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fi rs t co n n e c ti o n s STORIES OF LIFE AND FA I T H


Love Served Here Confirmation students Emma Varner and Kinley Vickers serving at the North Texas Food Bank.

Year Of Service p.4 Bedtime Blessings p.6 Is the UMC Going To Split? p.8 I Found My Place p.15

join us for worship! traditional worship

503 N. Central Expressway P.O. Box 830877 Richardson, TX 75080 972.235.8385

sanctuary 8:45am, *9:45am, 11:00am

modern worship

Senior Pastor Dr. Clayton Oliphint

worship & arts center *11:00am

Director of Communications Kristen Ceaser Managing Editor Tracy Thomas

zimbabwe worship chapel 12:00pm

Graphic Designer Kyle Henson Communications Team Kevin Burns Francy Collins Leslie Kring

* live stream at

Contributors: Cheryl Bishop Tim Griffy Dr. Clayton Oliphint Kris Stone Dianne Weideman First Connections (USPS 022-024) is published six times a year, by First United Methodist Church Richardson, 503 N. Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080. Periodicals postage paid at Richardson, TX and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: First Connections, PO Box 830877 Richardson, TX 75083-0877 A LENTEN SERMON SERIES

MAR/APR 2020



a message from our senior pastor


ur Year of Service is off to a wonderful start! We are seeing so many of our members searching for new ways to make an impact in the world through serving. We are also celebrating the many ways our members are and have been engaged in service for years or even decades. At our kickoff celebration in February, members

of our church brought almost 3,700 pounds of canned goods for the Network of Community Ministries. Thank you for serving and making a difference!

MAR/APR 2020

In this issue of First Connections, you will see how some of our members and staff are living out their faith as they serve in various ministries, both through the church and in the world. The story of God’s loving action toward us propels us forward into loving action toward others. It’s contagious! During the season of Lent, a forty day period of preparation for Easter, we are talking about Encountering Jesus. We have some special ways for you to participate during this season. In fact, it’s been suggested that instead of the custom of giving up something for Lent, during this Year of Service, we should take something on for Lent. So what will you do? Our upcoming Easter Egg Hunt is fun for children of all ages. During Holy Week we will


host a theatrical portrayal of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; a German pastor, theologian, and antiNazi dissident; in addition to holding our special services of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, which remind us of the last week of the earthly ministry of Jesus, his suffering, crucifixion, and death. On Easter Sunday we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the hope we experience because of it. To make this Lenten journey each year is to encounter Jesus. I encourage every member to make a commitment to be here in worship for this season. Your full participation in these Lenten opportunities – worship, study, and the special services – will heighten your experience of Easter and deepen your understanding of faith. These are some of our highest holy days, and I pray they will be a blessing to you. In Christ,

Clayton Oliphint senior pastor


It’s not what we do, it’s who we are. For decades, Rev. Joy Anderson has passionately challenged our congregation to serve – whether in your home, at church, in your neighborhood, or in another country. Her dedication has helped build a foundation of service at FUMCR, and this year, we are taking it even further, as everyone is encouraged to think about serving in new and different ways. This spring, we hope you are inspired to get connected, share your stories of service, and even honor others who are making a difference! Visit for information and inspiration. How will you make a difference in the lives of others and in your own?


“The Sunday morning kickoff in February was like a big pep rally for Christian love and serving others. We’re so proud of the direction we are headed this year. ‘Love Served Here!’ and ‘Love All. Serve All!’ Just doesn’t get any better!”

- Robert and Lisa Grinsfelder

ONE GREAT WEEK OF SERVICE April 26 - May 3 Look for details soon on the many opportunities that will be available for individuals and families to serve.

Thank you to all who supported our Year of Service Kickoff in February. We had a great turnout and collected almost 3700 pounds of food for Network of Community Ministries!

