-5:30 p.m. For more info, please contact Mary Spurgeon at [email protected] or
402-556-6262 x1004.
Calling All Environmentalists!
God, Creation & Climate Conference
Featuring keynote speaker, and award-winning author, Dr. Richard
Miller, and multiple workshops. Saturday, March 21, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00
p.m., Mammel Hall, UNO College of Business Administration, 6708
Pine St. Tickets: $35/person; students: $15.00; discounts for students
and 2 or more persons registering together and price includes lunch.
There is a late fee for registrations received after March 7. Registration deadline: March 14. To Register: Go to God-Creation-Climate.
eventbrite.com. Hosted by Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light. More
information: email [email protected] or call 402-405-9425.
Movie Group
The movie “Still Alice” will be discussed at the Urban Abbey on Tuesday, March 10, 6:00 pm followed by
optional dinner/snack/drinks at a restaurant in the Old Market. Please join us!
Faith [email protected] First
Lent. Really?! Who has done that? Why do we know or remember them? Do the examples of their lives offer
anything besides undesirable privations and unattainable expectations? What do their lives have in common?
How were they empowered to be who they became? Is that something to which we can aspire? This four-part
series will investigate these questions as we learn more about the lives of long ago and recent saints. Marj
Phillips and Mary Spurgeon facilitate, Sunday mornings, March 8-29, 9:35-10:35 in room 108.
Twenty seven from FUMC-Omaha Attend Legislative Briefing Day
“No doubt that a small group of
thoughtful committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed it is the only
thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
In some respects this is the premise in
which caused the group to assemble
at Christ UMC, in Lincoln, February 14.
The emphases of the briefings were
those issues that center on the social,
educational, and health issues the
Unicameral will discuss and act upon
in its current session. It is now up to
Margaret Mead’s reference to “small
group” to spread the impact some of
these laws will have.
Do we still want a death penalty, when so much money and energy is put into these proceedings, only to
find out that some are innocent yet are on death row? What is the reasoning behind supporting charter
schools – 5 of them – only in the Omaha area? Why do we need a voter ID bill? What impact does this bill
and prohibition on a certain immigrant population getting drivers licenses have on those in our metropolitan area? Why would our state refuse federal dollars to expand
Medicaid? Why is the Learning Community’s original intent being
compromised? Is there “human trafficking” in the Midwest?
These are only a few of the issues explored February 14. To comment
or editorialize on the sessions would not do the presenters justice.
We thank Carol Windrum, chair of FUMC’s Poverty Education and
Advocacy Team and Rev. Ron Roemmich, a committee member of
the Legislative Briefing Day, plus Dr. John Mackiel for their time and
input in helping a “small group of thoughtful committed citizens”
better understand the power they have in changing the world.
Volunteers In Mission (VIM) Gourmet Dinner Tickets
are on sale Now!
This is our 23rd Annual Gourmet Dinner (this year with live
dinner music) and will be held Saturday, March 21 at 6:00
pm in The Commons. This special meal is prepared and
served by youth and adult Volunteers in Mission. Reservations are required. The tickets are $25/person with all proceeds going to support FUMC youth and adult outreach
projects. Open seating or group reservations for a table
of 8 are available. Donations to support VIM are always
welcome! Meal tickets can be purchased in the Gathering
Place, the Church Office, from VIM members, or by sending an e-mail to either Bruce Deines ([email protected]) or
Mike Rosenthal ([email protected]).
Mission at Our Doorstep Opportunity
Our next Mission at Our Door Step opportunity will be at the Food Bank of the Heartland, on Tuesday
March 10, from 1-3:30 pm. This event is appropriate for anyone age 12 and older. You can sign up to participate in the Gathering Place. Please contact Mike Rosenthal @ [email protected] or at
402-599-3715 for more information.
Pope Francis Encourages Giving Up
“Indifference” for Lent
In his Lenten message, Pope Francis called those of us observing Lent
to fast from indifference and create “islands of mercy.”
“’As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about
those less well off.' Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken
on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference.” – Pope Francis
Tween Scene Bible Camp
Saturday, March 7,
10:00 am-noon, room 204
Our 3rd through 5th graders will spend the
morning exploring their bibles together. Students will learn the story of Abraham, about
the Last Supper and a scavenger hunt/baking
extravaganza! If your child is interested in
attending, please contact [email protected]
fumcomaha.org. In order to plan activities
accordingly, we do ask that you RSVP to this
FREE event by March 1.
Palm Sunday Spaghetti Feed
and Lenten Family Event
Join us on Palm Sunday, March 29 at noon in The
Commons for our annual Spaghetti Feed. This meal
has traditionally been a fundraiser for our youth
program, but this year our youth will be helping to
fundraise for our children’s program: the Kids Zone.
Children and families are also invited to participate
in our Lenten event in room 112, complete with
pretzel making, egg dyeing and crafts. This will be a
great opportunity for fellowship, as well as investing
in the Christian education of our youngest disciples!
Omaha Together One Community
Celebrating Community Fundraiser
Saturday, April 25, 6:00-9:30 pm,
Hot Shops Art Center, Old Market
Appetizers – Cash Bar – Live Music – Silent Auction
This year’s OTOC fundraiser needs your help! FUMC members have key positions again this year. Suzanne
Doupnik is the chair for this event and Carol Beaty is the Silent Auction Chair. In order to be successful in
raising the $18,000 that is our goal for the fundraiser, we need some support. The money raised is used to
support OTOC’s efforts in the Omaha metro community.
Here are some ways you can support the OTOC fundraiser this year.
1.Buy tickets (for yourself, your friends, your family) beginning March 29 in the Gathering Place.
The ticket cost is $20/person.
2.Invite others to buy tickets and attend the event with you.
3. Donate an item to the Silent Auction. Our goal is to have a minimum of 200 items this year – ideas
include art, gift certificates, a week in a condo, services, a basket of a few things, etc.
4.Ask business acquaintances or friends to consider donating an item. All who donate will be recognized at the event. Carol Beaty has sample letters for making a request and a donation form.
5.Be a sponsor – make a monetary contribution to help offset the fundraiser expenses.
6.Ask business acquaintances or friends to be a sponsor (Carol asked her financial advisor and he
donated $250).
Contact Carol Beaty at [email protected] or 402-496-8468 for any questions about being a supporter of the
OTOC fundraiser.
United Methodist Women is forming a monthly group to sew, knit and crochet items for Midwest
Mission Distribution Center, an UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) Center. Items needed include school bags, diapers, children’s hospital outfits, quilts and baby sweaters. The goal is to
complete many items and have fun and fellowship while working. If you are interested, please indicate
your best time to meet: the day of the week and the time of day. Let us know by contacting Emogene
Whitten, 402-905-2420 or Nancy Coziahr, [email protected]
Book Review –
Thursday, March 19, 10:00 a.m., Parlor
The Sister Fidelma mysteries are a series of historical mystery novels and short
stories by Peter Tremayne set in seventh century Ireland. The heroine, Sister
Fidelma, is both a lawyer (Irish “dalaigh”) and Celtic “réligieuse”. Absolution by
Murder tells the story of the struggle between the Roman and Celtic Christian
churches. In 664 AD, King Oswy of Northumbria convenes a synod at Whitby to
decide which shall be granted primacy in his kingdom. The decision changed
Christianity as we live it today. Pastor Jane will be sharing from this book. Everyone is invited.
Looking for a “Hands On” Mission Experience?
Return Service Requested
7020 Cass Street
Omaha, NE 68132-2601
Visit our
NEW web page!
U.S. Postage Paid
Permit #105
Omaha, Nebraska