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TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Welcome.......................….….......................................................…...1 2. Intro to First Church Series...............................................................2 3. History of First Church.......................................................................3 4. What We Believe................................................................................4 5. Worship Services................................................................................6 6. Sunday Morning.................................................................................7 7. Wednesday Activities........................................................................8 8. Nursery................................................................................................9 9. Methodist Children’s Academy......................................................10 10. Children............................................................................................11 11. Tweens..............................................................................................13 12. Youth.................................................................................................14 13. Adults................................................................................................16 Young Adults.................................................................................16 Men............................................................................... ................16 Women..........................................................................................17 14. Senior Adults....................................................................................18 15. Missions............................................................................................19 16. Music and Worship Arts.................................................................20 17. Christian Education.........................................................................22 Sunday School..............................................................................22 Bible Studies.................................................................................24 18. Clergy and Staff...............................................................................25 19. Be Informed......................................................................................28 20. Facilities............................................................................................29 21. Campus Map...................................................................................32 22. Membership.....................................................................................33


WELCOME Welcome to First United Methodist Church of Pensacola, Florida. Founded in 1821, First Church is the oldest Protestant church in the area and the oldest Methodist church in Florida. This historic church has a membership of over 3200 and is overflowing with life. With four Sunday morning services and a variety of ministries and programs, First Church is the ideal place for you and your family to belong. This guide is designed to give you an overview of the entire church and help you become connected as quickly as possible. It is our desire that you find your place in the family of First Church. We look forward to welcoming you into our thriving community!


INTRO TO FIRST CHURCH We welcome all visitors and new members that are interested in learning more about First Church to the Introduction to First Church Series that consists of four parts. The classes assemble at 9:30am in the Perry Home. These classes can be taken in any order and are offered monthly. Introduction to First Church 1st Sunday of the month Introduction to First Church provides an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the history, theology, worship, and membership of First Church. Ministries of First Church 2nd Sunday of the month Ministries of First Church includes descriptions about the variety of programs and ministries of First Church. Serving at First Church 3rd Sunday of the month Serving at First Church will help you find the place to use your gifts and talents in service in the church and community. Tour of First Church 4th Sunday of the month Tour of First Church is a guided tour through the historic buildings of our campus.


HISTORY OF FIRST CHURCH Pensacola has a vibrant religious history. In 1559, Pensacola was the site of the first Christian worship service, in what later became the United States of America. First United Methodist Churchis the oldest Methodist church in Florida, dating back to 1821, when a mission was established by the Mississippi Conference and the Reverend Alexander Talley was appointed as missionary to Pensacola. The mission began by holding meetings in the courthouse and the theater of Pensacola. In 1827, a lot was purchased on the northeast corner of Intendencia and Tarragona and a church was built. In 1881, as the church continued to grow, the first site was sold and property was purchased at the northwest corner of Palafox and Garden Streets. The Palafox Street church was completed in 1890. In 1901, several preaching missions were held, later becoming independent churches - Gadsden Street, Richards Memorial, and Warrington. It was at this time that the mother church became known as First Church. In 1906, the Palafox Street property was sold and a new site was purchased on Wright Street. On October 14, 1908, the cornerstone was laid for the new sanctuary. Over the next century Methodism continued to grow in Pensacola, and in 1951, the Education Building was constructed and provided much needed space for Christian education. First Church continued to grow and additional ministries and supporting facilities were added including The Wright Place, Outreach Building, Henry Roberts Activities Center, and a Youth Ministries Center. In October 2008, 100 years after the cornerstone was laid for the sanctuary, First Church prepared for the future by purchasing the Perry Home and Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, now known as Wesley Abbey. Wesley Abbey is home to ICON, First Church’s newest Sunday morning service. First Church has a vast history of ministry and service and has experienced record growth. Since 1821, First Church has gone from a fledgling frontier mission to a thriving church with membership of over 3200. The cornerstone of downtown Pensacola, First Church will continue to minister to the community and the world for years to come.


WHAT WE BELIEVE United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities based on the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. With all Christians, past and present, United Methodists share a common heritage of faith. “This heritage is grounded in the apostolic witness to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, which is the source and measure of all valid Christian teaching. . . . the early church sought to specify the core of Christian belief in order to ensure the soundness of Christian teaching.” “United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture [= The Christian Bible: both the Old and New Testaments] is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine [= Christian teaching]. Through Scripture the living Christ meets us in the experience of redeeming grace. We are convinced that Jesus Christ is the living Word of God in our midst, whom we trust in life and death. The biblical authors, illumined by the Holy Spirit, bear witness that in Christ the world is reconciled to God. The Bible bears authentic testimony to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as God’s work of creation, in the pilgrimage of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history” (The 2008 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, pp. 42, 78). Based on and drawn from the Holy Bible, two creeds, “the Apostles’ Creed” and “the Nicene Creed,” are greatly respected as convenient summaries of some of the basics of our common heritage of faith and are widely used for teaching purposes, as well as for defending the Christian faith against misrepresentations. “The Apostles’ Creed” is used as a personal confession of faith at the time of baptism. Often referred to as “the baptismal symbol,” it presents, in twelve statements, the main ideas of the Christian faith that the church received from the apostles of Jesus Christ: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.” (The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 881)


