O’Fallon First UMC held annual tailgate party before high school homecoming game

By Kimberly Bennett

O’Fallon First United Methodist Church hosted its fourth annual tailgate party Friday, October 5, prior to O’Fallon Township High School’s homecoming football game against Alton High School. 

Members of the O’Fallon community and of the church enjoyed a free picnic dinner together in the church’s parking lot despite the heat and humidity. Games like Nine-Square, Jumbo Jenga, and Bean Bag Toss were a big hit for the teens and children, but what the little ones loved the most were the bounce houses, especially the pirate ship. 

Members of O’Fallon First UMC greatly enjoyed hanging out with friends and new company, and they can’t wait to see what next year’s tailgate party brings.

VBS at O’Fallon First UMC hosts special BMX event

Jake Wheeler soars through the air. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

By Kimberly Bennett

Campers at O’Fallon First United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School got to watch professional BMX stunt riders perform a special show. 

The theme of VBS at O’Fallon First UMC, which ran from July 30 through August 3, was “AMPED! Live Fully Alive” where children from preschool to fifth grade were taught about the abundant life found in Jesus Christ, and they discovered different ways to live life to the fullest through Him.

As a special treat, Jennifer Russell, the new director of Children’s Ministry at O’Fallon First UMC coordinated with STL Sprockets, a BMX Bicycle Stunt team in St. Louis, to visit the church on Thursday, Aug. 2nd, and show off their cool bike tricks for the children to enjoy. 

Wayne Imboden prepares to jump over a camper.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

Between stunts, both professional BMX cyclists – Jake Wheeler and Wayne Imboden – heavily emphasized the importance of safety while riding. They encouraged children to live a fully AMPED life and did not discourage them from being future BMX stunt artists if that is what they want to do when they’re older. Both Jake and Wayne made some serious air during their flips over the ramps and even jumped over a few young volunteers, shocking many of the little ones. 

Though the heat was tremendous and the humidity was thick, the weather certainly did not cause the crowd to shy away nor the cyclists from having fun and living their afternoon to the fullest.

The Weekly heads to Zaborze on mission work and British Columbia, Canada

The Weekly recently went on a trip with members of O’Fallon First United Methodist Church. This is the 12th year that the O’Fallon UMC has sent a mission team to assist a Polish Methodist Church with the “Indian Village’ (Bible school/day camp) in Zaborze, located between Warsaw and Krakow. Pictured from left are the team members at the camp:  Ruth Hundley (O’Fallon UCC), Jeff Sedberry (Aspermont, TX), Emily Barylske, Jerry Albrecht, Rich Lunan, Carol Lunan, Vivian Rohleder, Diane Peach (Granite City), Melissa Beecher and Jean Albrecht. Those in bold print have gone multiple times. This year’s camp had 380 children in attendance so it’s easy to see why they love returning.

Weekly readers John and Joy Bode brought their copy of the paper to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Pictured is the couple with the British Columbia Parliament Building in the background. The Bode’s were in Victoria for a family wedding. We hope you had a wonderful time!

Are you going on a trip? Take the O’Fallon Weekly along with you! Just take a photo of the Weekly while away from home and email it to us for the Weekly Traveler.  Please include who is pictured and where the photo was taken.  Email photos to Nick@OFallonWeekly.com and please mark them “Weekly Traveler.”

McGinnis named Senior Patrol Leader for Troop 46

Conner McGinnis was sworn into the position of Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 46 on September 18, 2017. The troop meets at O’Fallon First United Methodist Church and is Chartered by the Church and the O’Fallon Kiwanis Club.

The senior patrol leader is the top leader of the troop and is responsible for the troop’s overall operation. The senior patrol leader presides over the patrol leaders’ council and works closely with each patrol leader to plan troop meetings and make arrangements for troop activities.

Conner will fill the position of Senior Patrol Leader for six months.

