• Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord!

    "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;

    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

    Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,

    with the lyre and the sound of melody.

    With trumpets and the sound of the horn

    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord."

    - Psalm 98:4-6

    I have loved to hear you singing loudly and lively on Sundays! As you know, singing is an important part of who we are and who God created us to be. We’re all wired uniquely. We have different gifts, strengths, and favorite styles of music. 

    Scripture encourages us to find the music that allows our hearts to sing and connect to God. What touches us may be music from Kings College Cambridge, Kirk Franklin’s gospel prayers, jazz settings of the Eucharist, or any of a wide range of genres.

    Music that honors God will cause our hearts to sing. And when our hearts sing, worship happens. We’re transformed on the inside as we’re filled with the Spirit and devote everything we are to worship, praise, and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father.

    Has God used music in worship to touch your heart and life in a special way? I’d love to hear about it!


    1. VBS 2022 - Passport to Peace

      “You have heard people say, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.”

      - Matthew 5:43-44 (CEV)

      Grab your passports and pack your bags… we’re headed toward another year of Vacation Bible School! By now you’ve probably heard that VBS is back, and quickly approaching. We’ll be partnering once again with Whidbey Presbyterian Church, this year hosted by WPC, for three days of connecting with kids, learning about God, and having a lot of fun!

      Our overall theme is Passport to Peace with the main scripture being Matthew 5:43-44 (above), and each day will focus on a different Bible story. The focus for Day 1 will be Acts 8:26-40, where Philip encounters an Ethiopian official on the road. Philip tells the man about Jesus, and the Ethiopian asks to be baptized. The peace tie-in for the kids to put into action is that peacemakers will listen to and learn from people who are different.

      The story for Day 2 is Matthew 25:31-46, which is when Jesus separates people like sheep and goats. The sheep are welcomed into the kingdom because they showed care and compassion for Jesus by showing care and compassion for everyone, whereas the goats failed to care for others. The peace tie-in is that peacemakers will notice the needs of others and seek to help.

      And the final day of VBS will emphasize Luke 10:25-37. This was when a lawyer tried to test Jesus about who qualifies as his neighbor, and Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help a wounded traveler after others passed by without helping. The peace tie-in for this day is that peacemakers will take action when people have been hurt.

      I’m excited to be with dozens of children from our area during VBS August 18-20! Thank you to everyone who has signed up to volunteer, purchased supplies or donated, or prayed for our VBS. Your support is what makes this possible. I also look forward to celebrating with you at the end of VBS at our combined worship service with Whidbey Presbyterian Church, August 21 at 10:00 am at WPC. We’ll be worshipping outside on their back lawn (don’t worry, it’s pretty flat), so bring your own lawn chair or blanket that day.


      1. Free to use from Svetlana B on Pexels

        Nehemiah Project Update

        “From [the tribe of] Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command”

        1 Chronicles 12:32 NIV

        In every church, there must be people who have discerning wisdom about the right path forward for the health and vitality of the whole community. The wisdom of heaven is not lodged in any one person, but in groups of people who seek out Holy Spirit inspired direction. This direction is often in consideration of the temperament and climate of cultural realities on the ground. Collective wisdom, like the 200 chiefs from the tribe of Issachar is what every church needs to flourish.  

        Our fall on-site all-church consultation with Rev. Dr. Leroy Barber will help us to engage in such collective discernment about our community and the needs of potential ministry. But we must all do our preparatory homework. Dr. Barber assigned us (as a congregation) to take weekly jaunts into unfamiliar places and peoples within our larger Oak Harbor community to “listen and learn” about the needs of our community. 

        One of the penetrating quotes from our all-church Quest book study on becoming a more externally focused church is, “Don’t go to start a church…go to serve a city. Serve them with love, and if you go after the people nobody wants, you’ll end up with the people everybody wants.” This wisdom was spoken by Pastor Steve Sjogren of the Vineyard Community Church of Cincinnati to a class of church planters. The million-dollar question before our church is this: What will be our big SERVE that adds value to this community that would be missed and lost if we disappeared?

