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First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

Issue 3 - 2012

Seeking, Sharing, Serving...All to the Glory of God


Psalm 66:12
This past winter/spring has been a season of significant challenge and change for us as a church body, but one for which I am enormously grateful. Through every challenge, through every delay, the Lord has shaped and taught us in ways we would not have known otherwise. For example, you may recall that on March 3, our Presbytery voted to delay our dismissal into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. I drove home that day feeling disappointed and sad, unsure why the Lord had allowed it. Then I awoke the next morning with a single realization: whenever the church goes through seasons of challenge or suffering, she GROWS! As worship unfolded that morning, it was Spirit-filled and moving. Unity swept over our body in ways I had not seen in some time. The Spirit drew us together, bonded us in our commitment to Christs Church and His Word! Driving home from church, I realized: had the Presbytery voted to dismiss us on March 3, our church would have missed the joy, the unity, and the renewal of our shared commitment that unfolded on March 4. Knowing what I knew in that moment, I would not have gone back to change it. I was grateful for the Lords work, and felt a renewed sense of trust in Him for the entire process. While we have known some weariness in the denominational process, the Lord has brought the spiritual vitality of His presence in so many ways. Here are just a few: Most afternoons around the time schools let out, the Edington Ministry Center lobby and first floor hallways are all filled with parents and students coming to be part of the Orlando Community School of the Arts. They receive instrument and vocal lessons from Christian instructors who help them connect how using their gifts brings glory to God! All week, in more than 20 classes, more than 450 mothers and children take part in Musikgarten classes. Mothers and children bond through playing music together, all in an environment that exposes them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. More than half of our participants are non-members of FPCO!


but You brought us to a place of abundance.

Dr. Thorp completed the spring First Connections Class as 35 new adults came fully into the life and ministry of FPCO. 45 children attended Communion Education with their parents and received the sacrament from the pastors on February 26. 530 people fanned out all across our city, in service to the Lord, on our third ServeDay. What a joy it was to see all those people, adorned in their FPCO ServeDay shirts, heading out to offer hope to hurting people. Generosity has overflowed as our church responded to the budget needs of our ministry. As of this writing, the deficit, which once stood at $650,000, has been reduced to $150,000. Further, our Stewardship Ministry Team unveiled a plan to the Session to make ongoing generosity a more deeply held core commitment of this church.  he Well, my media ministry (visit T www.drinkfromthewell.com) became the 10th ranked Sunday show on The Church Channel out of 46 broadcasts. It is our highest ranking to date and one that represents viewers in 25,000 households. Sarah Savage joined our church staff as Director of Childrens Ministry. Sarah is a wonderful, gifted servant with years of experience who will take SHINE and develop it even more fully in the months to come. William Andrews and I taught on Biblical relationships and human sexuality to 35 of our FOUR12 students and their leaders. What a marvelous opportunity we have to minister to so many students from Howard Middle School, Jones High School, Evans High School, and Boone High School. My new book, Learning to Be You: How Our True Identity in Christ Sets Us Free, was set for release in August through Baker Books, Inc. This summer, we look forward to a trip to Madagascar, a trip to the Dominican Repub-

lic, the arrival of our student ministry and childrens ministry interns, Camp Geneva, Vacation Bible School, Upward Camps, Fun in The Son, The Great Escape, and a host of marvelous guest preachers. Meanwhile, Weekday School will offer their summer program, ICCC will serve their children and parents each day, Compassion Corner will tend to the daily needs of the homeless downtown, our Coalition of Counselors will tend to the emotional needs of our body, our addiction recovery groups will meet to foster community and support, our LIFE Communities will meet to grow deeper in Christ, deacons will visit the sick and the homebound, Telecare volunteers will systemically continue calling every member of the church for regular contact and ministry, fitness classes will be taught to the red-faced and the sweating...and through it all, lives will change. The gospel will be shared. The Word of God will go forth. And His Church will be renewed. This is why we work so tirelessly and faithfully on behalf of this great body. This is why we so generously give. This is why we stand firmly in the face of crisis or challenge. We have the privilege of honoring the Lord as we serve Him at First Presbyterian Church in this unique season. I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of this with you as we lay the groundwork for our 150th (2026) year and beyond. To God be the glory! Under His Mercy,

Dr. David Swanson


Felatiana is one of the many young women of Madagascar being blessed by the Womens Ministrys movement, HopeIts in the Bag! To see a video of Felatiana giving a message to our First Pres family, visit www.fpco.org/madagascar

407. 4 2 3 . 3 4 4 1
To arrange a baptism Contact Worship x1451 To arrange a wedding Contact Weddings x1453 To arrange a funeral or memorial service Contact Pastoral Care x1455 To donate flowers for worship services Contact Worship x1451 With questions about your pledge, donation, or budget Contact Finance x1479



With a change of address Contact Membership x1471 To purchase a sermon CD or DVD Contact x1438 To join the Chancel Choir Contact x1273 For child care reservations Early Childhood Contact x2250 To reach the Security Office Contact 407.415.9793 For Weekday School Contact 407.996.5864 To find out about Sunday School classes Contact Spiritual Formation x1463 With questions about the FPCO website or its Columns publication Contact Communications x1467 To reserve a meeting space Contact Special Services x1469 HOSPITALCALLS: Hospitals are no longer able to notify us when our members are hospitalized. If you know someone who is in the hospital, please notify the Pastoral Care office at x1455. PASTORALEMERGENCIES: For pastoral emergencies outside of the 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. church office hours, please leave a voicemail message at the main church number. The message center will page the minister on call, who will reply as soon as possible. NEEDHELP? Dependency assistance, cancer support group, grief support, divorce care, infertility group, please contact Congregational Life x1159


Our Womens Ministry provides an opportunity for every woman at FPCO to play a significant role in changing the lives of young women in Madagascar.


Our Student Ministry launches a new initiative to ensure that none of our FPCO students miss out on life-changing opportunities.


Choir member, Charlie Harris, shares how God transformed his life through the arts at FPCO.

4 5 6 8 9 10 Shining In A Holy Event in the Church Session Announces Summer Sabbatical for Dr. Swanson Heart of the City Foundation Legacy Society Your Ordination Matters! Missional Communities: LCGs Join Together Around a Kingdom Vision and Purpose Expanding the Kingdom Through Music 17 18 20 22 24 The Herron Family Adventure An Amazing Journey: An Interview with Samantha Vu The Benchmark Prayer Identifying Gods Calling with IDignity Summer Bible Study for Women: James-Mercy Triumphs Well Miss You Sam Knight News & Notices

26 27



Group: First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

Shining In

By Sarah Savage, Director of Childrens Ministry

am so pleased that the Lord has led me to First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO). A year ago, my husband, Jim, was informed that his job in Richmond, VA was coming to an end and that there was a job for him here in Orlando. We began to feel the switch from our comfort zone to our Christ zone! Throughout the move, we realized that so many things were out of our hands, but were in the hands of our Lord. We had no choice but to live each day with complete reliance on Christ (which is exactly where He wants us all the time!). We are still transitioning, but we are settling in! Jim and I have four children: Emily, who is 13 years old and in the 7th grade; Jack, who is 11 years old and in the 5th grade; Will, who is 10 years old and in the 4th grade, and Henry who is 6 years old and will begin Kindergarten in the fall. The older children attend school at Orangewood Christian School and Henry is in the Infant Childcare Center, here at FPCO. While in Richmond, the Lord called me into Childrens Ministry at Third Presbyterian Church and at St. Giles Presbyterian Church. I love coming alongside families to support them in the raising of their children in the faith. I love hearing children sing praises to God, seeing them soak up stories of those who share our faith heritage, and to hear them pray. I was not sure how God would use me here in Orlando, but the door opened to come to FPCO. SHINE is great and I look forward to working with lay-leaders to create a fuller, richer program for our children! Thank you for stepping out in faith to lay the groundwork for a wonderful Childrens Ministry program that will be an integral part of the families here at FPCO! Please pray for the Childrens Ministry staff, as we look to the Lord for His vision for SHINE!


