Athens First United Methodist Church e-Steeple

Making Disciples of Jesus Christ


Traditional Service in the Sanctuary  

8:30 a.m. 

9:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.


Church-wide Fellowship

9:30 a.m. (Hancock Hall)  


Sunday School

9:45 a.m. 


Chuck Hodges  

September 4:

"Rock-Bottom Living"

John 10:10 



8:30 Service

"Real Life" 

by Julie Caldwell


9:45/11:00 Services

"All Who Dwell In the Shadow of the Lord"  

by Stroope 


Online web streaming now available for our 11 a.m. Sunday service.  Visit our website for details. 


Our 11 a.m. Sunday Service is broadcast on WRFC 960 AM each Sunday and online at   


September Ushers

(8:30) Jim Belger, Ann Brown, Paul Brown, Don Crews, Larry Deal, Hugh Larkey, Jim Lyons, Candler Meadors, Olan Moore, Bob Noble, Grace Rabek, Ken Reece, Keith Wilson 

(9:45) Chris Bostdorff, David and Jane Disney, Mark Ellison, Tom Milton, Sharon Milton, Marvin Reynolds, Al Rogers, Bill Trigleth, Dave Matthews

(11:00) Lee Brinson, Ryan Brinson, Nathan King, John Bateman, Claude Felton, Steve Greer, Mack Furlow, Josh Brooks


Offering Stewards

Bob Booth & Charlie Grimes (co-chairs); Nat Belger, Charles Braucher, Nat Carmack, Henry Garrard, Nathan King, Al Hawley, Sean Rogers, Charlie Upchurch III


First Light Acolytes 

 (8:30)  Walt Chapeau, Joe Jordan, Loran Posey   
(9:45) Samantha Harvel, Anna Alyssa McKoy, Caroline Block
(11:00) Savannah Smith, Sarah Whatley, Hayley Whitmore  




Chuck Hodges

Senior Minister


Martha Aenchbacher

Minister of Program


John Page

Minister of Discipleship


Eric Fessler

Minister of Families with Youth


Visit our website:  



September 4, 2011


A Big Thank You!


August 28, 2011 was a great day in the life of Athens First United Methodist Church!  If you were one of the 600+ that attended the church picnic this past Sunday at Sandy Creek Park you know exactly what I mean.  The Garrard family was in rare form and produced for us, once again, a BBQ that would certainly win awards on the BBQ cook-off circuit.  Covered dishes were plentiful (no surprise for a proper Methodist gathering), and were perfectly complemented with a bountiful provision of desserts.  The dessert table was so enticing, some of us were encouraged to eat our dessert first, but I won't share any names.  We also enjoyed a plentiful supply of cold drinks, music just right for the occasion, and something for the little kids to jump on.   Of course the set up and take down crew deserves kudos as well; the unsung heroes of any event.  It took many hands to pull off the picnic and all are very much appreciated.  We should all be pleased in how well we came together as a church family.  A servant's heart combined with action is powerful, and a powerful statement was made to me about our church's ability and love for one another.  


The initial purpose for the picnic was to raise funds specifically for debt reduction.  We did pass "the basket," and we are grateful to those who made a financial contribution.  We received gifts totaling $28,000.  If you would like to make a difference in our debt levels at the church, I encourage you to make a donation in the coming weeks, and mark your gift "debt reduction" or "picnic." It will then be applied directly to debt, and you can track our combined efforts against debt in The Steeple.  


The financial benefit is important, but there is so much more going on at these gatherings.  As I wandered around, I met some members I did not know, caught up with some I don't see regularly, and shared with friends I see routinely.   We are a blessed congregation and my prayer is that we never forget that.  May we always remember we are one body and we are powerful when we join together as one in Christ.


Thank you again to all that provided and participated at our best BBQ picnic yet!


Mason McWhorter

Chairman, Trustees




In Memoriam

Sarah McAdams   

August 27, 2011


Victor Nicholson

August 27, 2011  


In Sympathy

Heartfelt Christian sympathy is extended to:

Robert Hardell and family in the loss of his grandmother, Sara Talmadge, on August 25 in Athens, Georgia.    



Collette Isabel Lawing received the Sacrament of Baptism on August 28 in our Sanctuary.  She is the daughter of Sarah and Matthew Lawing.  


Collier Judson Willis received the Sacrament of Baptism on August 28 in our Sanctuary.  He is the son of Ansley and Lee Willis.


New Members

We welcome to the First United Methodist Family:

Scott and Erin Beaver
Barbara Burford
Charlie and Bobbie Holt
Susan Wiley
Helen Zeagler


Altar Flowers

The flowers on the altar on September 4 are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Mr. T.C. DeVore and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin R. Kenny by Mr. and Mrs. Mike DeVore.


The flowers in the narthex on September 4 are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Sarah McAdams by her family.



UGA Wesley Foundation Fundraising Dinner  

The Wesley Foundation at the University of Georgia would like to invite you to their Ninth Annual Fundraising Dinner on Friday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m. at Athens First United Methodist Church.  Bishop B. Michael Watson will join us as our featured speaker.  This will be a a night to celebrate and support this ministry.   For more information or to make reservations please contact Lindsay Allgood, 706-353-1408 or, by September 7.


NEW Fall Bible Studies-Classes Begin Soon!


           Early Book Group meets from 4:45-5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning on  September 7.   The first book this group is reading is The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle.  All are welcome!  Contact Cindy Kuhlman,, by August 21 to order  a book.


