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FIRSTConnections First United Methodist Church richardson

Volume 7, issue 27

February/March 2012


We are so glad that you have chosen to worship with us, and we hope that you find First United Methodist Church Richardson to be both a welcoming and inspiring community of faith. With spring just around the corner, our thoughts fill with a renewed sense of beginnings. The fresh flowers blooming at the park, the baby bird taking flight for the first time, the ripest strawberry ready from the vine… Reminding us of the beauty and fresh hope that each season brings. We know that God’s love is seen in both the small and great.

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” Galatians 5:22 We invite you to walk with us as we experience this great love in this season of new beginnings. We are available if you have any questions or would like more information, and we look forward to meeting you soon! Elizabeth Wilson, Director Inviting & Involving 972.996.0134 Direct

Kristen Ceaser Inviting & Involving Associate 972.996.0154 Direct

Join Us for Worship Sundays Service of Communion & Prayer Chapel 8:15 am & 12 noon Traditional 8:45, 9:45, 11:00 am Dr. Clayton Oliphint, preaching 5:00 pm access A Contemporary Worship Experience Dr. Clayton Oliphint, preaching Tune in! WRR 101.1 7:00 am Worship at FUMCR

Asian Ministry Chapel 7 pm Zimbabwe Worship Chapel 12:15 pm


503 n. Central expressway P.o.Box 830877 richardson, tX 75083-0877 972.235.8385 Senior Pastor Dr. Clayton oliphint Director of Communications & Worship Gloria scott Editor/Graphic Designer elizabeth Gonzalez Communications Associate Kevin Burns Website Manager Francy Collins Contributors Joy Anderson Pavielle Chriss Frank Clem Allyson George tina Graves FoCUs Photo Ministry Holly Lee Pam shamblin Dianne Weideman rodney Whitfield FIRST Connections (USPS 022-024) is published six times a year, bi-monthly, by the First United Methodist Church Richardson, 503 N. Central Expwy., Richardson, Texas 75080. Periodicals postage paid at Richardson, Texas and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to First Connections, PO Box 830877, Richardson, TX 75083-0877.


irst United Methodist Church Richardson stepped out in a big way in hosting the Large Church Initiative (LCI) Conference in January. 532 pastors and staff members from churches all over the country came to learn, grow, worship, and find renewal. 400 volunteers from our church demonstrated radical hospitality at its best. Participants raved about our team of volunteers who made them feel special. I was so incredibly proud of our church—our members and staff—for all that you did to create a welcoming atmosphere. When we talk about our mission of Welcome, Grow, and Serve, it’s not just an empty phrase. It is a way of life for us. Thank you! Hosting this conference is part of our Strategic Vision to share what we have learned with others through leadership conferences. LCI may be the first of many! Another major focus of our Strategic Vision is increasing worship attendance by 20%. You will see in the article on our Worship Team how much time and attention goes into the planning of worship. Gloria Scott does an amazing job leading this creative team. They develop heartfelt worship experiences which we hope will speak to the diverse needs of all who attend each week. We are beginning to see increases in our morning services, our access contemporary service, and in our Zimbabwe and Asian worship services. Worship is the heartbeat of our life together as a church. Invite a friend! In Christ, Clayton Oliphint

Dr. Clayton oliphint, senior Pastor

Rob Gaudsmith P hOtOS

W riting PrOViDED by

by t ina g raVES r Ob g aUDSmith


ow does a Texas A & M graduate with a marketing degree and agricultural knowledge limited to the grocery store produce section wind up leading an agrobusiness development team in Afghanistan? For newly minted colonial Rob Gaudsmith, it happens when talents and serendipity intersect. In second grade, Rob’s family moved to Richardson. He grew up at First Methodist Church Richardson, graduated from Plano Sr. High, and was part of the Corps of Cadets at A & M. Upon graduating, Rob was commissioned in the National Guard. He met his wife, JoAnna, when they were both students at A & M. They have two high school-aged children, Claire and Ben.