WHAT WE BELIEVE “The Nicene Creed,” which is commonly employed in the celebration of the sacrament of Lord’s Supper, is the sufficient summary of the Christian faith: the faith of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures’ he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in the only holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. (The United Methodist Hymnal, no. 880) Particular to the United Methodist Church are “our doctrinal standards and general rules”: “The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church” and “The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church” (for these, see pages 59-74 in 2008 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church). We United Methodists “have an obligation to bear a faithful witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our Biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time” (2008 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, p. 77).

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

The people of The United Methodist Church.


WORSHIP First United Methodist Church of Pensacola, Florida has four Sunday morning worship services in a variety of styles. Â Each service follows the Revised Common Lectionary and celebrates Holy Communion weekly.

The Early Service at 8:00 AM

The Early Service at 8:00 AM meets in the Main Sanctuary and includes organ led hymns and our wonderful Sanctuary Choir. Dr. Wesley H. Wachob, Senior Pastor at First UMC of Pensacola delivers the sermon.

The Mid-Morning Service at 9:30 AM

The Mid-Morning Service at 9:30 AM meets in the Main Sanctuary and includes piano led hymns and special music by the Chancel Singers. Dr. Wachob delivers the sermon at this casual and contemplative service.

The Traditional Service at 11:00 AM

The Traditional Service at 11:00 AM features our 4,000+ pipe organ and Sanctuary Choir and meets in the Main Sanctuary. Dr. Wachob delivers the sermon.

ICON at 11:00 AM

ICON is a new style of worship which is cutting edge, tradition rich, art embracing, mission minded and most importantly, Christ centered. The ICON service meets next door to the Main Sanctuary in our modern worship space, Wesley Abbey. Rev. Brandon Bures, Associate Pastor, regularly preaches at this service. Dr. Wachob and Rev. Autrey also preach at this service throughout the year. The ICON Worship Band led by Jeb Hunt, Creative Director, leads the music for the ICON service.


SUNDAY MORNING Sunday Morning Schedule 8:00 AM - The Early Service, Main Sanctuary 9:30 AM - The Mid-Morning Service, Main Sanctuary 9:30 AM - Sunday School, Multiple Locations 9:30 AM - Introduction to First Church, Governor Perry Home 11:00 AM - The Traditional Service, Main Sanctuary 11:00 AM - ICON, Wesley Abbey Ushers, Greeters and Information Desks Ushers and greeters are located at each entrance of the Main Sanctuary and Wesley Abbey for your assistance. Ushers will provide you with your worship bulletin and can answer any questions you may have regarding the service. Information Desks are also located in the front office and Wesley Abbey with volunteers able to assist you. Nursery and Children’s Worship Bulletins Nursery is available for children up to 5 years old in the Children’s Education Building. (See page 8 for more details.) Also, children’s worship bulletins and crayons are available in the lobby. If you need help, please see an usher or greeter for assistance. Hearing Assistance Devices Hearing assistance devices are available for use in the main sanctuary during Sunday services. These devices allow the moderately hearing impaired to hear the service using earphones and transmitter with volume control. A limited number of these devices are available upon request. Please see an usher for assistance. Perry Home Coffee House Open 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Sundays The Perry Home Coffee House (inside the Gov. Perry Home) is open on Sunday mornings and is a great place to fellowship over a cup of coffee or delicious pastry in between services and Sunday School. The menu includes coffee, tea, cappuccino, specialty coffees, smoothies, bottled drinks, juices, muffins, pastries and more. The Wright Place The Wright Place is also open for coffee and fellowship on Sunday. Artwork from the Artist of the Month is on display and can be viewed on Sunday mornings. Each month a new artist is selected and their artwork is displayed in the gallery. Most artwork is also available for purchase at the end of the show.


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES There is something for everyone on Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church. Fellowship with your church family at the Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner, rehearse with the Sanctuary Choir, enjoy exciting children and youth activities, attend the Senior Pastor’s Bible Study and more. Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner 5:00 - 6:00 PM in The Wright Place Come and enjoy a delicious meal with your church family at the Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner. Menus are available weekly in the Sunday worship bulletins and online. Make reservations online, by calling the church office or using the worship registration pad. Reservations are required Tuesday by noon. Joe Harrell Men’s Bible Breakfast (7:00 AM - Fall/Spring) Joe Harrell Men’s Bible Breakfast is a men’s Bible study and fellowship where you can meet other men on their Christian journey. The Bible breakfast has continually met for 40+ years. R & R - Repair and Renewal (Fall/Spring) A talented group of craftsmen and women who fellowship, build and repair projects for the church and the community. Lectionary Lunch (Noon - Fall/Spring) A discussion group which focuses on the weekly lectionary scriptures for the coming Sunday. Lunch available for purchase. Kid Connect (Fall/Spring) After school program including creative classes and music programs. Wesley’s Wednesday Night Bible Study (6:00 PM - Fall/Spring) An in depth Bible and book study by Senior Pastor, Dr. Wesley Wachob. Sanctuary Choir Rehearsal (6:15 - 7:45 PM - Fall/Spring) An adult choir which rehearses weekly and sings at the 8:00 and 11:00 AM services. Children and Youth Activities (Fall/Spring) Wednesday nights include a variety of programs for children and youth.


