Glimpses of Grace

Glimpses of Grace

Over the next few weeks, our Youth Group will be exploring the various denominations associated with Christianity, and, unless you have a sincere infatuation with history and theology, you might find this subject to be a little bit dry. It’s completely understandable. To many, I am certain that studying names such as John Calvin and King Henry VIII of England triggers an automatic yawwwwn. But hear me out.

History, as intangible and convoluted as it may seem, is actually very important to our society. After all, every single event that has transpired over the course of Christian history – from the life and death of Jesus to the Great Schism of 1054 to the current debates over 21st Century doctrine – has shaped the personality of our church. So, I invite everyone to view our new unit on the past with an open mind because I am certain that it will change our outlook on the future.

Grace deVega

Family Camping Trip – Oct. 26-28, 2018

Family Camping Trip – Oct. 26-28, 2018

The Ft. DeSoto Campground offers swimming, a nature trail, fishing, the Quartermaster Storehouse Museum, canoes, and many other water activities. An evening worship service with Communion will be held Saturday night. The cost is $20 per family. All youth must be supervised by an adult throughout the weekend. Sign up.

Youth Council Positions Open

Would you like to be a leader in Merge Youth Ministries?

Would you like to have a say in what we do at Merge weekly, monthly and yearly?

You can help lead other youth as we “Merge Real Faith with Real Life.”

Merge’s Youth Council is a group of students chosen to serve in leadership roles within Youth Ministries. They assist staff with planning and organizing events, perform outreach, coordinate praise and worship, and aid their peers in forming a stronger connection to God and others.

Feel called to fill a position of leadership in our faith community? Here are your next steps:

  • Download the forms below for the position you are interested in.
  • Complete the forms.
  • Return all completed for to Emily Kuche, Director of Youth Ministries.
  • After submitting your forms, you will be contacted to schedule an interview with Emily and other adult leaders at Merge.
  • Interviews will take place Noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.

Below is a list of available positions for our Youth Council for the coming year:

Family Game Night

Family Game Night

Craving more family connection time?

Join us for Family Game Night!


6:30 – 8 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 5, Harnish Activities Center

RSVP here!


Conversation starters, board games, pizza and more – fun for the WHOLE family!


We know that families are busy with school and work and activities, but still longing to have fun together and talk about more than just the day to day.

How do you find time for conversations, both silly and meaningful, and play as a family?

Come to Family Game Night!


Who is this event for?

All Children’s and Youth Ministries children and students with their parents/guardians/grandparents!


This event is a time for families with children of all ages and stages to intentionally connect with each other.

RSVP here!

Family Mission Trip – What a Week it Was

Family Mission Trip – What a Week it Was

We left Tampa on Sunday as a mixed group – male and female, families of varying sizes – many of whom have been longtime friends while others had just met. But there was a common thread that wove us together, we were each answering God’s call to serve.  We were not traveling to the destination we had originally planned – but I suppose that is because when God calls us, he expects us to follow HIS plan. Although our intended destination had been El Ayudante in Nicaragua, the civil unrest there made it an unsafe option – so we traveled to Nassau in the Bahamas instead. While many of us were heartbroken not to be returning to El Ayudante, we also understood that our call was to serve God’s people, wherever there was a need – and to wherever he would lead us.

It might have been a change in our plans, but for Pastor Stubbs and his church, we were an answer to prayers. This church sees vacation Bible school as such a valuable way to give hope and share the love of God with the dozens of children who attend that they have expanded it to be a four week program.  This year, while Hyde Park UMC was struggling with the question of where we might serve, St. Michael’s Methodist Church here had still not found volunteers for their third week – the same week that we had planned to travel.  So here we are, answering Gods call as he answers this church’s prayers.

It hasn’t been a quiet week. The walls reverberate with the shrieking of children, the air bubbles with laughter, and songs of praise ring out. In the quiet, steamy atmosphere of the neighborhood the squealing of the children’s voices competes with the echoes of hammering. Settling down at night is hard – as there are many of us in each room – but the noisy, work-filled days make for exhausted missioners so sleep did eventually settle in.

Things didn’t always go as planned, and revamping our plan for the day became our norm. Fortunately we came with a willing heart and a flexible attitude and we adjusted as the need arose – in at least one instance our revised plan was only possible because of the yarn left by mission groups before us, connecting our groups in one continuous thread of God’s love.

As a family mission trip it has particularly been a joy to watch the younger generation. Although not much older than the group of children they were leading, they handled their charges with gentle patience, learning most of their names.  The end result of these bonds they formed was tears from more than one Bahamian child as they said farewell to their new friends from Florida. How blessed we are to be able to ensure them that we will continue to be their brothers and sisters in Christ, we will pray for them, and we will see them again in our heavenly home.

It was especially heartwarming to see our own young people interact with each other. Although there was a wide range of ages, there was no silly pettiness among them.  No one was ever left out and they were always moving around as a group. Where you would find one of them you would most likely find them all.  This is not to say that they always agreed with each other. Whether they were discussing fashion or faith, all differences of opinion were handled with respect, humor and love.  (And, Jack…. it is HI-biscus!). Their interactions personified the words of Corinthians 3:3 – “You show that you are a letter from Christ… written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”

From the children we taught, to the kitchen staff who fed us, to the workers who oversaw the construction of the shed and those who drove us around, we shared our faith, shared our praise, shared our love, and expanded our own families to include these brothers and sisters in Christ. How fitting that today’s daily scripture from Hyde Park included Corinthians 4:5-6, for there is no doubt that this group of missioners has radiated “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” while making Gods Love Real here in the Bahamas.

Back To School Bash

Back To School Bash

Say Aloha To A New Year

Calling all middle and high school families at 5:30 p.m. on August 12. Come out as a family and enjoy the fun! Some highlights:

  • Dinner
  • Games
  • Giveaways
  • Picture Station
  • Meet your Small Group Leader

Don’t miss out – RSVP today!


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