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Vol 48, #2 February, 2008

ON THE WAY with Dr. David D. Swanson
Dear FPCO Family and Friends, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to a give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect….so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 In case you haven’t noticed lately, we are in the midst of a political campaign season. Men and women are running for various offices, and the closer we get to November, the more we are going to see stories and ads about every candidate. In recent years, the voting public has grown increasingly tired of what would be called “negative” campaigns – candidates who spend all their time attacking opponents – or who constantly tell you what they are against. Many polls reveal that people are not attracted to that kind of campaign. Because of the strident nature of our culture, I think the church has been unwittingly lured into that kind of approach. Far too often, we are known for the “negative” – for the things we are against – rather than what we are FOR. I have been reading a very eye-opening book lately entitled Unchristian by David Kinnaman. The subtitle is “What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity.” The news is not too good. He writes Research shows that many on the outside of Christian faith have little trust in Christian faith, and esteem for the lifestyle of Christ followers is quickly fading among outsiders. They admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and they reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians. It alters their willingness to commit their lives to Jesus. Peter reminds us that we need to always be ready to give a reason as to why we believe in the hope of the gospel, but we are to do that with gentleness and respect. Is that how we treat others, even those with whom we disagree? To be clear, we are not compromising on what is true, but we need to do a better job of sharing that truth in love. It is that idea that compelled me to create the Orlando Consortium on HIV/AIDS. The church has been pretty clear that she is against homosexuality, yet have we made that point with gentleness and respect? I want the gay community to know that while I may not agree with their choices, I love them nonetheless because Jesus loves them. I often see Christfollowers up in the faces of others – yelling about this issue or that issue – and I wonder how many have ever come to understand the love of Jesus while having someone yell at them or wave a picket sign in their face? To be sure, there are times when we must stand and fight, even as Jesus did in clearing out the temple. However, I would hope that would only be after we have done all we can to love, respect, and invite others into a greater understanding of who Jesus is. My prayer for us as we move into this year is we would be increasingly aware of the witness we bear for Christ. If the culture finds us unattractive, we can’t say, “Well, they pushed us into a corner.” Instead, we have to find a way to reach them. Let’s be a church that is grounded on the Truth of God’s Word, and then let’s share that with gentleness and respect. Let’s be a church that is known far more by what we are FOR, not by what we are against. We’re FOR others, because Christ calls us to be. We’re FOR hope. We’re FOR grace. We’re FOR forgiveness. We’re FOR healing and reconciliation and restoration. We’re FOR warmth and welcome. We’re FOR love. When that’s our approach, I think we will once again become an attractive alternative to those in our world who are lost. I’m FOR you, and I’m FOR the Church of Jesus Christ. With fond affection and love for you, I remain Under His Mercy,

David Swanson, Senior Pastor

GENESIS MOVES TO 11AM
Our Sunday morning worship schedule will change slightly on February 3. The Genesis Service will begin at 11am with music starting at 10:55am in Lee Fellowship Hall. Families with young children, k-3rd grade, may drop off their children in Allen Hall before the Genesis service for their own age-appropriate worship experience. 2 | www.fpco.org

UNDERSTANDING WORSHIP

DURING LENT
By Rebecca Bedell, Minister of Worship and Culture
Lent is a time of preparation – much like Advent. Where Advent prepares us to understand the significance of the birth of our Savior, Lent prepares us to understand the significance of His death and ultimate resurrection. Worship takes on a different tone during these liturgical seasons of the year. As we design worship, we search for ways to help set that tone of preparation through liturgy, music and the arts. In Advent we light candles on the Advent Wreath to visually signify the approaching birth of our Savior. During Lent we begin with all the candles lit and we extinguish a candle each week to visually signify our preparation for the death of Christ. The candle stands are black metal and are shaped like palm fronds. We know that on Palm Sunday Christ was heralded into the city by the crowds waving palms and shouting “Hosanna” – but not long after, those same crowds would call for his crucifixion. The blackness of the palm candle holder reminds us that while that day started out joyous – it ended much differently. Musically, we make some changes in the service music. During this season of Lent, we will sing the first verse of “What Wondrous Love is This?” instead of the doxology as we prepare to give our tithes and offerings. The text helps us to focus on the amazing love Christ had for us as He willingly prepared for His own death.
What wondrous love is this oh my soul? What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of Bliss to bear the heavy cross for my soul?

