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First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

March 2010

Seeking. Sharing. Serving...All to the Glory of God

A blessing To Past, Present & Future Generations




“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…to Him be glory in the church...”
Ephesians 3:20

Time flies when you’re having fun. I must confess, the past five plus years have not always been fun, though fun has certainly been a part of it (Dancing With the Pastors? Come on….that was pure fun!) They have, however, been tremendously enriching, satisfying, challenging, and joy-filled, which may well be why they have gone by so fast. Time has indeed flown.

However, as you will read in these pages, we are not done. We need to finish strong, and there is much work still left to do. This is vitally important to our ministry and to the future of this church, so I implore you to read this issue. Read the information on how we will conclude the campaign by the end of this calendar year. Digest and prayerfully consider what we are doing, and what the Lord has been doing among us with the additional dollars the campaign has freed up for us. Seek the Lord’s counsel. Pray with your spouse. Consider the opportunity you have to practice generosity and faithful stewardship. Ask what He is calling you to give to Immeasurably More, over and above your regular giving to First Presbyterian, and then commit to making that gift by the end of year. You don’t need to tell anyone at the church. Tell the Lord, and then be faithful to that promise. God has done amazing things through this entire jour-

“Ask what He is calling you to give to Immeasurably More...”

It seems like yesterday that many of us were standing on the Great Lawn under an enormous tent, enjoying fellowship and preparing to launch the Immeasurably More Campaign for the future of our church. That was Palm Sunday in 2006. Here we are, only days away from Palm Sunday in 2010, and much has happened in those four years. Church “experts” will tell you that raising money for debt is the hardest sort of fundraising that can be done, yet in the past four years, First Presbyterian Church has proven to be the exception to the rule. God, through your generosity, has done immeasurably more!

ney, so I am expectant for how He will conclude it. I am looking forward to a day of celebration next October when, together, we will give glory and thanks to the Lord for doing immeasurably more through the saints at First Presbyterian Church. With a joy-filled, expectant heart, I remain Under His Mercy,

David D. Swanson



We hear from three of our pastors as they cast a vision for finishing strong.

407.4 2 3 . 3 4 4 1
To arrange a baptism Contact Worship x1451 To arrange a wedding Contact Weddings x1453 To arrange a funeral or memorial service Contact Pastoral Care x1455 To donate flowers for worship services Contact Worship x1451 With questions about your pledge, donation, or budget Contact Finance x1479 With a change of address Contact Membership x1471 To purchase a sermon CD or DVD Contact x1438 To join the Chancel Choir Contact x1273 For child care reservations Early Childhood Contact x2250

Immeasurably More.



To reach the Security Office Contact 407.415.9793 For Weekday School Contact 407.996.5864 To find out about Sunday School classes Contact Spiritual Formation x1463 With questions about the FPCO website or its Columns publication Contact Communications x1467 To reserve a meeting space Contact Special Services x1469 HOSPITAL CALLS: Hospitals are no longer able to notify us when our members are hospitalized. If you know someone who is in the hospital, please notify the Pastoral Care office at x1455. PASTORAL EMERGENCIES: For pastoral emergencies outside of the 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. church office hours, please leave a voicemail message at the main church number. The message center will page the minister on call, who will reply as soon as possible. NEED HELP? Dependency assistance, cancer support group, grief support, divorce care, infertility group, please contact Congregational Life x1159


Sunday Family Tradition: Joe & Traci Ort
An up-close look at the benefits of Sunday School from one couple’s perspective.


Camp Geneva
Experiencing the joy of camp with the Nivison girls.

4 6 8 Immeasurably More: Finishing Strong Immeasurably More: Giving to Missions Immeasurably More: Taking Worship to the Next Level Heart of The City Foundation Hames Scholarship 18 21 22 23 Second Annual Chili Cook-Off Recap Leigh Swanson to be Honored for Ministry in Jails Hey Kids! News & Notices


Group: First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

Finishing Strong in 2010
By Dr. David Swanson, Senior Pastor


n the fall of 2004, First Presbyterian Church carried a debt of just under $15 million. Paying more than $1 million in interest that year, it became clear that we could not move forward with God’s plan for our future until that issue was addressed. Thus, the Immeasurably More Campaign was launched, and now, through the generosity of many, our debt rests at $3 million. When the campaign theme was chosen, it was chosen for a specific reason. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that God can do “immeasurably more” through His power at work in us, even more than we could imagine. It has no doubt come to pass. In just four years, $1 million dollars has been freed for the ministry of Christ and slightly more than $900,000 has been given to mission causes in Orlando and around the world. That alone would be a huge success. Even so, we’re not done. Since 2006, when the campaign was launched, we have had 1371 new members join our church. Our youth and children’s ministries have exploded. The needs in our community have multiplied. God has put our church in a unique position of influence, and we need to be faithful to the ministry He has entrusted to us. We believe He wants to do immeasurably more through First Presbyterian Church, not just in the past four years, but continuing forward into the future.

