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Our Journey to the Strategic Plan
On this past Monday, Church Council unanimously voted on FUMC’s strategic plan. Let’s take time to celebrate (queue song: Celebration by Kool & The Gang).
Outside of excitement and hope, some of the feedback included:
- FUMC needs a consistent plan to help see themselves as part of the teams
- The plan is an ambitious plan that requires some quick wins
- The plan requires some prioritization of goals
There are 7 teams to either be created and/or strengthened that will make decisions in love from the outgrowth of our core values of Service, Openness, and Welcome:
Here are the teams
- Fun Team
- Kitchen/Hospitality Team
- Outreach Team
- Nurturing Team
- Social Justice Team
- Welcome Team
- Worship, Music, and Arts Team
I will extrapolate more during Sunday’s Lunch and Learn; for now, I’d like to cast this scriptural vision:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6,
It will take all of use to generously sow seeds of prayers, time, witness, and finances for FUMC to reach these ambitious but achievable goals. Please begin to consider 1 – 2 areas in which you will serve.
I shared last week these goals with some additional commentary.
Goal 1. Have a mission-minded mindset by Thanksgiving 2019
This means going on an international mission trip by 2020, developing strong local mission projects (e.g. habitat for humanity, etc.), and translating the annual #GivingTuesday post thanksgiving celebration into hands-on missions in Westfield.
Goal 2. Immediately live into our vision: Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly with God
This means developing a social justice team who holds quarterly training seminars on several issues of justice within our region, including in year 1 educating the congregation on what it means to be a reconciling ministries congregation, so that by year 2 (2020) FUMC officially begins the reconciling ministries discernment process with the goal of becoming a reconciling congregation by 2021.
Goal 3. Rethink what it means to worship God
This means growing our current worship service while additionally getting a group of congregants to commit to attending (e.g. planting) an alternative worship service that is fully operational by 2020. And further exploring worship services utilizing jazz, organ, and “contemporary” bands, and so much more. We must REINVIGORATE! The Music, Worship, & Arts team. All of our worship services for 52 weeks will be creative and inspiring.
Growing an Engaged Church
Thank you for your presence on this past Sunday. We were blessed by Lay Servant Connie Palmer who finalized our sermon series Stories That Make Us Better People. On behalf of Gregory, Dan, and Connie as well as the Adult Faith Development Team, we pray that you were touched with stories that gave you reason to grow in your faith. Growing an Engaged Church means we are committed to going deeper in our faith.
The season of Advent serves as the beginning of the Christian calendar, remembers the actions leading up to the birth of Jesus, and reminds us to live as those who are prepared for the second coming of Jesus. It’s through these meanings of the season that we find relevance for us today, and if we allow it, greater expectations for our lives.
During the month of December, we are often lured into higher acts of consumerism, to believe that our relationships are validated through indulgence, and onto faux pathways that promise a better you. We don’t always realize the greater expectations until we’ve already given into the lure of society’s great expectations.Greater Expectations is about realizing God’s plan for living your life. As we enter a new Christian year and end a calendar year, I invite you to reflect on these questions that will shed light on God’s plan for living your life:
Sunday, December 2nd: What motivates you? Click here to view the video for the this Sunday’s sermon.
Sunday, December 9th: What or where is your comfort zone?
Sunday, December 16th: Can you take small steps in the midst of life changing decisions? Why or why not?
Sunday, December 23rd: How can you give gifts that keep on giving?
Sunday, December 30th: What really matters the most?
As always, the house of the Lord is open daily if you need inspiration and rejuvenation in the journey. See you soon.
~ Rev. Williams
Current Sermon Series
Advent: Greater Expectations with Holy Communion each Sunday
Upcoming Worship Series
From Expectations to Reality
Christmas in Westfield
The website www.ChristmasInWestfield.com is live. Visit and share.
Christmas Season Experiences
- Christmas Carols each Sunday beginning 10 minutes before worship.
- December 2nd – Strategic Plan Lunch & Learn (after church)
- December 9th – Blessing of the Prayer Shawl’s knitted hats for Blue Christmas (in worship)
- December 15th – Community Christmas Show (4:00 pm)
- December 16th – Christmas Pageant (in worship) along with creation of luminaries for Blue Christmas
- December 16th – Rev. Williams will preach at the UECF Worship Service at 4:45 pm
- December 21st – Blue Christmas Worship Service (candle lighting available at 4:00 pm, service 6:30-7:00)
- December 30th – Blessing of the Gifts. Adult and children alike, bring a gift you received from Christmas into worship as a sign of God’s blessings upon all of God’s gifts. Our 5th Sunday children’s worship team will lead worship on this day
Christmas Eve Services
- (free advance tickets suggested, more information to come***):
- *New* 10:00 am – Contemporary with Holy Communion *New*
- 5:00 pm – Family services with Birthday Cake for Jesus
- 7:00 pm – Traditional with Holy Communion & Candlelight Service
- 11:00 pm – Traditional with Candle Light Service
***Even though it’s free, why do I need advanced tickets?
True. We are trying something new. We want to ensure there is enough seats for everyone to enjoy Christmas Eve worship as a family. We would appreciate you taking advantage of the Eventbrite option, which is available through www.ChristmasInWestfield.com. However, tickets will also be available at the door,after worship on Sundays in December, and in the office for pickup.
