First Church will observe Holy Communion on Sunday, June 14. Please join us for worship and communion on our website at fumchurch.com on Sunday morning. Our worship services are pre-recorded; therefore, you can join us any time after 7 a.m. To partake in Holy Communion, use your own crackers or bread and fruit juice while our pastors provide instructions. All are welcome!
First United Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg announces plans to continue holding all worship services and other activities online for now, even as some Pennsylvania counties move to the yellow phase of the COVID-19 quarantine.
First Church closed its building to the public in mid-March, following recommendations established by the Susquehanna Conference of The United Methodist Church and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“First Church is committed to ensuring the safety of its members and the public,” said Senior Pastor Dennis R. Keller. “Until restrictions are lifted and we can hold larger gatherings, we will continue to hold worship and other activities online.”
“Public health officials advise that in the yellow phase indoor gatherings be limited to 25 people,” Keller continued. “Even if we gather in multiple spaces throughout our building, we will still have to exclude most of our congregation. Nor can we welcome new members into our congregation.”
While First Church has temporarily closed its doors, its ministry in the Mechanicsburg community has remained active. Congregants gather online weekly for worship, Christian education classes, and other small group events. The church also has arranged for collections of food and personal care items to help local residents in need, and continues to stock the Little Free Food Pantry on its property.
First Church looks forward to the day when we can safely gather as a church community again.
“Until then, we ask the community to please pray with us in this time of national crisis,” Keller said. “Pray for the suffering and the grieving, for the helpers and the researchers, and for public servants and community leaders.”
First Church’s staff continues to accept calls and emails at this time. Members of the public are invited to contact the church at 717.766.4611 or email@example.com.
The world has changed in profound and unimaginable ways since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but the church’s mission remains the same.
To that end, the pastors of First Church will present “Different World, Same Mission,” a new sermon series, during worship services in June. Messages will focus on the Great Commission (Matthew 28), and specifically the four gifts Jesus calls us to bring to a world in the midst of unprecedented change.
First Church’s building is currently closed for the safety of our members and the public, but our ministry is very much alive! Join us online to enjoy pre-recorded weekly worship services. Go to fumchurch.com, and click on the “sermon” link at the top on the homepage. See the Daily Bible Reading Plan here.
June 7 Patience
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
One of the hardest things in our world today is waiting on God’s timing. Many of us are frustrated, wanting everything to return to normal. Knowing that our present and our future belong to Jesus, we bring the gift of patience to a troubled world. Click here to view the sermon.
June 14 Community
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…
Many of us struggle with isolation, but social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Jesus modeled community for us and calls us to build a loving community that welcomes everyone. Click here to view the sermon.
June 21 Obedience
…and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
Where do we turn for answers in this troubled world? Jesus calls us to anchor our lives in his teaching and to share his life-changing message with others. Click here to view the sermon.
June 28 Certainty
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Uncertainty about the future can create stress, anxiety and frustration. Whatever tomorrow brings, we are certain that Jesus is always with us. Click here to view the sermon.
First Church will observe 143 Day, a celebration of the life of Fred Rogers and his lifelong effort to promote kindness in the world.
143 Day, celebrated on May 22 (the 143rd day of the year), is a statewide movement to inspire kindness and neighborly deeds. Those who wish to participate are encouraged to share their acts of kindness on social media at #143PA.
Rogers created and starred in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the beloved children’s series that ran on PBS from 1968 to 2001. The late children’s television pioneer often spoke of “143” as representative of the brand of goodness he wanted to bring to the world. There’s one letter in “I,” four in “love,” and three in “you” – hence, 143.
Born in the small town of Latrobe, the cardigan-wearing ordained minister was proud of his Pittsburgh-area roots.
First Church invites everyone to join us in celebrating!
First Church will hold a Rejoicing Spirits worship service on Sunday, May 24 at 4:00 p.m. All are welcome! New for the month of May, we will be worshipping via Zoom video conference! If you had ever wanted to attend, but not able to, this is a great opportunity. The service will include music, scripture, prayer and a brief message. To join in the service, please contact Pastor John Shellenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday afternoon.
The service is specially designed and adapted for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.
Rejoicing Spirits services are held on the fourth Sunday of each month. To view the April service, click here.
First Church is joining with other area congregations to collect personal care items to help local families in need.
Collections will continue on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of First Church, 135 W. Simpson St., Mechanicsburg through the end of June.
The items will be donated to Mission Central in Mechanicsburg. Requested items include laundry detergent, hand towels, feminine hygiene products, band aids, toothpaste, liquid concentrate household cleaner, travel size shampoo, deodorant and soap, blue/black ink pens, pencils.
In addition, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church will collect non-perishable food items, also on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, at its 132 E. Main St. location. The donated items will support the Little Free Pantry/Blessing Boxes in our community.
We will be sharing a new playlist on Spotify the first Wednesday of each month.
For Spotify users, search for the user First UMC of Mechanicsburg, and click on the playlist titled “Where Words Fail, Music Speaks”. If you don’t have a Spotify account, you can easily create one for free!
