Synopsis of Lead Pastor’s Report to Charge Conference

This Sunday, October 17th, we will gather with eight other churches for a cluster Charge Conference. The Charge Conference will be hosted by First United Methodist Church of Fort Walton Beach and will begin at 6pm. One of the requests by our superintendent, Rev. Jean Tippitt, is to offer in a few minutes of highlights about the good ministry that has come forth through Shalimar United Methodist Church this past year. In this Beacon, I will give you a synopsis of what I plan to share.

The Shalimar United Methodist Church congregation continues to move forward despite another year impacted by Covid-19, national political tensions, and economic challenges. All in all, my perceptions are God has been faithful, and our congregation continues to be loyal in such times. Through it all, we will have much to give thanks for when 2021 concludes. As of this writing, we still have most of a quarter of the year to go, but there will be every reason to sing the doxology at the end of this year as we praise God from whom all blessings flow.

  • Through it, all over 200 worship services have offered the teachings of discipleship. We have been challenged to “GO” and make disciples in person and online. Our impact online continues to reach people in many states and regions beyond Shalimar. One of these persons recently shared she will be in our area and wants to meet all the pastors in person.
  • There are sights and sounds of children on our campus almost every day. Our pre-school and after-school chapel time has increased from once a month to weekly. It means more time for pastors to teach the children about Jesus every week. Our children and youth programs have been impactful this year through weekly programs and retreats. Our youth and children’s retreats led students to know Jesus this year.
  • Bread House and Blessings for Children have wonderfully reached out to our community with food and providing essentials every week. We appreciate the lay leadership of both the Bread House and Blessings for Children for a remarkable year of impacting persons in need of food, clothing, and school essentials, and most of all, love.
  • REBOOT has offered hope to those recovering from the emotional trauma through military service. Hope is being realized, and disciples are being made through the REBOOT ministry. We appreciate our REBOOT lay leadership.
  • Eight new Stephen ministers are being trained this fall. We appreciate the leadership of Stephen Ministers to continue training for the benefit of those who need a person to “walk alongside” them during difficult seasons of life.
  • Our finance committee has begun implementing plans to retire all church debt by 2025. By the end of this year, the loans for Cross Corner will be fully repaid. Further, with our current accelerated payment plan, the Haverty’s loan will be fully paid by May 2025. These actions equate to a 50% reduction of church debt since 2019! In the many uncertainties and unknowns we have faced, we have every reason to sing the doxology. God’s provision has been amazing in these uncertain times.
  • Our new addition of Cross Corner continues to be renovated by special gifts, tireless volunteers, and improvements by our Trustees. The building is now used almost daily for Kingdom work and ministries over the past year. The best is yet to come with Cross Corner.
  • The church is not a building! I thank God for the people. Thank God for the laypeople that have offered leadership this past year. The work has been extra challenging in these Covid times. You have understood the complexities of our time, and we are in “unchartered waters.” You have been remarkable with your resilience in all the peaks and valleys of the last year! You have stepped up!
  • I thank God for our staff. Our staff is leaner and has done the work of a small army. Ten and even hundreds of challenges have been navigated over the past year. Some of this work has been visible, and some are behind the scenes. You have stepped up!

As we move toward the end of the year, we are witnessing again how God is faithful to His church. To God be the glory for all He has done in these times! So let us gather and sing the doxology - Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!



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Philip McVay

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