In Praise of our Ministry Teams

In previous weeks of Beacon articles, I have praised our congregation, staff, and lay leadership. In this article, I want to lift up some additional ministry teams and offer praise for their good ministry. There is only so much praise space each week, so I have broken these praise articles into sections. The focus this week is ongoing ministry teams in our church during this past unforgettable COVID-19 year.

We are blessed by Splash of Joy study leaders Sara Michaelson and Cathie Buckman! What a joy it is to see so many ladies in study each Wednesday at 9:30. Some ladies gather to meet in person, and some by zoom meeting in several locations over our campus for social distancing. If you are on campus on Wednesday, there is quite a “buzz” of energy and ministry when the ladies gather. If you have been looking for a women’s ministry, they would love to have you in person or by zoom. You can contact Sara or Cathie if you are interested.

Our Sunday school teachers for adults, youth, and children, are far too many to name! The classes have had different journeys during this strange year. In the last couple of months, more of these classes are again meeting in person. The Sunday school small groups have persevered in different ways. Some have continued by zoom and now in-person. Others delayed and now have resumed. I am grateful for the faithfulness of teachers and classes navigating through the chaos. Hopefully, our Sunday school will emerge stronger out of all this craziness. Maybe it is time for you to renew to a Sunday school class! Our classes always welcome newcomers! Please let us know if you are ready to become a part of the Sunday school, and we will help you find a class.

Where would our church be without the active participation of so many Stephen Ministers walking alongside those who need encouragement in this tumultuous season? The Stephen Ministry handbook says, “Stephen Ministry offers a proven and effective way to organize, equip, and supervise a team of congregation members to provide high-quality, one to one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community experiencing life difficulties.” Our Stephen Ministers are trained to help in times of isolation, sadness, major medical issues, infertility, divorce, end of life, terminal illness, life transitions, military deployment, and the aftermath of a crisis. I cannot imagine all the Tsunami of needs in our congregation and community in the present and aftermath of COVID-19. Do you need a Stephen Minister? We have an army of trained volunteers to walk with you. A special thanks to our Stephen Ministry team leaders Sara Michaelson, Cathie Buckman, and Amanda Harris for navigating forward in this time.

We have a “truckload” of caring that goes on through our congregation. Our REBOOT has continued to reach the military and their families who need extra love and grace following traumatic events while serving our Country. We are so blessed to have Deb Hutto and Jeanne Racquier give leadership to this ongoing ministry through our church! We appreciate Brenda Ray and her card ministry and Marilyn Canon for the Threads of Love prayer shawl ministry. Nancy Kahrs continues to lead GriefShare for persons who have experienced loss during this time of the pandemic. This ministry has offered new hope for those stuck in the depths of the pit of grief. Kelly Bethea has been a stalwart and champion of MOPS for a long time. The care of Mothers of Preschoolers has long made an impact of love and mentoring for young mothers. All these ministries have required navigating during these uncertain times. Our caring as a church extends through all these expressions and distinctive ministries.

Again, I apologize in advance for glaring oversights in this article. We have so many leaders visible and behind the scenes to thank. I missed so many persons and ministries. Hopefully, I will assimilate another report this year, thanking those I have missed this time.

When you see someone serving at Shalimar UMC, please take a moment to thank them. Pray for them! Encourage them! The Apostle Paul says as a portion of Philippians 4:8, “if there is anything worthy of praise, think of these things.” In this spirit, I just wanted to thank our congregation, staff, lay leadership, and lay ministry leaders! Our church would not have navigated two difficult years without them! Thanks be to God!


Philip McVay

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