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News Archives :

We love to hear directly from our members on how church life and involvement is impacting them. This week, Doris Marshall, our new local United Methodist Women (UMW) president, talks about the presence of UMW at FirstChurch and how this new leadership team hopes to guide the organization into the... read more

Winter Retreat 2020: Called

February 12, 2020

We love the energy within our children and youth ministries, thanks to our capable and dedicated leaders and our kids who are eager to experience God and fellowship with their peers. Our youth ministry in particular has really been diving deep and asking the questions essential to their growth. Our... read more

We're always grateful to present the voices of our members on this blog. Today, we have Richard Spies, a member of our Immigration Task Force who is passionate about this issue, share some of his thoughts and experiences on the topic. If immigration is of interest to you, be sure... read more

You may have noticed there was something different going on during last Sunday's Sunday School hour in the Atrium - members of Sunday School classes and a few of those who don't currently belong to a class were having roundtable discussions...instead of listening to a structured talk. What was going... read more

Welcome to 2020! Our first blog of the new decade comes from Rev. Holly Bandel - Mission & Advocacy is moving full steam ahead. Consider how you can embody Christ through this type of ministry work this year. As we have entered 2020, our Mission and Advocacy ministry continues to... read more

Why Handel’s Messiah?

December 18, 2019

Inspired by last week's Service of Lessons and Carols, Dr. Andy Stoker shares some insights after taking a deep dive into the history of Handel's Messiah.  It had been years since I completed “Music Appreciation” class in college, so when Dana Effler was describing the musicology of Messiah by George... read more

T-14 Days Until Christmas!

December 11, 2019

We're just two weeks from Christmas Day, and Advent is in full swing at FirstChurch!  Don't miss the celebration! Sunday, Dec. 15 – Third Sunday of Advent All-Church Breakfast & A Service of Lessons and Carols 8:30 – 11 a.m. – Come enjoy breakfast and fellowship in Fiedler Atrium. There will... read more

This week, Dr. Andy Stoker offers some more thoughts on how to handle emotions and memories that this season often evokes. Below, Dr. Stoker speaks specifically on grief and how we can navigate in the weeks to come. My grandmother kept an 8x10 framed photograph of my grandfather on her... read more

The Truth about Gratitude

November 26, 2019

 As we get ready for Thanksgiving, Dr. Andy Stoker gives us some wise counsel on how to make the best of this week, and the holidays in the weeks to come. I was asked a couple of weeks ago: “What makes the holidays with my family so hard?” The holidays... read more

Zoe was founded in 2004 as a Christian response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the thousands of orphans it left in its wake. While the ministry started in Zimbabwe, and was therefore named Zimbabwe Orphan Endeavor, it expanded its relief work to Zambia. Thanks to additional funding and connections provided... read more

The Process of Confirmation

November 13, 2019

This fall is packed with activities for youth - some of our tweens and teens are currently in the journey toward Confirmation. These young people go through a series of classes to learn the basic tenets of our faith and to have a safe environment to ask questions and grapple... read more

The Heart of Worship

November 6, 2019

This week, Rev. Ann Willet shares some additional thoughts on worship. Today, she asks: do we treat worship as an exercise led by the head or the heart? Since the birth of the Church, Christians have embraced styles of worship that fit their cultural and social context.  Some Christians experience... read more

Seeing God at Zion

October 30, 2019

Just a few weeks ago, our Music and Arts directing duo Tim and Dana Effler visited Zion National Park, a 229-square-mile canyon in southwestern Utah filled with red-tinged and tan-colored Navajo sandstone. One of the most famous hikes at Zion is Angel's Landing, and is not one for the faint... read more

Grief During The Holidays

October 23, 2019

Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking, but the sense of grief and loss that arises during the holidays can be devastating for many. We are proud to offer a Grief Support Group here at FirstChurch, thanks to the capable leadership and guidance of Rev. JoNell Lindh. Below, she talks... read more

Visiting The Bible In Person

October 16, 2019

Whether you're going down the road or halfway across the world, we all know what a powerful teacher travel can be. This week, Rev. Evan Jones discusses how one special trip pushed him to see the Bible in a completely different way. I have read the Bible my entire life.... read more

Today on the blog, Rev. Ann Willet asks the important question: What makes "good" worship? Spoiler alert: It's many secondary things that lead to one primary thing. Read below to learn more! I have the blessing of standing at a door at the close of our services to greet you... read more

