Gospel Gazette: February 2022

Loving God, Loving Others: Let everyone know that we are His disciples.

In this month’s newsletter:
  • Pastor David Averill on living love and the Three Simple Rules
  • Thrift Shoppe Spotlight: Meet Melissa Cain Kinsey
  • Be Living Love at the Art Festival
  • Youth Summer Camp Registration
  • Barefoot ski retreat recap
  • Boy Scout Troop 19’s centennial anniversary
  • A message from the United Methodist Women
  • The Fifth Avenue Thrift Shoppe’s 2021 gifts to missions

Read this issue as a digital flipbook »

Letter from the Pastor

As we enter February, though it is our shortest month of the year, it is still a month focused on love because of Valentine’s Day. We are a church that seeks to “Love God, Love Others”. “Loving God, Loving Others” is our slogan. On February 12th, 9 am to 3 pm at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp, church leaders are invited to consider our church’s vision of how we can live into our slogan of “Love God, Love Others”.

Any church member is welcome to attend for that matter. At this day retreat, we will hear from renowned pastor and writer, Rev. Dr. James Harnish. When Dr. Harnish retired after 22 years as the Senior Pastor with Hyde Park United Methodist Church, God used Rev. Harnish’s leadership to move the church into a full expression of their slogan, “Making God’s Love Real”.

In a sermon last month, I reflected on how God made his love real through the Incarnation of the Son as Jesus Christ. On that Sunday, the Gospel reading had these words: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.” – Matthew 9:35 (NRSV)

Jesus made God’s love real not only through his preaching, but also through his ministry of healing, actively attending to the needs of others. Similarly, Jesus calls us to follow his example by “Loving God, Loving Others” through works of piety (God-focused) and works of mercy (Other-focused). Through works of mercy to those in need, proclaiming Jesus means attending to the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of people as I expressed in my message on that Sunday.

A book I love that shows us how to put love into practice within our community is “Three Simple Rules” by the late Bishop Ruben P. Job (based The General Rules of the early Methodist societies, set up by the Wesley brothers and other Methodist pioneers in Great Britain and North America in the 1700s). The three simple rules are a modern reinterpretation of monastic movements, who classically followed three evangelical counsels (meaning exhortations of Jesus from the Gospels): poverty (for the sake of charity), chastity (or self-restraint in general), and obedience. They are:

  • Do No Harm = Self-restraint
  • Do Good = Charity
  • Stay in Love with God = Obedience

Speaking of historical movements in Christianity, I appreciate in other Christian traditions, particularly in the Roman Catholic branch, how religious orders inspire the formation of diverse communities. I think these earlier monastic movements like those in the Roman Catholic Church inspired John Wesley when he developed The General Rules that Bishop Job summarized as “Three Simple Rules”.

For example, Francis of Assisi inspired a community based on a commitment to ministry with the poor. He started a rule of life, creating a community around a shared commitment to works of mercy and works of piety. The spiritual practice Francis used to develop his rule of life was called sortes biblicae, turning to random scriptures in the Bible. He turned to three scriptures: Matthew 19:21 (sell all your possessions), Luke 9:3 (take nothing for the journey), and Matthew 16:24 (obedience) [1].

Loosely, these corresponded to the three evangelical counsels that were a part of a tradition of desert mothers and fathers in the 2nd century to the 6th century CE/ AD as in the Benedictines: poverty, chastity, and obedience.

From my perspective, Wesley’s three rules correspond partially to these three counsels. First, “Do no harm” corresponds to self-restraint (a more inclusive and more modern expression of chastity), meaning that we let go of our ego and power grabs to prevent harm to others and ourselves within society. “Do all the good you can” corresponds to poverty for the sake of charity, loving others in following the generous nature of God in Jesus Christ (e.g. kenosis or self-emptying as expressed in Philippians 2). Lastly, “Attend upon all the ordinances of God” corresponds to obedience, following Jesus through works of piety, acts of worship and devotion as well as works of mercy through acts of compassion and justice.

Consider the following graphic from Steve Manskar who developed this diagram for UMC Discipleship to encourage covenant discipleship:

This graphic depict the works of mercy and works of piety as a shape of following Jesus. Ask yourself, “What are some everyday examples of things you use to organize your life?”Think of everyday objects like jewelry box, shoe rack, or calendar.

What do each of these objects have in common? They all have a purpose. They offer structure and order.

In the same manner, John and Charles Wesley brought people together into a community—societies, classes and bands—to work out their salvation through methodical practices that promoted daily habits for following Jesus. Moreover, this common purpose of following Jesus in a methodical and orderly way formed and informed their entire ministry.

For instance, the Wesley brothers described such societies as “a company of men having the form and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their salvation.” (John Wesley, 1743).

Within the Methodist movement, the purpose of Christian community was structured around works of piety and works of mercy. For the early Methodists, to grow in holiness required both kinds of formational habits. The structure and “method” of following Jesus provided by the Wesleys was not a short-term proposal, but one that could be sustained for lifetime growth in sanctification.

Overall, I believe the Holy Spirit inspired each of these movements through the formation of communities around the values of poverty, self-restraint, and obedience as a “rule of life”: the Desert Mothers and Fathers (as typified by the Benedictines), the Franciscans, and the people called Methodists. What will others call First United Methodist Church of Mount Dora in the coming years as we seek to live in a community of love with God, ourselves, and our neighbors?