NURSERY All children are welcome to attend worship with their families. However, we do provide nursery for children who have not yet entered kindergarten. We have three separate nurseries for infants, toddlers, and three/four year olds.  All of our nurseries are staffed with paid employees and a Nursery Director. If you have any questions or comments regarding the nursery, call 850-432-1434 or email Location Children and families are greeted at our welcome station located between the Henry Roberts Activity Center and the Children’s Education Building.  At our welcome center you will be directed to sign in and register your child.


THE METHODIST CHILDREN’S ACADEMY The Methodist Children’s Academy (MCA) offers full-day and after school care in our newly remodeled facilities on the campus of First United Methodist Church in beautiful downtown Pensacola. Understanding the benefits of grouping classrooms according to ages and stages of development, MCA now offers an infant/toddler building and a separate preschool building that houses our two and three year old preschool, as well as our very successful Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program. This restructuring allows us to share resources and ideas, while creating a program focusing on the cognitive development of your children. Full Day Program MCA offers a full-time, year round program. The hours are 7:00am-5:50pm and the program operates throughout the year with the exception of designated school holidays. After School Care MCA also offers after school care for children Kindergarten through 5th grade on our campus in downtown Pensacola. Our program provides quiet homework time, snack, group games and outside free play. Transportation is available from N.B. Cook Elementary and Suter Elementary. We offer school age camps throughout the year during school closures with field trips and theme based activities. Pricing and Payment Please contact the MCA office or visit our website at for the most current pricing and payment information. For More Information 850-438-6761 (preschool) 850-432-1434 (church office)


CHILDREN (Preschool - 4th Grade) Children’s Ministries at First Church is dedicated to growing spiritually healthy families by partnering with parents. Together we provide experiences in worship, service, fellowship and studying the Bible, so all children can learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Weekly Activities

Sunday School (Sunday Mornings, 9:30 - 10:30 AM) Interactive and educational classes divided by age. Kid Connect (Wednesday - Fall/Spring) After school program including creative classes and music programs. The Kindergarten and First Grade Choir (Wednesday - Fall/Spring) The 2nd-4th Grade Choir (Wednesday - Fall/Spring)

Camps and Retreats Seasonal and Special Events

Winter Retreat (January/February) 3rd Grade Bible Sunday (January) Vacation Bible School (June) Palm Sunday Parade (Palm Sunday) Summer Camp (June/July) (3rd/4th gr) Easter Egg Hunt (Easter) Worship Arts Camp (August) Great Day of Giving (December) Blue Lake Family Retreat (October) White Christmas Service (December) Fall Retreat (November) (3rd/4th gr) Children’s Christmas Eve (December) Baby Recognition (December)


CHILDREN (Preschool - 4th Grade) Additional Ministries and Classes

Kindergarten Worship Readiness 3rd Grade Bible Adventure Class Puppet Ministry Special Needs Class Side by Side, Parent Sunday School Class

Family Nights Children’s Art Show Hearts for Service Mission Team Mom’s Bible Study Small Groups

Safe Sanctuaries

First Church follows Safe Sanctuaries procedures to create an environment in which children, youth and the adults who work with them have boundaries of safe space.


Lisa Bond, Director of Children and Family Ministries, 850-432-1434 Lisa joined the staff of First United Methodist Church in the fall of 2008. She has a B.A. in Christian Education from Huntingdon College. In addition to working at First Church, she currently serves on the Treehouse Board of the Pensacola Little Theater (Children’s Theatre Program) and volunteers at her children’s schools. She is married to Bill Bond and has three children, Connor, Mary and Caroline. Lacey Adair, Nursery and Preschool Ministries Coordinator, 850-432-1434


The Children’s Department is located in our two story Education Building. The Education Building provides a kid friendly atmosphere for children to worship, learn and grow. The nursery, classrooms, and Methodist Children’s Academy (MCA) are on the first floor of the Education Building. The second floor has additional meeting space for children including Children’s Library, art room, Children’s Worship Room and more.


Arts and Crafts Room 2nd Floor, Education Building

TWEENS (5th - 6th Grade) Our energetic and exciting Tween program is a wonderful addition to the ministries of First Church. Our 5th and 6th graders learn how to grow, by example, into loving and responsible youth and adults.

