Fresh Expressions Thriving at 
New Hope UMC, Brandon
Fresh Expressions have been a part of New Hope United Methodist in Brandon since 2016 when the church began its Dinner of Hope. Associate Pastor Vicki Harrison also meets weekly with a group called Runners Church.

If two are good, more would be better. So, this summer, the church decided to build on that and dramatically expand its outreach. Beginning in late May, New Hope added four new ministries to its Fresh Expressions lineup: a food co-op, Basketball Church, Meet and Walk and a student-led Caffeine and Christ that meets at a local Starbucks.

Fresh Expressions are designed to introduce the church to people who might not necessarily attend services on Sunday mornings. Fresh Expressions are working at New Hope. Approximately 50 people attend the weekly Dinner of Hope, and about half of those are homeless. Many are repeat visitors as the church has tried to make this more than just a meal. 

“We knew at Dinner of Hope that we were reaching people who would never walk through the door on Sunday morning. For them, this their church. And, honestly, this has energized our church,” Pastor Harrison said.

Shelly Wilson, who leads the family ministry at New Hope, said it is inspiring to see members of the congregation take the lead in the newest ministries. “It’s great because the people themselves are taking charge,” she said. “Like the basketball crew, they own that. They organize it; they create the program and the devotional.” Wilson runs the Meet and Walk outreach, where people from inside the church and outside gather five days a week at 9:30 a.m. for a short devotional followed by a 45-minute walk through the surrounding neighborhood. About 31 different people have participated so far. “We have people from all different age groups,” Wilson said.

It’s the same story with Basketball Church. Basketball? As a ministry? Well, why not! It grew out of the new Life Center that opened on the New Hope campus on May 19. The center includes a full-sized gym. “We decided that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we would use the gym for a ministry of some sort, then rent it out to area organizations that have a need to practice volleyball or basketball,” Wilson said. “We wanted our Life Center to be a place where people could connect not just with the church but with each other.” That’s how Basketball Church came to be. Once the word got out that the church was considering the idea of hoops as an outreach, three members stepped up and said they wanted to be involved. A mission that started with less than a dozen participants has grown to more than 30 each Thursday evening.

Click on this link to learn more about the Fresh Expressions Ministries at New Hope UMC in Brandon.

Summer Hiatus
The Monday Ladies Bible Study will be taking a break for the summer. The ladies will not meet again until September 9th. The United Methodist Men will not be meeting in June, July or August. The men will next meet on the first Tuesday in September (9/3/2019). We will meet in the library at 6:00 PM just prior to Trustees meeting on that same night. As an incentive, pizza will be served.

The chancel choir has restarted in August, with rehearsals in the choir room every Thursday starting at 6:30 PM.

Prayer and Connect Cards
If you or someone you know needs prayer, please fill out the yellow Prayer and Connect Card located on the back of each pew. These cards are passed along to the Prayer Warriors of RUMC. Our Prayer Warriors meet every Sunday in Room #8 immediately after the service for 15 minutes of prayer. It is their honor to pray for you and your concerns.

Also, Prayer and Connect Cards can be used if you want the church to know that you are interested in becoming a member, or if you would like to receive more information about our church 

If you would like to be added to our church directory, included in our church email blasts, or have your birthday and anniversary included in our monthly newsletter, please complete a Prayer and Connect Card and include in the Sunday offering plate. You can also visit the church office on most business day mornings, or you can contact us by phone or email.
8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
Pastors Message
About Us

​Normal Weekly Recurring
Events at RUMC
(Call the church office at 677-5995 for more information about these or other events sponsored by the church.)