Gaudsmith the day he was promoted to Colonel, September 2011

Gaudsmith with Congressmen Joe Barton and Louie Gohmert along with MAJ Devin James from Aledo, TX. 4

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This is Rob’s third deployment. His first deployment was to San Antonio working on base strategic flight security (20032004). The second deployment was as the commander of the 124 Cavalry at the Iraq Victory Base Camp (2007-2008). His current deployment is a unique cooperative project between the Texas Army National Guard and the Afghani government. Based in Ghazni Province, Rob and his team are stationed on a Polish base. This affords them an opportunity to build bridges not only with the Afghan people but with these Polish soldiers as well. The focus of Rob and his team’s mission is three fold: to bring stability to Ghazni Province, to provide agricultural education and services to the region and to promote the legitimacy and increase the capacity of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Rob’s team has focused on helping to improve crop yields, building irrigation systems, and connecting apple growers with a juice factory. This connection provides the farmers a more direct route to the market, thus cutting out several layers of Pakistani middle men. The farmers are able to make more money from the sale of the apple crop, but the purchasing price at the end of the line is also reduced because of the streamlining of the production model. The construction jobs created by the water irrigation systems, the juice factory, and a pelt processing plant pay the locals a wage that is higher than average. The Taliban pays its workers above average wages, too, but the construction jobs pay significantly more. The local workers are making more money and are less inclined to work for and support the Taliban. The result is a reduced amount of terrorist activity and a safer environment for the citizens of the province.

During a dedication in Benwok village in December, 2011.

Rob’s marketing background has helped him develop relationships with the local leaders and to sell them on these new ideas and processes. It has helped him work with Polish nationals and coordinate the work on base and in the community. The skills he developed in business in teamwork and leadership have served him well in the field. Standing watch by Ghazni village wool processing plant.

Thank you Rob for your service to your country, for the sacrifices you and your family have made, and your hard work to make the world a safer, better place. We look forward to your safe return in June.

Accepting gifts during September visit to Benwok village.

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A Team Approach to

The Heart of Ministry W riting


hink back over your weekly (or more frequently) experience of being a part of First United Methodist Church Richardson. You might be on campus for a Disciple Bible study, teaching an ESL class or volunteering in the office. You may drop off and pick up your child from our Child Development Center or be in the building for a meeting, choir practice or a small group. Whatever brings you to our beautiful, warm and welcoming campus, chances are high that you also attend one of our worship services on a weekly basis and more often during one of our high holy seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter. It is my guess that the experience that deeply touches the large majority of us is the worship experience. The time when we come face to face with tradition, liturgy, glorious music, the reading of our story from the Old or New Testament, the baptism of an infant or child, a profession of faith, or words in the form of a sermon that challenge, heal, soothe or teach us about who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ. Does all that we experience in worship just happen or is there a plan, a rhythm, an order and a flow to this profound encounter? I submit to you that none of our worship encounters “just happen,” but are well thought out, worked out, purposeful hours that are the heart of our Worship ministry here at FUMCR. Enter our Worship Team—a group of our clergy and professional staff that intentionally meet to discuss, discern, and pray about what will touch the hearts of the congregation, those of us “who have ears to hear.”

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P am S hamblin

The Worship Team is headed up by our Senior Pastor, Clayton Oliphint, who quickly admits that he could not plan each week of worship without the rest of the group made up of Debra Hobbs Mason (Executive Pastor), Rodney Whitfield (Pastor of Intentional Faith Development), Mike Lightfoot (Director of Music), Lisa Greenwood (access Pastor), Kyle Henson (access Music Associate), Allyson George (Director of Children’s Ministry) and Gloria Scott (Director of Worship and Communication). Once a year, this team retreats off site for several days of planning that yields thirteen months of planned themes around which our worship services are built. They meet again in August to make sure that all services (regular or seasonal) are ready for the Fall through January of the new year. Shorter meetings are held throughout the year to finalize and “tweak” the details as well as to evaluate. If we were to be a fly on the wall during one of these off site retreats we would find this team working from the premise of “the worship experience in FUMCR is the heart of our ministry” for this is when the greatest number of people are gathered at any one time. Using this premise, the team then has to discern who are the people gathered for these services, what are their needs, their challenges, their struggles, their joys, their celebrations or their griefs? What has their week been like? When the congregants have been touched by this worship experience will they experience healing, a new understanding of their issue, or find peace with their dilemma? What a tough but exhilarating challenge our Worship Team has, and how beautifully they rise to this challenge using brainstorming, humor, tenderness, compassion and creativity.