Our Stewardship Committee has come to a close, and we are grateful for the way FirstChurch has responded! Pledges have continued to come in after Sunday, and we feel confident we'll be able to grow disciples, connect communities and serve the world in a powerful way in 2020. In case... read more

In this year's Stewardship Campaign, we're working toward A Bigger Table! And in week three, we are making major strides, thanks to your generous commitments. If you're a first-time giver, be sure to make your pledge this week, as two of our members are giving a small additional gift to... read more

A Bigger Table: Susan McIntyre

September 11, 2019

In this year's Stewardship Campaign, we're working toward A Bigger Table! God’s Table provides a place for spiritual sharing – one where the core message of Christ is delivered, and where everyone can see and taste the abundance of God’s provision. A Bigger Table: Investing in Spiritual Community is a... read more

A Bigger Table: Quincy Roberts

September 11, 2019

In this year's Stewardship Campaign, we're working toward A Bigger Table! And in week two, we're slightly ahead of where we were this time last year, thanks to your willingness to make commitments early. During the campaign, we'll be sharing stories and testimonies from members as to why they're supporting... read more

UMW Turns 150: A UMW Legacy

September 4, 2019

Our last highlight for UMW's 150th celebration showcases the longevity and dedication of UMW at FirstChurch. Veta Boswell and her daughters Brianna and Kama have made UMW a family affair. Below, they talk about serving from a young age and the role UMW has played in their lives.   How... read more

Today, we continue our highlights of UMW at FirstChurch in honor of UMW's 150th Anniversary by hearing from one of the organizations UMW has supported with time, talent and resources. Wesley-Rankin Community Center in West Dallas has been a long-time beneficiary of United Methodist Women. Below, executive director Shellie Ross... read more

Claire Cunningham has been a member of FirstChurch since birth, calling this church home for 90 years. She has blazed new trails for women inside and outside the church. Here, she recalls a time when she hesitantly stepped into a leadership role that would end up setting the stage for... read more

It's August - and we're gearing up for a busy fall at FirstChurch! There's events and opportunities coming your way in the next few weeks - read below to ensure you don't miss a beat!   One of the upsides to our renovation project is that we have the opportunity... read more

This year, The United Methodist Church celebrates 150 years of United Methodist Women. The group that started as the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society has grown through the efforts of many individual women, and has evolved to the 800,000-strong organization that United Methodist Women is today. United Methodist Women here at... read more

As we make it through the dog days of summer, it's hard to believe school is just around the corner! Below, our mission and advocacy minister Rev. Holly Bandel talks about our school-based ministries and outreach, and how you can get involved. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that “there is a... read more

Summer is a great time to slow down, get away and take a break. Yet, for many of us, it's hard to find time at any point to be still and take some time for ourselves. Today, Rev. JoNell Lindh invites us to consider a special retreat that just might... read more

Why Urban Camp?

July 10, 2019

If you've ever been to FirstChurch on a summer weekday, you know the entire building is teeming with energy - KID ENERGY. There are squeals and giggles and running and cheering - all the things that a day camp should have. Our brave camp leader, Rev. Evan Jones, talks below... read more

Thoughts on Prayer

June 26, 2019

Our own Rev. JoNell Lindh taught a wonderful class on prayer this past Spring. Below, she shares some insights on what prayer really means in our lives and a lovely example prayer - a great reminder to make prayer a priority even as we move through our summer travels!  I... read more

We're excited to have Farahana Surya Namaskar as our guest blogger this week. Farahana has been an amazing partner to FirstChurch in working with our kids and parents around mindfulness. See her recommendations below for using mindfulness to have the most relaxing family summer possible!   YIKES! The summer is... read more

In the days since General Conference and the decisions that resulted, our clergy has listened to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of our congregation, and partnered with our LGBTQ+ members on devising a path forward for FirstChurch. On Easter Sunday, we were proud to launch an official response to that... read more

Our children's and youth programs are doing amazing things these days, and it's great to see our kids growing in their faith. The staff and parents supporting our children and youth are going above and beyond to ensure our children are learning exactly what they need to when they need... read more

Holy Week is here! There are so many ways to experience the awe and joy of this week here at FirstChurch. We have some amazing worship experiences lined up for Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Be sure to bring family and friends for these special services to observe Jesus' path of... read more

