8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
Pastors Message
About Us

The Alafia Boat Parade 
Coming in December
The Rotary Club of FishHawk Riverview is again sponsoring the Alafia Lighted Boat Parade event on December 5th in our community. Due to COVID, and the restrictions that will still likely be in place during the pandemic, our club is asking RUMC to help them support the Boat Parade in a manner that is safe for everyone to enjoy. The Rotary Club’s goal is to have a family-friendly community celebration, while raising funds for both the Friends of the County Parks and the Rotary Foundation.

The Rotary’s Foundation provides monies for local charity groups such as Brandon Outreach, Camp Christina YMCA, ECHO, and The Sylvia Thomas Center. It also provides scholarships for Seniors at Riverview, Spotto, and Newsome High Schools.

The Rotary Club proposes to set up viewing areas all along the Alafia River from which the public can watch the Boat Parade. The back yard of the RUMC parsonage will serve as the viewing center closest to the Riverview Convention Center at the start of the parade. Both the Trustees and Pastor Telcy have agreed to support this viewing area.

In lieu of the Chili Cook-Off of previous years, the Rotary Club has a donor that will provide home cooked chili to go at all the viewing centers. Take-out chili will be sold for a donation of $5.00 a bowl. The Rotarians will also be holding a 50/50 raffle at these locations to raise money for the Friends of the County Parks.

Santa Claus will be on one of the lighted boats visiting each location, bringing holiday cheer from a safe distance. Rotarians will be on hand to make sure that safe distancing is maintained and that masks are worn at each station. They want to provide a safe environment for the onlookers.

Mark the evening of Saturday, December 5th on your calendar. Let’s have a safe and fun family event to kick-off the Christmas season in Riverview.
The Florida Conference Guidance on the Pandemic

Some of you have asked about last Friday’s executive order from Governor Ron DeSantis and whether it has any impact on our FLUMC COVID-19 guidance for in-person activities. Conference leaders have read the executive order. Our current FLUMC COVID-19 guidance has not changed. The focus of the executive order is on restaurant capacity and local government restrictions and fines.

Please read our latest guidance from September 8, 2020 in its entirety. Below are a few summary points from our latest guidance.

  • At all times persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.

  • Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).

  • Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine.

  • All inside activities must be in well ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities.

  • Our COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Governor DeSantis’ order has not changed the guidance and recommendations of either group in terms of in-person, large gatherings.

Decisions about in-person activities will vary according to your church context. We understand there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference. At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of your city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent.

The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of The Florida Annual Conference

Temple Terrace UMC Struggles to 
Find Relevancy
Like many churches in the Florida Conference, Temple Terrace United Methodist Church has searched for ways to attract new members to worship. Pastor John Legg and members of the congregation prayed for God to send people to the church, and that is happening. It's just not happening in the way many might have expected, though.

First, players from a soccer league began using the church's expansive athletic field for pickup games and practice. A local youth football program, the Tampa Hurricanes, soon followed, bringing about 200 youth and adults to that same field four nights a week.

Then an email from the West Florida Foster Care Services organization led to a partnership that turned an unused storage room into a badly needed clothes closet that foster parents can use for children under their care.

"My policy is that unless there is a good reason to say no, I try to say yes when it comes to meeting the needs in the community," Pastor Legg said.

The church isn't simply saying yes, though, and leaving it at that. Legg and volunteers are getting to know the visitors to the church campus, forming relationships aimed at showing the love of Jesus in action and trusting God to do the rest. The foster closet is just the latest example of that plan.

There is a huge foster care community being served in Temple Terrace. When a family gets licensed to be a foster home, they set up a profile about what age, gender, et cetera of children they can take in that fits in best with their families," Janet Rinaldi, Coordinator of West Florida Foster Care Services, said. "As a foster parent, you just don't know who you're going to get. Where one call (to place a child) might be a newborn, the next might be an 8-year-old. That's a lot of clothing inventory to have on hand."

Even though the church is looking for ways to generate income off buildings and classrooms that stay empty during the week, leadership decided to give the closet space rent free. The foster organization only pays for electricity.
"A lot of churches are in the place where funds are tight, particularly with the pandemic. So, the question is how to maximize the utility of our buildings and grounds,” Pastor Legg said. "Should we try to monetize our assets? Or do we think the gift and the ultimate benefit to the community outweigh our need to get rent from that space? That was a conversation the collective church leadership had to have."

Hillsborough County has more than 2,300 children in foster care, the largest number in the state. Compounding the problem is that the demands of caring for these children can overwhelm foster parents to the point where about 50 percent of them drop out after one year.