A Holy Event in the Church

By Susie Dunlap, Childrens Ministry

ommunion, also known as the Lords Supper, is a holy event in the church. Once a year, Childrens Ministry invites children to attend our Communion Education Class. This class is designed to offer instruction as to the significance of this sacrament and welcome the children into participation of this element of our faith. Our prayer behind this training is that it will help bring meaning and a better understanding to this experience...other than a really small snack of juice and crackers. On Sunday, February 26, 2012, at 11:00am, twenty-seven of our precious children took Communion in front of the congregation during the Traditional worship service. This marked the completion of their Communion training, taught by Rev. Sam Knight.

This year, the children pictured above, participated in our Communion Education Class: Katherine, Juliette, Luc, John, Caroline, Benjamin, Charles, John, Karlie, Melinda, Charles, Caroline, Luke, Nicholas, Landon, Grace, Jonathan, Katie Grace, Kendall Grace, Elliana, Mary Caroline, Kendall, Zachary, Ellis, Emma Grace, David, Greer, Mason, Hayden, Ethan, Alexandra, Charles, Maxwell, and Kindell.

All Photos by Robyn Lynn Photo


Session Announces Summer Sabbatical for Dr. Swanson

By Scott Anderton, Chair, Personnel Committee

ast year, our Session unanimously approved a request for a sabbatical from our pastor, Dr. David Swanson. The Session was pleased to grant a 14-week sabbatical, beginning June 1, 2012. For those of you not familiar with the nature of sabbatical in the Presbyterian Church, it is often granted upon completion of years of ministry and service. Pastors need time to refocus their vision, update professional skills, and find renewal in their sense of call. During their period of ministry and service, pastors endure many of the burdens, the anguish, the pain, and hurt of their parishioners. A sabbatical offers an opportunity for a change-of-pace. Sabbatical leave is not a vacation, nor is it only continuing education. It offers a

means for a pastor to move away from normal responsibilities for refreshment, intellectual growth, and personal development. Upon researching policies and procedures for sabbatical, the Personnel Committee found guidelines about eligibility, length, and structure. We found that most senior pastors are granted a sabbatical every 6-7 years of service for a 3 to 4 month period. Dr. Swanson has never taken a sabbatical in his 20+ years in ministry. Given the tremendous responsibilities and challenges that have faced Dr. Swanson over the past eighteen months, we are even more excited about this gift of time for renewal. Rest assured, should any critical issues remain regarding our dismissal process, Dr.

Swanson will remain engaged as necessary so those can be sufficiently managed. In his absence, we have arranged a tremendous schedule of summer preachers that you will see below, gifted servants who will tend and feed us through this period. Rev. Dr. Case Thorp will provide staff leadership and primary direction for our church during this time. Dr. Swanson will return to the office on Wednesday, September 12 and be back in the pulpit on Sunday, September 16, 2012. Please join our Session in praying for Dr. Swanson and his family during this time.

Filled Up and Sent Out: A Summer to Grow in Gods Word

June 3: Dr. Don Sweeting, President of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando Dr. Don Sweeting Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor of Mission and Evangelism FPCO Dr. Tim Filston, Associate Pastor of Congregational Life of Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN; former Associate Pastor First Presbyterian Church, Orlando Dr. Luder Whitlock, Former President of Reformed Theological Seminary; Executive Director, CNL Charitable Foundation Dr. Luder Whitlock July 15: Dr. Dean Weaver, Senior Pastor, Memorial Park Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA; Former Moderator of the New Wineskins Movement in the PCUSA, now in the EPC. Rev. William Andrews, Pastor Heart of Mercy Church, Orlando; Founder, Mercy Drive Ministries, Inc. Rev. Kyle Dodd, EPC Pastor at Large; Former Director Kanakuk Kamps; Leader/ Speaker for Dennis Raineys Family Life Ministry Dr. Robert D. Wolgemuth Robert is a nationally known author and speaker and an elder and teacher at First Presbyterian for many years Mr. Bob Creson, President/ CEO Wycliffe Bible Translators USA August 19: Dr. Joan Gray, Former Moderator of the PC (USA); Interim Pastor of Clairmont Presbyterian Church, Clairmont, GA Dr. Steve Brown, Professor Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary; Founder/ President of Key Life Ministries

June 10: June 17:

July 22:

August 26:

June 24:

July 29:

July 1:

August 5:

September 2: Barbara Francis - Barbara has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for more than 20 years, teaching and leading the training of new staff. September 9: Dr. Jeff Jeremiah, Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church

July 8:

August 12:



Our Senior Pastor, Dr. David Swanson, will release his second book in August 2012. Published by Baker Books, Learning to Be You came about as a result of Dr. Swansons frequent visits with people struggling with issues of personal identity and worth. So many people are on a journey to find themselves, but they are not looking for answers in the right places. The subtitle suggests the answer: How Our True Identity in Christ Sets Us Free.

The book focuses on a simple, profound truth: we will never truly know ourselves until we know and love the God who made us. The more we do that, the more we will live in our true identity as His sons and daughters. Know God, know you.

In each chapter, Dr. Swanson takes one of our felt human needs and connects the answer to one of the attributes of God. Practical, theological, and deeply personal,

Learning to Be You will help restore personal confidence and security as you learn to see yourselves through the eyes of your Maker.

Heart of the City Foundation

By Brad Staton, Executive Director of Heart of the City Foundation

n the fall of 2012, Heart of the City Foundation will launch its Legacy Society. This esteemed group is made up of men and women who plan to include First Presbyterian Church of Orlando or Heart of the City Foundation in their will or estate. The foundation is currently gathering names for the membership list to be published this fall, and every fall thereafter. If you are committed to including First Presbyterian Church of Orlando or Heart of the City Foundation in your will or estate plan, please contact the foundation as soon as possible so that your name can be included in the Legacy Society. We want to honor you for your contribution to the future generations of our church. To find out how you can join the Legacy Society, please call or email me for more information. I would be happy to discuss the many opportunities available to you through Heart of the City Foundation to support the ongoing ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. Contact: Brad Staton at bstaton@fpco.org or x1457

Legacy Society

Photos by Todd McLennan

Last month, Heart of the City Foundation sponsored the Young at Heart Heritage Luncheon, honoring men and women who have been members of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando for 50 years or more. To all who attended, thank you for your faithfulness!


Your Ordination Matters!

By Dr. Case Thorp, Associate Pastor for Mission & Evangelism

he church does a great job telling us that a pastors ordination matters. Pastors get a robe, fancy stripes, and all sorts of attention that says, This persons ministry matters. We do a horrible job telling our business leaders that their ordination to vocational ministry matters as much, and in some ways, more. Biblical Entrepreneurship (BE) is the best way Ive found to help Christian business leaders understand their ordination to the workplace. The curriculum helps create a Kingdom worldview in which the church is one of many places Gods Holy Spirit shows up to do a mighty work. Under the leadership of Carol Hafer, FPCO Director of Mission, and John Watts, FPCO Church Business Administrator, we have secured the regional license for the curriculum from its originators, the Nehemiah Project. BE Or-

lando has been created as a city-wide initiative where our church can reach out and be a blessing to Christian business leaders from all over. Steve Cahill has been trained as a certified teacher of BE and brings years of business acumen and faith experience to his teaching. Since the launch of BE Orlando, we have formed partnerships with Belhaven Universitys undergraduate and graduate level business programs, the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce, and Glenn Repple, founder and President of G. A. Repple and Company. Over 50 people have taken a BE class here in Orlando and that doesnt even include our Malagasy friends in Madagascar who have heartily embraced the training and its application. BE is evangelism as it helps business leaders see how God moves with employees, business partners, vendors, and customers. BE is missional discipleship as it equips business leaders to be the church, out in the world. BE guides potential entrepreneurs through the business planning process to develop Kingdom-based business plans. BE is worship as it establishes numerous outposts in which the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is praised. BE is Christian nurture as it brings deeper fulfillment to a business leaders dayin and day-out work by showing him or her the fruit they are contributing to the Kingdom of God. IS BE FOR YOU? JackElkinsTestimony: How often do we immerse ourselves in the latest Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, or Michael Lewis book? How much more valuable is it to do a two-day immersion into the Good Book to find

Photos by Todd McLennan

strategies and guidance for our business decisions? BE was a two-day training in building my business witness. It takes you right to verses in the Bible for the answers to many of our daily career decisions. I like to learn from successful business leaders. I enjoy and get inspiration to take action when I learn from real, Christian business leaders.


