Dearest Faith Community Near and Far-

Week one of Pastor Devon’s sabbatical is coming to close. Although not everything went as planned, it was a good week with accomplishments of which we can all be pleased. It did, however, present challenges. 

The first challenge was that the recent windstorm caused us to lose some trees. Those trees landed on our almost finished outdoor kitchen. The fallen trees have been taken down but the structure will need to be taken apart and removed. Then we’ll have to start again on the outdoor kitchen. We also have more trees that will also need to come down before more damage takes place. Session is getting bids for that work, as tree removal is very expensive. We are also including those costs as we pursue FEMA mitigation, but we aren’t waiting for those funds. We will need to act quickly for safety reason.

We have some accomplishments this week as well.

  • One positive achievement this week is that for the first time since the hurricane, our building is completely secure! For a variety of reasons, we have had a side door that remained unlocked, but it is now secured with a keypad that will allow the work teams to come and go but still keep the building secure. Also the new kitchen door is now able to be locked. (Thanks Rick!)
  • Other improvements happened in small ways throughout the church – organizing and putting things back together.
    • We reorganized the makeshift kitchen enough that all of the work team food and supplies should be able to be in the kitchen instead of the sanctuary!
    • Also the last office down the hall has been cleaned out a bit more. It’s currently storage for plates and cups and for disaster relief supplies. However, it is also rented by the United Methodist Church. So removing some of the miscellaneous things that ended up in that room should make the space should work better for all involved. We also added a dedicated line for this office. 
  • There was an amazing amount of clean up of the back area near the pantry. Rick and Sean did an insane amount of work today and clean the entire area between the shed, and the pantry. Be sure to check it out and give them a pat on the back as they make an eye-sore something usable and enjoyable. 
  • We also said good-bye to another great work team – Grace Student Ministry from Michigan. And tonight we welcomed a new group coming to help our community: Christ Episcopal Church, from Elizabeth City, NC. They will be joining us for Sunday morning for breakfast. 

    We are beginning to gather resources for storm survivors. As we learn more we will share more. Here are two:
    • We have a new relationship that might help: United Policyholders is a non-profit organization that we just became aware of. They help disaster victims navigate fair and full insurance claim settlements. They are holding an online “Survivor to Survivor” meeting on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. The meeting is only for people who’ve been impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Register for the Zoom meeting at You will receive practical tips and support based on years of personal and shared experiences from trained volunteers. There is no obligation and the meeting is free.” Here is the link to the organization which also has a lot of good resources.  We also have resources to help with FEMA and other challenges from Ian. Reach out to Wendy ( if you have questions. 
    • If you have applied for FEMA and you were denied assistance or believe the assistance received is less than it should have been, we can help with appeals. We have a partner that is providing professional assistance in this area at no cost. Contact Wintergarden Presbyterian Church directly for this referral: 

Please know that your church elders are all working through whatever comes during Devon’s sabbatical. We are doing their best, but we aren’t even trying to be Devon – those shoes are too big to fill. Still, if you have a need, we’re available. Please reach out! Also the pastor@wintergarden email will go to Pastor Syl while Pastor Devon is gone. He will be covering for much of Devon’s time away, but before he starts we will have others filling in for the first three weeks. 

Let us all remember to pray for each other and our neighbors. Be patient and helpful. 

Much love, 
Wintergarden Presbyterian Church 

Worship with Wintergarden
Sunday, August 6, 2023

Breakfast Church & Worship @ 9:30am
with going Live on Facebook around 10 am

IN THE SANCTUARY and on Facebook Live
*Please bring a dish to share. 

How to access the bulletin:
Bulletin HERE
How to Access Services Online:

Join us on Facebook for Worship Services
Remember, you don’t need a Facebook Account
to join us for worship. 

You can also click HEREfor the Facebook link.


