some highlights and important notes to remember…

Hey guys and gals!

A few quick highlights from our last mtg as well as some important items to promote with our respective local church families. Here you go:

:: Click here to get all the Reading God’s Story links for the book and the audio version of the readings and more.

:: please share with female leaders in any type of community or ministry leadership about the opportunity to be a part of a new Women’s Leadership Prayer and Bible Study Group put together by Julie Wolf and Carole Batten and Hope Counseling. They will meet Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00 beginning February 29th at the Educational Building of the United Methodist Church in Winter Garden. It will be a safe place for support and vulnerability and encouragement. They will launch out by studying “Strong Woman. Soft Heart.” Call Julie or Carole with questions or for more details at 407.758.5693.

:: Stay tuned for more details on a luncheon for the women of Matthew’s Hope coming next month.

:: Come out March 14th for the Bread of Life building dedication at 10am. God has provided for this new facility. Mark and the crew are so grateful, and want to share it and celebrate with all of us. Click here to “LIKE” their Facebook page as well as to learn more about Bread of Life and get directions to their facility.

:: Let’s all try to make it out for Prayer and Worship Together as a community the last Wednesday night of every month at 7:30 at New Chief Cornerstone’s church building located at 820 S Park Ave. in Winter Garden.

:: Put it on your calendars again for this April 6th at noon for another midday Church of West Orange Good Friday gathering. Location and details TBA.

:: And last but not least, make sure our church families know about our “Community Prayer Flash Mob” February 25th at 11:00 on Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden during the Farmer’s Market. Please try to be there and bring along as many from our church families as you can. Here are the instructions for that day:

Right at 11:00, someone will begin playing “Amazing Grace” in the center of the median island there on Plant Street. That is our queue to come out from the crowd and stand on the median island on all sides of the person playing. When that song ends, we will all kneel in a posture of prayer. Then, the guitarist will play and sing a song by Michael Gungor entitled “Song for My Family.” It is a simple song of confession and commitment – confession as the church for not being the church as Jesus intended, and commitment from the church to be the family of God as Jesus intended. It is an appropriate way to begin the first of six community prayer events for 2012. After the Gungor song ends, we will simply all go back into the crowd or head out. It will be a definite opportunity to share with anyone who asks why we did that why it was that we did that and who the Church of West Orange is trying to become together.

Love y’all so much!

PS – next COWO mtg is Wednesday morning, March 14th, 9:30 to 11:00. Hope to see you there, too, as we pray together, encourage one another, and continue to ask “how will we continue to give ourselves away together?”

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new year, now praying, next mtg for the Church of West Orange…

Happy New Year to the beautiful people of West Orange County and all of Central Florida!!! So grateful for those leaders here in our community who are taking the prayer of Jesus in John 17 so seriously as to prioritize cultivating for unity and being the church together.

Here’s a quick note with three very important topics to pay attention to, highlighted below.

We have decided together to make it a priority in our weekly worship gatherings to be praying for one another. The request was made to make a list of as many local church expressions in our community that we could think of and schedule to pray for them respectively in our weekly gatherings. Then, the following week, send a note out to the leaders and their church families encouraging them that we prayed for them and love them and want to know how we can serve them in what they are doing. Please forgive us if you are not on this list. IF YOU WILL BRING IT TO MY ATTENTION, I WILL UPDATE THE LIST.

So, here it is. Click on the link below to download and save or print out the PDF with the weekly prayer schedule.

2012 prayer guide for Sunday gatherings

At our upcoming Church of West Orange mtg, we will be discussing how to gather like a flash mob six different times in 2012 to pray for unity around mission and for love of the near Jesus to be made known to the people of our community. We will select six strategic locations in Windermere, Winter Garden, Ocoee, Apopka, Oakland, and Gotha. Looking forward to this!!!

…is next Wednesday, January 11th, from 9:30am to 11:00am at HOUSE BLEND CAFE in Ocoee. Hope to see you there as we pray together, encourage one another, and leave to give ourselves away together.

Much love!