BUSINESSENTREPRENEURSHIP: LEVELI(BEI) 8:30am - 5:00pm RecentlyCompletedinMay FallDatesTBD BUSINESSENTREPRENEURSHIP: LEVELII(BEII) 8:30am - 5:00pm October 11 - 12, 2012 BUSINESSENTREPRENEURSHIP: LEVELIII(BEIII) 8:30am - 5:00pm July 12 13, 2012 November 8 9, 2012 All classes are held on the FPCO campus and taught by a trained BE teacher and local business leader. Register today at www.beorlando.com.

If you feel called to take BE, do not wait! Your purpose may be to share your wisdom with others in your class. Remember its not about you, its about Him. Jack Elkins is the Technology Project Manager for the Orlando Magic. He spent 6.5 years in the Magics Business Development and Strategy division, preparing the way for the new Amway Center. He currently serves as president of the board for Downtown Credo, a non-profit coffee shoppe in College Park where customers name their own price and focus on serving the community. For more information, visit www. downtowncredo.com/orlando.


By Kent Sterchi, Director of LIFE Community and Carol Hafer, Director of Mission

LCGs Join Together Around a Kingdom Vision and Purpose

his past ServeDay, over sixty men, women, and children joined together to serve at Fern Creek Elementary School. What made these efforts unique from other ServeDay projects was that the majority of the people serving at Fern Creek were members of six different LIFE Community Groups (LCGs) who live within a three mile radius of Fern Creek. Yet, the convergence of so many LCGs was no accident; the call to live on mission with God through LIFE Community and FaithServes continues to grow and mature. We hope that what happened at Fern Creek on March 10 will be the first seeds of forming Missional Communities. A Missional Community is a group of 35-60 people from many LCGs who live in the same area of the city and share in a common Kingdom-vision and purpose to bring the love of Christ to their specific neighborhoods. On that Saturday morning at Fern Creek, volunteers helped paint, landscape, code books, bag and sort food and clothing, and accomplish other tasks. Their purpose was to encourage the mission of Fern Creek, a school dedicated to serving its students and families, 85% of whom live below the poverty line. After the picnic tables were built and the paint had begun to dry, Lindsay Mays and Keri Hefferin, our new staff friends from Fern Creek, shared some the following ways we can begin to sow the seeds of the gospel and make an impact in the lives of kids, parents, and teachers at Fern Creek as an individual, a LCG, or a Missional Community: Mentor a Student: meet with a student on campus for an hour each week Adopt a Classroom: with your LCG, serve the teacher and brainstorm ways to bless the teacher, students and their families Host a Teacher Appreciation Event: as a Missional Community, plan a special dinner or event near the end of the school year Establish a Gardening Initiative: help students grow their own vegetables and learn about healthy eating Start an All-Pro Dad or iMom Program: support the parents of the students to improve their family life N.T. Wright describes a vibrant church community as a place of welcome and laughter, of healing and hope, of friends and family and justice, and new life. Its where one group [or perhaps a Missional Community] is working to help drug addicts and another, is campaigning for global justice. Its where youll find people learning to pray, coming to faith, struggling with temptations, finding new purpose, and getting in touch with a new power to carry that purpose out. Its where people bring their own small faith and discover, in getting together with others to worship the one true God, that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, it is our personal hope and prayer that God will reunite those six LCGs soon to share in a night of worship, fellowship, time in the Word and in prayer to learn how we can become a Missional Community that loves and serves all at Fern Creek Elementary School! And as we, the church, seek to live selflessly and desire to see the Kingdom of God come to our city, we ask that you, too, join us in prayer. Please pray for wisdom and vision in cultivating the mission at Fern Creek and developing other Missional Communities throughout the greater Orlando area so that the Lord may be glorified. Amen!

Photos by Kim Penney 10 | COLUMNS

Thanks for Serving in MARCH!

Photos by Todd McLennan & Kim Penney


By Lori Needham, Womens Ministry

n the following page, you will read the invitation for all women to participate in a great event hosted by the Womens Ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO), in partnership with OnePurse a mission driven ministry that gives new life to our gently used purses while transforming the lives of children and women throughout the world. There is an opportunity for every woman in the church to play a significant role in changing the lives of the young women of Madagascar a mission that the Amazing Collection Bible study groups have supported the last couple of years. Under the direction of Pastor Helivao, 165 vulnerable girls between the ages of 13 19 are receiving daily nourishment, skills that will enable them to help support themselves and their families, as well as basic life skills. More importantly, these women are receiving hope, through continuing education skills, counseling and learning about Jesus. Your role in supporting this initiative will be easy and fun! Take time to do some spring cleaning of closets that may contain purses you are no longer using. Donate these gently used purses to OnePurse and then attend the coffee and purse party on May 12! All proceeds from the event will support the FJKM School for these girls in Madagascar. The women of FPCO have already made a life-changing investment in the lives of Malagasy women who would otherwise be without hope. Hope its in the bagyour bag! On Sunday mornings through May 6, you may donate your gently used purses in a container under the Angel Wing. For more information, contact Lori Needham at lneedham@fpco.org or x1463.
Photos by Todd McLennan



By Jonathan Christian, Director of Student Ministries and Debbie Swartwood, Member

Photos Courtesy of Student Ministry

I various trips throughout the year and then

t is truly incredible to take our students on

May, our Student Ministry team has committed to raise $25,000 to bring down the cost of the discipleship trips.

to witness, first hand, the moment when God reaches down from Heaven and fills a student in a powerful and unforgettable wayit is amazing! The bottom line is every year we have dozens of students who miss out on experiences like this because of the high cost of these life-changing trips. While we still try to help out with limited scholarship funds, we are acutely aware that many families dont even consider the option of scholarship help because they find the initial advertised trip price to be so dauntingthis is a problem a need. In response to this need, the Student Ministry team has launched a new initiative called InvesTeen. Its purpose is to ensure that none of our FPCO students miss out on the opportunity to participate in these trips. During the month of

A Journey to Joy

Several times each year, giant buses pull up under the Angel Wing at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO), surrounded by a throng of students laughing and hugging while toting pillows, bedrolls, and duffle bags. They are about to embark on a discipleship trip a journey that will, for many of them, be life-changing. During the summer months, middle school students embark on The Great Escape, while high school students go to Fun in the Son - both week-long retreats, combining wholesome summer activities with worship, fellowship, and Bible study. In the fall, similar retreats are offered at Eagle Rock, Tennessee (high school) and Southwind, Florida (middle school).

Life Changing Encounters with Jesus and with One Another

These discipleship trips, carefully planned and directed by FPCOs Office of Student Ministries, give high school and middle school students the chance to escape the every day distractions of their lives so that they can encounter Jesus Christ in a new and dramatic way. This can happen during worship, during a heart-to-heart conversation with a youth leader or fellow participant, or during a time of quiet personal reflection and prayer. Many of our students have shared that these trips produce some of the best memories of their teen-age years. More importantly, they experience the spiritual growth and renewal that they need in order to hold on to their values and beliefs in the midst of intense peer pressure and temptation.

A Top Priority and Growing Challenge

The discipleship trips offered by FPCO, which cost an average of $300, have become a top priority of many of our families. Vacations and other camp sessions are scheduled around them. Budgets are adjusted and special transportation is arranged by parents of teens who miss the bus due to mandatory school and athletic events. Sadly, rising fuel costs and other factors are driving up the cost of these special adventures. Many families are finding it increasingly difficult to meet these costs.

An Encouraging Start

The Student Ministry team is extremely grateful and encouraged by a lead gift of $1500 from the Heart of the City Foundation to kick off this fundraiser. Please support this initiative. Gifts of all levels will help ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to take a journey to joy that will remain with them for a lifetime. Our InvesTeen fundraiser can help us lower the overall cost of these trips and set us up to take more students than ever before students that havent even dreamed of going before, and as a result, have more powerful stories and quotes like the ones you can read below:

providin the Son have Trips like Fun periences e-changing ex ed amazing, lif important to realize how that help you rong faith d maintain a st it is to seek an . p with the Lord and relationshi


Some of the deepest, most meaningful conversations Ive ever had, have been at Eagle Rock. God is so present on those mountains and He is just so alive in and through everyones lives and their worship. His presence is tangible in that place. Every conversation and relationship made at Eagle Rock is just so real and full of the Spirit.


