Page 1

Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

Open Worship —

Radical Love, Uniquely Denton Read the story on page 3




Our Church, Our Missions

Our Church, Our People

The Bigger Picture

Tomas Rivera Elementary Enriching the lives of students and volunteers

Gail Baker and Alex Nance Lives touched by impactful experiences

United Methodist Committee on Relief Serving as the hands and feet of Christ around the world

IMPACT | Magazine Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017


Impact | Ministries  pen Worship O FUMC-Denton modern worship.


Impact | Missions  Rivera Elementary

Opening our hearts for better education.

21 Impact | Events

 Upcoming events and activities

Opening our doors to the community.

22 Impact | Bigger Picture


Serving as the hands and feet of Christ

13 Impact | People

 Gail Baker, FUMC-Denton member, volunteering at Share the Harvest.

23 Impact | From the Pastor

 Ministerio Jesus Fuente de Vida

Opening our arms to the Hispanic community. Rev. Mauricio Orozco, Pastor.

On the Cover: P astor Jonathan Perry.

Photo effects by Brittnee Ide


Editor’s Note


IMPACT Magazine: Serving God’s Purposes

hallenges come and go like the tide and what really matters is how they IMPACT our actions, determination and love for God, for others and for our lives. It is our love of God that motivates our desire for good works and to make a difference. IMPACT magazine tells stories of people who decided to help others and serve as witnesses to God’s purposes. They decided to be impactful. Listening to God is not always easy. God’s purposes are not always clear. And His timing is usually not the same as ours. But it is our mission to try and to hope and work for a better world. The stories you will read here are inspirational and touching. They are stories of Christians with open arms and hearts working to build a better life for


people they may never meet or get to know. What drives them is the simple wish to serve God and their brothers and sisters and to fulfill the responsibility to be good stewards of God’s love. This magazine is meant to inspire and encourage. But it is also a call to action, because inspiration alone won’t change lives. Listening to God is just the trigger. You still have to take the first step. The second, the third and many more. Because the path of a Christian life is made of faithful steps and uncertain results. The Christian journey is a lifetime marathon of many actions. And if we are running the life marathon, we desire to be remarkable, to make a difference, to have IMPACT! — Martha Ware, Managing Editor

Martha Ware, Managing Editor


IMPACT Content

First United Methodist Church of Denton, Publisher Alan Heath, Executive Editor Martha Ware, Managing Editor Erika Dorsey, Graphic Designer Martha Ware, Photography

IMPACT | Ministries Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

A welcoming sign greets attendees as they come to service.

Our Church, Our Ministries Story by Martha Ware


onathan Perry had a long-time dream to work for First United Methodist Church of Denton. And our new Open Worship community provides the opportunity to make that dream a reality. Jonathan’s calling for a pastoral ministry has been present in his life since he can remember. His father is a pastor so he was raised in the church. He grew up in the Baptist tradition and felt that he could not always find a place for his faith journey. However, he’s always believed in the church’s great potential for good and to be an incredible force for God’s work. What he learned growing up in the Baptist church equipped him for his journey but he was not always sure he could be truthful to who he was experiencing God to be and how God was going to WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 3

IMPACT | Ministries Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

work in his life. “I wrestled a lot with my faith,” said Jonathan. Jonathan brings a wealth of experience through his campus ministry and creating a bridge-building concept ministry. He dreamed of helping create a positive community like no other, a place where people gather to love and to learn how to love better. His move to FUMCDenton provided him with a unique opportunity to realize that dream. “It’s just what the First United Methodist Church of Denton stands for. Our mission is to shine God’s love into every life, so we gather to do that, to learn how to do that, to encourage each other. There is no better place. God’s love is in the center of this community. Based on my own journey I knew that sometimes church is challenging for people. I have the privilege, as a pastor, of walking with people to bridge that gap that sometimes people find between them and the church. Sometimes it is hard to be that shepherd that leads the church into the community and the community into the church,” Jonathan added. Since his years as a campus minister in Paris, Texas, he has a thing for Denton. Many of his students lived in Denton. If they were musicians they lived here, if they were creative people, they lived here. Denton was and is a place that is full of life, creativity and beauty. Ten years ago, Denton was a place that caught his eye, fed his dream. For a decade, Jonathan has been looking to this city and seeing what makes it special. But he’s also seen many people that came here and lost their connection with the church, their connection with God. He realized that many just couldn’t find a place to express their faith. As Jonathan progressed toward ordination in the United Methodist Church, he looked to Denton as a place where the United Methodist message was right at home, a message of open doors, open hearts and open minds, one that believes that God is at work creatively in every life. “I thought that we had to take 4 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

Rev. Jonathan Perry, Open Worship’s Pastor

the message of this church and lift it up high so the city of Denton can hear us,” said Jonathan. Looking back, he sees that opportunities he had in other places were preparation for starting a fresh ministry in Denton, bringing the message of this church and connecting with the community. Open Worship, FUMC-Denton’s new modern service, is the actualization of his experiences, struggles and discoveries. The main message he wants people to hear is that Open welcomes everyone. “No matter your age, race, ethnicity, orientation, walk of life, Open welcomes everyone. Open Worship takes the heart of this church and the heart of the Gospel’s message and tries to speak clearly to our community,” he adds. In April 2016, Jonathan learned of the opportunity of serving at

the loving message of God. So when he was asked if he wanted to do that, he said, “I do.” “My heart has been beating for this city for a long time. It’s unbelievable that it finally happened. I used to go to Rubber Gloves and Haley’s and other places to see shows with my friends. I just love this city. It feels like God has been working to prepare me for all this, to open my heart to what it means to be here for a long time.” When Jonathan got to FUMCDenton, he began to dream right away. He started to research and learn. “As soon as I accepted the offer to come here I took my kids to South Lake Park. We played all day long, looked around and started to feel what it would be like to live here.” Then he started to talk and listen to the church, to as many people as possible. He took some for coffee and listened to what they loved about this church, about their vision for its future. He also knew folks in the community and started listening to them as well, about their hopes and needs. “Over time, a vision started to take form of a creative community that includes all people, especially these people who might feel excluded by the church because of their journey or because of who they are. I wanted to make a place where they could experience God.” Jonathan also used demographics research to understand the local

“My heart has been beating for this city for a long time. It’s unbelievable that it finally happened…. I just love this city. It feels like God has been working to prepare me for all this, to open my heart to what it means to be here for a long time!” — Rev. Jonathan Perry FUMC-Denton. In spite of the great things that were happening in his life at the time, he knew what he wanted to do as a pastor was to come to Denton and start drawing people to

audience, about age groups, cultural background, hopes and their engagement with faith. He stood between the heart of the church and the heart of the community so, based on all

Pastor Jonathan, worship leader Krystal Stroud and band during one of the Open Worship services.