become instructive for us over the years, teaching us about God’s faithfulness and provision while reminding us of His call to be wise stewards of what He has entrusted to us. It is only as we have grown in this area, through Crown Ministry and others like it, that we have been able to reduce the debt. Even so, we need to continue that growth. We made a commitment, and we need to honor it. With local and global mission agencies facing massive cuts, we need to continue giving 10% of our IM funds to these causes. If we were able to continue this giving for one more year, it could sustain ministries that otherwise may not survive. This is the key component in God doing “immeasurably more.” Completing the campaign and paying off our note (due October 31, 2010) would be a huge victory for our church; one that would free us to consider what needs to happen in the future. We have not made any needed capital expenditures because the debt has been our priority. However, with the debt gone, and if God were to do immeasurably more in these next few months, we could start to address three glaring needs: A need for updated youth and children’s ministry spaces. These two ministries are the fastest growing areas of the church’s life. They are exploding, yet their rooms are substandard and not nearly large enough to accommodate the hundreds of students who are coming to our campus each week. A need for new video equipment. Our current equipment is fifteen years old and analog. You may have heard that our entire world has gone digital. That means that each Sunday, we are patching together equipment that we often cannot get parts for, and that makes even the most basic adjustments impossible. Further, we need equipment that will allow us to work back and forth between the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. Right now, that equipment only works in one direction. A need for a stronger cash reserve. We want to be fiscally responsible, and it would help us immensely if we built a cash reserve to see us through the summer the months, instead of our normal practice of going to the bank for a

“In just four years, $1 million dollars has been freed for the ministry of Christ.”

Thus, we need to pay off the last portion of this debt. We need to finish strong! In doing so, we accomplish several key priorities: The debt, while financial, is also a spiritual issue. It has

Dear God, Thank you so much fo r all the blessings th at you pou r out on me.

line of credit. There are costs and fees in such a line that are unnecessary expenses. Therefore, believing that God has a great plan to use FPCO in this community and around the world, we are going to extend the Immeasurably More Campaign through 2010 with a four-tiered strategy that is already happening: Prayer. Before we ever put pencil to paper to create the IM campaign, Steve Cahill led us to spend three months in prayer. We need to do the same thing now. Prayer is essential, and Donna McClellan will be leading our Prayer Team and our Stewardship Committee as we pray each day for the conclusion of IM. Please join us in prayer! We are inviting the 1371 members new to our church since the campaign to prayerfully consider an Immeasurably More gift to the Lord and to His future work in our church. We are inviting everyone who completed their four year pledge to prayerfully consider extending that pledge one more year, essentially turning a four-year campaign into a five-year campaign. Giving 25% of one’s total pledge in 2010 would get us well down the road towards this goal. We are inviting those who have not fulfilled their pledge,

many of whom having had crushing financial changes in the past four years, to discard their pledge and simply give what they are capable of giving in this calendar year. We are hopeful and expectant for what God will do, and ask that you join us, prayerfully and financially, as we conclude the Immeasurably More Campaign this year. If you have further questions, or would like to sit down with someone and talk directly about your gift or pledge, feel free to contact: John Watts, Church Business Administrator Chris Stowers, Chair, Stewardship Committee David Swanson, Senior Pastor Ralph Veerman, Executive Director, Heart of the City Foundation May God be glorified as we move towards the conclusion of our Immeasurably More Campaign!

Immeasurably More Gives Almost $1 Million Dollars to Mission Ministries
By Dr. Case Thorp


rom the inception of the IM Campaign it has been the priority of the Session to see the first-fruits of the campaign returned to the Lord in the form of mission work. The first 10% of each dollar that is received towards the campaign is placed in a separate Money Market account. Once that fund reaches $250,000, after $2.5 million in funds are received, distributions are made to nine pre-approved projects. These projects were carefully considered using the following guidelines: What work will interface and support the direction of our growing Mission Department? What projects will provide a healthy balance between education, relief, and community development? What projects will provide a balance between local youth ministries, urban concerns, and global work? What projects will allow our people to be involved and transformed by doing mutual mission together in Christ’s name?

$240,000 invested in Local Youth, split evenly among the following five youth ministries: Frontline Outreach, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, House of Hope, Campus Crusade for Christ’s Student Venture, and Young Life. An ‘extra blessing’ of $1,500 was allocated to the five youth ministries listed above, which are in need during these tough economic times, and a $1,500 gift for Haitian relief was offered to the Mission Emanuel. Total: $994,000! Thank you for sacrificing over the past few years for this effort. We are truly doing “immeasurably more” for Christ through the work of these mission partners. To God be the glory! Global Mission as a Two-Way Street: A priority of the FPCO Mission Ministry is for mission to be a two-way street. The Immeasurably More campaign allowed this to happen in a tremendous fashion, helping us meet a Mission Department goal of cultivating global citizenship. We don’t just go ‘over there’ to see the work of God in a foreign context, but we bring our brothers and sisters of the global church here to be a positive influence on our congregation. Since the inception of the IM Campaign, the following exchanges have occurred: Teams of FPCO men and families have continued to serve with Mission Emanuel in the Dominican Republic Javier and Rosie de la Cruz of Mission Emanuel have given testimony in FPCO’s worship services.