Weekly Activities

Sunday School (Sunday Mornings, 9:30 - 10:30 AM) A time of learning and fellowship Club 56 (Fall/Spring) Sunday evening gathering where tweens participate in a variety of exciting activities including choir, tween fear factor, messy games, and more 6th Grade Morning Bible Studies (Fall/Spring) Off-campus before-school morning devotion at local coffee shop

Retreats, Trips and Special Events Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Summer) Summer Splash (Summer) Confirmation Retreat (Winter) Blue Lake Family Reatreat (Oct)

On-Campus Sleepovers (Fall/Spring) Fear Factor (Fall) Created by God (Fall)


All 5th and 6th graders are encouraged to participate in confirmation. Confirmands participate in classes which prepare them for full membership in the church. Upon completion of the confirmation class, confirmands commit to the Methodist Church during worship the Sunday following Easter.


Denise Van Atta, Director of Tween and Youth Ministries, 850-432-1434 Denise has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and holds her Directors Credential for the State and is a Certified Trainer for the Early Childhood Coalition of Escambia County. She has served in several capacities at the church, from Preschool Director to her current position as Director of Tween and Youth Ministries. Denise enjoys running. She is married to Ricky Van Atta and has a daughter, Brady.


YOUTH (7th - 12th Grade) First Church’s active and vibrant youth ministry provides an environment for youth to learn, pray, serve, fellowship, develop friendships, and grow. With a focus on mission and serving others, our youth learn to live their faith.

Weekly Activities

Sunday School (Sunday Mornings, 9:30 - 10:30 AM) Interactive and educational classes divided by age. Youth Sunday Night (Sunday Afternoons) A time of food, fellowship, worship, devotion, and accountability for all youth. Youth Choir (Sunday Afternoons) An exciting group that sings at services and tours each summer. Youth Praise Band (Wednesday Evenings) Leads worship at youth events and other services. Mid-High and Sr. High Bible Study (Wednesday Evenings) Mid-week Bible study and devotion group for Mid and Sr. High. Exodus (Sunday Evenings, Monthly) Monthly gathering for seniors to discuss college, career, military or whatever is next. Morning Bible Studies (Various Days) Before school morning devotions at local coffee shops.


YOUTH (7th - 12th Grade) Camps and Retreats

Wilderness Trail (Summer) Discovery Weekend Bahamas Methodist Mission Project Blue Lake Family Retreat (Oct) Choir Tour (Summer)

Seasonal and Special Events

Fall Eggstravaganza (Aug/Sept) Sr. High Progressive Dinner (Dec)

Lenten Activities (Mar/Apr) Senior Breakfast (May)

Safe Sanctuaries

First Church follows Safe Sanctuaries procedures to create an environment in which children, youth and the adults who work with them have boundaries of safe space.


Denise Van Atta, Director of Tween and Youth Ministries, 850-432-1434 Denise has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and holds her Directors Credential for the State and is a Certified Trainer for the Early Childhood Coalition of Escambia County. She has served in several capacities at the church, from Preschool Director to her current position as Director of Tween and Youth Ministries. Denise enjoys running. She is married to Ricky Van Atta and has a daughter, Brady.


The Youth Ministries department is located in the two story building, directly across Wright Street from the main sanctuary. The building provides space for youth to fellowship, learn and grow in a fun and casual way. The first floor contains a main worship room, youth cafe and kitchen. The second floor has meeting rooms, along with pool tables and video games.

Youth Cafe 1st Floor


ADULTS Young Adults

Our Young Adults group is a new and growing ministry of First United Methodist Church. We have a diverse group of individuals who have a variety of interests and would love for you to be a part. Young Professionals Group This group is designed for those who want to build community with others who are young professionals. Activities involve a fellowship social and a small group study on Wednesday night.


All men of the church are invited to participate in a variety of programs which focus upon programs and activities that build character, increase awareness and teach members how to be better men, fathers, and followers of Christ. Our men’s ministry is a diverse group including all ages and backgrounds. Joe Harrell Men’s Bible Breakfast (Wednesdays, 7:00 AM - Fall/Spring) Joe Harrell Men’s Bible Breakfast is a men’s Bible study and fellowship where you can meet other men on their Christian journey. The Bible breakfast has continually met for 40+ years. Renewal and Repair (Wednesdays, 9:00 AM - Noon - Fall/Spring) Renewal and Repair (R + R) is a group that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.  Each Wednesday R + R helps repair or construct needed items all around the church campus.  If you like working with tools and enjoy productive work and great friendships, consider becoming a part of R + R. United Methodist Men (UMM) The United Methodist Men support various groups through service and monetary means and are sponsors of our Boy Scout Troop at First Church.



Our Women’s Ministry provides a network to grow spiritually and worship God through serving in our church and our community. The Prayer Shawl Ministry The Prayer Shawl Ministry is a group of women who love to knit, crochet, and desire to encourage others. Experienced and those wanting to learn are welcome to join this group. Women at the Well A time of Christian fellowship, devoted worship and in depth study for all women. Women’s Retreat (Spring) Annual overnight retreat designed to nourish women’s body and soul.