        To answer that question, we must hit the streets to listen and learn. We must gather to share and discern. That is what the Nehemiah project is (read Nehemiah 2:11-16). We go throughout the community to inspect and discern, then we gather to plan and prepare. Here’s what I have been up to so far:

        • Interviewed 20-year ex-navy resident who works at Toby’s

        • Called Police Chief Dresker to learn about our community. Applied for Citizens Police Academy (starts in September)

        • Met with Gideon Caufman – OH Archeologist, to learn about indigenous iconic art/story in Oak Harbor and the opportunity to advocate for a greater, more dignifying and accurate portrayal of this region’s true history

        • I am meeting this week with Shawn Morris – Community & Family Health manager for Island County Health Department (Coupeville), to help me understand the broader health needs of our community and how non-profits play a role in those needs. 

        • I have contacted the Navy Regatta Child Development Center and asked for an appointment to learn about childcare needs in our broader community, and am hoping for an appointment soon.

        Here’s the script for us all: Engage, engage, engage! Ask, listen, discern, take notes, seek, knock, watch, and come to know something you didn’t know about our community and its needs. Report your findings to Council and participate in the all-church efforts this fall to discern, decide, and devote ourselves to the next chapter of our church’s community ministry life. Why?

        Because people matter!

        Pastor David 😊

        1. Introducing: Steven Scherer

          Dear Church Family,


          I want to introduce you to Steven Scherer via his autobiography as we seek to join him in preparation for his candidacy vote by our congregation for Licensed Local Pastor in the UMC. You hopefully read my thorough explanation in our church email dated July 7th. Today, you get to hear from him in his own words. Join me in knowing this brother better so you can join in the process of discernment for his calling into the ministry. 

          - Pastor David


          Hello Everyone,

          My name is Steven Scherer. I have been attending Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church for more than four years and have been asked by Pastor David to write this short letter, introducing myself and to share with you some very exciting news. 

          Recently our Staff Parish Pastor Relations (SPPR) Committee met to consider my request to be approved as a candidate to become a Licensed Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church.

          With the leadership of SPPR Chair Linda Jury, and the active participation of just about every member of the committee, aided and assisted by the guidance of our pastor, we engaged in a prayerful process of written questions along with a three-hour interview that allowed me to share my faith journey with the SPPR team.

          Now I would like to share some of that journey with all of you. 

          Ministry is a calling, a process of discernment and inspiration for those who believe they might have the skills or talents to help spread the Good News of God’s forgiveness and salvation that comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

          I believe we are all called to be God’s servants. Some serve as pastors, some as lay leaders, some as volunteers and committee members. I have served as a volunteer and committee member with both health charities and my previous churches, first in Vancouver, BC and then in New Hampshire (where I lived from 2000 until I moved to Coupeville in 2016), and now here at OHFUMC. From helping with Membership to leading a Finance team, on Stewardship committees as well as Next Generation and Mission & Outreach, I have been active with charity work and my church family for over 25 years, since I chose to be baptized as an adult early in my business career.

          Many in our congregation will know me from my interest in some of Susan Schopf’s small group book meetings, or my membership on the SPPR team and Next Generation, as well as my engagement with our church’s Revitalization efforts.

          After more than two decades as a Chartered Financial Consultant and business owner, I sold my business in New Hampshire and enrolled in seminary at the Vancouver (Canada) School of Theology, earning my Master’s Degree in Pastoral Leadership.

          My hope is to share in more detail, and with a greater emphasis on the theological context, my call to ministry when I have the honour of delivering a sermon on this topic to our church family on Sunday, August 7th. I look forward to seeing many of you there, but would welcome any questions you might have for me before then. 

          Thank you for your time and consideration.

