Feb 28, 2015 Ministry Without Fear – a Reconciling Ministries Network Event

MWF Logo 2

RMN DtCW 2015

Top Row l-r: Nadine Smith (Equality Florida), – Bishop Melvin Talbert and Matt Berryman (Executive Director RMN), – Rebecca, Myra, John, and Kent, – Myra and Janet Bernhard, (from Coronado Methodist Church, Class with No Name RMN Community, New Smyrna Beach)
Middle Row l-r: Reeves UMC, Orlando, – Nu Class attendees with Bishop Talbert, – Helen Ryde, (RMN Southeastern Regional Organizer)
Bottom Row l-r: More Nu Class, – “Remember Your Baptism”

Double click the picture to view larger!


On February 28, 2015 – Ministry without Fear, a Reconciling Ministries Network event was held at Reeves United Methodist Church (Orlando), under the banner, “All Are Welcome in This Place”.

Nearly 250 Reconciling United Methodists gathered to hear Matt Berryman, Executive Director of RMN address how The United Methodist Church can be intentionally inclusive of the LGBTQ community. The NU class was represented by 6 members and there were 6 additional FUMCO members in attendance. FUMCO’S delegation mirrored the larger gathering with 6 straight and 6 gay people present.RMN 2015 - 2

The theme of the daylong event was, “Draw the Circle Wider through a Ministry without Fear”. It was a moving experience with each speaker sharing their experience and their faith as a United Methodist. Remarks will be concentrated on Bishop Talbert’s presentation, although a case could be made for emphasizing any of the four speakers.

Bishop Talbert is a veteran of The Civil Rights Movement, having spent 3 days and nights in the same jail cell as Martin Luther King, an experience that shaped his life forever. He is committed to racial, gender, and sexual orientation inclusiveness….and believes there is room at God’s Table for everyone. The cry for full equality within the UMC is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. Bishop Talbert called us all to “Biblical Obedience”. “It is my BOOK too, where none are qualified to judge, but all are COMMANDED to love”. He summarized his remarks: “Will you obey God, or your church…there are consequences. But when you do the right thing, LOVE becomes greater than fear”.

Also speaking were;

Matt Berryman, Executive Director, RMN

Dr. Steve Harper, Dean and V.P. Asbury Seminary, retired

Nadine Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Helen Ryde, RMN’s Southeastern Regional Organizer, who facilitated several personal stories shared by participants.

Jan 29 – Feb 1, 2015

GladdeningLight Annual Symposium, Winter Park, Florida

On January 11thRandy Robertson from GladdeningLight spoke to the Nu Class about Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World as well as this year’s symposium which included three days of inspired lectures, art, music & conversation with:

Barbara Brown Taylor
New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Church, An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark (HarperOne).  Taylor, a religion professor at Piedmont College, was the subject of a recent Time cover story and featured as one of 2014’s 100 most influential people.

“Taylor is reviving an ancient idea the mystics of the Middle Ages understood: darkness holds divine mystery. (Time)”

Taylor “has learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty,’ and because she writes so enchantingly out of her own deep truth, she helps us get back in touch with ours.”  (Frederick Buechner)

Tobi Kahn
Sculptor and painter who has been the subject of over sixty solo exhibitions worldwide since selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art.

Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin
Brothers from Western Ireland who harmonize a cappella ancient canticles and Gaelic sean nos traditional folk hymns

For additional information see: gladdeninglight.org/symposium


Several of our best-looking men and Gloria Lobnitz, looking fetching in a baseball cap, light mascara, and rubber boots, turned out for 3 days (one was 38 degrees F) recently to shampoo the roof on our new building. 

This is a warranty requirement and is to our immediate benefit as well because the increased reflectivity of the roof reduces our energy bills. (Recently OUC surveyed our building and reported that our energy use was less than half that of comparable religious facilities.)

If we had to hire temporary workers to perform this task, it has been conservatively estimated that it would have cost us an extra (and un-budgeted) $ 3,600.00

It turned out to be a fun challenge, a safe one and an excellent result. The participants are looking forward to performing this vital task annually. This also relieves Barry and Gino from having to take an excessive amount of time from their regular duties. 

When you see them, be sure to thank Gloria and Ed Lobnitz, Roger Bailey, Ernie Palmer, James Waters, Hap Hopkins, John Cant, Barry Clay, Gino Bouquet, Rob Fuehrer, and Jim Manuel.Roof Cleaning 2

Jan 16 – 18, 2015 “January Adventure”

This past weekend, several Nu Class members traveled to Epworth by the Sea, on St. Simons Island, just off the coast of Georgia for “January Adventure.” January Adventure 2015The distinguished speakers were:

Phyllis Tickle: an American author and lecturer whose work focuses on spirituality and religious issues. After serving as a teacher, professor, and academic dean, Tickle entered the publishing industry, serving as an editor at Publishers Weekly, before then becoming a popular writer. She is well known as a leading voice in the emerging church movement.

