- For over 75 years, Oak Harbor has been home to NAS Whidbey Island, and First United Methodist Church has welcomed the Navy community to this home-away-from-home. Whether you're planning to move to Oak Harbor or already here, we'd love to make a connection with you. Check out our website to find out about the various ways you and your family can get involved with our church. From young people's ministries to small groups to worship and beyond, we have a place for you.Welcome to Oak Harbor First United Methodist ChurchWatch "Welcome to Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church" on Faithlife TV, the premier video library for everyone—students, kids, families, and Bible enthusiasts.tv.faithlife.com
- Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church announced an eventJul4Monday, July 4th • 8–10 amOak Harbor First United Methodist Church
1050 Southeast Ireland Street, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277
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 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 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 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 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 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!
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.
Revitalization by David
Back on Saturday, May 21st, a group of 35 people met in Centennial Hall to participate in a two-hour “revitalization” meeting to reflect on helping our church find a pathway to a vital future. There were six categories of discussion where we spent time brainstorming ideas or observations related to these areas of our church’s ministry: Finance, Trustees, SPPR (Staffing), Mission & Outreach, Music & Worship, and Small Groups.
Erin has provided a wonderful and accurate summary of all the presentations and inputs received from the day in our weekly announcement email. Here is the link to access it. Follow the blue arrow at right to scroll through the entire list. As I think about revitalizing this church family, and as I scrub my way through the list of feedback, here are some things I noticed and some convictions I’ve formed:
Confusion and uncertainty are our traveling companions. Our lists tell me we don’t have targeted, prioritized clarity about final answers, only more questions, unresolved frustrations, guesses and hoped-for better days.
The status quo has changed and we are now half of what we used to be. We are teetering on the brink of moving from church to chaplaincy. This is like moving from growing to dormant.
Financing – How can we become more entrepreneurial and utilize our campus to make money for our ministry? Our budget has shrunk and will continue to shrink in the near future. Unless we adjust appropriately now, we will be in crisis mode again next year.
Trustees – Our church should finish the Narthex expansion project, upgrade Centennial Hall, and embrace the three “C”’s of Concerts, Community organizations, and Cooperative shared space. Our facility might be too much church for just one small church. Rented shared space, or merged congregations, can do more together!
Staffing – Older demographic churches always have more paid employees. But dollars, at the end of the day, pay all the bills. We must honestly assess our staff size to our church size, using “industry standards” (norms) for “FTEs” (Full Time Equivalents) for differing congregational sizes. Utilizing more volunteers is always key to running and sustaining vital, functional, stable ministry.
Mission & Outreach – This church has always had “boots in the game.” Tarmac Christians love to embrace action and engage in aiding assistance. UMCOR has been used by this church family as an advance agency through which we can touch a hurting world. The Haven, SPiN Café, and Help House share the same genetic code with our church family. We should strengthen what we are already good at and celebrate that more visibly. A timely large rallying point (like Ukrainian relief) is always a popular victory for us.
Music & Worship – We are still not fully settled on where to land with a repertoire (and interests/preferences) that include both modern and traditional genres. Perhaps having one “full-on-traditional” communion service per month will be the solution (a happy medium)? We certainly all love more musical and vocal participation up front and will be benefited by more depth and texture of such an approach (especially with more male voices added in).
Small Groups – This was the category that received the least amount of ideas or feedback, maybe because it was at the end of the morning session. The truth is, nothing can replace the integrative depth that is found in accountable, relational discipleship, and most of our people are not in small groups or classes where that happens. This is where we begin to look more like a chaplaincy and less like a church. How can we reengage everyone?
I realize that much of this is not what we would like to call, “positive, cheery news!” But a leader’s most important task is to set what is truly before us with candor and honesty. American businessman and writer, and now famous leadership guru Max De Pree put it this way: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” My friends, fellow members and followers of Jesus Christ, “what will we do with this new, post-covid reality?” That is a question that should matter to all of us. I hope you will join me in wrestling our future to the ground, with prayer, participation, and obedient engagement of our Lord’s mission to reach the world!
“Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?” (Ezekiel 37:3 GNT)
-- Pastor David
Reformation Song by Sebastian
Back in 2017 Bob Kauflin wrote an incredibly powerful song that remind us of the key elements for any reformation and revitalization effort. The 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago still apply to us today!
Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone
Solus Christus: Christ alone
Sola Fide: faith alone
Sola Gratia: grace alone
Soli Deo Gloria: glory to God alone
And so, let’s lift our hearts today as we reconnect with our roots and find God’s guiding voice in the humble voices of those who have helped carry the torch of truth for hundreds of years.
Your Word alone is solid ground,
The mighty rock on which we build.
In every line the truth is found
And every page with glory filled.
Through faith alone we come to You;
We have no merit we can claim.
Sure that Your promises are true;
We place our hope in Jesus’ name.
Gloria, gloria, glory to God alone
Gloria, gloria, glory to God alone
In Christ alone we’re justified;
His righteousness is all our plea.
Your law’s demands are satisfied;
His perfect work has set us free.
By grace alone we have been saved,
All that we are has come from You.
Hearts that were once by sin enslaved
Now by Your pow’r have been made new.
And on this Reformation day
We join with saints of old to sing;
We lift our hearts as one in praise:
Glory to Christ our gracious King.
Friends by David
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15 NIV
Friendship matters. There is supposed to be a sense of greater connection, proximity, awareness, trust, and shared story with those who use the label “friends” to describe their connection. Jesus made the distinction between people who may fulfill objectified roles and those who are drawn into a confidante, partnered, companioned relationship.
In my Wednesday pastors group, we recently talked about the importance of friendship as a key ingredient to authentic discipleship. We were reflecting on an article published in the January 2022 online version of “CHURCHLEADERS” magazine. You can find the amazing article here: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/379774-the-lonely-crowd-churches-dying-due-to-friendlessness.html. The article is entitled: The Lonely Crowd: Churches Dying Due to Friendlessness.
Turns out that church health, vitality, and growth is directly related to the nature of our friendships in and off campus. People might return to a church (for a brief season) if they find it friendly, but they will only stay and imbed if they make and become friends with the family. Friendship is crucial. It paves the way for feelings of safety, belonging, identification, ownership, and celebration of a unique group or entity as being “theirs!”
But frequently, the experience many newcomers have is quite the opposite.
Church people are often not curious about newcomers. They barely reach out to strangers in their midst, ask far too few questions of engagement, and tend to stick to their trusted and well-known in-house flock from many years. We live in a very poorly connected society. Many walk around crowds but are very lonely and isolated. The church is supposed to be the perfect and safest family to experience belonging, significance, fulfillment, and value. But often, newcomers can feel lost and alone in a church that is not their own. Many who feel like strangers are “better off” leaving so they don’t have to feel that feeling anymore.
I want to call the OHFUMC family to ENGAGED ACTION! Relating to all people matters. We need to be much more curious about people. We need to ask a lot of questions from fascinated and celebrative interest in people’s lives and stories. We need to work the room on Sunday after church. We need to invite people we don’t know to gather outside of church for social and spiritual engagement. We have to become less busy with our lives so we can have more time to invest in their lives. We need to learn to listen more closely, learn more accurately about people, and engage them more frequently when they return.
The onus should not be on strangers to make themselves feel at home among us. I am asking that every attender sees themselves as an on-duty-hospitality-greeter for our church family. Let’s all excel at the art of cultivating curious, invested, engaged relationship with the long-term and the brand-new among us.
“It takes a village” – African Proverb
Pastor David 😊
Flexibility in Motion by Erin
I’ve always thought of myself as flexible in nature, but I don’t think that was ever tested as much as when the Covid pandemic hit. We’ve all had to shift, adjust, and continue adapting to new realities in our jobs, home life, and daily routines. And as we all know, it’s an ongoing process.
Today marks another embarkment of flexibility as it is our church’s first day without an office administrator on staff. So far eight volunteers have signed up to offer coverage in our main church office to greet visitors and answer phone calls. Thank you, volunteers! And until we are able to hire a new person for this role, Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations has asked me to cover the communications and technology aspects of the position. That means I’ll be handling church emails, newsletters, worship presentations, bulletins, website updates and the like for this interim time. As these tasks fall on top of my other duties related to Young People’s Ministries, I ask for both your patience and prayers!
As a reminder to both myself and you that there is a season for all things, I leave you with these words from Ecclesiastes:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8