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Check out these four upcoming events in the next week all somehow related with the Church of West Orange local churches & organizations…



On Monday night, Robin Caputo with the Orange / Seminole Foster Children’s Association will be hosting a Christmas celebration for foster kids and their foster parents  from 5pm to 9pm at the Mark Street Senior Recreation Center in downtown Orlando on the corner of Magnolia and Colonial. They not only will be giving away the items we have been collecting together, but volunteers are also needed for that evening. If you are interested, please call Robin at 407.222.0594.

Please be in prayer for a Christmas celebration for Matthew’s Hope and the folks they serve in the community Tuesday night, Dec 20th, as well. This event is not open for anyone and everyone, as space is limited. But we wanted you to be aware of it and to be praying for this special celebration.

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Matthew’s Hope got bling.

Well, at least they are partnering with a proven jewelry company and some generous folks who want to do some fundraising for them this Christmas season. Buy some awesome jewelry for Christmas gifts, and 50% of the sales go to benefit Matthew’s Hope.

Check out this flyer for more details:

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Here are some highlights from our Church of West Orange meeting together yesterday. Check it out…

At this week’s Church of West Orange meeting, we were grateful to pray together, encourage one another, and leave with specific opportunities to give ourselves away together.

Here are a few of the highlights:

You probably received the email that had the “Christmas Conspiracy” video and the flyers for you to promote our conspiring to get less stuff and give more hope to two local ministries. In case you didn’t, you can go to this post below on the COWO website and check it out. Let me know if you have any questions.

Meanwhile, at the meeting yesterday, Robin Caputo with the Orange / Seminole Foster Children’s Association shared with us more about the foster kids we will be helping by collecting shoes, jeans, underwear, socks, hoodies, winter hats, and jackets. She had connected with the Church of West Orange through Charles Woodward of West River Gathering. She answered questions about the Annual Christmas Event they do for foster kids and their families. This year it is December 19th from 5pm to 9pm at the Mark Street Senior Recreation Center in downtown Orlando on the corner of Magnolia and Colonial. They not only will be giving away the items we collect together, but volunteers are also needed for that evening. If you are interested, please call Robin at 407.222.0594.

Scott Billue with Matthew’s Hope also shared with us some updates on our local homeless friends whom we will be collecting items for during our “Christmas Conspiracy.” Check these figures out. Scott told us that 76% of the people Matthew’s Hope is serving grew up and had a home in this community. 1/3 of them became homeless within the last six months. And 1/3 of them are women and children. Wow! Please be collecting shoes, jeans, underwear, socks, hoodies, winter hats, and jackets for them, as well.

For the Foster Kids, Robin said the ages and sizes range from newborn all the way through 17 years, but that the bulk of the kids are ages 4 to 9. Scott has told us before that the main jean sizes for men are 28 through 34 with very few adults needing XL sizes. You can collect items at your Sunday gatherings or you can drop them off at either Axum Coffeehouse in Winter Garden or House Blend Cafe in Ocoee.

Anthony Hodge with “Finding the Lost Sheep Street Ministries” updated us on a Christmas party with our friends in the Maxey Community in East Winter Garden. It is December 17th from 3pm to 7pm. Like last year, the generous folks with Orlando Ale House will be providing some food for the event, but this year local folks in the community will also be bringing “pot luck” dishes of sorts. If you would like to help folks in the community that are preparing those dishes, let us know and we can connect you with Anthony (he suggested some Publix and Aldi gift cards for groceries).

Some of you may already know about Scott Billue’s granddaughter who was born premature at 26 weeks. She has obviously had her ups and downs and will continue to, so please be praying for her and her mommy and daddy and Scott’s family. You can follow along with her story and updates at this website.

We discussed how important a prayer focus together would be moving into 2012 as we desire more and more maturity in oneness together as His church (John 17:18-23). So, the suggestion was made that we consider a time together in prayer the evening of New Year’s Eve so as to kick off the year together in prayer. That would be followed by asserted prayer in each of our respective gatherings on a weekly basis (with a list of the local church expressions to be provided soon), along with once-a-month gatherings for prayer in the different segments of the Ocoee / Windermere / Winter Garden / Oakland areas. Other groups and individuals praying fervently, as well, in an organic way will be encouraged. The focus of the prayers together would be GRATEFULNESS FOR THE GOSPEL and UNITY AROUND MISSION. More details coming soon. Be praying for wisdom that this would be an authentic effort to seek the Lord together and not just some “prayer event.”

