Holy Week and Easter

Holy Week is almost here, and we’re preparing for several powerful worship experiences to walk those final steps of Jesus to the cross and experience the glory of the resurrection. Highlights include a Palm Sunday procession that will begin in the parking lot across from the sanctuary. Everyone is invited to gather there and join the procession into the sanctuary (where the rest of the service will take place, a Maundy Thursday service with Holy Communion and stripping the altar, and a Good Friday Tenebrae (service of shadows) at noon, and of course, our glorious Easter celebrations.

An exciting new element to our Holy Week experience this year is how we’re reaching out as good neighbors to worship with our friends and neighbors of Second Baptist Church. Members of Second Baptist will worship with us at our Maundy Thursday service in the sanctuary at First Church. Then they’ve invited us to worship on Good Friday at the service they are holding at Lake Nixon. This is a great way to practice “neighboring” and join with other Christians in this holy time. I’m confident we will be overly hospitable to our friends from Second Baptist on Thursday, and I hope a great number of you will come out for worship at Lake Nixon on Good Friday. Finally, in order to have more seating for our guests, we invite you to our first Easter worship service in the Chapel at 8:30 am.  

Following is a complete Holy Week Schedule:  



Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday, April 9
8:30 Communion and Prayer in the Chapel
9:00 First Word in The Cokesbury Center
11:00 First Tradition in the Sanctuary (meet in the parking lot to start the Palm Procession)

Maundy Thursday, April 13
7:00 Worship with 2nd Baptist at First Church (Sanctuary)

Good Friday, April 14
12:00 Tenebrae Service at First Church (Sanctuary)
6:00 Worship with 2nd Baptist at Lake Nixon (18500 Cooper Orbit Rd.)

Saturday, April 15th
Easter Hootenanny, 10:30 (Easter Egg Hunt, Fellowship, Bounce House, Food & Music)
Terry House, 411 East 7th Street - Downtown Little Rock
In Conjunction with Canvas Community, Wesley Chapel, Quapaw Quarter UMC

Easter Sunday, April 16
8:30 First Light in the Chapel
9:00 First Word in The Cokesbury Center
11:00 First Tradition in the Sanctuarymore...

Celebration for 30 Years of LIFT - April 30

On Sunday, April 30, First Church will celebrate the LIFT ministry, which served its final clients last fall after thirty years of ministry! After recognition during morning services, supporters and volunteers will be honored at a luncheon in Fellowship Hall.

In 1987, the leadership of First Church engaged in a discussion of how our unique downtown congregation could better meet community needs. A common thread emerged: there was no reliable way for needy people to reach medical facilities to take advantage of health and social services.

On August 4, 1987, LIFT (Laity Involved in Free Transportation) served its first clients. The church leadership had gathered a pool of 70 volunteers, who served in pairs. During its first fifteen months, LIFT carried more than 1,000 passengers to nine destinations. In 1989, a second car was put into service and a third weekday added to the schedule.

LIFT garnered much recognition for the church, including a feature presentation at a conference on infant mortality, a feature in the Arkansas Gazette, and recognition by Guideposts magazine as “Church of the Month” for its “particularly innovative and helpful community outreach program.”
In the intervening thirty years, other services emerged to meet the needs of our clients. Proving how visionary this program has been, by last fall First Church had successfully fulfilled a community need and moved on to embrace other opportunities through our THRIVE vision.

The celebration committee is working diligently to reconstruct a list of all volunteers and supporters over the life of the ministry. We do not want to overlook anyone. If you have ridden, driven, or supported the program monetarily or with in-kind gifts, please contact Anthony Falkowski at 372-2256 or afalkowski@fumclr.org. (For a history of LIFT’s early years, see A Church Afire: First United Methodist Church in Ministry 1980-2000 by Nancy Britton.)

more...

