News 01/24/2020

 

COME NEAR

Matthew begins his account of Jesus’ public ministry in dramatic fashion. Until chapter 4, verse 17, Jesus lives quite an eventful life, but mostly a private one. Jesus’ divinity is kept secret in his infancy, as it is only revealed to some by angelic visitation or guiding star. Little is reported about Jesus’ childhood in Matthew besides his being a refugee, but we can assuming that’s because there’s no story to be told. He grew up as any Galilean child would once he arrived in Nazareth. We reenter the story in Jesus’ adulthood, when he is being baptized in the Jordan by his friend, mentor, and predecessor John the Baptist. The heavens are opened to him alone in the story, as it is only reported that he sees the dove and hears the voice. He retreats to the wilderness after this revelation and has yet another private, mystical encounter.
Everything changes in Mt. 4:12. John’s revolutionary sect is thrown into disarray when he is arrested. Jesus withdraws, goes home, and eventually moves out to make a new life in Capernaum. Then, one day, he emerges, and with one sentence begins his public ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

On Sunday, we’ll explore Jesus of Nazareth’s declaration of his public mission in Matthew and what it means that the kingdom of heaven has come near. — Wesley

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BLESSING IN OUR MIDST

The December financial reports came into the Finance Board this week and they tell an amazing story of faith and generosity. On top of $36,000 given for the life and work of the congregation, another $10,000 was given to pay off the roof and other designations. Add to that, the Christmas Fund received over $1,270 since Christmas Eve. Also, in two weeks the congregation has produced more than $2,400 of assistance for Puerto Rico. While we continue to fall short of the $6,200 needed to pay our bills every week, we know that God is working blessings in our midst and through our lives. Thank you for your faith and stewardship. — John Rohde, Finance Board

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MINISTRY INVESTMENT FUND (MIF)

We have been running a deficit in our budget and using the Ministry Investment Fund (MIF) as a subsidy for many years. As of October 31, 2019, our deficit for this fiscal year (March 1 – February 29) is $63,000. In order to keep our church functioning, the Finance Board recommended to the Council, and the Council voted favorably, to increase the ‘cap’ on the amount usable for subsidy from the MIF from 7% to 10% beginning immediately (November 2019) for the current fiscal year and moving forward. This allows us to withdraw $74,000 from the MIF to cover the current deficit of $63,000. As a reference, our Ministry Investment Fund is a vehicle through which FMCUCC members/friends “can give to the work of the church through bequests, wills, charitable remainder trusts, other trusts, charitable annuities, assignment of life insurance, and transfers of property (cash, stocks, and real estate).” Other churches you have been involved with may have used the term “Endowment” or “Endowment Fund.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with or email Marianne Dent, Moderator, [email protected] or John Rohde, Chair, Board of Finance, [email protected]

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PEANUT BUTTER SUNDAY

The last Sunday of the month (this Sunday, January 26th) is designated as Peanut Butter Sunday. You may bring peanut butter & other non-perishable foods for stocking our ecumenical food pantry. Place items in the shopping carts in the Narthex. A donation of cash or check using the manila envelopes in the pew is another way to support our “Alleviate Hunger Ministry”.

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NEW TESTAMENT STUDY

GROW hosts a New Testament study before worship every Sunday at 9am! We are using Marcus Borg’s “Evolution of the Word”. We are reading every book of the New Testament in the order they were written. Each session covers one or more texts, along with Dr. Borg’s historical-critical introduction. We are so excited to be digging into scripture together! In preparation for the January 19th discussion please read  John.

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UCC HISTORY, POLITY, AND THEOLOGY

Rev. Dr. Jim Boler and Community Minister Rev. Wesley Snedeker are offering a four session workshop that will consider the origins, identities, and workings of the United Church of Christ. We will draw from personal experiences, official denominational resources, and the stories of those gathered to explore where the UCC came from and where we’re headed. If you have ever been curious about our denomination and what it stands for, this is the course for you! We will meet in the Sanctuary during Coffee Hour.

Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties with the videos for the first class of this Grow series on Sunday, January 12th. Fortunately, you can watch them via the following links:

Our Roots in Four Traditions

More Than Just Four Traditions

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RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Are you interested in helping serve the FMCUCC community by being a welcoming face before guests enter the sanctuary? Please consider serving at the Welcome Center desk or as a door opener once a month. See the sign-up sheets in the Fellowship Hall to indicate your desire.

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MARY EVELYN TUCKER

INTERFAITH SHARED SCHOLAR LECTURE

Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker is this year’s Sanibel-Captiva Interfaith Shared Scholar Program Lecturer. Dr. Tucker’s lecture will focus on the interface between environmental concerns and spirituality. The talk will take place at Sanibel Congregational UCC at 4:00 pm on January 26 and will be followed by a reception. The lecture is free and open to the public; a free will offering will be taken up at the lecture. Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies.

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MEN’S BREAKFAST

January 28, on the 4th Tuesday of the month FMCUCC men meet at the Perkins located next to Walmart at the corner of US 41 (S. Tamiami) and Six-Mile Cypress Parkway. The time is 8:30-9:30am. No formal program. Order off the menu and pay for your own meal. Join us!

