Financial Peace University

At the beginning of 2018, we offered the Financial Peace University (FPU) Class here at Virginia Beach United Methodist.  Our class just ended in March with 16 participants and 4 facilitators. 

Dave Ramsey’s nine-week course, Financial Peace, highlights budget challenges early in the class when he encourages participants to “live like no one else, so you can later live like no one else.” Classmate Lee defined the challenge as “making sacrifices that few in our society are willing to make over an extended period of time” and concluded that “if you stay the course, you come out way ahead.”

Rachel, another classmate, is grateful for the “useful cash flow plan” which “has given me a boost in my confidence and enhanced my feeling of being in control of my finances. I have begun to teach my daughter what I am learning in an effort to assist her in creating her future financial wealth.”

Seldom do we have an opportunity to sit in a classroom with folks ranging in age from 20-something to 70-plus- something to discuss a common problem: our financial futures. How encouraging to be able to do so knowing we are not alone in our journey. All of us acknowledged, rather embarrassingly at times, the poor choices we had made in the past. Rather than be discouraged, though, we found good-humored Dave Ramsey to be a champion of specific steps to get our family finances on the road to a more peaceful conclusion. Anyone, whether 20 or 70, who is looking for a great structure for family finances will benefit from this important course. To quote the famous chess master Charles A. Jaffe, “It’s not your salary that makes you rich; it’s your spending habits.” This class will not teach you how to become rich, but it will teach you how to save and spend wisely.

Rachel’s sentiment is one shared by all the participants: “Thank you to VBUMC and our talented instructors for providing this class and giving us tools to grow and become better stewards of the resources that God has given us.”

– Dee Swanson, VBUMC Member

Below are some insights from the participants, in case you are thinking about taking an FPU class in the future:

Did you experience any God-moments or have insights about how your beliefs can/do influence your financial life?

handle money save money

  • Always – without God, I cannot imagine
  • I gave direct to the church for the first time
  • The ability to give more by managing and getting rid of debt; I have more to give by paying off mortgage
  • Stewarding my finances in a way that is pleasing to God and allows me to leave an inheritance to my children
  • Underscored the necessity of always tithing

 What one concept or insight from this class was most helpful to you?

  • Insurance (cancer)
  • Monthly budgeting
  • Benefits of working and saving for college
  • Getting out of debt and evaluate insurance coverage
  • Live life now in a mindful way so I can enjoy life later on
  • Dave says, “Children should not start their lives at their parents’ level. (Social/Economic)

“Every person’s financial situation is unique depending on their choices in life.  We all relate!  I learn something new every time we offer the course.”  – Joanne Griggs



Faith-Based Women’s Retreat 2018

101 women attended the annual Women’s Retreat this year on March 9-11 at the Ramada Plaza at Nags Head, NC. Many women said they liked making new friends, bonding with wonderful Christian women, sharing thoughts and fears, and just having time away to focus on being a child of God. One of the main take-a ways was that everyone is dealing with some type of journey, everyone has troubles, and we are all the walking wounded. One attendee said, “The important thing to remember is that each person is placed in my life for me to connect with God. God works through community, and that can be anywhere and anytime.”

Other women commented:

Women's Retreat 2018 group

  • “The women’s retreat was a wonderful time to check out of my agenda and check (totally) in with God. It was such a special weekend with an unforgettable message from Rhonda Vandyke. Buen Camino!” – Jenny Davis, 1st Time Attendee
  • “I had never attended a women’s retreat, and I admit that I felt slightly nervous.  Once I arrived, listened, learned, and prayed, I no longer felt nervous.  Our speaker was dynamic and offered many spiritual insights.  I left the retreat with a certain peace and feeling even closer in my faith.”  – Carol Buckler

We offer this Women’s Retreat every spring, so check back here this fall for Spring 2019 dates and information!

Potter’s House Report March 2018

Potter’s House at Virginia Beach United Methodist provides services to the homeless, the working poor, and those in crisis situations, who are residents of Virginia Beach. Assistance is available for Rent, Utilities, Birth Certificates – Domestic and Foreign, State of Virginia ID Card, Personal Hygiene Items, and Bicycles and Bicycle Repair (proof of minimum of 2 weeks employment required to obtain a bicycle). Clients are eligible for financial assistance once a year.

In March, a total of $3212.90 was spent which translated into $25,547.99 worth of support to our working poor and homeless population:

Potter's house sign at Virginia Beach United Methodist

  • 564 lunches were served
  • 356 households were given food feeding 856
  • 277 volunteers participated
  • 340 interviews were conducted

Various reasons for needing assistance were:

  • Laid off due to a sick child and not receiving child support
  • Unemployed for a few months and husband is disabled
  • Ex-husband stopped paying child support
  • Disabled veteran
  • Had stroke in Jan

Please keep these people and others in your prayers.


Potter’s House Report February 2018

The total value of services provided was $43,199.  We conducted 145 interviews for financial assistance, served 580 lunches, and provided food for 626 households at Fresh Food Wednesday. We also received great news that one of our partners will be increasing their annual gift by 50% this year.  They noted, “…(we) found that your work, your demonstrated needs, and our vision to serve others were deeply compatible…you are able to do what we are not, which is properly address the needs presented… and we believe that what you are doing for people in need is important, and we are pleased to partner with you…”

Some of the reasons for needed financial assistance were:

  • In beauty school, has 3 children and had to take in Sister’s 4 children due to her being incarcerated
  • Out of work and behind on rent.  Doesn’t want to break lease that ends in July.  Will find a cheaper place in July.
  • Single Mom lost job and can’t go back to work until after surgery.

Thank you to all those that make this possible!


