Looking to the horizon

Lake Monroe horizon at sunset.


In an effort to become more involved in the community and think more “beyond our walls”, the  WE CARE Ministry was reactivated in 2016, led by Jim Estep and the United Methodist Men, whose goal it was to contact our shut-ins each month with a visit or call.  They were later joined by a group of ladies who sends cards to all congregants on birthdays as well as to our shut-in members monthly.  This program remains very active to date.  We also participated in the downtown Sanford “Alive After Five” night in February, National Heart Month.  Phyllis Estep arranged to have nurses and equipment donated/loaned by Advent Health to teach CPR to anyone interested.

We learned in the  Spring of 2017 that we would be having a pastoral change in June:  another “first” for not only FUMC Sanford but for the entire Florida Conference;  part-time, bi-vocational, co-pastors, David and Meghan Killingsworth.  As the description implies:  financially, they are one appointment, each has or has had employment outside the church (which has not been as easy as one might expect) and they share the Senior Pastor position.  With their year-old son in tow, they hit the town and church running, enmeshing themselves with the downtown infrastructure, calling all members, and interacting with those guests of the Picnic Project.  They had a vision of utilizing our underused Fellowship Hall as a Co-Op to do good in our area and create a little income for the church.  Grants were written and funds donated to renovate the old kitchen into a modern, commercial space.  The halls, bathrooms, and rooms were cleaned, painted, and generally made ready for partners as was a common room with a copier, water, snacks, and comfortable furnishings for meetings, etcThe Picnic Project, which recently established a well-stocked food pantry in the building, continues to be a cornerstone partner of the Co-Op.  Grace ’n Grits a 25+ year ministry Sanford, found its new home in the church as well.

It became apparent in 2018 that the duties of the Trustees for a church of our size, age and undergoing major plant renovations, were such that we needed to fill out the entire Trustee Committee.  This proved to be an astute, efficient move.  Each member has an area of responsibility and the pastoral member is the Mr. Fix-It type.  We followed suit with the filling out of the Finance Committee in 2019, as we discovered that without committees, no one was in training for future leadership slots.

In March 2020, the church did have to close its doors, but only temporarily, due to the COVID-19 worldwide outbreak.  God has blessed this church with strong clergy leadership, and also a dedicated congregation and community, all of which have joined in morphing our hot meals into bags of groceries distributed twice weekly, having worship services, classes, and meetings via electronic devices and/or outside, and establishing telephone trees to stay in contact as much as possible.  Indoor worship and other gatherings resumed on a limited basis in September, following the CDC guidelines; adapting to the situation, but still making every effort to fulfill our mission of “Loving Our Neighborhood.”    

The First United Methodist Church of Sanford has a history of faithful and devoted Christian men and women who gave their time and energy tirelessly in service through the years.  May we be so diligent and God-centered during our time as a part of this legacy.



Afterthoughts from Carole, our historian: “This history journey is not over for me. I’m still filling in more photos and details, especially about the Sunday School Classes, UMM and UMW, as I continue my research. Church records for many years are missing, so those years were done mostly from memory. Many of you have been here during much of this time, as have I, so this was personal for us. I welcome any information, feedback, photos, etc. you wish to share as I want the record to be as accurate as possible. I hope fo put all of this in book and digital form within the next few years (2024 is the 150th anniversary of Methodism in this area). Karen Scott has scanned documents/photos for us so that they can be permanently and safely preserved. Thank you to her and to all of those Saints who took the time and effort to write previously histories for us.”