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NFM church to mark 57th anniversary

By Staff | Oct 20, 2009

A local landmark church — North Fort Myers United Methodist Church on Pondella Road — will celebrate its 57th year anniversary this month.
On Sunday, the church will hold a picnic at 11 a.m. open to all community members after a special celebratory service at 9:30 a.m. At the service, there will also be a special Blessing of the Marriages.
“We are inviting every couple who wants to be blessed to come to the church that Sunday,” said the Rev. Lia Willetts.
Willetts has been pastor there for little over one year.
“The vision of the church is to reach out in love and hope to our community,” she said.
She was a pastor in Tampa for eight years — 20 years total in Florida. She is originally from Puerto Rico.
Her philosophy?
“Come as you are and be blessed,” she said.
Concerning reaching out, she said the church is specifically reaching out to the local Hispanic community.
“We want to become a multi-cultural community of faith,” she said.
In September 2010, the church hopes to start Hispanic services.
“We welcome all Latino nationalities,” she said.
Willetts holds a master’s degree in theology from Emory University in Atlanta.
She also has an interesting family background — her husband is the Rev. Tom Willetts, pastor of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.
“Having a pastoral family can be hectic,” she said. “We have to schedule, but it is very rewarding.”
The pastor also has two children. Tiffiana is in Princeton University and Isabel is a junior at Cape Coral High School in the International Baccalaureate Program.
Youth are a priority at the church, with growing numbers being involved.
“Our youth program has doubled,” said Willetts. “They come to find a place to belong. We also sent many to summer camp this year and hosted a Vacation Bible School.”
Her youth are also active in the church.
“Our youth are putting on a live Christmas nativity,” said Willetts.
That will be held Dec. 20 at 9:30 a.m., followed by a toy distribution for children attending worship that day at 10:30 a.m.
“We are working with the North Fort Myers Fire Department on the toy drive,” she said.
Church officials are asking for a $6 donation for the picnic, which will have hot dogs, burgers and more. They also ask that attendees RSVP at 995-2852.