"I was surprised to learn that most foster kids show up with very little. Foster families often get kids they weren't planning on, either with age or they get a sibling group that's kind of a surprise," Pastor Legg said. "We want to tell the foster parents that it's OK a 2-year-old came with the 4-year-old because we have the things here for you. Instead of worrying about that stuff, they can focus on relationship issues. The parents I have met who come to get thing are joyful, they are excited, they feel connected and supported, and they're just surprised that someone sees them and recognizes their need."

Volunteers offer clothes, diapers, wipes, shoes, toiletries, and other necessities free of charge to the parents. In turn, the children can keep all the donated items they receive, giving them a sense of possession. And maybe some hope they didn't have before.

Temple Terrace United Methodist Church sits back off busy Busch Boulevard in Tampa, with large open areas in the front and rear. In the 1980s, it was known locally as the place where many Temple Terrace community leaders went to church. Attendance thrived. Extra seating had to be brought in for Christmas and Easter services. There was a robust Sunday School program and after-school care, but over the years much of that dwindled. Low-income housing is across the back street from the church, and nearby areas struggle against drug use and crime.

Members leaders tried new programs and classes, added an upbeat contemporary service, and a preschool, but the struggles continued. Legg, who arrived in June 2019, suggested a new approach. Instead of saying, hey, come in and experience our cool service and music, how about meeting people in their safe spaces. Show people you care and are interested in them for who they are. Show the love of Jesus in action.

Church members served as mentors for students at a nearby middle school. They served teachers and staff breakfast there to kick off the new school year.

The athletic field was under-used and in poor repair. The storage room – once home to a Conference district office – was largely a gathering place for dust instead of people. Now it's a place of giving and hope.

The pandemic slowed progress somewhat, but the soccer games have renewed. The goals didn't have nets at first, but the team installed new netting. The church held a season kickoff dinner to members of the football teams and their parents and organized a pep rally before their first games. Members sometimes attend practices and get to know the football parents by just chatting with them. In turn, the Hurricanes said they may help upgrade the athletic field.

People are noticing. Shortly after the foster care partnership formed, the church was featured on a local television segment. TTUMC is one of only two churches in Tampa to offer foster closets.

"It can make an incredible difference. All of these kids have suffered trauma—whatever they experienced at home that led to their removal. If they can be with a stable family, even if it's for a short time, it gives them some peace," Coordinator Rinaldi said. "It gives them a picture of what life can be. Life doesn't have to be filled with chaos and drama."

To that end, TTUMC is working on ways to lessen the burden on foster parents.  That might include dinners and offering to give parents a night out while church volunteers care for the children.

Legg said it's all about taking the lessons and inspiration from Sunday worship and putting that in practice in the community. "It's what we need to do," he said. "We want to show the community what the love of God means. God is opening doors for us," Legg said. "It's right there. We asked Him to send us people, and that's what is happening. Now it's up to us."
TTUMC Pastor John Legg and the church's 
foster clothes closet
A Brief History of Halloween
The word "Halloween" (or "Hallowe'en") means "the evening of Hallows." Hallows is simply an older English way of saying "saints" — so, Halloween is the Evening of Saints.

But why the evening? The ancient Jews understood the day as beginning with sunset rather than sunrise, just as we see in Genesis 1: "And it was evening, and it was morning, day one." And because the day begins with sunset, the first worship service of a given day would be the evening service.

Put it all together and Halloween refers to the first service of worship for All Saints Day (which is November 1st in the Western Christian tradition), held on the evening of October 31st.

So where or how did this observance get connected to jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, things that go bump in the night, and trick or treating? Those connections come from popular festivals already happening in many cultures around the midpoints between a solstice and an equinox, sometimes referred to as "cross-quarter days." Some cultures understood these as transition times where the lines between realms may become the thinnest. For example, the Celtic festival of Samhain fell at the cross-quarter day between autumn and winter, between the warmth and the cold, between harvest and the dormancy for the earth, and so, metaphorically, between life and death.

Christian missionaries and bishops, particularly in England and parts of Western Europe, had concerns that some of these practices and beliefs ran counter to the Christian understanding of the resurrection of the dead. The church, beginning in the eighth century, added prayers to Christian masses remembering the dead and anticipating their resurrection. These were some of the first prayers connected to celebrations later known as All Saints or All Souls Day.

All Saints prayers were for those that the church had specifically designated as saints because of their particularly holy lives. All Souls prayers were given for all within the church who had died within the prior year. 

United Methodists, unlike Roman Catholics, do not recognize official saints. So we combine All Saints and All Souls into a single observance, and we pray for the departed from the past year as part of our Sunday worship. This affirms our understanding of holiness in this life and our hope for resurrection in the age to come.
Cultural Halloween celebrations in the communities in which many of us live have continued to evolve alongside the church celebrations. Many local churches offer safe alternatives to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. Other churches focus more on giving than receiving. Collecting for UNICEF or giving Fair Trade chocolate are ideas for using the occasion to "treat" or give to others.

Source: United Methodist Communications