the findings, the future “Open team” could find the best way to build a bridge between them and to make the connection. The next step was to invite people to participate in the conversation. During these conversations, they identified a team who represented the various people they imagined being in ministry with, people who had gifts that could be helpful during the ministry building process, people who shared the heart for the concept and had a little free time to help. They identified some new leaders and invited them into the conversation. “When I invited people, I really didn’t know what their gifts were. We had to discover together how they could be a part of this whole process. The first time we met as a team was August 14, 2016. I talked to them about the vision as it stood at the time. But I still wanted to listen to them so I threw out some questions: ‘if this goes perfectly if it

fulfills our vision, how would it feel to walk into the modern worship (that’s what we called it back then)? What would it look like, what would it sound like? Who would be there?” They dreamed about all this in small groups and wrote down everything. Then, they had to find a way to get from where they were at the time to where they wanted to be. And they started to talk about the steps they needed to take along the way. “There was a lot of work to do!” said Jonathan. Jonathan still has those “dream sheets” in his office and although he knows those dreams have not been fully realized, the service looks a lot like what they dreamed it to be. “It’s just amazing how God works. For me, He has been doing it for 10 years. Every single person in that room has their own journey, their own experiences and dreams that they brought to the table. That’s how God works. He brings people together with lots of different gifts and makes the body

of Christ beautiful in a way we never could on our own.” At that point, they had a long to-do list in front of them. But the group had many talents. There were artists who were involved in the creative process, there were youth with the passion of bringing their friends along and two people helped with construction. And that’s how the refurbishing of Flinn Hall took shape. Andy Braack, for example, became the foreman for the project because it turns out he works for a company that does the interiors for a large retail chain, taking what already exists in them and making it look cool. And that’s exactly what they needed. Andy became an incredible resource and shepherd in that process. Hospitality, for example, was a vital point for the group and FUMC-Denton’s First Impressions Team chair was involved in their first conversation and helped guide the team. Demi Prentiss and Kathy Nations, who had experience in WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 5

IMPACT | Ministries Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

liturgy and worship service creation, brought the depth of their experience to the group. “It’s just amazing how God brought together such an incredible team. Other people started to join the group and over and over again God brought the right people into a place where they could bring in the gifts He gave them,” said Jonathan. Soon after he knew he was coming to Denton to start a new worship service, Jonathan began to look for a worship leader, knowing that it wouldn’t be a small job. Among friends and prospects whom he networked with was Krystal

tion…” Krystal didn’t take the hint at the time, so he left it like that. Krystal lives in Denton and loves the local community. When she learned that Jonathan had been appointed to FUMC-Denton she said that she felt hope that she could be part of it in some way but at the same time not really believing it could happen. “I am loyal to a fault and my last church was like a family to me. I really couldn’t picture not being with them. It took me a long time to let God help me understand I could let that go. When I first spoke to Jonathan, I was not there yet,” said Krystal.

Pastor Jonathan and Krystal during worship planning in Flinn Hall.

Stroud, a good friend of his. They had met through their work years ago at an Annual Conference (“the most Methodist place to meet new friends,” Jonathan jokes). Krystal was serving another church at the time, but Jonathan shared the concept of the new service. “I didn’t ask her directly because I knew she was working somewhere else but I asked the ‘do you know anyone who might be interested in the position’ ques6 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

“I got to this journey kicking and screaming. I was raised in a Baptist church and learned a lot of great things but a lot of hard ones came from that season. There was a point in time when I was a self-proclaimed atheist because I didn’t want anything to do with the church. It hurt me and I didn’t want to be a part of that. When I graduated from the University of North Texas in 2013 I was looking for a job, I was almost

desperate. I was applying for so many jobs and not getting anything. I am really good at interviews. In the past, I had been really lucky and had never interviewed and not gotten the job before. For whatever reason, six months after I graduated and 20 interviews later, I did not have a job. Then, Argyle Methodist Church called me out of the blue and said they needed a membership secretary. I accepted it. I needed anything I could get and thought that even if it was in a church, I’d live. And through the ministry of that church, God reconciled me to Himself. And it is how I got involved in ministry,” she added. Krystal started as Argyle UMC’s membership secretary, then was the assistant to the congregational care and adult discipleship head and then their Director of Communications for two years. She also sang together with their worship leader and was interim worship leader, stepping in when the need arose. The friends that God has blessed Krystal with are not necessarily your “church-going folk.” “They are just different, unique and wonderful but never felt welcome in any church at all, in any way. I remember that being something that I struggled with at my last church. It was a beautiful community but everyone looked the same. Even though I was different, did not look the same, they fully loved and accepted me for who I was. I was very grateful for that but it was not a place that I could bring anyone that I loved where they would feel safe and comfortable. That has a lot to do with their background and the way that church historically treated people who don’t look like your church person. Denton is such a diverse, weird, cool community and it needed a place where they can feel safe and accepted. That is why I was so excited and hopeful about this opportunity, about this service. This is where I live, where the people I love live, and I was excited to think that these people would have a place to congregate and do life together,” she said.

For Jonathan, the great churches in Denton have different perspectives on who God is and how God is working in the world. He adds that the United Methodist Church has a very important and critical voice to add to the Christian message, one that he hopes to speak clearly, in a way to be heard by the city, the full picture about who God is and how His love works in our world. “One day I was talking to a college kid and inviting him to come to our service and one of the first things I said to him was that this is actually pretty cool!” He laughed about it but I really believe that is what people feel when they come to the service. One of the taglines that the service tries to live by is that it is ‘radical love and uniquely Denton.’ And that alone is pretty cool. The goal is to lift up God’s message of grace, good news and love for all people. From the moment people park, to when people meet the greeters that smile and talk to them, they are experiencing that radical love, that local hospitality. People find a community that is Denton. It is a place where people belong. They find a space that is captivating and feels like it fits in this community. It is a place that looks like Denton. You look around and there is old and young, black and white, pierced and un-pierced. It looks like who we are here. When you experience the liturgy that is preached, the songs that are sung, you realize that the work that God does in our world is a work of radical love. The worship is rich and deep because people are seeking a real authentic life-changing experience with their faith. They want to know that it matters and makes a difference in their lives and the world,” said Jonathan. “The kingdom of God is not one demographic. It is everyone, every culture, every walk of life, all people,” said Krystal. “Open gives me hope because when I look at the people there, I see the full kingdom of God. It does not exclude anybody. We are not perfect, but as we move forward we will continue to try

Jonathan walking on balance beam to convey his sermon’s message about trusting God and living courageously.

to create a space where all people feel that God loves them, that they belong to God. It is a place that is doing the hard work of trying to cross the boundaries that were put up by history and by perception,” she added. “Also, the Methodist church has incredible social principles. If the world really understood what Methodist theology stands for we would be flooded every Sunday. It took me working in the church for years to know, to understand it. I am just hoping that Open Worship is an extension of the social principles and Methodist theology, that it really meets the community and helps bridge that gap.” When Jonathan first invited Krystal to the worship leader’s audition, it was for her feedback, not for her to audition. Auditioning was not really on her radar. She saw the audition as an opportunity to learn how things run here. After the first candidate, Jonathan called Krystal outside to get her feedback. And Jonathan just loved what she had to say. “Her feedback was just on the

Krystal before Open worship service

spot. Some from our interview team came out and after 20 minutes of conversation with Krystal, they were all amazed by what they heard. I went to Krystal and asked what was WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 7

IMPACT | Ministries Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

keeping her from doing it,” Jonathan remembered. “We have been friends for some time but have never really been put in the worship leading context together, so he had never heard me sing before. I don’t play any instruments, so I thought I was not good enough. But I also felt that same stirring and knew I had to do it,” said Krystal. Six finalists had been chosen and three of them were brought in for the audition process. She auditioned one week later and accepted the responsibility of leading worship. It was after she took the worship leader job that she realized that she has been singing for such a long time. She now sees that God has been shaping her to do this