For non-Spotify users, click on this link to listen to the playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5rbHEYEfHei97cUI8rjwNJ?si=qzOB7cTVRg6iAU1L4BY2hA.
Welcome to the Great Fifty Days, which began on Easter Sunday and continues through the Day of Pentecost. It is the most joyous season in the Christian year as we celebrate the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church. In this time of uncertainty, we are Easter people!
Find the Daily Bible Reading Plan here.
Have you ever had a friend who changed your life?
In the recent movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, TV legend Fred Rogers helps a skeptical friend overcome great emotional pain by showing kindness, listening to his story, and encouraging him to forgive. Mister Rogers accepts his friend as a child of God, and reminds us that every day we have opportunities to love our neighbors.
In May, the pastors of First Church will present a new sermon series based on messages from the beloved children’s television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The sermons invite us to express our feelings, to know that we are loved and accepted, and to practice kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and love for our neighbors:
Sunday, May 3 “Feelings Are Okay” (Luke 7:36-50)
“There is no normal life that is free from pain … There are many ways you can deal with pain without hurting yourself or others. You can pound a lump of clay, or swim as fast as you can, or play the lowest keys on the piano all at the same time.” Click here to view the Sermon.
Sunday, May 10 “Prodigal” (Luke 15:11-32)
“I’ve never met anyone like you before. I don’t believe you are broken. … I know you are a man of conviction, a person who knows the difference between what is wrong and what is right. Try to remember the relationship with your father also helped to shape those parts. He helped you become what you are.” Click here to view the Sermon.
Sunday, May 17 “Anything Mentionable Is Manageable” (John 14)
“Death is something many of us are uncomfortable speaking about. But to die is to be human. And anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable.” Click here to view the Sermon.
Sunday, May 24 “Forgiveness and Reconciliation” (Matthew 18:21-35)
“… Think about all the people who loved us into being. They will come to you.” Click here to view the Sermon.
Sunday, May 31 “Practice, Practice, Practice” (Galatians 5:22-26)
“There’s no person in the whole world like you. I like you just the way you are.” Click here to view the Sermon.
During this Easter season, First Church invites you to joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! This Sunday, April 19, we continue to celebrate Easter with Pastor Denny’s sermon, “We Are Easter People.” The service can be viewed on our website and Facebook Page at First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA on Sunday mornings.
First Church will present “Know the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s,” a live webinar, on April 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Alzheimer’s and other dementias cause memory, thinking and behavior problems that interfere with daily living. Join us to learn how to recognize common signs of the disease, how to approach someone about memory concerns, the importance of early detection and benefits of a diagnosis, possible tests and assessments for the diagnostic process, and other Alzheimer’s Association resources. Questions will be accepted electronically during the webinar.
The webinar will be presented by First Church member Nancy Routch, an Alzheimer’s Association Community Educator with the Penn State Extension of Cumberland County, as part of the church’s Health and Wellness Committee.
Participants must be pre-registered. Go to https://action.alz.org/mtg/60729012 or call 1-800-272-3900 to register. Participants will receive a meeting code and downloadable handouts in advance of the webinar.
First Church will hold a Disability Awareness Sunday on Sunday, April 26, featuring our Rejoicing Spirits worship team.
Rejoicing Spirits is a monthly service, held on the fourth Sunday of each month. The service is specially designed and adapted for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families. It has an informal atmosphere, brief messages, and lots of music and fellowship opportunities.
Join us on Sunday, April 26 on our website and Facebook page to experience this inclusive and joyous worship service! For more information about Rejoicing Spirits or our Special Needs Ministry, please contact Pastor John Shellenberger at email@example.com.
Looking to deepen your prayer life? All are invited to join our weekly Wednesday Prayer Group. Pastor John Shellenberger will lead and share meditations from the Celtic Daily Prayer book, and all are welcome to join him online via Zoom conferencing at 11:00 am or pray “in one accord” on your own using the resources he provides. Please contact Pastor John at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate and he will provide you with instructions on how to sign up using Zoom conferencing. All are welcome to join us in prayer!
Although we cannot physically gather this Holy Week, First Church invites and encourages you to join us for the following events and worship services from the safety of home.
Passion Play – This event was cancelled for the safety of our community, but we invite you to experience its powerful message through the new Passion Play Home Edition posted on our website here (“Resources, Fun and Faith” tab). The Passion Play re-enacts the events of Holy Week, beginning with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and concluding with his crucifixion and resurrection.
Maundy Thursday Service, April 9, 7:00 p.m. – Join us on our website for music, a message, and communion. To partake in Holy Communion, use your own crackers and juice while our pastors provide instructions. Click here to view the service. To view the bulletin for the service, click here.
Good Friday Prayer, April 10 – Pastor Denny will open the day online at 9 a.m. with prayer and instructions via the Mechanicsburg and Upper Allen Area Churches Facebook page. Feel free to pray for others throughout the day, using this Prayer Guide. The day concludes at 3:00 p.m. with a closing prayer from Pastor Marleen Griffith-Stull of St. Mark Lutheran Church via the Facebook page.
