First Church invites the public to join us online for a worship service in honor of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17.
Ash Wednesday is the day when Christians gather to begin and prepare spiritually for the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter. It is traditional for Christians to have ashes placed on their forehead by clergy members in observance of this special day.
In adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, First Church continues to hold all of its worship services virtually. Because we will not meet in person for Ash Wednesday, our pastors have prepared a brief instructional video on how to prepare your own ashes. Click here to watch the video in advance of the service.
We will also be observing Holy Communion at this service. Remember to bring your own crackers or bread and fruit juice.
The pastors of First Church will present a series of sermon messages on the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus during worship services this Lenten season.
The messages, based on the book The Hope of Glory by Pulitzer Prize winning presidential historian and lifelong Episcopalian layman Jon Meacham, reflect on the gospel accounts of the final words of Jesus during the six hours he suffered on the cross. The “words,” or more accurately statements, of Jesus convey in a powerful way the message of the Savior’s radical love. May we experience anew the depth of his love for us, and discover the meaning of his words for us today.
In addition, Senior Pastor Denny Keller will lead a Bible study based on the new book Seven Words: Listening to Jesus From the Cross, by Susan Robb. Robb is the Senior Associate Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church. The group will meet via Zoom on Wednesday evenings beginning Feb. 24, from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. To register, please email email@example.com by Feb. 21. Participants are invited but not required to order a copy of the book.
First Church offers worship via Livestream on Sunday mornings at 8:15 a.m. on our website at fumchurch.com and our Facebook page at First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA. Recordings of our services can be viewed anytime on our website at fumchurch.com.
You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to worship with us or participate in the Bible study. Find the Daily Bible Reading plan here, which corresponds to a personal reflection in the 2021 Lenten Devotional Booklet. For more information, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking for some new meal ideas? The Youth Fellowship Group of First Church will hold two fundraisers in conjunction with Strock’s Catering Barn in Mechanicsburg this month. Freshly-prepared, ready-to-eat meals for adults and kids can be pre-ordered and picked up on the following dates:
Thursday, Feb. 18
Slow-roasted brisket sandwich or legacy pork barbecue sandwich, with sides of mac & cheese and coleslaw. Or, kid’s meal of chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, applesauce and cheese stick. Cost: $13/meal.
Order by noon on Feb. 16 online at https://www.strockenterprises.net/product-page/fumc-youth-2-18-pick-up-meal
Thursday, Feb. 25
Charcoal roast pork or marinated grilled boneless chicken breast, with sides of scalloped potatoes, green beans and dinner roll. Or, kid’s meal of meatballs, noodles, applesauce and cheese stick. Cost: $13/meal.
Order by noon on Feb. 23 online at https://www.strockenterprises.net/product-page/fumc-youth-2-25-pick-up-meal
Meals for both dates must be pre-ordered by noon on the Tuesday before pickup. They can be picked up from Strock’s Farm on Williams Grove Road between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. on the designated dates.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Youth Group and its mission endeavors.
We have put together a special playlist for February! Click here or copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5rbHEYEfHei97cUI8rjwNJ?si=JESfX6DxTqyq3f8SIynh_A
We will be sharing a new playlist 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. Enjoy!
Did you know that the search for “how to pray” on Google increased by 50 percent in 2020? We all are searching for answers and guidance, and want to pray more – for ourselves and our loved ones, our country, the church, and the world!
Through our connection to Alpha, everyone is invited to join hundreds of others from all over the world in the freeing work of praying together.
Specifically, from Feb. 9 to 11, we encourage you to pray faith-filled prayers for God’s kingdom to come on Earth as it is in heaven. You can pray during a lunch break, in the middle of the night, or any time in between.
We invite you to be a part of this movement of pray! Sign up to pray from home on your own for a specific hour (or more!) during those days at https://alphausa.org/kingdom-come-prayer. You will receive an excellent, free download of the Kingdom Come Prayer Guide.
If you have questions, contact Tina Eaton at email@example.com.