The exquisite floral arrangements each week that are dedicated to worship are far more than just pretty flowers. They are considered a visual art form and at FPCO they are intentional symbols of worship. Sometimes it is in the choice of flower or the color or the type of arrangement. This year they will be even more intentional. Arrangements for the communion table and the pedestals will be created by our volunteer floral design team. They will be placed on the first Sunday of Lent, February 10 - and then they will be left to die as we progress through Lent. Palms will be added on Palm Sunday, but nothing more. This stirring visual will help to remind us all about the decay that sin causes on our souls and the upcoming death of Christ. As you enter the Lenten season come to worship with a heightened awareness. Be aware of what you see around you, the liturgy that has been chosen, the music that you sing and hear in the presentational pieces – all of these elements are prayed over, carefully planned and created to give honor and glory to our God and to draw you as a worshipper into God’s presence. Your worship bulletin can also be used throughout the week during your

daily time with God. Take it home with you and refer to it during the week. Our prayer is that all these elements of worship come together in a way that helps you to experience Lent as a true time of preparation, both in the worship services and during the week. n

A string around yo ur note on your fridg finger. A Post It e. A WWJD bracelet. These things ar e could add Ash W “reminders.” We ednesday to the lis t. “But isn’t Ash Wed nesday a Catholic thing?” I’m sure yo u’ asked this questio ve heard or even n yourself. Actual ly it’s a Christian thin g that grew out of Jewish tradition. Putting ashes on our heads is a type of pe the Old Testamen nitence found in t. Ash Wednesday is also considered a day of fasting. Ash Wednesday sig nals the beginning of Lent – whi ch leads us throug h Holy Week and ul tim of Easter. We cann ately to the joy ot the beauty of Easte fully understand r through the darkne without walking ss of Lent. Fast, if you are ab le, and join us fo r the Ash Wednesd ay worship servic e on February 6th at 6: and receive the im 30pm. Come position of ashes. “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall retu rn.” Genesis 3:19
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Ash Wednesday Remember and

Prepare

THE BLESSINGS OF OBEDIENCE:
hen did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matt. 25:39-40 “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners…” Hebrews 13:3 There are some commandments of scripture that are very challenging for Christians in our culture to obey. The commands to visit and remember our brothers and sisters in prison definitely are among these. Although it has become commonplace for me to spend time in America’s jails and prisons, I always remember the first time I visited an inmate. It was scary, overwhelming, and very uncomfortable. My role with the ministry now involves me taking many visitors into jails and prisons for their first ever visit and their nervousness going in always takes me back to that scary first visit. I have found this to be a common experience in my spiritual journey. God always seems to delight in taking me places that make me uncomfortable. Scripture confirms this with places like “The valley of the shadow of death,” promises like
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Visiting Our Brothers and Sisters Behind Bars
By Scott Lee

“W

“In this life you will have suffering,” or commands like “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” To be fair, it is in these uncomfortable (and downright terrifying) places that God blesses in unique and powerful ways. Jail has become this type of experience for me. When I started as a volunteer nine years ago, I used to go to jail because I thought I might be able to minister there. Almost immediately I learned I have much to gain from the experience. In the Gospels, Jesus pointed out that the person who has been forgiven of less also loves less. This has been illustrated to me so many times. Every time I show up in a jail or prison, whether or not I have ever been there previously, I am received with huge expressions of love and appreciation. The offenders are so excited that anyone would come to minister to them that they are very loving and grateful. In addition to great love, I have also seen amazing worship. I will never forget being led in worship by a young man named Jerry. He came into the chapel in a Colorado prison and immediately I was struck by his leadership ability. He was wearing blue, just like all the other inmates, yet he seemed like

