March 7, 2021
“Stones of Crossing”
In all the passages of life, God is with us.
9:30 am Connexion
In Person, Facebook Live and YouTube
Rev. Bud Reeves
“The Way”
“Build My Life”
“Great Things”
“Come to the Table”
11:00 am Sanctuary
In Person, Facebook Live, YouTube,
and FM 96.7
Rev. Bud Reeves
Communion Anthem: “Come, Ye Disconsolate”
Anthem: “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”
Keely Sattazahn, Gaye Mings,
Audra Weathers, Soloists
Nancy W. Vernon, Organist
   Beginning March 29th, on Palm Sunday you will have a unique opportunity to experience Holy Week. You are invited to participate in our Multi-sensory Stations of the Cross prayer experience. These stations will take you through the events of Jesus last week here on earth and draw you into deep reflection and to discover the deep, deep love our Savior has for you. This will be a special part of our Holy Week offerings.
     The Stations of the Cross will be set up in our Narthex and will be situated in such a way to allow for social distancing. We do ask that you wear a mask. The stations will be open during our regular office hours Monday through Friday and on Sunday morning during worship.
This past weekend, 10 staff members and 10 of our lay leaders (the Executive Team mostly) attended a virtual conference called the Future Church Summit. It was produced by a group called Fresh Expressions, which some of us have been paying attention to since before the pandemic. They provided online presentations from some great resource people, and then our Fort Smith group met between presentations by Zoom and had strategic discussions about our church. It was all very 2021. 
But it was all very good, too. I enjoyed it. Our staff and leadership were engaged. And I came away with a sense of challenge, encouragement, and hope about our future.
The conference was challenging because we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation as a church (all churches do). The pandemic has changed the way we will do ministry forever. We will return to some familiar activities, but we will never be able to do ministry the way we used to. There will be other pandemics to deal with, probably in the lifetime of many of us. The psychological scarring of COVID-19 will continue in our society as a kind of PTSD for years. The pandemic illuminated and exacerbated the inequalities in our society. Disruption is now the status quo, which means there is no status quo any more. The present and future church will do ministry in a challenging environment.
But there are many reasons for encouragement. According to Len Sweet, among the “landmines” of the pandemic are the “gold mines” of ministry.
  • Digital, virtual worship, fellowship, learning, and care are realities within the grasp of any church.
  • The home and family are returning to their original place of importance in discipling our children and youth.
  • The ministry of healing (historically important in the church) will be crucial as we deal with post-COVID PTSD.
  • Our stories will carry the weight of the Gospel. (See Roy Beth’s article.)
  • The church is G.O.O.D.--Getting Out Of Doors--reclaiming our partnership with the earth.
Throughout the conference, I felt encouraged that our church is on the right track. One of their presentations was titled “The Church Has Left The Building”--that was our slogan a year ago! Tod Bolsinger, a church leadership expert, talked about discerning our DNA as a church and growing into the future by claiming the strengths of our past and our tradition. A United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA, showed how a traditional, denominational church can serve the gathered church at its historic building, yet reach out into the mission field to start fresh expressions of ministry that reach unchurched people. As our church staff and leaders tried to absorb all of this information, our discussion was optimistic, high-spirited, and encouraging.
I finished the conference a little worn out, but full of hope. There is so much to think about and to do as we shape our future as a church. But every presenter was full of hope that God is doing a new thing among us, that we are not alone, and that an exciting new day of revival is coming. Our church leaders, too, radiated that enthusiasm, even over our computer screens. We can’t see what the future will hold yet, but we know Who is taking us there, leading, guiding, inspiring us to be the church God calls us to be. One of Len’s Sweet’s phrases may become our new mantra: “The future is not doom and gloom; it’s boom and bloom!”
Rev. Bud Reeves
Senior Pastor
Many of us have heard John Wesley’s Aldersgate story. Wesley, the father of Methodism, went “very unwillingly” to a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London where a commentary by Martin Luther to the book of Romans was being read. That sounds pretty boring to me. But for some reason, the Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of Wesley in a big way that night in 1784. John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed,” and he became convinced that Christ loved him and had died specifically for his salvation! In other words, God loved the world in general, but Wesley had finally internalized the idea that God also loved him personally. His faith had become real. Now, for me, the interesting part of this story is that John Wesley had already been ordained as a priest in the Church of England, had served as a priest for 12 years, and was 35 before his faith became real.  
 Wesley’s story is fascinating even though it happened in an ordinary place during what seemed to be an ordinary experience. I was lucky to visit Aldersgate Street in London a few years ago, and there is a huge monument there outside the Museum of London to mark the momentous moment in Wesley’s life. The thing that struck me was that throngs of people were streaming around the monument going about their daily lives without noticing the monument at all! (Notice how the London buildings surround the monument in the picture.) Aldersgate is just one of who knows how many streets in London, and most people probably did not even know who John Wesley was. But that moment on May 24, 1738, in that place, was transformative for Wesley and for all of us who follow the Wesleyan way of living out our faith.
So, I wonder --- what is your story? When and how did you come to know that Christ loves YOU? Some of our stories are amazingly dramatic! But most often, the Spirit of the Lord comes in a still, small voice, or through a heart “strangely warmed.” Each person’s story is profound and important, even if it seems ordinary. God works in real ways in our lives and sharing these stories is part of sharing our faith with others.  
In The Basics class that I am currently leading, the participants were asked to describe their first experiences of learning about God’s presence and their faith backgrounds. What amazing stories they shared! Sometime soon I hope to lead a few people through an experience called “Know Your Story, Share Your Story.” A few staff people at FSFUMC tried this out as a trial run, and it was a great experience. We thought about the experiences throughout our lives that impacted our walk of faith, we wrote a spiritual autobiography and condensed our stories into a 3-5 minute story that we could share with others. So, I am wondering if you are interested in thinking through your own story of how Christ became real to you. Are you interested in knowing your story and then practicing telling your story as a way of making disciples of Christ? If you are, just email me, and I will let you know when we get started with this simple process. If you don’t want to be a part of a small group that works on this, would you at least think about when you first experienced God and how God has transformed your life? Then, I challenge you to talk to your family and friends about the difference that the love of God has made in your life. Your story might make all the difference in another person’s life.  
Most of all, I hope you will know and remember that God loves you --- yes, you!
Aldersgate Memorial in London
Rev. Roy Beth Kelley
Executive Associate Pastor
If you would like to join our Online Campus, simply open the camera on your phone, hold it up to the QR code above, and then click the link that appears. It’s that easy!
I’ve been taking a class on leadership this semester that has provided me with very helpful insights. One of the questions that has guided the course is how do we bring about change to people who desperately need it, but desperately resist it? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this question before, too. I’d like to share the insight I’ve received in hopes that it would help you to create the conditions for necessary change in your closest relationships, in the culture around us, and even within yourself. 
YOU CAN'T QUIT SMOKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE: We know that the only way to quit smoking is for a person (the smoker) to quit on their own. You can tell someone a million times how unhealthy smoking is, but oftentimes it only leads to denial, anger, blame, bargaining, and maybe even depression. A smoker must make a decision for themselves to stop smoking. The cardiologist cannot make this decision for them. Family and friends cannot make this decision for them. But for many smokers, if they could quit smoking instantly, they would. So, both the knowledge that they need to quit and the desire to want to quit is there. If smokers know they need to quit, and they truly want to, why don't they?

