July 4, 2021
“One Nation Under God”
What does it mean to be an American Christian?
8:30 am Chapel (in person only)
9:00 am Connexion (in person and live-streamed)
10:10 am Sunday School (in person)
11:10 am Sanctuary (in person, live-streamed and radio)
8:30 am Roebuck Chapel
In Person
Rev. Bud Reeves
Special Music “God Bless America” 
Barry Law, Soloist
Nancy W. Vernon, Organist
9:00 am Connexion
In Person, Facebook Live and YouTube
Rev. Bud Reeves
“Here I am To Worship”
“We Believe”
“As One We Stand”
“Hymn to America”
11:10 am Sanctuary
In Person, Facebook Live, YouTube, and FM 103.5
Rev. Bud Reeves
Prelude “America the Beautiful”  Ladybells 
Anthem “Eternal Father”  
Anthem “O How Amiable” 
Chancel Choir
Gaye Mings, Chancel Choir Director, Pianist
Louann Dooly, Assistant Conductor
Nancy W. Vernon, Organist
“Carpe diem” - Seize the day, church!
We often hear the motivational words “Carpe diem,” a Latin phrase which is usually translated “Seize the day!” It originated with the Roman poet Horace in 23 B.C.E., and the original meaning was more like “pluck the day (as it is ripe).” In this season of blueberries, and soon to come tomatoes and peaches, that meaning sounds delicious.

Perhaps the most famous use of the phrase in modern times was the movie Dead Poet’s Society, a 1989 film starring the late Robin Williams, who played a teacher at a boy’s prep school. Drawing his class close to a trophy case filled with the school heroes of the past, he asked them to listen to what the ancestors were saying: “Carpe diem”. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” 
I believe we are at a crossroads of opportunity in our church. As we emerge from the pandemic (Hopefully we are emerging and not sliding backward--get your vaccinations!), we have an opportunity for a fresh new start in many of our ministries. We don’t have to re-start anything that was not working; we can revive what was important; and we can start new things that will be effective disciple-makers.
As I write this column, I have seen this day a group of 20 elementary students and chaperones on daily mission experiences in the community. A new support group for widows has started up, and ladies from outside the church are joining in. The choir and handbells are back in sanctuary worship. Vacation Bible School is coming up. The youth have taken in a bunch of middle-schoolers. Behind the scenes, I know some plans are being made for some very cool things this fall. It’s like we have suffered through a very long winter, and spring has finally arrived. 

Signs of the Spirit at work are springing up everywhere.