a man among boys. Immediately the image of a lean, muscular, tall Zulu warrior in his mid 30’s came to mind. A warm smile flashed across his face as he shared with the group in attendance some verses that had taught him about worship over his 26 years in that prison. I was blown away. This Christian brother was talking about praising the God who had left him in prison for over half his life. Make no mistake, his crimes had earned that time. But I know my own tendencies: When I am bearing consequences for my own poor choices, I often ask God for mercy and delivery from the consequences. I also get upset when I feel like He isn’t listening. How many times had Jerry prayed for mercy in his sentence to no avail? How many times had he begged God for hope? I was struck by shame as I realized I might still not be talking with God if I had been in prison for 26 years. Then, this amazing brother dropped to his knees and led us in three worship songs from his knees. I was weeping. It was in that prison that I learned about worship for the first time in my life. God doesn’t deserve my worship because He does good things for me. God is worthy of my worship, even if He leaves me in a prison for 26 years. I have found that others who go in with me also learn much about God. I asked Leigh Swanson to write about her experience. Over a year ago, Scott stopped me after church one Sunday and asked me if I would consider teaching a Bible study at the jail. I love to teach and I knew biblically that we were called to visit prisoners…but I never considered really going to the jail! I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit. It became clear to me that this conversation was not Scott asking me to do him a favor. This conversation was with the Lord and he was asking me to obediently follow Him. Just before Christmas 2006, I went to the Orange County Work Release Facility on Kaley to teach their daily Bible study. Sixty inmates, men and women, sat patiently as I entered the room. Scott introduced me. Nervously, I walked to the front. The inmates stood, raised their hands and in unison declared enthusiastically, “Blessed is she who comes in the name of the Lord.” I have never received such a warm and moving welcome. As I taught, the inmates asked tough questions and made insightful comments. It was clear that they were looking for hope…hope that through Jesus Christ their lives could be transformed. I visited with some of the women after the study. They were wives and mothers. They were kind and appreciative. In many ways, they were just like me. As I walked to my car, I began to cry. God had shown me that it was only by His grace that I was not sitting in jail myself. In humble thanksgiving for the grace God has shown me, I keep going back to the jail. Another thing I have seen is the effectiveness of going where God sends us to minister. The ministry I work with places full time chaplains in jails and prisons to act as a pastoral presence in those facilities. We have 450+ chaplains in 24 states and 23 countries. In 2006, these chaplains saw 116,000 men, women, and children trust Christ through their ministry. That is an amazing 260 people per chaplain turning their lives over to Christ each year. Christ sends us to the jails, hospitals, homeless shelters, orphanages and other places for ministry to those in crisis. I believe it is because the horrible circumstances prepare peoples’ hearts for the Gospel. You don’t need a degree in apologetics to share the Gospel in a jail. You only need to show up with a Bible and people will stand in line. They know what they are doing isn’t working and need hope. The ministry founder said “If you are going to fish for men, why not fish in a stocked pond?” The jail is certainly a “stocked pond” but

there are many other “stocked ponds” available to us at FPCO. Whether you go with me to the jail, take a trip to the Dominican Republic, serve at Compassion Corner, or go on a mission trip to Africa, you will find that need prepares people for the Gospel. You will also find an amazing blessing awaits you. You can’t get the full blessing by sending money, although funding is certainly important. The full blessing comes with our obedience to the command “Go and preach the Gospel.” n
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CALLING ALL WHO ARE YOUNG AT HEART
Senior adults are one of the larger populations at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando - a vital part of the life and ministry of the church. There is a desire to serve the Lord and a sense of responsibility that is evident in the large numbers of senior adults who participate in the various ministries of the church. “Young @ Heart” is one such ministry - a gathering of senior adults led by senior adults for the purpose of fellowship, encouragement, and genuine care for one another in the Lord. In a recent interview with several members involved in this ministry, Kay Pricher, a member of the Young @ Heart Council, heard many wonderful expressions of the value of this ministry. A former president and current council member, DeDe Neusaenger shares that after her tenure there was a period of time when YAH did not exist. It became evident to the Congregational Care Ministry of the importance of having a special time for Senior Adults to have fellowship. Dede is currently active in YAH and brings an historical perspective to the council. When asked “What does YAH mean to you?” she responded, “It is all about belonging. When we see YAH, we know we have identity with a group of caring people who share and enjoy Christian fellowship. It lifts our spirits!” Another member of the council, Bonnie Rhea and her husband Bud said that “Young at Heart provides an opportunity for the pillars of the church to gather, visit, celebrate and ensure that we stay Young at Heart.” It quickly became clear to Kay that this ministry provides much more than just a gathering. When June Ross was asked “What does Young at Heart mean to you?” she responded, “It means everything to me.” Mary Campbell says, “YAH has been a blessing to me after I lost my husband Charles. It has given me a new lease on life. I look forward to being with my friends at church.” The council’s secretary Loretta Fiebrandt and her husband Bob said that it means an opportunity to come together with others of our age group to share a mutual faith and enjoy a social relationship. If you want to have fun, enjoy a good program and have a delicious lunch, please join us. We look forward to seeing you!! n Young At Heart also plans outings and activities. For more information call Sharon Brandenburg at the church.