The Year of Service Lay Team is hard at work scouting opportunities to provide our members with multiple avenues of service throughout 2020. Team members include Natasha Ceaser, Aaron Drake, Justin Duncan, Jason and Caroline Duncan, Doug and Mary Findley, Rolf Gatlin, Chris and Liz Gipson, Robert and Lisa Grinsfelder, Glenn Ingram, Doug Jackson, Erin Lucia, Linda Ortman, and Andy and Meredith Pendleton.

e m i t d Be s g n i s s e l B p o h is B l y r e h C by

How do we explain Lent, with its abstract ideas and unique practices, to children? What children need most out of Lent is not an explanation but an experience of habitual practices can help them feel connected to God and God’s people and help them grow in faith and prayer. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Saturday before Easter. It consists of 40 days plus the six Sundays during that time period. Many people see Lent as a time to prepare for Easter, to consider what Jesus gave up, our own brokenness, and the wholeness that can come from knowing the Risen Christ. It’s a long time for a child, and it’s a long time for many adults as well. I began to dream about a practice for Lent that could provide families with intentional time together each day, and Bedtime Blessings was born! For each of the 40 days, we have created a bedtime story video, hoping families will come together each night for a story and a time of blessing one another. We cannot wait for you to hear stories from Clayton, Josh, Natalie, and so many more talented readers! The books are listed at, so you can plan to have a copy if you’re interested in reading along. Each Monday through Saturday evening you will be able to watch a video and enjoy family time together.

MAR/APR 2020



What is the blessing part? In our Children’s Ministries programs, children receive blessings from their teachers and friends. We often use “blessing balm” (which is not, I repeat is not, chapstick ) to make a cross on the backs of their hands, look into their eyes, and say, “You are a blessing,” or, “You are blessed to be a blessing.” The practice of hearing and saying these words is an incredible gift and can be transformational in the lives of children and those who love them. As often as we can, we need to remind children of their sacred identities. People of all ages need to be reminded that they are beloved children of God. After each story, you’ll be invited to join in the closing prayer and then to bless one another. Our hope is that your family will create or continue practices during Lent that will last throughout the year. We pray each one of you will come to know this one thing during Lent – YOU are blessed to be a blessing!

Kevin Burns and Pastor Josh Fitzpatrick recording a Bedtime Blessing

MAR/APR 2020



is the UMC going to split?


erhaps you saw media reports in January suggesting that the United Methodist Church has already decided to split. Hold on just a minute. General Conference meets in May and will consider a number of different proposals, including one aimed at allowing churches who do not want to continue to be a part of the United Methodist Church to depart and form new denominations. One of our staff members, Shandon Klein, and I have been voted to be delegates from North Texas to the General Conference which will vote on these matters. The divisiveness in our United Methodist Church may reflect the divisiveness in our country. In this case, it is in regard to human sexuality, specifically the marriage and ordination of LGTBQ persons. Please remember that as we discuss this (like adults who can have conversations, rather than people who rant and have tantrums), we are talking about people’s lives. There is deep pain


and passion on all sides of these debates, and deeply committed, faithful Christians have arrived at differing conclusions. Here is my hope for the United Methodist Church and FUMCR: 1. We will continue to be a “big tent” church. A “big tent” allows for people of differing opinions about a number of issues to join together in a common mission guided by our common faith in Christ. This is the church I believe the New Testament envisions when it says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 2. We will minimize harm and maximize mission. People have been hurt by the words and actions of the church. I pray we will remove damaging language and work together to stay focused on our God-given mission. How will we love God and our neighbor, and how will we help make disciples of Jesus Christ? We have answered, “With open hearts and minds, we will

by Clayton Oliphint

welcome people for Christ, grow people in Christ, and serve people with Christ.” 3. We will allow ministry to be contextual. The New Testament church allowed for contextual ministry. I believe local church leadership can best decide how to live out the faith in their context. We have trusted our local church lay leaders to make wise and faithful decisions regarding our church in the past, and I believe they are capable of doing so now and in the future. We have some upcoming information sessions which may be helpful to you in understanding some of the plans in detail. We also have information on our website. I hope you will join me in praying for the United Methodist church and for FUMCR. Let us trust that God is God and will lead us through this process. We will continue to be a church that believes God’s grace is available to all, and we will continue to minister to our community and surrounding area in Jesus’ name.

GENERAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION SESSIONS April 21st at 6:30pm and April 22nd at 10:00am Worship & Arts Center These sessions will allow us to share more details about the proposals anticipated at General Conference, and the vision for FUMCR. Both sessions will have the same content. Please register for a session so that we can plan materials accordingly. Register at



IF:GATHERING 2020 Women. Coming together. Focusing on Jesus. April 18, 9am-3pm Youth Worship Space in Bartula Family Life Center Register at

music that moves the soul

March 10, 7-9pm Worship & Arts Center Musicians will share songs that“move their souls�in their various styles and from their unique journeys and perspectives. This will be a meaningful evening of fellowship, music, and reflection.