Fun in the Son is one week where I can focus 100% on God all the time, without distractions and interruptions. Each time I have been, God has revealed Himself in incredible ways. Each time at Fun in the Son Ive been reminded of just how amazing God is and that He has everything under control. I am so excited for this summer and this years trip!


The Great Escape was awesome! I learned so much and had lots o f fun. The Lo rd taught m e a lot about joy which h as helped me become clo ser to Him.



Last years summer trip was a life-changing experience that brought the whole youth group together. The very best part of the trip would have to be our youth groups family time together. Everyone is so open and you can see the group grow closer and closer, like a family. Its great to see where everyone is in their faith and what God is doing in their lives.

To support our students, contact our Student Ministry at pgray@fpco.org or x2350.


Expanding the Kingdom Through Music

A who profoundly influenced our lives.

By Leigha Pace, Director of Arts and Director of the Orlando Community School of the Arts at FPCO

ll of us remember a special person

Mrs. Pollard was my Junior High School choral director and also served as our worship leader at my church. I often think about her. She encouraged me by giving me opportunities to accompany the choir at age twelve and sing solos. I was not aware of it then, but now I know, she was preparing me for my journey and ministry here at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. Now, as Director of Arts, I have the opportunity to influence other young lives in a positive way. One effective way I have found to do this is through our outreach ministry, the Orlando Community School of the Arts (OCSA). Through OCSA, our church touches hundreds of young lives for Christ, encouraging them to live a life of creative expression to God. Teaching individuals to express faith through the arts has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I have not been alone in this journey of encouragement. For the past three years, OCSA visionaries, Rebecca Bedell and Glenda Morgan, have worked to develop and improve this wonderful outreach ministry in our church. Through their service to God, they have discovered the same joy I have found, and that I know you will find. Two OCSA students, Amber James and Teresa Perrotta have been chosen, through a nation-wide audition, to perform major roles in the operas Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini and Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) by W.A. Mozart, as part of the critically acclaimed Operafestival di Roma, which will be held this summer in July. The award winning opera program is a non-profit insti-

tution that offers opportunities to musicians from all nations, to study and perform opera. Performances are given in the beautiful, 15th Century courtyard of Saint Ivo alla Sapienza, in central Rome. Amber James has been cast in the title role of Suor Angelica. Amber is from Winter Haven and is School Music Director at Grace Lutheran Church. Amber earned a degree in Piano from Southern Wesleyan University and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia. Amber has been studying voice through OCSA since last Fall. She auditioned and was offered the lead immediately. Since then, Amber has served in worship leadership at FPCO for our Stephen Ministry and joined our Chancel Choir and Orlando Philharmonic leading worship at the Fellowship Conference in January. Amber shares the impact of her experience through OCSA. I began coaching at OCSA with Leigha Pace in the fall of 2011. I was referred to Leigha by a mutual friend. I have been coaching with her ever since. Being a part of OCSA Outreach Ministry has opened many doors for me to grow professionally and audition for programs and competitions that are advancing my professional singing career. More importantly, this ministry has given me opportunities to lead in worship, and live a life of faith more deeply. Teresa Perrotta, Junior at Olympia High School, will join Amber in Italy this summer. Teresa has been in Orange County Public School choir programs for six years. She first began private vocal study with Rebecca Bedell and when I arrived, she joined my studio. For the past three years Teresa has auditioned and was selected to sing in the Florida All-State Womens Choir. She received a perfect score for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition and won the Florida Musical Theater for Female High School Singers Award. At age sixteen, Teresa is one of the youngest performers to participate in the Operafestival di Roma. Teresa will serve double duty in Rome by performing supporting roles in Suor Angelica and Mozarts, Die Zauberflote.

OCSA Outreach Ministry has allowed me to be stretched beyond my imagination. My private vocal instruction has taken me to the next level, by studying technique and the emotional connection to the music. The private instruction is definitely helping me with college preparation and pursuing a degree in vocal performance. Since I began lessons I have been blessed with amazing opportunities ranging from local competitions and now traveling internationally, to study opera. I will never forget the valuable tools and resources the OCSA Outreach Ministry has given to me. No words can describe how thankful I am that First Presbyterian Church provides a creative, spiritual, and artistic environment for me to grow in my faith and see how God can use me to serve Him with the gifts He has given me.

Teresa Perrotta In I and II Chronicles, when God asked the Israelites to build the Tabernacle, there were items in the Tabernacle that did not have any other function than to be beautiful. We know from the Bible that God appreciates things of beauty; we can see that from all He placed around us. Being made in the image of God, we too, desire to express ourselves creatively. It is a way we communicate with each other and commune with our maker. It is time for us to continue to influence the world around us, and not be influenced by it. God has called us to be leaders, not followers. What joy we experience as Christians, when we present our creative expression to our Heavenly Father. What greater joy we come to know when we teach others to do the same. We are looking forward to sharing stories and pictures with you when we return from Rome!

Amber James

The Herron Family Adventure

By Chip Herron, Member

MATTHEW 19: 13-14

Then little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

eekday school proudly celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2010. Confessionshhh! I have been attending Weekday School for almost 1/3 of the time it has been conducting its ministry. Six, count them, six, Herron children have been walked in to Allen Hall or dropped off in carpool line over the past 22 years (with 2 more years to go!). Since the first few days of my experience, I knew that Weekday School was a place of security for my children; a place where the teachers and staff loved them and loved on them, where they received a wonderful introduction to education through Donna Speers tried and true education through play, and where Weekday School ministered to my children and my family through its various programs. Many friends have commented that all of our children (Fox, 25; Hunter, 22; Chase, 12; Lillie, 9; Miles, 8 and Chapel, 3) look like they were stamped out of the same mold. As parents though, we see and (sometimes) celebrate their differences; differences in personalities, temperaments, likes, and dislikes. Fox graduated from West Point and Hunter attends the Naval Academy. Lillie is the most beautiful tom-boy I know and Chapel is the prettiest three-year-old diva, who only wants to wear dresses. Chase wants to go away to Harvard for college and Miles says he is never leaving home. They are alike in so many ways and yet they are so very different. The wonderful teachers at Weekday School embraced all of my children, loved them as they are and helped each to reach their own potential. Over these many years, we have been blessed that teachers like Mrs. Magee, Mrs. Walkup, Mrs. Boswell, Mrs. Grace, Mrs. Malone, Mrs. Madigan, Mrs. Rossi, Mrs. Oldham, and others have interacted with the Herron children; each of them sitting in a little chair in their particular classroom door to welcome the children with a smile and a hug. It always makes me feel good knowing that after I said goodbye to my children in the morning with a hug and an I love you, that they were immediately welcomed into their Weekday School classroom with the same sentiments! One of my all-time favorite hymns is Jesus Loves Me. At Weekday School, all of my children sang that song and many childrens hymns. Our prayers from home are reinforced at Weekday School; so much so, that our youngest demands

Photos Courtesy of Herron Family

that she get to say the prayer before dinner each night. Even though she often thanks God for her family and the food, we are asking Mrs. Oldham to qualify for her that she does not need to thank God for the toys that He brought her for Christmas! (Dr. Swanson, I promise we have told her that God is not a cosmic-Santa!). Their Christian development is also reinforced through regular visits to the Reformation Chapel. These visits have double special meaning in our household. When my wife, Dawn, was pregnant with our last child, we were certain the child was a boy and had sorted through various options and decided on his name. After the sonogram, we had needed to find a name for a baby girl. Lillie came in our room that evening and we asked her if she had any names to suggest, she chose the name Chapel (having been to Chapel that day in Weekday School) and told us that God had told her that name. Several months later, Chapel was born. Chapel had the good fortune of attending several Weekday School events prior to attending herself, including the Fall Open House, the Thanksgiving Program and the Fun Fair. For many years, I watched as the Weekday School provided spiritual development opportunities to Weekday School families; mostly to moms. One day, I shared with Donna Speer a vision that I had, that Weekday School would/should promote an event for dads and kids. Within 60 days Donna and the Advisory Board had finished the details for and scheduled the first Daddy and Me day at Weekday School. Weekday School has been an integral part of the Herron Family. As we look forward to the next 2 years, we also look back with thanksgiving for the past 22 years. God has blessed our family through Weekday School and we are certain that He will continue to bless many others in years to come. Weekday School begins its 63rd school year on August 27, 2012. Visit www.fpco.org/wds.

