Lead Pastor’s Annual Conference Report Part Four

This article is the final part of the series of my annual Charge Conference Report. The previous three parts in this series can be found in the recent Beacons and on our blogs. Below are the final thoughts I shared in the Pastor’s Report.

We know our world and nation are chaotic and divided. Shalimar UMC is seeking to love our neighbors and connect more to our community at such times. We are making strides. Let me share a story.

In June of this year, I rode my bicycle to work to get some exercise. As I came across the foot of the Shalimar bridge, I crashed into the sidewalk curb. I was thrown off my bike onto the sidewalk going about 15 miles per hour. Lt. Carlos Jones, a member of the Shalimar Police Department, came to my aid. He helped me when I was dazed and injured. After persisting against my stubbornness for needing help, Carlos called the paramedics to come. He did not have to go to all the trouble he did! After a trip to the Emergency Room, he called to check on me.

Carlos is African American and not only a policeman but a pastor. We did not know each other and met by ACCIDENT! What a wonderful person he is, and we have since struck up a friendship. I have scars on my arm, but they are worth this new friendship. Carlos preached for us in August! It was one of the greatest Sundays we have had at Shalimar UMC. We will remember the message spoken loudly about police officers and all who serve. We were challenged to hold nothing back from the Lord and to treat everyone as our neighbor. I will never be the same! Our church may never be the same!

This year has not been a typical year for baptism or membership. Our membership additions and baptisms for the year have been less and have reflected the COVID-19 craziness of not having in-person worship and COVID restrictions much of the year. We remain available for those desiring baptism and membership now. We will seek to elevate and expand opportunities for baptism and membership when COVID-19 restrictions allow. I am envisioning our Evangelism initiative will increase baptisms, discipleship, and membership in the future.

As we look to 2021, God is pouring new wine into our new wineskins. Is it the church we knew before COVID-19 ? No? We are focusing more on Discipleship, Evangelism, Leadership, Loving God, and Loving our Neighbor! We are not going to be the church of pre-COVID 19! WE ARE GOING TO BE FILLED WITH THE NEW WINE GOD IS POURING NOW! BETTER DAYS ARE AHEAD FOR THE CHURCH!

I do believe a better day is just ahead! See you Sunday as we begin “BE RENEWED” together!

Philip McVay

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