1 Friday, February 10:30am – 12noon all Lee Fellowship H kers: Wheels for Guest Spea the World Ministry the door Cost is $8; pay at RSVP by Jan 30 to Sharon at x1159 2008 Friday, March 7, 10:30 – 12noon all Lee Fellowship H ration Heritage Celeb ations required Cost is $8; reserv to RSVP by March 6 x1159 Sharon at

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USING THE TELEPHONE TO SHARE & CARE

The Bill Bright Global Training Center
Did you know that 2500 U.S. churches close their doors and disappear every year?! Vision360 is a church planting movement seeking to reverse that trend. Their mission is to saturate influential and rapidly-growing cities around the world with impacting and reproducing churches. The goal of Vision360 is bringing glory to God by training leaders to reach the lost through impacting churches that transform cities. Vision360 was founded in 2004 by Al & Doreen Weiss and Steve & Lynne Johnson. Al Weiss, who is President of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Chairman of Vision360, felt called by God to begin a church planting movement. The son of a church planter, Al’s passion for God along with his business expertise has greatly impacted the mission of Vision360. Steve Johnson, the President of Vision360, is an experienced pastor and church planter having helped start over 500 churches across the US. Vision360 will begin general construction on the Bill Bright Global Training Center, with a ground breaking this summer. The training center will accommodate up to 1,000 participants in both small and large group settings. In addition to leadership training, it will also be used by Campus Crusade, a Vision360 church, and a host of national and international ministries. Vision360 shares the vision that Dr. Bill Bright had for the cultivation of Christian leaders, in a place that would raise up leaders committed to Biblical truth and missional effectiveness. Dr. and Mrs. Bright have been members of FPCO since their arrival to Orlando and it is such a privilege to help fulfill his dream of creating a Christian leadership training center. If you would like more information on Vision 360 and the Bill Bright Global Training Center, contact Paige Greninger, Associate Vice President of Development, at 407-482-6103 or at paige.greninger@vision360.org. n

Every member is a part of our community and, we hope, involved in ministry. One of the goals of “community” is encouraging each other - caring for the membership through the highs and lows of life. “Telecare” is a new ministry opportunity for the body to care for one another. The ministry involves making phone calls to the membership. These phone calls will not be about financial requests, or phone-tree style information. The phone call will be simply to encourage members in their walk with Christ and to let them know that they matter. Telecare is an opportunity for the body of Christ to minister to one another. We are ready to begin this new opportunity with two teams. Phone calls will begin in February. However, because of the size of the congregation, we will not be able to call everyone at first. Calls will increase as more people get involved. The Telecare Ministry has the potential of drawing the body of Christ closer together in meaningful and genuine relationship. If you have an interest in being part of a team contact Sam Knight, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care. n