Bringing the church back is not without its challenges. Everyone has not come back yet. It has been easy over the last 16 months to fall into patterns of behavior that don’t include church in person. It’s a process. It will take a while to develop our new ministries. This is a trial for a pastor whose spiritual gift is not patience! But I am not anxious or worried. I know God’s got this. I know God has a great purpose in mind for our church and community. I am just concerned that we make use of the opportunity, that we pluck the fruit while it hangs low on the tree, that we seize the day. Faith in God does not mean we don’t have to make an effort. As the old adage says, “Pray like it all depends on God; work like it all depends on you.”
I am happy today. I am thrilled to be entering my seventh year of ministry at Fort Smith FUMC. God has blessed us together, and I don’t believe God is through with us yet. One of my favorite Pauline passages is from Philippians 4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice…. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 
Be at peace. Carpe diem. Seize the day, church! Let’s make our ministry extraordinary!
The Faith Forward Capital Campaign officially concluded on May 31. After three years of sacrificial giving on the part of many people, we had an excellent outcome.
We began the Faith Forward Campaign in 2018 with two goals in mind. First was to do a complete renovation of the Family Life Center; the second goal was to increase the unrestricted endowment in the FUMC Foundation. After a successful active phase of the campaign, we began the process of renovation. In October of 2018, we moved into a beautiful facility with upgraded systems of every sort and a state-of-the-art worship space for the Connexion. We were truly amazed at how well the renovation turned out. We spent $1,439,710 on that project.
Since then, further contributions to the campaign have gone into the unrestricted endowment of the Foundation. We have built up that fund by $550,600.
Out of the almost $2.4 million pledged to the campaign, we received $2,075,710, over 87%. The administration of the Faith Forward campaign by Horizons Stewardship amounted to $85,400. 243 families made a commitment to Faith Forward.  167 were able to complete or overpay their commitments. Relative to other similar campaigns, this was an excellent effort and a great result.
However, the Faith Forward Capital Campaign was always about ministry more than money. The renovated Family Life Center made a much nicer and more effective space for worship, children and youth ministries, small groups and Bible studies, mission events and meals. It helped us pursue our goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The money in our Foundation helped to raise the awareness in our congregation of this great asset for our ministry. Those funds contributed will continue to provide support for mission and ministry in perpetuity. Just in the last three years, the Foundation has supported our church ministry fund with $613,983 and given over $200,000 in Community Grants to deserving non-profits in Fort Smith.
Thank you once again for your help in making Faith Forward a resounding success. As we close out this chapter of sacrificial giving, we can say with satisfaction and pride in our accomplishment (This kind of pride is not a sin!), “To God be the glory!”
Full Circle
When someone celebrates a birthday we often say they have “taken another trip around the sun.” I’ve celebrated plenty of birthdays…but today I celebrate coming “full-circle” as I step into my new appointment as your Executive Associate Pastor. That full circle started some 50+ years ago when my family became members of this congregation. My parents presented me for baptism on June 23,1968, I was given my first bible on August 26, 1973 and confirmed sometime in 1976, and John and I were married on April 23, 1994, in Roebuck Chapel. To be honest, I have longed to connect with this congregation for many years as I have always had a deep affection for this place.
For those of you who haven’t heard the story, at the end of February I jotted down a sentence, “God, are you calling me to something new?” It was my own Holy Spirit moment while sitting at my desk at home. While I wrote the sentence, I quickly put it out of my mind and went about my way. But about three weeks later the “new thing” presented itself. God works in some amazing ways, to say the least.
I am so deeply humbled as I step into this role to serve among you. I am super excited in the ways I have seen the Spirit moving among us as we set sail into the next chapter of ministry. This church has always had what it needs to do exceptional ministry…and I’m eager to tap into that potential and see what God has in store for us. Following a pandemic we have no excuses to hold us back. While it may be uncharted waters, we have the best Captain at the helm, and the very best pastors and staff to lead us onward. There are so many positive things happening in our community, the fields are ripe for harvest.
So consider these questions…
pray upon them and see what God might have to say, or better yet, what God might be preparing for you?
  • How might God be calling us to reach the young adults in our community, especially in East Fort Smith?
  • What greater impact might we make in the downtown area of Fort Smith?
  • What gifts do you have that God might be encouraging you to use in a new way?
  • What is one way you can grow deeper in your relationship with Christ in this new season?
  • What is something “new” that God might be calling you to?
In Baptist Hospital:
  • Ruth Davis
Loss of loved ones and friends:
  • Naomi Gregg - mother of Anne Rosenberg and Don (Lou Ann) Platt, grandmother of Elizabeth, Michael, Mark (Chanel), John (Sheila), Christi (Keith) and Rob (Nancy), and great-grandmother of Abby.
  • Deborah Anne “Debby (Leeper) Gulstad - mother of Chris (Janell) Gulstad and grandmother of Emma and Tucker Gulstad.
Sunday, July 4
8:30 am Chapel Service
9:00 am Connexion Worship, In Person, Facebook Live and YouTube
10:10 am Sunday Small Groups
11:10 am Sanctuary Worship, In Person, Facebook Live, YouTube & FM 103.5

Monday, July 5
Church Office Closed
Tuesday, June 6
6:30 pm Introducing the Old Testament, Zoom
Wednesday, July 7
10:00 am Casserole Group, Aldersgate
4:00 pm 10 Brave Christians, Friends Room
5:30 pm Evening Prayer, In Person and Facebook Live
7:00 pm Choir Practice
Thursday, July 8
10:00 am Knitters & Knotters, Fireside
7:00 pm Young Adult Ministry
WELCOME New Member!
Sallye Parker has joined our church by transfer from another UMC. Sallye is retired from ABF and the oil and gas industry and has two sons. Welcome, Sallye!
If you or your family would like to help us deliver breakfast on the last Sunday of the month to members of our downtown community please let Elizabeth Thames know. We would love to have some new faces go with us to deliver the food.
We are collecting sunscreen that can be handed out during the Taking it to the Streets Breakfast on the last Sunday of the month. Please bring to the church office or on Sunday mornings. You can leave your sunscreen with the Guest Services Team at the entrances to all of the services.
Lydia Patterson Scholarship Day Sunday August 1st
As a church, we would like to sponsor a student at the Lydia Patterson Institute.

For more than 100 years, Lydia Patterson Institute has been a beacon for young Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, giving them English language fluency and a sturdy, faith-based education that often brings transforming opportunities.

The school draws from the toughest areas of Juárez, a city beset by poverty and other social ills. But roughly 98 percent of institute’s graduates go on to college, with last year’s senior class attracting some $1.5 million in scholarships.

FUMC of Fort Smith has supported LPI in the past with offerings and by having youth interns in the summer. Following the pandemic, the school is in dire need of financial help, as many of the parents of students are still out of work or cannot cross the border to their jobs in El Paso. (The students are still allowed to cross to go to school.)

A $6,000 donation will sponsor a student for the year. You can mail your offering to the church or can make an online donation anytime before August 1st. You can also bring your offering to the altar on Sunday, August 1st.
Hello Everyone!
My name is Ashley McNeal and I’m the new Children’s Minister here at First Methodist. I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be here. I have loved getting to know everyone and can’t wait to meet more of you! I thought, for my first newsletter entry, I’d tell you a little about myself and what I’ve done in my first month here. 

