Dear Friends,

We have had a busy February at First United Methodist Church. There have been mission trips, special services, and exciting events. But the biggest news was a change for Reverend Scott. An opportunity opened for her to take a sabbatical leave until the end of June and pursue advanced training in Clinical Pastoral Education. The program is at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa. She is in a small cohort of eight pastors who are expanding their counseling skills and pastoral care experiences. Pastor Scott has already dealt with a grieving mother whose two-year-old died.

We are fortunate that Kimberly had raised a couple of adult counselors/leaders in the Junior High Youth Group, one of whom, Rachel Amorin, has agreed to serve as an interim youth leader. She will be able to offer continuity at least through the summer. This means that the junior youth mission trip to San Diego in June will continue as planned as well as other programming. We are also blessed that Jen Heffngton has been able to pick up the Children’s Education Ministry work from Kimberly. Jen has been the director of our very successful Summer Arts Camp for the past two years and has been regularly involved with our Sunday School. She will give oversight to Sunday mornings, among other things.

Four of our young adults joined with several other United Methodists to travel to Rocky Point, Mexico to build a home for a family of five. Our four workers – Stephanie Shearer, Rachel Amorin, Brady Mayo, and Jared Wagoner – were able to represent both First Church and the United Methodist Church in this project.

Ash Wednesday offered a great fellowship meal; the fare included soup, cornbread, jello salads and a great dessert smorgasboard. The money raised goes to help support our congregation’s mission team to the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) depot in Salt Lake City. Robin Spencer, our parish nurse, provides excellent leadership to this annual event. After supper most of us moved to the sanctuary for an Ash Wednesday worship service. I was especially pleased that our District Superintendent, Neil Leftwich, was able to join me in leading worship and the imposition of ashes.

Our big fun activity for the month was the Annual Spring Fling hosted by our Weekday School and Weekday School Board, and held in our church parking lot. There were food trucks, games and activities and bidding on gift baskets. The gift baskets were absolutely amazing, appealing to every taste and interest. Beckie Humphrey, the Weekday School Director, the assistants, the teachers, aides and all the Board members are to be commended for their great efforts.

On a final note, February saw the kick-off of a financial campaign to replace the above-mentioned parking lot. We will work towards raising $60,000 between now and the beginning of April. That will allow us to begin paving the lot in early June. We ask for your support of this important project.

Mike Pearson