Gloria leads the process, calling on everyone on the team to dig deep, get their creative juices going, always urging the group to stay open to the process and to the voice of God. And, my friends, all of us benefit from what our Worship Team does and the deliberate planning they participate in. From this team effort comes a rhythm, a flow in our worship services that “tells our story” and reminds us each week that we are loved, forgiven and surrounded by grace. The services invite us as participants to be involved and submerged in the tactile experiences laid before us. We, in turn, move out from our time in worship renewed, refreshed, more hopeful than theº hour before, feeling blessed with the promise that Christ made to us. Because of this promise, we, the congregation, are then fortified to move into the rhythm and flow of daily life—the heart of ministry—to offer that which is eternal to others who are hungry and thirsty for “The Word”.

Top (left to right): Rev. Debra Hobbs Mason, Kyle Henson, Allyson George; Middle: Mike Lightfoot, Gloria Scott, Dr. Clayton Oliphint; Bottom: Rev. Lisa Greenwood, Rev. Rodney Whitfield.

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Oh God,

Itʻs me Rodney...


top for a moment and think about prayer, praying, and your everyday life. According to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, prayer is a common religious practice in America. This research finds nearly six-in-ten adults in the U.S. say that they pray at least once a day. That brings to mind several questions: How do you pray? When do you pray? Why do you pray? What do you pray for? What do you expect from your prayers? If I were to begin by asking “When do you pray?” it is likely some of you would reply “a blessing at meal times,” others might say “in the morning with a daily devotional” and yet others of you might reply “at different times throughout the day.” Let’s contemplate the prayer at meal times. The blessing of a meal is a common prayer and if we eat three meals a day, a quite frequent practice among Christians. I witness this type of prayer the most. If I go to dinner at someone’s home or attend a family function where food is being served, someone is always called on to pray. If there is a pastor or church employee among the group, they are probably the one who is called on to offer “the blessing.” Why? I guess because they are seen as the one with the most experience, the “professional.” In some situations, it feels like everyone thinks because you work in a church or have Reverend in your title, then you must have a special connection


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again… W riting


r ODnEy W hitFiElD a llySOn g EOrgE


or direct link to God. I think it goes much deeper than that. I think many persons, including myself, are worried that when we pray we will say the wrong thing and that the prayers we offer must be near “perfect” and that somehow, people with more experience say “better prayers.” Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I was always afraid my prayers wouldn’t be good enough for public consumption. Being the preacher’s kid, I got stuck, more often than I would have liked, being the one who was asked to pray. It was like I had some special connection or skill, simply because my dad was a pastor! So, as many times as I was asked to be “the one” to pray,

Three Tips for Teaching Prayer to Children


There is no real wrong way to pray. God knows your heart, so model for children prayer at all times of the day (meals, bedtime, on the way to school, or when an ambulance passes).


For younger children, try ‘memoryʻ prayers for meal times so that they can ease into praying aloud. As they get older, mix up prayer time with varied prayers. Practice makes comfort! A good example is ‘God is great…ʻ or ‘The Five Finger prayerʻ which uses each finger as a prayer topic.


Be authentic when praying. Kids know when adults are being real. If a prayer topic is difficult, admit that to the child or God within your prayer content. This teaches children that a relationship with God is about communication and not getting the prayer perfect. I decided early on to stick with the memory prayers I learned at church and in preschool. I wanted my prayer to be just right. Are prayers “just right?” Is there a right or wrong way to pray? In elementary Sunday School I was taught the ACTS prayer formula—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. And this formula worked, but I was still scared to pray without writing everything down—I was afraid I would forget a part of the ACTS. So was this the correct way to pray? I listened to others and noticed that some people prayed this way while others did not. From childhood to young adolescence, I learned something else about prayer. I learned that prayer was more than a formula. I made it all the way into my teen years before I was taught that prayer is simply talking to God. And, you don’t even have to use a formula, say fancy things, or use formal church language! All I really needed to do was talk to God like I talked to one of my friends. Really? It wasn’t about praising God, confessing how I messed up, about being grateful, or even asking for things that I wanted? What I was being told was that God also wants to know what I think, how I feel, what I’m hoping for, what makes me fearful? This new information about how I could pray changed my prayer life. My prayers were less than a laundry list of wants, wishes, hopes and dreams; they became a conversation with God. This conversation often included joys,