          Yours in faith,

          Steven Scherer 

          1. The Externally Focused Quest

            “Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”

            Ezra 10:4 ESV

            As I write this article, my first grandchild is making his way into this world. Birthing life is a struggle. It takes enormous energy, it requires exhausting devotion to the struggle, and requires all of our focus. Birthing a vital church family and ministry is not altogether unlike that threshold of committed devotion.


            I have been concerned for this church, my church, and our capacity to head into a vital future. I long for us to reengage and recharter a new day of vital outreach. The truth is, we have had many losses through covid and we are wondering what the future may hold for us. Will we age, diminish, and vaporize with the sunset, or will we revitalize, ignite with momentum, and unify energetically around a compelling vision of a faith-family that many would love to experience?


            I am starting a new church-wide study on Wednesday nights on the marvelous and innovative book called: “The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community.” I have found Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw to be compelling in their articulation and challenging in their observations.


            The difference of orientation for any church can be like night and day. INTERNAL focus is about us and our preferences. EXTERNAL focus is about others and their needs. INTERNAL focus is all about care giving for me. EXTERNAL focus is all about us ministering to the other. Selfless servanthood is the order of Jesus followers.


            I have purchased 15 books and will give them to the first 15 who sign up for this journey. We will meet Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm in Centennial Hall. Our first night will be Wednesday, July 20th. We will view a video, receive the books and charter a course for the study. This study will be challenging, inspiring, provocative, convicting, and possibly even scary. Most risky ventures into the Kingdom are. Will you please join me in caring for your church’s future?


            “If not you, who? If not now, when?” Hillel the Elder, first-century Jewish Leader


            - Pastor David 😊

            1. In Your Hands (So Close)

              Last week I asked Carlo, our wonderful guitar player, to prepare an instrumental rendition of his choice to open our worship. I left the option open for him to choose any song that personally resonated. 

              I was pleasantly surprised that he selected “So Close”, a title I didn’t recognize but after a quick search and listening, the melody and lyrics brought great memories. So, I gladly joined him in a beautiful rendition you enjoyed Sunday 7/10/22.

              I learned this song as a teenager, around Carlo’s age, when I was also very much into playing the guitar. I jammed to this tune many times (in my Discman), while going around the house or traveling. It always brought peace, calm and the assurance of God’s care everywhere I went.

              Like Pastor David mentioned on the Sunday we played it, the melody and pace of it has a very direct message in itself: it transports us to a relaxing atmosphere, where nothing matters. It surely opened our hearts for a wonderful service that day. 

              And I hope that it inspires you as you listen to it again. 

              English version:


              Spanish Version, like I grew up listening to:


              - Sebastian

              1.  — Edited


                During my Children’s Moment on Sunday (featuring a few “big kids”, Dave & George!), I shared the map of Paul’s missionary journeys. We talked about how Paul traveled far from home to share the Good News of God’s love with all those he encountered.

                Thinking about how much of a journey Paul’s travels were in his time and how far from home I’ve ever traveled, I realized it’s been 15 years this week since my furthest travel adventure (so far). In 2007, shortly after graduating high school, I journeyed with a group of youth and young adults from my UMC conference to France. We spent a week sightseeing in Paris before bussing through the French countryside to the Taizé Community.

                Taizé is an ecumenical community that serves as a spiritual retreat for over 100,000 people each year, predominantly youth and young adults. Being in Taizé is an opportunity to step back from the hustle and bustle of one’s daily life and find communion with God through community prayer, song, silence, personal reflection and sharing.

                While I no longer remember the exact subjects or conversations had while I was in Taizé, I do remember the atmosphere. We arrived from Kansas as a group of 16 during a week when there were about 1,000 people present in total. A majority was likely from Europe, but there was representation from all over the world. The three-times-daily prayer and music services were a wonderful experience where, although we all spoke different languages, we could all connect over the music and communion. Our roommates were a group of girls from Sweden, and my small group included other 17-year-olds from France, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Finland. It was a wonderful example of how connection in the Christian community can help draw people closer to each other and to God.