United Methodist Women (UMW)

The UMW is an important and thriving ministry at First Church with creative and supportive fellowship and desires to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church. United Methodist Women Groups Meet various days and times Eleanor Nichols Group Ruth Braden Group Joyous Hearts Friendship Group Marjorie Hart Group Mary and Martha Group Margaret Copelan Group God Stories Group Lunch Bunch Group Bookworms Group Prayer Shawl Group Grace Group Additional Annual Events Designing Women’s Luncheon (August)

Christmas Creations Craft Show (November)

Service Opportunities Sacred Heart Women’s and Children’s Hospital Volunteers Sacred Heart volunteers work at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital every Monday. Duties include answering the phone and assisting patients and visitors with information including directions to doctors’ offices and medical testing rooms. Suit Yourself Ministry (Outreach Ministries Center) This ministry provides clothing and accessories for women entering or re-entering the work force.


50 FORWARD - SENIOR ADULTS There are a wide variety of programs available for Adults 50+ at First Church. From luncheons to retreats, no matter what age you are, there is a place for you. Silver and Gold A monthly luncheon and program for Senior Adults in our church and community. Meets the 4th Thursday of the month (Jan-Oct), 1st Thursday of December, and does not meet in November (due to Thanksgiving). Xtra Years of Zest (XYZ) XYZ plans out of town trips to places like New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, Lake Junaluska, Blue Lake, or the like, about three or four times a year. These trips are also open to other senior adults in the community. 50 Forward Lunch Day Out (2nd Thursday of the month) Once a month we meet together at a popular local restaurant and enjoy good food and fellowship around the table. No reservations required. 50 Forward Celebrates (May) Annual week-long celebration of the lives and ministries of the older adults in our church. The celebration includes guest speakers, luncheons, dinners, entertainment and more. Other Opportunities We have many Senior Adults who participate in lay ministry programs like Stephen Ministry and Good Shepherds.  These programs involve ministry to lonely, sick or grieving church members.  OASIS (Older Adult Seniors In Service) involves older adults in a variety of areas.  These include visitations, helping hands, and other services.


Debra Tallman, Director of Fifty Forward Ministries, 850-432-1434 ext. 112 Debra has a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. She has worked in the field of gerontology for over 35 years and joined the staff of First Church in 1998. She is married to Rev. James Tallman and has three children, Sarah, Emily and Audra. She also has four grandchildren. Debra also enjoys sewing, knitting, reading and travel.


MISSION AND OUTREACH Mission and Outreach is at the heart of who we are at First Church. By supporting various missions and ministries, we strive to serve our community in love, sharing with them the message of Christ through example.

Milk ‘n Honey Outreach Ministries Milk ’n Honey Outreach Ministries is a program designed to reach out to inner city children and youth with mentoring and counseling activities. Serving the Hungry The Serving the Hungry program at First Church provides 100+ hot meals for those in need in our community on Mondays and Thursdays at 11:00am. Suit Yourself Suit Yourself provides much needed clothing and accessories for women entering or re-entering the work force. Some of the items provided are clothing, shoes, purses, hosiery, and jewelry. United Methodist Children’s Home The United Methodist Children’s Home has 3 programs which help abused, and neglected children. The Gulf Coast Group Home is a facility that provides a home for up to 6 teenaged girls. West Florida Foster Care is a foster care program that provides homes for children throughout Northwest Florida. Crestview Teen Center is a training program for youth in foster care. Additional Mission Programs Supported by First Church Adopt-A-School International Jail Ministries, Inc. Florida Impact Great Day of Giving New Beginnings Manna Food Pantries UMCOR Feed the Kids Weekend Program Learn to Read of Northwest Florida, Inc. Loaves and Fishes Transitional Housing Favor House of Northwest Florida, Inc.

Angel Tree Great Day of Service Scouting United Ministries

Council on Aging of West Florida, Inc. Esca-Rosa Coalition on the Homeless


MUSIC AND WORSHIP ARTS First Church has a very active and exciting music arts program. With a variety of choirs and styles of music, there is definitely a place for you in the music arts program.

Adult Choirs

The Sanctuary Choir Open to all adults and sings at either the 8:00am or 11:00am worship services. Rehearses Wednesdays from 6:15pm – 7:45pm. The Chancel Singers Open to all adults and sings at the 9:30am service. The Handbell Choir Adult choir that performs throughout the year. Rehearses Monday from 4:15 – 5:15pm.

Children’s Choirs

The Kindergarten and 1st Grade Choir Open to kindergarten and 1st graders. Performs at services and special productions. The 2nd – 4th Grade Choir Open to 2nd – 4th graders and performs throughout the year at services and events.