Over Spring Break, we had a group of children and adults spend time serving at the Methodist Children's Home of Costa Rica. We are so grateful to have one of those volunteers, Vicky Benish, talk about her experience with mission trips, and what this particular trip meant to her and... read more

In the past 10 days, we've heard from members and non-members alike on the personal thoughts, opinions and emotions that resulted from the General Conference vote. As you can imagine, that feedback has run the gamut; people have expressed everything from confusion to anger to hurt to optimism for the... read more

2019 General Conference resulted in a myriad of thoughts, opinions and emotions. It also pushed many to consider their own beliefs and how exactly they envision the church in their place in it. As we move into Lent, we walk into the perfect time to reflect on our thoughts, beliefs... read more

We have been overwhelmed by your generosity during this Capital Campaign. We are now working to set the appropriate plans, and will share next steps in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we wanted to share a story that so clearly illustrates the spirit behind this campaign, and who we... read more

Our 2019 Capital Campaign wrapped with a Game Day celebration and some great news - in just four weeks, we raised $8.8 Million in pledges! The pledges are still rolling in, and we'll have a final count in the coming weeks. We are so grateful for the generosity of our... read more

The 2019 Capital Campaign is in full swing, and we've been blessed by wonderful members telling their stories on Sunday mornings. This past Sunday, we had Lauren Weedon, our Church Council chair, talk about raising her boys in this church, and what it means to have a second family here... read more

We're in the final week of our 2019 Capital Campaign, and we've been blessed by wonderful members telling their stories on Sunday mornings. Andy and Jennifer Scripps gave a heartfelt (and funny!) testimony what this campaign means to them and their family. Hear their story below!   Want to make... read more

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -Gertrude Stein Our days are often filled with Thank Yous - we say it to the cashier or the person who holds the door open for us. We thank a colleague for their assistance, or our child when they put their toys... read more

From 2018 to 2019

December 19, 2018

We're only days away from Children at the Manger and Christmas Eve! But as soon as we welcome Baby Jesus next week, we're already gearing up for the New Year and beyond. See below for information on all the upcoming events and activities you don't want to miss! 12.23 -... read more

Our Director of Music and Arts, Dana Effler, authored today's blog post, giving some insider info about our upcoming Lessons and Carols service this Sunday. Please come join us at 11 a.m. for this Christmas tradition! A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is an ancient and beloved tradition of the... read more

By Rev. JoNell Lindh It's almost Christmas. Carols are in the air; the shopping lists and presents are piling up. Some of you might be all alone this Christmas, but it’s rare for a person not to feel overwhelmed, stressed, tired or lonely during the holidays. You are not required... read more

Thank You, Jesus

November 28, 2018

By Rev. Ann Willet I saw her enter through the back door just after the service began.  She found a seat in the corner, away from any other worshippers.  As she removed her coat and scarf, she seemed to be shedding the weight of the world. She stood when we... read more

Spontaneous Thanks

November 20, 2018

By Holly G. Bandel What started as a gratitude exercise for myself ended up turning into an experiment on giving thanks for the entire family. I bought a little pumpkin chalkboard from the dollar store and hung it in our playroom. Each day, I tried to write down something for... read more

by Dorian Albert, Minister with Youth and Their Families Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NRSV) “11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me,... read more

This week's post is from our senior minister, Dr. Andy Stoker, regarding next steps leading into our capital campaign.  For more than 170 years, our building has given us a place and space to grow disciples of Jesus Christ. Now, to continue our legacy of love, and to serve coming... read more

The key to creating good communication is not one's ability to wordsmith, although that is important. Success in such endeavors actually lies in the capacity to be a sponge - observing, watching, hearing, taking in all the data about the new environment and then crafting something that's an authentic reflection... read more

by Rev. Holly Bandel Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” Such is the difference between relief and empowerment – relief provides help for the immediate,... read more

A Framework for Discipleship

October 10, 2018

This week's post is written by our very own Evan Jones, Associate Minister for Discipleship. He and his team have been working to redefine how we think about discipleship, and have created this framework to illustrate the connections between all the facets of Discipleship. There's still lots of great work... read more

 Our Senior Minister Andy Stoker authored today's post on our recent Blessing of the Animals event. Read below to learn why we as United Methodists are giving a nod to a revered Catholic saint. On Saturday. Sept. 29, six days before the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the... read more

