News from the District 
and the Conference

Fresh Expressions Vision Day
Mark your calendars for Gulf Central's first official FRESH EXPRESSIONS VISION DAY! On May 11, the Fresh Expressions National Team will take you on a deep dive into the vision for Fresh Expressions and the theology that drives this movement. Hear stories of lives, churches, and communities that have been changed and reinvigorated by missional expressions of church! You'll get a glimpse of its remarkable international and interdenominational history, while having it expertly contextualized for the Florida UMC by Michael Beck, who himself is part of the national team.

Wondering if this is for you? This excellent presentation is for ANYONE who has an interest in Fresh Expressions, whether as a skeptic or a supporter. Laity OR clergy who are interested in starting FXs will find both inspiration and the theology and history to ground their work. Congregational leaders, board chairs, and other permission givers will hear the heart and depth of the Fresh Expressions mission. Congregations are encouraged to bring teams of people with them who serve different roles in the leadership landscape.

Save the date and watch for registration and details to go live soon on the district website. Questions? Contact Keri LaBrant, District Fresh Expressions Cultivator, at talktokeri@gmail.com.
Prayer Warriors
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.

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.

Getting to Know You
Pastor Telcy would like to get to know you. If you are interested in talking with the Pastor, he has left “signup sheets” on the back and front tables in our church. Please fill in your name, phone number and the date and time you would like to meet with him. Or you can make an appointment with him by calling the church office 
(813)677-5995.

Contribute to RUMC Through Amazon Smiles
If you shop online with Amazon, please be aware that RUMC is a recognized charity with Amazon Smiles. Amazon will donate 0.5% of everything registered church members by through Amazon Smiles back to the church. Over the Christmas holidays, eligible Amazon online shoppers returned about $20.00 back to the church.

Just log into Amazon via the smile.amazon.com link and indicate that Riverview First United Methodist Church is your charity of choice. After that, every time you purchase something through that link, a portion of that sale will come directly back to the church.

RUMC Book Club News
Selected members of the RUMC Book Club are planning a cruise to Cuba in March. We wish them Godspeed and safe travels on their cruise. We hope that they will bring back with them a larger sense of our wider world and a rich sense of what living in Cuba is really like.

The RUMC Book Club usually meets on Saturday morning at 9:00 AM at the home of Connie Mosley, 9720 Lorrayne Road in Riverview. You can contact Connie at 766-7104 for more information.

8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
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​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.)

SUNDAY
9:00 AM Faith Groups 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
6:00 PM Youth Band Rehearsal
7:00 PM R.U.S.H. Youth Group—Youth Building

MONDAY
1:00 PM-2:30 PM Women’s Small Group Bible Study—Rm 6
7:00-9:30 PM Southern Company Chorus Rehearsal —Fellowship Hall
7:00 PM Cub Scouts Meet--Classrooms

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

WEDNESDAY
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 Pastor Telcy’s Bible Study--Library
7:00 PM Ladies Bible Study—Rm 6

THURSDAY
6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting—Rm 8
10:00 AM RESTORE Food Bank and Thrift Store Open*
6:30 PM Chancel Choir Rehearsal
6:30 PM Financial Peace University--Library
7:00-9:00 PM ESOL Class--Rm 8

FRIDAY
------

SATURDAY
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.
Messy Church
Jesus told His disciples to let the little children come to Him. That ancient biblical commandment was meant to reinforce the idea that those who are introduced to God during the innocence of childhood are more likely to form a lifelong relationship.

But kids today can be so, you know “messy”. They get dirty, they spill things on themselves and each other, and sometimes they might even laugh out loud during church.

Hence, Messy Church: It’s designed for kids and families, and it’s about bringing everyone closer together and to God.

The 2019 General Conference Passes
 the Traditional Plan
After hours of delaying tactics by opponents, the United Methodist General Conference 2019 delegates passed The Traditional Plan 438 to 384. A last-ditch effort to bring the One Church Plan back was defeated in the morning and was followed by efforts to amend the Traditional Plan to address constitutionality issues raised by the Judicial Council, the church’s top court.

The Rev. Tim McClendon, South Carolina, called for a vote on the Traditional Plan as amended, which affirms the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage.

The alternative One Church Plan did not force any pastor or church to perform same-sex marriages, nor did it force anyone to change what they believe about the Bible. But the plan would allow conferences to ordain LGBTQ pastors, as well as allowing churches to host and pastors to officiate at same-sex marriages.

At the end of a brief closing worship, Council of Bishops President Kenneth H. Carter wished everyone in attendance “the peace of the Lord in the midst of all you have experienced.” When the Traditional Plan vote was announced and flashed on the screen, the room erupted with observers singing “Blessed Assurance.” Some delegates gathered in a circle and joined in with the singing.

Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Conference said, “We will continue to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer persons to our churches and affirm their sacred worth. I pray we, as a denomination, can now move forward, working with each other in the spirit of Christian love and joining together as one. We are stronger together in serving God’s mission as a diverse body of Christ.” 