Jonathan, Krystal and band during Open Worship service. 8 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

for a quite a while. And she loves the whole experience. “We had great candidates but Krystal’s audition was special. She not only sang to us, she taught us through her singing. The decision of bringing her in was unanimous,” said Jonathan. Open Worship’s band currently consists of a drummer, a bass player, a keyboard player and an additional vocalist. Sometimes they add an acoustic guitar player. And this band can create an amazing sound! The community has been highly receptive to Open. Many tell Jonathan and Krystal they have been waiting for this service for a long time, that Open is an answer to many people’s prayers. They started some “Open Groups”

during summer. They are small groups that will help people gather and share similar interests. And there are groups for many tastes. Some are Sunday school classes; some are even existing FUMC-Denton’s Sunday school classes. Some are weeknight small groups. One of the groups co-led by Jonathan and Krystal is called “Real Talk, Y’all.” They meet monthly and receive questions. “Some of the people that we have in our community really struggle with faith and have the need to talk through things. So, we will be there for them. There are other groups as well and some are on a trial basis. We hope that by fall we have them all well-established,” said Krystal. Open Worship is truly bridging a gap in the Denton community.

Our Church > Our Missions

Rev. Don Lee, and Delores Hettler. giving donation check to Melissa Bates, Assistant Principal at Rivera.

Story by


or the last few years, we have been partnering with Tomas Rivera Elementary School located in the FUMC neighborhood on Newton Street. This ministry was born to support the local school in different ways. FUMC-Denton volunteers provide mentoring for Rivera students, work at their Book Fairs, prepare snacks for teacher appreciation week, collect food and assemble baskets (so that children who depend on school meals when school is in session can have meals during Spring Break), decorate the school for STAAR testing and volunteer in many other ways. Through the Adopt-a-School program, sponsored by Denton ISD and the Denton Chamber of Commerce, our church’s resources are used to fulfill many of the school’s

Martha Ware needs. Rivera has over 560 enrolled students, more than 90% of whom are economically disadvantaged on free or reduced lunch program. One in every three children that attend Rivera have limited English proficiency, meaning that they struggle with understanding and speaking the English language. Based on the Texas Education Agency’s assessment of student performance from previous school years, two out of three students at

Rivera are already considered at-risk of dropping out of school. Rivera Elementary is a high-need school campus in Denton ISD with the majority of the student population currently living at or below the federal poverty level. In March of this year, Delores Hettler, FUMC-Denton Librarian, together with Rev. Don Lee, Lead Pastor, and Martha Ware, Director of Marketing and Communications, went to Rivera Elementary and

“This experience has deeply impacted me as his mentor. I am humbled beyond words how God was able to use me to encourage Evan and affirm him during a difficult time — Jett Cheek in his life.” WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 9

IMPACT | Missions Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

Rev. Don Lee and Librarian Delores Hettler with Melissa Bates, Rivera’s Assistant Principal visiting Rivera’s Library.

delivered a $2,000 donation to its Assistant Principal, Melissa Bates. The decision to donate the money was made by the Library Committee by allocating some discretionary funds to help our community. Since many of Rivera’s children have a challenge with English language proficiency, the funds will be used for their Literacy Library, where half of the money will be used to purchase books in English and half to purchase bilingual ones. Roshaunda L. Thomas, Rivera’s principal, explained the goal of the Literacy Library and also conveyed Rivera staff’s excitement. “My staff and I are simply overwhelmed by your kind generosity. I am very humbled by your donation. Currently, our school is in need of books in both English and Spanish for our Literacy Library. The money will really help in addressing our need for more fiction and non-fiction leveled readers. These books will be placed in our Literacy Library to be checked out by classroom teachers to use with students during Guided Reading. They may also be checked out by students to be utilized to practice reading strategies at home.” 10 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

Pastor Don visiting Literacy Library at Rivera, after delivering donation.

Hannah Hollister, FUMCDenton member and former Rivera teacher, was the brains behind the idea. Hannah is also heavily involved with our children and youth programs and what they do for Rivera (her mom is Deana Mason, our children and youth pastor). Working for Rivera for years gave her direct access to make the needed contact with their administration to make things work. Hannah knew at the age of seven that she wanted to be a teacher. “I had the best second grade teacher, Mrs. Lashbrook. She is the one who inspired me to follow my dream. I started collecting children’s books, knowing that one day I would use them for my elementary classroom. I have always loved being around children. There is no greater joy than working with a student who finally understands something that we have been working hard on and experiences the light bulb moment!” And this passion reflects on her students. Here is a note she’s received from one of her students, Caleb: “Mrs. Hollister, I’ll miss you for a century. I’ll see you in the future and I’ll visit you every day next year. Love, Caleb.” Seeing the impact of our members’ support of Rivera makes both for them and the students, makes Hannah a proud FUMC-Denton member. The more support she saw, the more she felt encouraged and motivated to grow the partnership even further. “I loved walking down the halls with my class and being able to say “Hi” to various members throughout the day who were volunteering their time to mentor the students and build relationships with them. Rivera is one of the hardest working campuses in Denton ISD. It was my

“There is no greater joy than working with a student who finally understands something that we have been working hard on and experiences the light bulb moment!” — Hannah Hollister

IMPACT | Missions Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

honor and privilege to be a part of this amazing ministry and partnership. FUMC-Denton makes a difference at Rivera and I am proud to be a part of that,” added Hannah. In March of this year, some of our youth volunteered to decorate the third, fourth and fifth grade classroom doors at Rivera Elementary for STARR testing. The teachers at Rivera were amazed by their creativity and hard work. Students and teachers were grateful for the extra motivation. “What a great way to come back from spring break! You are amazing! Thanks for the STAAR encouragement and décor throughout Rivera!” – Beverly W. Flor C. was excited about the doors’ decor. “Thank you so much! It was a beautiful surprise for me and the kids when we got into our room this morning.” “I don’t know who the responsible people are, but the fourth and fifth grade doors look AMAZING and totally motivated our kiddos this

“Every week I look forward to the hour I spend with my student and the truth is I believe I gain more from this relationship than he does.” — Pastor Don Lee morning when they arrived! Thank you to whomever took time from your Spring Break to get them done!” – Christina W. “Thank you so much for taking the time to come to our school and decorate our doors so beautifully! We were surprised this morning and the students were really excited to see the decorated doors. Please thank the youth group that participated too. Thank you for all your church does for our school, too. It is appreciated!” – Isabel V. Some other ways that our members help at Rivera are in office and classroom assistance, prepar-

ing bulletin boards, doing library projects and providing campus support, serving as a “Big Brother” and providing a male role model for students, assisting on school events and more. Volunteers also mentor the children, meeting one-to-one with a student on a weekly basis. According to Mary Harris, long-time FUMC-Denton member, “Mentors offer social, emotional and academic support for students who face challenges in their lives. Mentors apply through Communities in Schools, attend an orientation session and complete a criminal background check.” Mentoring aligns very well with North Texas Conference Bishop Michael McKee, One + One initiative. The initiative is based on fostering meaningful relationships with a child in public school. “What impact could United Methodists in North Texas have on schools and students if each member of our churches fostered a meaningful relationship with one child in a public school?” asks Bishop McKee. “These kids, our kids, would know there is another adult who cares for them and believes that they can succeed.” And the impact of mentoring is two sided. Here is what Jett Cheek, our Fine Arts Academy Director and one of our volunteers at Rivera said about his experience: “My first experience as a mentor was with Evan*, an “at-risk” first-grader. Evan’s family life was in disarray, with his father in prison and his working mother trying to support herself and her three boys. Our first year together was spent getting to know each other and building a trusting relationship. Evan spoke freely about his family and their struggles. Fortunately, he had a grandmother who taught him about Christ and the Christian faith. “Evan struggled with his reading. Part of my task as mentor was to help him get up to grade level. Evan resisted and struggled—he did not like to read and did not

