Denominational Affiliation

Church Council affirmed this statement on Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Message from the Executive Committee

Dear Members of Ocala First United Methodist Church:

The Executive Committee of Ocala First UMC has spent untold hours in conversations with congregation members, as well as in prayer, discernment, and discussion over the divisions happening within our United Methodist denomination. In listening and reflecting on all that we have heard, we realized that all the perspectives and convictions that we see represented in the larger United Methodist body are also represented in our congregation. Indeed, they were represented by those on the Executive Committee itself.

Because of the call of unity in scripture, the differences of thought and Biblical interpretation among the faithful members of our church family, and our desire to continue as a church united by both our love for one another and our shared mission, the Executive Committee has reached a consensus to continue as members of The United Methodist Church at this time. If changes are made to the Book of Discipline at any point in the future, we will take the time to assess the impact on our congregation and determine the appropriate response.

As we move forward together as a church seeking to be faithful to God in our mission and ministries, we will continue to make the following commitments:

We renew our vows to uphold our congregation by our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
We affirm our commitment to uphold the Book of Discipline as written.
We profess the core doctrines of the Christian faith expressed in the Articles of Religion and the Confession of Faith as found in The Book of Discipline.
We will continue to be a connectional church united in mission and ministry in Florida and around the world.

With these commitments, we will strive to be a faithful example of the power of Christ to bring unity. We will continue to listen to God and seek God’s direction going forward.

Executive Committee Members:

  • Mark and Jean Imes, Co-Lay Leaders
  • Betsy Bledsoe, Lay Delegate to Annual Conference
  • Lisa Scudder, Lay Delegate to Annual Conference
  • Michael Keepers, Church Council Chairperson
  • Sharon McCarron, Recording Secretary
  • Mary Ann Hamrick, Treasurer
  • Phillip Bledsoe, Finance Committee Chairperson
  • Linda Lewis, Staff Parish Relations Committee Chairperson
  • Damian Perry, Board of Trustees Chairperson
  • Mark Babalian, Stewardship Chairperson
  • Shannon Vianello, Staff Rep to Executive Committee
  • Pastors David & Anne Fuquay