Advocacy is in our DNA

September 26, 2018

Why are we as United Methodists so dedicated to social issues and fighting for justice in our communities? Well, it's literally at the heart of who we are and how we view the world. Below, Rev. Holly Bandel, our Minister for Missions and Advocacy, talks about our foundation of advocacy... read more

As we come toward the end of our 2019 Stewardship Campaign, we're so encouraged by how people have connected with this call to courage, and are making commitments to Give Courageously every day! Each Sunday of the campaign, FirstChurch members have bravely shared their stories of Courageous Gifts from the... read more

Our 2019 Stewardship Campaign is in full swing - members are taking the time to pledge their resources, time and talent for this upcoming year. Making these commitments is not always easy, but according to some of our members, they're always worthwhile and fulfilling. Watch the videos below to see... read more

Annual stewardship campaigns are critical in the life of a church, as they're often the what fuels the ability to minister to people within and outside the church's walls. Yet, this year's campaign is an opportunity to think differently about giving - how can we live courageously, giving of our... read more

Meet One + One Dallas

July 31, 2018

by Jason Lewis, Executive Director of One + One Dallas As a black man who grew up in the public school system, I was given a rare opportunity. In fourth grade, my teacher had suggested that I be tested for the “academically gifted” track.  Without realizing all that was at... read more

By Anita Goble, Kairos Outside Community Member That day started just like any other. My 2 year old was in the kitchen eating breakfast when there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to approximately 10 FBI agents wearing bullet proof vests and weapons drawn. They had... read more

A note from Rachel Embry, Library Media Specialist at J.J. Rhoads.   Tuesday was a fun and exciting day in the J.J. Rhoads library.  Thanks to our partnership with First United Methodist Church of Dallas and the G06 class, over 1300 books were purchased (totaling $5,500)  in order for approximately 300... read more

By Rev. Holly G. Bandel This week, the NRA Convention will be in Dallas. There are those who are glad, those who are angry, and many who are indifferent. In the weeks since the mass shooting in a high school in Parkland, Florida, much has been said and done to... read more

We are very pleased to announce that Dorian Albert will be our new Minister with Youth and Their Families at FirstChurch effective May 1. Dorian has served faithfully for over five years as our Assistant Director of Children and Youth Ministries.  Dorian’s passion for ministry with youth and their families... read more

By Rev. Holly Bandel What did you learn? I once again learned that mission is about relationships. The people of Costa Rica are so hospitable and teach me about being more like Christ. What made you laugh? Speaking Spanglish and having the attempt returned with a smile.  What made you... read more

By Holly Bandel Today, the Rise Fund enters its 5th fundraising year to collect $145,000 for annual distribution to our partner non-profit agencies. By supporting the great work these agencies are doing in our local and global communities, we strive to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of... read more

One + One Launch

February 22, 2018

Last Saturday morning, leaders in public school advocacy gathered in support of a new initiative that will connect faith communities with every Dallas ISD school. One+One, as it’s called, was born of a partnership among Pastors For Texas Children, First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Dallas ISD and the Dallas... read more

By Fran Lobpries, Donor Relations Dallas Bethlehem Center Early education has been at the heart of Dallas Bethlehem Center (DBC) from the beginning. Today, DBC supports programming for 56 children, ranging from six-week old babies to three-year old of toddlers. DBC’s out of school, summer camp, and computer lab classes... read more

The Corners of Flood Relief

October 4, 2017

By Rev. Holly Bandel Shelia was strong and courageous - the homeowner we met on our September trip to Baton Rouge. Our team was taken by her presence and story. She has been living with family members since the floods in August 2016. Six feet of water had come into... read more

“Compassion is not sympathy or pity. Compassion is when I invite your pain into my heart and then push it out through my hands. We can’t just sit with pain and eat a lot of carbs. Compassion comes from feeling that tenderness inside us and letting it move us to... read more

Rise: Mission Now

September 27, 2017

The Rise Fund was instituted to collect funds throughout the year for annual distribution to partner non-profit agencies. But when a tornado tore through the town of Moore, OK, the Rise Fund committee began exploring ways to respond to unforeseen emergencies and MissionNow was born. Mission Now collects fund for... read more

I’m the Match

September 14, 2017

By Jay Smith Two years ago, my cousin Ashley passed away after a long battle with Leukemia. Her battle included three bone marrow transplants, each of which extended her life and gave her just a little more time with her toddler twin boys. I wasn’t a good marrow match for... read more