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Living Life Together is

What it’s All About
By Eugenia R. Sefcik Over twenty years ago a group of five women from First Presbyterian Church started a small group Bible study on Wednesday mornings. We initially came together as an outreach ministry whose purpose was for women to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and to grow in our relationship with Him and one another. We have had the opportunity to complete a variety of studies, everything from Campus Crusades’ Practical Christian Living to Beth Moore’s Fruit of the Spirit. We have learned a lot about Jesus and the way He wants us to live. We have also loved, laughed, cried and prayed together, imperfect women who have a desire to become more like Christ. There are currently fourteen women in our group, young, mature, married, single, some with children, others with grandchildren, several without children, different denominations and backgrounds. Because of this I have asked several of them to tell you what this small group has meant to them. Four years ago my husband and I had just moved into our new home and shortly after, Eugenia came knocking on our door to introduce herself and “Oh by the way, I would love it if you would join our Bible study”. I had grown up in a religious family, but had just recently given my life to Christ. I was so intimidated at first; I really didn’t know the Bible. I feared looking ignorant in front of all of these Godly women. But, they took me under their wing and really seemed to love it when they had to take extra time to explain anything to me. I was so amazed in learning that the Bible is a guidebook for every aspect of our everyday life. I had never thought of it that way before. I can now say that I have found the joy and peace of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it is growing every day through my church and the time spent with this special group of women. -Kathleen Lyon
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Having been for years in a search for “meaning” in and for my life, I was invited to join a Bible study group, I thought, why not, the other avenues I have tried don’t seem to be working so let’s see what this is about.’ This adventure was to be a new experience for me since I had never been exposed to the Bible in any detail nor had I spent any real close time with Christian women. Over the past two years I have experienced profound growth in ways I never thought possible. As a result of opening my mind and heart, taking suggestions and being blessed with kind and loving women who have shared their hearts, their beliefs, and their questions, my life will never be the same. The gratitude for this change is more than I can write in words. When I think of the loving presence I now have in my life, who I call God, I get tears of joy in my eyes and know that I am truly blessed. I believe that I am not the same person I was when I began these studies and am eager to continue this Christian walk and share it with others who have been lost like me. -Lisa Schultz As a member of a small group, my greatest joy is derived from the women that God has placed in my life. We represent many walks of life: working moms, empty nesters, single and married women, and both young and young at heart. Despite our different perspectives, we all have one thing in common – we all desire to have a closer relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. This unique bond transcends the obvious differences between us. We can only pray that more believers will have the opportunity to experience a small group for themselves. -Janice Divine It is amazing to me the way God orchestrates the events in our lives. I do not for a minute think that this is a coincidence. Brenda and Jerry Botts began attending our church a year ago; nine months ago they had a beautiful baby daughter who they named Brianna who was also born with

I have experienced profound growth in ways I never thought possible.

a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18. Carrie Beth Guglielmi met Brenda at the hospital and contacted me because I had a daughter twelve years ago with the same genetic abnormalities. Children with this chromosome disorder do not live. Our daughter lived seven weeks which we counted as a blessing from God. Brianna is nine months old which is truly a miracle. Brenda and I were strangers but because of our circumstances we have a bond that is deep: two women going through the trials of life together. Brenda has ministered to me with a baby who will not live, helping me to remember the joys of that Christmas twelve years ago when Elizabeth was alive. In return I have been able to share my experience taking care of a baby that has many special needs and how God helped me deal with the loss of a child. Brenda shares her thoughts about our relationship and small group: When Eugenia invited me to join their Bible study group, I didn’t know what to expect. Amazing, is all I can say now. I have learned that all of us have our battles to fight in life, our ups and downs, good days and bad. Together, as a group we help each other, pray for each other and talk. One particular time that stands out for me is when my infant daughter, Brianna, was scheduled for open heart surgery. The group encircled Brianna and me and prayed for her safety and successful surgery. It was a very spiritual and touching moment. It’s not just the group though; it’s also what I have learned from the lessons. There is always something from each one that speaks to me and stays with me. Eugenia, I can’t tell you how much you have helped me to appreciate the time I have had with Brianna. You, without a doubt, are one person who truly understands my position. For six months I have been waiting for my daughter to die. Finally, after turning her situation over to Christ, I