concerns, confessions, and awe of God’s work in my life and the world. There was not a “correct” or “perfect” way to have a conversation with God. I now know that God knows our hearts and so whether we pray aloud or silently, God wants us to be in conversation, be ourselves and be authentic. Today, after earning a Master’s of Divinity Degree, and being ordained as a United Methodist Pastor, I continue to learn things about prayer—how to talk to God. I am learning how to pray when I am angry and hurting. I am learning how to let others to pray when I can’t. During the pregnancy, diagnoses, birth, and death of our daughter, Mercy Elizabeth, there were times I couldn’t say things. I learned that even when I couldn’t say the words of pain, fears, and desire for another outcome, that God heard me and others who were praying for us. I was not alone and God was there—listening. Prayer became more than a conversation where saying the right words or having the correct formulas were important, it was about acknowledging God was there, God was listening, and I didn’t even have to say anything and I could say everything. I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about prayer in my life. So far, it has served me well. I invite you to learn more about prayer too. As Dr. Clayton Oliphint preaches a sermon series on the topic of prayer, I invite you to worship to hear more about prayer and contemplate prayer in your own life. First ConneCtions

February/March 2012


Thank You, FUMCR!


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New Life, New Hope. . . Liv

We planned...We welcomed... We served... We learned

ving into a God-Sized Vision

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Congratulations, Jessie!


esus Ontiversos (Jessie), a member of the FUMCR operations team, became a U.S. citizen on Friday, January 20, 2012. Pastor Clayton and Frank Clem attended the ceremony where Jessie and approximately 100 other individuals from 15 different countries became naturalized citizens of the U.S. The staff celebrated with a reception for Jessie in the Bartula Family Life Center.

The Advent /Christmas Special Offering given by generous FUMCR members totaled $30,238! This offering was divided between the Richardson NETWORK of Community Ministries, the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Wesley Rankin Community in West Dallas, and the Bethlehem Center in south Dallas. FUMCR has been a large supporter of all of these organizations through the years. Most of these funds will go toward programs and services that will better the lives of children. From after school programs to utilities and rental assistance to residential care— the dollars that our congregation contributed make a difference in the lives of children living in a wide variety of circumstances. Thank you, FUMCR! 12

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n honor of Clayton Oliphint from Pat & Robin Kelly. In honor of Mike & Mary Lightfoot from Vance & Sandra Bridges, Bobbye Barth. In honor of Henry & Miles Brown from Mr. & Mrs. William B. Nelson. In honor of Jimmie & Mary Frances Mobley from Fran Gant. In honor of Laverne & Fred Treviño and Linda & Sam Rodgers from Carolyn Jones. In honor of Harold & Jane Gilliatt from William & Pamela Denson. In honor of Mr. & Mrs. Chuck Mulkey from Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Mulkey. In honor of Mike & Delores Spence from Amy Spence. In honor of the Chancel Choir Carolers from Ann Diveley. In honor of Donna & David Gamble from Susie & Glenn Straus. In honor of Kay & Jim Myers from the Adkins & Brlanski Families. In honor of Cassie Deaton and in memory of Bill Deaton from Mr. & Mrs. James Deprato. In memory of Danny Chasney from Terry & Susan Henderson, Martha Shore, Naylor Commercial Interiors, Inc., Kenneth Horn, Graham & Cindy Swank, Friends at Piney Creek Ranch. In memory of Mercy Whitfield from Carolyn Jones, Ernest & Sylvia Deadwyler. In memory of Carol Brown from Stacey & Melinda Lawrence, Jerry & Anne Wilson, Bonnie Edwards, James & Mary Jane White, Gene & Suzie Hailstone, Mike & Sarah Fisher, Rhonda Kulhanek, Bruce Theobald & Melanie Adams, Bob & Linda Campbell, Apostles Sunday School Class, Karen & David Perdue, Scott & Jeri Hamman, Jerry & Laura Schwartz, Charles & Madelon Gill, The James Turk Family, Richard & Kay Fleming, Tim & Missy Griffy, Margie & Don Franks, John & Jeanne Bradford, Wayne & Phyllis Gifford, Donna & Paul Christeensen, Earnest & Sylvia Deadwyler, Betty Bartula, Gerald & Wilene Landfair, Billy & Betty Self, Larry Lesh Family, Janet Wright, Joe &

I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your year-end gifts! We are so grateful! We fulfilled our 2011 Operating Budget! 2011 Summary: 2011 Income 2011 Expense Overage













For 2012, we are hoping to step-up our ministry and increase the budget from $4,630,000 to $4,840,000 (an increase of 4.5%.)