For a complete account of the 2019 General Conference, 
go to this link.
​Reasons for Hope
Join us for this two-day conference on April 5 and April 6, 2019 for the Reasons for Hope Conference, at St. Paul UMC, 1199 Highland Avenue, Largo, Florida. This conference features world-class speakers on topics that will help us tackle tough questions of faith. Whether you’re a dedicated Christian, or you’re still looking for answers, this is a place for you to learn, grow and find Reasons for Hope. Our speakers will cover topics like absolute truth, why God allows evil, the resurrection, and more. If you wish to be more confident in your faith or are looking for new knowledge to help you share the truth of Jesus Christ, we invite you to be inspired by apologetics scholars Krista Bontrager, Dr. Clay Jones, Rachel Shockey, and John and Laurie Stewart.

Registration $30. Discounted pricing is also available for groups, students, and more. If you know a non-believer who might be interested in attending, you can purchase their ticket for just $15.  Visit this website for more information or to register online.









Why Get Screened?
Taking preventive steps such as making lifestyle changes and getting health screening may help you avoid a stroke or other serious health events in your future. Early intervention is important.

If you are over 50 and have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure—or if you have a family history of stroke and heart disease—you may be at risk, even if you feel great. Four out of five people who suffer a stroke have no apparent symptoms. Nearly 30% of strokes occur to men and women under the age of 65. The good news is that according to the National Stroke Association, 80% of all strokes are preventable.

Life Line Screening can help you find out if you at risk. With that knowledge, you and your physician can take proactive steps to prevent a stroke from happening. You are invited to participate in Life Line Screening event at Riverview First United Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Pre-registration is required. Most of our clients register for a Wellness Package that includes four vascular tests and a test for osteoporosis. The Wellness Package costs only $149 ($139 with our member discount). Wellness Package screenings take from 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event and to receive a $10 discount, you can do one of the following three things:

(1)Call Life Line Screening at 1-888-653-6450.
(2)Text CIRCLE to 797979
(3)Visit www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle

Youth Baptisms at Sun City Center United Methodist Church
Our Neighbors at 
Sun City Center
At a time when many denominational churches are in decline, the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center is bucking that trend. Attendance there has doubled in the past five years. Some call it a resilient church, said Janet Earls, director of Congregational Vitality for the Florida Conference.

Pastor Charlie Rentz called it a perfect storm.

“I’m in my fifth year. It was a good church, a strong church and growing when I arrived,” Rev. Rentz said. “But we have way more than doubled in attendance and membership since I have been here. Our average attendance went from 600-700 to about 1,650.”

The church, he said, is an open, welcoming, loving place in a growing community.
“Although we are in the middle of a retirement community, we are not a retirement-minded church. We have ministries for retired working people, children, young adults. Sun City Center UMC members are working in the community to help their neighbors and spread the love of Jesus Christ.”

The only churches typically growing these days are nondenominational. The “nons” as they are referred to, doubled in the United States between 2000 and 2016, according to a Gallup poll cited in a Christianity Today article entitled The Rise of the Nons: Protestants Keep Ditching Denominations. About one in six U.S. Protestants now consider themselves nondenominational Christians. Sun City Center UMC is bucking that trend.

Five years ago, she said, Sun City Center was averaging 531 people in attendance on Sunday. In 2018, that number increased to 1,329. There has been a slow incline since 2005, and since 2012, there has been a steady increase.
Rev. Rentz attributes the growth to the congregation’s non-retirement attitude.

That spirit was here when I got here, of being an active church that did a lot of community outreach and connections and a lot of congregational care,” he said.  “We have a couple hundred people that are home-bound but are seen and visited and cared for by the Congregational Care Team, with more than 100 members.”  They even take Communion from home.

“We do a lot of things like free movies on Friday night, blessing of the animals, the Alzheimer’s walk and something I’m really proud of, a First Responders Appreciation every year,” Rentz said. “We have them come to church where we feed them and honor them and send them off with a care basket.”

The church also now has one of the largest Hispanic congregations in the nation.
“We are drawing kids from there. They celebrated their sixth year this past August,” he said. “They do a tremendous amount of outreach, drawing from Ruskin, Wimauma, Riverview and all around. It is a younger congregation.”

Sun City Center UMC has been so successful that the church is looking for a satellite location, but said no firm plans are yet in place. What is already in place are the small groups said Pastor Yamiley Martinez, who preaches in the Hispanic services. She believes they have helped with the success of the Hispanic congregation. Programs include Bible study for women, an additional Bible study for women and men, a youth group and a young adult group.

Music has attracted a younger crowd from the growing areas surrounding the church. Southern Hillsborough County is, by far, the fastest growing sector in the county, and long-term projections expect that to continue. The area has grown by 8,000 houses in the past four to five years, he said. With this growth, Sun City Center UMC has well over 1,000 members—an impressive number considering that two-thirds of the churches in the Florida Conference have under 100 members.