feel peace. I really do. And I would never have done that it if wasn’t for you and the Bible study classes I attended with the group. These last five months have been less stressful, I am finally watching Brianna live, not waiting for her to die and I praise God every single day for her. I believe in my heart that joining this particular small group has been a gift to me from God. -Brenda Botts We are fourteen imperfect women who want to live our lives for Christ, learn more about Him and be in relationship with other Christians. When someone is in need everyone steps in to do what is necessary to help each other. When I was diagnosed with cancer several years ago every person offered to drive children, help with errands and prepare dinner for our family. I love the women in this group; tears come my eyes when I think of them because they are so special to me. My hope and prayer is that every person at First Presbyterian Church will become a member of a small group so they will have a group of believers to support one another when trials come, to laugh with, to cry with, to pray with and to live life with. We are members of a large church; the ministers cannot meet everyone’s needs. Therefore it is critical that you connect with a group of others who can support you; otherwise you can become discouraged and detached. God calls us into community with other believers. I am blessed to have this group of women to live life with. l

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Congratulations to:
Becky and Jeffrey Junod on the birth of their twins, Piper McClain and Prescott Price, born on October 5, 2007. Jane Anne Short and Richard Wright Lee, Jr. who were married December 29, 2007. Amy and Trey Clayton, on the birth of their son, Parker Thompson, on December 5, 2007. Proud grandparents are Joan and Ken Clayton.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ - Galatians 6

Sympathy to:
Linda Thorpe, on the death of her mother, Beulah Maney on December 5, 2007. Bobbie Deitenbeck on the death of her husband, William Deitenbeck, Sr. on December 14, 2007. Corbin and Lee Ann Johnson on the death of his mother, Mary Johnson, on December 18, 2007. Bert and Gerri Padron on the death of his sister, Anna Marie Padron, on December 16, 2007. Dwight Sample on the death of his wife, Bettye Sample, on December 23, 2007. Virginia King, on the death of her husband, Dr. Herb King, on December 25, 2007. Nancy Larsen on the death of her father, James Halcrow, on December 25, 2008. Jean Spelzhausen on the death of her husband, Fred Spelzhausen, on December 29, 2007. Mike and Sandie McRory and their children Jacob and Sean, on the death of her father, David Kilbourne, on January 7, 2008.

Stephen Ministry
When people hurt or suffer, they deserve the very best care and support we can offer. That’s why our congregation has Stephen Ministers. Their training, commitment, and service make them the best at providing Christian care. Please contact Tammas Smith at tsmith@fpco.org or 407-423-3441 x1445.

Walking the Mourner’s Path
This spring we will also offer Walking the Mourner’s Path, a program which helps to transform grief into joyful living. Walking the Mourner’s Path is not group therapy, but is spiritually directed. Through the eight-week support group, mourners will learn ways in which they may honor their loved ones, seek spiritual direction and discover Christ’s promise of comfort. To register, please contact Tammas Smith at tsmith@fpco.org or 407-423-3441 x1445.

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NEWS & NOTICES
Women’s Cancer Support Group
We are a comforting place for women to come and share, compare notes, and get information and help that they need while dealing with cancer. Everyone, members and visitors, are invited to attend our meetings the 4th Thursday evening of every month at 7pm. For more information, contact Sharon Brandenburg at * sbrandenburg@fpco.org or (407-423-3441 x1159.

Save the Date: Fun Opportunities to Support On-campus Missions
April 11: Golf Tournament for the Tots to support Infant Child Care Center scholarships. April 15: A Taste of Compassion fundraiser to support our ministry to the homeless.

Financial News
The December monthly Giving Snapshot is not available at the time of publication due to the volume of year end gifts. Please look for both the December 07 & January 08 reports in the next issue.

DivorceCare for Adults and Children
DivorceCare is a Christ-centered eight week support program conducted by people who understand what you are experiencing. DivorceCare for Kids helps children ages 5 -12 cope with their own responses to this family change. Child care is offered for infants to 4 years of age by advanced registration. Mark your calendars for the next session which begins May 1. To register, please contact Sharon Brandenburg at * sbrandenburg@fpco.org or (407-423-3441 x1159.