An Amazing Journey
An Interview with Samantha Vu

e caught up with one of our newest members and found out about the amazing journey that brought her to God. Todd McLennan: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you grew up. Samantha Vu: I was raised as a Buddhist. Thats what my family practiced. At that time in Vietnam, you were either Catholic or a Buddhist. Although I did the practice attended the temple, did the worship, and followed the procedure - I never understood the reason. I remember when I was around my daughter Alanas age [6 years old], along my walks to school, always getting drawn to looking at, what must have been a Catholic Church. I saw these two pillars and connecting the pillars were gates, beyond the gates was a long walkway, and then I could see the church with the cross on top of the building. It was something that I always wondered about. I remember wondering: Whats in there? When I think about the things from Vietnam, I think about that church. It was also around that time that we made our escape from Vietnam (during the Vietnam War), which was very traumatic. My mom asked me a couple of years ago, if I remembered walking and seeing dead people on the streets, covered in blankets, but I dont remember that. My mom said: How can you not remember that? All I remember is that church. Growing up, I knew my familys tradition and beliefs. I struggled with Buddhism. Although I never understood how many bows, how many prayers, why we worshipped our ancestors, or believed in reincarnation, I tried to keep practicing itall the way through my freshman year in college. I was miserable. I then stepped away from it. There were more bad things that happened in my life and I questioned [God] in anger. Why me? and If there was a God, why was He letting this happen? It was not until recently that I accepted my history, in order to make me who I am today and how now my belief is to carry through Gods word. When Alana was at the Infant Child Care Center (ICCC), I was drawn to the church [FPCO], but she influenced me more by talking about the teachings. Todd: How did you find out about our ICCC? Samantha: I was working at DCF (Department of Children and Families) and I asked one of my friends to give me three of the

best daycares that there were downtown. ICCC was one of the three recommendations. Amazingly, we got in even though there was a very long waiting list. Throughout this time, Alana was coming home from ICCC, Photos by Hailey Domeck not just talking regular language; she was talking about having Jesus in her heart and little things like that. It was just amazing me, the things that she was getting from her teachers at the ICCC. Todd: This was all before you had ever attended a service? Samantha: Yes. I was always drawn to the building and was amazed at how the church took up the whole block; I thought to myself, That is a huge church. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could be a member there. No, I thought, I am not good enough for that. I am not going to explore it. Four years ago, I even asked Case what it would take to become a member. Case sent me DVDs and information about becoming a member. Todd: So how did you come to join FPCO? Samantha: I was very intrigued. It was the same thing that I remember drawing me, as a child walking to school, to that church. The red bricks, the layout, how big it was, the statues and everything [about FPCO] drew me to it. While Alana was an infant, in the middle of the day, I would go to visit her and take her to the yard where there is a statue in front and it has a gate. I dont know what it is called. Todd: Thats called our Columbarium. It has a Jesus statue in front with a net in his hands. So, that had an impact on your heart and your mind? Samantha: Yes, as I would be standing there while reading and holding her, thinking about my foundation and Id think about her foundation. All of the thoughts about how I want to raise my child without having any experience, not having a mom and being raised without a mom, what do I do, how do I make this child successful and make her have the confidence that I see in other women that I am friends with through the ICCC. Two or three years after Alana started at ICCC, I got separated. That is when I really
Photos by Hailey Domeck

began to fall into a negative road. A friend at work found me when I was crying about my separation because I was seeing it as another failure in my life. She said, Lets just pray, ok? When Alana was to start school, one of the reasons I chose The Christ School (TCS) was that I wanted her to have a good foundation in Christ. I visited other Christian schools and charter schools, but I was drawn back to TCS. Being a single mother, I knew that I couldnt afford it, so I prayed. I knew that I had her [Alanas] college savings. I said that is ok to use it [for TCS], this is for her - there is no price too great to pay for having a strong foundation in Christ and having Christ in your heart. I knew that, I dont know how I knew that, but I just did. There was a voice in my head that said it was ok because with Christ in her heart she will be ok. Todd:Its amazing and wonderful how God used her to draw you both to Him; here you are thinking all of these things for your daughter and you havent yet made that decision for yourself, right? Samantha: Yeah and little did I know. The next year I knew that I had to make a commitment and her college funds were running low. I went to talk with Sharon, who was the enrollment specialist at that time, she talked about being connected, not only was Alana connected, but I guess she saw something in me - I dont know. She told me there was a Bible study and that she would like me to contact Jen Bostedo. By chance, Jen and I are good friends, but I didnt know she was leading the Bible study. Jen and I were talking about Alana and that she has such an old soul. She was telling me about her conversations with Alana and about what she was saying about her faith. She knows her faith and who God is and she worships Him. Here she is, stronger than me, she is standing out on her faith. I remember I was giving her a bath one night; shes singing and there I was thinking about my bad life and I asked her Why are you so happy? She said Because I have

God in my heart, mom. I started taking a Bible study class through TCS because, at that time, I didnt have a church I didnt have anything - I had myself. The study was about discerning the voice of God. Throughout the whole time, I was thinking How do you know when God is talking to you? That opened up a lot of questions I had about Christ. After that 6-7 week study, I decided to attend a service with another parent. Todd: Do you remember a moment where you accepted Christ into your heart? Samantha: Yes, it was when I was really low, it was little by little, it wasnt one big moment; it was more like a snowball effect. This morning I was searching for a book that Robin gave me. He was the person that did my prayer at my baptism.

When I go back to that time in my life, I get kind of fragile. The book was Jesus Calling and every morning I read that. It was 365 days of devotion and enjoying peace in His presence. And I kind of read that as my little inspiration and encouragement. I didnt know it, but I thank him for it now; I am addicted to it. Todd: Can you reflect a little bit about what it was like being baptized with your daughter and how God used that moment in your relationship? Samantha: At first when we were preparing for it, I thought a baptism was a private moment because Im a private person. It was not a social hour, it was my time with God, listening. So I wanted that to be between the three of us: God, Alana, and me. Well, little by little my friends began to find out and I invited everyone. By that morning, there were over four rows of friends and community who were there. I just cant explain what it was like; it was fulfillment. I remember standing up there while Case was talking; it just seemed a lot brighter I could barely see. It was like the moment that I knew God was there smiling down. The spot lights became so much brighter to me and my heart was beating really fast and I knew at that point that there was a change in my life.

One of the three happiest, satisfying, and fulfilled moments, was when we escaped from Vietnam. I thought I was going to die - the boats motor broke in the ocean and I had the sky, the sea and 67 people next to me and the boat is sinking. The second was when Alana was born. Being baptized was one of my three greatest and most fulfilled moments in my life. Id lost the hope and the drive because of so many failures in my life and because of so many obstacles and little by little I am beginning to get that back and am excited to wake up and excited for Alana to be at The Christ School and for us to be at this church. Todd: What would you want to say to a person who is reading this article and has felt the same discouragement you felt and hasnt made a decision yet for faith, but feels lost like you did? Samantha: Give it to God and He will take care of it - with everything. I know that there are days that we are drawn to societys expectations and there are days that we are drawn to our own expectations. Our history makes us who we are today. If you just listen to yourself and the voice in your head, pray for it and leave it up to God, He will love you and take you in His hands and guide you to where you need to be.