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SUNDAY CINEMA – “AMERICAN FACTORY”

Movie night and potluck. This month — “American Factory” : Sun. 1/26 @ 5:30 – 8:30 pm; Bring a dish and a curious spirit! Genre: Documentary “In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.” [Rated TV-14]

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DANCING IN CHURCH

Praise Dance Ministry practices are being held on Wednesdays, at 7pm at the church. Come prepared for exercise (wear comfortable clothing and shoes, bring an exercise mat). For more info please call Jackie Boler at 651-437-2785. Thank you.

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FLORIDA UCC WOMEN

SOUTHWEST REGIONAL MEETING

Saturday, January 25th. Join UCC women from southwest Florida for a one-day retreat (9 – 2) at Pilgrim UCC in Port Charlotte. Carpool will leave FMCUCC at 8:00am. See the UCC Women’s Bulletin Board for additional information. Please make a reservation with Barb Coons (239-549-8283 or [email protected]) by Monday, January 20

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2020 WOMEN’S MARCH

Members and friends of FMCUCC joined with 1,000 of our neighbors in showing up for just community in Southwest Florida at the 2020 Women’s March this past Saturday! Church members marched alongside fellow citizens and community organizations who seek to raise disruptive voices from all genders, races, and backgrounds, and to call our elected officials to work for all in our community. You can see photos from entire event on the News-Press website.

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GROW PROGRAMS

GROW is an educational ministry of Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ. It draws upon the resources that make our church unique to foster an atmosphere of intellectual and social experimentation. GROW is a series of free classes, workshops, and social events led by staff members, retired clergypeople, and guest facilitators who seek to edify our community through the enlightenment and organization of its members. You are welcome to attend any course listed at any point in its progress. If you would like more information about GROW or any of its courses, please contact our Community Minister Wesley Snedeker at [email protected] Please click here for a detailed description of all classes offered.

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INSPIRED: BOOK DISCUSSION FOR WOMEN

Facilitator: Rev. Nancy Rohde. January 6, 13, 27, February 3 at 2:00 pm. If the Bible isn’t a science book, instruction manual, or position paper, then what is it? New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans invites readers on a journey of rediscovery as she explores the magic of the Bible, engaging the old, familiar stories in new ways that honor the past and enlighten the present.

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ATTIC TREASURES

Dates to keep in mind. Sign up to let us know where you can help. Many hands make for a lighter load!!
  • Wednesday, February 12th – Room set-up, tables, racks etc. (time to be determined)
  • Thursday, February 13th and Friday February 14th – Donation drop off, sorting, pricing etc. (morning hours)
  • Saturday, February 15th – ATTIC TREASURES SALE (morning hours) Deliver baked goods to kitchen door on the east side of the building before 8am.
ITEMS NEEDED: In good condition, clean, working, and resalable: small appliances and tools (no computers, printers), clothing, housewares, jewelry, holiday decorations, linens, white elephants, books, DVDs, CDs, toys, games, clean plastic shopping bags, baked goods.
HELP NEEDED:
  • Setup Help on Wednesday, February 12th (9am – noon).
  • Accept donations and Sort and Price Sale Items on Thursday, February 13th (9am – noon and 4-6pm) and Friday, February 14th, (9am – noon)
  • Help on Sale Day Saturday, February 15th (8am – 1pm)
  • Sign-up Sheets are on the UCC Women’s Bulletin Board
  • Shoppers for Saturday, February 15th.
  • Clean-up Help for Saturday, February 15th (12:30-3pm)

Questions? Contact Sandy Blackington (239-432-1082 or [email protected]) or Barb Coons (239-549-8283 or [email protected])

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WORLD BEYOND WAR

Our WBW chapter will meet on Sunday, Feb. 2 at our new time 4:00 pm to discuss the intersecting threats of nuclear war and climate change. We will also consider upcoming peace events in our community. All are welcome!

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We have many volunteer opportunities available to assist with various aspects of our Sunday worship services and around the church. Please consider signing up for one of these important jobs. Sign-up sheets can be found on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall or send an email to Lisa Riehl, [email protected], and let her know what you are interested in doing. Thanks in advance for helping make our church so great!

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SANCTUARY FLOWERS

The new Flower chart has been placed on the bulletin board outside of the Parlor. Please sign-up today. Envelopes to pay for the flowers can be found at the bottom of the board.

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THE BOARD OF DEACONS NEEDS YOUR HELP

Did Joan go on the around the world cruise she’s been planning these past several months? Do you know whether Harold is recuperating at his daughter’s home in Wisconsin? And how about Marie – she’s usually back in Fort Myers for the season by now, have you heard from her? Oftentimes, the Board of Deacons and the church staff know when a church member is homebound locally, and keep tabs on him or her. However, we aren’t always informed by family members or caretakers when a member has prolonged health issues making it difficult for them to attend church functions. Here’s where the members of the congregation can help out. If you are aware of a member that is homebound, or have noticed a member’s prolonged absence but haven’t heard it announced at church, please bring it to the attention of one of the deacons or the church office. Most times we are aware of the members who are homebound locally, but we don’t want to overlook anyone.

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MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

If you have walkers or bedside commodes you no longer need, please consider donating them to the church. We loan those items out to those in need and are currently out. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Riehl in the church office, 239-482-3133

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NEED TO REACH US?

Rev. David Bucey – [email protected] – 513-535-2121
Rev. Wesley Snedeker – [email protected] – 239-297-1586
Church Office – [email protected] – 239-482-3133

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