September Connect Newsletter - First United Methodist Church
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
Dr. Jane Florence
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
These are bold words used by early Methodists and Presbyterians and some Baptists
indicating their covenant with God. John Wesley adopted it as a proclamation of God’s
promise present with us and our pledge to “live no more unto ourselves” but to God.
It is difficult to say these words if we truly consider their meaning. It means letting go of
our presumption of control in our lives, and our agendas, and everything else we think
defines us. It means offering ourselves as hands and feet and voices of God to care and
provide and sustain God’s dream of beauty, hope, justice, community for all creation. It
means giving up some of what we want to do in order to engage in the ministry of God’s
love. It means rearranging priorities and busy calendars to accomplish and create. It
means doing so in humility and in desire.
During September, you are invited to consider where and how you will live out a response to God’s presence in your life. You are invited to explore many different ministry
options at the Ministry Fair on Sept 11 from 9:35-10:35 in the Commons. The possibilities are numerous and varied for introverts and extroverts, from active to stationary,
from once a week to once a year, from hands-on to theoretical; there’s an opportunity for
each one to match your gifts and talents to a particular service.
I invite you to be in prayer and discernment in these weeks ahead. Please give consideration to the Ministry Card enclosed in this newsletter (more are available at the church
for each family member). Listen for your heart to respond. Bring your completed card
to worship on September 25 as we joyfully celebrate the gifts of God’s people forming
Confirmation Retreat at Camp Fontanelle
7020 Cass Street • Omaha, Nebraska 68132 • 402.556.6262
p o r ti n g
Ponderings from your Pastor...
8:30 & 10:50 am, Sanctuary
Saturday, September 3
5:00 pm, Mead Chapel
Church Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Friday and Saturday Closed
Receive “Connect” by E-Mail
E-mail Candice Nielsen in the church office,
[email protected] with
your e-mail address and you will begin
receiving the newsletter by e-mail.
“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.”
Shine Forth Tithe
Giving a tithe of the Shine Forth Capital Funds Campaign was approved by an All- Church Conference,
fall 2012. Pearl Church, 24th and Ogden, was originally designated to receive this tithe but is no longer
in existence. A small task force has been charged with developing an alternative plan for the $130,000 tithe.
Guidelines were established by the task force so the tithe would
closely align with the original intent of the campaign and thus
honor the commitments of donors. Guidelines included: 1) Used
for capital improvements, just as ours was. 2) Focused primarily
on the Northeastern sector of Omaha, 3) Representative of a
sustainable ministry with potential impact for future generations,
and 4) Having a connections to the UM church. Based on these
guidelines, the task force is recommending that United Methodist Ministries – The Big Garden be the recipient of the tithe.
The Big Garden Campus located at 5602 Read Street is nearly
a two acre site that includes two large greenhouses, a 4500 square foot shed, a house used for staff
offices, and a multipurpose building that serves as their education center.
This tithe would be used for renovation of the greenhouses, $75,000; adding a roof to the outdoor
classroom providing for a more functional educational space. $25,000; and a founding gift toward
expansion of the Education Center, $30,000. As a founding gift, the tithe could be used to leverage
additional dollars from local foundations.
The next couple of months will provide opportunities for you to learn more about UMM – The Big
Garden, in preparation for a vote on the tithe at the All-Church Conference, October 30. Next months’
Connect will detail the various programs offered by UMM – The Big Garden. number of persons
served and the overall impact of the ministry. Make plans to check out UMM – The Big Garden Table at
the Mission Fair, Sunday September 11 in the Commons.
Book Discussion –
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – 5:00 - 6:00 pm
FUMC – Room 112, led by Pastor Cynthia
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
Most in the FUMC community know that our history textbooks follow a
narrative that is far from true. I struggle now with my two kids when they are
learning history because I want to call the teacher and say, “Could you please
teach REAL history!” If you learned the typical narrative of the American
historical myth and think Columbus is a good guy and that the Native Indians
were violent and think states’ rights were a cause of the Civil War, then I urge
you to read this book.
Our Movie Group will meet Tues.,
6:00p, Sept. 13 at Clark Library,
lower level room B, where we
will discuss “JASON BOURNE”
followed by optional food and
fellowship at a nearby restaurant.
All are welcome.
