Watch Out for the First Step - It is a Doozy

Well it happened today. We have moved into the second half of 2020, the most unforgettable year of our lifetime. I am reminded of the line by Needlenose Ned from the movie Groundhog Day when he says, “Watch out for that first step-it’s a doozy.” I think we can all agree that thus far, 2020 has been a real doozy!

I usually try to give a mid-year update, but my inclination was to not give one since this year has been so difficult. However, after reflecting some, I decided to write this article anyway. My mid-year reflections are of the strangest year in my lifetime! Nevertheless, the ministry of our church has remained strong and, in some ways, stronger than it has ever been before.

  • In January, we started with our annual 21 days of worship and it was an extraordinary way to begin the year. Again, we were blessed with lay testimonies and great participation for the early 6 am services.
  • Later, in February, we launched 144 groups with Lent and had 10 groups formed for a 12-week discipleship journey that would conclude in May. This format was interrupted by Covid-19 in week three, but 10 groups made it to the finish line by Zoom.
  • We had a sermon series on forgiveness that was well received and very timely for our congregation! I owned up to some things, and God moved in these messages.
  • My wife, Karen, participated in a sermon with me and talked about her victory over cancer. Karen knocked it out of the park!
  • A Lenten series was preached on Heaven.
  • Post Easter sermons were preached on John 3:16.
  • The unthinkable happened. Out of an abundance of caution, we paused all in-person worship and church activities for 14+ weeks.
  • We formed a Covid-19 Task Force for leadership and guidance through this global pandemic.
  • Our livestream capability has proved invaluable in keeping our church connected. We have had unprecedented numbers of people worship by livestream. Our impact has sometimes reached 20+ US states.
  • The Missions team was not able to go to Cuba but was focused on our own backyard with a food drive for our community. Over this ten-week span, 1,000+ families have been and continue to be fed. What a difference our Missions team is making for the Kingdom!
  • Blessings for Children continues to remain open to help our community. The first half of the year has impacted greatly for the Kingdom! 86 families have been helped impacting 250+ children. Our volunteers have been so faithful and energized and have made such a difference in these children’s lives. They are open every Wednesday from 12 – 3 pm.
  • Shalimar UMC hosted two area Food Drives that impacted hundreds in our area and volunteers streamed to our church to help. Yesterday, five tons of food was packaged up and handed out to 150 families! We will host another one in July.
  • Sunday School classes, Pastors Class, small groups, administrative meetings, and children’s classes have continued to meet through ZOOM.
  • Our staff adapted to Covid-19 and learned how to work at home. Can you say ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM and old school phone calls? Some of our staff made visits to the yards of our members. We have a great staff!
  • In response to the Covid-19 restrictions, our pastors made calls to our large membership church twice. We apologize for the persons we missed. Please let us know if you did not get a call.
  • We said goodbye to the Dales with a drive-by parade and send-off that had close to 90 cars on a rainy and stormy Sunday afternoon. The rain did not dampen the love and appreciation for the Dale’s.
  • David Dale received the first David Dale Hospitality Award!
  • Scott Newbold had a successful bypass surgery and continues with just the right leadership for our church
  • A new Lead Team was formed with new Church Council, Staff Parish, Trustees, and Finance chairs along with a new Lay Leader. They are doing incredible work.
  • Last week, Vacation Bible School impacted a great number of children and volunteers through ZOOM.
  • Amazingly, the generosity of our congregation has shown through again! The giving and loyalty of our congregation has kept our church strong and avert a potential crisis.
  • We welcome new Associate Pastor, Rev. Matt Langford, who officially begins this month. He will be the primary preacher for the 11:07 worship service.

These are some of the highlights that come to mind as I write my mid-year report. God is at work! 2020 has presented so many challenges and yet our church remains strong in ministry, and with the ability to ADAPT! You are to be commended for a good first half of the year in these perilous times.

I love you and appreciate you!
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Philip McVay

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