On Sunday, February 18, 2018, we had the pleasure of Baptizing Liam Wells. It is always such a joy to see new beginnings within the church. You can see more photos on the photos page of our website.
Rockford District Co-Lay Leader
DS Lisa Kruse-Safford (second from loeft) has chosen our Lay Leader, John Aten (far right) to be the new Rockford District Co-Lay Leader along with Denzil Wynter (far left). The official announcement was made at the District Revival, where NIC Bishop Sally Dyck (second from right) delivered the message. This is a very prestigious honor. Congratulations John! So well deserved!
2017 UMW Spring Brunch
Young At Heart
The UMW of Freeport First United Methodist Church were pleased to present Nancy Stacy for our Spring Brunch. It was a wonderful presentation on aging. Nancy really knows how to put humor into life as we mature in age. It was a great morning with good food and fellowship. You like, click here to see all the pictures.
Human Relations Day
Contributions at Work
Exodus House Helps Former Inmates Reintegrate into Society
In a modest neighborhood less than a mile west of the Oklahoma State Capitol, about a dozen former prison inmates huddle around a well-used conference table trying to rebuild their lives.
The former inmates are participants in Exodus House, a non-profit that helps them get jobs, find homes and overcome their past.
Funded in part by the United Methodist Foundation, Exodus House in Oklahoma City has 12 apartments in what was once a multi-unit apartment building. An Exodus House in Tulsa has 10 rooms.
Inmates apply to the program during the process of being released. If accepted, they can get treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. Rent is kept affordable so former inmates can save money to pay fines and fees assessed as part of their prison sentence and other costs.
The Rev. Steve Byrd, director of the Oklahoma City Exodus House, said the biggest obstacle for most inmates in his program is substance addiction.
“Most of our residents who come out of prison have never had any significant drug treatment,” he said.
Adam Leathers, director of Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries for the United Methodist Church, said Exodus House works to help ex-inmates find the proper resources and treatments for their addiction and reintegrate into society. He said Exodus House tries to provide a recovery program tailored to each participant.
“They received $50 and a bus ticket when they got out. A lot of them didn’t have a long-term place to go. A lot of them didn’t have a short term place to go,” Leathers said.
Exodus House records show 197 former inmates have participated in the Oklahoma City program since 2008; 81 completed the program, 43 relapsed and 25 returned to prison. Another 50 had their participation extended. In Tulsa, about 50 ex-prisoners graduated from the program from 2002 to 2011.
“We want to see people become productive again,” said Robin Wertz, an ex-inmate who is now a case manager at the Oklahoma City Exodus House. “We want to see them rebuild their lives.”
Not far away, near North Oklahoma Avenue and 13th Street, The Employment and Education Ministry has a similar goal. Founded in 1987, TEEM offers education, job placement and social services to ex-inmates.
TEEM’s efforts focus on drug and alcohol treatment, employment training and job placement. Steele said the agency helps ex-offenders secure transportation, identification, housing and even appropriate clothing.
Steele said Oklahoma has harsh drug laws that drive the state’s high incarceration rates and that don’t address the root problems.
“We have dug the hole so deep as far as the punishment is concerned that … it’s nearly impossible for them to become a contributing, productive member of our community,” he said.
Like Steele, Leathers said his organization’s efforts to steer ex-inmates into a productive life benefits the entire state, not just the offender.
“It’s not just about being nice,” Leathers said. “It’s about (the former offender) being a functional member of society.”
Music Celebration Sunday
May 22, 2016
We celebrated Make a Joyful Noise for Worship Service. It was angelic. We had special musical guests, both vocal and instrumental.
Zach Masa-Myers, Piccolo Trumpet
Brandon Lamm, Violin
Brittany Myers, Cellist
Men’s Ensemble; Del Lohr, Soloist
Women’s Ensemble; Michelle Stubbe, Soloist
Pastor Cal Haines, Soloist
Kenneth Drake, Piano
Michelle Stubbe, Soloist
UMW Spring brunch
UMW of First United Methodist Church held their annual Spring Brunch on Saturday, May 14, 2016. They presented Quilts: Past & Present. It was a wonderful event to support the church! There was good food, memories, and great fellowship!
On April 16, 2016 we attended the Rockford District Spring Leadership Training Event held at Calvary UMC in Stockton, Illinois. It was a great event and afterward Pastor Cal treated all of us to lunch. YUM!
MARCH 6 – ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18, NRSV
Today United Methodists have an opportunity to turn our attention toward one cause. On One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday, we focus on carrying out Christ’s work of reconciliation in the broken places in our world. Our special offering supports the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR works domestically and internationally on projects that offer humanitarian relief and disaster response in ways that sustain communities. This work includes sanitation, clean water, sustainable agriculture, global refugee and migration response and much more.
Autumn 2015 brought to light just how broken and dangerous it is for some families around the world when men, women, and children began pouring out of Syria by the thousands. They were escaping incredible violence from a four-year civil war. UMCOR has had an active role in providing relief for those fleeing for safety in Syria and many other places around the world.
It can be overwhelming to know how to respond – how to act as Christ’s hands and feet in the wake of any sort of crisis, whether it is a natural disaster or a great humanitarian need due to violence and persecution. Through our gifts, we serve as partners with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, assist ongoing mission and ministry and become closer to living as reconciled people around the world.
Please give thanks and give generously today and every day.
Advent Outreach Project
Laurie Jurs, Family Resource Coordinator; Principal Danielle Summers; Mary French; Joann Willits
First UMC members Mary French, Joann Willits (on right) and Pastor Cal Haines (not pictured) delivered 10 personalized backpacks on wheels to Center Elementary School Family Resource Coordinator Laurie Jurs (left) Principal Danielle Summers (second from left) this week as part of the church's Advent Outreach Project. Each backpack contained much-needed items, including a blanket, pajamas, underwear, socks, slippers, a stuffed animal, a children's book and toiletries. Also, every backpack was addressed to an individual student with his or her sizes and preferences. Thanks to the First UMC congregation, contributions to support the project far exceeded its budget. Special thanks to Mary and Joann for coordinating and facilitating this effort. What a great way to reach out to our community during the Christmas season.
Vacation Bible School
The adventure included music that energized your ears and spirit, interactive
Bible fun, super science projects, cool crafts, hands-on mission work, delicious
snacks, great games, and more.
The Children, and staff, had a great time! Go to the Media area to see the pictures! Enjoy!
Baptism - A Blessed Event
On May 31, 2015 at First United Methodist Church we had the pleasure of Baptising
Elijah David Wells, son of Dr. Nick and Lindsey Wells. Here is what Cal said on his
Facebook page. We are so proud and pleased to have him as our Pastor! To see
pictures, click here.
"I was absolutely delighted to conduct my first baptism yesterday. Elijah David Wells, son of Dr. Nick and Lindsey Wells, was baptized at our church, First United Methodist Church of Freeport, Ill. ( Freeport First United Methodist Church ). Elijah, fashionably dressed in a three-piece white suit and purple tie, was kind enough to sleep through the entire liturgy. Was glad to see so many of his family members come in from out of town to attend."