8:00 AM Early Worship Service--Fellowship Hall
9:00 AM Sunday School for All Ages
9:00 AM Children's Choir
10:00 AM Refreshments & Relationships
10:30 AM Worship Service
11:45 AM Prayer Warriors--Rm 8
12:00 PM Hispanic Congregation Service
5:00 PM Adult Praise Band
6:00 PM Youth Band Rehearsal
7:00 PM R.U.S.H. Youth Group—Youth Building

7:00-9:30 PM Southern Company Chorus Rehearsal —Fellowship Hall
7:00 PM Cub Scouts Meet--Classrooms

10:00 AM--Noon RESTORE Food Bank and Thrift Store Open*
6:30 PM Boy Scout Troop #83—Fellowship Hall

6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting—Rm 8
6:00 PM Fellowship Supper—Fellowship Hall
6:45 PM Children & Youth Activities
6:45 PM Hispanic Church Bible Study —Fellowship Hall
7:00 PM Ladies Bible Study—Rm 6

6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting—Rm 8
10:00 AM--Noon RESTORE Food Bank and Thrift Store Open*
6:30 PM Chancel Choir Rehearsal


9:00 AM RUMC Book Club, 9720 Lorrayne Avenue, Riverview
11:30 AM--12:30 PM Metropolitan Ministry Free Lunch Program, Fellowship Hall

*RESTORE is an equal opportunity provider and is open to the public.
New Church Plant at Lowell Women’s Prison
According to Rev. June Edwards, the DS of the North Central District, “We are called to live in our faith and our ministry as Jesus described in Luke 4:16-20: to share the Good News with the poor, relief for captives, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free.” In other words, “we are to offer Christ in every place and in every way that we can.”

Bishop Ken Carter and DS Edwards began talking three years ago about starting a United Methodist church inside the Lowell Correctional Institute about 15 miles north of Ocala, Florida. Lowell Women’s Prison houses about 3,000 women, including three on death row. It is the largest female prison populations in the United States.

There are about 35 such prison congregations throughout the U.S., including two Methodist churches based in Iowa and Tennessee. In July, the Florida Conference initiated the third Methodist prison congregation with the appointment of Rev. Kristina (Kris) Schonewolf to serve as pastor at the new church at Lowell. 

 DS Edwards and Rev. Daniel Jackson, former director of Vital Church Initiatives, worked with Prison Congregations of America (PCA), a consulting group that helps establish congregations in prisons across the United States.

“That facility had been on my mind,” DS Edwards said. “We began to really look at how we could make a connection there.”

Lowell Women’s Prison has had many challenges over the years. Recently, Lowell employees were accused of inappropriate behavior towards inmates, some details of which came out last year in a meeting in Ocala.

Rev. Kris Schonewolf, who most recently served as pastor at Belleview UMC, is vital in maintaining the connection that Edwards and Jackson had established. She will work in tandem with three established chaplains, conducting worship services and scheduling Bible study opportunities. There are many other possible ministries.

“We'll wait and see what they want to do,” Schonewolf said of the inmates. “It's their church.”

Schonewolf also will work to build a base of volunteers from outside Lowell who would attend services inside. They will support the inmates and partner with churches where former inmates could become members after their reentry into society.

Schonewolf, 58, attended Palmer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and has been pastoring for ten years. Her background includes experience with Residents Encounter Christ, a nationwide, inter-denominational Christian jail ministry and her work in a Delaware teen detention center. She said she instantly felt called when she heard about the Lowell opening.

“People need Jesus everywhere,” she said. “But when people are in jail or prison, a lot of them have hit rock bottom and often are more interested or more willing to hear the gospel.”

Schonewolf's official start date was July 1, but her entry was delayed due to the need for an extensive background check. To prepare for the assignment, she took for a three-hour tour, and she also spoke with several pastors, including UMC prison ministers in Ohio and Tennessee. She spoke with the PCA and underwent church-planting training.

Schonewolf transferred to a prison with approximately 3,000 “residents”—as some prison ministries prefer to call inmates—many of whom have little or no means for making monetary donations. So while Schonewolf works at planting and pastoring a church, she will approach financial stewardship like a missionary.

She will hold church services any day but Sunday. That's when she'll be visiting churches from Tallahassee to Key West, preaching, speaking and explaining her ministry. She will ask churches and individuals for donations because building a donor base and leading a self-supporting church is her priority. The role fits. Before she became a pastor, she was in corporate sales.

When Schonewolf visits churches, one of the first questions she may hear is how she'll measure success. Edwards stressed the importance of “effectiveness and transformation” rather than “success.” The inmates' offering will be how God is calling them to use their gifts within that particular body of Christ, Edwards said.