- Hanging of the Greens. The Hanging of the Greens at FUMC will take place on Saturday, December 1 at 9:30AM. All are invited, especially men, to help decorate the Sanctuary and other areas of FUMC in preparation for the Advent Season which begins the next day. What a great way to usher in this festive time of the year! It would be helpful if you would let Gloria Brodersen (908-322-2038) know if you can help. We really need you!
- Advent Chain. Each Sunday in Advent and on Christmas Eve we invite you to participate in our church-wide Advent Prayer Chain Devotional. We will provide you with strips of paper on which to complete a sentence that expresses your gratitude for God’s presence, your commitment to God’s calling, or asks prayers of petition. Each Sunday will have a specific sentence starter inspired by the advent words of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace in preparation for Christmas Eve. For questions or to help with this devotional program by constructing and displaying the chain, contact Marcee Rogers.
- FUMC Christmas Giving Tree. The holidays are upon us and the Christmas Giving Tree is bursting with need! The St. Joseph Social Service Center has asked for our generosity again this year. We have accepted 50 names of people that are hoping for some warm clothing this holiday season. The tree is set up in the Narthex (many thanks to the Men’s Prayer Group for setting up the tree!) and decorated (many thanks to the Junior Youth Group!) Each ornament lists the name, age, gender and size for the person listed. As you are able, please select an ornament, purchase the clothing and return it unwrapped. Please return the clothing in a gift bag with tissue paper and staple the ornament to the outside of the bag by Sunday, December 9, 2018. If you have any large Christmas bags or tissue paper the Center is asking for those as well. Please contact Barbara Heifetz at email@example.com or 908-397-9658 with any questions. If you prefer to make a cash donation you can contact Barbara and she will purchase the clothing. Thank you for your generosity.
- Looking for Drivers for the Evening of Friday, December 21. There will be a Blue Christmas worship service – a service of Remembrance and Hope, on Friday, December 21 at 6:30 PM. We want everyone who is interested to be able to attend. Can you drive a fellow parishioner to the service? If you can, please contact Margo Bradley at 706-587-2194 (I also have text) or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your help will be greatly appreciated! Thank You!
- Just For Your Information: Rev. Williams is a Neighborhood Co-Captain in region 4 of Ward 1.
- FUMC’s newest Lay Servant
Elaine Pratt recently completed her Lay Servant courses. With my blessing, she is now FUMC’s newest Lay Servant. What is a Lay Servant? Click here For more information. After reading, if you too are interested in helping lead FUMC as a Lay Servant, please e-mail me.
- Adult Faith Development
Are you ready for Advent? Are you in anticipation of the birth and rebirth of Jesus Christ in our lives? Let’s gather Sunday morning at 9 am to discuss the following Advent themes:
- Sunday, December 2 (Advent Week 1) – Motivated for Change
- Sunday, December 9 (Advent Week 2) – Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Sunday December 16 (Advent Week 3) – Always Be in Awe
- Sunday December 23 (Advent Week 4) – Impact Others
Sponsored by the Adult Faith Development Team – Traci Basaman, Lynn Petrino, Bob Anderson, and Dean Pratt
- Youth News. This Sunday at Youth Group is our MarioKart Tournament! Join us in the Loft from 5:30-7:30 PM, and please bring $3 for dinner.
We’ll be having a mission trip interest meeting on Sunday, December 9th at 5:00 PM before Youth Group. Please join us if you’re interested in serving with us at The Philadelphia Project this summer!
- Rahway Prison Donation Needs. We will be collecting paperback religious/spirituality books (paperback only!!), Christmas cards for the men to send and any blank cards or birthday cards with envelopes. They do NOT need any calendars this year.
There will be a bin next to the elevator. No Christmas cards past 12/16 please. Contact Connie Palmer with questions.
- UMCOR Flood Buckets.New Dover UMC in Edison is now the approved UMCOR Central New Jersey Hub for Hurricane Flood Bucket collection. Completed buckets or supplies can be dropped off at the church mornings, Monday through Friday. Please call the church office at 732-381-9478, or Rev. Chuck Coblentz at 609-937-4565, to ensure someone is available to receive the buckets/supplies, or to schedule a drop-off during off-hours. Click here
- Men’s Prayer Group. Our Men’s Prayer Group meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 pm to 9 pm in room 218 at the church and is also virtual via web conferencing – so you can participate wherever you are! Come ready to share, help each other and make new friends! This group will be led initially by Dean Pratt and Brian Mulvey.
