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Weekly E-Letter - For the Week of June 5th, 2022

Hello FUMCA Friends and Families,

Do you remember your graduation? Which one do you remember? Do you remember leaving elementary school and embarking into Junior High/Middle School? High School Graduation or College? Now, be honest, do you remember who the keynote speaker was? Do you remember who was top of the class (if it wasn’t you)? Or do you remember the excitement of it all? The anticipation of a new thing on the horizon and the gratefulness for all that you had accomplished. If there’s something I know, it’s that its rare we remember what was said or done, but we remember how we felt.

My most memorable graduation was my bachelor’s degree. I had started college in 2001 as a junior in high school. I wanted to get out of school early and taking college courses was the way to do it. My college career spanned from 2001 to my eventual graduation in 2014. Thirteen years, a couple states and a couple of kids later, I was finally getting my bachelor's degree. There was an associate degree in there in 2005, but that one pales in comparison to the graduation ceremony in New Albany, IN, at Indiana University Southeast.

In all honesty, the reason I finally finished my degree was to get a promotion. I had a great boss who told me that he would not give me the promotion I wanted without a degree. I took college seriously then and went back and finished within two years. What I didn’t realize is that I would be moving to Florida and would have finished my last semester online. So, when graduation was announced and all that was occurring, I decided I didn’t want to travel to Indiana to go through the procession. My parents disagreed and offered to help get the kids and me back to Indiana to go to the ceremony. We flew into Indianapolis and then drove for an hour and a half south to New Albany for an outdoor ceremony. Outdoor…in the blaring sun on the hottest day on record, in a black robe.

If you’ve ever lived in the Midwest in springtime, you know a very particular problem that can occur. Especially when it is unseasonably hot. In Florida we dodge raindrops during outdoor events. Springtime in Indiana we dodge tornadoes. Within minutes of us processing into the arena, we were informed that we were going to have to seek shelter rather quickly, as there was a tornado warning in the area. Our degrees were conferred, and we were pushed into the adjacent buildings before the storm blew through. That was the last time they held an outdoor ceremony.

As you might imagine, I was unhappy with having traveled across the country for a ceremony I didn’t want to attend, to stand out in the sun for a couple of hours before being rushed into the building to keep from getting hit by a tornado. However, as with any storm, it did pass, and we got to leave the campus. Some friends of ours took the kids and my parents headed back to Indianapolis. Mary and I met with our Pastor from Jacob’s Chapel UMC for dinner there in town. Jim Lawson and his wife took us to dinner and at the table Jim gave me my graduation present. It was an NRSV Wesley Study bible with my name on it. Inside is a passage of encouragement and a couple of scripture verses. That bible got me through my master’s degree and sits at the altar each Sunday with me.

I got my bachelor's degree to get a promotion. God had other plans. A month after that graduation ceremony I enrolled in seminary and five years later would get my master’s hood. To be honest, I don’t think I’m done with school and I’m looking at doctorate programs.

The beauty of graduation ceremonies and ceremonies like this in life, is that they remind us of the work that has been accomplished and allow us to close a chapter in order to begin a new one. Ceremonies are an important part of life that help mark the highlights in our lives. This week in service we will help to mark the ceremony of graduation for our seniors. These are an amazing group of students and I’m excited to share worship with them this week. I hope you will join us in celebrating their accomplishments and help to encourage them in their walk with God into this next chapter of life.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday, online or in-person!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Augie


SPR Announcement: Pastor Augie’s last Sunday will be June 12th. Your Staff Parish Relations Committee and church leadership would like to join you in showing our appreciation for Pastor Augie and his family’s time here with us at Alachua. There are cards and a basket available in the office or in the sanctuary during service to offer words of encouragement and thanks. Gifts for the Pastor should be addressed directly to him or his family. There will be a reception with the Allen Family after service on June 12th in the fellowship hall to bid them farewell and give them a BIG HUG!

Vacation Bible School: in 2021 we were blessed to partner with High Springs UMC and held VBS here at First Alachua. June 20-24th, 2022 we will be joining HSUMC again and they will be hosting “Food Truck Party!” This is an evening VBS which includes a meal for the kids. For more info see our Facebook page or go to If you’d like to volunteer please see Donna Geitz in Children’s ministry or email her:

Membership Directory: In order to better serve our new Pastor, Mason, we are looking to update our Membership information. If your address, phone or email address has changed, please contact Brandy Wilson at Also, if your membership status is changing or transferring, please notify Brandy and the office so that we have an accurate record.

Communion Sunday is Family Sunday: Beginning on June 12th, we invite you to bring the family to Communion Sundays. Typically, these are the first Sunday of the month. On Communion Sunday, we will have the nursery available and children over the age of 5 are invited to be with their families in worship.

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