Attendance for July / August 2016
1st Time Visitors
7/24/16.................... 274............................... 1
7/31/16.................... 271............................... 2
8/7/16...................... 279............................... 2
8/14/16.................... 335............................... 8
8/21/16 to be included in October issue
8/28/16 to be included in October issue
The September Gathering Box will be for
the Pantry at Living
Hope UMC. The
pantry is experiencing
an increased need of
baby formula, diapers,
(especially feminine products) and food
items so your help is greatly appreciated!
Shopping With Our Refugee Family
Immigration Forum held on July 24
Approximately 80 individuals gathered on Sunday, July 24 during an all church forum on Immigration.
Child Welfare Managing Attorney Virginia Maynes from local nonprofit Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON)
outlined the lengthy process for immigrants wanting to obtain legal status. Some individuals face waiting
times approaching 50 years to be reunited with other family members. Maynes spoke of the current
immigration system in place, why reform is vital, and what individuals can do to support immigrants and
our local community. Individuals can learn more about Immigration by visiting www.jfon-ne.org or JFON
Nebraska’s Facebook page. The forum was sponsored by the Immigration Ministry Team. Anyone who
would like additional information on the forum or the Immigration Ministry Team may contact Melissa
Baron at [email protected] or Larry Jensen at [email protected]
Keep the Death Penalty
Out of Nebraska
In 2015 the Nebraska legislature eliminated the death penalty and changed the
punishment for first degree murder to life in prison. But now the question is on
the ballot. Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) and Retain a Just Nebraska will help us understand this history, learn the facts about the death penalty,
and untangle the ballot language so we can vote our conscience on November
8. They’ll also let us know how we can help keep the death penalty out of Nebraska. For more information, contact Charlie Gould at [email protected]
murder inin the
RETAIN ⚪ REPEAL
Mercy & Justice
Suzanne Doupnik, her husband Chris, and their children together with Natalie Masada took our refugee family
shopping to purchase clothes, especially school clothes for the children about to attend school. Suzanne
wrote this report after that shopping trip. (Note: The family is
of the Karen ethnic group from Burma, now Myanmar. Karen
peoples do not have a family name. Individual names are dad
Poh Poh, mom Naw Moo, 14 year old daughter Htoo Ler, 7 y.o.
son Eh Doh Say, 4 y.o. daughter Tha Say, and 3 y.o. son Bwe Au
Jay.) The parents spent more than 20 years in a refugee camp in
Thailand before arriving in the U.S. and Omaha on April 22.
It was awesome seeing the kids get to pick out things they liked.
Poh Poh and Naw Moo were insistent that we not purchase
them clothing and focus just on the children. We were finally
able to convince Poh Poh and Naw Moo that they had to get at
least a pair of tennis shoes because they cannot wear flip flops
in the winter. Naw Moo’s parents came over after we returned to
the house and it was better than Christmas morning watching
Htoo Ler show her grandma her new clothes. Naw Moo was
showing off Eh Doh Say and Tha Say’s outfits and then remembered that she got a pair of tennis shoes too. She quickly found
the box and excitedly showed her mom. It was truly a loving
moment to see the sharing across generations. With Poh Poh translating the grandparents expressed their
appreciation to the church many times.
The highlight of my day came when we were getting ready to leave. I asked Naw Moo if she was still washing
all clothes by hand in the bath tub. Although she would never complain, handwashing clothes for 6 people has
to be hard and knowing she won’t be able to hang the clothes to dry outside during the winter has worried
me. She answered yes but pointed to Poh Poh. He told us that Naw Moo’s parents bought them a washer and
dryer, but no one knows how to use them. My eyes huge, I asked if they are in the house and Poh Poh casually
said yes, in the basement. After ensuring they were hooked up and working, Chris and Evan ran to the store
for laundry soap and Naw Moo and I went over basic instructions in how to use them. I asked if she had dirty
clothes. She ran upstairs and came back with a large laundry basket full. We got a load started and as I was
explaining that the 39 meant the minutes until done, she was down on the floor looking in the door of the
washer with her eyes sparkling and smiling ear to ear. Life Changing day for Naw Moo!
I had no idea how life changing this experience was going to be for me and my family. We are blessed to be
part of this adventure.