Photos by Kim Penney COLUMNS | 19

A Book Review by Ken Scearce, Member


The World

he members of the FPCO Prayer Action Team have committed to study prayer as a part of the teams mission. Our current selection is a study of the Lords Prayer. The prayer in the original Greek of Matthews gospel is fifty-seven words in length (fifty-three words in the above translation). We repeat the Lords Prayer during most services of worship and may have learned the prayer by heart and havent really stopped to study its scope, content, and purpose. The author begins by holding up the brilliance of Jesus for the gift of this prayer. By now, the disciples had seen Jesus perform miracles of healing, casting out demons, preaching, and counseling. The only teaching request made by the first disciples was to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). The author suggests this came from their observation that Jesus accomplishments emerged from His relationship with His Father. The prayer contains six requests or petitions. The first three petitions your name, your will, your kingdom are separated by a little clause on earth as it is in heaven from give us bread, forgive us, and lead us not but deliver us. In this fashion, we begin this prayer with Gods concerns and conclude it with our concerns, which is in proper perspective. The verbs of the Lords Prayer hallow, come, be done, give, forgive, and deliver are in the imperative mood, indicative of a command. However they are in the passive voice which changes the mood from a command to introduce a note of reverence. We acknowledge that

A Journey through the Lords Prayer

By Darrell W. Johnson

Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13


only God can do what we ask. The six petitions are presented in the following sections. MAKE YOURSELF REAL: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, on earth as it is in heaven The very essence of Jesus during His earthly ministry was to see the Fathers name be hallowed on earth as it is in heaven. In biblical times the name of a person stood for the personal and incommunicable character of that individual. Jesus is teaching us that Gods name is infinitely precious and should be highly valued above all others. The author paraphrases this as Father, make yourself real on earth as you are real in heaven; enhance your reputation in all the earth. RULE WITHOUT RIVAL: Our father in heaven, your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven This petition is one of, if not the most radical things a human being can ask. From the Hebrew view, history has a purpose; it is moving toward a goal. Other worldviews see history as a series of chance, accidental events. In the minds of the Jewish prophets Gods reign would be ushered in by Gods Messiah (anointed one) on the so-called Day of the Lord. Jesus tells us that the time is at hand by His mission on earth; that Gods reign is near to us through Him. Thus, we are in an already, not yet time. To pray this petition is to say living God, even before the day of the Lord, reveal what is invisible, manifest what is hidden. The author challenges us to align ourselves with Gods rule which ends our rule. FULFILL ALL YOUR GOOD PLEASURES: Our father in heaven, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven The author reflects on a number of turning points in His life and rejoices that my will was not done. To pray this petition leads us to discover the goodness of Gods will. It is abundantly clear in the Scripture that Jesus was totally focused and thrived from doing the Fathers will. Paul instructs us in Romans 12:2 to be in Gods good, pleasing, and perfect will. Gods

will has both purpose and pleasure. BE OUR PROVIDER: Our father in heaven, give us this day our daily bread. In the fourth petition Jesus shifts pronouns from your to us and our. A dominant biblical symbol of the kingdom is the great festive banquet. Remember references to a land flowing with milk and honey, the feeding of His people in the wilderness, and Jesus feeding 5000 people with a scant amount of food. The study of this petition reveals six layers of the meaning of bread, each with biblical support: 1) physical bread to fuel the body; 2) everything necessary for functioning in the world; 3) everything necessary for living the kingdom life; 4) the resources of the Holy Spirit as spiritual bread; 5) Jesus himself; and finally 6) bread for the coming day. CANCEL ALL OUR DEBTS: Our father in heaven, forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. The word which is translated debt in Matthew 6:12 has a wide range of meanings, but according to scholars it always denotes something which is owed, a duty, or an obligation to pay. I invite you to read the parable Jesus taught in Matthew 18:23-35 in which a master forgives a slave of an incomprehensible debt and yet the same slave turns to a fellow slave and beats him and has him thrown into prison for a much smaller debt. The author teaches that our debt to God is obedience and that, to not trust God by not obeying Him, puts us in debt to God. There is a threefold nature of debt: first, the debt we owe our fellow humans; second, debt we owe to ourselves, and third, the debt which we owe to God. RESCUE US: deliver us from the evil one The word temptation is translated from the Greek word peirasmos which has both the meaning of test and temptation. A test is something meant to prove a persons character and in the process improve it. A temptation is meant to entice a person. When we are tested by God, we are meant to emerge spiritually strengthened. The evil one steps in to turn a test into a temptation.

Five strategies that Satan uses to turn a test into a temptation are: 1) sow seeds of suspicion; 2) focus on the negative; 3) make deductions from the negative; 4) force the Fathers hand (which Satan is unable to accomplish); and 5) have us take things into our own hands. NOT ALL THAT COMPLICATED The author concludes that the Lords Prayer is such a wonderful gift to us. Finally, all six petitions of the Lords Prayer will be answered because the Lord who teaches us to pray is himself the answer. Reviewers summary The Lord taught this as a way to pray, and who am I to depart from it? I use the six petitions as a prayer framework and find that my prayer life has become enriched. I heartily recommend this book to you. I have been asked to share a recent prayer experience which took place on Saturday, January 28 of this year which was the day before our congregational vote. I was doing yard work that day, specifically mulching, which I believe requires 10% of my mental capacity and 90% physical effort. I decided to pray during the time that I was performing this chore. I prayed that a quorum would be present; that the debate would be conducted in a way not to alienate members with different viewpoints, and that the church would be stronger as a result of the decision. I also prayed that I would find peace with my conscience. I prayed these things asking for Gods guidance and blessing. Finally, I simply ran out of words; it was then that I just thought the name Jesus. Instantly, in my mind I heard I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. As Dr. Johnson explains, I did not hear a voice, but I did hear in my head the words from John 14:6, which convinced me that I am following Jesus in this matter. I believe that when we pray using the framework that Jesus has taught us, we can grow spiritually beyond our expectations.


Identifying Gods Calling

How IDignity Gives the Needy a New Lease on Life
Todd McLennan: Michael tell us a little about how God called you to lead IDignity. Michael Dippy: I have had two different kinds of what I identify as callings, or God pushing me in my life. One was when I opened my big mouth and challenged the group that was starting IDignity, not to just hand out $10 checks, but to serve those in need of more help than that. We could hand out $10 checks all day long, but my goal is to help the least of these: those that simply cannot navigate the system without our help. Todd:Thats the way God gifted you: to push to make it happen? Michael: Maybe. I didnt want to do it, but I felt like I had to stand up and speak, and here was the chance. With that, three quarters of the group initially said, No, were not going to do that, believing that it was going to be hard enough to raise that kind of money and get everyone a $10 check. I was heavily committed, after making a fairly significant argument, I challenged them to step up and serve the community the way representatives of the church should. Todd: Fair enough. What evolved then? Michael: We started serving people by walking them through the entire process of obtaining their ID, out of a bus. Three quarters of the way through that months event, I was standing out by the ID bus and watching people with their IDs coming out of that bus and seeing their eyes open up with this incredible transition from dread to hope, just by this little card thats being handed to them. I realized weve been blessed to have five different denominations working together to address this need, weve been blessed that weve got every level of government; federal, state, county, city, to all focus around this one little problem: thats evidence of Gods hand being involved. And if Im going to be a Christian and Ive been blessed, then I need to share that blessing with others . When you feel like God wants you to do something; you just kind of say, Gods going to help me get through this and you want to see what happens. Theres no bigger supporter of IDignity than those government agencies because we are providing a service that they were never able to provide. They have these clients that come in and say, for example, Ive been a Floridian 56 years, Ive lost my ID now and youre telling me that you cant get me a new one because I have to get a birth certificate, proof of my social, and two proofs of where I live? Thats obscene. Todd: Would you say that IDignity is filling a giant void? Michael: For a good segment of our population there is a big gap. If the government is going to require individuals to have this documentation to participate in society, then they need to make

sure that society can get over that gap. Right now, IDignity is bridging that gap for a significant segment of our population, specifically the poor and disadvantaged. Todd: For how many people does this need still go unmet? Michael:There are 2.7 million American citizens that dont have proper state identification, so thats a big chunk. I guess thats 1 percent of the population! Todd: Until this year, many people were getting turned away because they didnt have the correct documentation, how has that improved recently? Michael: Weve been aggressive with our use of Compassion Corner as a location for document distribution day. Instead of having IDignity events once a month, we now have many IDignity events, what we call document distribution days once a week. Every Friday, we open up Compassion Corner from 12-3 oclock and serve all of our existing clients that have ongoing case management needs. For instance, if we got a rejection on their birth certificate because they misspelled their moms maiden name, or maybe the names dont match on two different types of documentation, which happens all the time, were going to have to resubmit it. Were going to have to fix these issues, so lets do that ahead of time to have greater success when our clients come back. Identification is a need that you cant do anything without. Once you take care of this one need, then all of the sudden, all of these doors begin to open--