O’Fallon FUMC holds second annual Running 4 God 5K

(O’Fallon Weekly photo by Kimberly Bennett)

O’FALLON – Last Saturday, O’Fallon First United Methodist Church hosted its second annual Running 4 God 5K, co-organized by church members Rob Stoelzle and Linda Gruchala. Prior to the race, runners, walkers and their families as well as volunteers gathered in the parking lot for last-minute registration, fellowship and leg stretches provided by Dr. Eric Toennies from Chiropractic Plus.

With great morning weather, there were no delays keeping the race from starting on time. Not too long after the walkers had begun their trek, running participants of the 5K race lined up along Southview Drive, excited to run for God. Before both walking and running heats, each group of participants began the 5K journey in prayer to bless the race and everyone involved.

 

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition.

O’Fallon FUMC celebrated Back to Church Sunday with an Amazing Race

(Submitted photos)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon First United Methodist Church hosted its annual Amazing Race last weekend for Back to Church Sunday. Teams of families and friends of all ages scattered throughout O’Fallon to complete the challenges given to them, helping the community along the way. Some of the challenges included walking dogs, mowing lawns and helping people with groceries.

Everyone had a blast and ended the afternoon with dinner and a movie featuring the photos submitted throughout the race. Even though everyone “fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith,” only two teams claimed the first and second winning prizes. Second place, earning each team member a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery, was honored to one of the youth teams, The Pink Panthers. First place was given to one of the younger teams, Girls for God, winning them a pizza dinner at Peel to celebrate their victory.

First United Methodist Church hosts largest VBS in its history

O’FALLON – During the second week of June, O’Fallon FUMC hosted its annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) summer program, teaching kids, ages three through sixth grade, about creation and how each child is uniquely made to love God, made to have a relationship with Jesus and to love their peers.

This year, OFFUMC hosted its largest VBS participation, providing fun activities, mission work, Bible class and snack time to 205 kids. The children raised over $600 for Feed My Lambs, a local mission hosted by the churches of O’Fallon to provide lunches for children in the area.

The OFFUMC would like to thank everyone involved with VBS for their time, their donations, and their dedication for making this fantastic week a blast for the children.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Kimberly Bennett)

Annual Mother-Daughter Princess Tea heads Under the Sea

Princess Ariel was invited as a special guest, and she surprised young girls with a musical presentation. (Submitted photo)

 

Pastor Becky of OFFUMC helping her daughter, Natalie, with a sea-themed craft. (Submitted photo)

O’Fallon First United Methodist Church recently hosted it’s annual Mother-Daughter Princess Tea event. The theme, this year, was “Under the Sea”.

Little girls spent time with their mothers and grandmothers while enjoying an afternoon tea in the company of Princess Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

 

Luncheon event focuses on importance of funeral planning

Kim Sabella, Director and Owner of Wolfersberger Funeral Home, visits the O’Fallon United Methodist Church and gives a
presentation at the monthly Prime Timers luncheon regarding the importance of funeral planning.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo By Kimberly Bennett)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon First United Methodist Church hosted its monthly Prime Timers: Lunch & Learn event last Friday, and Kim Sabella, Director and Owner of Wolfersberger Funeral Home, was this month’s guest speaker, focusing on the topic: “What you need to know before you go.”

Preplanning your funeral prior to death is more important than you may realize, and Wolfersberger Funeral Home values the unique needs of every individual they help. According to Sabella, preplanning is important because it “ensures that it’s your wishes being carried out after death.” Furthermore, if you don’t sign any paperwork with a funeral director prior to death, there is nothing legally binding in the state of Illinois that requires your next of kin to uphold your requests, and if your wishes have not been discussed with your family beforehand, they can still make changes to your plans.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition

St. Clair Emergency Management Agency talks disaster readiness with O’Fallon residents

Ryan Whitaker (right) the Assistant Director of St. Clair 911 ETSB and Senior 911 IT Analyst Randy Randolph (left) pose for a picture after giving a presentation to the elder members of O’Fallon FUMC on the importance of emergency preparedness.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon First United Methodist Church hosted its monthly Prime Timers: Lunch & Learn event, and the theme for March was Emergency Preparedness, prompted by the number of unexpected ice storms the county has been experiencing this past winter.