I will close by telling of a conversation Chris had with Poh Poh about grapes. Whenever we visit, the family
always brings out a plate full of grapes. Since our first visit, this has always happened. Poh Poh told Chris the
reason they always serve a big plate of grapes is because it represents abundance to them. A pile of grapes
is something they could never have in the camp and so having a plate of grapes and offering them to others
shares their abundance.
Please remember in prayer these members of Our Church Family
For Continued Healing: Dean Barnett, Doris Boruff-Peterson, Joanne Burns, Pat Cluck, Connie Davis,
Milton Davison, Lisa Ellis, Gordon Fredrickson, Ella Gerber, Dorothyann Haar, Charlie Harper, Von Lorenzen,
Bonnie Morehead, Helen Nipper, Bob Peirce, Kay Peters, Jeremy Richart, Eleanor Ruge, Gary Storm, Jane
Wilkinson, Bruce Young.
Baptisms: Cora Flater (baptized August 21).
New Members: Ashley and Andrew Flater (joined August 21).
Sympathies: To those who have lost loved ones and celebrate their lives: To those who have lost loved
ones and celebrate their lives: Tom Dobson and the Dobson Family (sister-in-law, Kimberly Dobson), Cliff
and Joyce Ellis (mother, Martha Ellis), Dan Lohmeier and the Lohmeier family (father and grandfather,
Danny Lohmeier), Patrick Jones and the Jones family (father and grandfather, Raymond Jones), Carol and
Fred Richart (aunt, Elaine Cernik).
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:
• For yourself: Give a brief statement of the need - illness, grief, crisis
• For others: Use names without describing the need. Give the first or full name and relationship - friend,
brother/sister, spouse/partner, parent, child, etc.
• Get permission from the person to be listed on the Prayer Chain before contacting Marylin or the church.
Healthy Healing Ministries
Health Ministries and Healing Arts have joined to form one ministry team.
Earlier this year, FUMC hosted other Methodist Groups on three evenings
for a webinar entitled “Healthy Congregations.” This a program the
Kansas conference used, and information is available on The Great Plains
website. This training focused on setting attainable goals, and measuring
results. By attending these webinars, and setting goals, Jan Dixon R.N., our
Faith Community Nurse, completed an application and FUMC received a
grant for $1000 for June 2016 to July 2017. We are starting small with goals
E N T A L is
that will include increasing the Healthy Sundays offerings at coffee to at
least 1 more a quarter. We are inviting your Faith Studies group or other
ministry teams to take a Sunday. This will help us attain our goals so we can
report completed goals, and re-apply next year for another Healthy Congregation grant. Please let Jan know
if you are interested: [email protected], or 402-571-4076.
Please plan to visit us at our table at the September 11 Ministry Fair and complete a survey form that is another one of our goals. If you cannot be there, look for information of another opportunity to do this.
If you are called to join us in Healthy Healing Ministry at FUMC, please let Jan know; we will be continuing
familiar programs such as Sunday blood pressures, HELP closet, Soulful Healing, Gift of a Good Death, 5
Wishes, and Stephen Ministry, along with others. Thank-You
A HUGE thank you to all who helped with the August
Fellowship Meal! We raised nearly $700 in support of the
Living Hope United Methodist Pantry (once named Pearl
Pantry). More info to follow in how you can help be a
part of this much needed ministry in helping the poor in
Book Review –
Thursday, September 15th, 10:00 am, Parlor
I hope you are ready to hear about some great books this fall! Marylin Stewart will begin in September with Lab Girl by Dr. Hope Jahren. Lab Girl has been named a Time
and Entertainment Weekly “Best Book of 2016” so far. The author is one of Time
magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.” A review of the book states it is an illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science – a moving portrait of time, friendships
and a stunning look at plants that will forever change how you look at the natural
world. Join us on Thursday, September 15, in the Parlor at 10:00. All are welcome.
Yoga Foundations – Mondays, 9:30 AM
Light Aerobics – is taking a summer break. Will return in the fall.