Photos by Todd McLennan 22 | COLUMNS

whether its employment, or education or healthcare, or housing or getting some kind of social benefit or being able to cash that check or get access to your bank account--but you cant open any of them until you take care of this foundational, systemic need. Whatever those doors are for the clients; theyre always significant and theyre always like a light switch, heres your key, heres your golden ticket that will open those doors for you. They understand that, because they are the ones who have witnessed all of these doors being shut. It has to be very frustrating, but it also has to be very dehumanizing to not be able to prove who you are. To just walk around and say, I am Michael, and people responding, prove it, how do I know that, you cant prove that to me. That would just be frustrating after awhile: never being able to really prove your identity--and here are these silly little, plastic cards that can unquestionably say this is who you are--pretty powerful for just a little piece of plastic. Todd: Has doing this on a regular basis been a big help? Making IDignity events run more efficiently and having fewer people get turned away disappointed because they didnt have what they needed. Michael: Right, its been a huge help. For the first time ever, in the last three months, weve been able to serve every single person who has shown up in line! This is because we have been more aggressive about this document distribution day at Compassion Corner. We have 50-70 clients showing up every Friday we now have a homeless client sitting across from us that is praising God he got his birth certificate, he has probably never even seen it before, but here it is! We developed a wonderful relationship with the DMV where we can give clients a voucher, a coupon for a free id or a

free drivers license and then we pay for all the clients at the end of the day, its a great system. Todd: It seems that the only way those things could have materialized is your time in the trenches figuring out these challenges and solving them. Michael: Yes, the voucher system was probably one of the smarter things weve ever done. For the first year and a half, after theyd get all the way to the end, having received the paperwork that they needed to go to the DMV, the final closing process would take so long that 10-20 people didnt make it to the final bus of the day taking them home. Wed run out of time. Our standard response was Sorry, come back next month, and it almost turned into a riot. Its not a compassionate thing to do and thats always what weve got to look at, we dont want to become a heartless, government agency. Now, they go to the DMV and hand them a coupon, and since we have this great relationship with the DMV, because we are helping them solve a challenge by giving them flyers to give to their clients. Todd: How have you been affected by serving at an IDignity event? Michael: My personal faith journey has been greatly fed by serving those less fortunate; specifically serving those that can never really repay you. Theres a difference in giving to someone that you expect to get something back from. I think that resonates more spiritually for me and a little bit less selfish. For me to be able to serve and to see that need, and to see that through God, I can help meet that need is a very rewarding experience. To see the lives that Im touching and to hear those stories, Ive been more moved by seeing the spiritual transition of those that come to serve. There is an inherent relationship that is established between you and the person that you are helping because you have to hear their story, its part of the process of identifying who somebody is. Its very touching and its very personal and I think that its that personal helping and that personal relationship that

are going to feed you spiritually and are going to strengthen your faith in some ways that you werent expecting. And I think thats the beauty of IDignity: that we are serving these clients, but also our ministry is blessing those people that are serving, and thats a huge blessing to me. Todd: Thanks Michael; in closing, what would someone do if theyre moved to get involved? Michael: I think that the desire is to get you to come and experience IDignity. It would be wonderful if you could come and spend half-a-day and serve and volunteer. Also, what we are doing is inherently expensive, having to involve attorneys, and having to pay for all of these document costs: we need financial support in order to keep this ministry running. Seeing that investment by the faith community, however small, not just the big donors, is the breadth of the foundation of support, we want that to be as wide as possible. Through experiencing IDignity, either through giving or by volunteering, your hearts will be turned and youre going to want to invest in IDignity. Its an investment that has one of the best returns on that investment if youre trying to help the poor and disadvantaged. Help support this ministry by registering for this years IDignity Golf Tournament, on May 11, at Dubsdread Golf Course (549 West Par Street). Contact Sara Holcomb at sbtholdomb@aol.com or 407.425.3711. To volunteer or support IDignity, visit www.idignity.org.


By Lori Needham, Prayer & Spiritual Formation Ministry

There is just something about studying Gods Word, taking a book from the bible, and really focusing on the message. I yearn to know the history and culture in the time it was authored, but more importantly, I seek to know how that ancient Word will speak to me, this day, and how this new knowledge and wisdom I will reap will transform my life. Bible study, for me, is a lifelong process a journey to know and love our God and Lord. So, it is my hope that you will accept the invitation of Womens Ministry to engage in our summer study! We have selected Beth Moores newest study, James, Mercy Triumphs. This will be an eight-week study on the book of James. The author of this book, the brother of Jesus and a leader in the Jerusalem church, provides practical advice for living the Christian life. James offers to Christians how to act justly in society, the importance of controlling ones speech, distinguishes two kinds of wisdom, earthly and heavenly, while encouraging us to turn from evil and obey God. Finally, he tells us to be patient with one another, to pray for each other and to help each other remain faithful to God. You might say this is a how-to book on Christian living! In this study, Beth will unpack what it might have been like to grow up in the same household, with the Messiah. Half broth-

ers - one the son of Joseph, the other the Son of God. We know James disbelief of who his older brother was comes to an abrupt end when Jesus paid him a personal visit one on one post resurrection! Wouldnt you have loved being a fly on the wall for that encounter? Join us on Monday evenings, 6:008:00pm, beginning June 4 or Thursday mornings, 9:3011:30am, beginning June 7. Child care is available with a reservation for the Thursday morning series. The fee for the study is $20. This includes the study guide. Make your summer plans now to join us for this study. You may register online at www.fpco.org/register or pick up a registration form in the lobby of the Edington Ministry Center. Dont delay registration closes on May 29! If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Rev. Donna McClellan at dmcclellan@fpco.org or x1488 or Lori Needham at lneedham@fpco.org or x1463. Lets meet in the Word!


The Ministry of Music

By Charlie Harris, Member

Transforming Lives through the Arts at FPCO

I sat there listening, contemplating my life and wondering if God still had a purpose for me.

am a fellow member of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (FPCO) and a member of the choir. I want to take a moment to share my story and the impact God has had on my life through FPCO and through the gift of music.

Photos Courtesy of Charlie Harris

I was born and raised in south Florida. Music and church were two main staples of my childhood. My passion for music and the Lord followed me through my college years. After college, I abandoned the musical gifts God had given me and entered the business world to pursue success, as our culture defines it. My church attendance began to wither until it eventually stopped. My Bible remained closed. The Spirit was no longer my guide, because I had become the Lord of my life. Through my successes and failures, there was a void that couldnt be satisfied with the next deal. When the deals stopped coming I felt I had failed in life. On a Thursday evening in 2005, I wandered into the Sanctuary of FPCO to listen to the choir. I sat there listening, contemplating my life and wondering if God still had a purpose for me. Dr. Rebecca Bedell invited me to leave my seat and come join the choirs rehearsal. I had the pleasure that night of singing next to Dave McCutcheon. We immediately became friends. He reached out to me and took a real interest in my life. My friendship with Dave renewed my faith and encouraged me to pursue a career in music. I started attending FPCO on a regular basis. Every week Dr. Swanson, and our whole pastoral staff, challenged me to go much deeper in my faith. This community of believers has really blessed my life! My life verse is Psalm 118:14, The Lord is my strength and song, and has become my salvation. Ive been singing professionally for the past 5 years with The Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney Worlds Epcot. Everyday Im blessed to sing songs about this great country and our wonderful God! Most recently Ive been privileged to be a part of a brand new ensemble called SEVEN, a group of seven men brought together to deliver a message through sacred, inspirational, and patriotic music. Being in entertainment full-time, various performing opportunities come my way. When presented with the vision of SEVEN, and asked if Id be interested in auditioning, I was very excited! Men from across the country came for the audition. When the auditions were over I gave the matter over to God. A few weeks later I received a phone call from the managing director with an official invitation to be a part of SEVEN. I believe whole-heartedly that SEVEN is the next part of my journey and I am looking forward to what God has planned! Join Charlie, as he and the rest of the SEVEN members lead a night of worship at FPCO on Saturday, May 26, at 6:30pm, in the Sanctuary. Admission is free-A love offering will be taken.