“Thank you for sacrificing… We are truly making a difference for Christ… To God be the glory!”
Three global projects, five local youth ministries, and a new church development project were selected prior to the campaign and we have remained deeply committedto making an impact for God. To date, the gifts to the Immeasurably More Campaign have given out almost one million dollars! $240,000 invested in Global Discipleship to Overseas Council International for investment in seminary education. $240,000 invested in Global Mercy to Compassion International’s AIDS/HIV initiative. $240,000 invested in community development with Mission Emanuel. $25,000 invested in a Downtown Evangelism initiative with Apartment Life.

Jack Larsen, Lindsay and Elliot Drake: Mission Emanuel staff, are regularly with the FPCO community. A team of five from FPCO visited the work of Compassion International in Ethiopia. Wes Stafford, Compassion International President, preached in FPCO’s worship services. Compassion International Sponsorship Sundays resulted in hundreds sponsored by FPCO members. Dr. Oleg Turlac of the College of Theology and Education, Chisinau, Moldova, has given testimony in FPCO’s worship services.

I have pr ayerfully s ought out your guida nce in my giving for this year.

Dr. Riad Kassis of Overseas Council led a conversation about ministry in the Middle East. In Focus: FPCO’s Stans Project: The Immeasurably More Mission Tithe gift to Overseas Council is targeted to make an impact for Christ in the Muslim world. OC ( is an organization that assists Western donors and churches with evaluating, training, and monitoring support for third-world seminaries who are training indigenous leadership for the local church. $100,000 of the $240,000 gift given to Overseas Council is going to the College of Theology and Education (CTE) in Moldova, a former republic of the Soviet Union, to deepen their training in the Muslim countries of Central Asia. CTE has a campus in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, where approximately 180 (120 full time; 60 part time) students study. In addition, approximately 145 students, many of whom are Muslim converts, are studying in CTE’s extension centers in Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Students are from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus, and Central Asia and represent 30 nationalities. Throughout the year, students are involved in social work/ compassionate care projects, including work at orphanages, retirement facilities, and hospitals where they lead Bible studies, counsel, and provide humanitarian aid to families. CTE recently began a joint program with Peter Deyneka Jr.’s or-

ganization of Russian Ministries, called School without Walls, which provides a two-year curriculum for training ministers at the grass-roots level in three regions in Moldova. Taught by CTE faculty, the program emphasizes missions, youth ministry, and church planting.

In Focus: Young Life:

By Bret Allen, FPCO Member and Area Director for Young Life Heart of Orlando In September of 2009 Young Life at Jones High School had its first club meeting. Jones Young Life meets every Tuesday night in Parramore near the Amway Arena. Average attendance is between 20-30 students. This has been a much needed and prayed for ministry. It allows Young Life to continue our ministry with students from Howard Middle School who move into Jones and to reach new students at the high school level. Also, in November of 2009, the first ever Young Life Capernaum club was held. Capernaum is the name given to Young Life’s ministry to kids with disabilities. Capernaum will have monthly meetings in the winter\spring and take kids to a week of camp in the summer of 2010. Both of these ministries are examples of God’s leading and Young Life’s commitment to reaching ALL kinds of kids with the gospel.

Taking Worship to the Next Level
By Dr. Rebecca Bedell, Minister of Worship


PCO is on the cusp of being able to take worship to the next level. You might be asking yourself “Worship? What more can be done in worship?”, “The worship at FPCO is fine just the way it is – why change?” or “What in the world is the next level?” At FPCO we are blessed to have both Traditional and Contemporary worship experiences that are excellent in their content and realization each and every week. The caveat to that statement is “within the current parameters and reality for our church”. But what happens when our reality and parameters are different? Paying off the IM debt will indeed bring us into that new reality, which will enlarge our ability to dream, create, serve, and worship our God! We need to be ready to move into that new reality – to dream and discern how God would have us Seek, Share, and Serve within our new boundaries. In worship, it will mean being able to expand the quality of our experiences and our opportunities for service by our laity within those services.

Having Traditional Worship and Genesis meets those “cultural heart expression” in their most basic forms. The two primary differences in the services are musical style and formality. However, those two things alone will not allow, as Hicks states, “people in our day and age” to fully use their cultural heart expression in worship. People in our day and age. No matter what your age, socio-economic strata, or education level, we are all people of this “day and age.” What does that mean for the church and specifically for worship? It means that we do not engage with our world in the same way even the last generation did – yet, many churches are still engaging in worship in the way we did generations ago, particularly in Traditional Worship. The majority of people today don’t use encyclopedias or dictionaries – we look it up online. Many do not have “land lines” anymore – cell phones and texting fill those needs. Letters are not the only means of communication – email is considered standard protocol. People of “our day and age,” i.e. you and me – are a technological people – and we are highly visual. Many churches still offer worship experiences that are primarily aural/vocal in nature. You sit and listen. Sometimes you speak or sing. But the engagement of your “person” is predominately accessed in those ways. Current forms of presentation can enhance the experience or draw in people who would not ordinarily be interested in something. Let me briefly share three examples. The circus is an event – La Nouba is a circus experience. Andrew Rieu has brought millions to a new love and appreciation of Classical music by taking music from being an auditory experience in the form of a concert to a multi-sensory experience. ( Groups like Celtic Women and River Dance have reinvigorated Celtic folk music. What do all these things have in common? They utilize the visual and other art forms – they “converge” a visual world with a world that used to be only aural. People are intrigued and interested again. You might think of those examples as “performance” – and worship is definitely not that, nor do I want it to be, but God is the first and foremost creator. He has given us a full palette of paints in many colors – but in worship, many churches stick to one or two colors while the rest go unused. Our dream and desire to move forward in worship at FPCO is to use more colors. How do we do that? We begin by thinking differently about the arts, including the Technical Arts, in worship. We work to fuse everything we have at our disposal so that we can most fully express our heart to God. Doing this will also

“...dream with us about the beautiful and engaging worship of our future.”

