Our mission is to connect our church with our community and our community with Christ! We seek to serve boldly on our campus, in our community, and around the world with our core ministries focusing on social justice and caring for the marginalized in our community. We believe the light of Jesus shines most brightly when God-given time and talents are shared in service to others.
Community Outreach Ministry
Our Community Outreach Ministry was started to address the needs of individuals and families in crisis in the local community. This ministry is staffed and managed by volunteers from our First UMC faith family to assess and help provide assistance with things such as gas cards, bus passes, eviction relief, utilities disconnection, and a variety of other individual or family needs.
Monday Worship and Meal
This ministry meets the spiritual and physical hunger that many people face in our community by providing a short worship service with communion and a nourishing meal weekly. Due to the pandemic, we have suspended the worship service, but our volunteers still gather to prepare and serve a meal every Monday at 4:00 p.m. for those who are homeless and/or hungry.
Our Mission Partners
Helping Hands Clinic
Helping Hands Clinic is a non-profit medical clinic providing free healthcare to the homeless and those living in poverty in our community since 1989. The clinic is located next door to First UMC and is staffed by registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physicians, and other community service volunteers. Helping Hands also provides food, clothing, personal hygiene and survival items, education classes, psychosocial support discussion groups, and more for both men and women in need.
School/Church Partnership with Metcalfe Elementary
Our partnership with Metcalfe Elementary has been going strong since 2017. Metcalfe serves a high percentage of children who fall well below the poverty line and is a Title 1 school located less than two miles from First UMC. Prior to the pandemic, our volunteers helped in an ongoing capacity doing a variety of things based on their interests such as reading to students, helping in PE class, testing multiplication facts, assisting with administrative and other necessary tasks. During these times of COVID, we have focused on providing materials and resources for safe in-person learning, and moral support for the staff and students.
Sister Church in La Moza, Cuba
Our sister Methodist church is located in La Moza, Cuba. Over the years, we have provided assistance and prayers for those in the church and community with such things as building a new sanctuary and kitchen, repairing hurricane damage, updating sound equipment, and sending much needed medicine and financial resources. Our support assists with La Moza’s children’s ministry, community meals, and their mission efforts to more rural areas of Cuba. Our Methodist brothers and sisters in La Moza pray for us weekly and we pray for them as well. Every few years, a team of First UMC folks go to Cuba to learn about the culture and build relationships. Questions?
FUMPers (First United Methodist Preschool)
FUMPers is our state-licensed preschool and child care facility that provides our community with a loving, enriching, high quality, and affordable learning environment for children up to 5 years old. Our Christian values and attitudes are practiced, but in order to be a welcoming and inclusive place for all children and families in our community, specific religious doctrine is not a major emphasis of the curriculum. For more information, visit our FUMPers web page.
Family Promise of Gainesville
Family Promise of Gainesville provides homeless children & their families with care that includes education, case management, meals, housing, and transportation until they can transition to a home of their own. First UMC shelters up to four families for a week, four times a year in our Bell Hall where we provide, in addition to their family "bedrooms", meals and other things that help all who are staying with us feel at home.
During the pandemic, families have been staying in hotels to reduce their chances of becoming infected. However, First UMC continues to provide meals for the families.
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home started in 1908 as the Florida Methodist Orphanage in Enterprise, Florida and is now a diverse ministry that includes residential care, therapeutic group care, foster care, emergency shelter care, Our First UMC faith family provides support through our "5th Sunday offerings", providng gift cards for the children at Christmas, and responding to other needs as they arise.
Gator Wesley Campus Ministry
At Gator Wesley, students at the University of Florida and at Santa Fe College are invited into an authentic community that encourages a life with Jesus as they discover who they are becoming, and how they are connecting to their community and to the world. Although Gator Wesley is not an official mission partner of First UMC, we support their ministry and both of our congregations work together hand-in-hand on various mission projects and joint worship services.
UMC Special Sundays
The United Methodist Church designates a number of Sundays throughout the year as opportunities for recognizing and supporting particular national and global ministry initiatives. These are referred to as Special Sundays and most include an offering used to fund the work of these programs. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is one of these ministries which provides critical resources to those in need, sometimes within hours of a natural disaster or other crisis situation.