Carmen Pelton, Bruce & Betty Stahl, Carole & George Beattie, Nowell & Sallie Loop, James & Susan Aiken, Bob & Paulette Mansell, Ralph & Meredith Marston, Curtis & Jan Arnold, Sid & Ginnie Nolte, Susie & Michael Hatley, Howard Kennedy, Susie & Glenn Straus, Dick & Jean Coupe, Michael R. & M. Janet Chitwood, Bill & Nita Green, Gil & Gloria Scott. In memory of Mike Lightfoot’s father from Richard & Kay Fleming, Mike & Linda Proch, Jack & Marla Orr, Dave & Charlotte Grimm, Pam Shamblin, Gerald & Wilene Landfair, Billy & Betty Self, Tony & Janice Myers, Melissa Brumfield. In memory of Jerry McClurg’s mother from Joyful Questers Sunday School Class. In memory of Phil Lloyd’s mother from Joyful Questers Sunday School Class. In memory of Travis Roten from Betty Bartula, Don & Margie Franks. In memory of Landra Dobbs’ mother from Jerry & Brenda Monk. In memory of Frank Chamberlain from Jo Anne Pitcher. In memory of Dr. George M. Boswell, Jr. from Victor & Mary Brooke Casad, Gil & Gloria Scott. In memory of Jean Morse’s mother from James & Luann Tucker. In memory of Kate McLarnon from Alice Anne Kratter. In memory of Rich Shaw from Joan Shaw. In memory of Norma Blumn from the Apostles Sunday School Class. In memory of Ellen Sevenson’s mother from Kitty Hudnall. In memory of Clayton Oliphint’s uncle from Billy & Betty Self. In memory of Carolyn Bukhair’s brother from Billy & Betty Self, Don & Margie Franks. In memory of Pat Pogue from Bill & Nita Green. In memory of Kim Davis’ father from Tim & Missy Griffy, Betty Stripling, J. P. & Marcia Bowlin, John & Anne Carroll, Data Center Systems, Hal & Sally Kinne. In memory of Judi Davis.

Memorials/Honorariums - Weeks 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19-11, 1/2 & 1/9/12

Thanks so much to all of you for turning in a Count on Me pledge card. These cards are very helpful to us in estimating our budgeted income for the year. If you haven’t had a chance to turn in a pledge card for 2012, we would greatly appreciate you turning one in. You may pledge online at, email your pledge to or pledge cards are available in the pews. Blessings for a New Year! Dianne Weideman, Director of Finance, 972.996.0106 First ConneCtions

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Intentional Faith Development Team Rich Rindfuss Fred Treviño Rodney Whitfield Elizabeth Wilson

All Learning Communities are designed to help you Grow In Christ. So wherever you begin, the following opportunities are intended to move you forward in your own faith journey.

Duration: 1 hour Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: Room 214 Facilitated by: Rev. Marilyn Dickson In this class you will have the opportunity to learn more about yourself, your relationship with God, your spiritual gifts and your faith journey. A spiritual gifts assessment, group discussion and sharing will help you gain insight into the path God may have for you in this place at this time.

Methodism 101

Session 2: Sundays, April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Room 212 (Please choose 1 session to attend)

Through Foundations you can begin to equip yourself as you enter into a personal relationship with Christ. Gain knowledge and understanding of fundamental tools that will foster your growth and enrich your experience along the way.

Get Acquainted with Your Bible

Dates: Sundays, February 19 – April 1 Duration: 8 weeks Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Location: Room 212 Text: Get Acquainted with Your Bible by Gary Ball-Kilborne Fee: $8.00 Facilitated by: Richard Crawford How did this book we call “The Bible” come to be? What stories does it tell and how do the stories relate to each other? What can I do to discover the relevance of this ancient text to my modern-day life? In this 8-week series you will learn about the origins of the Bible, the content of its major storylines and how to read scripture so that it leads to personal, spiritual growth. All of this will bring you to a greater understanding of the text, a closer relationship with God and a renewed experience of faith and hope in your life.