First Light Worship

We have used the season of Lent for a time of discernment for our 8:30 First Light worship service. After much prayer, conversation, and even experimentation, we will return to holding this weekly service with some changes. On Easter Sunday, First Light will be held in the Chapel with a service including inspiring music, prayer, and preaching. Beginning Sunday, April 23rd, First Light will have a new format. Rather than a service built around a traditional sermon, the focus will be on prayer and Holy Communion. Each Sunday we will have singing, scripture reading, prayer, reflection, and Holy Communion. Regular and frequent practice of Holy Communion can be a powerful and enriching experiment in one’s life. This is a great new opportunity for those who do not usually attend the 8:30 service, but want to receive the sacraments more often or enjoy a more contemplative worship experience. All are welcome to join us at 8:30 on Sundays for the first greeting of the Light.more...

CDC - Named Eco-Friendly

Child Development Center- 1st EHCC Child Care Facility in the state! more...

The Road Map

Over the last year, our church has identified God’s vision for us; Being good neighbors to make Little Rock a place where children THRIVE. But simply having a vision of where we should go is not enough. We have to have a Road Map to show us the way to that destination. Over the past several months, we have had a task force of First Church leaders, led by Martin and Melissa Thoma, designing a Road Map for how we will get where God is calling us. This Road Map is still forming as the task force is still hard a work.

One of the biggest insights we’ve gained through the Road Mapping process has been identifying what our church’s core values are. You may recall that when we first adopted this vision, we defined the word THRIVE as an acronym of Trust, Health, Relationships, Imagination, Value, and Education.

T-Trust is essential to faith in God and it builds community. Trust enables people to be authentic. In a culture where shame and judgment seem pervasive, empowering people to experience trust through honesty, vulnerability, and compassion is transformative.

H-We define Health as a sense of wholeness through spiritual, emotional, and physical health. The broader culture fragments people’s lives by work, family, social circles, civic involvement, etc. However, our lives are whole when we find a healthy balance of spirit, mind, and body.

R-Relationships are foundational to faith. In the Trinity, our very understanding of God is as a relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, life-giving relationships empower people to be good neighbors and build community. We believe that relationship building in any form is essential to understanding and relating to God who exists as a relationship.

I-God is a great mystery. To understand and relate to God more deeply, one must be empowered with Imagination and creativity. While we acknowledge the value of empirical knowledge and understanding, providing space for people to be creative, experience the arts, and play allows for a richer sense of the Divine Mystery.

V-So often our culture measures personal value by externals such as money, position, ethnicity, sexuality, and social status. However, we believe that our true Value is defined by the fact that we are all children of God. This may be the most empowering and transformative claim we can make.

E-Good education is not dissemination of facts and knowledge.  It is empowering people through deeper understanding and seeking wisdom. Therefore, Education is essential for being good neighbors and Kingdom building as we empower people to seek wisdom.

These are the core values we’ve identified for our congregation. The milestones we need to pass through to move closer to our vision will be determined by these values. I invite you to be in prayer and reflection about how these values can be more central to your life and be watching for more about our Road Map as we begin to roll it out in the next several months.
With you on your journey, Rev. David Freeman

more...

UMW General Meeting & Lunch - March 19

12:15 pm in the Fellowship Hall Speaker: Georgia Mjartan,  Executive Director of “Our House” more...

Faith Promise 2017

Consider Your Family’s Lenten Season Offering for Hunger Relief more...

Special Lenten Communion Experience

Sundays, 8:30 am in the chapel
As the First Light service will not be meeting during the season of Lent (March 5-April 9), we will be offering a time for prayer and Holy Communion each Sunday in the Chapel starting at 8:30 a.m. Each service will include prayer, reflection, music, and Holy Communion. Anyone looking for a reflective worship experience during Lent is welcome.more...

Lent 2017 - Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh

Kadosh (kdsh) is the Hebrew word for Holy. Each prayer to begin Sabbath (Shabbat) begins Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh---Holy, Holy, Holy. It is a prayer that makes something that happens all the time a special time. Sometimes we think of holiness as a hierarchy, and things we consider holy are more important. However, Kadosh is not about setting things above, but rather about setting apart or blessing them as special. God invites us to make everyday things holy. For example, we say a blessing before a meal to sanctify it as special.

The season of Lent is often called a time outside of time. It is a time of reflection to rediscover the holiness of life. It begins with Ash Wednesday when we remember the preciousness of life and how special it is. When we give things up for Lent, we remember their importance in our life. It ends with Holy Week when we reflect on a different holy act of Jesus each day.

