Gospel Gazette: January 2022

Light your path through 2022 with the Holy Word

In this month’s newsletter:
  • Pastor David Averill’s new year Bible study challenge
  • New study series: The Gospel of Matthew
  • Living Love opportunity: volunteer at the Art Festival
  • A call for writers: submit an entry into our 2022 Lenten Devotional
  • A message from the United Methodist Women
  • A poem of inspiration from one of our members
  • And more!
Read this issue in our digital flipbook format »

Letter from the Pastor

Do you want a New Year’s Resolution that will change your life? How about engaging in regular Bible reading and prayer? January 6 marks the beginning of a season of growth in the Christian year called Epiphany. Epiphany means manifestation, and we learn to discern the ways that God manifests himself in our lives, one of which is through scripture. I challenge you to read with me the 28 chapters of the Gospel of Matthew during this season after Epiphany, and encounter Jesus deeply through his word, his miracles, and in your prayers in response to the scripture. I encourage you to incorporate the SOAP method of Bible study into your devotional time:

  • Scripture. Pick your favorite verse out of the day’s reading.
  • Observation.  Write about why this verse sticks out for you.
  • Application. Write about how this verse applies to your everyday life.
  • Prayer. Write a prayer in response to this scripture and application.

The more time you invest in your spiritual life, the stronger your sense of God’s presence in your life will be. The Holy Spirit wants to dwell with us, but does not force himself into our lives. He comes into our hearts by invitation. Will you invite the Spirit of the Living God into your life through regular prayer and Bible study?

You may have received one of the reading plans on Christmas Eve. If not, please feel free to pick one up in the church office, or find a pdf copy on our website. I hope you will join me in this resolution.

Love in Christ,

Pastor David Averill

Did you know?

In the Christian year, we are currently in the season of Christmas. The paraments (the cloth on the communion table) are white and gold in celebration of the birth of Christ. The season of Christmas lasts until Epiphany on January 6. This is the traditional date for the arrival of the wise men. The word, “epiphany” means “sudden realization or revelation.” It celebrates the coming of Christ into the world.

New Study Series: The Gospel of Matthew

Join Pastor David and Janet Westlake as they begin the new year with Bible Studies and a new sermon series on the Gospel of Matthew. A reading plan for Jan. and Feb. is available for download below. 

In Person
  • Pastor David Averill leads a study on the Gospel of Matthew Wednesdays, Jan. 5 to Feb. 23, at 6:30pm in the chapel and on Zoom. To request the link, email david@mtdorafumc.org.
  • Janet Westlake leads a study of Matthew by J. Ellsworth Kalas on Wednesdays, Jan. 12 to Mar. 9, at 9:30am in the chapel. The $10 book is available in the church office.
  • 11:00 Bible Talk begins a study of Matthew on Jan. 9 in Friendship Hall.
  • Join in the discussion on Facebook by posting your comments in our FUMC group.
  • Watch Pastor David’s weekly devotional on Facebook.

UMCOR Disaster Relief

Following the devastating and deadly string of December storms and tornadoes across the Midwest and Southeast, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is supporting conference disaster response coordinators as rescue efforts continue and damage assessments begin.

Solidarity grants to provide immediate funding are being released and UMCOR will work with impacted areas to journey from the chaos of response on through long-term recovery. Please hold victims, survivors, and relief workers in your prayers.

Consider making a gift » to UMCOR US Disaster Response and Recovery.

Writers Needed: Lenten Devotional

Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a time to prepare for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are looking for writers of all ages and ability to write a 200-300 word devotional on a scripture of your choosing. The submission deadline is Jan. 31. Visit the church office or contact Janet Westlake for writing guidelines.

COVID Update: Mask Safety Zone

In the west transept, there is a special section designated as a mask safety zone. Those wishing to sit in this area should wear a mask. Thank you for understanding as we try to accommodate various needs and perspectives within our community.

A Message from the United Methodist Women

Here’s hoping you have had a most joyous Christmas season. Christmas will always mean, for me at least, the birthday of our beloved savior. He arrived on Earth to demonstrate our Heavenly Father’s love for us. As his disciples, we must continue to spread his love throughout the world. 

Your United Methodist Women intend to spread that love and joy into the new year. UMW has had two traumatic years and now we are ready to head into the new year. 

Come and join us! We will hold our first General Meeting on January 25, 2022, at 1pm in Friendship Hall. Dessert and coffee will be provided. At this time we will install our new officers. (Many thanks to the Nominating Committee for the wonderful job they did to fill our officer slots.) 

Our plans for the new year include fundraisers to help support our national UMW as well as our local mission projects. We’re planning on a huge bake sale during the Art Festival in February—but we need bakers. Please contact me or Alley Williams if you can help by baking cookies!!!

Remember: Your United Methodist Women are “the hands and feet of Christ.” But we can’t do it without YOU. 

Blessings to you and yours, 

Marti Poe

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

Bibles Needed!

Our friends at The Oasis prison ministry are seeking donations of new or gently used study Bibles for the women at the Lowell Correctional Facility in Ocala. The NIV translation is preferred. Bibles may be dropped off at the church office or in the Fifth Avenue entrance.

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.

Staff Love Offering

Thank you to our members who donated a total of $6,132 to our Christmas staff love offering. The offering has been distributed proportionally amongst support staff.

Poem of Inspiration

Tom Sanders, longtime church member and retired Superintendent of Schools for Lake County, shared one of his poems (written in 1970) at the 5th Avenue Thrift Shoppe Christmas Party in December. He shared it because he was inspired by the way the church has responded to the call of God in opening the shop in faith. Thank you to our volunteers who have responded to the distant drum of the heavens, who serve the Lord through the missions and ministries of this church.

We face a life
filled with challenges
a world in need of commitment.

Some of us see things
which we know should be—
yet they are not.

Why is this so—
why do we allow this to be?

Shall we allow ourselves to be defeated
by irresponsibility,

Where are those we need
with dedication,

The distant drummer calls us—
are we ready?

On the Calendar

Footprints Superstart Retreat
Friday-Saturday, January 28-29

The Superstart Retreat is a weekend spiritual retreat for fourth and fifth grade students. For more information or to register your child, contact Janet Westlake.

Widowed Support Group
Every fourth Thursday / 9:30am / Chapel

The death of a spouse is the number one stressor in a person’s life. Our widowed support group is led by Rev. Carl Greene and Ruth Ault, both of whom are widows themselves. If you are a widow or widower, or know someone who is, please let them know of this ministry. Our goal is to support the widowed in the difficult journey of grief.

Christian Book Club
Every second Wednesday / 3pm / Chapel

Our first meeting of 2022 will be January 12—stay tuned for details on the author/book we will be discussing. We are always open to new members.

Wonderful Wednesdays
Wednesday evenings / 6:30–8pm

Our favorite night of the week for Footprints and Barefoot ministries returns January 5! Kids PreK–fifth can enjoy Worship Arts from 6:15-7pm, followed by Footprints Fun-omenon from 7-8pm. Youth can hang out at 1:30pm and worship at 6pm

More calendar events »

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