Identify Your Spiritual Gifts

Dates: Sunday, February 19, April 22, June 10 (please choose 1 date to attend) 14

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Duration: 5 weeks Gain an understanding of Wesleyan Heritage by getting to know John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Increase your knowledge and understanding of United Methodist theology, learn more about the sacraments of baptism and communion and how they make a difference in your life, appreciate how the United Methodist church is set up to prepare and support Christian growth and action in the church today. Both newcomers and lifelong United Methodists will strengthen personal relationships to God and the church in this this 5 week session.

Understanding Baptism

Dates: Sundays, February 12, March 25, April 15, May 20 (Choose 1 date to attend)

Duration: 1 hour, Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 noon Location: Room 210 Facilitated by: Clergy The journey of faith that begins with baptism is supported by the nurturing fellowship of a caring, learning, worshipping, serving congregation. Baptism is a necessary step for church membership as it is the “entrance into the body of Christ” who is the church. In this class you will learn more about the meaning of the sacrament of baptism and how we, as a United Methodist church family, uphold and support newly baptized Christians of all ages. Baptism may take place at any age and stage of one’s life. If you have not been baptized and God is leading you to this decision for yourself or your loved ones, FUMCR seeks to be a part of this important step in your spiritual life.

Voyages move you beyond the basic knowledge and understanding of the biblical text and allow you to journey deeper in your faith experience. Examine the word and tackle difficult questions. Look beyond your own experience and consider the religious practice of others. Challenge yourself with the text and discussion with others.

The God We Want and the God Who Is

Date: Sunday, February 5, 12, 19, 26 Duration: 4 weeks Time: 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Text: Seeking a God to Glorify Fee: $15.00 (Optional: if you would like a copy of Seeking a God to


Location: Room 203 Facilitator: Dr. Leroy Howe In this class, Leroy Howe personalizes (for the first time!) five decades of philosophical and theological thinking about God by relating it to his own faith development and religious experience. Some of the course material is drawn from his new book, Seeking a God to Glorify, which will be available at the opening session.

Go to and http://www. for a complete listing of small group opportunities for you to join the journey of growing in Christ any time during the year.

*Registration is required for all classes to guarantee your place and course materials. Please register online at Visit for links to all classes. **Childcare is available for all learning communities, but reservations must be made in advance by calling 972.996.0120. ***Finances should never keep someone from Growing In Christ, so if you are in need of financial assistance for any reason, please contact Rev. Rodney Whitfield with your request for scholarship funds.

A long-time member, teacher, and counselor at FUMCR, Leroy is also Professor emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Perkins School of Theology. He teaches regularly in SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program.

Religion: What and Why?

Dates: Sundays, March 11,18, 25 Duration: 3 weeks Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Location: Mays Hall Facilitator: Ed Frantz Religion…What is it? Why is it? Is it God-made or man-made? Is the quest for salvation central? Do all the enduring religions have any essentials in common? With an overview of the major Western traditions…addressing these and related questions requires also looking at the heart of both great Eastern traditions Hinduism and Buddhism. Surely we who consider ourselves religious should be able to at least define the term!

A Study of C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”

Date: Mondays, March 19 - April 23 Duration: 6 weeks Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am Text: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis Fee: $15.00 Location: Ogden Fellowship Hall Facilitator: Dick Mussett This class will use chapters from the book and a study guide to look at how during WWII Lewis tried to bolster the spirits of the English people and explain good and evil in the world and in the hearts of mankind.

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Strategic Vision Implementation

January, 2012



Serve W riting

The Strategic Vision Implementation team and FUMCR staff have continued to work diligently toward executing the initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan. Importantly, the approach is an integrated one. Welcome, Grow and Serve are the cornerstones of our mission statement and are not designed to be independent of each other—they overlap, with synergies among the three circles. While aligning the efforts across the circles, we also continue to push ahead in each specific area. We have some exciting successes in Welcome, Grow and Serve to share with you.


• New Asian Ministry. As a part of our overall congregational goal to increase worship participation by at least 20% over five years, we planned to identify a satellite church and/or community United Methodist congregation. A focus in our Serve area was also to intentionally find ways to more closely mirror the diversity in our community. On September 3, 2011, Pastor Salim Dill began leading an Asian service in our Chapel at 7 pm on Saturdays. As of January 8, 2012, they have moved to Sundays at 7 pm. This group is growing and currently serves an average of thirty people. This FUMCR ministry targets Christians and non-Christians from India and Pakistan, and the language spoken is Urdu.