MUSIC AND WORSHIP ARTS Tween and Youth Choirs

Club 56 Choir Open to 5th-6th graders, rehearses on Sundays and performs throughout the year. Mid-High and Sr. High Youth Choir Open to youth in grades 7th – 12th and rehearses on Sundays. This choir performs throughout the year and tours each summer. Senior High Female and Male Ensembles Open to youth in grades 6th–12th and rehearses on Sundays.  These are auditioned groups.

Praise Bands and Worship Arts

Youth Praise Band Leads worship at youth events and other services. BANNER Praise and worship band which leads music weekly at ICON.


Dr. Rick Branch, Minister of Music, 850-432-1434 ext. 115 Jeb Hunt, Creative Director, 850-432-1434 ext. 123 Heidi Branch, Assistant Music Director/Accompanist Libby Hargrave, 9:30 Worship Leader/Music Assistant


The Music department is located on the second floor of the main administration building at First Church. A large choir rehearsal room and handbell room are located in the music department. The Minister of Music’s office is also located on the second floor.

Ike Terry Rehearsal Hall 2nd Floor, Admin Building


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Personal spiritual formation and life-long learning guide our overall Christian Education programs at First Church. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights are prime times for small groups with additional classes scheduled throughout the week. Please Note: Christian Education information for each age-level can be found in age-level program brochures in this information series.

Sunday School

First UMC of Pensacola offers a variety of Sunday School classes for all ages and interests. Sunday School is from 9:30am-10:30am every Sunday morning in various locations all around our campus. A list of our adult Sunday School classes is found below. Adult Bible Study Bible study for adults of all ages using the Adult Bible Series published by Cokesbury. Great fun and fellowship. Contact: Sue Nicholson and Cena Harmon, Attendance: 18-25 Bonding with the Bible Bill Bond leads Bible study of various books of the Bible. Contact: Tim Jackson, Attendance: 10-12 Christian Families Multi-age group of couples and singles whose classes include Bible study, guest speakers from First Church and the community as well as member-led discussions. Many members participate in local outreach ministries through First Church. Contact: Shelia Butler and Cindy Smith, Attendance: 15-35 Duell Proactive class for adults 50 and over using Bible based literature to study social concerns. Contact: Ruth Ann Replogle and Susan Davies, Attendance: 20-30


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Home Improvement A thriving group of young parents who meet to study the Bible and put what they learn into action. Contact: John and Bonnie Whitlock, Attendance: 20-30 New Life A vibrant group of adults 50 and over who study a variety of topics with great leaders and much discussion. Visitors and new members are welcome on Sunday mornings and to their monthly socials. Contact: Tom and Betty Baker, Mary Stanley, Attendance: 30-40 Olive Branch A proactive class for everyone: single or married; with or without children; every age20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s; who want to practice their Christian faith. Contact: Will Dunaway Attendance: 20-30 Open Minds, Open Hearts Rich Bible-based sessions plus Christian fellowship outside of class. Contact: Marcia Enquist and Robert Mills, Attendance: 25-35 Side by Side Parents of children in Sunday School who learn their children’s “next week” lesson in order to have significant conversations after their child’s experience of lesson. Contact: Lisa Bond, Attendance: 15-20 Soul Feast Interactive, Bible based covenant group facilitated by class members. Open discussion using a variety of materials. Contact: Linda Sherlock, Attendance: 20-30 Spiritual Discoveries Bible study for adults of all ages. Contact: Geri Cripe and Elaine Groves, Attendance: 10-20 The Way Uses personal creativity in studying the Bible and invites all ages to participate. Contact: Tom Hunt, Attendance: 8-12 WOW! Women in the Word! Exciting new class for women seeking spiritual growth through study and discussion. Contact: Drexel Gilbert, Attendance: 20-30


CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Bible Studies and Small Groups

First Church hosts a variety of weekly Bible studies and book studies. Groups are inclusive and vary from lecture to group discussion. Annual camps and retreats also add experiences to one’s own spiritual growth. Please contact the church office for a list of current classes and Christian Education activities.


We are pleased to host educational forums throughout the year. These special events focus on high-interest topics and can be presented by local groups or by national speakers. Past guests have included Bishop Willimon, Dr. Carol Newsom, and Dr. Don Saliers.

Library, Children’s Library and Special Collections

First Church’s extensive library collections are managed by volunteers, who keep our collections current and active. A separate Children’s Library is used by our church families and by our preschool, The Methodist Children’s Academy. Our libraries, special collections and archives are open to the public.


The Endowment Fund of First Church provides scholarships for graduating seniors and for those studying for ministry in the United Methodist Church. Applications are available each spring.

Nursery and Safe Sanctuaries

Nursery is available during all worship services, during Wednesday evening classes and church-wide events. First Church also follows Safe Sanctuary policies to create an environment in which children, youth and the adults have boundaries of safe space.


Lisa Bond, Director of Children and Family Ministries, 850-432-1434 Lisa joined the staff of First United Methodist Church in the fall of 2008. She has a B.A. in Christian Education from Huntingdon College. In addition to working at First Church, she currently serves on the Treehouse Board of the Pensacola Little Theater (Children’s Theatre Program) and volunteers at her children’s schools. She is married to Bill Bond and has three children, Connor, Mary and Caroline.