Sunday, August 6, 2023 at 9:30 am
Luke 9:28-36Join us IN THE SANCTUARY at 9:30 am for a time of Food, Fellowship, and Worship. Please bring a dish to share this Sunday. Thank you to everyone who helped set everything up for church today!
Every Monday Lectio Divina
Every Wednesday Food delivery
Every Thursday Food Pantry 12-4pmAug. 15: Homeless Coalition meal 
Aug. 24: CNS Care N Share 
Aug. 25: Family Fun Night (Last Friday of every month)

\With Pastor Devon’s sabbatical just around the corner, we thought we would take a moment and introduce you to Pastor Syl and his wife Betania. Syl is the new pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Port Charlotte. Since he is part-time, we have been able to work it out for Syl to lead us during Devon’s sabbatical. Syl’s first Sunday will us will be August 27th. Prior to Syl joining us, Rev. Melana Scruggs will preach and Rev. Karen Wismer. Hopefully Syl can come join us on a Sunday before Devon leaves so everyone can meet him. We are excited and blessed that Syl will be with us during this time. Below is a bit more about Pastor Syl. 

The Reverend Silvio Esteves or just Pastor Syl (like the first part of Silver) is a native of Brazil, although, he holds two citizenships. One from Brazil and another one from Spain, since his family came to Brazil from that country. Because of that, he can speak fluently Portuguese and Spanish.Pastor Syl began his studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia, passing through the prestigious McGill University (considered to be the Harvard of Canada), and graduating with a Master of Divinity from the Presbyterian College in Montreal. He also holds a Master of Theology from Tyndale University in Toronto Syl was then ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Canada.He is married to Betania. Add an “a” to the end of “Bethany” and that is how you can say her name. Betania is also from Brazil and they have two sons, Gabriel (25) and Pedro (21). Syl and his family lived for almost six years on Canada’s French-speaking side. Nonetheless, they are not strangers to the US, having lived here for many years, more specifically in Atlanta, the towns of Crested Butte in Colorado, and Sun Valley, Idaho.Syl and Betania love to take long walks and meet new people. They are both delighted they can be part of Wintergarden during Pastor Devon’s sabbatical and are looking forward to meeting the people in our church.You can see more of Pastor Syl at or
Facebook for Wintergarden Presbyterian ChurchFacebook for the Garden of Eatin’ at Wintergarden Presbyterian Church

Do you have a facebook account? If you do, I want to encourage you to like “Wintergarden Presbyterian Church” and “Garden of Eatin’.” Click on the blue circle with the “f” in it to access our two facebook pages. 

Why check out Wintergarden on Facebook? Well, a few months ago, Wendy started doing our Facebook marketing for social media. She spends a great deal of time creating posts, sharing our story, taking pictures, and telling folks about the exciting things happening at Wintergarden. For this, Pastor Devon is incredibly grateful!

One of the things we would love is YOUR help. Every day, Wendy puts up a new post. Then she shares it to her page and the Garden of Eatin facebook page. We would love to grow our audience even more, but it will take YOUR help. When something is posted on facebook, we would love for you to share it with your friends and family. This helps build our online presence and broadens our outreach to share about the amazing ministries and mission at Wintergarden. Oh, and you can share our worship services with others if you would like too. 

Truly, we need your help to connect with the wider community to build more and more excitement about “feeding people physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in our community.”

FOOD PANTRY VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDPlease contact the church office at 941-743-5335 or email at foodpantry@wintergardenpres.orgIt is starting to warm up, which means we need to be able to rotate volunteers more frequently while outdoors. If you can come and give an hour or more, please talk with Kymmie and come join us. 
Interested in joining our Garden?
Garden of Eatin’ – Food Forest
For more information click HERE
At Wintergarden Presbyterian Church
we’re eager to pray with you!  

Please let us know how we can pray by submitting a Prayer Request online (link below). The prayer requests are emailed to Pastor Devon once submitted.
Prayer Request
Lectio Divina for Monday, August 7, 2023All are welcome to join us as we continue to engage in the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina together as a community. 

This Week’s Scripture: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

We will gather via Zoom for an intentional time of listening, reflecting, responding, and resting in the Word of God. We will meet on Mondays from 8-9 am. 

Here are some details about Lectio Divina. 

Lectio Divina, literally meaning “divine reading,” is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the person listens to the text of the Bible with the “ear of the heart,” as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion.

There are four movements for Lectio Divina: 
1. Lectio: (Listening to the Word of God or Reading God’s Word)
2. Meditation: (Reflecting on the Word of God)
3. Oratio: (Responding to the Word of God)
4. Contemplatio: (Resting in the Word of God)

Here is the Zoom Link: 
Join Zoom Meeting: Click HERE 

Meeting ID: 878 3208 0869
Passcode: 396015
+16465588656,,87832080869#,,,,*396015# US (New York)