One successful result—above all others—is when justice-involved men and women come to fully understand and embrace their identity in Christ. Another factor is when upon their release they are lovingly received and supported by spiritual mentors, along with a community of non-judging believers who are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to walk with them on their freedom journey.

Schonewolf is seeking invitations from anyone who wants to hear her preach on Sundays or speak to church groups about her church. Send inquiries to
Rev. Kris Schonewolf, new UMC pastor at Lowell Correctional Institute.
Carillon UMC Has Epic Youth
These days, young people do lots of mission work or community service. It might be for a church. It could fulfill some college entrance requirements; or it could be a way to fill some idle time. But at the Epic Youth Ministry, part of Carillon United Methodist Church in the Central Florida community of Oviedo, the goal is much more than just checking a box during a busy summer.

“We’re trying to teach our kids to live missionally, if you will, and that’s more of a lifestyle than just putting in a week of obligation,’’ Carillon UMC’s youth director Phil Coleman said.

The Epic Youth Ministry recently completed “Converge,’’ its annual week-long mission retreat for youth (rising seventh-graders through incoming college freshmen). It was its biggest one ever with 120 participants (12 groups of 10) and 70 adult volunteers.

Working exclusively in Central Florida, they served in two places each day. Activities included yard work or landscaping at local churches, volunteering at youth camps, packaging materials at food banks and distributing soap products as part of the “Clean the World” program. There were 40 locations served by the Converge volunteers.

That’s a story in itself, but it’s not the end. Hopefully, it’s a beginning. “Many teenagers, of course, will have the mentality that, ‘Well, this is the week that we serve’ and then they forget about it,’’ Coleman said. “They need to remember that this is how Jesus lived his entire life. Living with a mission mentality is not just a one-and-done deal. It’s embodying that example, not just serving a person and leaving.”
“When you go to school, it’s seeing the person who no one ever talks to. In the neighborhood, it’s engaging with people, helping the neighbor who just had surgery. It’s being aware of what’s going on in the world and finding ways to help. When you’re a follower of Jesus, you do that. You don’t just sign off on your hours, pat yourself on the back and move along. Living like Jesus requires more than that.’’

This Conference web page contains information about the youth service projects completed during Converge week for the Epic Youth Ministry.

Church-School Partnership at Conley Elementary
After 16 years as a high school teacher and administrator, Jason Koerner recently became principal at Tallahassee’s Conley Elementary School. Although he finds it to be a new environment, he is beginning to feel very much at home.

During his first week on the job, he was called on by the staff and members of the nearby Good Samaritan United Methodist Church. For two years, the church has partnered with Conley, following the initiative of the Florida Conference and Bishop Ken Carter, who asked member churches to consider linking with neighborhood schools.

“It was really impressive,’’ Koerner said. “You could tell how much they cared about the school. They took so much ownership. Being brand new here, having that kind of support made me feel so good. Even beyond that, when I talked about the programs I was looking to continue or start at Conley, they wanted to jump on board and help.’’

Good Samaritan members have organized teacher appreciation luncheons and served as classroom helpers. They have been mentors and reading buddies to the children. They grilled hot dogs at Conley’s “Back to School Bash.’’ During the summer, they organized the successful “Coins 4 Conley’’ campaign.

Forty families at Good Samaritan’s Vacation Bible School were charged with collecting loose change and contributing funds to help feed the Conley students in need of weekend nutrition. Coins 4 Conley raised $1,200 — including a 20-percent donation from the congregation — that will help six Conley students fill up with a backpack of food (provided by Second Harvest) during each weekend of the school year.

“Instead of a pre-packaged mission (project) that comes with VBS, we wanted to do something local,’’ said Good Samaritan member Ana Ortega, whose daughter is a third-grader at Conley Elementary. “We encouraged kids and parents to search for their loose change, dollars, whatever, anything they could find.

“The kids got so excited. We heard they were going through the coin cups in their car, digging deep into sofas and couches trying to find some coins. When we told them that it would be used to fill backpacks of food for kids their age, they really got super excited.’’

To read more about the Good Samaritan Conley Elementary school partnership link to this article.