First United Methodist Church of Ventura
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Open Heart, Open Minds, Open Doors.


      We are a community of faith, letting love lead to make, mature, and mobilize disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
     We have two Sunday worship services: one a traditional and the other informal, more contemporary. Our programs span every age from Christian education, music, outreach and mission, Bible, and fellowship.
We are located . . .
      In downtown Ventura, California, at 1338 E. Santa Clara Street, adjacent to Cabrillo Middle School and just west of the intersection of Main and Santa Clara streets.
     Ventura is about 50 miles from Los Angeles on the northbound Hwy. 101, and 25 miles south of Santa Barbara. The city is on the coast, and the church is about a half mile from the beach.
Worship Services
     Traditional, Sunday, 9 a.m. in the sanctuary, for those who prefer a more formal liturgy, long-standing hymns, and classical music.
     Informal, Sunday, 11 a.m. in the chapel for those looking for more upbeat and current music and less structured pattern of celebration.

Combined Worship Service
Rally Day
Sunday, September 7, 10 a.m., Sanctuary
    Everybody come! Don’t be early, don’t be late. You 9 a.m. worshipers can sleep in an hour. You 11 a.m. folks get up and come on over to the church! We will be worshiping together at 10 a.m. so spread the word. We want everyone there!
    We will be welcoming back our music director, KuanFen Liu, and the Chancel Choir along with our Sunday School superintendent, Jackie Gonzalez. With some extra applause we honor Jackie who is returning after a significant health journey. We are glad she will be back with us. She’s already working away, but on September 7th you’ll see her on the premises.
    Both the Chancel Choir and the Second Service Band will be supporting our worship musically, and it promises to be a joyful Sunday service. Don’t dress up. Your casual clothes are just fine. The choir won’t be robing, and the pastor won’t either. Find some bright, happy colors, an aloha shirt, if you will, and relax into God’s presence. We will be recognizing our fall teachers, so be sure to come along and say “thank you” to them for making this commitment. 
                    See you in church,
                    Rev. Mary Birgelaitis

Panoramic Church Photos 
     Take a brief 360 tour of the church.
Stained Glass Windows
     Handcrafted stained glass windows grace the sanctuary and chapel with color, drawing one to Christ's words and ministry. Two of the sanctuary windows are pictured at the end of this home page.
Sunday School and Childcare
     Our 9 a.m. Sunday School starts in the worship service in the sanctuary where there is a young people's message.  Sunday School for children follows in the Education Building classrooms.
    Sunday School during the 11 a.m. service is for children, preschool age through fifth grade.
    Childcare for infants and toddlers is provided during both services.
Worship Services Televised on Cable TV
     The Sunday traditional worship service is shown on cable TV Channel 6 each Sunday at 9 a.m., Wednesday at 4 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m., and Saturday at 1 p.m. The schedule can be seen at
The open door Coffee House
    Our open door coffee house welcomes guests eac
h Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Wesley Center library/parlor for espresso, selected tea, and hot chocolate.
    Further details about The open
door may be found under the Ministries Section of this website. 
    The open door is an ongoing outreach ministry of First United Methodist Church designed to build relationships and bring others into the loving presence of God.

Middle School After School Program     
     Middle school students are invited to join in the Middle School After School Program Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 3-5 p.m. in Trotter Hall for recreation, study, and snacks during the school year (September-May). To find out more information, please click the following link:
Chancel Choir Retreat August 30
    Everyone interested in singing in worship with the Sunday Chancel Choir is invited to the Choir Retreat on Saturday, Aug. 30, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For details, talk to KuanFen Liu, the Chancel Choir director, or contact the church office, 643-8621.
Do You Want to Join the Church?
    Have you been attending worship at First UMC and thinking “I might like to join the church”? Here’s a chance to explore and make a decision. We are having an Inquirer’s Class.

             Sunday, September 14
          4 p.m. in the Pastor’s Study
         (same building as the office)

        Sunday, September 21 and 28
        4 p.m. in the Wesley Ctr. Parlor

    Please register your intention to attend the first session by calling Ellen at the office at 643-8621.

Disciples Sunday Adult Class
Resumes September 14

    After a break for the summer, the Sunday Disciples Class, meeting from 10:15-11:15 a.m., will resume on September 14 in the Wesley Center Rm. 103.

Globe Bank Offerings Collected
    The Globe Bank offerings will be collected in the Sunday worship services, Aug. 31 and Sept. 6.
    Offerings will go to the Mulungwishi Seminary in Congo.

UMW Program and Salad Potluck September 9
    There will be a joint United Methodist Women fellowship meeting in the Wesley Center parlor on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 10:30 a.m. with a salad potluck luncheon to follow. Bring a salad to share; dessert and beverages will be furnished.
    Patricia Cole Cowan, director of EPIC at Cabrillo Village in Saticoy (Everyday Progress in Character), will present the program. EPIC supports children in grades 2-8 after school with various art activities as well as other activities which help children in developing positive and moral traits. Along with guidance for the children, parenting workshops are offered.
    Please join us to learn about this fine opportunity for some of our young people in our own community. We encourage all women who are interested to join us for this program, lunch, and fellowship.

Fall Book Study with Rev. Simmons
Learning to Walk in the Dark

    Rev. Chuck Simmons will be leading another book study this fall, beginning Sept. 3 and ending Nov. 19, on Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to noon and 7:00 to
8:30 p.m.  Because of a prior commitment, sessions will be Sept. 3, 10, and 17, followed by a two-week break, resuming on Oct. 8 through Nov. 19 (ten sessions in all).
    The book to be read is Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.  Taylor’s books and sermons have been very helpful to clergy and laity across America.  She is an ordained Episcopal priest and has taught and lectured in conferences, colleges and seminaries.  She now teaches at Piedmont College in north Georgia.
    One review states:  “Darkness has a bad name.  For almost all of us, darkened cellars, corners, and shadowy streets are frightening, to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.  But according to spiritual author Barbara Brown Taylor, the lack of light, like nighttime, is a natural part of a cycle, a stage that can be approached without anxiety.  In fact, she asserts, God works in the darkness too, even when we can’t see Him or sense his presence or wisdom.  Learning to Walk in Darkness is an evocative book that succeeds in calming us even in the midst of uncertainty.
    The regular price of this hardcover book is $24.99.  For those participating in the study, copies will be available for $10 each.  Please sign up for morning or evening sessions.                    
CROP Hunger Walk
Sunday, October 5, 2 p.m., FUMC Ventura

     Raise funds to fight hunger! Sign up and pick up a pledge sheet during the Sunday morning coffee hours starting August 31 following worship.

“Teach Only Love . . . for That Is What You Are.”
A Course in Miracles

          Thursdays from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
                     Through October 30
                         Wesley Center
     Study with John and Ginny as they share support, experience, and encouragement with students of this life-transforming spiritual practice of forgiveness and inner peace.
     WHO: For anyone interested in learning more about A Course In Miracles (ACIM) as well as to those who have already begun this study. Inquirers, beginners and experienced students are equally welcome. Group meetings are tailored to the level of those who come.
     WHAT: Meetings consist of guided readings of the text, workbook, manual, and supplemental ACIM materials, as well as discussions of principles and practices, with times of quiet sitting in contemplative prayer.
     Inquirers need bring no materials, except for a copy of ACIM available at bookstores and online. 


            "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors."


    Stained Glass Rose Window in the Sanctuary


Stained Glass Rose Window in the Sanctuary Balcony










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