Our Lenten theme this year is Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh. Everything we do during this season will be to join with God to make and discover the holy in everything. Each Sunday we will explore how Jesus took everyday mundane things and made them holy. Join us as we join God in proclaiming the holy all around us.

Worship Schedule
Ash Wednesday, March 1, Holy Hypocrites, Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21
7:30 am to 9 am Ash & Go, 12:00 pm Worship
Sunday, March 5, (Marathon Sunday), Holy Temptations, Matthew 4: 1-11
Sunday, March 12, Holy Birth, John 3: 1-17
Sunday, March 19, Holy Water, John 4: 5-42
Sunday, March 26, Holy Spit, John 9: 1-41
Sunday, April 2, Holy Grief, John 11: 1-45
April 9 Palm Sunday, Holy Palms, Matthew 21: 1-11
April 13 Maundy Thursday
7:00 pm  Joint Worship with Second Baptist Church in FUMC Sanctuary
April 14 Good Friday
12:00 pm Worship in the Sanctuary. Sack lunches provided
7:00 pm Joint Worship with Second Baptist Church at Lake Nixon
April 16 Easter Sunday, Holy Emptiness, John 20: 1-18
8:30 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am Worship

more...

UMW Lunch & Program - February 19th at Noon

Our speaker will be Kirby Fullerton,  Nechi Fullerton’s daughter.  She graduated from Central High School in 2014 and is now attending college at the University of Edinburgh, UK.  She is a third year student majoring in Social Anthropology and Social Development.  She will graduate in 2018 with a Master of Arts Honors Social Anthropology and Sustainability.

Kirby is currently a University of Edinburgh anthropology exchange student to Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.In 2015 she was a United Kingdom Youth Delegate to the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris.  She was also an intergenerational representative on the Human Rights panel and press conference at the COP21 (climate change summit) in Paris. At the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, representatives of 195 nations reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

Everyone is invited to attend to hear more about the Climate Summit in Paris as well as about living in South Korea.  Call the church office at 372-2256 to make a reservation for lunch.more...

Holy Week and Easter

Holy Week is almost here, and we’re preparing for several powerful worship experiences to walk those final steps of Jesus to the cross and experience the glory of the resurrection. Highlights include a Palm Sunday procession that will begin in the parking lot across from the sanctuary. Everyone is invited to gather there and join the procession into the sanctuary (where the rest of the service will take place, a Maundy Thursday service with Holy Communion and stripping the altar, and a Good Friday Tenebrae (service of shadows) at noon, and of course, our glorious Easter celebrations.

An exciting new element to our Holy Week experience this year is how we’re reaching out as good neighbors to worship with our friends and neighbors of Second Baptist Church. Members of Second Baptist will worship with us at our Maundy Thursday service in the sanctuary at First Church. Then they’ve invited us to worship on Good Friday at the service they are holding at Lake Nixon. This is a great way to practice “neighboring” and join with other Christians in this holy time. I’m confident we will be overly hospitable to our friends from Second Baptist on Thursday, and I hope a great number of you will come out for worship at Lake Nixon on Good Friday. Finally, in order to have more seating for our guests, we invite you to our first Easter worship service in the Chapel at 8:30 am.  

Following is a complete Holy Week Schedule:  



Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday, April 9
8:30 Communion and Prayer in the Chapel
9:00 First Word in The Cokesbury Center
11:00 First Tradition in the Sanctuary (meet in the parking lot to start the Palm Procession)

Maundy Thursday, April 13
7:00 Worship with 2nd Baptist at First Church (Sanctuary)

Good Friday, April 14
12:00 Tenebrae Service at First Church (Sanctuary)
6:00 Worship with 2nd Baptist at Lake Nixon (18500 Cooper Orbit Rd.)

Saturday, April 15th
Easter Hootenanny, 10:30 (Easter Egg Hunt, Fellowship, Bounce House, Food & Music)
Terry House, 411 East 7th Street - Downtown Little Rock
In Conjunction with Canvas Community, Wesley Chapel, Quapaw Quarter UMC

Easter Sunday, April 16
8:30 First Light in the Chapel
9:00 First Word in The Cokesbury Center
11:00 First Tradition in the Sanctuarymore...

