Monthly Newsletter



First United Methodist Church

8210 Buffalo Avenue

Niagara Falls, New York 14304

Celebrating 164 Years in Ministry

1855 – 2019



Who is Jesus? What did he do during his life here on earth? And what does it all mean to us as Christians today? In our current sermon series we are looking at Jesus’ life and how he changed his world. We will see the way he lived according to the beliefs and customs of his Jewish upbringing as the one born to be King of Kings, and Lord over all God’s creation. He instilled in the minds of his followers the hope of the Kingdom of God as he performed miracles that brought healing and deliverance, challenged injustice among his own people, and taught that the way of peace and love is more powerful than any other means of setting people free. He called disciples and taught them to do everything he was doing. He expected his disciples to live according to what he claimed to be the greatest commandment of God: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus called his followers to a lifetime devoted to discipleship. With that call came the promise of help from the Holy Spirit and the hope of eternal life with God in Christ. It meant that it was not enough for them to sit at Jesus’ feet, walking around through Galilee and into Jerusalem with him for their own enjoyment and blessing. As they walked with Jesus and learned from him, they were changed on the inside of themselves. That change compelled them to go out beyond their familiar group of Christ followers to reach people who needed to experience God in Christ - both Jews and Gentiles. That is what Jesus sent his original disciples out to do, and it is what he calls Christians to do today. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to a lifetime of continuing to grow in love for God and others, allowing God to change us on the inside so we can go out into the world, bless others with God’s love, and call them to life with Christ in God’s Kingdom.

The church season called Lent begins March 6th with Ash Wednesday. Throughout this season we will be looking at who Jesus was to the people of the Bible and who he is to us today. We will continue to discover what Jesus means to us in God’s Kingdom in the here and now, and for all eternity as we learn more of what it means to live lives of Christian discipleship. Come join us, and invite others to come too.


Pastor Lisa.

From: LORI Gondek, CLM

Amazing Love How can it be that thou my God should die for me.  The chorus of the Hymn “And can it be ” a song written by our church Founder, Charles Wesley.  He was quoted while writing this song "At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me above what I can ask or think."  The words so powerful that through Christ’s amazing love redemption was given to all who come accepting Him into their heart. 

During Lent we can reflect on the words of God’s amazing Love, a love so Rich and free through His Grace. Ephesians 3:20,  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  His abundant LOVE is the Power we need, to overcome this world. Let us take time during Lent to allow the Love of Christ be evident in our hearts in  all we do, as we reflect on His Amazing Love. Read Hymn 363 - And Can it Be that I should Gain.

I pray your hearts will be blessed by the words of Charles Wesley’s song.

Lori Gondek, CLM

Worship Committee News

It is our hope and prayer that you will join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:00 am because…

If there were no God, we would be in this

glorious world with grateful hearts…

and no one to thank!

The season of Lent will start with our Ash Wednesday service which will be on Wednesday, March 6th at 6:30 pm.

**Please note the time change for our service this year.**

Ashes will be given and Holy Communion will be served. Pastor Tom will be celebrating worship with us.

We would like to remind the church family that if you have had any change in your home address, phone number or e-mail address recently that you should contact the church office on Tuesdays from 9 am until noon or indicate the changes on a Friendship card which is in your bulletin each Sunday.

Easter will be April 21st this year so look for all the information including our Maundy Thursday service, a Good Friday service, and the Easter vigil in next month’s issue of First Facts!

The Worship Committee

Did You Know ?

The Finance Committee met January 24th 2019 to finalize all budget entities for 2018 and to set our course and priorities for 2019.

Nancy Woomer Walek, who organizes and oversees the Counting Team is serving in the appropriate role of Finance Secretary and was so elected at the Charge Conference on January 26th 2019.

The individual giving is entered by staff at Pendleton UMC on new software which will keep church membership records, generate mailing labels and Giving reports. Mary Bobsein, of PCUMC, was elected to that role at the Charge Conference also. The accounting system obtained to do this was free and will be used to pay bills and generate reports.

 Contingency, a place for people to give large gifts to the church, this fund will be overseen by our Finance Committee. They have agreed to ask people to consider putting the Church in their Will, or give a little extra for the future of the church. In order to prevent these gifts from being a long term Savings account, at the expense of the present ministry, the Finance Committee passed a motion that 20% of the Endowment Fund (so named) be moved annually to the church budget.

The year 2018 was financially a good year for our church and the Finance Committee feels it has made some good decisions for 2019. With reduced payroll expense and cutting the telephone/internet expenses as examples.

            Finance Committee member Phyllis Deweese has volunteered to become Committee Secretary and member Brenda Mangan has agreed to become Voucher Secretary to sign off on bills before they are paid.

Our church is alive and well !!

Mary Ruth Barber, Finance Committee Chairperson

Trustee News

The trustees met after the charge conference in January.  During that meeting a new chair was elected, Nancy Walek.  We would like to thank Ken Stoneback for his service as chairperson in the past.  

We made a list of some of the many projects needed around the church and here is a partial list:

The stained glass windows in the sanctuary need repairs to the wood surrounding the windows; the ceiling in the sanctuary needs scrapped and painted; the balcony wall needs repaired and painted; the foundation wall at the front of the church needs repaired as well as a foundation wall at the parsonage; there is water damage being caused by these foundation walls and repairs will need to be made to the stairway at the front of the church and to the basement at the parsonage; there are downspouts that need repaired and parking lot water/sewer problems; replacement of the ailing air conditioning compressor in spring.

The trustees really have a lot to accomplish this year.  If there are any of these things that you might be able to help with, please call Nancy, 417-3479 or you could make a note on your friendship card.  A lot of these things we will have to contract out for repair but maybe there are some things we could do with your help.

If there is anything that you see that should be brought to the attention of the trustees, please call Nancy or one of the trustees.  On the list of nominations, you can see who the trustees are.

History Corner

 In 1972 the city and area churches partnered to create community-based activities for assorted ages.  This was the beginning of a Metro Community basketball court which was used by people from as far West as 66th Street.  Groups using the court were supervised by trained people between the hours of 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  However, problems existed with vandalism, invasion of privacy, and theft before and after those hours.  Rev. Verguson and other volunteers worked with boys and girls to give them healthy outlets. 

John Fleury organized a basketball team.  They used the court to practice.  They played at Gaskill Jr. High.

            In December of 1973 the Metro and Mid-LaSalle Coordinating Committee made a proposal for an elderly drop-in center.  In March the Adult Drop-In was formed by Diane Worthing and Alice Griffin.  The age of this group was 55 years and older. They met three times a week. Arts. Crafts. And games were among the attractions.  Later they only met once a week. This group provided fellowship and direction for many years.  The center put together our original Library.  Alice Griffin was honored by naming the downstairs meeting room after her. 

Other groups begun by Metro and the Mid LaSalle Coordinating Committee were the Pre-Teen center and the Teen Center.  These two groups provided help with homework, as well as, youth activities.  The centers were open 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

The Quilters began meeting in 1976. Some of the members of the Quilters were Mary Shampine, Florence Hazel, Bea McMullen, Grace Barrett, Grace Blaine, Caroline Crocker, Jane Matthews, and Myrtle Holstrom.  There were many more who worked with them from time to time.  The Quilters donated a considerable sum of money to the church over the years.   (From FUMC archives)