In a paper by Zac Hicks of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church (Englewood, CO) I recently read, he clearly states the justification for having multiple worship expressions. “…So as we think about the content of worship, we are perfectly comfortable with seeing that substance (the content of the worship service) thoughtfully clothed in what would be our culture’s natural expression of thanks and praise to its Creator. So after asking about the kind of worship that is pleasing to God, we can then ask how our culture would express historically-based, Christian worship unto God. The way people in our day and age might most naturally express their worship unto God is…one’s “cultural heart expression.”

I pledg e, in o bedienc to give e to y of my ou, first fru its. In Your Eternal Grasp,

Your Faithfu

l Steward

allow us to engage ourselves in worship in new and fuller ways. Zac Hicks uses the word convergent to describe this merging – although he specifically targets that term regarding contemporary worship experiences. I really like the term convergent, but I see applications for all types of worship. All of the people who attend worship at FPCO live in this “day and age” – and even if internet, email, and cell phones are not used, the typical U.S. home has at least one television. Thus, the current age of visual image is something we all have in common. The first step in this process for worship is to bring a longneeded visual upgrade to both the Sanctuary and Lee Fellowship Hall. We need to move those two rooms into the 21st century - without making any structural changes. Enhancements are needed in LFH to bring the visual/image capacity to where it needs to be. The Sanctuary proves to be the more challenging space. One only gets a true representation of what can be done in our Sanctuary for worship at an evening event. The Christmas Rejoice Concerts and the IM kickoff event are both great examples of the stunning visual possibilities that room holds. On Sunday mornings, a different scenario unfolds. At both services, but particularly at 11am, the screens are very light due to the influx of light from the windows. Using images on existing screens is virtually useless due to the light washing them out. Different lighting instruments are needed in order to have a truly “artistically convergent” service on Sunday mornings. A way to manage the light is also being considered. The following link offers a peek into the “what can be.”:

The second portion of the visual upgrade deals with cameras and video equipment. The federal government’s mandate to move all television signals to High Definition (HD) Format rendered all of our cameras and other equipment antiquated. With the upgrade to HD cameras and supporting equipment we will be able to broadcast with the required format. Our current state of equipment only allows us to simulcast the sermon from the Sanctuary into LFH. Our technology will not allow us to broadcast in the opposite direction. The visual upgrade will provide the cameras necessary to simulcast from either room into the other. Increased equipment and possibilities also brings increased opportunities for service. This has already been the case as we have developed our Technical Arts area over the last year. We have already increased the opportunities for volunteers (laity) to serve on Sunday mornings. Many people think that the only way you can “serve” in worship is if you are musical. Not true. There are many opportunities to serve in worship – and the current and future Technical Arts area has many opportunities. I hope that you will take the time to visit some of the websites that are in this article and begin to dream with us about the beautiful and engaging worship of our future. Dream of how we can make an even more excellent offering of worship to our creator God, worship more fully, and draw in a world, so that they may have the opportunity to fully experience His love and redeeming power.

Photos by Jason Frazier


Hear t of the Cit y Foundation Scholarships Build Bridges Bet ween Pa st and Present Generation s

Hear t of The Cit y Foundation Hames Scholarship


eart of the City Foundation has awarded over 900 scholarships to students, and these scholarships not only assist in financing education, but they also inspire by providing stories of the lives of those who have made these scholarships possible. Many students are provided with biographies of those who established the scholarship endowments, and these life stories build bridges between the qualities and legacys of those who have come before us and current generations. Erin Fish was a 2009 recipient of the Hames Scholarship, and she has been inspired by the life and legacy of Clifford Hames. What have you learned while attending college this year? Erin Fish: This year of college has been one of growth and learning, as a student and as a Christian. The classes I took last semester and presently are really interesting and challenge me to open my views and see the greater context of the world. I am gaining a better understanding of the Bible, Christianity, and the historical context of the time, through my religion courses. How has the Hames Scholarship helped you to achieve your goals? EF: This scholarship has allowed me to affordably attend the college of my choice, even though it is a private institution. Growing up in a single-parent household has, at times, been a struggle financially, but I am thankful that with scholarships such as this one, my education has not been hindered. The environment in which I work, study, and live, is one that nurtures and challenges me. I could not find it anywhere else than at Presbyterian College. What are you currently studying? EF: I am currently double-majoring in English and German and minoring in Religion. What are your career goals? EF: I do not know exactly what I want to do with my degree, but I would like to do some sort of writing work, possibly with a mission organization. I began working in PC’s Writing Center last fall, which has helped me become a better writer and given me the opportunity to help my fellow students.