Tai Chi for Balance – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 PM
Meditation – Wednesdays, noon
Taizé Worship – First Saturday monthly, 5 PM
Centering Prayer – Sundays, 9:35 AM
Singing Bowls Meditation – Fourth Sunday monthly, 12:15 PM
Labyrinth, Garden & Gazebo – front lawn 24/7
All activities are held in Mead Chapel unless otherwise noted
Spiritual Practices @ First
It is with gratitude and sorrow that we say good-bye to Jessica Thacker as
FUMC staff. Jess is continuing her passionate justice ministry in a new a position
with Hunger Free Heartland. On Sept 4, all are invited to a reception in the Gathering Place at 9:35 to offer thanks and well wishes in her new adventure. Jess is
leaving staff; our children and youth will miss her leadership, but we will still get
to hear her awesome voice in choir and see her smiling face in our faith community. Congratulations to Jess and much thanks. Interims Rev. Cynthia Lindenmeyer is our Interim High School Youth Director and Tim Fickenscher is our
Interim Middle School Youth Director. Both bring many years of experience with youth leadership to
care for our students during this transition. They have assembled a great team of adult volunteers to
help with youth. Rev. Howard Surber is leading our Membership Ministry Team during this time of staff transition. He
has pulled together a wonderful group of volunteers to coordinate the Picnic & September 11- Bring
a Friend! and our Membership development and follow-up. Our Children’s Ministry has launched this 2016-2017 Sunday Education hour with many great volunteers Rev. Jane Florence is staff liaison at this time. Sunday Morning Children & Youth Leadership 2016-2017 Hosanna Choir and SS Superintendent: Sara Peterson
3 yr olds: Cama Charlet, Connie Lofgreen, and Sarah Weidner Prek/Kinder: Sue Weidner and Delinda Sundsboe 1st-2nd grade: Rose Hill and Kelly Wanzenried, and Kevin & Bri Harris-Mayle 3rd-5th grade: Becky Morton and Liz Dickson, and Tim & Ali Dreher
Confirmation: Tim Fickenscher, Jane Florence, Cynthia Lindenmeyer
Middle School: Suzanne & Chris Doupnik, and Tom & Jessica Niemann High School: Donna Dobson & LeighAnne Scharp, Eileen Johnson
Thank you to these great folks sharing the faith journey with others!
Methodist 101 – NEW Class
If you would like to learn more about the United Methodist Church, gather in the Parlor
(west of sanctuary) with Rev. Jane on Sunday mornings Sept. 18 - Oct 9, 9:35-10:30. Topics
include: how we interpret scripture; worship and sacraments; history and polity; mission
and ministry in UMC. This is a new class and current members as welll as
those considering membership will find it informative.
All are welcome.
United Church of Christ 101
If you would like to learn more about the United Church of Christ gather in the Parlor
(west of the sanctuary) with Rev. Jane on Wednesday evenings Sept 14-28 from 5:306:30. Topics include: history, polity, and comparison and contrast to United Methodist
Faith [email protected] First
Staff Parish Relations Committee will begin the search for new staff. In the meantime, we are very fortunate to have some dedicated people step into leadership. YOUTH SPEAK OUT!
Ever receive an email or text from someone who is obsessed with exclamation
points!!!!! Is the person really excited? Did they have a Rockstar or Red Bull? Do
they know about other grammatical expressions? Today, I write using !!!! because I
am very excited!!!!! On Sunday night, the 14th of August, over forty youth gathered
for our start of United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF). The amazingness of our
youth has always been inspiring to me, and to be part of their UMYF journey grounds
me in my faith and pastoral purpose. I am tremendously thankful to my own UMYF
experience at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Those three
years had a profound influence in my calling to ordained ministry.
Youth these days face challenges that many of us did not and cannot fathom.
Social media introduces a new avenue for communication, for better and for worse.
Pictures, thoughts, relationships are now recorded and exist forever on “the cloud.”
Dr. Cynthia Lindenmeyer
The longing for someone to listen can now be satisfied by anyone with access to a
smartphone. We all need a safe space to vent, to express our fears, our doubts, our frustrations. A place to be
Prayerfully, as the interim Youth Director for 9th to 12th grade, and Tim Fickenscher as the interim Youth Director
for 6th to 8th grade, we can create a safe sanctuary where our teens can continue to journey in their faith exploration. Yet, I know relationships are two way – and so I ask, “What can we learn from the youth?”
In my experience working with teenagers and college students, I’ve learned that I grow in my own faith enormously. I offer the same opportunity for you to witness the theological perspective of our youth as they engage
in a new venture we’ve entitled Youth Speak Out. Please join us on Sunday, November 6th, from 4:00-5:00 pm
as the youth lead a worship service they design. The youth will reveal to us how they envision worship, and speak
on the issues important to them.