celebrate Easter

with First United Methodist Church Richardson



Your gift will support two local non-profit efforts: Justice For Our Neighbors is a Methodist Immigration Ministry that has provided low-cost immigration legal services since 1999. Each day we put into action the Methodist Social Principles of loving our neighbors as ourselves and providing for the welfare of immigrants. GO Camp is a mobile united Methodist Camp that brings the camp experience to underserved communities within the North Texas Conference. GO Camp provides opportunities for children and youth to experience God in nature and equips young leaders in safe spaces by connecting them to local united Methodist Churches and their communities.



a view from the underside tuesday april 7th 7pm worship & arts center Al Staggs brings the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident, to the stage. The audience is brought into the prison cell where Bonhoeffer awaits execution and listens to his struggles with evil, injustice, and God.

Maundy Thursday Service Thursday april 9th sanctuary


A service of communion featuring vignettes of Holy Week with special music by The Journey Youth Choir Ensemble.



"Encountering the risen christ"

Good friday service friday april 10th sanctuary


A service of darkness featuring Schubert's Mass in G Major presented by the Chancel Choir and string orchestra.

7:30am Chapel communion service 8:30, *9:45, 11:00am sanctuary Dr. clayton oliphint, preaching 9:45, *11:00am worship & arts center dr. josh fitzpatrick, preaching *Live stream available

hey fumcr staff... where are YOU serving? DEE WEAVER

I serve at Arapaho UMC for their monthly Justice for Our Neighbors clinics by doing intake interviews of clients who seek to alleviate the pressures relating to their lack of citizenship in the U.S.


I serve on the administration team for Bible Study Fellowship.

Beth Smith

I serve with my daughters in National Charity League. This mother/ daughter philanthropy organization is founded on the three pillars of service, leadership, and culture.

MATT WALKER I have been associated with Boy Scouts for almost 60 years. Actually, I was a Campfire Girl first, as my mother was the leader for my older sisters’ Campfire Girl troop, and I was always right there with them! When I was old enough to join Cub Scouts, she volunteered as the Den mother. I participated in Scouts my entire youth, and when I turned 18, I was invited to take part in adult training. This led to my involvement with the Order of the Arrow, and I ended up on the National Conference Staff. I have been actively serving in the Boy Scouts organization ever since, including being Cubmaster for my sons when they were Cub Scouts and then again as one of their troop leaders. Two highlights were my service with National Conservation Projects. In 2008 I led a group that was responsible for clearing 134 acres in the Mark Twain National Forest. In 2011 I led another project where we cut 13.8 miles of mountain biking trails in New River Gorge National Park. We managed to do this in four weeks using no mechanical tools whatsoever. Currently I serve on the Circle Ten Council Executive Board as Camping Chairman. We host 40,000 unique visitors each year that attend our three summer camp programs and our one weekend camp. My service with Boy Scouts is not just something I do but a huge part of who I am.

MAR/APR 2020



mike and mary lightfoot About 10 years ago Mary and I were in PetSmart and fell in love with one of the kittens – a beautiful black and white with soft fur. We adopted Oreo and took her into our home. We are simply crazy about our “little girl” and incredibly grateful we get to arrive home and have her greet us at the door every evening. About three years after adopting her we felt so thankful for the gift of our pet that we wanted to help out the New Beginnings Cat Rescue that had saved her for us. We began volunteering at the same PetSmart, and for the past several years, on almost every Wednesday morning, you will find us there cleaning the cages and litter boxes, refilling the food and water, and mostly loving on all of the cats. Some are newborn kittens, but many are older cats that have been abandoned. Our biggest job is to let each cat know that they are loved. When they are adopted we rejoice and are thankful we were able to be a part of their rescue. In this Year of Service we will hear about many different ways to serve, and many of these opportunities will revolve around transforming lives. Mary and I have chosen to transform the lives of all God’s creatures, great and small.

barbie castellano

I serve two days a week at Texas Oncology/Texas Health Presbyterian. I am so inspired by the patients and staff there.

eric czechowski

I serve as a mentor for Foundation for C.H.O.I.C.E., an organization that strives to increase college entry rates among low-income youth.

dianne weideman

I serve as team manager for my daughter’s volleyball team.

lynnita jessen

I serve at Trinity Christian Academy where my son attends school, and I grocery shop weekly for a homebound family member and friend.