I have a husband named Christopher and five dogs. I am originally from Waco, TX, but have spent the last 6 years in Arkadelphia as their Children’s Minister. Before moving back to Arkadelphia, I lived in NYC for two years. I enjoy cooking, crocheting, and reading. I love to listen to true crime podcast while crafting. I am passionate about Children’s Ministry, and truly feel God has called me to share the love of Jesus with children. 
Since arriving in Fort Smith just one short month ago, I have hit the ground running! We have filmed EVERYTHING for VBS (don’t forget it’s virtual this year!), and we have done our Club 56 Excursions. Oh my goodness! VBS is going to be a BLAST this year. Our theme is Discovery on Adventure Island, and it gets crazy. We have fun characters like Bodacious Bud, Gnarley Charlie, Adventurous Ashley, and Beacon the Puffin. I know it’s a little disappointing that we won’t be able to have it in person, but it is surely going to be an awesome experience. Don’t forget we are having an IN PERSON kickoff party on July 18th. There is going to be a water slide, Kona Ice, games, music, and tons of fun. You can also pick up your VBS packets at this time. You won’t want to miss it! 
We had an awesome turnout of 15 kids and 4 volunteers. We made cards for our Cookie Ministry, served at the Community Clearing House, played with and read books to children at Lincoln Daycare, and made bagged lunches for those in need at Next Step Day Room. We finished our week cooling down with a fun pool party. The kids got to grow together in service and love of others. 

Looking forward to this month, we will have several opportunities for the kids to come together in person for fellowship and to have fun. Be checking your emails for more details to come. 

This has been a wonderful first month in Fort Smith. I can't wait to see what next month holds! 

Blessings in Christ, 
Fireside Room in the Family Life Center
Dinner will be Taco Salad
Dessert will be…….
These cookies that we will decorate.
Elizabeth Thames will walk us through decorating these beautiful cookies
Come join the fun and bring a friend!!
Please reserve your spot by July 15th
Nursery will be provided upon request.
Call Gail Oakes 479-782-5068 or
email with any questions.
The Upper Room for July/August are available and can be found at entrances to the church or in the church office.

We will no longer be mailing these out. Notify the church office if you are unable to pick one up and still need to have it mailed to you.

Church office 479-782-5068
Seven weeks, starting July 27th, 6:00pm-7:30pm in the
Fireside Room
Join the Discussion
Would you like to receive a emailed weekly guide delving deeper into this Sunday's sermon?
Join us Sunday at 10:10 in room 306 for the FSFUMC Young Adults class. Coffee & snacks will be waiting. Christian fellowship and discussion.
We are looking forward to seeing you!
  The focus for the next four years of United Methodist Women is Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline. ( The School to Prison Pipeline) There are several ways that we can support the children that are often found in the Pipeline.
     Children in Foster Care are usually removed from their situation with only the clothes they are wearing. Other services can supply clothing, but as the children are moved from Foster home to Foster home, they usually are given a garbage bag to carry their belongings. Think about your feelings if your value was established as being worth of a garbage bag.
It does seem like a small idea, but all of us understand the power of knowing we are more valuable than carrying our lives in a garbage bag.
FY Summer Calendar
In Memory of:
  • Peggy Udouj by Jim & Linda Udouj, Fran Bateman, Mrs. Ruth Davis, Mary Booth, Randy & Carolyn Traver, Jack & Louanna Green, Lawrence, Schluterman & Schwartz LTD, Jack & Mary Jane Freeze, Tommy & Blanche Donoho, Mike Willis & Lori Hardin, George & Carole Beattie, Valerie Oliver
  • Carol West by George & Carole Beattie
  • Alison Underwood by Tony & Lynnell Leraris
  • Joe Irwin by Jane Rappeport
  • Toka Beall by J. Lyndal York, George & Carole Beattie, Discussion Class
  • Pat Little by Discussion Class, George & Carole Beattie
  • Curtis Sawyer by George & Carole Beattie
  • Glen Lively by JP & Marsha Willis, Ronald & Kristen Blackwelder, Michael & Vickie Rothrock, Joe & Kathy Norcross
In Honor of:
  • Pastor Bud Reeves by Bill Beall
Pastor on Call
M-F 8:30 AM-4:30 PM: (479) 782-5068
Weekends and Evenings: (479) 459-5060
When there is a hospitalization, a death in the family, or any other time you may need urgent pastoral care, we encourage you to use these numbers. The pastors rotate on-call responsibilities to assure that one of them is always accessible.
200 N. 15th St.  Fort Smith, AR 72901
(479) 782-5068 |
Pastor on Call (479) 459-5060
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 
Closed for lunch 12:30PM-1:30PM
FIRST UNITED METHODIST NEWS published weekly except the last week of the year by First United Methodist Church 200 North 15th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901.