Why I Give

September 11, 2017

By Kyle Elam, FirstChurch member and Chair of the FirstChurch Finance Committee I grew up in a small town in West Texas as the youngest of four children. My family attended church semi-regularly, my parents lining us up in a pew and sitting as bookends to keep us in check.... read more

This summer, Project Transformation North Texas hired 124 college-aged young adults known as “PT Corps Members” to serve in our 2017 Summer Program. They represented 63 colleges and universities and 17 different states. 55 served with us previously; and, perhaps most exciting, 18 of these exceptional young people participated in Project Transformation as children and returned to serve... read more

By Nathaniel Shell I grew up in church. It's part of who I am. As a little boy it was my safe place. It appealed to me. At church, everything was nice and people were kind. Raised by a single mother that had long ago stopped attending church, I went... read more

J.J. Rhoads Tutoring

August 2, 2017

By David Black 8:00 every Monday morning. That’s when I tutored at J.J. Rhoads, often wondering why I had chosen to do this so early in the week. On my way to the school, I often thought of all the other things I could be doing. I’d arrive as announcements... read more

In recent years, FirstChurch’s commitment to raise social capital and bring equal opportunity to students across Dallas has manifested in myriad ways. Having originated as a Reading Partners collaboration, our partnership with JJ Rhoads Learning Center has evolved well beyond tutoring to include Rise funding, teacher appreciation luncheons, field trips... read more

By Leah Bailey On the day of the auditions, I ran into Beth Wortley in the hall. She was so excited that I had agreed to audition because she just knew it was going to be something very special for our whole family. She was absolutely right! We had a great time. ... read more

FirstYouth Mission Trip

July 12, 2017

Our greatest hope for any mission trip is that we may connect with each other, with God and with truth, however challenging it may be. Last week, our junior high students seized that opportunity by traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas to serve the homeless community. Throughout the week, we grappled... read more

In my daily reading of the Bible this Spring, I ran across a little known story of Caleb’s daughter, Achsah in Joshua 15:13-19. Then, as I read further, she showed up again in chapter 1 of Judges. To be honest, I had never noticed her before. When her father gives... read more

Bishop John Wesley Hardt will be remembered for his supernatural memory filled with people and stories.  I believe he knew everyone in Texas’s grandmother’s maiden name.  He probably baptized her, too. His graciousness and love of the United Methodist Church carried him through days like the 1960’s in Beaumont, Texas... read more

By Karen Kendall “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.  For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” - Margaret Mead. My mom, Joy, spent 5 years in a nursing home after having had a brain hemorrhage.  If you haven’t been through a long term illness – which... read more

JJ Rhoads Partnership

June 7, 2017

“Ready or not, First United Methodist Church of Dallas has inherited a call individually and collectively. This call has come from Christ to go into all of Dallas, all of North Texas and to the ends of the earth to show and share God’s love in all that we are... read more

The time I laughed the hardest was when on tour in Georgia and Dana was on painkillers for her pulled back. We went out for milkshakes at midnight, sang “The Storm Is Passing Over” in a thunderstorm, and taught Dana how to take a selfie. – Miranda One of my... read more

By Rev. Linda Roby Each day I drive by White Rock Lake on the way to and from the church.  In their own way, the sun reflecting on the still glassy morning water, the wind blowing through the sails of small sailboats, and the waves of a brewing storm often... read more

Rise Update

May 12, 2017

A little over three years ago, the Rise Fund was just a dream... Our annual Easter letter called the “Resurrection Letter” and conversations with our members, partner agencies, and neighbors nurtured the idea of a Rise Fund that would cast a vision for a stronger, more compassionate Dallas. We began... read more

By Dana Effler The Enneagram has helped me see my personality in action, understand my motivations, and let go of excesses - the strengths that can become my weaknesses.  It has allowed me to see for the first time what has been right in front of me all along, empowering... read more

Dear FirstChurch, As this season as your Perkins Pastoral Intern draws to a close, I grow increasingly grateful for the hospitality and grace this body of Christ has shown me. Although my time here has been short, I have had the honor of serving in multiple capacities - participating in... read more

Easter Hospitality

April 13, 2017

Especially on Easter Sunday, we hope that visitors will choose to worship with our FirstChurch family. More than that, we hope that their time with us will show them the deep love of Christ and call them to join us again. As we look forward to the pinnacle of our Holy... read more

