NEW PASTOR — First Presbyterian Church of DeLand hosted the installation of its new Associate Pastor Cassandra Riker Aug. 27 in the sanctuary. The Rev. Paige McRight, center, moderator of the Central Florida Presbytery, conducted the traditional Presbytery Installation Ceremony in the presence of Senior Pastor Michael Bodger, left, and the congregation. Pastor Riker closed the ceremony with a benediction and received an enthusiastic welcome from the First Pres congregation. PHOTO COURTESY BARBARA HUGHES

City Sanctuary Church in DeLand will host an eight-week community Bible study 1-3 p.m. starting Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the student center. This one-hour video presentation by Kristi McLelland will present the Bible through the lens of Middle Eastern culture.

Attendees can gain a deeper insight into the biblical world, including a fresh perspective on familiar Bible stories involving women.

In the times of Jesus, women were not honored, but Jesus reached out to women and brought them from a shameful culture to a place of honor.

The video presentation will be followed by the opportunity to share insights in small groups.

To register, call 386-734-7777, ext. 229, or email

The church is at 401 E. Taylor Road in DeLand.

‘Imagine More Resurrection’

As part of National Grandparents Day, the Rev. Carlos Perez of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand will deliver special blessings to grandparents and grandchildren at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, service.

The service also includes the Rev. Perez’s sermon “Imagine More Resurrection,” based on 1 Peter 1:3-9. This is the final sermon in the “Imagine” series.

Observance of the Lord’s Supper is part of worship every Sunday, with elders, directed by Brenda Velasquez-Morales, giving prayers for the body and blood of the New Covenant.

Musician Barbara Polomsky and song leader Donna Mozley provide the worship service’s inspirational music.

Dr. Janet Raney leads the 8:15 a.m. modified worship service in the kitchen foyer area.

An adult Sunday-school class meets in First Christian’s church library at 9:30 a.m. The study covers the series “God’s Law Is Love,” with the Sept. 10 Scripture being Luke 14:1-6, when Jesus silences his critics.

‘Why Does God Feel Far Away?’

On Sunday, Sept. 10, Pastor Mark Bitner will continue the series “Ever Wonder Why?” at First Church DeLand. The sermon will be “Why Does God Feel Far Away?”

Sometimes it is difficult to remember that God is with us through the hard times and the best of times, even if we don’t recognize His presence. We become blinded by our troubles and forget we have a friend who loves and supports us, no matter what is happening in our part of the world.

Bible study will resume at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in the Life Enrichment Center.

“Walk to Emmaus” applicants need to apply immediately for the October 2023 walk. Please call the office for details at 386- 734-5113.

Join the fight against human trafficking by swinging into action at the third annual HOPE (Helpers of People Enslaved) Golf Tournament Saturday, Sept. 23, which begins at 8:30 a.m. at the DeBary Country Club.

Register at

The popular Pumpkin Patch returns Sunday, Oct. 1, It’s the very best place to buy your pumpkin! Proceeds go toward youth activities.

Traditional worship services are at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. The contemporary service is at 9:30 a.m. in the Life Enrichment Center. For those unable to attend in person, services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page or accessed through the website at

There are a variety of opportunities for you and your family to connect with the church family. Throughout the week, First Church DeLand offers activities for the youth and young adults, men’s and women’s ministries, Bible studies, and prayer times. Abundant volunteer opportunities are available as well, giving you a place to share your talents. Please join to see where you want to participate — perhaps it’s indoor pickleball!

First Church DeLand offices are open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional information, contact the church office at 386-734-5113.

Exploring secular humanism

Jocelyn Williamson, a lifelong humanist and atheist, will present “Secular Humanism, Exploring the Evolution of Secular Humanism, Its Essence and Practical Application” at the 10:30 a.m. service Sunday, Sept. 10, at First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand. Williamson will review the basics of the philosophy and how she uses it to make informed decisions in her life.

Secular humanism, a philosophy that champions reason, ethics and human dignity without reliance on religious dogma, has a profound and enduring legacy that stretches back through the annals of time.

Williamson serves as president of the Florida Humanist Association and co-founded the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC). The CFFC is a nonprofit organization of freethinkers, humanists, atheists and secularists working and playing together, with reason and compassion as guiding principles.

Williamson is a Humanist Celebrant, representing humanism on the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. She serves as a Florida representative for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is the Florida state director for American Atheists, and is on the national board of the Humanist Society.

There will be a Zoom meeting for the service part of the program. The ID remains the same. Contact the church for help in getting connected at before Sunday’s worship time.

Love does no wrong!

At First Presbyterian Church of DeLand on Sunday, Sept. 10, Pastor Michael Bodger will reflect on this controversial statement by the Apostle Paul found in Romans 13:8-13. First Pres invites the community to join in person at the three worship services or to share the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. livestreamed and recorded services.

Contradictory lyrics appear in the recording “The Things We Do for Love” by the successful and innovative British “art rock” group 10cc, so popular in the mid-1970s. The import of pain, brokenness, dying and separation would cause Paul to cringe with its lyrics!

You ask, “Why?” Through this letter to Roman followers, Paul teaches that love does not concern itself with the things we do for love, but how we go about extending love to others. A gift to give, not just to receive!

Pastor Bodger will impart that the significance of love lies in how we give it to others … not that we receive it. In the living of our life, we give and receive love that manifests in the validity of “Love your neighbor as yourself!”

We fulfill God’s commandment: “… for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law!” (Romans 13:8)

Reminders of significant activities in upcoming weeks include God’s Bathhouse 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, and the Second Wednesday Cookout 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 13, in the fellowship hall.

Remember, Bible studies go on throughout the week, and there are classes Sundays for adults, as well as Children’s Church in the Art Room during the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services for ages 4-10. See the website for adult classes on relevant issues.

Also, the Youth Group for middle- and high-schoolers gathers 5-6:30 p.m. Sundays for togetherness, food, fun, and fellowship with Family Minister Elendea DeGaetano in The Loft. For other group activities, see the website or contact the church office.

Stay alert for the annual Chancel Choir Fall Concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, in the sanctuary. Enjoy the music of Franz Schubert, so classically splendid in choral works.

Mark Saturday, Oct. 7, on your calendar for the Drive-Thru Food Farm Share Distribution, which serves needy families by handing out donated boxes of free food.



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