Above: Laney Braack and Collin Renfro decorated classroom door at Rivera before STAAR test Below: Grayson Lovette decorating classroom door at Rivera before STAAR test


Volunteers Jett Cheek, Carolyn Farlow, Marry Harris, Bob Harris (from left to right) and Bob Voss (back) from FUMC-Denton during Communities in School North Texas appreciation luncheon in May 2016.

want to read—but we read very easy books to each other, taking turns reading. As Evan’s reading abilities improved, so did his interest in reading. He realized that reading could take him places he could not go otherwise. In second grade, Evan’s reading had so improved that he took part in the schoolwide reading contest, and ended up in second place behind a fourth grader in reading the most books during the school year. He had read so many that the third place student was way behind him. After that, Evan read constantly, and way above his grade level. Each week he would have a new novel and wanted me to read to him. He couldn’t sit still, constantly getting up and walking around, and seemed to be distracted by everything around him. But I would stop occasionally 12 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

to ask him questions about what I read and he never missed one detail. “Evan is now a seventh grader at a charter school. I saw him for the first time in three years recently and am so proud of the young man that he is becoming. He was glad to see me, was courteous and respectful, and very eloquent in carrying on a conversation. “This experience has deeply impacted me as his mentor. I am humbled beyond words how God was able to use me to encourage Evan and affirm him during a difficult time in his life.” *The name of the mentee has been changed for confidentiality reasons. Rev. Don Lee, FUMC-Denton Lead Pastor, has also been mentoring at Rivera since 2013. “I have been serving as a mentor for four years. I’ve just completed two years

with my current student and look forward to continuing as his mentor as he starts third grade. I meet with my student weekly, typically over my lunch hour. We may spend our time together going over school work, reading or playing games together. The CIS mentoring program is about making a difference in the life of a child. Every week I look forward to the hour I spend with my student and the truth is I believe I gain more from this relationship then he does. One out of four students in North Texas are at risk of dropping out of school. Mentoring gives me an opportunity to help change that statistic by impacting the life of a child in my community.”

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

Our Church, Our People + Alex Nance

Story by Martha Ware


e are an intergenerational church. And Alex Nance is one of our young adults who is serving in our church in a major way. She represents a very active young adult group within our church. Alex got to the interview with her usual big smile and confessed, “I’m really not a morning person, so I always struggle with summer camp stuff and mission trips. I say to myself…‘grow up, Alex…’ Once I am up and moving I’m fine but getting out of bed is hard.” In her 20 years of life, she can sure say that she is an active, enthusiastic Christian. “Well, I am technically 20 but I have the heart of a five-year-old. I am such a goofy person! I guess that’s why I work so well with children, because I can get to their level. But I can also sometimes be a 90-year-old woman, just thinking and planning ahead. There is no inbetween for me. I know life happens and who knows what it is going to

Gail Baker

Alex Nance speaking during retreat

throw at you?” She is a Denton native and has lived her entire life in the same house so her roots are definitely

here. Alex is so enthusiastic, that I sometimes have to listen very carefully to catch everything she says as she speaks so fast. She shared some interesting parts of her story. She was a tomboy as a kid spending most of her time with three boys. In fact, she thought girls were boring. She’s tried sports and loves volleyball but spends more time with basketball because of her job. She loves music, having sung in choirs and played guitar and violin. She’s into the arts and dance, not only ballet, but also jazz, tap dance, modern, hip hop…. Name it and she’s tried it. But none of those activities has stuck with her like being involved in church. “After my senior year, my mom laughed at me and said that she spent all this money in all these classes and I stuck with the one thing that was free. I have always fundraised my way to mission trips, camps and everything. I think my mom had to only pay WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 13

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

for half of one trip my whole high school career,” Alex proudly said. From her baby years to second grade, Alex had attended a Unitarian church over by Denton High School. From second grade until now, she has been involved with FUMC-Denton. Her mom, Jodi, started to attend FUMC-Denton to check it out and embraced the task of giving a good home church to Alex. “We came to church every Sunday and even if she couldn’t come, she would find a way to drop me off. She is a really cool mom!” Once Jodi decided to make it her home church, she joined the Children’s Ministry Council and that’s when Alex started to really get involved with all sort of things in the church. As a child, Alex participated in Sunday School, choir and handbells, among other activities. She has finished high school but still doesn’t know what she wants to do or what career path she wants to take. She intends to take a couple of basic courses in the fall just to

Alex and mom Jodi in a picture perfect moment. 14 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

not get out of the habit of studying because she understands how hard it is to stop and then go back to school. One of the things she loves about this church is how it embraces a diversity of people, coming from different walks of life, learning from different curriculums. She sees FUMC-Denton as a church that accepts that people can see the same thing in different ways. At some point, she’s learned that the Children’s Ministry needed an intern and applied for the position.

different things. She helps with administrative tasks, the 3rd Day Family Service Powerpoint presentation, sets up the Sunday School rooms. And she enjoys getting to see the kids on Sundays. She observes how they interact and that helps her understand what works and what doesn’t. Alex loves working with Brandi Southwell, Children’s Ministry Director. She says that Brandi is really cool. “She doesn’t stress out about little things. She has that understanding that we work with

“There is something here for anyone. There is a service style for every taste. There are activities for all age groups. And it is important that you get involved. You get so much out of the experiences you live here.” — Alex Nance Needless to say, her outgoing personality and her do-it-all attitude got her the job. As the Children’s Ministry intern she does a lot of

kids, so anything can happen! I remember that over Christmas I was making copies of these Bible characters on card stock and the printer got jammed. So I texted her and said ‘sorry it’s taking so long but King Harry jammed the printer!’ Little things like that, you just can’t get mad at. It’s a cartoon Bible character…” she said. She also attends camp with the kids, which is her most favorite thing. “I love going to camp. It’s ten times more exciting to go as a counselor than as a camper. I made some really awesome friends through camp. My friend Kim and I have being going back as counselors for the past three years. It’s just a very cool reunion. The kids love it: it’s a week away from their parents… Bridgeport is like a sacred place to our children and youth. It’s so close to home and yet so far away. You get into your little Bridgeport happy bubble and nothing can go wrong there. In the beginning children expect just fun but year by year God becomes more and more present and then at middle and high school things became much more serious, they can explore their God journey

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

Alex at Share the Harvest with D’Andre Smith, youth intern.