- Sanctuary Holiday Decorations. We look forward to the Holiday Season when we can worship and enjoy the special beauty of our decorated Sanctuary. We especially enjoy the traditional and colorful Poinsettias in the Altar area, which will be distributed to our shut-ins after December 25th. If you would like the opportunity to honor or remember loved ones with the purchase of Altar decorations and Poinsettias, please complete the form below and bring or mail it to our Church office enclosed with your donation by December 16th. (Checks may be made out to “FUMC, Holiday Decorations”). Plans are to list the names of those being honored or remembered in the Christmas Bulletin. Thank you.
Holiday Sanctuary Decorations Form
(For accuracy, please clearly print the following information)
In Honor of(Name):_____________________________________________
In Memory of (Deceased Name):__________________________________
Amount Enclosed $_________
Mark Your Calendar
- Christmas Caroling to FUMC Homebound. Come join in spreading the Christmas Spirit by caroling to our FUMC Homebound on Saturday, December 15. We will leave the Church at 12:30PM and return in plenty of time for the 3:00PM rehearsal for those participating in the Christmas Show to be held at 4PM. All are welcome…adults, children, singers and non-singers. Please let Gloria Brodersen (908-322-2038)know if you are planning to participate so we can make transportation arrangements. Don’t miss out on the fun!
- FUMC trip to a NJ Devils game! Are you looking for a gift for a hockey fan? Then come join us on February 9th @1PM as the NJ Devils play the Minnesota Wild at the Prudential Center! Tickets are $50 each. Contact Lauren Kolaya after services or via email/phone. email@example.com or 908-962-0186 (feel free to text!). Tickets will be on sale until January 13th.
- Santa Breakfast – December 15. Join us for our annual Santa Claus breakfast on Saturday, December 15th from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in the Fellowship Room. There will be a light breakfast, crafts, music, stories and a visit with a very special guest fit for the season!! The cost is $8.00 per person (Children 1 and under are free). Please sign up by December 11th outside the church office. Don’t forget to bring your camera! If you have any other questions, please call Kathleen Bruns-Meyers at 908-558-8988.
- Community Christmas Show at FUMC. Save the Date!!! Saturday, December 15, 4 pm. Program planning and song selections are currently underway. If you would like to participate in the concert, please send an email to Carolyn Milhiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need choir singers, bell ringers, instrumentalists, small group performers, program designers, cookie bakers, ushers, etc. There is something for everyone. Also, please reach out to family and friends who would like to participate in the choirs.
- Refreshments needed for Christmas Show! We are looking for donations of cookies, fruit or snacks for a Fellowship Time after our Christmas show. Please contact Carolyn Milhiser email@example.com, if you can donate. Thank you!
- Annual Cookie Walk—December 16. Our Annual Cookie Walk will take place on Sunday, December 16th in the Fellowship Room. Bakers needed and shoppers welcome! On December 16, shoppers will purchase a container and have the opportunity to fill it with home-baked goodies. This is a great way to get a variety of cookies for the holiday! For more information or to donate cookies call Sue Gandy at 908-233-2389 or Mary-Lou Jackson at 908-233-4678. Proceeds from this year’s Cookie Walk will benefit Family Promise.
- Heifer Project International Market – December 15, 16 & 23. Can’t think of ideas for Christmas presents? Everybody have everything they need? If that’s the case, think about buying an animal from Heifer Project International. Share the gift of hope for hungry families across the globe. Perfect gifts for secretaries, bosses, aunts with too much money, for holiday hostesses and even your kids to show them how much you care about families around the world! Bonny Chopey and friends will be there to help you gift animals on Sundays, December 16 and 23 before and after worship, December 15th during the Christmas Concert in the waiting area outside the church office.
Members and Friends
- File Cabinet anyone? There are 14, 2-drawer metal file cabinets left in the church by Imagine when they moved out. If anyone is interested to take one or more, please contact Kirk Huber (908-654-3987), before December 5. After that date, the cabinets will be discarded as scrap metal.
- Support the Meixner Family. Jeannie Dillon Meixner passed away on September 28, 2018 after a long, hard fight with cancer. A GoFundMe page has been set up in her honor, so please consider giving in support of the Meixner family. You can click here to go to the page.
Members & Friends is intended to communicate particular requests or needs of FUMC members or FUMC friends (e.g. transportation needs for medical appointments, worship, etc., wheelchair available for donation, need for a live-in caregiver, etc.). These postings should be concise and list a contact person. Please contact the church office 908-233-4211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org about your listing.