Ensuring that we do not underestimate the theological discussions youth are capable of drives the vision I see for
FUMC UMYF. Fun, food and fellowship are good aspects of an UMYF program, but faith must be the foundation.
At UMYF, our youth will continue to strengthen the threads of their faith so that when challenges arise in their life,
faith does not unravel. We will explore the topics youth want to discuss, and will do so from a theological lens.
I ask for your continual prayers for our journey. I invite you to attend the Youth Speak Out service. And I hope you
mark your calendars to support the youth fundraiser on November 13th for the annual Chili Cook Off as we plan
the senior high mission trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota (junior high a work in progress).
United Methodist Youth Fellowship 2016 Overview
Tim Fickenscher will be our interim Youth Director for 6th-8th grade and I (Cynthia Lindenmeyer) will be the
interim Youth Director for 9th-12th grade. We both share the same philosophy for FUMC UMYF – FAITH,
Fellowship, Food and Fun! Empowering youth to be our future faith leaders has been on my heart, so stay
tuned for more information about Youth Speak Out!
4:00-6:00 pm 6th-8th grade
5:00-7:30 9th-12th grade
September 11 Bring a Friend Sunday Church Picnic 12:00-3:00
*September 25 4:00-6:00 pm 6th-8th grade
5:00-7:30 9th-12th grade
CROP Walk 2:00-4:00 pm
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
1031 Sunset Trail, Omaha, NE 68132-1950
*October 23 4:00-6:00 pm 6th-8th grade
5:00-7:30 9th-12th grade
November 6 YOUTH SPEAK OUT Service
November 13 Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser
9:30 am-2:00 pm
November 20 Hanging the Greens at FUMC
Interfaith Service St. Margaret Mary5:00-6:30
*December 11 4:00-6:00 pm 6th-8th grade
5:00-7:30 9th-12th grade
*Dinner together from 5:00-6:00 pm • Service Projects will be announced!
• El dE
E SPIRIT OF
Elders for the Earth:
A Retreat in the Spirit of Chautauqua,
October 3-6 at Mahoney State Park in eastern Nebraska
With the support of a mini-grant from the Great Plains United Methodist Conference and funding from the
Peace with Justice Sunday offering, there will be a multi-disciplinary gathering including fellowship, lectures, music, the arts, being in nature and even some fun in the midst of the climate crisis. Dates are Monday through Thursday, October 3-6, 2016 starting at 4 p.m. on Monday and ending at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
The climate crisis is both a challenge and an opportunity for those who are concerned about the
world our children and grandchildren will inherit. This event is geared for those 50 years and older,
but all are welcome (faith-based and broader community). Elders will come together to learn and
share our collective wisdom in informative and creative ways.
Community and state leaders will speak including Rev. Kim Morrow, former Executive Director of
Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light. A variety of workshops/playshops will be offered, some are:
Nebraska Life photographer Alan Bartels teaching how to take beautiful nature photography, learning about green business models, hearing from students from Asia about how a changing climate is
impacting where they live, writing poetry for the earth, mindful walking on the earth, and much more.
This event is best experienced if you can be there the whole time and accommodations at Mahoney
State Park (between Lincoln and Omaha, NE) include: camping, lodge rooms and cabins, or you can
commute. If you can only come for part of the event, that works as well.
Details about registration, costs and schedules are on the website: Elders4theearth.com or
Lisa Sharon Harper
Sojourner’s Chief Church
Remember FUMC with
the Gift of an IRA!
You can very simply change the “beneficiary” on your
Individual Retirement Account to name First United
Methodist Church as a beneficiary to receive all or
a portion of the balance of your IRA after your passing. This is a great income, inheritance and estate tax
savings strategy. Your estate and heirs avoid the double
taxation your IRA savings would incur if you designated
your heirs as beneficiaries. You can continue to take
regular lifetime withdrawals and still retain the flexibility
to remove First United Methodist Church as beneficiary
if your family’s needs should change.
FREE Zumba Classes
6:30 - 7:30 pm
The Commons Community Center
Enter through door #4
on the east side of the building
“The Spiritual Lie of
U.S. Postage Paid
Return Service Requested
7020 Cass Street
Omaha, NE 68132-2601
Connect Bring a
Picnic on the Lawn
12:00 - 3:00 pm