MAR/APR 2020




CAMPS Register online at / kidscamps



I found my place


n 2012, our family was searching for a new church home, and I was going through a challenging season of change in my career. So when a friend invited us to visit FUMCR, the timing could not have been better. At the door of the church, we were greeted by such warm and friendly people that I thought to myself, “This may very well be the place.”   For the next year, while attending services, I sat up in the balcony. Although I spoke to many nice people, I didn’t really know anybody. I just loved listening to Clayton speak to the congregation each week. It was

MAR/APR 2020

by Kris Stone

as if I had known him forever, and he was speaking directly to me. Also, since I am a singer, I particularly enjoyed listening to the choir sing.   One Sunday, Clayton was giving a sermon about how we are all servants. He talked about how wonderful it would be if we could all find what we are passionate about and use that passion to serve others. It was at that very moment that it dawned on me, “I should not be sitting up here in the balcony.  I should be down there singing with the choir.” After church that very day, I walked down to the choir room and introduced myself to the


FUMCR Music Director, Mike Lightfoot. The rest, as they say, is history.   I have been an active member of the FUMCR Chancel Choir ever since and am also the incoming Choir President. Being a part of this group has changed my life in many ways. Not only have I found my second family in the choir room, but I have also discovered a way that I can pour my passion for music into others on a weekly basis. So, if you are a singer and have ever wondered about joining the chancel choir, why wait? Joining this group is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me!


COOKIE CAPER May 3 / 8:30am - 1:00pm Coleman Family Hall

ST. PATRICK’S DAY LUNCH March 15 / 10:30am - 1:30pm Coleman Family Hall

DESSERT THEATER March 28 / 3:00pm and 7:00pm Worship & Arts Center Tickets at

YOUTH SUMMER TRIPS Sr. High Mission Trip / June 7-13 Jr. High Mission Trip / July 5-10 Really Living Retreat / August 21-23

council corner

by Tim Griffy


he sermons on the day of our Year of Service kickoff focused on the passage in 1 Corinthians reminding us that all parts of our Christian body are important. In a society where we relish competition — whether it be athletic, business, or even having the best yard — it seems antithetical to our nature to say that all parts are equally indispensable, none more critical than another. But we are reminded time and time again that without the service of those who often go unrecognized, we would all be worse off. I offer as a prime example: Bill Corbin. I would guess that many of you don’t know Bill. He’s not someone who is “out front” very much and certainly not someone who seeks the “special honor” referred to in Corinthians. For many years Bill has quietly served as a Stephen Minister and served his two Bible study groups each week by setting up coffee and water, among other selfless acts. But particularly hidden from view is Bill’s work in the Van/Bus Ministry. If you’re like me, you’ve probably ridden in a church bus

or van and not considered how they were kept clean. For years Bill has brought his mop and bucket to clean every bus, every week. Every bus. Every week. Through it all, he has purchased floor wax, warning/direction signs for the windows, air fresheners, and whatever else was needed. His friend Ed Murray told me, “I have heard people comment on how clean the buses are, not knowing that it was their fellow church member that has been keeping them that way.” So as the Year of Service

continues, Bill reminds us that all kinds of service are needed. Unfortunately for the Van/ Bus Ministry group, Bill has decided to “retire” from this, but that means there’s a spot for someone new. If you see him, please express your thanks and appreciation. As you seek your own path to greater service this year, Bill is a reminder that we all have an important part to play, even if it is with a mop and bucket!

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” — 1 Corinthians 12:21-23

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we are better together


want to thank those of you who participated in our annual stewardship campaign, which is the foundation that allows our finance committee to set the budget for 2020. By taking the time to share with us your expected giving, we can thoughtfully and strategically plan for this great Year of Service! We’ve been pleased to hear from families who have been pledging for years, as well as those who are making a financial pledge for the first time. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to

by Dianne Weideman

participate, we’d still love to hear from you! As I’ve said before, your generosity at any level makes a difference! Please visit to share your plans with us. This month, the Legacy Leaders committee will be sharing more about the FUMCR Foundation, Inc., which was recently established to manage, sustain, and increase the permanent endowment fund. This hard-working group has made it possible for us to give a heightened focus to this fund dedicated to the

care and maintenance of our physical facilities with the hope of allowing more of our operating budget to go directly to missions, outreach, and care. By becoming a Legacy Leader, you are committing to the future generations that will call FUMCR “home.” I hope you will take a moment to learn more about this opportunity at legacyleaders or reach out to me directly. I’m happy to discuss the options with you. It’s an exciting time to be part of the FUMCR family, and I’m honored to serve alongside you!