Easter Worship Services, April 12 – He is Risen! Join us live for the Sunrise Service at 6:30 a.m. via our Facebook Page, First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA. We will also air our Easter worship service through our website starting at 8:15 a.m here.
The Children’s Department of First Church invites families to download “My 2020 COVID-19 Time Capsule,” a fun resource for children to complete while the public is under quarantine.
The time capsule consists of a packet that prompts children to record the history they are living through with family photos, journaling, and news clippings.
Children also are encouraged to record their feelings, conduct an interview of their parents or other loved ones, and to think about what they are most excited to do when the quarantine ends.
Click here to download the time capsule packet.
If there’s ever been a time for followers of Jesus to come together in prayer, it’s now as we face this global pandemic and health crisis.
First Church typically participates in the Mechanicsburg Good Friday Prayer Walk. Members of several area congregations form groups, and walk to locations throughout our town to blanket them in prayer.
We cannot physically meet for this year’s Prayer Walk, but we invite the community to join us online and for independent prayer on April 10.
If there’s a day for all of us to be in prayer, it makes sense for it to be Good Friday. This is the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross.
Here’s the schedule of events.
- 9:00 a.m. Pastor Denny will start our day live streaming on the Mechanicsburg and Upper Allen Area Churches’ Facebook page.
- Daytime From there, you can pray from wherever you are as you feel led. A prayer guide will be posted on the FB page for direction. You can also find the Prayer Guide here.
- 3:00 p.m. Pastor Marleen Griffith-Stull from St. Mark Lutheran Church will conclude our day via video stream with the Lord’s Prayer on the Mechanicsburg and Upper Allen Area Churches FB page.
We hope you will partner with us as we pray for healing, hope, and for God’s Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. See Good Friday Prayer flyer here
First Church, along with several other churches, has been invited to help the families in Mechanicsburg. If you feel comfortable, please pick up any of the items listed below. Drop off at Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ, 1050 S. York Street between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm in their parking lot, Wednesday, April 1. See a detailed list here.
Canned or pouches of tuna
Boxes of macaroni and cheese or canned meals, such as Spaghetti o’s
Boxes of pasta
Single serve boxes/bowls of cereal
Individually packaged snacks, such as crackers, pretzels, chips
First Church will begin two new Bible studies and continue the Alpha course, already in progress, via Zoom video conferencing. All are invited to participate in these free studies!
The Power of Knowing God, a six-week, no homework, Precept Bible study for men, begins Sunday, March 29. Classes begin at 6:15 p.m.
Breaking Free From Fear, also a six-week, no homework, Precept Bible study, begins Thursday, April 2. Classes begin at 6:45 p.m.
In addition, the Alpha course resumes this week. Five lessons remain, and newcomers are welcome to join at any time. Join us on Sundays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., or Wednesdays from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.
If you are interested in joining any of the Bible studies, email Tina Eaton, Director of Discipleship, at email@example.com for details and the Zoom links.
For the first time in 30 years, First Church will not present its annual Passion Play. The event, scheduled for April 8, was canceled in observance of the recent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Passion Play re-enacts the events of Holy Week, beginning with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and concluding with his crucifixion and resurrection. More than 60 church and community members, young and old alike, rehearsed for months to bring the story to life.
“They can take the Passion Play out of the church, but they cannot take the play out of our hearts,” said Dawn Fisher, Co-Director of Children’s Ministries at the church.
The Children’s Department has devised an “At Home” edition of the Passion Play. The script has been transformed into a readable story so that families can experience its powerful message from the safety of their homes.
In addition, all are invited to take Passion Play-themed photos with their family. For example, grab your favorite instrument for a pic to recognize the Blowing of the Shofar, the traditional opening of the Passion Play. Or, join in a group hug to commemorate the Last Supper and Jesus’ command that we love one another.
Then, email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Church staff will use the photos to create a video, showing how we can still honor God and celebrate the Easter message from our homes.
Questions, contact the children’s department at email@example.com.
Prayer is an important part of our faith journey. If you need some direction on prayer and praying for others, we invite you to use the Prayer Guides we will be posting on our website. You can find them under Resources and choose Fun and Faith from the dropdown menu. This week’s Prayer Guide can be found here.
The April Food Trucks have been cancelled. Keep watching for updated information and thanks for your patience!
Sunday, March 15, 2020 has been designated as a National Day of Prayer. This comes after the president’s national emergency declaration in response to the international outbreak of COVID-19.
Throughout our history, our country has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these. You are invited to join us in prayer using the prayer guide, provided to us by Moms in Prayer International. See Prayer Guide here.
And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
First Church will offer “The Power of Knowing God,” a men’s Bible study by Precept® Ministries, this spring.
Beginning March 15, the group will meet on Sunday evenings at 6:15 p.m. in room 207. The six-week, “no homework” study will be led by First Church members Ken Guise and David Mengle.
All are welcome to participate! You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any Church to participate in the Bible study.
Participants are asked to pre-register for the Bible study. The $7.99 cost covers the workbook.
For more information or to register, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.