Bryan Whitaker, Assistant Director of 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) branch and his associate, Randy Randolph, Senior 911 IT Analyst, were guest speakers of the Lunch & Learn event, teaching the elderly on the importance of emergency preparedness.

“About 95 percent of any emergency is dealt with preparedness, and two percent deals with the actual emergency while three percent regards the aftermath,” Whitaker highlighted at the beginning of his presentation. Though sometimes emergencies cannot be predicted, he highly stressed that people should always come up with a plan for every possible emergency, no matter what it could be.

St. Clair County has the highest rank in Illinois for most recorded tornadoes since 1950, amounting to approximately 196 rotations, and of those rotations, from 2000 to 2014, there have been 75 tornadoes recorded within the county. The yearly average of tornadoes is 3, and on average, there is at least one fatality per year. Furthermore, the county sits near the New Madrid Seismic Zone and ranks 7th in the state for most recorded earthquakes since 1950, the most recent disaster being 2008, when most of Southern Illinois endured one caused by the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone with a magnitude of 5.4. From 1950 to 2010, there have also been roughly 1,300 floods, 10 blizzards, 55 ice storms and 44 droughts according to St. Clair data reports on USA.com. With so many natural disasters in St. Clair county, it is important to be prepared for anything, come what may.

“There are 96 tornado sirens the EMA has to govern in St. Clair County,” said Whitaker when broaching the subject of preparing for tornadoes. “At 10 a.m. every first Tuesday of the month, unless there is inclement weather, those sirens are tested. If you live near a siren and do not hear it when it’s tested, please inform the county. That’s why we have those tests,” he added after asking the audience how many of them live near a siren. Approximately half rose their hands.

Briefly, he recommended a few action plans for floods and earthquakes, but focused most of his time answering questions anybody might have had.

  • For those who do not have basements in their homes: Whitaker recommended for families to find a room without any windows and doors, preferably under the stairs, which is built to be the strongest structure of the home.
  • For those who need to seek out a shelter but do not want to leave behind their pets: “When storm shelters are open to the public, we also open up our animal shelters, too. Be sure to do research prior to any emergency requiring shelters so you know, beforehand, where to take your pet(s),” Whitaker replied.
  • Where weather radios can be purchased: “You can buy them at Schnucks, Walmart, ACE Hardware, and the like. It’s about a $50.00 purchase, but it’s a great investment. When tornado sirens go off in the county,” Whitaker explained, “you’ll be able to hear it in your home. You can also receive weather updates. I highly recommend listening to the county’s frequency even though you might not live in Belleville or Freeburg or Fairview Heights. A tornado can unexpectedly change directions so it’s important to be aware of anything happening within the local area.”

While most of the Q&A session focused on natural disasters, Whitaker and Randolph noted that it was just as important to be prepared for other emergencies – such as house fires, blackouts, and serious injuries – too. For house fires, families need to have an evacuation plan and pick a meeting spot so every family member is accounted for. If experiencing a blackout, Whitaker emphasized the importance of having enough food and water stored during its duration, and if during temperature extremes, he recommended having an alternative place to stay until the power returns. For serious injuries, if for whatever reason, an ambulance is delayed, have a first aid kit on hand and learn different life-saving procedures – i.e. first aid, CPR and the Heimlich maneuver – to comfort an injured person before an ambulance can arrive.

At the end of the session, Whitaker and Randolph handed out little guidebooks to encourage everybody to take the initiative and make emergency preparedness a priority in their lives.  For more information on Emergency Preparedness and St. Clair County emergency protocols, visit www.stclaircounty911.com.

First United Methodist Church hosts live Nativity scene

O’FALLON – In spite of the drastic drop of temperature, O’Fallon First United Methodist Church braved the weather and hosted their annual birthday celebration of Jesus Christ where families were invited to spend some time with a small group of animals as part of the church’s live nativity display.

Natalie Williams making a friend as she slowly reaches out to pet the donkey.