WE DON'T RESIST CHANGE, WE RESIST LOSS: It's more difficult for people to change when they know they have to go through a loss in order for that change to happen. People resist the loss because it will be painful. In order for people to make change, they must see that the cost of remaining the same is greater than the cost of the change. In other words, it must be clear that it will cost them more to continue on the road they're going down than it will cost them to start going down a new road. There will be more pain for the person if they don't change. So, how can we "count the costs" of our actions, and help others to do the same? (Luke 14: 25-34) We need to create an environment where a "pinch of reality" (the pain that is already there) can be felt. On the other hand, we also need safe spaces where we and others can try on a new way of being. This is called a holding environment. 
CREATE A HOLDING ENVIRONMENT: Holding environments are the "spaces" that help bring the adaptive change that we need. In a holding environment, we “turn up the "heat" so that we can feel the discomfort of continuing on the same path, but we also turn down the "heat" enough to where we feel safe to experiment with a new lifestyle. We can "turn up the heat" by reminding ourselves and others of the pain of reality that will continue if they do not change. We can "turn down the heat" through care, empathy, the assurance of God's grace, and by actively doing what we can to help others and ourselves (while being careful to acknowledge that we cannot make decisions for others). 
What change do you need in this lenten season? Where are the places that help bring this change for you? Are you feeling “the pinch of reality” as you travel down the path you’re currently on? Are you welcoming the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in your life for a journey towards new life in Christ Jesus? 
May we continually welcome the change with which we see and become the image of Christ in our world. Amen.
Michael Mings
Director of Youth Ministries
We’re looking for incredible people to join our staff! If you or someone you know is looking for a new job, please share our job openings on social media or check out our openings at

The future of our church is bright!
We have an opportunity for a full-time program ministry to children and families. Successful candidate will have deep Christian faith and love for children, organizational and personal relation skills, drive and initiative to develop and grow a great children’s program. Dynamic downtown church in a great community. Full benefits and salary commensurate with experience.
We are seeking a part-time technical director to lead a technology team for Sunday morning worship. Approximately 6-8 hours/week, mostly on Sunday morning. Expertise and experience required in audio, video, and livestream production.
Inquiries or resumes to Trevor Hardcastle (