more and more through hot-topic interest groups and in other ways.” Currently, Alex also works for FunStop, our Out-of-School program. “I was very excited to learn that I got the job because at the time I thought kids were super awesome and I might want to be a teacher. After working with them, I found out that I don’t want to be a teacher. I still love kids, but I think it’s more fun on a part-time volunteer basis than as a profession,” she said. During the school year she has a classroom with kindergarten through fifth graders and during summer she’s doing kinder camp with all the upcoming “pre-kers.” “I love that FunStop is such a huge melting pot of kids that likely would not hang out together if they were not put in the program. They hang out and love each other, and it’s just amazing. There are so many families that have been through so

much going through different situations… I think it’s made me realize how to look at people in a more positive way. You see how these kids go through so much and still want to smile and play. You realize that your problems are nothing compared to theirs.” Alex has led the “hang out room.” “Every Friday after the STAAR tests, kids get to choose the room they want to spend their time in. They can use the computer, go outside and kick the ball. We want to let them be kids and do things that they like. Because I was an only child and being nosy towards adults’ business, I feel like I grew up a little too fast. So I like to let them be creative, be kids. During the school year the children go to FunStop and do their homework: they draw, paint, play video games, talk about their characters in different scenarios, they sing (which they absolutely love), among so many other things. Children feel FunStop is a safe place for them, where they feel loved. We discuss their situations during our meetings spend a lot of time coming up with ways to help.” Alex said that one of the a-ha moments she had in FunStop was with a child with big trust issues. Based on life experiences children trust teachers differently. She remembers this one little kid that had a hard time trusting people,

Working with youth is one of Alex’s passions. When she realized that Mike Eubank, head of the Youth Council was also involved with a family group, she decided to volunteer and became a Youth Counselor. “Deana Mason, FUMCDenton Associate Pastor for Children and Youth, thought it would be good to have a ‘second head of youth council’ to help. Mike puts so much time and love into the youth ministry but he also has a life, so I wanted to help by sharing responsibilities. And I get to go to things like the Youth Council retreat and hang out with them, which I love!” said Alex. “I love having fun with youth but lately I have been trying to be more in tune with their issues to know I can help them. Our youth counselors are so awesome. I love them so much. I aspire to be like them when I grow up but right now I have the advantage of being younger, so I try to use that to connect with youth.” Alex, together with D’Andre Smith (youth intern) have been trying to use social media to reach out and connect with youth. “We try to reach out if we see or know they are having a bad day and things like that. When you are a little older you don’t necessarily want to follow a bunch of youth on social media. We have been trying little things like that.”

“I wanted to help by sharing responsibilities. And I get to go to things like the Youth Council retreat and hang out with them, which I love!” — Alex Nance which motivated her to pursue his trust. So, every single day when he came in she would ask him about his day, talk about little things, point out that his shirt was really cool until one day when he was leaving he gave her a hug and said, “Bye, Miss Alex, have a great day!” and that was big to her.

Social media also plays a role on how they incorporate and integrate God into their everyday lives. “Mid-Winter, we were at this huge conference-wide weekend retreat. While we were doing the songs, there was this real awesome, super cool upbeat band that was playing. They had some great music, some WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 15

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

songs that the kids had never heard before and it looked like a concert where everyone had their phones out and were on Snapchat posting it to their story. Bridgeport is kind of strict on the no-phone policy. While lots of counselors were trying to ask children to put their phones away though, D’Andre and I thought it was better to let them post on their story and a bunch of other people would see that and think that they might want to go to the retreat. There is a super fine line between being cool and being disrespectful and we hope children grow aware of when they should do it. I believe they use it for good overall and use it to influence their classmates to come.” [By the way, if you didn’t understand her Snapchat comment, if you don’t have a clue of what their story means, you might want to learn about it, especially if you have children and grandchildren. It might be a smart way to take God’s word into the lives of the new generations. – M. Ware] Since she was a junior in high school Alex has stayed away from attending worship services especially because she felt it was hard to sit still for a full hour, since she’s always moving. She tried Open Worship, our new modern worship service, and thought, “It was really cool.” She wants to go back to it. “My mom and I used to attend the 8:30 Traditional Service. We had our little spot by the pole.” She’s usually working for the Children’s Ministry from 8:30 to noon on Sundays but admits that Brandi has stressed the importance for her to find time to worship. “I think it will be a slow process for me to move back into it, to feel again comfortable with it but I am willing.” Her mom has been attending Open Worship. Being part of the church since she was a child made Alex a missional person, made her value what she has and being a good steward of her money. She’s learned to transfer her church experience to her personal life. Now that she deals 16 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

with budgets she is more aware of how to spend her own money. It also made her more aware of her attitude. “I have this cute cross little tassel thing and I use it to try to control myself when I am about to get mad, especially when my dad has some sort of road rage episode. I’m like, uh, don’t take after him. So, I try to be more Christian when I’m driving, because Texas drivers are crazy! I just feel that you claim to be a Christian and represent your church so publicly you should make an effort to portray that anyway you can. I am used to looking up to people and it’s weird to think that I might influence other people but I try to watch what I do, to be upbeat and don’t sweat over small stuff in the hopes it will rub off.” Alex expects that her church understands the world is an everchanging, ever-growing place. She believes that it is important for the church to have roots, foundations, core values and beliefs but it is also important to branch out and grow. She sees this church as very accepting. “It’s very cool that this church is multi-generational and so diverse.”

“There is something here for anyone. There is a service style for every taste. There are activities for all age groups. And it is important that you get involved. You get so much out of the experiences you live here. Everyone knows the big church close to the Square. But if you haven’t visited yet, come understand how the wheels of this church work. All the puzzle pieces come together. You will feel like you want to put your heart and soul in to what you do. I sure do!” Gail Baker Extremely uncomplicated. These were the two first words used by Gail Baker to describe herself. “I am so uncomplicated! I am a peace lover, especially when it comes to my family. When I am choosing my friends – and I have the best friends one could ask for – they have to be ‘what you see is what you get.’ I am blessed that I have a positive attitude and I believe that attitude is 98% of life. I don’t expect anybody to be responsible for my happiness. I am responsible for my own happiness and I think it is a gift that I am happy with what I have and

Gail Baker volunteering at Vacation Bible School.

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

not worried about what I don’t have,” said Gail as soon as we started to talk. Gail was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. When she was five years old they moved from an apartment in downtown Chattanooga to the suburbs. They didn’t have a car other than her dad’s company truck, which they were not allowed to touch, much less sit in it. “We would never be in his truck,” she said. “I had a little brother with cerebral palsy and without a car we could not really go anywhere. The people across the street came over one day and asked if we would like to go to church with them. From that time on, my daddy and I would go every Sunday with the people across the street, the Kigers. They were an elderly couple and we’d have gone wherever they drove us. That’s how I started going to church and became a Methodist. If they’ve gone to a Baptist church, I’d probably be a Baptist. And that was 71 years ago.” They did not have a car until Gail was in seventh grade and so they rode with the Kigers every Sunday for many years. In front of her Bible, Gail has written “Thank you, Lord, for Mr. and Mrs. Kiger.” She was in college for about a year when, while working a summer job in a telephone company, she met her future husband in the cafeteria. He worked for AT&T and she worked for SouthCentral Bell. Soon after they got married. “It was crazy, I wouldn’t advise anyone to get married that young. But it was a different time and I did. I wouldn’t take anything for my two children, so it worked.”