What is your favorite Bible verse? EF: I am particularly fond of Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” This verse speaks to me about how much God will guide me when I let Him, and how full my life is when I entrust it to Him. In return for God’s love, it is impossible to keep quiet; singing to God is one of my favorite ways to praise Him (maybe that is why I chose a verse from Psalm) and I often find myself singing a hymn or praise song. If you could have met Clifford Hames, what would you have asked him? EF: I would have asked Mr. Hames about his life, how he achieved his goals, and how God worked in his life to point him in new directions. I find other people’s stories fascinating and I hope to one day be able to share my life and my knowledge with someone like Mr. Hames shared his with his community. How do you identify with Clifford Hames? How does he inspire you? EF: I identify with Mr. Hames’ pride in public schools. I received a wonderful education growing up in public schools. My public school experience exposed me to a broader spectrum of people and life in downtown Orlando. Mr. Hames’ commitment to furthering his education, despite the political climate at the time, is inspirational. His life shows that dedication to God and perseverance through the world is rewarding. Erin is an exceptional student with a heart for the Lord, and she has fully embraced opportunities to grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially. The Heart of the City Foundation is honored to be a part in supporting her continued education and in sharing the legacy of Clifford Hames to provide a new source of inspiration as she pursues her goals. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship this year, please visit to apply online. Scholarship applications are due April 2, and late applications will not be accepted. To learn more about the Heart of the City Foundation, legacy gifts, or how to become involved, contact Amy Bishop at 407.423.3441 or COLUMNS | 11

Sunday Family Tradition:

Joe & Traci Ort
Interview by Todd McLennan
photo by Todd McLennan

“It’s definitely been one of the best things in our marriage and in our lives.” - Traci Ort


ur Sunday School Classes at First Pres offer a wealth of teaching and relational opportunities to those who invest the time. I recently met with Joe & Traci Ort to discuss how God used our Sunday School Classes to repeat His blessings in their lives , the same way He did in Traci’s parents lives: TM: Can you rewind in your minds to the first time you considered going to Sunday School here at First Pres, and what was the process of finding a class? Traci: I think we were both a little hesitant about going: we were happy coming to the services, and we didn’t know if we would be able to find a Sunday School class that would fit us.

law…not like you were just playing golf and “oh by the way, go to Sunday School” Joe: Yeah…we were actually playing golf! When I met Traci’s family I was struck at how strong her parents’ relationship was, so just the fact that out of everything else he could have told me that’s what he told me…it was enough for me to get over the initial barrier. Then when I got there it was very different than what I thought it would be. It wasn’t just a bunch of couples sitting around talking about their feelings singing “kumbaya”. I guess every Sunday School class is different, but ours is led by Case Thorp, and Case has his doctorate and knows so much about the Scripture that it’s a class. He teaches a class. He has an agenda, a criteria, and I think it’s amazing because we’ll get a piece of scripture that I’ve read before, but then Case will teach on it and he’ll tie in other portions of scripture. It takes you to a whole new level of understanding for scripture. TM: So that aspect is not to do with the social environment: he’s challenging the development of your faith, your doctrine, and your personal beliefs. Joe: Absolutely. TM: How did you choose that class? Joe: I think we were just about to get married and we thought it might be a good idea to go to that…it was targeted towards couples in their twenties and thirties: So that was us. Traci: I think we received some kind of postcard, or we saw something in the bulletin about a couples’ class just starting. We felt very welcomed when we went in there. Chad and Bridget came straight up to us and said “Hi I’m Chad…I’m Bridget…thanks for coming to the class”…so they were just extremely welcoming. TM: Aside from the academic part of it…what happened with the other couples?

“It takes you to a whole new level of understanding for scripture.” - Joe Ort
TM: How long had you been attending the services? Traci: Maybe six months; we started coming here in February of 2008 and we started going to Sunday School here somewhere around October. Joe: In my mind-set you couldn’t convince me to go to a couples’ class 3 years ago, because the first thing a typical guy is thinking, “oh a bunch of couples sitting around sharing feelings-yeah I’d rather watch football or poke my eyes out.” But when we got married, her dad gave me only one piece of advice, “find a Sunday School class and go to it”. I’ve been to their Sunday School class: they’ve had the same class for 35 years, they’ve all had kids together, now they’re having grand- kids together. TM: The conversation sounds like it was very important to you…like this was a big moment with your future father in12 | COLUMNS

Traci: I feel like socially we were keyed in pretty quickly: we met so many different couples in the class and they were all in similar stages of life as we were, either recently married, or about to start a family…a positive group of people with Christian values. Joe: There are a lot of outside Sunday School activities: like when Case has a party at his house every year. Or a couple of times a year we do this thing called “Widow Project” where we go and help a widow with projects around the house. Once you become friends with people other things begin to open up; you start going to dinner and hanging out together.