First Church is pleased to offer the following online Bible studies via Zoom beginning this winter. All are invited and encouraged to join one!
You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to participate in the Bible studies. For more information, call or email the church at 717.766.4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Study on the Prophet Elijah
Best-selling author Priscilla Shirer offers this study of the Prophet Elijah’s personal story. Learn to understand the value of seasons of growth and testing in your spiritual maturity, learn His purposes for your life, and be encouraged to wait on God’s good work.
This seven-session online Bible study begins Feb. 16 and runs through Lent. The $24.99 registration fee includes the online videos and workbook, and access to bonus materials and occasion live discussions with Ms. Shirer. Register at https://onlinestudy.lifeway.com/v/ElijahOBS. Scholarships are available to help cover the cost.
First Church is offering an additional opportunity to discuss the videos on Wednesdays over lunchtime via Zoom. If you are interested in joining this discussion, contact Tina Eaton at email@example.com.
Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross
Join Pastor Denny via Zoom to explore in-depth the seven last words of Christ on the cross, each from a Biblical and historical perspective. This unique study offers a hopeful and contemplative look at the cross during the weeks of Lent. The six-week study begins Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6:45 p.m. Contact Pastor Denny at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and receive the zoom link for this online study.
Wednesday Men’s Group: Race and the Gospel
In this five-part series, race, racism, and injustice will be addressed using Paul’s words in Ephesians. Through teaching and honest dialogues, this group will discuss a way forward toward healing, justice, and hope for multiethnic harmony in the church. The group meets via Zoom on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, at 8:00 p.m. Contact Barry Eaton at email@example.com if interested.
Jesus in Me – Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion
In this eight-session Bible study, you will learn why the Holy Spirit is a divine necessity and not an optional extra in the Christian life, and develop a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit in the process. Led by First Church member Juanita Guise, this group will meet on Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. via Zoom, beginning Jan. 28. Contact Juanita ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org to register and receive your workbook, along with the Zoom link for this online study.
Men’s Bible Study: Walking in Power, Love & Discipline
This study began in the fall with Paul’s letters to Timothy, and resumes this winter with completion of Timothy and further study of Paul’s letter to Titus. These letters provide timeless lessons in sound doctrine (real truth) and sound discipline (right behavior) for all times. New group members are welcome at any time! Led by First Church members Ken Guise and David Mengle, the group meets on Sundays at 6:15 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Ken at email@example.com for details and the Zoom link.
Moms in Prayer
Several First Church women are engaged in continual prayer for our children and students through the Moms in Prayer international group. New members are invited to join at any time! The group meets on Monday evenings via Zoom from 7:30 to 8:30.
What a blessing is it to join other mothers and grandmothers in lifting our children in prayer! This group prays for children at any age and stage of life! Contact group leader Deb Noss at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, or for the Zoom link.
First Church will hold a Rejoicing Spirits worship service on Sunday, January 24 at 4:00 p.m. All are welcome!
Once again, we will be worshipping via Zoom video conference. If you had ever wanted to attend, but were 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 email@example.com 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 Disability Awareness Sunday/Rejoicing Spirits service, click here.
First Church is collecting nonperishable food items for the Little Free Pantry located on our property to help local families in need.
The Little Free Pantry collection will take place on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot of First Church, 135 W. Simpson St., Mechanicsburg through February 24.
The items will be placed in the Little Free Pantry, as needed, throughout the winter months. Requested items include: pasta and sauce, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned soup, snack bars, snack crackers, cereal, macaroni and cheese and any non-expired, nonperishable food items. For more information about the Little Free Pantry movement, visit their website at https://www.littlefreepantry.org/.
You can find a complete list and the collection dates on our Facebook Page at First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA.
First Church will offer “ Oneness Embraced,” a Bible study by Dr. Tony Evans that explores reconciliation from God’s Kingdom perspective, and how we are stronger together.
The six-week study begins Sunday, Jan. 24. Classes will be held via Zoom from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
The Bible study is free and open to the public. You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to participate in the Bible study.