            The Truth Project Study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective vs. a worldview perspective.  This is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 13 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett.  This study begins September 14 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  Sign up online!  Cost is $5.  Contact Bruce Powers for more information,  


            Joshua: Conquering Your Enemies study led by Julie Caldwell.  God said, "Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed."  Increase your faith in God who has put you in His grip and will never let you go!  This study meets Wednesdays, September 7  through October 26, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  Register online or by contacting Julie Caldwell, ($16 workbook)  


            Community Bible Study (women) is gearing up for our fall study of Amos and Isaiah beginning Thursday, September 8, 9:15 a.m. at AFUMC. If you are interested, please contact Debbie Jones, coordinator, at 706-549-1490 or go to the class website at  Our children's program includes nursery, preschool and primary CBS classes. Please join us!   


            The Later Book Group will begin meeting on September 21 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays in room 261.  This group reads through a variety of books for discussion.  The first book this year will be The Heart of Christianity, Rediscovering a Life of Faith by Marcus Borg.  All are welcome!  For additional information, contact April Webb at 706-546-6274 or

             Living as United Methodist Christians: Our Story, Our Beliefs, Our Lives, a six-week study for exploring the belief and practices of United Methodists and ways to live as a United Methodist Christian, is for both newcomers and longtime United Methodists who long to deepen their faith and grow in love and service of God and neighbor. An introduction is on Wednesday, September 28 at 6:30 pm in the John Wesley Parlor Room 253 meeting from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. through November 9.  Register online or by calling the church office.  The book is $7.00.  For more information contact, Dianne Morrison,, 706-207-5538.  




Men's Retreat 2012
Men, this is your 6-month notice for the Men's Retreat. The weekend of February 17, the men will head up to Toccoa for a weekend retreat.  February 17 is the date you want to mark down now!  


YOU Can Be a Friendship Partner!

Sixty-two students from several different countries need a friendship partner.  There will be a brief training on September 11 at 6:30 p.m. to find out more.  Come and make a difference in these student's lives!  Contact Lynn Bryant for more information,, 706-202-9017.


2012 Mexico Mission Trip Informational Meeting
We'll have a brief meeting on Sunday, September 18, at 12:15 p.m. in Hull Dining Room. You'll want to come and find out more about this mission. (March 10-17, 2012) Contact John Page,     




Sunday, September 4, 2011

9:30 a.m.     Combined FIRST Word

This week... September 5 - September 10, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
7:00 p.m.    Boy Scouts Troop 1 (Saye Scout Hut)
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
7:30 a.m.    Breakfast @ Chick-fil-A Beechwood
4:30 p.m.    Youth Area Open
5:30 p.m.    Downtown Dinner
6:30 p.m.    Sr. High/Mid High Bible Study


September 11 - F.I.S.H. Night!!!
September 18 - Registration Deadline for Fall Retreat! (October 21-23)


Eric's Insights 

Proverbs 20:29

"The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair." I have a confession to make. I bought my first nose hairs trimmer. It's pretty sweet - trims ear hair too. I opted for the nicer one ($35 for hair-free nostrils!). It's one of those things that you get and you're way too excited about it. I figure I'll just own it. That's pretty much been my policy about hair (or the lack thereof) and growing older. In a culture that screams younger, skinnier and prettier, I think we're truly suffering from a loss of value that we used to placed on old age and the wisdom that so often comes with it. I don't know about you, but I need another lesson about the extremely important place of matriarchs and patriarchs. As I age I'm actually finding it easier to just own it - I truly hope I'm moving on to perfection. I recently had lunch with a fellow staff member and we were talking about ministering with youth and the "coolness" factor that adults feel tempted to awkwardly embody, especially as they grow older. My response to her is that what's truly cool with students is authenticity, being yourself... basically, "owning it" - gray hair and all. I'm thankful that Christian communities help to hold on to these values and help push back against a culture that more often than not seeks to have us lie to ourselves and each other.

Music Ministry 

In Commemoration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Tragedies of September 11, 2001

911 logo

The Athens Choral Society and the Music Ministry of AFUMC
invite you to participate in a community sing of Gabriel Fauré's  Requiem.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
(in the sanctuary) accompanied by orchestra, organ and guests

Conducted by Dr. Mitos Andaya
Associate Director of Choral Studies at the University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson School of Music

All singers are welcome to join in this special performance without rehearsal.  
Just show up at 5:30 p.m. or come listen to the beautiful music.

CMM 2011-12 Theme Header
It's not too late to sign up for Children's Choirs!
Contact director, Carol Reeves, for details. / 706-543-1442, ext. 213



Click here to view the online calendar! 


Lectionary Calendar

Sunday, September 4:   Matthew 18:15-20


Monday, September 5:  Exodus 14:19-31    


Tuesday, September 6:  Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21  


Wednesday, September 7:  Romans 14:1-12   


Thursday, September 8:  Philippians 4:10-15      


Friday, September 9:  Romans 9:6-13      


Saturday, September 10:  Matthew 7:7-11     




Attendance August 28        

Sunday School: 595
8:30 a.m.:  158     

9:45 a.m.:  302        

11:00 a.m.:  709         

Total Worship Services:  1,169    



Financial Report 

Budget for 2011:  $2,339,129

Giving goal through July 2011:  $1,246,225  

Amount received through July:  $1,396,834

Giving Goal for August:  $172,686

Amount given after 2 Sundays:  $116,548

Debt reduction goal for 2011:  $100,000

Trustee debt reduction year-to-date:  $101,137

Current Bank Loan(s) Debt:  $1,772,644