IRMA UPDATES

Tuesday 9/12 Update:

One of the exciting things that I have noticed is how neighbors are helping neighbors during this time of stress. Please continue to be in prayer for those impacted by this storm and the individuals working to restore power throughout the state.

See below for information regarding building hours, programming, and WCDC hours.

  • Church Office will be open regular hours beginning Wednesday, 9/13.
  • WCDC will reopen tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/13.

Wednesday Night Programming

  • The third floor will be open from 2:00 – 5:00 pm as a place to hang out, play games, and shower if needed (please bring your own soap and towel).
  • Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm followed by a time of worship in the Sanctuary.
  • Small groups are suspended for the night.
  • Chancel and Children’s Choirs will rehearse at the usual times.
  • Community Yoga will take place on the third floor at 6:30 pm.

Please continue to be safe and let us know if you need any help.

First Church Emergency Line: 407-900-7208

First Church Main Line: 407-849-6080
God Bless and

SHALOM,

Tom Mc

     

  • Monday 9/11 Update

    Monday 9/11 Update: The church offices will remain closed due to Hurricane Irma through Tuesday, 9/12. We will reopen on Wednesday, 9/13 and all regular evening activities will resume.

    Please continue to reach out to your neighbors and friends and help in any way you can. If you find yourself needing help post-hurricane please call our emergency line 407-900-7208 or the main church line 407-849-6080 and speak with the pastor on-call.

    Continue to be in prayer for all of those impacted by Hurricane Irma.

    SHALOM,

    Tom Mc

  • Sunday 9/10 Update

    Early this morning I woke at the same time I always wake up on Sunday morning. I looked out the window of my office and then checked the Irma forecast. By 9:00 I was getting itsy and got into my truck and rode downtown to the building at the corner of Jackson and Magnolia. I thought I might see someone who had not gotten the message and was at First Church. Thank goodness no one was there. I did see a few joggers and dog walkers, but not many. I talked with a gentleman who was on his bicycle and apologized that I had no coffee to share. Then I went inside.

    As I walked through the sanctuary and hallways outside the Sunday school classrooms I was struck by the silence. There was no talking, no laughter, and no music. Just silence.

    Then I remembered today’s scripture lesson which is Matthew 18: 15-20. In this passage Jesus says, 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” In the silence of the Sanctuary, this promise seemed so appropriate for a day like today. Jesus is present and his presence is not just in the place we call church but in the world, we call home. And though the storm we call Irma is rapidly approaching we are not alone. We have each other and we have God at our side. That thought felt good to me.

    Continue to be safe. If you need to reach me the emergency number is 407-900-7208 or the church switchboard will forward all calls to me as long as there is power at the church.

    When the storm is over we will have each other’s backs. We will continue to communicate a loving and helping presence in our city. Watch for emails that will update you about what is happening.

    Finally today I will continue to be in prayer for all of us, and by us, I mean friends and strangers who live in Orlando and throughout the Caribbean and the Southeastern United States.

    Have a blessed day and

    SHALOM,

    Tom Mc

  • Friday 9/8 Update
    UPCOMING EVENTS ON CAMPUS

    For the safety of our staff, members, and clergy the First Church campus will close at 1:00 pm on Friday, September 8 and remain closed through Monday, September 11.

    All worship services, Sunday school classes, group meetings, and events scheduled for Sunday, September 10 have been canceled.

    Whether the church will be closed beyond Monday will be determined after all facilities are assessed for normal use after the storm has passed. Members are encouraged to check First Church Emergency Hotline at 407.900.7208 for updates about campus closure.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Preparing ahead of time will allow us to be there for people in our community if Hurricane Irma, or severe storms caused by the hurricane, should affect us.

    As we know more information about the storm’s path, we will make decisions about ministry events for the weekend. We will notify our congregation and community in four ways:

    WESLEY CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER

    Gov. Rick Scott is ordering the closing of all schools, colleges and universities throughout the state. Scott announced late Thursday that all schools as well as state offices would be closed Friday through next Monday.

    Whether WCDC will be closed beyond Monday will be determined after all facilities are assessed for normal use after the storm has passed. WCDC will follow OCPS regarding school closure schedules. Parents are encouraged to check with the center for updates about campus closure.