Volunteers Needed to Mentor Job Seekers
The Mercy Corridor Initiative is a unique collaboration between our church, Heart of Mercy Church and The Jobs Partnership. At the core is a 12-week Life & Work job readiness class for those unemployed or underemployed. Taught by local pastors and business leaders, it will truly prepare participants for the world of work. Please consider serving as a mentor, job counselor, hospitality team member or prayer partner. The class runs February 12 – May 13. Please contact l Allison Beck at * abeck@earthlink.net or (407-489-3422 as soon as possible to indicate your interest!

Women’s Ministry Retreat
The Annual Women’s Retreat, for women of all ages, will be held June 6-8 at the Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora. This will be a time to relax, reflect, refresh, and “Walk with Jesus.” A Retreat gift certificate would be a great Valentine’s present. Retreat information, along with gift certificates, will be available under the Angel Wing on Sundays beginning February 3. For more information, contact Lori Needham at * lneedham@fpco.org or (407-423-3441 x 1463.

Disciple Now Student Ministry Retreat on Feb 15-17
Volunteers are still needed to support this discipleship retreat to our middle school and high school students. Could you help prepare a meal? Be a prayer partner? Provide a partial scholarship for a student? You don’t have to be a parent to participate. This is a great time for our church family to gather in support of our youth. To volunteer, please call Jeannette in the Student Ministry office at (407-423-3441 x2350.

Men’s Thirsty Thursday Meets Feb 7 at 6:50am
Thirsty Thursday is a once-a-month men’s gathering to enjoy fellowship, and to discuss subjects that are challenging and relevant to men. All men are invited to join us February 7 at 6:50am in Lee Fellowship Hall to hear Rev. Sam Knight discuss “Men Don’t Take Baby Steps, Do They?”

Upward Basketball Season is Here
Literally hordes of elementary children and their families convene in our gym on Saturdays for Upward Basketball season. The season is in full swing and runs through March 1. On Sunday, March 2 all participants are invited to join FPCO in worship. Upward Basketball is a unique and successful evangelism outreach to families. This program is run by volunteer coaches and friends who provide half-time devotions and opening prayers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Alice Fortunato at (407-423-3441 or * afortunato@fpco.org

Easter Flower Dedications
The Worship Arts Ministry invites you to honor a special person by making a flower dedication for Easter. These donations make it possible for our sanctuary to shine and rejoice on Easter morning for our risen Lord. Donations of $10 or more and a completed form are due by March 3. The dedications will appear in the Palm Sunday bulletin. For more information please contact Glenda Morgan in the Worship Arts Ministry office.

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SUNDAYS ARE

FOR K-KIDS

GREAT

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GET TO KNOW
Memorable. That is often the description of Carol Welker who leads our ministry to children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. You have seen her wear crazy costumes while telling the children’s story during our worship services, frequently with outrageous props. However, if you were to close your eyes and just listen to what she is saying you would hear the earnest and simple telling of Biblical truths and guidance on how to be a disciple of Christ. How do you minister to children? First you have to get the children’s attention and then their interest. Larger than life, “Missy Carol” is her alter ego to make the children feel loved and comfortable. When a 4-year old boy recently had difficulty saying goodbye to his mother when he was dropped off for Vacation Bible school, several of the moms who were volunteering as teachers tried to comfort him to no avail. After 30 minutes of crying, Missy Carol approached the boy. Grabbing a flashy “spy tool” from her costume, in a few minutes she was able to calm him and ask him to guard this very special spy tool…and he would need to do that all week. The little boy smiled and said yes, he would come back tomorrow because he knew this was an important job. It is a lot of fun being with these children. But the role of teacher is one taken very seriously by Carol. She is the first to tell you she alone can not do what is needed to educate and equip these children for a life in Christ. There are so many people involved in this ministry to children. Parent volunteers who teach Sunday School each week, youth helping with special events and other adults who love children give of their time and talents. It is a wonderful community of adults who work together sharing their passion for the Lord. A group of flawed and imperfect people who are sharing their faith journey together--- the ups and downs. Carol will freely tell you that she has come to her life in Christ through a bumpy road. There was a period in her life when she didn’t speak to her parents, was spending time partying and Carol did not have a personal relationship with Christ.