CLERGY AND STAFF Wesley H. Wachob Sr., Ph.D. Senior Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Wesley H. Wachob Sr., a native of Chipley, Florida, is an ordained elder and has been a member of the Alabama – West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church since 1975. He has also served congregations in three other annual conferences of the UMC (North Georgia, Northern Illinois, and South Carolina). Dr. Wachob pursued his undergraduate degree at Southeastern College (B.A.), did his graduate studies at Erskine Theological Seminary and the Candler School of Theology (M.Div.), and did his doctoral work at the University of Chicago and Emory University (Ph.D.). He has been a member of the Society of Biblical Literature since 1985. Prior to his present position,

Dr. Wachob was the Sr. Pastor of the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the campus of Emory University, where he also taught in the Candler School of Theology. He was appointed to First Church in 2006. Wesley is married to Drexel Gilbert; they reside on Pensacola Beach. Among Dr. Wachob’s numerous publications are The Voice of Jesus in the Social Rhetoric of James (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and contributions to the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus (Routledge, 2008); Reading James with New Eyes: Methodological Reassessments of the Letter of James (T&T Clark, 2007); Fabrics of Discourse (Trinity Press International, 2003), The Apocalyptic Intertexture of the New Testament (Scholars Press, 2002); and The Anchor Bible Dictionary (Doubleday, 1992). Acts: A Participatory Bible Study (Energion Publications; forthcoming); Exploring James: Faith, Conduct, Community (SPCK and Westminster/John Knox Publishers; forthcoming); and with Dr. Russell B. Sisson,Wisdom Discourse (SPCK and Westminster/John Knox Publishers; forthcoming).


CLERGY AND STAFF Rev. Ken Autrey, Executive Pastor

Rev. Autrey is a graduate of Livingston University, now known as The University of West Alabama, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He received his Master of Divinity from The Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Ken was ordained an Elder in Full Connection in 1976, and has served churches across the bounds of The Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. Ken and his wife, Pamela, have two children, Kristoffer and Morgan.

Rev. Brandon Bures, Associate Pastor

Rev. Brandon Bures is a native of Bonifay, Florida. After graduating from high school, Brandon joined the United States Navy where he served as a Religious Program Specialist. During his time in the Navy, Brandon trained at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, was stationed in Japan, and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 for eight months. After serving for six years, Brandon attended Troy University where he received a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics. He then earned a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Brandon and his wife Jessica, have two children, Adria and Jacob.

Dr. Richard Branch Minister of Music

Rick received a B.A. in Piano Performance from the University of Central Florida and a M.A. in Church Music and Christian Education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia. In 2016, he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Music from Graduate Theological Foundation. He is an ordained Deacon and is professionally certified as a Minister of Music. Rick is married to Heidi and they have two children, Drew and Kylie.



Lacey Adair, Nursery and Preschool Ministries Coordinator Lisa Bond, Director of Children and Family Ministries Denise VanAtta, Director of Tween and Youth Ministries Debra Tallman, Director of Senior Adult Ministries Heidi Branch, Assistant Music Director/Accompanist Libby Hargrave, 9:30 Worship Leader/Music Assistant Mici Kuba, Events Coordinator/Director of Hospitality Ministries Jeb Hunt, Creative Director

Church Administration

Liz Noyes, Director of Finance Kyle Hall, Communications and Technologies Shelley Frost, Financial Secretary Jane Reich, Program Administrative Assistant Nicole Dean, Office Manager Mary Arthur, Program Administrative Assistant Ginger Raines, Dr. Wachob’s Secretary Bud Mitchell, Buildings and Grounds Kelsey Seager, Graphic Designs and Development

Contacting Your Church Staff

Each staff member has an email address consisting of their first name initial and last name. (Example: Jeb Hunt =


BE INFORMED The Methodist Witness

The Methodist Witness is the biweekly newsletter published by First Church with information about upcoming events, church calendar, important announcements, features about past events, member testimonies and inspirational stories. The Methodist Witness is available in both printed and online versions and can be mailed or emailed to you. All new members who provide a mailing address automatically receive The Methodist Witness by mail. If you would prefer to receive The Methodist Witness via email, please contact the church office.

Sunday Worship Bulletin

Each of our four services use worship bulletins which contain the order of worship and other important announcements related to the coming week. Bulletins are available from the ushers and greeters which are located at each entrance. Sunday’s bulletins are also available online.

A great way to stay informed about First Church is by visiting our website at Our website has many great features including up to date announcements, church calendar, audio podcasts, interactive photo galleries, online contributing, message boards, online sign up, special videos, and more.