Reflections from Costa Rica... We found a huge rock, painted it, and now the group will sign it. – Tessa McCavit Lord, Thank you for the opportunities you dangle before us today. We pray for the wisdom to recognize them, to grab them, and to use them best in the... read more

I have been a member of FirstChurch for over 40 years.  Initially, it was my love of a traditional church service and the music program that made the 20+ miles to church worth the drive, but over the years I have come to realize that it was one of the... read more

DLC Mural Dedication

March 1, 2017

This morning, members of our staff joined DLC students to dedicate the new wall mural just outside the DLC lobby. Rev. Ann Willet blessed the mural, we sang songs, discussed the story of Noah's Ark, and thanked Jim Finger for his beautiful work, which breathes color and life into our... read more

By Evan Jones Seeing the destruction from the August 2016 floods in Baton Rouge, LA firsthand has opened my eyes to the neutral position of water in the wake of a disaster. Last week, I traveled with a team from FirstChurch to Baton Rouge to help repair homes but hadn’t... read more

As the church of the city, we are tasked to unify, bridging people of every race, color and creed, but it’s not often that such unification presents itself as boldly as it did last Thursday night. As Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance prepared for their annual Point In Time Homeless Count... read more

The Family That Holds You

January 21, 2017

10 years ago, Karen Kendall traveled to Chattanooga to be at her mother’s bedside.  A brain hemorrhage had dissolved most of her mother’s speech, leaving her in a nursing home with limited functions.  What remained, by some miracle, was her mother’s ability to sing. So together they sang Jesus Loves Me, Amazing... read more

By Dorian Albert This year, Confirmation moved from a year-long Sunday school program to a five month retreat program called The Journey. They've had three over-night retreats here at the church and two all day Sunday retreats, culminating this weekend with their final overnight retreat before Confirmation Sunday on January... read more

So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. - 1 John 4:16 Just when everything seemed to be going Tom’s way, life changed. He’d married an SMU student,... read more

What brings you joy?

December 1, 2016

Do you have a particular passion? I do… I love purses: big, little, cheap, expensive… I just love purses. But how many purses does one girl need? Asking these questions, even on the small scale of purse choices, helps me focus on what I am really passionate about. My deepest... read more

Status Quo Is Not Enough

November 16, 2016

By Megan Stoker On Monday night we attended a prayer service at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center where Andy had been invited to speak. We decided to go as a family, and took the boys. I was reminded that night how important and impactful it is to meet people where... read more

Reflections from Baton Rouge

November 10, 2016

By Dana Roosa, FirstChurch member When we arrived in Baton Rouge, the city seemed to move as normal.  Planes landing and taking off, crazy drivers on the freeways, traffic jams, visitors from Alabama pouring in to celebrate the annual LSU-Alabama game. All the usual city momentum. But just 15 minutes... read more

By Rev. Linda Roby The cool, early morning breeze gave way to afternoon heat and humidity, paralleling the two dimensional country we were experiencing: one dimension refreshing and hopeful, another, the remnants of more than 50 years of seclusion. Traveling with us were two Cuban born Americans, Ruben and Alina Esquivel.... read more

A few things you probably didn't know about Louis Malone, a longtime member of FirstChurch's Building Services.  Tell me the story of how you got hired? Oh, Ken Cummins. He sang in the choir. He’s the one that brought me here 29 years ago. On Sept 19, 1987. 33 years old.... read more

Q & A with Kristen Gary, FirstChurch & Foundations member, and co-chair of Fall Festival You may have noticed some new faces running around Fall Festival this year, and it wasn’t a FirstKid in costume.  On October 16th, FirstChurch welcomed guests from a refugee group, For the Nations Refugee Outreach,... read more

A note from Emmanuel (Manny) Martinez as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month:  Three years ago after graduating from Lydia Patterson Institute, I embarked on a dream journey to continue my educational and ministerial preparation for what I felt was the purpose for God in me. But it was there, at Lydia,... read more

Three years ago, our leadership began to imagine a Columbarium within the walls of FirstChurch. Following our Christian tradition, this Columbarium will be a final resting place for members and provide a place for families to visit, meditate and remember their loved ones. The Columbarium at FirstChurch will be constructed underneath our historic... read more

First Taste of Grace

September 29, 2016

God’s unconditional, unmerited love is most accessible to me at the Lord’s Table.  In the simple elements of bread and cup, I am assured beyond any shadow of doubt that God is with me, that I am loved.  As a minister of the church, I have the immense blessing of... read more