a Christian group of friends they hang out with; but we spend a lot of time with them and we’ve gotten into a few discussions where they’re just kinda playing devil’s advocate to get some answers and figure out why we are so passionate about it. We have told them about our experience with the relationships we’ve developed in our Sunday School class and the impact we get out of David’s sermons, and the Crown financial ministry that we went through. They ask, “ why are you telling us all of this?”, we tell them, “because it’s been so good for us and ya’ll are good friends of ours and we want you to experience it also.” TM: In other words you care enough that you need to share with them? Traci: We want them to experience all the growth that we’ve experienced because I feel like they want that, but they are hesitant to take that first step maybe because of previous experiences growing up in the church that have not been so positive. Joe: I think our close friends that don’t go to church see how often we hang out with our church friends and I think at least on one occasion that’s led one of my friends to say, “hey what’s this thing that you’re always doing, like who are these people you’re always hanging out with?” We shake each other’s hands in the regular service, but that’s like 30 seconds… I’ve been doing that since I got here and I don’t think I’ve walked away with a friend just from doing that. So, I can see how you could come here for 2 or 3 years and if you don’t take any steps to get plugged in, you could come here and not recognize or know any of the people here by name-which is pretty sad…(with our friends) there’s kind of a net that catches you and brings you back into the fold.

“They were just extremely welcoming.” - Traci Ort
TM: How long have you been in this class? Traci: Since October 2008 TM: And how about for you Traci: has that been cool to see that you’re repeating the blessing that you had in your family? Traci: Yes, and just being there for a little over a year, I see how the friendships have developed and how close we’re getting with other families. We have a lot of friends that have new babies or little children and we’re pregnant right now expecting our first, so it’s really exciting to see all of the babies that our kids are going to grow up with. We’ve already been through so much with them in just a year’s time. So, it’s definitely been one of the best things in our marriage and in our lives. TM: What would you say if you had a chance for a minute to talk to people who are in your previous situation now: maybe they’re new to the church, or for whatever reason they haven’t decided to try a Sunday School class? Joe: I’d say “you have no idea what’s in store for you. Try it!” I would say that church experience without getting plugged into the community has got to be just so different than when you actually have people who can support you and that you can spend time with and go through life together. David is an amazing preacher, but I think part of what drives us to continue in our faith and come to church is the fact that we have friends here and people who hold us accountable. It’ll probably be awkward the first time you go…but, that’s the same way it was when you started the first day of school, or your job, and pretty quickly those barriers start to fall. TM: Have you seen any impact on your appetite or ability to talk to other non-believers about your faith…has this emboldened you at all? Traci: Yes, we have some friends who say they are Christians and believers, but they don’t go to church and they don’t have

“We have friends here and people who hold us accountable.” - Joe Ort
TM: Now…flashing forward to…let’s just say you’re having a daughter…and it’s time for you to give her advice when she’s getting married…what would you say to your daughter and her future husband? Joe: I’d definitely convey the same message as Traci’s dad, because you’re giving so much advice in that one small sentence. when you go to Sunday School , when you spend time studying God’s blueprint for marriage, that’s what builds a healthy marriage. Leigh Swanson came in and taught a class about parenting and how to raise children and I’d never heard of some of the stuff that she had said: I’m so glad I heard it. Traci’s dad could have sat me down and lectured me on parenting and how to treat Traci and…he could have sat me down and tried to teach me every lesson, but instead he said “go get a good teacher” which is a Sunday School class in and of itself. It’s like that old phrase…don’t give a hungry person food, teach him how to fish.

Mom’s Bible
God’s Wisdom for Mothers Notes By Bobbie Wolgemuth
Available in the New Century Version and drawing on solid Bible teaching, it encourages women at every stage of life to strengthen their relationship with God.

Includes these special sections:
• Book Introductions: historical, emotional, and spiritual context for each Bible book • Walking In: Ways that are pleasing to God • Our God Is: Discovering who God is and what He does, based on His words and actions • Godly Character: exhibiting godly qualities in daily living • Passing It On: creating a legacy of faith to inspire the next generation • Moms in the Bible: lessons from some of the Bible’s most famous mothers • Insights: short, practical thoughts on Bible passages from a mom’s perspective • Wonderful Counselor: issues facing moms from the perspective of a Christian therapist • Questions Kids Ask: answering the tough questions about God, the Bible, and Christian life • First Touch Verses: verses to mull over throughout the day • Topical Index

By Carol Welker, Director of Children’s Ministry

“Both my daughters grew in their faith and as individuals.” -Elizabeth Nivison


es. It is that time again. Time to talk about camp. Well this year I’m going to let someone else do the talking! The Nivison’s were a new family this past summer and they have much to say to encourage you to come to camp with them this year. Below are their testimonies about their experiences at Camp Geneva. Elizabeth Nivison – Mom Initially I was comfortable with sending my girls to camp. I prayed about it and thought what a great experience it would be. There was some worry for my youngest to be without mom and dad for four straight days, but I knew both girls were in good hands. I signed up to volunteer one day at camp and was assigned to crafts. My youngest, Sophia, happened to have crafts that day with me. I realized she was totally happy when she didn’t ask to go home. I feel every child should experience Camp Geneva even if it is just once. The last day when my husband and I went to pick up the girls, Sophia actually started crying before leaving. Both she and Samantha made strong connections with their counselors and especially their Jr. Counselors. It was a fun way to learn more about God and experience so many different activities. Both my daughters grew in their faith and as individuals. All I hear about is how they want to go back. Samantha already has plans on being a Jr. Counselor. They talked about prayer time and the friendships they made, as well as the songs they sang and the wonderful time they had. Samantha Nivison - 10 years old My favorite thing about Camp Geneva was going to the lake and playing with my

Jr. Counselors and friends jumping off the dock. We played all kinds of fun games and we talked a lot. I learned that you shouldn’t sit around all day and be lazy and do nothing. You should get up and go outside and go do something for God. At camp you do nothing that is not fun. You get to play a lot and you won’t get sad. You learn new things and make new friends. I would definitely encourage other kids to go. At first I was really nervous, but after a while I just had fun. The counselors are super nice and learning about God makes you feel good. You know you are someone special in his eyes.