Years later they moved to Louisiana. Upon arriving she remembers this minister sitting on their moving boxes inviting them to church. He was not a Methodist minister and despite trying to go to his church, Gail just couldn’t do it. “I just had to find a Methodist church!” Gail has lived in Virginia, Montreal, three different places in Texas and has always gone to Methodist churches. No matter where they were, they would always find a

Before Gail and her husband decided to try a country life, they lived in Plano for a while. Then they rented out their house in Plano and rented a farmhouse in Corinth to try the new lifestyle. After one year, they were so in love with Denton that they traded their house in Plano for a piece of property, without even going back to the old house. That was in 1976. They built a house in Denton and lived there for several years.

Gail Baker, Linda Hook and Karen Englar at Heifer Mission Trip in 1984.

Methodist church. “The churches in Virginia and Montreal were not friendly at all. When we were in Virginia, we were part of the military and the older members of the church there wouldn’t connect with military. The minister would reach out, but the congregation would not.”

“When I got divorced… I went to the youth director and said that I didn’t think I was equipped to be a youth counselor any longer. She just told me that it was ridiculous and yes, I would continue being a counselor at this church. So I realized that the church was my family and they were there — Gail Baker for me.”

After 41 years of marriage Gail divorced and moved to Providence Village. She’s been divorced for 15 years and for a good period of time, she’s had a Stephen Minister. Seeing Gail go through such a difficult time, Bill Crouch, FUMC-Denton pastor at the time, asked her if she would like a Stephen Minister and Gail said she would love one. “I didn’t know her. She was wonderful. I recommend a Stephen minister to anyone who is going through transitions and need help. I always ask people if they need one. I am not a minister but was the recipient, and as a recipient I can witness to how well it worked. I could just get on the phone and talk to her in a totally open way. I can remember WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 17

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

so many times I’ve cried. One of my first questions to her was if she’s ever been divorced because I didn’t know if they were pairing me with someone who would understand what I was going through. She had not been divorced at the time but was later on. You can’t understand how it feels until you go through it.” When people ask her if she doesn’t want a companion in her life she says no. “I don’t feel lonely. I am surrounded by people I love and who love me. This church has given me a family. When I got divorced I was ashamed and embarrassed. I was a youth counselor so I went to the youth director and said that I didn’t think I was equipped to be a youth counselor any longer. Lisa Greenwood-Wolcott was the director at that time. She just told me that it was ridiculous and yes, I would continue being a counselor at this church. So I realized that the church was my family and they were there for me. I have three really great friends in this church: Jerry Allen, Linda Hook and Josie Herring. During my divorce, one of the most difficult times of my life, they were with me every step of the way.” After that difficult time, Gail lost count of how many people she counseled and was able to help through their divorces. Bill Crouch was one of the pastors that most marked her life as well as Matt Gaston. Gail said that Bill was just an absolutely inspiring minister and he was very connected with youth. She remembers that he would come to the youth meetings and play his guitar and take the time to get down on their level. “He was such good father to his children. He was an inspiration. He was also very ‘warm.’ When talking about Matt she asked, “Who wouldn’t like Matt? I could never understand someone not liking him! He was just so easy.” Andy Stoker was also a pastor that marked Gail’s life. “He is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. But he can also be the silliest. When I’d sit down and have a 18 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

Gail decorating Miller Center for Christmas.

conversation with him, he’d walk away and I’d be like… what did he just say? He would use so many big words that were way above my head. Then, he would be a cheerleader! I loved working with Andy.” After getting married, Gail never went back to school because her husband didn’t want her to work. So, she volunteered. “I’ve been a volunteer for something my whole life, until my daughter was in college. Then I’ve worked for seven years for an artist and loved it. It was a wonderful job! I volunteered at Red Cross, at PTAs and was a

Iaia were in our youth group. I see these people growing up and becoming leaders in our church. I was just there to support them and be there for them through those years. But it is incredible to see that they now take a role in working with youth.” Gail remembers when, many years ago, Kathleen Baskin came to this church. She was just 27 and could not believe on how many “old people” were youth counselors. She thought the youth ministry needed some young blood to work with the young people. “We all agreed that we needed younger people to get

“I’ve been a volunteer for something my whole life, until my daughter was in college…. I volunteered at Red Cross, at PTAs and was a scout leader. I’ve worked with youth since 1961. What is not to like about working with youth? They — Gail Baker are so real, so full of life and dreams.” scout leader. I’ve worked with youth since 1961. What is not to like about working with youth? They are so real, so full of life and dreams…” When Gail started to work with youth she was only 20 years-old, almost one of them. And she loved every single minute of it. “Our own Reverend Deana Mason was in my youth group when she was in 10th grade. Angie Matthews and Johanna

involved but when it came to who’s going to carry out everything she came up with, the young people just disappeared!” she laughed. “They were in college, didn’t have time. So, she learned, right after that, that you need those old folks to make the ministry happen.” Being an FUMC-Denton member since 1976, Gail has worked with youth here since her

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

daughter was in seventh grade (she’s 53 now) until three years ago, when she retired. She said that some of her most treasured memories are from youth mission trips. “There are two memories that stand out in my mind. The first one is when we once were in Corpus Christi at a state school and we were doing a Credo concert. The group had practiced a lot; it was very well rehearsed; we were good to go. The choir started to sing and the clients started to walk right into the choir. They started to put their arms around the Credo members and of course I started to bawl. My daughter was in the front row so I could never look at her because everyone would start crying. We’ve just changed the concert completely and started singing Jingle Bells. And this was in July! We started singing happy fun songs and just threw the concert out the window. Everybody on the stage was arm in arm swinging and singing all these songs that the kids from all the state schools know. It was just like the most treasured memory. Even after all these years, I can barely talk about it.” The other memory that Gail treasures was during a different trip to Corpus Christi, when they were on the beach. They were in a big circle at night singing It Only Takes a Spark. When they got to the part of the song where you say “praise God” our youth shouted “praise God.” Way down the beach, another youth group shouted out “praise God.” They were Baptist. They came running to where our youth group was and they made this humongous circle on the beach and sang the song together. Gail lives the moment at its fullest. “I go along with whatever stage I’m in. I don’t know for how long I’ll be able to do things. I get up and do what I can do while I can do it. I broke my leg some time ago and had to be in a cast for five months. I promised God that when I got out of that chair I’d do things and never complain that I had too much to do.”

She loves that this church has such a giving mission. “We have a big heart. We are always searching for what we can do for other people.” And she also loves that this church is so God-centered and so accepting. “We accept anyone who walks through our doors. We don’t judge them. We are taught not to judge them. And even though it is sometimes hard to do that we remember our goal of having open hearts and open arms. I know I can sit beside someone who has a totally different view and I’ll respect that. And they will respect me. Nobody is going to tell me how I have to think. I couldn’t handle a small-minded church. Because I try to accept people just the way they are. I may not approve all of their behaviors but I love them and will be there for them.” Something else that Gail likes about this church is that we are always starting new programs. Sometimes she is at the church four days in a week. And loves it! She participates in the Trippers group, Book club, volunteers at the reception desk, comes to the community Bible study and volunteers at Vacation Bible School and Special Times,

our respite program for Alzheimer patients’ caretakers. Something that is not in her plans and had never been is being a leader: “You won’t see me being a leader of anything. No groups, committees, nothing. I don’t like to lead. I don’t want to be president of anything. I am a follower and will always be your best worker. I will be in the kitchen and wash dishes, put Christmas decorations up, anything. If I say I’ll do something, I’ll be there. You will never see me on the Administrative Board or some sort of building committee. I won’t do any financials. When I retired from youth I took a little break to decide what I would do next and that’s when Kathryn Stream came up with Special Times. My mother had Alzheimers. I took care of her the same time I was going through my divorce. So, I know a lot about taking care of Alzheimer’s patients. I also had an aunt with Alzheimers. As she did not have any children, my cousin and I took care of her.” She is passionate about the respite program. When she was taking care of her mother, Gail attended an Alzheimer support group and

