Gospel Gazette: May 2022

Where He Leads Me: Following the sometimes winding, but always true path of Christ.

In this issue:
  • Pastor David Averill reflects on how the Lord can change our plans by changing our perspective
  • The National Day of Prayer event presented by the Mount Dora Ministerial Association
  • District Gatherings on the Continuing United Methodist Church
  • Preparing for VBS 2022—how you can help
  • Two new study classes for Wednesday evenings happening through the month of May
Read the digital flipbook »

Letter from the Pastor

I am pleased to announce that I have been re-appointed for another year as the pastor of First United Methodist Church. As a part of the consultative process, I have been very transparent with the Staff-Parish Relations Committee about my appointment to an extension ministry, beyond the local church, in the Florida Army National Guard. I do not view this secondary appointment as my primary call, and do not plan to make it a full-time career. Instead, I provide a much-need Christian presence as a military chaplain, which is an extension of my primary call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. My primary call is to be a local church pastor.

As I shared in November 2021, I had felt called to leave the military. However, with the paperwork for discharge taking longer than expected, I had more time to reconsider my decision. I feel like my call to leave was a test from God to see where my heart was in the ministry. 

I realized that my vision of being at the intersection of a full Guard parking lot and an empty church parking lot in Eustis was not about the church needing me more. Instead, I feel more satisfied that I am called to stand at the crossroads of these ministries with your support. Together, we can reach people who may not otherwise receive the Gospel.

That being said, I love being your pastor, and serving with you in ministry. I am grateful for your support of my chaplaincy ministry. As a part of this call, I will be attending Annual Training at Camp Blanding near Starke, Florida from May 11-27. This two-week training, mandatory for all reservists, is the longest duty I can anticipate in the Florida Army National Guard, aside from being involuntarily called up to Active Duty for an emergency. As I understand it, involuntary call ups are highly unlikely for the unit I serve in the next 4 years.

We have worked on a pastoral care plan to cover for my absence during these 2 weeks. On May 15, we will have Youth Sunday in worship and on May 22, Rev. Erwin Lopez of the UCF Wesley Foundation will preach, sharing some about his ministry with college students in the Orlando area.

As a part of this plan, Rosemary Plummer, as our assigned Certified Lay Minister, can perform visitations and emergency pastoral acts like funerals. Janet Westlake, Minister of Discipleship, will step up to perform visitations and administrative leadership to the church.

During my absence, I will maintain weekly contact with Janet and the church, and will be available by phone and email. However, you will have to allow 24-48 hours for me to return to your calls or your emails because I cannot carry my phone with me during the duty day. My phone is connected to the church’s emergency line (dial 2 when prompted), and email is david@mtdorafumc.org.

I have faith that in my temporary absence, you will continue to grow and serve in the name of Jesus Christ. No one person makes or breaks the church. We are all the church together as on my favorite hymns says:

I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!

May we share in a renewed sense of covenant and commitment to do God’s work together.

With Joy on the Journey,

Pastor David Averill

National Day of Prayer 

The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May. Days of fasting and prayer had been established by the Second Continental Congress from 1775 until 1783, and by President John Adams in 1798 and 1799.

In January–February 1952 during the Korean War, the desirability of a united national prayer was stated by Reverend Billy Graham, who said, “What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this country. What renewed hope and courage would grip the Americans at this hour of peril.”

Members of the House and Senate introduced a joint resolution for an annual National Day of Prayer, “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his choice. 

The Mount Dora Ministerial Association is holding a community prayer event Thursday, May 5, at Noon at Donnelly Park. The event features prayers by local community leaders and the City of Mount Dora Pipe and Drum band. We hope to see you there!

AV System Updates

We have ordered a new sound board, but it will be a few weeks before it is delivered. Thanks for your patience! In the meantime – A big thanks to Josh Bonner for lending us a sound board while we wait for the new one to arrive.

Pentecost Picnic

Everyone is invited to a hamburger and hot dog picnic in Friendship Hall on Sunday, June 5 at 12:15pm in celebration of Pentecost and the birthday of the church.  All of the food is provided and donations will be accepted at the picnic.  Contact the church office if you want to volunteer.  Please make a lunch reservation by calling the church office or visiting mdfumc.org/picnic. Wear red for Pentecost!

Support for Ukraine through UMC Advance Funds

United Methodist Global Ministries’ Advance #14053A supports pastors in Ukraine and Moldova. advance.umcmission.org. Donations labeled “Ukraine” will be split 50/50 between UMCOR and those pastors.

District Gatherings on The Continuing United Methodist Church

If you would like to learn more about the changes laying ahead for the Continuing United Methodist Church, there will be two gatherings, led by Dr. Bob Bushong, near us this month. 

Sun, May 22, 11:45am at First UMC
600 S Grove St., Eustis, FL  32726

Mon, May 23, 7pm at Trinity UMC
306 W Wisconsin Ave, DeLand, FL  32720

This is the perfect time to learn about what is before us: postponement of the General Conference until 2024 (which means no changes to the Book of Discipline), the launch of the Global Methodist Church (and the process for disaffiliation for those who choose to exit), a vision for the a vision for the Continuing United Methodist Church, and the ways to thoughtfully discern next steps and witness with patience and grace during this season. 

VBS 2022

Our Jerusalem Marketplace Vacation Bible School is July 18 to 22 from 9am to Noon. How can you be part of it?

  • Lead a Center: Help kids apply the Bible stories’ concepts to their lives through crafts, games, snacks, and fun. We run separate rotations for PreK and Elementary.
  • Lead a Tribe: Guide a small group through each day. Students and adults have the opportunity to influence the lives of 8 to 10 children in a personal way.
  • Pray for VBS: We are planting seeds of faith in young lives that will have a Kingdom impact.

New Classes

Two new study options for Wednesday evening are currently underway

7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, 6:30pm in Friendship Hall: Pastor David leads this study on the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. From the author of international bestseller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents a practical and philosophical guide to solving the problems—large and small, mundane and extraordinary—that confront all families and strong communities. By offering revealing anecdotes about ordinary people as well as helpful suggestions about changing everyday behavior, this book shows the importance of keeping promises, how to balance individual and family needs, and how to move from dependence to interdependence.Contact the church office to reserve a copy.

The Book of Numbers, 6:30pm in the Chapel: Rev. Denman Jones will lead a Bible study on the book of Numbers. All are welcome to attend this study.