Worship Schedule
Join us this Sunday...

Classic Worship: 8:45 & 10 a.m.

Contemporary Worship: 11:15 a.m.

View all service times and locations

Just A Thought or Two: I Wish My Teacher Knew…

I Wish My Teacher Knew…


The recent New York Times story about 3rd grade teacher, Kyle Schwartz, caught my attention— teachers have done similar things in the past and I’ve read about how the students responded… Kyle asked her students at Doull Elementary in Denver to finish the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…”

What do you suppose they said?


Some children, she learned, are struggling with poverty. One child wrote, “I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.” Another spoke of absent parents, “I wish my teacher knew that sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom isn’t around a lot.” One student wrote about the father who had been taken away, “I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in six years.”

There are things going on in the lives of the children that teachers, if they didn’t ask, might not know. (I wonder how much understanding of what people to the right and left of us are going through, even in the church.)

We’re beginning a three-week series of very basic messages on prayer. Prayer is many things. Prayer is listening to God. Prayer is letting the Holy Spirit fill us after the world may have drained us. Prayer in the Jesus way is letting God shape us so we begin looking, living and sounding like the Galilean. And, prayer is certainly coming to God in complete honesty and finishing the sentence, “I wish God knew…”They didn’t back down even though the climate in our nation is too heavy with fear.


Creating community and relationships

Kyle Schwartz’s exercise with her students caught on with other teachers around the country. They began to ask their students to finish the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…”

Teachers began sending student responses to Kyle and because of that she wrote a book titled “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One question Can Change Everything For Our Kids.”

Schwartz says this about the partnership between teachers, parents and children: “I really want families to know how intentional teachers are about creating a sense of community and creating relationships with kids.”

Community begins and relationships are built when we take the time to listen to one another. Spend time with one another. The same is true of our relationship with God: something happens when we take time to let the relationship grow through an honest and genuine prayer life.

I think cookies and grilling are important to community and relationships. (Jesus, I am confident, would agree!)


Cookies, grills, community (& the picnic)!

A third grade teacher understands that one way of creating relationships and a sense of community is by listening to parents and children. Ms. Schwartz says, “Kids don’t learn when they don’t feel safe or valued.”

Much of Jesus’ ministry was about creating community. It happened as he invited people to travel with him, to go fishing with him, hike into the mountains with him, and go to worship in the synagogue with him. Community developed around shared meals. The gospels tell us story after story of Jesus breaking bread with his friends and with strangers.

You know how it is, something happens when we share a meal with someone. Friendships deepen. We get to know one another. Walls often come down. Trust goes up. Some of the most joy filled moments in my life have happened while sharing a table with others.

Jesus, in Luke 9, feeds a crowd of thousands. One chapter later in Luke, Jesus is sharing a meal in the home of his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. At a meal in the home of Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7, Jesus teaches us a lesson on hospitality as a woman anoints his feet with her tears. When Jesus is teaching us about the Kingdom of God, he tells the story of a wedding party in Matthew 22.

On Sunday, September 11th, at 10 in the morning our entire faith family at First Methodist—The Open Door and Sanctuary—will join for worship at the Buskirk-Chumley (the sanctuary cannot hold the entire congregation). Both the Chancel Choir and the Common Ground will share their music. A special, extended time of pre-service music by Charles Webb and other artists will begin at 9:45. We ask those of you who aren’t challenged by stairs to please use the balcony.

Then, at 11 we will move to East 4th Street in front of First Methodist for a Picnic. The picnic will run until 2 for those who want to hang out to hear more music, play games and see a magician etc . . . We’ll have tents for shelter from the sun (rain?). There will be great fun and fellowship for all, stay around and get to know someone new. Small Groups and Outreach will have information tables so you can see what they are doing and how you can join.


Lots of cookies


Janet Cornell, of our church, is part of the party planning team for the September 11 picnic. I sat with the group this week for a few minutes, and we talked about how Janet was working to recruit people to bake cookies.

We asked how many cookies she was hoping to get for the Picnic, and she said, “I have 880 cookies coming right now. My goal is 1,000.” I nearly fell off my chair! By the time the meeting was over people had promised to give enough to push her over the 1,000 cookie marker.

How can you stay away from a party with 1,000+ cookies, great food, great music, great worship, and fellowship where people get to know one another? We may not be asked to finish the sentence “I wish my teacher knew…” but I suspect our fellowship is going to be deeper and more real because of our shared worship Celebration and the Picnic. Walls will come down, trust will go up, and there will be joy spread all over East 4th Street!



Remember to pick up your OPEN DOOR yard signs this Sunday as you leave the Sanctuary. They will also be available for pick up as you leave The Open Door service. Put your sign someplace where people will see it for the month of September, and then store it until January. We will ask you to take them out again in April. OPEN DOOR is a great way for us to reach college students and those persons who may be more open to a non-traditional worship experience. Thanks for helping us get the word out!

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,



All-Church Picnic Sunday, September 11


Join us for this special day!




  • Small groups are taking off. Watch for the blue Small Groups brochure in worship this week and read more on the Small Groups webpage!
  • First Methodist. After much research and discussion, our team of experts in communications recommended we refer to our church as First Methodist. (In the past we have been known as First, First United, First United Methodist Church, The Open Door, FUMC, and FUMCB: all of these names made it confusing for the public) While our legal name doesn’t change and we continue our strong and historic ties to the United Methodist Church, we will use the name First Methodist to welcome people and communicate with the larger community. It’s clear and simple.
  • The Washington Street entrance was closed because the steps and doors are a danger to all who use them. The estimated cost to repair them is well over $100,000 so there is no “quick fix.” Thank you for your patience.
  • Safety & medical emergency. A team is being organized to address preparedness for safety and medical emergencies at First Methodist. If you would be interested in helping, please let us know.



View details online, contact the church office and/or pick up a brochure for the Holy Land Trip in February of 2017. Led by Pastor Mark Fenstermacher, the trip is with experienced tour operator EO (Educational Opportunities Inc.). At this point it appears we may have approximately 20 persons making this life-changing journey. The cost is just over $3,000 per person (including airfare, hotel accommodations, tour guide, motor coach transportation in Israel, morning and evening meals, etc.) for those who did not register by July 11th. Contact Ms. Cath Foreman if you have questions.



Join us this Sunday, in a Jesus community where all are loved and welcomed, as we continue the sermon series, “Choosing to Cheat: who wins when work and family collide?” Pastor Mark Fenstermacher will be looking at Exodus 20:8-11 and Matthew 6:25-34 this week a sermon titled “Choosing to Cheat: Cheating by the Book.”  Please, invite a friend to join you!

Choosing To Cheat Logo TV




First Methodist