Celebration for 30 Years of LIFT - April 30

On Sunday, April 30, First Church will celebrate the LIFT ministry, which served its final clients last fall after thirty years of ministry! After recognition during morning services, supporters and volunteers will be honored at a luncheon in Fellowship Hall.

In 1987, the leadership of First Church engaged in a discussion of how our unique downtown congregation could better meet community needs. A common thread emerged: there was no reliable way for needy people to reach medical facilities to take advantage of health and social services.

On August 4, 1987, LIFT (Laity Involved in Free Transportation) served its first clients. The church leadership had gathered a pool of 70 volunteers, who served in pairs. During its first fifteen months, LIFT carried more than 1,000 passengers to nine destinations. In 1989, a second car was put into service and a third weekday added to the schedule.

LIFT garnered much recognition for the church, including a feature presentation at a conference on infant mortality, a feature in the Arkansas Gazette, and recognition by Guideposts magazine as “Church of the Month” for its “particularly innovative and helpful community outreach program.”
In the intervening thirty years, other services emerged to meet the needs of our clients. Proving how visionary this program has been, by last fall First Church had successfully fulfilled a community need and moved on to embrace other opportunities through our THRIVE vision.

The celebration committee is working diligently to reconstruct a list of all volunteers and supporters over the life of the ministry. We do not want to overlook anyone. If you have ridden, driven, or supported the program monetarily or with in-kind gifts, please contact Anthony Falkowski at 372-2256 or afalkowski@fumclr.org. (For a history of LIFT’s early years, see A Church Afire: First United Methodist Church in Ministry 1980-2000 by Nancy Britton.)

more...

First Light Worship

We have used the season of Lent for a time of discernment for our 8:30 First Light worship service. After much prayer, conversation, and even experimentation, we will return to holding this weekly service with some changes. On Easter Sunday, First Light will be held in the Chapel with a service including inspiring music, prayer, and preaching. Beginning Sunday, April 23rd, First Light will have a new format. Rather than a service built around a traditional sermon, the focus will be on prayer and Holy Communion. Each Sunday we will have singing, scripture reading, prayer, reflection, and Holy Communion. Regular and frequent practice of Holy Communion can be a powerful and enriching experiment in one’s life. This is a great new opportunity for those who do not usually attend the 8:30 service, but want to receive the sacraments more often or enjoy a more contemplative worship experience. All are welcome to join us at 8:30 on Sundays for the first greeting of the Light.more...

CDC - Named Eco-Friendly

Child Development Center- 1st EHCC Child Care Facility in the state! more...

The Road Map

Over the last year, our church has identified God’s vision for us; Being good neighbors to make Little Rock a place where children THRIVE. But simply having a vision of where we should go is not enough. We have to have a Road Map to show us the way to that destination. Over the past several months, we have had a task force of First Church leaders, led by Martin and Melissa Thoma, designing a Road Map for how we will get where God is calling us. This Road Map is still forming as the task force is still hard a work.

One of the biggest insights we’ve gained through the Road Mapping process has been identifying what our church’s core values are. You may recall that when we first adopted this vision, we defined the word THRIVE as an acronym of Trust, Health, Relationships, Imagination, Value, and Education.

T-Trust is essential to faith in God and it builds community. Trust enables people to be authentic. In a culture where shame and judgment seem pervasive, empowering people to experience trust through honesty, vulnerability, and compassion is transformative.

H-We define Health as a sense of wholeness through spiritual, emotional, and physical health. The broader culture fragments people’s lives by work, family, social circles, civic involvement, etc. However, our lives are whole when we find a healthy balance of spirit, mind, and body.

R-Relationships are foundational to faith. In the Trinity, our very understanding of God is as a relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, life-giving relationships empower people to be good neighbors and build community. We believe that relationship building in any form is essential to understanding and relating to God who exists as a relationship.

I-God is a great mystery. To understand and relate to God more deeply, one must be empowered with Imagination and creativity. While we acknowledge the value of empirical knowledge and understanding, providing space for people to be creative, experience the arts, and play allows for a richer sense of the Divine Mystery.