Gail volunteering at Special Times, Alzheimer’s Respite Program. WWW.FUMC-DENTON.COM 19

IMPACT | People Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

learned it’s ok to lie. After learning the opposite from her mom and dad, it was hard to accept. But lying is ok. “If the patient says the yellow thing over there is blue you just say that it’s blue. You have to try to keep them from getting frustrated. I’ve learned many tricks that help take care of them. I know how to distract them. The patients are very attached and dependent on their caretakers so when they come to the program for the first time they ask about them a lot and start to get anxious. I distract them so the anxiety goes away. Wanda is one of our patients and she is so precious. She loves dancing and during one of our special times, I asked our intern Jesse to dance with her. He asked her for a dance, slow-danced and twirled her. It was just a magical moment.” Gail praises all the program volunteers, saying that they help each other and take care of each other. “The program is designed for the caregiver but the client has a really fun time,” said Gail. The program is not here to cure or treat anyone. We are not equipped for that. But there are two volunteers for each client and we have learned how to care for them and help them have some good moments. Gail for example is the greeter, the cleaner-upper and does anything needed in between. “The program benefits the caregiver,

“Learn to volunteer, find time to volunteer. The opportunities are here. You just have to do it. This church really looks for opportunities to serve. I know time can be tight but people need to understand that God is on the top of the priority list, that He is the center of everything. Even if you commit one hour a week, do it!” — Gail Baker who can take some time off and do whatever they want or need, because caring for an Alzheimer patient is 24/7. Some go have a haircut, some go to Wal-Mart or Lowes, or go home and take a nap. We just give them a little break. Everybody needs that little bit of time when they can breathe! Secondly, the patients come and have a good time, have some fun in a structured, supervised and safe environment. We start out with a devotional and do something related to the theme of the day. Someone from Seniors in Motion comes over and leads them in exercises. We have Chris Staples who plays the piano so they can sing along. We then have lunch. And we do the same thing every week. They might not remember that it’s the same thing but 20 SHINING GOD’S LOVE, TRANSFORMING LIVES

it is a routine and it makes them feel comfortable. And it makes us feel comfortable as well. We are very cautious to make everything very safe.” Each patient is different but volunteers do everything they can to make them feel comfortable. They cheer them up, try to distract them and help them have a good time, living in that moment and living it in a fun way. Gail said that she gets out of here exhausted because she’s up for three hours and moving and doing stuff but she feels accomplished when she realizes the caregivers could have a little time for themselves. “We get a little attached to the caregivers, even though we don’t interact that much. But we sympathize. And the patients… you just can’t help but love them.” The leaders of the program have to decide whether the patients can participate in the program or not. They have to be confident that they can handle the patient. “One of our patients became difficult and his wife made the decision of withdrawing him from the program. She couldn’t get him to leave our sessions. People don’t realize that most of the times it’s harder on the caregiver than on the patient. It’s harder on them because they ‘lost’ someone they love, they wish it hadn’t happened to someone close to them. They see their full-of-life parents, grandparents, friends becoming very different. But while they are still able to laugh, have fun and remember when they were little, what their momma cooked for them and that kind of thing, we can still be here for them because they can still have some joy in their lives. And if I can help that happen once a week, why wouldn’t I?” Although it is a pilot program, Gail really has a heart for it. As she has a heart for old people. Actually for babies, teenagers and old people. She remembers when her daddy was at Good Samaritan she was the hero because she would get ice cream for everybody. She sure has a full plate. And she hopes that the younger generation comes right behind, understand the importance of the church and see this church as a family as she does. “I always think about the ones that were here before me. Someone came before me so I could have this building to worship in. I know people are busy, I know in most families both parents work. Children nowadays are busy, have a million different activities. But you’ve got to prepare a place for your kids that are coming up. That’s how kids learn to serve, by watching their parents. When you grow up seeing others serving, you just think you are supposed to do it, too. Serving becomes a habit. Learn to volunteer, find time to volunteer. The opportunities are here. You just have to do it. This church really looks for opportunities to serve. I know time can be tight but people need to understand that God is on the top of the priority list, that He is the center of everything. Even if you commit one hour a week, do it!”

IMPACT | Events Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017

Experience IMPACT at FUMC-Denton

October 1 Blessing of the Animals Ivey Garden – 1:00 pm - This is a Christian tradition that commemorates the life of St. Francis, an early church father born in the twelfth century, known for his love of all God’s creatures. Anyone who would like to bring an animal companion is welcome and will receive a “Blessing Certificate.” The service will be officiated by Rev. Don Lee, our Lead Pastor.

September 10 Fall Round-Up Sanctuary, 11:00 am, followed by luncheon in Monroe 160th FUMC-Denton birthday. Our celebration will start with a combined worship service followed by a brisket luncheon. It will be a potluck lunch, so sign-up on our website to bring brisket or sides. The church will provide drinks and dessert. For details, to sign up to bring a dish and to RSVP go to!

October 31 Share the Harvest

November 3, 4 and 5 Alternative Gifts Fair Church grounds – Nov. 3, 5:00 – 8:00 pm; Nov. 4, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm; Nov. 5, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm More than 35 vendors sell their one-of-a-kind artisan items and crafts providing an alternaative for gift giving and, at the same time, raising money with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the participating non-profit organizations. Fair trade goods, handmade merchandise by third-world-country artisans and merchandise donated by both First United Methodist Church members and Denton locals make the fair an event not to be missed. People from around our region come to the fair year after year to buy creative and unique items in a fun and safe environment, avoiding the rush and craziness of the malls. Go to for details.

Church grounds – 6:00 – 8:00 pm We will maintain our tradition and have the most Spook-tacular and Fa-boo-lous Share the Harvest yet! Trunk or Treat, carnival games, hay rides and a snack supper make this event a fun and safe alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating for children from our church, our immediate neighborhood and the greater Denton community. For details, go to

December 1 Evening in Bethlehem Ivey Garden (front lawn), front steps just off of Locust Street, and Cole Chapel, 5:30 – 8:00 pm FUMC-Denton will begin the 2017 holiday season on the same night as the Tree Lighting on the Square! For details go to


IMPACT | Bigger Picture Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017


IMPACT Bigger Picture

UMCOR: Serving as the Hands and Feet of Christ around the World


arthquake in Haiti. Tsunami in Southeast Asia. Tornados in Oklahoma. Flooding in Illinois. Whether in some far-off country or right here in the United States, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is always one of the first responders on the ground to help alleviate human suffering. Most often, this relief agency is called by its acronym, UMCOR. It is a ministry of the United Methodist Church under the auspices of the General Board of Global Ministries. But it is much more than an organization that responds to disasters. UMCOR programs also serve in the areas of health, sustainable agriculture and food security. UMCOR currently touches the lives of people in more than 80 countries, including our own. This organization provides humanitarian relief when lives are impacted by war, conflict or natural disaster and local communities are unable to recover on their own. Not only does it provide temporary relief, but extends support through long-term education, training and support. UMCOR and its predecessor, MCOR, have relieved human suffering since 1940 at the onset of World War II. Even though it was supposed to be a temporary committee, the General Conference of the church re-approved its work every four years until 1972 when it was made a permanent part of the General Board of Global Ministries. UMCOR has received the top designation of Four Star Charity from Charity Navigator, a wellrespected independent evaluator of charities, which measures several factors, among them the percentage of funding that is actually spent on programs and services it delivers. UMCOR prides itself on spending


Top: Rev. Jack Amick and Sanyelle Eduarte, 7, rest atop bags of relief supplies at the offices of the UMCOR in Manila. Philippines. Photo by Mike DuBose. Right: Survivors of Typhoon Hayian receive emergency food supplies from UMCOR in Tacloban, Philippines. Photo by Mike DuBose.