Natalie Williams making a friend as she slowly reaches out to pet the donkey.

 

Children of the church coming together to pet the animals.

Children of the church coming together to pet the animals.

 

OFFUMC Youth Director Brad Lewis introduces the camel to his son, Landon.

OFFUMC Youth Director Brad Lewis introduces the camel to his son, Landon.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Kimberly Bennett)

O’Fallon First United Methodist Church celebrates autumn and Halloween with a Fall Festival

Pastor Don Long and his wife, Becky, posing as mad scientists to give children a fun, eccentric show as they hovered a ping pong ball in the air. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

Pastor Don Long and his wife, Becky, posing as mad scientists to give children a fun, eccentric show as they hovered a ping pong ball in the air. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

First United Methodist Church members party at Homecoming Game tailgate

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O’Fallon First United Methodist Church recently welcomed Panther fans to a parking lot tailgate party prior to the OTHS Homecoming Game. More than 300 attendees enjoyed free burgers and hot dogs, bounce houses, face painting and, of course, hometown camaraderie.

The next community event at OFFUMC will be a Fall Festival on Wednesday, October 26 from 5-8 pm. All are invited for free pumpkin carving, kids’ games and crafts, chili bar, and more! Visit offumc.org for more information. (Submitted Photos)

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Ugandan Thunder is coming to O’Fallon FUMC

(Submitted Photo)

(Submitted Photo)

From the white sandy beaches of Florida to the snow covered mountain peaks of Washington state, American audiences have experienced the thrill of the music and dancing of the Ugandan Thunder, a nationally acclaimed choir consisting of 22 multi-talented children.

The choir members range in age from eight to thirteen, and are from the Royal School and Orphanage located in Uganda, East Africa.  The Royal School is ranked among the top ten schools in all of Uganda. The choir has been in the US for nearly a year, traveling, singing, and serving as ambassadors for their orphanages and school.

The Ugandan Thunder Choir will sing some of your favorite songs both in African and American styles.  The concert is packed with high energy music, dancing, native costumes and instrumentation, and interaction with the audience.  There will be something for every member of the family.

Although these children come from one of the poorest countries on the planet, and some of the most challenging family situations—often losing both parents either to disease or war—you will be amazed at the genuine joy and peace expressed in their young lives.

The Ugandan Thunder will be appearing at O’Fallon First United Methodist Church, 504 E. U.S. Highway 50 on Monday, October 3,2016 at 7:00pm.  The is no charge, but a freewill offering will be taken for the choir during the concert.  The concert is scheduled to last one hour.  Childcare will be provided, and the church is handicap accessible.

The Ugandan Thunder is sponsored by Pennies for Posho, a non-profit Christian ministry that provides food, clothing, shelter, education, and clean drinking water to eleven orphanages in Uganda. You can read more about this ministry at: pennies forposho.org.

This is not just a concert.  This could be life changing!

O’Fallon First United Methodist Church celebrates Labor Day with a picnic

Grace Hellin takes off for third base during the Slip N Slide Kickball game. (Submitted Photo)

Grace Hellin takes off for third base during the Slip N Slide Kickball game. (Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon First United Methodist Church held their Labor Day Picnic on September 5 at Community Park. A good time was had by all with free burgers and hot dogs, a bounce house obstacle course, and a slip n slide kickball game. The next OFFUMC Family Experience will be September 23. The community is invited for a tailgate party in the OFFUMC parking lot beginning at 4:30 p.m. before the OTHS football game. Come out to celebrate faith, family and football with free food and bounce houses.

Mason Cornell slides into second during the Slip N Slide Kickball game. (Submitted Photo)

Mason Cornell slides into second during the Slip N Slide Kickball game. (Submitted Photo)

Youth minister, Brad Lewis, and JT Ward man the grill (Submitted Photo)

Youth minister, Brad Lewis, and JT Ward man the grill (Submitted Photo)

 

Mike and Elliot Russell take the plunge down the bounce house slide (Submitted Photo)

Mike and Elliot Russell take the plunge down the bounce house slide (Submitted Photo)