On Sunday, November 17, four unique worship experiences will help celebrate 50 years of our sanctuary. Each service will be in the sanctuary and will feature a different guest preacher who has been called to ministry from within First Church. More information about our guest preachers can be found below. Each service will also celebrate all those who have been called to ministry as well as those who have been members of First Church for fifty years.
A church-wide lunch will be offered in the Gathering Area following the morning worship services. We invite you to bring a side dish if you are able (click here to let us know your contributions for the lunch). If cooking is not your choice we welcome your help as a volunteer, or you may choose to make a contribution towards the purchase of the entrees by sending a check made payable to First United Methodist Church of Orlando, with Golden Jubilee Lunch on the memo line or by giving your gift online with Golden Jubilee Lunch in the memo field.
At 4 p.m. a special organ concert will be presented by guest organist Alan Morrison. Alan is recognized as one of America’s premier concert organists, performing in prestigious concert organ venues across the United States and in Canada, as well as in international festivals. He is a champion of twentieth and twenty-first century composers, personally introducing their works to audiences in recitals and concerts. He enjoys collaborating with vocalists and other instrumentalists in chamber programs. Mr. Morrison is Head of the Organ Department at the Curtis Institute of Music, Head of the Organ Department at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and College Organist at Ursinus College. He frequently conducts master classes sponsored by the American Guild of Organists.
LeeAnn Inman – 8:30 a.m. Service
To LeeAnn Inman, growing up in First Church during the ’50’s and ’60’s was a rich experience. “It was the place where I first heard classical music. It was the place where I first heard of the peace movement and discussed the civil rights movement.” LeeAnn credits manly of the saints of this church with helping her to grow into a strong leader with deep spiritual conviction. LeeAnn is the daughter of Butchie and Jack Inman. She attended Stetson University, Princeton Seminary and McCormick Seminary. She served in the Northern Illinois Conference for 17 years. Since returning to Florida in 1997, LeeAnn has served at Hyde Park UMC in Tampa and Orange Park UMC near Jacksonville. She is currently senior pastor at Peace United Methodist Church in Orlando. Rev. Inman is preaching at the 8:30 a.m. service.
George “Gee” Sprague – 9:30 a.m. Service
Although he has roots in traditional worship, Gee loves the contemporary worship style and that is the style preferred in his present church, Cross Road United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. While in high school he and other members of the youth group formed a singing group called “The Spokesmen.” Rob Blackburn and LeeAnn Inman were also members of that musical group. “Music became part of my identity in Christ,” he said. “To me, music and worship go hand in hand.” Gee was 10 years old when the current sanctuary was built. He remembers the old Wesley Building, the old sanctuary and educational buildings. He attended Florida Southern College and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He credits the pastors and youth leaders of his day with empowering him to lead. Rev. Sprague is preaching at the 9:30 a.m. contemporary worship service.
Rob Blackburn – 11 a.m. Service
Rob Blackburn’s ties to First Church are strong and deep. He arrived here during his high school years when his father, Dr. R. M. Blackburn, later Bishop Blackburn, was appointed senior pastor. It was during the time here that young Rob began to affirm his call to ministry. He also met his future wife, Sarah Sprague. “What I remember most about the church,” he said, “is the great spiritual energy it had. There was a strong culture of involvement and also a culture of encouragement and acceptance. The youth program instilled values of service and leadership.” Rob attended Boone High School, Florida Southern College and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is senior pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Asheville, N.C. where he has served for 16 years. Rob has a Doctor of Divinity from Florida Southern College. Dr. Blackburn will preach at the 11 a.m. service.
Meghan Steward Kelley – 7 p.m. Service
“First Church had a profound effect on my life,” Meghan recalls. She remembers all of the milestones that she experienced while growingt up at First Church. She was baptized here. She was a member of children’s choir and youth group. She was confirmed here and married here. She felt God’s call here. Meghan Steward is the daughter of Dawn and Allen Steward. While at First Church Meghan participated in youth group, mission trips and leading worship. “Serving others is truly a spiritual experience.” She went to Edgewater High School, Florida State University, and Duke Divinity. Meghan met her husband Wes at Duke and they are both members of the Alabama/West Florida Conference. Meghan is associate pastor of First UMC of Dothan, Alabama. You can hear Rev. Kelley preach at the 7 p.m. combined Youth and Commune service.