                “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

                - Erin

                1. Jul
                  Monday, July 4th  •  8–10 am
                  Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church
                  1050 Southeast Ireland Street, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277
                  1. Graduation 2022 by Erin

                    Another June has arrived, and with it the annual transition for students and teachers. This means milestone graduations for some, a time of moving up or moving on to whatever adventure is next. Our Youth Group does not have any active participants who are seniors this year, but I do want to take this opportunity to recognize some graduates who have been connected with our church over the years!

                    Hailee Blau

                    Hailee graduated from South Dakota State University on Saturday, May 7 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Outside of class, Hailee played volleyball with the SDSU Jackrabbits. Hailee now plans to join the Air Force as an officer.

                    Hailee is the daughter of Mark & Kim Blau.


                    Ray Eloph

                    Ray graduated from Barker Creek Community School in Bremerton on Wednesday, June 8. Following high school, Ray plans to attend welding tech school.

                    Grandson of Sue Eloph, Ray often joined our children and youth activities when he was in town visiting Sue over the years.


                    Thomas Garcia

                    Thomas graduated this past Saturday, June 11, from Oak Harbor High School. Some of his interests in high school included history, English, computers, and drama. After summer break, Thomas plans to attend Skagit Valley College in Oak Harbor to major in History and English, with hopes of becoming a teacher someday.

                    Thomas is the son of Thomas & Sara Garcia and the grandson of Tracy Brandt.

                    Garrett Stahl

                    Garrett graduated from Washington State University on Saturday, May 7, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, with a minor in Math. While at school, Garrett worked at the student store and the computer store on campus. He is now seeking employment in his field of study.

                    Garrett is the son of Todd & Lori Stahl and the grandson of Yvonne Struthers.


                    Joe Winnenberg

                    Joe graduated from Christian Academy of Louisville (Kentucky) on Friday, May 27. During his time at CAL, Joe played clarinet and trumpet in several music ensembles and was awarded chairs with district and Kentucky University honor bands. He also played baseball with CAL. After graduation, Joe plans to attend Jefferson Community & Technical College to study Automotive Technology.

                    Joe is the son of Peter & Kathi Winnenberg, who were stationed in Oak Harbor until Pete’s retirement from the Navy in 2016.


                    Congratulations to these graduates! 

                    1. Thanks for sharing this.
                    2.  — Edited

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                  2. Handbell Music by Sebastian

                    As some churches move toward technologically elaborate services with more modern music, some may consider handbells old fashioned, out of date, or just not interesting. But handbell ensembles have specific benefits that can’t be matched by other types of ensembles. Because of their unique, irreplaceable roles, they are as important in the church as they have ever been. And we at Oak Harbor FUMC are lucky to have not only a great set of this unique instrument, but also a group of dedicated individuals that greatly enjoy experiencing koinonia and praising God this way.


                    Handbell ensembles reflect 1 Corinthians 12:12: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (ESV). Each member of a handbell ensemble contributes specific notes to the musical line. Without even one of those notes, the entire line would be lost. A handbell ensemble is an ideal place to help members see the value of their contributions to the church as well as to reinforce this important Bible teaching.


                    So, I want to take this opportunity to extend two invitations to you:


                    One is to consider joining our own Praise Ringers.

                    You have the possibility of becoming a member of an active worship group that besides being very approachable from the musical (talent, dexterity, knowledge) standpoint, is incredibly fun and rewarding.

                    Also, you have the chance to join our rehearsals and worship participations as an appreciator and music enthusiast. We want to be a real and live example of what the Bible teaches us.


                    And the second is to come the upcoming concert with The Wesleyan Bell Ringers, June 19th from 6:30-7:30

                    This will be an incredibly unique and rare opportunity to see a level of dedicated and inspiring young Christian talents.

                    The only requirement is to bring company, a friend, a stranger you met at the grocery store, or your neighbor that blasts to Chopin every night.


                    -- Sebastian