Social Networking

Become a friend of First Church on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and receive up to date messages and comments about announcements and events happening at the church. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great ways to be a part of our church community and stay informed. Links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sites can be found at


FACILITIES Main Sanctuary

Built in 1908, this impressive gothic-revival structure with classic brownstone exterior is a landmark structure in downtown Pensacola. Home to three of our Sunday morning services, the sanctuary seats approximately 600. Remodeled in 2001, the sanctuary now is home to one of the largest pipe organs in the area, containing 4,153 individual pipes. Over 100 individual sections of beautifully restored stained glass frame the building with light. In 2008, the centennial cornerstone time capsule was opened. Its contents are now on display in the Governor Perry Home. A new time capsule was also placed, to be opened in 2108.

The Governor Perry Home

Built in 1867, by Charles Boyson, this neo-greco styled home was later purchased and completed by Edward Perry, governor of Florida. Acquired by the church in 2008, the historic Governor Perry Home has been restored to include a number of meeting spaces, classrooms and the Perry Home Coffee House.

Wesley Abbey

Wesley Abbey is home to our newest Sunday service called ICON. Originally built by the Scottish Rite Masons in 1959, Wesley Abbey was remodeled in 2008. It now includes state-of-the-art audio and video, lighting, and seats approximately 350. Wesley Abbey is located directly behind the Governor Perry Home and is connected by a central lobby. A north lobby on Belmont Street, with covered connector to the main church building, was also added to provided greater connectivity as a campus. ICON will eventually relocate to a larger room on the second floor, which will seat 600.


FACILITIES Main Lobby/Administration

Constructed in 2001, the main lobby provides easy access to the majority of our campus. The church office is located directly ahead once entering through the main lobby. Elevator and stair access are available to the four floors of the main building. In the basement you will find our exhaustive church library and multiple classrooms. The ground floor has offices and access to The Wright Place, Henry Roberts Activity Center and the Children’s Education Building. The first floor provides access to the Sanctuary, Chapel, and Sr. Pastor’s study. The second floor contains our music ministry, with large choir rehearsal room, and handbell practice room.

The Wright Place and Henry Roberts Activities Center

In the early 1980’s, First Church acquired what had been a hotel (circa 1910) and furniture store to be used as a multipurpose fellowship hall. Wednesday Night Dinners, large gatherings and other events are held in The Wright Place. The Henry Roberts Activity Center is used for general recreation for preschool, children and youth and events.

Children’s Education Building

Built in 1951, the two story Children’s Education Building is home to our children’s ministry program. On the first floor, the nursery, classrooms, and our preschool, The Methodist Children’s Acadmey, can be found. The second floor contains our children’s library, children’s worship room, classrooms, and children’s and tween directors’ office.


FACILITIES Youth Building

Originally the Hunt Mansion (circa 1890) and Fisher-Pou Funeral Home, First Church acquired and renovated the two story building in 2000 to house our growing Youth Ministries. The first floor contains a lobby, large gathering room, cafe, kitchen and youth director’s office. The second floor has a game room and multiple classrooms for Sunday School and small groups.

The Ark (MCA)

The Ark is the infant/toddler building of our Methodist Children’s Academy. The Ark is located directly behind the Henry Roberts Activity Center at the corner of Belmont and Guillemard. A preschool playground and additional parking are located next to the building.

Outreach Ministries Center

In May of 2000, First Church acquired the building formerly owned by an independent church. The Outreach Ministries Center is now home to a non-profit recovery organization, Suit Yourself which provides clothes for underprivileged women entering the work force.




MEMBERSHIP You may become a member of First Church any Sunday morning by profession of faith in Jesus Christ or transfer of membership from another denomination. At the conclusion of every service, anyone who is interested in joining our family of faith is invited to come forward during the closing song. The minister will then ask you to uphold the church with your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. If you or your children have not been baptized, we will schedule your baptism for an upcoming service. Prayers Your spiritual health and growth is of the upmost importance in being a member of First Church. We strive to be a people who embody the message of Christ in love and mercy. By becoming a member of this church, we ask that you strive to live a life worthy of this. We hope you will pray for the church daily, so that it can continue to flourish. Presence Faithful attendance in worship and participation in ministry is expected of all members. Fellowship together with other believers is essential to being a follower of Christ. We hope you will register your attendance in the registration pads during worship. Gifts Your financial support of First Church makes it possible for us to minister in the community and the world. Members are asked to give regularly and are encouraged to be faithful stewards. For your convenience, offering envelopes are mailed to all members. You are also asked to complete a yearly Estimate of Giving Card to help the church budget effectively. Service The church is not a building, but instead a living and breathing organism made of members in service. When you join the church, you are expected to find an area of service to become involved. If you need assistance finding your area of service, please contact the front office at 850-432-1434. Witness Sharing God’s love and message is part of being a follower of Christ. We hope that you will share with family, friends and strangers what God is doing in your life at First Church. New Member Form All new members are asked to complete a new member form including basic information for our church records. For more information about membership contact Ginger Raines, Membership Secretary at


Intro to First Church Booklet  

Updated June 2016

Intro to First Church Booklet  

Updated June 2016