Riviera United Methodist Church has been an exciting place of worship as the St. Petersburg area has come out of the pandemic. Our holiday services and special services, like Scout Sunday and Riviera Day School Sunday, have seen incredible increases. This growth stems from an amazing team of volunteers who helped put together special events for the community, found new ways of gathering like Holy Hops, and engaged the needs of foster families in our area.
With this exciting growth, it became important for us to have a clear focus on what we see God calling us to do at this time. Our church and leadership, over the course of 6 months of meetings and intentional prayer, discerned our new vision statement: “RUMC seeks to be a community across generations, gathering at the open table and encouraging connections with one another through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Riviera Day School celebrated their 50th Anniversary in May of 2023. We had the opportunity to celebrate the family of Joyce E. Weaver, who started the school in 1973. Joyce’s daughter, Robin Elliott, is active on the school board and our church community. Robin worked with Boy Scout Troop 261 and an Eagle Scout to build a reading library on the property. Here, our classes and community can regularly engage in the gift of reading, a passion of Joyce’s!
The Day School and Church partnership is at one of its best in recent years. We actively engage in ways to include Day School families as a part of all our events and find ways to meet the needs of our families of the school, whether they are church members or not. This collaboration is successful because administration, teachers, and board members are also active members of leadership in the church.
The Foundation has been a great support to Riviera as we have engaged the financial needs of our ministries. In 2022, our leadership recognized the favorable building loan rates and decided to build a new parsonage for the church. This parsonage is relocated out of a flood prone area where the current home is located. Unfortunately, when Hurricane Idalia came through in 2023, the current parsonage was flooded. Work is ongoing to rebuild while we are in the building phase of the new home. The Foundation has helped to make sure our cash flow stays focused on ministry and the building process is financed through our building loans. In August, Riviera Day School leadership also took the opportunity to invest their savings into the Foundation and help further the ministries of the Florida Conference!