News from Our Community, District and Conference

“The Florida Project” Highlights 
the Plight of Florida Homeless

The Rev. Mary Downey says she is “Wesleyan to the core,” so in 2011 when a Presbyterian church approached her about becoming its missions director, she at first resisted. But the Presbyterians at Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration persisted. They wanted someone with a passion for the homeless, even if she happened to be Methodist.

Her mission was to establish a multifaceted ministry for the homeless. Downey said it took 18 months to write the business plan and find the funding. Community Hope Center in Kissimmee opened its doors in 2013.  Hope 192, as it’s commonly known, provides social services for the homeless population that mostly live in a cluster of tourist motels along U.S. 192, which runs right through Disney World. Since its founding, it has served the needs of 21,000 homeless people.

Downey and the Community Hope Center played a central role in helping to develop the script for the new movie called “The Florida Project”. This movie, widely distributed in early December, shows the complex reality of homeless families through the eyes of a 6-year-old, her single addicted mom, and the manager of the motel where they live.

“She is the number one agency providing social services to those needy,” said Sean Baker, director of “The Florida Project.” Downey helped him understand the world of the homeless and the complicated interplay of politics, attitudes, and issues.

“She sees her ministry as being defined as building bridges within the community and empowering the families to start new lives. I saw them as the hub. That’s why I kept going back. She was the authority.”

“It’s not just crisis services,” Downey said. “It’s long-term care and advocacy to help them move forward. We’re a poverty-alleviation organization. We empower them to become successful in their journey as children of God.”

Homelessness is a problem throughout Florida, but the problem is exacerbated in Osceola County because of low wages and a lack of affordable housing, Downey said. And there’s no homeless shelter, so people needing temporary housing move into the hotels along U.S. 192 that can cost up to $1,300 a month.

Follow this link to learn more about the Hope 192 project and to view a trailer of “The Florida Project” movie.









Remodeling the Man Cave
Men's retreats connected with the Florida Conference have been held for 69 years in Leesburg. But attendance has declined, said John Delaney of North Port, a member of Edgewater United Methodist Church in Port Charlotte and president of Florida Conference United Methodist Men.

The old retreat model resulted in attendees hearing some of the same speakers year after year for decades. Spiritual growth is a challenge when “there is no change,” Delaney said.

Sensing the decline in interest, retreat organizers knew they needed to take a different approach to connect with male church members of all ages. The result was the Man Cave Renovation Retreat held Oct. 13-14 at the Life Enrichment Center near the Warren Willis Camp in Fruitland Park.

The new approach worked. Attendance was up 26 percent over last year, from 120 to 152. Men came from as far away as Miami. Some 70 percent of participants were attending a church-sponsored, weekend retreat for the first time.

“Not only did we have an increase, but we had a huge increase of men that had never been to a weekend getaway,” Delaney said. “The model that they used to run with was kind of stuffy. They did the same thing for years and years. What we wanted to do was get back to the basics of having men be disciples for Christ and also to hear the Word with other men.

“It was an empowering weekend built on having men take a look at their lives, where they currently are, and challenging them to live into the influencing life God is calling them to as followers of Jesus,” Jim Boesch, Florida UMM Coordinator, said.

The lead speaker was the Rev. Michael T. Hudson of Christ United Methodist Church in Venice. One theme was the caves of Elijah, David and Jesus.

“We talked about a renovation of our man caves,” Delaney said, adding that we live in a society where having a cool bass boat or an awesome man cave is prioritized.

“What are we going to do to renovate the caves in our lives that allow us to glorify God more?” Delaney said. One of the organizers' primary goals was to reach young male attendees. “If we don't reach younger men, the church is going to die,” Delaney said, “and the ministry is going to die.”

To reach younger men, they did some things for the first time, such as incorporating upbeat music and messages. Breakout sessions focused on how to grow men's ministry in local churches. Delaney led a session on how the internet is affecting young men through pornography.

Go to this link, to read more about how the organizers are planning to return the annual retreats to relevance.
For more information, click here. To see a video of the 2017 retreat, click on “Methodist Man Cave Renovation.”
 Plan for the 2018 UMW Retreats
Registration is now open for the 2018 Women’s Retreats at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. The theme for the retreats is “Restored and Free”, and the weekends are February 16-18 or March 9-11. For more information, 
visit this link.

Help Support Our School Partner
RUMC continues to partner with Riverview Elementary School by donating emergency school supplies. Donors can leave their supplies in bins outside the church office. Note that only unopened, packaged, basic school supplies will be accepted.

















Holiday Hiatus
We will be taking a short hiatus from Wonderful Wednesday activities on Wednesday, December 27th and January 3, 2018. We will resume our Wonderful Wednesday activities on January 10th.

Pastor Merritt will be on vacation, beginning on Tuesday, December 26th, and will not return on January 10th. Pastor Rick Phillips will be on emergency pastoral call during that period: Rick’s phone number is (813)503-7933.

RUMC Book Club News
The RUMC Book Club is currently reading “Two from Galilee: The Story of Mary and Joseph”, by Marjorie Holmes. This book, written in 1972, is the first of a trio of historical novels based upon the life of Christ, and seems to be an appropriate selection for this Advent season.​

The RUMC Book Club meets every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM—usually 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
12:00 PM Hispanic Congregation Service
6:00 PM Youth Band Rehearsal
7:00 PM R. U. S. H. (Youth Group) Meeting

MONDAY
11:30 AM Women's Bible Study, Room 6
7:00 PM Cub Scout Pack Pack 83

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

WEDNESDAY
6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting
6:00 PM Potluck Dinner and Fellowship
6:45 PM Children & Youth Activities
6:45 PM Pastor’s Bible Study
6:45 PM Hispanic Church Bible Study
7:00 PM Ladies Bible Study
​7:00 PM Christians Connecting with Christ

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

FRIDAY
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SATURDAY
9:00 AM RUMC Book Club
11:30-12:30 PM  Metropolitan Ministry
                          Meal Partnership

*RESTORE is an equal opportunity provider and is open to the public.
Monies from AmazonSmile

Recently, RUMC received a donation in the amount of $9.71 from the AmazonSmile Foundation; this money was earned as a result of online purchases at Amazon.Com through the AmazonSmile portal between July 1 and September 30, 2017.

This holiday season, we are reminding everyone in our congregation to do their Christmas shopping at smile.amazon.com. Amazon will donate a portion of each purchase to our church. Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at this link and help the church out at the same time.