I Believe In “The Mystery”

September 26, 2016

By our dearly departed Rev. Wallace Chappell By Mystery I have in mind “the Reality behind God Language.” I have come to view it mystically, not as the contemplatives strive for oneness with “The Holy”; but most as a non-physical, non-material entity, experienced intuitively and mentally, as in St. Augustin’s... read more

I Am FOR Giving

September 21, 2016

By Lauren Syler Weedon “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  Second Corinthians 9:7 One of the things that drew me to FirstChurch was its history of being a force for change in the community. ... read more

I Am For Giving

September 14, 2016

By Megan Stoker In Acts 20, the Risen Christ said “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. As I think about giving within the context of First Church, I sometimes feel that I give BECAUSE of the blessings I have received. I have shared in so many ministry... read more

Learning to Show Up

September 12, 2016

By Diana Carranza I used to have a sort-of life motto: "I don't do anything I'm not good at." If my husband asked me if I wanted to join his softball team, or a friend suggested I join them for karaoke, or really anyone asked me to do something that... read more

I Am For Giving

September 8, 2016

By Weldon Bailey Whenever I think of giving to the church, I am reminded of an experience from my childhood. My brothers and I were helping my dad with a project at our small town church. The church had bought an abandoned house next door to the church property. A... read more

How Tim Effler Found the Organ

September 6, 2016

As we look forward to Tim Effler's concert this weekend, we became curious about how he chose the organ... Thank you, Tim, for your beautiful music and sharp wit. Concert: Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary Childcare provided Free What compelled you to play the organ? As a... read more

Hunger Action Month

August 31, 2016

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me - Matthew 25:35 By Diana Carranza, FirstChurch member & Communications Manager at North Texas Food Bank You’ve likely said the phrase “I’m hungry” before  – and... read more

I’m Glad I Went

August 19, 2016

I’ve never cared for castles or cathedrals or tours involving headphones, long lines or crowds. Maybe it’s because I value the sacred mystery of a chapel that tourism exploits. Maybe I’m grouchy. Maybe I just don’t care. I also maybe should have consulted the choir tour itinerary before signing up... read more

Youth Week

August 10, 2016

FirstYouth spent last week learning about service, poverty, and homelessness. Among other things, we served with Austin Street Center cleaning cots and were humbled by one of the clients who personally thanked us, remarking that our service was making a difference in her life and others. Moments like this have inspired... read more

Rise Update

August 4, 2016

The Rise fund impacts the lives of our neighbors by feeding the hungry, educating vulnerable youth and adults, and providing emergency funding via MissionNOW. This is FirstChurch’s collective effort to financially support our partner agencies committed to affecting change. We are excited that all of our partner agencies are in... read more

Our Jr. High and Senior High youth spent last week at Heifer Ranch, connecting with local and global poverty issues and with each other. The most poignant moment of the trip came during the Global Village night experience on Tuesday evening. They were educated about the countries Heifer serves across the world, and... read more

Trumpet in the Storm

July 15, 2016

A reflection of healing and hope by Rev. Ann Willet The seeds arrived in a small brown envelope on March 12. Though I planted them within a week, the cool soil held them captive until mid-May, when three small shoots emerged. This new friend grows to three feet in height... read more

Dear FirstChurch Family, My heart hurts. Just when I was coming to grips with the news from Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, we have our own tragedy, just blocks from FirstChurch. These events, police involved shootings and public mass shootings, have become far too commonplace. But, I could not imagine... read more

We discovered more than the sea during this year's Deep Sea Discovery. Every year we look forward to sharing Bible stories with Vacation Bible School kids through crafts, science experiments, storytelling and music. Thanks to copious planning, attention to detail, and 65 committed youth and adult volunteers, VBS surpassed expectation,... read more

An Exciting New Season

June 28, 2016

A note from Rev. Ann Willet as we look forward to welcoming her to our FirstChurch family this Sunday.  With each new season in our lives, we have opportunities to experience God’s ever-present grace.  Perhaps the new season is due to a change in career, the birth of a child,... read more

Rise Up

June 27, 2016

By gathering volunteers and donations, the Rise Fund maximizes FirstChurch’s impact on our partner agencies. And that unified impact is greater than it ever could be individually, as evidenced by our partnership with Rise recipient JJ Rhoads Elementary. $7,000 + 150 volunteers = 3,500 hours of service This combined effort... read more