V-So often our culture measures personal value by externals such as money, position, ethnicity, sexuality, and social status. However, we believe that our true Value is defined by the fact that we are all children of God. This may be the most empowering and transformative claim we can make.

E-Good education is not dissemination of facts and knowledge.  It is empowering people through deeper understanding and seeking wisdom. Therefore, Education is essential for being good neighbors and Kingdom building as we empower people to seek wisdom.

These are the core values we’ve identified for our congregation. The milestones we need to pass through to move closer to our vision will be determined by these values. I invite you to be in prayer and reflection about how these values can be more central to your life and be watching for more about our Road Map as we begin to roll it out in the next several months.
With you on your journey, Rev. David Freeman

more...

UMW General Meeting & Lunch - March 19

12:15 pm in the Fellowship Hall Speaker: Georgia Mjartan,  Executive Director of “Our House” more...

Faith Promise 2017

Consider Your Family’s Lenten Season Offering for Hunger Relief more...

Special Lenten Communion Experience

Sundays, 8:30 am in the chapel
As the First Light service will not be meeting during the season of Lent (March 5-April 9), we will be offering a time for prayer and Holy Communion each Sunday in the Chapel starting at 8:30 a.m. Each service will include prayer, reflection, music, and Holy Communion. Anyone looking for a reflective worship experience during Lent is welcome.more...

Lent 2017 - Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh

Kadosh (kdsh) is the Hebrew word for Holy. Each prayer to begin Sabbath (Shabbat) begins Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh---Holy, Holy, Holy. It is a prayer that makes something that happens all the time a special time. Sometimes we think of holiness as a hierarchy, and things we consider holy are more important. However, Kadosh is not about setting things above, but rather about setting apart or blessing them as special. God invites us to make everyday things holy. For example, we say a blessing before a meal to sanctify it as special.

The season of Lent is often called a time outside of time. It is a time of reflection to rediscover the holiness of life. It begins with Ash Wednesday when we remember the preciousness of life and how special it is. When we give things up for Lent, we remember their importance in our life. It ends with Holy Week when we reflect on a different holy act of Jesus each day.

Our Lenten theme this year is Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh. Everything we do during this season will be to join with God to make and discover the holy in everything. Each Sunday we will explore how Jesus took everyday mundane things and made them holy. Join us as we join God in proclaiming the holy all around us.

Worship Schedule
Ash Wednesday, March 1, Holy Hypocrites, Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21
7:30 am to 9 am Ash & Go, 12:00 pm Worship
Sunday, March 5, (Marathon Sunday), Holy Temptations, Matthew 4: 1-11
Sunday, March 12, Holy Birth, John 3: 1-17
Sunday, March 19, Holy Water, John 4: 5-42
Sunday, March 26, Holy Spit, John 9: 1-41
Sunday, April 2, Holy Grief, John 11: 1-45
April 9 Palm Sunday, Holy Palms, Matthew 21: 1-11
April 13 Maundy Thursday
7:00 pm  Joint Worship with Second Baptist Church in FUMC Sanctuary
April 14 Good Friday
12:00 pm Worship in the Sanctuary. Sack lunches provided
7:00 pm Joint Worship with Second Baptist Church at Lake Nixon
April 16 Easter Sunday, Holy Emptiness, John 20: 1-18
8:30 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am Worship

more...

UMW Lunch & Program - February 19th at Noon

Our speaker will be Kirby Fullerton,  Nechi Fullerton’s daughter.  She graduated from Central High School in 2014 and is now attending college at the University of Edinburgh, UK.  She is a third year student majoring in Social Anthropology and Social Development.  She will graduate in 2018 with a Master of Arts Honors Social Anthropology and Sustainability.

Kirby is currently a University of Edinburgh anthropology exchange student to Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.In 2015 she was a United Kingdom Youth Delegate to the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris.  She was also an intergenerational representative on the Human Rights panel and press conference at the COP21 (climate change summit) in Paris. At the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, representatives of 195 nations reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

Everyone is invited to attend to hear more about the Climate Summit in Paris as well as about living in South Korea.  Call the church office at 372-2256 to make a reservation for lunch.more...