Nadia Bolz-Weber: the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado. She’s a leading voice in the emerging church movement and her writing can be found in The Christian Century and Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics blog.

Jan 11, 2015 Commemorating the Legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Sunday, January 11, 2015
Commemorating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Candlelight Vigil and March The event began at 5:30 p.m. with a “Gathering and Vigil” in front of City Hall; participants joined together at 6 p.m. in marching from there to our church’s main sanctuary.
Presented by Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.

6:30 p.m. Interfaith Multicultural Celebration
First United Methodist Church of Orlando, 142 East Jackson Street
Presented by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. Representatives of many different faiths ascended the pulpit of our church to urge peace and reconciliation in Dr. King’s memory.


Dec 10, 2014 The Nu Class Art Wall

Wall Hanging

Thanks to all those who contributed to the Nu Class Art Wall; Ed Cepull (the hammer, hooks, and ladder man with an artistic flair), Nancy Peed, Jo Petteway, and Rebecca Sickles on the workday – with prior input from Suzanne Gifford (VAC), Jane Horton, Beth Petteway, Ann Jones, Shirley Cannon and Kelli Carr (VAC).  Photo’s provided by Phyllis Stopford. Please let us know if we’re missing anyone!




Extract from “The History of the Chapel Class” by Emily Hartmeyer

OrlaDSC08594ndo was a very different place in 1965 when Dr. Cleveland served as Pastor and the Chapel Class was first organized. The Church boasted over 4,500 active members, with three services conducted Sunday mornings, one in the evening later that day, and a 7PM service on Wednesday. That all took place in the old yellow brick sanctuary facing Rosalind Avenue, then called “Main Street.” Everyone came to Church dressed up in their best: men wore conservative dark suits, and ladies adorned themselves in fancy dresses, hats with veils, and attractive white gloves. Even the children came attired in their Sunday outfits, just smaller versions of their parents.

That was the kind of place Orlando was when the Women’s Chapel Sunday School Class was first organized. It was called the “Chapel Class” because, for lack of sufficient meeting space in the building facing Main Street, the first members convened in the small chapel at the rear of the old sanctuary. The original organizers were Faye Fly and Grace Weir, both long-time Orlando residents and First Church members. The text used was the Adult Bible Studies Quarterly that each member studied so she could participate in discussion. By 1974, twenty-five enthusiastic women attended regularly.

Early on, it became the class custom to have spring and holiday luncheons, and the class generously invited pastors’ wives to attend as their guests on those occasions. These events gave members a chance to chat freely and become better acquainted with one another, helping the class become more cohesive. Nancy Fly, daughter of member Betty Lou Hartsaw, had married Faye Fly’s son. Since her hobby was assembling scrapbooks, Nancy produced several covering Chapel Class events, and those are preserved at the Church for future generations to enjoy.

As attendance increased over the years, Claire McMillen, who worked at a bank, secured donation of a handsome conference table seating 12-15 for class members to gather around, and many times a second row of chairs would be added!

As time passed, older women dropped from the class and the original teachers could no longer serve. Pat Rogers and Scott Girdley stepped up to lead the class. Some older members moved intoretirement homes, and while most continued to come to Church, they were unable to attend Sunday School. Of the four members still attending since 2013, by the summer of 2014 Rora Cox, a class member since 1975, became disabled and could only attend Church. Scott Girdley continued as faithful class teacher with just three remaining members attending: Claire McMillen, Dottie Cox, and Emily Hartmeyer. As Treasurer Dottie realized her eyesight was worsening, she faced the reality of no longer being able to attend Church. The class reached the decision to disband effective the last Sunday in August, 2014.

As the remaining members and teacher agree, the Chapel Class has a wonderful history, but times have changed for them, this class, and the Church over these past 49 years, now it was time to move on. 

DSC08598On November 2, 2014, the Nu Class officially welcomed the transfer of membership of the Chapel Class. What a joy and blessing it is to have Claire and Emily as a part of our group!

For the full text of Emily’s History of the Chapel Class click Here

Oct 25, 2014 Nu Class Social

Saturday  11:30-2:30 – Picnic Lunch at the Beach!

                                        Approximately 30 members of the Nu ClassSocial Oct 2014 traveled by church bus or car to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the beach. A relaxing time was had by all. A great big thank you to the Manuels who hosted the event at their beach house and those who brought snacks.