Tom Welch with Southwest Church shared with us that the ministry he and others assist with at the Lake County Correctional Institution is in need of used sound equipment. Wires, amps, speakers, etc. are needed. If you have any at all, please let us know and we will connect you with Tom.

Please remember the efforts during Thanksgiving week for Bread of Life’s annual food drive and delivery of groceries into our community. Contact Bread of Life in Ocoee for more details.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all of you! Hope to see you at our next Church of West Orange meeting which will be December 14th from 9:30am to 11:00am beginning at the House Blend Cafe for some grub and gathering in the Gary Merideth State Farm board room.

Much love.

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the Church of West Orange conspiring together this Christmas

The challenge is clear in Luke 3:11. Jesus taught:

11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.”

The Church of West Orange, inspired by the “Advent Conspiracy” efforts of several church families out of Houston, TX from several years back, is once again conspiring together to get less stuff and give more hope this Christmas! You may remember last Christmas when we joined together to raise $11,000 to build a well in Chapa, Ethiopia. Well, this year we are going local focusing on the homeless and orphans right here in Central FL.

Check out the intro video below. Then, check out the info on the flyer below that. Then let’s get to it – both conspiring together as well as giving ourselves away!

Here’s the flyer info:


COWO Christmas Conspiracy 2011

COWO Christmas Conspiracy 2011 Half Sheets

Thanks! Merry Christmas!!!

PS _ if you want to download the intro video to show, go to, copy the video URL from YouTube, paste it in the blank box on the KeepVid website, then click to download a high quality version of the video. Holler at me with any questions.

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Start a fire, advent conspire, and more from this last COWO mtg (including an update on serving together this Nov & Dec).

Are you ready to start a fire and Advent Conspire and grow in a needed unity that’s dire? Sorry, couldn’t help it. Wanted to start off this post with some engaging sentence or question. At least that one rhymed 🙂

Nonetheless, this past Wednesday, the Church of West Orange folks met by the House Blend Cafe in Ocoee from 9:30am to 11am. It was a meaningful time of encouragement with twelve different local church expressions and ministries represented. We prayed for one another for mission together, encouraged each other with updates and needs, and then discussed how we could give ourselves away together in the coming months.

Anthony Hodge with Finding the Lost Sheep Ministries shared with us that from October 27th to 31st near Zanders Park in the Maxey neighborhood, they are gonna be “starting a fire” with 7pm nightly tent-meetings to worship together and study the Scriptures. Please pray that the Spirit would use the leaders and move among those present that the Gospel would both wreck and restore us together as one community. If you would like more information, reply or comment back to us and we will connect you with Anthony.

Mark Marsden with St. Pauls Presbyterean shared about how some folks had been with them last weekend teaching and conversing about “how to hear and listen to God.” He told us of measurable evidences of figurative and literal healings in the lives of people as the nearness of Jesus touched and changed many lives. It was a special time. And St. Pauls continues to model a giving themselves away. One need in particular that Mark mentioned was one gentleman trying to get back on his feet and in need of some help. Anyone interested, let us know and we will connect you with Mark.

Charlie Woodward with West River Fellowship, a brand new church start in Winter Garden, shared with us that they are connecting with some awesome folks who are not yet believers and beginning to journey with them around the Gospel and the near love of Jesus. They are gathering together on Sunday nights above Axum Coffee Shop in downtown Winter Garden at 6:15pm. If you would like to support Charlie in any way in their new endeavor, please let us know and we will connect you. Charlie also shared about a local need they have been made aware of for clothing for orphans and foster kids in Central FL. Read at the end of this post on how to help with this need.

David Netzorg, a pastor in the area currently praying for a specific opportunity to serve and lead, shared with us about his experiences volunteering in the area. He is focusing some of his time with the True Life Choice pregnancy clinic near Edgewater High School, and he is also connecting with and studying the Scriptures with those in jail down at the 33rd. So grateful for David, his faithfulness, and his friendship. If you know of any opportunities for David to teach and lead and serve with a local church, let us know and we will pass it along.