I am no prophet, but I believe I have a God-given vision. I believe they will call us “The ‘Living Love’ Church”. As Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Let us live love in the name of Divine Love, our God and Lover of our souls.

With the Love of Christ,

Pastor David

Thrift Shoppe Spotlight: Meet Melissa Cain Kinsey

Shoppe Manager Melissa Cain Kinsey and her husband Tony

When customers walk into Fifth Avenue Thrift Shoppe, they are immediately impressed by the inviting atmosphere and beautifully arranged rooms. Melissa Cain Kinsey, Shoppe Manager, has led the way in making our store a successful and well-run enterprise. Melissa worked as a registered nurse for several years, but after volunteering and managing another thrift store, she found a new calling.

Melissa is a native of Lake County. Her father John and “bonus mom” Carolyn Cain are longtime members of our church. Melissa and her husband Tony have three children—Owen, Nathan, and Abigail. We are thankful for Melissa’s passion, insight, and superior organizational skills. Melissa loves the Lord, loves to serve, and loves to help people.

Learn more about the Fifth Avenue Thrift Shoppe »

Summer Camp Registration Happening Now!

Our third through twelfth grade students will attend Warren W. Willis camp June 27–July 2. The cost for a week is $550. The required deposit of $75 is paid through the camp website. Students active in Footprints or Barefoot will qualify for $275 in S.A.Y. It With Love funding toward the cost of camp.

Warren W. Willis camp registration »

Be Living Love at the Art Festival

Our mission of “Loving God, Loving Others” has been experienced by many during previous festival outreach events. You have the opportunity to participate February 5 and 6 by volunteering to greet people from the Welcome Center on the front sidewalk and to stand in the sanctuary to guide people to the bathrooms and highlight our stained glass windows during the Art Festival.

On Saturday, February 5, shifts are 8:30-11:30am, 11:30am-2:30pm and 2:30-5pm. On Sunday, February 6, shifts are 12:15-2:30pm and 2:30-5pm. If you would like more information about volunteering or want to reserve a time slot, contact Janet Westlake.

A Message from our United Methodist Women

As we get rolling into 2022, your United Methodist Women are going full tilt. We have installed new Officers for 2022. (Thank you Pastor David for the Installation service.) 

Starting with the Art Festival and concurrent UMW Bake Sale on the way. Once again we’ll have a bake sale and Alley Williams will be doing her $10 for 10 manicure booth. Thanks, Alley. The booth was greatly appreciated by those who took advantage of the service at the Craft Fair in the fall. We’ll once again have our prayer bracelets (for adults and children) and our small chaplets for sale. They make perfect little gifts.

Bring your cookies (4 to a plastic bag) to the Chapel on Friday between 10 AM and 12 Noon. We need LOTS of cookies of many varieties. Chocolate Chip Cookies were in great demand in the fall and I’m sure they will be again. But, any cookies you make will be appreciated. 

Your UMW is looking for any additional funding raising ideas you may have. We have many places for our funds to be used. And, therefore, we need those funds to do our work. 

In addition to those items mentioned above, this year we intend to expand our boundaries…..  We are looking to start an evening Circle—we’d supply baby sitters as the need arises. This will be directed towards the many younger women in our church family who are working and unable to attend a daytime circle. Any interest out there?

Along those same lines, we are looking to form a teen girls circle. These are the women who will be leaders in the UMW in future years! What a better way to get them started? 

Lots of ideas! Join us at UMW Circle meeting to find out more. Contact me, Marti Poe (336-829-0086) for details about times for circle meetings. 

Blessings to you and yours, 

Marti Poe

Mount Dora First United Methodist Church Unit of the United Methodist Women

Barefoot Ski Retreat Recap

Our Barefoot Student Ministry recently went on their annual Ski trip to Beech Mountain, NC. Forty students from our ministry had a blast skiing, tubing and snowboarding. While doing this they grew closer together and with God! They are very thankful for the prayers you sent as a congregation!

Boy Scouts Centennial

Boy Scout Troop 19 celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sunday, February 13. The Boy Scouts and their leaders will be honored at all three worship services. A cupcake reception will be held at 10:30 am in Friendship Hall. Current and former Scouts, Scout leaders, and their families are invited to the recognition. Troop 19 has produced over 100 Eagle Scouts, the highest award in Scouting. The troop is also looking for photos and memorabilia from their 100-year history.

Creating Change: Distribution to Missions

The Missions team had the privilege of giving away the Fifth Avenue Thrift Shoppe’s 2021 profits at their January meeting. Here is how the monies were distributed.

$5000 was dedicated to the following local missions:

  • $1200 to salary support for Rev. Bobby Rowe, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • $750 to The Oasis prison ministry at the Lowell Correctional Institution
  • $750 to the Open Door day shelter in Eustis
  • $750 to The Haven of Lake and Sumter for victims of domestic violence
  • $750 to the Forward Paths Foundation to help young adults aging out of foster care
  • $500 toward printing cost for 100 more FUMC cookbooks. (Proceeds for new sales go to the Carpenter’s House for Children.)

$6000 was dedicated to international missions.

$3000 was sent to Vision India to support the missionaries. 

The missions team is also researching a partnership with a church in Cuba. This would involve financial support from our congregation along with letters and visits to Cuba to encourage the congregation. If you would be interested in active involvement with a Cuba partnership, please contact the church office.

There’s so much more to see!

Check out our events calendar »