The Mystery Revealed

June 15, 2016

Dana Effler reflects on the Variations Mystery Tour The Variations Mystery Tour began to unfold as we pulled away from the church on Sunday, June 5 in a charter bus and a 15 passenger van headed northeast to Texarkana. We were loaded down with suitcases, musical instruments, snacks, water, 48 Variations... read more

Prayers for Orlando

June 12, 2016

As the sun sets on the East Coast tonight, we invite you to pray for families and friends who have lost loved ones and those holding vigil at hospital bedsides. "Our hearts are broken, O God. Yet again, one of your children has died in the name of a skewed view of righteousness.... read more

A note from Rev. Wally Butts What a joy it is to serve in ministry alongside such an amazing and loving staff.  You never know when an opportunity will come and who will be beside you when you need them the most.  Case in point… On a recent weekday afternoon,... read more

Dear Graduating Seniors, You have given so many gifts for so many years. On behalf of a grateful congregation, thank you. Thank you for the ways you have been ambassadors for the Church. Thank you for scraping and painting houses of persons who could not scrape and paint for themselves.... read more

God of Every Day, On this day we are encouraged to remember mothers— Not all of us feel the same way on this day. Some of us celebrate our mother We give thanks for her support and influence the ways she nurtures and guides us For mothers who show us... read more

The Things I Say

May 1, 2016

We spend an hour together each week I say a lot of things to him: Good to see you Let’s go to the reading room Leave your candy for lunchtime Thank you Pick out a book Who is the main character? What is the setting? Let’s look at our lesson... read more

In loving memory of my grandmother, Shirley Halas (1928-2016) I thought I was prepared. The years of sitting with families. The training in hospitals. The provision of hope in ritual. All of it did not ready me for the human experience of watching my loved one die. There was little... read more

Beyond Our Shores

April 25, 2016

International travel connects people to people, opening our eyes to the wonder and beauty of the world’s great diversity. When we visit people in other countries, we learn not only about others but from others. Broadening our perspectives in this way shapes our understanding of ourselves and our world personally,... read more

Walk. Pray. Love.

April 11, 2016

(A reflection by Frank Roby) Walking the city, we realize we are close enough to touch the prosperous and the poor; close enough to choose whom to greet – the beautiful or the disheveled – and we do choose.  And doing so defines us just a little. On Saturday morning,... read more

A Celtic Mass

April 5, 2016

In just over one week, the Chancel Choir will present A Celtic Mass during 11:00 worship. This Dallas premier will include a 25 piece orchestra and three distinctive Celtic instruments, the uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), Irish whistle, and Celtic harp. Local composer, R. Daniel (Rick) Holt, has been a lifelong... read more

Project Transformation

March 31, 2016

When the teacher called for a volunteer to read in front of the classroom, he was the last one to raise his hand. Though he loved to look at the illustrations and make up stories of mystery and adventure, he was hesitant to read aloud. Every time he would gather the... read more

The Role We Play

March 25, 2016

Adrianna Rodriguez had been on staff for years before joining our membership a few months ago, citing the love and kindness she receives from our FirstChurch family among the reasons she felt called to join. “Members talk to me and show that they appreciate the work the maintenance staff does.... read more

Monday It is the day after Palm Sunday. The dust has settled and Jesus is squarely in both a comforting and discomforting situation. Comforting because he grew up celebrating the High Holy Days in the “City of David.” Discomforting because Jesus knew something was very different; this was not the... read more

We are a busy world, challenged to cram anything else into our ever-important schedules. But recently Rev. Blair Thompson and I experienced the grace we receive by taking time to be with people. Of course we had to schedule this time on our calendars, but it was a privilege to... read more

We could have just sent money. Local construction crews could have built more with the money we could have sent. But what could have been sent could not have wept with the broken, sweat with the working, held hands with the prayerful, or laughed with the joyful. What could have... read more

Better Together

March 7, 2016

To seek your soul is a precious thing, But you will never find it on your own, Only among the clamor, threat, and pain Of other people’s needs will love be known.          - Kathy Galloway, Iona community, Scotland This excerpt of a recent “Seeking the Holy” reflection articulates the mission... read more

If we are not careful, life’s everyday routine can make us numb to God’s presence and deaf to God’s call. It is important to step beyond our comfort zones every day, even if only in small ways, so that we may be open to receiving God’s grace, and better equipped... read more