“... you will make lots of new friends, you’ll learn a lot about God, and you’ll have lots of fun.”
Sophia Nivison – 8 years old My favorite part of camp was the mud pit! I remember learning to get up and go and to always be with God. If you’re a kid I would tell you that you will make lots of new friends, you’ll learn a lot about God, and you’ll have lots of fun. I would say you need to go to Camp Geneva because you will learn about God in a very fun way and you get to make lots of new friends and there are lots of fun activities. This year at Camp Geneva, we will be studying James 1:2, “Consider it all joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith brings perseverance.” In the last couple of years that have been difficult for everyone, including our children, how do you find joy? And what’s the difference between joy and happiness? We will look at how to live lives of joy, filled with God’s spirit, that overflows to others. And of course all the fun craziness that makes camp. So don’t take it from me. Take it from these folks; Camp Geneva is not something to miss! Come and join the experience that changes lives!


all photos by Don Tutt

Chili Cook-Off
a Fun Event for All!
By Lori Needham, Programming/Special Events
all photos by Todd McLennan

Second Annual


aturday afternoon, January 23, the Angel Wing was properly decorated for a fiesta! The annual competition between the adult Sunday school classes offered eleven different chili recipes to sample, elaborate table decorations, great cornbread, brownies, and beverages. Add all of that to the mingling and fellowship, and fun was had by all! Contributing to the enhancement of the chili tasting experience were great hot dogs and canned sodas. The discerning palates of the judges, our esteemed pastoral staff, enjoyed chili prepared by each class and individually scored each entry. The combined scoring revealed a new winner for 2010. The Servants in the Son Sunday school class will enjoy the coveted chili pepper hat as the trophy for best chili. However, the People’s Choice Award for favorite chili rated the Pass the Word Sunday school class as winner. This year, in partnership with Congregational Life and Children’s Ministry, families enjoyed the event with children’s games and activities on the Great Lawn. Well over 300 mingled, ate their way through the Angel Wing, and perhaps collapsed on the Great Lawn watching children enjoy playing and frolicking on giant inflated obstacle courses. I need not say more! Take a look at some of the fun and if you missed the event, there’s always next year! For more photos, visit



Leigh Swanson to Be Honored for Ministry in Jails
By Scott Lee, Good News Jail & Prison Ministry By Scott Lee, Good News Jail & Prison Ministry


lease mark your calendars to attend the annual banquet for the Orange County chapter of Good News Jail & Prison Ministry on April 15, from 7-9 pm at First Baptist Church of Orlando. Come out to support our own Leigh Swanson, who will receive the Ray D. McCleese Award. Each year the community honors a recipient who has made a significant impact on the lives of inmates, staff, and family members of all affiliated with the incarcerated of Central Florida. The award is named after Ray D. McCleese, who as director of the Orange County Corrections Department, was an ardent supporter of faith-based initiatives in the jail as a means of increasing public safety. As a committed Christian and deacon at his church, he seamlessly and tirelessly advocated for Christians to fulfill Christ’s calling to minister to those behind bars. Upon his death a few years ago, the chaplains suggested presenting this award to a local individual or group whose advocacy in the community and/or service behind bars were of a similar nature to those of Mr. McCleese. Past award recipients include: 2004: Joel Hunter, Pastor of Northland, a Church Distributed 2005: Jim Henry, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church of Orlando 2006: John Crossman, Crossman & Co. and past chair of the President’s Council 2007: Ken & Nona Odom, Former Senior Chaplain for Orange County and his wife 2008: Richard T. Crotty, Mayor of Orange County 2009: Bill Austin, Chaplain, Orange County The speaker for the banquet will be Pastor William Andrews of Heart of Mercy Church, who will tell the story of how God reached him as an inmate. Complimentary tickets are available by contacting Kathy Ikonomidis at 407.423.3441 or Table sponsorships ($500) are also available for those who wish to reserve group seating. Please contact Chaplain Jim Schrader at 407.836.3625 or to sponsor a table.

05 02 10

1.) The yellow strip on the bouncer is now orange. 2.) The boy in the front now has a green shirt instead of blue. 3.) The girl in the front row to the left now has a pink bow instead of white. 4.) One of the pink sandals on the blue mat is now blue. 5.) A boy in the front row now has solid blue socks. 6.) A boy in the front center now has a purple shirt instead of orange. 7.) At the right of the photo, the patches on a boy’s orange shirt are gone. 8.) At the right of the photo, the stripes on a boy’s red shirt are now gone. 9.) At the top row, the skull on a boy’s black shirt is now gone. 10.) The FPCO steeple has disappeared.