100% of designated donation on the projects specified by its donors. What makes this possible? Every United Methodist who donates through their local church helps fund the overheard of UMCOR through a small percentage of the apportionments paid through the local church. So, that makes every United Methodist who supports their church a contributor in the work of this international relief organization. And 100% of any funds a member gives directly in support of an UMCOR project will go to that project. As a local congregation of the United Methodist Church, FUMCDenton is part of a much larger connectional system that reaches out far beyond our local community by providing support to needy persons around the world. That is just one of the ways FUMC-Denton and its members IMPACT the world. If you would like to make a special contribution in support of this important work, go to this link: http://www.

— Alan Heath, Executive Editor

Sager Brown Depot, a world wide distribution center for relief supplies in Baldwin, Lousiana.

IMPACT | From the Pastor Volume 3 Issue 1 | Fall 2017


IMPACT From the Pastor

Ministerio Jesus Fuente de Vida: Cultivando lazos de paz y bienestar en nuestra diversa comunidad.


esde el principio de la creacion, Dios emite una palabra de gozo y satisfaccion al ver la obra de sus manos, los mares, las montañas, los rios y los animales, pero no es hasta que crea al hombre que su obra es coronada. Todo fue creado con sabiduria y proposito, pero solo el hombre fue creado a su imagen y semejanza. Dios celebra la diversidad de su creacion y declara que todo es bueno. En nuestro llamado como hijos de Dios y seguidores de Cristo celebramos la diversidad etnica, cultural y racial, enseñando que cada ser humano es equitativamente igual a su projimo y que somos tan valiosos e importantes sin importar posicion social, politica, economica, o academica. Nuestra mission como ministerio es promover y cultivar lazos de paz y bienestar en nuestra diversa comunidad, donde hay tantas banderas y culturas mescladas, diferentes posturas politicas y religiosas, para crear un ambiente sano, libre de racismo y abuso. Creemos en la postura Cristiana de amar a nuestro projimo a pesar de que las diferencias

que puedan obstaculizar, tal como la parabola del buen samaritano (Lucas 10:25-37) donde un hombre bueno ayuda a quien otros desecharon e ignoraron, le sana sus heridas y paga para que sea atendido dignamente. Estamos en esta comunidad de Denton para llamar a la poblacion de habla Hispana a que valoremos nuestras tradiciones y culturas sin menospreciar las mismas o las que nos rodean. Estamos aqui para formar y desarrollar lideres cristianos con valores del Reino de Dios, donde valoramos la creacion de Dios y la diversidad que hay en medio de nosotros. Estamos aqui para motivar al que esta desalentado y levantar con el amor de Dios al que esta caido, para dar un mensaje de aliento en medio de circunstancias adversas y dificiles. Dios nos ha llamado a esta comunidad a dar esperanza al que no tiene y para proclamar el señorio de Cristo en la vida de todo aquel que a El se acerca. Las puertas de nuestra congregacion estan abiertas para todas la razas y culturas. ~~~~ From the beginning of creation, God expresses joy and satisfaction in seeing the work of His hands-the seas, mountains, rivers and animals. But the creation of man was His crowing achievement. Everything was created with wisdom and purpose, but only man was created in His image and likeness. God celebrates the diversity of

— Rev. Mauricio Orozco, Associate Pastor

His creation and declares that all is good. In our call as children of God and followers of Christ, we celebrate ethnic, cultural and racial diversity, teaching that every human being is equal to his neighbor and that we are valuable and important regardless of social, political, economic or academic position. Our mission as a ministry is to promote and cultivate bonds of peace and well-being in our diverse community, where there are so many different flags, cultures, political and religious positions. Our mission is also to create a healthy environment free from racism and abuse. We believe in the Christian view of loving our neighbor despite any differences that may hinder a loving relationship (such as the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37.) In the parable, a good man helps the person who was rejected and ignored. He treats the wounds and pays for him to be attended with dignity. We are in this community to call on the Hispanic-speaking population to value our traditions and cultures without belittling them or those around us. We are here to form and develop Christian leaders with values of the Kingdom of God, where we value the creation of God and its diversity. We are here to motivate the discouraged, to raise the fallen with the love of God and to give a message of encouragement amid adverse and difficult circumstances. God has called us to this community to give hope to the hopeless and to proclaim the lordship of Christ in the life of everyone who comes to Him. He has called us to open the doors of our congregation to all races and cultures. — Rev. Mauricio Orozco, Associate Pastor




Shining God’s Love from Generation to Generation

We are a Bible-based church who welcomes believers and seekers of all ages, promoting an intergenerational place of worship and spiritual growth.


FUMC-Denton Service Times

Worship with Us It’s our members who make FUMC-Denton a welcoming church. We hope you will join us. Visit our website to learn more about the different services.

Sunday Worship Schedule: 7:30 am – First Meal A free breakfast for those in need followed by an informal worship service. Located in Monroe Fellowship Building.

8:30 am – Traditional Worship Traditional, formal worship service featuring liturgy, organ-led hymns and choral music. Located in the Sanctuary.

9:45 am – Connection Contemporary An informal service in a relaxed, contemporary setting with a praise band. Located in Monroe Fellowship Building.

9:45 am – Sunday School classes for all ages each Sunday

First United Methodist Church of Denton 201 S. Locust Street | Denton, TX 76201 (940) 382-5478 | (940) 381-9124 (FAX)

11:00 am – Bible Study in Spanish 11:00 am – Celebration Worship (livestreaming and televised on Charter 191 and Verizon 39) Incorporates elements found in traditional worship supporting the Bible-based preaching of our lead pastor. Located in the Sanctuary.

11:00 am – Open Worship A place to experience God’s radical love, in a community that is uniquely Denton. Located in Flinn Hall.

11:15 am – 3rd Day Family Service (third Sunday every month) A family service, designed to help children find their place in worship. Located in Monroe Fellowship Building. 12:30 pm – Jesus Fuente de Vida (in Spanish) A service of joy, praise and worship for the whole family. A time of gratitude with vibrant singing where God’s presence touches your soul. Located in Flinn Hall.

IMPACT Magazine--Fall 2017  

This is the latest edition of the magazine published by First United Methodist Church of Denton, TX. We highlight the impact that our member...

IMPACT Magazine--Fall 2017  

This is the latest edition of the magazine published by First United Methodist Church of Denton, TX. We highlight the impact that our member...