Tom Welch with Southwest Church, who gathers at the YMCA shared with us about their continued service to the people that are always at and around the Y. They also will be a collection headquarters for “Operation Christmas Child” and for Angel Trees for Edgewood Ranch in November and December if you are interested.

Boyd Evans was with us, as well. He leads a supply ministry for folks in need of materials and resources to help with specific personal needs. He shared an awesome story of God providing an opportunity that was beyond anything they thought they could supply. Well, once again, God not only provided the opportunity to supply hospital beds for those patients transitioning from Orlando Health to home care, He also provided the beds when a local nursing home called him to tell him of 200 beds they needed hauled away because they had received new ones!!! So grateful! If you would like to learn more about what Boyd is up to and how you can help, let us know and we will connect you.

Cindy Underwood with Safe and Sober Housing Alternative (SASHA’s) shared they had just celebrated their one year anniversary!!! So grateful Cindy!!! She asked for prayer for ongoing gratitude and transformation in the hearts and lives of the women who have been with them and who are currently are housed with her. She also shared about a BOWLING FUNDRAISER coming up next Friday, October 21st, at 7pm at the Colonial Bowling Lanes ( The cost is $20. Come out and support SASHA’s if you can!!!

Al Rowe with the local campus for Belhaven University was present again with us. We are so grateful for his new partnership with the Church of West Orange. He offered again their services for unique educational opportunities that we may think of that would serve the needs of our local church expressions and any new directions that people are trying to learn about and grow in. If you would like to talk with Al about educational training and certificates or any other way you think you and Belhaven could partner, please let us know and we will connect you!

Wade Sansing with Total Freedom Ministries updated us that they now have three homes in which they are serving and mentoring folks. Thankful for that. Others are being rented out to families who need them. He shared with us that the “Fields of Grace Community Project” is moving forward. Support is growing along with sponsorship. It will be a temporary housing concept focused on training individuals and families for next steps in their lives through difficult times. If you have questions or would like to help them in this project, let us know and we will connect you!

Carole Batten with Hope Counseling (in partnership with Julie Wolf) was there. She and Julie are trusted individual and family counselors in the Winter Garden area if you have that need. Carole shared with us about a free grief seminar coming up November 3rd from 7pm to 9pm in the fellowship hall on the campus of First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden. You can RSVP to 352.978.4568 if you would like to go. The title of the seminar is “Grieving through the Holidays.” Thank you, Carole and Hope Counseling for putting on this needed and helpful seminar.

Scott Billue with Next Community Church and Matthew’s Hope shared with us about how God continues to provide for both their church family and the needs of the ministries of Matthew’s Hope to our local homeless friends. He said their greatest needs right now are jeans and sneakers. Read below for an opportunity to help with this need during November and December. And let us know if you would like to connect with Scott and serve every Tuesday with Matthew’s Hope. Scott specifically asked for prayer for more counselors and for provision to help homeless families find a home.

Jason Dukes (me) with Westpoint Church was there, too. We closed the meeting by discussing our “Advent Conspiracy” effort together for November and December. If you remember, last year we united together to raise $11,000 to build a well for a village near Awassa, Ethiopia (some of the folks in our community serve the children there through Children’s Hope Chest).

Well, this year, we talked about staying local with our focus and taking the months of November and December to collect for both kids and adults the following items:

  • jeans
  • sneakers
  • hoodies
  • jackets
  • socks
  • underwear

We will be getting to you in the next week or so some video and flyer promotion for this effort. We will also let you know where across the West Orange community the items will be collected. So grateful for this opportunity to give ourselves away together. Be brainstorming about the folks in the community you can engage with to invite to participate with us (local schools, other church families, businesses, day cares, neighbors on the street where you live, etc.). 

Love y’all. We will get that info out to you soon.

BY THE WAY – PLEASE NOTE THAT STARTING NEXT MONTH WE WILL BEGING MEETING ON THE 2ND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH RATHER THAN THE FIRST (as we have been). Please make the change to the recurring event in your calendar. 

Type or talk at you soon!

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