    PLANS FOR PREPARATIONS
    First and foremost, please join us in praying for each of our congregation members and our loved ones, staff, community, state, all our global mission partners and people in the Caribbean, who are in the path of Hurricane Irma.

    Second, begin to prepare your family with supplies and an emergency plan. Make sure you and your loved ones are prepared so that you can be there for others! The National Hurricane Center has great information on how to prepare for hurricanes and details of what’s needed. Below is a link to help you prepare for the storm:

    • Hurricane Preparation Tips (i.e. taking photo/video of your home and belongings for insurance purposes, printing important phone numbers, etc.)

    FACILITIES INFORMATION

    • First Church is NOT approved as an evacuation center.

    Once again, First Church emergency hotline number: 407.900.7208.

    Blessings and
    SHALOM,
    Tom Mc

  • Thursday 9/7 Update
    UPCOMING EVENTS ON CAMPUS
    The Rejoice in Christ Concert Saturday night has been canceled and will be rescheduled if possible.

    We’re continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma closely and will make a decision by noon tomorrow (Friday) about whether it will be safe to hold worship services this Sunday.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Preparing ahead of time will allow us to be there for people in our community if Hurricane Irma, or severe storms caused by the hurricane, should affect us.

    As we know more information about the storm’s path, we will make decisions about ministry events for the weekend. We will notify our congregation and community in four ways:

    WESLEY CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
    WCDC will follow Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in determining any closure days. As of this date OCPS is open on Friday.  WCDC will be open Friday until 3:00 pm.

    PLANS FOR PREPARATIONS
    First and foremost, please join us in praying for each of our congregation members and our loved ones, staff, community, state, all our global mission partners and people in the Caribbean, who are in the path of Hurricane Irma.

    Second, begin to prepare your family with supplies and an emergency plan. Make sure you and your loved ones are prepared so that you can be there for others! The National Hurricane Center has great information on how to prepare for hurricanes and details of what’s needed. Below is a link to help you prepare for the storm:

    • Hurricane Preparation Tips (i.e. taking photo/video of your home and belongings for insurance purposes, printing important phone numbers, etc.)

    FACILITIES INFORMATION

    • First Church is NOT approved as an evacuation center.

    Once again, First Church emergency hotline number: 407.900.7208.

    Blessings and
    SHALOM,
    Tom Mc

  • Wednesday 9/6 Update

    As of this morning we have nothing new to report.

    Wednesday Night dinner and programming will take place as usual. We look forward to sharing a meal and beginning a new season of discovery with all of you!
    On the menu this evening: baked chicken, baked potatoes, vegetables, salad, and cookies. The cost for dinner is child $4, youth $5, adult $6, or $20 for a family.

    As always, be safe! Follow the hurricane preparation guidelines that are readily available on television or at the Orange County website (click here).

    If you are available to help others prepare for the storm, or can help your church and the Wesley Childcare Center prepare, then contact Jessica at 407/849-6080 or Jessica@firstchurchorlando.org.

    Finally, during the storm the Emergency telephone number for the church will be: 407-900-7208.  We are NOT a designated shelter. Post disaster, community needs are being assessed. So watch future emails for details.

    Continue to pray for all those who are and will be affected by Irma…

    Blessings and
    SHALOM,
    Tom Mc

  • Tuesday 9/5 Update
    Dear First Church,

    This morning the National Weather Service predicted that Hurricane Irma would impact much of the State of Florida and that there is a strong possibility that by Friday night Orange County could be experiencing Tropical Force winds.

    So this morning at our Church Staff meeting we began conversations about how we would prepare for the arrival of Irma.  Let me share them with you.

    First be safe!  Follow the hurricane preparation guidelines that are readily available on television or at the Orange County website (click here).

    Second, this will be the first of daily communications from the church regarding the storm.  Each day you will receive an email before noon, which will give specifics regarding closure of the building and the ministry events that will or will not happen.  On Thursday a decision will be made regarding Sunday worship services and the concert on Saturday evening. There will also be postings on Facebook.

    Third, if you are available to help others prepare for the storm, or can help your church and the Wesley Childcare Center prepare, then contact Jessica at 407/849-6080 or Jessica@firstchurchorlando.org.

    Finally, during the storm the Emergency telephone number for the church will be: 407-900-7208.  We are NOT a designated shelter.

    Continue to pray for all those who are and will be affected by Irma…