In Mercy Hospital:
  • Victor Hart
Loss of loved ones and friends:
  • Margaret Rheudasil—Mother of Charles (Karen) Still
  • Loucretia “Lou” Taylor—Sister of Abbie Cox
  • Paul Brown—Brother of Philip (Anna) Brown
  • Joe Irwin—Father of Joe Irwin, Jr. and Michael Irwin
  • Robert “Bob” Hawkins—Father of Carolyn Pryor and Marion (Stanley) Hawkins Salter, Grandfather of Christopher Pryor and Benji (Christen) Pryor, Great grandfather of Livia and Robert Pryor
  • Bill Strang—Brother of Nadine (Robert) Miller and Earlene Gillson
Sunday, March 7
8:30 am Cornerstone Class, Zoom
9:30 am Believers Class, Zoom
9:30 am Connexion Worship, In Person, Facebook Live and YouTube
9:45 am Roundtable Class, Zoom
11:00 am Sanctuary Worship, In Person, Facebook Live, YouTube, and FM 96.7
5:30 pm First Youth, Zoom
5:30 pm Advanced Steps led by DeeDee Autry, Zoom
Monday, March 8
12:15 pm Lenten Lunch with First Presbyterian Church, Facebook Live
2:00 pm Staff Meeting, Zoom
5:30 pm Core Class led by Bud Reeves, Zoom
Tuesday, March 9
10:00 am UMW Circle Naomi, Parlor
Wednesday, March 10
5:30 pm Evening Prayer, In Person and Facebook Live
6:15 pm Chapel Class, Zoom
6:30 pm Club 56, Zoom
Thursday, March 11
7:00 pm College Ministry, Zoom
  • Terry Gallamore—Member of Missouri Annual Conference
  • Karla Gallamore—Other UMC
  • Michael Gallamore—Other UMC
  • Ariana Gallamore—Other denomination
  • Gabrielle Gallamore—Baptized 1/10/21
  • Katrina Lane—Other UMC
  • Becky Mainer—Transfer from other UMC
Becky Mainer
Katrina Lane
Gallamore Family
To recap once again on last month’s article, we will be participating in a coordinated act of kindness over the next year. What better way to show our love and share God’s love! For this months’ project we will focus on doing something for someone else that is perhaps unexpected but always appreciated. Here are three ways in which we can show our love to others.  
1.  Take someone a meal or a sweet treat! There does not have to be a particular reason for the meal, just let someone know that you were thinking about them and wanted to let them know! Don’t make this hard, it can be something very simple. I can assure you, this gesture is so much more than the food! (So if you are not a good cook, you have no excuses!)
2. Pay it forward in a drive-thru restaurant. Has this ever happened to you personally or have you been the one to initiate this act of kindness? Many times this simple act of paying for the car behind you can turn into a long stream of kind gestures. The sweet reminder that kindness still exists almost always means so much more than a free meal,. In December of 2020 an older gentleman pulled up to a Dairy Queen in Minnesota and paid for the car behind him. Two days and hundreds, 900 to be exact, of cars later, this act of kindness was still going strong! How awesome would it be if we as a congregation could spur on something like this?
3. Using social media, take the time to share about a great experience with a local business. Whether it be a shop, restaurant or a non profit agency. Let others know what an amazing job that they are doing!
So this is your challenge church….. Complete one or all of these ideas and show our community that we care! We would love for you to share the ways in which you accept this challenge with the Facebook Online Campus Group. The Church has Left the Building so let’s take these opportunities to show others exactly what that means.
Elizabeth Thames
Director of Adult Discipleship
FSFUMC Family,
      I wanted to thank you all for welcoming me with opening arms a year and a half ago when I was fresh to Fort Smith, newly married, and figuring out this new season. So many of you have loved and supported Brent and I so well as I walked through a lot of very tough health problems. This has not been the easiest year for any of us, but God is still good. Also, thank you for having grace as I helped navigate communication changes through COVID and adjusted things that had been the same for decades.
I will be moving on to working remotely for a mental health company as Brent is back in school pursuing nursing. We are both so expectant for the future as the Lord continues to show Himself faithful.
The church is doing so many incredible things by loving people in our community and now nationally (thanks to livestream) as we continue to do Kingdom work. Thank you for showing me Jesus in such unique ways as I was part of this family. I pray continued favor and blessing over this church’s mission. Please continue to stay in touch!
Much love,
Courtney Tedford
In Memory of:
  • Larry Clark by Rev. Aaron and Nell Barling
  • Grace Ussery by Rev. Aaron and Nell Barling
In Honor of:
  • Jeanne Starr by Judy Owens 
  • Kim Friery by John and Rose Mary Ayers
  • Jason Mumme by John and Rose Mary Ayers

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
  • 8:30AM Cornerstone and Roundtable Sunday School Class, Zoom
  • 9:30AM Believers Sunday School Class, Zoom
  • 9:30AM Connexion, In person, Facebook Live and YouTube
  • 11:00AM Sanctuary, In person, Radio broadcast on 96.7 FM, Facebook Live, and YouTube

  • 5:30PM Evening Prayer, In person, Facebook Live
  • 6:00PM Chapel Class, Zoom
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.