Every Tuesday and Thursday, we send out weekly announcements about what's happening in and around First United Methodist Church of Madison. Find out about Sunday worship, opportunities for Spiritual Formation, and upcoming events related to FUMC.
For Thursday 11/6, here is the weekly enews supplement.
From Frances (Housley) Ramsey:
My Journey Back to First United Methodist Church
My relationship with First Church began as a small child when my parents first brought me and my twin sister here as toddlers. My mother had grown up in the United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and was looking for a similar church here in Madison. After trying out a few churches in the area, my parents settled in this church and became members. I was involved in Sunday school, children’s choir and Christmas pageants. I went through confirmation and participated in the Appalachian Service Project. I grew up with phenomenal church leaders, fellow members, and role models like David Lyons, Joan Deming, Marcia Grothaus, and the Van Dykes. The church built in me a strong foundation of service, community, and faith.
Youth group brought together kids from schools all over the area. We had so much fun together. I have fond memories of fundraising dinners, community service projects, lock-ins, retreats, and lots of laughs.
The Appalachian Service Project brought me out of my comfort zone and taught me the importance of hard work. It also opened my eyes to the extreme poverty that exists in our country. Though ASP was physically exhausting, it was extremely rewarding. We built strong relationships with the families there and strengthened our relationships with each other.
When I went off to college, I took a break from church. Both of my parents had moved away, and my sister went to college out-of-state while I stayed in town for school. Consumed with school, church wasn’t on my mind. I still went with friends to church services here and there and returned to First Church occasionally for holidays. I also returned to First Church for my wedding and for my children’s baptisms.
After my children were born, I realized that I wanted them to have the same foundation of service, community and faith that I did. My only reservation about returning was the fear that I wouldn’t know anyone here anymore. The leaders I had were mostly gone or retired. My friends from youth group had all moved away or, like myself, were taking time away from church. My fear was walking through the doors and feeling like a stranger in a place that had felt like home for so long.
When I decided that we wanted to come back, I first contacted Laurie Peterson to inquire about Sunday school. She was so warm and welcoming that I knew my children would be in great hands. Now, I practically have to pry my daughter from Laurie’s side when it is time to go home. She absolutely adores her. My daughter also has developed close friendships with those in her class. I see her faith blossoming and it is so beautiful. I know that this church will continue to nurture her faith as she grows and she’ll learn, like I did, what it truly means to be a Christian. My children will learn that God is a loving, inclusive, accepting God and that you can be your true self and be welcomed into this faith community.
I thought it would be impossible to replace the leaders of our past, but after coming back I realized they haven’t been replaced; rather, we are building upon their legacy as well as creating one of our own. The first time I heard Mark preach I was blown away. I felt relief. I thought, this is why I’ve come back. He reaffirmed everything that I thought a faith community should be. I knew I had made the right decision for myself and my family. Listening to him preach is not just food for the mind but food for the soul as well.
When I give to First Church, I am helping to build a strong foundation for my children and the other children of First Church. I am helping my community. Most importantly, giving to First Church ensures that our children, the literal future of our church, have the resources and support to continue on their journey of faith and service, much like the one I began more than three decades ago.
September 2019 Announcement from our Lay Leadership:
First United Methodist Church continues to stand on the strong commitment that "in this house, all still means all." We continue to resist the legislation of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference, which strengthened restrictions on the ordination of LGBTQ persons for ministry, and which banned marriages that are not between one man and one woman.
As a statement of resistance to this legislation we took the extraordinary action to withhold our Apportionment payments that support the mission and ministry of the Annual Conference and the general Methodist Church. We voted to withhold these payments as of February 25th 2019 - the day the legislation passed at General Conference.
We are gratified that 70% of churches in the United States joined the resistance through local church votes. We also know that the Wisconsin Annual Conference joined the resistance during their spring session. Our local church Task Force has followed these developing issues across the denomination on our behalf.
After the Wisconsin Annual Conference vote of resistance against the 2019 General Conference Legislation in June, and recognizing First Church's commitment and loyalty to the missions of the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin, the Task Force recommended that we release the portion of our escrowed Apportionments that are dedicated to the mission of the church in Wisconsin (approximately 65% of the total) but maintain a symbol of protest and resistance by continuing to withhold and escrow the portion which supports the general church. The Church Council approved the recommendation.
The Task Force continues to meet and analyze the situation as it unfolds. Please continue to pray for guidance, as we continue to stand for all.
Please also keep in your prayers the First United Methodist Church of Moheto in Kenya. With a unanimous vote of 180-0, that congregation just voted to become reconciling and announced their support of LGBTQ persons in church life. They are the first reconciling church on the entire continent of Africa.
We will continue to keep you, the congregation, informed as we move forward.
-Abby Ehringer, Lay Leader
Call for Volunteers - Hawthorne Elementary School
Hawthorne Elementary School is looking for volunteers to assist in the operations of its new in-school food pantry (opening August 2019). Pantry volunteers find fulfillment in meeting pantry customers and providing support to families facing food insecurity.
We are looking for:
- In- pantry volunteers to help stock, inventory and arrange food and greet and assist patrons. We will need two volunteers weekly to work in the pantry from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on Mondays and two volunteers from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Shift volunteers may occasionally need to lift up to fifteen pounds. Total time weekly: 3 hours
- Delivery and pickup volunteers to pick up weekly food orders (e.g. from Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, 2802 Dairy Drive, Madison, WI 53718) or to shop for specific fresh/frozen foods at local grocery stores and deliver the food to Hawthorne Elementary School. Lifting and transfer sometimes more than 20 pounds is required. Days and hours are flexible. Total time weekly: 2-3 hours.
For further information, please contact Tang Yang, Hawthorne School Social Worker, at email@example.com or (608) 204-2528 or Joel Wish, Co-coordinator Food For Thought Initiative at or (608) 228-9389.
In print since 2016, First Look is 'a way to invite participation in what we do in ministry together.' Published quarterly, you can expect to find photos, articles, and compelling narratives that help us appreciate the scope of our common life.