On the Road to Eliminating Debt 


Mom kindly paid for our FPU (Financial Peace University) class online back in February 2017. I did not take it seriously until we got to the retirement chapter and everything changed from there on. I could not fathom the idea of “retiring broke” like 70% of the Americans. My wife and I sat down and went through everything related to our financial goals and ways to pay off our debt. We followed the baby steps which started with $1000 in our savings. We are now on baby step #2. We have been “gazelling” it since then. We sold our cars, established a monthly budget, planned our meals weekly, closed out non-Dave approved investment accounts, got rid our credit cards, and decluttered our house to sell everything we could possibly can. Overall, we accumulated $245,000 of debt in student loans, car loans, and credit cards and had about left $100,000 when we started FPU (in 2017). To date, we have $78K of debt left to pay, mostly student loans. Our income is $65K/year after deductions. As my mom mentioned, I am in the military (Air Force) and currently assigned in Okinawa, Japan. We have no house payment, and have 3 kids ages 4 and under.

FPU University Participant

Is Money a Big Deal to God?


“We are a class of imperfect Christians on a journey to engage with our finances in a more perfect way.  Led by the wit and wisdom of Dave Ramsey, we laugh, share, and communicate…and enjoy treats that our leader Bev Boyer so graciously provides each week (even when the roads are covered with snow and ice).  In short, the focus of the class (PEACE) represents our journey:  People Engaging And Combating the #1 Energy drainer: their finances. We are reminded by our tutor, Dave Ramsey, that ‘the Bible talks about money more often than it talks about love and grace.  Think our attitude about money might be a big deal to God?’  If you answered yes to that question, then you understand why we are participating in this course.  The class has met for only a few session so far, but we look forward to sharing our comments and reaction as we progress through the course.” – Dee Swanson.  Click here for more information on Financial Peace University.

“All four of us teachers (me, Joanne Griggs, Tim Miller, and Cameron Miller) have really enjoyed working with the classes.  After our first class was completed (a few years ago), we all looked at each other and said ‘Let’s do this again next year!’  And with each subsequent class, we have seen people come to the first class ‘with fear and trembling’ – sometimes because their own situation was really scary, and sometimes because they were afraid to try to budget.  Dave’s videos soon had us all laughing, both at him, and at all of us humans and our foibles – but he also teaches sound financial principles, and gives you the enthusiasm to begin to do the hard work that is required to re-think your financial life.  As the weeks progressed, we found our class members beginning to relax, and to take control.  By the last class, everyone had a good sense of where they wanted to go, and how to go about getting there.  Financial Peace University is empowering, and it’s a pleasure to be able to provide it for our members and guests.  I can confidently predict that we will offer it again next January(2019)!” – Bev Boyer

In January, even with being closed 3 days, Potter’s House served over 925 households. 

  • 466 lunches were served
  • 117 households were interviewed for financial assistance
  • 342 households were given food feeding 859
  • 2 Bikes were given out
  • 8 bike repairs were done

A total of $2,371.96 was spent. The value for all services given was over $25,000.

Some of the reasons given for requesting financial support were:

  • has full-time job but can’t afford recent hospital bills and now has eviction notice.
  • single Mom lost job for 2 weeks and is behind on bills.  Does have new job now.
  • single Mom, daughter has health problems.  Lost income due to storm closings at work.
  • single Mom with 2 daughters, not enough child support and low paying job.
  • retired couple on fixed income.  Got behind on water bill due to Christmas and medical bills.

Merry Christmas!  This holiday season, we just wanted to say (for the millionth time) just how thankful we are for your role in our family’s life.  2017 has obviously been a huge year for our daughter – even despite brokenness, she has developed into such a vibrant, sweet, silly, little girl and her time at Seaside has truly been a big part of that!  I had her at home with me for two months before she started at preschool, partly because we hadn’t found a daycare that felt right.  We are so glad we held out until we found Seaside!  She had likely never heard the name of Jesus until this year, and it makes me cry to think of how you all are pouring God’s love into her even when she’s not at home.  Even the social workers say they can see that preschool has been a huge part of her development.  It’s because of the love and effort of your and your team.  Thank you for praying for Olivia, encouraging me (and my husband), and investing so much love into our sweet girl.  We are grateful!  – Letter to the Director of Seaside School, Heidi Beauchaine, from a Seaside Parent

Overall, Potter’s House served 676 people.   Fresh Food Wednesday served 361 families, feeding 1,055.  We were also open Christmas Day and served 68 people.  We did this with a little over $4,000, but the value was $26,732! Here are some of the reasons people applied for financial support:

  • Single mom with 2 children; ex-husband behind on child support.  Works for restaurant and tourist season is over so work is slow.
  • Not working due to cancer and has 5 children.
  • Injured at work and waiting for workers compensation to be awarded.
  • One parent laid off for a few months with 2 small children to support.
  • Behind on rent and utilities due to father being out of work.


For many, Christmas can be a joyous season – celebrating the birth of our Savior with our family and friends. For others, this can be the saddest, loneliest time of the year. Many seniors live alone and have no family or friends that visit, due to many reasons. This year, we partnered with Home Instead Senior Care, Catholic Charities, and Jewish Family Services to help bring the light of Christmas into the lives of these forgotten seniors. The tags on this year’s Senior Tree of Light reflected the simple needs of everyday living of those who are lonely and financially needy. We provided gifts to seniors who were least likely to receive a present this holiday season.

  • 50 gifts
  • 5 extra knitted hats
  • 2 extra Christmas sweaters
  • 15 prayer shawls
  • 7 stuffed animals
  • Extra gift bags for wrapping

We filled a small Toyota Corolla from front to back including a stuffed trunk, leaving just enough room for a petite young woman to drive. She was overwhelmed with the generosity of our church family, so much so that she was in tears. What a blessing to be a part of Christmas for those seniors who are often forgotten and neglected. THANK You Everyone!