(Turn page upside down for the answers). (Turn page upside down for the answers).

God made each of His Children special and different from each other. Can you circle the ten differences between the top photo and the bottom photo?

Hey Kids!

(Keep count of the differences you find by checking off these boxes.)

News & Notices
FPCO’s Response to the Haitian Crisis Our Mission Ministry is continuing to work with mission partners on their efforts to provide financial support, food, medical personnel and medical supplies. For updates from Mission Emmanuel and Clean the World, and to see how you can help, please visit Donate to Mission Aviation Fellowship at to help them as they become a logistics point for aid organizations bringing food, water, medicines, and other relief supplies into Haiti. Donate to Mission Emmanuel at to help them send trucks of purified water from the Cielo Water Treatment Plant that many of our own folks have helped build. Donate to Clean the World at Volunteer Opportunities for Vacation Bible School Vacation Bible School will be held July 12-16 from 9 am– 12noon. There are opportunities to volunteer to become members of the Planning Team in charge of crafts. These volunteers will be required to attend monthly meetings, organize the crafts, and give craft directions to the teachers as well as make craft samples. Volunteer teachers and assistant teachers are also needed for the week of Vacation Bible School. To volunteer, contact Susie Dunlap at 407.423.3441 x1482 or Easter Flower Dedications If you would like to make a dedication in memory or in honor of someone special this Easter season, please go to www. A $10 donation is requested for each dedication, which will be printed in our Sunday Easter Bulletin. The funds are used to purchase flowers that are placed throughout the Sanctuary on Easter Sunday. The deadline to submit your dedication is March 15. For more information, contact Glenda Morgan at 407.423.3441 x1272 or gmorgan@ Join Us for Walk With Me Join us in our church-wide Bible reading plan “Walk With Me” as we follow Jesus through the Scriptures with daily readings through Acts and Paul’s letters. Dr. Swanson and the pastoral team will be preaching through the same passages we are reading together throughout the week. To participate daily, visit If you have any questions or would like to write a devotion, please contact Sarah Mattheus at 407.423.3441 x1497 or Congratulations to: William Christopher (Wil) Brown, II and Natalie Grace Patton were married January 29, 2010 in the Reformation Chapel. Wil is the son of Rebecca and Mike Bedell of FPCO, and Chris and Cheryl Brown of Navarre, FL. Natalie is the daughter of Tom and Dianna Patton of Longwood. Jesse Noyes Stein and Jennifer Lynn Estes were married January 30, 2010 in the Sanctuary. Sympathy to: Kaye and Peyton Keaton, on the death of his mother, Avis Keaton on January 5, 2010. Mrs. Keaton was the grandmother of Kristie Keaton Yarger and Peyton Keaton IV. Marjory Linton, on the death of her husband, Dwight Linton, on January 11, 2010. The Lintons were former missionaries. Earl K. Wood, on the death of his wife, Mary Louise Wood, on January 16, 2010. Dedra Jenkins, on the death of her mother, Christine McClendon, on January 23, 2010. Mrs McClendon was the grandmother of Gaius, Jeremiah, Enoch, Benjamin and Nathaniel. Wes and Amy Bishop, on the death of his grandmother, Catherine Smith-Warden, on January 22, 2010. The family and friends of Margaret Snyder, who died January 26, 2010. The family and friends of Lora Dunlap, who died January 27, 2010. Heather Comer, on the death of her husband, Troy Comer on January 29, 2010. Mr. Comer was the father of Brett Comer.

January 2010 Giving Snapshot
Gen. Operating January Gifts Estate Gifts YTD Operating Contributions YTD Estate Gifts Line of Credit $0 Received $419,262 $2,541 $4,005,558 $365,227 Budgeted $537,000 $800 $4,362,500 $5,600 Surplus/ (Deficit) $(117,738) $1,741 ($356,942) $359,627

Immeasurably More Outstanding Balance $3,752,446 IM Jan. Gifts $15,554 IM Fiscal Year-to-date Gifts $575,302 (net of 10% tithe to Missions) Contact Finance for a full revenue and expense summary.


First Presbyterian Church of Orlando 106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801
The First Presbyterian Columns (USPS 604-040) is published once per month by the First Presbyterian Church. Circulation: 3300. (3000 by US Mail, 300 by on-campus distribution). Periodicals postage paid at Orlando, Florida. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COLUMNS, 106 E. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801-3390. ©2010 First Presbyterian Church of Orlando COLUMNS.


106 East Church Street 407.423.3441


| Orlando, FL 32801

POSTMASTER: Time Sensitive Material Please Deliver by March 3, 2010

TRADITIONAL SERVICES: Sundays, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary GENESIS (CONTEMPORARY) SERVICES: Sundays, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m. in Lee Fellowship Hall

Lent is a season of repentance and contrition. Our hearts cry to be cleaned and our only hope for that is in the cross and Jesus Christ.

Holy Week
Meditative Services 12 noon • Chapel Maundy Thursday Service 6:30 pm • Sanctuary Easter Sunday Services 8:30, 9:45 and 11 am Sanctuary & Lee Fellowship Hall

March 29-April 2

April 1

April 4