But all of these experiences make up the Carol we know and love. She can bake a “mac-daddy” biscuit from scratch, professionally care for your lawn, entertain tens of thousands with physical comedy...........and yet, her greatest asset is her willingness to fully experience life. Carol is a disciple of Christ, her savior! Did you hear me? Carol doesn’t hold back. She is willing to do whatever, whenever, however to fulfill the call God has placed on her life. Last spring, Carol went to the dermatologist to have a cyst removed. No big deal. The doctor suggested a full body check, as they do with anyone over forty. Then those words came, “you have cancer.” Since we live in Florida, many of us will hear that diagnosis. But he quickly said she had the bad kind of cancer – melanoma. Her schedule filled up fast with appointments for testing, to see a surgeon, oncologist etc. After the initial shock, Carol realized there were quite a few people in her life who had dealt with cancer. God puts those people in her life, so she would talk with them. With so many doctors to see, the first visits started to take on a routine. Fill out the paperwork, wait in a room, they ask you some questions…but invariably the question that seems to be asked first was “you work for a church?” Remember that “memorable” description of Carol…seems like when she returned for her second visits at the doctors they all remembered her. There was her opening. Carol realized that as she went through this experience she had the opportunity to share Jesus Christ with these people. She wanted to be memorable…for them to remember that nice and crazy lady who invited them to attend church with her. The surgery removed all of the cancer, tests showed no reason for further treatment and Carol’s doctor monitors her to keep her healthy. Through prayer, a commitment to follow God’s call on her life and a passion for fully experiencing life, Carol is at peace. It is her complete willingness to openly share her relationship with God, and experience life fully that makes Carol a gifted ministry leader. For our children, this is a roadmap for a long and healthy relationship with God. n
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The Lenten Sermon Series • Dr. David Swanson Preaching
February 17, 2008 Rejected by Soldiers Matthew 27:27-31 Jesus’ rejection begins with the soldiers, those whose eyes and ears were closed to Him. They could not see Him, so they mock and ridicule Him – as do we. February 24, 2008 Rejected by the Disciples Matthew 26:47-50, 69-70; 27:55-56 The church is a body filled with flawed and sinful people. By definition, it is hard for the church to follow Christ, and what we see today is that yes, sometimes the church even rejects Christ. March 2, 2008 Rejected by the Father Matthew 27:45-50 We cannot understand the rejection of the Son by the Father, but by it, we know it will NEVER happen to us. March 9, 2008 The Gift from Rejection: Beauty for Ashes Isaiah 62:1-5 Because he was rejected, and because he was despised, we receive his gift – the holy exchange of our ashes for His beauty. March 16, 2008 – Palm Sunday Would You Like to Dance Psalm 30 Palm Sunday starts with great joy, but ends with tears. It is by those tears and Jesus’ willingness to suffer that our lives can experience the exact opposite. Our mourning can become dancing by the power of the cross. March 30, 2008 – Easter Transformed by Hope Corinthians 15:1-10, 47-58 The evidence for the resurrection is strong, and when we embrace it, we are infused by something that changes our future – and our present. It is HOPE.

Special Services during Lent
Ash Wednesday February 6, 6:30pm in the Sanctuary Holy Week Prayer Services Monday March 17 – Friday March 21, Noon in the Chapel Maundy Thursday March 20 – 6:30pm in the Sanctuary Good Friday Tenebrae Concert March 21 – 7:00pm in the Sanctuary Easter Sunday March 23 - 8:30, 9:45 and 11am in the Sanctuary, and 11am Genesis in Lee Fellowship Hall

First Presbyterian Church of Orlando
106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801
The First Presbyterian Columns (USPS 604-040) is published once per month, except for twice in March, by the First Presbyterian Church. Circulation: 4750. (3750 by US Mail, 1000 by on campus distribution). Periodicals postage paid at Orlando, Florida. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COLUMNS, 106 E. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801-3390. ©2008 First Presbyterian Church of Orlando COLUMNS.

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106 East Church Street Orlando, FL 32801 FPCO Main Office: ( 407-423-3441 www.fpco.org Traditional Services: 8:30am & 11am Genesis Service: 11am Sunday School: 9:45am

POSTMASTER: Time Sensitive Material Please Deliver by January 28, 2008