To register or for more information, call or email First Church at 717.766.4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Church will observe Holy Communion on Sunday, January 3. Please join us for worship and communion on our website or Facebook page on Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m. Our worship services are now live-streamed, starting at 8:15 a.m. or you can watch anytime after 9:45 a.m. Remember to bring your own crackers or bread and fruit juice while our pastors provide instructions for Holy Communion. All are welcome!
New Year celebrations are a time for reflection and hope.
First Church is offering a special worship service on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. Click here to view the pre-recorded service on our website after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 31.
“As we reflect on the past year, many of us see challenges,” said First Church Pastor John Shellenberger, who will lead the service. “But I trust we share faith that Jesus Christ gives us hope. We are confident as we stand on the promise of His presence with us in the year to come.”
Participants are invited to prepare bread and cup at home, to join in Communion during the service.
You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to join in the service. For more information, call or email the church at 717.766.4611 or email@example.com.
Are you ready for a new year? As 2021 begins, we continue to feel the lingering effects of the pandemic and the unrest of 2020, but the new year is a time to embrace new possibilities.
To that end, the pastors of First Church will present “Good News!”, a series of messages based on the gospel of Mark, during weekly worship services beginning Jan. 3.
At the beginning of his gospel, Mark declares that the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is good news. (Mark 1:1) In this series, we’re going to walk closely with Jesus through the first chapter of Mark. As we do, we’ll discover why the coming of Jesus is still the good news we all need and how believing it makes all the difference in our lives.
All are welcome! You do not have to be a member of First Church or any church to attend or enjoy the messages. See below for the schedule of messages.
During this sermon series, our services can be experienced via livestream at 8:15 a.m. on our website and FB page, with recorded versions on our website to watch anytime.
Daily Bible readings are recommended to accompany each weekly message. Find the Daily Bible Reading plan here.
For more information, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Good News!” Messages: Jan. 3 to Feb. 7
January 3 “Make Room for Jesus!” (Mark 1:1-8)
Holy Communion Sunday. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ arrival. He shows us how to make room for Jesus and why it is the most important thing we can do as we begin this New Year.
January 10 “Listen to the Voice!” (Mark 1:9-13)
At his baptism, Jesus saw heaven split open and heard a voice that called him chosen and dearly loved. In a world of many voices, we discover who we are, and whose we are, as we learn to listen to his voice.
January 17 “Jesus Uses Ordinary People” (Mark 1:14-20)
When Jesus called, ordinary fishermen left everything and joined in the extraordinary work of his kingdom. Jesus still calls, yearning to use ordinary people like us today.
January 24 “Jesus Has Authority” (Mark 1:21-28)
In the synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus revealed his power to save this broken world. He invites us to turn the reins of our lives over to him so that we might be made whole and be a healing presence for others.
January 31 “Early Riser” (Mark 1:29-39)
Even with many demands pressing in upon him, Jesus prioritized time with God in prayer. We find rest for our souls, strength to love, and direction for our days when we follow his example.
February 7 “Jesus Isn’t Afraid of Your Mess” (Mark 1:40-45)
Moved with pity, Jesus touched and cleansed a leper who lived on the fringes of society. Jesus is with us in the messy situations of our lives and calls us to join in his ministry of compassion in this messy world.
First Church will offer “Alpha”, a free Bible study that explores key questions about life and faith, beginning in January. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Talks are designed to engage and inspire meaningful dialog on the big issues around faith, addressing questions such as Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas in an open and friendly environment. Alpha sessions are held around the world in churches, coffee shops, universities, and homes.
The Bible study will be offered via Zoom on Tuesdays, Jan. 5 to March 30, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The study will be led by First Church Pastor John Shellenberger and his wife, Merri Shellenberger.
All are welcome! You do not have to be a member of First Church or any church to participate.
Interested persons are asked to pre-register. To register or for more information, call or email Tina Eaton, Director of Discipleship, at 717.766.4611 or email@example.com.