• Intentional Faith Development model. The FUMCR staff continues to make significant progress toward the creation of an Intentional Faith Development model. This will be a systematic way for us to discover where we are on the journey of faith and see the right next steps for us as individuals and groups. It will involve a holistic approach challenging us to grow in the areas of worship, study and service. It will drive the study and small group opportunities and help all of us to grow as disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. • Large Church Initiative Conference (LCI 2012). Our church has demonstrated its leadership capabilities in a big way by planning and hosting LCI 2012. Typically, a church is given three years to prepare for such an event, and in order to fill a national conference need, we pulled


February/March 2012

h Olly l EE

• Growth in access Worship Service. Our 5 pm Sunday contemporary worship service is growing. In 2012, we are averaging over 100 people each week in worship, and new people continue to visit every week. Participants are coming from as far away as Irving, Celina and Rockwall County. We will continue to explore a diversity of worship venues to fulfill our mission of welcoming, growing and serving people for Christ.

cherished past. bright future. 16 F i r s t C o n n e C t i o n s


off this conference with just ten months of preparation— while maintaining our already very active schedule. This conference, attended by about 550 clergy from around the nation, specifically addresses our strategic goal of hosting a Servant Leadership Institute. Over 400 FUMCR volunteers sprung into action to ensure this conference was a success. We will apply the many lessons learned through this journey to host other leadership events for area community and church leaders in the future. • Leadership Development. To begin addressing the initiative to develop “a leadership program for people to experience the fullness of serving and deepening their understanding of United Methodism theology and practice”, we have hired a Director of Leadership Development. Beth Smith will join our team March 1. Our desire is to grow servant leaders for FUMCR, United Methodism and the community.



• Address United Methodist Focus on Ministry with the Poor and Global Health. One initiative in our plan is to align ourselves more closely with the UM church around the Four Areas of Global Focus: Global Health, Ministry with the Poor, Congregational Development and Leadership Development. This has long been a focus of our International Christmas Market, which this year raised over $100,000 for missions. Through our Zimbabwe Ministry, we are supporting over 260 AIDS orphans so that

they can attend school, which is their pathway to a better life. In 2011, we took a mission team to Haiti following the devastating earthquake. Another team will go in March of 2012. In 2011, the Church Council voted to partner with Willows Methodist Church in Pretoria, South Africa for the benefit of students at the Skuinkloof Primary School in a rural area north of Pretoria. In May of 2012, a team will travel to South Africa to build an extension onto the school. We have been blessed to be a blessing to others and will continue to seek opportunities to further the UM agenda. • Partnership with Alzheimer’s Association. A strategic goal is to identify and leverage partnerships to effectively and efficiently serve in the local and global community. Through a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, we have offered two conferences for health care professionals and families. We are exploring the possibility of beginning a daily respite program for Alzheimer’s patients here at the church.

We are excited about the momentum created by implementing the church’s Strategic Vision, and we look forward to sharing more successes soon.

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Welcome to Our Newest Members! From December 4, 2011

Austin and Sara Trantham Child: Thomas

Lidia Bissell

David and Rev. Sandy Stamey

Peggy Scott Gerald and Stephanie LaFlamme Children: Alex and Ivy

Jeffrey Armitage Child: Emily

Irene Bennett Andrew and Christy McWhorter Children: Caroline, Catherine and Andrew

Robert and Linda Lange

David and Wanda Knepper John and Patricia Sanderford Son: Ryan


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Pamela Tomasello

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Lonnie and Betty Haygood

From December 18, 2011

From January 1, 2012

Karen Banzon

Claire Keels

Steve and Liz Laesch

From January 8, 2012

From December 11, 2011 Kristen O’Brien Children: Reagan and Rylie

Eric Neef

Wes Wadle and Summer Holbrook Children: Paloma and Cooper

Paul and Sarah Snitker

From December 25, 2011 Eli Columbus Children: Ean and Ivy

Jerry and Kimber Mowrey Children: Samuel, Emma and Jacob

Mark and Jessica Callahan Child: Finley

Laura DePuy Child: Sophia

First ConneCtions

February/March 2012



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Next Issue April/May 2012

Summer Time: Children Youth Adults

First Connections February March 2012  

Feb - March 2012 1st UMC Richardson magazine

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