...SEVEN is the next part of my journey and I am looking forward to what God has planned!


God Bless You in Welsh

We are grateful for Sam Knights ministry to us over these past years and pray Gods rich blessings on his new ministry at Grace Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. We love you, Sam! -Dr. David Swanson

Thank you and well miss you!

The Lord bless you, and keep you: The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

News & Notices

RegisterNowforStudentMinistries Retreats   heGreatEscape-MiddleSchool T Students:Be a part of an amazing camp called The Great Escape in Cleveland, TN! Experience fantastic speakers, skits, music, games and much, much more! Join us June 17-22, 2012 for rising 6th grade through rising 9th grade. Contact: Steve Eastwood at seastwood@fpco.org or x2271 FunInTheSonHighSchool Students: Have the time of your lives at Fun In The Son this summer! Were taking a bus of rising 9th through rising 12th graders to Jekyll Island, GA for a beach retreat! Well have speakers, skits, bands, tournaments and more! Join us July 15-20, 2012 for a retreat to beat all others! Contact: Katy Becker at kbecker@fpco.org or x2352 RegisterNowforCampGeneva2012 All children who have completed 1st through 5th grade are invited to Camp Geneva 2012 at Fruitland Park, FL. Bring a friend! The registration deadline is May 25. Scholarships are available. All paperwork must be completed in order to register, payments or paperwork received after May 25 will incur a $50 late fee. Register: www.fpco.org/campgeneva Contact: Susie Dunlap at sdunlap@fpco.org RegisterNowforVacationBibleSchool2012 Registration for VBS is now open for children pre-k through entering 5th graders (must be 4 by September 1, 2012). VBS will be held July 16-20, from 9am noon. The cost is $30 per child. Space is limited, 1st come, 1st served, we will fill up! Register by June 15. Register: www.fpco.org/register Contact: Susie Dunlap at sdunlap@fpco.org RegisterNowforOurFamilyMissionTrip Please join other FPCO families in serving as a family, and spend one week of your summer with Mission Emanuel in the Dominican Republic, from June 9-15. Register at www.fpco.org/missionemanuel Contact: Bret Allen at ballen@fpco.org or x1183 RegisterationOpensonMay28for UpwardBasketball&CheerleadingSummerCamps Register for Upward Basketball & Cheerleading Summer Camps (July 16 - 20). Online registration opens May 28. Registration deadline is June 29. The cost is $75. Space is limited. Register: www.fpco.org/register Angela Brown: abrown@fpco.org or 407.206.2406 OrlandoCommunitySchooloftheArts SpringRecitals Orlando Community School of the Arts cordially invites you to the following Spring Semester Recitals. Violin Recital: May 6 at 2pm in the Reformation Chapel Piano Recital: May 20 at 4pm in the Worship Arts Rehearsal Hall Room 105. Voice, Piano, Dance, and Cello Recital: May 25 at 6:30pm in the Reformation Chapel For admission, bring a non-perishable food item for Conway Cares: granola/cereal bars, fruit cups/applesauce cups, cans of pasta, Easy Mac, juice boxes, single serving cereal boxes, peanut butter crackers, and pints of shelf milk. Registration for private and group instruction is always open for new students. Contact: Leigha Pace at lpace@fpco.org or 407.956.5869 JULYisFoodShareMonth July is FPCOs annual Food Share Month! This July has extra meaning, given the hunger needs in Central Florida. Please donate nonperishable food items, preferably high in protein (canned meats, canned fish, peanut butter, etc.). Donation bins will be located in the EMC Lobby and Angel Wing each Sunday in July. Contact: Robyn Boyd at rboyd@fpco.org or x1474 Pat and Marjory McNair, on the death of his sister, Cindy Cato, on February 14, 2012. Josh and Lynda Tomlinson, on the death of his father, Gene Tomlinson, on February 20, 2012. Mr. Tomlinson was the grandfather of Max and Cody Tomlinson. Jim and Debbie Ferber, on the death of her mother, Dorothy Hill, on February 22, 2012. Susan Woodman, on the death of her father, Jefferson Montgomery, on February 23, 2012. Paul Ketchum, on the death of his mother, Marilyn White, on February 27, 2012. Tommy and Marcia Limbaugh, on the death of her mother, Sybil Bynum, on February 28, 2012. Greg and Kathleen Krak, on the death of her father, Patrick Meagher, on March 2, 2012. Mr. Meagher was the grandfather of Ryley and Kaiden Krak. Linda Ammerman, on the death of her husband, Bob Ammerman, on March 6, 2012. Julie Washburn, on the death of her husband, Bud Washburn, on March 10, 2012. Mr. Washburn was the father of Barbara, Donald (Ohilda), and Jean Washburn and the grandfather of Daniel and Christopher Washburn. Chip and Edith Dixon, on the death of her mother, Lillie Wallace, on March 21, 2012. Mrs. Wallace was the grandmother of Jay (Brooke) Dixon and Tad (Kelby) Dixon and the great-grandmother of Lillie Kate and Hadley Dixon. John and Sandy McKinney, on the death of their granddaughter (stillborn) Delaney M. Koehler, on March 22, 2012. The parents are Kate and Jeff Koehler. David and Denise McKinney are the aunt and uncle. Tom and Joan Beaty, on the death of her mother, Harriet Haugland, on March 23, 2012. A list of long-term prayer requests can be found on the First Presbyterian Church of Orlandos website: www.fpco.org/prayer. To be added to our prayer list or if you know of a church member in the hospital, please complete a prayer card, contact the Pastoral Care office at x1455, or submit an on-line prayer request at www.fpco.org/ prayerrequest.


Jim and Jill Adkinson, on the birth of their daughter, Audrey Claire Adkinson, born February 17, 2012. Jeff and Karen Revels, on the birth of their son, Chancellor Chance Neely Revels, born March 19, 2012. TR and Christy McDonald, on the birth of their son, Thomas R. McDonald, III, born March 21, 2012. The proud grandmother is Nancy McDonald. Robert Michael Johnson and Bethany Blair Mangascle, who were married by Dr. Tino Ballesteros on December 10, 2012, at Kraft Azalea Gardens, Winter Park, Florida. Bethany is the daughter of Joe and Kathy Mangascle. David Edwin Douglass and Donna Frances Wissman were married on February 4, 2012, in the Reformation Chapel. To make a birth or wedding announcement in the Columns, please contact our Membership Ministry at x1471.


Tom and Karen Mills, on the death of his father, Dick Mills, on February 7, 2012. Mr. Mills was the grandfather of Andrew, Daniel, and Jonathan Mills.


First Presbyterian Church of Orlando 106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801

The First Presbyterian Columns (USPS 604-040) is published bimonthly by the First Presbyterian Church. Circulation: 2,800. (2,500 by US Mail, 300 by on-campus distribution). Periodicals postage paid at Orlando, Florida. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COLUMNS, 106 E. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801-3390. 2012 First Presbyterian Church of Orlando COLUMNS.


106 East Church Street 407.423.3441

| www.fpco.org

| Orlando, FL 32801

TRADITIONAL SERVICES: Sundays, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary GENESIS (CONTEMPORARY) SERVICES: Sundays, 8:30, 9:45, & 11:00 a.m. in Lee Fellowship Hall ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL: Sundays, 9:45 - 10:45 a.m.

POSTMASTER: Time Sensitive Material Please Deliver by May 5, 2012


Join us as we welcome our very own choir member Charlie Harris and SEVEN in a special concert hosted by our Worship Arts ministry.

May 26
Time: 6:30pm Sanctuary Admission: Free A love offering will be taken
SEVEN of Americas most dynamic performers, already individual success stories in opera, music theater, and the concert and corporate circuits, have joined together to perform commanding and inspiring arrangements of sacred and patriotic classics, including their standout single, What a Mighty Sound. These SEVEN gifted men with powerful, heroic voices are bringing audiences to their feet around the country following their recent national debut and the release of their rst two albums, SEVEN and A Mighty Sound.