Congratulations to our new group of Stephen Ministers! They have completed their training and are ready to be paired with care receivers. Stephen Minister Class of 2020 Melinda Bogoslavsky Jill Chapman Pam Cooney Joanie Curry Julie Janak Mary Massengale Mark McGinn Marie Moore Debbie O’Reilly Dawn Parten Karen Varner Sharon Vincent Donnie Wade

MAR/APR 2020



Memorial Gifts Memorial and honorary gifts are a special way to celebrate a life, birthday, anniversary, special occasion or to just say thank you, and they serve as genuine testimonies to others. Below are the gifts given as of February 19, 2020.

In Memory Of Margaret Loftin by Ann Hartley, Maria Salazar, Bess and Ted Enloe, Betty Self, Margaret Fowler, Jan Casner, Nancy S. Cook, Don Douglass, Methodist Richardson Medical Center Volunteer Services

Susan Parker by Marty, David and Brian Colley Larry Cottam by Jim and Eleanor Henderson, Nancy Healy, Marth McDowell, Janice Myers

Jeri and Steve Wakefield’s son Jeremy Scott by Jesse and Terri Jones, Glenn and Susie Straus, Dr. and Mrs. Don Ridgway, Jr., Vivian Cromwell, Buzz and Sherry Lupton, Candy Haynes, Glen and Rosemary Soderstrom, Johanne Sansone, Sally and Robert Woodward, Barbara and Jim Cole, Margie Gunter, Randy and Jill Cutting

Jana Bell by Scott and Jeri Hamman Scott Thompson by Peggy and Dave Millheiser, Bonnie Edwards, Bill and Betty Corbin, Kathy Nauschutz Marilyn Spivey by Nancy Ellis and Family

Marianne French by Bonnie Edwards, Apostles Sunday School Class, Martha Aldridge, Mae Wong

Barbie Coleman’s father by Sandy and Terry Brehm

Paul Braziller by Charlene Herbert, Judy Dixon and the North Dallas Area Women’s Club

John and Jeanne Bradford by John Beuhner, Richard and Kay Fleming

Ron Dickson by Dan and Susie Brown, Mike and Mary Lightfoot

In Honor Of

Peter Day by Mary Bennett

Dr. April Bristow by Judith Reagan, John and Sarah Hutchison

Jackie Asbury by Sam and Ruth Ann Caudle

Connie McSpadden by Pam Shamblin

Patty Daves by Shirley and Bill McIntyre, Mike and Mary Lightfoot

Jim and Anne Makins by Scott Makins, Pat and Suzy Makins

Dean Brown by George and Carole Beattie

Dolores and Mike Spence by Amy Spence

Wanda Knepper by the Apostles Sunday School Class

Music Ministry by Bonnie Edwards

Mert Jessen by Mike and Mary Lightfoot

Paul Haydel by Robert Harper

Franklin Byrd’s father and Jami Byrd’s father by the Luke’s Locker Running Club, Louis Adams, Scott and Jeri Hamman

Chuck and Bette Petri by Jerry and Susie Haralson

Jan McVicker by Alex and Mary Beth Buck, The Breakfast Club – BMCC, Larry and Wendy Cox, Steve and Beth Preston, Lynn’s friends at SMU Law, Ron and Jan Whisenant, Betty Smith Dobson, Mr and Mrs Matt Dobson V, David, Deborah and Doug Garrett

Clayton and Lori Oliphint by Greg and Becca Cartwright

Susie McCoy’s father by Sue McAdams, Gary and Jeanne Stephens, Jan Crespi

Brenda Duckett by the Fellowship Sunday School Class

Mary Turner by Janice Nethery Dallie and Larry Bassuk by Wendy Brewer

Tom Calvert by Becky Rivers

Barbara Clary by Tim and Missy Griffy, Bonnie Edwards, Jennifer and Chip Rawlinson, Bryce and Vicky Hubbard, Gene and Ruth Hunt, Jean Breman, Noel and Scott Sorensen, Jean Ann and Sarah Titus, Robert and Diana Ramsower, Kay Schafer

MAR/APR 2020




503 N. Central Expressway P.O. Box 830877 Richardson, TX 75080 972.235.8385


A fresh look at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Starting the Sunday after Easter.

Profile for First United Methodist Church Richardson

Mar-Apr 2020 First Connections  

Bi-monthly magazine of life and faith at First United Methodist Church Richardson, Texas

Mar-Apr 2020 First Connections  

Bi-monthly magazine of life and faith at First United Methodist Church Richardson, Texas

Profile for fumcr